October 16, 1966 – “Military Progress In The Past Twelve Months Has Exceeded Our Expectations”: Robert McNamara
October 16, 1966 – the end of another week of Politics and War. If you were to consult Defense Secretary Robert McNamara, the word was upbeat; the Americans were making significant headway in preventing the North Vietnamese from taking over South Vietnam. Back in Washington, after another fact-finding mission, McNamara was asked how he felt it was going, to which he shot back “Military Progress in the Past twelve months has exceeded our expectations”. According to Defense Department reports, and the weekly casualty counts – the Vietnamese were losing a much higher percentage of troops than the Americans were. Evidence of heavy fighting was apparent in stepped-up Air Raids over Vietnam and it was the continued U.S.strategy to use enough force to achieve the essential purpose of deterring or repelling aggression, and according to Secretary Of State Dean Rusk, that was sufficient enough and the best hope to reach a reliable peace. American military power was stunningly in evidence all over Vietnam, as were the increased presence of body bags. Secretary McNamara reported the upbeat findings from his latest trip to President Johnson. For his part, Johnson provided this upbeat assessment to British Foreign Secretary Sir George Brown at a time when the British were calling on the Russians to join Britain in re-opening the Geneva Conference on Vietnam. The Russians weren’t interested in taking part, at least publicly. Later on in the week, Johnson held a meeting with Soviet Foreign Minister André Gromyko, and Gromyko offered Johnson his private views on the situation. He emerged with an assessment of his talks with Gromyko, saying he was looking forward to the possibilities of the Soviet Leadership coming to the U.S. for a visit. – Vietnam was curiously left out of the statement.
But there was much-much more going on this week, which ended October 16th 1966. And ABC Radio’s Voices In The Headlines runs it down for you.