Skip to comments.The World Leader Who Didnít Attend Churchill's Funeral
Posted on 12/11/2013 12:16:04 PM PST by Kaslin
Why did one of the most politically savvy leaders ever to occupy the White HouseLyndon Baines Johnsondecide not to attend the funeral of Winston Churchill in 1965? And why didnt he send his Vice President, Hubert Humphrey? Questions remain nearly 49 years later.
Nearly 100 world leaders are now making their way to South Africa for the state funeral of Nelson Mandela. It will be a whos who of global power-players. Its important for them to be there, because its a risky thing to miss a great mans funeral.
President Obama invited George W. Bush and Bill Clinton, and their wives, to join him on Air Force One for the trek to Johannesburg. When Anwar Sadat was assassinated in October 1981, President Ronald Reagans security team strongly advised against him traveling to Egypt.
That was just a few months after Reagan was seriously wounded and barely escaped death at the hands of a would-be assassin, so the concerns were understandable. Mr. Reagan decided to play a Presidential Hat Trick. And the next day Jimmy Carter, Gerald Ford, and Richard Nixon boarded the presidential jet for the journey. Because Secretary of State Alexander Haig was head of the official delegation, he claimed the Presidents Quarters for himself, leaving the three formers to make do in coach.
Churchill died at the age of 90 on January 24, 1965, after a series of debilitating strokes. His final illness became an international vigil for nearly two weeks, so there was plenty of time for world governments to prepare.
In fact, the British government had been prepared for a long time. More than ten years earlier, at the direction of Queen Elizabeth II, a plan called, Operation Hope Not had been developed for Winstons eventual passing.
Lyndon Johnson was inaugurated for a full term on January 20, 1965, following his landslide electoral victory the previous November. He was at the top of his political game and riding high in the polls. But a few days later, on the night Churchill died, LBJ called seven reporters to his bedroom at the White House and told them that his doctors had advised him not to fly to London. He said: I dont have the bouncy feeling that I usually have.
Presumably because no bouncy feeling isnt an actual recognized disease, the official diagnosis was a bad cold.
He also told them that he was not sending Vice President Humphrey, but instead he would send Secretary of State Dean Rusk (who didnt actually attend either, citing illness) and Supreme Court Chief Justice Earl Warren. Johnson also noted that former President Eisenhower was attending as a private citizen. The grand farewell for Churchill was a global media event, watched on television by more people than President Kennedys funeral fourteen months earlier.
The reporters at his bedside described Johnson as looking sicker than they had expected: Hair disheveled, he lay in a four-poster, canopied bed speaking softly, coughing lightly from time to time and blowing his nose.
Johnson was widely criticizedhere and abroadfor his failure to make the trip. Many in the British government saw it as a slight. And in some ways it represented a minor setback in American/Anglo relations at a crucial time in the Cold War.
Some of President Johnsons biographers take great pains to write about the mans energy and perseverance. For example, Robert A. Caro writes in his tome, The Years of Lyndon Johnson: Master of the Senate, about how the man had regularly refused to allow the illness to interfere with his work habits. And how LBJ drove himself mercilessly even when he was supposed to be ill, with aides wondering, how could a man have such energy if there was something seriously wrong with him?
This description flies in the face of the image Johnson projected to the journalists that day.
A couple of weeks later, in a White House press conference, Johnson seemed to reveal a hint of thin skin when he was asked about his decisions related to Churchills funeral:
I am glad to have the press reactions and the reactions abroad on the protocol involved in connection with funerals In the light of your interest and other interests, I may have made a mistake by asking the Chief Justice to go and not asking the Vice President. I will bear in mind in connection act in accordance with our national interest.
Soon after Johnsons non-apology apology, someone coined the term credibility gap and affixed it to Lyndon Johnson. As with many things about LBJ, the truth is elusive.
Did LBJ have heart attack few months before
Also I understand Reagan didn’t make it because dude got just wounded he need time to recover
This piece is to give BO cover for being shown to be the Child that he is
That photographer, bless him, is on a world of trouble right now
“Because Secretary of State Alexander Haig was head of the official delegation, he claimed the Presidents Quarters for himself, leaving the three formers to make do in coach.”
Al Haig was in charge, there on Air Force One.
I bet he even put on the Air Force One Presidential jacket.
He really wanted that job.
Eight years before. In 1955.
LBJ, like BO, was an a**hat who despised Churchill.
I recall conversations amongst the adults when I was a young buck. My predominantly Republican paternal family used to rail against LBJ as a hard-hitting, ruthless politico while the union-loving Democrat maternal side of my family used to extol his virtues as a creator of freedom and liberty.
As an adult, I can see now that the latter was full of crap.
Or “Great Society”.
Sickness doesn’t explain why no one else was dispatched. I thought the real reason was because Churchill hadn’t attended Roosevelt’s funeral 20 years before.
The US “Presidents” I DESPISE:
He was still feeling guilty for having JFK assassinated.
Just out of curiosity, why Teddy R? Most republicans like him.
Don’t forget Buchanan.
LBJ was a venal, phony, disgusting, murdering so and so. The lowest of the low.
Don’t know enough about him to despise him. Educate me.
He was a NorthEast “Progressive”. Like the Bushies and Nelson Rockefeller.
No doubt the photographer is in Valerie Jarrett's crosshairs. Sux to be him; hope his affairs are in order.
Maybe no GCA ‘68 either. *sigh*
Explain please....make it to what?
He was the Prez right before the American Civil War. His lack of leadership during his time in office helped to bring about the war. There are other negative aspects about him that other FReepers can chime in with.
More details, shipmate.
I’ve been reading the biographies of T. Roosevelt. He ain’t no socialist though he was a populist, and not at all popular with those elitists who wanted another National Bank.
He tangled with the Vanderbilts, the Goulds, the Rockefellers, J.P.Morgan, and other Robber Barons who felt they had the sole right of choosing who was to be President.
Gee! Sounds like the GOPe today.
That's an easy one. LBJ avoided situations where someone could make an unfavorable comparison between him and someone else. Winston Churchill was an undeniably great leader. So obviously LBJ would not want to be stuck at his funeral.
Not only was he, in all probability, the first gay president, but he managed to enrage both North and South with some of the irrational policies which removed the consistency and predictability from compromise policies put in place by his successors.
Then there was his open policy of making war on Indians and Mormons just because it felt good. Some of the Plains tribes (especially the Sioux) which hadn't been hostile and had even gotten along reasonably well with whites traveling west up to that point, became hostile due to Buchanan's aforementioned policies.
Some blame said policies on General Johnston, his secretary of war, and later a Confederate General who was seeking to divert and weaken the U.S. Army in preparation for the Civil War.
Yeah, that's possible, but he couldn't have done it without Buchanan's support.
It would not have been Air Force One unless the President were actually on board.
Excellent list. I would add Jackson and Lincoln to mine.
yeah he won’t get invite next year
I saw a new TR bio in the bookstore at lunch. It was written by Doris Kearns Goodwin with an eye toward TR’s populism, in conjunction with the journalist “muckrakers” that were in concert with him about the elitists. Think I’ll pass on this one, personally, but thought you might like to know.
Never forget that TR was a jingo and (more damnably) a committed, enthusiastic eugenicist. A proto-nazi, IMHO.
What problem did LBJ have with Winston Churchill? From what I know of their respective careers they never crossed paths except fro when Churchill addressed Congress for the second time in 1952, I believe it was.
BHO undoubtedly knows what Churchill thought of blacks, all blacks, not just American Negroes. There are two pretty explicit albeit brief indications of this in his doctor Lord Moran's very revealing book about Churchill as a patient. Churchill was PM when the Mau Mau trouble was going on and let the colonial authorities smash the uprising with really iron fisted tactics (appropriate ones IMHO).
Incidentally, whatever Churchill's family thought was an outrageous breach of doctor=patient privilege this book makes WSC a real hero. Tough, tough old man sloughing off strokes and heart problems and pushing on. Even though WSC was dogged with depression his whole life. Read the book and come away humbled at how much a battler Churchill was.
Excellent list of the not so excellent.
Churchill saw the relationship between roosevelt and $+@l!n up close. He was under no illusions about saint franklin.
Take yer old bust back; too!
Doris Kearns Goodwin is a super liberal. I’ve never read any of her books and do not intend on doing so, but thanks for the information.
“Never forget that TR was a jingo and (more damnably) a committed, enthusiastic eugenicist. A proto-nazi, IMHO.”
I don’t know where you got that info, but he made Republican power brokers really nervous every time he reached out politically to American blacks. Most people do no know this, but TR’s mother was a southerner, and her family had been slave owners and supporters of the Confederacy. TR was violently opposed to lynchings, and worked to get such activity halted. He did so whenever he could despite his position’s unpopularity with southern Democrats.
He was opposed to colonialism by Europeans in the Western Hemisphere. At the end of the Spanish-American War he saw to it that Cuba, the Philipines, and other former Spanish colonies had written constitutions that allowed them to split from U.S. protection. European governments but particularly European banking interests hated TR.
I suspect that most of the disinformation available has been written by liberals paid by those aforementioned European bankers. Up until Woodrow Wilson, it was Republican elitists who were trying to reestablish a National Bank, like the one Pres. Andrew Jackson managed to abolish early in the 19th century. Midwestern Republicans in Congress did a super job of preventing that reestablishment, and eventually men like Gould and Morgan turned to the Democrats.
The book, “The Creature from Jekyll Island” is a good information read on the subject.
Thank you for the information.
The biographies I’ve read of TR were penned by Edmund Morris. He wrote three on TR: The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt; Theodore Rex; and, Colonel Roosevelt.
Morris also wrote - Dutch: A Memoir Of Ronald Reagan.
You should take note here that there exists a huge difference between biographies (such as by Morris) and political analysis (in this case by Judge Napolitano). One is a detailed description of a life in its fullness, while the other synthesizes an aspect, freezes it and examines it in hindsight.
Well, he sure wasn't a Millard Fillmore!
A Big Government Man. Also, changed us from kind of a down-home Republic into a big international empire. A Progressive from the word go.
Not a team player ... that Bull Moose Crap gave us Wilson and WWI ... just as moose-crap Perot gave us Ole BJ Clinton. OTOH, TR was a for real .... if very loud ...American. Grandpa liked him. Grandma didn't, but the ladies hadn't the vote yet!
And with that pince-nez, he looks damn weird on Mt. Rushmore.
And a bold plagiarist. 5-20 pages at a time.
Oh, come on, son, it ain't hard.
Just assume Lint'n was acting like the lying, low-down, snaky-ass POS he always was, and you'll catch on pretty quick.
"Elusive", my ass.
I blech at the sight of her red hair and goofy, FDR- and JFK-worshipping grin.
She is just one of those go-to Lefties that keep PBS and NPR going.
BTW, NPR used to be at least of some use as a source of classical music and good jazz. Now however, they are seeking to break the deal up into separate outlets, one dedicated to music broadcasting; the other to constant commie bullshevik, global warming, paeans to Obama and other homosexuals, and the tribulations of those seeking gay marriage.
The trick is the music stations cannot broadcast clearly and cleanly in their listening areas! So it's all commie ... all the time.
BTW, Kearns is actually an idiot. Her book on the Lincoln Administration would have gotten you thrown out of my school for cheating. She ripped off everyone from Carl Sandberg to Gore Vidal ... and the bitch got caught.
But she is still unrepentant, very politically correct, and therefore still an eyesore on your .
Not sure if you meant this to be funny but it is. :)
You missed Jimmy Carter. I would maintain he enabled much of our current Islamic troubles by not backing the Shah.