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SECRETARY RUSK'S NEWS CONFERENCE OF OCTOBER 8, 1964
The following is the State Department's release
of Secretary of State Dean Rusk's news conference, which
is authorized for direct quotation:
SECRETARY RUSK: Good morning, gentlemen.
I have no opening statement. I am ready for your questions.
Q Mr. Secretary, Chancellor Erhard has
indicated the United States and Germany might consider
forming the multilateral nuclear fleet by themselves if
the other allies decide not to go along. Would the United
States do this?
A Well, this is a contingency that has not
yet arisen. We and tile German Government agree that the
multilateral force should be a force which has the participa¬
tion of a considerable number of NATO countries. As you
know, there is a working group of eight nations that has
been meeting in Paris to look into this matter. Our own
target continues to be that that was stated in the joint
communique of Chancellor Erhard and President Johnson
in June of this year, in which they said that they were
agreed that the proposed multilateral force would make a
significant addition to this military and political
strength--that is of NATO--and that efforts should be
continued to ready an agreement for signature by the end
of the year.
Now we are at the end of the first week in
October. That group in Paris is working continuously.
We still have the purpose of going ahead with that force
with the participation of a considerable number of NATO
countries, and I am sure that that is the objective both
in NATO and both—and in Bonn and in Washington. Therefore
I think that these contingencies, alternative contingencies
have not arisen, our purpose continues to be the same, and
I am optimistic about the outcome.
Q Mr. Secretary, while we are on the subject
of NATO and nuclear weapons, Senator Goldwater says that
the NATO Commander-in-Chief has some authority to use
nuclear weapons. Is that correct?
A Well, I am not going to embroider on what
the President has said in his Seattle speech. This is a
matter for the President and for the Secretary of Defense,
and my task as Secretary of State is to keep this problem
very much on the hypothetical list, because my purpose is
to try to work out our relations with other countries to
protect the vital interests of the United States without
having that issue come to the front. But I have nothing
to add whatever to what the President said in his Seattle
speech on that subject.
Q Mr. Secretary, there have been reports from
Saigon, in fact even some whispering here in Washington,
to the effect that the Administration is now considering
some major turn in its policy toward South Viet-Nam but is
holding any decision off until after the election. I
wonder, sir, if you have any comment on this?
A Yes. I should like to hit that one just
as hard as I possibly can. South Viet-Nam is a major issue
of war and peace. The question of whether Hanoi and Peiping
will leave their southern neighbors alone is a major issue.
This is not a matter which any President of the United
States can deal with in electoral terms, and I can tell
you--and I hope it is not an indiscretion--that the
President has made it very clear to his own principal
advisers that the decisions that are required with respect
to South Viet-Nam have nothing to do with the American
elections. No President can take such a view on such a
far-reaching and basic issue of war and peace. And
policy is to do everything that we can to assist the
Vietnamese to meet this problem. We can not with
certainty predict the future, because there are those in
Hanoi and Peiping who are helping to write the scenario
on this problem, but we are deeply committed to the
secuiity of Southeast Asia and to the security of South
Viet-Nam. This has nothing to do with our electoral
process here. We are not concealing anything or postponing
or marking time or refusing to make the decisions that are
required by that situation because there is an election
going on in this country. No President could do that,
Republican or Democrats. and there is just nothing in that
kind of talk whatever.
Q Mr. Secretary, sir, with the UN session
due to open in November, the United States and the Soviet
Union appear to be headed on a collision course over the
matter of the peace-keeping assessments and loss of vote.
Do you see any prospect for resolving this issue? And,
secondly, if this issue is not resolved amicably, would
you anticipate that it could be a blockade to other East-
A Well, Mro Marder, first let me emphasize
that this is not an issue between the Soviet Union and
the United States. This is an issue between the Soviet
Union and certain other countries who have not paid their
assessments in accordance with the decisions of the General
Assembly and all the rest of the United Nations. The
attitude of the Soviet Union on this matter is somewhat
like the troika proposals. Their attitude deeply affects
the constitutional structure of the United Nations. Now,
the ability to assess contributions is the only mandatory
authority which the General Assembly possesses, and this is
the only mandatory authority in which the great bulk of
the United Nations membership participates. Every small
country member of the United Nations has a stake in this
constitutional issue in the United Nations itself, so the
issue here is not a bilateral issue between the United
States and the Soviet Union. The question is whether the
United Nations is going to continue on the basis of the
charter, and Anticle 19 is very precise and specific on
So that we hope very much that some arrangement
can be made by which this issue is removed. We are not asking
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ior or looking for some disagreeable and bitter confronta¬
tion on this point. But we do recognize that this point
is essential to the future integrity and structure of the
United Nations, and that every member has a stake in it.
Now we hope that somehow some arrangement can be made,
some payments made, some solution found before the
General Assembly opens in November. But we have no doubt
whatever that there is involved here a basic constitutional
issue for the United Nations as a whole. It is in no
sense a bilateral issue between the United States and
the Soviet Union.
Q Well, sir, just to follow that up, on the
second part of that question, while it is not essentially
a bilateral issue between the United States and the Soviet
Union, if in fact this issue is not agreed to in the
United Nations, would the net effect of the disagreement
be a general impediment to measures to reach further dimi: ••
tion of tension between East and West.
A Well, I think it is too soon yet to comment
on that. You will recall that in the troika proposal
when the Soviet Union found itself faced with the near
unanimity of the entire United Nations, they found a way
to modify their attitude. And I think that it is
important for the overwhelming majority of the United
' . >. ■ •
Nations to make it clear that on this issue, this basic
constitutional issue, that some adjustment in the Soviet
position will have to be found.
I can't predict for you what will happen a month
from now when the General Assembly opens, but of course
this is an issue which will be there, unless it is solved
before then--it will be there when the hammer falls for the
opening of the General Assembly, because it will arise in
connection with the first vote cast in the proceedings of
the General Assembly.
Q Mr. Secretary, some of the nonaligned coun¬
tries attending the Cairo conference suspect that it is the
United States that is behind Mr. Tshombe's insistence upon
being seated there. Would you care to comment on this, sir?
A Well, the question—the precise answer to
your question is that we are not behind anything in this
particular situation. But we are quite a few thousand
miles away in a situation that is changing from hour to
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hour, and I would prefer not to comment on it any
further. I think it is of some concern, some importance
that in an international meeting delegates undertake to
determine who shall represent governments invited to the
meeting, because if that principle were followed very far
it could go a very long way and give rise to a great many
complications in the very structure of international
But we are not involved in this particular
episode and I think it is better for me not to say very
much about it.
Q Mr. Secretary, a moment ago in connection
with this UN problem, you mentioned the--you used the words
"arrangement" and "adjustment". Just to clarify your view
would the United States support any solution that would be
anything less than full compliance with the assessments
and full payments?
A No. I think there has to be an application
and enforcement of Article 19 of the Charter. That is a
basic attitude not only of our Government but of a great
Remember that the World Court decision on this
subject was ratified, approved by a majority of something
like I think 75 to, what was it, 15 or 17, in the General
Assembly. And the World Court decided that these were
proper assessments, they are part of the regular expenses
of the organization, and that they were compulsory upon
members. So that there is no question whatever about
our view and the view of what we consider to be a very
substantial majority of the United Nations on this point.
Q Mr. Secretary, you have done a good deal of
speaking within the country, I wonder if you could reflect
upon that for a minute and tell us what parts of the
Administration's foreign policy seem to puzzle or perplex
people most as reflected in the questions that you get as
you go around the country?
A Well, I felt, as I have been around the
country in the last three and a half years, that there
continues to be a very broad public support for the main
lines of the bipartisan policy of the United States in
this post war period--support for the United Nations;
support for our great alliances; support for foreign aid,
although people would be glad to be relieved of that
burden if it were possible to be relieved; support for
trade expansion; for the Peace Corps; for the Alliance
for Progress, and all these other great elements in our
Now, it is true that we are carrying heavy
burdens, but freedom has never been free and those burdens
are necessary. And I have myself gotten the impression
in my discussions with groups, both in public sessions
and in private conversations that most of the American
people understand the requirements of this present world
situation. I have not myself encountered, shall I say,
bitter partisan aspects on this matter. Although I'm
sure that those with whom I have talked include supporters
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of both principal candidates. But when you can sit down
in a quiet conversation with people, I think you will find
that reason normally prevails.
I could illustrate that in another way, Mr.
Frankel. I have attended now perhaps at,least 200
executive sessions of Congressional committees to talk
about difficult and complex and sometimes dangerous for¬
eign policy issues. Not once have the judgments of those
committees divided along partisan lines, not once.
Now, there have been differences of view because
many of these problems involve on balance decisions, almost
knife edge, hair-line decisions because they are compli¬
cated and difficult. But those differences of judgment
have not followed partisan patterns in these executive
sessions where you can talk out the full difficulty and the
full agony of these situations.
I don't really believe, despite the fact that
we are in a very, shall we say, lively electoral campaign,
I don't really believe that the principal issues in our
relations with the rest of the world are partisan in
character or accepted by the American people as being
partisan in character.
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Q Mr. Secretary?
Q Mr. William Miller, the gentleman against
whom for one brief shining moment you were considered a
possible opponent, has brought up the issue of the Cuban
situation again, saying that our policy doesn't offer
anything to the people in Cuba who want freedom there.
I wonder if you could review whether you believe our
policy there is bearing fruit?
A Well, that invites a considerable essay,
because the present Administration was not responsible
for the prevention of a Communist Cuba. We were con¬
fronted with the problem of cure, and the cure is more dif¬
ficult than prevention.
But we felt that it was very important to work
in harmony with and in solidarity with the other members
of this Hemisphere, that this should not be treated as
solely a bilateral problem, partly because to the extent
there was a problem .it was more of a problem for many of
our neighbors than it was for the United States, given our
power and given the solidarity and integrity of our own
We have been very much encouraged by the atti¬
tude of the rest of the Hemisphere toward this problem.
Whereas in the Autumn of 1960 it was not possible for
the Hemisphere even to refer to Cuba as the source
of a threat, in the meetings of Foreign Ministers at
Punta del Este in 1962, at the time of the Cuban missile
crisis and at the end of July in Washington of this year,
it was very clear that the Hemisphere has moved to the
full recognition of the nature of this threat to the
Hemisphere and has taken steps to deal with it and meet it.
Now, I think it's very important that we move on
an OAS basis and I believe that has been suggested also by
some of the candidates on the other side. But that carries
with it the obligation to consult with and act in soli¬
darity with the other members of the Hemisphere in all
aspects of this problem.
Now, in the most recent meeting of the Foreign
Ministers, we applied what might probably be considered
the remaining peaceful measures with respect to Cuba, to
make it clear to Castro that his attempt to interfere
in other countries of this Hemisphere must stop and must
stop now. We hope very much,a 11 of us in the Hemisphere, that
that message gets through, and is taken seriously, because
it was a most serious step.
As you know, 19 of the 20 members of the
Hemisphere have broken relations with Castro. Trade has
been broken between the Hemisphere and Castro, except in
foodstuffs and medicines. Sea transportation has been
interrupted except as required for humanitarian purposes.
And other countries in other parts of the world have been
asked by the Hemisphere to consider what steps they can
take to express their solidarity with this Hemisphere in
dealing with this problem.
Now, if the Cuban Government continues with
any program of interference with other countries in this
Hemisphere, then I think we shall have a very serious sit¬
uation and we shall have to deal with it on a hemispheric
Q Mr. Secretary, within the last week India
has said,in light of some possibilities of Chinese nuclear
explosion, that it can change its policy and start develop¬
ing nuclear weapons within a year or 18 months if they
consider it necessary. What would the United States
attitude be toward this development if India does decide
it was necessary to change its policy?
A Well, it is my impression that the Prime
Minister and other officials in the Indian Government
have indicated that their attitude moves in the other
direction. It is true, as I think all of us know, that
India has the capacity to move, and to move fairly promptly,
into the nuclear weapons field. They have the necessary
capacity in nuclear physics, they have the necessary in¬
dustrial plant. But they have indicated that they do not
intend to go down this trail.
We feel that India's decision to direct its
exploitation of nuclear energy to peaceful purposes only
is a great contribution to world peace and to the welfare
of humanity, both in India and throughout the world.
India's policy, which was restated by Prime Minister
Shastri just yesterday, sharply contrasts with that of
You see, here's a country that is among those
who could move in this direction and they have announced
that they do not intend to move in this direction. And
that!- is a course of restraint and moderation which looks
toward the longer range possibilities of peace. You see
it's not just a cpestion of whether one other nuclear
power comes into being. The question is what happens if
15, 20, 25 nuclear powers come into being. And it is
important that all governments look at this as a very
sober problem, as to how we deal with this Pandora's
box that was opened some 20 years ago.
Q Mr. Secretary, particularly in the light
of the talks here this week with President Macapagal of
the Philippines, would you assess or reassess for us how
you see the situation between Indonesia and Malaysia;
and, also whether you share the concern of the Philippine
Government that they, too, may become a target for
Indonesian infiltration, or interference of some sort?
A Well, on the first point, it has been our
hope all along that such issues as exist between Malaysia
and Indonesia can be settled by peaceful processes. We
joined with eight other members of the Security Council
in expressing our very deep concern about the armed actions
taken by Indonesia against Malaysia.
We see no reason, looking at it objectively from
a distance, as to why these two countries need to be in
any sort of armed conflict with each other. We think it
is very important that the normal processes of peaceful
settlement be employed for whatever disputes exist, and
that all parties act in accordance with the Charter.
On the second part of your question, I point out
that our own defense arrangements with the Philippines are
very far-reaching, are without qualification, and that if
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there is an attack on the Philippines from any quarter,
that is an attack on the United States. And I would think
I 5.1 1
that it would be very reckless, indeed, for anyone to suppose
that there is any doubt whatever about our commitment to the
security of the Philippines.
Q Mr. Secretary, it has been several years
since the neutralists or nonaligned leaders have gotten
together, as they are,now in Cairo., Can you s»ay whether
t ' s> *7* " • * 4 • v ‘ ' • . ’:
you see any new trends in the direction of that movement,
or any new tone in the content of the discussions that are
going on now in Cairo?
A Well, quite frankly, I haven't had very much
information yet on just how those discussions are going.
They have not yet made public pronouncements in a communique
or in resolutions passed, at least that I am aware of. And,
as you know, a certain episode involving the Congo has taken
the newspaper play away from the other things that might
be considered by that conference.
So that, perhaps, if this press conference were
’ • . • ' ’’ • 7' ' ' ' • ’ *T. '
being held tomorrow, I might be able to he more responsive
to your question. But it is too early yet, I think, to say.
As you know, President Johnson sent a message to
the conference which outlines our attitude toward it. We
hope they have a good meeting, and that they deal responsibly
with some of the very large issues that are before the
We may get some indication from that meeting as
to attitudes on questions that will undoubtedly come up before
the next meeting of the General Assembly. But it is too
soon yet for me to comment.
Q Mr. Secretary, yesterday, Prime Minister
Shastri proposed that a delegation be sent to China to try
to dissuade the Peking Government from detonating some kind
of nuclear device. I wonder, sir, if it would be the posi¬
tion of the U. S. Government to support this kind of general
approach to the Chinese, to dissuade them?
A Well, this is a nonaligned conference. And it
is not for me to get in the way of a nonaligned conference
by expressing a view on this matter.
But I do recall that almost all of the members of
this conference now meeting in Cairo have, in times past,
expressed their very great interest in the elimination of
nuclear testing, and, particularly, nuclear testing in the
atmosphere. This has been made clear at the United Nations.
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Their spokesmen at the Geneva Disarmament Conference made
this clear. I think all of them who were there, or
practically all of them who were there, have signed the
Nuclear Test Ban Treaty.
So I would suppose that the prospect of the
resumption of atmospheric testing would be a matter of
deep concern to them. How they would deal with it is for them
Q Mr. Secretary, going back to an earlier
question on Viet-Nam, and forgetting the election date for
a minute: do you foresee a shift in the Administration
policy towards a deeper involvement in the political, mili¬
tary, and economic situation there; of course, assuming that
President; Johnson is reelected?
A Well, it is not for me to try to predict
As I say, on a day by day, and week by week basis,
we make the necessary decisions in consultation with the
South Vietnamese Government that we feel are required by
But, since there are others who are writing the
scenario for the future, I don't want to undertake to be
a prophet here* X do want to make it very clear, however,
that we are not going to pull away from our commitments to
the security of Southeast Asia, and specifically South
Q Mr 0 Secretary, you have seen General
Phoumi Nosovan this week., I wonder if you could tell us
your evaluation of the situation in Laos, after the Paris Con¬
ference and what is going on there now?
A Well, we regretted that the talks, which
have been going on in Paris, have not thus far shown any
determination on the part of the other side to comply with the
Geneva Accords of 1962. As you know, deputies remain in
Paris, and there is a possibility of additional contacts;
and some of the principals are now back in Laos, and they
might have contacts the re.
But our policy continues to be in support of the
Geneva Accords of 1962. It is our very deep conviction
that if all the foreigners would leave the Laotians alone,
they would work out their own affairs without violence,
and there would be no threat to any of their neighbors.
We see no reason why, if there is a modicum of good will
on the other side, that we could not pick up the 1962
Accords and bring about the full implementation of those
Accords, because the underlying policy of those Accords
must leave the Laotians alone so that they oould work out
their own affairs in their own way.
Q Thank you, Mr. Secretary.
A Thank you.