Vietnam War - 1967 -

War in Vietnam - Falling further down the rabbit hole.

Vietnam War - 1967 -
War in Vietnam – Falling further down the rabbit hole.
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As 1966 turned into 1967 the war in Vietnam, initially considered a quick-in/quick-out military action, was turning into something considerably more complicated and protracted. With assessments coming from The Pentagon that this war could drag on for at least another 10 years was a sobering concept, which few were willing to completely sign on to. Yes, there were still Hawks; in fact the pitch for a stepped-up War in Vietnam was growing louder, but then so were the equally loud voices calling for our withdrawal and getting out of Vietnam.

And the Sunday news interview and talk programs were increasingly turning over to issues concerning the war and its consequences. This episode of CBS Radio/TV’s Face The Nation program featured no less than vice-President Hubert Humphrey, selling the White House position on the war to a panel of CBS correspondents and hopefully to the American people:

Face The Nation – February 22, 1967 with vice-President Hubert Humphrey:

MARTIN AGRONSKY: MR. Vice President, you make
it clear you foresee a long war in Vietnam. Do
you think that the current turmoil in Communist
China presents us opportunities to shorten the

THE VICE PRESIDENT: Mr. Agronsky, it
is very difficult for those of us in this country
looking at the scene in China through whatever
we have to really know what is going on.
The most ·that we know is the fragmentary reports
that come from Hong Kong or from Tokyo . To get a
clear picture of what is going on in China today is
almost an impossibility for us. Despite all the
efforts that are made through many sources . . .intelligence
sources. ·There is no doubt but what a great
struggle is under way in China~ We know that~
Undoubtedly that — or possibly that struggle was
precipitated over a fundamental argument on policy
as well as. may I say “party control”. When you
have a one-party system it does not mean that there
is no rivalry within the party, as we have seen
in every Communist country. Bitter rivalries
rise within the political structure.
As to your question, I do not believe i:hat
the present struggle in China will at least in
the immediate future affect Vietnam one way or
another. It may have this effect if the leaders
in Hanoi are willing to permit it to happen namely ,
to give Hanoi a little more independence of action
than it has had in the past. I would hope that
the effect might well. be that the Soviet Union
could use some of its good offices : if it so desires
to bring Hanoi to the conference table so that we
could begin, at least have the beginnings of negotiations
towards peace.
MR. RESTON: Let’s assume this is wrong.
Supposing peace were to break out.. Are we ready?
THE VICE PRESIDENT: Well if this is the most
serious problem Mr. Reston~ that will confront
this Nation I will be perfectly grateful. I hope
that we are always ready for peace. I think I
understand the thrust of your question~ namely
what would happen to our economy; have we really thought
through kind of a peace we want; what are we willing
to settle for in Vietnam.. We have given a great deal
of thought to these matters. The most important
thing is to got the beginnings of a dialogue or
a conversation that leads to peace. And how
that takes place is not as important as the fact
that it does take place. It could begin with
very quiet obscure diplomacy. It could take place
in the confines of the United Nations or the
International Control Commission or through some
helpful third party. But our position must be
unequivocally clear in the world today namely that
we are prepared to follow any honorable route to
peace and to use any reasonable forum for the attainment
of discussions that lead to peace.”

No easy solution, and more complicated as the days went by. In contrast to what became a very vocal movement against the war, the voices in favor of it were just as prevalent, though maybe not as visible as they became in retrospect. Remember, in 1967 the majority of Americans were in favor of the war, even as that support was waning. Here is that Face The Nation episode featuring vice-President Hubert Humphrey from February 22, 1967 as a reminder.

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