87. Editorial Note

During a telephone conversation between President Johnson and investment banker Sidney Weinberg that began at 1:12 p.m. on August 5, 1966, the following exchange took place:

President: “I want you to think about all the men in this country you know that you would make Secretary of State if you were President. Now that’s just a standard I want you to use, that’s the criteria, because I need about a half a dozen men that are top flight in that field and I’d like for you to think about ’em.”

Weinberg: “In the diplomatic field?”

President: “Yeah. They ought to be men, if they could be, between 50 and 60. Could be 40, and they could be 65.”

Weinberg: “Preferably 50–60.”

President: “They ought to be men that have traveled. If they could, it would be good if they had a language. If they didn’t they ought to be good executives. They ought to be reasonably diplomatic, understanding people. They ought to have some grace and some culture and some background, and they ought to have some judgment. They should have been successes as business people or academic people or lawyers or bankers or something. I don’t care whether they’re Republicans or [Page 187] Democrats. I just want ’em to have integrity, to have judgment. Judgment’s the most important thing a man can have.”

Weinberg: “I agree with that, Mr. President.”

President: “And I might put ’em in Under Secretary George Ball’s spot. I might put ’em in Tom Mann’s spot. He’s the Economic Under Secretary. I might put ’em in Crockett’s spot. He’s the Deputy Under Secretary that runs the Department. He picks 120 ambassadors.”

Weinberg: “I know him.”

President: “And he gets the show on the road. I might put ’em in Alex Johnson’s spot, which handles military, Defense, CIA. He is the Deputy Under Secretary. He’s really the straw boss of the State Department. I might put ’em in Ambassador to France or to Moscow or some other place.”

Later in the conversation Weinberg told the President: “I think if you used enough influence you could get Doug Dillon back if you wanted.” (Johnson Library, Recordings and Transcripts, Recording of a Telephone Conversation between the President and Weinberg, Tape F66.19, Side B, PNO 1 and 2) The portion of the conversation printed here was prepared in the Office of the Historian specifically for this volume.