A footnote on the death of Robert McNamara
When I asked him for an interview for Johnson, Nixon, and the Doves (1988) in April 1983, I received my original letter back with a tiny handwritten note scribbled in pencil along the top border—“I would be happy to talk to you but it is unlikely we will be able to find a convenient time during the next several months—e.g. I will have made 5 round trips to Europe within 10 weeks.” Over the next year, and well after those ten weeks, on the four occasions when I called his office to tell his secretary that I would be in town for the interview, he was always unavailable. When I later informed McGeorge Bundy, another interviewee, that I was planning on talking to McNamara, he asked, “Didn’t you know that Mac never talks about the Vietnam War?” I had not been aware of that fact until that point and never did find out why he responded positively to my initial inquiry.
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mary lili jory - 8/16/2009
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