Begin camera roll 635. Nine, take 5.
Speak you got, and mark it, please [clapsticks].
President Johnson’s mood, and those around him, after March 31st, was euphoric; it appeared that the North Vietnamese were serious. It had come as a surprise, frankly, to a lot of critics of the President that uh, that they would, that they would agree to the talks. I remember Senator Fulbright, in particular, thought it was a useless gesture, that they they wouldn’t do it.
The uh, mood changed somewhat as time wore on, obviously, because it became apparent that uh having talks agreed to and really getting them started were two different things, and it dragged on and on, and the presidential race began to get involved; uh, Bobby Kennedy was running; Hubert Humphrey, of course, decided to get on in the race; Senator McCarthy was already running, uh, President Johnson’s general attitude was to stay as far away from the presidential race as he could up until the time of the, up until the time of the convention, in order to carry out his determination to get the talks started and not let politics get involved in in the peace effort.
Certainly after the conventions, things got a little stickier, because uh the political race between Richard Nixon and Hubert Humphrey had an impact on both the North Vietnamese and the South Vietnamese, and President Johnson and everybody else involved in this exercise, because you just can’t keep presidential politics out of uh, out of wartime policy, and Senator Humphrey began to stray somewhat from President Johnson’s position on the war. This created some frictions within the Democratic camp, certainly, although President Johnson wanted to help Senator Humphrey, and certainly wanted him to
succeed him as President.
But uh, we all went through some very dark periods of wondering what was going to happen to the country, and and frankly wondering what might be best for the country, whether Humphrey should be elected or, or Nixon should be elected, and I think these thoughts went through President Johnson’s mind from time to time, depending on what the Democratic campaign was doing.