History In Ink®  Historical Autographs


Lyndon B. Johnson

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From the Estate of Llewellyn E. Thompson,

United States Ambassador to the Soviet Union

“I know all you said came from your heart, for it occupies an understanding and grateful place in mine."

Lyndon Baines Johnson, 1908–1973.  36th President of the United States, 1963–1969.  Typed Letter Signed, L.B.J., one page, 7" x 9", on gilt embossed personal stationery, Austin, Texas, March 8, 1972.  With original envelope.

Former President Johnson sends a heartfelt reply to Jane Thompson, the widow of Ambassador Llewellyn E. Thompson, in response to her letter after Ambassador Thompson's death the previous month.  He writes, in full:  “You were deeply kind to write me as you did.  I know all you said came from your heart, for it occupies an understanding and grateful place in mine.  Please do not  feel the need to say any more.  Count me, instead, as one who reciprocates a treasured friendship, and who will forever appreciate it.  /  Lady Bird joins in fond hopes for your happiness in the days ahead."

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 in black fountain pen with his initials, as he often did after he left the White House.  The letter has one horizontal mailing fold, which does not touch the text.  The engraved envelope, which has been carefully opened at the top, has Johnson's printed free frank and a second Johnson facsimile signature in the postage meter impression.  An air mail stamp is in the lower right corner.  Both pieces are in 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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