1. Editorial Note

Following Richard M. Nixon’s victory in the general election held in November 1968, President Lyndon B. Johnson and his top foreign policy advisers hosted a number of transition briefings for the incoming administration. The briefings were conducted in meetings between Johnson and the President-elect on November 11 and December 12; between Johnson’s Special Assistant Walt W. Rostow and Henry A. Kissinger, Nixon’s newly named Assistant for National Security Affairs, on December 5; and between Clark Clifford, the outgoing Secretary of Defense, and his replacement, Melvin Laird, on December 23. These transition briefings covered a host of topics, among them the war in Vietnam, the Middle East, the Non-Proliferation Treaty, the status of strategic arms limitations negotiations with the Soviets, relations with NATO allies, and the organization of the National Security Council system. According to the records of the meetings, however, they did not deal with national security policy, the U.S. defense posture, or the strategic balance between the United States and the Soviet Union. (Johnson Library, Special Files, Tom Johnson’s Notes of Meetings, Box 4, November 11, 1968 Meeting; and ibid., National Security File, Files of Walt W. Rostow, Box 14, Nixon and Transition) See also Nixon, RN: The Memoirs of Richard Nixon, pages 357–358.