1. Editorial Note

On January 6, 1964, Secretary of State Rusk forwarded to President Johnson the Department’s first “Items for Evening Reading.” Four days earlier Benjamin Read, State Department Executive Secretary, had notified all Assistant Secretaries of State that “Items for Evening Reading” would be forwarded to the President each weekday, Monday through Friday, based on items that they thought “should be brought to the attention of the President that evening because of their foreign policy importance and possible political or news impact.” (Johnson Library, National Security File, Agency File, Department of State, President’s Evening Reading)

The President’s State Department Evening Reading File at the Johnson Library contains 1- to 2-page reports (usually titled “Items for Evening Reading” through late 1966 and “State Department Activities Report” thereafter) for most weekdays from January 1964 through mid-December 1968. Many copies are marked with an indication that the President saw them. According to a memorandum to the President from National Security Council Executive Secretary Bromley Smith, March 31, 1966 (Document 165), the report was sent to the President about 8 p.m. each weekday. On December 11, 1967, Read forwarded updated guidelines to the Assistant Secretaries of State, stating that the evening reading was “intended to give the President in highly compressed form significant and timely information on foreign affairs and the Department’s activities” that was “not readily available from other sources.” Besides substantive matters, the President was interested in public relations activities and important Bureau meetings with members of Congress, special interest groups, and media representatives. (National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, S/S Memos File: Lot 72 D 372)