On this day in 1964, while meeting with Congressman George Mahon about the Poverty Bill, President Johnson received word that American ships in the Gulf of Tonkin were under attack, presumably from the North Vietnamese. The President discussed the reported attack at a previously scheduled National Security Council meeting on Cyprus and at lunch with his senior foreign policy advisors where the decision was reached to respond with a forceful limited air attack. After clarifying conflicting reports about the attack, he met once again with the National Security Council and the Congressional leadership about the Vietnam situation and the need for a Congressional resolution on the subject. Shortly after 11:30 p.m., on live television, the President issued a statement to the American public regarding Vietnam.
During that Security Council meeting, the President received a call from Assistant FBI Director, Cartha “Deke” Deloach, informing him that the bodies of three Mississippi civil rights workers missing since June had been found.
On this day in 1964, Congress passed the Southeast Asia Resolution (the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution). This resolution was in response to North Vietnamese attacks on American naval vessels conducting intelligence-gathering patrols in the Gulf of Tonkin off the coast of North Vietnam on August 2 and August 4, 1964. With only two dissenting votes in the Senate and none in the House, Congress backed the President in taking “all necessary measures to repel any armed attack against the forces of the United States and to prevent further aggression.”
On this day in 1965, President Johnson signed the Health Research Facilities Amendments.
On this day in 1964, President Johnson signed the Joint Resolution for the Maintenance of Peace and Security in Southeast Asia.
On this day in 1964, in an address to the American Bar Association, President Johnson spoke about the Gulf of Tonkin incidents and the U.S. commitment in Vietnam.
On this day in 1964, President Johnson signed the Military Pay Bill.
On this day in 1963, Vice President Johnson attended the funeral of Glynn Stegall in Graham, Texas.
On this day in 1965, President Johnson made a statement following the restoration of order in Los Angeles.
“To resort to terror and violence not only shatters the essential fight of every citizen to be secure in his home, his shop, and in the streets of his town; it strikes from the hand of the Negro the very weapons with which he is achieving his own emancipation.
“Those who strike at the fabric of ordered liberty also erode the foundation on which the house of justice stands.
“But it is not enough simply to decry disorder. We must also strike at the unjust conditions from which disorder largely flows. For the second great American principle is that all shall have an equal chance to share in the blessings of our society.
“As I have said, time and time again, aimless violence finds fertile ground among men imprisoned by the shadowed walls of hatred, coming of age in the poverty of slums, facing their future without education or skills and with little hope of rewarding work.
“We must not only be relentless in condemning violence, but also in taking the necessary steps to prevent violence. We must not let anger drown understanding if domestic peace is ever to rest on its only sure foundation—the faith of all our people that they share, in opportunity and in obligation, the promise of American life.”
On this day in 1967, President Johnson wrote a letter to the Senate Majority Leader urging enactment of legislation and funding of programs for cities. The President wrote,
I called together some of the most brilliant minds, the most talented planners, and the most experienced urban experts in the nation. After exhaustive study, they recommended to me a number of proposals that hold vast promise for the future of every city in this nation. Chief among these proposals was the Model Cities Program—the most coordinated, massive, and far-reaching attack on urban blight ever proposed to the Congress. This was not just a federal program. It was designed to stimulate local initiative in the private sector, and at the state, county and local level.
On this day in 1964, President Johnson signed a bill extending the Hill-Burton Act. The President stated,
“We have many new hospitals today in cities that are large and small. But many of our most important hospitals are too old. The hospitals which serve more than two-thirds of our population in nearly 200 metropolitan areas are obsolete, are out of date, are desperately in need of modernization. This legislation that I am signing today will help us get started on that long overdue job.
“The Hill-Burton hospital construction program has been extended another 5 years, but Congress has also provided assistance for constructing mental health facilities, mental retardation facilities, the medical and dental schools that we need.
“And Congress has helped to meet our health manpower needs by a program to overcome our critical shortage of nurses, a program to train more graduate public health personnel, and by providing assistance to students attending medical and dental and nursing schools.
“We are supporting, as no nation on earth has ever supported, the strength of our medical profession. We are supporting them with modern facilities, with more and better trained manpower, and productive research in more and more fields. I believe that we are pursuing a sensible and yet a most responsible course.”
On this day in 1963, Vice President Johnson attended funeral services for Donald Agger (Abe Fortas’ brother-in-law) at Georgetown Presbyterian Church.
On this day in 1966, Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass played at the White House.
On this day in 1965, President Johnson signed the Bill Extending the Peace Corps Act. The President said,
“And it is a great privilege for me to be here to sign this bill, and by doing so make it possible for a larger and a more successful Peace Corps of men and women who carry America, and who carry America’s dream of peace and well-being for all men, to the four corners of the globe. …”
On this day in 1908, Lyndon Johnson was born on a farm near Stonewall, Texas.
On this day in 1964, President Johnson accepted the nomination as candidate for President of the United States at the Democratic National Convention. Hubert Humphrey accepted the Vice Presidential nomination.