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of realistic appraisal of the problems which
still have to be overcome to heal the wounds
of that tragic conflict and to achieve social
and economic justice for the people of South
Viet-Nam.

In Asian countries I visited I was par-
ticularly impressed by the interest shown in
regional development or, in other words, col-
lective Asian efforts — by their growing con-
viction that if each country in the area can
concert its skills and energies with the other,
they can all make better use of assistance
from non-Asian sources, use their own skills
and resources to better advantage, and make
more progress in resolving many problems
they face in common. This is a most wel-
come development and should be encouraged
and supported.

I shall begin tomorrow to testify before
the Senate Foreign Relations Committee to
fulfill my responsibilities in connection with
the Outer Space Treaty. There are, in addi-
tion, other U.N. matters of immediate con-
cern that will require my closest attention.
As a result, I do not know when it will be
possible for me to continue on the trip to
other capitals in Asia which the President
asked me to visit. I hope I shall not be too
long delayed and that the second leg of my
Asian tour will be as fruitful as that I have
just completed.

Now, this is my statement. I shall be glad
to answer questions.



Questions and Answers

Q. Ambassador, yesterday U Thant came
back and gave us the feeling that the war
was going to be prolonged and bloody. Did
you come back with the same impression?

A. I am neither an optimist nor a pessi-
mist. We have a difficult conflict, as I said
in my statement. We never know what the
ultimate outcome will be, but the important
thing for our own country is a very simple
principle, and that is to reassert that the
door is open for peace. It must be an honor-
able and just peace. It must be a peace be-
tween the parties. No one can make peace
unilaterally.

I do not come in dismayed by what I saw.
I do not come in optimistic about what I saw.
I come in with resolve that the world needs
an end to this tragic conflict, and for that end
we need the cooperation of everybody con-
cerned.

Q. Mr. Ambassador, U Thant also said
that the North Vietnamese do not consider
a bombing pause to be a concession. Might
the United States consider a form of deesca-
lation which would be larger than a bombing
pause ?

A. Well, I have always said that the way
to get this war over with is a simple formula,
and that is that all violence ought to stop —
which means deescalation on all sides. The
war cannot stop by one party taking an
action which is not reciprocated. This will
mean that only part of the war will be over.

What I would look for personally is a
mutual deescalation so that the fighting, the
violence, the tragedy, the conflict, can be
over with. That's the only way we can assure
peace in the country.

Q. Are we considering making a greater
first move than a bombing pause?

A. Well, we said at the U.N. and, as far
as I know, that position still is the position
of our Government, we are prepared to take
the first step the moment we receive assur-
ances that there will be deescalation on the
other side.



506



DEPARTMENT OF STATE BULLETIN



Q. Mr. Ambassador, Senator Wayne
Morse said today he thought that the people
had been sold out by the Government and
Congress and that the only resort they had
notv to a reasonable peaceful settlement in
the fairly near future was to use their only
check which they have now, which is their
vote, and to vote the administration out of
office. Do you have any reaction to that?

A. I do not comment on senatorial state-
ments except before the Senate, where I will
appear tomorrow.

Q. Mr. Ambassador, tvhen will you see
the Secretary-General?

A. Well, obviously I am very anxious to
see the Secretary-General, U Thant, and I
have to go to Washington late tonight. I am
going to change clothes, luggage, and then
proceed to Washington, and I would hope
for the very earliest opportunity —

Q. Would that be tonight?

A. — to see the Secretary-General, be-
cause obviously I am very anxious to find out
his own impressions of what took place in
Rangoon.

Q. Will that be tonight?

Q. Mr. Ambassador, ivhat do you figure
is the best possible way to stop this war
right no7v ?

A. Well, I think myself, based on my
experience, that the best way to stop the
war is to engage in private dialog, which
would lead to an understanding of each
other's peace terms, and then I think the pro-
cedures by which we could come to this end
could be arranged.

Q. Is there anybody at all that would be
strong enough and powerful enough to make
the other side stop ?

A. Well, I hope that the realization that
this is a long and bloody conflict, with great
injury to the people of the North and the
people of the South, will sink in. And per-
haps that's the best way — to get all con-
cerned to feel that we ought to replace this
battlefield for the conference table.



Q. Mr. Ambassador, on your tnp did you
have contact %vith anyone who had recently
been in Hanoi and could give you a current
impression of their thinking in North Viet-
Nam?

A. No, not immediately, but of course in
Saigon are members of the ICC [Interna-
tional Control Commission] , and I saw every-
body that, in the limitations of time, I could
see in Saigon.

Q. Mr. Ambassador, did anybody during
your trip offer to act as an intermediary be-
tween the United States and North Viet-
Nam?

A. No.

Q. Mr. Ambassador, would you just say
generally that you do agree with the impres-
sions of Secretary Thant, who said really not
much more than he really came back with
very little optimism for a settlement in the
near future ?

A. Well, I am your representative at the
United Nations, and I am not a prophet.
What we have to do is persevere in the effort
to get the war over with. Strange things
happen in the world. Who could have pre-
dicted that the Indonesian thing would have
materialized the way it did?

So I do not come back optimistic. I do not
come back pessimistic. I do not want to raise
false hopes. All I assert is that the sine qua
non, to use a lawyer's term, of settlement of
the conflict is a will to resolve the conflict.
We have that will. And when that will is
matched on the other side, then the promise
of peace will be more promising.

Q. Will you be talking to Mr. Thant be-
fore you see the President, sir?

A. I do not know exactly. I have to leave
here tonight. I have to go home and get my
papers and pick up my personal effects. We
have been traveling around pretty rapidly. I
will see the Secretary-General at any time —
at an early opportunity that affords itself so
that I can get the benefit of his views in the
matter.



MARCH 27, 1967



507



Q. Would you say that the chances for
peace talks are at an impasse ? Would you say
that the chances for peace talks between the
United States and Hanoi are at an impasse
at the moment?

A. No, no, no. In negotiations there are
many false starts and stops. I would say that
at the moment no serious proposal has been
made. That does not mean that a serious
proposal would not be made tomorrow. The
important thing is, from the standpoint of
our country, that the door to peace be kept
open; and when the door to peace is kept
open, any time may be a suitable time to
carry on peace discussions.

Q. Mr. Ambassador, the door to peace is
open. Why don't we just walk right through
it?

A. Pardon me?

Q. You say that the door to peace is open.
Why don't we walk through it? You say here
today peace cannot be made unilaterally. You
mean, if tve stop fighting, they'd go on fight-
ing ?

A. Well, the only way you can get any
conflict over, in my opinion, based upon long
experience, is that both parties stop fighting.
A war cannot get over by any act that one
person does. What is required is the ground-
ing of arms, a cessation of violence. The
fighting has to stop.

Q. Why don't loe just stop fighting? You
say the fighting must stop. If we stop fight-
ing, you mean they'd go on fighting?

A. Well, we have no assurances —

Q. Is there a historical example for that ?

A. We have no assurances if we stopped
bombing that we will get reciprocity on the
other side.

Q. What have we got to lose by trying?
Senator [Robert F.] Kennedy says you just
have to stop bombing.

A. I know, I know; but my experience
has been that the way to stop fighting is for
everybody to stop fighting.

Q. Mr. Justice, did you hear any reac-



tion to Senator Kennedy's proposal during
your trip ?

A. Yes. It was in the newspapers. But by
and large, the feeling in the area in which I
visited is that what is required is mutual de-
escalation on both sides — on the part of our
country, on the part of North Viet-Nam, on
the part of all the adversaries in the field.
And this is the most promising way to get
the war over with, an objective which we all
share, which we would all hope for; and this
is the talk in Southeast Asia.

Q. Mr. Ambassador, did you get any evi-
dence as to how much of an effort China is
making on the side of Ho Chi Minh in North
Viet-Nam?

A. Well, the Chinese situation is a great
riddle wrapped up in an enigma, to use an-
other phrase. I don't think anybody can
properly appraise what is happening in
mainland China. Obviously, important things
are happening, and, obviously, the important
things that are happening have had impact
on the war in Viet-Nam. But thus far at
least, they have not had such an impact that
we can say to ourselves that the stage is set
for a peaceful negotiation.

Q. Mr. Ambassador, in your opinion,
could that war be ended in the next few
weeks or few months ?

A. I am not a prophet, again. I occupy
the role of our Representative at the U.N.
I would fervently hope that the prospects for
peace are increasing, but I cannot give you
any solemn assurance, as I said in the open-
ing statement, that in the next few weeks,
in the next few months, even in the next
longer period, that the war can come to an
end. I said in Saigon, and I repeated it at
other Asian capitals, that I cannot say when
peace will come to Viet-Nam.

This is beyond my capacity. After all, I
have been there only a relatively few days,
and I do not profess to be the greatest expert
on this subject. All I can report to you is
what I saw, what I sensed. The war is going
on. The peace efforts have not materialized.
The road ahead is still rocky and difficult.



508



DEPARTMENT OF STATE BULLETIN



The conflict is prolonged. This has been going
on for 20 years.

The two things we have to watch out for,
it seems to me, are these: One is that we
must recognize that the roots of the conflict
are deep rooted and difficult and not easy to
resolve; and, on the other hand, we must
guard against the hatreds, the impatience,
which comes out of any war. There is a
natural tendency in all countries to try to
bring things quickly to an end. I don't see
that happening quickly, but I am confident
that over the long run — and I do not know
how long this will be — I am confident that in
the long run peace will be restored to that
troubled section of the world.

Q. Is there a possibility, sir, that the
American people may get impatient with the
war?

A. I have been away, you know, for 10
days, but I do not believe so. I believe that
our people, as I said in my statement, are
resolved. This does not mean we are mono-
lithic people. The nature of democracy pre-
cludes that, but I think by and large our
people are anxious to subscribe to certain
elementary principles.

The principles are clear. We covet no ter-
ritory. We do not want to be a colonial power.
We do not want our bases there any longer
than is necessary to subside the violence in
Viet-Nam. We have no designs upon the
North. We are perfectly willing, regardless of
ideology, to have that regime carried on. We
operate on a very simple principle, as I said
earlier, and that principle is that every peo-
ple, whether the lines drawn are permanent
or provisional, every people is entitled, to use
a phrase from Justice Brandeis, to be left
alone.

The dominant impression I got in Asia is
a simple impression, and that is this one:
Every Asian country now is on the march;
they have many problems, mostly social and
economic. They would like to join other
Asian countries with the assistance of non-
Asian countries and the United Nations to
make progress for their people so they can
live in dignity and in freedom. And this is
the key issue. If we can resolve this issue, I



think we can resolve the modalities which
would lead to that result.

There has been in my opinion too much
concentration on procedures and not enough
on substance. If we were all in agreement
today that the viable solution for Viet-Nam
was that the North can settle its own fate,
the South can settle its own fate, that we
would not impose upon the South a policy of
alinement. We are ready to take their choice,
and whatever their choice is, we are ready to
accept. That's the key issue.

And that is particularly why I stress the
progress which is being made toward consti-
tutional government in South Viet-Nam. And
I think this is a promising development. We
will have, I am told, within a very short
period a constitution perfected. I am told
coming back from Viet-Nam that the Gov-
ernment and the assembly will not have diflS-
culty in resolving differences which arise
between the directorate and the assembly. If
this is the case, and if South Viet-Nam moves
toward constitutional government, toward
democratic elections, then I see in this great
promise for the future development of the
country.

Q. Thank you very much, sir.



NEWS CONFERENCE AT THE WHITE HOUSE,
MARCH 8

White House press release dated March 8

Opening Statement by Ambassador Goldberg

As you know, I went on this trip to South-
east Asia at the request of the President. I
have reported to him on the leg of the trip
which I have just completed which took me
to several countries — Japan, Korea, South
Viet-Nam, Taiwan, and the Philippines.

I gave the President a rundown of what
I saw and observed and heard in this very
short trip.

I say at the outset that a trip of this
character does not make you an expert. I do
not pretend to be. I could only report to the
President the impressions that I had.

I tried to make it clear at the outset of the
trip, and wish to reaffirm, that I did not



MARCH 27, 1967



509



undertake this mission related to any new-
proposals or initiatives for peace in Viet-
Nam. I hasten to add that this does not mean
that I, as the United States Representative
to the United Nations, am not vitally and
daily concerned with the prospects for and
the possibilities of a peaceful settlement. It
was, thus, quite natural that this was a mat-
ter of discussion between the officials of all
of the governments I visited and myself.

Since they were all Asian countries, this
was a matter that vitally entered into the
discussions that I had with the leaders of the
governments that I visited. I should say that
I met with the heads of all of those states as
well as the foreign ministers of all of those
states.

In these discussions, relating specifically
to Viet-Nam, I reviewed with them the many
efforts and expressions by onr Government
aimed at achieving an honorable settlement
through unconditional negotiations. I empha-
sized the desire of our Government to keep
the door open for such a settlement, and the
door to a just and honorable peace is and
remains open.

Now, I left the area, and particularly Sai-
gon, with this basic conviction which I re-
ported to the President: The great difficulty
of achieving peace — and it is a great diffi-
culty — should serve to remind us that there
are substantial conflicting interests at stake
which stubbornly resist solution, that peace
cannot be bought at any price, nor can real
conflicts of interest — and there are real con-
flicts of interest — be waved away with a
magic wand — as much as we would like to
wave them away.

By the same token, I was reinforced by my
trip in the conviction that the ferocity of war
should not be an incitement of hatred but
rather a stern discipline, a reminder of the
duty to define and to reaffirm the limited in-
terest for which we fight and which a peace
settlement must protect.

This limited interest, I think, can be stated
simply as follows:

The people of South Viet-Nam should be
left alone to determine their own political



destiny under conditions of freedom and
without any external interference.

Now, coming back from the trip I tell you
that I am not a prophet. I do not come back
either optimistic or pessimistic. I do not
know, nor could I say to the President, when
a peace based upon these principles will
come to Viet-Nam. But I do know that it is
necessary with patience and fortitude to per-
severe in the effort to bring peace to the
people of Southeast Asia.

I noted progress, however, in an area
which is relevant to that objective, and that
progress was the progress which is being
made in Saigon toward constitutional gov-
ernment. It was one of the principal ob-
jectives of my going to Viet-Nam to meet
both with the government and members of
the constituent assembly so that I could
assess and report to the President my own
reaction to how this process was going.

I reported to the President that this proc-
ess is going very well. This is an affirmative
report that I can make with assurance.

I anticipate, on the basis of everything
that I was told by the leaders of the assembly
and the leaders of the Government, that the
constitution should be perfected hopefully
within the next 10 days. This is the date men-
tioned by all. Then national elections would
proceed within an early period thereafter.

The machinery has to be set up, and that
machinery, I am told, will be set up as soon
as the constitution is perfected. This consti-
tutional government will be an important
adjunct toward a peaceful solution in Viet-
Nam. It will also lay the basis for national
reconciliation in Viet-Nam.

You may be interested in knowing that one
of my favorite expressions, which I made to
all concerned in Viet-Nam, was to recall
what Abraham Lincoln said in the midst of
our great conflict in his second inaugural
address, and this reflects my permanent
philosophy and I reflected it to the people.
That is: There should be malice toward none,
and charity toward all, and that the wounds
of the conflict should be healed.

I think that is the basis on which a pro-



510



DEPARTMENT OF STATE BULLETIN



gram of national reconciliation can be
achieved.

I paid particular attention in the very
brief period I could, which is natural in light
of my own background, to the social and eco-
nomic problems involved in all of the coun-
tries.

The key to a peaceful settlement in Viet-
Nam will also be social and economic justice
for the people of South Viet-Nam. A very
great effort is underway in this direction
with the support of the United States.

I don't want to minimize or gloss over the
problems involved in that area. They are
very, very substantial. They require a recon-
stitution of an old society.

In fact, one of the main impressions I took
away is a realistic appraisal, which I re-
ported to the President, of the problems that
still have to be overcome to achieve the social
and economic justice for the people of the
country. Pacification of the country depends
upon this. This is the key to pacification of
the country. People have a stake in the coun-
try when their social and economic problems
are solved.

So I would not want to minimize the diffi-
culties ahead, although there is progress in
this area. The progress that can be made in
this area is evidenced by what has happened
elsewhere in the area.

I would cite, for example, Korea. In my
very brief visit there, I was very much im-
pressed by the progress which has been made
in South Korea in economic development and
in achieving social and economic betterment
for the people of that country.

Of course, it is better known that that
exists in Japan.

I discussed in all of these countries many
U.N. problems. We have problems with all of
these countries in the U.N. The Korean issue
always comes up in the U.N.

In Taiwan I discussed the problem of Chi-
nese representation with the officials of that
Government, which is a perennial problem
there. I listened more than I talked, because
I wanted to give to the President the benefit
of the views which these statesmen discussed.



Finally, I would like to say this: No one
who visits the area, and particularly no one
who visits South Viet-Nam, can fail to be im-
pressed with the Americans serving in South
Viet-Nam, both civilians and military. I
think our country can take justifiable pride
in being represented in that war-torn coun-
try by a group of men with high motives,
resolve, ability, and dedication.

I had the opportunity, of course, to meet
with General [William C.] Westmoreland
and the members of his staff, of course with
our Embassy group, with all Americans — I
made it a practice in all countries to meet
with our own people and have a candid dis-
cussion with them.

Finally, as you know, I had the benefit of
meeting with all of our ambassadors from
the whole area of Southeast Asia, who were
meeting at Baguio in the Philippines.! i
spent an afternoon and evening with the
ambassadors in a very candid roundup of
developments in the whole area of South-
east Asia.

This, as you know, was not my first visit.
When I was on the Supreme Court, 2 years
ago, I went on a lecture tour to countries
other than those I visited, except Japan.
I was in India, Malaysia, Ceylon, and Japan
on that trip. Our ambassadors covered the
whole range of the area.

This is what I reported to the President
today.

I shall be glad to respond to questions.

Questions and Answers

Q. Mr. Ambassador, while you were
making that report to the President, Arthur
Schlesinger held a news conference in which
he said the President and the State Depart-
ment are deliberately falsifying Hanoi's po-
sition that in fact we don't tvant peace ne-
gotiations. Would you comment again in
the light of these statements what Hanoi's
position is?

A. I have not seen this press statement



» See p. 517.



MARCH 27, 1967



511



of Mr. Schlesinger; so I don't want to relate
it to anything he may have said.

As far as our Government's position is
concerned, I reaffirmed to every head of
state and publicly stated in every capital,
including Saigon — and as far as I am aware
there is no difference of opinion in this area
— that as far as we are concerned our stand-
ing commitment to seek an honorable peace
without imposing any conditions is a firm
commitment which has not been altered or
changed.

In fact, the sentence that I read you about
the door being open, I gave in Saigon in my
departing statement.

Q. Mr. Ambassador, the Schlesinger
statement ties in ivith talk, though, that has
picked up considerably recently that we don't
want negotiations at the present time, at
least until after the constitution is approved
and an election is held. Can you comment on
that?

A. That is untrue. We are ready for un-
conditional negotiations today, and that still
remains our position.

Q. Mr. Ambassador, in your discussion
with the heads of state in South Viet-Nam,
particularly in reference to your quotation
from Lincoln, "With malice toward none,"
how did you and they envision the National
Liberation Front, which represents some de-
gree of population in the South, being
brought into this new government?

A. I did not discuss, because I did not
deem it appropriate to tell a government
how to constitute its own government, par-
ticularly when a constitution was being de-
veloped which would lead to national elec-
tions.

The philosophy I was expressing was the
same philosophy Lincoln expressed, and it
was directed toward the individuals, the peo-
ple involved. He was talking to people and
he was expressing the concept that you must
not let the — as I stated in my own words —
ferocity of war bar you from reconciling
differences and healing the wounds of a con-
flict. That is what I was referring to.



Q. Mr. Ambassador, why has the United
States rejected the Polish proposals for a
troika government in South Viet-Nam com-



Online LibraryUnited States. Dept. of State. Office of Public CoDepartment of State bulletin (Volume v. 56, Jan- Mar 1967) → online text (page 86 of 90)