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tv   1966 Fulbright Vietnam Hearings General Maxwell Taylor  CSPAN  February 20, 2016 10:10pm-11:45pm EST

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this is the continuation. in fact, the administration kept used world war ii analogies, trying to make it ,nto a second world war essentially. that was an appealing argument to the united states who had fought in the second world war and believed this was the mission of the united states. it divided parents and children, very much so. even robert mcnamara's own children rebelled against the war at the time. a lot of senators had great arguments when they went home and had dinner with their families. we arelbright: privileged this morning to have as our witness, general maxwell taylor, one of the a list military leaders we have had in his country in many years. his record of this thing were service to the nation goes back nearly 45 years. he was an outstanding combat leader in world war ii and
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throughnd went on progressively more responsible positions to become chief of staff of the army and chairman of the joint chiefs of staff. few men have played such a significant role and the developments leading to our current involvement in vietnam. for the last five years, general taylor has been associated intimately with the making of vietnamese policy decisions. as personal military representative of president kennedy and 1961 and 1962, as chairman of the joint chief of staff, and as our ambassador to south vietnam in 1964 and 1965. he is now special consultant to the president, and accompanied him to the recent conference in honolulu. general taylor, we are very
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pleased to have you. we have had you often before and are very familiar with you. we welcome you to make whatever statement you choose. mr. chairman and gentlemen, i want to thank you mr. chairman and the members of the committee for your willingness to hear my views on the situation in south vietnam. i am afraid they will not be new to many of you since you will have often have heard me express them when i was an official of the government. i agree with the motivating premise -- purpose of these hearings, namely to analyze the reasons why we are in vietnam, the importance of this involvement, and the effectiveness with which we are dealing with the problem. it is my -- if my personal views can clarify these points, i will be most happy to present them. for the purpose of providing a basis for our subsequent discussion, with your permission, mr. chairman, i would like to make a continuous statement which will undertake to answer three basic questions.
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first, what are we doing and south vietnam? secondly, how are we doing it? and finally, can we improve upon what we are doing? a simple statement of what we are doing in south vietnam is to say that we are engaged in a clash of purpose and interest with the militant wing of the coming is movement represented by hanoi, the viet cong. opposing these communist forces stand the government and people of south vietnam, supported states,y by the united but assisted in during degree by some 30 other nations. the purpose of the handling campus perfectly clear, and has been since 1954. it is to absorb the 15 million of south vietnam into a single communist state under the leadership of ho chi minh and his associates in hanoi.
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in the course of a compass and is basic purpose, the coming is leaders expect to undermine the position of the united states and asia and demonstrate the efficacy of the so-called war of liberation as a cheap, safe, this available -- this available -- our purpose is equally clear and easily defined. in his baltimore speech of april 7, 1965, president johnson did so in the following terms. our objective is the independence of south vietnam and its freedom from attack. ,e want nothing for ourselves only that the people of south vietnam be allowed to guide their own country in their own way. this has been our basic objective since 1954. it has been pursued by three successive administrations and remains our basic objective today.
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like the commonest, we have secondary objectives. we intend to show that the war of liberation, far from being cheap, safe and -- is costly, dangers, and doomed to failure. we must destroy the myth of its invincibility in order to protect the independence of many weak nations which are vulnerable targets for subversive aggression, to use the proper term for the war of liberation. we cannot leave while force and violence threaten them. the question has been raised as to whether this clash of interests is really important to us. an easy and incomplete answer would be that it must be important to us since it is considered so important by the other side. made itadership has quite clear that they regard south vietnam as the testing ground for the war of liberation , and after its anticipated success there, it will be widely used about the world. told -- in his interview last
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september, we believe that national liberation wars are just wars, and they will continue as long as there is national oppression by imperialist powers. khrushchev nikita had the following to say. now a word about national liberation war. the armed struggle by the enemies people with the war of the algerian people serve as the latest example of such wars. these are revolutionary wars. such wars are not only admissible, but inevitable. can such wars flare up in the future? they can. the commonest only support -- commonest fully support such wars and march in the front lines of people waiting such a struggle. chief of the in north vietnamese forces has made the following comment, south vietnam as a model of the national liberation movement of
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our times. if the special warfare that the united states imperialist are testing in south vietnam is overcome, then it can be defeated anywhere in the world. the minister of defense of coming as china and a long statement of policy on september 1965 described in detail how utilizen't -- expect to the war of liberation to expand coming is an and latin america, africa, and asia. these testimonials show that apart from the goal of an posing on 15 million south vietnamese, the success of the war of liberation is in itself an important objective of the commonest leadership. on our -- the coming this leadership. on our side, can understand the consequences for us. in 1959t eisenhower stressed the military importance of defending southeast asia in the following terms. , south, strategically
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vietnam's capture by the communist would bring their power several hundred miles into a hitherto free region. the remaining countries of southeast asia would be menaced by a great striking movement. the loss of south vietnam would set in motion a crumbling process, which could as it progresses have grave consequences for the forces of freedom. this view has often been referred to as the domino theory. i person do not believe in such a theory if it means belief and a law of nature which requires the collapse of each neighboring state in an inevitable sequence following a common is victory -- communist victory in south vietnam. i'm impressed with the effects worldwide, not necessarily in areas contiguous to south vietnam, if the war of liberation scores a significant victory there. president kennedy commented on
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this danger with moving eloquence. he said the great battleground for the defense and expansion of freedom today is the southern half of the globe, asia, latin america, africa, and the middle east. the lands of the people who harbor the greatest hope. the enemies of freedom think they can destroy the hopes of newer nations and our aim to do it before the end of this decade. this is a struggle of will and determination, as much as one of force and violence. conquestattle for the of the minds and souls, as much as the conquest of lives in territory. in such a struggle, we cannot fail to take sides. that in quotation from the president. gentlemen, i think the simple answer to the question, what are we doing in south vietnam is to say that for more than a decade we have been taking sides in a cause for which we have a vital stake. was, how arestion
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we doing in the pursuit of our objectives in south vietnam? both sides in the struggle have over the years develop the current strategy -- the current strategies now in confrontation. hanoi4 and 1965, the leadership attended to exploit the political turbulence that follow the fall in 1963. greatly encouraged by the that marks the political scene in saigon, the coming's leadership made a massive effort to press on to victory. needs ofhe growing military manpower, they began infiltration of personnel in the north the enemy's army, first as individual replacements, later as formed tactical units. utilizing this new strength, they intended to make the monsoon offensive of 1965 a major drive for significant military victory. increased thethey
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sabotage directed at the land communications system in south vietnam for the purpose of hampering the distribution of , and thus adding to the economic stress and the south. andorism was stepped up directed towards united states personnel and installations. currently hope to be able to seize and hold politically important localities such as districts and provincial capitals to demoralize the people and government and demonstrate to the united states that we were backing a cause which must inevitably fail. faced with this growing threat government,amese american officials were obliged to develop a counter strategy to block and defeat the intensified efforts of our advances or is that our adversaries. assumed its full form with the critical decision in 1965 to introduce united states ground forces and to
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initiate the bombing campaign against military targets in the north. both of these courses of action had been under consideration sense november 1961 when i presented my report to president committee -- kennedy, following my visit to south vietnam. we did not take either action at that time, but my report contain the following comment with regard to the possible necessity of using air power against the source of the viet cong supported north vietnam. i quote, "while we feel that the program recommended represents those measures which should be taken now, i would not suggest decision ishe hanoi to continue, the irregular war declared on south vietnam in 1959 was -- with continued infiltration and covered support of guerrilla bands and the territory of our allies, we will
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then have to decide whether to accept his legitimate the continued guidance, training, and support of a guerrilla war across international boundaries. can we admit the establishment of the common law that the party and his friends are denied the right to strike the source of the aggression after the fact of that external aggression is clearly established?" quotations. by february 1965, it became clear that we could no longer tolerate this clandestine centuryfrom the immune and north vietnam which serves as the external bays for the viet cong insurgency. -- external bays for the viet cong insurgency. the strategy we are pursuing consist of four components. the first includes the many activities directed at increasing the effectiveness of our ground combat against the viet cong and north vietnamese units and south vietnam. madehis purpose, we have
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the utmost efforts to increase the indigenous forces of south vietnam. always mindful that this is a vietnamese war in which we should do only those things with a vietnamese -- which the viennese cannot do for them self or cannot do in time to avoid defeat. from july 1950 -- 1964, 1965, the, to july armed forces and police of south by somewere increased 120,000 trained men, a very credible effort on the part of the small country where military leadership and administrative experience are inevitably in short supply. as of today, the overall strength and south vietnam is approaching 700,000, the largest military force among all of our allies worldwide. encouraging though the results have been in increasing the vietnamese strength, during the year cited our intelligence
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authorities believe that the viet cong increase their total strength by some 60,000. in other words, we were advancing at a rate of only a little better than two to one in our favor. thee history has shown that government forces successfully opposing a guerrilla insurgency in the past have required a much greater preponderance of onength, 10 to one or 12 to , for example, it was clear the vietnamese cannot raise forces fast enough to keep pace with the growing threat of the viet cong in time. it was this sobering conclusion that led to the decision to introduce ground forces with their unique mobility and massive firepower to compensate for the deficiency in vietnamese strength. available, ite is was felt that the ratios of required strength cited above would lose much of their validity. i am thoroughly aware, mr.
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chairman, of the concern of this committee over the growing requirements for american troops in south vietnam. is this an endless requirement in an open-ended war? i do not believe that anyone can give a completely satisfactory reply to this question, but i can suggest the consideration of several limiting factors which have a bearing on the matter. nott on our side, we are citing as an objective for our ground forces the occupation of all south vietnam or the hunting down of the last armed guerrillas. we are in billet nam to safeguard the people -- we are in vietnam to safeguard the people. ithas little meaning in that supports the people. the control of the population is the true measure of progress, rather than the control of territory. or not doing too badly. senator mansfield estimates in his recent report that the government controls about 60% of
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the population, the viet cong about 22%, leaving 18% contested. when i left saigon last july those figures were 53%, 25%, and 22%. the point i wish to make it is that when we express our military objective in terms of securing a higher portion of the population, the troop requirement loses some of its impression of open ended miss. primethis concept, the target of our united states forces becomes the main line enemy units which constitute the greatest threat to population, not the entire guerrilla force wherever found. another limiting factor is the difficulty of the viet cong support him an increased number of troops in combat. the culmination of air attacks on lines of supply and of increasing ground attacks on their units, which must then consume supplies at an increased
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rate, places some kind of ceiling on the forces they can maintain and south vietnam. i wish i knew exactly where that ceiling is, but our basic date he on viet cong are too uncertain to permit decisions. the point is that there are factors which tend to keep our troop requirements finalized and imitate hanoi's ability to support additional forces in the south. the second component of our strategy relates to the use of air power against military targets and north vietnam. it is well to remind yourselves of the reasons that impelled us to that decision. the first was to give the people of south vietnam the assurance for the first time of imposing a direct penalty on the source of the aggression. sufferedars they have
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the depredations of the viet cong without exacting any price from the country with -- which provided the direction and support. the morale of the people and the armed forces in vietnam received an inestimable lift from the air force is of our countries against military targets in the homeland of the enemy. it is a lift which certainly has contributed to sustaining the will to fight. the second reason for the decision to use air power in so far as it could be effective, to limit and render more difficult the infiltration of men and supplies from north vietnam to south vietnam. it was perfectly clear from the start, as it is clear today, that air power would not be able to stop infiltration. were quite sure however that it could impose a ceiling on the forces that could be sustained in combat in south vietnam. i do not believe that anyone who has reflected on the destruction, of
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ports, rail yards, and similar facilities, and on the effect of limited daylight movement on the roads throughout a large part of vietnam, can avoid the conclusion that the air campaign has had an important effect in slowing down infiltration and in raising its price. was the feverish activity and north vietnam during the bombing pause to repair damage and move transport and daylight. for thed reason decision to use our airpower was to provide a sobering reminder of the leaders in hanoi. that one no for experience there is no it enjoyment from receiving incoming bombs and shells. i have no doubt the message is
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getting through to the leadership in hanoi. is to change the will of the leadership. we hope the failure to win victory on the ground in the -- and it will prevent the -- present the leadership something with so much disinterested will realize they must join with us the ways and means of improving all the lives of vietnam. includes component littleich receives two public attention. not that our leaders have been too unaware of better government, better living conditions, and a better livingent for the people
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in their country. unfortunately, lack of stability for a long time limited the effectiveness of the programs for development and reconstruction. forces, with the growing on the ground and the maturity of the civil livers she -- that therei hope will be much greater progress in bringing the benefits of a normal life to this war. as you know, the recent conference devoted most of its time to a consideration of these nonmilitary activities. if we are to leave a viable country it is essential we make progress even under the conditions of war in stabilizing the government, society, and economy. the fourth component is that which relates to our political and diplomatic efforts.
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so-called peace offensive is so well-known as to require no discussion at this time as is also the discouraging lack of response from the other side. to feel the hanoi leadership is not yet convinced it must mend its ways. perhaps they still hope for military victory in the south. iny are not convinced that some way do united states cannot be detached from support of and they help against that through international or domestic pressure, our government can be forced off course. not forgotten they believe you may be as fortunate in washington and they doubt the will of the american public to continue the conflict in definitely. in a contest of patients, they expect to win even though vietnam, like the south, has
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been constantly at war for 29 years. until it becomes perfectly clear we are going to stay on course regardless of anything they do, i am afraid we will not see them or ifonference table, they come i convinced of the inevitability of a failure of their present course, we can expect them to stall, delay, and ineuver, just as they did korea and elsewhere for over two years. our strategy consists of a complex but coherent package of measures designed to improve the effect of this of our forces on the ground in south vietnam, took lloyd our air superiority inattacking military targets north vietnam, to stabilize the political, social, and economic systems in south vietnam and to seek an honorable and negotiated settlement. is limited to geographical
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scope, as to weapons and force is employed, and as to targets attacked. parts are interrelated. all parts are indispensable. we must be successful on all fronts. is in a verbal pressure at all points directed at the will, ability, and means of the communist aggression. ask, iffair question to this is the best strategy to obtain our objective. i'm the first to concede we can in and must do better in all four categories of efforts. towardappily, progress peaceful negotiation is a -- a fearpresent which can proceed only with cooperation from hanoi and as you know, that cooperation has been withheld so far. having conceded the need and possibility within components of our current strategy, i must add
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newonesty that i know of no strategic proposal which would serve as a better alternative to the one which i have described. that is, provided we do not sacrifice our basic objective. course,e, of alternatives we have always rejected and i hope we will continue to reject. to a straw and give up our basic objective or to widen the war. actionso courses of appear to contravene that our efforts and i shall not take the time and effort to discuss them here. dealing a proposal of which i'm aware is the so-called holding strategy. its least extreme form, calls for a cessation of ,nited states reinforcement limitation of military operations for those necessary for the security of our forces and maintenance of our military
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presence. on several occasions i've express myself in opposition to those actions. to button up our troops in sacrifice of their unique attributes of mobility and andpower would constitute as sign a most inglorious mission to our groups, who for the presence have high morel and complete confidence. this could be disastrous. at a minimum, it would destroy confidence in vietnam and would encourage the timid and wavering to turn to the viet cong for protection and political accommodation. another serious result of such passivity would be the impossibility of obtaining honorable terms at any piece table. economy nests are tough enough to deal with when one has the
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upper hand in hand they would never give us acceptable terms if the military situation reflected weakness on our part and a readiness to withdraw. our alternative would be to except as honorable terms are continue to sit out the war in definitely on a supine defensive. i can hardly see the american longc or this congress supporting such an action. i am obliged to conclude the so-called holding strategy is really not an alternative way of reaching our objective of and freeendent south vietnam from attack. we could never reach it on such a course. a truethan being alternative, it amounts to the modification in the version of our basic objective and appears to be unacceptable. i feel our present strategy is the best that has been suggested and it is important we adhered to it, always striving to improve our performance within the confines of a general
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concept. it is not without risk, but little of this value is accomplished without risk will stop it seems to me the ricks entailed are warranted by the importance of our stake in southeast asia. congress recognized this in august of 1964. "the united states regards as vital to its natural -- national interest in world these the maintenance of peace and ." urity and southeast asia by the words of president johnson, when he said, in regards to our commitment in not beietnam, "we will defeated, we will not grow tired, we will not withdraw either openly or under the cloak agreement." ess >> thank you gen. taylor.
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gen. taylor, before i resume the principal question, there is just one statement you make that puzzled me greatly. on page 12 you said, they have not forgotten that it was one in cong and believe the viet may be as fortunate in washington. what did they win more and paris? weekend growing conflict on the political and homefront, that it had reached the conclusion that the struggle in south vietnam was hopeless and hence they must and it rapidly. you will recall that in france, at the time of the accords, arbitrarily set the date of july outy which they would get
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of the agreement. whereas, military defeat in which the french last 25,000 or 35,000 troops represented only a serious military setback. >> you don't consider it a decisive factor? gen. taylor it tilted the scale of decision but the french and strong military forces which were not involved at all. would be glad to have that information, i was always under aat impression that it was decisive battle and the be at men felt they had -- the vietminh felt they had one. how much after dear been through -- dien ben fu?
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gen. taylor i think it was concurrent. argue about the strategy, i am not capable of arguing the strategy pursuing the war. from my point of view, the validity of our involvement is more important. i think there is no question that if we wish to bring all of canpower to bear we complete the annihilation. as you already pointed out, they are 15 million people and they are very poor people, are they not? there is no industry relation of any consequence. they did not make planes or missiles. i am sure we can completely crush them to dust and rubble of we wish to do so and i would not people havelitary the greatest confidence in their capacity to do this job.
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does worry me as a representative of ordinary civilians in arkansas is whether or not we are justified in pursuing this course. therefore, my mind has been attracted by that part of controversy, as whether or not will to pursue this. i know it is an unpopular way to look at a pay you quote on page the war.word about the armed struggle by the vietnamese people or the war on the algerian people serve as the latest example of such wars. these are revolutionary wars. such wars are not only admissible but an evitable. can such wars develop in the future? they can't. i was reminded, how would you describe the war of 1776? nationala war of liberation, or wasn't it? what kind of war did we fight in the 1776 question mark i would
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you describe it? >> first, i hope my statement has made it clear it is not our objective to crush or destroy north vietnam. we are trying to change the will of the leadership in hanoi. i would like to quote a sentence written 100 25 years before christ, he says, i think very today,in the application it is not the purpose of four to annihilate those who provoke it, but to cause them to mend their ways. i would make this point very strongly. we are trying to make them mend their ways not accept --
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but unless -- senator william fulbright: is it origin of the struggle and effort by the vietnamese people and effort to throw off the domination of the french? gen. taylor it was. -- gen. taylor it was. senator fulbright: wasn't it comely dominated i
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leadership under ho chi minh? of them foughty against the french and were violently anti-french. is making speeches while he is trying to answer your question. ask if he could wait his time, please. >> i would like to hear the answer to your question. toks you have had the time answers you please. you can say it again today. continue, general. theks i was simply making point that any analogy between the nigerian situation in south vietnam is not accurate in my judgment. with regard to 1776, i find great difficulty finding any similarity between the actions. i asked you, how would you characterize the revolution of 1776? ranks as a civil revolution against a colonial power. tracks that is right, and it is
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similar to the vietnamese against the french. >> it is. >> i am china to pursue the origin of this struggle, i realize it has changed considerably. it begin that way and they have succeeded, we think, some of us innk that they succeeded dien ben fu. >> the real reason for collapse of the french was the homefront to instead of the military front in vietnam. >> i do not know what evidence you have for that. it has been the viewpoint that bebeen food was -- that dien -- dien ben fu was a defeat. was it not? baxley battle is important largely as a relates to the home situation. not think it was a
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genuine result against colonial domination and people often fight with a great deal finance. think, if i read it correctly, decided it was a hopeless struggle. fu was one ofen them. if the japanese -- they had mounted a long and costly war. it has cost 2 billion dollars, helping the french maintain their domination of the vietnamese. between 500 -- million and 54? a considerable sum. it is odd that one we revolted against the british, the french helpdesk throw up the british row. change.
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>> roles do change. i do not recall in our history where we ever tried to assist a colonial power to maintain its domination. do you? >> no. but i would like to remind you we are talking up the situation at that time. talking about communist colonialism which is attempting to assert itself. william fulbright: i know that, general and i do not wish to argue with your strategy about what you have now called the enemy. obviously, they have become the enemy. they were not necessarily so in 1946. this is what worries a great many people is the questions today and another hearings whether or not we are justified in the position we have taken here. youe two countries, which now called two countries, north and south vietnam, prior to the
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french in 84, was one country, was in a? loose sense of the word. >> it had been a country for 2000 years. >> not as a nation. during the dark ages and feudal ages, no country was a country as it is today, but it was as much of a country is any of those were. >> they were really two separate states. was a war they had between north and south vietnam, very much, i suppose like our war between north and south here, but we still consider ourselves one country even though he had a war, didn't we? and the more powerful side prevailed. >> we behaves somewhat differently, sir. i am always reminded of the
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events that took place in the north in 1954 when tens of thousands of the north vietnamese who opposed ho chi minh were murdered. that seems to be the pattern of the communist leadership. of killinga way people. there are a lot being killed now. one less question, in your statement, in the u.s. news and world report which i had the opportunity to read, it was published before. i only got your speech this morning. one of the other things about commitment.d is our you state, i quote, first we have the moral stake of our commitment to the people of the vietnam. i say the people, not the government. the government has changed but our obligation is to the people south vietnam. that is the end of your quote. what bothers me, how does the nation go about making a
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commitment to the people of the company as opposed to its government? tracks obviously for political and diplomatic purposes, one deals with the government. i am not suggesting we go around government to deal with people, but as i view it, and this is my personal view, our obligation is these people. sometimes i find gentlemen who discuss the issue try to make a legalistic question out of it. it is a question of the legality of these governments of which we've seen such a long number. make ist i am trying to our obligation is to the people, not the government. >> how do you go about determining what the people want? how do you know what they want? >> i would like to cite a few reasons why i'm convinced the people of south vietnam are to thecommitted anti-communist cause. we can go back to 1954 when a choice was given to every citizen, both north and south whether to go north and state
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north and be a communist under ho chi minh, or to move south or stays up and be in the non-communists after of the country. you will recall roughly a million people came south, bringing nothing but what they could carry in their hands to avoid being in the communist camp. on the other hand, only about 80,000 moved north to choose the side of ho chi minh. i think that is a starting point of the indication of the attitude of the people in south vietnam. since that time, there have been large movements of population. we estimate there have been over 700,000 refugees either fleeing from the viet cong and the possibility of domination and south vietnam, or simply avoiding the hazards of war. it is significant they always come to the government side. we know of no movement to get -- the vietietnam cong front.
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we had an election last may, 1960 five and south vietnam. very interesting. almost never referred to in this country. it was held in almost every preference of south vietnam. the political purpose was not particularly important. .t was to elect counselors the result was quite interesting. of all of those estimated eligible to vote and clearly outside of the areas held by the viet cong, some 70% registered 67% registered and those who registered, 73% voted. that is better than we do and our own country. these significant affect, every man who voted was doing an act of defiance of the viet cong and in many case taking serious
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chances because his name was being put on the reprice a list. things like this comment senator , make me convince the vast majority of the vietnam mise are deeply committed to the anti-communist cause. theow do you recognize statement of general eisenhower that he felt 85% would vote for ho chi minh? >> i would have to find a context in which that was made. i would disagree if it was made today. there was a fear of the elections as set up by the accord. it soon became apparent it would be impossible. >> my time is up. i do not wish to be understood. i do not think they have that kind of choice. the alternatives are pretty bad. i do not think any of them
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would, certainly none of them would end i think fewer of them would. i followed your statement with a great deal of interest. it should serve to clear up some misunderstandings of a great many of people. first, let me ask you an elemental question. who are the viet cong? are, in termsng of military categories, the so-called mainline units who are the hard-core. the tough fighters. then they have both provincial moreocal units that are paramilitary and character than strictly merits military. and then they have a large car journey of military, some 40,000. as racially concerned, the majority, are south vietnam. a large majority.
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or south south vietnamese. particularly those in the mainline units have been taken north and trained in the north and sent south, so that their leadership, regardless of ethnic origin, came out of north vietnam. since the end of 1964, in addition to the viet cong themselves, we have the so-called units of the army of vietnam who were brought in, as i mentioned, first as individuals and later in for an units. so you have them as a very important reinforcement and they are all from north yunnan. >> we hear a good bit from time to time about this being simply a civil war. that we are, in effect, intervening in the internal affairs of their country.
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what would you say about that. gen. taylor i would say that is not the case. : i would say that is not the case. is usedtary arm clandestinely to overthrow and impose the communist rule of the people -- on the people of south vietnam. this applies all come from north vietnam. in other words, they are direct >> y another power in >> in other words they are directed by another power. gen. taylor that is correct. senator john sparkman: does that correspond with our helping out in greece and turkey? gen. taylor: in my judgment, yes.
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senator john sparkman: you feel meeting a communist foe under communist or action, under direction of a foreign government, in the country of which we were bound by our own undertakings to help? gen. taylor that is my opinion, sir. senator john sparkman: we did not sign the agreement, did we? gen. taylor: no. did we john sparkman: make an agreement with the vietnamese government we would help them if they needed help? senator eisenhower -- general eisenhower agreed to help.
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>> is that why we went into vietnam? gen. maxwell taylor: i recall that is the principal document which, in the sense of the starting point to the programs we carried forward. first give we military as assistant's? after thist once agreement in 1950 four. we established a small mission which gradually grew. french eventually, they withdrew and we took over the entire training task of the armed forces. group. was an advisory and, that increased later, did it, to advisors? >> it grew rather substantially
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as a result of my visit in 1961, president kennedy and his government decided to increase the numbers of advisors. not to change the quality of our support but to increase the quantity. i believe it went as high as 17,000. then it was later that we put in sizable units. until 1965 because of the inability to create adequate additional south vietnamese forces to compensate for the added infiltration of the north that we decided to put in our own forces in a combat role. providing their own but not fast enough to match the infiltration from the north? >> that history. the limiting factor is not so much manpower but leadership. tois almost impossible
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create a trained noncommissioned officer corps quickly. so the dearth of leadership has been the barrier. in my text, they have almost 600,000 men now. the paramilitary forces are complete. >> gen. taylor, i notice you do not subscribe to the so-called domino theory but you do admit, do not, that can't mean a success in south vietnam would have a german disinfect on other nations around their? the taylor i do not like domino phrase because it suggests an automatic thing. we may have serious difficulties in africa or latin america, for example. >> in your opinion, can we win in south vietnam? whatsenator, i want to say
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i mean by winning. i think the word when it tends to mean appomattox, yorktown, the signing of a peace treaty on the battleship of the missouri, it does not seem to me to be this situation. to win means to achieve our basic objection, to offer freedom and self determination in south vietnam. i think we can do that, yes. is not aer words, it contest, it is for the purpose of enabling this country, to whom we are bound by agreement, to maintain its own government and freedom. gen. taylor to choose its own government. that is my opinion, sir. you join some of the advocacy of joining enclaves and creating a holding action.
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you see it,, as with that? .> definitely not i think inevitably, if indeed our objective is to get to a couldss -- a table, we never get to the kind of agreement that's what app tamed the agreement type we have been suggesting. recognize military winning alone is not sufficient. we must be successful on the ground to the point of convincing the leadership in hanoi they could not possibly win. in that sense, it is very important and it is also important for nation building. >> i would like to stress our a we have to do well politically, economically, and psychologically. >> do believe we are beginning to move in this field of pacification?
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nonmilitary? beentaylor: we have always able to move in the areas where security was good enough. i have often said, it is often very hard to plant the corn around the stockade when the indians are still around. to our increased military effectiveness is of equal appointments -- equal in importance. to do all these civic actions necessary to support the military program. the increase capability and both of those bills is encouraging. >> that you were ambassador there for quite a long time. a little over one year. you have followed the government of south vietnam. do you believe there has been some growth in the stability of
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the government? >> almost anything would be an improvement over what i saw as ambassador. since this present government is in its six month, it has done better in terms of stability. i think we have missed one , namely the fact this is the first government that is solidly backed by the armed forces and as long as they are behind this government in the present sense, it is not going to be overturned by a -- by a noisy minority, as others have been in the past years. i think there is indication of growing stability in the scene. >> you hear often that government of south vietnam and the action of fighting the viet or doesnot supported
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not have popular support within south vietnam what is your answer to that? gen. taylor: i would agree. because of the war conditions, and are not generally known country.t the saigon historically has always been an unpopular place for the present in the field, that is where the tax collector lives. i don't think the commitment is to the government or the leaders. the prime minister is showing a considerable political sense. he gets out among his people, he has their interests in heart. against the it is viet cong, against communism. they know that is not progress but regression. so they are deeply anti-communist although with no deep devotion to the present government. they simply do not know the government.
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time is up. thank you, mr. chairman. had, oflor, you have course, quite a unique experience in this particular situation we find ourselves in in south vietnam but i would like to get clear in my own mind one or two things. momentars to be at the and i am suggesting this to see what your comment is, it appears to be at the moment or have been two types of procedure in south vietnam in which we have become involved. leaving out the fact that we did contribute a great amount of money to the french in an attempt to bolster them and whatever activity they had through -- tn been
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priority. a great deal of the failure of the french in south vietnam came as a result of the internal confusion back in france and the idea that their forces were not being supported. it led that they did not construct any man for service in south vietnam only use volunteers and eventually they dried up on the vine so far as .he back home support went do you have anything to say to that? gen. taylor: i think that was a factor. senator hickenlooper: following the withdrawal of the french, we undertook to give aid to south vietnam. during that. limited, wasn't not too technical aid and then
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some military advisory aid? economicor we had and program and a military program. the economic program has always been greater than the military aid if you do not include the operational course costs of the last year. senator hickenlooper: we hear so much that this active military ation in south vietnam is continuing action since about 1954. 1960,il and including let's say at the end of the eisenhower administration, we had about 750 military personnel in south vietnam, did we not? gen. taylor: it was very small. something like that. hickenlooper: it was
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close to that either way. it were devoted to giving training program advice to the vietnamese troops. gen. taylor that is true. that is when the french was still there. senator hickenlooper: did we have any agreement with the south vietnamese up until that time that we would put in active conduct a wars to all along with them? gen. taylor: no, sir. we made no such commitment. senator hickenlooper: when was the commitment made for us to actively participate in the military operations of the war as american personnel? gen. taylor: insofar as combat forces, that took place in spring of 1965.
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in the air we had been participating more actively. senator hickenlooper: i wanted to fix this in time because we hear so much that this is only the carrying out of a commitment we made in 1954 and that our troops are there is a follow-up on that commitment. i have not agreed with that theory. [indiscernible] senator hickenlooper: with regard to the situation we're in now, i've asked this before but i would like to put it to you. in my view, it seems we have
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three broad courses of action that may have some ramification. one would be to withdraw. theother would be to follow strong point security and defense in a limited area and just sit there and told that strong point and hope they would at us. mortar shells they would not get close enough. the third is to increase or continue the active destruction of military targets, which go to the north vietnamese and viet cong's ability to carry on war. would you say those are the three general courses open to us? gen. taylor i mentioned a fourth, the unlimited use of our era against vietnam and china.
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senator hickenlooper: i would consider the fourth as part of the third. gen. taylor it is so different, it should be a separate category. senator hickenlooper: maybe. but in my philosophy, if you get into a hassle of this kind you want to win. do you think, speculating, if we , withdrew our forces and our support and said, let's go to the conference table, do think the north vietnamese would come to the conference table? taylor: it is hard to say. it would win anyway and i do not think they could win anymore at eight conference table. we would be sunk, of course. hickenlooper: the history of struggles between peoples, do you know of any great number of instances where a nation that believes in
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at least holding its own in the struggle or perhaps winning is willing to come to a conference table and make a lot of concessions that are against their interests? taylor: all settlements simply record the assumed balance of power at the moment. so obviously, no one should go to a conference table from a week position unless they are ready to come out with a week result. no other choice. senator hickenlooper: does it appear to the viet cong and north vietnamese are in that state of mind at the present time? gen. taylor: i do not think they have been convinced at that they are about to lose. senator hickenlooper: we have a bombing ofin the countries. gen. taylor 37.
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hickenlooper: 37 days. do you think much is accomplished there to enable the viet cong to rehabilitate themselves in the field and get in supplies and repair their damaged so that they can return to the fray with greater vigor? taylor: i was for the positive. i was asked my opinion i said it was well worth a try. days orwas worth 37 not, is a matter of judgment. certainly, a substantial positive clearly ample to send out the opinion on the other side. clearly ample to the conference -- confrontations made was a good thing. senator hickenlooper: do you believe there was some kind of price paid to allow the other people to repair damage, build up stuck? >> i think all of those things
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could be remedied if our neck from here on out shows leadership in hanoi we are committed unalterably to our course of action into our going to stay on it till they mend their ways. racks i think you said earlier -- >> i think you said earlier this is nothing new. -- atave been added for it for 20 years. they have become acclimated to 20 years of fighting. do think it is going to matter? aren't they used to it now? gen. taylor senator, if you were betting on a prizefight, would you been on the man who was starting his first round or his second -- 20th round? one never gets used to war.
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the first shell is exciting and almost interesting, but the 1000th shell is dull and almost uninteresting. senator hickenlooper: i think that is true but they have had this existence, through which they have apparently accustom themselves, and they seem to get along. subsistence is there and unless they are hurt worse, then they are apparently being hurt now, i wonder if they would not say, we have in jordan it for this long weekend and/or at for another 10 years. gen. taylor they have either been fighting the japanese, the french, or feeding the war. north vietnam has not been touched in the last 11 years. this is something new. the homeland is paying a direct price, which was not true before said this is indeed, new.
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hickenlooper: an article in this morning's paper by a by the name of warner theerger, in which he says vice president of the national maritime union in the united states has been to vietnam and makes a flat statement that 40% of all cargo and about 30's -- 36% of all px supplies unloaded in vietnam ports wind up in the hands of the guerrillas. gen. taylor i would not know if that is correct or not, senator. i doubt if he has access to that information. hickenlooper: i would wonder if that is an extravagant statement or has a measure of truth. i amtatement is, and
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quoting this article, he said, notof all cargo -- does qualified as eddie type of cargo -- 40% of all cargo and about px supplies unloaded in vietnamese ports wind up in the hands of the guerrillas. i have never seen any data which would suggest precise knowledge of that sort. -- gen. taylor i have never seen any data which would suggest precise knowledge of that source. >> we understand that an honest objective of our participation is common to i believe, south vietnamese, not only for their own interests but were general the country and so on, is to have free elections.
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enoughy are going to use that to convince the north it is unprofitable. right there is where the confusion arises in the minds of the american people because it is a nebulous or considered by many people as a nebulous objective. defined.ell certainly the freedom and self-determination of south vietnam as something. the ability for free elections and political abilities is of us do nott most know whether we are going to step this thing up to the point where it really hurts them,
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really takes out their will to fight, really convinces them it is a futile things for the north to continue this adventure or not a end i think that is where we run into a lot of confusion and misinterpretation. gen. taylor: i do not think there could be any doubt about our objective, namely to allow these people to choose their own government and way of life. discussions of ways and means and tactics and strategy can become and has become very highly complex. this results in part from the nature of the war. i have often had occasion to say there is not one situation there, there is 44 situations their corresponding to the 44 colonies. a true statement about province a may be misleading about province the. these factors of added to the difficulty in making clear exactly what is taking place. senator hickenlooper: thank you, my time is up.
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>> priority to dian been through, were the french people dien ben fu,ess -- were the french people growing restless? gen. taylor: yes. [indiscernible] gen. taylor: i think that is true, sir. >> a end, he was elected and interpreted as a mandate and went to the geneva accords fu and joined ben and negotiated those accords.
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carrying out when he considered to be a mandate the french people gave him. using that as a fair observation on my part? gen. taylor: i do not recall if he had a clear majority are not paid as you said, he took office with the intent of doing this and he made it more difficult by axing a date. that's virtually sold out any chance of getting a reasonable settlement from the point of the non-communist vietnamese. ofyou know, when the people a country demonstrate in opposition to the foreign policy of that country, and make clear, as i think they did that they wanted the indochina war stopped , do you interpret that as a weakness on the home front? gen. taylor: the question as i understand it is if indeed there
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was a clear majority indication of the french people, whether i should call that a week is something home. a weakness, if one attaches asia, ite to southeast is certainly legitimate and could change the power of their government. engaged in an historic debate in this country. i happen to hold the point of view that it is not going to be too long before the american repudiate our war and southeast asia. gen. taylor: that of course is good news to hanoi, senator. the words you give those of us who have those opinions, but i do not intend to get down in the gutter with you and engage in that debate. i am saying the president of the united states is already moving the people of this country by the millions in connection with
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this war in southeast asia. all i am asking is, if the people decide this war should be stopped and southeast asia, are you going to take the position that is a weakness on our democracy? our taylor: i would feel people did not understand the consequences of such a disaster. that they have been misguided for a long time in this war. [applause] >> it is a violation to demonstrate. please remain silent. >> the final declaration in the 1954, conference in before i do that i want to point out general eisenhower, on august 17, has reported, and i think accurately in the press, and i will read what it says.
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although there is a feeling strongly at a news conference, mr. eisenhower denied he had ever given the unit -- the unilateral government camp commitment to the government of south vietnam and the government saw no such commitment in 1954 and they were offering aid, not military programs. later when asked, mr. eisenhower , i don't have time to get into the letter but i want to get into it, he said we would help that country at we were not talking about military programs or foreign aid. our original program was not military aid to a foreign aid program. gen. taylor: in 1954, we had no vision about what we were about to face. a clandestine i digress should direct it out of hanoi, so there was no commitment made to cover that contingent because we did not see it.
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the program and initiated was not just aid but had a military factor in it which sent -- senator hickenlooper mentioned. >> let me thank you for the declaration and geneva. the cessation of hostility in vietnam prohibiting the introduction into vietnam of foreign and military personnel as well as all kinds of arms and munitions. do you think our subsequent aid was in violation of that? do you think our subsequent military aid was in violation of that section of the declaration? was never a there cessation of hostilities to begin with. behindth vietnamese left men and ammunition. they proceeded almost at once to re-infiltrate our men from north vietnam so i would say the whole
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provision was never effective. >> but the signatories for the treaties said so. gen. taylor: they did not know what was going to take place. the was not dry before the north vietnamese was violating it. do take america's position that a course of action was justified? you have not heard france or the other signatories to the treaties take the position our course of action is contrary to these sections? general taylor: their ox is not being gored. ours is. it was not our treaty. let me remind our listeners that the south vietnamese leaders present at the time denounced the treaty in advance and
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indicated, i think with personal capacity that the other side would never appear for the provisions, which were actually signed. but i want to move over to these articles of declaration. number five says it takes note of the agreement of hostilities that no military phase under the control of any military state may be established. the two parties would have the obligation to see that this shall not constitute part of any military alliance and should not be utilized for the presumption of hostilities or aggressive policies. this was established in south vietnam and that military forces should be put in there, are the consummate with that
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declaration? gen. taylor: by the time we put in any forces, the entire geneva accord had been nullified by the actions of north vietnam. >> i will take you to -- i will takely you to paragraph six, respectfully. purposes of the agreement dedicated to vietnam is the villa terry questions of the view of ending hostility and it the military demarcation line is provisional and should not in any way be interpreted as constituting a political or territorial boundary. the conference expresses its the agreementat and the cessation of hostilities creates the necessary agreement in the future of a political settlement in vietnam. is thathink our support
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we had much to do in setting up in the first place in violation of the first paragraph of this declaration? no, sir, i do not, and i think that many people still hope for the day when agreement will happen. it was clearly impossible after the action in hanoi that petitioned for a long perio of timed. the says that as far as vietnam is concerned, the basis of respect on the principles of independence shall permit the vietnamese people to enjoy the fundamental freedoms guaranteed by democratic institutions, established as a result of free, general elections by secret ballot, in order to ensure progress and the restoration of peace has been made. all of the necessary convictions obtained, and general elections
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and shall be held in july 1956 of anthe supervision international commission composed of representatives of members of the member states of supervisoryional commission. consultations will be held on this subject between the competent representative 20, 1955.s of july , theat true, general united states proposed those elections so that any other elections would be held under the united nations, contrary to what the committee called for? immediately after 1954, senator, as you well know, it became entirely clear that there would be no such thing as the international supervision of elections. commissiontional could not circulate freely in vietnam, a police state have
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informed by the end of 1955 -- had been formed by the end of 1955. furthermore, the south vietnamese people, the other half of this agreement, never signed it and said from the outset that they would not sign it. was a 19th parallel demarcation of the zones, and this was under a french order of repair. it was contemplated that there should be nothing but two zones, and it was the united states that proceeded to set up this first government in clear violation of the tweet -- of the treaty. if it is going that way, it is all right, but it is wrong if it is coming from the north of the south. gen. taylor: these elections could have been held -- >> i don't think there is any
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doubt about it, i think if canada and poland would have supervise those elections, they would have been set up and we could have tried it. we could have had a case. but the fact is, history will record that my country and yours stopped the those elections and it is a black mark on our history. tens of thousands of vietnamese had been murdered and there was absolutely nothing to control the situation at the time. is no question about the conduct of the communists and that they have been despicable and shocking, and at the time we will also discuss the atrocities of the selfie enemies. gen. taylor: would you force communism on those people? >> i have said so many times over the years that this thing -- been so badly hung gold d.dly bungle
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the united states has set itself up as the police officer in asia. senator, your time is up. >> if the witness would like to respond to this? >> not in my lifetime. >> quite all right if he would like to respond. >> that is the primary peacekeeping objective of the security council section of the charter and i wouldn't be working behind the scene here if you were trying to stop the flow of debate. i would get this debate off of the floor. gen. taylor: as you know, senator, the communist world resolutely refuses to have anything to do with the united nations. . the united nations doesn't apply only to members. have three or four
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questions, and i hope they are constructive questions and i hope we get constructive answers. the first question is, general, do you think france would have won the war if not for the weakening will in paris as you referred to in your statement? gen. taylor: i doubt it, senator, i doubt it. i think colonial is a was doomed in self vietnam but i think it could have lasted longer and under better terms. andrance continue to fight iny felt that if they gave in north vietnam, that this one was put to me, a north african colonists will also be demanding their independence -- col onist will also be demanding their independence, and in fact they have. i think that is
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probably true. if that is an argument about colonialism, then it is not a comment about selfie and on. isn't japan a stronger nation today since she got out of the mire of trying to control much of the asian mainland? actually, of course, this is just an attempt to maintain colonial power, which they were not able to do. >> i think that is the example of biting off more than you can chew. this is one of those situations where you should stop biting. gen. taylor: i do not think we have bitten off more than we can chew in southeast asia. >> when did you go to saigon as ambassador? gen. taylor: i went in july of 1964. before -- >> did you go in 1962?
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gen. taylor: i believe so. had athat time, kennedy request for 6000 troops to be sent to south vietnam. recall, ir: i don't went to saigon at the head of the interdepartmental commission andctober of 1961, throughout its recommendation, went back, but i don't all about a block of 6000. there was a level of about 17,000 american personnel that resulted from the recommendations that i made. >> was it considered at that 6000,hat this body of roughly 6000 troops, would be followed by a request for more and more troops? gen. taylor: no, we would report
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those jobs that needed to be done in south vietnam. we frankly did not know what the personnel requirement would be, and only by trial and error, we figured it out after about two years. >> you don't recall of that time that it was considered recruiting and equipping more south vietnamese troops rather than sending our own in? every effort was made to increase the troops in selfie and him. >> -- troops in south vietnam. >> do you think you can see farther ahead now then you could than you coluld then? gen. taylor: obviously, we don't have final answers. not a reallyobably
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fair question anyway. novice can see really far ahead, i'm sure about that. i know that i ought to know better than to quote one general to another, but nevertheless, general gavin told us that he thought it was proper to make the troops consistent with the military numbers. bet kind of settlement may possible? gen. taylor: what is the question, senator? gavin was talking about the truth of the military means, and i guess that making the best deal that we can after considering all aspects of the situation? gen. taylor: i guess i don't
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understand. >> you touch on this on page 14 in your statement and it the time toat negotiate is after we had defeated them. say taylor: i wouldn't defeat, because again, we are not thinking about appomattox or something of the sort, and it is quite clear that their course of action is a losing one and they can profit by this course of action. >> in other words, we really have to put them in a mood to negotiate before we attempt to negotiate with them. gen. taylor: this is true and i think that is true of all military competitions in history. >> that is consistent with president johnson's position that he will negotiate with anywhere, anytime, and go anywhere to conduct these negotiations. it seems to me that your position is somewhat cross purposeful against the
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president. gen. taylor: no sir, i don't detect that. >> evidently coming he doesn't think so, either, or he wouldn't be looking to you for device -- evidently, he doesn't think so, either, or he wouldn't be looking to you for advice. 1966 vietname hearings, each week here on c-span3, and you can watch them on saturday at 10:00 p.m. eastern and on sunday at 4:00 p.m. eastern only on c-span3. announcer: each week until the 2016 election, road to the white house rewind brings coverage of the presidential elections. weekend, a south carolina republican primary debate between texas governor george w. bush, john mccain, and alan keyes. here is a preview. right, governor,
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what do you make about all of these past challenges from the well --mr. bush: senator? well, we shall cans and unfortunately, he ran an ad that equated need to bill clinton and he trust and -- and he questioned my trustworthiness. i am saying that you can debate issues, but whatever you do, don't debate my integrity and .rustworthiness to bill clinton that is about as low a blow that you can give in the republican party. larry king: and that is what you got mad about to fight back. mr. bush: i stand by my ads. when i say i'm spending all my surplus on the tax cuts, and he says that is not true, i'm going to define what reality is.


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