334. Telephone Conversation Between President Johnson and the Representative to the United Nations (Stevenson)1

LBJ: Yeah.

AES: Hello?

LBJ: Yeah, yeah.

AES: —and we’re not going to have to ask you whether-to take any political heat because there isn’t any…

LBJ: I got a very distressing memo from Bunche.2 I wish you’d talk to him. Tell him that you have thoroughly gone over this with me and that I shared your view that we ought to go just as far as we could with any self-respect to find an area of agreement, and you had done that. And you’d touch base with Fulbright ahead of time and …

AES: Well, the trouble with that is …

LBJ: …tell him I’m just as distressed as he is.

AES: I would have gone further, as you know, as I told you yesterday3 that the State Department was ready to go and anxious to do that, uh, what, just ten days ago and I talked to Mac Bundy about it. You were ill at the time. And he didn’t take it up with you. I would have gone further and accepted the $15(?) million payment and made a big play to the General Assembly that while we were, ah, while we were, ah, conceding[?]4 this point, for the present[?], at least until next September, we were doing so in order to preserve the organization without prejudice to our position, but I could never get any support for that at the State Department, and I also rather have the feeling that they wanted me to take the preliminary measures, the preliminary proposals first. Having made them, I don’t think now I can well go back and capitulate further.

LBJ: Well, you know the situation there better than I do. Let me transfer you and you dictate this memo. I’ve got a group here …

AES: I will, I will, Mr. President.

  1. Source: Johnson Library, Recordings and Transcripts, Recording of Telephone Conversation between President Johnson and Ambassador Stevenson, Tape 65.06, Side A, PNO 1. No classification marking. The President was in Washington; Stevenson was in New York City. There is no indication of the time of the conversation. This transcript was prepared in the Office of the Historian specifically for this volume.
  2. Document 332.
  3. No record of a February 5 telephone call or meeting was found. However, according to the President’s Daily Diary, Stevenson and Johnson met on February 4 at the White House between 12:19 and 12:24 p.m. “The President and Mrs. Johnson presented him a small cake, decorated with one candle, reading, ‘Happy Birthday Adlai.’” (Johnson Library) No further record of this meeting was found.
  4. All brackets in the source text.