LBJ’s Oval Office Telephone Conversations From January-March 1966 to be Released

Feb 14, 2003

At 9:00 a.m., on Friday, Feb. 28, 2003, the Johnson Library will release recordings and transcripts of President Johnson's telephone conversations from January through March 1966.

Congressional dissension over Vietnam became increasingly apparent in this period as Senator Wayne Morse attempted to repeal the Tonkin Gulf Resolution and Senator J. William Fulbright began televised hearings on Vietnam in the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. Global events included the death of Prime Minister Shastri of India and U.S. efforts to alleviate famine in that country.

Concerns about the U.S. economy are reflected in conversations about potential increases in the price of steel and oil, labor shortages, a crippling transit strike in New York City, rising interest rates, and the administration's desire to avoid wage and price controls. Inflationary trends were a major factor in discussions with members of Congress about the pending tax bill and with administration officials about the rising costs of the Vietnam War. President Johnson continued diplomatic efforts to end the war as he extended the Christmas bombing halt through January.

President Johnson made two historic appointments in these months. Robert Weaver became the first African-American Cabinet member as Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, and Andrew Brimmer became the first African-American member of the Federal Reserve Board.

There are approximately 30 hours of recorded conversations from this time period: 11 hours for January 1966, 10 hours for February 1966, and nine hours for March 1966. Detailed information about individual conversations will be available in the Library's Reading Room and on the Library's Web site on February 28.

Researchers may either listen to the recordings in the Reading Room beginning on February 28 or purchase copies of individual tapes at a cost of $6.00 per tape, plus shipping. The cost of the set of 30 tapes is $180.00, plus shipping and Texas sales tax where applicable. Orders for complete sets must be placed with the Reading Room archivist, 512-721-0212, by Friday, February 21. Once the limited number of available sets has been sold, orders will be filled once a week as staff time permits. Orders for individual tapes will be filled on a first-come, first-served basis after February 28.

Copies of transcripts of those conversations which were transcribed by the President's staff may also be purchased at a cost of $ .25 per page by mail or $ .15 per page if ordered in the Reading Room. The exact page count of a complete set of transcripts will be available on February 28. Researchers should be cautioned that the transcripts are not always reliable and should not be used without checking them against the actual recordings to assure accuracy.