20. Memorandum of Telephone Conversation1


  • The President
  • Mr. Mann

Mr. Mann called the President to tell him that he had talked to Bill Moyers and the Secretary and Mr. Ball, and he thought that everybody was in agreement and was waiting for the President’s decision. Mr. Mann said he thought that he ought to tell the President that he was going up to New York to do a little work on coffee tomorrow and then tomorrow night he would be leaving with Secretary Ailes and his group to try to get the sea level canal talks going in Colombia, Nicaragua-Costa Rica and Panama. He said he would be back on Tuesday.

The President said this was all right and asked what talks Mr. Mann had had with Secretary Rusk.

Mr. Mann said he talked to him this morning and also to Mr. Ball and he gathered that he would have Economic Affairs, if that was what the President wanted.

The President said he did not know about economic affairs. He said this was a title. He said that he wants somebody in there that can help him with the Assistant Secretaries and get his ideas across and get the policy planning group working. The President asked if they had made it clear that they wanted Mr. Mann in the Number Three place and Mr. Mann said he thought so. He said that State Department statutes say that two people can’t be doing the same job and there is the political job and the economic job. Mr. Mann said he thought himself that they are indivisible and he did not think that a title determined what anybody did. He said that you just can’t have two Under Secretaries and that it has to be for political affairs or economic affairs. Either one. He said he thought that the main thing was to have the President and Mr. Rusk and Mr. Ball have a clear understanding of what they want him to do and the rest will take care of itself.

The President told Mr. Mann to figure out what had to be done. Mr. Mann said he did not think that a title is very crucial whether it is economic or political affairs. He said one of the things he will have to be following is economic policies and these two are really indivisible. He said he thought we could have an understanding with Crockett and that he would work with him and with the Assistant Secretaries. He said perhaps [Page 46] it would be easier to go in on the economic title. He said it would not inhibit him in any way.

The President asked if Mr. Mann had talked about his successor and Mr. Mann said that he had mentioned to Bill Moyers that he thought the most political fellow who would have the best chance of getting along would be Jack Vaughn. Mr. Mann said he had been unhappy about him a year ago but he thought he has done a superior job. He said he has shown courage and also good political instincts. He said he has an excellent staff over here and he thought he had a liberal image and he might even be able to convert Schlesinger. He said it might work out fine-he is smart, young and active. He said it took 12 hours a day in the office so you have to have somebody who can go about 16 hours a day at full speed and he thought that Vaughn combined all of the qualities. He said we would lose a little in Panama because of his personal relations.

Mr. Mann said that Mr. Moyers had somebody in the Peace Corps he thought could take Vaughn’s place and Mr. Mann thought this would be an easier chasm to cross than Brazil.

The President asked if Mr. Mann thought that Vaughn would be better than Mr. Miller2 and Mr. Mann said he thought that he would be more stable. He said he would like to see Mr. Miller get a good Ambassadorial post but he thought the President would be less exposed with Vaughn than with Miller. He said that Dean Acheson and he both liked Mr. Miller but they may have their views colored by friendship and he did not think they should let friendship enter into their advice to the President. Mr. Mann said that you have the left and the right and all of these cross currents. He said that Vaughn has the advantage of having been identified with the Peace Corps, sort of liberal, but that he is as hard as nails underneath. The President asked Mr. Mann if he had spoken to Secretary Rusk about it and Mr. Mann said that he had told both the Secretary and Mr. Ball the same thing. The President asked what they had said and Mr. Mann said there was no objection.

Mr. Mann said that they had asked about Ed Martin and Mr. Mann had replied that he was sure he would do a superb job but Mr. Mann thought that the President wanted sort of a Johnson approach and not the old approach and that this would be going back in that sense. Mr. Mann told the President that Bill Moyers could tell him much more about Vaughn than Mr. Mann can.3

The President said he would see Mr. Mann on Tuesday.4

  1. Source: Johnson Library, Mann Papers, Telephone Coversations with LBJ. No classification marking. Prepared by Patricia Saunders, Mann’s secretary.
  2. See footnote 3, Document 18.
  3. Vaughn was appointed Assistant Secretary of State for Inter-American Affairs on March 11, entered on duty March 22, and served until February 28, 1966.
  4. February 2.