76. Editorial Note

During a telephone conversation between President Johnson and Secretary of State Rusk that began at 5:11 p.m. on May 27, 1966, the following discussion took place regarding a replacement for Under Secretary of State for Economic Affairs Thomas Mann, who had indicated that he planned to step down:

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President: “I really want a good new person in Mann’s place, but I haven’t found one. What has been your thinking on it? Has it jelled any more?”

Rusk: “Well, I think the key qualification for a man on that spot is someone who is utterly loyal to you and to me. Now, in terms of running this Department and people familiar with it and government and that kind of thing and on the inside part of the job, I don’t think of anybody better than or even comparable to Luke Battle. In terms of somebody who might help more on the public side and with some of these liberal Senators, we might be able to better that. This is one of the reasons I thought about our friend in the Philippines, Bill Blair. I would be interested in the name Gene Rostow, whose name has come up in different places.”

President: “I only saw that in a column. Who originated it?”

Rusk: “I don’t know. I don’t know. Since I saw it in a column, I suppose that somebody’s been talking about it around town. Nobody’s spoken to me about it.”

President: “Nobody has to me.”

Rusk: “But George and I have talked about recruiting this fellow for some time. He is an able fellow. It wouldn’t have been too easy while Walt was over in this Department to have two brothers at the top spots here, but he’s an extraordinary able fellow, Dean of the Law School, you know, at Yale. So that’s a new name and a fresh person here that would be, I think, well received by a lot of people. And he’s helped us I think generally on our foreign policy problems. But I think that’s something that-now the other possibility is to just leave it open for a bit until we feel out what you want to do about the number two spot and how that shapes up.”

The President and Rusk then discussed candidates to replace George Ball as Under Secretary of State. (Johnson Library, Recordings and Transcripts, Recording of a Telephone Conversation between Johnson and Rusk, Tape 66.15, Side B, PNO 1) The portion of the conversation printed here was prepared in the Office of the Historian specifically for this volume.