John Carey had suffered through enough South Jersey summers to qualify as an amateur weather forecaster. Eschewing instruments and refined meteorological data, he examined the look of the rising sun, noted the haze, and felt the oppressive atmospheric moisture content. Completing these rough observations, Mr. Carey predicted flatly, "It's going to be a scorcher!" Eighteen miles to the north, experts at the Philadelphia International Airport Weather Bureau spelled out the Carey prognostication in precise terms: Temperature in the 90's, sunny and hot, very humid, with thundershowers in the late afternoon.
Thus began Glassboro's second day in the bright sunlight of national and international publicity.
Before the MeetingAs early as 6:30 A.M., one hour following John Carey's weather prediction, the Whitney Avenue crowd began to gather. Early on the scene were two young ladies in their early twenties; one was from nearby Haddonfield, the other from Haddon Heights. The girls had been up since 4:30 A.M., giving themselves ample time to stake claims to front-view seats at the drama staged at Holly Bush. In this instance, "front-row seats" were spots of Glassboro earth next to the four-foot high section of snow fence at the bottom of the Whitney Avenue embankment bordering Holly Bush. And they had come prepared to withstand the rigors of a twelve-hour siege[sic]. Each had a blanket, not for warmth but to cushion the uncomfortable impact of sitting on hard terrain. Both brought thermos jugs of ice water and some sandwiches. To break the tedium of a long waiting period, each of the recent college graduates began reading a paperback book.
Appearing soon after was a scholarly looking youth of about nineteen, attired in neat-fitting black shorts, white T-shirt, and sandals. Folding a blanket carefully into quarters, he placed it on the ground next to the snow fence. Whereupon the youth assumed a comfortable sitting position on the blanket, back against the fence, legs propped up, and hands holding a paperback book in which he soon was completely absorbed. With his thick-rimmed glasses, sensitive face, informal yet neat attire, and book-reading absorption, he gave the appearance of a teen-age egghead of the Adlai Stevenson type.
These young people represented the vanguard of the Whitney Avenue crowd that grew slowly as the morning progressed. By 8:00 A.M. the crowd was still on the sparse side, with the early arrivals pre-empting choice observation spots in front of the snow fence. Others unlimbered lawn chairs, which they placed atop Walter Marshall's high-level lawn directly across the street from Holly Bush. Between 8:00 and 10:00 A.M. the number of spectators increased appreciably, climbing to 1,000 by mid-morning. And when President Johnson arrived at 12:50 P.M., police estimated that 3,000 people were jammed into a very limited portion of Whitney Avenue.
Dress for the occasion was decidedly informal. The vogue for males was slacks and sport shirts, with many of the younger set wearing shorts and colorful T-shirts. In the dense throng, it was virtually impossible to spot a man attired in a suit and necktie, unless he was a security officer. An infallible method for identifying a Secret Service agent milling about in the crowd was to locate a male wearing a conservative dark suit and necktie. Women, too, shunned formal clothes. Most wore comfortable, summer-weight dresses; and teen-age females showed a preference for shorts and blouses. One looked in vain for women wearing hats. A few males sported light straws, not for dress purposes but to protect balding pates from the rays of the burning sun. Common to both sexes was the wise decision to wear sunglasses.
Like New Yorkers pushing their way through a subway car at the evening rush hour, reporters threaded a path through the Whitney Avenue crowd, interviewing the casually dressed Glassboroites for human interest news stores. Well-known television reporters such as Floyd Kalber and Herb Kaplow also plied receptive spectators with questions. Appearing in Monday's papers were news stories comparing the scene on Whitney Avenue with a mammoth picnic gathering. Other reporters used the carnival analogy. On the surface at least these were apt comparisons, for the trappings of a picnic gathering were present: casual dress, box lunches, thermos jugs, food hampers, beach chairs, and transistor radios. Present, too, was a carnival atmosphere: Philadelphians hawking balloons, American flags, and old Lyndon Johnson campaign buttons; the young lad on Walter Marshall's lawn selling lemonade; the vending cart operator dispensing multi-flavored ices; the Pepsi Cola salesman in a truck labeled "You're in the Pepsi Generation" doing a thriving business; and the Glassboro-Pitman Junior Chamber of Commerce members, colorfully attired in green vests and green felt hats, selling soft drinks at standard prices. As a final touch to the carnival-like atmosphere, the famed Pitman Hobo Band assembled one block distant from Holly Bush, prepared to enliven the proceedings with appropriate band music.
Despite outward appearances, Glassboroites and their South Jersey neighbors had not come to attend a picnic nor a carnival. Not many picnic nor carnival participants would be willing to endure a ten-hour vigil, standing shoulder-to-shoulder on a hot asphalt road in ninety-degree temperatures and stifling humidity. People of this stripe had little interest in carnival gewgaws such as balloons and campaign buttons, as evidenced by their refusal to purchase the articles in any quantity. It was this economic boycott that drew from a Philadelphia hawker the disgusted admission that he usually sold four times as many items at a small carnival as he was able to sell to the Whitney Avenue crowd.
Deeper motives than having a good time drew people to the street bordering Holly Bush. Some came to participate in an event that later would be recorded in the history books. Others were there on the gamble that they might have the opportunity to see, if only for an instant, world leaders whose positions and power made history. Still more endured the discomfort that only a hot and humid South Jersey day could bring, because they agree wholeheartedly with the message scrawled on a sign perched on top of the snow fence, PEACE IS UP TO YOU TWO. This was the thought that was uppermost in the minds of those people gathered patiently across from Holly Bush, and this was the hope that the crowd, by its earnestness, enthusiasm, and good behavior, wanted to transmit to the two world leaders.
Before taking their stations on Whitney Avenue, Glassborites had jammed the town's churches, where they had heard pastors and priests expound on the real motivation for holding a Summit Meeting. At St. Bridget's Catholic Church, for example, parishioners had heard their priest say, "This is not a carnival. These men are making decisions that will affect you, your children, and your grandchildren. Let us pray that they will make the right decisions." At the Christ Pentecostal Church on Whitney Avenue, a stone's throw from Holly Bush, Pastor Samuel Totaro told the worshippers:
I believe, beloved, that we can do much to make this meeting of these two world leaders a success. We can talk to God. We can cause them to realize the desire of mothers and fathers who cry out for world peace and tranquility.
We can supplicate God to bring about a meeting of the minds, so that our boys can be brought home again from Viet Nam and peace will reign on earth.
For those who did not hear the pastor's pleas inside the church, members of the congregation made and installed on the church grounds a sign which read, CHRIST PENTECOSTAL CHURCH IS PRAYING FOR PEACE – JOIN US!
At Glassboro's First Methodist Church, with Dr. and Mrs. Robinson in attendance, the Reverend Robert Howe congratulated the world leaders for holding their meetings at a quiet spot conducive to serious thoughts of peace, away from the distractions and turmoil of the big cities. Clergyman Howe recommended to his Glassboro flock the words of an earlier peace lover who, speaking at another Summit gathering, had said, ''Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the children of God."
Leaving their places of worship, Glassboroites, taking time only for a change of clothes, beat a path to Whitney Avenue determined in their small way to demonstrate for peace. But it was not to be a demonstration marked by violence, denunciation, and raucous actions. Rather it was destined to be one of encouragement, understanding, fervor, and, above all, good behavior. To the more sophisticated demonstrators of the turbulent 1960's, these were the actions of "squares," of practitioners in extreme naivete. But to widely syndicated Jimmy Breslin, writing in the Chicago Sun-Times, it was the behavior of people with class:
It is a very strange thing, this thing called class. It is fragile and rare, and it doesn't come with clothes or money or a family name. It is something that you find in people you never heard of and in places you never saw. Sunday, you found it again on Whitney Avenue, in Glassboro, N. J.
No newspaper writer can tell of these people who were on Whitney Avenue, Sunday. They should be written of by a Harold Arlen or a Julie Styne. For when they are remembered, these simple people who stood in a street and demonstrated for peace as no one ever has, they should be remembered through a beautiful song.
Implicit in the Breslin praise was the suggestion that the American public-television viewers and newspaper readers alike-would remember the image of the Whitney Avenue crowd long after they have forgotten what went on in the Holly Bush Conference meetings. For they saw in that crowd's behavior the mainstream of America, of decency, fair play, good will, and the desire to help constructively in making a more peaceful world.
Not all Glassboro citizens spent Sunday morning as part of the Whitney Avenue crowd, for many were too busily engaged with pre-Summit Meeting responsibilities. Members of the Glassboro Fire Department, for example, manned fire hoses to wet down the college baseball diamond, landing site for President Johnson's helicopter. Officials wanted no repetition of Friday's experience, when the whirling blades of giant helicopters generated a miniature dust storm. The Glassboro Police Department, aided by volunteer officers from surrounding communities, directed hundreds of incoming automobiles to previously determined parking locations, not permitting any cars to park within two blocks of Holly Bush. Some automobile owners, after they had discovered parking sites, found themselves faced with a mile walk to Whitney Avenue.
On that Sunday morning, State and Federal law officers turned the Glassboro College campus into an armed camp. Secret Service agents and State Police seemed to be everywhere: stationed at the snow fence encircling the older section of the college campus; facing, three feet apart, the Whitney Avenue crowd; standing on the roof tops of college buildings; confronting the 300 spectators behind the snow fence on the athletic field's helicopter landing. site; and patrolling the campus grounds. At the latter location, one determined Secret Service agent was heard to remark, "We're going to make this area as tough to get into as the Fort Knox gold vaults." As the time for the meeting approached, tensions mounted at the State Police Command Post in the Administration Building and in the College Maintenance Building which Secret Service personnel had taken over. Crackling radio messages kept announcing the imminent arrival of the Big Two, one by air and the other by a limousine on the New Jersey Turnpike.
The Big Two ArrivePresident Johnson, accompanied by wife Lady Bird and daughter Lynda Bird, took off at 9:35 A.M. from the San Antonio Airport, flying in Air Force One. At 12:25 P.M. the big airship taxied to a stop on a Philadelphia International Airport runway. Within ten minutes the President was again airborne, this time on a helicopter taking the short hop to Glassboro. Preceding the Chief Executive's craft were three huge, blue-and-white copters, whose roaring advent into Glassboro caused the waiting crowds to gaze upwards as one. They cheered lustily, convinced that the President of the United States had arrived in their town once more. But their applause was a trifle premature, for no Chief Executive was in any of the three helicopters. Their occupants represented the Presidential advance guard composed of government officials and security personnel, who, like football linesmen, had run interference for the Presidential helicopter.
At about 12:45 P.M., however, the Presidential aircraft appeared, hovering low above the baseball field's center-field area. But just as it was about to land, the pilot, for reasons unknown, sent the big copter skyward, flying and circling about four miles from the baseball field. Finally, the huge helicopter swooped down and perched noisily on a spot between center and right fields. Once the ramp was in position, President Johnson escorted his wife down the steps, followed by daughter Lynda. On hand to greet them was a reception party headed by Governor and Mrs. Hughes, together with Dr. and Mrs. Robinson.
The Governor's wife, however, almost missed being among the greeters. On the way to the landing field, Mrs. Hughes had been separated from the reception group. Hurrying to the Presidential helicopter, she suddenly found her arm grabbed by an alert Secret Service agent, who courteously but firmly inquired, "Lady, where do you think you're going?" Only when one of Governor Hughes' aides identified the State of New Jersey's exasperated first lady did the Federal officer allow her to join those welcoming President Johnson.
Another incident at the Presidential landing illustrated the tightness of security measures in force on Sunday. As Mr. Johnson came down the helicopter ramp, a crowd of about 300 spectators, standing behind a snow fence stretched from left. to center field of the baseball field, sent up a cheer. Standing guard before the crowd on the other side of the fence were State Troopers; others were stationed along the entire length of the shrubbery bordering the railroad. Like the French poilus at the Battle of Verdun, the troopers were determined that "they shall not pass." Never once did the security forces remove their gazes from the crowd nor the shrubbery. Unlike Friday's slip-up, they did not turn to look at the President. State Trooper vigilance relaxed appreciably after President Johnson climbed into a limousine to be driven the short distance to the Holly Bush mansion.
There waiting to meet him was the Presidential first team–Robert McNamara, Dean Rusk, Llewellyn Thompson, McGeorge Bundy, and roving ambassador Averell Harriman, a former ambassador to the Soviet Union and highly regarded expert on Russian affairs. As the President and his chief aides were engaging in a round of pleasantries, their ears picked up the strains of a band playing the Russian national anthem. This was an item in the Summit agenda that White House planners had failed to call to the President's attention.
This strange episode in the Holly Bush Conference proceedings began the day before, when members of Pitman's Hobo Band, on their way back from an engagement in Toms River, decided to join the Summit festivities. As a good will gesture, they made plans to include in their musical repertoire a playing of the Russian national anthem, but this attempt to promote international amity ran into a roadblock, when the band director discovered the only version of the anthem he had in a well-stocked library of sheet music was the one Russians used in imperialistic, pre-communist days. Unsuccessful telephone calls were placed for the modern version to the Soviet United Nations Headquarters, the Russian Embassy in Washington, and the Philadelphia Public Library. Finally, one bandsman astutely suggested contacting the United States Navy Band headquarters at Norfolk, Virginia. Officials there had an extra copy, which they would gladly let the Pitman Hobo Band use.
Shortly before midnight Saturday, Band Director Robert McCleish jumped into his car bound for Norfolk over 300 miles away. He stayed at the Naval Base long enough to obtain a copy of the Russian anthem and then started homeward, arriving at the Pitman Band Headquarters at 10:00 A.M. Sunday morning. The band director quickly ran off copies of the anthem on a duplicating machine, after which he hurried to his bandsmen who were assembled a few blocks away from Holly Bush. On cue from their director, the musicians blared forth a rendition of the Russian national song at the moment President Johnson arrived at Holly Bush. But it was a rehearsal number that the Chief Executive heard, not the real thing. State Police, hurrying to the scene, ended any hopes the Hobo Band harbored for serenading Premier Kosygin with his nation's song by ordering the musicians to disperse or face arrest. Lawrence Park, Glassboro lawyer and Hobo Band member, commenting later on the coincidence of rehearsing the Soviet anthem upon the President's arrival, wryly observed, "It could have been worse; we might have played 'Hail to the Chief' when the Premier showed up."
Meanwhile, back at the Holly Bush location, President Johnson posed briefly for news photographers before entering the building along with his principal aides, presumably to hold a last-minute, pre-meeting conference. About ten minutes later, the President, accompanied by his wife and daughter, emerged from Holly Bush and strode over to the shrubbery opening to greet the Whitney Avenue crowd. To the wildly cheering Glassboroites, their President looked tanned and fit. One young lady in the crowd expressed the prevailing feeling, when she exclaimed, "Oh, he looks so much better than he does on television." Following his Friday-morning pattern, the Chief Executive did not make a speech. Instead, he spent about four minutes waving his hands at the cheering, happy throng. Almost reluctantly, Mr. Johnson retraced his steps back to the Holly Bush entrance to await the Premier 's arrival.
When President Johnson's car drove up to the Holly Bush entrance at 12:50 P.M., Mr. Kosygin's limousine was approaching Camden's Exit Four on the New Jersey Turnpike. On this trip to Glassboro, the Russian leader was in no sightseeing mood, for, unlike Friday's thirty-mile-per-hour pace, the Kosygin caravan on Sunday sped at a seventy-mile-an-hour clip. And, as was not true on Friday, the Premier had protective cover from the air. A turnpike-owned helicopter, with a New Jersey State Trooper aboard, hovered over the twelve-car Kosygin cavalcade the entire length of the turnpike. The Premier sped on to Swedesboro's Exit Two, where his car left the turnpike to travel on Route 322 to Glassboro. Along the identical route he had taken on Friday, Mr. Kosygin, with his car window open, smiled and waved at friendly crowds gathered at roadsides and at the entrance to the college campus.
At 1:33 P.M. the Kosygin limousine braked to a stop in front of Holly Bush. First to greet him was President Johnson, who introduced the Premier to Lady Bird and Lynda Johnson. The Premier shook hands warmly with the two ladies and then presented his daughter Mrs. Lyudmila Gvishiani to the Johnson family. Acting the role of an alumnus coming back to a college homecoming, the Premier grinned at newsmen, calling out to them, "I'm getting used to it here in Glassboro." Photographers snapped pictures of the scene. Their prize shot was a picture of the Russian Premier grinning broadly at a Johnson sally. Newsmen noted that the second Summit Meeting was beginning on the same high note of cordiality and good humor that had ended Friday's conference.
Meanwhile the crowd on Whitney Avenue was chanting, "We want Kosygin! We want Kosygin!" But for the time being the Russian leader did not oblige the people with a visit. Instead, he went with the President into Holly Bush. Their entrance was the signal that the second meeting of the Holly Bush double-header was ready to begin.
The Second MeetingUpon entering the Holly Bush meeting place, the Russian and American delegations gathered in the large conference room for a fifteen-minute period of informal discussion. It was at this time that President Johnson, Premier Kosygin, and the veteran expert on Russian affairs Averell Harriman huddled in a comer of the room engaged in an earnest conversation. At 1:50 P.M. lunch was announced, whereupon the twenty delegates to the Glassboro Summit Meeting entered the Robinson dining room to enjoy a repast made up of crabmeat salad, fresh fruit, charcoal-cooked lamb chops, parslied potatoes, and stuffed eggplant.
Finishing the meal, the conferees launched into a general discussion of the problems that bothered a frightened world. It was in the midst of this give-and-take of viewpoints that the Russian Premier suddenly disturbed the even tenor of what had been a calm exchange of opposing arguments. In a news account filed by syndicated columnist Chalmers M. Roberts, Mr. Kosygin was claimed to have pointed to Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara, sitting two seats away, and declared, "There sits the American arms merchant." This charge drew from the Defense Secretary a prompt denial. Mr. McNamara, taking the offensive, insisted he was against the arms race and was ready and eager to discuss ways and means for controlling the production and employment of powerful offensive weapons, especially intercontinental ballistic missiles. Obviously bent on doing a little needling, the Premier shifted his target to Dean Rusk. "Is this man," the Russian leader inquired, "the chief war hawk in the United States?"
Here President Johnson decided to enter the act with a vigorous defense of McNamara and Rusk. "Mr. Premier," the Chief Executive is reported to have replied, "it is not we who are the arms merchants. It is your country that is rearming the Arabs with jet fighters and tanks." But this was a conflagration that died out almost as soon as it ignited, when the discussions quickly reverted to calm and rational statements of conflicting viewpoints.
At 3:10 P.M. the luncheon meeting ended, whereupon the American and Russian delegations went into separate caucuses for the purposes of deciding the strategy to follow at the forthcoming meeting between the two leaders. Following the group sessions, President Johnson and Premier Kosygin, at 3: 30 P.M., reentered Dr. Robinson's book-filled library in an effort once more to find ways for keeping their countries from meeting face-to-face at Armageddon.
Sunday's Johnson-Kosygin confrontation turned out to be far different than Friday's. On that day, the meeting of the Big Two had been on the folksy side, with much talk of grandsons, personal reminiscences, and the desirability of the two super powers taking the lead in guiding the world toward peace. Both on Sunday the two leaders got down to the hard specifics for reaching the great millennium.
On Viet Nam, for example, the President reminded Mr. Kosygin of the American thirty-day bombing pause and of the United States' willingness to withdraw troops after a just peace had been reached. The bombing again would halt, went on the President, once Hanoi agreed to end its infiltration tactics and come to the conference table in an effort to arrive at agreements guaranteeing a free and independent Viet Nam. Concerning the Middle East tinder box, the President agreed that Israel should withdraw its troops from territory occupied after the Six-Day-War. But the President reiterated his oft-stated judgment that there should be no withdrawal until the dangers that bred the war had been brought under control–the question of maritime rights, the refugee problems, the border disputes, and above all the feeding of modern weapons of war to both the Arabs and the Israelis.
To both of the Johnsonian points of view, the Russian gave the stock Soviet answers. Like the repetitive sound of a record being played with a defective needle, Mr. Kosygin replied that there could be no settlement in Viet Nam unless the Americans halted their bombing and withdrew their military forces from South Viet Nam; and in the Middle East, no rapprochement was possible until Israel pulled back to its pre-June 5th borders. On one phase of the Middle East controversy, however, the President and the Premier were in agreement; to neither did the Arab refusal to recognize and deal with Israel as an independent state make sense.
Mr. Johnson bore down hard on the responsibility the two world superpowers had for slowing down the armament race. Undoubtedly thinking of his stalled Great Society program, the President told Premier Kosygin that the United States would like nothing better than to divert monies from its huge military budget to meet more adequately the educational, health, and economic needs of the American people. Apparently the Premier sympathized with this thought, for it is reported that he expressed the view that, in his opinion, investing a nation's wealth in military hardware was simply "pouring money down the drain." While agreeing in principle with the wisdom of limiting arms spending, the two leaders got nowhere in discovering specific ways to attain this goal. Neither did they arrive at an understanding on when and where meetings might be held to discuss the arms reduction problem further. Both leaders, however, agreed that their two deputies, Dean Rusk and Andrei Gromyko, should explore the possibilities for halting the spread of nuclear weapons, an urgent necessity in view of Red China's recent development of the hydrogen bomb. On a final arms limitation topic, the President pointed out the economic waste to both Russia and the United States of constructing expensive anti-ballistic missile systems, but the Premier's response was noncommittal. His belief was that this was a matter to be included in discussions leading to general arms reduction.
As the two-and-one-half-hour meeting drew to a close, it was apparent that the Big Two had reached no concrete understandings, but it was also evident they had once more agreed to disagree like gentlemen. While the talks were blunt and frank, there was no table pounding, no vituperation, and no bombast. The President strove hard to convince Mr. Kosygin that Americans were not nineteenth-century imperialists bent on dominating the world. By the same token the Russian leader impressed Mr. Johnson as a firm but fair-minded man, remarkably articulate in presenting his country's position on world affairs. At the very least, the ten hours that the two leaders spent together on Friday and Sunday, "looking each other straight in the eye," demonstrated, as the New York Times wrote," a realization that their common interest in preventing nuclear war transcended even their most bitter quarrels." And of major importance, the Holly Bush meetings, held in the modest library of a college president, provided each of the world leaders with an understanding of each other's positions. This achievement, in the dangerous days that lay ahead, was the best answer to cynics, who scornfully asked, ''Were these meetings necessary?''
Happenings Outside of Holly BushWhile the President of the United States and the Premier of the Soviet Union were conversing in Holly Bush, what was happening outside the Summit Building? The Governor of New Jersey and the President of Glassboro State College sat on a bench in back of Holly Bush drinking from soda pop bottles, while the luncheon delegates inside inbibed choice wine with the exotic name of Beuliew Cabernet Sawvigon. Reporters telephoned stories to all parts of the world from a makeshift message center fronting Holly Bush. A few newsmen and cameramen stretched out full length on the Holly Bush lawn fast asleep. Other cameramen hovered around an array of motion picture and television cameras, which looked like siege guns taking aim on the Holly Bush entrance. Groups of State Police bound for guard duty assignments marched smartly to the cadence count of their squad leaders. Efficient looking Secret Service agents stationed all over the campus halted newsmen and college personnel for endless checks and rechecks. A Vancouver reporter approached Police Chief Watson to say, "Chief, protect those two men (Johnson and Kosygin) well, because they hold in their hands much of the world's hope for peace." A familiar sight too was that of Dr. and Mrs. Robinson responding to reporters' questions: No. They did not want to retain all sixteen air conditioners after the Conference ended. Yes. They would buy another home if Holly Bush became a national shrine. No. They were not upset about the trampled flowers and shrubbery in the Holly Bush area; they were small prices to pay for world peace- making efforts.
As the Big Two were striving to state and clarify divergent points of view on pressing world problems, their women-folk took leave of heat-bound Glassboro for cooler climes. Their destination had been decided the night before, after Mrs. Johnson learned that Premier Kosygin's daughter, Mrs. Lyudmila Gvishiani, would accompany her father to Glassboro. The First Lady realized it would be her responsibility to act the role of hostess to the Russian guest. Not too well acquainted with either Glassboro or New Jersey, Mrs. Johnson telephoned Mrs. Hughes, the Governor's wife, for help. Mrs. Hughes made tentative suggestions. Dining at a comfortable air-conditioned restaurant and a brief visit to the Governor's Mansion at Princeton were considered, but rejected. Then Mrs. Hughes mentioned a visit to the Governor's two-story, ten-room cottage at Island Beach Park on the Jersey shore, a proposal which Mrs. Johnson quickly and enthusiastically accepted.
Thus it was at 1:33 P. M. on Sunday afternoon, Mrs. Johnson, daughter Lynda Bird, Mrs. Gvishiani, and Mrs. Hughes boarded a helicopter and flew southeast, winging low over the new Atlantic City Expressway to Atlantic City, where Mrs. Johnson pointed out to the Russian guest the giant Convention Hall, site of Lyndon Johnson's 1964 nomination to the presidency of the United States. Veering north the flying machine flew low over the Atlantic Ocean for about fifty miles until it landed at Island Beach, a few miles from the famed Barnegat Light House. The trip covered about 100 miles, approximately thirty miles longer than if the pilot had taken a direct flight to the Hughes' summer home. But the roundabout route gave Mrs. Gvishiani an opportunity to scan at close range New Jersey's automobile-laden Atlantic City Expressway and the Garden State Parkway. She also saw Atlantic City's famous boardwalk and a long stretch of South Jersey's beaches crowded with swimmers.
At the Island Beach house, the Russian guest was fascinated by the labor-saving devices spawned by American industry-electric dishwasher, washing machine, exhaust fans, combination refrigerator-freezer, and a clothes drying machine. A few minutes later she enjoyed a luncheon of chicken with wild rice and tossed salad. For dessert Mrs. Gvishiani ate that most appetizing of delicacies, a dish of freshly picked South Jersey strawberries. After lunch the ladies went for a walk on the beach, enjoying the cooling sea breezes and getting considerable amounts of South Jersey sand in their shoes. Returning to the summer home, the American hostesses showered their guest with gifts, including a wrist watch, an early American mirror, books, and a Lennox china bowl. Commenting later on Mrs. Gvishiani's reactions to the Island Beach visit, Mrs. Hughes claimed, "Unless Mrs. Gvishiani was a mighty good actress, this was the day she enjoyed most in the United States."
The ladies of the Summit Conference arrived back in Glassboro about 4:45 P. M. in time for Mrs. Hughes to attend the press conference the Governor held at the Esbjomson Gymnasium. The New Jersey Chief Executive began the proceedings on a humorous note by introducing his wife as "the shoestring Perle Mesta," a reference to the First Lady's recent party at Island Beach Park. Not to be outdone, Mrs. Hughes came back with the suggestion that the. world would be better off if women gathered around a luncheon table every time they saw men sit down at a diplomatic conference table. Becoming more serious, the Governor remarked that Premier Kosygin was the kind of man one could sit down and reason with. Next he went on to praise Glassboro for the warm, open-hearted reception it had given the distinguished Russian stranger in its midst. Continuing in this vein, Governor Hughes remarked:
After the press conference had ended, the Governor and his wife joined Mrs. Johnson, Lynda Bird, Mrs. Gvishiani, Dr. and Mrs. Robinson, Averell Harriman, and New Jersey Secretary of State Robert Burkhardt for an hour of conversation in the Holly Bush first-floor swing room. Dr. Robinson claimed later that he was more of an observer than a participant at the social gathering, and, in this role, he noted several interesting items. He admired the skill Governor and Mrs. Hughes employed in keeping the conversation moving, and he was greatly impressed with Mrs. Gvishiani, with her command of the English language and with her bright, pleasant personality.
The Glassboro people sensed. this conference could mean peace on earth. I have an idea there are a great many Glassboros in the world, and in all those Glassboros they are praying for peace so that their children will not be fighting in a third world war.
"Mrs. Gvishiani," said the College President, "was constantly drawing comparisons between Russia and the United States. She realized that the Soviet Union and other countries were passing through phases of development that the United States had already experienced:" As an illustration, the Premier's daughter cited the fact that America was now in the Automobile Age, having already passed through the Railroad Age, whereas Russia was now in the Railroad Age, but would soon enter the Age of the Motor Car. Then the Soviet Union too would have thousands of automobiles and the same kind of magnificent superhighways America now has. Continuing to make comparisons between the two world superpowers, Mrs. Gvishiani commented on the American concern for conserving the beauty and vitality of its natural patrimony against destructive aspects of advanced industrialization. Russia, she went on to point out, has not yet felt the need to establish national parks or to launch conservation programs, for it has not had time to develop the resources of its vast land mass. "But," said Mrs. Gvishiani," we too will reach the point when conservation will be an important concern. We, like your country, will have to think of preserving our natural assets for future generations."
It was a stimulating hour of international repartee that ended when members of the Russian delegation presented Dr. and Mrs. Robinson with a small, attractive samovar set made of silver, a gift from the Russian Premier. The presentation of the gift was a signal that the Johnson-Kosygin meeting was drawing to a close.
Meanwhile, out on Whitney Avenue, members of the dense crowd, some who had waited for ten hours, wondered whether South Jersey had ever experienced a hotter, muggier day. For many of the people the long vigil, the denseness of the crowd, and the unbearable heat were too much. Police Chief Watson reported that fifty spectators fainted and had to be carried to waiting ambulances for revivifying draughts of oxygen. One man, overcome by the excitement and the stifling weather, suffered a heart attack. A waiting ambulance got him to a hospital quickly.
But the strong survived and patiently went on waiting. As compensation for their fortitude, they had the comfort of knowing that their earlier fears of seeing boisterous, big-city demonstrators among them had not materialized. Only one ugly incident marred the tranquility of the day. At mid-afternoon a boy of about seventeen, attired in tight-fitting trousers and multicolored, unbuttoned sports shirt, suddenly charged to the edge of the snow fence, yelling: "Kosygin, go home!" Two burly State Policemen quickly seized and hoisted him bodily over the fence, where other waiting officers fixed hammerlocks on the flailing youth and escorted him not too gently to the nearby college maintenance building for questioning.
Aside from this incident, peace reigned. To while away the long hours, many in the throng enjoyed reading a forest of signs, overwhelmingly friendly and constructive, among which were: BRING PEACE TO THE WORLD; TO RUSSIAN WITH LOVE; SUCCESS AT HOLLY BUSH; UNITED FOR PEACE; AND TALK IS NOT CHEAP; MAKE IT COUNT. But not all the inscriptions were of this kind; a few signs were hostile. One read AREN'T YOU GETTING A BIT GREEDY, MR. K? Beneath this pointed question appeared a listing of nations absorbed by the Soviet Union: Ukraine, Latvia, Estonia and Lithuania. Another sign asked a favor of Mr. Kosygin. KOSYGIN, TALK SOME SENSE TO LBJ ABOUT VIET NAM. Many people in the crowd responded to these minority viewpoints with glares directed at the sign holders. George Lynch, a 1967 graduate of Glassboro State College, went further. In his concern for the Glassboro image but forgetting for the moment what he had been taught about the meaning of the Constitutions's first amendment, George approached a photographer who was snapping a picture of a hostile sign owner to administer a rebuke, "Why do you photographers always have to give publicity to these few malcontents, when there are hundreds of others in this crowd waving signs of hope and encouragement?"
At about 6:00 P.M. the weather changed abruptly. Toward the west the crowd saw flashes of lightning, heard the rumble of thunder, and felt the invigorating coolness of fresh air stirred by rising winds. Ten minutes later, at 6:10 P.M. a man, ear snuggled close to his transistor radio, exclaimed, "Oh no! It's raining in Philadelphia." He had no sooner made this announcement than the rains came in torrents.
When the flood from the sky descended, some spectators broke for cover, making tracks for protective trees or seeking shelter in nearby homes. But the bulk of the crowd stood its ground, getting thoroughly soaked. More than one person lamented umbrellas left in cars parked far away. Others remembered car windows left open. But this need not have worried them, for thoughtful local police officers from Glassboro and sister communities made the rounds, rolling up windows in vehicles parked on back streets.
Spectators and newsmen alike resorted to makeshift protective measures such as holding newspapers or small pieces of plastic over their heads. Morale plummeted when the rain-drenched victims watched State Police officers don raincoats and saw Secret Service agents on the Whitney Avenue embankment protected by umbrellas, which clothing merchant Irving Levy had earlier delivered to Holly Bush.
By 6:25 P.M. the rain had slowed to a tiny drizzle, and it was at this time that another transistor radio listener excitedly yelled, "They are coming out of Holly Bush!" The President and Premier were getting ready to report the results of their deliberations to hundreds of reporters and television men stationed in front of Holly Bush.
Post Meeting DevelopmentsA quick look at the demeanors of the two leaders quickly convinced newsmen that the Sunday session had dealt with something more than a friendly exchange of personal reminiscences between two grandfathers. After the Friday meeting, the Big Two had come out of Holly Bush arm-in-arm wearing big grins. But on Sunday their post-conference countenances, if not grim, were definitely on the somber side.
President Johnson was the first to report. Grasping the sides of the Presidential podium, which had been placed close to the Holly Bush entrance underneath the building's overhanging weather-protective portico, the Chief Executive began to speak. But after uttering a few introductory sentences, Mr. Johnson suddenly changed from the role of reporting the outcomes of a very important meeting to that of a stern schoolmaster disciplining unruly pupils. Interrupting his report the President directed his arm in an arresting motion at photographers to the right of the podium. These cameramen, members of a special pool of photographers, had crept steadily toward the President in an effort to snap the best pictures possible; but in so doing, they tended to block the views of reporters and less-favored photographers stationed behind the anchor fence. Impatiently Mr. Johnson turned to Secret Service agents and, in a first sergeant manner, snapped, "Move them off and tell them to sit down. We want the cameramen in front to have a chance, too." It was interesting to observe the reactions of other world leaders to this Presidential reprimand. Premier Kosygin watched the episode with an amused expression. Soviet Ambassador Gromyko too looked amused, with his head raised to view the offenders and his eyebrows lifted in a glance of slight astonishment. But the incident apparently was not humorous to the President's chief cabinet members. Secretary of State Dean Rusk, face frozen into a Buddha-like mask and hands folded in front of body, stared straight ahead, as did Defense Secretary Robert McNamara, who also maintained an unsmiling countenance.
Order restored, the President continued and completed without interruption a brief report in which he informed the world that he and the Premier had delved deeply into problems facing the United States and Russia. The Chief Executive maintained that the talks had been ''very good and useful," providing each leader with ap. opportunity to present and understand each other's thinking on pressing international issues. After graciously thanking Governor and Mrs. Hughes, President and Mrs. Robinson, and "the good people of Glassboro," for the contributions they had made in making the meetings possible, Mr. Johnson presented Premier Kosygin to "say a word or two."
During the President's brief report, the Premier's visage was inscrutable, reflecting the emotions of a sphinx. Given his turn to speak, however, Mr. Kosygin began on a gracious note:
The Premier continued his talk by reiterating largely what President Johnson had stated previously. Both leaders, Mr. Kosygin said, had come to grips with a number of international problems, giving each an opportunity to state and restate frankly his country's points of view; and the Premier agreed with Mr. Johnson's belief that the talks had been useful.
I would first of all wish to thank all the citizens of Glassboro and the Governor and the President of the College for having created a very good atmosphere for the talks that we were able to have here with your President.
I think altogether we've spent and worked here for about eight or nine hours and we've become accustomed to this place and we like the town and we think the people of Glassboro are very good people-and we've been favorably impressed with the time we've spent here.
To those on the Holly Bush Summit scene that early Sunday evening, the two exceedingly brief reports were the first of a series of post-conference anticlimaxes. Both men had stated the obvious, for everyone knew they had met, had discussed serious international topics, and were pleased with Glassboro as a conference site. What onlookers had hoped for were hard news items, not the obscureness and thinness of information resembling a communique issued by military headquarters on the eve of a major battle. And the post-conference reports produced another feeling, one of uneasiness generated by both the somberness of the leaders' appearance and the terseness of their remarks. Glassboro graduate assistant Bill Murphy, who together with his friend and fellow graduate student Tim Thudium had rendered yeoman service at the Summit Conference, expressed the general feelings of those at the windup proceedings when, turning to a friend, he said, "Somehow I have the feeling that things didn't go too well inside Holly Bush today.''
After completing their brief oral reports to the press and television media, the President and Premier prepared to enter a waiting limousine. But at that instant they heard a roaring chant coming from the Whitney Avenue crowd, "We want Johnson! We want Kosygin!" President Johnson said something to the Russian leader, whereupon both walked to the opening in the shrubbery at the Holly Bush embankment. Their appearance before the patient, rain-drenched people unloosed a Niagara of cheers, the brandishing of friendly signs, and the friendly waving of thousands of hands. This was the warmth that melted the icy chill of reserve so evident minutes before at the post-conference reporting session. Standing close together virtually arm-in-arm, the President and the Premier broke into wide, happy grins. Mr. Johnson waved his left arm in salute, and the Premier raised his free right arm in a friendly gesture of good will. Drawing away from the President for greater freedom of movement, the Soviet leader, in recognition of the crowd's cheers, clasped both hands together and raised them above his head in salute. Again playing the part of the schoolmaster, the President motioned for silence. Taking advantage of the lull, the Premier, holding on to the microphone stand with his left hand and still smiling broadly, spoke to the crowd:
I want to thank you all very sincerely for this warm welcome and may I salute friendship between the Soviet and American people. And to all of you I want to wish every success and happiness and express the hope that we shall go forward together for peace.
After the cheers following Mr. Kosygin's remarks had died down, Mr. Johnson took hold of the microphone stand and adjusted it upwards to compensate for his greater height. Holding the stand with both hands, the President too spoke briefly but earnestly:
You good people of Glassboro have done your part to help us make this a significant and a historic meeting. We think that this meeting has been useful in achieving what we all want more than anything else in the world-peace for all human kind.
It was for these five minutes that the people on Whitney Avenue had endured for ten hours the burning heat, the oppressive humidity, and the drenching rain. But to these people the price they paid in discomfort was small indeed if the two world leaders somehow could translate hopes for peace into solid reality.
Leaving the friendly Whitney Avenue crowd, the Big Two climbed into a limousine and rode together to the college athletic field. After they had alighted from the automobile, Mr. Johnson escorted the Russian Premier to a waiting United States Marine helicopter. Here, with a firm handclasp and broad smiles, the two men parted. The Premier entered the helicopter at 6:50 P.M. to be piloted to his New York press conference by a marine captain who had seen service as a combat pilot in the Viet Nam War. Mr. Johnson boarded the presidential helicopter bound for Philadelphia and a jet airplane, which later deposited him on a Washington National Airport runway at 7:30 P.M.
The crowd at the Glassboro baseball diamond cheered and waved good-by to the giant choppers, after which they turned their attention to the Holly Bush Summit site. There above the building they saw a beautiful rainbow, ancient symbol of man's hope for a world free from turmoil and destruction. As the people made their way homeward to watch and listen to the President and Premier on television, they fervently hoped that the rainbow symbol was a sign that the Big Two had at least laid the foundations for peace on earth and good will to all men.
At 7:37 P.M., twenty-three minutes before Premier Kosygin was scheduled to perform at a televised news conference, President Johnson landed by helicopter on the White House south lawn where television facilities had been hastily set up for a Presidential broadcast. Mr. Johnson regretfully informed the Nation that the Holly Bush meetings had produced no agreements on basic issues, and that deep-seated differences still divided Russia and the United States, particularly those related to Viet Nam and the Middle East. But, insisted the President, the Glassboro meeting had been useful, if for no other reason than to provide the opportunity for him and the Chairman to state, in a face-to-face manner, their purposes and policies. Continuing, the Chief Executive said:
We may have differences and difficulties ahead, but I think they will be lessened and not increased by our new knowledge of each other....
I said on Friday that the world is very small and very dangerous. Tonight I believe that it is fair to say that these days at Holly Bush have made it a little smaller still-but also a little less dangerous.
Mr. Johnson finished his talk minutes before eight o'clock, whereupon he entered the White House to watch and listen attentively to the Kosygin television press conference.
In his opening statement at the press conference, held at the United Nations headquarters, Premier Kosygin wasted little time in extinguishing the flickering flame of peace that the Holly Bush meetings had seemed to ignite. Speaking in a low monotone, Mr. Kosygin admitted that his meetings with Mr. Johnson had failed to come up with any agreement of major importance. The vexed Premier confessed his inability to convince the President that no real peace was possible until the United States unconditionally halted its bombing and withdrew its troops from Viet Nam. On the world's other hot spot, the Middle Eastern powder keg, the Soviet leader reported no progress in persuading President Johnson that negotiations could only begin after Israel had withdrawn its forces to positions held before the Six-Day War.
Concluding his brief statement, the Premier announced that he was prepared to answer questions. Below is a sampling of the questions reporters raised and answers the Premier gave to them.
Question: As a result of your two meetings with President Johnson, how do you view the prospects for war and peace in the Middle East and Viet Nam?
Answer: On the Middle East, the President believes that the entire complex of questions relating to that region should be considered before an Israeli withdrawal of troops. We believe first and foremost in the necessity for an immediate withdrawal. On Viet Nam, we discussed this problem for quite some time but reached no decisions. We still have profound differences on the question.
Question: Do you think it possible to reach agreements on limiting the shipment of arms into the Middle East, the guaranteeing the existence of all states, and the insuring the free passage of ships through the Strait of Tiran and the Suez Canal?
Answer: These questions can be considered after Israel. has withdrawn its troops from conquered Arab territories.
Question: What is the next step to be taken in improving relations between the Soviet Union and the United States?
Answer: I believe that much improvement will come after the United States ends its aggression in Viet Nam.
Question: What ways do you see at the present time to ease international tensions?
Answer: I think that Israel must withdraw its troops behind the armistice lines. She must also be condemned as an aggressor and pay compensation for the damage she has caused during the hostilities in the Middle East.
Question: Do you not believe that the Soviet Union might contribute to the prospects of peace by refraining from pouring arms into the Middle East?
Answer: That is a question for the Soviet Union and the Arab countries to decide. It can only be considered after Israel withdraws its forces.
Question: As a result of your talks with President Johnson, do you believe that steps will be taken to bring a speedy end to the Viet Nam War?
Answer: I wouldn't say that.
Question: Will President Johnson receive the same warm welcome given to you in this country, if he visits the Soviet Union?
Answer: Well, I believe that if aggression were ended, and if a truly peaceful policy were pursued, the welcome the President would receive in the Soviet Union would be very cordial indeed.
Question: What are the prospects for agreements limiting the development of anti-ballistic missile systems and for limiting the proliferation of nuclear weapons?
Answer: We believe that an anti-missile system is defensive and protective and should be considered as an element in the need for general disarmament. We are ready to discuss this question. As for the non-proliferation of nuclear weapons, the Soviet Union thinks there should be no further dissemination of these weapons, a goal we share with the United States.
To the President and the American people in general, the Russian leader's press conference performance indicated that the Soviet Union's recipes for solving the world's troubles were as rigid as ever. Except for willingness to discuss general disarmament, it seemed that Premier Kosygin offered the President little room to maneuver in making compromise settlements. The Soviet formula was simple and direct. To the Americans he was saying, "Stop your aggression and all will be well." Again, addressing himself to the United States, the Premier suggested, "Get the Israelis to withdraw their troops from Arab lands and negotiations can begin." Surely Mr. Kosygin realized that no American President, whether he be Lyndon Johnson or another, could accept these extreme demands bereft of pre-conditions of any kind. On this point, James Reston, writing in the New York Times, emphasized that the Kosygin hard line would produce results that Moscow apparently was not foreseeing. The Soviet rigidity would encourage Americans who wanted to step up military operations in Viet Nam and who felt Israel's territorial gains in the Middle East should be retained at whatever cost.
Equally disturbing to American television viewers was the startling differences in the approaches President Johnson and Premier Kosygin used in their presentations. The American leader stressed the positive: narrowing differences, talking problems out, avoiding making demands, and refraining from using provocative language. On the other hand, the Premier, at his press conference, made demands, widened differences, and employed provocative language. In short, it appeared to many Americans that Mr. Kosygin had, in New York, left the Spirit of Holly Bush back in Glassboro.
How did Glassboro react to the Sunday-evening Kosygin television show? Like millions of viewers throughout the rest of the country, many were bitterly disappointed, depressed, and disillusioned. Untutored in the subtleties and complexities of diplomacy, the descent once more into the reality of the Cold War with Russia had been too swift. Was this dour-faced, uncompromising man on their Sunday night screens that same smiling, kindly person who, from the Whitney Avenue embankment, had saluted them in prize-fighter fashion and had exclaimed, "There are so many beautiful things to be done!" How could, bewildered Glassboroites asked, a man be a Dr. Jekyll at 6:30 P.M. and a Mr. Hyde at 8:00 P.M. on the same evening? Perhaps they, in their demonstrations for peace, had been politically naive; perhaps the Holly Bush Summit was nothing but a four-day caper in a make-believe world.
But others in Glassboro looked beyond the Kosygin behavior of Sunday evening. Realistically they were aware that, given the present state of Russian relations with Communist China, the Soviet satellites, and the Arab nations, the Premier could not have been expected to announce, following two meetings, that Russia and the United States had reached a detente, a meeting of minds on how the world should be governed. Neither were Glassboro realists unaware that present day policies in the Soviet Union are determined by committee action and that Premier Kosygin was only one person in the eleven-member Politburo. He was expected to attend meetings but not empowered to make decisions on the spot.
On the other hand, sanguine Glassboroites realized too that Aleksei Kosygin was something more than a Pavlovian creature, responding automatically to committee orders. He was after all one of the two most powerful officials in the Soviet Union. Perhaps it was not too wishful a thought to expect him, as he sat in on Politburo sessions, to recall his meetings with. Mr. Johnson and his love affair with the. crowds that gathered on Whitney Avenue in Glassboro. Recalling these moments, Glassboroites hoped that, as the Russian hawks and doves debate future Soviet Union policy, Mr. Kosygin will continue to be the dove he is reported to be. This much Glassboro had to believe, for without this hope the spirit generated at Holly Bush had no meaning.
This page has paths:
This page references:
- Families of President Johnson and Premier Kosygin Meet
- President Johnson's remarks to the crowd following the second meeting with Premier Kosygin.
- President Lyndon B. Johnson at Podium
- President Johnson's helicopter
- Whitney Avenue Crowd, June 25
- Cameraman Outside of Holly Bush
- President Johnson's remarks to the press following second meeting with Premier Kosygin.