142. Editorial Note

On February 4, 1964, President Johnson held the first of more than 150 Tuesday lunch meetings with his senior foreign policy advisers. The discussion focused on U.S. policy in Vietnam. (McGeorge Bundy, Memorandum for the record, February 5, 1964; Johnson Library, National Security File, Agency File, Department of State, Vol. 1) No notes were kept of the meeting, nor, prior to July 1967, were notes normally made of Tuesday lunch discussions. From July 1967 to December 1968, Assistant (later Deputy) Press Secretary W. Thomas Johnson kept notes for about 45 luncheon discussions, which are located in Tom Johnson’s Notes of Meetings at the Johnson Library. White House Press Secretary George Christian and President’s Special Assistant Jim Jones took notes at another six luncheons during the same period, which are located in the Meeting Notes File at the Johnson Library.

Agendas for Tuesday luncheons are found in a number of files at the Johnson Library but principally in the following locations in the National Security File: Bundy Files, Luncheons with the President; and Rostow Files, Meetings with the President, and Tuesday Luncheon—Suggested Agenda. Rostow’s file on Meetings with the President also contains records of decisions made at some of the luncheons. Attendance at the luncheons is documented in the President’s Daily Diary at the Johnson Library. Attendees normally included the President, Secretary of State, Secretary of Defense, President’s Special Assistant for National Security Affairs, the White House Press Secretary starting in 1966, and, starting in 1967, the Director of Central Intelligence, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and note taker W. Thomas Johnson.

Commentary on the Tuesday luncheons by participants and by those closely associated with the sessions is in Walt Rostow’s The Diffusion of Power (New York: Macmillan, 1972), pages 359–360; Dean Rusk’s As I Saw It (New York: W.W. Norton, 1990), pages 519–520; and the oral histories at the Johnson Library by William P. Bundy, Richard Helms, Benjamin Read, Dean Rusk, Bromley Smith, and Walt Rostow. Additional information on the luncheons can be found in David C. Humphrey, “Tuesday Lunch at the Johnson White House: A Preliminary Assessment,” Diplomatic History, 9 (Winter 1984): 81–101.