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tv   Reel America  CSPAN  December 31, 2016 8:00am-8:32am EST

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and ceremonies. watch live on c-span and and listen live on the free c-span radio app. up next on american history tv's reel america, from 50 years. "the president, december, 1956." is ahalf hour report report on president lyndon b. johnson. president johnson met with mexico's president at the order, awarded a medal of honor for actions in vietnam, let the white house christmas tree, and celebrated the holiday with his family at his texas ranch. the white house naval photographic unique produce this, which are now archived at the lbj presidential library. ♪
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winter to the hill people of west texas is mostly wind and dust. it is a time when the hardscrabble land is at its harshest. when pastors are brown and dormant to the horizon, and the ponds and streams are low. this time of year, particularly an election off year has been a difficult time for presidents as well. most particularly, when it follows a heavily carried presidential election. high policy decisions must be labored out and laid before congress in the forthcoming federal budget statement and the state of the union address. this responsibility would be awesome enough. but coupled with a vietnam conflict that must be continually explained to the american people, a troublesome economy, an in danger of becoming overheated, and the upcoming divided congress, this would be unpleasant. added to the burdens was the
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uncertain future of the great -- the summit had not been reached. a cautious congress, budget cutbacks, and a tingle of local and state initiative problems on the horizon created evidence that the crusade against society's greatest enemies might be slow or level off and pay. -- fade. this was the climate, the land, and the unfinished task that faced president lyndon johnson in december, 1966. ♪ >> they flew in regularly throughout the month of december. in the past, on trips like these to the lbj ranch, a briefcase was all that was needed. suitcases wereue
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in order. they were summoned to help in the shaping of the nation's economics and social destiny. consisted of special assistants, consultants in specialized areas, cap members departmentnts had -- heads. experts whose opinion the president valued. each have his chance to suggest his report, advise, and recommend. each brings a report of opinions, and the sum total goes into the scale. only the president can make the final valuation and the final decision. one of the toughest problems was the question of the tax increase. true, it could bring federal income and outlay more in line. but as conjecture had it, it could also promote a recession.
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here in these hills, far from buildings, and considered a $30 billion antimissile system would be justified. with the war in vietnam causing more than -- costing more than anticipated, there was pressure to reduce spending at home. clearly, budget cuts and welfare programs would be called for. as the president sought ways to squeeze water out of the budget, he could not neglect the needs of the cities, the education of the children, and the reduction of poverty. the problems were not simple ones. and each, whether related to the war, domestic spending, national security, or the shaping of the country's future, each interfaced with the others. and each had to be considered not alone but as only one part of a greater picture. an outsider could only guess when the answers would be heard. clear, however, that when the answers came, they would reflect hours, days, and weeks
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of exhausted questions and debate on each facet of each problem. on saturday, december 3, the president took a colorful break from his busy schedule at the ranch. ♪ in company with mrs. johnson, the secretary of state, and the mexican ambassador, he paid a good neighbor visit to a small river town across rio grande, texas. the president of mexico and his wife greeted the american visitors on the bridge that spanned the two countries. it is a small town, but its role in hemispheric relations are a big one. it is here that the united states and mexico are building the friendship dam. as a joint international project. dam, when completed
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in 1969, will stop the devastating floods that in the past have ravaged all sides of the border. it will serve as a broad base for hydroelectric power and recreational waters to be shared by both countries. >> last april, we met in your beautiful city to pay homage to a hero of the past. the work that we see going on around us tells us the dramatic stories of what two peoples, working together, accomplish. here, we see the mexican and united states technicians and laborers working side-by-side , throwing up the earth impact impactments and erecting the concrete structures. what we are constructing along this river such a pattern which i hope will be increasingly repeated by neighboring countries throughout the hemisphere. ♪
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announcer: at every opportunity afforded them, the president tried to nail down his advisers on firm answers to the tax increase question and its impact to the agenda -- the economy in general. if they received no answers, it was largely their own fault. too often in the past, the commander-in-chief had seen his remarks blown up it was clear . it was clear that little or no definitive information would be released until the final figures were on the table. in spite of high interest rates and tight money, the economy was healthy and strong. is the press needed to bureau minded of how far the country came economically, he turned the trick by demonstrating some 1900s texas-style austerity. we might have problems now, but not write the ones that faced role america in those rural america
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in those yesteryears. ♪ >> some of the oldest words never seem to grow old. and among them are these -- beyond thebove and call of duty. 15 years ago, sergeant robert emmet o'malley did more than
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fight for honor. in a place of great danger, he ignored danger. wounded, he refused to consider his own safety. at the risk of his own life, he shielded other men's lives. today, i will give him the highest medal his nation can offer. i can think of only one gift sufficient to honor men like this. we can assure this man, and we can assure every man who wears our uniform that their cause is , a good cause. that the principles they stand for are sound principles. that the battle they are fighting deserves their bravery. homage totion pays
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the new roster of 20th century war heroes she also works , incessantly behind-the-scenes to eliminate the very complex that provide the way for such heroism. some of this work came to light on december 8 when, from the texas white house, the president announced that an agreement had been reached on the outer space treaty. a resolution he himself had initiated in 1966. lunar orbiter 2 photos and the successful completion of the gemini program further the evidence that landings may soon become a reality. with these findings came a new spectrum of international relationships among the people mastering this new frontier. when ratified by all member nations, the treaty will indeed historical milestone, not only in the annals of space expiration but in the endless story of man's
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attempt on both earth and beyond. ♪ >> ♪ come, they told me ♪ >> on december 9, the first family returned to washington. a new round of presidential attacks, some in the national spotlight, and some that can only be carried out in the cabinet room. before the king pa rum pum pum pum rum pum pum pum rum pum pum pum all to honor him pa rum pum pum pum wearing his drum
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♪ >> the president and mrs. johnson opened the white house social season with a gala dinner along with the members of the national council of the arts. the council, brought into being by president johnson in 1964, has a broad mandate from congress to encourage the development of the arts throughout the country. the council's ranks are filled with the most distinguished names to be found among the creative professions. the president's responsibilities are incredibly diverse, and this was never more in evidence than on december 15. he unveiled the model of the united states exhibit to this
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year's worlds fair, the canadian expo 1967, noting the familiar geodesic domes were here to stay. architect fuller and the canadian ambassador were on hand to fill in the president with the details of the exhibit and to present him with an honorary passport to the exhibition. the worlds fair has traditionally symbolize the technological achievements of the industrialized nations paper with these advancements, a host of problems. but wit the world -- the world is now entering the last third of the 20th century. realizing problems would not get simpler but only more complex the president called for the , creation of an international center, a forum where interested nations could examine and together find solutions to complexities common to all. on the same day, he discussed the details of the christmas truce in vietnam with the ambassador to the united nations, arthur goldberg.
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later, he welcomed ambassador henry cabot lodge and received an up-to-the-minute briefing in the outlook in asia. >> there was not any doubt in my mind that history will record that president johnson's in july,was announced on u.s. troops was an historic 1965 decision. stark for southeast asia, start for us, -- distort for southeast asia, stored for us historic for , everybody. >> the edge of east asia has been denied through the expansion of peking. and this would surely not have happened if we had been driven out of vietnam or if we had abandoned vietnam. ♪ >> the president then received credentials from the bulgarian ambassador and, in so doing, built you bridges to the east
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via two weeks earlier, the united states agreed to upgrade delegations in sofia in budapest to embassy level. and receive hungarian and bulgarian ambassadors. in addition, the united states may very well see the last of her ministers. an office first held by such statement as an franklin, thomas jefferson, and john adams. the unitedier days, states was not permitted the privilege of sending ambassadors abroad. she was too small and relatively unimportant. sharedilosophy was not by america today, however. for all nations, no matter how small or new, are considered importance, and her ambassadors are received in the traditional time-honored ceremony. ♪ >> ♪ joy to the world the lord is come receive her king ♪
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♪ the president concluded his official day by ushering in the christmas season, and annual washington holiday ritual. >> ♪ repeat the sounding joy repeat the sounding joy ♪ [applause] tonight, even as we speak, american men are fighting in a strange land a half a world away. and yet, at this time of christmas, there are signs of hope. states -- and in
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the united states, we have made progress in human rights in the past six years and we have made in all the previous 100 years. throughout the world, nation is joining nation in a common effort to try to improve the lot of man. let us here tonight dedicate this christmas tree with hope and great confidence, and let us rededicate ourselves to the principles of our bill of rights . to give life to them that sit in darkness and, in the shadow of death, to guide our people and to relay our peace. ♪
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>> moments later, the first family returned to the white house to preside other another holiday ritual. the christmas party for the staff. ♪ the antics of the baja marimba band may not get them appointed to the national council of the arts, but it would ensure an unforgettable evening at 1600 pennsylvania avenue. ♪ >> his mid month tasks completed, in a few hours, would board air force one and winning
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his way back to texas for his own holiday and continued work on the budget. ♪ >> at a christmas bake sale in johnson city park, the first lady stocked up on some holiday delicacies, texas-style. tickled okra. poppyseed salad dressing. and the rarest of hill country appetite teasers. johnson city is far removed from
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the pond and circumstance of washington, and yet, in its own way, the people in the town are more representative of america than the nation's capital. reason, whenever the opportunity arise, that the president and entertain first lady international visitors at the ranch. here, the rest of the world can see what america is all about. as lyndon johnson frequently remarked, it is the sort of place where they love you while you are alive. they take care of you when you are sick. and they miss you when you are dead. ♪ the johnsons are an integral part of the community, and their presence is felt for reasons other than their national prominence. stockesident's breeding brings in top honors.
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♪ mrs. johnson plays an active part in local civic work. although it is sometimes difficult for either of them to completely step out of the spotlight even in rural texas, , moments like these offer a refreshing change of pace from the glittering formality of washington. ♪
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>> it was largely partisan politics from white sulfur springs earlier in the month -- it was logic present in politics, but rumblings from white sulfur springs from earlier in the month were largely amplified. as leader of the democratic party and longtime advocate of the principle that frank and open discussions can lead to a meeting of the minds among reasonable men, president johnson invited democratic governors to the ranch to speak their minds and clear the air. of the 18 men group that met in west virginia nine accepted the , invitation. their spokesman was governor hughes of iowa. >> the president gave us every opportunity to discuss every point that was made during the discussion at white sulfur springs.
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the communication was very open and very frank, and the problems that these -- each governor felt existed in his particular state he was given the opportunity to , present them. i think the meeting, as such, cleared the air for all of us as governors and also gave the president an opportunity to address his views to us in open areas of discussion. >> and i think governor hughes made it clear that some people andpaid to promote rights, some are paid to prevent them. and our job is to grant them. i think we all have the same overall objective. the greatest good for the greatest number. but people at different levels in the city and state and federal government have their different approaches. and we democrats have never been known for suppressing our differences. we have always found you people willing partners to cooperate in advertisement. [laughter] >> the president's burdens in the month of december were not
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lightened by the resignation of his well-known press secretary bill moyers. ince yet taken over the job 1965, he had one to the trust and respect of washington's hypercritical press corps. a tireless worker totally dedicated to the president and to the details of his job, he became one of the top policy advisers in the white house. a jack of all trades he was not , only a buffer between the chief executive and the press but worked directly on many legislative matters, made foreign policy trips, and, as one of his last tasks helped , draft the state of the union message during the upcoming weeks. ♪ on the day before christmas, the president, mrs. johnson, and daughter linda flew to kelly air force base. due to arrive within moments
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were combat wounded veterans from vietnam headed to a military hospital in the san antonio area. the president took the occasion to wish everyone a merry christmas. ♪ pres. johnson: we can assure every man who wears our uniform that their cause is a good cause, that the principles they stand for are sound principles. that the battle they are fighting deserves their bravery. it is a cause which deserves not only the bravery of our
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soldiers, but the patience and the fortitude of all of our citizens. it far outweighs the reluctance of men who exercise so well but lett of dissent others fight to protect them from those whose very philosophy is to do away with the right of dissent. >> on christmas eve, it was apparent that the dissenters would still dissent, the war in vietnam would still go on, the state of the union would still be unresolved, and the tax increase would still be up in the air. momentarily, however, these problems would be put aside as a president and his family, as well as people all over the this, tried to celebrate most joyous of holidays. ♪
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>> it became a timeout of war, a
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48 hour respite, when the fighting, for the most part, would stop. a year ago, the fighting had stopped, and american bombers remained on their carrier pads and decks for 37 days. he had accomplished nothing. this year, there was reason for renewing hope. a letter drafted by ambassador goldberg was carried to the secretary general. the letter sounded, again, the united states' commitment to find an honorable and lasting settlement to the war. it may have been old language, but there was a new ring to the words. "return to you with the hope and request you will take whatever steps necessary to bring about the necessary discussions that would lead to a cease-fire. i can assure you that the government of the united states will cooperate fully with you in getting such discussions started promptly and in bringing them to a successful conclusion." >>
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if this latest date for peace talks bore fruit, it would not be known until 1966. when the 40 hours expire, the guns of vietnam would once again seek out their targets. [explosions] >> on saturday, the 31st of december, the president held his 93rd press conference. his biggest regret was his administration's failure to bring peace to the world. as the akin to a close, it was clear america was entering a time of transition, both in foreign affairs and on the domestic front. in europe, overtures were being made towards countries traditionally strained. yet, there was improving ties between the united states and soviet union. there was no announcement by year's end of the possibility of a tax increase, nor firm figures
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on the budget. but it was clear during 1960 seven, -- 1967, the president would continue to devote all of his energy to the strengthening of his people. the great society had enjoyed a magnificent beginning, but there was still a long road ahead before a summit would be reached. programs may have to undergo change, goals may need to be reshaped, but in this time of transition, the country would continue to move ahead in a constant direction upwards. ♪ [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2016] [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit] >> next, we visit the national world war ii museum in new orleans for a program from a conference titled "1946 -- year zero: triumph and tragedy."


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