On November 5, 1968, Richard Nixon defeated Hubert Humphrey in the presidential election after the incumbent, Lyndon B. Johnson, refused to run again.
As America had been fighting in the Vietnam War since 1959, and was still at war in 1968, the State Department was one of the more critical areas in the presidential transition. While Johnson’s aides left the State Department, Nixon’s aides were entering.
By November 8, the two administrations were already working together to make the transition smooth. The New York Times reported that Nixon supported Johnson’s efforts in Vietnam at the time. Nixon also said that he would not be involved in policy decisions until he had the power of the presidency.
In regard to Vietnam policy, on November 13, the New York Times reported incoming President Nixon saying, “Over the next two months, President Johnson would be speaking for the Nixon Administration as well as its own.” From other related articles, it was clear that the courtesy was also extended to State Department diplomats.