tv 1966 Fulbright Vietnam Hearings Dean Rusk CSPAN March 5, 2016 8:08am-9:42am EST
face-saving way possible. this is not a winnable war. the general saying we need to create enclaves and defend the parts of the country that we still control. and not try to take back everything in the process. general taylor talking about why the realities of the government in south vietnam. none of them know what we know. in fact, some of the books that were written by historians, as we now know, because now they know the end. and even mcnamara went back in the 1990's to meet with the people who had been his opponents. and he had to rethink his policies and came to the conclusion that the war had been a mistake. so, this takes us back to that time, giving us a chance to see the people who were involved as they try to grapple with creating the policy and the senators who had to decide whether or not they could support or should oppose the policy.
>> so here is dean rusk from february 18, 1966. [chatter] >> i guess that's your water. i don't know. i drink more water than you. sen. fulbright: would the committee come to order. we are very pleased this morning to have our distinguished secretary of state dean rusk. he's one of the most dedicated and hard-working public servants as i have ever known. i am also personally pleased to have a mr. -- you mr. secretary and i enjoy our meetings, even though on occasion we have had different views on affairs. as everyone knows, you appeared in public session already. about two weeks ago and as much as i like listening to you, i was hopeful that we might have cooperation with the
administration to the point where we could have at least two official witnesses who might help us develop for the american people, and the congress, the facts and policies of the -- about vietnam. as you know, the vietnamese war has become a major affair. and the secretary of defense has declined to appear in public session, according to the "washington post," which is sometimes reliable, the vice president has declined to appear. he says he will not appear bit -- appear and i would like to ask you before your opening statement, is a confirmed decision of this administration that you are to be the only official spokesman in these hearings? sec. rusk: the administrator of aid, mr. bell, and i have both appeared. i am, of course, here today. if the committee wishes to
continue these hearings and have other spokesmen from the administration, i am sure that there would be others who could appear, certainly my department. i am sure that the committee is familiar with the issue raised, a matter of certain military information in open session. but, i am not innocent in saying that i am the only witness available today. sen. fulbright: i want to clear that up. i requested secretary ball to appear last week and he informed me that he was instructed not to appear. i assume from that that you are the only spokesman that they wished to appear for the administration. -- sec. rusk: as you know, i was away at the time. i wished myself to make the first and major presentation for the administration for the department of state on these larger aspects. sen. fulbright: mr. secretary, i am to understand that if the committee has not taken the decision, it will meet on monday, i believe, to discuss this. the other official witnesses
from the executive might be available. sec. rusk: that is my understanding. but we will have a chance to discuss that with you and members of the committee in due course. sen. fulbright: mr. secretary, since our last meeting, which i believe was two weeks ago, you gave us a very thorough fill in on the vietnamese situation, in particular. there are three developments which i hope you will address in your opening remarks, if you'll be so kind as to do so. first, we would like very much to know how far our commitments to general keen have gone in honolulu. how firm they are to go back with his determination never to negotiate with the deliberation front. how many troops we have promised him and how much money. two, i would like to know what kind of commitments the administration authorized the
vice president to make in his extended trip to the nation. especially whether in return for the $100 million loan, the indians will be required to send troops to vietnam and the same with regard to the other countries in which he is apparently authorized to make and extend loans. three, i would like to know what general degaulle really said in his letter to our government about the war in vietnam. as recorded again in the washington post this morning. to be more specific, i would like to know what general degaulle actually said that the vietnamese war is leading nowhere and that is absurd. -- that it is absurd. this was stated in the "washington post." it seems to me that we in the public are entitled to know if that is true. somebody leaked it or give it to the press, and i understand that this is a private letter, but nonetheless it is appearing in public that this is what he said. i hope that you will enlighten the committee in your opening remarks about these matters
which have developed since you thoroughly briefed us two weeks ago. with that introduction, mr. secretary, will you proceed -- do you have a prepared statement? sec. rusk: yes, i do mr. chairman. sen. fulbright: memorize it or read it. sec. rusk: members of the committee, i should like to make my statement. i may have to come to one or two of the questions you have raised after i finish my prepared statement, because i did not cover those in what i planned to say at the beginning. sen. fulbright: i mention them because they are the only thing that has happened since you last testified. sec. rusk: there has been a good deal of discussion since i last testified and other issues have been raised on which i want to comment. sen. fulbright: i would be pleased to have your comment on other issues. i was only trying to suggest that we need not cover the same testimony because you made those in public.
sec. rusk: right. mr. chairman, the immediate occasion for these hearings was a request by the president for a supplemental appropriation of $415 million, of which sum was -- of which a part was for south vietnam. mr. david bell, the administrator of aid, and i both already testified on this particular request. but these hearings, as the chairman has pointed out, also entered into the largest and most far-reaching aspects of our interest and involvement in southeast asia. for my part, i welcome this opportunity to appear before the committee to discuss with you these larger issues. since world war ii, which projected the united states in the role of a major world power, we americans have had to face a series of difficult tasks and trials. on the whole, we have faced them very well. today we are facing another ordeal in southeast asia, which again is costing us lives and treasure. south vietnam is a long way from the united states.
and the issues posed, they seem remote from our daily experience and our immediate interests. it is essential that we clearly understand and so far as possible agree on our mission and purpose in that faraway land. why are we in vietnam? certainly we are not there merely because we have power and like to use it. we do not regard ourselves as the policemen of the universe. we do not go around the world looking for quarrels in which we can intervene. quite the contrary. we have recognized that as we are not the armed forces of the universe, neither are we a magistrate of the universe. if other governments, other institutions, or other regional organizations can find solutions to the quarrels which disturb this present scene, we are anxious to have this occur. but we are in vietnam because
the issues they are very deeply intertwined with our own security. and because the outcome of the struggle can profoundly affect the nature of the world in which we and our children will live. the situation we face in southeast asia is complex. but in my view, the underlying issues are simple and are utterly fundamental. i am confident that americans who have a deep and material understanding of world responsibility are fully capable of cutting through the underbrush of complexity and finding the simple issues which involve our largest interest and the deepest purposes. i regard it a privilege to discuss these problems with the committee this morning, to consult with you, and try to clarify for the american people the issues we must face. i do not approach this task on the assumption that anybody, anywhere, has all the answers.
or that all wisdom belongs to the executive branch of the government, or even to the government itself. the question at issue affects the well-being of all americans and i am confident that all americans will make up their own mind in the tradition of a free and independent people. yet those of us who have special responsibilities for the conduct of our foreign policy have had to think deeply about these problems for a very long time. the president, his cabinet colleagues, and the congress, who share the weightiest responsibilities under the constitutional system, have come to conclusions that form the basis for the policies we are pursuing. perhaps it is worth pointing out that those who are officially responsible for the conduct of foreign affairs must make decisions and must make decisions among existing alternatives. none of us in the executive or legislative branch has fulfilled
a responsibilities mainly by forming an opinion. we are required to decide what this nation shall do and shall not do. and are required to accept consequences of our determinations. what are our world security interests involved in the security of the anon -- vietnam? they cannot be seen clearly in terms of southeast asia only. or merely in terms of the events of the past few months. we must view the problem in perspective. we must recognize that what we are seeking to achieve in south vietnam is part of a process that has continued for a long time. a process of preventing the expansion and extension of communist domination by the use of force against the weaker nations on the perimeter of communist power. this is the problem as it looks to us. nor do the communist themselves see the problem in isolation.
they see the struggle in south vietnam as part of a larger design for the study -- steady extension of communist power through force and threat. i have observed in the course of the hearings that some objection has been raised for the use of the term communist aggression. it seems to me that we should not confuse ourselves or the people, by turning our eyes away from what that phrase means. the underlying crisis of this postwar period turned about a major struggle on the major nature of the political world. before the guns were silent in world war ii, many governments sat down and thought long and hard about the structure of international lines. the kind of world in which we to try and build and wrote the ideas into the united nations charter. that charter establishes an
international society of independent states, large and small, entitled to their own national existence, entitled to be free from aggression, cooperating freely across national frontiers and common interests, and resolving disputes by peaceful means. but the communist world returned to its demand for what it calls a world revolution. the world of collection -- against the charter of united nations. there may be differences within the communist world about methods and techniques, and leadership within the world itself, but they share a common attachment to their world revolution. and to the support, through what they call wars of liberation. what we face in vietnam is what we have faced before. the need to check the extension of communist power in order to maintain a reasonable stability in a precarious world. that stability was achieved in the years after the war, by the
valor of free nations defending the integrity of postwar territorial arrangements. and we have achieved stability for the last decade and a half. it must not be overthrown now. like so many of our problems today, the struggle in south vietnam stems from the disruption of two world wars. the second world war completed a process begun by the first. it ripped apart a structure of power that existed for 100 years. it is set in train new forces and energies that have remade the map of the world. not only did it weaken the nations actively engaged into fighting, but it had far-reaching secondary effects. it undermined the foundations of the colonial structures to which a handful of powers controlled one third of the world's population. and the winds of change and progress that have blown
fiercely during the last 20 years, have toppled those structures almost completely. meanwhile, the communist nations have exploited the turmoil of the time of transition in an effort to extend communist control into other areas of the world. the united states first faced the menace of communist ambition in europe, when one after another the nations on the boundaries of the soviet union fell under the dominion of moscow through the presence of the red army. to check this title wave, the -- tidal wave, the united states provided the marshall plan to strengthen the nations of western europe. then moved to organize with those nations a collective security system through nato. as a result, the advances of soviet power was stopped and the soviet union gradually adjusted policies to the situation. but within a year after the establishment of nato, the communists took over china. this posed a new and serious
threat. particularly, for those new nations of the far east that had been formed out of colonial empires. the problem in asia were different from those in europe. but the result was much the same, instability and uncertainty and vulnerability to both the bully and the aggressor. western europe, with established governmental and socialist institutions, recovered quickly. but new nations of asia, particularly those who have not known self-government for a century or more, continue to face a formidable problem which they still face. the first test came in korea, when the united nations forces, predominantly american, stopped the drive of communist north korea, supported by material aid from the soviet union. it stopped the chinese army that followed.
it brought to a halt the communist effort to push out the line that had been drawn and to establish communist control over the korean peninsula. we fought the korean war, which like the struggle in vietnam, occurred in a remote area thousands of miles away to sustain the principles vital to the freedom and security of america. the principle that the communist world should not be permitted to expand by overrunning one after another, the arrangements bill during and since the war, to mark the outer limits of communist expansion by force. before the korean war had ended, the united states, under president truman moved to settle and consolidate the situation in the pacific through a peace treaty with japan and through bilateral security treaties with the philippines and japan, and through the treaty with a celia -- australia and new zealand. hardly had the war been
finished, when fighting happened in indochina, france decided to really question presence in southeast asia. after a brief negotiation, he came to terms with communist forces that had captured the nationalist movement. the result was the division of indochina into four parts, a kingdom of cambodia, laos, vietnam divided into two at the 17th parallel, between the communist forces in the north and non-communist forces in the south. recognizing that the communists ambitions, the united states government under president eisenhower took steps to secure the situation by further alliances. bilateral treaties were concluded with the republic of korea and the republic of china. in the middle east the so-called northern tier of countries lined to the south of the soviet union
entered into the baghdad pact, which established the central treaty organization. the united states did not become a formal member of the alliance, which is comprised of turkey and great britain, iran and pakistan, but we are closely associated with them and have bilateral and military assistance agreements with regional members, concluded by the eisenhower administration. in order to give support to the nations of southeast asia, the united states took the lead in the creation of an alliance embodied in a treaty and reinforced by collective security systems, the southeast asia treaty organization. in this alliance, the united states joined with great britain, france, australia, new zealand, thailand, pakistan and the philippines to give security to the nations, but also to come to the aid of certain protocol states and territories if they so requested. south vietnam was included in
this protocol. the united states had not been a party to the agreement made in geneva in 1954, which france had concluded where the communist vietnamese forces were known as the vietnam. but the undersecretary of state stated under instructions that the u.s. would not disturb the agreements and it would view the renewal of the aggression with grave concern and as seriously threatening international peace and security. under secretary smith's statement was a unilateral declaration, but in joining cito, the united states took a treaty engagement of far-reaching effect. article four, paragraph one, provides that each party recognizes that aggression by means of armed attack would in -- endanger its own peace and safety, and agrees that it will in that event, act to meet the common danger in accordance with
the constitutional processes. it is this fundamental obligation that has from the outset guided our actions in south vietnam. the language of the treaty is worth attention paid obligation it imposes is not only joint, but several, not collective, but individual. the finding that an armed attack has occurred does not have to be made by collective determination, before the obligation of each member comes into play. nor does it require collective organization to meet the common danger. if the u.s. determines that an armed attack has occurred on any nation to whom the treaty applies, then it is obligated to meet the common danger without regard to the views and actions of other treaty members. the far-reaching implications of this commitment were well understood by the committee when
it recommended that the senate consent to the ratification of the treaty. the report states in its conclusion the committee is not impervious to the risks with which this treaty entails. it fully appreciates that acceptance of these additional obligations commit the united states to a course of action over a vast expanse of the pacific. yet these risks are consistent with our own highest interests. there are greater risks in not -- there are greater hazards in not advising a potential enemy of what he can expect of us. him calculations of our intentions. following this recommendation, the senate gave its advice and treaty by a vote
of 82-1. who were then senators voted for that treaty. our engagement had been reinforced and amplified by a series of commitments to the government of south vietnam. on october 1, 1954, president eisenhower wrote to the president offering to assist the government of vietnam in developing and maintaining a strong and viable state attempt capable of resisting subversion or aggression through military means. in 1957, they issued a joint statement which called attention to the large buildup of vietnamese communist military forces in vietnam and stated, noting that the republic of vietnam is covered by article four of the collective defense treaty, president eisenhower
agreed this would endanger peace and stability. on president kennedy declared august 2, 1961, the united states is determined the republic of vietnam shall not be lost to the communists for lack of any support the united states can render. president kennedy wrote to the president, recalling the declaration made at the end of the geneva conference in 1954. the president again stated the united states was willing to protect the republic of vietnam. this commitment has been reaffirmed many times. these are the commitments we have taken to protect south vietnam. we have sent american forces to fight in the jungles of that
country because south vietnam has under the language of the treaty been the victim of aggression by armed attacks, there can be no serious question about the existence and nature of this aggression. the war is clearly an armed attack against the people of south vietnam. the north vietnamese regime has sought deliberately to confuse the issue by making their aggression appear as an indigenous revolt. this is a familiar communist practice. impeded in their efforts to extend their power by the use of classical forms of force such as the invasion of korea, the communists have developed a n elaborate doctrine for so-called wars of national liberation to cloak their aggressions in ambiguity. a war of national liberation in the communists lexicon, depends on the tactics of terror and
sabotage, stealth and subversion. it has a particular utility for them since it gives advantage to a ruthless minority. particularly in countries where the terrain makes clandestine infiltration from the outside relatively easy. at the same time, the communists have a more subtle reason for favoring this type of aggression. it creates in any situation a sense of ambiguity they can exploit their own advantage. yet in spite of communist efforts to confuse the issue of the nature of the conflict in south vietnam is very clear. let me review the facts. with the benefit of hindsight, no one can doubt in agreeing to the accord, the regime in hanoi expected in a relatively short period, the south vietnamese would fall under their control. the south seemed overburdened
with troubles. economic problems were complicated by one million north having seen the true face of communism, fled south. the north had concealed resources in the south. at the time of the accords, many communists fighting the vietnam had been directed by the party in hanoi to stay in the south. to hide their arms and devote their efforts to undermining the south vietnamese government. these efforts of subversion were initially quite unsuccessful. much to the dismay of the hanoi regime, south vietnam made substantial progress in spite of the extraordinary problems it faced while north vietnam lacked behind. as a consequence communist , leaders in north vietnam were forced to conclude that more active measures were necessary
if the subversion of south vietnam were to succeed. during the five years following the geneva conference, the hanoi regime developed a secret political military organization inside south vietnam, based on those who had been ordered to stay in the south. and many of these were directed towards the assassination of civilians. more than 1000 civilians were murdered or kidnapped from 1957-1959. in 1960 alone, terrorists assassinated 1400 local government officials and kidnapped 700 others while armed , guerrillas killed 2200. in september of 1960, the party, the communist party of north vietnam, held its third party congress in hanoi. that congress called for the creation of a front organization to undertake the subversion of
south vietnam. three months after, the national liberation front was established to provide a political facade for the conduct of an active guerrilla war. beginning in 1960, the regime began to infiltrate into south vietnam. in the intervening time, these men had been trained in the arts of sabotage and subversion. now they were ordered to , conscript young men from the villages by force or persuasion and to form cadres around which guerrilla units could be built. all of this was documented by the legal committee. that body, established to supervise the vietnam cease-fire is composed of indian, polish, , and canadian members. the legal committee reported in
1962, there is evidence to show that arms, munitions and other , supplies have been sent from the zone in the north to the zone in the south with the objective of supporting, organizing and carrying out hostile activities including armed attacks against the armed forces and administrations of the south. there's evidence the north vietnamese army has allowed this zone in the north to be used for inciting, encouraging and supporting hostile activities in the south aimed to overthrow the administration of the south. that is the end of the quotation. in the three years the north , vietnam regime infiltrated 10,000 men into the south. in 1962, 13,000 additional personnel were infiltrated. by the end of 1964, north vietnam may well have moved over 40,000 armed and unarmed guerrillas into south vietnam.
beginning over a year ago, the communists exhausted their reservoir of southerners who had gone north. since then, the greater number of men infiltrated in the south have been nativeborn north vietnamese. most recently, hanoi has begun to infiltrate elements of the north vietnamese regular army in large numbers. today, there is evidence there are nine regiments of north vietnamese forces fighting in organized units in the south. i have reviewed these facts which are familiar to most of you. it seems they demonstrate beyond question that the war in vietnam is as much of an act of outside aggression as though the hanoi regime had sent an army across the 17th parallel. this point is important since it goes to the heart of our own involvement. much of the confusion over the
struggle of south vietnam has arisen over a failure to understand this aspect of the conflict. if the war in south vietnam were nearly and indigenous revolt, the united states would not have its own combat troops in south vietnam. but the evidence is overwhelming it is something quite different. a systematic aggression by hanoi against the people of south vietnam. it is one further effort by a communist regime and half of a divided country to take over the people of the other half at the point of a gun and against their will. up to this point, i have tried to describe the nature of our commitments in south vietnam and why we have made them. i've sought to put those commitments within the framework of our larger effort, to prevent the communists from upsetting the arrangements which have been the basis for our security. these policies have sometimes been attacked.
they have been attacked as static and sterile. it has been argued they do not take account of the vast changes that have occurred in the world. these contentions seem to miss the point. the line of policy we are following involves far more than a defense of the status quo. it seeks to ensure that degree of security necessary, if change and progress are to take pla ce through consent and not coercion. the world of the mid-20th century is not standing still. movement is occurring on both sides of the iron curtain. longersm today is no monolithic. it longer wears one face, but many. clearly one of the major political facts of our time.
there has been substantial change and movement within the soviet union as well as. perhaps even more among the countries of eastern europe. these changes have not been inhibited because of our efforts to maintain the postwar arrangements by organizing the western alliance. they have taken place because of internal developments as well, and because the communist regime in moscow has recognized the western alliance cannot permit it to extend its dominance by the left -- to extend its dominion by force. over time, the same process will hopefully work in the far east. the regime must learn they cannot redraw the boundaries of the world by force. what we are pursuing is not a static concept. unlike the communists, we do believe in social revolution and not merely as power cloaked as revolution. we believe in constructive change and encourage it. that was the meaning of
president johnson's conference, to encourage the south vietnamese government to transform the country in a way that will correct injustices and bring about a better life for all of the people. in meeting our commitments to south vietnam, we are using substantial military force, at the same time we are making it quite clear to north vietnam and the world that our forces are being employed for a limited and well-defined objectives. what we seek in south vietnam is to bring about a restoration of the conditions contemplated by the accords of 1954. we seek to restore the integrity of the settlement made between the french government and the communist forces. a settlement that was joined in by the united kingdom, communist china, the soviet union and cambodia. the settlement forms part of the structure of the arrangement
that is key to stability in the present-day world. unfortunately, the limited nature of our purpose is foreign to the philosophy of the communist world. it may be hard for them to realize the united states seeks aement.torial aggrandizing we do not wish to maintain our troops in that area, and as long as that is necessary to support the south vietnamese people, we want no permanent military bases. we are not asking that the government of south vietnam ally itself with us or be beholden to us. we wish only that the people of south vietnam should have the right and opportunity to determine their future and freedom without coercion or threat from the outside. for months, we have done everything possible to make clear to the regime in hanoi that a political solution is the
proper course. if that regime were to call off the aggression in the south, peace would common in almost a matter of hours. when that occurs, the people of south vietnam can safely go about their business, for we do not seek to destroy the hanoi regime or force the people of north vietnam to except any other forms of government. under conditions of peace, we would be prepared for the north vietnamese people to share with the other people's southeast asia economic and technical help that we are extending on a regional basis to that area. this is a simple message that we have tried to convey to hanoi through many channels. we have sought in every way to impress upon the communist world the ease at which peace could be obtained if only hanoi were willing. we have used every resource of diplomacy. i know of no occasion in history where so much attention has been
devoted in an effort to bring about a political solution to a costly and dangerous war. i know you and members of the committee are generally familiar with that record. but to this point, the sounds of the other side have been harsh and negative. the regime in hanoi has been unwilling to accept any of the possibilities open to it for discussion. all we have heard is the constant insistence that they will not negotiate unless we accept in advance their four points. yet the effect of those points, as propounded by hanoi would be , to give away the very purposes for which we are fighting and to deliver the people of south vietnam against their will to the domination of a communist regime. to understand the situation realistically, we shell not -- we should not underestimate the harshness of the communist side or overestimate the ease
of a political solution. from time to time, we have heard it suggested that we should seek the geneva conference or enlist the officers of the cochairman or take the problem to the invite theons would mediation of neutral nations. we have done all of these things, and in most cases we have done them repeatedly with no resolve. we have heard it suggested also by governments and individuals on both sides of the iron curtain, that no peace was possible so long as american planes were flying bombing missions over north vietnam, but that negotiations might be possible if the bombing was discontinued. we did this twice. pause lasted 37 days and again came with no response. certainly, we should do everything consistent with our national objectives to seek a solution through diplomacy.
there is no doubt as to the elements of an honorable peace as we see it. we have made them clear again and again. most recently, we have summarized it with 14 points. the geneva agreements are an adequate basis for peace in southeast asia. we would welcome a conference on southeast asia or any part thereof. we would welcome negotiations without preconditions. we would welcome unconditional discussions as president johnson put it. a cessation of hostilities could be the first order of business. hanoi's four points could be discussed along with other points which others might wish to propose. seven, we want no u.s. bases in southeast asia. eight, we do not desire to
retain troops after peace. nine, we support free elections in south vietnam to get the south vietnamese government of their own choice. 10, the question of the reunification of vietnam should be determined by their own decision. the countries of southeast asia can be nonaligned or neutral if that be their option. we would much prefer to use our 12, resources for the economic reconstruction of southeast asia than in war. if there is peace, the amount could contribute would be at least $1 billion. the president said the viet cong would not have trouble getting if hanoiws represented decided to cease aggression. i don't think he said that would be an insurmountable problem. 14, we have said publicly and privately and proved through 37 days of action that we can stop
the bombing of north vietnam as a step toward peace. although, there has not been the slightest tent a suggestion from the other side of what they would do if these stopped. these 14 points are and have been on the public record. our government has made clear what kind of peace we are prepared to accept. peace that will guarantee the security of south vietnam. peace that will stop aggression and violate national agreements and international law. this is the position we have made known to the other side, both directly and through intermediaries. how does this compare with the position of the hanoi regime? both have repeatedly rejected our proposal for unconditional discussions. they have insisted instead, that before any discussions can take place, our side must agree in advance to the four points of hanoi's program. the words they have used have differed from formulation to formulation. sometimes they have said that
their points are the sole basis for negotiations, sometimes the most correct basis. but the effect appears to be the same. what they are insisting on is that we take their position and then discuss only the ways in which it shall be given effect. the technique of demanding agreement in advance is a familiar communist negotiating tactic. it does not mean that the basic points are open for discussion. or that they can be loosely interpreted. it means just what it says. we have subjected these four points to careful scrutiny. what do they reveal? the first point calls for the recognition of the fundamental national rights of the vietnamese people. sovereignty, independence, unity, and territorial integrity. this point also calls for the withdrawal of u.s. forces, dismantling military bases, and abolition of our military alliance with the south vietnam in strict conformity
with the geneva agreements. the united states has made clear we are prepared to support a restoration of the geneva agreements and are prepared to withdraw troops once there is compliance with the accords by all parties. we said we do not expect will or require a military alliance with the free south vietnam. the second point relates to the military clause of the geneva agreement. these we could agree to under the conditions i have indicated. the fourth point provides the issue of peaceful reunification should be settled by the the emmys people without foreign intervention. this we can accept if it is clearly understood that conditions must be created both for the north and south that would make it possible for truly free elections to be held. it is in the third point that the core of the communist position is disclosed. that provides the internal point affairs of south vietnam
must be settled by the south vietnamese people themselves in accordance with the program of the national liberation front. to understand the significance of this point, it is necessary not only to examine what is meant by the program of the national liberation front but to explore the character of the front itself and the purpose it serves for the north vietnamese regime. let's turn first to the front itself. both regimes have made it clear again and again, and have been joined in this by other communist powers, that negotiations will be possible only when the united states recognizes the national liberation front as the sole, genuine representative of the entire south vietnamese people. what are the implications of this proposal? why are the communists urging it so insistently? the evidence is overwhelming that the national liberation front is exactly what its name implies. a communist front organization intended to give support to the
deliberate fiction that the war in vietnam is an indigenous revolt. the front is is an invention of the communist party of north vietnam, to serve as a political cloak for its activity in the south. as i have noted earlier, the front was created by the north vietnamese party in 1960. soon after, north vietnamese military leader announced the north is a revolutionary base for the whole country. the individuals proclaimed as leaders of the front are not personalities widely known to the vietnamese people either in the north or south. to suggest they represent the aspirations of the vietnamese people is absurd. the significant fact is at no time has any single individual or political significance in south vietnam adhered to the front or its policies. while south vietnamese leaders and groups may differ on how the
country is to be led, none of them differs on the fact that the front does not speak for them. in 1961, hanoi sought to strengthen the fiction of the indigenous origins by creating a seemingly independent communist party as the principal element of the front. it therefore established the people's revolutionary party. a secret circular dated 1961 advised party members that the people's revolutionary party has only the appearance of an independent existence. actually, our party is nothing but the party of north vietnam unified from north to south by the central executive committee. during these explanations, take care to keep this secret, especially in south vietnam so the enemy does not perceive our purpose. the people's revolutionary party has not concealed its role. it has frankly stated it is the
dominant element. on 1961, the vietnam committee february 15, of the south went even farther stating in time the , communist party would act overtly to lead the revolution in south vietnam. in other words, the communists had told their followers that at the proper moment, they will cast off the disguise of the national liberation front. and so they have a clear purpose insisting we recognize the national liberation front as the sole representative of the south vietnamese people. for them, this is not a procedural question but a major question of substance. they insist on a recognition of the front as the sole spokesman for the people of south vietnam. since our acceptance of the front in that capacity would in effect it mean our acceptance of the communist position of the indigenous nature of the conflict, and thus our acceptance of a settlement on hanoi's terms, which would mean
delivering south vietnam into the control of the communist north. in spite of these clear realities, we have not asserted nor do we assert an unreasoning attitude with regard to the front. president said in his state of the union message that we will meet at any conference table and discuss any proposals. we will consider the views of any group. that includes the front along with other groups. to the extent that the front has any validity as a representative of a group the views of that , group can be heard in the issues of the liberation front. it should not prove an insurmountable problem. it remains a problem because hanoi insists on using it to establish its own substantive position that the front represents the hopes and aspirations of the south enemies people. the significance of this issue is clearly seen when one examines the program of the
national liberation front as it was announced from hanoi on january 29, 1961 and revise and amplified in a second time on february 11 of that same year. the first point of this program discloses the full communist intention. it calls for the overthrow of the south vietnamese government in saigon and the establishment of a coalition government for which the government in saigon would be excluded. the hanoi regime is demanding the following preconditions to which the united states must agree before the communists will condescend to negotiate. first, that the south vietnamese government be overthrown. second, that the liberation front be accepted as the sole bargaining representative of the south vietnamese people. and third, that south vietnam be put under the control of a coalition government formed ivy communists and from which the south vietnamese government
would be excluded. may i conclude, therefore, with certain simple points which are at the heart of the problem and u.s. policy in south vietnam. first, the elementary fact is there is an aggression in the form of an armed attack by north vietnam against south vietnam. second, the united states has commitments to assist south vietnam to repel this aggression. third, our commitments to south vietnam were not taken in isolation but are a part of a systematic effort in a postwar time to assure a stable peace. fourth, the issue in southeast asia becomes worldwide because we must take it clear the united states keeps its word wherever it has pledged. fifth, no nation is more interested in peace in southeast asia or anywhere else than is the united states. if the armed attack against south vietnam peace could come , quickly.
from every channel or forum or contact or discussion for -- orsh or new gold i would be happy to comment on questions. >> one question i thought you might, and upon is the situation as a result of the honolulu meeting. in regard to -- the attitude, i believe i have quotes in the paper with regard to general qui's attitude negotiating. with the nlf. that was one question. how do you reconcile that with the statement you made about our
willingness to negotiate with them if they would be willing? >> that particular statement was made as a result of several attempts by a news man to force him to a categorical answer to that question. at honolulu, the prime minister was freshly aware of the fact that ho chi minh in a letter to the heads of communist governments had declared the recognition of the front as the sole representative of the people of south vietnam was a prerequisite to any political solution. the prime minister is leading a nation at war. all of his people are the front line. the villagers as well as the soldiers. the local officials as well as high officials in saigon are subject to terror and
intimidation. they cannot promise the prospect of peace next week or next month. he felt, and i think we can understand it, that he could not indicate to his people he thought there was a prospect for an early peace through negotiation on the basis of experiences he and we had had it during this period of a pause. what we have said has been discussed early with him and his government. i do not believe myself this is a difference of substance if hanoi shows itself capable of stopping its aggression and
showing some interest in peace. the general's attitude that he would under no circumstances negotiate with the national liberation front is not accepted by our government? , although thiste is what the prime minister said when he was pressed on this question six times and was trying to point out the liberation front was misse d-named, not a liberation front but what he called in enslavement front, when pressed, he gave that categorical answer. the circumstances would be changed if hanoi indicated an
interest in peace. those circumstances would be reviewed by everybody concerned if they developed in that direction. >> how can you expect any development when we appear to have taken such an adamant attitude? i don't see how any development can come about. >> mr. chairman, an adamant attitude has to do with one particular and specific and limited point. we are not asking anything from hanoi except to stop shooting their neighbors in laos and south vietnam. we're not asking them to give up an acre of territory. we are not asking them to surrender a single individual or to change their form of government. all we are asking them to do is stop sending armed men and arms,
contrary to specific agreements and contrary to international law, into south vietnam for the purpose of shooting somebody. i have seen in certain columns the remark that asked them to stop shooting is to ask them to surrender unconditionally. we are not asking them to surrender a thing, except their appetite to take over south vietnam by force. on that, i would suggest somebody had better be adamant. we have a series of alliances -- >> maybe i don't make myself clear. i do not wish to interrupt you. the purpose of some of us is to try to get this matter to a conference table. >> that is our purpose, mr. chairman. >> how do we go about doing that? we haven't made much progress. if this is a sticking point about whether or not they should be admitted to the conference,
everything we have had in testimony is the viet cong constitutes a major fighting force in south vietnam. you recognize that, i think. estimated under the undergone of -- under the pentagon of 236,000 troops which is a major force. the only thing we are interested in is seeing if this can be brought to some sort of negotiating table. if this is a sticking point, the statement is made by the prime minister, there would seem to be one obstacle. it may not be the only one. i would not minimize the past this of getting obstacle. this is why wish to bring it up. on that point?t
july,esident said last indicated that the problem with the viet cong and its use should not present an obstacle. detailso negotiate the of that point, even here in this room, or with the press or other governments who have no capability of stopping the shooting is beside the point. if hanoi would come to the conference table, that is the kind of thing that could be discussed, among other things. we see a double standard pretty widespread in the world which affects this problem of the effort made to bring this to a political solution. the united states has exhausted
almost every procedure, every idea we have traveled all over the world. we have tried to get the assistance of 17 neutral nations. the secretary general of the u.n.. the president of india and ghana. we made unilateral declarations. we have had private contacts with hanoi. what we have been saying is, why don't you come to the table and let's see if there is a basis for peace. they say, not unless you recognize the liberation front as the spokesman for the south vietnamese people. we can do that. that is what the shooting is all about. >> i never understood they said the sole spokesman. are you quite certain they said if you have a negotiation, it will only be with the representatives of the national liberation front. secretary rusk: in the ho chi minh letter, they call on the
viet cong as the sole representative of the south vietnamese people. >> and did with no one else of the conference? secretary rusk: these things have been explored in many ways. through private channels. i can assure you we have had nothing else from the other side except that idea. >> the other two points, i wondered if you could tell us about the degaulle letter. it was in the paper this morning. whatever you can tell us about it. secretary rusk: mr. chairman, i think that was from paris. >> i read it in the morning post. secretary rusk: the dispatch was from paris, that suggests it was not us for a change that did the leaking. it used adjectives i did not recognize. it would not be for me to disclose a specific contents of the attitude of france is
well-known. they think there should be a settlement on the basis of the geneva accords. so do we. they think problems should be solved by political means. we would prefer that. they do not believe the time is right for such discussions, or at least they did not see any steps which they themselves can take at this moment to bring this matter to the conference table. but i did not find anything in the letter that justified this word severe used. >> the paper uses the word if my memory serves me right. it said this war is leading nowhere. that the war is absurd. colonial --r the were the colonial power. our original involvement was in response to their request to support them to maintain their
colonial domination of this area. that is the origin of it. you testified. you were in the department. you know about that. the french, if anyone, should be qualified to make a judgment about the character of these people, having an intimate relationship with them as colonial masters. for about 80 years. it, it reads government circles in washington can compare to degaulle's reply to ho chi minh with that of mr. johnson. not only for having ordered the presumptions of the raids against the north that rather persisting with an intervention that for which there is nothing to be helped. the vietnamese alone been qualified to solve their problems.
there is one -- >> that story is highly inaccurate. it is not my privilege to prove my statement by putting president degaulle's letter into public record. that story bears no resemblance to the letter i have seen. >> the last paragraph says, my degaulle says my analysis is different from that of your leaders. this war is absurd. it is leading to nothing. but i know the responsibilities of anyone at the head of a great state. i can understand president johnson's problems of conscience. i said the post is only sometimes accurate. the third question, vice president kennedy.
i mean humphrey, i'm sorry. vice president humphrey who is traveling into a number of countries. the paper also this morning said he made an authorized loan i believe of $100 million. i am not sure. a grant or a loan to india. it seems to me rather out of channels, it is not the usual responsibility of the president of the senate and the vice president of the united states to go about making such commitments. would you explain this? secretary rusk: two loans to india and pakistan, announced on the occasion of the visit, or development loan allotments made under funds provided for this fiscal year. certain activities in the
economic assistance field began to mark time at the time of the india pakistan fighting. since then, there has been an agreement between those two countries. we have been in touch with both india and pakistan. the negotiations on these particular loans will continue in the usual channels. they are loans and primarily at facilitating the import of certain spare parts and other goods to get the industrial sector going full speed again. the vice president himself to not undertake the negotiation. and would not do that. funds wase of these announced well he was there. >> are there any conditions that are not public with regard to the loans? secretary rusk: no, sir. they are the type your committee is fully familiar under the
development loan program. >> you said one of the components was approval by the aid each year of program. your repeated this in a speech on wednesday. we have supplemental request for authorization. are we making similar commitments to all 53 countries to which we provide military aid? secretary rusk: i do not. the commitments as far as vietnam is concerned, center on the seato treaty. which i discussed in my opening statement. the commitment was there. president eisenhower began in 1954 in 1955 to provide
assistance to south vietnam to assist it building a viable state. secure for -- from internal aversion. that bilateral aid was in reinforcement of the purposes of the treaty. the attitude of the country and government has been consistent throughout this time. the most recent formal affirmation of the same policy was of course the resolution of the congress in 1964. i would think the economic and military assistance we have given to south vietnam has been consistent with the purposes stated oath in the preamble and -- both in the preamble and the resolution itself. >> in case i do not approve of the policies in vietnam, i'm forced to vote against this authorization if i accept that as a proper interpretation. wouldn't it?
secretary rusk: mr. chairman, i believe you and others would want to consider the declaration of policy which the congress itself by a vote of 542 made in august, 1964. section two of that resolution says the united states regards as a to its national interest and world peace international peace and security in southeast asia. it indicated the u.s. is prepared to take all necessary steps, including armed forces to assist nations requiring assistance. that declaration of policy passed in 1964 is entirely consistent with the southeast asia treaty on the same treaty on the same subject passed after an overwhelming vote in the
senate. ratified in 1955. the policy lines are simple and have been reaffirmed. by presidents and the congress. i would hope he would take into account the continuity of policy and the problem of turning aside from that policy under present conditions. corrects -- >> i wish these things appear as simple to me as a do to you. we will pursue this later. the senator from alabama. >> secretary, first, i want to commend you for the very fine statement you made. i think it is the clearest statement i have seen made during the course of the discussion of the vietnam situation. i think it is good for the american people to have this statement. do you believe these hearings have a useful purpose to serve?
and acquainting the american people with the facts? secretary rusk: i am always glad to be with this committee, i have met frequently with it and i think this could clarify a good many of issues. >> you have done that this morning in your statement. you have made certain specific points that i want to emphasize. that is the nature of the vietcong. i think you have given us the fullest explanation we have had yet of the connection of the vietcong with north vietnam. the direction under which they are operating. we are hearing more and more about this being simply a civil war.
that we have been intervening in it. it is clearly not a civil war, is it? secretary rusk: it clearly is not. had it not been for the infiltration of men and arms from north vietnam into south vietnam, i do not believe there would be any american forces in south vietnam today. >> the buildup has been constant and consistent, hasn't it? secretary rusk: beginning with several thousand hard-core trained agents they left behind rather than regroup to the north as the agreements call for in 1954. >> you have emphasized and elaborated on the willingness of our country to negotiate. we hear a great deal of people
talking about this matter. saying we should negotiate, settle this thing. get to the conference table. haven't we tried every way we can think of to get to the conference table? secretary rusk: we have and we continue to try. none of the channels have been closed. other governments as well as are active in this. the problem of negotiations probably turns on a very key point. that is whether or not the noise -- hanoi is prepared to drawback from its desire to take over vietnam by force. if it decides it is, it might do so either in fact, stop doing what it is doing, or come to a conference table.
i see relatively little chance they are going to come to the table until they decide if they will take over by force. >> we have heard this should be referred to the united nations. have we tried? secretary rusk: the matter is before the united nations at the present time. >> it was before? secretary rusk: there have been a number of other occasions on which it was before the u.n. may, 1954. -- soviet union rejected this game -- this came before
the security council in 1959. they took no further action. 14 -- that was investigated. because our trends and people cooperate when this sort of things comes about. cambodia complained of the security council in may 1964. the security council took no action when cambodia rejected the report. in august, 1964, we ourselves took it to the security council. at that time, the soviet representative said that the representatives of hanoi and saigon invited to come to the table. we supported that imitation. -- invitation.
hanoi refused to come. if i could mention two other points. >> something connected to that, was communist china invited under the russian proposal? secretary rusk: i don't think they were. i do not think they were. in february 1965, we reported to the security council with respect to the era tax that were launched on north vietnam. in february of last year, and we transmitted our white paper. for all members of the united nations. on april 7, the president invited the secretary general to coordinate regional and economic and social development programs in southeast asia and we transmitted the text of that address. throw the summer of 1965, we tried to engage members to find ways of engaging members.
in january of this sure, the ambassador put the matter to the security council and gave them a summary of the peace offensive. it is there now. in an effort to find out whether the security council can be of some assistance. in moving this away from violence to negotiation. >> it has also been suggested, that the 14 nation conference -- secretary rusk: -- the geneva conference of laos was 14. there were fewer at the geneva conference in 9054, are you referring to the 17 non-relations group. --retary rusk: to reconvene >> to reconvene the geneva conference. that's efficient
-- that suggestion has been made many times, chiefly from our side. the other side has been unwilling to come to such a conference. we indicated, and it was one of our 14 points, we would welcome a conference on southeast asia or any part of it. we thought nine months ago there ble in this direction on the other side. hanoi sent a delegation to moscow. they seem to approve to the possibility of a conference on cambodia and perhaps on laos. we were ready for a conference but something happened after the meeting broke up in moscow. perhaps it was a move to interrupted. those comforters were not held. we would -- those coverages were not held. -- conferences or not held.
we would be happy to see a conference on vietnam, laos, cambodia. >> do you know of any other channels that you can follow toward bringing about a negotiation? a conference? secretary rusk: let me say simply that the problem here is not that of technique or channel or contact. or the ability to be in touch with the other side. the problem is, with contact, we see no basis for peace. because the other side apparently is not prepared to hold its hand. the problem is not contact and procedure, it is substance. the problem is the appetite in hanoi. >> that appetite is to devour south vietnam. secretary rusk: we have heard nothing that suggests anything else. the actions taken by hanoi indicate the are still persisting with their efforts to
take over south vietnam by force. >> is our support for south vietnam both military and economic in accord with the spirit of the geneva conference when it more or less set up the guardianship of the indochina states? secretary rusk: the attempted by one part of vietnam to take over the other part by sending armed men and arms across the demarcation line is a violation of the accords. we can go back from the first day of those accords to look at the chain of circumstances about who did what that was not in compliance with those records. -- accords. the principal thing is, we believe those accords do provide an adequate basis for peace in
southeast asia. we are prepared to talk about it and the other side is not. there is a long history of charge and counter charge about those accords. we say they should be at the conference table and not elsewhere. this is the way we should handle most of these problems around the world. if there is argument, come to the conference table and talk about it. don't go out and sell it by force. >> thank you, secretary, my time is up. >> secretary rusk, i think the
testimony you have given here today in your prepared paper, while lengthy, is a comprehensive and informative review of circumstances involved in this situation in which we find ourselves in today. if i had criticism of your paper, i could say i had hoped you might discuss a little more extensively the domino theory of the effect of our defeat in south vietnam eric -- or complete abandonment. on the other nations and areas in that
part of the world. i will ask you a question about that a little later, but with regard to peace and the establishment of peace, is it fair for me to assume from all of the testimony that we have heard that in effect the geneva accords of 1954 were violated practically from their inception through the subversive activities increasing all the time by the north vietnamese? subversion and the furnishing of supplies and so on from the north? sec. rusk: at a point in time, the first serious violation was the failure of the communist side to regroup to the north, as the expression than was, all of their elements. mr. hickenlooper: i think you pointed that out in your testimony. sec. rusk: they left behind several thousands of them in the south.
mr. hickenlooper: as a matter of fact, i would at least gather from your impression -- from your testimony that the failure of the north vietnamese to regroup, to withdraw their forces, and to make any attempt whatsoever to carry out the spirit of the geneva accord made it practically impossible, that is one major element, to implement that 1954 accord because of their presence there with the armed forces and their secret cadres. sec. rusk: that was a major part of the problem, senator, and i think there has been a good problem since that time that the authorities in hanoi were extremely reluctant to sign the agreement.
they did so, however, in prospect of them being able to accomplish their real purpose, which was to have an entire country. mr. hickenlooper: and that began to unfold shortly after the accords were signed? sec. rusk: that is correct. mr. hickenlooper: now do i understand that you are saying to us that the viet cong and south vietnam are sustained and bolstered and encouraged and prodded, if you please, by not only logistical help from the north, but from military directional help and in fact by strong units of the north vietnamese army so that the viet cong and south vietnam are really completely independent of north vietnam for continuing this struggle?
sec. rusk: that is correct. mr. hickenlooper: therefore, if we get down to the point of a conference and if we in the south the enemies -- south vietnamese did have a conference of whoever they are in north vietnam, would any agreement with the guerrilla fighters or the vietnam or whatever they put their unitary reference might be, would any reference -- would any meeting down there he any good at all or would it be completely unreliable unless hanoi were one of the sustaining parties to that agreement on a reliable basis?
in other words, the viet cong might agreed to something, but if hanoi did not agree, there might be a temporary lull, but hanoi would probably return to the fray with increased figure in a very -- increased vigor in a very short time? sec. rusk: that is a very good point because we have said privately too many governments that as far as the united states is concerned, the key issue of peace is with hanoi. i have said this morning that had that infiltration of men and arms not occur, we wouldn't have combat forces in south vietnam. so as far as the united states is concerned, hanoi is the problem. now unless hanoi stops doing what it's doing by launching an armed attack against the south, then we haven't solved our problems.
now if they do stop, then i think these other problems would fall in place very quickly. but it should go beyond a mere stopping temporarily -- mr. hickenlooper: but it should go beyond a mere stopping temporarily, should it not? sec. rusk: absolutely. mr. hickenlooper: beyond a realization by hanoi that its intentions are unprofitable and, in fact, disastrous to them if they continue them? sec. rusk: that is correct, senator, and i would hope, and i don't want to emphasize this point is i would be undoubtedly charge for raising a new precondition by some foreigners, but i would hope that the insurances -- that the assurances are far stronger than those we had in laos, for example, where we had categorical agreements that weren't worth anything because they were not complied with by the other side and the machinery that was supposed to comply with
the idea was not permitted to operate. mr. hickenlooper: could you give us a short outline of the possible nature of the expansion of communism in south asia if the united states should abandon south vietnam by getting out? i don't think we are going to, but then, that is a hypothetical, but if we should leave south vietnam to its own devices and its own fate there without our presence in the systems, could you give us an outline of what we might reasonably except -- expect for the expansion of the communist power into other countries and the encouragement or discouragement that they would have?
sec. rusk: senator, this problem has sometimes been referred to as the domino theory. i myself have not used that expression and feel that it is somewhat misleading because we are not dealing here with little blocks of wood with dots on them. the theory is the theory of a militant world revolution. it would be followed by hanoi and other elements in the communist world. that is the theory. you don't have to go to dominos. they have proclaimed it. now how does it work in action? in 1954, when north vietnam was proclaimed a communist country, immediately, infiltration of men and arms and subversion and pressures started against their two closest neighbors, laos and south vietnam.
they refused to give the prince of cambodia a solid commitment to the respect of the territorial area of cambodia. they announce that thailand is next on the program and they announced the formation of a thailand liberation front. agents are already stepping up activities in northeast thailand. no one has to speculate just in theory about whether domino's have to fall or whether they fall in both directions or that sort of thing -- dominos have to fall or whether they fall in both directions or that sort of thing. even in the communist world, they must get on with their world revolution and by militant means. when they get to the continent of africa and announce that
africa is ripe for revolution, the african leaders understood that they are not talking about decolonization, he was talking about most of the present governments of africa and two or three of them expelled some of the chinese this last year because of the activities of some of the chinese in africa. so we have here a difference within the communist world, perhaps, on the subject of a militancy of which they have pressed the communist world revolution and the real meaning in what they call the western part of the coming's world they call peaceful existence. i have no doubt myself, sir, that these primitive marxist, the veterans of the long march, have a very militant few of these matters and that if they could convince themselves that their view is the successful view, that we are in for great
dangers in the future. if they can discover that their militancy has no future and they must reconsider, it may then it be that they will move towards what some people call a peaceful existence. >> secretary rusk testified and the lines were getting more drawn. it was a rationale of people who supported the war and this is what the johnson administration was trying to say. the newspaper editorials which supported him, which was in "the washington post," they were also great critics and were really becoming more and more skeptical.