April 23, 1964 – An LBJ Press Conference – Past Daily Reference Room: Presidents Being Presidential
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An LBJ Press conference. Typical of the time; typical of most every press conference up until the contentious ones during the end of the Nixon Administration. Civility, decorum and a President being Presidential.
Here’s an excerpted text of the opening statement before the Q&A:
THE PRESIDENT: “Good morning, ladies and gentlemen.
Secretary Rusk is sending out letters to all those who may wish to accept my offer to provide all possible information to major candidates this year. Appropriate letters are going to Senator Goldwater, Governor Rockefeller, Senator Smith, Governor Stassen, Mr. Nixon, Governor Scranton, and Governor Wallace of Alabama.
We recognize that some of these gentlemen may not consider that they are candidates, but it does not seem appropriate for us to attempt to make that decision for them. Ambassador Lodge is in a somewhat different position. He has access to all the information which he needs in discharging his most important assignment, and if at any time this situation should change, we would make whatever new arrangements might become necessary, with pleasure.
I do not intend that we should lose sight of those Americans who do not share in the general prosperity of this country, so tomorrow I plan to visit several areas which suffer from heavy unemployment and poverty, or need special attention for the relief of economic distress. I will visit South Bend, Ind.; Pittsburgh, Pa.; Paintsville and Inez, Ky.; Huntington, W. Va.
I am inviting the Governors of the Appalachia States to meet with me in Huntington to discuss problems of that particular area. I will be accompanied by several top officials of this administration who are responsible for leading our attack on the problems of unemployment and poverty. These will include Secretary Wirtz, Secretary Hodges, Under Secretary Roosevelt, and Secretary Celebrezze.
I am glad to report that our decision to cut back on the production of unneeded nuclear materials, and the parallel announcements of Chairman Khrushchev and Prime Minister Douglas-Home, have been warmly greeted throughout the world, and also by responsible opinion in this country. We have made it very clear that these announcements do not constitute a new international agreement or contract of any sort.
We reached the decision here in the United States on our own initiative as what we, in the United States, ought to do. We did it in a prudent and reasonable concern for our strength and for avoiding excess, and we then explained our intention to the United Kingdom and to the Soviet Government. They, in turn, acting on their own responsibility, announced parallel decisions.
This is the policy of restraint by mutual example. I discussed it yesterday in detail with the leaders of both parties in the Congress, at breakfast, and I believe that the discussion resulted in general understanding and agreement among us all.
I had some other brief announcements, but I think that they will carry over until we get back. I primarily wanted to get some of these that will be going to the Hill out of the way before I left. I wanted you to know of our plans for the afternoon and the rest of the week. I will be glad now to entertain any problems that your curiosity may suggest.”
That’s an excerpt of a longer opening statement and it sets the tone for the Q&A to take place shortly after.
As a reminder, here is that press conference from April 23, 1964 – carried by all the Radio and TV Networks.