Tapes show LBJ in 1968

May 2, 2008 at 2:06 AM
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AUSTIN, Texas, May 2 (UPI) -- New tapes and transcripts released Thursday show former U.S. President Lyndon Johnson at one of the darkest times in his life.

In 1968, the assassination of Martin Luther King was followed by riots in many cities, the Vietnam War was raging and Johnson faced challenges from anti-war candidates within his own party. During that year, Johnson decided to end his political career without seeking another term and to begin peace talks on Vietnam.

The new material includes 13 hours of telephone conversations between January and April, the Austin American-Statesman reported. The Johnson Library released the tapes.

In one conversation, Johnson tells former President Dwight Eisenhower he will not use nuclear weapons in Vietnam. He also seems unsure how to extricate himself and the country from Vietnam.

"It is bad here at home, it is bad in other places," he told Secretary of State Dean Rusk on March 8, 1968. "The alternative though, I believe, if we just pulled up and run out, would be worse."

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