tv Reel America The President - June 1968 CSPAN July 3, 2022 10:14am-10:45am EDT
at 3:30 am the president was awakened with the news that senator robert kennedy in the midst of victory in the california presidential primary had been shot and critically. wounded by an assassin the president's reaction to this shocking event was immediate. he ordered secret service protection for the major presidential candidates dispatched a plane with special medical assistance to los angeles and later in the day went on nationwide television to announce the appointment of a commission to study the climate of violence and extremism in america. 200 million americans did not strike down robert kennedy last night. anymore than they struck down president john f kennedy in 1963 or dr. martin luther king and april of this year. but those awful events. give us ample warning. that in a climate of extremism
of disrespectful law of contempt for the rights of others violence may bring down the very best among us. and a nation that tolerates violence in any form cannot expect to be able to confine it to just minor outbursts for this reason. i am appointing with the recommendation of the leadership of the congress. with whom i have talked this evening a commission of most distinguished americans to immediately examine this tragic phenomenon. early the next morning june 6th, robert kennedy died. his death coming just four and a half years after the assassination of his brother and only two months after the murder of dr. martin luther king cast another dark shadow of grief across america. during his life. he knew far more than his share.
of personal tragedy yet he never abandoned his faith in america. he never lost his confidence. in the spiritual strength of ordinary men and women he believed in the capacity of the young for excellence. and in the right? of the old and the poor to a life of dignity. our public life is diminished by his laws. blessed be the lord the god of israel at arlington national cemetery along with the kennedy family president and mrs. johnson paid their last respects to the junior senator from new york. the place where he was laid to rest forever.
and brutal slaying the president became even more determined than ever to turn heartbreak into constructive action. the day of the senator's death president johnson sent letters to the president of the senate and the speaker of the house. which urgently implored congress to enact a meaningful and effective gun control law. what in the name of conscience will it take? to pass a truly effective gun control law this hour of tragedy that question should at last be answered. let us now spell out our grief. in constructive action during the month of june as he had done throughout the entire period of his incumbency the president continued to members of congress to stop the senseless criminal
violence resulting from easy access to guns. on june 10 the president convened the national commission on the causes and prevention of violence. gathered in the east room the special panel, which would come to be known as the eisenhower commission after its chairman, dr. milton eisenhauer. included members from across section of american life church government education and labor and my charge to you. is simple and direct? i ask you to undertake a penetrating search. for the causes and the prevention of violence. a search into our national life our past as well as our present. our traditions as well as our institution. our culture our customs and our laws.
i hope your search will yield first? and understanding and an insight into the kinds of violent aberrations. which have struck down public figures and private citizens alike. second. i hope your search will uncover the causes. of disrespect for law and order disrespect for proper authority in the home and disrespect for public officials and of violent corruptions of public order by individuals and groups third i hope your search will lead to sensible and practical actions to control our prevent these outbreaks of violence. hoping to curb this violence will be a bill president johnson signed into law in june. the safe streets act of 1968 is
the first major legislation ever passed that confronts the problems of crime in america on a national scale. heart of the bill was the president's request for measures to strengthen local police and law enforcement agencies across the country. during june there were three ceremonies which highlighted the emphasis on excellence that both the president and first lady have sought to bring out in two facets of american life. education and environment first president johnson greeted the presidential scholars because the honor that your nation pays you today is not just to reward for past achievement. it is a way of recognizing your special talents. and expressing the confidence of the country in you and we want in return for you to express confidence in your country.
and try to provide ability to lead and to return your great gifts to the country that has given you so much. the presidential scholars program was established by president johnson in 1964 to recognize and encourage intellectual attainments among america's young people. the scholars are outstanding secondary school graduates who gathered in washington on june 10th as guests of president and mrs. johnson after a full day of meetings with government officials. they attended a reception in their honor at the white house. the president expanded on the theme of youth's responsibilities to the nation. at a gathering of delegates to the national rural patrick cooperative associations youth conference you have your obligation to your parents to
your teachers to your principles but you also have a very strong compelling obligation to your country. if we are going to survive as a free nation if we're going to have the liberty and independence in the freedom that we want if we're going to have the opportunity. the prosperity the jobs and the housing and the beautification all the things that we like and that we want we're going to have to have first. qualified leaders and you can't find better talent to work on. than you young people who come from rural? this month the president followed through on a promise. he made to the nation's young people. in june, he sent to congress a message asking that the vote to 18 year olds.
as part of her beautification campaign the first lady paid tribute to local projects that have improved the face of the nation's capital. yesterday i drove around the town. about two or three hours because i wanted to see the accomplishments at first hand and i was delighted with the variety and extent of your efforts. some of you have cleared a vacant littered lots to provide much needed recreation space in your neighborhoods. others have cleaned up and planted their places of business. are they on front yards? some of those places of business were service stations and one a warehouse. they've brightened them with shrubs and flowers. there had been lively competition among residents of the district of columbia for this year's beautification awards schools civic associations and business owners one most of the recognition.
it during june president johnson returned to the scene of one of his most dramatic conferences. in a commencement address at glassboro state college the president cited the progress made in soviet american relations in the years since his talks with premier cosegan at hollywood. and expressed his optimism that further cooperation would be forthcoming. i'm glad to return to glassboro. i shall always remember this town. as a place of warm friendship and hospital people the world will remember glassboro. i hope as a place where understanding between nations was advanced by the united states. and the soviet union it was last june about a year ago that
chairman casigan and i sat down in president robinson's living room. for two days of discussions our talks ranged over the whole globe. the year since then has been eventful and uncertain. like the age that we live in but hope and achievement. are certainly there to see and our relations with the soviet union offer an example. many feared that the war in vietnam would prevent any progress. many predictions were made to this effect. but despite the predictions and despite the difficulties. we have agreed upon a treaty outlawing armaments in outer space. we have negotiated a treaty banning the spread of nuclear weapons. we have achieved a civil air agreement. that permits soviet union planes to land in the united states and
united states plans to land in the soviet union and we're also moving toward other agreements. i would like to conclude my brief remarks by expressing the hope that relations between our countries will develop. in the interest of our peoples and of the improvement of the international situation in the world. and just speak in commercially just a representate the secretary ask i do invite all of you to visit my country and to see it for yourself and enjoy the protection you will get from this convention. thank you one step that brought the united states and the soviet union closer together was the consular packed signed at the white house in june historically, it was the first bilateral treaty between the two nations. culmination of diplomatic exchanges begun 35 years before and even more important advancement toward mutual cooperation between the world's two major powers occurred at the
united nations when the general assembly overwhelmingly approved the nuclear non-proliferation treaty both the united states and the soviet union had worked long and hard to secure its acceptance paying a surprise visit to un headquarters in new york president johnson appearing before that body for the fourth time hailed the passage of this measure as the most significant step toward peace in united nations history. it is the most important international agreement. and the field of disarmament. since the nuclear age began it goes far to prevent. the spread of nuclear weapons it will ensure the equitable sharing of the peaceful uses of nuclear energy. for the benefit of all nations as regards the treaty itself.
no time should be lost in bringing it into force. and i pledge you this afternoon. that we of the united states will move rapidly. to open the treaty for signature in recognition for his leadership and dedication in bringing about the nuclear non-proliferation treaty president johnson was presented the swords into plowshares award by new york industrialist stanley b roboff. the president kept his word to move speedily toward american approval of the treaty which would be signed by the united states the soviet union and 55 other nations on the first day of the following month. ratification of this treaty would await senate approval the award a statue of the biblical prophet isaiah is made for contributions to the peaceful use of atomic energy. june was a month when two
distinguished heads of state paid calls on the white house. president johnson welcomed costa rican president jose joaquin trejo fernandez as the leader of a country which through its own efforts is helping to make the alliance for progress succeed. the warm greeting president johnson extended to his guest symbolized the high regard with which he views the countries of latin america. later in the day president johnson was able to combine president trejo's visit with the second gesture of friendship toward latin america in an elaborate east room ceremony complete with charts and graphs the president signed an authorization of us support for a 1 billion dollar increase in the capital funds of the inter-american development bank. the president noted that during his period in office the bank's
resources have climbed from 1 billion 400 million dollars to six billion dollars. also visiting the white house in june was the shah of iran. an official state dinner was held in his honor. in june much of the president's attention was centered on the paris peace talks early in the month us negotiator cyrus vance returned to washington to report on an apparent impasse at those meetings. vance could however relate to the president some slight indications of progress particularly with regard to a softening of the north vietnamese denial that they had regular army units fighting in the south. from vietnam. however, the reports were far from optimistic instead of a slowdown in hostilities as a result of the peace negotiations. the communists had launched a massive new wave of assaults throughout the south to erode resolve on the home front and
grasp heightened leverage in the diplomatic struggle. later in the month us chief negotiator averill harriman arrived in washington for further discussions with the president. after weeks of communist intransigence the united states position continued to show both. and flexibility the united states would stop its air raids over the panhandle of north vietnam where supply and infiltration routes converged into the south when a reciprocal gesture of de-escalation either directly or de facto was apparent the other side. meanwhile, the united states continued to seek peace in vietnam through every other available channel. working toward this goal would be the new us ambassador to the united nations george ball replacing arthur goldberg who was retiring ambassador ball was praised by the president for past service to his country and charged with the new task of funneling the hope aspirations
and promise of independent nations into mutually beneficial cooperation. through the month the president johnson continued to meet with the major presidential candidates for intelligence briefings on problems confronting the nation with new york's governor nelson rockefeller the president covered vietnam the economy and domestic programs. secretary of state dean rusk reviewed the diplomatic front and the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff general earl wheeler discussed the military situation. also arriving at the white house in for a conference with the president was minnesota's senator eugene mccarthy. one of the issues that received top priority during these briefings had been the necessity for a tax increase. after much delay, the long-awaited bill was finally cleared by congress on june 21st as past it called for a 10% surcharge on corporate and
individual income taxes and a 6 billion dollar reduction in federal expenditures. given america's needs the large spending cut was a difficult trade-off to make but the tax increase was an economic necessity. and on june 28th in the rose garden where he often has lunch and works the president without formal ceremony signed the measure into law. there was a different rose garden event in june that involved another type of increase patrick lindon nugent. the president's grandson had reached his first plateau the magic age of one. here later in the day. there was a party in the white house oval room for president johnson's vice president in charge of happiness.
just all right, we take you out here. in june the first lady traveled to portland, oregon along with area of agriculture orville freeman to deliver a lecture before a convention of the american institute of architects mrs. johnson called for a new conservation that is concerned with the entire community to solve the problems of growing urbanization. the answers cannot be found in
piecemeal reform the job really requires thoughtful interrelation of the whole environment not only in buildings, but parks not only parks, but highways not only highways but open spaces and green belts. a beautification to my mind is far more than a matter of cosmetics. to me. it describes the whole effort to bring the natural world and the man-made world into harmony to bring order usefulness delight. to our whole environment and that of course only begins with trees and flowers and landscaping. to boost the use and enjoyment of wilderness areas and parks mrs. johnson viewed demonstrations of how a family can have an inexpensive vacation in such places taking all of their needs with them. later, the first lady toured
timberline lodge built by wpa workers during the roosevelt administration and took a snowcat ride on wintry mount hood. a trip through the scenic columbia river gorge and a visit to a fish hatchery rounded out the two-day excursion before the first ladies returned to washington. spotlighting the benefits of the new conservation was one of president johnson's aims when he traveled to nashville, tennessee to dedicate the 50 million dollar jay percy priest dam. to the president the dam was a perfect example of the new conservation because it preserves without polluting and brings nature and recreation within an easy day's drive of tens of thousands of people. our new conservation must build on a new principle bringing nature closer to the people. that is not just my dream it is
happening. it is happening right here today. in tennessee it is coming true all over this nation when i took office. we were losing hundreds of thousands of acres every year to the bulldozers. today we actually reclaiming more land than we're losing. that has been my goal since i became president. along with peace in the world and progress at home. there is no legacy that i would rather leave. than a permanent program of real conservation for this nation.
everybody wants free. back in washington a new drama was unfolding at the campsite of the poor people's campaign resurrection city originally conceived by dr. martin luther king as a visible symbol of poverty in america. heavy rains and unrealistic demands brought mud and disaffection to what was supposed to have been a city of hope? the energies of its leadership were diverted from crusading against poverty. to restraining militant agitators during its existence the johnson administration kept a close watch over developments in resurrection city. high government officials including cabinet officers held meetings with the demonstrators to listen to their grievances and try to work out solutions to many of their problems. here very means more than 50,000
people gathered between the washington and lincoln monuments for a nine hour peaceful demonstration of solidarity with the nation's poor. it was a capstone event of the poor people's campaign begun two months before to follow the absolute direction than the directives of the march but even as the voices of reasons spoke non-violence and restraint to this gathering seeds of discontent were taking root in the camp itself. tensions and discord continued until after many arrests and increasing violence it was finally decided by government officials to not extend for a second time the permit sanctioning resurrection city. on june 24th park and district of columbia police began dismantling the wooden huts and lean twos. when they left the demonstrators had not achieved their immediate goals. but they had received a fair hearing from their government. even from a congress reluctant to appropriate additional funds
to poverty programs to whom they had addressed their major demands. add a news conference on june 26th. the president announced that supreme court chief justice earl. warren was retiring. at the same time he announced his nominations of associate justice abe fortis to become chief justice and federal judge homer thornberry as an associate justice in making his third and fourth appointments to the high court the president knew that his choices would affect the destiny of the nation long after he himself had left office. he selected the man whom he considered best qualified to serve here. as june closed the effort to win senate confirmation began.
for the president the events of june were representative of situations. he had faced throughout his term in office. containing elements of tragedy controversy accomplishments disappointments and some rare moments of joy the emotions of this somber month, however had left their mark deeply etched in the consciousness of both the president and the nation. where they would remain for a
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