314. Telephone Conversation Between President Johnson and Secretary of State Rusk1

[Omitted here is discussion of U.S. foreign aid assistance on family planning and the Pope’s opposition to it.]

President: Now, there are some very strange developments on this cable thing that concern me. They’ve been meeting over in Defense on stopping this thing, and I gather Clark looks with favor upon it. Do you know anything about this?2

Rusk: No, no.

President: Well, they’re boxing us in on this.

Rusk: He didn’t express that yesterday.

President: This is a little move going on around from overseas.

Rusk: Clark was the only one who was supposed to have that cable. Have others been meeting on it?

President: Yeah. I think he’s the only one who has it, but I think he’s kind of expressing the viewpoint that’s contained in the cable. And I think we’ve a good, full-fledged, bone-up movement along this direction and I think we’ve got to meet, head-off, before they take it over. And I think we probably ought to do it by saying that our position is as stated in the President’s speech, we made this move, and we’re very anxious for them to show that they’ll take some steps if we take some steps, if they won’t use them to hurt us, and we’re not going to stop the bombing until they agree to stop some, because if we don’t, they’re gonna make—the New York Times is kick-off these folks over here. Cy came over and had this view when he was here before. I think another [Page 918] thing we probably ought to tell Cy today is that we want to go into this with him but we think it could be gone into a little later.

Rusk: Did you see my telegram I sent you?3

President: No, I hadn’t seen either one of them.

Rusk: One of them I had to dig out of a deep safe this morning. But I couldn’t get at it last night.

President: Did they just ignore it?

Rusk: No, I think—you can see what’s in the telegram. It was taken over by hand and I think Brom Smith is bringing it up to you.

President: All right.

Rusk: But I—no—Cy did not talk to me along these lines except that he did say that looking down the road that we ought to give further thought to the assumptions under the San Antonio formula. But he recommended to me that we stay on our present track.

President: Well, that’s what he did to me too. He recommended it for a few days while he was exploring this other, but he had this idea in his mind when he was here and made a pitch at me. But I told him no, we didn’t want it. But he’s bought it now. I think we have another Goldberg plan there in front of us, don’t you?

Rusk: Well, if there’s a ganging up on it, I think so.

President: Yes sir, no question about it. Well, why don’t you hit it this morning? Why don’t you just cut him off?

Rusk: Well, I’ll see what I can do. I will do my best on that.

  1. Source: Johnson Library, Recordings and Transcripts, Recording of Telephone Conversation Between Johnson and McNamara, July 30, 1968, 9:57 a.m., Tape F6807.02, PNO 14. No classification marking. This transcript was prepared specifically for this volume in the Office of the Historian.
  2. Reference is to Document 312.
  3. Document 313.