29. Editorial Note

From 1:25 to 3:45 p.m. on January 27, 1968, President Johnson met with a group of leaders representing the National Alliance of Businessmen. The principal subjects of discussion were the Pueblo crisis, economic indicators, and the budget. According to Tom Johnson’s notes of the meeting, the President also spoke to the group about Vietnam as follows: “This has been an involved week. We have a very great concentration of power against us. There has been a great deal of political pressure placed on us in this country concerning Vietnam. We have 700,000 people tied down by our bombing in Vietnam. We believe the Hanoi government and the Viet Cong are hurting.” The President also read a quote from John Stuart Mills on war: “War is an ugly thing, but not the ugliest thing: the decayed and degraded state of moral and patriotic feeling which he thinks nothing worth a war is worse. A man who has nothing which he cares about more than his personal safety is [Page 69] a miserable creature who has no chance of being free, unless made and kept so by the exertions of better men than himself.”

In concluding remarks, the President noted: “We know what would happen if we did not stand firm in Vietnam. We have told Hanoi we will stop the bombing immediately if they will talk promptly and will not take advantage of the talks. In Korea, they killed more of our men after the talks started than before. I do not want that to happen again. We are seeking any way we can for an honorable peace. So, this has been a bad week. We had an intrusion into Cambodia. We had a bomber go down with nuclear weapons aboard. We had a major offensive planned against us in Vietnam. The North Koreans tried to assassinate President Pak and then the North Koreans took the Pueblo.” (Notes of the President’s Meeting with the National Alliance of Businessmen, January 27; Johnson Library, Tom Johnson’s Notes of Meetings)