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tv   U.S. Diplomacy and Counterinsurgency Policy in Vietnam  CSPAN  May 14, 2017 6:30pm-7:46pm EDT

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we look forward to having you here and having you look through some of the exciting objects in our exhibition and learning more about the american experience, the human story, indeed a shared history. thank you. [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2017] [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit] >> next on american history tv, .teve young, a former advisor he talks about how the conflict in southeast asia evolved over time. contrastsalso president johnson's policies with those of his successor, richard nixon. the humphrey school of public affairs at the university of minnesota in minneapolis posted this hour and 15 minute event. >> good afternoon, welcome.
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is also a joint meeting of the class. my seminar is to take part right now which is called government ethics and public will. mentioned so many things that i will not try to repeat that a major focus seems office but it is the -- obvious but it is the role of the president of united states of shaping domestic and international issues. mya faculty member, one of jobs is to wean people away from an undue admiration of certainty. we will be paying a lot of
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attention to defense that took place 50 years ago. the summer we will have a heightened sense of what it will in the united states 50 years ago. lyndon johnson at the time -- some of you may look up the collage when this museum was designed, it was an effort to try to recapture images of the collages were important. 1960's. you notice, vice president humphrey and president johnson sitting there, it -- a map of vietnam is dividing them. it is no accident that this took voice. president johnson at the time that he ordered ground troops into vietnam in a combat role was well aware that 20 years before, harry truman had ordered two nuclear bombs in japan. 50 years prior, woodrow wilson had gone almost exactly 100
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years ago today minus five days on april 2 of 1917 come here to go before a joint session of congress asking for a joint declaration of war in korea and germany. this was a president who had run in 1912 and 1916, staying out of these kinds of conflicts. i think we are absolutely certain the president johnson was aware of all these things. bob mentioned -- my final point would be, as time goes on, new information comes to mind. those of us who have had the privilege of working in the archives of the minnesota historical society or other libraries know how exciting it is to pick up a piece of paper that you knew the secretary of defense had his hands on at the time. a note that had gone to a scratchy senator from minnesota
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named eugene joseph mccarthy about whether he would run for president or not. it is a very eerie moment. it brings history alive. our talk today is about that, about revisiting these living periods in history. perhaps we will come away less certain about things. for that i introduce steve young, who was the director of a co-round table. he was the former dean of the hamlin law school in minnesota. he was a dean at harvard law. he has been active in politics of the state and nation for quite a while. he is one of minnesota's -- the nation's foremost experts on asian issues. his father was ambassador to thailand in the kennedy administration, he spent a good deal of his youth in thailand. goes back there every other week. i would say welcome to steve. [applause] >> thank you very much.
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thank you, bob, and thanks to the humphrey institute, not only for this seminar, but for all that it does. i would like to tell you briefly a little bit about myself. to set the context for what i will reveal. men -- and then i want to tell you a story about lyndon johnson, and how he personally set a different strategy for the war in vietnam in december 1966, which was implemented in march and april 1967, if the years ago. then after telling you that story, i want to do a historian's tab of coming up with background and documentation. first of all, i have had a long and checkered history with vietnam. i began learning about vietnam
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inn i was nine years old 1954, because my father, kenneth e young, was at the geneva conference settling both the war in korea and between the vietnam and french and indochina. he came back from the geneva conference, he was put in charge of southeast asian affairs, where he was until 1958. our dinner table conversation often was about vietnam and southeast asia. i remember conversations with dad and people on his staff, richard burns, tom corcoran, the vietnamese cambodian lau ambassadors were guests at our house. i grew up with that. as i was concluding college, i volunteered for working usaid in 1966. by the time it showed up in 1967, a new organization had
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, civileated called cords operations revolutionary development support, which is the result about what i look to you about a lyndon johnson in a view minutes. i had one year of language training and i went to vietnam. i was a deputy district advisor for about four months. in february of 1969, i was moved down to another district. in july of 1969, bill colby, then the head of cork, leader of the cia, pulled me out of the field and took me up to saigon and give me a bureaucrats job to coordinate the u.s. government and the south vietnamese government and decentralizing power to all the villages in vietnam. during that experience, i learned a lot, came back, went to law school. in my year of language training i learned to speak and read
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vietnamese, which i can still do so-so. then i became more of an academic, if you will. after 1975 i was able to convince the ford foundation to fund a project at harvard law school for the english translation of the vietnamese the lei dynasty in 1433. when i left wall street to go back to the harvard law school, i only wanted to be assistant dean part-time. i got the money to do halftime working both the straight solution. with my friend and colleague, this book later published that yell, is about human rights in china and vietnam. subsequently -- i have a review article will appropriately privileges's lay dynasty, 1428-1788. i did an article, westmoreland
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versus cbs and the order of battle controversy for parameters. in the interim, our ambassador from 1967-1973 asked me to help him with his memoirs. i have another grant to do another study. interviewed him for several months every day in his vermont place, read all of this secret cables get sent to president johnson and nixon and other stuff. a lot of that work will be published by hamilton books in a couple months. in a study of the courts and pacification in vietnam, which flows from the story i will tell you. more recently, 2012 i think, penguin asked my wife and myself to translate this novel. they poorly translated into, the zenith.
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this is a novel, but it reveals ho chi minh in a way that nobody has ever known. it is true, but nobody knows about it. it is the 1958 rape and murder of ho chi minh's wife by the minister security. i throw that out there just is a little tease that there is still in 2017 many, many things about the vietnamese that we just don't know in the west. also, i think there may be things about our own people will we may not know that much about. i would like to tell you the story. ellsworth asked me to help him write his memoirs. i started off getting to know his background. then i asked him a question. didid mr. ambassador, why president johnson send you to saigon as ambassador. that's easy, dominican republic.
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i started, how many of you remember the dominican republic in 1965? two professors. bunker could see i was puzzled. he smiled. please understand, johnson over committed himself to the dominican republic. i got him out. troops wentican home, and he remembered. then it clicked. i have known something about what happened after bunker had an appointed. you may remember in the spring of 1965, there was a political controversy in the dominican republic. the military was split in the two groups, a conservative and left leaning group. the left-leaning group had pulled a coup. the conservative group is organizing the fight back. castro apparently was ready to bounce, johnson ended up with 42,000 american troops in the dominican republic in the space of a couple of months.
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how do you get them out? you stabilize the situation -- anyway. bunker was there as the ambassador of the organization of american states. he worked on a strategy to create a coalition among different sections of dominicans to come together for an election. they elected the president, there was peace, no shooting, no violence, all american forces went home. in the week in march, roughly march 7, 1967, johnson called bunker in -- and was told about this, i'm warning you that johnson will ask you to go to vietnam. ellsworth was surprised conceded -- was surprised because he had not seen this coming. to my knowledge this conversation was never recorded. johnson has never told anybody about it as far as i know. bunker has never told anybody about it, he didn't tell his wife carol, his kids. he told me. president johnson has passed away. ellsworth bunker has passed away. i have yet to pass away, but i
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can pass on the story. ellsworth is sitting there with johnson, johnson says, i want you to go to saigon and i want you to turn the war over to the south vietnamese so we can withdraw our troops. he says, lyndon baines johnson, if you remember the vitriol and stereotyping of johnson about a man committed to bombing and search and destroy and escalation, here in march of 1967, sending an ambassador to prepare the way for the withdrawal of american troops. by turning the war over to the south vietnamese. bunker went out -- i want to -- i won't tell you the whole story. it will take too much time. he went out and basically did that. how did this happen? why would johnson have made this decision? let me point out that this decision was made by lyndon baines johnson himself. i will tell you more about it as
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we go through it. it was a personal decision by the president of the united states to set a strategic direction for the american participation in the war, and he was going against his secretary of defense, robert mcnamara, the joint chiefs of staff, and he did not consult the cia or the state department. he never talked about it in public. the track record and documents in the humphrey library -- thanks to professor stone i was able to go there and find stuff, which has been overlooked by scholars for many years, just sitting there in the files, which show you the steps of the story. let me go back and try to set a historical context of the vietnam war coming down to the fall of 1966. as you know, the french colonized indochina in the 19th century. during world war ii, towards the end, the japanese were occupying
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indochina. they overthrew the french governing authority. they placed the french military in containment camps and created a vietnamese government, and nationalist government. please pay attention to the word nationalism, i want to talk about this a lot. they failed to do two things, the japanese. one, they did not give this government an army. you had an independent vietnam with its own government and no army. secondly, there was a special vietnamese political leader who nobody's ever heard of. he is a descendent of the first king of the dynasty who came to power in 1802. he was a nationalist, anti-french, in exile in japan. had the japanese brought him back in the waning months of world war ii to be the leader of vietnam, history would have been completely different. they didn't do that. the japanese then lose the war.
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british troops come back to south vietnam, chinese troops come to north vietnam, and there is a free-for-all among to who will create the government, who will have the power. in early september, ho chi minh and others staged a leninist -- in hanoi.a way they proclaim themselves an independent. that night i will get so much of it is fair or in here which we americans don't know enough about. that night, members of two political groups of the vietnamese nationalist side, they met to say what are we going to do about the communist the enemy skies that they set up the government? some men in the room wanted to
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fight. the leader said, we will not do that. good vietnamese do not shed the blood of other vietnamese. they didn't strike back at communist. to halfine months, 1/3 of the men in that room had been killed by communists. on september 9, 1945, the official gazette of the vietnamese government issued this order. i will read it to you and vietnamese than english. [speaking vietnamese] this dissolves the two parties
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. this is seven days after the vietnamese have taken power. if these two parties continue to me didn't operate, those individual violators of the law will be brought before the court for serious punishment. the ministers of interior defense and justice will implement this order, signed minister of the interior. that's within seven days of taking power. the communists have already outlawed two principal nationalist forces. in december, military units attack in the northern part of vietnam. ho chi minh and the vietnam need an ally.
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in march of 1946 they make a deal with the french. they bring the french back to vietnam. ho chi minh agrees to have the french army returned to central and north vietnam. in return, the french conclude that ho chi minh is the leader of the vietnamese people. ho chi minh was created as a vietnamese leader by the colonialists. they set him up. over the next six months their negotiations between ho and the french for an independent vietnam within the french union, while vietnam military units and french police are liquidating the nationalists. by the end of 1946, with a nationalist opposition liquidated or intimidated, the two parties start fighting each other. vietnam as the communists, the french as colonials. a fight basically to a stalemate in 1954.
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along the way, which is overlooked, a friend of mine in france, a professor found this document and the french colonial archives, this is the order for the execution of a man who founded a religion. this is a report to the north that he has been executed. communists, many people believe, who started the civil war by suppressing and liquidating the nationalists. the war ends in stalemate in 1954. the french cannot prevail and the vietnam can prevail either. the conference is called in geneva to work out some sort of way for allowing the french to exit. there's a new french government, strong, socialist, he does want -- does not want to continue fighting. china suggests a deal. the deal is to divide vietnam in two with the communists having control over the north, french and their supporters having control of the south. the americans don't like this, but the french have already agreed separately with chinese to do this.
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vietnamese nationalists feel betrayed. the deal is done. so-called geneva accords are publicized but nobody ever signed them. the people can relocate. non-communists in north vietnam can come south. vietnamese in the south can go north. a new government is set up in south vietnam. that's technically the old french union government, but the new prime minister. the question in the fall of 1954 is what are the americans going to do? these are the south vietnam was cambodian southeast asia. one of the things we set up in support of his strategy come aceto, the equivalent of nato in southeast asia. looking to create containment against the mao in china. a decision was made to support the south vietnamese government.
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this was affirmed by a letter from president eisenhower in october, 1954. my father wrote the letter, ok? there is a paragraph in here you want to submit to you and all americans, fundamental in explaining the morality and efficacy of our effort in , which paragraph has been overlooked as far as i can tell by every scholar and commentator. i read. the purpose of this offer is to assist the government of vietnam in developing and maintaining a strong, viable state capable of resisting attempted subversion or aggression through military means. the government of the united states expects that this aid will be met by performance on the part of the government of vietnam in undertaking needed reforms. it hopes that such aid combined
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with your own continuing efforts will contribute effectively towards an independent vietnam endowed with a strong government. such a government would, i hope, be so responsive to the nationalist aspirations of its people, so enlightened and purpose and effective in performance that it will be respected both at home and abroad, and discourage any who might oppose a foreign ideology on your free people. we committed ourselves to south vietnam. 1959, the power had shifted away from ho chi mihn. the new leader pushed through a program of taking over south vietnam by force. this was a resolution in 1959,
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setting up group 555, opening of the infiltration trail through laos, and group 779, which was infiltrating people via the sea. they then began to shrink back, not use a policy of relying on nationalists, but relying on his family, the police, on catholics. this then created attention. the viet cong were able to increase their activity level. this caused more dissension in november 1960. there was a coup, an attempted coup -- mostly aimed at his younger brother. i remember this because of, it was after the election in november. appointedat dad would ambassador to thailand. we kids getting ready to be new frontiers people. dad said, well, i got a call from a government, there was this attempted coup in vietnam.
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they were calling me to get my advice. what should the americans do? i focused on that. recently, the hanoi has released a lot of the documents -- we now have translations of the orders of the bureau to the coach and china memo -- regional party committee and inter-zone five regional party committee. these are the instructions from up the fronting against the viet cong. which established the order of hanoi that would even go to the 10 principles that were supposed to be on the party platform of the nlf. the nlf starts to grow. hanoi starts to send more people. sent in 1960 they 542. 1217.hem
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this is a document from hanoi's ministry of defense that shows all the troops this in south. this was given to me by a person who was a former north vietnamese leader now in exile in paris. .anoi escalates the viet cong mobilize local people, start assassinating family chiefs, assassinating teachers, organizing people around a particular cause against them and americans. what is the kennedy administration going to do? in the end of 1961 jack kennedy decides, and their implications because of the bay of pigs debacle and his decision to plot of loss that he will hold the line and vietnam, he escalates. there was a lot of argument to this day. i myself have no clear judgment as to whether the strategic hamlet program was accessible that successful. it was not a total failure.
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whether it was as successful as some people say, i do not know. i was not there. the government had more strength in rural areas, but it lost the support of urban people, particularly of the nationalist intellectuals. there is a buddhist conflict between buddhists and catholics, and there is another coup. it was led by young nationalist officers. this time it succeeds. the leader and his brother are murdered. he was the head of the police of the french. the titular leader of the coup was a person who -- he of the other coup leaders would come out of the french army. they were not part of the nationalist tradition. and there is a new government. hanoi responds in late 1963,
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early with more escalation. moreland becomes the new u.s. commander. 1964 there is an election in the united dates. my feeling is, vietnam is not something lyndon johnson spent a lot of time on. he has an instinct that this thing is not going to go in a good way no matter what he does. he basically, i would argue, he does not elevate the issue during the campaign. goldwater tries to make it, and there is a famous ad about a mushroom cloud used to stereotype goldwater as a hawk, going to using nuclear weapons. there is an incidents which people have made a lot of. my sense is looking backwards it wasn't all that important, the gulf of tonkin resolution in the fall of 1964, to get congressional authorization for future american escalation in vietnam. the other two things, by the way, we should not forget.
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in 1964 and 1965i would submit that lyndon johnson had his eye on one all, which was bringing to an end jim crow segregation in the united states of america. we need to remember it was lyndon johnson in 1964, who on his own within a week after the assassination of president kennedy, he said we will move the civil rights act. with help of hubert humphrey, he gets it done. protests at selma, i was at the end of the march in with thendon johnson, help of midwestern republicans, passes the voting rights act to end segregation forever. he has this thing going on in vietnam. he also had the great society he wanted to build up. so in early 1965, hanoi escalate
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s again. hanoi begins to send out north vietnamese, nva regiments. not viet cong village guerrillas but north vietnamese regiments to attack south vietnamese forces and destroy them. by may and june of the south 1965, vietnamese army is losing a battalion a week and there are no young men coming into recruiting centers. this is a function primarily of chaos, as to which faction will is knownnd run the government. as the 44 battalion request. he basically says, that i have been sent out here with the mission to defend selfie at mama -- vietnam. with south vietnamese losses, they will take over vietnam and
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to be a four months. if you want to save this country i need for our combat maneuver battalions. and if you want me to move it back, i will need more for -- forces in phase two. thise way, to deal with north vietnamese escalation, johnson starts bombing. you start bombing the north. the rationale is produced by robert is pressure to give up. that will convince the vietnamese communist that they can never win in the long run. so we ought to give up now. we get into 1966. where are we in 19 six? we have bombing going on. we have 173,000 american troops going in the country and by
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mid-1966, another 20,000. johnson has something like 300,000 troops committed to land warfare and he has a bombing campaign. and at this point, an antiwar is being formed. this point -- it was mentioned before -- i suggest is the beginning of the division of polarization, and the kind of politics that we are now experiencing 50 years later. the anti-war movement begins to take shape in 65. -- 1965. the way it begins, it starts with intellectuals. it starts with campuses, it starts with religious leaders. it's not among the people. it begins -- the modern-post-modern notion of how
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we think and live is relevant to what happened here. a counter narrative was created. the narrative of the governments and in 1965 the government produces this, aggression from the north. it's a documentation of north of the enemy's infiltration into vietnam, which was laughed away and belittled by people. if you take the numbers and year -- numbers from here and you take the numbers from north vietnam, they are most the same numbers. only, these numbers are lower. the north vietnamese actually resending south more troops than we thought. but the case was made. johnson, when he agrees in mid-1965, july, to send the 44 battalions and he says, if our commander wires more troops we will send them because we will
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stand in vietnam, the phrase he used in his speech is worth thinking about as we look at certain crises and issues we have to face today, north korea -- the phrase johnson used is, we did not choose to be the guardian at the gates, but there is no one else. the counter narrative was put together first by two professors, george and john lewis, my dad's copy of the book is this. what it does however, to find a counter narrative, to challenge the united states government and the notion of aggression, is to two books by french colonialist. the counter narrative which
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divided our country and turned sons against father is based on these two books. is his book, sociology. this is 1953, and 1952. by the way, this is the in 1945 and 1946 made the deal with ho chi minh. these two books are the case that ho chi minh was the nationalist that everybody should of always worked with. because he was the nationalist. there is no discussion in any of these french books about others. in october 1966, secretary of defense robert mcnamara in his report here goes to president johnson and says, i can't win the war.
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i've told you this with 200,000 troops, i told you to bomb, it's not going to work. this is page 263 of mcnamara's memoirs. what should we do about this unhappy situation? i perceive no good answer, therefore offered none. so he goes to his president and says, we cannot win. this is the secretary of mcnamara, m.i.t. phd. so what does johnson do after the election? in the second week of november, his national security adviser dashiell's was another guy in the white house who has been charged with looking at the other war, pacification of the vietnamese side. johnson calls them in and says, -- and there is a note to this, you could see this in the files
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at the lbj library. i did not know this. he says, pull together a little group. secretary of the army, and the secretary of defense, and get a good military guy and basically rethink the vietnam war. within one month, he has come up with a new strategy, which adds pacification and basically building the confidence of the south of the enemies as essential for american achievement in the war. in other words no unilateral victory by americans. ladies and gentlemen, think about iraq and afghanistan in our time. if somebody else's country has to come through a civil war of some kind, they have got to do it. correct? we can help but we can't win the war for them. ross bell knew this, lyndon johnson knew this. johnson then begins to move. another major development is in late february, early march 1967.
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robert kennedy then came out against johnson and the vietnam war. if you read his biography of robert kennedy, he is quite pleased with himself in figuring out that the vietnam war and the -- can be used against lyndon johnson to deny him the presidency and open up a way for robert kennedy to become president. he is pulling together different people to write a new narrative. this is his book from 1966. the bitter heritage, vietnam and american democracy. if you go to this book and the other book, for its vietnam hearings, you will go back to french scholars only. none of these people site vietnamese. they don't read vietnamese, they don't speak vietnamese, they don't know any vietnamese, and yet they're coming to
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judgments about the war in vietnam. another frenchman had this book, which he made sure bobby kennedy read and was introduced to. bobby kennedy then turns against johnson in the war in march of 1967 on the grounds that it is an independent movement not controlled by hanoi, a spontaneous revolution by southerners who were not communist and don't want to be ruled by the north. the next week, roughly, johnson asked him to go to vietnam to prepare a way for ending our troop participation. he appoints to other people, kolmar, to set up a new organization in saigon. which is another topic that is incredibly effective. the organization working with the south vietnamese -- we defeated the viacom. -- via congress. we won the guerrilla war in 1972. nobody knows it for a bunch of
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reasons. secondly he sent out general abrams to be a deputy to focus in on the south the enemy's forces. we had bunker at the top level dealing with the political evolution of vietnam, kolmar dealing with the villages come -- villages and all the cities. he had abrams working with south vietnamese forces, and wesley focusing on search and destroy missions. if you read -- this -- these are declassified -- cables to johnson, which i asked doug pike to do after he passed away. you can read these weekly. the one thing that struck me afterwards if you read them, they're obviously written for an audience of one. these are official government documents going back to various people. bunker is writing these to his president. what he is pointing out to johnson, every week we are making progress. something's happened in political, economic, military. in this past week, which gets us
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closer to the day when the south vietnamese can take over and our forces can go home. now the proof of the pudding, ladies and gentlemen, occurs in november of 1967. the great issue which nobody has asked, is how come general westmoreland a protest protest about this stuff about specifications and villages? he welcomes it. it has been documented. so in november of 1967, johnson brings him back to report to the people requested as a speech before congress. he is on meet the press, then he has a state with the national press club. basically what was he says, is that we are entering phase for. -- four. endgame when the we can withdraw. and west is predicting in the fall of 1976, american troops will withdraw from vietnam. he is asked on meet the press,
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general lynn. he says, i don't want to predict. but it wouldn't surprise me if we could begin to withdraw our forces in two years, which would be november 1969. the first american forces came home in september of 1969. so johnson made a decision to move towards turning the war to the south vietnamese people. he sent bunker out to lead it up with kolmar and abrams. wes morley was involved. by fall, the endgame which it been prefigured in the manila conference of late 1966, was, we turn it over to the south vietnamese and go home, they defend and protect their own independence, why? because, they are nationalist. they have their own values as vietnamese people. that goes back to my father's formulation of the american role vietnamese role in 1954. there's a lot more to say, but
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let me stop and we can take questions. [applause] >> i think we will do the usual, sort of moving of locales here in terms of questions. there are some questions that have come up on cards already. i am going to take a look at a few of them. thoughts -- first off, i will allow myself to make some reflections on steve's presentation. in the interest of full disclosure, we talked about this for several years and spent a great deal time talking about it, and steve went last summer to the lbj library which is a remarkable experience, going through these materials which are so pertinent to the 1960's. steve indicated, go back to the
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14th century in some ways -- or to the period of america right after the civil war. i think steve's point was, on johnson's mind, it's only three days after jack kennedy has been assassinated, his back and washington, d.c. and decides he will address a joint session of congress and say there could be a memorial for jack kennedy, then passing the civil rights legislation. he does not say squat about southeast asia at that particular point. i think that one of the fascinating things here in minnesota in the last several years has been the exhibit at the minnesota historical society. if you went to that exhibit one of the things is that laos figures very prominently, and the kennedy administration figures very little mention
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about vietnam. i would like your reflection on that in terms of what is happening domestically and there were a lot of attention -- lack of attention to southeast asia. mr. young: i want to tell this about lyndon johnson. it's personal. my wife is vietnamese. so john wrote -- i don't know if you know john roach -- john was deputy dean of the fletcher school for a long time, one of the founders. the americans with democratic action. he was johnson's intellectual residence. when i was at the law school after the war -- i used to see him in somerville -- they told me a story about johnson and full right. when you were fulbright you did
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the vietnam hearings. it was fulbright and figuring second momentum to the counter narrative. fulbright -- this is the last meeting that he had personally with johnson -- he was trying to convince johnson not to fight in south vietnam. he goes through his arguments. johnson discusses his bill, i've got this, you've got to understand. finally, what makes the story -- do you guys know about lyndon johnson and the treatment? johnson was a big man with big hands and to use them. he would go like this, have i got your vote? the other thing you do is this, big hands and he would squeeze. he says, i got your vote? this time it was fulbright who goes over, squeezes johnson's knee, looks him in the eye and says, but lynn, they are not our kind. this is william fulbright, the arkansas southern segregationist.
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look up fulbright and board versus brown. this is lyndon johnson who in the united states is putting and end to jim crow segregation. when it comes to these people on the other side of the world -- he says i will send american boys to die so that those people over there who don't even look like us, they get the same chance that we have the scent -- -- that we americans have here. i don't care how many mistakes lyndon johnson has made in his life, the fact that he could do that and stand up on that point of common humanity, to me means he is an admirable man. >> i'm going to read two or three of the questions that came from our audience. just give you some time and think about them.
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one of them relates to this relationship between the grade -- the great society, johnson's the mystic vision, you pointed out william fulbright from arkansas. they were pretty close and came to a division in the 1960's. the biographer of gene mccarthy dominant sandberg says the senate foreign relations committee became a salon for developing conversations of antiwar activities. one of the questions is, conventional holes but johnson believed he needed the vietnam war to press his great society initiatives. judging how you describe johnson's political goals, it would appear you do not feel the same. if this is the case, the question is then, why? that's one question. related to this, could one argue that lbj is problem was his lack of deep interest and experience in foreign affairs?
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this is kind of a revisionist view. himthis make cam -- make susceptible to military persuasion? finally, were discussing get the reputation of escalation? did domestic issues distract johnson from vietnam? mr. young: i can't remember paul, do you remember was it dave broder who made the description of lyndon johnson as president -- as the salami slicer? i think it was dave broder. this is a powerful insight. johnson's skill and genius was in the senate of the united states, slicing salami. we have just seen last week president trump, paul ryan and others, fail at the process of slicing salami. what is is referring to? it's the deal making, how you get things done in a pluralistic
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democracy in congress. chuck, you have a slice of salami. you get a thicker slice. you get the end, i sliced the salami, everybody gets everything but you have to vote with me. as you see, johnson, dealing with this problem of vietnam, which is clear i think he felt he inherited. this is not something he started. he was a believer in the vietnamese and nationalism and freedom. he inherited it, he believed in it that's why he stayed in it. he is caught between two basic vectors. he has a vector of the military, his secretary of defense who is close to bobby kennedy, a potential threats, and the joint chiefs. a lot of americans who believe that military power will solve our problems. just go out there as we used to say and kick ass. and we will be them allah up, it
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will go our way and we will win the war. americans will be here who are getting stronger and more vocal everyday, the antiwar movement. how do you slice the salami? what you do is give the military almost everything they ask for but not everything. then you do bombing things to please the dogs, and in the middle you propose that basin development recent, john hopkins speech where johnson said to hanoi, if you call off the dogs , i will put $1 billion into village development in china and north vietnam as well. so johnson is constantly doing this. one criticism that i think comes out, which goes to the reputation point, why do johnson get this reputation of being escalation is, if he never went public with his strategy? i don't think there is any speech by johnson where he says this is what i'm doing. wes morlan asks for 275 thousand
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troops, i give him to 20. -- 220. this is all secret. the fulbright over here demanding the bombing of two weeks, i given two days. we will draft a lot of young americans, but wink wink, if you can get this kind of deferment, -- you will not have to fight. may i also say, to me, the social protest, which broke out last november and carried donald trump into the white house, i think you can trace back to the draft policies of the vietnam war. because who fought it? my class at harvard college, 1967. 1300 men, most of whom had come from the american establishment, all of whom had been part of it for the last 49 years. how many do you think fought in vietnam out of 1300?
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i know of five and i just learned about two more. think the total -- there's a booklet that is gone around -- the total in the class who did military service is only 25. if you're poor whites and appellation, poor african-american inner cities, where did you go in 1966 or 67? -- or 1967? you went to vietnam. you guys may remember the songs. there was no standing up, in a way of rallying the people around a very specific goal and mission, lots of salami slices being put out. you mention the songs, that's a -- >> you mention the songs, that's a good way to talk about this whole period in terms of culture. i mentioned in the introduction, president wilson went before -- congress asking for this declaration, songs became our out were, keep the home fires burning. my buddy over there [until it is over, over there. last year the vietnam summit, at
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the lbj school of library in austin, peter and joe mcdonald were there. the songs we get our, where have all the flowers gone? country joe mcdonald saying, what are we fighting for, i don't care. next stop is vietnam. pretty harsh director stuff. in 1955, if there was an anthem -- 1965, if there was an anthem to mention vietnam but became the anti-vietnam anthem, it was the birds recording of pete seeger's turn turn turn. does anyone remember that? this is taken from the book of ecclesiastes, a time for work, -- a time for war, a time for peace. a time for peace -- i swear it is not too late. everyone coated that to vietnam. mr. young: picking up on that john and yoko. give peace a chance. and imagine. that defined peoples political ideas for generations until
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today. >> here is another question that came from the audience. what was the significance of the domino affect if any? why didn't lbj make his desire for withdrawal more public? that was the -- directly the entire point of our session today. mr. young: the second question for historians i think is the most interesting. why didn't he? i'm not a johnson scholar, i don't have a good sense for this at all. in retrospect, given the case that i think i can make -- i have just given you the surface level of the big case based on lots of vietnamese books and data and sons and culture and political stuff, all kinds of stuff, why didn't he do this? i don't really know. my only explanation is one i gave you, johnson's instincts are to slice things like this. everybody who saw johnson got something but they weren't always the same thing. it's johnson it seems to me who
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keeps all the secrets inside himself. everything is inside. the other thing that has come out and talking with paul and others, lyndon johnson was a deeply suspicious man. even in trust anybody. my guess is, for good reason. he had been betrayed more times by more people was he the right person to be a leader of the american people in a limited war? the other thing we haven't talked about which didn't come up at all in the last 50 years -- 15 years about iraq and afghanistan is, what is a limited war and how do you fight it, how do you prepare for it, who should fight it, what's the degree of national mobilization? korea was kind of a transition point, but if you think, and people talked about this -- we came to vietnam with basically three big wars in our mind. civil war, world war i, and world war ii, which were massive
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mobilizations of the entire people for a grand cause. everybody was part of the war, the home front. vietnam as we said before, who fought? johnson arranged the economy in various ways to minimize the economic impact on taxes and other things in the vietnam war. one of the decisions made towards the end of the vietnam war, which we are living with today, and i hear nobody talking about this and the republic -- president nixon ended the draft and moved to a volunteer army. we see stories about young american soldiers who've been on the sixth, eighth, ninth two are -- ninth tour to iraq and afghanistan. our country is being defended by professional mercenaries. not by citizens anymore. we don't have much of a citizen army. if you don't volunteer to go into the guards are the reserves, you have to worry about the military. you have to have some sergeant kick your but.
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t. since 1969.ns up in whenever he ended the draft. >> 1969, second year of the lottery was 1970. mr. young: we have been trying to be a great power of the world for good, not asking her people to sacrifice. paul: something you said about johnson and his suspicious nature with regards to trust, one person he did trust was former president eisenhower. when you think about the image, johnson sworn into office on 1961, the image is passing the baton coming from jack kennedy. eisenhower is going out of office. when johnson leaves office in 1969, he is going to eisenhower as vice president and richard nixon. one of the questions came here
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was, what was the impact of the military-industrial complex? some may remember this phrase was used by dwight david eisenhower as part of his farewell address. beware the military-industrial complex. people were amazed that general president eisenhower was saying this. i would be interested in your -- mr. young: you mentioned eisenhower, that allows you to get to the question we did not get to earlier. there is a very important link to that among minnesotans. prolonging the war, i associate with the nixon administration, not so much with johnson. the other thing that was traumatic for the man and for us was what i call his abdication in 1968. he steps down. i have a feeling based on my own feeling at the time, that this was a major watershed in the way people -- johnson is sending us to vietnam, and if he does not
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believe in it and if he is stepping down, why should i go? if he really believes in this thing, why does he not run and get defeated in the polls? but take it to the people. that communicated something that i thought set up this notion that we cannot win, we are not going to win, something is wrong. nixon then tries to persevere. the other thing, johnson's strategy of turning it over to the vietnamese and pacification, anyone know what that was called? vietnamization. nixon picked it up from bunker. of 1969, nixon had a secret plan to end the war, which no one ever knew. he sent his secretary of defense to figure out bunker, abrams, and colby sit laird down to talk
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about this. he goes back to our ports nixon and nixon says great, we're getting out. and then they broker a deal that we will leave. the whole nixon administration is saying, why don't we stay one day longer? who wants to be the last american to die in vietnam? that becomes that. if i can get back to eisenhower, it is overlooked by a lot of scholars and strategists that when kennedy was talking with eisenhower before they went to the inauguration, eisenhower only raised one issue with the incoming president. and that was laos. he said the key to southeast asia was laos. communist forces were on the move inside laos. kennedy then meets in early 1961, my dad was involved in all this, to figure out what to do about laos. the joint chiefs say we cannot go into laos. the only option they put on the table for kennedy is two u.s. divisions.
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the joint chief says, from the north side, there are no roads and there, no airports. you cannot supply two u.s. divisions three meals a day and weapons. kennedy said we cannot go in, we have to cut a deal. we have to cut a deal, neutralize laos. the north vietnamese do not honor. they start moving into laos to do their infiltration into the south. and we need a counter to the north vietnamese communist presence in laos. what do we do? we ask a general to recruit the hmong. he builds up an army, which in 1975 -- actually we only took out a few, they did not start to leave until 1978. but because of that connection we have several hundred thousand hmonghm in the united states, many here in minnesota.
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paul: one thing i wanted to flag is you are talking about march of 1967, 1968, johnson's abdication, that sunday morning march 31, johnson has gone to mass with his son and daughter. he comes back to hubert muriel's said he knows he is going to mexico city and says i am making a public address tonight and i have one of two endings. one says we will continue the course. the other is, i will not run or accept a nomination for my party again. he says, do not tell muriel this. he makes that speech, which really stuns everybody. the following tuesday morning, he is with robbie kennedy and bobby kennedy is pressing the weak spots and saying, are you going to be political and this
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year? was going toif i be political i would be running again. it just shows extraordinary moments in presidential life. here is one question that is probably good as we can head toward wrapping this up. thank you for the detailed timeline. i think we all do think that. looking at our recent experience with political conflicts, how can we learn more from the success of the court program and your concept of associative power? mr. young: thank you for the question, i could go on for a long time. that we have no time. let me try to suggest this. power is a continuum. what does he say about war? he says war is an extension of politics of other means. war and politics are on the same continuum.
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politics is over here with peace and war is down here with violence. but they are interrelated. the ultimate war i suggest to you is nuclear annihilation. the ultimate of peace is ego surrender to somebody else and no resistance at all. somewhat in the middle is, what? cooperation, collaboration, joint ventures, alliances. that is what i call associative power. we have for 20 or 30 years been conducting debates over national security at the two polar ends. we talk about hard power and soft power. my argument is that both are ineffective. hard power, universally going in -- this is u.s. grants strategy of the civil war. find them, fix them, destroy them.
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now the phrase in iraq is kinetic operations. kill them, and somehow everything will work itself out. soft power, they are going to do what we say, what we like, because they love us. it is a little simplistic. that is joan nice. at harvard. i give you in terms of the success of soft power, isis, al qaeda, xi jinping, vladimir putin, a whole bunch of people who don't particularly like us or our values. why will they roll over and do what we want? in the middle is the hard work of putting together coalitions, joint ventures, trusting other people, sharing responsibilities, turning responsibility over to them. at this point if i may, i did not feel i had time earlier, i want to recognize and honor
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congressman fraser for title ix of the usaid in 1966, which set up what we did in vietnam. i brought the copy of the bill and what you said in 1967 50 years ago. you talked about a notion of power. that if we wanted to help other people, we have to decentralize opportunity to them. we have to worry about their governance, their families, their values, their opportunities. it is not what we americans think or want to do, it is how do we work with them? i would also like to praise, because don fraser belongs in this pantheon of jack kennedy, hubert humphrey, and lyndon b. johnson, he is of that visionary generation. retired mayor fraser as he looks , at the problem of the achievement gap in north minneapolis, where does his mind
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take him? it takes them to the kids and families and communities and environments in which they live. and how do outsiders of goodwill and concern engage with other people together, that their outcomes along with our outcomes get better? i call that associative power. that is what we did for the c.o.r.d.s. program. i set up a credit program for every village in vietnam, i was 25 years old. as a c.o.r.d.s. guy in saigon, i did not want to be. i could brief full colonels and tell them, this is what you guys got to do about village credit committees or local self-defense committees or this and that. the c.o.r.d.s. was working with the vietnamese in the context of their own nationalism.
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why did it succeed? because of their nationalism. which goes back to my dad's instincts of 1954. paul: i will combine two questions. you have addressed part of this, but i wanted to see it more directly. can you address how you can claim c.o.r.d.s. won, when the victory did not hold? can you still say there was a win? related to that, this question, what about henry kissinger's role during this time period? what was he up to? i shy away from wrapping things up neatly. [laughter] mr. young: this question puts me on the spot. i cannot fully address it because there is no time and
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there are documents i found which give us a totally new understanding of henry kissinger's role in the negotiations, which i hope to make my next book. briefly speaking, i will get the mica pier 1 while you think about these things. c up here ast the mi you think about these things. henry kissinger do not believe in c.o.r.d.s., the south vietnamese, did not believe we would win, and that colored his negotiations with hanoi. and he agreed hanoi could leave their troops in vietnam. we win the war because we defeat viet cong. he gets a 1972, they sent down every regular division they had. it was not a guerrilla war. the soft vietnamese had won the guerrilla war. we took polls surveys. 90% of the people in south vietnam supported the government and thought they would win. nobody wanted the communists to
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organization of american historians in new orleans where we spoke with the story -- historian adrian lynn smith about african-american involvement in world war i. she discussed how their military service expose the rachel tensions at the time. this interview is about 15 minutes. adrian lynn smith, what was the experience of black soldiers during world war i. african-american soldiers had a variety of experiences. there was roughly 385,000 african-americans in the wartime army. about 200,


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