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LBJ Visits St. Louis

Feb. 14, 1964 - Appealing for patience by the American people in time of crisis, President Johnson tonight assailed critics at home and abroad who use “twisted arguments that would damage the good name of our country.” It was a variation of a remark he had made Tuesday in a talk to IRS officials at the White House, when the President had ripped into the “alarmists” and “bellyachers” who he said have questioned U.S. foreign policy decisions. Rep. William Miller, GOP national chairman, and some editorial writers have criticized Mr. Johnson for that outburst.

Tonight, Mr. Johnson (pictured earlier today with Father Paul Reinert at St. Louis University) reasserted his belief that “our principles are sound and our progress is good” in a speech at a dinner marking St Louis’s 200th anniversary celebration. His appearance was televised over four local stations.

While the dinner was in progress, police arrested some 100 civil rights demonstrators marching on the hotel to call attention to racial unrest in St. Louis. The demonstrators offered no resistance when herded into police vans.

President Johnson declared tonight that we cannot expect “perfection in an imperfect world” nor “complete agreement among the world’s free men.” He said he welcomes honest differences of opinion “but neither at home nor abroad is there any need for twisted arguments that would damage the good name of our country.” In an obvious reference to South Vietnam, he said it was “their land and their war, but we will not weaken our support for their effort or betray their trust in us.”

Earlier, in an appearance at the new campus of St. Louis University, Mr. Johnson appointed Stan Musial, the St. Louis Cardinals’ outfielder, as director of the President’s Physical Fitness program. Mr. Musial has announced his retirement from baseball. He replaces Charles (Bud) Wilkinson, former football coach at the University of Oklahoma, who has resigned to seek the Republican nomination for the U.S. Senate.

The President also visited the mammoth Gateway Arch, a steel structure that, when completed, will tower 630 feet into the air beside the Mississippi River. The arch, designed by the late Eero Saarinen, is being built at a cost of $23 million in Federal and state funds.


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