World: What Price Johnson?

A different kind of campaign is taking place across the Pacific. There, the natives of the Bismarck Archipelago don't want to elect Lyndon Johnson—they want to buy him.

The phenomenon dates back to World War II, when a flood of U.S. equipment and food poured into the islands during the fight against Japan. The memory lingers on, stimulating the imaginative Melanesian natives to make regular demands that the headman of the U.S. be made their supreme chief.

The Australians, who rule the region as part of their U.N. Trust Territory of New Guinea, first...

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