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Department of State bulletin (Volume v. 56, Jan- Mar 1967) online

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the principal Communist states remain
publicly committed to what they call "wars
of liberation" — the infiltration of arms dnd
trained men. That is the type of aggression
by which Communist North Viet-Nam set
out to conquer South Viet-Nam. It is an
aggression which has become less and less
indirect since the closing months of 1964,
when North Viet-Nam began to move an
entire division of its regular army into
South Viet-Nam.

Four successive Presidents of the United
States, after extended study in consultation
with their chief advisers on defense and
foreign policy, have concluded that the secu-
rity of Southeast Asia, and of South Viet-
Nam in particular, is very important to the
security of the United States. Those who
take a different view are at odds with the
men who have borne the highest responsi-
bility for the defense of the United States
and the free world since the Second World
War.

U.S. Commitments in Southeast Asia

In accordance with our national interest
in the security of South Viet-Nam, the Gov-
ernment of the United States made com-
mitments, of which the most solemn was the
Southeast Asia Collective Defense Treaty.
That treaty was approved by the United
States Senate in 1955 with only one
dissenting vote. It bound us to take action
in the event of an armed attack on South
Viet-Nam, among other nations. And Secre-
tary of State Dulles told the Senate Foreign
Relations Committee that that commitment
included the case of an attack by "the



regime of Ho Chi Minh in North Viet-Nam."

The United States cannot run away from
its commitments. If either our adversaries
or our friends should begin to doubt that the
United States will honor its alliances, the s,
result could be catastrophe.

We are fighting in Viet-Nam because also
we have not forgotten the lesson of the
tragic 1930's, the lesson that was foremost
in the minds of the authors of the U.N.
Charter: the lesson that one aggression leads
to another. Once again we are hearing that
it's a long way off and none of our business.
That's what was said about Manchuria and
Ethiopia — and, by some, about Czechoslo-
vakia. Once again we are hearing it said that
if you let the aggressor have one more bite,
maybe he will be satisfied.

Some say this is just a "civil war." That's
what some claimed about the aggression
against the Republic of Korea. No Com-
munist state would call it just a civil war
if the Federal Republic of Germany were to
send 20 regiments of its regular army into
East Germany.

The military conquest of South Viet-Nam
will not occur. But there remains the hard
job of rooting out what Ho Chi Minh has
called "the guerrilla infrastructure."

While we and our allies are resolved to
preserve the freedom of the South Viet-
namese to make their own future under
institutions and leaders of their own free
choice, we have made every effort to seek a
peaceful solution.

It has been the consistent policy of the
United States during the last 20 years to
apply its power only to the extent necessary
to accomplish the essential purpose. When
Berlin was blockaded, we and our allies
resorted to an airlift. When Khrushchev
placed strategic missiles in Cuba, President
Kennedy applied a limited naval quarantine.
He was prepared to do more if necessary,
but the Kremlin got the message.

The point I am emphasizing was set
forth admirably in February 1953 by the
president of the National Churches of Christ
in the United States of America, in his ofR-



272



DEPARTMENT OF STATE BULLETIN



cial call to the fourth national study con-
ference on "The Churches and World
Order." I quote:

In the past turbulent decade the United States
has been thrust into a position of world leadership.
Our country has become the most powerful nation
in the free world. This power carries with it great
responsibility. In a world threatened by tyranny, by
rising nationalism, and by unrest in the less devel-
oped areas, the power of a great nation like ours
must be exercised with restraint and humility to
avoid appeasement on one side and total war on the
other.

The author of that statement is an
eminent Texan, Bishop William C. Martin of
the Methodist Episcopal Church.

It has been asserted that the United
States is suffering, or in danger of suffering,
from the "arrogance of power." That recalls
Lord Acton's dictum that power tends to
corrupt and absolute power tends to corrupt
absolutely. I don't believe the American
people have been corrupted by power. We
have borne heavy burdens because we believe
in liberty and want peace. We have sought
nothing for ourselves except what we seek
for all other peoples on this planet: the right
to live in freedom and peace.



And I believe that most people all around
the world understand the decent purposes of
the American people and that most of them
want the same kind of world we want.

While we help to eliminate aggression we
search for areas of common interest and
agreement with our adversaries, especially
arrangements or understandings to reduce
the danger of a great war. And we work
continuously at the manifold tasks of build-
ing the economic, social, and political
strength of the free world: by ever closer
partnerships wath the economically advanced
nations, by aid to the developing nations in
modernizing themselves in freedom, by
strengthening and expanding useful intemar
tional institutions, by cultural and scientific
exchanges.

Brick by brick, the structure of world
peace is being built. When all would-be ag-
gressors come to realize, as they must, that
aggression will not be tolerated, there will
be peace. And if those who want peace and
covet nothing from their neighbors remain
strong and alert, that peace will become the
enduring peace for which mankind has long
yearned.



FEBRUARY 20, 1967



273



Secretary Rusk Discusses Viet-Nam
in Interview for British Television



Following is the transcript of an interview
with Secretary Rusk videotaped in Wash-
ington on January 31 for Associated
Television, Ltd., and broadcast by the
British Independent Television network on
February 1. Interviewing the Secretary
were Michael Berry, chairman and editor
in chief, The Sunday Telegraph and The
Daily Telegraph, London; Alastair Burnet,
editor, The Economist; Hugh Cudlipp, chair-
man. Daily Mirror and Sunday Mirror,
London; and Paul Johnson, editor. The New
Statesman. William Donaldson Clark, direc-
tor. Overseas Devehxpnnent Institute, London,
was the moderator.

Moderator: Mr. Rusk, first of all, may I
thank you very much for putting aside time
to receive us. We've flown in here from
England to put some of the questions that
are worrying us very considerably about
the Vietnamese war, and perhaps some of
our hopes about the Vietnamese peace, too.
Recently, particularly, we've been worried
by the reports in your papers about the
effects on civilian life and injuries as the
result of bombing in the North, and perhaps
our hopes have been roused by the news of a
truce next week and the visit to Great
Britain of Mr. Kosygin [Alexsei N. Kosygin,
Chairman, Soviet Council of Ministers'] , who
possibly may be raising matters of peace in
that area. Can we put our problems and our
hopes to you frankly, and expect frank
answers ?

A. Yes indeed, and I want to welcome
you gentlemen to Washington. I'm looking
forward to this conversation. So let's have
at it.



Q. Mr. Rusk, what particularly perturbs
the people of Britain is that this is an ugly
and cruel war, more ugly and cruel than
some of the bigger wars in our time. And
it's a 7var of tremendous confusion. In the
Vatican we have the Pope praying for peace,
and in the United States we have Cardinal
Spellman praying for victory and saying
that anything but victory is inconceivable.
We're perturbed about the bombing of inno-
cent people. First there is the bombing and
then the apology. On Sunday, as you kyww,
31 South Vietnamese were killed when flee-
ing in their sampans. Now, I'm well aware
that you deplore all this as much as we do;
but I'm sure if British people could hear
from, your own lips your moral justification
for all this, ive might be able to understand
your attitude a little clearer.

A. Well, in the first place, you're quite
right in saying that we regret every
casualty in this war — in North and South,
Vietnamese and foreign. And we regret the
fact that it has not been possible to bring
this war to an early conclusion. It is a war
that need never have started had the 1954
and 1962 agreements been honored, par-
ticularly in their military aspects. We believe
that it is very important that our own treaty
commitments be met, and we believe that the
South Vietnamese people have a right to
determine their own government and that
the South Vietnamese people have a right to
decide for themselves whether they will par-
ticipate in a reunification of Viet-Nam.

I would not agree that this is an uglier
war than some of the larger wars. We're not
seeing in North Viet-Nam the kind of blitz,
for example, that you people had during



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DEPARTMENT OP STATE BULLETIN



World War II. If you want to visit Hanoi
today, you can land in a normal airport, you
can go into the city, live in a hotel, wander
around the city. You'd have to look pretty
hard to find damage in Hanoi.

We have not been attacking civilians as
such. Some civilians have, unfortunately,
been killed. A good many civilians them-
selves are a part of the war operation; that
is, driving trucks to the South with men and
arms on board, manning the barges, loco-
motives — things of that sort. But our pilots
have been instructed not to hit civilian
targets. Some military targets have been
taken off the list because they do involve a
substantial risk of civilian casualties. The
pilots go to extraordinary effort to avoid
civilian casualties. Nevertheless there have
been some.

There have been far larger civilian
casualties in South Viet-Nam, and we know
that those are acts of deliberate policy. You
don't go around assassinating village chiefs
and schoolteachers and public health officers
and people of thajt sort or kidnaping entire
villages by accident. And so we have to take
that into account as well. Such a mistake
as you mentioned, about bombing some
refugees, thinking that they were Viet
Cong — that occurs in all military opera-
tions — we regret that very much.

But the point I would like to emphasize
is that this fighting could be brought to an
end very quickly indeed — very quickly indeed
if the North Vietnamese were prepared to
keep their armed forces at home and leave
their immediate neighbors alone in Laos and
South Viet-Nam. It's just as simple as that.

Peking and Southeast Asia

Q. Mr. Rusk, could we look at the objects
of this war? There appears to us in Britain
to be a certain confusion in your war aims.
Is this a war for the containment of China,
or is it simply a war for the independence
of South Viet-Nam? Could you tell us pre-
cisely what your war aims are?

A. I don't know that there is a choice
between those two objectives. My guess is
that if the authorities in Peking were to



throw their weight behind peace in South-
east Asia, there would be peace in Southeast
Asia.

But, nevertheless, the immediate events
which brought our Armed Forces into South
Viet-Nam were the movement of substantial
numbers of North Vietnamese men in arms,
including some now 20 regiments of their
North Vietnamese regular army, into South
Viet-Nam for the purpose of imposing a
political settlement on the South by force.
Now, this cuts right across our commitments
under the SEATO Treaty. Under article IV
of that treaty, each signatory determines
what steps it will take to meet the common
danger in the event of an aggression by
means of armed attack; and it was specifi-
cally understood at the time that that would
apply to an aggression by Ho Chi Minh, as
well as to others.

Now, the Chinese are not actively involved
in this situation in South Viet>Nam. We do
know that they are trying to stir up prob-
lems for the Thais in the northeast section
of Thailand. China has publicly announced
that Thailand is next on the list; but the
key point is that if these countries would
live at peace, we would be the first to give
that our full support — leave these countries
alone ourselves, get out of there.

Q. But are you saying that Peking could
stop the South Viet-Nam war if it wanted
to?

A. I'm saying that if Peking were to
throw its full weight behind an immediate
peace in Southeast Asia, that would have
very immediate results; because if they were
to cut off the supplies that they are sending
to Hanoi and would insist to Hanoi that
Hanoi return to the provisions of the 1954
and 1962 agreements, there could be peace
very promptly.

Q. Your Senate was given evidence only
the other day that 85 percent of the war
supplies in the North came from the Soviet
Union, not from Peking.

A. I don't accept that in those terms,
except for the sophisticated weapons. The
small arms and small-arms ammunition and



FEBRUARY 20, 1967



275



foodstuffs and normal supplies typically
come from China. The Soviet Union has sent
the more sophisticated weapons sudh as the
SAM missiles, certain kinds of antiaircraft,
radar, and some MIG's — things of that sort.
But in terms of bulk, I would think the bulk
of it would continue to come from China.

Q. But it is nevertheless your contention
that if Peking cut off aid, the war would
automatically end.

A. Oh, I think it would end very quickly —
that's not automatically, but very quickly
indeed.

Results of Bombing North Viet-Nam

Q. Mr. Ru^k, in bombing North Viet-
Nam, America has brought a great deal of
moral obloquy upon herself around the
world. Do you think that this military game
is really worth the candle?

A. I don't know what you mean by
"moral obloquy around the world." I was out
in Asia myself at the time of the bombing
of the POL in Hanoi and Haiphong, talking
to Asians, Asian governments, Asian news-
papermen. I didn't sense any moral obloquy
out there from those who live on the firing
line, from those who have a stake in the
outcome — and that includes most of the free
nations of Asia. The point is that the moral
obloquy ought to rest with those who have
started this affair and who refuse to bring
it to an end.

Q. But are you getting any military bene-
fit from this bombing now? As one under-
stands it, the buildup of the North Viet-
namese forces in South Viet-Nam is even
greater now than it was before the bombing
began.

A. Oh, I think it's no accident that the
other side is concentrating now on trying to
get an unconditional and permanent cessa-
tion of the bombing. I think that would not
be their main object unless it were hurting.
We have knocked out trucks, railway
wagons, barges, by the thousands bringing
men and arms to the South; and I have no
doubt at all that the bombing has made it



much more difficult for them to lay on their
effort and sustain it and certainly more
difficult for them to increase it.

So from a military point of view, it is
important. But also there's a political aspect
of this as well. If North Viet-Nam could sit
there indefinitely, safe and comfortable,
while it sends its men and arms into South
Viet-Nam, what would be their incentive to
ever make peace?

Q. The people say in Britain, where we
do understand a bit about bombing —

A. Yes—

Q. — that bombing attacks of this nature
merely stiffen people's backs and make them
resolve to go on until they do win.

A. Well, Germany didn't go on until they
won.

Q. It wasn't the bombing, was it, Mr.
Ru^k, that held Germany down?

A. It helped.

Q. May I ask, on the sam,e subject, in
weaponry you have a concept of cost-effec-
tiveness. Have you in the bombing of Viet-
Nam any concept of "life-effectiveness"?
That is to say, can you balance the advan-
tages you are likely to get from a particular
bombing operation against the likely civilian
casualties — to some civilian casualties?

A. Well, as I said earlier, we take the
iwssibility of civilian casualties very much
into account when we designate targets and
there have been targets that have not been
hit simply because they do involve high
risk of substantial civilian casualties — this
despite the fact that the North Vietnamese,
having learned that this is our policy, do
put their SAM missiles and their antiair-
craft in populated areas and use populated
areas as a sort of cover for some of their
military installations. Nevertheless, we do
our best to avoid civilian casualties.

But in terms of cost-effectiveness, we
don't use a slide rule or computer on that.
Here come 12 trucks down the road, headed
South with men and arms on board. Now,
do you strike them, or do you wait until they



276



DEPARTMENT OF STATE BULLETIN



get into the South and pick the metal out of
the bodies of your own troops? We think we
have to hit them.

Q. I'm talking about the bombing of in-
stallations on the ground which are near
residential areas.

Need for Reciprocity

Q. Mr. Riisk, there is general feeling in
the world, and I should say -certainly among
intellectuals and academics in the States,
that you should deescalate, stop the bombing
in the North, and move into a position from
which negotiation would at any rate be
possible — and the feeling is that you will not
do this because of what was originally an
exclusive oriental fear, that fear of loss of
face. Is there anything in this?

A. No, this is not a question of loss of
face. The other side is now saying that we
must stop the bombing unconditionally and
permanently. This is a rather different thing
than the notion of suspending the bombing.
Last autumn, a year ago, we had many sug-
gestions from the other side that if we
stopped the bombing for a period something
might hapi)en — we might be able to get some
talks started and find a way to bring this
matter to a conclusion. Well, in fact we
stopped the bombing for twice as long as had
been suggested by the other side, and the only
thing we got for it was a demand that we
take Hanoi's four points — get out of South
Viet-Nam, and accept the Liberation Front
as the sole spokesman for the South Viet-
namese people. Now they've changed the
view on this. We must now, they say, stop
permanently and unconditionally, because a
suspension is somehow an ultimatum.

So this makes it important for us to know
what would happen. I don't believe, for
example, that you could tell me what would
happen if we stopped the bombing — perhaps
you do have some information that we don't
have — but we need to know what is going to
happen if we stop the bombing. I find it
rather curious that the notion of reciprocity
seems to drop out of this discussion in many
people's minds. Suppose that we on our side.



we and the South Vietnamese and the others
who have troops in Viet-Nam, were to say,
Well, of course we will not have any discus-
sions with anybody at any time unless the
violence in the South stops. Everyone would
say. Well, you're being very belligerent. But
the tendency is to say — when the North
Vietnamese say. There'll be no discussion so
long as you're bombing North Viet-Nam —
everybody seems to say. Well, that sounds
perfectly natural, that's obvious. You see, if
we were to take that same view, you would
condemn us rather severely, I should think.

Q. But on the other hand, Mr. Rusk, I
think it is generally accepted that the Rus-
sians and Poles, and some people in the
Communist half of the world, do rather think
that if this bombing could be stopped, the
weight of their pressure in Hanoi would be
much greater than the pressure which you
attribute to Peking.

A. Well, you see, we've never had from
anybody what they would do if we stopped
the bombing. Now, for example, I wonder if
the minds of any of you here would be
changed, from whatever it is, if we stopped
the bombing and there was no response. I
have not had anyone — private citizen, gov-
ernment — tell me what they would do if we
stopped the bombing, even if they could not
tell us what Hanoi would do. So we need to
know more than that about the effect; other-
wise, as I say. North Viet-Nam would sit
there safe and comfortable, perhaps for the
next 50 years, continuing its effort to send in
men and supplies. We need some peace in
this part of the world, and we're going to get
it — we're going to insist upon it.

IVIilitary Situation in Viet-Nam

Q. Leaving the moral issue of the bombing
for a moment, Mr. Rusk, could we look a bit
closer at the military situation. You now have
JtOO,000 men out there, and your budget has
gone rocketing up — it's over 73 billion
now — aTid your own Great Society program
is being damaged, I believe, because of the
cost of this war. Are you satisfied this
enormous cost is being bought by real tangi-



FEBRUARY 20, 1967



277



ble military gains ? I mean, are you confident
you're getting the right kind of military
advice in Viet-Nam?

A. I have no doubt about the skill and the
professional judgment and the capabilities of
our military leaders, as well as the men in
uniform out there — it's a most extraordinary
performance. What we're trying to do is to
prevent North Viet>Nam's achieving a mili-
tary victory. Now, there is therefore a mili-
tary component in this situation; because
after all is said and done, at the end of the
day here come two regiments down the road
from the North. Someone has to decide: Do
you get out of their way or do you meet
them? We feel that we must meet them. Now,
that is a decision that we cannot avoid. After
everyone has said everything there is to say
on this subject, here come the two regiments.
What do you do about them ? Now, of course
it is an expensive war, but we do believe that
what happens here has something to do with
the prospects of general peace. We are at the
beginning, perhaps, of the possibilities of
detente with the Soviet Union, but we didn't
come to that point by forgetting Azerbaijan,
by giving away the eastern provinces of
Turkey, by welcoming the Greek guerrillas
into Athens, by giving away Berlin, by for-
getting Korea, by being negligent about the
Congo, by having no concern with Southeast
Asia, or by welcoming the missiles into Cuba
as good neighbors. This has been a long, dif-
ficult, costly affair, and we have only just
made it.

The United States alone since 1947 has
had to spend about $900 billion in its defense
budget, and yet we're only 5 years away from
two very critical crises involving the security
of the West, one the Berlin crisis of 1961 and
'62 and one the Cuban missile crisis. So the
question is, How do you build a durable
peace? And one of the problems in my mind
is that half the American people, half the
British people, can no longer remember
World War II — and fewer of them can re-
member the events that led up to World War
II. And therefore the question which was the
great preoccupation of all of us in 1945, How



do you organize a durable peace? is begin-
ning to recede into the background — people
are getting forgetful of that question,
negligent about it. Now, I don't see how
we're going to come to peace by allowing
people to overrun their neighbors by force.

Q. That isn't quite the question, Mr. Rusk.
I mean, let's get back to the military situa-
tion in South Viet-Nam. You've jiist referred
to an astonishing performance by your
generals, and so on. What are the precise
indications of this performance, what
progress have you actually made, in a
strictly military sense, in the last year?

A. Well, in the first place, the effort of
the Viet Cong and North Vietnamese forces
to cut the country in two has been frus-
trated. They have not been able to move this
war to the third stage of the guerrilla tactics;
that is, to the conventional stage; organized
forces of battalion and regimental size are
not the pattern of their action at the present
time in general, because in those engage-
ments the firepower and the force that are
present there inflict very severe casualties
upon them and they have therefore been
pulling away from that. The problem still
is the tactical problem of the guerrilla situ-
ation. We captured documents the other day,
in operations in the Iron Triangle, in which
the other side had reported to their own
higher command that they'd lost a million
peasants to the Government in the most
recent months.



Online LibraryUnited States. Dept. of State. Office of Public CoDepartment of State bulletin (Volume v. 56, Jan- Mar 1967) → online text (page 50 of 90)