41. Editorial Note

According to a memorandum of a telephone conversation on July 15, 1965, between President Johnson and Under Secretary of State for Economic Affairs Thomas Mann, the President asked Mann for the names of people for the position of Representative to the United Nations. “Mr. Mann said he could think of people who could do the job, but he thought they were needed more where they were. He added that off-the-cuff he would say Secretary Wirtz and George Ball. He explained that he really thought Mr. Ball was needed in the State Department and said that he made 90% of the decisions that had to be made. Mr. Mann told the President that the Assistant Secretaries have been weak in decision-making. He said that he thought this would improve greatly with the new appointments (Leddy and Hare).”

Later in the same conversation, “the President asked about Secretary Rusk and whether he would be interested. Mr. Mann said he doubted it and besides he felt that we all need Secretary Rusk in his job where he is now. The President asked Mr. Mann who it was that keeps roughing him up trying to get him to resign.” Mann responded that “just between the two of them, George Ball had told him that he and Rusk were satisfied that it came from [Arthur] Schlesinger and [Richard] Goodwin and that crowd. The President said it may come from Schlesinger. Goodwin denies it.”

Mann then “asked to have time to think about it some more. He said that he really felt that Rusk and Ball were needed here. He said that he felt that Ball is basically loyal to the President. He said that he will not always agree but he does get decisions made. He said the Secretary was a cautious man and does not make quick decisions.” (Johnson Library, Mann Papers, Telephone Conversations with LBJ)