1964 Story by Merriman Smith From Johnson City



Here's a Jan. 1, 1964, story by UPI White House reporter and wire service legend Merriman Smith


JOHNSON CITY, Tex., Jan. 1 (UPI) -- President Johnson began the new year today with an optimistic report on the government's campaign to reduce the number of high school drop-outs.

Johnson reported today that results of the campaign were "far better than expected."

After receiving a report on the campaign from Francis Keppel, United States Commissioner of Education, the president said in a special statement:

"I am very much encouraged. We still have to learn our way in this type of activity -- that was the purpose of these first 63 programs. But one conclusion is justified. Any community in America that wants to lick the drop-out problem can do so if a real effort is made locally."

The government anti-drop-out program was conducted under a $250,000 allocation made by President Kennedy.

This allocation, the president said, "will be repaid many times over in the more productive lives of these young men and women who are continuing their education.

(End advance for release at 4:30 a.m., EST)

The New Year's holiday was a relative quite affair at the LBJ Ranch where the president and his wife, Lady Bird, were hosting her relatives. The president planned to work during the morning, but watch the Cotton Bowl football game between Navy and the University of Texas by television during the afternoon.

During New Year's Day the president was expected to respond to New Year's greetings from Soviet Premier Nikita S. Khrushchev, probably against the background of a statement made by the Russian leader to Henry Shapiro, United Press International bureau chief in Moscow.

In a series of answers to questions put by Shapiro, Khrushchev said 1964 could be "a year of decisive change" in the Cold War with the West. Khrushchev thought agreement could be reached on a number of steps which might relax international tensions and these possibly involving the reduction of armed forces and military spending on both sides.

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