The Vietnam War Summit, April 26-28, 2016, at the LBJ Library
When the LBJ Presidential Library was dedicated in May 1971, President Johnson proclaimed to the assembled crowd, "It's all here, the story of our time--with the bark off. There is no record of a mistake, or an unpleasantness or a criticism, that is not included in the files here." Accordingly, he wanted his presidential library to reflect not only the triumphs of his administration, but the failures, too--and he wanted us to learn from them to build a better future for our country.
In April 2016, in the spirit of President Johnson's vision, the library hosted The Vietnam War Summit, and took a substantive, unvarnished look at the most controversial facet of his legacy. The goal was to shed definitive light on the war, its lessons, and legacy. It was also the library's intent to invite, include, and recognize the men and women who courageously served in Vietnam.
Below are the summit's keynote addresses. Full videos of each summit panel and address can be watched on our YouTube page. Summit photos can be found here.
On Tuesday, April 26, 2016, Henry Kissinger spoke in conversation with LBJ Presidential Library Director Mark K. Updegrove. Kissinger, who played a leading role in U.S. diplomatic and military policy during the Vietnam War, saw the summit as his final word on the war and insisted in hard questioning and on a Q&A after his conversation. No question was off the table for either.
On Wednesday, April 27, 2016, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry gave the keynote address at The Vietnam War Summit. The secretary's keynote address was followed by a conversation with documentary filmmaker Ken Burns.
On the last day of the summit, April 28, 2016, Vietnamese Ambassador to the United States Pham Quang Vinh spoke about the relationship between the United States and Vietnam in the 21st century.
The LBJ Presidential Library is one of 14 presidential libraries administered by the National Archives and Records Administration. Its mission is to preserve and protect the historical materials in the collections of the Library and make them readily accessible; to increase public awareness of the American experience through relevant exhibits and educational programs; to advance the LBJ Library's standing as a center for intellectual activity and community leadership while meeting the challenges of a changing world.