The Hope of Glassboro

  • LBJ with Luci Johnson Nugent and Patrick Lyndon Nugent. Austin, Texas, June 24, 1967. WHPO/LBJ Library
    23 Jun

    The Hope of Glassboro

    On June 23, 1967, fifty-one years ago today, my father was among the agents who protected President Lyndon Johnson at the Glassboro Summit– bearing witness to yet another notable historical event.

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    Shortly after the Six-Day War in the Middle East, Soviet Prime Minister Aleksei Kosygin traveled to the US for a United Nations meeting. An impromptu summit was then scheduled for President Johnson and Premier Kosygin. The peaceful, college town of Glassboro, New Jersey, was the chosen site due to its central location between New York City and Washington, DC. With less than 16 hours notice, the U.S. Secret Service and White House staff raced to secure the meeting place at the Victorian mansion known as “Hollybush,” home of Glassboro State College’s president.

     

     

    LBJ greets the crowd. (Agents Youngblood and Johns are pictured on LBJ’s right). June 23, 1967, Glassboro, New Jersey. WHPO/LBJ Library

     

     

    The Cold War was raging between Russia and the US at this time with the countries on opposing sides of the Middle East and Vietnam conflicts. But communication between the two leaders was reportedly cordial, eased by the news of the recent birth of LBJ’s first grandchild, Patrick Lyndon Nugent. Kosygin related that he was also a grandfather, and the men discussed their duty to protect future generations by maintaining peace between their countries.

     

     

    Kosygin and LBJ, Glassboro, New Jersey, June 23, 1967. WHPO/LBJ Library

     

     

    One would think a full day of negotiations at this critical summit would be enough to call it a day, but the tireless LBJ and his entourage flew to Los Angeles to attend a pre-planned fundraiser that night. Afterward, they flew to Austin, Texas, for the eager president to see his new grandson and visit his daughter Luci in the hospital. They returned to Glassboro the following day, and the summit concluded on June 25, 1967.

     

     

    LBJ in Los Angeles. (RWY is seen standing behind him.) June 23, 1967, WHPO/LBJ Library

     

     

    While the meeting offered some hope for nuclear arms control, the Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia in 1968 precluded LBJ’s planned visit to the Soviet Union for further negotiations. It was not until 1972 when President Richard Nixon met with Premier Leonid Brezhnev in Moscow that the Strategic Arms Limitation Treaty (SALT I) was signed.

     

     

    LBJ, Lady Bird, and Lynda Johnson in Glassboro. (Agents Pontius and Youngblood are also pictured)  June 25, 1967. WHPO/LBJ Library

     

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  • 2 thoughts on “The Hope of Glassboro”

    1. I remember well Middle East conflict erupting June 5th of 1967, as war between Egypt and Israel, as our American Foreign Exchange student in High School was from Egypt. We could empathize with the pain, and fear of returning home, upon graduation, under such circumstances. Egypt lost territories to the Israelis that are still in contention; e.g. Sinai Peninsula, Golan Heights and West Bank, in a war that lasted only 6 days.

      You could not have been a school child in the Fifties without learning about the Cold War, the atom bomb, the race for Space, Sputnik and the threat Russia posed to the United States. The Cuban Missile Crisis, in October of 1962, was a very frightening time for most of the world. The fact that President Kennedy had been shot and assassinated by L. H. Oswald, a former US Marine sharpshooter, and defector to Russia, made the tension between two of the three major world superpowers (the other being Red China) all the more alarming. I believe President Johnson & Prime Minister Kosygin’s Glassboro, NJ Summit was extremely important in offering all the world some hope of peace.

      Rebecca, I love these pictures, ESPECIALLY the one of Luci introducing Patrick Lyndon Nugent to her Dad. I don’t remember seeing any of the other pictures before. WELL DONE, Dear, thank you.

      1. Thanks, Mark! Indeed, since you were a teenager at the time, you understand the tension of the Cold War so much better than I do, a decade younger than you. I do recall that our basement was stocked with “essentials” to serve as a bomb shelter…an overwhelming concept!
        Yes, I love the photo of Luci with her president father and baby. I added it to the book, as well!

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