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LBJ Addresses Swedish Day Celebration in Minnesota

June 28, 1964 - President Johnson (pictured seated on the back of his limousine surrounded by Secret Service agents) said in Minneapolis today that a nation must be prepared to risk war to preserve its freedom and “we will take that risk” when necessary.

Addressing an estimated 100,000 at the Svenkarnas Dag (Swedish Day) celebration in Minnehaha Park, Mr. Johnson added that in South Vietnam, “we will stand firm to help maintain” that country’s freedom, giving “counsel, advice, and help as necessary.” His prepared speech had been somewhat stronger, in place of the words “stand firm” saying “we will use force if necessary.”

Even with the change in his text, the President appeared to be delivering another in a carefully prepared series of statements designed by the Administration to convince Communist China that the U.S. would go to war rather than see Southeast Asia overrun.

“We must be, and we are strong enough to protect ourselves and our allies,” Mr. Johnson said.

He found a link between the problems of keeping the peace and civil rights controversy in Mississippi and elsewhere in the U.S.

That link, he said, is the nation’s “historic pledge to abide by the law and accepts its settlements.”

“It is a pledge to submit to courts and to be satisfied by court decisions,” he declared. “It is a pledge to respect, uphold, and obey the law of the land. For if any take grievances and disputes into their own hands, the safety and freedom of all is in peril. ‘Due process’ is the safeguard of our civilization.”

With today’s speech, Mr. Johnson ended a two-day excursion into the Midwest.

In those two days, he addressed fundraising dinners in Detroit and Minneapolis and the Democratic-Farmer-Labor state convention in St. Paul and was honor guest at two gatherings at which those who attended paid $1,000 each for the privilege.

In all, Mr. Johnson raised Friday and Saturday about $610,000 for the Democratic party, both nationally and in Michigan and Minnesota.

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