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Given By

Vl s. supt. of documents




Boston Public Library
Superintendent of Documents

JUL 23 1969






Vol. LXl, No. 1567

July 7, 1969



Exchanges of Remarks 8

For index see inside back cover



Vol. LXI, No. 1567
July 7, 1969

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President Nixon's News Conference of June 19

Following are excerpts from the transcript of
a news conference lield hy President Nixon in
the East Room of the White House on June 19.

Q. Mr. President, on the Midway trip we
were told by an official of your administration
that he felt the time had come for substantive
negotiations to begin at Paris. Do you agree
with this assessment, and if so, what evidence is
tliere to point it up?

The President: I agree with the conclusion
that the time has come for some substantive
negotiations in Paris. As far as evidence that
such negotiations have begun, there is no sub-
stantial evidence, publicly, to report.

However, I am not pessimistic about the out-
come. As you may recall, when these questions
were first raised, when the talks in Paris were
beginning, I pointed out that it would be a long,
hard road after we got over the procedural

When this administration came in, all that
had been decided was the shape of the table.
Now we are down to substance. The two sides
are far apart. But we believe that the time has
come for a discussion of substance, and we hope
within the next 2 to 3 months to see some prog-
ress in substantive discussions.

Q. Mr. President, former Defense Secretary
Clark Clifford has suggested that 100,000 Amer-
ican troops ought to be out by the end of this
year and we ought to say that all grou/nd troops
will be out by the end of 1970. 1 wonder if you
think that is a realistic timetable?

The President: Well, I noted Mr. Clifford's
comments in the magazine Foreign Affairs, and,
naturally, I respect his judgment as a former
Secretary of Defense.

I would point out, however, that for 5 years
in the administration in which he was Secretary

of Defense in the last part, we had a continued
escalation of the war; we had 500,000 Americans
in Viet-Nam ; we had 35,000 killed ; we had over
200,000 injured.

And in addition to that, we found that in the
year, the full year, in which he was Secretary
of Defense our casualties were the highest of the
whole 5-year period ; and as far as negotiations
were concerned, all that had been accomplished,
as I indicated earlier, was that we had agreed on
the shape of the table.

This is not to say that Mr. Clifford's present
judgment is not to be considered because of the
past record. It does indicate, however, that he
did have a chance in this particular respect and
did not move on it then.

I believe that we have changed that policy.
We have started to withdraw forces. We will
withdraw more. Another decision will be made
in August. I will not indicate the nimiber, be-
cause the number wUl depend upon the extent
of the training of the South Vietnamese, as well
as developments in Paris and the other factors
that I have mentioned previously.

As far as how many wUl be withdrawn by
the end of this year, or the end of next year,
I would hope that we could beat Mr. Clifford's
timetable, just as I think we have done a little
better than he did when he was in charge of our
national defense.

Q. Mr. President, Mr. Clifford goes on to urge
that you order our military commanders to
ceojse the policy of applying maxim/um military
pressure against the enemy and switch instead
to a policy of reducing the level of confibat opera-
tions. Do you intend to issue any such

The President: Mr. Scali [John Scali, ABC
News], I have checked the situation with re-
gard to our operations as compared with the
enemy's since this administration took over. I
find that our casualties are in direct ratio to the

JTTLT 7, 1969

level of enemy attacks. We have not escalated
our attacks. We have only responded to what
the enemy has done.

As far as Mr. Clifford's suggestion is con-
cerned, it implies that the United States is at
the present time responsible for the level of
fighting. It takes two in order to reduce the
level of fighting, and I would only siiggest that
if the enemy now will withdraw forces, one-
tenth of its forces, as we have withdrawn one-
tenth of our combat forces, that would tend to
reduce the level of fighting.

As far as the orders to General [Creighton
W.] Abrams are concerned, they are very
simply this: He is to conduct this war with a
minimtun of American casualties. I believe he is
carrying out that order with great effectiveness
in the field.

Q. Mr. President, Juwe you had any response
from the North Vietnamese or Viet Cong, either
in Paris or on the tattle-field, to the withdrawal
of the first 25,000 American troops?

The President: No, we have not.

Strategic Arms Limitation Talks

Q. When and where do you expect to begin
arms talks with the Soviet Union, and do you
favor suspension of the testing of multiple war-
heads in the meantime?

The President: We are just completing our
own strategic review; and as a matter of fact,
the National Security Coimcil meeting dealing
with our position on the SALT talks, as they are
described — the first was held this last Friday,
and the second will be held on Wednesday. Con-
sultation with our allies will then proceed
through the balance of June and through July.

We have set July 31st as a target date for the
beginning of talks, and Secretary Rogers has
so informed the Soviet Ambassador. We have
not had a reply from them.

Assuming that our consultations are com-
pleted and that the Soviets find this date is ac-
ceptable to them, I would say that sometime
between July 31st and the 15th of August there
would be a meeting. As far as the place of the
meeting is concerned, it could be Vienna, it
could be Geneva. We are open on that question.

Q. Mr. President, the Viet Cong and/or
Hanoi recently announced the creation of a
new provisional government for South Viet-

Nam. There have been many interpretive re-
ports of what that may mean for the political
stability or instability of South Viet-Nam and
its portent on the international scene for prog-
ress toward peace. Could you give u^ an as-
sessment of the new government?

The President: The new government is sim-
ply a new name for the same activity that was
there previously, the NLF, or National Libera-
tion Front, as it was called. There is no new
blood ia it. It has no capital. As a matter of
fact, I do not know where ambassadors would
present their diplomatic credentials, because it
has no major city or town which it controls in
South Viet-Nam.

As far as the changed situation is concerned,
however, I would make this suggestion : Presi-
dent Thieu has offered to have internationally
supervised elections to let the people of South
Viet-Nam determine whether they want his
government or some other government.

It would seem that if the provisional govern-
ment, which also claims to represent the people
of South Viet-Nam, really means that, they
would accede to this request and agree to inter-
nationally supervised elections.

As far as the United States is concerned, we
will accept any decision that is made by the peo-
ple of South Viet-Nam, but we think that the
provisional government should join with the
Government of South Viet-Nam and any other
political parties in South Viet-Nam in partici-
pating in supervised elections.

Testing of Multiple Warheads

Q. Mr. President, referring to an earlier
question by Mr. Valeriani [Richard Valeriani,
NBC News'], do you regard further testing of
MIRVs [multiple independently targeted re-
entry vehicles] as an obstacle to reaching an
arms control agreement?

The President: I am sorry, Mr. Semple
[Eobert B. Semple, New York Times], I forgot
the last part of his question. I am glad you
brought it back.

As far as the further testing is concerned, this
suggestion was made to me by Senator Brooke
and by others in the Senate. I know that it is
certainly a very constructive proposal insofar as
they themselves are thinking about it. We are
considering the possibility of a moratorium on
tests as part of any arms control agreement.


However, as far as any unilateral stopping of
tests on our part, I do not think that would be
in our interest. Only in the event that the Soviet
Union and we could agree that a moratorium on
tests could be mutually beneficial to us, would
we be able to agree to do so.

Views on Cease-Fire in Viet-Nam

Q. Mr. President., several prominent Ameri-
cans have urged you to frcpose a cease-fire in
Viet-Nam as a means of reducing American
casualties. Why does that idea not cormnend it-
self to you?

The President: Well, the idea of a cease-fire,
Mr. Lisagor [Peter Lisagor, Chicago Daily
News], does coromend itself to me. But I do not
want us to cease and have the other side contiaue
to fire, because, basically, as I have pointed out
ia a previous press conference, where we have
a conventional war, cease-fire is very relevant;
then we know that the guns have stopped firing.
In the case of a guerrilla war, unless you have
an international force or some outside force to
guarantee it, a cease-fire is a grave disadvantage
to those forces that are in place.

I should point out, however, that in my
May 14th speech,' I advocated supervised cease-
fires. That is the position of this administration.
It is the position of Mr. Thieu.

We want cease-fires, but we want them super-
vised. We don't want us to cease fire and the
other side to continue to kill our men.

Support of Thieu Government

Q. Mr. President, you expressed the hope
earlier for substantive talks on Viet-Nam, per-
haps in the next 3 months. I wonder, sir, in this
process, and before elections are held in Viet-
Nam, are we wedded, to whatever degree, to the
government of President Thieu?

The President: When you use the term
"wedded to the government of President Thieu,"
I would not say that the United States, insofar
as any government in the world is concerned,
is wedded to it in the sense that we cannot take
any course of action that that government does
not approve.

On the other hand, I do not want to leave any

' Bulletin of June 2, 1969, p. 457.

doubt on this score: President Thieu is the
elected President of Viet-Nam. He is cooperat-
ing with the United States in attempting to
bring this war to a conclusion. He has made a
very forthright offer and has supported our
position that we have made — and I know will
be making an ojffer of his own with regard to a
political settlement. Under those circumstances,
there is no question about our standing with
President Tliieu.

I would also say further that insofar as our
offers are concerned, we are not going to accede
to the demands of the enemy that we have to
dispose of President Thieu before they wUl
talk. That would mean a surrender on our part,
a defeat on our part, and turning over South
Viet-Nam to the tender mercies of those who
have done a great deal of damage — to those in
North Viet-Nam.

Q. Mr. President, although not all of his
recommendations were accepted, Mr. Clifford
did reverse himself while in office, a rather rare
thing for a public official to do. My question to
you is perhaps somewhat philosophical: How do
you heep from being loched in on a decision in-
volving something as pressurized as Viet-Nam?
How do you determine once a policy is adopted
that it continues to be right?

The President: This is one of my major con-
cerns, and it is one of the reasons why I perhaps
allow more controversy and, frankly, even open
dissent — as I note from reading all the news-
papers — witliin our administration than any in
recent years.

I beheve that a President must constantly re-
examine the policies, and I am reexamining our
policy on Viet-Nam every day. I am examining
the military policy. I am examining the politi-
cal policy, our diplomatic options, and I will
not be frozen in.

With regard to my comment on Mr. Clifford,
I do not mean to suggest that because he, in a
very difficult position, was imable to do anything
about it, his words should not now be given
some weight. They should be given some weight,
and a man should be given credit for changing
his mind if the facts have changed.

But I am only suggesting that, as I make up
my own mind at this time, I have to look at the
facts as they are presented to me today; and
as they are presented to me today I think we
are on the right road in Viet-Nam.

We have started toward the withdrawal that

JtTLT 7, 1969

Mr. Clifford has advocated; and I hope, as I
said earlier, that we will be able to beat his time-
table and that we will not be in Viet-Nam as
long as he suggests we will have to be there.

Q. Mr. President, your predecessor in oiJice
ttsed to quite often solicit the advice of one of
his predecessors, General Eisenhower, particu-
larly with respect to foreign policy. Have you
solicited Mr. Johnson's advice, and have you
got any that is comparable to Clifford's, and
does he hack your policy?

The President: I have talked to Mr. Jolrn-
son on the telephone, Mr. Potter [Philip Potter,
Baltimore Sun], on two occasions, and he has
been regularly briefed by members of the Na-
tional Security Council, by Dr. Kissinger, and
also by our economic advisers, and those
briefings, of course, have provided an occasion
for him to give his ideas to us. He has been very
helpful in tenns of advice, and I think he will
be more helpful in the future.

Presidential Powers

Q. Mr. President, what do you think of the
Fulbright proposal that would limit the Presi-
dential power to act militarily in an etnergency?

The President : Well, I understand the senti-
ment behind the jDroposal. When I was a Mem-
ber of the Senate and a Member of the House,
I will have to admit that I felt that there should
be more consultation with the Senate and that
Presidents should not have unlimited power to
commit this nation, militarily as well as

On the other hand, as I now assume the re-
sponsibilities of power, I of course see it from a
different vantage point. And for the President
of the United States to have his hands tied in
a crisis in the fast-moving world in wliich we
live would not be in the best interests of the
United States.

As President, I intend to consult with the
Senate, with Senator Fulbright and with his
colleagues on the Foreign Relations Committee
and the Armed Services Conmaittee before tak-
ing any action whenever I can.

But look, for example, at President Eisen-
hower in 1958. He had to move very fast in order
to save the situation in Lebanon. There was no

time to consult, and also it would have tipped
off the enemy.

Look at President Johnson when he sent in
airplanes to save the missionaries in the Congo
in 1964. He had to move fast. He had no time
to consult.

I don't think a President of the United States
should be tied down by a commitment which will
not allow him to take the action that needs to be
taken to defend American interests and to
defend American lives where there is no time
to consult.

Situation in the Middle East

Q. Mr. President, 5 months ago at your first
7iews conference you described the Middle East
as a dangerously explosive situation in need of
defusing. In the 5 months since that time, do you
think there has been any defusing that you can
nfieasure, or do you think tlie situatio7i has be-
come acutely worse?

The President: I would have to admit that I
see very little defusing. The situation is better
only from the standpoint that we do have some
four-power talks going, and we would trust
that from those talks we might get some basis of
communication between the two sides and par-
ticularly that we might get all parties involved,
including the Soviet Union, to use their influ-
ence to defuse a crisis. The talks will serve that
interest if they serve no other interest.

Also in that connection, I would like to say
that I, as you know, have met already with the
King of Jordan, and I am hoping to meet some-
time within the next month with the Prime
Minister of Israel.

We intend to have bilateral talks, multilateral
talks — anything that we can do to attempt to
defuse the situation.

Demonstrations in Latin America

Q. Mr. President, due to Governor Rocke-
feller\'? difficulties on his Latin Am-erican jaunt,
do you see any usefulness coming out of the
trips, and could you tell us what it might be?

The President: A great deal of usefulness.
For example, in my conversations with Presi-
dent Lleras, the talking paper that President —
Governor Rockefeller, a Freudian slip — ^the
talking paper that Governor Rockefeller gave


me was extremely helpful, extremely helpful
because it gave me the background of his con-
versation with President Lleras.

I -woidd say further that the very fact that
there are these rather explosive demonstrations
indicates that such a trip was necessary. The
United States can't be penned up within our
borders simply because of the fear of

I remember very well when I planned my
trip to Europe, there were several editorials
to the effect that I shouldn't take the trip be-
cause of the possibility of demonstrations. As
those of you who were with me will remember,
there were demonstrations in every major city
I visited. Yet the trip was worthwhile.

As far as I am concerned, I am very happy
that Governor Kockefeller has made this trip.
He is getting valuable information which we
needed to get.

I would add one further thought: We must
not interpret these demonstrations as reflect-
ing the will of the people of Latin America.
The few demonstrators, violent as they are, in
Latin America, no more represent the 200 mil-
lion people of Latin America than the Black
Panthers represent the 11 million law-abiding
Negro citizens of this country. That is what we
have to get across.

Safeguard ABM System

Q. Mr. President., wh^n you proposed the
Safeguard antibaUistic system., you said it was
vital to the interests of the United States. Nev-
ertheless, reports persist that it is in trouble,
the program is in trouble, in the Senate, and
there is n&io talh of a possible compi'omise in
our program. What is your position on Safe-
guard, and what do you intend to do to loin
passage for the program?

The President: On March 8th, before I an-
nounced my decision on Safeguard, a story ap-
peared m the Washington Post indicating that
the coimt at that time was 20 Senators for it,
46 against it, with the rest undecided.

The latest count I have seen indicates that
there are 50 or 51 for it, 46 against it, and the
rest undecided. We will win the fight on Safe-
guard. It will not be necessary to compromise.

I don't mean by that that every section of
the bill as presented to the Armed Services
Committee has to be kept as it is. That is up

to the conunittee and to the chairman to work

But in recommending Safeguard, I did so
based on intelligence information at that time.
Since that time new intelligence information
with regard to the Soviet success in testing mul-
tiple reentry vehicles — ^that kind of informa-
tion has convinced me that Safeguard is even
more important. However we may argue about
that intelligence, as to whether it has an mde-
pendent guidance system as ours will have, there
isn't any question but that it is a multiple
weapon and its footprints indicate that it just
happens to fall in somewhat the precise area
in which our Minutemen silos are located.

This would mean that by the year 1973, in
the event the Soviet Union goes forward with
that program, that 80 percent of our Minute-
men would be in danger. ABM is needed par-
ticularly in order to meet that eventuality.

The press: Thanh you, Mr. President.

22d Plenary Session on Viet-Nam
Held at Paris

Following is the opening statement made by
Lawrence Walsh, deputy liead of the U.S. dele-
gation, at the 22d plenary session of the new
meetings on Viet-Nam at Paris on June 19.

Press release 166 dated June 19

Ladies and gentlemen : We have searched the
record of the past several sessions of the Paris
meetings for evidence of your side's readiness to
engage in constructive negotiations. Despite
your rhetoric about good will and serious at-
titude, we find that on the major issues your
side's positions remain inflexible. Moreover, you
insist on prior conditions being met before seri-
ous negotiations can begin.

By adopting rigid positions and demanding
preconditions before real negotiations can begin,
you block progress here in Paris. At the same
time, you step up your calls for military vic-
tory. We can only interpret your attitude as
meaning that you still seek to achieve your ob-
jective in South Viet-Nam tlirough the use of
force and terror and not tlirough negotiation.

Let us look at the positions your side has

JULY 7, 1969

taken on the principal questions involved in a

On tlie question of withdrawal of forces, you
say U.S. and Allied forces must withdraw from
South Viet-Nam unconditionally. You refer to
the problem of Vietnamese forces in South Viet-
Nam as one to be resolved by the Vietnamese
parties among themselves.

That position gets us nowhere. Why do you
avoid stating whether North Vietnamese forces
in South Viet-Nam are going to go back to
North Viet-Nam? Vague reference that the
Vietnamese parties will resolve that problem is
not enough.

Tliat position of the United States Govern-
ment on the question of withdrawals must be
clearly imderstood. We will not accept a one-
sided withdrawal from South Viet-Nam. Tliere
must be a withdrawal of all non-South Viet-
namese forces.

You reject the idea of mutual withdrawal be-
cause you say it places the aggressor on the same
level as the victim of aggression.

We could, with more justification, argue that
in reality it is your side which seeks to confuse
the aggressor — North Viet-Nam — with the vic-
tim of aggression — South Viet-Nam. This kind
of argument, however, does not help to advance
the negotiations. The practical fact is that
North Viet-Nam, as well as the United States
and its allies, has forces in South Viet-Nam. A
negotiated settlement requires that all non-
South Vietnamese forces be withdrawn from
South Viet-Nam.

Last week a spokesman of your side asked
about the significance of the replacement of
25,000 American troops announced at Midway.
As President Nixon said on his return home
from ilidway : ". . . we have opened wide the

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