25. Memorandum of Telephone Conversation1


  • The President
  • Mr. Mann

[Omitted here is discussion of an unrelated issue.]

Mr. Mann said that he thought we were making good progress on the organizational front. The President said that he had told the Secretary last night that from the point of worldwide affairs he was superb, in Congress even better and with the press he was wonderful, but that he wanted Mr. Rusk to let Mr. Mann take over the Assistant Secretaries and see that they give the President some ideas and implements and get him some good appointments and get some good men in there. The President said that we would look around and see what the business council recommends, and the Chamber of Commerce and labor. He said he thought we should mix these people up.

Mr. Mann said that we have two concrete plans: 1) daily meetings with the Assistant Secretaries and to take as much time as necessary, in Mr. Ball’s office. He said we will go into the whole thing and let them know that it will be their responsibility to handle relations between their part of the world and the US and get the job done. He said we are also going to set up in the next day or so a mechanism to find some talent for the President and that he hoped to bring Macy [Page 56] into the deliberations over here, where he had all the information at hand. Mr. Mann said we could get Mr. Merchant and others to suggest the good people inside and then get some good people from the outside.

The President suggested Gene Black when he comes back and also Bob Lovett and that Dave Bruce could come in for consultation. He said if we can pick up one or two more around of that general type and meet with them and get together a list of all the people we have—a couple of hundred—where they can look at them and decide. The President said Mr. Mann should concentrate on people who would be available—like he himself had been available.

The President said that we had to get Johnson men. He said that the people over in State are saying the wrong things to the press—that we are going to fail, etc. Mr. Mann said he thought this was a minority but agreed that they were saying the wrong things.

[Omitted here is discussion of an unrelated matter.]

  1. Source: Johnson Library, Mann Papers, Telephone Conversations with LBJ. No classification marking. Prepared by Patricia Saunders, Mann’s secretary.