96/08/12 Press Release
Office of the Spokesman
For Immediate Release August 12, 1996


The Department of State is releasing today Foreign Relations of the United States, 1964-1968, volume XVII, Eastern Europe, a volume in the Department's long-standing historical documentary series. Volume XVII is one of 34 volumes that document the foreign policy of the administration of Lyndon B. Johnson. Major themes of the volume are President Johnson's efforts to "build bridges" to Eastern Europe and the dramatic events that surrounded the Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia. The volume makes available for the first time the records of White House meetings on the Czechoslovak crisis that are based on tape recordings secretly made in the Cabinet Room. The volume also covers U.S. bilateral relationships with Austria, Bulgaria, Finland, Hungary, Poland, Romania, and Yugoslavia. Since the Eisenhower administration, the United States had been attempting to encourage the development of greater independence from the control of the Soviet Union among the states of the region. Its primary tools had been cultural exchange and economic assistance programs. The Johnson administration gave an even greater emphasis to the use of trade policy as a tool to break up the Soviet empire. Its ability to carry out its "bridge building" program, however, was hampered by a lack of public and Congressional support, by bureaucratic disagreements, by a series of public relations missteps, and by the policies of the Communist regimes of Eastern Europe. In addition to the Czech crisis, the volume provides important information on the improvement of relations with Romania and on U.S. efforts to provide support to the neutral and non-aligned states of Austria, Finland, and Yugoslavia. An announcement and summary of the contents of volume XVII are available in the Press Office. Ordering information is included in the announcement. A copy is available for reading and consultation in the Press Office, and copies are available for consultation in the Office of the Historian.

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