The key to the city of Seoul, Korea

This week's artifact is the key to the city of Seoul, Korea, (1970.25.39) given to President Johnson during his 1966 Asian trip. 

Remarks on Departing for the Asia-Pacific Trip (October 17, 1966)

Lyndon Baines Johnson

Secretary Rusk, and members of the Cabinet, Mr. Speaker McCormack, Leaders Mansfield and Dirksen, ladies and gentlemen:
I leave you this morning to undertake a hopeful mission.

I go to visit six nations which, working with others, are beginning to shape a new regional life in Asia and the Pacific. I have followed with admiration the energetic progress made in Asia by Asians. I have been happy to receive at the White House recently the leaders of those countries. Now I am availing myself of this opportunity to repay their visits and to see their people, and to visit in their great countries.

I go to learn of their progress and problems, their hopes and their concerns for their children and for their future.

At Manila we shall consider the problem of Vietnam.

A small Asian nation is under attack, defending itself with extraordinary courage and endurance. I go to confer with its leaders and with the leaders of those other nations that have committed their young men to defeat aggression and to help those 15 million people shape their own destiny.

We shall review the state of military operations; but we shall mainly devote our attention to the civil, constructive side of the problem of Vietnam.

We shall together seek ways of bringing about an honorable peace at the earliest possible moment.

I know that I can wave no wand. I do not expect anything magical to happen or any miracles to develop. But as I undertake this mission on behalf of our entire Nation at a most critical time in our history, I am inspired and strengthened by the presence of the leaders of the Congress here this morning, the members of the Cabinet, and by the unity of the American people. I ask for your prayers. I shall do my best to advance the cause of peace and of human progress.

View a video of President Johnson delivering this speech here.

View All Artifacts of the Week


Then & Now

Did You Know…

On March 10 and 11, 2006, the nation’s Presidential Libraries and the National Archives hosted an unprecedented two-day conference examining the history of the Vietnam War and the American Presidency. Among those participating in the historic two-day conference were General Alexander Haig; Secretary of State Henry Kissinger; former NATO Supreme Allied Commander General Wesley Clark; journalists Steve Bell and Dan Rather; and others. Former President Jimmy Carter spoke via video, and NBC Nightly News anchorman Brian Williams moderated the Saturday sessions. Read more

Topic Talk