Saturday, November 10, 2007

Eisenhower, III

And in Johnson’s mind, at least, he presented as uncompromising a stance on Middle eastern affairs as Kosygin did—while the President, who once worked as a public school teacher in southern Texas, turned his experience to evaluating the Soviet premier.

Get this widget | Track details | eSnips Social DNA

President Johnson: I would say, in fairness, as a teacher, I would grade him about a B+ on discussions on arms—that is, offensive, defensive missiles, the ABM. He made one or two passes I don’t want to discuss with anyone but you.

But he said, “I want you to know that if you do not deliver Israel here on this [UN] resolution—withdrawal—and you cannot pull these fighters back like you do two boxing men in the ring, separate the combatants, and you pull them back to where they were before this war started, then I want you to know there’s going to be a big war, and there’s going to be a great war, and it’s coming soon.”

And I said, “Well, now, Mr. Chairman, I hope that there’s not going to—

And he said, “They’ll fight with their fists and they’ll fight with arms.”

And I said, “Now, if you’re saying that the Israels [sic] and the Arabs are going to have some further difficulties, I hope they don’t. I’m going to do everything I can to keep them from fighting, and I hope you do everything you can to keep them from fighting. But if you’re saying that it goes beyond that area, and others will be fighting, then you’re speaking very serious business, and something that concerns me greatly. And I think it should concern you.”

And he backed away from it, and said, “Well, I said that they would be fighting out there.” And I said, “Well, I’ll do all that I can to keep them from fighting; hope you do, too.”

Dwight Eisenhower: Mm. Mr. President—

President Johnson: He made another pass this afternoon along the same line, and I met him the same way, and he backed off from it again.

No comments: