A Conversation between LBJ and Bess Truman

12/25/1968 - 5:41PM

On their last Christmas Day in the White House, LBJ and Lady Bird Johnson call Harry and Bess Truman to extend holiday greetings and to thank them for their support. 
BT:  Hello?

LBJ: We wanted to--Lady Bird and I wanted to tell you and the President how loved you are, and how admired you are, and how grateful we are for all that you have done for us.

BT:  Oh, you're just too nice, Mr. President.

Lady Bird: (Laughter)

LBJ:  No, I'm not.

BT:  Much too nice.

LBJ:  No, I'm not.

BT:  I hope you all had a wonderful day with your family.

LBJ: We have.  We're just so blessed.  We had the sweetest daughters here, and we talked to the boys last night in Danang.

BT:  Oh, that’s wonderful.

LBJ: One of them went up and met with--the air boy went up and met with the Marine, and we talked to them about nine o'clock.  It was nine o'clock in the morning there.

BT:  Oh.

LBJ: And we were so thrilled, and we made both of them's little ba--one of them’s baby is two months old, one's a little less than two years, and we made them both squeal over the telephone so they could hear them. (Laughter)

Lady Bird: (Laughter)

BT:  Oh, that's great.

LBJ: We think of you often, and every time I go by your picture, I see my favorite first lady, except one.

BT:  Oh, well, I appreciate that a lot. (Laughter)

LBJ:  And the other one is on the phone, wants to say hello to you.

BT:  Oh, good!

Lady Bird: Oh, Mrs. Truman, I'm just getting all packed and ready to go, and I'm just thinking in all my time here, I've always just considered you such a strong, good help to Lyndon, and you've both been a great reliance to us.

BT:   Oh, you're so nice to say that.

Lady Bird: We appreciate your friendship, and we're just so fond of you.

BT:  Thank you.  That gives us a big lift.

LBJ: Did I tell you the other day—I’ve told you this, but I want to tell you again--the other day my Cabinet gave me a silver blotter with a silver pen set on it, and they had the major acts that we had passed, more than a hundred.

BT:  Oh, is that true?

LBJ: And the--you know, things like elementary education and medical care and things of that kind, civil rights and conservation measures, and they listed each one of the major bills, and they said--they had a nice little statement about how they were glad to have served in an administration that passed all of these.

BT:  Well, that was a lovely gift.

LBJ: I took it and reviewed it on a trip that I was making home, and do you know that almost half of the bills that I had passed, President Truman had started twenty years ago.

BT:  Is that so?  That's very interesting.

LBJ: So I thought that you would be interested in knowing that most of the good things, like education and Medicare and civil rights, conservation, it took twenty years to get his ideas through, but they were finally passed, and--

BT:  Well, you did it.

LBJ:  I’ve tried to say that to the country, but the papers don't pay much attention to it.

BT:  Oh, no!  The papers!

Lady Bird: (Laughter)

BT:  You know what we all think of the papers.

Lady Bird: Well, you have a healthy regard for them.  (Laughter) 

Read the transcript between LBJ and Wayne Aspinall about conservation of the redwoods in California.