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Lyndon B. Johnson

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From the Estate of Llewellyn E. Thompson,

United States Ambassador to the Soviet Union

“Few men in public life have been so intimately involved in the vital issues of our time.

Very few have contributed to much to their resolution."

Lyndon Baines Johnson, 1908-1973.  36th President of the United States, 1961-1963.  Typed Letter Signed, Lyndon B. Johnson, one page, 6¾" x 8¾", on stationery of The White House, Washington, [D.C.], January 7, 1969.  With original envelope.

President Johnson accepts the resignation of Ambassador Llewellyn E. Thompson, the United States ambassador to the Soviet Union, and congratulates him on his storied career.  He writes, in full:  “I accept with great regret your resignation as Ambassador to the Soviet Union.  Your countrymen, your colleagues, and I are deeply in your debt for the many services you have performed in the cause of peace and a better world.  /  Few men in public life have been so intimately involved in the vital issues of our time.  Very few have contributed so much to their resolution.  You have been a model and an inspiration to the Foreign Service, and a source of strength to Secretary Rusk and to me, as you were to our predecessors.  /  As you leave your countryʼs service, you carry with you the gratitude and thanks of all Americans and the best wishes of your President.  /  With warm regards . . . ."

Llewellyn E. "Tommy" Thompson (1904-1972) was a career American diplomat who served at a critical time in history as the United States Ambassador to the Soviet Union under Presidents Dwight D. Eisenhower, John F. Kennedy, and Johnson.  Thompson joined the Foreign Service in 1928, and during his long and distinguished career he served as the United States Ambassador to Austria from 1955 to 1957.  Eisenhower appointed him Ambassador to the Soviet Union in 1957, and Kennedy reappointed him in 1961.  He resigned in 1962, but Johnson reappointed him in 1967, and he served until 1969.  He also held the posts of Career Ambassador and Ambassador At Large.  He was part of the Executive Committee to the National Security Council, or ExComm, which advised Kennedy during the Cuban Missile Crisis in October 1962, and he was present at Johnson's summit with Soviet Premier Alexei Kosygin at Glassboro, New Jersey, in June 1967.  After Richard Nixon became President, Thompson came out of retirement to advise him on the Strategic Arms Limitation Treaty (SALT) negotiations with the Soviet Union and to serve as a member of the United States delegation to the SALT talks from 1969 until his death in 1972.

Johnson has signed this letter with a bold 2⅞" black fountain pen signature.  The letter has a single mailing fold, which does not affect the signature and runs between lines of the typed text.  It is toned from storage.  The envelope, which evidently was delivered by diplomatic pouch, has not been sealed and bears no postal markings.  It is lightly toned and is in fine to very fine condition.

Provenance:  This letter comes directly from the Thompson estate.  It has never been offered on the autograph market before.





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