This is a series of memos from February 7 through 17, 1966 describing the Administration’s attempts to reach out to key Members of Congress in advance of the formal release of the bill creating a new Department of Transportation and attempts to schedule the rollout. This PDF file includes the following:

  • A February 7, 1966 telegram from White House domestic policy chief Joseph Califano, Jr. to President Johnson explaining that the rollout of the bill needs to be delayed to accommodate Senate Commerce Committee chairman Warren “Maggie” Magnuson (D-WA), who had been chosen to introduce the bill in the Senate, and suggesting a schedule of briefing and rollout events.
  • A February 11, 1966 memo to Joe Califano from White House Senate lobbyist Mike Manatos explaining that it was not necessary to brief members of the Senate Appropriations Committee on the proposed DOT bill.
  • A February 11, 1966 memo from Commerce Department legislative liaison Paul Southwick to Henry Wilson, the White House liaison to the House of Representatives, summarizing the feedback that Commerce Secretary John Connor and Under Secretary Alan Boyd had received from key legislators (note that Senate Government Operations chairman John McClellan (R-AR) was concerned about Corps of Engineers water projects from day one).
  • A February 14, 1966 memo from Joe Califano to President Johnson proposing to roll out the bill and deliver the message to Congress later that week. President Johnson hand-wrote at the bottom of the memo “Why oh why not wait until next – Cong. will be back – I won’t protest Thurs. anymore bug candidly I think it very foolish – L.” This memo was a cover letter to…
  • February 14, 1966 memos from House liaison Henry Wilson and Senate liaison Mike Manatees summarizing the opinions of key House and Senate members on the proposed transportation agenda for 1966.
  • A February 15, 1966 memo from the Commerce Department to the White House summarizing the results of their outreach to individual Members of Congress as of that date.
  • A February 17, 1966 summary list of the numbers of Members of Congress on key committees who were supportive or opposed to the elements of the Administration’s proposed transportation message.
  • A February 17, 1966 evening memo from Lee White and Joe Califano to President Johnson informing him that “Henry Ford’s concern is directed at the early draft of the Highway Safety bill and he will be much happier (though probably not entirely satisfied) with the current draft – Joe discussed this with him at some length this morning and he is sending someone from Detroit to see me tomorrow.” The memo also points out that “Maggie” (Sen. Magnuson) was going on a week-long trip to Sweden on the evening of Feb. 23 so in order for him to be present to introduce the bill on the day of the transmission of the President’s message, the message either had to be transmitted on February 23 or March 3. (It wound up being transmitted on March 2.)