1968 Executive Sessions of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee (Historical Series)

1968 Executive Sessions of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee (Historical Series)
S. PRT. 111–23
Printed for the use of the Committee on Foreign Relations
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J.W. FULBRIGHT, Arkansas, Chairman
ALBERT GORE, Tennessee
KARL E. MUNDT, South Dakota
THOMAS J. DODD, Connecticut
JOSEPH S. CLARK, Pennsylvania
CARL MARCY, Chief of Staff
JOHN F. KERRY, Massachusetts, Chairman
BOB CORKER, Tennessee
JIM DEMINT, South Carolina
ROBERT P. CASEY, JR., Pennsylvania
JIM WEBB, Virginia
ROGER F. WICKER, Mississippi
KENNETH A. MYERS, JR., Minority Staff Director
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Preface ......................................................................................................................
The Gulf of Tonkin, January 10 .......................................................................
Briefing on Laos Situation, January 19 .........................................................
Testimony of William H. Sullivan, U.S. Ambassador to Laos
Minutes, January 23 ...............................................................................................
Resolution Authorizing Committee Inquiries Into Foreign Policy, January 24, 1968 ......................................................................................................
Report of the Staff Study of the Tonkin Gulf Incidents, January 24 .....
Briefing on the Pueblo Incident, January 26 .....................................................
Testimony of Dean Rusk, Secretary of State
Report on the Staff Study of the Tonkin Gulf Incidents and Discussion of the Pueblo Incident, January 30 .....................................................
Report by Senator Clark on Trip to Vietnam, February 1 ........................
Discussion on Secretary Rusk’s Appearance Before the Committee,
February 7 ..........................................................................................................
Briefing on Non-Proliferation Treaty and Latin American Nuclear
Free Zone, February 8 .....................................................................................
Testimony of Adrian S. Fisher, Deputy Director, Arms Control and Disarmament Agency
The Gulf of Tonkin, The 1964 Incidents, February 20 ................................
Testimony of Robert S. McNamara, Secretary of Defense, and Gen. Earle
G. Wheeler, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff
The Gulf of Tonkin, February 21 ......................................................................
Proposed Hearings on Vietnam Negotiations, March 1 .............................
Foreign Assistance and Other Matters, March 21 .......................................
Asian Development Bank and Inter-American Development Bank,
April 3 ..................................................................................................................
Briefing on Vietnam Negotiations, April 10 ..................................................
Testimony of Dean Rusk, Secretary of State
Briefing by Mr. Ashmore and Mr. Baggs on their Trip to North Vietnam, April 10 ......................................................................................................
Testimony of Harry Ashmore and William Calhoun Baggs
Minutes, April 18 .....................................................................................................
Minutes, April 25 .....................................................................................................
Briefing on Site Negotiations and the Pueblo Incident, May 1 ....................
Testimony of Nicholas deB. Katzenbach, Under Secretary of State
Minutes, May 7 ........................................................................................................
The Inter-American Development Bank, May 8 ...........................................
Testimony of Reuben Sternfield, Alternate U.S. Executive Director of
the Inter-American Development Bank; and John R. Petty, Acting Assistant Secretary of the Treasury for International Affairs
Minutes, May 9 ........................................................................................................
Sale of M–47 Tanks by Italy to Pakistan, Arms Sales to Iran, May
14 ...........................................................................................................................
Testimony by Henry J. Kuss, Jr., Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense
Briefing on Iran, Pakistan and Greece, May 15 ...........................................
Testimony of Lucius D. Battle, Assistant Secretary of State for Near
Eastern and South Asian Affairs
Tax Conventions, May 24 ...................................................................................
Testimony of Laurence N. Woodworth, Chief of Staff, Joint Committee
on Internal Revenue Taxation, and Stanley S. Surrey, Assistant Secretary of the Treasury
Tax Conventions, May 27 ...................................................................................
Tax Conventions, May 27—Continued
Testimony of Laurence N. Woodworth, Chief of Staff, Joint Committee
on Internal Revenue Taxation
Minutes May 27 .......................................................................................................
Minutes, May 28 ......................................................................................................
The International Grains Agreement, June 5 ...............................................
The International Grains Agreement, June 6 ...............................................
Minutes, June 13 .....................................................................................................
Minutes, June 19 .....................................................................................................
Foreign Assistance Act, June 27 .......................................................................
Foreign Service Buildings, Ambassadorial Nominees, Foreign Assistance, and the Non-Proliferation Treaty, July 19 ......................................
Testimony of Earnest J. Warlow, Director of Foreign Buildings, Department of State; and Ralph S. Roberts, Acting Deputy Under Secretary
for Administration
Foreign Assistance Act, July 20 ........................................................................
Foreign Assistance Act, July 22 ........................................................................
The Situation in Western Europe, July 22 .....................................................
Testimony of Henry D. Owen, Chairman, Policy Planning Council, Department of State
Foreign Assistance Act, July 23 ........................................................................
Foreign Assistance Act, July 24 ........................................................................
Foreign Assistance Act, July 25 ........................................................................
Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons and Foreign
Military Sales Bill, July 30 .............................................................................
Testimony of Benjamin Forman, Assistant Counsel, Department of Defense
Briefing on the World Situation, September 9 .............................................
Testimony of Dean Rusk, Secretary of State
Minutes, September 10 ...........................................................................................
Briefing on the Biafran Situation, September 11 ........................................
Testimony of Joseph Palmer, Assistant Secretary of State for African
Committee Business, September 11 .................................................................
Committee Business, September 13 .................................................................
Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, September 17 ....
Providing for a U.S. Contribution to the International Development
Association, September 18 ..............................................................................
Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, September 23 ....
Nominations and Treaties, September 24 ......................................................
Providing for a U.S. Contribution to the International Development
Association, September 24 ..............................................................................
Providing for a U.S. Contribution to the International Development
Association, September 25 ..............................................................................
Providing for a U.S. Contribution to the International Development
Association, October 1 .....................................................................................
Statement of Joseph S. Tomer, Director, Office of Personnel and Manpower, Agency for International Development
Nominations, October 3 ......................................................................................
Providing for a U.S. Contribution to the International Development
Association, October 9 .....................................................................................
A. Committee on Foreign Relations Publications for 1968 .................................. 1163
B. Volumes Published to Date in the Historical Series ....................................... 1165
The price of the Vietnam War weighed heavily on the Foreign
Relations Committee throughout 1968. At their concluding executive session hearing, Senator John Sparkman, as acting chairman,
labeled the year ‘‘a rocky road.’’ It began with the committee’s investigation into the Gulf of Tonkin incident, which had led Congress to pass the resolution that President Lyndon Johnson used
as a declaration of war in Vietnam. The investigation’s findings
contributed to a serious erosion of the committee’s confidence in the
information it received from the Johnson administration. Many
Senators who had voted for the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution in 1964
had come to regret their vote and complained of having been deceived. In an executive session on January 24, Senator Albert Gore,
Sr., warned: ‘‘If this country has been misled, if this committee,
this Congress, has been misled by pretext into a war in which
thousands of young men have died, and many more thousands have
been crippled for life, and out of which their country has lost prestige, moral position in the world, the consequences are very great.’’
In another session, on September 24, even the prominent hawk
Senator Stuart Symington when discussing foreign aid and the
war, lamented ‘‘. . . this stupid war and the cost of this stupid war
and what it is doing to our economy, . . ..’’
In January, the North Koreans seized the U.S.S. Pueblo and held
its crew prisoner until the end of the year. Senator Karl Mundt
told Secretary of State Dean Rusk that he considered it a great
mistake for the United States ‘‘to go engaging in provocative missions of this type’’ while waging a war in Vietnam and dealing with
troubling events in the Middle East and elsewhere around the
world. Like the rest of the nation, the committee’s attention at the
start of the year was focused on the desperate military situation at
Khe Sanh, which American forces were determined to hold at all
costs. Then unexpectedly on January 20, 1968, the Vietcong
launched its major Tet offensive, raiding South Vietnam’s provincial capitals, major cities, and even the U.S. embassy in Saigon. Although American forces repulsed the Tet offensive and won the
battle militarily, the enemy’s resilience belied the administration’s
optimistic predictions. On February 27, the respected television
new anchorman Walter Cronkite, reporting from Vietnam, offered
the assessment that ‘‘we are mired in stalemate.’’ It was the same
conclusion reached by members of the Foreign Relations Committee
who had visited Vietnam. Earlier, on February 7, Senator Joseph
Clark had reported to the committee that he had asked the commander of American troops in Vietnam, Gen. William Westmore(V)
land, ‘‘if there would be a military victory in this war, and he said,
In their closed sessions, members of the committee expressed
frustration that Secretary of State Dean Rusk regularly did television interviews about the Vietnam war at the same time that he
declined to appear before a public hearing of the committee ‘‘because he didn’t want to discuss the war question and answer on
television.’’ Some, like Majority Leader Mike Mansfield worried
that challenging Secretary Rusk at a public hearing would ‘‘add to
further divisiveness in this country,’’ while Senator Wayne Morse
insisted that Americans were entitled to a public discussion of war
policy. Chairman J. William Fulbright accused President Johnson
of not consulting committee members and therefore having ‘‘isolated himself from communication with other people who do have
a responsibility in this government.’’ Rusk testified several times in
executive session during 1968, as did the outgoing Defense Secretary, Robert McNamara, who testified in a stormy executive session on February 20 about the Gulf of Tonkin incident.
The committee sparred with the administration over whether to
conduct their Vietnam hearings in public or in closed session. For
some Senators it was a matter of constitutional prerogative, for
others it was a threat to national unity in wartime. Those who argued they had a duty to dissent were accused of aiding and abetting the enemy. Senator Gore responded to those who argued that
Senators must yield their doubts to achieve unity and victory by
asking ‘‘What kind of victory? Will it be Pyrrhic?’’ He had reached
the conclusion that ‘‘this Congress either ought to declare war or
undeclare war’’ in Southeast Asia.
Relations between the Foreign Relations Committee and the
Johnson administration had deteriorated steadily. The president
broke off relations with Chairman Fulbright because of his outspoken criticism of American foreign policy. The committee felt
equally suspicious about administration spokesmen. On April 3,
Senator Gore opposed a suggestion to have former American Ambassador to South Vietnam Henry Cabot Lodge speak to the committee. ‘‘He has been here, and been here, and been here,’’ said
Gore. ‘‘He has been wrong in every estimate he has given us. Why
do we have to listen further?’’ The political and diplomatic situation
shifted only after President Johnson announced that he would not
stand for reelection and called a halt to bombing in an effort to
bring the North Vietnamese and Viet Cong to peace negotiations.
Wartime economics became a recurring issue for the committee
throughout the year. As the Vietnam conflict drained away more
federal resources, taxes rose and budgets for other programs had
to be cut. At that time, the United States’ balance of trade revenues were shifting from surplus to deficit. At a hearing on May 24,
Senators questioned the value of foreign aid programs at a time
when domestic programs were shrinking. They quizzed administrative officials on the economic benefits of such foreign aid in terms
of American jobs, exports, and taxes, of various economic treaties
and financial support for international development banks. ‘‘We are
running out of money,’’ Senator Symington warned Treasury Department officials. Chairman Fulbright added his concern about
‘‘the overall disarray of our finances’’ and his annoyance over ‘‘a
disposition on the part of the administration to make commitments
and so on without reference to this committee or of the Senate. We
read nearly every day about some agreement that has been made.’’
These concerns resulted in Congress slashing the administration’s
foreign aid requests for 1968. As the chairman bluntly explained,
this was ‘‘not because we are not interested in foreign countries but
because we think our own country is going to pot financially.’’
The selection of transcripts for these volumes represents the editor’s choice of material possessing the most usefulness and interest
for the widest audience. Subheads, editorial notes, and some documents discussed in the hearings, are added to bring the events into
perspective. Any material deleted (other than ‘‘off the record’’ references for which no transcripts were made) has been noted in the
appropriate places, and transcripts not included are represented by
minutes of those sessions, in chronological sequence. Unpublished
transcripts and other records of the committee for 1968 are deposited in the Center for Legislative Archives of the National Archives
and Records Administration, where they are available to scholars
under the access rules of that agency.
In accordance with the general policy of the series, portions of
the volume were submitted to the Department of State and Department of Defense, the Central Intelligence Agency and the National
Security Agency for review and comment. The name of a then active-duty naval officer who confidentially offered testimony about
his experiences during the Gulf of Tonkin incident has also been
deleted for reasons of personal privacy.
This volume was prepared for publication by Donald A. Ritchie
of the Senate Historical Office.
[EDITOR’S NOTE.—In 1964, with little debate only two dissenting votes, the Senate
enacted the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution authorizing President Lyndon B. Johnson to
take ‘‘all necessary measures to repel any armed attacks against the forces of the
United States and to prevent further aggression.’’ At the time, Senators operated
under the assumption that North Vietnamese gunboats had conducted an
unprovoked attack on American naval vessels in the Gulf of Tonkin. After President
Johnson used the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution as the equivalent of a declaration of
war, doubts began to surface in the Senate. On Feb. 20, 1968, the Senate Foreign
Relations Committee conducted a public hearing into the Gulf of Tonkin incident,
calling Defense Secretary Robert McNamara and General Earl G. Wheeler, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, to testify. The committee filed no report on the
hearing, and not until June 1970 did the Senate repeal the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution. The first naval officer who testified at this executive session, but not at a public hearing, is not identified to protect the officer’s personal privacy.
Wednesday, January 10, 1968
Washington, DC.
The committee met, pursuant to notice, at 2:45 p.m., in room
1215, New Senate Office Building, Senator J. W. Fulbright (chairman) presiding.
Present: Chairman Fulbright and Senator Hickenlooper.
Also present: Mr. Marcy and Mr. Bader of the committee staff.
The CHAIRMAN. Mr. øDeleted¿, we are very appreciative of your
coming to give us what information you have about your experiences in the Gulf of Tonkin and in the Navy.
This is an informal or rather executive committee of a subcommittee of Senator Hickenlooper and myself of the Foreign Relations Committee.
We would appreciate it if you would just tell us about your experience in the Navy and whatever is relevant to your experience in
the Gulf of Tonkin.
Would you proceed. Would you give us a little personal background of when you got in the Navy just for the record.
Mr. øDeleted¿. I am from around here, as a matter of fact.
The CHAIRMAN. Your name is ødeleted¿?
Mr. øDeleted¿. I go by ødeleted¿.
The CHAIRMAN. Where were you born?
Mr. øDeleted¿. In ødeleted¿.
The CHAIRMAN. You were?
Mr. øDeleted¿. And lived close to, in my younger years, in ødeleted¿.
The CHAIRMAN. When were you born?
Mr. øDeleted¿. øDeleted¿.
I graduated from ødeleted¿, and went into the Peace Corps,
where I was stationed in Ghana, and also worked back here in the
Washington office, where I was there for two years.
When I graduated ødeleted¿, I registered with the Officer Candidate School and the Peace Corps at the same time, and had been
toying with both opportunities, and was obligated to—and managed
to get a waiver on the OCS business, and went into the Peace
Corps., and then went into the Navy after my Peace Corps experience.
The CHAIRMAN. When did you go into the Navy?
Mr. øDeleted¿. In 1962, spring—no, 1963, March 1963.
The CHAIRMAN. 1963.
Mr. øDeleted¿. Right; and reported aboard the Edwards on September 4, 1963, Richard S. Edwards, stationed in San Diego, which
was one of the ships involved in what is referred to, as I believe,
the third Tonkin Gulf incident in September, September 18, 1964.
I am currently out of the Navy and back øDeleted¿.
The CHAIRMAN. Were you an officer?
Mr. øDeleted¿. I was an officer, right.
The CHAIRMAN. What was your rank?
Mr. øDeleted¿. I am ødeleted¿ in the Ready Reserve. At the time
of the incident I was an ødeleted¿.
The CHAIRMAN. øDeleted¿?
Mr. øDeleted¿. Right.
The CHAIRMAN. What were your duties on the Edwards?
Mr. øDeleted¿. I was ødeleted¿ officer, which involves—well, I
was two things. I was ødeleted¿ officer because I had gone to ødeleted¿, upon graduating from Officer Candidate School, as a sort of
what they referred to as a 90-day wonder thing, it is not really
that, but you go for three months, and you receive a commission
after three months. I was sent directly to a ship.
The CHAIRMAN. To the Edwards?
Mr. øDeleted¿. I stayed on the Edwards I stayed on the Edwards
during my entire active duty experience, and I was assigned the
duties of ødeleted¿ officer about three months after reporting
aboard. Before that time I was the ødeleted¿ officer and the ødeleted¿ officer.
The CHAIRMAN. What does a ødeleted¿ officer do?
Mr. øDeleted¿. In my case, and in the case of an officer on a destroyer, he supervises all the ødeleted¿.
The CHAIRMAN. All the ødeleted¿?
Mr. øDeleted¿. Yes, sir.
Senator HICKENLOOPER. How do you mean supervisors, carry the
messages or does he have responsibility for ødeleted¿.
Senator HICKENLOOPER. I was just wondering how you got that
job after such a short time in the Navy.
Mr. øDeleted¿. It is, well, I was assigned to ødeleted¿ officer billet because, you know, there is a tremendous turnover in the Navy,
and especially on a destroyer. The ship left for overseas on August
6, as a matter of fact it left the morning of the reprisal bombings,
from San Diego.
The CHAIRMAN. August it left from where?
Mr. øDeleted¿. It was August 5, I guess, yes, August 5, it left
San Diego.
The CHAIRMAN. 1964 you left San Diego.
Mr. øDeleted¿ Yes. I had been aboard for eleven months.
Senator HICKENLOOPER. I see. I lost track.
The CHAIRMAN. I see you left San Diego on August 5, 1964, and
proceeded directly to Tonkin Gulf?
Mr. øDeleted¿. No. We proceeded directly to Subic Bay. If you
will remember, there was some press coverage of this, I believe Life
Magazine ran quite a story.
We steamed, because this occurred, our departure was scheduled
for August 6, we actually left a day early because of the bombing
incidents and the reprisal, and I remember the headlines the morning we left, it was a great dramatic connection, the press were all
down there, because four ships were steaming, were supposedly,
you know, to steam directly to Subic Bay, which was in the Philippines.
Mr. øDeleted¿. Of course, the launching point for most of our activities in the Vietnam area, naval activities.
The CHAIRMAN. What did you do at Subic Bay?
Mr. øDeleted¿. In Subic, well, six hours after we left San Diego
we were given the message to proceed with the Carrier Ranger,
four destroyers, composing Destroyer Division 172, we were told to
proceed directly to Subic Bay rather than, you know, stopping off
at Hawaii, which, is the normal procedure.
As it turned out we did stop off in Hawaii for about six hours,
which is extremely unusual, but we stopped off for sort of a general
briefing, at the Commander-in-Chief of the Pacific Fleet Headquarters at Pearl Harbor.
Then we steamed at full boiler operation, just all stops out, for
Subic Bay.
We arrived, I think it took us about ten or twelve days. It was
one of the fastest transits that a carrier and its escorts made across
the Pacific.
The CHAIRMAN. You were with the Ranger at the time?
Mr. øDeleted¿. Yes, with the Ranger.
At Subic Bay, my memory is a little bit hazy on this, but I think
we were at Subic for about a week, and we had gone out. on local
It has come back. We went over to Vietnam, and we escorted a
flotilla of amphibius ships that were off Danang and, at that time,
this was before the great buildup around Danang. There had been
a lot of military activity, and we escorted amphibius, an amphibius
fleet that was waiting, there was some sort of word in intelligence
reports about, you know, about a possible landing, Marine landing
at Danang, and this flotilla was off the coast, and we were there
for about, oh, about six days performing anti-submarine guard
duty, you know, with the sonar, going to detect submarines and
this kind of thing.
We were sent back to Subic, and the day we arrived back we
were released sort of, as you know, in an ordinary kind of fashion.
We were released because we were replaced by another ship, which
ordinarily was to do this kind of thing.
We went back to Subic Bay, which is about a day’s steaming, and
the night of the morning we arrived, we received a message indicating that we would be assigned with the U.S.S. Morton to a
DESOTO patrol operation, and those of us who had read intelligence reports understood the word ‘‘DESOTO’’ patrol to mean,
this is the coded word for the kind of activity that the Maddox and
Turner Joy were engaged in in their first tour up into the Tonkin
Now, from here on everything that I would say would be—I am
committed to classification of Top Secret. The captain briefed us,
briefed the officers, and also over the ship’s communications system
which goes to all the officers and men, said that all the activities
on this DESOTO patrol were to be considered Top Secret, and that
the only thing that—anything that happened should not be reported without, you know, clearance through himself, and the classification on the DESOTO patrol was Secret, I think the word was
classified Secret, and then later, because it was used on, I believe,
a television address by the President, it was actually released to
the press the word ceased to be classified but, of course, the activities continue to be classified, ødeleted¿. so what I am saying concerning these matters would be considered Top Secret.
Mr. MARCY. I just wonder at this point if the record should not
show that all Senators are authorized to receive Top Secret information, and that both Bill and I have similar clearances from the
Department of Defense, as does the reporter.
Mr. MARCY. The verbatim reporter.
The CHAIRMAN. Yes. The record will so show.
Mr. MARCY. Excuse me.
The CHAIRMAN. Go ahead, Mr. ødeleted¿.
Mr. øDeleted¿. Most of the messages we received, and I have a
file of these, a file of these—I collected when aboard ship——
Senator HICKENLOOPER. When was this? This was after the Maddox incident?
Mr. øDeleted¿. Right. The Maddox incident occurred on the day
we left San Diego, in other words, the day we steamed overseas.
Senator HICKENLOOPER. Oh, yes.
Mr. øDeleted¿. We were assigned to a second patrol.
Senator HICKENLOOPER. What is the relevance of this?
The CHAIRMAN. I do not know. I have to listen to what he is
going to tell us.
Mr. øDeleted¿. Well, the second incident was reported immediately as an incident similar to the first where menacing contacts,
hard contacts on the radar scope, threatening contacts, actually
closed—they were high-speed craft, and we fired upon them, the
Edwards and the Morton together fired around 200 rounds in the
Tonkin Gulf in defense, you know, of the ships.
The CHAIRMAN. Wait a minute. I lost the chronology.
Mr. øDeleted¿. Okay. I am trying to establish the relevance.
The CHAIRMAN. Well, we do not have to develop it in advance.
That will come out——
Mr. øDeleted¿. Okay.
The CHAIRMAN [continuing]. If there is any, later.
You were at Subic Bay, and you were assigned to the DESOTO
Mr. øDeleted¿. Right.
The CHAIRMAN. Could you describe very briefly what the
DESOTO patrol was?
Mr. øDeleted¿. Yes.
The CHAIRMAN. And then we will go on to where you got into it.
Mr. øDeleted¿. The only information that I personally had access, to as to what the DESOTO patrol, was that it was really twofold: It was designed to gather intelligence through electronic devices, to gather radar intelligence.
The CHAIRMAN. Which you had on your ship?
Mr. øDeleted¿. The Morton had it, the other ship had it. We actually did not have it. We were, according to the captain who described our function, as riding shotgun, and in my discussion I
would like to refer to, I would like to actually use, to quote the actual phrases because I think the vocabulary that is used in this
kind of situation, you know, might be significant.
Mr. øDeleted¿. We were to ride shotgun with the Morton. The
Morton had on-board a commodore, a man with the rank of captain, who administratively was the commander of a division of destroyers, four or five destroyers.
Our ship was simply to go up there, and we were the guns. If
the Morton got into trouble, you know, we were more guns so that,
you know, there would be less chance of an attack being successful
against one of the ships.
Mr. øDeleted¿. So our job, in a sense, was, the function was fairly simple. It was simply, you know, to——
The CHAIRMAN. Did you follow the Morton?
Mr. øDeleted¿ [continuing]. To follow the Morton, right.
The commodore was calling the tactical plays. In other words, he
would say what course we would go on, what direction we would
go on. We made several tours around the Tonkin Gulf in international waters as defined.
The CHAIRMAN. Did you go in close to the coast at any time?
Mr. øDeleted¿. At times we passed islands, which we passed
within several miles of islands, where radar installations are kept.
But we never went in closer than twelve miles, to may knowledge.
We never went in within what we define as international—what
they define as international waters.
On what date did you begin the patrol?
Mr. øDeleted¿. We were scheduled to begin earlier than we actually began because we had very bad weather. There was a typhoon
which came into the South China Sea, and actually went up
through the Tonkin Gulf area.
I think we were scheduled originally to go on the 15th of September, we actually got what they referred to in the message, we
actually got what they called the green light on the 18th, and these
messages were always—they originated from the Commander of
the 7th Fleet, with the White House as an information addressee.
øDeleted¿ the Commander of the 7th Fleet, and he was the action
officer, and we went up, we rendezvoused, we met the Morton at
what is termed Yankee Station, which is a carrier orientation point
below the 17th Parallel off the Coast of South Vietnam. It is north
of Danang but south of the border if carried out into the gulf.
We rendezvoused here with the Morton, and waited for the bad
weather to clear up, so we had about three days of this sort of anxious, you know business of wondering, you know, whether we were
going to go up, and what was going to happen when we did go up,
and this kind of thing. You know, there is a psychology of anxiety
The man who was in command of this particular DESOTO patrol, Captain Holifield, was a——
The CHAIRMAN. Captin Holifield. He was on the Morton?
Mr. øDeleted¿. He was on the Morton, right. He was a, sort of
an eager kind of fellow, and he was very——
Senator HICKENLOOPER. Was his rank that of a captain?
Mr. øDeleted¿. He was a captain, yes, his rank was, right. I am
not referring to him as a skipper.
Senator HICKENLOOPER. Normally he is a commander.
Mr. øDeleted¿. Normally a commander of the destroyer. Captain
Hortfield was a captain, he was in command. Captain Holifield
made it very clear to the Edwards this was a very important operation.
One of the first things we did, we rendezvoused in what most of
us considered very dangerous circumstances. we passed a package
of secret information concerning the nature of the DESOTO Patrol
by guy line. It took about four hours, and it was—the lines kept
breaking, you know. It is one of the things that stands out in my
memory. The lines kept breaking, and the commodore himself kept
hollering over a megaphone, you know at the sloppy handling of
the lines and this kind of thing.
This was at the end of the typhoon. It was very rough seas. Anyway, we finally got this package transferred.
Senator HICKENLOOPER. You say package?
Mr. øDeleted¿. It was a package of documents.
Senator HICKENLOOPER. Of written documents?
Mr. øDeleted¿. Right.
The CHAIRMAN. From whom to whom?
Mr. øDeleted¿. It was addressed to the Edwards, and it contained information——
Senator HICKENLOOPER. Where did it originate?
Mr. øDeleted¿. This is what I really cannot remember. I am not
too clear because there were several things. For one thing, there
was a radio frequency plan or the operation. In other words, what
particular frequencies would be used for transmission. øDeleted¿.
The other information concerned general intelligence reports of
the North Vietnamese coast where radar installations were located,
and this kind of thing.
This went to what we called a combat information center, which
was the radar center, and it sits behind the bridge of the ship,
where the actual ship handling goes on. We have a combat information officer, and I will talk about him in a few moments.
The other information was message traffic concerning the Maddox and the Turner Joy business, just describing what happened;
about, you know, what kind of contacts there were, the PT boats,
a description of the PT boats. There were packets concerning the
kind of PT boats that the North Vietnamese used in these waters,
and this sort of thing.
These were transferred. Some of the traffic dealt with rules of
engagement. I remember this very specifically. Almost all the traffic related to this, and when I say traffic, I mean messages coming
into the communications center. It would deal with rules of engagement; when a commander officer could order, you know, the attack,
order guns to be fired against an attacking vessel, and, you know,
whose approval he had to get, and this kind of thing, and essentially it defined when the security and the safety of the ship is immediately involved, that this warrants all measures at hand, and
this kind of thing.
Then there were rules of engagement about aircraft, because destroyers are able to control the operations of aircraft by radio, because they have a radar scope, and what they call an air search
radar, and they can often see things that the pilots cannot see and,
as a matter of fact, you know, on the dog fights that happened in
North Vietnam at that time, they were being controlled from the
ground essentially where, you know, you would have a ground controller on the destroyer telling a pilot where he is, how far he can
go, where he cannot go, you know, like where the Chinese border
is, and this kind of thing.
So that it was important for us to have all this information about
the rules of engagement, you know, whether the pilot could go over
the Chinese border or where they could go, and this kind of thing.
So this was handed to us in this packet.
The CHAIRMAN. This package was sent from the Morton to the
Mr. øDeleted¿. Right.
The CHAIRMAN. That is what you are talking about.
Mr. øDeleted¿. Right.
The CHAIRMAN. The lines were simply the means of getting it to
you that you mentioned were broken, is that correct?
Mr. øDeleted¿. Yes.
What I am talking about, these are just ropes that go across between the two ships.
The CHAIRMAN. Ropes. The package simply contained all of the
orders that you were to follow, is that right?
Mr. øDeleted¿. Yes.
Mr. øDeleted¿. And this was essentially, as far as we were concerned, as far as we know, what the DESOTO Patrol was all about.
Mr. øDeleted¿. I think I started on this, it seems to me that my
impression was at the time from what the captain said and what
the information said, that the DESOTO Patrol had two functions.
One was to gather intelligence information; two, was to assert our
right to international waters because, you know, allegedly the attack on the Maddox and the Turner Joy occurred beyond the
twelve-mile limit. It was international waters and, therefore, it was
regarded, you know, as a hostile action against United States
And there was a big thing when we finally did go up there was
a big business about showing the flag, and we showed, instead of
showing the regular colors, we showed what we call the holiday colors, the holiday flag, which is much larger so that, you know, everybody would see this was a U.S. ship in the Tonkin Gulf. This
was evidently part of the point.
Mr. BADER. Would you tell the Senators what sort of equipment
was aboard the Morton.
Senator HICKENLOOPER. Just before that, this holiday flag business, do you have any information as to whether or not the holiday
flags were flying on the Essex——
Mr. MARCY. The Maddox and the Turner Joy.
Senator HICKENLOOPER. I say, do you have any information on
Mr. øDeleted¿. No.
Senator HICKENLOOPER. The reason I asked that, there were
some stories in the paper, you know, that the North Vietnamese
thought they were South Vietnamese ships. That is an incident.
Go ahead.
Mr. øDeleted¿. Yes, we were aware of South Vietnamese operations at the time.
The CHAIRMAN. South Vietnamese operations.
Mr. øDeleted¿. Right. What they called, they are essentially patrol boats with 40mm guns, and I was aware from message traffic
that these were going across the 17th Parallel and hitting gun installations along the North Vietnamese coast. This was before—
well, I do not want to be committed now on time because I am not
so sure. In December these were quite regular, these operations, in
December of 1964, when we were preparing to go on another one
of these patrols, which was never ordered.
At the time of our patrol, around the middle of September, I do
recall a discussion in the message traffic about whether South Vietnamese boats would go up instead of the U.S. destroyers, and obviously it was resolved that we would go up, and these would not
But I do not, I cannot recall if any activities on the part of the
South Vietnamese boats going up at this time or not. All the message concerning the South Vietnamese activities came from MAC/
V, and it was as though this was—in Saigon, and it appeared that
this was their business. But we did get it over the, you know, general traffic which we got off of the teletype which is classified Secret.
øDeleted¿ Top Secret messages relating to this, just general descriptions of these activities, the fact that we should be careful.
We had an identification code which was explicitly for DESOTO
Patrol operations to be used between South Vietnamese boats and
the destroyers so there would be no confusion, and later on in December there was confusion between South Vietnamese PT boats
and our ship, and an incident was avoided only at the last minute.
Mr. BADER. This means that in the DESOTO Patrol ships that
were up in the Gulf of Tonkin they had the means of identifying
and communicating with, if necessary, South Vietnamese patrol
craft that were up in North Vietnam?
Mr. øDeleted¿. Yes. I know we had it in December, and I just
cannot, I would not, want to say if we had it in September or not.
I believe we did, but I am not sure.
The CHAIRMAN. You have got this package on the 19th of September, you say?
Mr. øDeleted¿. No, this was about the 15th. It was a good three
days before we actually went up.
The CHAIRMAN. Then on the 18th you went up?
Mr. øDeleted¿. On the 17th.
The CHAIRMAN. Was this when the third incident occurred?
Mr. øDeleted¿. We went up on the 17th, and the third incident
occurred on the 18th.
The CHAIRMAN. About where approximately did it occur?
Mr. øDeleted¿. About thirty miles to sea.
The CHAIRMAN. Off North Vietnam?
Mr. øDeleted¿. Off North Vietnam.
The CHAIRMAN. What happened?
Mr. øDeleted¿. This was at night. We were on what they called
port and starboard watches, which means you are on for six hours
and you are off for six hours, and my duty station was the bridge.
I was what they called a junior officer of the deck and tactical communicator, and I was the one who talked to the other ship, the
Morton in this case, over radio telephone, so that, you know, our
maneuvers would be coordinated; also all the information about firing guns and this kind of thing would come over this thing. So my
job was to do this.
I was asleep, I was off my watch at about eight o’clock on the
night of the 18th, when the general quarters was sounded. An
alarm goes through the whole ship, sending everybody to their battle stations.
So when I got up onto the bridge, I did not actually see the radar
scope, but the discussion was that we were being attacked by menacing vessels, and there was evidence on the radar screen to this
The person who was on the radar screen was an officer who had
been on-board for about four months, who actually picked up these
contacts at the very beginning, a very junior officer.
He later on became the combat information officer who was in
charge of radar and this kind of thing. But I think it is just, again
for the psychology of this thing, I do not like to go into personalities, and I will go into them anonymously, but I think it is interesting this was a person who, in a way you would describe if you
could type him as a romantic sensationalist, and this kind of thing.
It was right down his line to be the first to spot, you know, menacing craft.
But I do not want to belabor that because this was a subjective
The CHAIRMAN. This was about eight or nine o’clock at night?
Mr. øDeleted¿. Yes.
The CHAIRMAN. A dark night?
Mr. øDeleted¿. Yes. It might have been later, but probably
around nine o’clock.
The CHAIRMAN. That was the occasion for the general alert?
Mr. øDeleted¿. That was the occasion for the general alarm.
Shortly after I got up on the bridge they were firing these, what
they called warning shots. Holifield gave the order, the Morton
tried to fire, and they had a jammed gun, so the commodore on the
Morton told us to fire warning shots at these contacts which were
then about five miles, 10,000 yards or five miles, and closing.
Now, I was on the bridge, and I had the radio-telephone, and I
could look at the radar scope, and I had been watching these contacts, as the junior officer of the deck, contacts similar to these all
day which were, they were what we called spurious, you know.
There were no visual sightings of these things. Normally four
miles, you an see four miles perfectly at sea, and you can see what
you are looking at. But there were contacts on the radar screen
which were not apparently anything. Occasionally a fishing stakes
would show up as a ship. Of course, this would be stationery.
This is very shallow water. I think in your book on The Arrogance of Power you talked about dragons being the playthings of
shrimp in shallow waters, and this is, you know it is, a great metaphor, but what I am trying to describe——
The CHAIRMAN. But you were thirty miles off-shore?
Mr. øDeleted¿. We were thirty miles off-shore, but there are still
fishing stations out there, but this was thirty-five fathems, some-
times twenty fathems, sixty feet—well, that is a hundred feet. I
would say this was shallower than that. This was about sixty feet.
A fathom is six feet. But this was actually shallower, because the
Tonkin Gulf, it silts up from the Red River.
The CHAIRMAN. You say you had seen these pots on the radar
scope during the day, and there was net anything there visually?
Mr. øDeleted¿. Yes. They could have been fishing stakes. They
could have been, but they did have motion to them, so my specialty
was not radar, and I am not prepared to discuss technically what
some of the problems are, but there were problems, and with the
radar, with picking up these objects that could not be identified,
and yet it should have been visually——
Senator HICKENLOOPER. Do big fish show up at a distance on
radar scopes?
Mr. øDeleted¿. My own feeling was that what they were seeing
were big flocks of cattle egrets.
The CHAIRMAN. What are they?
Mr. øDeleted¿. Which are a bird I was familiar with in Ghana.
They are all through the tropics. They fly in a V-formation. They
probably fly at about twenty or thirty knots, and they migrate at
this time of year in September, all of September and October, they
migrate from the south part of China down into Southeast Asia;
they go to Indonesia, into Hainan Island, and they go into the
southern part of South Vietnam. Of course, they fly in V-formation
so they leave a kind of wake effect, and I have seen these once or
twice on radar, I have seen flocks of birds on radar.
I have seen fish on radars, I have seen whales and so forth.
Senator HICKENLOOPER. You get those on sonar.
Mr. øDeleted¿. Whales and porpoises.
Mr. øDeleted¿. But I really must emphasize that radar in the
Tonkin Gulf is quite different from radar in any other body of
water that I have experienced. I am sure it is similar, say, in the
Gulf of Thailand where you have similar conditions of shallowness.
Maybe it had something to do with the temperature layer and similar effects, but again I am not an expert on radar, but I do know
after the incident the CIC officer——
The CHAIRMAN. Describe the incident as fully as you can before
you go after it. What happened? They thought they saw something?
Mr. øDeleted¿. Yes. At least, we must have, I think the Edwards
fired over 100, and I think the Morton fired—I know the Edwards
fired more than the Morton, but there must have been close to 250
rounds fired by both ships.
These were five-inch and three-inch. The five-inch gun is used,
for, they use it for shore bombardment, and it has a slightly longer
range. It has about, well, it can have a range of about twelve miles.
The three-inch guns are shorter, and usually use fragmentation
bombs for anti-personnel.
The CHAIRMAN. These were fired by radar, radar-directed?
Mr. øDeleted¿. Right, they are directed by the radar, and these
fire control systems are very sophisticated, and also very—they operate spuriously, and ours, the Morton’s did not operate at all well
that night. As a matter of fact, they could not get off the warning
shot that they were supposed to fire. Our warning shot, according
to the gunnery officer, hit the target, whatever it was, the first shot
hit the target.
Several shots later, to show you how difficult it is to operate
these guns effectively, one shot exploded about fifteen yards from
the ship, and there was a fellow under the depth charge racks on
the stern who felt this thing go off very close to him, and it was
a sort of scary business.
Another fellow, the supply officer, who was down in the compartment, I remember his station was down inside the ship, and he described this thing as just a horrendous explosion, and the gunnery
officer later corroborated one of the gunnery rounds did go down.
The directory officer accidentally tipped the director, which is the
radar control device, and it went straight down.
A lot of the, shells evidently hit the target, and the accounts
later read that the targets disappeared or dispersed, you know.
But there was one visual sighting made by an officer whom I
knew quite well, and a roommate. He was one of the gunnery officers, one of the men who mans one of these directors. He claims
to have seen a PT boat. But he is an extremely near-sighted person, and he would be the last person that you wanted to get, visual
evidence of anything from. He was considered, you know, considered, to a certain extent, a risk to be an officer on the deck, and
he claims to have had a visual sighting, and I doubt very much
that he could have seen a PT boat at five miles or four miles in
the night the way he described it, and of all people he is the most
near-sighted I have ever known in the Navy anyway.
Senator HICKENLOOPER. Was he using glasses, binoculars?
Mr. øDeleted¿. He was using binoculars, right. He would man
the director. I understand in the report of the, the formal report,
that followed this, which I have not seen but which an investigation was held on at Cubi, I understand from Mr. Bader, this evidence was discarded.
Mr. BADER. Senator, I should say for the record that the Navy
Department provided us with the full results and text of a board
of inquiry that was held on this so-called third incident. It was convened, a formal board, under Admiral Guest. It was convened at
Cubi Point, and they sent seven days, I believe, investigating all
of the evidence appropriate to this incident, and came to the conclusion that there had been no attack.
Senator HICKENLOOPER. Has that been reported publicly?
Mr. BADER. No sir.
Mr. øDeleted¿. The press reports that I have read, which is really what my information of this sort comes from, said that there
were two definite contacts that were menacing the ships, and this
was the Pentagon release, the Defense Department release.
Mr. BADER. Now, the board of inquiry did say they felt that two
of the seven——
Senator HICKENLOOPER. Is this board of inquiry, is that still classified?
Mr. BADER. Yes, I believe it is, Senator.
Senator HICKENLOOPER. Then I do not believe I would discuss it
here at this meeting. You are not cleared for this information now.
Mr. øDeleted¿. Yes. That is why I wanted to clear up the classification at the very beginning.
Mr. BADER. I am sorry, I thought we were in a much higher classification.
Senator HICKENLOOPER. No, he is not classified at this time to
receive that information.
Mr. øDeleted¿. Yes, this is probably true.
Mr. BADER. My apologies.
Senator HICKENLOOPER. So far as I know. That is no reflection
on you, it is just a matter of keeping the lines clear.
The CHAIRMAN. You were there, what you knew, and you were
there on the bridge, and you saw the radar, did you not?
Mr. øDeleted¿. I looked at the radar occasionally. It was very difficult to make any sense of the radar because the ships were moving so fast. Ships when they are moving at twenty-seven knots,
thirty miles an hour, and they are making sudden turns, which is
what you do when you unmask your guns, so you can get them out
in the proper direction of the contacts when they make these turns
they create radar images all over the place. It is really, I cannot
emphasize too much how confused a radar picture at night with
fast-moving vessels really is. Just the wake of the ship turns up.
The CHAIRMAN. They catch up their own wake in the radar.
Mr. øDeleted¿. Yes, especially if they turn quickly. They have a
term for it, but I cannot remember the term, and it causes a whirlpool actually, and this essentially shows up on the radar, and lots
of things show up on the radar. You get double images. You can
get images from other ships. The Morton would project its own
image, and then another image, which was, in fact, the Morton, because of the image it is a kind of a resident image, a kind of double
So the combat information officer, the one who had been on the
ship for three years, who left shortly after this incident, told me
confidentially later that he did not think that there were any contacts out there either. It was almost—it was not even a formal discussion, but it was just sort of a, you know, sort of a nod of the
head saying, ‘‘You know I don’t think there was anything out
there.’’ Again that is hearsay kind of stuff.
The CHAIRMAN. The only one who did was the, who really
thought so, was this man whom you say is near-sighted, whom you
said he thought he saw it.
Mr. øDeleted¿. But again he is a very young fellow and new on
the ship, and sort of immature about things like this, and I certainly—I was on the bridge, I was in a position to see things visually, I had binoculars.
Mr. øDeleted¿. And I was quite interested in seeing if there was
something really out there, and I did not see anything, and I have
20–20 vision, 15–20 vision, and I know that I have good eyesight
for most of these things.
Mr. MARCY. Senator, could I interrupt to say that we ought to
bring this to a head as soon as we can because the other gentleman
has to catch a 4:30 plane, and you probably want to spend fifteen
or twenty minutes with him.
The CHAIRMAN. All right.
Let me ask you just one or two other questions. This took place
on the night of whatever it was, the 17th or 18th, and it went on
for what, over a period of an hour?
Mr. øDeleted¿. I would say about an hour and a half, the firing.
The CHAIRMAN. And then you broke it off?
Mr. øDeleted¿. Broke it off. We went back the next morning and
looked for evidence that we, you know, could find, of pieces of boat
and this kind of thing.
The CHAIRMAN. Did you find anything?
Mr. øDeleted¿. Found nothing. I was amazed that we went back
in the morning, at first light, you know, when we got the first light,
and we looked for oil slicks and things like this, and there was no
evidence of this. I did not see any bird feathers, either. There was
just nothing there. They broke this off very quickly, I was really
amazed at this. They only did this for a couple of hours.
The CHAIRMAN. A couple of hours?
Mr. øDeleted¿. Yes, in the middle of the morning.
The CHAIRMAN. Was the original contact, did it originate the
Morton or with the Edwards?
Mr. øDeleted¿. Edwards. Then the Morton picked it up.
The CHAIRMAN. And then the Morton picked it up.
Mr. øDeleted¿. Yes.
Senator HICKENLOOPER. Do I understand, then, Mr. øDeleted¿,
or Senator Fulbright, either one, that the gist of this is that you
are attempting to illustrate the fact that in your opinion things like
this can happen without any real substance?
Mr. øDeleted¿. Yes.
Senator HICKENLOOPER. To the alleged attack.
Mr. øDeleted¿. Right.
Senator HICKENLOOPER. That you can be misled on these matters. You are not attempting to say anything about the Maddox
and the Turner Joy from first-hand knowledge.
Mr. øDeleted¿. Right. I know nothing about the Maddox and
Turner Joy except that the second incident, as I read about it in
the paper and then read the reports, that this was under investigation.
Senator HICKENLOOPER. So that what you are saying——
Mr. øDeleted¿. It sounded so similar to my situation.
Senator HICKENLOOPER. You believe you were in a similar situation where you are convinced from all you saw and know that there
actually was no attack, that is, no hostile vessel out there.
Mr. øDeleted¿. I am personally convinced, and I am also aware
I am a partial observer on this, and I do not have all the evidence.
I do know in the intelligence report the airplane sighted wake, and
they did have some radar from PT boats, but it was way off, and,
you know, there are lots of fishing traffic around there. I mean a
wake is a wake.
The CHAIRMAN. Did you ever at any time see a PT boat?
Mr. øDeleted¿. I never have seen one.
The CHAIRMAN. You never saw one at any time.
Did you in your capacity ødeleted¿ officer ever hear anyone or
know one from the Turner Joy or Maddox?
Mr. øDeleted¿. No.
The CHAIRMAN. Did you receive any briefing with regard to the
or Maddix Incident?
Mr. øDeleted¿. A very quick briefing about, you know, sort of
very general stuff about what communications they had and this
kind of thing, but nothing specific.
Our communications at the time, and maybe it is worth sort of
speaking very generally on this, were very bad. We were not
equipped—it is very crude in the sense that we were not
equipped—for telegraphic, teletype communication, not telegraphic
but teletype. You had to do everything by encoding and decoding
laboriously through machines these things, so classified information would take from thirty minutes to an hour to get out, and the
Morton had a lot of trouble I understand, getting, you know, information about this incident to higher command. They had what they
called, a voice network which was called the ‘‘High Command Network’’ and, you know, it was a new sort of thing which they had
set up especially for this DESOTO Patrol business.
The CHAIRMAN. Did your officers on the Edwards——
Mr. øDeleted¿. It did not work.
The CHAIRMAN [continuing]. The next day or at any time, did
they discuss this matter and reach any opinion as to whether or
not there had been an incident, there had been an attack?
Mr. øDeleted¿. The captain discussed it with the operations—he
did not discuss it with me, he discussed it with the operations officer, The CIC officer, who was the radar officer, who is the operations officer, is sort of generally in charge of, exercises—ødeleted¿.
He is what is called a department head. He is in charge of both
radar and radio, and these were witnesses at the Cubi Point investigation, I understand. The combat information officer and the operations officer and the captain, and possibly the gunnery officer,
I am not sure—probably not—and these were the only people who
formally discussed it.
Senator HICKENLOOPER. They had more information than you
Mr. øDeleted¿. No, they did not have more information than I
Senator HICKENLOOPER. Did you see all the communications,
Mr. øDeleted¿. øDeleted¿.
Senator HICKENLOOPER. Radio and radar——
Mr. øDeleted¿. Right.
Senator HICKENLOOPER [continuing]. Reports?
Mr. øDeleted¿. Right. They did have access later to the reports
that came in from the pilots who came out to survey the scene.
The CHAIRMAN. Did you bring in pilots?
Mr. øDeleted¿. They brought in pilots, right. They brought in pilots from the Constellation, I believe.
The CHAIRMAN. That night?
Mr. øDeleted¿. That night.
The CHAIRMAN. Did the pilots report anything?
Mr. øDeleted¿. Again, the only thing I remember seeing——
The CHAIRMAN. Well, to your knowledge.
Mr. øDeleted¿. To my knowledge they reported sighting a wake
which had a direction, and the captain told me this in discussion
actually. The wake had the direction of going off into the distance,
you know in a general direction away from our engagement. The
captain told me at one point or he seemed to be sort of concerned
about there having been anything either, and he was very glad to
get hold of some information from the pilots that there might have
been something, and this wake was part of the corroboration, and
the other corroboration was some electronics which indicated that
a radar which they usually use on PT boats was located near the
shore, and that this radar had been picked up at the same time,
but this could be coincidental. We picked up lots of this kind of
radar, and it is very possible—I read, you know, I read the reports
from Radio Hanoi saying that they had sighted explosions off, in,
you know, out in the Tonkin Gulf, and it is very possible when they
saw these explosions they were getting ready for anything, and
they could have turned on all sorts of radar.
The CHAIRMAN. They saw your shells.
Mr. øDeleted¿. They saw our shells go off, I imagine, and this is
my own feeling, and what I am saying is, you know, subjective. I
do not know. I am only telling you what I feel and, you know, I
was there and have some evidence.
The captain’s favorite phrase for a long time after this, and I
want to get back to vocabulary, if you will pardon the expression,
it is a direct quote, he would keep saying after this, ‘‘Don’t look up
a dead rabbit’s ass.’’
The CHAIRMAN. What does that mean?
Mr. øDeleted¿. He is from Cody, Wyoming.
Senator HICKENLOOPER. I do not know what you would see if you
Mr. øDeleted¿. The idea was, the phrase was translated, I was
not so sure what it meant, either, which translated to me meant
‘‘Don’t go back over something that you know is, closed,’’ is a closed
The CHAIRMAN. Don’t try to reopen it.
Mr. øDeleted¿. Yes.
The CHAIRMAN. That is a new one on me.
Mr. øDeleted¿. It was a new one on me, too, but it was a favorite
Senator HICKENLOOPER. I never heard that, but I have heard the
anal extremity of another animal referred to.
The CHAIRMAN. Mr. Bader?
Mr. BADER. Just one question. Senator, I might say, just one
question, I might say the conclusions of the Cubi Point investigations were released by the Defense Department.
Senator HICKENLOOPER. Okay. I would say it is a highly technical objection one way or the other, but I just do not want to get
into a field that might still be classified.
Mr. BADER. Yes, sir.
Senator HICKENLOOPER. And I think he loses his right to discuss
things in which he was not a direct participant, and which happened at a later date, at some other time, and where he was not
consulted, and that is all. I want to keep our skirts clear here if
The CHAIRMAN. Have you got a question?
Mr. BADER. Just one question. Could you describe very briefly
what sort of equipment was aboard the Morton when you rendezvoused with it?
Mr. øDeleted¿. I do not know. It was a black box. It was referred
to as the black box. It was supervised by a Marine intelligence, I
guess he was a communications officer, a lieutenant, which would
be, yes, he was a full lieutenant, and he had, I think there was another officer, a lieutenant JG with him, as a matter of fact, and a
couple of electronic technicians, and, as I understand, it was ECM,
what they called electronic counter measures equipment, which is
highly sensitive equipment that can pick up radio broadcasts and
can tell what frequencies they are, it can pick up radar.
Senator HICKENLOOPER. Do you know what came over that instrument, the messages that came over that instrument?
Mr. øDeleted¿. No, and they had their own message system,
their own telecommunications network, which was on another ship,
but we did have one of these on our own ship later, in December,
we went back on a similar—we prepared to go back on a similar
patrol. We were told, as a matter of fact, to expect—we were told
by a new commodore, a new operational commander, to expect a
similar patrol.
The CHAIRMAN. And you had one of the black boxes?
Mr. øDeleted¿. In December, and we had one of the black boxes.
The CHAIRMAN. Supervised by a Marine?
Mr. øDeleted¿. Supervised by a Marine, ødeleted¿.
Mr. BADER. These were under the control of the MAC/V?
Mr. øDeleted¿. Yes.
Mr. BADER. Military Assistance group in South Vietnam.
Mr. øDeleted¿. Which was the original military setup in Saigon,
which was there before I came there.
Senator HICKENLOOPER. øDeleted¿, I take it you have read the
quite detailed statements of Ambassador Stevenson at the U.N. Security Council, have you not, on the incidents of the Maddox——
Mr. øDeleted¿. Only as newspaper reports because I was overseas at the time.
Senator HICKENLOOPER [continuing.] Of both the Maddox and
the Turner Joy?
Mr. øDeleted¿. No, I have not read the details.
Senator HICKENLOOPER. Then time does not permit, because I
was going to ask you if you did not think there was a pretty positive and detailed statement of what went on and must have had
some pretty strong foundation for them to be made officially to an
international body like the U.N., Security Council?
Mr. øDeleted¿. Yes. The first Maddox and Turner Joy incidents
occurred in the daylight, and they had photography, I understand,
and I certainly have no questions about this.
The second incident is the one which seems to be receiving some
attention, and it did seem very similar to my incident. I have not
had access, you know, to any of the hard information on the Maddox and Turner Joy. When I read your, you know, the account of
your investigations in the newspaper, I have never discussed any
of these matters with anyone else, they have sort of been swimming around in my mind, and I was concerned about it.
The CHAIRMAN. You never had any discussion with any member
of the crew of the Maddox or the Turner Joy?
Mr. øDeleted¿. No.
The CHAIRMAN. Anything else you have got, Bill?
Mr. BADER. No, sir.
The CHAIRMAN. Well, thank you very much, ødeleted¿. You are
nice to come here.
The next witness is Mr. John White.
Mr. White, I wonder if you would give your full name and residence, a little bit, just to identify yourself.
Mr. WHITE. My name is John Warren White. I live at ødeleted¿
The CHAIRMAN. Where were you born, Mr. White?
Mr. WHITE. I was born in New York City. Do you want other biographical information?
The CHAIRMAN. Just a little. You were in the Navy?
Mr. WHITE. Yes.
The CHAIRMAN. Where did you go to school, and when you were
in the Navy, and just tell us briefly.
Mr. WHITE. I am 28 years old. I was educated at Dartmouth College from which I graduated in 1961. I attended Dartmouth on an
ROTC scholarship, so right after graduation I went into the Navy
for four years active duty, and then I had two years Reserve time.
I am now working as a high school teacher of English in Cheshire.
The CHAIRMAN. You entered the Navy in 1961?
Mr. WHITE. Right, active duty. I entered in 1957 when I signed
into the ROTC program.
The CHAIRMAN. Active duty in 1961.
Mr. WHITE. Right.
The CHAIRMAN. How were you assigned, what happened?
Mr. WHITE. I was first assigned aboard a destroyer in Newport,
Rhode Island, as, well, working in a number of positions, primarily
anti-submarine warfare and gunnery, although the following year
I also branched into nuclear weaponry, and so for the last three
years of my active naval experience I was active in anti-submarine
warfare and nuclear weaponry.
The CHAIRMAN. When did you leave the Navy?
Mr. WHITE. I was released from active duty in June of 1965.
The CHAIRMAN. 1965.
Mr. WHITE. However, I still had Reserve time to fulfill my sixyear obligation.
The CHAIRMAN. I see.
Mr. WHITE. I have resigned my commission now.
The CHAIRMAN. Were you at any time in the Tonkin Gulf?
Mr. WHITE. No. At no time was I directly involved in the events
at Tonkin on August 2 or 4.
The CHAIRMAN. What was the Pine Island?
Mr. WHITE. A seaplane tender which is a pretty large ship, about
600 feet long, and we were the flagship for an admiral who wore
several hats. Our primary duty was to provide a base of operations
and repairs for seaplanes.
The CHAIRMAN. And you were on the Pine Island?
Mr. WHITE. That is right.
The CHAIRMAN. But it did not go into the Gulf of Tonkin?
Mr. WHITE. That is correct.
The CHAIRMAN. Where did it go?
Mr. WHITE. On August—well, during the Tonkin events we were
located at Iwakuni, Japan, which is in the south part of the main
Island of Honshu.
At that time when radio messages indicated a possible state of
war impending, we immediately switched into a state of greater
readiness, got under way ødeleted¿ then proceeded to Danang,
South Vietnam, and we arrived there on August 15.
The CHAIRMAN. August 15.
How did you get to Danang without going through the Tonkin
Mr. WHITE. Senator, Tonkin Gulf is north of the——
The CHAIRMAN. 17th Parallel?
Mr. WHITE. Well, I believe this is, Tonkin is located between an
island and the mainland, and Danang is located to the south of this
island which, as I understand it——
The CHAIRMAN. You mean the Island of Hainan, is that what you
are calling it?
Mr. WHITE. I believe so.
The CHAIRMAN. What do you know, if anything, about the incident of in August, between the Turner Joy and the Maddox?
Mr. WHITE. I should say that whatever I could say would be limited just to the events of August 4. My knowledge of the first one,
although there has been publicly acknowledged by North Vietnam,
from just what I have read in the papers——
Mr. WHITE [continuing.] Concerning those events on August 4,
Senator, I had access to the classified radio messages which were
sent by those destroyers in the performance of my duties on the
Pine Island. I had to read secret messages. These radio reports
were classified Secret, and in reading my own messages pertaining
to my duties, I did read some of the messages sent by the destroyers which we monitored.
Mr. WHITE. These messages indicated, and here I am giving Secret information——
Mr. WHITE. Is this permissible?
The CHAIRMAN. Yes. This committee receives Secret information.
Mr. WHITE. The messages indicated very large numbers of torpedoes being fired at the ship. The first messages indicated this,
and the number, the figure, that I recall, is 34. I could be wrong
in this. I would be on firmer ground just to say a significantly large
number of torpedoes, 30 or more, and then several hours later a
message came from a destroyers, and I cannot identify which one,
indicating possibly no torpedo attack at all; that the torpedoes earlier reported might simply have been a mistake on the part of the
destroyer sending the message.
I believe the words that I recall at—I cannot say with accuracy
what the words were, just generally indicating the possibility that
there was no attack.
The CHAIRMAN. Well, where were you, I mean did you receive
these messages while you were in Subic Bay, the Pine Island was
in Subic Bay?
Mr. WHITE. I do not recall, Senator.
The CHAIRMAN. But you received them while you were—what
were your duties while on the Pine Island?
Mr. WHITE. My position was called nuclear weapons officer, and
by that I had—I mean to say I was responsible for the training and
readiness of what were called the special weapons.
The CHAIRMAN. How did you happen to see these communications?
Mr. WHITE. Well, all secret radio messages are contained on one
message board which an enlisted man routes to various officers on
the ship, containing, and the board contains all kinds of messages.
The CHAIRMAN. I see.
Mr. WHITE. So some pertained to me, and in looking through
them I did see these other messages.
The CHAIRMAN. And the first ones indicated, this was on August
4, that there were a number of torpedoes, and then subsequently—
this was on the evening of the 4th, was it not?
Mr. WHITE. I do not recall the time of the message.
The CHAIRMAN. That is when the attack was supposed to have
taken place.
Mr. WHITE. So I understand.
The CHAIRMAN. And then subsequent messages indicated it may
have been a mistake?
Mr. WHITE. Correct.
Mr. CHAIRMAN. Did you ever talk to anyone who actually was on
the Maddox or the Turner Joy?
Mr. WHITE. Yes, I did.
Mr. WHITE. I talked to a sailor in Longbeach Naval Shipyard in
March of—let me make that February or March of 1965. I do not
recall the exact time, but it was about six months after the Tonkin
This man was dressed in a chief petty officer’s uniform. I met
him just by chance as I was walking through the shipyard one day
toward the main gate. As I turned a corner or rather as he turned
a corner, we met. We proceeded toward the main gate together,
and as we walked along we talked. I do not recall what his name
was, and I am not certain that I really did know his name. In other
words, we might not have exchanged names, we just kind of made
small talk as we walked along.
But in the course of our conversation he indicated to me that he
was on-board the Maddox, and he told me he was a sonar man, so
he would have been a chief petty officer sonar man aboard the
U.S.S. Maddox.
He also told me that he had been in sonar, in the sonar room
during an attack. Now, I say an attack because I am not certain
which he was talking about. I can only assume, surmise, that it
was the August 4 events that he refers to, since there is no doubt
about the first one.
All right. He told me he was in sonar during the attack, and that
his duty during the general quarters condition onboard the ship
during an experience such as that would be to evaluate the visual
presentation on a sonar scope, which he said he did, and on the
basis of his experience and what he saw on that scope at that time,
he said there were no torpedoes being fired at the ship. This is the
evaluation that he made during the attack, and he said he reported
this to the bridge, and so that the commanding officer of the Maddox would have received a report from his experienced sonar man
saying there are no torpedoes in the water.
I do not know if anything appeared on the scope or if something
did it would have been evaluated as simply a false image, but this
is just guesswork on my part. I do not know what he saw.
The CHAIRMAN. But he said he did not see anything.
Mr. WHITE. He said there were no torpedoes, he evaluated the
whole picture as no torpedoes.
Senator HICKENLOOPER. Did that appear to you as rather peculiar that an utter chance acquaintance, just one sailor to another
on the street, that he would divulge all that information to you
within a few minutes?
Mr. WHITE. Yes——
The CHAIRMAN. Were you in uniform, too?
Mr. WHITE. Oh, yes, I was a lieutenant, junior grade.
The CHAIRMAN. You were still on active duty?
Mr. WHITE. No, sir; I have resigned my commission.
Mr. MARCY. Then.
The CHAIRMAN. Then, at that time.
Mr. WHITE. I was on active duty, right. My ship was at the Long
Beach Naval Shipyard. I have learned since from newspaper paper
accounts that the Maddox and Turner Joy were there also at this
time on return from Vietnam.
But in answer to your question, Senator, yes, it is a little improbable if you are not in the context of the immediate situation. But
two sailors in uniform, walking along together for ten or fifteen
minutes in a situation such as I described it, would be quite natural to talk about events, especially the more recent exciting events
of one’s life. If I could offer——
Senator HICKENLOOPER. No wonder the Russians find out everything we do with those kinds of loose lips we have around the
armed services.
Mr. WHITE. One other thing, too, that I might mention, and this
is just an evaluation of the whole experience. It seemed to me
though that he was a little, I use the word ‘‘miffed,’’ that his professional judgment had been doubted by the commanding officer. In
other words, the tone of voice, the attitude, was one of——
Senator HICKENLOOPER. Isn’t that occasionally the attitude of
subordinates in almost any branch of the service, the old man
doesn’t know a damned thing?
Mr. WHITE. It could be, yes, except——
Senator HICKENLOOPER. Not all. I think that gets out and about
once in a while——
Mr. WHITE. This man had several what are called hash marks,
I believe, on his uniform.
The CHAIRMAN. What is that?
Mr. WHITE. A gold stripe on the arm indicating four years of
service, so he would have been an experienced petty officer.
Senator HICKENLOOPER. That is why it was rather surprising
that he would talk.
The CHAIRMAN. He was, was he, a regular Navy man as far as
you know?
Mr. WHITE. I would assume so, yes.
The CHAIRMAN. Bill, do you have any questions?
Mr. BADER. No, sir.
Senator HICKENLOOPER. Have you read the statement of Adlai
Stevenson before the Security Council?
Mr. WHITE. No. Senator, I have not.
Senator HICKENLOOPER. Well, the reason I asked that is because
he is so specific—of course, everyone realizes he was not there, and
he had to get this information from some place else, but he makes
these positive statements, and this is after a considerable period of
time, and I mean in some detail about machine gun fire.
Mr. WHITE. Is this on August 2 or August 4?
Senator HICKENLOOPER. On August 2, machine gun fire on August 2 he talks about:
Two of the attacking craft fired torpedoes which the Maddox evaded by changing
course. All three attacking vessels directed machine gun fire at the Maddox.
Now, it is the August 4 incident you have been talking about?
Mr. WHITE. That is correct.
Senator HICKENLOOPER. Correct. It is not the 2nd.
The CHAIRMAN. It was the 4th.
Senator HICKENLOOPER. It would seem to me it would have been
very difficult to be terribly mistaken that vessels change course to
avoid torpedoes, that would be pretty evident if they did, but that
referred to the 2nd, the incident of the 2nd, not the 4th necessarily.
The incident on, the 4th, according to his statement before the
United Nations, was that:
At 2:35 p.m., August 4, when it was nighttime in the Gulf of Tonkin, the Destroyers Maddox and the C. Turner Joy were again subject to an armed attack by an
undetermined number of torpedo boats of the North Vietnamese Navy. At this time
the American vessels were sixty-five miles from shore, twice as far out on the high
seas as on the occasion of the previous attack. At this time numerous torpedoes
were fired. The attack lasted for over two hours.
Those are some pretty positive statements by a person in the
echelon of national representation that Adlai Stevenson had at the
United Nations.
Mr. WHITE. Did you say pretty positive or preposterous?
Senator HICKENLOOPER. No, I said pretty positive, very positive.
I said that as alliteration. That is not very helpful and understanding in my speech. It is a positive statement or they are positive statements. He said:
There no longer could be any shadow of doubt that this was planned, deliberate
military aggression against vessels lawfully present in international waters, and so
That is one of the things that, I think, has concerned us, which
is the definite and detailed statements which were presented to an
international body based not upon his knowledge, of course, but
upon the reports and the information coming from out there.
I understand you are repeating what you were told, I mean, you
are repeating what this man alleged to you.
Mr. WHITE. That is correct.
Senator HICKENLOOPER. So it is not your statement. But I always
take with a grain of salt—I should not say that, but a little more
requirement of proof about some of the skuttlebut that goes on in
the off-hours or when people are reminiscing about some of their
experiences as to how many times they were shot at.
Mr. WHITE. I understand. The significance of what I had to say,
if it is significant at all, is that the man who told me this, claiming
he was a chief petty officer, chief sonar man on the Maddox, if it
is so he would have been the most knowledgeable in that whole situation.
Senator HICKENLOOPER. Well, he would, without doubt, if he
were genuine—without doubt he would have been in a position to
have observed what or heard what the sonar reported, and should
have been in the position to interpret it.
Mr. WHITE. Yes.
Senator HICKENLOOPER. There is no question about that. But I
take it that he would not necessarily be the sole recipient of all of
the information that went to make a decision here.
Mr. WHITE. Oh no, no. I could not claim that, but concerning the
presence or absence of torpedoes in the water, the chief sonar man
in sonar during the attack is the one in the best position to know.
Senator HICKENLOOPER. I do not disagree with you on that at all.
It is a rather interesting thing. Of course, we are dealing with, almost with a ghost here. You do not know who that man is, where
he is now.
Mr. WHITE. Correct.
Senator HICKENLOOPER. You do not know anything about him.
The CHAIRMAN. Could you by chance describe him a bit?
Senator HICKENLOOPER. It is hearsay.
The CHAIRMAN. Was he an old man, a young man, middle-aged
or what? Can you remember that?
Mr. WHITE. Senator, I could only describe him in such general
terms that it could apply to 10,000 petty officers in the Navy.
Senator HICKENLOOPER. Do you think you could recognize him if
you saw him again?
Mr. WHITE. I seriously doubt it.
Mr. MARCY. If I showed you a list of the names of the sonar men,
I take it you would not recall his name?
The CHAIRMAN. How many sonar men would be on a boat like
Mr. WHITE. It varies depending on the mission of the ship, the
needs of the service at the time, perhaps. There is a need for more
sailors in a particular area of the world or particular fields so that
they might not be up to their normal complement, but my experience leads me to guess nine or ten, including a chief petty officer,
several or I will say two——
The CHAIRMAN. Did you have sonar men on your boat?
Mr. WHITE. Not on the Pine Island, no. There was no sonar on
the Pine Island.
I saw a newspaper account in which it was reported that a thirdclass petty officer actually manning the sonar scope said there were
torpedoes in the water. It is improper for a third-class to say something like that during a general quarters condition. It is not his
duty or responsibility to make an evaluation like that. It is the responsibility of the sonar supervisor, who would be the chief petty
officer or the ranking sonar man on-board.
The CHAIRMAN. Anything else?
Mr. BADER. No.
Mr. MARCY. No.
Senator HICKENLOOPER. Nothing from me.
The CHAIRMAN. Anything further, Mr. White, you would like to
Mr. WHITE. Yes, sir; I do have to catch a plane. I would like to
make a statement of my intentions underlying the letter which I
wrote to the Register. I really did not know that it would have the
widespread precipitating action that it did.
My intention, Senator, was to help you, if it could amount to
that, because of your remark about the Gulf of Tonkin resolution
replacing the Constitution is what really focused my feelings on the
But I also want to say if in any way my brief experience several
years ago has been colored or exaggerated or distorted because of
my later developed opinions or beliefs, then I can only be publicly—
make a public admission of my guilt in this matter because I think
it is wrong for me to let the facts be distorted by my personal feelings, so I hope that I have recalled accurately everything in this
The CHAIRMAN. Well, I think it is perfectly proper for you. You
are a free American citizen. You are as interested in this business
as, we are, and it is perfectly proper for you to say what you believe and what you think, so long as you tell the truth.
Mr. WHITE. Yes, but not to confuse the two.
Well, thank you very much.
Mr. WHITE. All right, sir.
The CHAIRMAN. Thank you for coming down.
Mr. WHITE. Thank you.
[Whereupon, at 4:00 p.m., the committee was adjourned.]
[EDITOR’S NOTE.—American military leaders had expected the massive air strikes
they were conducting to cripple the North Vietnamese and Vietcong, but the Communists were able both to replenish their supplies and protect their forces by crossing the border with neutral Laos and Cambodia. Unable to destroy the enemy’s
main forces, American troops increasingly found themselves bogged in a stalemate.
The Joint Chiefs of Staff began pressing the administration for authority to bomb
the Ho Chi Minh Trail and to attack North Vietnamese sanctuaries in Laos and
Cambodia. William H. Sullivan, a career Foreign Service officer, served as American
Ambassador to Laos from 1964 to 1969, when he became Deputy Secretary of State
for East Asia and Pacific Affairs.]
Friday, January 19, 1968
Washington, DC.
The committee met, pursuant to notice, at 3:30 p.m., in Room S–
116, The Capitol, Senator J. William Fulbright (chairman) presiding.
Present: Chairman Fulbright, and Senators Sparkman, Symington, Hickenlooper, Aiken, Mundt, Case, and Cooper.
Also present: The Honorable William B. Macomber, Assistant
Secretary of State; Mr. Martin Herz, Country Director for Laos, Department of State.
Mr. Marcy and Miss Hansen, of the committee staff.
Senator SPARKMAN. Gentlemen, suppose we take our seats, and
I hope the chairman will be here soon, and other Senators, Senator
Hickenlooper, Senator Aiken, Senator Case, Senator Cooper, Senator Fulbright have all indicated that they would be here and Senator Williams of Delaware indicated that he would, if he could.
So they will be coming in, Mr. Ambassador.
We are delighted to have you with us. We would be glad if you
would start off with a statement, if you have any statement to
make to us, and then the various members will want to question
Ambassador SULLIVAN. Fine.
Mr. CHAIRMAN, I don’t have any prepared statement, and I am
willing to talk and be interrupted as thoughts occur to the members here.
[Discussion off the record]1
Senator SPARKMAN. You go right ahead. We understand in case
there is any emergency.
Ambassador SULLIVAN. I have been absent from Vientiane for almost a month now. I came home to spend the Christmas holidays
with my youngsters, my wife and I spent three weeks with them
and just here for a week and then going back at the end of the
week to Laos.
The situation in Laos, I think, can be discussed in three dimensions: The political and economic and the military.
I would say at the outset that unfortunately the military overweighs and burdens all the other aspects of Laos.
Laos, as you know, is a primitive country, a country that under
French colonialism was not accorded much assistance or much development and, therefore, Laos is struggling at the earliest levels
of attempting to become a nation state in this part of the world at
this time of history.
Politically, of course, the situation is rather unique in that the
Government is nominally a coalition government, which includes
communist membership. The communists have been absent from
Vientiane and have not performed their functions in this government since 1964. Nevertheless, they have not completely cut their
ties, they have not established a separate liberation front type of
government. They do maintain the status of being ministers, but
ministers in absentia. They stay either in their caves or back over
in Hanoi.
The communist group in Laos is a very small group. I should
think in terms of those who are politically active in Laos there are
probably no more than about a hundred.
Now, they have been able to recruit military people to assist
them up to about 30,000, but in terms of political activists a very
small group. So that the Government, when we talk of the Government, when we talk of those elements of the Government, those
ministers, who are non-communists, and who are under the leadership of Prince Souvanna Phouma.
Now, Prince Souvanna Phouma is a nationalist, a man who, with
his brother, led the independent movement against France, had to
go into exile for awhile, and later came back and has established,
I think, as the leading political figure in the country, both internationally accepted and domestically accepted.
Internationally, when I say he is accepted, I mean that he has
the status of support—I was just saying that Souvanna Phouma
has the status of being an accepted nationalist and particularly important is that he is accepted as such by the Soviet Union and by
the United States.
The Lao look upon their international status as being guaranteed
by the understandings that have been reached between the United
States and the Soviet Union in 1962 and they consider that the acceptance by these two governments constitutes a support ulti1 No
transcripts were made of ‘‘discussions’’ off the record.
mately against the Chinese, but some restraint also against the
North Vietnamese.
Senator SPARKMAN. Is the Government conducted primarily by
Souvanna Phouma, that is our man, isn’t it?
Ambassador SULLIVAN. Yes, sir.
Senator SPARKMAN. Do the other princes, they are both princes;
all three of them are princes, aren’t they?
Ambassador SULLIVAN. Yes.
Senator SPARKMAN. Do they interfere with the Government? Do
they participate with the Government in any way, I mean actively?
Ambassador SULLIVAN. Well, of the two princes, one is half
brother Souphanouvong, who was with the communists. He is not
in Vientiane and has not actively involved himself or participated
except to send unpleasant letters and make nasty broadcasts.
The third prince is Prince Bon Oum from the south. He no longer
takes an active political role but members of his family, members
of his political following, are very active in the Government and his
nephew, Sisouk na Champassak, the Minister of Finance, is
Souvanna’s own choice to succeed him as Prime Minister some day.
So you can see that system, that has held as far as politics is
Senator SPARKMAN. Yes.
Ambassador SULLIVAN. Now, what Souvanna is doing, he is 66
years old, and he is thinking in terms of passing on his leadership
to someone else, he is thinking in terms of Sisouk and he is bringing in young men into the Government. He has brought four young
state secretaries into the cabinet, all of whom are 40 years old or
younger. He has six people altogether in his cabinet who are under
the age of 45. He is making the transition, therefore, to a new generation.
The people he has in his cabinet, these young men he brought
in, intelligent men, university trained and most of them we would
say honest.
So with the hope of moving from a transition of Souvanna’s generation to a younger generation is a feasibility.
The interesting political fact that may begin to have some bearing on this is the strength and size and perhaps political ambitions
of the army. Because of the military situation, they have to maintain a larger army than would be normal. These people have access
to a good budget which gives them strength. They have a lot of
young men with them and there are a lot of political ambitions
among them. They can’t agree among themselves on a single leader, so I wouldn’t expect the army to pull off a coup and take off
the country as they did in Indonesia or Thailand but they have to
be reckoned with.
Senator AIKEN. You mean they have access to their budget, you
mean their budget?
Ambassador SULLIVAN. Yes.
Senator AIKEN. We don’t put much in there.
Ambassador SULLIVAN. We do put equipment, military equipment, into the army, but they support their army entirely out of
their own budget. It consumes over 60 percent of their budget.
Senator AIKEN. It does? It does ours, too.
Ambassador SULLIVAN. Well, that is one of the other things we
have in common. [Laughter.]
Ambassador SULLIVAN. Now, on the economic side, if I could
touch on that briefly, on the economic side, Laos has never been
a country of self-sufficiency, and what our hope has been is to try
to assist them to move from the subsistence economy of theirs to
a market economy, built largely around the production of rice, the
rice they can sell to the international market, earn international
exchange and hopefully get some of the international gold. We do
believe they will be able to meet their economic needs by—I was
just talking, Senator, about the possibility of Laos becoming, economically being able to stand on its own feet one day, and I would
say that for the first time we now see some prospect of that.
It has been based largely around the development of these new
strains of rice.
In the current cultivation of rice, from the very primitive way it
is done in Laos they get about 1.7, 1.9 metric tons to the hectare.
As I say, these former rice strains get about 1.9 to a hectare ton,
metric ton. This new rice which has been largely developed with
American technicians in the Philippines, produces about six to
seven metric tons per hectare.
Senator SPARKMAN. Six or seven?
Ambassador SULLIVAN. Six to seven tons, yes, sir.
Senator AIKEN. It is a short stick stem rice.
Ambassador SULLIVAN. That is right, it doesn’t get blown off in
the wind. It takes four months so you can get two crops. The other
rice takes longer.
Senator SPARKMAN. Is that from this country or Mexican rice?
Ambassador SULLIVAN. It is developed in the Philippines.
Senator SPARKMAN. Yes.
Senator AIKEN. Mr. Marcos is very proud of it.
Ambassador SULLIVAN. The Philippines should be given a great
deal of credit, but it is basically a Rockefeller Foundation exercise.
Senator COOPER. Six or seven metric tons per crop.
Ambassador SULLIVAN. Per crop. So you have two to three per
year, you are getting 14.
Senator AIKEN. You can get two crops up in Laos.
Ambassador SULLIVAN. We can get two crops if they are irrigated
and we can get by with a small land irrigation project.
Senator SPARKMAN. Where is the principal rice growing, is it in
southern Laos?
Ambassador SULLIVAN. All along the Mekong Valley. You see the
Mekong Valley extends practically the full length of Laos. But if
you get down at the base here, this Champassak, for example, this
is the area just to the west of it, and Savannakhet is the big area,
the Vientane Plains and up in Sayaboury is also a big area.
Senator HICKENLOOPER. The hectare is 2.2.
Senator SPARKMAN. Two and a half.
Ambassadar SULLIVAN. Almost two and a half.
In any event what we are talking about is the possibility of increasing the production by something in the nature of seven, six
Senator HICKENLOOPER. Let me ask you, Is this production of six
or seven tons per hectare, is that the 220 bushel corn we get out
in the Middle West?
Ambassador SULLIVAN. I am afraid I don’t know.
Senator HICKENLOOPER. They will set aside a certain plot and
nurse it like a sick baby.
Ambassador SULLIVAN. I see what you mean.
Senator HICKENLOOPER. And they put all the fertilizer, and they
will irrigate it and they baby it along and they only have about
three acres and they get 225 bushels on that and they get the
price. The rest of the farm will get about a hundred.
Have they done that in an area-wide field or is it specialized
Ambassador SULLIVAN. We are talking about experimental plots
but what we are also talking about, Senator, is introducing us into
areas which will be given specialized treatment. In other words,
they will have to have a little irrigation and they will have to
Senator AIKEN. They figured 35 bushels to the ton, six tons, 210
bushels. Two and a half acres it is a big profit.
Ambassador SULLIVAN. It is a big profit.
Senator HICKENLOOPER. It is a wonderful profit. All I am saying,
Are we being deluded? Not by you, but are we being deluded by
these figures? They go out and plant this rice and get six or seven
tons an acre. They can get three tons to the acre compared to what
they are getting now.
Ambassador SULLIVAN. It is an improvement. I am sure they will
not get the high figure of some seven to eight tons that come under
the best experimental crops because they are the best plots that
are chosen, but they will still get we feel five to six times what they
are growing at a minimum by using this type of rice, by using this
type of irrigation, this type of fertilizer.
Now the essence of what we are trying to do, of course, is help
these people convert from the subsistance economy in which they
grow just enough to eat to a market economy where they start
growing for scale so they can get foreign exchange. For this purpose we have a considerable AID mission there and all the work
we are doing, whether it is working on roads or others, is all directed toward this one end, toward getting them into the business
of being able to earn their own way, earn foreign exchange and
hopefully to be able to take care of themselves. We don’t believe
that the amount they can earn is going to be enough so that they
can have major saving, but if they earn $30 million of hard currency a year—$30 million to $35 million is range of their required
imports—it is a very small country, and for such things as the development of the Mekong Valley, the dam projects that we are
thinking about there that will require international financing from
other sources because you cannot get the savings from people in
the country.
But on the economic side, as I say, it is the first time we are beginning to see some hope of light. The great burden, of course,
which is holding it up is the war. The tremendous expenditures
for—that they make from their own budget for the army. The manpower drain that the army takes away from agriculture, and the
refugees who are created by the war, who are non-productive and
therefore a burden on the state.
Senator AIKEN. How much is their army?
Ambassador SULLIVAN. Their army is about 73,000 men, which
is not very large, but when we are thinking in terms of a state of
two and a-half, three million people it is quite a large percentage.
Senator HICKENLOOPER. The stories we used to hear about Laos
as compared to Vietnam was that the Laotian soldiers would go out
in the jungle and they would have 30 rounds of ammunition apiece
and they would jump behind trees over a hill and just shoot the
ammunition and come running back to the village and say they
had a great battle and killed all the enemy and came back to rest
and have a holiday.
Is there anything to that nowadays?
Ambassador SULLIVAN. Well, Senator, up until about four days
ago I would have said, vigorously said the Lao army has made
great strides forward.
Senator HICKENLOOPER. Mostly it was making strides backwards.
Ambassador SULLIVAN. And the record has proved clear in the
last couple of years. As a matter of fact, they have regained considerable territory and been able to consolidate and hold it. But last
weekend they had a considerable debacle up in Nam Bac.
Senator AIKEN. How serious was it?
Ambassador SULLIVAN. I can’t really give you an assessment.
Senator AIKEN. How did they get in there, was that the Pathet
Ambassador SULLIVAN. I think probably the troops that hit them
there were the North Vietnamese. It is in this area fairly close to
Dien Bien Phu.
Senator SYMINGTON. How far is it, Mr. Ambassador?
Ambassador SULLIVAN. Can you see Luang Prabang?
Senator SYMINGTON. I can’t see it, but I know where it is on this
Ambassador SULLIVAN. If you go from Luang Prabang and move
on your map toward Dien Bien Phu, which is slightly northeast of
Senator SYMINGTON. You and I were there last January, Luang
Ambassador SULLIVAN. Yes.
Nam Bac, you can see to the left of that river. It runs up about
halfway between, you see Ban Nam Bac on your map.
The CHAIRMAN. Yes, to the left of the river.
Ambassador SULLIVAN. Yes, sir, exactly northwest.
The CHAIRMAN. And just right to that Red River Plain. Ban Nam
Senator HICKENLOOPER. I don’t see it on that map at all.
Ambassador SULLIVAN. You have the small map.
Senator SYMINGTON. I see Luang Prabang, which way is the
other place?
Ambassador SULLIVAN. Almost straight north and a little bit
east. See that red airplane just above Luang Prabang.
The CHAIRMAN. Then look to the right and down.
Senator AIKEN. Has the airport been completed?
Ambassador SULLIVAN. At Luang Prabang; yes, sir.
Senator AIKEN. And the bridge?
Ambassador SULLIVAN. The bridge, too.
Senator SYMINGTON. Bill, where is that 36 you wouldn’t let me
go, is that around there?
Ambassador SULLIVAN. That is out to the east there, sir. You see,
that sign out there that says Hua Mong. You look almost straight
across to east of Luang Prabang and a little to the north, that is
about where Site 36 is.
Well, on the military side, to answer your question obliquely,
Senator Hickenlooper, these troops, these forces, have improved.
This particular engagement looks like a pretty bad show. They
went up in there in ‘66 and they were—they took the area but they
didn’t take the high ground to defend it and they never did move
out to take the high ground so, therefore, they were caught in a
position and when the North Vietnamese came down from Dien
Bien Phu there they were, and they scattered, and we don’t, I don’t
think there has been much personnel lost.
I think the troops——
Senator HICKENLOOPER. They never got close enough to go to
shoot at each other?
Ambassador SULLIVAN. I don’t think there was much of an engagement this time; no, sir. That has not been the rule in some of
the fighting and I might say we shouldn’t consider that there is
only one caliber and one quality of troops from in Laos because
some of the best jungle fighters and guerrillas, I would say, in the
world are some of these Little Meo tribesmen up in the northeast.
Senator SYMINGTON. Where is that fellow Pao?
Ambassador SULLIVAN. He is up in the northeast, you can see his
headquarters on this map. It is north.
Senator SYMINGTON. We went to his headquarters and you were
very high on him. I wondered where he was when this went on.
Ambassador SULLIVAN. Well, he was on the other side of the
river. This was not in his bailiwick.
Senator SYMINGTON. I see
Ambassador SULLIVAN. In fact, his forces had come to help out
and have managed to extricate some of these people who were fleeing. His people are warriors, they are a warrior caste, they are a
warrior tribe and they are trained guerrillas, and they give a good
account of themselves. Their ratio of combat against the North Vietnamese has been about five to one, and I think the North Vietnamese have a very healthy respect for these fellows.
Senator SYMINGTON. Mr. Chairman, as I understand it, he would
take questions. Is that right?
The question I would like to ask and the reason I am so glad you
are here, I would like the record to show I have never seen a more
efficient operation than the one Ambassador Sullivan runs in Laos,
and he also knows the Thai situation, and the situation in Vietnam.
What effect will the defeat of our friends in Laos have on our
conduct of the Vietnamese war which is worrying us all so much?
Ambassador SULLIVAN. Senator, I don’t think there will be very
much direct relationship between that, those two events.
I think there is a relationship in the situation that we see the
North Vietnamese coming down out of Dien Bien Phu out of their
country into Laos to attack and defeat Lao forces and take a sector
of Lao terrain.
Senator SYMINGTON. Let me ask you this question: As you know,
we are spending hundreds and hundreds of millions of dollars putting in a Maginot line in here and cease fire and doing a lot of
things to try to prevent the Ho Chi Minh and Sihanouk trails being
used. Is this particular move an effort to preserve a way of getting
into Vietnam?
Ambassador SULLIVAN. No, sir, I don’t think so.
Senator SYMINGTON. Thank you.
Ambassador SULLIVAN. I think this is territory which is close to
Dien Bien Phu and they are somewhat sensitive to them. I think
it is territory in which their friends, the Pathet Lao, formerly had
some control. They came back to attack it. I think it is part of basically an attack on the morale of the Lao people to demonstrate to
them the Lao government is not able to provide them absolute security in places of their own territory.
Senator AIKEN. Will they proceed to Luang Prabang?
Ambassador SULLIVAN. I would doubt it, Senator.
Senator AIKEN. Does Luang Prabang have any defenses?
Ambassador SULLIVAN. It has defenses of a natural sort and
there are several mountain ridges of considerable height between
that area at Nam Bac. It has troops there and it has a small air
unit there. I think the reason that constrains the North Vietnamese more than anything else they like to fight a guerrilla type
warfare. To come down to Luang Prabang they would have to be
out in the open and conventional and exposed as open invaders.
Senator COOPER. Can I ask a question, Mr. Chairman?
I remember 1962 before the last agreements, something like this
happened before.
Ambassador SULLIVAN. Yes, sir.
Senator COOPER. Government troops, under the so-called
strongman, fled across the river, and they fled the capital defenses,
they had negotiations.
According to the newspaper accounts, three or four thousand
troops advised and trained by the U.S. advisers, equipped with
howitzers and Wessins, and ammunition, according to the news-
paper reports, these troops just fled and abandoned the howitzers
and abandoned the ammunition and no fight at all after five or six
years of our training.
You said awhile ago that Souvanna Phouma was considered and
accepted as a nationlist and fighting for that country. How do you
explain the fact that these people flee again after they are trained?
Ambassador SULLIVAN. I would like just to correct the record, we
do not have a military training and advisory organization in Laos.
Senator COOPER. Thank you.
Ambassador SULLIVAN. And we, therefore, do not have advisers
with these troops. We don’t have advisers with them. However,
some of these units probably had been trained in Thailand under
American supervision, but we don’t have people with them. We
don’t have a military advisory group there.
Senator COOPER. I know you don’t.
Ambassador SULLIVAN. The Lao are very gentle people, peaceful
people. They can provide people who will fight under certain leadership but by and large they don’t like fighting, and under these
circumstances my guess would be that the soldiers in the field did
not have that particular confidence in the officers who were commanding them, they were willing to stand and fight against North
Vietnamese fanatics. The leadership of the troops is very much the
key to whether or not these men would stand or fight or whether
they would run.
In this instance, I feel it was the latter.
Senator COOPER. I will ask just one more question as related to
the question Senator Symington asked.
He asked what effect would this have in our relationships with
Vietnam? Is this just another repetition of events in Vietnam?
Ambassador SULLIVAN. Well, these events, that is to say the
North Vietnamese actions against Laos, have been going on for as
many years as the actions in South Vietnam have been going on.
The balance over the past four years has been in favor of the Lao.
This is one instance in which the favor has quite clearly run to the
North Vietnamese, but on balance I think it still leaves a record
intact of the Lao having had a better record than the North Vietnamese during that period.
Senator SPARKMAN. All right, Mr. Ambassador, go ahead. Do you
have anything else?
Ambassador SULLIVAN. I would say maybe just to explain a little
more and to talk to Senator Cooper’s question, there are really two
wars going on in Laos. In Laos the North Vietnamese, the people
who live in the area of North Vietnam have historically shown hostility toward this part of Laos and since the communists have
taken over North Vietnam they have used the traditional pattern
of setting up a front movement and providing assistance and setting up a military cadre and whatnot. In that area contiguous toNorth Vietnam where we are looking, they do have an interest in
establishing a political base and hoping to move onward.
The other area which is the area down south, so-called Ho Chi
Minh Trail, is more directly connected with the North Vietnamese
operation in South Vietnam. There is very little political activity.
They use it as a logistics route to bring their equipment down from
the north to the south so the fighting that has been going on down
in that area is going on not for the political purpose of being some
North Vietnamese control over Laos but holding some territory
which is valuable to them. That is the military picture of Laos.
The preponderance of strength, after all there are 19 million people living in North Vietnam, less than three million in Laos. The
lines of communication that the North Vietnamese can attack at
will anywhere in Laos make it almost impossible for the Lao with
less than three million people and less than 75,000 troops to sustain a real concrete defense against them. The best they can do is
harass as guerrillas.
Senator SYMINGTON. May I ask a question?
Mr. Ambassador, We have been all over this before many times,
and this is not a record that is published on any basis, and I would
just ask respectfully, but very sincerely, how, far would they have
to succeed before we would have to begin to move our own military
forces in there, if we wanted to save the country, on a different
basis than we are operating today with your people and the agency
and so forth?
Ambassador SULLIVAN. That would be a very serious judgment,
as you know, that would require looking at a lot of circumstances.
Senator SYMINGTON. I ask this because we had Mr. Richard
Helms of the Central Intelligence Agency who will come before this
committee on Tuesday, and I was distressed to see the extent of
the map that was colored showing the amount that still was under
control of the Pathet Lao and the communists.
Ambassador SULLIVAN. Well, certainly it is fairly extensive. As
you know, the population live very largely in the river valley, the
Mekong Valley, and I would say between 75 and 80 percent of the
population are under government control. The Pathet Lao, however, and the North Vietnamese are able to wander through these
hills up in the area contiguous to North Vietnam.
If they came down into the valley, if they came out of the hills
and came down in conventional force to the valley in the first place
they would have to come down in quite considerable force, I believe, because they would have to come down out of those areas
into an area where they would be susceptible to air action because
the Lao air force can and has blunted them when they have come
down before into the valley, and if they came down and established
themselves in the valley and constituted by their presence there is
a direct threat to Thailand, they would be deliberately upsetting
the balance upsetting the applecart, changing the picture and it
would present the President with a very, very serious situation.
As you may recall, in 1961, Senator Cooper was suggesting President Kennedy was faced with the same decision and we sent Marines into Thailand at that time. Some influence must have been
brought to bear to get the North Vietnamese to drop back, I suspect the Soviets didn’t want it to spread at that time. I think the
Soviets would still have some interest. And I think there are, in
other words, restraints upon the North Vietnamese quite apart
from military, which would give them pause before coming down to
an area where it is so flagrantly facing us with a contest of this
Senator SYMINGTON. You wouldn’t want to say, for example, how
long Souvanna Phouma could—where it would be a physical danger
to his position at Vientiane or Luang Prabang anyway?
Ambassador SULLIVAN. If they took one of these big cities like
Luang Prabang, certainly they took Vientiane in the center of the
Senator SYMINGTON. Yes. This is pretty close, Ban Nam Bac is
pretty close to Luang Prabang.
Ambassador SULLIVAN. As the crow flies, it is not so far. But I
suggested there are very serious or ranges and mountains in between there.
Senator SYMINGTON. How far as the crow flies?
Ambassador SULLIVAN. As the crow flies, it is about 40 miles.
Senator AIKEN. What influence does Russia have in there now?
Ambassador SULLIVAN. The influence that the Soviets have with
the Lao is an interesting one. It is the influence and interest they
have as being a great power and a great power that is in apparent
agreement with us on the idea of neutralizing Laos and, therefore,
the Lao people and Lao government wish in no way to irritate the
Soviets. The Soviets, on the other hand, maintain very little posture, they do not provide any direct assistance that we know of to
the enemy forces, to the communist forces, they do not provide any
aid or other economic assistance or any very active diplomacy with
the Lao government.
But the Soviet posture there is a potential one. It is one of agreeing with us on the neutrality of Laos and agreeing with us apparently in defiance of the Chinese to try to maintain the independence of Laos, and in that sense the Lao regard the Soviets not unlike the way the Indians would regard the Soviets and ourselves,
as being two pillars of their hope for maintaining independence and
maintaining it against the ultimate threat of the Chinese.
Senator COOPER. What does the Government there consider the
obligation of the United States with respect to them?
Ambassador SULLIVAN. I think I can say we have given them no
reason to feel that we have any obligations toward them and they
are quite aware of this. I have never put any of the assistance we
have given them on the basis of an obligation, and they have never
taken any commitments to us or we to them in terms of terms. We
have no formal agreements, no military assistance pacts or anything of that sort.
This is done very much on an ad hoc proposition and they are
aware there is no binding undertaking by us with respect to Laos.
They are not members of SEATO, we have no bilateral undertaking or commitment.
Senator AIKEN. That is correct, but I thought you said a moment
ago that they considered or they thought the Soviet Union and the
United States were the protectors of their neutrality.
Ambassador SULLIVAN. Yes, sir, we are all signatories of the
1962 agreements. Those agreements obligate us to respect the neutrality of the country and they obligate the Soviets, too. But there
is no, I assumed you meant did we have any bilateral undertakings.
Senator AIKEN. No, I just wondered whether they consider we
have any responsibility to protect them against any aggression.
Ambassador SULLIVAN. They take the position, although legalistically I think it is a little difficult for them to establish it, they take
the position that the 1962 agreements bind all the signatory powers, all 13 signatory powers, to assist Laos in case any one of the
13 is committing aggression against them.
Now, the North Vietnamese are committing aggression, but we
don’t consider that this creates a legal obligation to any of the
other 13 powers except within the frame of the agreement which
is that they should, the powers should, then consult together and
there is supposed to be some action by the co-chairmen, the British
and the Soviets, and action by the ICC with the Indian chairman.
These, unfortunately, have not produced consequences that we
would have liked.
Senator SPARKMAN. Is there an appreciable amount of industry
in Laos?
Ambassador SULLIVAN. No, sir.
Laos is, as I say, a rather primitive subsistence economy.
Senator SPARKMAN. I know it. And isn’t it a rather passive sort
of a country, I mean is there much zip and zoom of the people?
Ambassador SULLIVAN. No, they are very charming, pleasant,
lovable, gentle people, but I can’t say they have got much zip and
zoom. They do work hard growing rice. It is a backbreaking job, as
you know, and that is their primary economic activity. They also
cut lumber, and they do mine some tin, but these are very minimal. But they don’t have either the organization or the capital investment to get into industry and they do have great problems.
As you see, they are a land-locked country and the problem of
transporting anything in or out is a real problem.
Senator AIKEN. Do they still raise poppies?
Ambassador SULLIVAN. Yes, sir, the Meos still raise poppies. But
that is not, surprisingly enough in terms of that activity, the opium
that they get from those poppies they pretty much use themselves
and use as raw opium. They are not in the great rackets of the refined production of heroin that gets into the international trade.
That comes out of the Chinese either in China or in Burma and
in the north.
Senator AIKEN. They don’t have any difficulties in Thailand?
Ambassador SULLIVAN. No, there is no great love lost between
the Thai and the Lao but they don’t have any current difficulties.
Senator AIKEN. What is your opinion of the situation in Northeast Thailand?
Ambassador SULLIVAN. Well, I can’t pretend to be very much an
expert on that, Senator. But the situation there, I think we should
understand the background is compounded of a number of things.
One is that the people who live in northeast Thailand are very
largely ethnically Lao. That is to say, the old Lao kingdom used to
extend on both sides of the river, and these people who lived in
Thailand for a number of generations nevertheless are treated sort
of as second-class citizens and this has caused some discontent
among these people and I think that is one of the reasons for discontent, then.
Senator AIKEN. Laos has no trouble with Cambodia?
Ambassador SULLIVAN. No, sir.
The CHAIRMAN. How much economic support are we putting into
Laos now?
Ambassador SULLIVAN. Our figures last year was about $56 million, Senator.
The CHAIRMAN. $56 million? What is their total national budget?
Ambassador SULLIVAN. Their national budget is less than that.
Their national budget is around $36 million.
The CHAIRMAN. Where does the 20 go?
Ambassador SULLIVAN. Well, I think I can explain, there are
about three different categories.
Senator SPARKMAN. Give it to us.
Senator AIKEN. I would like to know.
Ambassador SULLIVAN. There are three different categories of
our assistance. One is emergency assistance to refugees. Now, that
is very costly because most of these refugees are up in the hills and
you fly the rice in to them and otherwise provide them with the
wherewithal of living. It is not only expensive to purchase the rice
and triple sack it and hire planes to drop it.
Senator HICKENLOOPER. How did they live before we gave it to
Ambassador SULLIVAN. They lived in territory occupied by the
North Vietnamese and in that territory they cultivated their own
rice and had their own livelihood, but they have been shoved out
of that, and into territory that is not their normal habitat.
Senator AIKEN. We have one dam up in there, don’t we?
Ambassador SULLIVAN. There is a dam that is in the process of
bids, they are being let this month or next month.
Senator AIKEN. I see.
Ambassador SULLIVAN. Nam Ngum Dam. That will be a hydroelectric one. That we have made a contribution to that, hydroelectric, we have made a contribution of half the cost running about
15 or 16 million. Anyway, a third goes to taking care of refugees
of economic assistance.
Roughly a third goes to our contribution to an instrument called
the foreign exchange operations fund. Now, this is something that
was set up by the International Monetary Fund. We and the Brit-
ish and the Japanese and the Australians and the French each contribute to it. What this is is a fund that constitutes an intervention
device in the market. We go in and purchase kip for hard currency
whenever the value of the kip seems to fluctuate. This is a way to,
in effect, having imports that mop up the inflationary pressure that
come from this huge military budget for an army that is there for
unproductive economic purposes.
The other third goes into what we call development projection,
and this involves such things as education, irrigation work, agricultural improvements, the construction of feeder roads, the construction of main roads, public health services, the whole spectrum of
activity in a country that is in such a low state of development that
really is not able to help itself.
Senator HICKENLOOPER. Let’s get some facts now that we only
have Republicans here. [Laughter.]
Senator CASE. It isn’t because I want to reduce the preponderance of Republicans, but I have to go.
Ambassador SULLIVAN. Thank you, Senator.
Senator COOPER. You said there were communists in the Government. Who is the real leader?
Ambassador SULLIVAN. I think the real leader is the SecretaryGeneral of the Party, a man named Kagsone, who is half Vietnamese, half Lao. The nominal leader, figurehead is Prince
Kagsone is a member of the Lao Dong, a member of the communist party and he just doubles in brass running the Lao branch.
Senator COOPER. Thirty thousand included, are they Pathet Lao?
Ambassador SULLIVAN. Yes, sir, those troops, those are the
troops that we would ascribe to the Pathet Lao movement. That is
to say, Lao forces who are fighting against the Government. They
are supplemented by a considerable number of North Vietnamese
Senator AIKEN. We have been hearing about bombing the Ho Chi
Minh Trail. What attitude has Russia or China or North Vietnam
taken now? What are they doing about it? Are they fighting?
Ambassador SULLIVAN. I think we might start first with the attitude that Souvanna takes toward it and see how it fits with the
Souvanna’s view is that he wishes us to maintain air attacks
against the trucks and troops that are infiltrating into his country.
However, he wishes us not to admit this publicly because if we
admit it, publicly we then bring down the wrath of the Russians
on us.
Senator AIKEN. Real secret.
Ambassador SULLIVAN. Well, it is a little more subtle than that,
Senator, because I will take—to give the example of what the Russian attitude is, the Russian ambassador came to me one day with
a press statement that he felt, that indicated an official admission
by Secretary McNamara that we were doing the bombing. But
what in effect he said to me was, ‘‘Whatever you are doing, don’t
admit it officially,’’ this is the essence of it. That is the Soviet view,
I think.
Senator HICKENLOOPER. It has been their view a long time, if we
admit it officially they have to do something about it.
Ambassador SULLIVAN. That is it exactly. It is a challenge to our
face. From the North Vietnamese point of view, of course it is costly to them, they are running trucks down there and they are getting the trucks destroyed and this is a very costly exercise.
The Chinese, I am sure, press the North Vietnamese to keep
doing it and to press the Soviets to condemn us for it and when
the Soviets don’t do it they consider the Soviets as running as collaborators.
Senator HICKENLOOPER. Does the Chinese propaganda blanket
the country like Cambodia?
Ambassador SULLIVAN. Yes, sir, very effective.
Senator HICKENLOOPER. Not at all careful about the truth?
Ambassador SULLIVAN. Yes, sir, in any language.
Senator SYMINGTON. Perhaps I am responsible for getting you to
come up here and I say that because I am very proud of the job
you are doing in Laos.
Ambassador SULLIVAN. Thank you.
Senator SYMINGTON. In the last 12 months I twice visited with
Ambassador Sullivan in Vientiane and we have been all over this
country together.
It is a difficult operation. He directs it just as much really in
Laos as Westmoreland and Bunker do in Vietnam. But what worries me is that it is getting negative now from the military standpoint, and regardless of the economy and the politics of the situation, we have got a military and big war on our hands right next
door to what you are doing in Laos and the story is that most of
the equipment that is going into Vietnam is coming through Laos
to the South Vietnamese—I mean the North Vietnamese, in North
Vietnam and the Vietcong so my primary interest is what is the
change since we last talked, which is last September? I am sure
the committee would be very interested in that aspect of it.
Ambassador SULLIVAN. If I may give you some figures which obviously are very, very sensitive, but they are figures that I consider
significant, and I just have been over reviewing these with the
Joint Chiefs and they accept them as being accurate, the bombing
campaign against the Ho Chi Minh Trail, and I am sorry you can’t
use these on the floor of the Senate, Senator——
Senator SYMINGTON. This is a completely executive hearing.
Ambassador SULLIVAN. The bombing campaign against the Ho
Chi Minh Trail has produced in just the last month of December,
has produced destruction of 900 trucks. In the months of November, 700, and since the beginning, since we left you in September
there have been about 2,000 trucks destroyed on that trail in Laos.
Now, that doesn’t mean that some of these haven’t gotten
through. But there are two factors on this, one, that they have
been destroyed on the trail; and, two, they have been destroyed in
the northern reaches of the trail in Laos so they have been destroyed before they have gotten down to the areas where they are
pushing on through into the first military zone in the northern part
of South Vietnam.
This means that there is not a Red Ball Express that goes from
one end of the trail to the other as convoy. They go down shuttle
service, and hop from one cave complex to another. This means
that the air action has been quite effective in this dry season, and
in my judgment will have some considerable effect on the ability
of the enemy to carry out large unit operations in the northern
parts of South Vietnam.
As you probably know, they are different than we in the way
they handle their, maneuver their troops and handle their logistics.
We put our troops in and bring our logistics in to meet them. They
put their logistics in first and cache it away and marry up their
troops in it and then do battle on the site.
Now, I think they are having trouble getting some of the equipment down and the arms down into the divisions for those troops
which Westy 2 is worrying about, which are coming in around Sanh
and if we could preclude a good portion of that equipment coming
down they may not be set in the position that is that they can
carry out their activity, that they doubtless have in mind either at
Khe Sanh or wherever they are going to do that action in the
northern portion of the First Corps.
So this has been, I would say, the major military change in the
situation since we last saw you, Senator. It has been a positive one.
The negative change has been this Nam Bac thing, and I am not
yet prepared to say this is a complete disaster, but it certainly deflates me considerably.
Senator SYMINGTON. If it is a major disaster, where do we go
from there? What would happen afterwards?
Ambassador SULLIVAN. In any event, it isn’t of such majority
that it really is going to change the balance in Laos. I don’t think
very many people, I have yet to see an inventory of what equipment that was lost. The principal loss was morale and this is the
question of how you get that intangible re-instituted.
Senator SYMINGTON. I would like to ask one more. What reaction,
in your opinion, would Souvanna Phouma have to this?
Ambassador SULLIVAN. Well, so far, the cables we have seen from
Vientiane, his first reaction was one of considerable gloom. He flew
up to the area and when he came back he was in good fighting trim
and saying, ‘‘All right, we have taken a tough one, but let’s go on
and let’s absorb it and go along with it.’’
So I would think, I haven’t seen any cables today,——
Mr. HERZ. There doesn’t seem to be any panic atmosphere.
Ambassador SULLIVAN. I must say there is a certain seasonality.
In the dry season, the North Vietnamese always come in and attack and our friends lose some territory and people. But in rainy
season they go back, but the net advantage over the year we have
more than we have lost, and we are still ahead.
2 Gen William Westmoreland, who commanded the Military Assistance Command Vietnam
Senator AIKEN. Was the Ho Chi Minh Trail a major artery of
supply for the Vietcong?
Ambassador SULLIVAN. Was it or is it?
Senator AIKEN. Was it or is it? That completes my question.
Ambassador SULLIVAN. It always has been.
Senator AIKEN. Yes.
Ambassador SULLIVAN. And it is now one of the major arteries.
It used to be at one stage, I would say, the major one. Now, they
have added certain logistics support and assistance from Cambodia.
Previously; they used to bring their rice and everything as well as
their armament and weapons and equipment down the Ho Chi
Minh Trail. Now, they have sort of divided up the logistics base.
They are bringing the hard stuff, the hardware, down the trail but
they get most of their rice and medicine and whatnot out of Cambodia, so it is still an important one but it isn’t the exclusive one.
Senator MUNDT. Do you have an operation over there called Air
Ambassador SULLIVAN. Yes, sir.
Senator MUNDT. Is that our operation, and what is it?
Ambassador SULLIVAN. It is our operation. I am sure that the actual status of this company, it is a private company incorporated
here in Washington, but I think its board of directors have something to do with one of the committees that Senator Symington sits
Senator SYMINGTON. Senator Mundt. too.
Senator MUNDT. I don’t know much about it. Do they engage in
Ambassador SULLIVAN. No, sir. They are hired, chartered by us,
just as though it were a commercial operation.
Senator MUNDT. Like the Flying Tigers?
Ambassador SULLIVAN. Yes, sir, and they carry equipment for
our aid program and also carry equipment and so forth for the CIA
operation. But they are not engaged in combat operations. There
are no Americans who fly Laotian planes, and this is, we have another company that does exactly the same thing as Air America,
and it is Continental Air Services, which is a wholly owned
subsidary of Continental Airlines, a perfectly legitimate commercial
operation. And I am told by one of my lawyers if you examined the
books of Air America it is perfectly legitimate commercial operation.
Senator MUNDT. Was there any truth in the press reports that
planes from Laos were bombing China?
Ambassador SULLIVAN. We have nothing to confirm this. There
were some air actions by the Lao Air Force in the area contiguous
to China up in Nam Tha while this Nam Bac battle was going on.
And it is conceivable that they sprayed close enough to the border
that they may have dropped something on the other side of China.
The Lao denied this, and we have no way, once these pilots go out,
there is no radar or anything that keeps a scope on them, so you
can’t really tell, but they were close enough so that it is a conceivable error that they got into it. They certainly wouldn’t have done
it deliberately. They have T–28’s, trainer aircraft, that have been
converted to carry bombs.
Senator MUNDT. Are they fighting?
Ambassador SULLIVAN. They are doing all the fighting.
Senator MUNDT. In connection with the logistics training?
Ambassador SULLIVAN. Through the Ho Chi Minh Trail they do
some guerrilla harassment down there, but the odds in favor of the
North Vietnamese forces, the concentration of North Vietnamese
forces there, the short lines of communications between North Vietnam and the trail make it possible for them to reinforce rapidly,
make it impossible for the Lao to have the ability to operate.
Senator MUNDT. The 900 trucks were all knocked out by us?
Ambassador SULLIVAN. All knocked out by our Air Force.
The Lao, we should understand that on occasion the Lao Army
in its performance, the Lao are suffering about 2,000 killed a year.
Now, 2,000 killed out of a population of two and a-half, three million, would be something equivalent, if my mathematics is not too
rapid, but something equivalent to better than a hundred thousand
Americans killed a year relative to our operation, so it is no joke
to them.
Senator MUNDT. Are they being killed by Laotians?
Ambassador SULLIVAN. Mostly by communists.
Occasionally the Pathet Lao get into a fight, but they are not aggressive, either.
Senator HICKENLOOPER. If you know the statistics, that is not
par for the course over there.
Ambassador SULLIVAN. You mean historically over the years.
Senator HICKENLOOPER. Over the years.
Don’t they kill each other in the hills over land, wine, women
and song, kill, tribal wars up there?
Ambassador SULLIVAN. Well, fighting has been going on historically in this part of the world for a long, long time, but at that
pitch and at that level of intensity, no.
They have had a natural history of, a long history of warfare, but
this is a higher level of activity.
Senator HICKENLOOPER. It is a little different level.
Senator MUNDT. Let me ask you this, Ambassador Sullivan, suppose peace happens over there with our side on top, what would
be the condition of Laos?
Ambassador SULLIVAN. If we assume that the peace is also extending to Laos, the North Vietnamese in addition to ceasing their
operation in South Vietnam cease their operations in Laos?
Senator MUNDT. Well, I assumed that, but I also felt that there
was some civil war going on in Laos. This coalition, or whatever
it is, doesn’t work very well.
Ambassador SULLIVAN. That is right. But the Lao communist
group doesn’t amount to a hill of beans if they don’t have the North
Vietnamese backing up their cadre.
Senator MUNDT. They wouldn’t be able to sustain it.
Senator SYMINGTON. Can I ask this question: In August, South
Vietnam’s Defense Minister, General Cao Van Vien, warned that
unless the North Vietnamese and the Viet Cong guerrillas were deprived of their supply routes and their sanctuaries in Laos and
Cambodia, the war ‘‘could continue another 20 or 30 years.’’
Senator MUNDT. Who said that?
Senator SYMINGTON. South Vietnam Defense Minister, Karl. It is
quite a broad statement.
Ambassador SULLIVAN. I think a war at a guerrilla level of intensity, if they make up their mind to do it, could continue for a great
many years in Vietnam and it could continue even if they didn’t
have sanctuaries in Laos and Cambodia, because they have a great
many internal——
Senator SYMINGTON. The Israeli General Dayan said if they went
to guerrilla warfare it was published in the Washington Post they
would never beat them.
Ambassador SULLIVAN. I think there is a lot to that. But it would
be a different level of warfare, and probably would require a different level of U.S. commitment or at least entail different level of
U.S. commitment, U.S. forces.
But a sanctuary in this rugged part of the world can be on one
side of the border or it can be inside the Vietnamese order. They
have not succeeded in eliminating all the sanctuaries in South
Vietnam. The Hoxai area, which is between Danang and Laos.
Senator SYMINGTON. I remember when we saw Souvanna
Phouma in Luang Prabang, maybe it was the second time, he was
apprehensive about this McNamara line, Maginot line.
The other question is what is the status of and Premier
Souvanna Phouma’s attitude toward the U.S. proposal to build an
anti-infiltration barrier along the Northern border of South Vietnam?
He is reported to have opposed it.
Well, he did. He was very worried the day we talked to him
about it on the ground that it would enlarge the Vietnam conflict
at a time when we are all trying to limit and contain it.
What is his feeling about it, Mr. Ambassador?
Ambassador SULLIVAN. I think he has had the concept explained
to him a little more specifically and clearly, so he realizes that it
isn’t the sort of Maginot line that he felt it was at that stage.
Secondly, I think that he recognizes that, as we do, that the sort
of installations which are going to be put in there are not going to
result in forcing or pushing the operation over into Laos, so he has
become quite more relaxed on the whole thing. He would be, and,
as you know was, agitated by anybody reviving the idea of sort of
a Maginot line which General Ky has spoken about, but that is not
what, Secretary McNamara has had in mind.
Senator SYMINGTON. May I proceed? I have a letter here to your
chairman from the Secretary of Defense as of January 20, 1967, in
which he says:
‘‘Last year we transferred the Vietnam Military Assistance Program in the defense budget,’’ and therefore we recommended what
he did, which was to include the Laos and Thailand requirements
in the regular defense budget, and presumably that will be done
this year.
With that premise, could you fill us in on what we are supplying
Laos now roughly?
Ambassador SULLIVAN. In the way of military equipment?
Senator SYMINGTON. Yes.
Ambassador SULLIVAN. The bulk of our supplies to Laos in the
way of military equipment are air ammunition, aircraft, T–28s.
And then, beyond that it is very much the unsophisticated equipment which is routine—rifles, uniforms—equipment of that type for
the troops.
Senator SYMINGTON. Would you care to tell us roughly what that
is in dollars and cents?
Ambassador SULLIVAN. In dollars and cents I think that it has
run up—and I would have to be corrected on it—something like
$73 million in fiscal 1967.
Senator SYMINGTON. $72 million.
Ambassador SULLIVAN. $72 million or $73 million.
The CHAIRMAN. For what the military?
Senator SYMINGTON. Military.
Ambassador SULLIVAN. And that primarily is the cost of aircraft
and the cost of air ammunition and to some extent the cost of heavier ammunition such as artillery.
The CHAIRMAN. And $56 million is on top of that.
Ambassador SULLIVAN. Yes.
The CHAIRMAN. Making a total of one——
Ambassador SULLIVAN. Nearly $130 million.
The CHAIRMAN. $127, $128 million.
Senator SPARKMAN. Is that military to Laos?
Ambassador SULLIVAN. Yes, sir.
Senator SPARKMAN. I thought you said a while ago they support
their military and we did not.
Ambassador SULLIVAN. No, the question of whether we supplied
material for their armed forces budget.
Senator SPARKMAN. I see this item is material.
Senator SYMINGTON. I mentioned this morning in a hearing, the
annual cost of military assistance appropriations in Laos is less
than our daily cost in Vietnam, and it seems to me that Ambassador Sullivan has done at least as well if not slightly better in
Laos than we have done so far in Vietnam. Of course he has got
more competition in Vietnam.
What impact is the U.S. economic assistance program making in
Laos for fiscal year 1967? Economic assistance is about $55 million;
per capita gross national product, $66.
Ambassador SULLIVAN. The impact, as I say, is directed toward
trying to shift Laos from a subsistance economy to a market economy in agricultural terms. But that has absorbed only about onethird of our aid budget. The other two-thirds is absorbed in keeping
alive the refugees and in a sense keeping the value of the kip from
spiraling to inflation, so in many ways honestly the measure of our
economic assistance, the result of our economic assistance, is the
viability of the Lao nation as a state. If it survives, it is due to our
assistance for it, but I do believe we are making some assistance
in the development side.
Senator SYMINGTON. On February 5 the King broke ground for
the Nam Ngum Dam and hydroelectric complex, one of the Mekong
River development projects, to furnish power to Laos and Thailand.
Senator Cooper and I went out with Mr. Eugene Black of the World
Bank. How is the Mekong River project progressing?
Ambassador SULLIVAN. The Nam Ngum Dam of course would be
the first dam, not a mainstream dam, but on a tributary. The bids
for that construction, I believe, are being let this month. All the
preliminary survey work has been done, and the dam itself should
be completed by 1972.
Senator SYMINGTON. Who is putting up the money for that?
Ambassador SULLIVAN. We are putting up one-half and the other
countries that are contributing, I am not sure I can name all of
them, but the Japanese are a major contributor, the Dutch put in
$4 million.
Senator SYMINGTON. How much did we put in in money?
Ambassador SULLIVAN. Ours will be about $16 million, I think.
Senator SYMINGTON. $16 million.
Ambassador SULLIVAN. What we did was pledge half, Senator.
We can’t give you the exact costs yet.
Senator SYMINGTON. Would you locate that?
Ambassador SULLIVAN. Down here, here is Vientane, and the
dam is about in there.
Senator SYMINGTON. How effective is the International Control
Commission in Laos and what is the status of its finance? And how
much reliance can be placed in such control commission in Southeast Asia?
Ambassador SULLIVAN. Well, the status of it in Laos is pretty
dormant. Its last constructive function was about two years ago
when it submitted a report, a majority report, with the Indian and
Canadian members signing and the Pole absenting himself, reporting a North Vietnamese attack against Lao Military Academy at
Dong Hene. Since then, as a result of a certain amount of ire that
was expressed by the Russians toward the Indians, our Indian colleague has declined to stick his neck out and take any action, ac-
tion which would be accessible to him, under the rules of procedure. It could rule as a majority rule leaving the Pole aside, so I
feel we have to say that as of the moment the commission is not
performing its task, is not being useful in Laos.
Our general feeling is it should be preserved nevertheless potentially to be used at whatever time we may have some political solution in the area.
Now the question of its finances, its financial crisis stems from
the fact that the Chinese Communists and the North Vietnamese
refuse to meet their contributions. Therefore roughly one-fourth of
its annual budget is never subscribed and each year it falls behind
that amount.
The co-chairmen, the British and the Russians, constantly seek
some salvation jobs, and we are making some contributions now,
and they are cutting down on some expenses. It stays afloat but
just about.
As far as the general conclusion of what this sort of instrument
can perform in the future in Southeast Asia, I do not mean to say
this as Senator Cooper leaves, but it depends very much upon his
Indian friends. If the Indians would have the courage to actually
sign to what they privately admit and what they admit and see
going on, then I think it could have a considerable effect of moral
suasion and perhaps even causing some of these violations to be
broken up. But unless the Indians are willing to do this, it is pretty
much noneffective.
Senator SYMINGTON. You are going back and we are staying here.
This will be my last question, Mr. Chairman, at this time, anyway.
What should we watch for, in your opinion, as to further disintegration? Naturally all of us are apprehensive that this could entail
further investment on the part of America in treasure and people,
military people, et cetera, et cetera. If it continues to disintegrate,
what should we look for? Who is the enemy? Who is the Laotian
enemy of Souvanna Phouma who might give trouble? Is it Kong Le
or who? What is the thing from your standpoint you would like us
to watch as you go back and we stay here?
Ambassador SULLIVAN. Well, internally on the political side I
don’t really think Souvanna has a great deal of political trouble
against him. One of the reasons is that if the situation deteriorates
militarily, nobody really wants to step into a situation that is hard
and getting worse. They would just as soon leave him sitting with
that baby.
I do not believe there is any active political opposition of an articulated type against him that you could focus on one person right
There are some ambitious people in the army, but they premature so far as this is concerned.
So in terms of the political structure, I do not consider Souvanna
is in any trouble. I think the trouble that could be visited upon him
would come from the Russians in case the Russians felt that we
were transgressing what they would consider the limits of their tolerance in Laos or in case Souvanna and the North Vietnamese became embroiled even further and the Russians threw more of their
weight behind the North Vietnamese, so I think his troubles would
be external rather than internal. The thing to look for as an indication militarily is quite clear. If they move toward the Mekong Valley, we are in trouble.
Senator SYMINGTON. We talk about the neutrality of Laos. How
effective is that? How real is that neutrality?
Ambassador SULLIVAN. I think that is a rather special definition
as far as the Lao consider it. When they talk of whom they are
neutral between, it is between the United States and the Soviet
Union. They make no bones of being neutral in terms of their attitude towards the Chinese Communists.
On the other hand, they undertake not to sign or agree to any
military alliances or engage in any military coalitions or military
groups which the Chinese could regard as being unneutral against
So it is sort of a narrow definition and it is pretty much the definition that was defined in the 1962 agreements, neutrality in a
very strictly defined legalistic sense.
Senator SYMINGTON. Here is a rather theoretical question but
one I am sure is prepared because of our respect for you round
here. What do you think of neutralization generally as a device for
eliminating conflict?
Ambassador SULLIVAN. If you could have genuine and general
neutralization including North Vietnam, I think that would be
dandy. But I think neutralization depends on a number of factors
and I think they depend either on geography, as in the case of
Switzerland, that will help you maintain it, or they depend on sort
of a fulcrum of forces that will hold you in a neutral position because nobody wants to upset it to their advantage.
Now in the case of Laos as between us and the Soviet Union,
they may be able to get poised on that sort of thing if the North
Vietnamese would leave them alone. If the other countries of
Southeast Asia could find the same sort of agreement and could
agree on it, it might be sort of a solution, but it is a long ways from
Senator SYMINGTON. Thank you, sir.
Mr. CHAIRMAN. I have covered all the waterfront that I wanted
to cover.
The CHAIRMAN. Mr. Ambassador, you have been associated with
this area a long time. I wonder, if I could ask you some general
questions about it. Maybe you have answered these. I regret that
I was diverted by other developments here.
How do you foresee this developing both in Laos and in Vietnam
that are so closely associated. Do you foresee a very long extended
war, or do you see any possibility of coming to a military conclusion
or political conclusion?
Ambassador SULLIVAN. I think in all honesty I have to say that
most of the signs, most of the factors, point toward a long, protracted struggle, and I think the ability of the North Vietnamese,
if they wish to revert back to a lower level guerrilla type operation
and to sustain that for a long time, is already demonstrated, and
I think in terms of the military victory, I do not believe the
North Vietnamese can achieve a military victory in the field, and
I think that they probably know this.
In terms of American, allied military victory, I think that there
are possibilities that we could by the weight of our firepower and
forces defeat militarily the main force units of the enemy which
would still leave, however, those who could be the nucleus of guerrilla operations and still leave a mass of economic and social discontent which, unless it is addressed and redressed, would create
a long, long suffering problem.
Now, if the North Vietnamese reached the conclusion that they
wished a complete respite and they were willing to accept a political solution, I think that it would be possible for us to see very
suddenly a move toward negotiations. I think that move toward negotiations would probably in itself, however, be failure to a prolonged sort of semi fight-talk, talk-fight, situation.
The CHAIRMAN. Well, pursuing that on, what do you think, assuming that the North Vietnamese did decide that they would not
continue, at least in the form of main force activity, and you had
negotiations, what kind of an outcome do you foresee that we
would be willing to accept? What would be our terms for a negotiation? I realize that is speculative, but what I am trying to get in
my own mind is what is this government’s objective in this area,
and I am not quite clear what we expect to achieve, assuming they
did stop at least major fighting?
Ambassador SULLIVAN. Well, it is highly speculative to talk to
that at this time, and without more reflection on what the circumstances would be.
Perhaps the best way I could answer that would be to suggest
what it was that we were willing to settle for and thought we had
settled for in Laos in 1962. I did have quite a bit to do with those
negotiations, and I think that I could speak for the administration
at that stage in saying we were quite willing to see a situation in
Laos in which we withdraw all our troops from the area, provided
the North Vietnamese withdraw all their forces from the area, that
we were willing to take our chance in Laos on the nationalism of
the Lao as represented in the person of Souvanna. The Communists, on the other hand, seem to feel that the gamble that their
small Communist unit inside Laos, even without military support
from the outside, could successfully manipulate Souvanna and
some of his political colleagues so that they were able to dominate
the situation. I think it is quite clear that they miscalculated on
that. But I would immediately then say that in South Vietnam
there is a much stronger Communist apparatus. There is obviously
a much more forceful unit.
Senator SYMINGTON. Could I ask a question there, Mr. Chair
But you do not think for a minute that if the North Vietnamese
left South Vietnam by agreement and we left South Vietnam by
agreement that the Thieu-Ky government could hold up very long,
do you?
Ambassador SULLIVAN. This is what I was about to say.
Senator SYMINGTON. Excuse me.
Ambassador SULLIVAN. The Communist apparatus in the south
is infinitely stronger than it ever was in Laos. So the two situations are not comparable, and I do not think I am in a position here
to prejudge what the President or the administration would settle
for in those sort of circumstances.
The CHAIRMAN. When you say stronger, you mean the indigenous local South Vietnamese apparatus is much stronger without the substantial support of North Vietnam.
Ambassador SULLIVAN. Than the parallel front organization in
The CHAIRMAN. In Laos.
I find it very difficult. What bothers me is that even if we get
a military victory, supposing we literally destroy Hanoi and Haiphong, all their mean of communications, and they just could not
function in an organized manner, you say of course the guerrillas
could still function even if we do that.
Ambassador SULLIVAN. I think so.
The CHAIRMAN. So it seems to me if that happened, in order to
achieve what seems to be the objective of the Government we are
going to have to stay there more or less indefinitely, is that a correct statement?
Ambassador SULLIVAN. Well, I think we are making that conclusion on the assumption that we would not operate for some political solution at some time but strictly adhering to the hope to
have an ultimate military solution.
I think the administration can see quite clearly we would be willing to have a political solution.
Now you ask me to define what solution they would select. I am
not able to give you an answer to that, I think. Are we going to
stay there indefinitely? The answer is no, but we are going to try
to get a political solution.
The CHAIRMAN. Maybe you can help me on this. I ask you about
this because you have concentrated on this area. What kind of a
political solution is helpful to this country?
Ambassador SULLIVAN. To the U.S. or Vietnam?
The CHAIRMAN. To this country and Vietnam and Laos if you
like. Take Vietnam first. They are both so closely related.
Can you give me some idea of what you think would be the kind
of political solution we would accept?
Ambassador SULLIVAN. I think if we could ever develop in South
Vietnam through the rather massive changes that are going to be
needed in the way of economic and political and social reform, if
we could ever develop in South Vietnam a government that had
groups in and support from the people of the country, and a gov-
ernment which could command the respect and could command the
authority of the people so that they could rally the people of Vietnam to the defense of their own terrain, that a solution which withdrew military forces and which left as the only opportunity to the
North Vietnamese or the other Communists the possibility of lowlevel guerrilla infiltration type of operation would be an acceptable
solution. But this would mean that we would have to get something
that would be impermeable to that type of operation, and therefore
it would raise it to a level requiring people to make an open main
force military invasion which would then upset your apple cart and
then blow it up again.
The CHAIRMAN. Do you believe that under our tutelage a government such as you have described is possible in South Vietnam?
Ambassador SULLIVAN. I certainly consider it is possible. Whether it is something that we—is going to be achievable within a time
frame that is useful to us for the purposes you are discussing is another question.
The CHAIRMAN. This puzzles me very much. I try to look at this
and ask what kind of a solution can we possibly achieve, political
solution, that I would say is feasible—maybe ‘‘possible’’ is too
strong a word—but it is very difficult for me to believe that a foreign country and especially in view of their experience under the
French, recently a colonial area of another western power, regardless of our motives and everything else or the amount of money we
spent in there, that we can create a government that would be acceptable in the sense you have described it and has the allegiance
of the major and large part of the people of South Vietnam.
Ambassador SULLIVAN. I do not think we can create it, Senator.
I think all we can do is with the resources that we make available
is assist to be created and perhaps help clear out some of the obstacles to its creation.
I think there is no question, for example, that the Government
of Indonesia, at the current state, is a nationalist government. It
is a military dictatorship, but I suspect that it probably has the allegiance and support of the bulk of the people of Indonesia. It came
into being without any general specific assistance from us, although I think I would argue that our presence in Vietnam probably gave certain courage to do what they do. But I think Indonesia
is going to have to depend—before it gets to a stage where this becomes impermeable or adequately resistant in the terms we are
talking about—it is going to have to depend upon getting some foreign assistance and some foreign association with its hopes. I think
that our experience—and it was under a totally different circumstance an in a far more sophisticated society—that our experience in assisting in the creation of the current society of Japan is
a lesson, a case in point. I think our land reform programs in
Japan and some of the things we did during the occupation period
were obviously imposed from the exterior but they have produced,
I think, the roots for a stable—I hope a stable—democracy in
Japan and which were definitely missing in the twenties and thirties, and I know what you mean, and I know that the circumstances in Vietnam are such that it is the most parlous sort of
chance, but I do not know who else is going to provide it for them.
They are not going to have a chance entirely under their own resources. They never had it under the French of course.
So this to me is about the most satisfactory, perhaps the noblest,
way we can discharge the obligations we have there is to do that.
The CHAIRMAN. Over a long period, you think it is possible to
generate this kind of a government.
Let me put it another way. This may not be really an appropriate
question to ask you, but do you think it would be a great disaster
to us if there were free elections in South Vietnam and participation by everybody and it resulted in either a wholly Communist or
partially Communist government?
Ambassador SULLIVAN. I do not think it would result, first of all,
in a wholly Communist government. I think if you had elections
that were really free and the participation of the Viet Cong in it,
that they would have fairly healthy representation perhaps in the
Assembly, the representative governing body.
I think if you got that stage, and if we got to the acceptance by
the acceptance by the Viet Cong that they were going to use election processes rather than terror tactics, that then we might be
able to find that this was compatible and could work along with it.
The various acceptance, genuine acceptance, of an election process would be a major step forward and would be a total change in
the tactic.
I think that what really is the more serious concern is that a victory in South Vietnam by the Viet Cong through the use of terror
and force rather than at the polls is the thing that has attracted
our resistance and attracted our engagement.
The CHAIRMAN. Do they have elections in Laos?
Ambassador SULLIVAN. Yes, sir.
The CHAIRMAN. For what?
Ambassador SULLIVAN. For the National Assembly, and they had
one last January 1, 1967.
The CHAIRMAN. What was the nature of the elections?
Ambassador SULLIVAN. Well, those elections are relatively free
and honest, but I think you have to understand in a society such
as Laos those who are agreed upon as candidates by the regional
leaders and the village elders and so forth and so on are those who
are going to be elected and very seldom that someone who is not
part of the traditional pattern of the village and the state is going
to be able to challenge and get away with it. A few of them did.
A few young fellows made a challenge and went up and put on a
healthy campaign and got elected, but by and large the pattern of
elections is pretty much determined by some traditional patterns.
The CHAIRMAN. How many members are there?
Ambassador SULLIVAN. 59.
The CHAIRMAN. Do they exercise any independence at all from
Souvanna Phouma?
Ambassador SULLIVAN. Well, the reason we had an election an
January 1, 1967, was that in October of ‘66 the Assembly voted no
on the budget and so we had to dissolve the Assembly and have
the election.
The CHAIRMAN. Why would they vote no on a budget when we
pay them $22 million more than for economic aid?
Ambassador SULLIVAN. Because the budget and the aid are two
separate things apart. They have to pay the budget. In other
words, the budget comes out of their own financing, is in kind and
in material. We do not have budgetary support now.
The CHAIRMAN. No budgetary support.
Ambassador SULLIVAN. No budgetary support. They are cash
grant but they are not worked in the budget. The Lao have to manage their own budget in terms of paying for their own functions
and levying their own taxes. It was a tax increase they were voting
against at that time more than anything else.
The CHAIRMAN. What kind of taxes are they?
Ambassador SULLIVAN. Well——
The CHAIRMAN. Excise taxes?
Ambassador SULLIVAN [continuing]. Excise taxes, import taxes,
and, well, the turnover tax for forfeiture.
The CHAIRMAN. Sales tax.
Ambassador SULLIVAN. Sales taxes.
The CHAIRMAN. It is a curious situation. But our aid of, you said,
$56 million is mostly in goods, usable kinds of economic goods.
Ambassador SULLIVAN. I think you were out of the room when
I broke it down.
The CHAIRMAN. I had to leave.
Ambassador SULLIVAN. Roughly one-third in each. One category
is for the direct material assistance to refugees. There is a great
mass of refugees, and even if we resettled, as we do, around 30,000,
35,000 every year, there is still a lot you have to carry. Mostly up
in the hills they have been moved out of their homes and lost their
own crops and therefore at least for one rice crop season they have
to have rice brought into them airdropped. The rice we send in has
to be purchased, triple sacked, transported by air, and dropped,
and that is a very expensive operation, it adds up to about $18 million per annum.
There is another contribution of about $17 million that is used,
$13.5 million of it used to sustain our membership in an intervening fund, the Foreign Exchange Operations Fund, which was
provided by the International Monetary Fund. We, the British, the
French, the Japanese and the Australians all make contributions
to this. This intervenes in the open market to sustain the value of
the Kip in foreign exchange, and the purpose of this frankly is because the inflationary pressures by this huge military establishment, relatively huge on their budget, is such that they have excess
purchasing power which has to be either mopped up by inflation
or else mopped up by imported good which require foreign exchange as a way of providing it.
And the third category goes into genuine economic development
work. As I explained, this is directed toward the conversion of Laos
from a subsistance economy to a market economy primarily in the
international sale of rice, because they are capable of producing
rice. But Laos is so far of scratch in all this we have to start off
with a whole complex of things to do there. We have to educate the
farmers, you have to carry out irrigation work, you have to carry
out agricultural extension work, you have to build feeder roads to
get the rice out from the paddy to the road and then main roads
to get it to market and you have an agricultural—the whole thing
is just starting from centuries of neglect and centuries of decay.
The CHAIRMAN. Did you get to see any people in Laos who have
recently been in China? Did you see any? Did you see any movement of people from Laos to China? What is your estimate of what
is happening in China?
Ambassador SULLIVAN. I am not in a much better position to talk
about that than you are here in Washington. The only Chinese I
see who go back and forth are representatives of the Chinese Embassy who are there in Laos and who come back and forth, but
they are not eloquent in speaking to me.
The CHAIRMAN. Maybe there were other people, maybe French or
British or Russians.
Ambassador SULLIVAN. No, sir, very little. It is not the access——
The CHAIRMAN. Do any of you know just about what is going on
in China and its significance? I am curious.
Ambassador SULLIVAN. Well, I think there is now a resurgence
of the same sort of turmoil that existed last summer. It is quite
clear a good portion of this turmoil was deliberately created by Mao
as part of his thesis of how you rejuvenate the revolution. I think
this is something which has caused a dilemma and they are torn
between the pragmatism of trying to get things under control and
getting it done as against committing the heresy of Mao’s thinking.
It is really quite a situation where in China in a great many years
to come there are going to be states and societies functioning on
two or three levels and plains and you are going to have a certain
number of people who, perhaps, will get an exemption from the turmoil so they can carry on the things necessary to have the state
carry on military and civil and so on activities, and it is rather deliberate to keep the rest of it in turmoil because of his feeling that
otherwise people will fall into bourgeois revisionism and ruin him.
What that sort of schizophrenia will produce in the long run for
China, I do not know, but I think it does inhibit the China policy.
I think the Chinese know this and, therefore, deliberately go
back to the retrenched sort of hermit style that they used back in
the imperial dynasties, and this carries with it the deliberate use
of arrogance and insult and other affectations. Where it leads, I do
not know, particularly when you consider the pressure of the population and resources that are just multiplying there.
The CHAIRMAN. Have they sent any Chinese people into Laos?
Ambassador SULLIVAN. Not that we can detect. As far as we can
see, the Chinese pretty much have conceded Laos to be the bailiwick of the North Vietnamese.
We do not see any evidence of their coming in. Even their mission, which is located in Vientane, is not proselytized very heavily
on the Chinese community.
The CHAIRMAN. Is a very large mission?
Ambassador SULLIVAN. Fairly large, yes. Relatively to what they
do, the work they do.
The CHAIRMAN. Is it as large as ours?
Ambassador SULLIVAN. No, it is not as large as ours.
The CHAIRMAN. How many do we have?
Ambassador SULLIVAN. Well, in our total U.S. Government employees, U.S. employees there, we have 560. Just about 400 of
those are engaged——
Mr. MARCY. Do you get a 10 percent cut or does that only apply
to Vietnam?
Ambassador SULLIVAN. I do not know, Carl. The executive order
indicates 10 percent cut for all missions over 100, and I am not
sure whether that means——
Mr. MARCY. Except Vietnam.
Ambassador SULLIVAN. Vietnam is specifically excepted.
The State Department is only about 30, 35. I do not know what
this means.
The CHAIRMAN. Well, when are you going back?
Ambassador SULLIVAN. Sunday, sir.
[Whereupon, at 5:15 p.m., the committee recessed, to reconvene
subject to the call of the chair.]
Washington, DC.
The committee met in public executive session at 10:00 a.m., in
room S–116, the Capitol.
Present: Chairman Fulbright and Senators Sparkman, Mansfield, Gore, Lauche, Symington, Pell, Hickenlooper, Aiken, Carlson,
Williams, Mundt, Case and Cooper.
Richard Helms, CIA Director, appeared for a briefing and discussion on current and future aspects of the world situation.
For a record of the proceedings, see the official transcript.
[The committee adjourned at 12:30 p.m.]
Wednesday, January 24, 1968
Washington, DC.
The committee met, pursuant to notice, at 10:10 a.m., in room S–
116, the Capitol, Senator J. William Fulbright, (chairman) presiding.
Present: Chairman Fulbright and Senators Sparkman, Mansfield, Gore, Church, Symington, Pell, Hickenlooper, Aiken, Mundt,
Case, and Cooper.
Also present: Mr. Marcy, Mr. Kuhl, Mr. Holt, Mr. Henderson,
and Mr. Bader of the committee staff.
The CHAIRMAN. Well, gentlemen, I was hoping more would be
here for the simple reason I didn’t want to repeat too much. This
is a very complicated matter. We have got one or two sort of routine business matters we might discuss before we take up the other
matter, because I do think we ought to have more here. I think
they will come and we could just save repetition.
We will come to order. The first matter is the resolution authorizing the continuation of the committee inquiries into foreign policy.
[Resolution follows:]
Resolved, That the Committee on Foreign Relations, or any duly authorized subcommittee thereof, is authorized under sections l34(a) and 136 of the Legislative Reorganization Act of 1946, as amended, and in accordance with its jurisdictions specified by rule XXV of the Standing Rules of the Senate, to examine, investigate, and
make complete studies of any and all matters pertaining to the foreign policies of
the United States and their administration.
SEC. 2. For the purposes of this resolution the committee, from February 1, 1968,
to January 31, 1969, inclusive, is authorized (1) to make such expenditures; (2) to
employ, upon a temporary basis, technical, clerical, and other assistants and consultants; (3) to hold such hearings to take such testimony, to sit and act at such
times and places during the sessions, recesses, and adjourned periods of the Senate,
and to require by subpena or otherwise the attendance of such witnesses and the
production of such correspondence, books, papers, and documents; and (4) with the
prior consent of the heads of the departments or agencies concerned, and the Committee on Rules and Administration, to utilize the reimbursable services, information, facilities, and personnel of any of the departments or agencies of the Government, as the committee deems advisable.
SEC. 3. In the conduct of its studies the committee may use the experience, knowledge, and advice of private organizations, schools, institutions, and individuals in
its discretion, and it is authorized to divide the work of the studies among such individuals, groups, and institutions as it may deem appropriate, and may enter into
contracts for this purpose.
SEC. 4. Expenses of the committee, under this resolution, which shall not exceed
$225,000, shall be paid from the contingent fund of the Senate upon vouchers approved by the chairman of the committee.
The CHAIRMAN. Mr. Marcy, will you explain the resolution?
Mr. MARCY. Yes, every year, Senators and members, it is necessary to get additional funds to keep the staff operating. These are
the so-called money resolutions. Last year the committee authorized a request for $250,000. The Rules Committee cut the amount
back to $225,000, and we have operated on that during the year
and we have about——
Mr. KUHL. $30,000 approximately.
Mr. MARCY. We still have about $30,000 left. So we could get by
with the request of $225,000 this year, and that is the form in
which the resolution is drafted. I don’t know whether the inclination of the committee on Rules will be to cut us back again, but
I hesitate to go much below $225,000. For that this takes care of
all of the clerical and professional staff assistance over and beyond
the 10 that are authorized by law. The form of the resolution which
is before you is the standard form which is used every year, and
the only item which is changed is the money figure in section 4.
Senator MANSFIELD. I move its adoption.
Senator GORE. Seconded.
The CHAIRMAN. All in favor of the motion say ‘‘aye.’’
[Chorus of ‘‘ayes.’’]
The CHAIRMAN. Opposed, no.
[No response.]
The CHAIRMAN. The ‘‘ayes’’ have it. The motion is carried.
[Whereupon, at 10:15 a.m., the committee proceeded to other
Wednesday, January 24, 1968
Washington, DC.
The committee met, pursuant to notice, at 10:00 a.m., in room S–
116. the capitol, Senator J. William Fulbright (chairman) presiding.
Present: Chairman Fulbright, and Senators Sparkman, Mansfield, Gore, Church, Symington, Pell, Hickenlooper, Aiken, Mundt,
Case, and Cooper.
Also present: Mr. Marcy. Mr. Kuhl, Mr. Holt, Mr. Henderson and
Mr. Bader of the committee staff.
The CHAIRMAN. Let the committee come to order.
Any other committee business, Mr. Marcy?
Mr. MARCY. No, sir.
The CHAIRMAN. Maybe I could make a few preliminary remarks
although I wish the staff who has done the work on this—this is
in the nature of preliminary remarks.
This matter really became, the Tonkin Gulf Incidents were revived by ødeleted¿ in the Navy who is still in the Navy, by the
name of ødeleted¿. He first called a member of the staff, Mr. Jones,
and said that he would like to give him some information that he
had been on duty in what is called ødeleted¿ in the Pentagon during this period, and that he had considered before contacting, I believe, Ambassador Goldberg 1 and other people, but he finally decided that the best place to give his information, his views, was to
this committee, and then later he came in person. He volunteered
this, both by phone call and then he wrote a letter. Anyway, those
are all the details of it which will be explained and you can have
it very accutately.
I was in the meantime being very busy going back and forth to
Arkansas. I did not personally follow it very closely, but in view of
this, he first saw Mr. Jones, and then Mr. Jones thought he ought
to come to my office. Mr. Marcy was there, and I believe Mr. Bader,
was he not?
Mr. MARCY. Mr. Bader was there, I was not.
1 U.S.
Ambassador to the United Nations Arthur Goldberg.
CHAIRMAN. Mr. Bader was there, and he gave this story, said it
was on his conscience.
Now this man is not retired, he is in the Navy now, ødeleted¿,
and has been in how long, 20 or 30 years, something like that, a
long time, and he had a lot of medals on. He was in uniform and
he had quite a record apparently, being decorated several times,
and he told a story about it, partly the confusion in the ødeleted¿,
as they call it. The ødeleted¿ as I understand it, Mr. Bader will go
into detail on this, I may say he has been experienced in this matter. Anyway, that was the beginning and I authorized the request
of the staff for documents from the Pentagon.
I also may say that I talked with Senator Richard Russell about
the matter and Senator Russell, I am skipping a little beyond this
now, anyway I had a meeting with Senator Russell at Mr. Nitze’s 2
request, that is Mr. Nitze requested I meet with him and Senator
Russell. We did meet, and Senator Russell, in my presence, told
Mr. Nitze that the Pentagon should make available to this committee all relevant documents, that is about the way he put it, and
we had the meeting and then they proceeded to begin to make
available all relevant documents with two exceptions, which will be
developed in the course of the presentation. I will not go into it
now. But they have cooperated, I must say, very well, I may say
primarily because I think Senator Russell told them to but there
were two documents which we have not received which they say,
one is so highly classified they cannot make it available, they say.
The other is it is simply the matter is under review, it is an internal document although Senator Russell said they should make it
all available.
I think the best procedure——
Senator GORE. Could you identify those two?
The CHAIRMAN. I wonder if we might let it come up in the course
of it because I have it sort of disjointed. If it meets with the approval of the committee, Mr. Marcy and Mr. Bader have been working on this very, very closely for some three months now, and I
would like Mr. Marcy. the chief of staff, to sort of start this and
read you the condensed version of the memorandum of the staff
which it prepared, and Mr. Bader who did most of the work, and
Mr. Marcy might give you a little fill-in on the qualifications of Mr.
Bader. It so happens I think he is very highly qualified for this particular purpose.
Mr. MARCY. would you take over and give us the——
Senator GORE. Mr. Chairman, why could they not move over here
some place so we can see and hear them better?
The CHAIRMAN. Maybe they should.
Mr. MARCY. you sit there, and Mr. Bader is available to answer
Mr. MARCY. Mr. Chairman, just a little bit about Bill Bader. He
was Navy intelligence and radar officer for a period of three years
2 Secetary
of the Navy, Paul H. Nitze.
and served in the Far Eastern area, and he also was with the CIA
for a period of two years, and then he was with the Department
of State and came to the committee about a year and a half ago.
Now, I have put together rather a summary of this document
which you have before you, and I propose to go ahead and read it
and if you have any questions at any time about filling in details,
either I can answer them or Bill.
The CHAIRMAN. You all have copies.
Mr. MARCY. Yes.
Senator GORE. Not of the summary.
Mr. MARCY. But you have a copy of the full document. I am going
to take from this full document as I go along.
I want to make clear in the first place that this concerns three
alleged instances of attack in the summer and fall of 1964. The
first one occurred on August 2, and there is no doubt but what this
attack took place, both the United States and Hanoi agree, and the
only question raised in connection with this first attack on August
2, was whether the North Vietnamese attack on the Maddox occurred while the Maddox was on a routine patrol on the high seas
as the committee was told by the Secretary of Defense, Mr. McNamara.
The second attack was on the night of August 4, and the basic
question there, as we see it, is did this attack occur. This is important because but for this second attack the United States would not
have retaliated against North Vietnam and there presumably
would have been no urgent request for the Tonkin Resolution.
The third attack occurred the night of September 17–18, and it
is mentioned here because after a full investigation, the Navy concluded that the attack did not occur. So it has some probative effect
on this interpreting earlier facts.
Now I refer to the first incident, the one of August 2. It was an
attack on the Maddox. It occurred, nobody doubts it. Hanoi admitted it, and broadcast, a number of broadcasts were picked up in
which they boasted of their attacks on this vessel.
Now Secretary McNamara, in referring to both instances, incidents, testified, and I am now quoting, that ‘‘The American destroyers were engaged in a routine patrol in international waters of the
Gulf of Tonkin and were the victims of deliberate and unprovoked
attacks. These attacks,’’ he stated,‘‘compelled the President and his
principal advisors to conclude that a prompt and firm military response was required.’’
In answer to a specific question from Senator Morse, Secretary
McNamara stated, and again I quote:
Our Navy played absolutely no part in, was not associated with, was not aware
of, any South Vietnam actions, if there were any.
On the basis of the study of the ship’s logs, and other official
communications and documents, and this I am reading is based exclusively on documents made available to us and not upon any conversations with the commander or others that we have talked to,
it seems reasonable to conclude, first, that the Maddox was not en-
gaged in a routine patrol but was engaged in a special electronics
intelligence mission which took the ship well within what the
North Vietnamese claimed as its territorial waters. Moreover, it
was not routine——
Senator HICKENLOOPER. You mean within 12 miles?
Mr. MARCY. Within four miles. North Vietnam——
Mr. MARCY. North Vietnam claims 12. Furthermore, the mission
was of such sensitivity that it has been approved by the Joint
Chiefs of Staff, thus suggesting that it was perhaps not quite as
routine as might be inferred.
The evidence is clear from the patrol instructions that the Maddox was authorized to approach to within four nautical miles of the
North Vietnamese islands even though the 12-mile limit is claimed.
It is also clear that this was only the third patrol since 1962, so
there should be no implication that this was, that happened——
Senator SYMINGTON. So we understand, are you talking about
August 4?
Mr. MARCY. I am talking about August 2, the first incident.
Senator SYMINGTON. Yes.
Mr. MARCY. Finally, the Maddox mission, this is still the August
2, was authorized, and I am now quoting from the instruction, ‘‘to
stimulate Chinese Communists, North Vietnamese electronic reaction.’’
Now the second conclusion we have drawn from going through
this material, and it is still related to the first incident, is that
there is every reason to believe that the North Vietnamese could
have concluded that the Maddox was involved in the South Vietnamese attack on the two islands of Hon Me and Hon Nieu. Inasmuch as the patrol of the Maddox covered the same area as operations conducted by South Vietnamese patrol craft—I might say
these South Vietnamese patrol craft were actually PT boats supplied by the United States, trained by American military advisors,
and that this was the first operation in which they had engaged in
any attack on North Vietnam.
Senator GORE. They were using U.S. Navy vessels, equipment?
Mr. MARCY. These were U.S. Navy ships that had been supplied
to the South Vietnamese, were carrying South Vietnamese colors
and numbers and everything else, but this was military equipment
which we had supplied.
Senator GORE. Since I have interrupted, you said there that one
of your conclusions is that the North Vietnamese could have concluded that the patrol ship and the ships operated by the South Vietnamese could be a part of the same operation?
Mr. MARCY. That is right.
Senator GORE. And you said ‘‘could.’’ It seems, as I read those
notes, either with respect to the alleged attack on the 2nd or the
4th, there was some message that, intelligence message that, the
North Vietnamese did consider one and both the second part—was
that on the 2nd or the 4th?
Mr. MARCY. That was on the 1st, was it not, Bill?
Mr. BADER. It is on the 1st as well.
Mr. MARCY. I will come to that in a little bit.
Senator GORE. The reason I asked, you said they could have.
Mr. MARCY. That is right.
Senator GORE. I thought there was some intelligence report that
they did consider it the same and that we knew it.
Do not let me interrupt too much.
Mr. MARCY. Bill, if you will pick that up, come to that will you,
the confirmation cable. Go ahead.
Mr. BADER. The first incident, the cable revealed that the American ship Maddox was aware that the North Vietnamese were disturbed by their presence. But there was no evidence within the cables to say that they connected the two. It is quite clear that they
connected the presence of the Maddox and the Turner Joy with attacks that were going on on the 3rd and 4th of August. But the cables in the first case only revealed the North Vietnamese considered that the presence of the Maddox was provocative.
Senator GORE. So my point is not well taken with respect to the
one on August 2?
Mr. MARCY. That is why we used the word ‘‘could.’’
Senator GORE. All right, fine.
Mr. MARCY. The third conclusion we reached with respect to this
first incident was that the Maddox had ample warning from the
special electronic equipment that the North Vietnamese were
stirred up, and it could have broken off the patrol long before it
What is interesting from the cable traffic is that some ten hours
before the Maddox was approached by the Vietnamese patrol craft
it reported, that is the Maddox reported, that it, had information
indicating ‘‘possible hostile action from the North Vietnamese,’’ and
three hours later on August 1, the Maddox cabled its superior,
‘‘Consider continuance of patrol presents an unacceptable risk.’’
Apparently this information on North Vietnamese intentions was
derived from the Maddox special electronic equipment.
In view of the frequent references to the communications traffic,
in the communications traffic to special intelligence information, an
inquiry was made by the staff asking for the source and the text
of this information, and the answer was that the subject of special
intelligence was discussed with Senator Fulbright and no further
information would be made available. I will come back to that point
later so I think maybe, Senator, you might just pass over that at
the moment.
In response to this cable saying that there were indications of
possible hostile action, the commander of the 7th Fleet authorized
the ship to deviate from its mission at any time it felt the risk was
unacceptable, but the Maddox was told to continue when ‘‘considered prudent.’’
Senator SYMINGTON. When was that? What is the time of that?
Mr. MARCY. Do you have the time on that one, Bill?
Senator GORE. You should have Bill over there with you.
The CHAIRMAN. Bill, why do you not move over there to Carl.
Mr. MARCY. That was 9:00 p.m. on August 1. That was 9:00 p.m.
our time.
Senator SYMINGTON. In order to make it chronological if I may
say so, because there was a warning before there was any attack.
Mr. BADER. Yes, it was hours before the attack.
Mr. MARCY. You all have attached to your file a memorandum
called Chronology of Events in Tonkin Bay, and we translated all
of the times to Washington time so it will show better the sequence, and I am now referring to page 2 of that, where it say,
‘‘9:00 p.m., Commander of the 7th Fleet ordered the Maddox to resume its patrol.’’
The final conclusion we draw from these cables is that Mr.
McNamara misled the committee in stating that the Navy was unaware of attacks of the South Vietnamese on North Vietnam.
I wonder if we should not perhaps read that instruction. The
Commander-in-Chief of United States Forces in the Pacific on July
10, 1964, had authorized his fleet units involved in this patrol ‘‘to
contact the Commander of the United States Military Assistance
Group in Vietnam for additional intelligence required for prevention of mutual interference with 34A operations and such communications, arrangements as may be desired.’’ So that in fact the
military advisory group and the naval authorities knew that the
South Vietnamese patrol craft were engaged in their first bombardment of North Vietnam, and this is contrary to what Mr. McNamara said at the time. You remember the statement I read where
he said there was no implication that we knew of it.
Now, after the first incident, and again which no one questions,
took place, it will be recalled that Secretary McNamara reminded
the committee, and I am quoting now from the testimony before
the committee, that:
This was believed to be an isolated incident, perhaps a miscalculation, or a misunderstanding by the North Vietnamese, and we did not anticipate would be repeated.
The President then instructed the destroyers to attack any force
that attacked them in international waters, and to attack ‘‘with the
objective of not only driving off the force, but of destroying it,’’ and,
at the same time, the Department of State delivered a note of protest to the North Vietnamese Government. That note concluded
with the words:
The United Government expects that the authorities of the regime in North Vietnam will be under no misapprehension as to the grave consequences which would
result from any further unprovoked offensive military action against U.S. forces.
Senator SYMINGTON. What was the time of that?
Mr. MARCY. That probably would have been on August 3, either
late August 2 or early August 3.
Senator AIKEN. You say Mr. McNamara misled the committee, he
gave us wrong information. Have you any information who misled
Secretary McNamara?
Mr. MARCY. No.
Senator AIKEN. I see.
Mr. MARCY. Now, to refer briefly to the second incident.
The CHAIRMAN. In answer to that last question we requested,
what do you call that last thing they did not give us which they
say is an internal document which they would not supply? It might
answer your question because he got that from——
Senator AIKEN. I am pointing out that the fellow who misled us
has frequently been misled.
The CHAIRMAN. We requested, what was it we requested?
Mr. BADER. It was a study which was done, we are not certain
of the date but the title was ‘‘Command and Control Problems in
the Tonkin Gulf Incident of August 1964.’’ The apparent intention
of the study was to determine whether command and communications worked adequately during this six- to eight-hour period between the time the so-called second attack occurred and the decision was made to strike North Vietnam. That is, when was the
cable sent, when was it received, what sort of information was
going up through the system to the Secretary of Defense. I do not
think there is any suggestion here since we are only dealing with
documents at one level, that Mr. McNamara consciously misled the
Senator AIKEN. Go ahead.
Mr. BADER. It simply said the information he presented to the
committee was not accurate and in keeping with the facts.
Senator SYMINGTON. What was that?
Mr. BADER. The information about the first incident was not accurate.
Senator SYMINGTON. Who said that?
Mr. BADER. I said that.
Senator SYMINGTON. Yes.
Mr. BADER. I was saying, Senator, there is no suggestion here
that the information that he had available at the time was any different from what he presented to us.
Senator CHURCH. You are not saying he deliberately lied?
Mr. MARCY. That is right.
Senator GORE. Are you assuming that the Secretary did not
know that the Navy was coordinated and knew about the attacks
of the South Vietnamese?
Mr. BADER. I do not know, Senator. I simply do not know.
Mr. MARCY. He told the committee he did not know of it.
Senator GORE. He said the Navy did not know of it.
Mr. MARCY. That is right, he said the Navy did not know of it.
Senator GORE. Read again what he said. He did not put it ‘‘I’’;
he said the Navy.
Mr. MARCY. Well, in specific answer to the question that Senator
Morse put to him, McNamara——
Senator GORE. Do we have the record on what Senator Morse
The CHAIRMAN. I have the original record of what Senator Morse
Senator COOPER. Page 4.
Senator GORE. Let’s have the question and the answer.
Mr. MARCY. I am sorry, this is a classified record.
Senator COOPER. You have it in the report, page 4.
Senator GORE. You do not have a question.
Senator COOPER. We do not have a question.
Senator SYMINGTON. It is interesting to note that the Commander-in-Chief of the Pacific Fleet is now Chief of Naval Operations.
Senator MANSFIELD. Same one?
Senator SYMINGTON. Yes, Moorer.
Senator GORE. The reason I asked the question, it is a little unfair to judge the answer without knowing the exact question.
Mr. BADER. This is the general text:
Senator MORSE. I do not propose to engage in a debate with the Secretary of State
here. No useful purpose is served here.
Then he goes on to talk about the organized military operations
of South Vietnam.
Senator GORE. Read it, Bill.
Mr. BADER. Finally:
No useful purpose is served here.
I disagree on the basis of the many replies presented, on the basis of his own testimony before this committee when we have asked time after time for evidence before this committee from the Secretary of State and the Pentagon Building of any
proof of any organized military operation of North Vietnam into South Vietnam and
you have never been able to produce a scintilla of it. We have all recognized the
vicious infiltration tactics of Communist system trying to undermine South Vietnam, but it has been going back and forth across the borders, and the sad thing
is we were in there all the time when, in my judgment, we should not have been
in there except to keep the peace and we ought to have been at the conference table.
Secretary MCNAMARA. Mr. Chairman, may I respond to this? There have been
several misstatements made and I would like to correct them for the record.
Chairman FULBRIGHT. Yes.
Secretary MCNAMARA. I would like to cover three points. First, our Navy played
absolutely no part in, was not associated with, was not ware of, any South Vietnamese actions, if there were any. I want to make that very clear to you. The Maddox was operating in international waters, was carrying out a routine patrol of the
type we carry out all over the world at all times. It ‘‘—presumably the Navy—’’ was
not informed of, was not, aware, had no evidence of, and so far as I know today
has no knowledge of, any possible South Vietnamese actions in connection with the
two islands that Senator Morse referred to.
I think it is extremely important that you understand this. If there is any misunderstanding on that, we should discuss this point at some length.
Senator GORE. So it is not a question of ‘‘I,’’ it is the Navy.
Mr. BADER. Senator Morse says ‘‘I think we should.’’
‘‘Secretary McNamara. I say this flatly. This is the fact.’’
The CHAIRMAN. Proceed, Mr. Marcy.
Mr. MARCY. I refer now to the second incident. This is important
if you will recall because it was the cause of the first American air
strikes against North Vietnam.
Senator GORE. This is on August 4?
Mr. MARCY. This is August 4, yes, and after that event there
were 64 sorties against North Vietnamese PT bases and oil storage
This second incident——
Senator SYMINGTON. Sixty-four, over what time period?
Mr. MARCY. From the Ticonderoga and the Constellation.
Mr. BADER. For a period of about 40, 50 minutes.
Senator SYMINGTON. That is what I wanted.
Mr. MARCY. This second incident was also the reason given for
the beginning of substantial deployments of American forces into
Thailand and Vietnam, and finally, it was important because it led
finally to the passage of the Tonkin Resolution.
Before reading the conclusions of this study, I would just like to
pick up some samples of the traffic, cable traffic, at this time. I am
referring to the second incident.
Mr. BADER. This is the memo you now have?
Mr. MARCY. Yes, and I am starting at about page 10 and I am
going to just pick up——
The CHAIRMAN. Which one of these memos?
Mr. MARCY. This is the one marked ‘‘Top Secret.’’
Senator SYMINGTON. Mr. Chairman, could I ask one question
Senator SYMINGTON. One question.
If the kernel of their protest about publicity in this matter has
to do with our breaking of the code, talking strictly technically, how
could the Navy not have known from the North Vietnamese even
if they were not told by the South Vietnamese that an attack was
going on on those islands.
Mr. BADER. A very good question, Senator. I am personally certain they did know.
Senator SYMINGTON. If they did know that somebody in the Navy
lied to McNamara or McNamara lied to the committee.
Mr. BADER. One or the other.
Senator SYMINGTON. Well, the interesting angle there is I think
the commanding officer in the Navy at that time in the Tonkin
Gulf is now the Chief of Naval Operations, so there ought to be a
way of finding that out.
The CHAIRMAN. Is that Admiral Moorer.
Senator SYMINGTON. It says here, I just noticed at 7:04 a.m. he
orders a new patrol in the Gulf on the 2nd of August.
The CHAIRMAN. Which page are you on?
Mr. MARCY. I am on page 10.
The CHAIRMAN. It starts ‘‘In later cables’’?
Mr. MARCY. Yes. But if you will go further down there is a section marked III, the Maddox- Turner Joy incident of August 4.
The CHAIRMAN. Has everybody got that?
Mr. MARCY. Instead of trying to keep read the whole thing, I am
just sort of picking sections.
The CHAIRMAN. Why do you not read it—I want to get it in mind.
Mr. MARCY. All right.
The cable traffic here is interesting as well as informative and
it will be quoted at length because it is an indication as much of
American attitudes as it is a description of the course of events. On
the 2nd of August, Commander-in-Chief,
(CINCPACFLT), alerted his units as follows:
1. In view Maddox incident consider it in our best interest that we assert right
of freedom of the seas and resume Gulf of Tonkin patrol earliest.
2. For COMSEVENTHFLT. UNODIR (unless otherwise directed) conduct patrol
with two destroyers, resuming ASAP (as soon as possible). When ready, proceed to
Point Charlie arriving first day thence patrol northward toward Point Delta during
daylight hours. Retire to the east during hours of darkness. On second day proceed
to Point Delta thence patrol south toward Point Charlie retiring at night as before.
On third day proceed to Point Lima and patrol toward Point Mike, retiring to east
at night. On fourth day proceed to Point Mike and patrol Point November, retiring
night. On fifth day, return to November and return to south through Points Oscar
and PAPA and terminate patrol. CPA——
That is the closest point possible, I guess it is——
To North Vietnamese Islands four NM. Above points as specified.
What this means is that, as mentioned, the United States Navy
had established a series of geographic reference points (Point Charlie, et cetera) off the North Vietnamese Coast.
Mr. BADER. Senator, these are two of the points. Here are the
two islands that were attacked by the South Vietnamese. This is
the 19th parallel; the 17th parallel is two down. That is, this is entirely North Vietnamese territory.
Two of the points, this is Point Charlie, and this is Point Delta,
these were the points where the American ships went to. Now
Point Charlie is how many nautical miles, six, I think, six or seven
nautical miles off of the North Vietnamese Coast, that is within the
bounds claimed by North Vietnam. Point Delta up here, Point D is
eleven nautical miles off the coast of North Vietnam. There were
other such points up and down the coast. These two are illustrative
because they were in the center of the area of this South Vietnamese action against North Vietnam.
It is interesting to note both of these points were established
within territorial waters of North Vietnam.
Mr. MARCY. As claimed by North Vietnam.
Mr. BADER. As claimed by North Vietnam.
Senator SYMINGTON. The question here, did the North Vietnamese say three miles and did we say 12? Are we back in that
Mr. MARCY. Senator, the U.S. Navy takes the three-mile limit to
territorial waters, and a number of other countries, including the
Chinese and North Vietnam and North Korea, take 12 nautical
Senator SYMINGTON. How close is Point Charlie?
Mr. MARCY. Point Charlie is about eleven miles.
Mr. BADER. No, it is closer than that. It is about six to seven
nautical miles.
Senator SPARKMAN. It is D that is eleven miles.
Mr. BADER. Eleven nautical miles.
Mr. MARCY. The significant thing is the instructions give the
closest point of approach to the North Vietnamese Coast as eight
nautical miles. This is the instruction to our vessels, and the clos-
est point of approach to the North Vietnamese Islands of four nautical miles. So the Navy is operating within its interpretation of
what consists of the high seas, but it is not consistent with the interpretation of North Vietnam.
Senator SPARKMAN. That is my point.
Mr. BADER. Yes, sir.
Senator SPARKMAN. This comes up in the Korean thing.
Mr. BADER. One point that might be noted here in the original
patrol instructions, of this patrol was not only for North Vietnam;
it was also for China, and for, the instructions for China, the instructions were 15 nautical miles, so in the case of China we were
prepared to recognize their 14 miles.
In the case of North Vietnam, we were not prepared to recognize
it and these points were established as close as four nautical miles
of the North Vietnamese Islands and approximately eight nautical
miles from the North Vietnamese Coasts.
The CHAIRMAN. All right.
Mr. MARCY. I am picking up about the middle of page 11. This
mission was described, you will remember, to the United States
Congress as a ‘‘routine patrol’’ and by implication was not provocative. Several hours before the commencement of the patrol the commander of the carrier task force in the area sent the following to
the Maddox and the Turner Joy:
It is apparent that DRV (Democratic Republic of Vietam) has thrown down the
gauntlet now considers itself at war with the United States. It is felt that they will
attack U.S. forces on sight with no regard for cost. U.S. ships in Gulf of Tonkin can
no longer assume that they will be considered neutrals exercising the right of free
transit. They will be treated as belligerents from first detection and must consider
themselves as such. DRV PTS (patrol craft) have advantage, especially at night, of
being able to hide in junk concentrations all across the Gulf of Tonkin. This would
allow attack from short range with little or no early warning.
As a result of this and other traffic it was agreed that aircraft
from the Ticonderoga and Constellation would remain airborne at
all times to come to the rescue of the Maddox and Turner Joy, if
Perhaps the most curious exchange of cables came in the early
morning of August 4. The original plan called for the Turner Joy,
and Maddox patrol (DESOTO patrol) to terminate these runs into
the Vietnam coast after two days. Presumably because of the lack
of results, CINCPACFLT sent the following cable in the early
morning of August 4:
1. Termination of DESOTO patrol after two days of patrol ops (operations) subsequent to Maddox incident as planned in Ref A (this was basic instruction for patrol),
does not in my view adequately demonstrate United States resolve to assert our legitimate rights these international waters.
2. Accordingly, recommend following adjustments in remainder of patrol schedule
provided para two reference B (another set of instructions) in order to accommodate
COMUSMACV (Commander, United States Military Assistance Command Vietnam)
request that patrol ships remain north of LAT (latitude) 19–10 North until 060600H
to avoid interference with 34–A——
Senator GORE. Would you read that, in order to accommodate
Mr. MARCY. In order to accommodate the Commander of the U.S.
Military Assistance Command in Vietnam.
Senator GORE. Was that attacking South Vietnamese force?
Mr. MARCY. This man was aware of what the South Vietnamese
patrol boats were engaged in, and this says in order to accommodate him. That is in order to accommodate the South Vietnamese
activities along the coast to the North.
Senator MUNDT. How do you interpret that? Why did they use
supplement? What do you mean accommodate? Is that not an unusual term?
The CHAIRMAN. Not to interfere with them, not get in their way.
Senator COOPER. May I ask this, I think I read this.
As I understood your first analysis of this, these 34–A ops, those,
what do you call them, torpedo boats which had been operating in
the South he wanted to keep these patroling boats north of that so
they would not interfere with their operation.
Mr. MARCY. That is correct.
The CHAIRMAN. That is right, that is my understanding.
Mr. MARCY. At one point they speak of keeping them north so
they would not interfere and there is another cable by being north
they might draw off North Vietnamese patrol craft away from the
Senator CHURCH. Who sent this cable, CINCPAC?
Mr. BADER. CINCPAC Fleet at that time was Admiral Moorer,
who is now the Chief of Naval Operations; the Commander of the
7th Fleet was Admiral Jonson.
Senator CHURCH. What does the CINC part mean?
Mr. BADER. CINC, Commander-in-Chief of the Pacific Fleet.
Senator CHURCH. He is the big cheese?
Mr. BADER. Admiral Sharp, CINCPACFLT.
Senator SYMINGTON. There is Admiral Roy Jonson.
Mr. BADER. He is Commander of the 7th Fleet, so the order was
Moorer-Jonson from the Pacific Fleet. Is that clear, Senator?
Senator SYMINGTON. I just want to be sure, there are two Admiral Johnsons, Admiral Johnson just retired under Admiral Sharp.
Mr. BADER. There was Admiral Roy Jonson.
Senator SYMINGTON. This was Roy Jonson?
Mr. BADER. This was Admiral Roy Jonson.
Senator SYMINGTON. This went from Admiral Moorer?
Mr. BADER. Admiral Roy Jonson was Commander of the 7th
Fleet, which would put him under the Commander of the Pacific
Senator SYMINGTON. Which was Moorer?
Mr. BADER. Which was Moorer.
The CHAIRMAN. Proceed.
Mr. MARCY. I will read the interpretation here.
Although complicated in language, this cable says one thing quite
clearly and suggests another. It says clearly that CINCPACFLT
was disappointed with the results of the mission thus far—that is,
the United States had not yet ‘‘demonstrated’’ its resolve to assert
its legitimate rights in international waters. This seems to mean
that we had not as yet had the opportunity to demonstrate this
forcibly. As is now known, the 34–A operations were attacks on
North Vietnam by South Vietnam forces.
Senator GORE. With U.S. equipment?
Mr. MARCY. With U.S.—well, equipment had been transferred to
the South Vietnamese.
The CHAIRMAN. Boats we had supplied them?
Mr. MARCY. That is right.
The CHAIRMAN. PT boats?
Mr. MARCY. This, as in the first case, indicates that the United
States Naval forces knew the plans for such an attack and were
being asked to move their operations further north not to interfere.
The most unusual part of this cable comes in the last paragraph:
The above patrol will: (a) clearly demonstrate our determination to continue these
operations; (b) possibly draw NVN (North Vietnamese Navy) PGMS (patrol boats)
to northward away from area of 34–A ops.; (c) eliminate DESOTO patrol interference with 34–ops.
Senator SYMINGTON. I have to ask a question there if I may, Mr.
Senator SYMINGTON. How do you coordinate that, is this a different operation of South Vietnam than the one Secretary McNamara said the Navy knew nothing about?
Mr. BADER. There are two operations in this time period of South
Vietnam against these islands. The first was on the night of July
30–31, which was one. The second was on the night of August 4
and 5.
There were two operations, one on 30–31 July, if I remember correctly, it is detailed here, and the second was on August 4 and 5.
So there are two separate operations mounted by the South Vietnamese.
Senator SYMINGTON. They are talking about the second one here?
Mr. BADER. In this case they are talking about the second. Although the term 34–A operations refers to both. These operations,
as the memo says earlier, were organized by the United States in
January and February of 1964. Military craft provided to the South
Vietnamese, they were trained by the U. S. Navy in South Vietnam, and they were, these boats, operated out of Danang, and
moved north for these attacks.
One of the reasons why the North Vietnamese would be concerned about this is these two particular operations, that is the one
of July 30 and 31 and the one of August 4 and 5, for the first time
the South Vietnamese operations included a bombardment of North
Vietnam, not just interdiction and intelligence gathering.
Senator GORE. What was this date?
Mr. BADER. The 30th and 31st and the 4th and 5th.
Senator GORE. Both involving bombardment?
Mr. Bader, Which was a qualitative change.
Senator GORE. May I ask another question: A U.S. military advisor to South Vietnam, according to some note I read there, was actually aboard one of the U. S. patrol boats.
Mr. BADER. No, sir; that is not in this memo and I have seen no
information to that effect that there was a U.S. military personnel
aboard these South Vietnamese.
Senator GORE. No, I mean——
Mr. MARCY. He means the Maddox or Turner Joy.
Senator GORE. Let me make it plain. I read some place here, that
a military, U. S. military advisor officer to the South Vietnamese
operation was actually aboard the Turner Joy or the other one.
Mr. BADER. What it was, sir, there was a representative in fact
there were probably six or seven, members of MAC/V, Military Assistance Advisory of Vietnam, were aboard the Maddox in both operations. From the evidence we have, they were there for the communications operations of the Maddox and I have seen no evidence
to indicate that they were directly involved. But this goes back to
Senator Symington’s point, if there are members of MAC/V aboard
the Maddox and MAC/V is organizing the training and directing
the South Vietnamese operations against North Vietnam, it is really completely conceivable to me they were unaware of it.
Senator SYMINGTON. The next question I was going to ask was
if 34–A ops represents the entire operation, including the one on
the 4th and the attack on the islands and the one on the 30th and
attack on the islands, it is totally inconceivable to me from a military standpoint how the U. S. Navy would not have known of both.
Mr. BADER. It is hard for me to believe, Senator, if you look at
this chart a number of hours after attacks on Hon Me and Hon
Nieu, a U. S. destroyer was coming up from the South in the same
direction as Danang, going directly towards the Island of Hon Nieu,
and then going up to Delta and then coming back once more toward Hon Me, which was a very sensitive area so far as North
Vietnam was concerned, and the operational commander of the
Maddox was not aware of a major military operation which certainly could affect this mission going on within 12 nautical miles.
Senator GORE. Well, to be specific, did you not read an order here
to the commander of the Maddox to deploy in a certain direction
so as to accommodate this 34–A ops?
Mr. BADER. This is the second operation.
Senator GORE. I thought we were talking about the second operation.
Mr. BADER. I am at this stage, I am talking about both operations.
Senator GORE. I see, But insofar——
Senator SYMINGTON. To be sure you get my point, if you have an
over-all military campaign, McNamara testifies that the Navy
knew nothing of it, and you have an over-all campaign, and the testimony is very clear based on the cables that they knew of the second aspect of it, then it is inconceivable that they did not know the
first aspect of it, which he testified he did not know. He might have
been misinformed.
Senator GORE. I did not understand his testimony to apply to the
Senator SYMINGTON. Especially as Bader says the story is moving up towards the Maddox.
Senator GORE. My understanding is there is no differentiation in
McNamara’s statement as to the events of August 2 or 4. He might.
He was speaking of both.
Mr. MARCY. Yes.
Senator SYMINGTON. If that is true, the cables themselves——
Mr. MARCY. One thing, when McNamara testified before the committee on August 6, which was very, very soon afterward, so I
mean in justification he did not have any channels to go over all
these cables and I would just make the guess that he probably had
Mr. BADER. Senator, I would add one thing which nails this
Senator CHURCH. But he must have been informed by the Navy
whether or not he had an opportunity to go over the cables, that
the Navy had no knowledge of it or he would not have made such
a categorical statement.
Mr. BADER. I would think so.
Let me bring up page 5 on this memo. There is a cable from
Commander-in-Chief Pacific approving patrol, and I will read just
one, this is on July 15, 1964. These are the marching orders.
Senator SYMINGTON. Is this Moorer talking who is now Chief of
Naval Operations?
Mr. BADER. I will read this because I think it is important:
A. Last DESOTO patrol to Gulf of Tonkin was made in March. Weather at that
time greatly precluded visual intelligence collection.
B. Now this is July 15, prior to the first incident—U.S. has stepped up assistance
to RVN (Republic of Vietnam) including stationing of CVA TG (the carrier USS Ticonderoga) at mouth of Gulf of Tonkin.
C. There have been considerable articles in news media discussing possibility of
action against NVN (North Vietnam).
D. Activity in 34–A operations has increased.
This is on July 15. These are the instructions.
Senator GORE. So they were advised not only at the time but in
Mr. BADER. Exactly. There is no doubt about it. The United
States Navy was completely aware of the 34 operations at least by
July 15, 1964.
Senator COOPER. May I ask a question there?
The CHAIRMAN. Yes, Senator Cooper.
Senator COOPER. This refers to the questions which have been
asked by Senator Symington and Senator Gore, as to whether the
Maddox knew of these patrols, these attacks by the torpedo boats.
What McNamara said, he said, first, that the Navy had to have
knowledge of this activity. But he said, second, the Maddox, in the
second part of his statement, he said the Maddox was not aware
of these operations, these attacks by the patrol boats. So I think
that is a question you have to ask, was the Maddox at war?
Senator GORE. Do you not have a cable here to the Commander
of the Maddox?
Mr. BADER. Yes, these are the instructions to the Maddox.
Senator COOPER. I want to get to these.
First, you say on page 8, at the time of the attack, the first attack, by the torpedo boats, this is the second paragraph, the Maddox was 75 miles away.
Mr. BADER. Yes, sir.
Senator COOPER. So if it did not have prior informaition, and this
attack was at night, I think it is entirely conceivable it would not
have known of that attack.
Now, on page 12 you said that a cable was sent from CINCPAC,
that is the highest commander, is it not, in the Pacific?
Mr. BADER. The highest Navy Commander.
Senator COOPER. And according to the second paragraph that
would have given the Maddox information of the 34–A operations
if it received it. But you do not say that this message was sent to
the Maddox. Who was it sent to?
Senator GORE. If the Senator will yield for a question.
The CHAIRMAN. Let him answer that.
Senator COOPER. You just say it was sent.
Mr. BADER. Yes, sir; it was sent to the Maddox. It was sent to
the operational commander of the entire patrol.
Senator COOPER. That is the point.
In your statement on the page before that, you make the statement that that cable was sent to the Maddox and to the Turner
Joy. But this cable which would have given notice to the Maddox
of these operations prior to this attack, if there was an attack, it
is not clear from this statement whether that actually was sent to
the Maddox or to some intervening commander.
Mr. BADER. I will make that clear now, it was sent to the operational commander of the Maddox. You would have to be in the
Navy to quite understand the problems. The Maddox and Turner
Joy, had an officer aboard who was the destroyer commander, that
is he had command of both ships and he had a particular title. This
instruction was sent to him.
Senator COOPER. This was sent to the Maddox without question?
Mr. BADER. Yes
Senator GORE. That was really the point I was trying to bring
up which was answered.
Mr. BADER. It should only be qualified——
Senator SPARKMAN. May I ask this question to try to clear my
own thinking: What is the importance as to whether or not the
Navy knew about this?
It seems to me its importance is——
Senator SYMINGTON. McNamara says they did not.
Senator SPARKMAN. I realize that. I know that.
It seems to me the importance of the thing was whether or not
the Navy was participating in any part of it. In other words, the
point he is trying to make is whether this was a routine patrol or
was it a patrol out there participating in the attack on these islands.
Senator SYMINGTON. I am just thinking out loud. The question
as I see it, the broad question, is whether we are attempting to get
an excuse to change the policies in the Vietnam theater. Was it the
operation of the Navy in conjunction with the South Vietnamese coordinated to that end?
Senator SPARKMAN. It seems to me the relevant thing was
whether or not they were cooperating with South Vietnam and not
whether or not they had knowledge of the South Vietnamese operations.
Senator SYMINGTON. I think they are both because one is the
automatic sequel of the other.
Senator GORE. Would you mind restating what you think is the
important thing?
Senator SYMINGTON. Well, to me all the talk is going on about
the fact we were shoved in at Pearl Harbor and Pearl Harbor got
us into World War II, then it was planned here in Washington and
there has been a lot written about it. It seems to me the important
thing here is was there, based on the testimony as against the facts
as developed by the staff, and this is the only thing that worries
me or really even particularly interests me, is whether there was
some organized plan to have this operation developed so that the
President could take a position before the country which would justify us in effect going to war. That would seem to me the kernel
of it.
Do you not agree with that, Mr. Chairman?
The CHAIRMAN. Yes. But I think all of this has some relevance
to that.
Senator GORE. Well, if I may refine that a bit, the real—I guess
all of us have a little different view. So far as I see it, the real
question is whether or not Secretary McNamara was misled,
whether the President of the United States was misled, whether
this committee, the Congress, and the American people were misled.
Senator SYMINGTON. That is part of the package.
Senator GORE. I just state it a little differently.
The CHAIRMAN. Yes. And whether or not the procedures that
they follow in arriving at these are at all adequate far making decisions of this kind.
Senator MUNDT. Mr. Chairman, I would like to ask Stu if I understand what he is saying, and I think I do. What we are trying
to find out is whether or not this was a provoked or unprovoked
or a planned or an unplanned incident contributing, as you say, to
the accumulation of sentiment.
If we do that, I would like to have a little clearer recollection in
my own mind as to the exact status of the war activity at the time
this occurred. Do you have that, Carl, in mind, just how was the
war going and how deeply were we involved, how many troops did
we have?
Had we done any bombing in the North, what was the state of
the escalation of the conflict at the time of these incidents?
Mr. BADER. Well, I think I can sum it up very briefly, Senator.
In the spring and summer of 1964 the Government of General
Khanh was in real trouble. The Defense Department, and even in
its public statement, said that the ratio was changing, that is the
ratio between the forces they had committed and the committed VC
forces, and that the Government of South Vietnam was in very serious trouble at that time.
General Khanh, as I remember it, was very anxious for the
United States to increase its participation in the war and at that
stage it was purely on, a military advisory level. As you know, this
was before Pleiku, this was before the bombings in the North. The
United States was not directly involved.
Senator GORE. Before any combat troops were committed?
Senator MUNDT. How many men did we have?
Mr. BADER. August 1964?
Senator HICKENLOOPER. We had combat troops at the beginning
of 1961.
Senator CASE. We did not call them that.
Mr. MARCY. We called them advisors.
Senator MUNDT. How many did we have there on the day of the
Mr. BADER. I do not know.
The CHAIRMAN. There were approximately between 15 and
17,000. I have seen these vary.
Senator SPARKMAN. Up to what now?
The CHAIRMAN. These were the troops that President Kennedy
had sent over there shortly after his meeting with Khrushchev in
Senator MUNDT. They were in part in combat units?
The CHAIRMAN. They were called advisors, military advisors.
Senator MUNDT. They were in combat units.
Senator SYMINGTON. For example, we ran into things like this:
We had military advisors in airplanes that knew how to fly the airplanes, with the South Vietnamese who were presumably the pilots
of the airplanes who did not know how to fly the airplanes and
could not speak English and the Americans could not speak South
Vietnamese, so any way you cut it, you did have combat troops, but
the theory of it was they were advising and there were no units
of ours.
The CHAIRMAN. There had been no bombing of the North?
Senator SPARKMAN. That is right.
Mr. MARCY. I can give you the precise figures here.
The CHAIRMAN. For the record.
Mr. MARCY. For the record, this shows Army personnel in 1960,
700; in 1961, 2,100; in 1962, 7,900; in 1963, 10,100; in 1964,
The CHAIRMAN. That is the figure we wanted.
Mr. MARCY. In 1965, 116,800, and in 1966, 239,400.
Senator HICKENLOOPER. How many Marines and how many others?
Mr. MARCY. Well, that is just Army. I will read you the same figures giving, this would be, the total.
Senator SYMINGTON. Before you do that, is the Air Force included
Mr. MARCY. Senator, this says military personnel in South Vietnam; that is all I have.
Senator MUNDT. Give us the other category now.
Mr. MARCY. All right. Navy—just for 1964.
Senator MUNDT. All the way down.
Mr. MARCY. All right. 1960, I will give you the Navy figures.
Senator HICKENLOOPER. Why do you not just give us the total?
Senator MUNDT. I would like to know the way it is drawn up because it is important in the decision, I think.
Senator HICKENLOOPER. All right.
Mr. MARCY. Navy, 1960, 15; 1961, 100; 1962, 500; 1963, 800;
1964, 1,100; 1965, 8,400.
Air Force, 1960, 68; 1961, 1,000; 1962, 2,400; 1963, 4,600; 1964,
6,600; 1965, 20,600; 1966, 52,900.
Senator MUNDT. Do you have Marines?
Mr. MARCY. You have Marine Corps going from two in 1960 to
900 in 1964, to 38,200 in 1965, to 69,000 in 1966.
Senator MUNDT. Now, will you total them?
Mr. MARCY. Now, the total, 1960, 800; 1961, 3,200; 1962, 11,300;
1963, 16,300; 1964, 23,300, 1965, 184,300; 1966, 385,300.
Senator MUNDT. My final question, Carl; are those from sources
now that they will not dispute? Are these from the Pentagon?
Mr. MARCY. This is from a secret report sent to the chairman of
the committee on December 28, 1967.
Senator MUNDT. By the Pentagon?
Mr. MARCY. By the Pentagon.
Senator SYMINGTON. Do these figures also include Laos and Thailand?
Mr. MARCY. No, sir; I do not have those figures.
Senator SYMINGTON. Will you check that and see, because there
is more Air Force in Thailand than in Vietnam, I think.
Senator CHURCH. Is it not true, Carl, that it was not until after
this attack the Gulf of Tonkin incident, that we struck North Vietnam with our own forces? Were there any attacks on North Vietnam by our military forces prior to the Gulf of Tonkin incident?
Mr. MARCY. No, sir.
Senator CHURCH. I think the significant thing is this was the
point of departure. This was the incident that was used to justify
the commencement of the American attack on North Vietnam.
Mr. BADER. You will remember, Senator, that in the immediate
wake of the Gulf of Tonkin the forces were moved in Thailand and
forces strengthened and a whole series——
Senator GORE. The real importance of this, however we characterize it, Congress was induced to pass a resolution that amounted
to a declaration of war, that is so interpreted later.
The CHAIRMAN. I wonder if we should not try to proceed to get
a little better in mind the actual facts the staff has developed.
Mr. MARCY. I wonder if I might not just add one figure. The last
figure I gave on the total of 1966 was a total of 385,300. As of October 1967, the total was 468,600.
Go ahead with the way this developed. We have not come to the
point, yet.
Senator MANSFIELD. Let me ask one question now. Does that include the 7th Fleet?
Senator GORE. It says in South Vietnam.
Mr. MARCY. That is right. As of October.
Senator SYMINGTON. It does not include the 7th Fleet, and I wonder also about bases in Thailand which are many more.
Senator AIKEN. It does not include troops from any other nation
or any troops, which may be stationed in Thailand?
Mr. MARCY. No, sir; I have the troops from other nations.
Senator AIKEN. I see.
The CHAIRMAN. Just proceed, let’s see if we can get the chronological story.
Mr. MARCY. All right
Continuing on page 13 about the third paragraph, on the 4th of
August, some 15 hours before the second incident, the operational
commander of the Maddox and the Turner Joy, who was aboard
the Maddox, sent the following to the commander ofthe 7th Fleet:
A. Evaluation of info from various sources indicates that DRV considers patrol directly involved with 34–A ops.
Senator GORE. That was the question I asked earlier.
Mr. BADER. Yes.
Senator GORE. Is this a cable?
Mr. MARCY. Yes, sir; this is a cable. The point I was making earlier in the game this morning was we do not have such a cable for
the first incident. This is just the second incident where it is dealt
with that the North Vietnamese interpreted the movement of the
American ships in the 34 operation.
The CHAIRMAN. Proceed.
Mr. MARCY. North Vietnam considers United States ships
present as enemies because of these ops and have already indicated
readiness to treat us in that category.
B. DRV are very sensitive about Hon Me. Believe this is PT operating base and
the cove there presently contains numerous patrol and PT craft which have been
repositioned from northerly bases.
The conclusion of the operational United States commander
aboard the Maddox on the basis of this information is very interesting.
Under these conditions 15 minute reaction time for obtaining air cover is unacceptable. Cover must be overhead and controlled by DDSs (Destroyers) at all times.
Ten hours before the second incident the Maddox and Turner Joy
reported that a radar contact was paralleling the ships’ movements. The carrier Ticonderoga then reported to all concerned that
aircraft were ready for launch and support on short notice.
Senator GORE. What do you mean by radar contact parallel.
What do you mean?
Mr. BADER. On the ship is a radarscope where a dot comes up.
Senator GORE. That is what I mean, our radar had contacted
some object that was traveling parallel to our ship?
Mr. BADER. Yes, sir.
Mr. MARCY. The events during the ‘‘attack’’ were muddled and
confused according to cables. At one point after all the firing the
operational commander of both the Maddox and Turner Joy reported:
Joy also reports no actual visual sightings or wake.
Have no recaps of aircraft sighting but seem to be few. . . Entire action leaves
many doubts except for apparent attempt to ambush at beginning.
CINCPACFLT, some five hours after the presumed attack on the
United States ships and just five hours before the retaliatory air
strike on North Vietnam, sent a telegram as follows——
Senator SYMINGTON. Before you leave that page, what do you
mean there, ‘‘apparent attempt to ambush in the beginning’’ what
does that mean?
Mr. BADER. This is what was meant by the commander from the
cable. It is not entirely clear what he meant. I assume what he
meant, the North Vietnamese boats were out at sea at night and
were arranging for an ambush in some sense where they would
intercept the American vessels and fire on them.
Senator GORE. One message referred to it as a planned trap.
Senator SYMINGTON. But you see my point, the Joy reports no actual sightings of wake, no aircraft sightings, and then how can they
be thinking they will be ambushed?
Mr. BADER. I do not know. They go back to some earlier cables.
Senator HICKENLOOPER. What do they mean by recaps? Recapitulation?
Mr. BADER. Recapitulation.
Senator HICKENLOOPER. What did they mean by that?
Mr. BADER. It meant they had no reports from the Ticonderoga
that any aircraft had sighted any vessels.
Senator HICKENLOOPER. Is that that they sighted once and no repeat?
Mr. BADER. No. Recaps means no reports.
Senator CASE. No recaps but seem to be a few, what does that
Senator SYMINGTON. I think that is worthy of consideration too,
somebody might have reported one and not have had it formally.
But I do not understand ‘‘apparent attempt to ambush at beginning.’’
I would like to clear that up with the Navy. What does that
mean? What was the ambush?
Mr. BADER. I do not know, Senator. Throughout there, Senator,
the operational commander who was aboard the Maddox returned
to this phrase that he thought that they were going to be ambushed, and in a sense apparently from either some sort of special
intelligence which we are not privy to or from radar contacts that
he saw around the ship, he came to the conclusion that an ambush
was imminent.
Senator SYMINGTON. Well then, you never asked them to explain
exactly what he meant by that phrase?
Mr. BADER. No, sir; we have never in this entire study ever actively asked anyone any questions. We did not believe our mandate
went that far.
Mr. MARCY. I want to make that point clear.
This is based upon the written record and exclusively upon that.
We have talked with what I would describe as volunteers, people
who have come in, as the Senator described earlier. But none of
that information is incorporated herein.
Senator SYMINGTON. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. MARCY. If I can continue with the top of page——
Senator MUNDT. May I ask a question?
If you would try to follow through on it, Stu has a good point.
If there is any validity at all with the hypothesis this was planned,
this would indicate somebody is drawing conclusions without evidence who might have been on the plan.
Senator SYMINGTON. Or putting it this way, Carl, they might defend themselves by referring back to an apparent ambush which is
something the committee has not had a chance to diagnose like it
has diagnosed the rest of it.
Senator MUNDT. No wake, no planes, nothing sighted but there
is an ambush out there.
Senator SYMINGTON. There was ambush. It says the ambush in
the beginning.
Senator SPARKMAN. Yes. It speaks of it as if it was an actual——
Senator SYMINGTON. As if it had happened.
Senator SPARKMAN. Let me ask this question:
This volunteer you just referred to talking about volunteers, and
this Naval officer who gave you some information, was he on either
one of these ships, was he connected with the operations out there,
or was he here in the Navy Department?
The CHAIRMAN. The one I referred to, he was in what they call
ødeleted¿, which is a communications center here in Washington.
Senator SPARKMAN. Yes.
The CHAIRMAN. You see where these messages came.
Mr. BADER. No volunteers have come forward who were on either
Senator SPARKMAN. Have you had any information from anyone
who was on either ship?
The CHAIRMAN. We have not sought that.
Mr. MARCY. Page 14, this is a telegram from the commander of
the Pacific Fleet to the Turner and Maddox:
Can you confirm absolutely that you were attacked?
Can you confirm sinking of PT boats?
Desire reply directly supporting evidence.
Senator GORE. What hour was this, Carl?
Mr. MARCY. This was four hours before it or five hours before our
retaliatory strike. In other words, about five hours after the attack
and five hours before President Johnson went on the air and said
our planes are retaliating.
In response (still four hours before the United States’ retaliatory
attack) the officer-in-charge of both the Maddox and Turner Joy,
gave a very confused picture. At one point he said:
‘‘ Maddox scored no known hits and never positively identified a
boat as such.’’ Furthermore, ‘‘weather was overcast with limited
visibility. . . air support not successful in locating targets.’’ ‘‘There
were no stars or moon resulting in almost total darkness throughout action.’’
He then reported:
. . . no known damage or personnel casualties to either ship. Turner Joy, claims
sinking one craft and damaging another.
Finally Admiral Moorer (now Chief of Naval Operations) himself cabled to Maddox and Turner Joy requesting urgently the following information:
Can you confirm that you were attacked by PT or Swatow (patrol boat)?
There was no answer from the Maddox but the Turner Joy did
reply some three hours before the retaliatory strike by the United
States that it could confirm being attacked by two PT craft on basis
of following evidence: gun director and director crew (presumably
by fire control radar) sighted torpedo, as did one lookout; target
burned when hit. Black smoke seen by many; target silhouette
sighted by ‘‘some topside personnel.’’ On the other hand, sinking of
patrol craft ‘‘only highly probable’’ because target tracked on radar;
‘‘shell bursts observed on radar all over contact’’; hits reported visually; targets disappeared.
At 9:03 p.m., the commander of the 7th Fleet asked the Turner
Joy, to amplify urgently its reports. The following is from the cable:
Who were witnesses, what is witness reliability?—Most important that present
evidence substantiating type and number of attacking forces be gathered and disseminated. Thirty minutes later the Turner Joy, was ordered to ‘‘locate debris to
Senator MUNDT. Are those the instructions?
Mr. MARCY. These were the instructions going out to the vessels.
Two hours and 30 minutes after the message of the commander
of the 7th Fleet, Admiral Moorer urgently asking for the information, the President appeared on television to announce that the
Senator SYMINGTON. Let’s get this straight.
Senator SPARKMAN. It is a misplaced comma.
Mr. BADER. It should be Pacific Fleet and not 7th Fleet.
Senator CASE. He asked for evidence.
Senator SYMINGTON. Urgently asking for information.
Mr. BADER. It is a misprint.
Senator SYMINGTON. What was he doing there?
Mr. BADER. No, the point here, Senator, is it is a little garbled.
Senator SYMINGTON. There should be no comma after ‘‘Moorer.’’
Mr. BADER. Two hours and 30 minutes after that message we
just read, the President was on television announcing the strike.
Senator SPARKMAN. Commander CINCPAC?
Mr. BADER. Yes.
Mr. MARCY. Presumably the order, that is the order for retaliatory attack, had gone out two or three hours before the President’s
announcement. The air strikes took place a few minutes after midnight on August 5. It is significant to note that at only 1:11 a.m.,
August 5, that is, one and one-half hours after the conclusion of the
attacks on North Vietnam, the Turner Joy responded to the urgent
message from the commander of the 7th Fleet asking for further
evidence that the attacks had taken place.
Unless we have not seen all the pertinent cables, it was on the
basis of the above information that the United States decided to
bomb North Vietnam—in spite of (a) the report of the Maddox that
it scored no hits and ‘‘never positively identified a boat as such,’’
and (b) the inability of the air cover to see anything in spite of numerous flares.
A few days after the second incident in the Gulf of Tonkin, the
Department of Defense through the Commander-in-Chief of the Pacific, began an intensive effort to interview personnel aboard both
ships and to prepare affidavits from the personnel aboard the Maddox and Turner Joy, as well as from officers aboard the Ticonderoga. These affidavits and reports, including the combat action
reports of the Maddox and Turner Joy, were made available to the
committee staff. This data is voluminous.
The information includes testimony of seamen who said they saw
the silhouette of a North Vietnamese patrol craft, of pilots who said
they saw wakes and fast-moving craft, and of a few officers who
said they saw hits on the patrol craft. On the basis of this information, the commander of the Pacific Fleet and General Burchinal,
who looked at the communications traffic, were convinced that the
Maddox and the Turner Joy, had been struck.
In compiling this information——
Senator MUNDT. Struck at, you mean, not struck——
Mr. MARCY. Had been attacked. Yes. I am sorry.
In compiling this information, the Navy did not convene a formal
board of inquiry as it did after the so-called third incident in the
Gulf of Tonkin described below. The technique was entirely one of
putting together statements, tracks of the ships, and the like.
Moreover, it is curious to note that nowhere in this testimony and
reports is there any statement from any sonarman aboard the
Senator SYMINGTON. Was the head man, the commander of both
destroyers, on the Maddox?
Mr. BADER. On the Maddox.
Senator SYMINGTON. It is rather interesting that the Maddox
didn’t talk up.
Mr. MARCY. In late August of 1964 the Defense Department released a selective list of excerpts from some of the cables sent to
Washington. These excerpts, it can be fairly stated, ere highly selective giving only those sentiments which showed the Maddox and
Turner Joy, had been attacked.
I don’t know. Mr. Chairman, whether. I don’t think there is
much point in going ahead in describing the third incident, which
did not——
Senator SYMINGTON. I would like to ask this question before you
leave it; the way the sentence reads, does that imply there were
other parts of the excerpts which if given would have cast considerable doubt as to whether there had or had not been attacks?
Mr. BADER. Yes, sir, definitely, some of them are right here.
Senator SYMINGTON. That is what I was getting at.
What they did was gleaned it so that they put in all that was
said about the attack, but they didn’t put in anything about maybe
there wasn’t an attack.
Mr. MARCY. That is correct; yes, sir.
We came across this, Senator, an article in Life Magazine about
mid-August of 1964 by a man named Wise, not the David Wise who
does this espionage writing. Wise is still on the staff of Life Magazine. We have not talked to him. He is in Paris. But his story was
based upon what he said were meetings with and information
given to them by the intelligence branches of the Defense Department, and he had in there quotations from the cables and other
communications traffic, and after we had received it in full then
Bill compared what appeared in the Life Magazine, the quotations,
and we were able to establish that it was selective information that
was given to the man.
Senator MUNDT. In other words, it is your position that the Life
story was based on releases made by the Defense Department; not
Mr. MARCY. That is correct.
Senator MUNDT. How does that relate—how does that relate in
time to the Tonkin Bay, when did we pass it?
Mr. MARCY. Afterward.
The CHAIRMAN. Afterward, about two weeks. The Life story you
said, came about mid-August.
Mr. MARCY. The Life story came about mid-August, August 15.
The CHAIRMAN. Approximately two weeks.
Senator GORE. Mr. Chairman, the question I want to raise is why
are these cables now classified as Top Secret when they have been
given to Life Magazine at the time, I mean some of them have. Is
that correct?
Mr. BADER. The excerpts are very brief, Senator.
Senator GORE. Well, are they——
Mr. BADER. They are verbatim excerpts.
Senator GORE. Are they verbatim excerpts?
Mr. BADER. Yes.
Senator GORE. They were given?
Mr. BADER. Just individual sentences.
Senator SYMINGTON. I think I can answer that. I think I can give
you the Pentagon’s answer to that.
They would say other parts of the cables would have shown that
we had broken the North Vietnamese Code and that, therefore,
they couldn’t give those because we were still operating not with
a broken word but with a broken code.
Senator HICKENLOOPER. Well, there is a lot to that.
Senator SYMINGTON. Yes, there is.
Senator HICKENLOOPER. There is a lot to that. We destroy ours
about every time we turn around in this country by this publicity
Senator SYMINGTON. I remember the business of the Chicago
Tribune and the Japanese Code.
Senator HICKENLOOPER. Yes, the Chicago Tribune was a famous
Senator SYMINGTON. I am not saying their position would be justified based on the facts.
Senator CASE. Nothing here would suggest anything like that.
Senator MUNDT. It would be interesting to know whether these
excerpts of cables include anything taken from——
[Discussion off the record]
The CHAIRMAN. I wish we would go on with this. I am not trying
to cut anybody off but just trying——
Senator SYMINGTON. I think it is all terribly interesting. It is a
magnificent staff effort.
Senator MUNDT. It surely is.
The CHAIRMAN. Go ahead, Mr. Marcy.
Mr. MARCY. I am going to skip over to page 18 and just call your
attention to the fact that subsequent to these incidents we captured a North Vietnamese officer.
Senator MUNDT. What you are skipping is about the third incident?
Mr. MARCY. Yes, that is correct.
Senator SYMINGTON. What page are you on?
Mr. MARCY. Now, I am on page 18. I am just going to try to summarize this. Actually, I am on the bottom of page 17.
Mr. BADER. I think, Carl, it might be said very briefly about
what this is. A number of North Vietnamese sailors and a number
of officers were captured in July of 1966. They were extensively interrogated aboard an American ship.
One of the officers, a senior navy commander in Vietnam was interrogated for over a hundred hours and he gave the U.S. remarkable intelligence information, which was subsequently used to go
north and destroy certain bases, particularly PT bases. This naval
officer and the others who were captured, as you know they are interrogated in different places so the information can be brought together or finally asked toward the end of this intensive interrogation, what about the incidents in the Gulf of Tonkin. They all said
the first incident took place. Indeed, the officer, the senior North
Vietnamese naval officer, said he prepared the action report. He
told the U.S. interrogators what happened, how many torpedoes
were expended, what the damage was, extremely detailed analysis
of the first incident, which they bragged about because—what this
interrogation report at the bottom of page 18 is what this officer
and his colleagues said about the second incident which, obviously,
one doesn’t believe communists per se, but it is interesting in this
context that they made a distinction between the two, and talked
about the first and gave full information about the attack, and the
second they denied it completely, all of them made such an attack.
Mr. MARCY. Would it be helpful to read the conclusions, observations we have drawn?
Senator SYMINGTON. I think you ought to go ahead, based on
what Bill just said, and read page 18.
Mr. MARCY. All right. Page 18, the U.S. Navy interrogation report contains the following statements:
1. Extensive interrogation of all potentially knowledgeable sources reveals that
they have no info concerning a NVN attack on U.S. ships on 4 August 1964.
Senator SYMINGTON. Even though he gave in detail his knowledge of the attack on August 2?
Mr. MARCY. That is correct, and even though other information
he had supplied was useful.
They state definitely and emphatically that no PT’s could have
been involved. They do have knowledge of a U.S. air attack on 5
August in which at least one and possibly three Swatow PGM’s
were sunk by ACFT in vicinity of the Gianh River (17–43N/106–
30E). Slight damage was also inflicted by ACFT on 2 PT’s this date
as stated Ref Alfa.
2. The possibility that Swatows could have committed the 4 Aug attack has also
been carefully explored. Here again, however, all sources disclaim any knowledge
of such an attack. Based on the experience of interrogations thus far it is very possible that PT boat crews in general might not have heard of this attack since they
apparently have little contact with other ship types. On the other hand, source (the
North Vietnam naval commander obviously has traveled in higher circles and has
proved himself exceptionally knowledgeable on almost every naval subject and event
of interest. Yet he specially and strongly denies that any attack took place. When
pressed further on this issue he states that if such an attack did take place, it could
only have been committed by Swatow?
Senator SYMINGTON. What is a Swatow?
Mr. BADER. It is a rather large patrol craft given to the North
Vietnamese by the Soviet Union. It is quite slow, 24 knots or so.
It is not the kind of vessel that would attack a destroyer and it
should be noted for the record that Swatows do not carry torpedoes.
Senator SYMINGTON. One final question on this: Are these statements that you have in quotes here starting at the middle of 18,
are those verbatim statements of the Navy report?
Mr. BADER. They are verbatim statements out of the Navy report.
Senator SYMINGTON. All right.
The CHAIRMAN. All right, proceed.
Mr. MARCY. I think we might interrupt here for just a minute to
talk about this other evidence before we draw conclusions.
The CHAIRMAN. What other evidence?
Mr. MARCY. You have in the back of your file a letter which the
Chairman received on December 26th which was not signed.
Mr. BADER. This is in the addendum, sir, not in the chronology.
Mr. MARCY. Yes. It is an interesting letter to read, I will read
it now or note only that this source seems to be somebody within
the Department of Defense, and he told the committee to ask for
certain very specific documents, and in the first paragraph or so he
says ‘‘Most of the documents have been’’—‘‘What you need is the
record of events at,’’——
Senator HICKENLOOPER. Where are you reading from?
Mr. MARCY. I am reading now from the one marked December
Senator HICKENLOOPER. Yes, but where?
Mr. MARCY. The second, third line.
Senator MUNDT. In your addendum.
Mr. MARCY [reading].
What you most need is the record of events at and communications passing
through the National Military Command and Control Center. Most of them have
probably now been destroyed. However, a study was made on the basis of most of
those records, fresh after the event, by the Weapons Systems Evaluation Group, entitled ‘Command and Control of the Tonkin Gulf Incident, 4–5 August 1964.’ This
document is TOP SECRET and is very tightly held, partly because it is based in
part on the tape recordings of conversations over the phone of the President, the
Secretary of Defense, Admiral Sharpe and others during the period when the critical
decisions were being made. Very probably an effort will be made to have all copies
of the study destroyed when and if there is any intimation that you know of the
existence of the study. The study will not disclose that the incident was a put-up
job. It will disclose several embarrassing things, however. One is that the first attack, that on the Maddox, was very probably made because the NVN confused the
Maddox with CIA operations which were covering SVN hit and run attacks against
NVN coastal areas. This was probably due simply to lack of coordination. Another
point will be——
Senator SYMINGTON. Excuse me. I have to ask a question there.
It is very interesting. Has the CIA got any ships out there?
Mr. MARCY. Not that we know of.
Senator SYMINGTON. Then it would be the CIA operating with
the South Vietnamese directing an attack on the island at that
Mr. MARCY. We have no knowledge of what the CIA activities
have been. We made no inquiry.
Mr. MANSFIELD. That could well by the assumption.
Mr. BADER. It could well be the assumption.
Senator HICKENLOOPER. It is always assumed that the CIA is
murdering babies and things like that. [Laughter.]
Mr. MARCY [reading].
Another point will be that the attack on the Turner Joy, the following day, was
indeed probably imaginary. After a first report of attack, there was a report that
there probably had not been an attack at all. But the President was to go on the
air to address the Nation about the retliatory attack that had already been planned,
and after another flurry of confusion Admiral Sharpe said he thought there had
been a real attack after all. At this point the Secretary of Defense decided to advise
the President that the attack on the Turner Joy was real, and to order the retaliatory attacks and go ahead with the speech because it was getting very late for the
address to the nation and moreover the retaliatory attack planes had been kept in
a state of take-off readiness about the maximum time. It was clearly a case of making a definite decision when operational circumstances dictated haste but the facts
suggested caution.
I think I will stop reading there because what I wanted to do was
call attention to this study done by the Weapons Systems Evaluation business.
Senator SYMINGTON. Let’s finish the letter, if that is in order.
The CHAIRMAN. Whatever you like.
Senator SYMINGTON. Yes.
Mr. MARCY [reading].
One may wonder how much the Secretary of Defense, who is a man of honor and
conscience, has worried, about this since. Because later events all indicate that the
second ‘attack’ was, at best, a trick of false radar images. And it is rumored—I do
not know for sure—that the Commander of the Turner Joy was shortly after relieved of his command and hidden away somewhere where there would be the least
chance of adverse publicity.
Senator MUNDT. Do you know whether that is true or not? Was
he removed?
The CHAIRMAN. I do not know.
Mr. BADER. No, sir, we do not know.
Mr. MARCY. We made no inquiries.
Senator MUNDT. Why didn’t you call up?
The CHAIRMAN. We haven’t made inquiries or called up anything.
This is all done quietly and I didn’t propose to do anything of this
unless the committee authorizes it.
Senator GORE. You authorized no interrogations?
The CHAIRMAN. We authorized no interrogations. The only ones
we saw were people who asked to come. Except we asked that fellow who published a letter and one other fellow and neither of
whom amount to anything, but because we thought they were in
the position of volunteering.
But we haven’t inquired or gone out or asked any of these people
in the Navy except that fellow I mentioned, ødeleted¿, because he
asked to come see me.
Mr. MARCY. I am continuing now on page 2 of this letter.
I am sure if I signed this I would lose my job. But if you proceed wisely, you
should be able, for the good of the country, to learn the truth of all I have suggested
here, and have suggested here, and much more. The Tonkin Gulf incident, upon the
basis of which resolution was so quickly obtained, was not a put-up job. But it was
not the inexcusable and flagrant attack upon U.S. ships that it seemed to be and
that would have justified the resolution and the retaliation had it been so. It was
a confused bungle which was used by the President to justify a general course of
action and policy that he had been advised by the military to follow. He, like the
Secretary of Defense, was their prisoner. He got from them all the critical and decisive information, and misinformation, and he simply put his trust in the wrong people. One of the things your Committee should really look into is the constant use
of security regulations to conceal the blunders and connivings in the field of national
security. But I doubt that all of the power of the United States Senate could ever
penetrate far enough into the supersecret world to learn much about what goes on.
Right now the JSC is refusing materials in their fields that is wanted by people
working on Vietnam for the Secretary of Defense, most obviously because they fear
it would serve the Secretary of Defense’s purposes, not theirs.
Now, my main purpose in reading this letter was to call attention to this study done by the Weapons Systems Evaluation Group,
and the chairman wrote and asked for this on January 12 and the
reply came in this morning.
The CHAIRMAN. Go ahead, Bill. This letter came in this morning.
I have not read it.
Senator MUNDT. Carl, have you studied the phraseology and language of that letter as compared with the last letter to see whether
it came from the same fellow?
Mr. MARCY. With no great confidence, it is our impression that
they did not come from the same fellow at all. They were quite different in composition. That was just our feeling.
The CHAIRMAN. On this point, let’s take them one at a time.
Clear up what we asked for and what is the response.
Mr. BADER. We asked for two things in this letter, Mr. Chairman. We asked for some additional communications traffic that
came out of the communications facility—we asked for two things,
we asked for a series of cables that came from the communications
facilities in the Philippines, the operational cables that the Maddox
and Turner Joy sent came directly to the Philippines and from that
point directly transmitted to Washington. Some of them also went
to the Ticonderoga.
What we asked for were those cables that went from the Turner
Joy and Maddox and were held in the Navy collection point in the
Philippines, that was one.
Two, we asked for the command and control study.
The answer to the command and control study I will give you
first and then I will give you this additional information.
Senator SYMINGTON. What do you mean the command and control?
Mr. BADER. What this gentlemen mentions in his letter.
Senator SYMINGTON. Of the Weapons Systems Evaluation?
Mr. MARCY. This is the one he says probably will be destroyed
if you ask for it.
Senator GORE. Let me ask you, prior to the receipt of the anonymous letter, was the staff aware that such a study had been made?
Mr. MARCY. No, sir.
Mr. BADER. No, sir.
The CHAIRMAN. Well, I was confused about what ødeleted¿ called
the scrapbook. I wonder if he didn’t have this sort of thing in mind.
He used a term called ‘‘the scrapbook.’’ Do you remember?
Mr. BADER. Yes, sir.
The CHAIRMAN. What do you think that was?
Mr. BADER. I don’t know.
The CHAIRMAN. Well, I don’t know. They used a term they had
a scrapbook which was some kind of a summary made.
Mr. MARCY. Senator, if I can say with other things we several
times asked them for everything relating to the incident, sort of
blanket things. One thing we learned very, very quickly that the
Department of Defense does not volunteer information, and when
you ask for something generally and when you say have we got it
all and you get an answer Yes, but then you may go back and say
specifically you want something and you can get it. But they have
been cooperative when they know what you ask for.
Senator GORE. Until this.
Mr. MARCY. Until this anonymous letter came in we didn’t know
what to ask for.
Senator SYMINGTON. Can we hear the letter?
Mr. BADER. Yes. The letter is very brief. In regard to this communication study, it simply says ‘‘With respect to the remainder of
your request’’ that is for the study ‘‘the document in question is an
internal staff paper of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and it is currently
under review by the Chairman.’’
That is one part of it.
Presumably, it doesn’t say we will get it.
Senator SYMINGTON. Read the letter and say who signed it.
Senator GORE. Read all the letter.
Mr. BADER. It is to Senator Fulbright and it is signed by Jack
Stempler, Assistant to the Secretary, Legislative Affairs:
Reference is made to your letter of January 12 to Secretary Nitze requesting certain information in connection with your review of the incidents of 1964 in the Gulf
of Tonkin.
I am forwarding herewith, as Tab A, 23 messages from the naval communication
faci1ity in the Philippines to Hawaii and Washington covering the August 4 incident. So that you may review in proper prespective, message 041727Z which you
specifically requested, your attention is invited to messages CTG 72.1 041830 and
CTU 72.1.2 041848 which were transmitted an hour or so later and which have been
previously furnished to you.
I have not seen them. That does not quite make sense. These messages included
here I have not seen.
With respect to the remainder of your request, the document in question is an
internal staff paper of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and it is currently under review by
the Chairman.
Senator SYMINGTON. What does that mean?
Mr. BADER. I don’t know, sir.
The CHAIRMAN. That means you are not going to get it.
Senator SYMINGTON. Yes, but why should we not get it, because
it is under review.
The CHAIRMAN. Because they don’t want you to get it. I remind
you in the beginning a meeting was asked for by Secretary Nitze,
if I would meet with him and Chairman Russell and we met in
Chairman Russell’s office, and he explained there was only one document that we couldn’t have, that is my understanding, and Russell himself said, ‘‘I think, Mr. Secretary, you should make available to this committee all relevant document’’ that was my understanding, except this one, which I will refer to, if you want me to
refer to it, in a moment.
Senator MUNDT. Is this the one?
The CHAIRMAN. No, this is not the one. I didn’t know about this.
I didn’t know about the other one.
He, himself, Nitze, volunteered it, he had this one which was so
secret that he couldn’t—he allowed me to look at it but he couldn’t
give a copy and I think he said only six people or something like
that in the——
Senator GORE. Can you tell us what that was?
The CHAIRMAN. Yes, I will tell you. Do you want to finish this?
Senator SYMINGTON. I want to ask this question because I think
it is very important. What this currently under review is: Is it
under review to be changed, and how can you change a record, a
document, so the sentence worries me. I know most of this
Pentagonese, I have been a good many years over there myself and
16 years on the Armed Services Committee. But what business,
what difference does it make whether it is under review or not as
to whether we get it or not? They must have two copies of it. Why
should their reviewing it prevent us looking at it, unless he wants
to change it before he gives it to us.
Senator MUNDT. Especially in view of what the anonymous writer says, if you ask for it they are going to destroy it.
Senator SYMINGTON. I think the interesting part is that the report is available.
Senator CHURCH. What did this secret document state?
The CHAIRMAN. At this meeting, he himself brought this up, after
this exchange, he had a great mass of things like this. This took
place before Christmas. I didn’t realize it at this time, all of this
business. If you like, you can take it off the record, the description
of the meeting should not be, I will have to ascertain that date.
Mr. MARCY. December 16th.
The CHAIRMAN. December 16th. This was at Nitze’s request. He
came in to Russell’s office upstairs, he had a great stack of documents, some of which, in answer to these letters, which the staff
had written to him, and after this exchange with Russell and Russell said he thought he ought to give them all, and I said ‘‘shall I
take these with me,’’ and he said, ‘‘Well, no, I would rather keep
them and send them to you all at once.’’
So he took them back, didn’t give me anything at this meeting.
Later he sent a great deal of documents in answer to these letters.
What they had been doing is delaying giving us anything in response to the letters or practically nothing, until he had this meeting with Russell, is what I think he was doing.
The document which they maintain is conclusive proof——
Senator GORE. I move, Mr. Chairman, that it be on the record.
The CHAIRMAN. Put it on the record. We can take it off later if
we want. I was not prepared to and capable of memorizing a message of this kind offhand. It was a relatively short message and it
was an intercept by their——
Senator MUNDT. Do not take it off the record but you are not
speaking loud enough.
The CHAIRMAN. It was an intercept by their electronic devices
and purporting to be a report from a PT boat of the North Vietnamese reporting to his superior that they had, in effect, met the
enemy, had severely damaged a boat and had knocked down two
aircraft of ours. And that was really the substance of it. It was not
very long, and this is from a PT boat commander that occurred on
the 2nd.
Senator SYMINGTON. This is what I was referring to.
The CHAIRMAN. And this is the very highly secret one. To me—
I said at the time I was struck by the ‘‘Well, obviously you knew
they had not knocked down any planes nor touched your boats.
How can you consider this being conclusive evidence that an attack
took place because it is obviously false?’’
Well, that is the way the matter was left. To me it did not seem
a bit conclusive. To him—he said this is the conclusive evidence
that an attack took place.
Well, it just did not appeal to me as being conclusive because
they obviously knew it was false.
Senator SYMINGTON. I think, if I may say so, Mr. Chairman, you
do not quite gather the import of the message. The basic import of
the message and the danger of having it known about the message,
it would seem to me, is the fact that whether or not the PT boat
commander was or was not telling the truth, the fact that we knew
what he said as evidencing the message showed that we broke the
The CHAIRMAN. That is what he says is the reason.
Senator MUNDT. That is true, but it certainly does not make false
facts true. We knew they did not shoot it down. We knew we broke
the code.
Senator CHURCH. But there is this to say and that is they may
have taken this as an indication that an attack had been laid on,
that the PT boat commander was reporting back upon the attack,
and he either thought there were those casualties or either was
claiming for purposes of his own they may take the message as
some evidence——
The CHAIRMAN. Since that time—I did not know enough to ask
him. I did not know as much as you know here. I did not know
what to ask for and I knew nothing about this, but I wondered
since then if they were not referring to the next day’s activity when
they did shoot down two of our planes bcause we ourselves reported
Out of these 64 sorties that we ran the next day and which
Wheeler testified to us before that we caught them completely unaware of an attack—you know, dead in the water, in their boats
and we sank—we destroyed a lot of them, but in those 64, we did,
somebody, they shot down two of our planes. You remember that
is in Wheeler’s testimony.
One of the things about Wheeler’s testimony that has since occurred to me is he was so positive at the time—I mean when he
was here on August 6—was that they caught the PT boats of the
North Vietnamese completely unawares. The people were—not
alert at all; they were all lying in their berths, and we really demolished them.
It has occurred to me since—not at that time—that if they really
had an attack would they not surely expect some retaliation?
Would they all be sitting in their berths without any anticipation
whatever that we would do anything? It had not occurred to me at
the time, but since you read this now, you think, ‘‘Well now, it is
very odd if they really had engaged in an attack that within ten
hours they would all go back and forget about it and leave their
boats in their berths.’’
That is what Nitze thinks is a complete proof that all of this took
Senator COOPER. May I ask a question at that point?
Senator COOPER. I know that in this chronology you have given
that 15 hours before the pupported attack that the boats did report
there was a radar track, and then there is no other message that
I can see in this record between that and the attack. Do you have
any other cables or are there many other—in that time evidently
something had happened because the air support had been sent.
Now, are there any cables to indicate air support was asked at a
certain time or what they said and all that?
Mr. BADER. The chronology, I think, Senator, in the back
Senator COOPER. Before we do that, do we have other cables in
that other intervening time from the time they first reported that
there was a track, a radar track, or a contact or an actual attack,
and if there are any, it would seem to me it would indicate what
they were seeing, whether or not they were seeing other boats, because when you read what McNamara says at the beginning, he
just says at certain times the Maddox identified other vessels and
yet there is nothing in this report to support that.
Mr. BADER. If you look on page 3 and 4 of the chronology rather
than the staff memo itself, this chronology in each case reflects a
cable was sent or at least in most cases reflects a cable was sent.
It is done in Eastern Daylight Time.
Senator Cooper, this reflects the cable traffic as it progressed on
August 4, that is in the events leading up to the attack, 12:01 a.m.,
but this is Washington time. But it gives the sequence. Maddox reports it is at vicinity of Point Delta, then it reported at 1:13 a.m.
that two aircraft passed overhead and so forth.
It is interesting to note, if you look on page 3 of that chronology,
that at 2:35 a.m. the Maddox reported materiel deficiency in its
sonar. This was prior to the attack. And the Department of Defense’s case outside of this intelligence challenge that the ships had
been attacked rests entirely on sonar reports from the Maddox.
Senator SYMINGTON. Not on the Turner Joy at all.
Mr. BADER. The Turner Joy never saw a torpedo on its sonar It
only said—some of the officers said they had seen a wake. It is a
curious situation when the Maddox, which was the one which was
reporting the torpedoes on sonar, and the Turner Joy was the one
that saw them visually, sonar versus visually.
Senator COOPER. Do you have the full text of these cables?
Mr. BADER. Yes, sir.
Senator COOPER. I think that would be important.
The CHAIRMAN. There is a full text, an enormous amount of documents. These are all taken from it. Mr. Bader has been working
on them all the time for quite a while.
Senator GORE. Mr. Chairman, to complete this, and to illustrate
how rightly or wrongly the evidence may have been, how it was extrapolated to inflame the people and Congress, let me read a few
selected sentences from the address of President Johnson on the
9th of—to the American people on television on the night of August
My fellow Americans, as President and Commander in Chief, it is my duty to the
American people to report that renewed hostile actions against United States ships
on the high seas in the Gulf of Tonkin have today required me to order the military
forces of the United States to take action in reply. Repeated acts of violence against
armed forces of the United States must be met not only with alert defenses but with
positive reply.
That reply has been given as I speak to you tonight. Air action is now in execution
against gunboats and certain supportive facilities of North Vietnam which have
been used in these hostile operations. In the larger qense this new act of aggression,
aimed directly at our own forces, again brings home to all of us in the United States
the importance of the struggle for peace and security in Southeast Asia. aggression
by terror against the peaceful villagers of South Vietnam has now been joined by
open aggression on the seas against the United States of America.
The determination of all Americans to carry out our full commitment to the people
and tf the Government of South Vietnam if will be redoubled by this outrage. Yet
are response for the present will be limited and fitting. We Americans know, although others appear to forget, the risk of spreading conflict. We still seek no wider
war. And just a few moments ago I was able to reach Senator Goldwater, and I am
glad to say that he has expressed his support of the statement that I am making
to you tonight.
And we passed the resolution I believe the next day.
Mr. BADER. It is curious to note that the North Vietnamese
strikes took place after the President spoke.
Senator SYMINGTON. I already noted that. 54s——
Senator HICKENLOOPER. An hour and a half later.
Senator SYMINGTON. Mr. Chairman, what is your wish in this
The CHAIRMAN. Before you leave, John, I want to know what the
wish of the committee is.
Senator HICKENLOOPER. Well, can we finish today, or will it be
this afternoon?
The CHAIRMAN. This is up to the committee. I have tried to describe how this took place. Mr. Bader happens to have been able
to read these. When I first saw some of the documents, there were
worse than Greek to me. I could not understand anything. He happens to have been a naval officer, CIA, and was able to decifer
what happened.
I think it is entirely a matter of the judgment of the committee
as to what should be done about it.
For example, do you wish to call any naval officers? Do you wish
to have testimony on any of these points that have been raised?
This is simply an interpretation of a document, plus these two—
three anonymous letters. There is nothing in this that, as you
know, that was verbal testimony.
I may say when ødeleted¿ came to my office, we had no reporter
there but it is not available to this. There are some other letters.
There is a letter from Admiral True that has come that is not included in this.
Senator SYMINGTON. Who is Mr. ødeleted¿?
The CHAIRMAN. Does the committee wish to go further into the
Senator HICKENLOOPER. Mr. Chairman, I am asking this for information before I say whether we should go further. What is our
objective? What are we seeking here?
The CHAIRMAN. The Senator from Missouri really outlines it. It
seems to me one of the first and foremost objectives is how adequate is the procedure by which decisions to go to war are made.
Here is an illustration of the most recent action taken by—and this
committee certainly was part of it, every one of us except one voted
for it, and based upon this kind of information. I mean to me it is
a very serious matter how a country of this importance in the
world can make a decision of this kind to go to war.
Supposing this involved some kind of an incident with Russia. It
is all very well for us to sit off and take lightly jumping on a little
country of 17 million people or even North Korea. Supposing an incident of comparable facts should take place with Russia?
Senator GORE. Or with North Korea?
The CHAIRMAN. Well, of course we can slam North Korea. There
is no great danger. What I am talking about is an even more serious case of where, well, supposing we should go with this kind of
evidence, this kind of backing, and declare war on Russia. I think
that would really be something. But I think at the very least the
basis for the statement made to this committee by the Secretaries
of Defense, State, and General Wheeler is a very questionable one,
and if we are going to accept this kind of information upon which
we act as Senators, unanimously and, of course, included in this
was the Committee on Armed Services, they were here, too, as you
remember, represented by Senator Russell, I do not remember how
many, but a number of them, and we accept this as the facts, and
the country, in effect, declares war, at least—in the words of the
Under Secretary of State—at least the equivalent of a declaration
of war. He says that is what the Tonkin Gulf matter is. I think it
is a very serious matter. We are completely in their hands in this
kind of a report, if we do not at the very least take measures to
see that this kind of thing does not happen again.
Senator HICKENLOOPER. Well, Mr. Chairman, the point of my
question is is it leading to something, is it leading to a joint resolution. Is it leading to recommended statutory action? Is it leading
only to criticism or censure? I am not proposing any particular
thing except we are pointing toward here.
The CHAIRMAN. It seems to me——
Senator HICKENLOOPER. Or is it just information?
The CHAIRMAN. It seems to me the very least it could lead to is
a very serious reconsideration of this, what is the name of it, evaluation control. What is this thing they are so proud of?
Mr. BADER. Command and control.
The Chairman. Command and control procedures by which decision to go to war is made.
Senator CASE. Mr. Chairman, I think one of the suggestions, I
do not know that it has quite been put into these words, is that
the Defense Department, for purposes which it considered most patriotic and necessary, decided that the time had come to stop shillyshallying with the commies and resist, and this was the time, and
it had to be contrived so that the President could come along, and
that the Congress would follow. That is one of the things.
Senator HICKENLOOPER. I think historically whenever a country
wants to go to war it finds a pretext. We have had 5,000 pretexts
historically to go to war.
The CHAIRMAN. I think the question is whether or not we did
want to go to war. Let us assume for illustration, supposing it did
not happen, would this committee have wanted to go to war. Would
the committee, if they had just come up here and said, ‘‘Well, we
think it is time to go to war, and we would like a declaration of
war, the Government in South Vietnam is weak, it needs support,
Khanh is not very strong, he is weak, and we should do something
to strengthen his hand,’’ if we put it on this basis, would the committee have or not? I think this is a great question.
Senator MUNDT. Mr. Chairman, I must say this morning’s session has raised some very troublesome questions for me. I came
here not believing that there was anything like the kind of evidence which this very fine job of research has produced. Faced with
this much information, I think we would be collectively and individually derelict in our duty if we stopped here. The question is,
What do we do? And I would like to suggest or at least it would
be helpful to me if you or we would ask the staff to go through all
this material which they have, some of which we have not even had
a chance to read, if they have got it all, and present us a sort of
a precis or brief analysis of where all this information and evidence, in their opinion, conflicts with the facts, as they have been
presented to us in committee and publicly to the American people
so that we can see how many areas of potential conflict they are,
how serious they are, and if they have been—and as serious as
they appear to be this morning, then I think the least we can do
is to have some closed hearings with some of the officials who appeared before us earlier and try to reconcile their testimony. I
would like to have a little more precise indication of where the
points are with the evidence as it is coming here conflicts with the
evidence they had given when they appeared before us earlier. It
is hard for me to relate it.
The CHAIRMAN. Yes, it is a very complicated matter.
Senator MUNDT. Yes, much more serious, much more serious
than I thought.
Senator GORE. I think I agree in part with the Senator from
South Dakota. I do not know how we can in conscience and constitutional responsibility stop here. I certainly would not wish to
see us make anything public about it now because frankly I think
the conclusions ought to be considered of a tentative nature. But
I cannot rest easy to stop now.
If this country has been misled, if this committee, this Congress,
has been misled by pretext into a war in which thousands of young
men have died, and many more thousands have been crippled for
life, and out of which their country has lost prestige, moral position
in the world, the consequences are very great.
What I am trying to say is if this country has been misled, as
this evidence would at least tentatively suggest, then we ought to
determine if this misleading was deliberate, and, if deliberate, on
whose part? I am not satisfied, and I am not willing to say——
Senator MUNDT. And if not deliberate, what we should do to
make sure we do not make these deductions again.
Senator GORE. Yes. Let me lead to the chairman’s statement.
I am not prepared to say that Secretary McNamara deliberately
falsified the facts to this committee. I would say this, if I were satisfied I would speak until doomsday to his confirmation to any
other place of trust. But I am not ready to reach that conclusion.
If he has been misled, then we ought to know that.
Now, we heard the Majority Leader say here he was not satisfied
last night that the President knew that this vessel was operating
in and out off of Korea. I do not know. But was the President misled?
Senator HICKENLOOPER. Is there any question in your mind, Albert, that the President was not aware that a pattern of operations
of this kind was going on off North Korea, not this particular ship
being in this particular spot, no, not the longitude or latitude.
Senator GORE. I think we are entitled to know who misled whom.
Obviously we were misled.
Senator HICKENLOOPER. Somebody was misled.
Senator GORE. Let me go on for just a moment. This is an extremely serious matter. I am trying to say what I think we should
determine first the facts before we do or say anything publicly. Let
this public business be way down the line. I think, number one, it
is all right to do what Karl suggests.
Number two, I think the chairman ought to insist upon having
this document which we have now been denied, that he ought to
go back to Senator Russell and relate to him all the facts here and
have his cooperation in insisting that we have this or any other
document in existence relevant to this; and then lastly, thirdly, examine the procedure, the decisionmaking procedure, by which this
country can be taken into a war upon such flimsy information as
now appears before the committee.
Only after we do these three things do I think we are prepared
to make a decision to go any further. Let us keep it entirely within
our own bosoms up until that point.
The CHAIRMAN. Well, in that connection, I wanted to ask what
the committee thinks about asking Senator Russell if he would care
to have someone designated by him to participate in any further
hearings, and to make at least these documents that we have been
talking about available to Senator Russell.
Senator SYMINGTON. Mr. Chairman, there is one thing I think we
ought to have first. In the first place, I think the problem is very
serious because as it is put up by the staff, and I do not say that
in the wrong way, it is justification for not declaring war, but for
an undeclared war, and we are now in an undeclared war, has
great disadvantages. For example, without a shadow of a doubt the
thing that worried the pilots on the carrier Coral Sea last September was the fact they had so many friends as prisoners in
North Vietnam and did not know how they were being treated because it is not a declared war and the Red Cross is not allowed to
go in. That is just a little facet on the side of one of the problems.
So far as secrecy of the matter is concerned, I was very disturbed
about an article which was given to me, it was in Sunday’s paper,
and I called up Carl Marcy about it, which looked as if this thing
had leaked out, that the code would be broken if we pursue this
investigation, and I asked him if he thought anybody on the staff
had leaked it. I knew about the meeting, for reasons that are not
important, between you and Russell and Nitze. He said no, and
then he sent me an article of last summer by the Associated Press
which, in effect, reproduced much, if not most, of the information
in John Finney’s article in the New York Times on Sunday.
That was months and months ago. I would hope that the first
witness, if we get into this thing, and I have not made my mind
up yet about it, I think Albert’s points are very well taken, but I
know none of us want to hurt the situation the way the world is
today, and, on the other hand, we do not want any more
undeclared wars, but it would seem to me the first witness might
be Mr. Nitze who is going to be a continuing chief link, with a new
secretary coming in who is out of this entirely. Mr. Nitze was the
one who met with you and Senator Russell. It seems to me you
might put right up to him and make him justify why further investigation might jeopardize or be harmful, would be a better way to
put it, to national security.
That story is getting around, and if it gets around and we go
ahead with the hearings, we go ahead with the hearings with sort
of a load on our back, but if you have a witness then we could decide as a committee whether we wanted to pursue it or not.
It is just a thought for what it is worth.
The CHAIRMAN Let make make one comment, and I want to be
corrected by Bader. It is my impression that during the last two
or three weeks that the Pentagon itself has been giving to its press,
through its public relations certain statements seeking to anticipate anything we may do, is that not correct? They have been, as
they did in that other instances in August, they have been, saying
there is absolute proof and so on. Refresh my memory about that.
Mr. MARCY. Senator, as I told Senator Symington the other day,
I have talked with John Finney a number of times and with other
people who have been interested in what is going on. He has been
very, very active in this. He has covered the Pentagon in the past,
and he was the one who mentioned first to me that, he said, ‘‘What
about this black box information,’’ and I said, ‘‘What do you mean?’’
He said, ‘‘Well, they are saying over in the Pentagon Building,’’
and I say, ‘‘Who are ‘they’?’’
He said, Dick Frykland, ‘‘are saying they have positive proof that
this incident occurred because of a black box,’’ and so I keep asking
them about the black box and they say they can’t tell me anything
about the black box.
Senator SYMINGTON. I wonder if you would yield to me on this.
I feel morally obligated to tell the committee I have been told very
possibly as a Member of the Armed Services Committee no black
box business but if we went ahead with this it could be very harmful to national security. I feel morally obligated to say that because
I certainly am convinced, that is in my own mind, if there was a
witness the first thing we ought to find out to your satisfaction, Mr.
Chairman, and to the other members of the committee as to whether or not we agree with that, and if we do agree with it then I do
not think the investigation should be pursued.
Senator GORE. Well, are you talking about——
Senator CHURCH. Mr. Chairman, may I say a word? I think we
deceive ourselves if we assume that the objective of this inquiry is
related to the improvement of command and control procedures.
We are always having to rely upon the information that comes to
us from the administration and from the military. No one else is
going to construe this inquiry in any other sense, but as an investigation to determine whether or not we were told the truth concerning this incident by the military. Whether or not it was in fact
a contrived incident to justify an attack upon North Vietnam.
If we have the proof to establish one or the other, we have a case
here comparable to the Dreyfuss Case, we have a case that will discredit the military in the United States, and discredit and quite
possibly destroy the President.
Senator HICKENLOOPER. Or Pearl Harbor would be an illustration, too.
Senator CHURCH. That is right. In other words, we are dealing
here with matters that I think go far beyond the security impact
of or the immediate military consequence of whether or not we
have broken a code or not broken a code. I have no doubt but what
the military senses the importance of this inquiry and that every
possible roadblock will be raised against our pursuit of it and every
possible pressure will be placed upon us unless the military is convinced there is no case and as we pursue the investigation they can
demonstrate there is no case.
I want to commend the staff for what the staff has done. But I
must say that there is not sufficient evidence here to substantiate
or to justify in my opinion the pursuit of an investigation in public
that would hall into question the integrity of the military and the
President of the United States.
I think there is enough evidence here to justify further inquiry
on our part behind closed doors. I doubt very much if we can prove
this case because I can see a hundred ways that it can be covered
up, and I doubt that we will be able to cope with the cover-up, if
in fact it is.
All that we have here at the moment is evidence to suggest that
the Navy did, in fact, know, about South Vietnamese attacks on
these islands, and we were told by the Secretary of Defense at a
critical time in the hearings that the Navy did not know about
these attacks.
That is one piece of evidence.
The second piece of evidence is that there is considerable confusion about whether or not there was a second attack upon our
ships, and this was presented to the American people as though it
were, as though the attack did in fact occur without any question.
Senator GORE. And deliberate and unprovoked.
Senator CHURCH. And, thirdly, we have evidence upon which to
lead one to surmise that the Navy, at least, that the command, the
Navy command, was at least interested in provoking an incident.
But I can see a hundred ways that the Navy can come up here
under so serious a probe as this, and justify and clarify and explain
away what happened.
All I am cautioning us is this: Let’s be very careful before we
take this into the open. We both understand that this is by far the
most serious inquiry we have ever launched upon; and, secondly,
that we have the evidence that can substantiate the charge, and
otherwise we will discredit ourselves totally, and you can be sure
that the big forces in this country that have most of the influence
and run most of the newspapers and are oriented toward the presidency will lose no opportunity to thoroughly discredit this committee unless we have evidence.
Senator GORE. Will you yield there?
Then as I understand, you concur in points 1 and 2. I made, one,
that we proceed to correlate all the evidence and information we
have; number two, that we proceed entirely in the most executive
sort of proceedings under the leadership of the Chairman to develop further evidence.
You stopped short of the third one, which is an examination of
the decision-making process.
Senator CHURCH. I don’t stop short of that. I only say that no one
will regard this inquiry as really being related to other than——
Senator GORE. But so long as we hold it within ourselves we are
not concerned how they regard it. It is only after we do these
things we come to the decision to make it public, this is the gravest
sort of decision.
Senator CHURCH. Yes.
Senator SYMINGTON. If you will yield to me, nothing has been
said that interferes or is against my thought that there ought to
be somebody before this committee who is in a position, like Secretary Nitze, he knows this subject well, to explain why he, not the
military—I am getting very, very worried in this country by the
way we are denigrating the military, because if we denigrate it
much further we are going to assign our children to slavery or extinction, one or the other.
The military are not the ones responsible to this. I include the
non-military, the civilian heads of the Department of Defense, especially as they have made it clear in no uncertain terms that they
are the ones who are running the Department of Defense in recent
But I do think we should not get a military person up here, we
should get the Deputy Secretary of Defense to tell this committee
why this investigation would hurt the United States, and that is
the first witness.
I would cross that bridge first before trying to cross any others,
and I couldn’t possibly, because of some of the points that Frank
makes that are very effective and very telling, I could not possibly
go for a further investigation of this with the press and everybody
watching and hoping to get a leak from a member of the committee
or the staff or steal a paper or something to find out, blow up a
story, until, I could not recommend going ahead until I was
satisified, and what’s more important, the committee one way or
the other was satisfied, that it did or did not affect the security of
the country.
Senator HICKENLOOPER. Mr. Chairman, this is a part of what I
had in my question awhile ago as to what the objectives of this
may be. Where are we going?
Now, you can’t continue an investigation of this kind with all of
its explosive nature without giving some kind of a statement or a
report eventually.
We can’t have days of investigation and days of people coming up
here and documents and everything else, and then bury it back behind the barn someplace.
It has got to have some result, if we continue with it. And I think
there is enough here to continue on. I don’t think we can prescribe
a method of conduct that will be satisfactory and successful in preventing incidents. Incidents are caused by people, and incidents are
caused by men.
If this administration or any other administration or any other
nation’s administration wants to have a war; they could find incidents. They could create the incidents, they could be created by
men, and I don’t think you can write a set of rules that will guarantee against that.
But if we continue this investigation, and, again, getting back as
to where are we going, what is our objective, if we continue this
investigation we are going to have to say something positive about
We can’t avoid that eventually, and then the question we have
to evaluate, what we are doing in the national security, in the national interest in the light of all the emergency situations we are
in right now and the emotions of the people. I think we had better
think about it seriously, and I am not for closing this off necessarily. I don’t know that I am necessarily in favor of going ahead
with it. But we have opened a Pandora’s box here now or we are
apt to very soon, and I don’t know that we have particularly
opened it at this moment, but I will tell you if we have just about
one more or two more hearings with a lot more documents and the
Pandora’s box will be opened, and we have to reach some conclusions.
Senator SPARKMAN. In this anonymous letter of December 26 reference was made to command and control study, saying you needed
that. Did you get that?
Mr. MARCY. No, sir.
Senator SPARKMAN. Then in the second anonymous letter, ‘‘Why
don’t you ask Mr. McNamara for certain numbered documents?’’
Did you get that?
Mr. MARCY. Yes, we got those. We have not read those cables
into the record yet.
Senator SPARKMAN. Why could you not get—why did you not get
the other one that was referred to?
Mr. MARCY. I think this came up while you were out.
Senator SPARKMAN. I am sorry.
Mr. MARCY. The letter from Mr. Stempler 3 simply says, ‘‘With
respect to the remainder of your request’’ the documents in question, the one you are referring to ‘‘is an internal staff paper of the
Joint Chiefs of Staff and it is currently under review by the chairman.’’
Senator SPARKMAN. Chairman of this committee or the chairman
of the committee over there?
Mr. MARCY. The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs.
Senator COOPER. At one point you referred to that you had asked
for certain cables that had gone to the Philippines.
Mr. MARCY. Yes, Sir.
Senator COOPER. Is that in here?
Mr. MARCY. Yes, sir, they are here and they are very interesting.
Senator COOPER. Are they in this record?
Mr. MARCY. No, sir, they are not in this record.
The CHAIRMAN. They just came.
Mr. MARCY. But they are interesting.
Senator COOPER. I think we ought to look at those. I would like
to say this as to what we can get at. If you are trying to say that
this committee, the country, and the Congress were the subject of
a giant hoax, of course I don’t think you would ever prove that;
and, second, if it were proved, then you might have a question of
But to raise that question and not to be able to do anything
about it at a time of war and everything, I think this committee
would take a tremendous responsibility.
I don’t believe that, myself.
Then what you are trying to prove is that there was sufficient
information or that there was not an attack.
Well, I doubt if you would be able to prove that there wasn’t,
they didn’t believe there was such an attack at the time that justified them in reporting that there was. You would have to prove
that the commanders there and against all their judgment, I don’t
know how you prove. There is just as much evidence there was an
attack as there wasn’t.
What you are finally going to get at, I think, is we believe that
on the basis of these facts, there wasn’t enough perhaps either to
retaliate or come to Congress for—there wasn’t enough provocation
to come to Congress for such a resolution, but, again, you are attacking the judgment of the President of the United States.
Somebody had to make this judgment and looking back, I would
say looking at this incident, and looking at this proof, we had here
before us today, that it wasn’t sufficient to take the action that was
taken or to bloom it up into such large proportions.
Comparing it to this Pueblo incident, the Pueblo incident would
be, it seems to me, more provocative than this one.
The CHAIRMAN. If we know the facts.
3 Jack
L. Stempler, assistant to the Secretary of Defense for Legislative Affairs.
Senator COOPER. If we know the facts. I would like to know what
the rest of the communications said.
Senator GORE. Mr. Chairman, if you need instructions, I have no
objection to what Senator Symington suggests. I would like to move
not that we have public hearings, let that come later or you can
decide that. My motion will be confined to this session, that you direct the staff further to correlate the new information and all other
such information as we may have, and, second, that you confer
with Senator Russell and solicit his further cooperation to develop
the information which has now been denied us and any such other
information that in the judgment of the two chairmen is pertinent
to this issue and then let us decide later or you decide what we do
about further hearings.
Senator CASE. Will the Senator yield at just one point?
With this collation and information, would it include setting in
juxtaposition at the appropriate place everything stated by the administration or anybody else to the Congress and this committee at
that time?
Senator GORE. Yes, as Karl stated.
Senator MUNDT. Which appears to be in conflict. I think you
have to have that first before you decide to call Nitze or anybody
else. That should be our first big step, so those of us who haven’t
read all these cables can get a good clear-cut view of whether either there are some conflicts or there appear to be some conflict between what we have been told from whatever source officially and
what now appears from the record.
I don’t believe anybody is talking about holding open hearings.
There is a question, if I understood the impact of what the CIA Director told us yesterday we may be in for a long war, and if we
don’t set up some machinery to bring this into this picture a little
more closely than we are we may be confronted with other areas
and other problems.
Bill is right, the fact we are showing a concern about this maybe
the next time the evaluation will be given to us before we are
asked to vote so we know about it. I don’t think it is any impact
on what is going to happen on the Vietnam war regardless of how
we got in. And if this is going to be a long war, we had better be
developing some machinery where I think the Senate of the United
States and this committee can get more adequate information and
consultation than it appears we have been getting in the past.
Senator GORE. Mr. Chairman, if that be the consensus, it might
be better that we not have a motion or formal point, if there is a
consensus to proceed with more informal action.
Senator MUNDT. Yes.
Senator COOPER. I have to go, but I agree with Albert.
The CHAIRMAN. Before you leave, can I take it this way, that I
will make available these reports to Senator Russell and more or
less consult with him, I mean consult with him and say here is
more or less what the staff have come up with. I know he, of
course, will be deeply concerned about the situation from the military point of view.
Senator SPARKMAN. His committee is involved.
The CHAIRMAN. His committee participated in the original hearings and, of course, I have no doubt that the military people have
already discussed this with him. And then we have another meeting simply like this for further discussion while we have a chance
to digest what we have heard today and take no action today.
This is considered the first meeting and you will all think about
it in the meantime and you have available these matters, you have
to be very careful with them, and ask the staff to try to refine down
as close as they can the specific questions that might bear upon a
meeting later with Nitze as to why, I mean, what happened, and
why it is against the national interest to develop this, but we not
ask Nitze but wait until after we have had a further hearing.
Then we could all ask Mr. Nitze about this weapons study they
have not given us.
Senator MUNDT. We ought to try to get that.
The CHAIRMAN. With the cooperation of Senator Russell, I think
we probably can get it.
Senator MUNDT. Right. You ought to get it regardless.
The CHAIRMAN. You ought to, but we have a very poor way of
making them unless we can get Russell’s cooperation.
Senator MUNDT. They didn’t say really no, but the old Russian
[The prepared documents follow:]
United States Senate
January 17, 1968
30 July 1964–5 August
Eastern Daylight time (This time is used to enable the
reader to judge reaction time in Washington, DC.)
All distances are in nautical miles:
July 30
1:30 a.m. ....................... South Vietnamese patrol boats left Da Nang for attack on
North Vietnamese islands of Hon Me and Hon Nieu (operation 34–A).
11:21 a.m. ..................... Attack commenced on Hon Me.
1l:37 a.m. ...................... Attack commenced on Hon Nieu. Attacks lasted approximately 30 minutes.
9:00 p.m. ....................... Attacking craft arrived back in Da Nang.
9:35 p.m. ....................... Maddox some 75 miles due east of 17° parallel (demarcation line) and proceeding to coast. Reports sighting several patrol (PT) craft of Sovlet origin passing within 3
July 31
12:01 a.m. ..................... Maddox moving generally in direction of Point ‘‘Charlie’’
(19° North and l05.53° east—miles off Cap Falaise in
North Vietnam).
August 1
5:00 a.m. ....................... Maddox arrives in vicinity at Point ‘‘Charlie.’’
6:00 a.m. ....................... Maddox now 7 miles off North Vietnamese coast and 13
miles south of Hon Nieu, proceeding Northward toward
Hon Nieu and Hon Me.
8:30 a.m ........................ Maddox comes within 4 to 6 miles of Hon Me and then
turns southward toward Point ‘‘Charlie.’’
August 1
Eastern Daylight time
3:54 p.m. ....................... Maddox reports that intelligence information indicates
possible hostile action from North Vietnam in vicinity of
Point ‘‘Charlie’’
6:45 p.m. ....................... Maddox, now a few miles southeast of Point ‘‘Charlie,’’ reports intelligence information concerning hostile intent
by North Vietnam is accurate. Maddox believes continuation of patrol is ‘‘unacceptable risk’’ and turns due
east to sea.
9:00 p.m. ....................... Commander of Seventh Fleet, Admiral Roy L. Jonson, orders Maddox to resume patrol. Maddox resumes patrol
and turns north toward Point ‘‘Delta’’ (19° 47 minutes
North and 106° 08 minutes East—11 miles off North
Vietnamese coast, east of Lach Chao River), arriving at
9:45 p.m. The Maddox then turned south heading for a
point 4 miles seaward of Hon Me.
11:30 p.m. ..................... Maddox sighted and tracked by radar three patrol craft
apparently heading toward Hon Me. Maddox position at
time 11 miles from Hon Me. Maddox turns away from
Hon Me and begins to return to Point ‘‘Delta.’’
August 2
2:00 a.m. ....................... Maddox now 12 miles due east of Point ‘‘Delta,’’ detects
radar contact just North of Hon Me. Maddox turns
2:47 a.m. ....................... Requested air support from Ticonderoga.
3:05 a.m. .......................
August 3
3:10 a.m. .......................
August 3
11:00 a.m. .....................
1:10 p.m. .......................
6:59 pm. ........................
10:40 p.m. .....................
11:46 p.m. .....................
August 4
12:01 a.m. .....................
1:13 a.m. .......................
2:00 a.m. .......................
2:35 a.m. .......................
3:46 a.m. .......................
August 4
4:09 a.m. .......................
7:41 a.m. .......................
7:45 a.m. .......................
7:45 a.m. .......................
7:46 a.m. .......................
Maddox fired three warning shots at three North Vietnamese patrol boats that had closed to 9,800 yards off
starboard quarter.
Maddox commenced continuous fire.
North Vietnamese boats returned fire.
Engagement ended.
Commander in Chief of Pacific Fleet, Admiral T. H.
Moorer orders new patrol.
South Vietnamese patrol boats depart Da Nang.
Eastern Daylight time
Attacks commenced on Cape Vinh Son radar station and
security post off Cua Ron. It should be noted that the
attacks of July 30, 1964, and August 3, 1964, were the
first time that North Vietnamese positions were actually bombarded by heavy weapons. Previous raids were
either for intelligence or interdiction at sea. Other operations against North Vietnam began in February 1964
at the same time as the latest series of DESOTO patrols.
Operational Commander of Task Group 72.1, consisting of
Maddox and Turner Joy, tells them that on August 4
they are to remain North of 19° 10 minutes North on
track between Points ‘‘Delta’’ and ‘‘Charlie.’’
CINCPACFLT tells DESOTO patrol that initial plan to
terminate patrol does not ‘‘adequately demonstrate.
U.S. resolve to assert our legitimate rights.’’ Accordingly CINCPACFLT recommended that patrol continue
but stay far enough North to avoid interference with
34–A operation.
Operation Commander of Task Group 72.1, who was
aboard the Maddox, reports that ‘‘intelligence information’’ indicates that North Vietnam considers the patrol
to be part of 34–A operation. In reaction, Commander
orders 15 minutes reaction time for air cover.
Maddox and Turner Joy commenced in-shore patrol.
Maddox reports that it is located in the vicinity of Point
‘‘Delta’’ 11 miles off the North Vietnamese coast.
Two U. S. Aircraft passed overhead.
Patrol of Maddox and Turner Joy in vicinity of Point
‘‘Delta;’’ patrolling to 16° 10 minutes North on a southwesterly direction.
Maddox reports a materiel deficiency in its sonar.
Patrol passed Hon Me island at 13 miles. (Log Entries
from Turner Joy from 4:00–6:00 a.m. are missing.)
Eastern Daylight time
Patrol arrives at Point ‘‘Charlie’’ 9 miles southeast of Cap
Falaise—then turned eastward.
Maddox picked up intermittent radar contact: Not held by
Turner Joy radar.
Maddox detected contact at 36.4 miles: speed 33 knots.
This contact not held by Turner Joy. Considered a
threat by Maddox; maximum boiler power ordered.
Maddox held a surface contact at range of 37 miles; within 5 minutes two more contacts on same locale.
Commander on Maddox evaluated situation ’’as a trap.’’
Turner Joy still has no contacts.
Maddox reports three radar contact merging into one at
32 miles.
8:40 a.m. ....................... Maddox states: ‘‘Position at 19° 11 minutes north 107°
east.’’ (About 60 miles off coast). Maddox says that it
has received information indicating that attack is imminent and is proceeding southeast at best speed.
9:00 a.m. ....................... *Admiral Sharp, Commander in Chief of Pacific Forces, is
alerted in Honolulu.
9:11 a.m. ....................... Both ships detected and tracked unknown target, designated ‘‘U’’ at 13 miles, speed 30 knots.
9:17 a.m. ....................... Maddox ordered aircraft to investigate ‘‘U’’—results negative.
9:30 a.m. ....................... *Unidentified vessels begin to close in on the destroyer
9:34 a.m. ....................... Maddox locked on new contact designated ‘‘V’’ and commenced to fire. Turner Joy locked in contact slightly to
the right of ‘‘V’’—designated ‘‘V–l.’’
9:39 a.m. ....................... Turner Joy opened fire on ‘‘V–1.’’
9:42 a.m. ....................... Maddox lost contact with ‘‘V’’. At same time Maddox
sonar reported torpedo.
9:43 a.m. ....................... Maddox changed course and transmitted torpedo warning
to Turner Joy.
9:43 a.m. ....................... Turner Joy reports seeing torpedo wake.
*Official U.S. public statement
August 4
Eastern Daylight time
9:52 a.m. ....................... *Destroyers reported that they were under continuous attack.
10:00 a.m. ..................... Turner Joy changes course to evade torpedo reported by
Maddox. Turner Joy did sight wake. According to reporting cable: ‘‘At no time did Turner Joy sonar detect
torpedo noises.’’
10:24 a.m. ..................... Turner Joy continues firing.
10:37 a.m. ..................... Aircraft from Ticonderoga arrived.
10:37 a.m. ..................... At request of Turner Joy aircraft began strafing general
11:19 a.m. ..................... Maddox sonar reported torpedo.
12:35 p.m. ..................... Maddox tells Turner Joy of torpedo.
Luncheon ...................... *President Johnson meets with National Security Advisers.
2:30 p.m. ....................... Operational Commander reports that Turner Joy is tracking two sets of contacts and claims to have positively
sunk three vessels. He reports ‘‘entire action leaves
many doubts except for apparent attempted ambush at
beginning. Suggest thorough reconnaissance in daylight
by aircraft.’’
2:48 p.m. ....................... Maddox reports ‘‘details of action present a confusing picture although certain that original ambush was
bonafide.’’ (Message received in Flag Plot at 4:34 p.m.)
afternoon ....................... *President Johnson meets with Congressional leaders.
5:34 p.m. ....................... CINCPACFLT asked Maddox to confirm ‘‘absolutely’’ that
ship was attacked.
8:07 a.m. .......................
Operational Commander on Maddox reports that air support not successful in locating targets and Maddox
scored no known hits. It never positively identified a
boat as such. It notes, however, that ‘‘probable torpedo’’
detected on sonar. The first boat to close Maddox probably fired torpedo at Maddox which was heard but not
seen. All subsequent Maddox torpedo reports are doubtful in that it is suspected that sonar man was hearing
ship’s own propeller beat.’’ (This message was received
in Washington at l0:59 p.m.)
*Official U.S. public statement
August 4
Eastern Daylight time
7:06 p.m. ....................... Admiral Moorer at CINCPACFLT asks Maddox and
Turner Joy to report immediate confirmation of attack
by PT or Swatow. Moorer requests that answer go to
Ticonderoga for direct reply to CINCPACFLT.
7:10 p.m. ....................... Turner Joy responds to earlier message of 5:34 p.m. confirms being attacked by two PT craft. Gives as evidence
torpedo sighted by a few members of the crew and that
target burned when hit. Black smoke seen by commanding officer. Admits sinking only ‘‘highly probable.’’
(We do not have original of this message, and our copy
does not say when it was received.)
9:03 p.m. ....................... COMSEVENFLT asked Turner Joy to urgently amplify
reports. ‘‘Who were witnesses, what is witness reliability?’’ ‘‘Most important that positive evidence substantiating type and number of attacking forces be
gathered and disseminated.
9:40 p.m. ....................... Turner Joy ordered to ‘‘locate debris to substantiate.’’
11:37 p.m. ..................... *President Johnson appears on television to annouce the
American military response.
August 5
12:01 a.m.–12:30 a.m.
*U.S. air strikes begin.
1:11 a.m. ....................... Turner Joy responds to message of August 4. 9:03 p.m.
asking for urgent confirmation. States that torpedo
wake sighted by officers—reliability good. ‘‘Estimate
two P.T.’s attacked, however, must admit two factors
defer—no ECM (electronic activity from P.T. boats. No
sonar indication of torpedo noises.’’ (No report of when
this message was received.)
*Official U. S. Public statement
5:58 p.m. .......................
United States Senate
January 17, 1968
SUBJECT: The 1964 Incidents in the Gulf of Tonkin
This memorandum concerns three alleged instances of North Vietnamese attacks on American destroyers in the summer and fall
of 1964.
The first attack occurred on August 2. 1964. The United States
and Hanoi agree this attack took place. The only questions raised
are whether the North Vietnamese attack on the Maddox occurred
while it was on a ‘‘routine patrol’’ on the high seas as the committee was told.
The second alleged attack was on August 4. The question here
is ‘‘Did this attack occur?’’ This is important because but for this
attack the United States would not have retaliated against North
Vietnam and there would presumably have been no urgent request
for the Tonkin Resolution.
The third alleged attack was on September 17/18. It is mentioned
here because after a full investigation the Navy concluded that the
attack did not occur.
In justifying the Southeast Asia Resolution at the joint hearing
of the Foreign Relations and Armed Services Committee on August
6, 1964, the administration maintained that the USS Maddox and
USS Turner Joy, the ships involved in the incidents on August 2
and 4, were, in Secretary McNamara’s words, ‘‘engaged in a routine
patrol in international waters of the Gulf of Tonkin’’ and were the
victims of ‘‘deliberate and unprovoked’’ attacks.
Over the last few months the committee has received information
suggesting that the incidents involving both the Maddox and Turner Joy were not as Mr. McNamara described. This information has
come from a variety of sources including unsigned letters and the
testimony of two former Naval officers.
On the basis of this information, as well as other letters including one from Admiral True stating flatly that the first incident on
August 2 could not have happened as described, the Chairman authorized the staff to ask the Department of Defense for the relevant
documents on the Gulf of Tonkin incidents. These documents include the ships’ logs, comunications traffic, summary or action reports, and an analysis done by the Department of Defense and the
Department of the Navy. The data includes well over a hundred cables sent to and from the ships during the time of the first find second incidents.
This information is the basis of the following comparison between
the events in the Gulf of Tonkin as described by the administration
and what these documents show. It is important to make it clear
at the outset that the committee staff has not sought testimony or
asked for information beyond requesting official records from the
Department of Defense. No witnesses or participants have been
questioned. Thus, the information which follows is based exclusively on official records and public government documents.
I. The USS Maddox and USS Turner Joy Incidents as Described by
the administration
According to Secretary McNamara’s testimony before the joint
hearing of the Foreign Relations and Armed Services Committee,
the USS Maddox on August 2, 1964, was about 30 miles from the
North Vietnam coast on a routine patrol in international waters
when at about noon local time the ship was approached by three
North Vietnamese torpedo boats. Two hours later the Maddox reported that she was approached by a high speed torpedo boat. The
ship reported that it was ‘‘the apparent intention of this craft to
conduct a torpedo attack.’’ Some twenty minutes later the Maddox,
again according to Mr. McNamara, reported that she ‘‘was attacked
by three PT craft’’ and that she ‘‘opened fire with her five inch battery, after three warning shots failed to slow down the attackers.’’
Despite these warning shots, the patrol craft continued their closing maneuvers and two of them closed to 5,000 yards, each firing
one torpedo. After taking evasive action, the Maddox alerted the
USS Carrier Ticonderoga and planes from this Carrier moved to attack the torpedo craft. Although several of the North Vietnamese
craft were damaged there was no injury to personnel on the Maddox and no damage to the ship.
On Monday, August 3, the President instructed the Navy to continue routine patrols in the Gulf of Tonkin and to double the force
by adding an additional destroyer (the Turner Joy) to the patrol.
The President then instructed the destroyers to attack any force
which attacked them in international waters and to attack ‘‘with
the objective of not only driving off the force but destroying it.’’ At
the same time the State Department delivered a note of protest to
the North Vietnamese Government. The note concluded with the
words ‘‘the United States Government expects that the authorities
of the regime in North Vietnam will be under no misapprehension
as to the grave consequences which would inevitably result from
any further unprovoked offensive military action against the
United States’ forces.’’
Following the incident the Maddox, accompanied by its sister destroyer, the Turner Joy, resumed its patrol in international waters.
Throughout the patrol the two ships stayed within a thousand
yards of each other. The patrol was uneventful on Monday, August
3 and until the early evening of August 4. Then, according to Mr.
McNamara: ‘‘The Maddox reported radar contact with unidentified
surface vessels who (sic) were paralleling its track and the track
of the Turner Joy. It was 7:40 p.m. when the Maddox reported
that, from actions being taken by these unidentified vessels, an attack by them appeared imminent. At this time the Maddox was
headed southeast near the center of the Gulf of Tonkin in international waters approximately 65 miles from the nearest land.’’
‘‘The Maddox at 8:36 p.m. established new radar contact with
two unidentified surface vessels and three unidentified aircraft. . .
At 9:30 p.m. additional unidentified vessels were observed on the
Maddox radar, and these vessels began to close rapidly on the destroyer patrols at speeds in excess of 40 knots. . . The destroyers
reported at 9:52 p.m. that they were under continuous torpedo attack and were engaged in defensive counterfire. Within the next
hour, the destroyer relayed messages saying that they had avoided
a number of torpedos, that they had been under repeated attack
and that they had sunk two of the attacking craft.’’ Secretary
McNamara testified that ‘‘The deliberate and unprovoked nature of
the attacks at locations that were indisputably in international waters compelled the President and his principal advisers to conclude
that a prompt and firm military response was required.’’
Ten hours after the attack the United States launched 64 attack
sorties against four Vietnamese patrol boat bases, and against a
large oil storage depot. The President also ordered a series of additional measures such as sending aircraft into South Vietnam and
fighter bomber aircraft into Thailand. On August 5, the President
submitted a message to the Congress requesting passage of the
Southeast Asia Resolution.
Careful reading of the testimony on August 6, 1964 and May 24,
1966 shows that the administration’s presentation to the joint
Committee was founded on the proposition that the attacks were
deliberate and unprovoked and the United States had no reasonable recourse but to attack the North Vietnam bases.
II. The Two Incidents as Seen Through the Logs and Communications Traffic
Mr. McNamara’s contention that the Maddox was ‘‘engaged in a
routine patrol in international waters of the Gulf of Tonkin’’ is not
an accurate description of the Maddox’s real mission during late
July and early August of 1964. Moreover, in in responding to Senator Morse’s suggestion at the hearing on the resolution that the
Maddox was somehow involved in a prior South Vietnamese attack
on the North Vietnamese island of Hon Me, Mr. McNamara said:
Our Navy played absolutely no part in, was not associated with, was not aware
of, any South Vietnam actions, if there were any. I want to make that very clear
to you. The Maddox was operating in international waters, was carrying out a routine patrol of the type we carry out all over the world at all times. It was not informed of, was not aware of, had no evidence of, and so far as I know today has
no knowledge of any South Vietnamese actions in connection with the two islands
that Senator Morse referred to. (Hearings on the Southeast Asia Resolution, August
6, 1964, p.23)
The ‘‘routine patrol’’ description is not accurate. The Department
of Defense materials reveal that the Maddox was engaged in an
electronics spying mission along the North Vietnamese and Chinese coasts. The basic instruction for this mission (the code name
DESOTO was assigned to the patrol series) was issued in January
of 1964. The instruction established one-ship patrols along the
Sino-Soviet Coast to collect information on both ‘‘military and civil
activity of the Asiatic Communist Bloc.’’ Ships were to patrol on a
random basis once every month. Special equipment aboard included a communication van, a mobile photo unit and photographer, and, in the case of the Maddox, a representative of the
United States military assistance group in South Vietnam.
According to the patrol instructions:
The closest point of approach to the ChiCom coast is 15NM. CPA (closest point
of approach) to the North Vietnamese coast is 8NM. CPA to North Vietnamese islands is 4NM.’’
Note: Both the Chinese and the North Vietnamese claim 12 nautical miles as the
limits of their waters. Apparently, only in the case of the Chinese was the United
States prepared to accept the claim.
Among its missions the DESOTO Patrol was directed to observe
the North Vietnamese junk force with emphasis on determining
possible surface traffic patterns used by the North Vietnamese and
Viet Cong.
In approving the patrol of the Maddox the Joint Chiefs of Staff
on July 15, 1964 cautioned the Commander-in-Chief of the Pacific
Fleet (CINCPACFLT) that the situation in the Gulf of Tonkin had
become increasingly sensitive:
A. Last DESOTO Patrol to Gulf of Tonkin was made in March. Weather at that
time greatly precluded visual intelligence collection.
B. U.S. has stepped up assistance to RVN (Republic of Vietnam) including stationing of CVA TG (the carrier USS Ticonderoga) at mouth of Gulf of Tonkin.
C. There have been considerable articles in news media discussing possibility of
action against NVN (North Vietnam).
D. Activity in 34–A operations has increased. (see below)
After a considerable amount of difficulty the committee staff
learned that these operations referred to as Operation 34–A were.
In February of 1964 the South Vietnamese and the United States
Military Advisory Group in Saigon devised a program to hinder
North Vietnam support of Viet Cong operations in South Vietnam.
This program was designated as OPLAN 34–A. Under this program
United States personnel were assigned to provide advice, training,
and assistance for South Vietnam maritime operations against
North Vietnam. A United States Navy detachment was assigned to
train and advise the South Vietnamese. For the first few months
in 1964 the operations consisted of intelligence and interdiction
missions. In July of 1964 the same month the Maddox began its
patrol—the United States made available eight fast patrol craft to
the Government of South Vietnam. These new craft permitted an
extension northward of the attacks on North Vietnam.
On the night of 30/31 July, 1964, four of these fast patrol craft
conducted operations against Hon Me and Hon Nieu Islands. These
patrol craft departed their base at Da Nang South Vietnam in the
afternoon ofthe 30th of July. Two of the patrol craft arrived off of
Hon Me Island at 12:21 a.m. local time on the 31st of July. Because
of enemy fire the plan to lead an attack was aborted. The target,
however,was taken under fire with 57 mm recoiless rifle fire as
well as 40 mm and 20 mm weapons.
The two other patrol craft proceeded at the same time to the
eastern end of Hon Nieu Island arriving at approximately the same
time as the first group arrived at Hon Me. During the ensuing
bombardment of the Island a series of explosions started on the
beach. The raiders left these two islands after at least thirty minutes and returned South to Da Nang arriving at approximately
10:00 a.m. local time on the 31st of July.
On the night of August 3/4, 1964, four South Vietnamese patrol
craft attacked North Vietnamese radar sights and a security post.
These patrol craft left their base at Da Nang at 4:00 p.m. local time
on August 3, 1964. The attacks took place at around midnight on
August 3/4. Patrol craft ceased fire at around 12:30 a.m. on 4 August and were returning to their base at Da Nang arriving at approximately 7:00 a.m. local time on August 4. During the withdrawal one of the patrol craft was pursued for approximately an
hour by a North Vietnam patrol craft.
It is important to note that these two South Vietnam operations
using U.S. patrol craft and weapons took place at the time first the
Maddox and later the Turner Joy were off the coast of North Vietnam. Moreover, these attacks were of an entirely different nature
from the earlier raids. These attacks for the first time involved the
bombardment of North Vietnam.
At the time of the attacks on the North Vietnam bases the Maddox was some 75 miles due east of the 17th parallel—the demarcation line between North and South Vietnam—and proceeding to the
coast. Therefore, Secretary McNamara was correct in reporting to
the committee that the Maddox was some 100 to 120 miles from
the Islands of Hon Me and Hon Nieu at the time the attacks took
At the same time, it is important to note that Mr. McNamara’s
contention that ‘‘our Navy . . . was not aware of any South Vietnam actions, if there were any’’ is not supported by the cable traffic. In addition to the Joint Chiefs of Staff’s instructions, the Commander-in-Chief of United States forces in the Pacific on July 10,
1964 had authorized his fleet units involved in the DESOTO patrol
to contact COMUSMACV (commander United States Military Assistance, Vietnam) for any additional intelligence required (for) pre-
vention of mutual interference with 34–A operations and such communications arrangements as may be desired.’’
As directed, the Maddox proceeded on July 25, 1964 to Keelung,
Taiwan, where the ship took aboard an electronics communication
facility (a large van) and operators, a MACV (Military Assistance,
Vietnam) representative, and photographers. It should be noted
that the Maddox was authorized during its mission ‘‘to stimulate
CHICOM/North Vietnamese electronic reaction.’’ In other words,
the ship was authorized to provoke the electronic systems of the
two countries.
On July 28, the USS Maddox left Keelung for its first checkpoint
off the coast of North Vietnam. As noted, the Maddox was some 75
miles off the demarcation line at the time the July 30/31 attacks
on North Vietnam took place. However, the Maddox was moving in
the direction of Cape Falaise in North Vietnam. For the DESOTO
patrols the Navy had established a series of arbitrary checkpoints—ABC, etc.—along the North Vietnam coast. The DESOTO
patrols used these points as reference points during their mission.
At 5:00 a.m. on August 1 Eastern Daylight Time [EDT] the Maddox arrived at Point Charlie. Point Charlie is nine miles off Cape
Falaise and well within the territorial waters claimed by North
Vietnam. The Maddox then continued up the North Vietnam coast
in the direction of Hon Me and Hon Nieu, the islands attacked
some 40 hours before. At 8:30 a.m. EDT the Maddox came within
four miles of Hon Me and then turned southward toward Point
Charlie. It should be noted at this point that the appearance of an
American destroyer along the Vietnam coast was highly unusual;
only the third U.S. ship to appear since 1962. Moreover, the Maddox was coming from the same direction as South Vietnamese raiders using U.S. military equipment had come some 40 hours before.
Finally, the Maddox was well within North Vietnam territorial waters. These facts could have led the North Vietnamese to believe
that the Maddox was part of the South Vietnamese operations, or
in any event was on a provocative mission.
What is interesting from the cable traffic is that some ten hours
before the Maddox was approached by the Vietnamese patrol craft
it reported that it had information indicating ‘‘possible hostile action’’ from the North Vietnamese. Three hours, 6:45 p.m. EDT on
August 1, later the Maddox cabled its superior: ‘‘Consider continuance of patrol presents an unacceptable risk.’’ Apparently this information on North Vietnamese intentions was derived from the
Maddox’s special electronics equipment. In view of the frequent references in the communications traffic to special intelligence information, an inquiry was made asking the source and text of this information. The answer was that the subject of special intelligence
was discussed with Senator Fulbright and no further information
would be made available. In response, the Commander of the Seventh Fleet authorized the ship to deviate from the mission at any
time it felt an unacceptable risk existed, but told the Maddox that
when ‘‘considered prudent resume itinerary,’’ it in other words, to
continue the patrol.
The Maddox then returned to its original patrol schedule and
turned North toward Point Delta, the point 11 miles off the North
Vietnamese coast. At 9:00 p.m. EDT August 1, the Maddox turned
south and headed for a point four miles seaward off the North Vietnam island of Hon Me. Two hours later the Maddox sighted and
tracked by radar three patrol craft. The Maddox’s position at the
time was 11 miles from Hon Me. The ship then turned away from
Hon Me to return to Point Delta. At 2:00 a.m. EDT August 2 the
Maddox detected another radar contact just North of Hon Me and
turned southeast. At the time of the first incident the Maddox was
indeed 30 miles from the North Vietnamese coast.
The Maddox’s log presents a somewhat different picture of the
first attack than Mr. McNamara gave the committee. The following
is verbatim from the ship’s log. The times are in military style.
That is, 1630 is 4:30 p.m.
1630—went to general quarters . . . This ship is being closed by tbree patrol
craft. 1642–CS (changed speed) to 25 knots . . . 1708–MT (mount) 52 and MT 53
open fire with one round a piece on patrol craft bearing 270 range, 9800 yards.
1711–MT 52, 53, 31 and 32 open fire. 1712—patrol craft returning fire.
There is no indication here that the opening rounds were intended as warning shots, as stated by Secretary McNamara.
In later cables the Maddox talked of warning shots but the log
seems to indicate that the Maddox fired the first shot in an old
fashioned naval engagement.
It is reasonable to draw the following conclusions from the additional information we now have on the first incident in the Bay of
(1) The Maddox was not engaged in a routine sea patrol, but in a special electronics intelligence mission which took the ship well within the North Vietnamese
territorial waters. Moreover, the mission was of such sensitivity that it had to be
approved by the JCS.
(2) There is every reason to believe that the North Vietnamese could have concluded that the Maddox was involved in the South Vietnamese attack on the island
of Hon Me and Hon Nieuo.
(3) The Maddox had ample warning from its special electronic equipment that the
North Vietnamese were stirred up and it could have broken off the patrol long before it did.
(4) Mr. McNamara misled the committee in stating that the Navy was unaware
of the 34–A attacks on North Vietnam.
III. The Maddox– Turner Joy Incident of August 4, 1964
The cable traffic here is interesting as well as informative and
it will be quoted at length because it is an indication as much of
American attitudes as it is a description of the course of events. On
the second of August, Commander-in-Chief, Pacific Fleet
(CINCPACFLT), alerted his units as follows:
1. In view Maddox incident consider it in our best interest that we assert right
of freedom of the seas and resume Gulf of Tonkin patrol earliest.
2. For COMSEVENTHFLT. UNODIR (unless otherwise directed) conduct patrol
with two destroyers, resuming ASAP (as soon as possible). When ready, proceed to
Point Charlie arriving first day thence patrol northward toward Point Delta during
daylight hours. Retire to the east during hours of darkness. On second day proceed
to Point Delta thence patrol south toward Point Charlie retiring at night as before.
On third day proceed to Point Lima and patrol toward Point Mike, retiring to east
at night. On fourth day proceed to Point Mike and patrol Point November, retiring
night. On fifth day, return to November and retire to south through Points Oscar
and PAPA and terminate patrol. CPA to North Vietnamese coast eight NM. CPA to
North Vietnamese Islands four NM. Above points as specified.
What this means is that, as mentioned, the United States Navy
had established a series of geographic reference points (Point Charlie, etc.) off the North Vietnamese Coast. What CINCPACFLT was
ordering his units to do was to run toward the Vietnam coast during the day time and then retire seaward at night. The CPA in the
message means ‘‘closest point of approach.’’ In other words, the
mission would bring the vessels within eight nautical miles of the
North Vietnamese coast and four nautical miles of North Vietnamese islands. This mission, you will remember, was described to
the United States Congress as a ‘‘routine patrol’’ and by implication
was not provocative. Several hours before the commencement of the
patrol the Commander of the carrier task force in the area sent the
following to the Maddox and the Turner Joy:
It is apparent that DRV (Democratic Republic of Vietnam) has thrown down the
gauntlet and now considers itself at war with the United States. It is felt that they
will attack U.S. forces on sight with no regard for cost. U.S. ships in Gulf of Tonkin
can no longer assume that they will be considered neutrals exercising the right of
free transit. They will be treated as belligerents from first detection and must consider themselves as such. DRV PTS (Patrol craft) have advantage, especially at
night of being able to hide in junk concentrations all across the Gulf of Tonkin. This
would allow attack from short range with little or no early warning.
As a result of this and other traffic it was agreed that aircraft
from the Ticonderoga and Constellation would remain airborne at
all times to come to the rescue of the Maddox and Turner Joy if
Perhaps the most curious exchange of cables came in the early
morning of August 4. The original plan called for the Turner Joy
and Maddox patrol (DESOTO patrol) to terminate these runs into
the Vietnam coast after two days. Presumably because of the lack
of results CINCPACFLT sent the following cable in the early morning of August 4:
1. Termination of DESOTO patrol after two days of patrol ops (operations) subsequent to Maddox incident as planned in Ref A (this was basic instruction for patrol),
does not in my view adequately demonstrate United States resolve to assert our legitimate rights in these international waters.
2. Accordingly, recommend following adjustments in remainder of patrol schedule
provided para two reference B (another set of instructions) in order to accomodate
COMUSMACV (Commander, United States Military Assistance Command Vietnam)
request that patrol ships remain north of LAT (latitude) 19–10 North until 060600H
to avoid interference with 34–A ops. 4 August patrol from Point Delta to Charlie remaining North of 19–10 North.
Although complicated in language, this cable says one thing quite
clearly and suggests another. It says clearly that CINCPACFLT
was disappointed with the results of the mission thus far—that is,
the United States had not yet ‘‘demonstrated’’ its resolve to assert
its legitimate rights in international waters. This seems to mean
that we had not as yet had the opportunity to demonstrate this
forcibly. As is now known, the 34–A operations were attacks on
North Vietnam by South Vietnam forces. This, as in the first case,
indicates that United States Naval forces knew the plans for such
an attack and were being asked to move their operations further
north not to interfere.
The most unusual part of this cable comes in the last paragraph:
The above patrol will: (a) clearly demonstrate our determination to continue these
operations. (b) possibly draw NVN (North Vietnamese Navy) PGMS (Patrol Boats)
to northward away from area of 34–A ops. (c) eliminate DESOTO patrol interference
with 34–A ops.
On the fourth of August, some 15 hours before the second incident the operational commander of the Maddox and the Turner Joy
who was aboard the Maddox sent the following to the commander
of the Seventh Fleet:
A. Evaluation of info from various sources indicates that DRV considers patrol directly involved with 34–A ops. DRV considers United States ships present as enemies because of these ops and have already indicated readiness to treat us in that
B. DRV are very sensitive about Hon Me. Believe this is PT operating base and
the cove there presently contains numerous patrol and PT craft which have been
repositioned from northerly bases.
The conclusion of the operational United States commander
aboard the Maddox on he basis of this information is very interesting. ‘‘Under these conditions 15 min. reaction time for obtaining
air cover is unacceptable. Cover must be overhead and controlled
by DD’s (destroyers) at all times.’’
Ten hours before the second incident the Maddox and Turner Joy
reported that a radar contact was paralleling the ships’ movements. The carrier Ticonderoga then reported to all concerned that
aircraft were ready for launch and support on short notice.
The events during the ‘‘attack’’ were muddled and confused according to cables. At one point after all the firing the operational
commander of both the Maddox and Turner Joy reported ‘‘ Joy also
reports no actual visual sightings or wake.’’ ‘‘Have no recaps of aircraft sighting but seem to be few . . . Entire action leaves many
doubts except for apparent attempt to ambush at beginning.’’
CINCPACFLT, some five hours after the presumed attack on the
United States ships and just five hours before the retaliatory air
strike on North Vietnam, sent a telegram as follows:
1. Can you confirm absolutely that you were attacked?
2. Can you confirm sinking of PT boats?
3. Desire reply directly supporting evidence.
In response (still four hours before the United States’ retaliatory
attack) the officer-in-charge of both the Maddox and Turner Joy
gave a very confused picture. At one point he said: ‘‘ Maddox scored
no known hits and never positively identified a boat as such.’’ Furthermore, ‘‘weather was overcast with limited visibility . . . air
support not successful in locating targets.’’ ‘‘There were no stars or
moon resulting in almost total darkness throughout action.’’ He
then reported: ‘‘. . . no known damage or personnel casualties to
either ship.’’ ‘‘ Turner Joy claims sinking one craft and damaging
Finally Admiral Moorer (now Chief of Naval Operations) himself
cabled to Maddox and Turner Joy requesting urgently the following
A. Can you confirm that you were attacked by PT or Swatow (patrol boat)?
There vas no answer from the Maddox but the Turner Joy did
reply some three hours before the retaliatory strike by the United
States that it could confirm being attacked by two PI craft on basis
of following evidence: gun director and director crew (presumably
by fire control radar) sighted torpedo as did one lookout; target
burned when hit. Black smoke seen by many; target silhouette
sighted by ‘‘some topside personnel. On the other hand, sinking of
patrol craft’’ ‘‘only highly probable’’ because target tracked on
radar; ‘‘shell bursts observed on radar all over contact’’; hits reported visually; targets disappeared.
At 9:03 p.m. the Commander of the 7th Fleet asked the Turner
Joy to amplify urgently its reports. The following is from the cable:
‘‘Who were witnesses, what is witness reliability? . . . Most important that present evidence substantiating type and number of attacking forces be gathered and disseminated.’’ Thirty minutes later
the Turner Joy was ordered to ‘‘locate debris to substantiate.’’
Two hours and thirty minutes after the message of the Commander of tbe 7th Fleet, Admiral Moorer, urgently asking for the
information, the President appeared on television to announce that
the strike against North Vietnam had commenced. Presumably the
order itself had gone out two or three hours before the President’s
announcement. The air strikes took place a few minutes after midnight on August 5. It is significant to note that at only at 1:11 a.m.
August 5, that, is, 11⁄2 hours after the conclusion of the attacks on
North Vietnam, the Turner Joy responded to the urgent message
from the Commander of the 7th Fleet asking for further evidence
that the attacks had taken place.
Unless we have not seen all the pertinent cables, it was on the
basis of the above information that the United States decided to
bomb North Vietnam—in spite of (a) the report of the Maddox that
it scored no hits and ‘‘never positively identified a boat as such’’
and (b) the inability of the air cover to see anything in spite of numerous flares.
A few days after the second incident in the Gulf of Tonkin the
Department of Defense through the Commander-in-Chief of the Pacific began an intensive effort to interview personnel aboard both
ships and to prepare affidavits from the personnel aboard the Maddox and Turner Joy, as well as from officers aboard the Ticonderoga. These affidavits and reports including the combat action reports of the Maddox and Turner Joy were made available to the
committee staff. This data is voluminous.
The information includes testimony of seamen who said they saw
the silhouette of a North Vietnamese patrol craft, of pilots who said
they saw wakes and fast moving craft, and of a few officers who
said they saw hits on the patrol craft. On the basis of this information, the Commander of the Pacific Fleet and General Burchinal
who looked at the communications traffic were ccnvinced that the
Maddox and the Turner Joy had been struck.
In compiling this information the Navy did not convene a formal
board of inquiry as it did after the so-called third incident in the
Gulf of Tonkin described below. The technique was entirely one of
putting together statements, tracks of the ships, and the like.
Moreover, it is curious to note that no where in this testimony and
reports is there any statement from any sonarman aboard the
In late August of 1964 the Defense Department released a selective list of excerpts from some of the cables sent to Washington.
These excerpts, it can be fairly stated, were highly selective giving
only those sentences which showed the Maddox and Turner Joy
had been attacked.
Before drawing some conclusions from the material given to the
staff, it would be worthwhile to describe two incidents which followed the August events that are of same significance.
On September 17/18, two USS destroyers, the USS Morton and
the USS Edwards conducted another DESOTO patrol. On September 18 in an action similar to the Maddox and Turner Joy incident, the Edwards reported that after holding a number of radar
contacts it had opened fire on these contacts. In the ensuing engagement the Morton and Edwards fired 170 rounds of 5 inch
shells and 129 of 3 inch shells. This attack, according to the information we have received, took place at night but, in contrast with
the Maddox and Turner Joy incident, under a half full moon and
scattered clouds with visibility up to four miles.
On September 21 and 22 Rear Admiral W. G. Guest convened a
board of inquiry in the Phillipines to investigate the third incident
in the Gulf of Tonkin. This inquiry determined that, although the
Morton and Edwards had held numerous radar contact and had a
running battle with these contacts, the ships had not been attacked
by North Vietnamse patrol craft. It is interesting to note that no
such formal inquiry was conducted in the case of the two incidents
involving the Maddox and Turner Joy. In the case of the Maddox
and Turner Joy an inquiry was made but under the direction of the
Commander-in-Chief of the Fleet without the convening of a formal
Several excerpts from the formal inquiry concerning the Morton
and Edwards incident are interesting and instructive:
(1) The board received testimony that crew members on the Edwards had seen
tracer bullet flashes of light and shell bursts.
(2) The Commander of both ships, Captain Hollyfield, who was aboard the Morton
called for the air support, and his first transmitted message used the word ‘‘attacked.’’ Captain Hollyfield subsequently said that it was unfortunate that this word
had been used.
(3) The summary of the formal board of inquiry made the following comment
about the communications problem during the engagement: ‘‘Response to queries
from higher authorities were delayed because of inadequate communications equipment and insufficient personnel . . . the patrol unit was unusually slow with action
messages from higher authorities and was unable to handle the volume.’’ The Commander of the two destroyers was much more specific about the communication
problem: ‘‘All the while, I was preparing answers to flash messages. Composition of
a rational SITSUM (situation summary) was impossible. I refused to say we were
fired on when I did not know we were, and, still do not know. I know that careless
or inaccurate reports would provoke more questions as they had in the Maddox
The second subsequent event of interest to what happened on
August 4 is the case of the interrogation reports of a number of
North Vietnamese sailors. On July 1, 1966 the US Navy sank several North Vietnamese torpedo boats. Nineteen of the North Vietnam crew members were captured, including a senior commander
in the North Vietnam Navy. These men were subjected to intensive
interrogation over a period of time.
The question of the Gulf of Tonkin attacks did not arise until the
interrogation was well under way. When the subject was finally
raised the Navy shifted all reports on the Tonkin incidents into a
sensitive communication channel. The information on the attacks
was not included in the formal report. However, the Defense Department has provided the committee with that report.
It should be noted that the source of this information is a North
Vietnamese officer who was interrogated for over one hundred
hours after his capture. He is described by U.S. naval officers as
cooperative and reliable. For example, he gave the Navy informa-
tion as to the exact location of North Vietnamese patrol boats hidden in coves. The Navy immediately went after these patrol boats,
found them and destroyed most of them.
The cables sent to Washington by the naval officers who did the
interrogation report that this North Vietnamese naval officer said
that he prepared the action report following the attack on the Maddox on the morning of August 2. 1964. He gave full details of how
the Maddox was attacked, by how many patrol boats and the results of the action. He named the number of each individual North
Vietnamese patrol craft involved and gave a full report on the damage to both the boats and injuries to the crew.
The U.S. Navy interrogation report contains the following statements:
1. Extensive interrogation of all potentially knowledgeable sources reveals they
have no info concerning a NVN attack on U.S. ships on 4 August 1964. They state
definitely and emphatically that no PT’s could have been involved. They do have
knowledge of a U.S. air attack on 5 August in which at least one and possibly three
*Swatow PGM’s were sunk by ACFT in vicinity of the Gianh River (17–43N/106–
30E). Slight damage was also inflicted by ACFT on 2 PT’s this date as stated Ref
2. The possibility that Swatows could have committed the 4 Aug attack has also
been carefully explored. Here again, however, all sources disclaim any knowledge
of such an attack. Based on the experience of interrogations thus far it is very possible that PT boat crews in general might not have heard of this attack since they
apparently have little contact with other ship types. On the other hand, source (the
North Vietnam naval commander) obviously has traveled in higher circles and has
proved himself exceptionally knowledgeable on almost every naval subject and event
of interest. Yet he specifically and strongly denies that any attack took place. When
pressed further on this issue he states that if such an attack did take place it could
only have been committed by Swatows.
(Note: From earlier interrogation source stated that Swatows are
neither designed nor intended for missions against large ships.)
* SWATOWS—North Vietnamese Patrol Boats
IV. Conclusions on the Second Incident
(1) Although the administration described the patrol of the Maddox and Turner Joy as routine but prepared for attack, there is
considerable evidence that the objective of the patrol was to provoke the North Vietnamese and then to bloody them if they responded to the provocation.
(2) An operation against the North Vietnamese directly from
South Vietnam was underway at the time the Maddox and Turner
Joy were running in and out from the North Vietnamese coast. The
United States commanders knew that the North Vietnamese considered the patrol of the two ships as part of this South Vietnamese operation. Nevertheless, the important point is that despite
the knowledge that North Vietnam considered the United States
patrol as part of the South Vietnam operation, the patrol continued.
(3) The second incident was a very confused affair. There are
ample grounds to question whether North Vietnamese boats were
there at all. And, if they were there, the evidence that the Maddox
and Turner Joy were attacked is circumstantial.
(4) There is considerable evidence that the operational demands
of striking North Vietnam within a few hours were so overwhelming that there was not time for amplifying information to
come into Washington. As a result, the United States Government
had to make a decision on the basis of circumstantial evidence that
was confused and often contradictory.
One caveat should be entered at this point: In late December
Under Secretary of Defense Paul Nitze asked to see Senator Fulbright. At that meeting Mr. Nitze presented for Senator Fulbright’s
eyes only a cable from special intelligence which he said was ‘‘conclusive’’ evidence that the Maddox and Turner Joy had been attacked. The staff has not seen this information and has no way of
judging whether this particular piece of information is the conclusive piece of evidence that will demonstrate without doubt that the
Maddox and Turner Joy were actually attacked.
V. Some Concluding Observations
On August 4, 1964 the United States by virtue of launching an
open and direct attack against North Vietnam went to war with
North Vietnam. These retaliatory raids were justified to the Congress on the basis that the American ships ‘‘engaged in a routine
patrol in international waters of the Gulf of Tonkin’’ were the victims of a ‘‘deliberate and unprovoked’’ attack.
If the analysis of this paper is correct, the Congress was asked
to approve the ‘‘functional equivalent’’ of a declaration of war, to
use Under Secretary of State Katzenbach’s phrase, without being
given the full facts as to what the American ships were doing in
the Gulf of Tonkin and why they might have been attacked or
There is another question raised by the way the administration
behaved during the Tonkin affair. It arises from comparison of the
restraint the United States showed when the Liberty was attacked
last June off the coast of the United Arab Republic resulting in
over thirty deaths and considerable damage, with the precipitous
action the United States took in the Gulf of Tonkin where there
were no casualties, no damage, and great uncertainity as to just
what happened.
As a consequence of the incidents in the Gulf of Tonkin the administration had lifted from its shoulders the very hard decision as
to whether the United States should intensify its involvement in
the Vietnam war. In the spring and summer of 1964 the South Vietnamese were losing the war and the United States had some very
difficult decisions to make about our role in the Vietnam war. In
the wake of the emotions developed during the Tonkin episodes,
public and Congressional debate was stilled over whether we
should intensify our military role in Vietnam.
I. During the course of examination of official documents and
public government statements, ten letters have been received, some
signed and some unsigned. All letters were from persons stating
they had at least indirect knowledge of the events. Each of these
communications is consistent with the formal documentation received by the staff. Two of the anonymous letters are attached because they apparently come from knowledgeable individuals presently employed in the Department of Defense.
II. Testimony has been taken from two former naval officers who
volunteered to supply information to the committee. One of these
officers was a communications officer on one of the destroyers participating in the third incident. His statements confirm the electronic nature of the third mission, and of previous missions. His
statements also provide insight as to destroyer operations at night
in the Gulf, with particular reference to the unreliability of sonar
and radar observations and the propensity of tense men to begin
firing before targets are clearly identified.
The second former naval officer was on active duty on another
vessel in the Far East. He was a nuclear weapons officer and saw
Secret traffic from the Maddox and Turner Joy during the second
incident. His testimony confirmed the substance of the communications the staff received from the Department of the Navy. It was
this officer’s conclusion that the second incident did not take place.
III. A conversation was held with an officer still on active duty
of the rank of Commander. This officer had been on duty in the
Navy Department’s Operation Center—Flag Plot—during the incidents in the Gulf of Tonkin. The Commander said he had been on
duty during much of the time the second incident was in process.
He said that after seeing the cables that came in during, as well
as those he read subsequently, he concluded that there was no substantiating evidence that the Maddox and Turner Joy had actually
been attacked on August 4.
When this officer reported his conversation with the Chairman
and the staff to his Commanding Officer, he was the next day ordered to submit to psychiatric examination. When that examination was completed, the medical board concluded that the officer
was ‘‘fit for duty’’ and he continues on active duty.
IV. A telephone conversation was held with a former White
House official on duty in the White House at the time of the incidents. He stated in response to staff questions that the second incident was ‘‘much more dubious.’’ It offered an opportunity, he said,
seized upon by ‘‘imprudent, harassed people’’ to get the authority
they wanted. There was not ‘‘enough evidence to support what happened’’ (i.e., the request for the Tonkin resolution) but the administration was ‘‘so far down the road’’ as to be unable to reverse-its
course of action. ‘‘Operational procedures’’ had gone so far that the
administration had to fish or cut bait. He added that it was reasonable to conclude that the decision had been made in ‘‘undue haste
by imprudent, harassed people.’’
V. In July 1967 the Associated Press published a story not given
wide circulation, but based on extensive interviews with crew members of the Maddox and Turner Joy. The Captain of the Turner
Joy, Commander Ogier, was quoted as saying: ‘‘Evaluating everything that was going on I was becoming less and less convinced
that somebody was there . . . (but now) I am getting on dangerous
ground because I know they were there. I know they were there because of classified information I received.’’
VI. It might be noted that Hanoi radio boasted of the attack of
August 2, but denied that the attack of August 4 ever took place,
this raising a question of why Hanoi told the truth on August 2,
but ‘‘lied’’ on August 4.
Letter received December 26, 1967
Letter received January 2, 1968
Received December 26, 1967
Senate Office Building, Washington, DC.
DEAR SENATOR FULBRIGHT: Getting the logs of the Maddox and
the Turner Joy may be of some use to you in trying to get to the
bottom of the Tonkin Gulf incident, but it really won’t help much.
What you most need is the record of events at and ccmmunications
passing through the National Military Command and Control Center. Most of them have probably now been destroyed. However, a
study was made on the basis of most of those records, fresh after
the event, by the Weapons Systems Evaluation Group, entitled
‘‘Command and Control of the Tonkin Gulf Incident, 4–5 August
1964.’’ This document is TOP SECRET and is very tightly held,
partly because it is based in part on the tape recordings of conversations over the phone of the President, the Secretary of Defense, Admiral Sharpe and others during the period when the critical decisions were being made. Very probably an effort will be
made to have all copies of the study destroyed when and if there
is any intimation that you know of the existence of the study. The
study will not disclose that the incident was a put-up job. It will
disclose several embarrassing things, however. One is that the first
attack, that on the Maddox, was very probably made because the
NVN confused the Maddox with CIA operations which were covering SVN hit and run attacks against NVN coastal areas. This
was probably due simply to lack of coordination. Another point will
be that the attack on the Turner Joy, the following day, was indeed
probably imaginary. After a first report of attack, there was a report that there probably had not been an attack at all. But the
President was to go on the air to address the nation about the retaliatory attacks that had already been planned, and after another
flurry of confusion Admiral Sharpe said he thought there had been
a real attack after all. At this point the Secretary of Defense decided to advise the President that the attack on the Turner Joy was
real, and to order the retaliatory attacks and go ahead with the
speech because it was getting very late for the address to the nation and moreover the retaliatory attack planes had been kept in
a state of takeoff readiness about the maximum time. It was clearly a case of making a definite decision when operational circumstances dictated haste but the facts suggested caution. One
may wonder how much the Secretary of Defense, who is a man of
honor and conscience, has worried about this since. Because later
events all indicate that the second ‘‘attack’’ was, at best, a trick of
false radar images. And it is rumored—I do not know for sure—
that the Conmander of the Turner Joy was shortly after relieved
of his command and hidden away somewhere where there would be
the least chance of adverse publicity.
I am sure if I signed this I would lose my job. But if you proceed
wisely, you should be able, for the good of the country, to learn the
truth of all I have suggested here, and much more. The Tonkin
Gulf incident, upon the basis of which the resolution was so quickly
obtained, was not a put-up job. But it was not the inexcusable and
flagrant attack upon US ships that it seemed to be and, that would
have justified the resolution and the retaliation had it been so. It
was a confused bungle which was used by the President to justify
a general course of action and policy that he had been advised by
the military to follow. He, like the Secretary of Defense, was their
prisoner. He got from them all the critical and decisive information,
and misinformation, and he simply put his trust in the wrong people. One of the things your Committee should really look into is the
constant use of security regulations to conceal the blunders and
connivings in the field of national security. But I doubt that all of
the power of the United States Senate could ever penetrate far
enough into the supersecret world to learn much about what goes
on. Right now the JSC is refusing materials in their fields that is
wanted by people working on Vietnam for the Secretary of Defense,
most obviously because they fear it would serve the Secretary of
Defense’s purposes, not theirs.
Received January 2, 1968
Senate Office Building,
Washington, DC.
Dear SENATOR: Keep up the good work on your investigation into
the alledged second Tonkin Gulf incident. You certainly have us
here in DOD scurrying around trying to cover up the incident and
innundate you with facts to circumvent the main point. That is,
that the so-called second attack of 4 August never took place.
Before Mr. Nitze signed out the last letter to you he conferred
with Mr. Bundy of State and Walt Rostow and the three of them
even went so far as to confer with the President. Do you think this
would have happened if there was nothing to hide? They are fully
aware that this whole incident is political dynamite and aren’t
about to give you the facts. Why the Navy upstairs is cooperating
is also curious, except for the fact it would also make them look
rather silly.
If you recall after Jack Stempler replied to your first letter, I
sent you the date time group of an unclassified message which
proved that the 4 August incident never happened. Yet when you
sent your second letter asking for a whole list of messages as well
as the interrogation of prisoners, whose interrogation proved that
they knew of the first incident, but not the second, you never asked
for the message which was the most important one.
Lt. White of the Maddox was absolutely right when he quoted
the sonarman.
Why don’t you ask Mr. McNamara for CTU 72.1.2 041240Z and
also for 041127Z from NavCom Philippines to JCS and CNO. Only
don’t just ask for a message because DOD conveniently can call it
a communication and tell you a message with that date time group
doesn’t exist.
Believe me Senator, Defense isn’t going to produce
selfincriminating evidence unless you blast it out of them. The Tonkin Gulf resolution never should have been passed and never would
have been passed if the real facts were known. Keep after them to
produce and Good Luck.
Washington, DC, January 23, 1968
Hon. J. W. Fulbright, Chairman,
Committee on Foreign Relations,
U.S. Senate,
Washington, DC.
DEAR MR. CHAIRMAN: Reference is made to your letter of January 12 to Secretary Nitze requesting certain information in connection with your review of the incidents of 1964 in the Gulf of Tonkin.
I am forwarding herewith, as Tab A, 23 messages from the naval
communication facility in the Philippines to Hawaii and Washington covering the August 4 incident. So that you may review in
proper perspective, message 041727Z which you specifically requested, your attention is invited to messages CTG 72.1 041830
and CTU 72.1.2 041848 which were transmitted an hour or so later
and which have been previously furnished to you.
With respect to the remainder of your request, the document in
question is an internal staff paper of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and
it is currently under review by the Chairman.
Assistant to the Secretary
(Legislative Affairs)
Tabs A and B
The CHAIRMAN. I want to make it clear that some of these press
people, we have only mentioned Finney, two or three others have
done a lot of work on their own, Karl, a lot of these press people
before the staff got this, some of them knew more about it than we
Actually, rather than we giving the press anything, the staff, we
learned more from the press people because a number of them have
been over, a number of them have interviewed some of these officers.
I heard just yesterday, I was told by a very reputable newspaperman, that members, somebody on the Los Angeles Times had interviewed personally members of the crew of the Maddox, you see,
which came back to San Diego. In other words, they, some of these
people, know more about this than we do.
Senator MUNDT. You can assume, Bill, whoever wrote the anonymous letter obviously wrote it to some newspaper.
The CHAIRMAN. It obviously has been someone in the Department. Some of these newsmen have had reports at least, they have
not had these official documents, but they have interviewed mem(129)
bers of the crew of these ships and we have a letter that is available that reports a conversation with a man who was the flight
surgeon on the Ticonderoga who was reporting what the pilots who
flew reported, you see, and it goes into when they came back and
so on.
Well, that is secondary, it is hearsay, but it is from a man who
was on the Ticonderoga. And some of these people have no doubt
approached them. It is not a thing that is going to be easily put
under the rug, but I am going to try to say as little as possible.
We simply had a report from the staff and that we will have further hearings, and that is all.
There will be no decision.
Senator MUNDT. No further hearings, but further study.
The CHAIRMAN. Further study and just executive hearings. We
have no plans for any witnesses, but just studying what material
was prepared by the staff. That is about what I am going to say
to the press.
Senator MUNDT. Some of the information needed is not yet available.
The CHAIRMAN. This isn’t going to be easy to put them off.
Senator MUNDT. You are pretty adroit.
[Whereupon, at 12:15 p.m., the committee recessed, subject to
call of the chair.]
[EDITOR’S NOTE.—On Jan. 23, 1968, while conducting electronic surveillance, the
U.S.S. Pueblo was seized by four North Korean patrol boats. Although Commander
Lloyd Bucher protested that the Pueblo had been operating in international waters,
the North Koreans impounded the ship and its information-gathering equipment,
and imprisoned the crew. Negotations for their release continued throughout the
year. Under terms demanded by the North Koreans, the United States formally
apologized for violating North Korean waters, and then immediately repudiated the
statement. On Dec. 22, the North Koreans released the 82 surviving officers and
crew—one crew member had died of wounds suffered during the capture—but they
continued to hold the ship.]
Friday, January 26, 1968
Washington DC.
The committee met, pursuant to notice, at 11:40 a.m., in room S–
116, the Capitol, Senator John Sparkman presiding.
Present: Senators Sparkman, Mansfield, Gore, Lausche, Symington, Pell, Hickenlooper, Aiken, Williams, Mundt, and Cooper.
Also present: William B. Macomber, Assistant Secretary for Congressional Relations.
Mr. Marcy, Mr. Kuhl, Mr. Holt, and Mr. Bader of the committee
Senator SPARKMAN: The committee will come to order.
Mr. Secretary, we are very glad to have you here. We have a
good attendance of the committee.
I believe that everyone who is in the city has expressed his intention of being here this morning.
The Chairman is down in Arkansas. He was not here when the
matter came up to consider having the meeting, and therefore, he
is not able to be here this morning and, as I say, everyone who is
in town is here or expects to be here.
We are very glad to have you and we would be glad for you to
proceed in your own way.
Secretary RUSK. Thank you, Mr. Chairman and gentlemen. I am
very glad to have a chance to meet briefly with the committee this
morning on the Korean ship incident, and I would hope we could
have some two-way discussion here, not just hear from me, not just
questions, even, but some genuine two-way discussion, because it
is a serious matter in which we need advice and counsel as well
as comment, questions and possible criticism.
A number of you were at the White House the other evening
when the essential facts of the incident itself were put forward. I
won’t review those in any detail, but I will try to respond to any
particular question on exactly what did happen.
There are still some things we do not yet know because we lost
contact with the skipper after the vessel was boarded, and there
are some points that still are unclear.
We have tried to make public just as much as possible about this
incident so that if I were to review the full facts you would be simply hearing a repetition of much that you have already read on the
subject or heard at the White House.
In the background here is a world-wide contest that is going on
in the electronics field allover the world and has been going on
since World War II. It is one of the more unpleasant aspects of the
total world situation, the world in which we live. Yet it is something that is necessary from many points of view.
Both the communist world, particularly the Soviet Union, and
we, are heavily involved in it. Activities of the sort being conducted
by the USS Pubelo occur at sea, by air, from ground stations, on
both sides. So I wanted to put this particular ship in that, against
that, context.
Further, and this may have had some bearing on the judgment
made by the skipper when he was first accosted, there are far more
harassments which occur at sea than are reported from time to
The Soviet Union will accuse us of harassment here or there either by an aircraft buzzing too low over its ships or one of our
ships getting too close to one of its.
We ourselves know of considerable numbers of harassing tactics
in the Mediterranean, the Black Sea, Sea of Japan. I mention this
because it may have entered into the skipper’s judgment as to
whether he was in touch with a real problem, a real incident, or
simply another act of harassment which he knows does occur from
time to time.
His judgment on that proved to be quite important because in
approximately an hour and a half between the first accosting and
the arrival of the reinforcing North Korean vessels was the crucial
time in which some sort of reaction could have taken place on
ourside in the way of prevention, air cover or something of that
Now why did the North Koreans seize this ship? We have no
hard information, no clue was given in any of the discussions we
have had with either the Soviet Union or at the Military Armistice
Commission in Korea the other day.
Judgments vary considerably. I think we have to link it in part
with the rapidly increasing numbers of incidents which have occurred across the 38th Parallel. Ambassador Goldberg will bring
some of these out at the Security Council, but there have been over
500 incidents of infiltration type in Korea in 1967 compared to
something on the order of 60 or 70 in 1966, and you are familiar
with the recent effort by 30 highly trained North Koreans to get
as far down as Seoul and to perpetrate what looked like an attack
on the Blue House and President Park himself. Almost all of those
have now been liquidated, by the way.
Why that additional pressure at this time? The principal speculation is that this has been an effort on the part of North Korea to
show solidarity with North Vietnam, perhaps to cause us to divert
forces from Vietnam and to cause the South Koreans to be sufficiently concerned about their own security as to keep their forces
from South Vietnam, perhaps even to try to cause them to withdraw those that are there or to prevent the sending of additional
Korean forces to Vietnam.
We have no direct evidence, I put this as an absence of information rather than as confirmed positive information, we have no direct evidence of direct collusion between the Soviet Union and
North Korea in seizing this vessel. We have no evidence of collusion between Peking and North Korea in seizing the vessel. I hasten to say I am sure that the Soviet Union will be intensely interested in and will try to exploit any classified gear that was not destroyed before the vessel was seized and, therefore, they undoubtedly will be inspecting that vessel very carefully.
We are inclined to think that Peking, at least, was not and would
not have been a party to this particular incident because of the
state of their relations with North Korea. We cannot rule out completely——
Senator MUNDT. Are they bad?
Secretary RUSK. They are sufficiently bad so that we think this
is most unlikely. It is interesting that Peking has been pretty silent
throughout this entire affair.
We think it is rather unlikely that the Soviets themselves put
the North Koreans up to this or were in collusion with them at the
time of the seizure itself, but we cannot rule that out. But we just
have no evidence that it is the case.
Now when the matter first occurred, we went immediately to the
Soviet Union. Unfortunately, one cannot go to the Soviet Union
without its being known. We ourselves, therefore, announced that
we were taking it up with them. That may or may not have been
exactly the right way to deal with it. Whether we should have
made that statement on our own announcement is a matter of
judment. But the first Soviet response was that they accepted no
responsibility; this was not their affair, we ought to take it up with
the North Koreans, we had means of communicating with the
North Koreans, and that is the end of it—pretty negative, disinterested reaction.
It was our impression in that first talk they had been already informed of the incident because Mr. Kuznetsov1 seemed to be speaking on the basis of a government position and did not, as one would
expect him to do in a situation of this sort, say ‘‘I will report what
you have said to my government and if we have anything to say
we will say it later.’’ He said what he had to say right on the spot.
But then, this ought to be held very closely indeed, partly for our
own reasons, and partly for the Soviets have asked us to hold it
very closely and I am throwing myself on the mercy of the committee on this, they then came back later and told us that they had
communicated our message to North Korea but added that they
themselves, the Soviets, were not prepared to act as intermediaries.
This was at least a hint to us that there were private communications with North Koreans which at least they wanted us to know
were in existence.
We have gone back to them again, but again with the reaction
that this is not their resopnsibility and they will not act as intermediary. It was not particularly encouraging.
The Military Armistice Committee meeting had been called by
ourside to deal with the infiltration into South Korea, particularly
the attack on the Blue Palace. At the meeting itself we raised both
points, the infiltration and the seizure of the ship. There we got no
satisfaction whatever. The North Korean side treated the exposition on both points with contempt, harshly, and with a certain
amount of levity. I understand that although the press reported
that the North Koreans said that they will hold the ship and its
crew, that in fact, at the time at the table they simply said, ‘‘We
are holding them.’’ In other words, there is a difference in tense
there that may or may turn out to have any significance in it.
We have gone to a great many other governments, Indonesia has
an embassy in North Korea, Japan has a good many contacts with
North Korea of an informal sort. We are meeting this morning with
the 16 countries who had troops in Korea who make up the Korean
Contributors Club to bring them up to date on the situation and,
as you know, we are referring this matter today to the United Nations where it will be discussed at 3:30 this afternoon.
I would like to point out to the committee that reference to the
Security Council does not necessarily turn on whether the Security
Council itself can take formal action on the matter. There have
been other crises, for example, the Berlin Blockade of 1946, the
Cuban missile crisis, where the question was not resolved in the
Security Council but where the presence of agenda of the Security
Council proved to be a very constructive thing, constructive element in the situation. It takes certain prestige factors under control for a period, it gets the members of the Council involved and
interested in private discussion and private contracts, it provides
a basis for the Secretary General to find out what he can do in the
situation, I and gains some time.
1 Deputy
Soviet Foreign Minister Vasily V. Kuznetsov.
We do not know yet what the reaction of the other side is going
to be. Thus far it has been unsatisfactory. We do not wish to close
the door to releasing these men and the ship by their own decision.
Here we are facing in the days ahead, we are facing something
of a contradictory problem. Our immediate objective is to get the
return of the ship and the men. Direct military action against
North Korea will almost certainly write off the ship and the men,
and so it is pretty important to keep the one in mind when thinking of the possibilities of the other. Further, whether we ourselves
feel that some action might have to be taken and no decision has
been made on that thus far, or whether the other side may decide
that they want to follow up their tactics with additional pressures
on South Korea, We feel it is important to make clear that we are
reinforcing our own forces there, and that we are not going to divert forces from Vietnam for that purpose in the event that that
is one of the objects of North Korea.
There is a meeting that is now being held to consider what kind
of reinforcements should be put into Korea, and I cannot unfortunately give you any feeling of the results of that, but it is my impression that there will be some additions to air and Navy in that
area in order to be braced for whatever the future might hold.
Those would presumably come from active units in the strategic
reserve, and the strategic reserve would be replenished by the
units that are being called up under the President’s action announced yesterday.
I think that is just about where we are at the present time.
I know there are many questions which will occur to you and I
would value any observations that any of you might wish to make
as to how you see it and what you think the stakes are and any
particular suggestion of how you think we might proceed.
Thus far we have increased our forces. I think we will be deploying certain of these forces to the Korean area. The Security Council
are in touch with many, many, many capitals and I can report to
you today we have had nothing on the combat wire from North
Korea indicating that they are contemplating releasing these men.
You may have noted that some press speculation was built up
over the last sentence of the so-called confession of the skipper,
where reference was made to leniency. Our own judgment is that
that confession was written by the North Koreans, and if in writing
it they themselves put that sentence in there it might have some
Senator LAUSCHE. What is the sentence?
Secretary RUSK. The sentence had to do with——
Senator GORE [continuing]. Leniency.
Secretary RUSK. In effect, you see a confession which winds up
asking for leniency for the crew.
Last night the North Koreans made a statement saying they expected to deal with these men in accordance with law. I do not
know what that means because if they dealt with it in accordance
with international law they would turn it back immediately. But if
they dealt with it in accordance with most people’s law they would
turn loose everybody except the skipper because he was the only
one who carried the responsibility in this matter. But that is for
the future.
There is one point on which I think a comment is worthwhile.
We are confident that this vessel did not go into territorial waters.
We recognize three-mile limit. North Korea claims a 12-mile limit.
This vessel was under the strictest instructions to stay 13 miles or
more off Korean shores, and because of the nature of the vessel we
would expect it to have a highly accurate navigational capability.
I mean it is a very special requirement for a vessel of this sort in
order to get its own job done quite apart from navigating its ship.
Such a vessel operates under radio silence much of the time. It
had been there 13 days and within a few hours would have been
out of the area. It was completing its mission. We do not believe
it was in territorial waters. But I point out that even if it were,
and I do not want that statement to suggest that I think it was,
but even if it had touched over into territorial waters, under the
law of the sea in the case of a public war vessel the coastal country
has the right to require it to leave, but does not have the right to
seize it. So that however way you look at this, this is a very serious
and grave act, almost without precedent in modern times, of which
we must take a very serious view.
So we will be pressing this very hard in the Security Council
I think Pauline Frederick on NBC’s Today Show this morning
was too gloomy about the situation in terms of attitudes of members in the Security Council. Ambassador Arthur Goldberg does not
think that there will be any problem of inscribing the item on the
agenda, that is, the nine votes required to do that. There may be
a debate as to whether the agenda is to be accepted, which could
take the rest of today and perhaps sometime tomorrow, but I would
think this would be a matter of discussion in the Security Council
over the weekend and into Monday or Tuesday.
We have in mind a resolution there which would cover both
parts, that is the infiltration into South Korea and the seizure of
the vessel. The prospect would be that such a resolution would be
vetoed by the Soviet Union and, therefore, would not be a legal resolution. But nevertheless the very process itself will help to disclose
whether there is any diplomatic or peaceful solution available to
bring about the prompt release of the ship and the crew.
Mr. Chairman, I think I might pause at this point in order that
the discussion may go in the direction in which members would
wish it to go.
Senator SPARKMAN. Well thank you, Mr. Secretary.
With reference to the position of the ship, I may read you statement that Mr. Helms made the other day. The chairman asked him
this question, well, he said first: ‘‘We obviously did not want to
abridge their belief that it was 12 nautical miles;’’ in other words,
we were making every effort to stay outside of the 12 miles. Then
the chairman said, ‘‘Is it all that accurate? Can you tell exactly how
many miles off the shore you are?’’ And Mr. Helms says, ‘‘Sir, I was
in the Navy during the War and I think sometimes it may not be
all that accurate. But they think it is, and I think we make a honest effort to stay outside of the 12-mile limit.’’
Secretary RUSK. Yes.
Senator SPARKMAN. Suppose it had gone over by accident or otherwise, would they have, would the North Koreans, have any international right to take over the vessel?
Secretary RUSK. Not in our view and not in accordance with
the—I do not have the article in front of me. Mr. Macomber, do you
have that article of the Law of the Sea Convention which covers
this point?
Mr. MACOMBER. No, sir, I do not.
Secretary RUSK. Our legal adviser insists very strongly that they
do not have the right to take the vessel over. They have the right
to require it to depart, and that is spelled out in the Law of the
Sea Convention.
Senator SPARKMAN. I suppose the only thing that we ever had
that came near to anything like this was back in the prohibition
days. Did any of our ships ever chase and shoot rum runners beyond the 3-mile limit? Did we observe the 3-mile limit?
Secretary RUSK. Oh, yes, I think there was a hot pursuit used
on some occasions there. But this is not a hot pursuit kind of situation.
Senator SPARKMAN. No.
Secretary RUSK. There was no military engagements going on.
Senator SPARKMAN. Here is something that is puzzling to me. If
these ships that are operating, and I understand we do have them
operating in different parts of the world, don’t we?
Secretary RUSK. Yes.
Senator SPARKMAN. If they, by their nature, prove active, it
seems to me that we might exercise even greater caution with reference to the territorial waters by staying off a good distance. I understand part of the time, from the first chart that was shown us—
showed that the day before they were 26 miles, wasn’t it, something like that, 26 miles out. And then they came down to 16 miles,
I think it was.
Secretary RUSK. Well, there are some technical reasons,
Mr. Chairman——
Senator SPARKMAN. That is just what I was going to ask.
Secretary RUSK. I perhaps am not only not qualified but I may
not even be authorized to get into the technical aspect of it, but
there are some technical reasons why the shorter distance could be
important from an intelligence point of view. Now we do——
Senator SPARKMAN. I have heard it said, I know nothing about
it, but I have heard it said, that the equipment on there is so very
sensitive that it is capable of picking up information over a rather
great distance, and——
Secretary RUSK. That would not be technically entirely true. I
mean there are different kinds of information involved.
Senator SPARKMAN. You know, I think, just judging by the queries that have come to me, I think there is a lot of question in the
minds of people—of course, I heard this explained down at the
White House the other night—that raises a question why a ship,
sent out like that, does not have readily accessible to it air support.
Secretary RUSK. Well, Mr. Chairman, we have operations of this
sort that have been going on for, since World War II, well, during
and since World War II.
Senator SPARKMAN. By the way, by not just our nation but different nations, isn’t it true?
Secretary RUSK. That is right. And George Brown2 made this
point in the House of Commons that there are several nations involved in this type of activity.
The first case does catch you with procedures which you may or
may not want to use with such activities.
Now, I would have grave doubt about whether we should in all
the places where such vessels go, we should provide destroyer escort or air cover, and I think we would have strong objections if the
Soviet Union provided destroyer escort and air cover over their vessels that come along our coasts in international waters. So there
are some problems there that are not easy to solve. We have relied
thus far, and thus far until this incident, reasonably successfully,
on the international character of international waters, the general
international law applicable to it, and on the whole that reliance
is applicable to it.
You do remember the planes shot down in international waters
during the Eisenhower administration off the northern coast of the
Soviet Union and it took some time to get those fliers back. You
had a somewhat comparable situation there.
Senator LAUSCHE. When was that, approximately, July 11, 1960?
Secretary RUSK. 1960, I believe.
Senator SPARKMAN. Senator Hickenlooper.
Senator HICKENLOOPER. Secretary Rusk, one thing that seemed
to be rather significant the other night at the White House, there
was no ranking Naval officer there, and this was a Navy ship or
a Navy operation. There was some private comment made about
that afterwards.
Secretary RUSK. A ranking Naval officer aboard ship?
Senator HICKENLOOPER. No, no, at the meeting at the White
House to answer questions.
Secretary RUSK. I see.
Senator HICKENLOOPER. To answer questions. Some questions
were asked and they said, ‘‘Well, that is a Navy question and we
are not qualified to answer Navy questions,’’ and we wondered, several of us wondered, why there wasn’t a Navy officer there who
could answer them.
2 British
Foreign Secretary.
Secretary RUSK. Well, I am an infantry man myself, so I cannot
answer that this morning. But actually, it was not planned that
way. It was simply that the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs and the
Secretary of Defense would be available.
Senator HICKENLOOPER. I merely raised the question.
Secretary RUSK. I understand.
Senator HICKENLOOPER. We had one warning. The Liberty, ship
was attacked in the Mediterranean by allegedly a friendly power,
and 30 some men were killed and a lot more injured in international waters, and it was an intelligence-gathering ship. We have
been warned that that can happen, and here probably because they
got away with attacking the Liberty over there they thought maybe
they could do it with this ship, the Pueblo, and I would not be surprised but what there will be other incidents now because the
paper tiger has been exposed in their propaganda; anyway, we are
not disposed to do anything about it except negotiate.
Secretary RUSK. Well, that is a judgment that hasn’t come to its
conclusion yet.
Senator HICKENLOOPER. I understand, but I was saying just before you sat down here that some of the most violent letters I have
been getting, communications are coming from preachers in Iowa
who normally are on the other side of the fence. They say, ‘‘We are
getting tired of this business. Go get them.’’
Secretary RUSK. I got the same reaction in Brooklyn, I might say.
Senator HICKENLOOPER. Well, you can get most any kind of a reaction in Brooklyn.
Senator HICKENLOOPER. Of course these things occur to a great
many people, but this question has been asked at least of me repeatedly, getting back to, I don’t know whether it was Senator
Lausche or the chairman mentioned about cover. Why weren’t
there at least some armed war vessels of ours within some kind of
reasonable reach, maybe 75 miles or 60 miles, something like that,
out in the Gulf from this ship with its highly sensitive equipment
which is very valuable, and which should not fall into the hands
of the enemy, if possible. But there apparently was nothing within,
well, Sasebo, closer down than South Korea, but they had to be unloaded.
Secretary RUSK. The planes to be used would be planes that
would have to be capable of dealing with MIG–21s so a good many
of the planes that were in South Korea were not suitable for that
purpose. There were others on Okinawa, too far away to get there
in time, and that would have required a refueling operation. By
that time darkness would have set in and in any event the ship
would have been in port.
No, there are a number of questions here that need review.
The theory has been on both sides, Senator, that ships of this
sort are trawlers, they are fishing boats, they are Geodetic Survey
boats, they are doing hydrographic investigations, they are doing
everything but what they are doing, and so they normally are not
treated as the kind of ship they are in such things as escort, air
cover and things of that sort.
I think these things will have to be reviewed and a new assessment made as to what the situation is.
I must say we look at the USS Liberty as so unique an incident
as to be almost beyond belief that such a mistake could have been
Senator HICKENLOOPER. I do not think it was.
Secretary RUSK. This one was not a mistake. We know this one
was not a mistake.
Senator HICKENLOOPER. I read reviews on both sides of the thing
and I do not see how they can claim it was a mistake at all. They
identified it by name as being in that area and they overflew it.
I do not want to get into the Liberty, I have exhausted my objections on that, I guess.
Secretary RUSK. It was such an incredible thing——
Senator HICKENLOOPER. I am still incensed by our cavalier treatment of that case.
Now, there wasn’t a shot fired, they did not even take the covers
off the 50-caliber machineguns on this ship. This skipper let them
take his ship without giving any resistance at all, I understand.
Secretary RUSK. I believe that occurred, yes, sir.
Senator HICKENLOOPER. You are an Army man. Do you think
that is the highest traditions of John Paul Jones and the American
Secretary RUSK. Well, again until we have access to the skipper
and try to get from him exactly what situation he thought he found
himself in I am reluctant to unload on the skipper himself, and
maybe it is not in your mind either at this point, but I think we
again need to review whether standing instructions in more detail
ought to be given on certain aspects. For example, there were 85
men on board. Should they have——
Senator HICKENLOOPER. We have a million men in South Vietnam, too.
Secretary RUSK. Should they have resisted the boarding? This is
a question that, I think, needs close examination.
Senator HICKENLOOPER. Men are getting killed in South Vietnam
every day.
Secretary RUSK. I understand, Senator.
Senator HICKENLOOPER. And we have some terrible sacrifices
that are going on, and if we are going to engage in this kind of an
operation we ought to be willing to accept the hazards and whatever the risk involved, whatever the risk may be that is involved.
But there is a curtain here someplace I cannot see through.
2 On June 8, 1967, during the Six-Day War between Israel and Egypt, Jordan, and Syria,
Israeli planes and a torpedo boat attacked the USS Liberty, an electronic surveillance ship in
the Mediterranean. Thirty-four American sailors were killed and 171 injured. The government
of Israel expressed deep regret and explained that it had mistaken the Liberty for an Egyptain
ship had shelled the Israeli coast, but American officials expressed doubts because the ship had
been well marked.
Secretary RUSK. I think there are a number of procedures that
ought to be reviewed in the light of this kind of incident.
I think it would be a mistake to adopt radically different procedures because of the one case if in fact it interferes with what you
are doing in the general situation.
But, on the other hand, it may be that there will be a need to
review the destruct or the scuttling procedures and other things of
that sort.
Let me, by the way, Mr Chairman, make just one quick remark.
These are not matters which are decided solely by junior level people over in back room somewhere. These are matters of interdepartmental coordination. A good many of these things are
brought to my personal attention in which I participate, and I have
on a number of occasions made adjustments in the plans because
of factors such as became apparent in this North Korean affair.
What is done here is done at a responsible level in government,
and not simply by cloak and dagger people off in a back room somewhere. I want to make that crystal clear.
Senator HICKENLOOPER. I think while we have established perhaps at least a partial conviction that we are standing by our commitments and we are not going to be put upon in our actions in
South Korea, I am just wondering if this is not being eroded by
some of these incidents now. We really do not take care of our own
situation when the chips are down. I do not know. I think it gives
very powerful propaganda——
Secretary RUSK. That is a major point at issue, Senator, in this
Senator HICKENLOOPER. Well, I won’t pursue it any further.
Secretary RUSK. The issues are very grave. I think that one must
decide what is, in the first instance, what is most likely to obtain
the return of the ship and the crew. Beyond that are some even
more serious issues about what is required in order that this sort
of thing not happen again.
Senator HICKENLOOPER. Well, it will happen again, if they get
away with this one, I think. That would be my guess. But maybe
not, I don’t know.
Senator SPARKMAN. Senator Mansfield.
While he is finishing, do you know whether or not the skipper
was under orders with reference to the use of fire power such as
he had? I heard over the radio this morning a Navy man say that
the 50-caliber machine guns would have been absolutely helpless
as against three and five-inch guns that the other ship probably
had, they could blow them right out of the water.
Secretary RUSK. He was up against a sub-chaser and motor torpedo boats that could have just obliterated the ship. So that the
choice the skipper had as he saw it——
Senator SPARKMAN. I wonder if he had free choice or it might
have been under instruction.
Secretary RUSK. He had the choice to let his crew be obliterated
or offer no resistance.
Senator Symington. Or to scuttle.
Secretary RUSK. Or to scuttle. The 50-caliber machine guns could
not in any sense have offered any serious military resistance in the
situation in which he found himself.
Senator SPARKMAN. Senator Mansfield.
Senator MANSFIELD. Mr. Secretary, are we sure, are we positive,
that the Pueblo was 16 miles off shore?
Secretary RUSK. There was no question when it was seized.
[Discussion off the record]
Secretary RUSK. We have no doubt about where it was when it
was seized.
Senator MANSFIELD. If this statement was not true; why was not
the President notified until after the seizure and taking of the
Pueblo into Wonsan Harbor?
Secretary RUSK. We are trying to check the timing of the various
communications. I was called about 1:35.
Senator LAUSCHE. In the morning?
Secretary RUSK. In the morning.
Senator MANSFIELD. Even at that time it was in Wonsan.
Secretary RUSK. That is right. In other words, when the Secretary of Defense, the Secretary of State and the President became
aware of the situation it was either in or entering Wonsan Harbor.
So that the question of preventive action had already passed at
that point.
Again I am not offering this as an alibi, I am just stating it as
a fact.
Senator MANSFIELD. No, but I think it is a factor which ought to
be taken in mind, especially in view of the great responsibilities
which devolve upon the President and Secretaries of Defense and
State in a matter of this kind.
What you would say applicable to McNamara was applicable to
the Pentagon generally.
Secretary RUSK. I would think so. I think perhaps there I was
a first message on which they went back to get further clarification
because there was some confusion about whether they were simply
accosted or whether some additional action was being taken such
as boarding.
Senator MANSFIELD. About what time was that?
Secretary RUSK. That was—you see, after the first accosting, and
this is an interesting point, the skipper of the ship reported that
he had been accosted and he was proceeding with his mission.
Senator WILLIAMS. What time was that?
Secretary RUSK. That was at 2122. I am sorry, 2225, Eastern
Standard Time, which is 10:25, the Pueblo reported sighting two
North Korean boats at an estimated range of 1,000 yards and said
they appeared to be fishing boats. He turned to the Northeast, and
then moved out to a position 24 nautical miles off the North Korean Coast and continued on a northeasterly course. Then at
2200—I am sorry, I am not enough of a sailor to translate these
numbers into times of day.
Senator MANSFIELD. Mr.Secretary, I wonder if you could have
Bill Macomber or someone on your staff furnish a chronological——
Secretary RUSK. A detailed chronology, yes, I will.
I am trying to find it.
Senator SPARKMAN. Well, for the record.
Secretary RUSK. I think we might have both an unclassified and
a classified chronology in case there is some point that turns on the
type of communication.
Senator MANSFIELD. We will get that later.
Senator MANSFIELD. There is a question, at least according to the
press, about the position of Honolulu in reference to this matter.
Just what was the position of the Commander in Chief Pacific
Fleet in this matter, and I raise that question despite the fact that
I see where Admiral Sharp has indicated he was boarding the Kitty
Hawk somewhere off the Vietnamese Coast at that time.
Senator SYMINGTON. You do not mean the Commander of the Pacific Fleet, you mean Hawaii.
Senator MANSFIELD. The overall Commander.
Secretary RUSK. Yes, but the Commander in Chief of the Pacific
Fleet, who is under Sharp, was in Hawaii, according to my information.
Senator MANSFIELD. Was he with, did he have, the authority to
act in a case of this sort? I raise the question because there is a
question about the disparty of communication between Honolulu
vis-a-vis the Pueblo incident, and the Pentagon, the White House
and the State Department.
Secretary RUSK. Yes, there is standby authority for the protection of U.S. Naval vessels. I understand that the Air Commander
made the decision after the boarding occurred not to send the aircraft on in at that point because there were MIG aircraft reported
in the area and he could not get enough aircraft there before dark
to deal with the situation in which those aircraft would find themselves.
Senator SYMINGTON. Is that the Air Commander in Hawaii.
Secretary RUSK. Is it the Fifth Air Command? Yes.
Senator MANSFIELD. Are you looking into the discrepancy between the Hawaiian action or lack of action and the lack of notification to Washington?
Secretary RUSK. We are trying to check now on the exact time
of all the messages.
Senator MANSFIELD. If there is a discrepancy.
Secretary RUSK. To find out if there is a discrepancy, yes, sir.
Senator MANSFIELD. Was this a CIA ship?
Secretary RUSK. No, sir, it is a Navy ship.
Senator MANSFIELD. Okay.
Secretary RUSK. Which was carrying out missions for the entire
intelligence community by direction of the Departments concerned,
including Defense, ourselves, CIA.
Senator MANSFIELD. But you had two civilians on the ship.
Secretary RUSK. That is correct. But the mission is not a CIA
Senator MANSFIELD. I see.
Now, two more questions, if I may. Did President Johnson know
of this ship at that time carrying out that particular function that
close to the Korean Coast?
Secretary RUSK. I cannot speak for his personal knowledge on
that, Senator.
Senator MANSFIELD. Did you know of the Liberty last July, I believe it was, patrolling fairly close in shore off the Sinai Coast?
Secretary RUSK. I do not think he knew the exact location of that
ship at that time.
Senator MANSFIELD. You, of course, did not know.
Secretary RUSK. I did not know.
Senator MANSFIELD. Did you or didn’t you?
Secretary RUSK. Well, I knew about the mission of the ship, yes.
Senator MANSFIELD. Did you know where it was?
Secretary RUSK. I did not know at that particular moment.
Senator MANSFIELD. Just how good is your information about the
total of eight ships which are engaged, as I understand, in this
kind of activity? Are you kept on a day-to-day——
Secretary RUSK. Not on a day-to-day basis, no, sir. These are
done on a mission basis.
Senator MANSFIELD. Did President Eisenhower know the U–2
was flying over the Soviet Union when he accepted responsibility
for it?
Secretary RUSK. I just don’t know.
Senator MANSFIELD. Well, my belief is he did not know, and my
strong belief in the matter is that the President did not know not
only in this instance but in the case of the Liberty as well, and I
think that is something that ought to be looked into because we
can get involved in incidents for which the President has to take
the blame and assume the responsibility because be has no choice.
He ought to be protected in some respect.
Senator SYMINGTON. If the Senator will yield right there, there
is a book out on the CIA, ‘‘The Real CIA,’’ by Kirkpatrick,3 Inspector General, and he very much emphasizes what he said was a
great mistake for President Eisenhower, and they all felt in the intelligence apparatus, to admit he knew about the U–2, and also in
one case President Kennedy thought it was a bad mistake to admit
that he knew about the Bay of Pigs.
[Discussion off the record]
Senator MUNDT. You asked him if you knew where the ship was
on that day. Did the President know about the mission of the ship?
Senator MANSFIELD. And if my information is correct, and I am
not sure it is, this was the first time this ship had undertaken that
kind of a patrol, is that right?
3 Lyman
B. Kirkpatrick, The Real CIA (New York Macmillan, 1968).
Secretary RUSK. The first time this ship had undertaken that
kind of a patrol, that is correct.
Senator MANSFIELD. That this ship had undertaken this kind of
patrol along the North Korean Coast.
Secretary RUSK. Yes, Senator, I did tell you earlier, I do not want
to be confusing here, it had been on this mission for 13 days.
Senator MANSFIELD. Yes, but it was the first patrol of that nature.
One more question, and I am through.
Senator MUNDT. I did not get a chance to get an answer.
Senator MANSFIELD. Oh, yes, surely.
Senator MUNDT. Did the President know about this mission?
Secretary RUSK. I cannot answer that directly because I just do
not literally know. If you asked about the President as an individual, he has a representative who sits with us when we get into
questions of these missions.
Senator MANSFIELD. I think it is fair to say he probably did not
know unless it was happenstance because he had so many things
which were brought to his attention as a matter of routine procedure.
Senator MUNDT. It is a very good question. He might not know
where it was that day, but he would know——
Secretary RUSK. But the President has an enormous reading file
every night bringing him up to date on everything, for example,
that is going on and I just cannot quite frankly respond to that
questionm such. I am fairly certain that he was not aware on the
day this incident occurred that that ship was where it was.
Senator MUNDT. I do not think that is an important question.
The question is whether he knows about the mission. He ought to
know how many people are doing these, how many people are involved in authorizing these activities that might lead us into war.
Senator SPARKMAN. May I interject, I do not think we ought to
expect the President to know where the ship was at the very time.
Senator MANSFIELD. But the point I am getting at, he gets the
blame, he assumes the blame.
Senator COOPER. I think this inquiry has an importance for this
reason: If it is correct, and it is correct as the Secretary has said
there have been 500 provocations along the line in South
Secretary RUSK. And a good many of those at sea, infiltration by
Senator MANSFIELD. And that is 1967.
Secretary RUSK. That is right.
Senator COOPER. The situation which you now think is important
enough to have reinforcements go there, in other words, there is a
possibility, I do not say a probability, you might have military action again in Korea, then for that reason I would think it would
be very important that the President did know whether or not such
a ship as this was moving up to North Korea where a provocation
could occur which might have influence setting off the resumption
of hostilities in Korea.
Senator MANSFIELD. Mr. Chairman, I will ask my other questions later.
Senator SPARKMAN. Senator Williams.
Senator WILLIAMS. Mr. Secretary, you, as I understand it, received your first message at 1:35.
Secretary RUSK. That is correct, sir.
Senator WILLIAMS. It started at around 10:25 you were furnished
an alert. We hear a lot about World War II, Pearl Harbor, about
the messages coming in, and nobody paying any attention to them
and they could not find the man who could make a proper decision
at his desk. Was such the case here?
Secretary RUSK. No, we were in communication——
Senator WILLIAMS. You were, but in the series of events leading
up to the report to you.
Secretary RUSK. Senator, I think you would have to shorten the
time in which there is a problem on that because remember, that
for the first approximate hour and a half the skipper himself had
reported that he was resuming his mission.
Senator WILLIAMS. I see.
Secretary RUSK. And had not asked for help, so that I think you
need to take that time out in terms of the communications problem
of a matter seemed to be more serious.
Senator WILLIAMS. What I was wondering in a situation something like that is that somebody is at the switch all the time who
can accept the messages and who is designated. I realize you just
cannot and the others cannot.
Secretary RUSK. Oh, yes, there is a 24-hour National Military
Command Center in the Pentagon, and a 24-hour Operation Center
in my building and they frequently call in the middle of the night
when matters of importance come up. In this instance Secretary
McNamara called me because he had been called by the National
Military Command Center. And he called me directly, and then I
called Mr. Rostow and suggested he inform the President.
Senator WILLIAMS. You will furnish to the committee the chronology of the events?
Secretary RUSK. Yes.
Senator WILLIAMS. One question that was in my mind, this confession, so-called confession, that was heard over the air, do we
have any reason to believe it was true, that is a real confession or
are these commanders instructed to not resist and make such confession, or just what is your opinion about that?
Secretary RUSK. Well, they certainly are not instructed to make
such confession.
Senator WILLIAMS. No, but I mean——
Secretary RUSK. Our view was that this was a confession that
was written by the North Koreans. We do not know the circumstances under which the commander may or may not himself
have read this message off to somebody.
Senator MUNDT. His wife was listening to it, according to the
paper, and did not know whether that was his voice.
Secretary RUSK. Yes, I have not had the result of any investigation as to the result. Did she say it was?
Senator MUNDT. I do not know.
Senator SPARKMAN. She was quoted as saying that she could not
determine that it was his voice.
Secretary RUSK. He is reputed by other officers who know him
well to be a first-class officer of integrity and courage. So what,
again, we need to have a chance to talk with him to see whether
there is any connection at all between him and this confession. He
might have been under great presure by some offer of release of the
crew if he were to make this confession as they put it to him. He
might have made a judgment that he or we might not have made
in the same way. But we do not believe that this confession represents the skipper’s authentic account of what went on. We do not
believe that he was at any time within seven miles of the North
Korean Coast and ødeleted¿.
Senator WILLIAMS. From the propaganda standpoint, if this was
his confession they have scored a point.
Are these ships equipped with any automatic device where they
can scuttle them quick?
Secretary RUSK. I do not know what the circumstances on that
particular ship are, but the committee might wish to have an officer down to go into some of these points.
My understanding is that most ships have the scuttling capability, but I do not know whether this was true in the case of this
one. I just do not know, sir.
Senator WILLIAMS. If the commander did make such a confession,
what would be the attitude of the Department when he comes
Secretary RUSK. Well, I would not want to try to make any judgment on that. That would be for the Defense Department. I just do
not know.
Senator WILLIAMS. No further questions.
Senator SPARKMAN. Senator Gore.
Secretary RUSK. I think it would depend a great deal on all the
circumstances in the situation, in what situation he found himself.
Senator GORE. Mr. Secretary, first I wish to commend President
Johnson and his advisors for proceeding with prudence and caution
in a very delicate and dangerous situation. I think there has been
a closing of ranks here, and I certainly share that feeling and attitude. I wish to ask a few questions.
You told us that this was the first patrol of this Pueblo, this 13day mission was the first patrol of the Pueblo.
Secretary RUSK. This particular ship. I think there had been an
earlier ship out in those waters.
Senator GORE. That is what I was coming to.
There have been others, how many others?
Secretary RUSK. I think there has been at least one other up in
those waters; yes, sir.
Senator GORE. I know a North Korean officer at Pan munjom alleged that the Pueblo was intermingled with some 100 South Korean fishing vessels. Do you know if this was the fact?
Secretary RUSK. I do not have that information.
Now, South Korean fishing vessels do go in international waters
north of the 38th Parallel to fish. I cannot deny that there might
have been some there, but what I can say categorically is that this
vessel had no operational relationship to any other, anything else
that might have been going on.
Senator GORE. This was just a matter of interest.
Secretary RUSK. Yes. Because—the Sea of Japan is filled with
fishing vessels from Korea, Japan and North Korea. So that I cannot deny there might have been South Korean fishing boats somewhere in the area.
Senator GORE. Along with the information which Senator Mansfield requested, would you supply the committee with the original
Naval operational instructions to the Pueblo?
Secretary RUSK. I will raise the question, Senator. I cannot contract to do so because I am not sure about the character of the orders and whether it is possible to.
Senator GORE. Well, the reason I ask that question, I know you
have emphasized that you are confident that at no time was the
Pueblo within a distance shorter than 13 miles of the North Korean
Now, in our proceedings a few days ago, Secretary McNamara,
in testimony before this committee with respect to the incidents in
the Gulf of Tonkin told this committee that the USS Maddox and
the Turner Joy were on ‘‘routine patrol in international waters’’.
This is referred to again, ‘‘in international waters’’ later on in the
same testimony.
The committee discovered that the Naval operational instructions
to the commanders of these two vessels directed them to go within
four miles of North Vietnamese Islands of Hon Me and Hon Nieu.
I raise this point because I looked at the map here, and I may
be entirely incorrect, but it seemed to me that there might be two
North Korean Islands, Rei-Do and Yo-Do, toward which the vessel
could have approached nearer than 13 miles and still have been 13
miles from the coast.
Would you inform us on that?
Secretary RUSK. You mean in this location where it was seized
or are you talking about something else?
Senator GORE. At some time during the patrol?
Secretary RUSK. In the area in which it was seized, that part of
its mission, it was my understanding they were 16 miles from the
nearest island, some 25 miles from Wonsan itself.
Senator GORE. At the time they were seized?
Secretary RUSK. That is correct, sir.
Senator GORE. You may recall, I asked General Wheeler at the
White House the other night if at any time during the patrol the
Pueblo had made incursions nearer, and he said he did not know.
Secretary RUSK. Well, in nearer than 16 is possible.
Senator GORE. I asked nearer than 12.
Secretary RUSK. The ship was under categoric instructions because it was to that extent recognized that this was a sensitive
area, it was under categoric instructions not to approach closer
than 13 miles, and it is the type of ship that has a high navigational capability. That is the basis for my confidence, but I did say
that I could not be a hundred percent sure until we get hold of the
shipper, you see.
Senator GORE. I understand.
Did you feel confident that it did not approach closer than 12
miles to some outcropping of territory, some island that belongs to
North Korea?
Secretary RUSK. I would have to, if you are talking about the entire 13 days, I would have to review to see whether that issue could
have arisen. I am quite—I know what the orders were and they
were most stringent in character on this point. The ship was under
radio silence, so that it did not regularly every hour or so report
its position. It was in radio silence most of its mission. So there is
an area here where I cannot testify directly, Senator Gore.
Senator GORE. I understand. I am trying to elicit all the information possible.
Secretary RUSK. That is right. But bear in mind I did make the
further point as a matter of international law and practice that
even if it had, as a U.S. Naval warship, as a public vessel of another government it was not subject to seizure.
Senator GORE. Well, one reason I raise this point, Mr. Secretary,
is that the Communists may have had in mind a demonstration of
the so-called ‘‘hot pursuit’’ principle. Now I realize that there is
merit to what you say, that there is a difference in hot pursuit, say,
into Cambodia in the heat of a battle and in the overtaking of a
vessel that has not undertaken any violence and apprehending it
in the course of hot pursuit, but it might be that they had in mind
drawing such a parallel.
Secretary RUSK. My hours have been so crowded that I have not
had a chance to get into this in some detail. I can only report that
our legal advisor examined that pretty carefully in preparation for
the Security Council this afternoon. His conclusion was that hot
pursuit was not properly involved in this situation.
I cannot deny that the North Koreans might not have had something of that sort in mind themselves.
Senator GORE. But you have considered that?
Secretary RUSK. We have considered that, yes.
Senator GORE. Good.
Was the Pueblo engaged in active as well as passive intelligence?
That is, what its instruction and purpose to only listen or to stimulate activity on the part of radar and radio communication?
Secretaty RUSK. My understanding is that it was on a passive
mission, that it was basically listening, was not jamming or any-
thing of that kind, for example. It was not conducting any action
against the other side.
Senator GORE. Well, do you know if the instructions were to approach in such a way as to incite activity of radar and radio and
radiation communities?
Secretary RUSK. I suppose a ship of that sort, operating, say, 13
miles off, would stimulate the other side’s radar, and then you
would listen to the other side’s radar. I mean this is simply a part
of the operational practice on both sides.
Senator GORE. Do you know if it was in communication with
agents of the United States within North Korea?
Secretary RUSK. I do not think so. I do not think we—that has
not entered the picture. It had no mission of that sort.
I wish I could report to you that we had agents in North Korea,
but I am a little doubtful.
Senator GORE. I had assumed we did. I hope we had.
Secretary RUSK. But I am a little doubtful of that.
Senator GORE. You said that the North Koreans had engaged in
incursions and some at sea, did you say 500?
Secretary RUSK. Over 500 incidents of infiltration occurred in
1967. Ambassador Goldberg will bring that before the Security
Council today.
Senator GORE. General Wheeler told us the other night that
upon, that at some time, I will not use the exact words, but I got
the impression that at the time the the commander of the Enterprise learned of the predicament of the Pueblo, that he changed
course and started steaming toward the area. Do you know if this
was upon his own decision or if he, this decision was made and he
was ordered so to do and, if so, by whom?
Secretary RUSK. The commander of the 7th Fleet ordered the Enterprise to change course.
Senator GORE. And that—did he order that upon his own or was
this, did this originate in Washington?
Secretary RUSK. I would have to check that point. I think from
Senator GORE. One question about the United Nations.
Secretary RUSK. That occurred the next morning at 0636 Washington time, that particular order.
Senator PELL. If I may interpolate that I asked that of the Joint
Chiefs, I think it was the Commander of the Pacific Fleet who did
it on his own authority and informed Washington.
Secretary RUSK. The note I have here is Commander of the 7th
Fleet. That could well occur, informed Washington and Washington
could have countermanded it immediately if it had any objection to
Senator GORE. In any event, the change of course, if I correctly
interpret the time you gave, was after the ship, the Pueblo, was already in harbor.
Secretary RUSK. Oh, yes, hours later.
Senator GORE. Well, one question with respect to the United Nations. Do you think there will be difficulty in inscribing the subject?
Secretary RUSK. Ambassador Goldberg does not think so. He has
been in touch with members up there, and he thinks there will be
the nine votes to inscribe the matter on the agenda and one of the
reasons for that is that Korea has been peculiarly a subject of interest on the part of the United Nations for more than 20 years.
They appointed a commission back in 1948. Mr. Dulles handled
that question in the General Assembly, to go out and try to arrange
the unification of the country by free elections and peaceful means.
Then came the Korean War in which the forces there were under
the U.N. Command. Our side that sat at the Military Armistice
Commission the other day sat there as the United Nations Command, and so that there has been a long annual—as you know,
from your own experience—an annual discussion of Korea in the
United Nations for one purpose or another.
So it would be, I think, a good many of them I would think it
would be normal for a Korean problem to come there.
Senator GORE. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Senator Sparkman. Senator Mundt.
Senator MUNDT. Mr. Secretary, in your capacity you are given all
of the information concerning what happened that anybody at the
top level of government receives, is that correct?
Secretary RUSK. Yes, I think so, sir.
Senator MUNDT. How many MIGs were flying over the patrol
boat altogether?
Secretary RUSK. His first report was that there were two MIGs,
I believe, circling off his bow.
Senator MUNDT. How many available war planes do we have
under U.S. Command, U.S. war planes in North Korea at that
Senator WILLIAMS. South Korea?
Secretary RUSK. South Korea?
Senator MUNDT. South Korea.
Secretary RUSK. I do not have with me, Senator, the details.
Senator MUNDT. You heard what General Wheeler said at that
Secretary RUSK. Yes. There were some 50 or 60 U.S. aircraft of
all types, I gather, 150 South Korean aircraft of all types, but our
principal and most modern fighters were in Japan and Okinawa.
Senator MUNDT. Do you recall General Wheeler saying there
were three and it took a long time to deload them?
Secretary RUSK. Yes, I feel that needs some clarification.
Senator MUNDT. It certainly does.
I had a curious thing happen to me yesterday. I had a call from
the Joint Chiefs of Staff, which usually does not happen to me, it
usually happens to Symington, and they said, ‘‘We understand you
want some more information about what took place with the Pueblo.’’
Well, I said, ‘‘I have not requested any,’’ and so I called back and
I thought maybe one of the Senators who was not at the White
House could have called and they got the name confused. I said I
had not requested it.
They said, ‘‘Would you not like to have some?’’
I said, ‘‘I would like to have all that you have got.’’
Captain Schweitzer, and is there a General Brown, General
Brown, a four-star general, came to my office, and we had a discussion, and I said, ‘‘Well, these two MIGs,’’ I did say—he said there
were eight MIGs.
Senator MANSFIELD. Eight what?
Senator MUNDT. Eight MIGs.
I said, ‘‘General Wheeler said there were two.’’
Well, he said, ‘‘That is one reason we wanted to come up, to get
the record straight.’’
Secretary RUSK. Well, that could turn on the difference between
what the skipper reported and what other types, of information
showed in the immediate area. The skipper might not have seen
Senator MUNDT. That is right.
I am giving you the facts as they are. ‘‘I am kind of worried
about the fact that with all our manpower we have got down south
of the border and 500 infiltrations that you mentioned that we had
only three aircraft under our command.’’
‘‘Oh, no,’’ he said, ‘‘we had a lot of aircraft under our command.’’
I said, ‘‘Fighters?’’
He said, ‘‘Yes.’’ He listed the different kinds of fighter.
Well, I said, ‘‘How come General Wheeler only said three?’’
He said, ‘‘That is the only reason I wanted to come up here with
the information.’’
I would have accepted all of that except last night I was talking
with a member of the House Armed Services Committee about a
briefing they were getting at their committee room at the same
time I was being told this in my office, and he said to me, he did
not know I was at the White House, he said, ‘‘You know, there
were only two MIGs over the boat.’’
I said, ‘‘Right. Where did you get that?’’
‘‘We got it right from General Wheeler who was before our committee yesterday that we had only three planes.’’
I think there is a lot of misinformation going on and I am tired
of being flim-flammed. I did not ask these fellows to come. They
told me and I thought it was perfectly possible, if we did not have
that information why he should be telling me at the time his emissary was telling me one thing, they were getting something different at the House. I think we ought to know what it is. I think
it is a very good question, do you think it is two or eight? Do you
think it is three or a lot of available planes, not only talking about
Korean planes? We had a lot of those, pretty good ones too.
Secretary RUSK. Senator, I have no problem about your getting
accurate information on that point. Quite frankly, I am not suffi-
ciently briefed in detail about a good many of these things like
order of battle at a particular moment in South Korea and that
sort of thing and I would try to arrange to have an officer come
down and brief the committee in whatever detail you wish.
Senator MUNDT. I just want the facts. I hate to have the House
committee briefed on one thing and me briefed on the same thing
simultaneously and so far off. It seems to me if we have any kind
of information from the Government, there should not be that kind
of a question. It should not be debatable.
My information is pretty inadequate, refreshed, but at the same
time the same hour these two fellows came up to see me and telling me one thing, and they were telling the House Committee
something entirely different.
Secretary RUSK. Let me look into this and see if there is anything about it.
Senator MUNDT. Yes.
About your U.N. resolution, do you say you are sending in a joint
resolution of two items or a resolution with two items or are you
sending in two resolutions?
Secretary RUSK. The resolution that we have in mind would call
upon North Korea to cease immediately all acts threatening international peace and security in the Korean area. It calls upon North
Korea to observe strictly the provisions of the Korean Armistice
Agreement and requests the authorities in North Korea to return
promptly the USS Pueblo as well as all members of its crew. In one
resolution we are talking about both kinds of things.
One of the reasons we are doing that is our South Korean friends
would be extremely sensitive if we simply concentrated on this ship
and ignored all these things the fellows in the North have been
doing to them by including an attack on the President’s palace.
Senator MUNDT. Right. I think we would be in a much stronger
position if we had two resolutions, one dealing with the infiltration,
the events on the attack on the Blue Palace which undoubtedly
Russia would veto because she was on the other side of that war
and went all the way through, but if we are going to find out where
the Russians stand, why do you not have the resolution on the
Pueblo and see if they would veto that. I think you are just playing
yourself right smack in a trap in that kind of a resolution because
they veto it and say she is vetoing it because of the U.N. war.
Secretary RUSK. I think if the Soviet Union had any different
view on this, if the Soviet Union is interested in getting this ship
released and is unable to, it will veto any such resolution.
Senator MUNDT. Yes.
Secretary RUSK. It is not going to show any lack of solidarity
with North Korea in the Security Council.
Senator MUNDT. You make it very easy by a stupidly drawn resolution, and I say that because this is serious business to offer that
kind of resolution, you just play into the hands of the other fellow.
When you could have two separate resolutions and the second one
is a fish or cut bait resolution, ‘‘How about protection of the high
seas, where do you stand on that, where do you stand on the Pueblo?’’ So you obviously are weakening your case.
Secretary RUSK. I just do not agree with that, Senator.
Senator MUNDT. All right, you wanted some advice; you got it.
Senator SPARKMAN. No charge.
Senator MUNDT. I want it in the record. I want it in the record
because I think it is poorly drawn.
Number three——
Senator SYMINGTON. Will the Senator yield for just a minute. I
have a luncheon engagement. Would it be in order if I could submit
about 15 questions to the Secretary on this matter I have written
down and for the record give them to Carl and make them part of
the record and he would answer them for me?
Senator SPARKMAN. Very well, that will be satisfactory.
Secretary RUSK. Yes.
Senator SYMINGTON. Thank you.
Senator MUNDT. Would you say, Mr. Secretary, that it was pretty
obvious, to put it mildly, that the USSR by subsequent actions is
sympathetic to what has been done, whether they had anything to
do with planning it or not? But by their action they certainly have
done nothing to be helpful. They have indicated they were sympathetic and they realize that because of premeditation or by accident
something pretty useful has fallen into their hands.
Secretary RUSK. As I said earlier, I think there is no doubt that
they will try to get what information they have off of and about
this ship. I think it is a little early to have a final conclusion as
to what their attitude will be about the return of the ship and the
crew, because they have a considerable stake in the ability of such
ships to move in international waters.
Senator MUNDT. That is the story of my logic in saying you ought
to have two resolutions covering both, instead of mixing apples and
Secretary RUSK. We would have a serious problem if we seemed
to separate ourselves from the South Koreans to that extent.
Senator MUNDT. You have a resolution right on the one bringing
right out in the open the infiltration and concentrating on it.
Secretary RUSK. If the Soviet Union wants to vote differently on
paragraph 3 than they do on paragraphs 1 and 2 they will have
a chance.
Senator MUNDT. The trouble is they are not that stupid. They
will take advantage of it. And we have made it easy.
To what extent will the Communist capture of the equipment enable them to devise effective counterequipment?
Secretary RUSK. I think you ought to put that to Mr. Helms. An
assessment is being made of that now. We are handicapped by not
knowing details about what equipment was destroyed and what
might have been not destroyed. We know that destruct procedures
were taken.
Senator MUNDT. We raised the question to what extent will the
Communists’ capture of the U.S. equipment, if it were all there and
non destroyed.
Secretary RUSK. It would require some adjustments in our own
procedures, communication procedures, but it is not all that fatal.
It is troublesome.
Senator MUNDT. You think they will release it before they have
thoroughly studied and examined the equipment and drained out
every possible intelligence information they can get?
Secretary RUSK. I just do not know, sir. I cannot anticipate that.
Senator MUNDT. Is it equipment which would give information
that they do not already have?
Secretary RUSK. I personally do not haye information on what
documents might have been aboard. That is one of the things that
is being studied in connection with assessment of the damage here.
Senator MUNDT. The cables, were they able to destroy all of the
pubs? A gentleman came in and asked what does pubs mean. That
is publications. I said, ‘‘Could you throw them overboard,’’ and the
other one said, ‘‘We did not have time.’’ This captain said they
might float, pick them up. The captain said they all have lead covers so they all sink. So we had a little debate in my office as to
which was true. The general finally said it is true they have lead
Let me say this, I want to say this now: The Secretary solicited
advice, he did not like my first suggestion, and I say this, as you
know, as one who has supported the somewhat unusual problems
of the President and you in the conduct of this war, although I
have deplored the associated peace and trade policies which aid the
enemy; despite that I think it is better to go on if there is fighting
on both sides of the war than not to go on at all. I will have more
to say in a Senate speech on the floor later, but I want to put myself on record as saying I think the U.S. government is in bad business with a war raging as it is in Vietnam, trouble in the Middle
East, a ship being sunk over there and other problems in other
areas, to go engaging in provocative missions of this type, and I am
not at all impressed when you say both sides do it, and it is going
on all the time, because there is the only place in the world where
we are arrayed against an enemy in an armed truce without even
a peace, an armed truce, a kind of an armistice, a shooting armistice, because they are killing our boys, we have casualties almost
every week over there, they are invading our lines and coming
down on these—and I think I know enough about the intelligence
capability of this country to know the little extra intelligence you
pick up by flying, sailing right in sight of an enemy country. Some
of these incursions in that area have been by sea, have they not,
Mr. Secretary, or some on land?
Secretary RUSK. They have indicated some by sea, some by air,
and some with fixed ground stations.
Senator MUNDT. So we deliberately fly in, as it were, thumbing
our nose at them with what they know is a spy ship and then we
express great surprise when they resent it and take steps to stop
it, and I just do not like the idea of our going into that kind of area
when we have enough other intelligence to get what we need there,
and I think we have got enough wars, I am not sure I am going
to support the administration in any other wars—I am supporting
it in the Vietnam War but we are just courting disaster, in my
I would, like to hear your remarks. I am sure you will not agree
with this.
Secretary RUSK. We are talking about operations in international
waters here.
Senator MUNDT. We are talking about international—wait a
minute. We are talking about international waters close to a country with whom we are almost at war and have been for a long time,
there is an armed truce, all kinds of incidents are occurring, and
we go into that general area sort of like a kid in the back yard,
we knock a chip off their shoulder and say, ‘‘What are you going
to do about it?’’
I just do not like to see us trying to get into this area.
Secretary RUSK. There is a sister ship of the Pueblo owned by the
Soviet Union operating in the Sea of Japan today. It plays around
with our own naval vessels in the Sea of Japan from time to time.
Should we take it as knocking a chip from our shoulder when they
do that?
Senator MUNDT. Query: When the fighting was going on in
Korea, how many Russians were deployed?
Secretary RUSK. None.
Senator MUNDT. None, exactly, and a lot of American troops.
This is an altogether different picture. I do not like generalizations
that do not apply to this specific case. This is a specific case. We
had a lot of men there, we have a lot of men there now, two divisions.
Secretary RUSK. But Senator, the rapid increase of incidents in
the year 1967 puts a much higher premium on certain kinds of information we would like to get if we can, so these two things tend
to go together.
Senator MUNDT. Yes, I can realize, but we have other means of
getting an awful lot of information there. But I am talking about
the fact we are in a pretty big war, McNamara said the boys were
going to be home by Christmas so long ago I have forgotten the
date. Now we are supporting, and with more and more skepticism
and more and more reluctance and secondthinking because of the
equally provocative diplomatic and trade policies that this administration is engaging in.
Despite that, I support it but when you go out deliberately, this
was deliberate, whether the President knew about it or not this
was planned, deliberately getting right in sight of their vessels
crowding up and say, ‘‘We will not go across the 12-mile limit but
by God we will go 13 miles,’’ we are getting awfully close at a period of time when we are engaged in a very uneasy armed truce
with Korea and we ought to be interested in ameliorating and not
trying to get any more wars going until we finish the one we are
I just cannot follow that. I think it was very bad planning on
somebody’s part. I do not think it was yours. I do not think that
we should just sit around and expect these kind of things to continue.
Fortunately, this is the only kind of place where we have this.
I do not mean to argue that the Soviets do not do it to us and we
do it to them. We do it on their shores and they do it on our shores,
but they do not have a war. But here we go poking along for a very
small amount of information we can add to our intelligence and
running a risk of an incident like this, almost inviting for it. And
we got what we asked for, in my opinion, and I do not think it is
Secretary RUSK. Well, Senator, I think that underestimates to
some extent and I do not want to appear not to welcome your comments, I asked for comments, but I think that underestimates the
intelligence importance of missions of this sort. And that crisis situations add to the need for the intelligence, and further, we really
ought to be able to exercise our rights in international waters.
Senator MUNDT. That is exactly what Captain Schweitzer said.
I said fine. If we are going to exercise—he said that, we have to
exercise our rights of freedom of the seas and we are going to protect those, we have to protect them. All right, if you exercise them,
we have to make them successful. We did not exercise them. We
did not have them. If you are going to exercise them, you are going
to have to have some planes and ships available to protect them.
You certainly do not build up your rights to the seas by losing the
contest as we did here. That is the purpose of it. If we just want
to say, ‘‘By gum, we have a right to be there,’’ we have to be doggone sure we protect our rights.
Senator LAUSCHE. What was that last remark? Repeat the words.
Senator MUNDT. I said doggone sure.
Secretary RUSK. Senator, I am not prepared myself to generalize
about this particular incident because of the scope of it.
Senator MUNDT. This is a serious one, we are getting down to the
meat in the coconut, this is government policy, this is administration policy, if we are going around to demonstrate we have our
right to the sea and take all the chances we take.
Secretary RUSK. We don’t go around demonstrating our right to
the sea, but when we go around in international waters we think
we ought to have a right to exercise our rights in international waters.
Senator MUNDT. Well, put me down in the record as one who believes this is a very serious blunder on the part of the Government
in these times when we have got this war on our hands. I just don’t
see any value at all of sending a ship close enough to provoke the
enemy to do what it did and then wring our hands three days after
the fight, ‘‘We don’t know what we are going to do,’’ we go to Russia: ‘‘Won’t you help us?’’
We knew she wouldn’t help us, I knew when you said that at the
White House, but I thought your judgment was right because it did
disclose the attitude of the Russians and no other emissary would
have been as successful as the Russians to North Korea.
That is all.
Senator SPARKMAN. Senator Lausche?
Senator LAUSCHE. How many troops of South Korea do we have
in South Vietnam?
Secretary RUSK. Perhaps 50,000, perhaps a few more, 52,000.
Senator LAUSCHE. In 1967 there were 500 violations of the agreement respecting the boundary line between North Korea and South
Secretary RUSK. Over 500; yes, sir. I am trying to get the exact
Senator LAUSCHE. Did our government have a feeling that in
view of these 500 violations there ought to be greater activity in
learning exactly what was happening in North Korea?
Secretary RUSK. That was one of the prime consideration in this
particular mission; yes, sir.
Senator LAUSCHE. When did our first mission go into these waters with a view of trying to learn the purposes and activities of
Secretary RUSK. This particular ship went in on 10 January, but
I would have to check back to see about earlier missions.
Senator LAUSCHE. Yes.
But, did the department feel that in view of what was happening
in the boundary between North and South Korea that greater efforts should be made to learn what North Korea was doing?
Secretary RUSK. That is correct, sir.
Senator LAUSCHE. You stated that there were one of two reasons
why this ship was seized. One, to gain the knowledge of the classified electronic instruments that were on the ship and, two, to divert South Koreans and the United States forces from South Vietnam.
Do you reach any judgment which of the two was the primary
cause for what was done?
Secretary RUSK. We don’t have a hard judgment on that because
we are necessarily in a field of speculation. I think if you put this
incident together with—I have the exact figure now—543 incidents
in the first 10 months of 1967 across the DMZ, I would think that
the basic motive was pressure on South Korea perhaps connected
with Vietnam.
Senator LAUSCHE. It is my opinion that there were two purposes
that North Korea wanted to serve. One, to grab this classified,
these classified instruments; and, two, a diversion.
I come to that conclusion on the basis of determining what I
would do if I were in North Korea and wanting to help North Vietnam. Diversion would be the principal one, but incidentally, the
seizure of the classified instruments would also add to the booty
that was acquired.
Now, was there any communication between superior officials
over that of the skipper trying to determine that course should be
followed by the skipper; that is, was the skipper asking: ‘‘What
shall I do?’’
Secretary RUSK. He simply signaled higher command, according
to my record, that the ship would remain in the area if feasible and
continued its mission or if it were pressed it would withdraw to the
Senator LAUSCHE. Is it the opinion of the military men that if the
skipper had engaged in battle that the crew and the ship would
have been obliterated?
Secretary RUSK. I just don’t know what judgment he made, Senator. I think there is no question that from a straight military
point of view that had he taken on these vessels in a fire fight and
they themselves responded, of course one could always imagine if
he had fired some shots they might not have pressed it, but had
a fire fight occurred this USS Pueblo would have been overwhelmed almost instantly.
Senator LAUSCHE. At this point we had one ship there. How
many of the North Korean ships were there?
Secretary RUSK. Four altogether. Subchaser No. 35 joined by
three other craft.
Senator WILLIAMS. Will the Senator yield?
Just suppose instead of firing he just plain refused to stop, and
started to sea, do you think they would have fired a first shop or
Secretary RUSK. Well, he did attempt simply to withdraw.
Senator WILLIAMS. I know. But I mean he had to stop to let them
board him.
Secretary RUSK. No, they—I don’t think he was at a dead stop
after he was boarded. They came up alongside. He had a low side
rail there.
Senator LAUSCHE. There were four of the North Korean ships
there and either two, or eight MIGS. Is it fair to assume that the
skipper along with this ship would have gone down with all of his
men if he would have shot back?
Secretary RUSK. Subject to whatever men might have been
picked up by the North Korean vessels.
Senator LAUSCHE. Has there been some talk that the waters
there were cold and that in all probability all of the men would
have perished?
Secretary RUSK. I think there was a high degree of probability
that they would have perished had they not been rescued by the
North Koreans.
Senator LAUSCHE. Now, then, our principal objective——
Senator MUNDT. Had the North Koreans reacted to our firing
that is speculation.
Secretary RUSK. Yes, these are all questions.
Senator LAUSCHE. Our principal objective is to get the men and
the ship back. The administration has decided to do it by diplomacy, rather than by striking impulsively with our military might;
is that right?
Secretary RUSK. Our first object here is to get the ship and the
crew back so we are trying to ascertain whether it is possible to
do that through diplomatic means and through the Security Council. I can’t anticipate today what the situation would be if in fact
it proves that we cannot get them back that way.
Senator LAUSCHE. That is, no decision has been made as to the
course that we will follow in the event you can’t get them back.
Secretary RUSK. That is correct, sir.
Senator LAUSCHE. Is there any knowledge as to where the men
are now? Are they in the ship or have they been taken——
Secretary RUSK. No, they were taken off the ship, and we have
reason to think they are under interrogation.
Senator MANSFIELD. Will the Senator yield there?
To carry your previous question a step further, if you weren’t operating through the U.N. and through diplomatic channels, and you
did undertake military action, it appears to me, and this illustrates
the dilemma in which this government is in and the President and
you and Secretary McNamara that almost surely——
Senator MUNDT. And the rest of us.
Senator MANSFIELD. It will almost insure the death of the 85.
Senator GORE. I ask you to yield because it would be in logical
sequence here. In the event the procedure in the United Nations
does not suffice, is the administration contemplating other and additional or even while this is underway supplementary diplomatic
Secretary RUSK. Well, there will be maximum diplomatic moves
through all possible channels. Already we are in touch with the Soviet Union, the 16 who had troops in Korea, Japan, Indonesia, a
number of other governments.
We will during this period probe all these very hard to see
through the International Committee of the Red Cross with respect
to the prisoners.
Senator GORE. In other words, it is the position of the administration to explore vigorously and fully, if I understand you correctly, all diplomatic channels before making the hard decision
about the use of force.
Secretary RUSK. That is correct.
Senator GORE. Thank you, Senator Lausche.
Senator, SPARKMAN. Will the Senator yield to me very briefly, following out that line——
Secretary RUSK. That doesn’t mean certain steps will not be
taken to reinforce our forces in the area, something of that kind.
Senator GORE. I understand.
Senator SPARKMAN. In case it was decided that we had to use
force, and while all of us would deplore that becoming necessary,
I don’t think anyone of us would rule it out, if it should come to
that, would we be consulted, this committee?
Secretary RUSK. I have no doubt the President would be in touch
with the leadership and discuss with the leadership how those consultations ought to proceed. There is no doubt in my mind.
Senator SPARKMAN. This constitutes, in effect, an act of war.
Secretary RUSK. You mean what we would do?
Senator SPARKMAN. Yes.
Secretary RUSK. I don’t want to try to anticipate what we might
try to do, Senator. Senator Mansfield properly pointed out that
there is a basic contradiction between the purpose of rescuing the
vessel and its crew, on the one side, and taking forceful action on
the other, by way of retaliation, by way of trying to prevent the recurrence of such incidents in other places by such forcible action so
there is a genuine dilemma.
Senator SPARKMAN. This question, I think, is in the minds of everybody, how can you get that ship with the men safely back home?
Secretary RUSK. We have had this problem in quite a number of
different circumstances. This element was not present in the Tonkin Gulf.
Senator SPARKMAN. No.
Secretary RUSK. You see. There the problem was not one of rescuing anybody. We have had this problem in other places, for example, in the eastern Congo, and how do you rescue people instead
of rescuring corpses.
Senator SPARKMAN. That is right.
Secretary RUSK. And there we finally had to take a gamble and
use some of our aircraft to drop some Belgian paratroopers there
who got there about 10 minutes before all these people were about
to be shot up.
So this is a tough problem.
Senator LAUSCHE. I just want to give my analysis of it. When I
listened to Mr. Helms the other day I was greatly distressed when
I learned about the length of the corridor of Laos through which
North Vietnam is moving its troops. It was far in excess of what
I understood it to be. Obviously, in the pacification program there
has been a diminution of our success. The word is out now that 2
divisions of Viet Cong and North Vietnamese are being massed to
make an attack. It strikes me that if that is the truth that a major
attack is going to be made, this would be the time to try to divert
the Enterprise and engage the South Koreans so as to minimize the
strength of the United States in South Vietnam. It is for that reason that I believe that this is definitely a diversionary tactic.
Now, one, I don’t believe that we have the personnel as distinguished from the military equipment, to engage in a land battle in
South Vietnam, in South Korea, and probably at some other place
if the purpose is to divert.
So I would state that we are not in the position to engage in another land battle in Southeast Asia.
Two, if we strike by air and by sea North Korea what will the
North Koreans do?
My judgment is that they will invade South Korea, and if they
invade South Korea, can we avoid sending men into maintain the
agreement which we made with North Korea in—and China in
1953 or ‘4?
I join with Al Gore and Mansfield that we have got to move with
caution and study what the ultimate results will be to be determined by the course we decide to follow. That is my view of this
Number One, I would say we cannot engage in another land war,
and our people will not stand for it.
Finally, I do hope that on this issue we don’t get divided to the
point where we will be blackening the character of our country and
exempting and exonerating the North Koreans for whatever wrong
they have committed.
That is all I have to say.
Senator SPARKMAN. Senator Cooper?
Secretary RUSK. May I just reply——
Senator LAUSCHE. May I stop here, the ultimate decision you
have not made, and I, of course, have not made. I am not joining
those who impulsively say, ‘‘Strike with all our might’’ at this time.
Secretary RUSK. Senator, I would appreciate a chance to make a
very brief comment on one or two points you made, sir, and I, appreciate your comment.
First, as far as diversion from Vietnam is concerned, the carrier
which we turned around, the Enterprise, was going down to rotate
with another carrier. Our military people and General Westmoreland believe they have all the air that they can use usefully in
So the temporary retention of the Enterprise in the sea of Japan
simply delays its rotation with another carrier down South so there
is not a net reduction from the effort in the South.
Secondly, you are quite right to point out that in effect that it
would be foolish to make a strike on North Korea without taking
fully into account the consequences of their own reaction because
if you do that sort of thing without being braced for all contingencies you are not meeting your responsibility.
It is true that in 1961, in July 1961, North Korea signed a treaty
of mutual assistance, both with the Soviet Union and with Peking.
Should either of the contracting parties suffer armed attack by any state or coalition of states, and thus find itself in a of war, the other contracting party shall immediately extend military and other assistance with all the means at its disposal.
So that also has to be taken into account.
Senator LAUSCHE. I didn’t know that.
Secretary RUSK. So these are very serious matters, and I think
all of us understand the gravity of the seizure of an American vessel and the retention of 85 officers and men.
But there are some other things that are grave, too, and that is
why we are trying to find every possibility of dealing with this matter through diplomatic means, through political means.
I associate myself with your statements in terms of the gravity
of the issues and the questions that have to be answered here, Senator.
Senator SPARKMAN. Senator Cooper.
Senator COOPER. May I ask, Mr. Secretary, what is the relationship between the United States and North Korea, legal
Secretary RUSK. We have no legal relationship in the sense that
we do not recognize it as a state, we do not recognize it is a government. But on a de facto basis, we act on the basis that they are
there, they have a government, and we try to conduct ourselves on
the basis that they have the normal rights of states in international relations.
Senator COOPER. It is not one of belligerency then?
Secretary RUSK. No, it is not one of belligerency; no, sir.
Senator COOPER. It seems to me, I would say, first, I applaud
your efforts to secure the release of our men, particularly our men
and the vessel by diplomatic means. But it seem to me as North
Korea asserts our vessel was in its territorial waters it is not likely
to give up on that position.
In your judgment, or, rather, in your knowledge, were there any
messages received from the Pueblo from the time it embarked on
this mission until the first message came when it reported the
North Korean vessel approaching, were there any messages which
ever showed the Pueblo was in the territorial waters of North
Secretary RUSK. No, we have no messages of any sort which indicated it was ever in territorial waters. As a matter of fact, because
I asked specifically about that, but I did not learn to what extent
there were violations or suspensions of the radio silence that is
usually—that usually governs such vessels on such missions. I just
don’t know what communication there might have been during the
12 days on the preceding days.
I think I would have to put a little note on that in the record.
Senator COOPER. I think that would be of some importance because it would have influence on the attitude of the North Koreans
that we were in their territorial waters that would greatly affect
the situation.
Does your intelligence consider that North Korea can evaluate or
interpret these, this equipment that has been seized?
Secretary RUSK. I think with the assistance of the Soviet Union;
yes, sir.
Senator COOPER. I think it has been pointed out here already
that when you talk about using force to secure the release of these
men it is not going to be successful, that is immediate force to try
to go into the harbor as some have suggested and that kind of
I would like to ask this, though——
Secretary RUSK. It would probably not be successful in getting
the men. There may be other factors that bear on it, but certainly
not in getting the men, Senator.
Senator COOPER. Senator Lausche and others have suggested it
would seem to me if we use force to any degree in retaliatory form,
it could possibly provoke a resumption of the war in Korea. Can
you say whether or not that is the judgment of the administration?
Secretary RUSK. One can’t have a firm judgment on such a point.
But, as I indicated earlier, it would be quite irresponsible not to
take that fully into account in any decisions that are made.
Senator COOPER. I don’t know whether you can answer this question, but do you consider that if war should break out again along
the Parallel, the United States has forces and equipment there sufficient to meet such an attack by North Korea or to sustain its position?
Secretary RUSK. I think so, sir, but there could be a much more
dangerous war than the one that occurred in 1950 to 1953. øDeleted¿, particularly in light of the mutual security alliances between Korea and the Soviet Union and China.
Senator MUNDT. You mean after the truce, they weren’t in existence during the war?
Secretary RUSK. No, they were not.
Senator Gore. Senator Cooper, would you yield for a question
Senator COOPER. Yes.
Senator GORE. Mr. Secretary, is there something not involved
here other than our own intentions, are not hostilities a possibility
not because we desire them but because the high communist command may seek a definite diversion and provoke us?
Secretary RUSK. Yes, indeed, Senator, and that is one of the subjects we have been examining very carefully in recent months in
connection with all these incidents, because war could break out on
their initiative at at time when we didn’t want one at all.
Senator GORE. Thank you, Senator Cooper.
Senator COOPER. That was the object of my questioning, so I am
glad you got to it.
Secretary RUSK. This is one of the questions thaf put a certain
premium on trying to get additional types of information out of
North Korea.
Senator COOPER. The administration then has considered the
possibility of North Korea, would itself provoke a war?
Secretary RUSK. That is being, that is one of the primary subjects
that is watched at all times by what we call the Watch Committee.
Senator COOPER. That would mean, then, of course, that the Soviet Union had to have something to say about it.
Secretary RUSK. Perhaps we could leave this off the tape.
[Discussion off the record.]
Senator MANSFIELD. Would the Senator yield there?
You have been emphasizing the facts the first 10 months of 1967
there were 547 incidents. In 1966, if my information is correct, and
that is from the public prints, there were 37 incidents, and 13 in-
cursions along the line and into South Korea, and I would imagine
that on the basis of those greatly enlarged figures for the first 10
months of last year, that the number of incursions has increased
and certainly we are aware of the attempts on the part of the possibly 31 North Koreans to hijack or assassinate the President of
South Korea. So they are stepping up their activity. They are becoming a little bolder, and to have the 31 followed by the Pueblo
could or could not be significant.
But at least it is worth keeping in mind.
Secretary RUSK. In the statement that Ambassador Goldberg will
probably make to the Security Council this afternoon, it states that
incidents involving armed infiltrators from North Korea had increased from 50 in 1966 to 543 in the first 10 months of 1967, and
that the number of soldiers and civilians killed by these infiltrators
increased from 35 in 1966 to 144 in the same period of 1967.
So there has been a significant increase.
Senator COOPER. I would just like to make this comment, too. It
is a great affront to the United States to seize this vessel and its
men. Of course, everyone wants and hopes that they will be released. But I must say that with one war going on in Vietnam, and
with what seems to me to be an imbalance of forces in Korea, and
the possibilities of a war there, I would think the best thing to do
would be to try to pursue this by diplomatic means and not to use
force. It is correct, isn’t it, that in the past our fliers and other military personnel have been taken by Communist China and other
countries and held for a considerable time and we kept working for
their release? Haven’t we?
Secretary RUSK. That is correct, sir, so far as fliers, say, held by
the Soviet Union are concerned. We have had some fliers from
China that we got back.
Senator COOPER. When the United States seized a Russian
trawler, did it find this equipment on their vessels?
Secretary RUSK. No, these were fishing vessels.
Senator COOPER. You didn’t find electronic equipment?
Secretary RUSK. We didn’t seize them because we thought they
might be, but we seized them because they were fishing in territorial waters and, as you know, the fishermen up in Alaska get
mad about that pretty fast.
Senator COOPER. It seems to me, and I just don’t say this to be
critical, but I would agree with what Senator Mundt has said and
in view of these very delicate situations I would think that a mission like this ought to be coordinated between the military and the
State Department and the President himself to determine whether
or not such a mission should be taken, and it seems to me it should
be protected.
I have always doubted that President Eisenhower ever knew—he
knew about the U–2 missions, but I doubt that he knew this particular mission just about the time he was going to France, to
Paris, and somebody failed to tell him, and my judgment is in this
case somebody failed to tell President Johnson.
Senator WILLIAMS. Would the Senator yield at that point?
In addition to the information which this particular vessel may
have picked up during the 13 days cruise, would they have on
board any other secret, highly classified information that she would
be carrying along with her as excess baggage that could be picked
up at the same time or would she not have been stripped of that?
Secretary RUSK. We are trying now to find out, and this is a little
difficult because we don’t have access to the captain, but we have
to go back to see what was put aboard to find out what the documentation was that may have been on board. I just don’t have the
information this morning.
Senator WILLIAMS. Under what circumstances would there be
other documentation put on board a ship that was going in such
a delicate area other than——
Secretary RUSK. I am sorry, Senator, I just haven’t had time to
get into that question; I just don’t know.
Senator COOPER. On that point, I read that purported confession
of the commander which described a mission, at least as they wanted to describe it, whoever wrote it wanted to describe it. Do you
know whether any—it has been studied to see whether there is any
correlation of a mission as described in that purported confession
and his actual mission?
Secretary RUSK. Yes, one of the reasons why we call this confession a phony was that it talked about operations along the Soviet
coast, for example, in which this ship was not engaged at all. It
was not in the area.
Senator WILLIAMS. Couldn’t you just give them a standard form
of confession for these fellows to make and just let it be known to
everyone who is captured? [Laughter.]
Senator SPARKMAN. Senator Pell.
Senator PELL. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
I would like to underline the views of my colleagues with regard
to not getting into another war in Asia and also my own thought
that the intelligence derived from missions of this sort has to be
weighed from the effect of provocation, and I feel like Senator
I also would like to congratulate you, Mr. Secretary, and the
President and the administration as to all the efforts being made
through diplomatic channels, and I realize the heat of public opinion and some of the intemperate words that are sometimes raised,
and I would hope you would keep it through diplomatic channels.
As Churchill said, ‘‘Jaw, jaw, jaw, is better than war, war, war.’’
We are a big enough country not to worry too much about face,
and more worried about results.
I had a couple of specific questions, or points, rather: One, aren’t
we a little bit too gloomy if we assume all of the equipment is now
in Soviet hands or a great deal of it? Can we not equally assume
that the destruction devices for the equipment which is where the
real danger is, worked?
Secretary RUSK. Well, we know that some equipment was destroyed, as a matter of fact, one of our men was very seriously injured in the process of destroying the equipment, according to our
Secondly, some other equipment was thrown overboard.
We do not think that everything was destroyed that might properly be destroyed had there been time. But, unfortunately, we don’t
know which happened, what happened to which. So that we can’t
really make an accurate assessment of the damage until we get access to the skipper and his officers to see just what happened.
Meanwhile, we are assessing the damage on, almost on a worst
case basis to see what changes in procedures might be indicated as
a result.
Senator PELL. The reasons, I was struck by the so-called confession to the frequent references to fishing boats going up there.
Were they CIA operations or are they actual fishing operations
going on, or what?
Secretary RUSK. I think those are actual fishing operations that
get up in the Sea of Japan there. I am not aware of any CIA operations conducted with fishing boats up there.
Senator PELL. Right.
In connection with the coordinates that General Pak, whatever
it was, the Korean, mentioned in the meetings a couple of days ago,
he gave three coordinates, which were not the Pueblo but another
vessel where some fishing boats had been seen considerably south
When you check those coordinates out you find they are above
the 38th Parallel, but still in what you would say were the territorial waters south of the present de facto boundary. What is the
legal status of ships in that position? Is that South Korean or
North Korean waters?
Secretary RUSK. That is north of the 38th Parallel?
Senator PELL. North of the 38th Parallel, but the de facto line,
as you know, is not absolutely straight. It goes up north of that.
Secretary RUSK. I would think that that would be governed by
the Armistice settlement itself, and that South Korean vessels
would have free access to that area and North Korean vessels are
not expected to come into the area south of the armistice line itself.
Senator PELL. This is what I would think, and it is a point that
maybe should be checked out because it would immediately prick
that whole argument advanced at that meeting, I would think, if
it was true.
If we finally find that diplomatic results are sterile and still decide, as I hope we do, that it is not worth engaging in an act of
war against North Korea itself, could we—has thought been given
to capture some of the North Korean fishing vessels in return?
Secretary RUSK. Thought has been given to that, but they
haven’t got any.
Senator PELL. I thought they were going back and forth.
Secretary RUSK. Their international shipping is carried by third
country flag ships. The largest vessels they have are about four of
a thousand tons each. There is a fish factory ship. There is a refrigerator ship—no, there is a 7,000 ton fish factory ship, a 1900 ton
refrigerator ship, two of those. And two dry cargo ships of about
2,000 tons.
Now, they remain pretty close in coastal waters. They don’t get
out into international traffic very much. The fish factory ship might
go out from time to time, but one of the first things we did was
to look around to see where their vessels were and they just didn’t
have any.
Senator PELL. We also thought if we can’t get the vessel out it
might be better to destroy it than let it remain in their hands.
Would that be an act of war?
Secretary RUSK. Well, there is a considerable list of possibilities,
of course, that are examined in a situation of this sort. That is one
Senator PELL. Would that be considered in law an act of war on
our part or not?
Secretary RUSK. I would think so, in their harbor.
Senator PELL. Even though it was our vessel?
Secretary RUSK. Except under general applicable rules you could
make a strong defense of action, taken, say, to destroy the ship.
Senator PELL. We could send in underwater demolition teams.
Secretary RUSK. Of course that wouldn’t get your men back.
Senator PELL. Right.
In connection between the seizure of public vessels and civilian
vessels in territorial waters the Soviet vessels we have seized while
owned by the state and hence public vessels are actually engaged
in civilian pursuits. As I understand it, there is a difference between a war ship and ships engaged in civilian pursuits.
Secretary RUSK. Yes, I think there is a very clear distinction between the war ships of a government and its civilian flag ships.
Senator PELL. This is a technical point, but I noticed the American vessel put up the American ensign when asked because when
engaged in covert missions neither side normally flies their ensigns. Did it also fly the Navy commission pennant?
Secretary RUSK. I just don’t know.
Senator PELL. Isn’t this a point at law that would be important
because this is the only way you could tell it is a Navy vessel?
Secretary RUSK. I don’t have the answer to that point, Senator,
I am sorry. Maybe, Mr. Macomber, we could just look at that and
put something in the record on that point.
Senator PELL. Thank you.
How many incursions whether from, on the part of our people
into North Korea in the past year were there?
Secretary RUSK. I will have to try to get the number. There have
been a few retaliatory incursions along the DMZ by some South
Koreans, none by our own people.
Senator PELL. But by South Koreans.
Secretary RUSK. By South Koreans.
Senator PELL. A theoretical question, but I just wonder what the
answer was, if our ship did go in North Korean waters, if, and I
agree with you all the evidence points it didn’t, and agitated North
Korea and electronic equipment that was at the time the South Koreans were engaged in some attacks as happened with the Maddox,
wouldn’t the North Koreans have ground for contending that our
ship was engaged in an illegal act?
Secretary RUSK. Well——
Senator PELL. If it was within the territorial limits?
Secretary RUSK. Being in international waters and keeping our
ears open is not an illegal act. For example, radar up in Norway
follows large numbers of Soviet vessels, some of them fishermen,
some of them others, all the time. We follow by radar and other
means Soviet vessels over our coasts, so listening is not illegal.
Senator PELL. No, but if it had infiltrated in accidentally, but
had agitated the radar response, wouldn’t that be——
Senator MANSFIELD. You mean if it got within the 12 mile limit?
Senator PELL. If it got within the 12 mile limit.
Secretary RUSK. I think the problem there would not have been
the radar aspect of it as being present inside the 12 mile limit.
Senator PELL. Then you get into this question of hot pursuit.
One final point here, or one point, I understood the ship was on
its way back from its cruise, its mission, pretty well completed at
the time this happened.
Secretary RUSK. That is right, sir.
Senator PELL. The track of the cruise, its northernmost limit, I
think, had gone beyond the border between North Korea and
China. I wonder if the record should not be examined at that point.
Secretary RUSK. The North Korean and the Soviet Union?
Senator PELL. Yes, North Korea and Russia.
Secretary RUSK. Well, the plot that I saw of the mission indicated it was not in that position, but I understand there has been
some doubt thrown on that so I will have to get further information.
Senator MUNDT. Would you yield on that?
Mr. Secretary, couldn’t you supply for the record a log of the
ship’s activity over the 13 days?
Senator PELL. They wouldn’t know.
Senator MANSFIELD. The log is on the ship.
Senator SPARKMAN. And the radio was silent. So I guess it would
be rather scant information.
Senator MUNDT. They must have had, they must have known in
advance where they, were going to go.
Senator MANSFIELD. They can provide that information.
Secretary RUSK. We can provide information where it was ordered to go.
Senator MUNDT. It wasn’t just meandering along.
Senator PELL. One final question.
What, in your view, Mr. Secretary, were the repetitive references
to fishing vessels in the Korean’s statement? It looked like he was
trying to make a case about something, and I couldn’t quite figure
what it was.
Secretary RUSK. I couldn’t understand that, myself. It might
have been they tried to involve this vessel in some sort of operational activity so that they could build up a notion it was engaged
in some hostile action of some sort.
Senator PELL. You know it was a separation, it doesn’t confuse
the Pueblo with fishing vessels. It was a separate instance that he
Finally, if we fail and we engage in some kind of military response, as one member of this committee I would hope that you
would take steps to make sure that the nuclear weapons in South
Korea, that they would be removed, because, obviously, one would
hope that one could avoid a nuclear response.
Secretary RUSK. Well, I will take note of that.
Senator SPARKMAN. Senator Symington?
Senator SYMINGTON. Mr. Chairman, the Secretary has been here
a long time. I would like to read very briefly the questions and if
there are any you don’t think are proper—I would like to ask, this
has been called a spy ship on the proper basis through the CIA
who also testified here. Would you furnish a list of the equipment
that was on the ship? I saw a picture in the paper saying what
each part of the ship meant with a photograph of it. I would like
to know, myself.
Then I would like to know what the rules for scuttling were and
why the rules were not carried out, if they were supposed to scuttle
the ship before, if that could be ever found out.
Senator SPARKMAN. You have that written down. You will give
it to him?
Senator SYMINGTON. That is right.
What now is estimated the nautical mile distance the ship was
closest from the land at any point including the point of seizure?
To whom did the skipper report and what were his instructions
incident to his reporting?
Could we have a copy of all messages to and from the ship to Hawaii and to and from Hawaii here to Washington?
What do we know about what shots were fired, when and by
There has been some conflicting testimony about that, especially
with respect to the casualties or details of the casualties. We were
told one man had his legs blown off, whether it was done due to
enemy action or done trying to blow up the ship.
When in our history was the last time an American vessel was
boarded in the high seas and international waters and the ship
taken in as a prize?
Does the administration believe we have the men and the equipment to handle another ground war on the mainland of Asia with-
out the use of at least tactical nuclear weapons; and, if so, what
do we base that on, based on where our ground forces are now located or committed, the ones we have.
The next, if we decide not to use nuclear weapons, should we not
start promptly to take steps to reduce our commitments in other
parts of the world?
How many people from other countries are in South Korea besides the South Koreans and ourselves?
I was there once in Korea not so long ago, I read there were
some New Zealanders there, and there was, there was one man
who was a commander of the New Zealand Navy.
Secretary RUSK. I think a handful of Thai.
Senator SYMINGTON. How many South Koreans are in South
Senator GORE. He has answered that.
Senator SYMINGTON. Fine. There may be some of these, Albert,
but I want them in the record.
Why was there no air cover supplied in the long interval between
intercept and anchors down?
I know that has been answered.
What time was the ship intercepted?
What time was the first person in Washington notified of this
interception and who was that person?
I think, Mr. Secretary, those are all that I have, sir.
Secretary RUSK. I may have a little problem with your first question, Senator.
Senator SYMINGTON. If you do, we will work it out. That is why
I want it on the record. We will work that out with the CIA.
Secretary RUSK. All right.
Senator SYMINGTON. I would naturally like to know, if we can’t
be sure whether or not the equipment was destroyed, and we understand that the casualties, including, I believe, a death or two,
isn’t that correct, somebody was killed?
Senator SPARKMAN. Had his leg blown off, I heard.
Senator SYMINGTON. I heard somebody died.
Secretary RUSK. We haven’t had any confirmation.
Mr. MACOMBER. We had a message from the ship saying four
were hurt and one his leg blown off.
Senator SYMINGTON. All right. What is the equipment they might
have from the standpoint of cryptography and so forth? This is an
incredibly valuable prize if nothing was destroyed. That is a fair
statement, is it not?
Secretary RUSK. Yes, we know some things were destroyed,
though. But, as I say, I may have some problems in furnishing that
to the committee.
Senator SYMINGTON. If you do, I will understand that. I am sure
we can get it at least through one committee, unless there is some
unusual rule I don’t know about.
I ask these questions because, with great respect, as you know
for some time I feel we were overcommitted especially because of
the way that we were fighting the Vietnamese war, and I predicted
that something like this would happen. I am sure it will happen
in other parts of the world, so I think we do have to make a major
change in foreign policy. That is just one small Senator from Missouri who respectfully gives you his opinion after asking these
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Carl will find out which ones have been answered and which
ones should not be duplicated and send them over by messenger.
Senator MANSFIELD. Can I ask one question?
You were down there, John, you were down there, John Williams, and John Cooper was down at the White House when they
indicated the planes could not come from Korea because ødeleted¿.
Senator SYMINGTON. If I may say, I couldn’t come down there, I
was asked, and what Senator Mundt mentioned he heard I have
not talked to either Captain Switzer or General Brown, that has
to be clarified because I have heard other stories, also, and this is
pretty close by jet to both Okinawa and Japan.
Senator MUNDT. May I add something that Brown said which
Dean hasn’t mentioned, which I think he should, which was the
reason for not bringing them in he said about equal distance from
the ship to our planes the North Koreans have got a very sophisticated MIG base of 75 MIG fliers which was maybe another reason
why they did not get into it.
Senator MANSFIELD. The reason I raised the question, it seems
to me the planes we have up there ødeleted¿.
Secretary RUSK. I think that question has to be clarified because,
quite frankly, it is not my impression of the situation.
Senator MANSFIELD. Okay.
Senator SPARKMAN. Thank you very much.
Senator MUNDT. Mr. Chairman, I have one question I would like
to ask because it is in the nature of a hypothetical, but it seems
to me it is much more realistic to assume we are not going to get
ourselves involved in shooting war in Korea than to assume we are.
What is likely to happen, and I want to get your evaluation of
the impact if this should happen, what is likely to happen is after
the Koreans have taken their own good time, and it looks like they
have had a little stamina in their backbone, they will give us the
ship and give back the men with a very insolent public statement,
‘‘We have shown you what is going to happen, keep your damn
ships out of our area.’’
What impact will that have as to our national prestige in the
world, especially to the uncommitted and neutral countries?
Secretary RUSK. Some of those who have followed the Koreans
very closely think that this is very possibly what they will do.
Senator MUNDT. I think that is what is going to happen.
Secretary RUSK. That is, exploit them for propaganda purpose
and technically, and then give them back under circumstances that
will be advantageous to them. So I can’t rule it out.
Senator MUNDT. No. What is the impact then? What is the impact on countries looking to us for protection, because I think that
is what is going to happen. Will it hurt us? Will it help us?
This is the way the communists are going to operate this one, in
my opinion.
Secretary RUSK. Mr. Chairman, I hope the committee has understood this is an executive session and a good many things that
were said here this morning ought not to be said outside.
Senator SPARKMAN. I think that is clearly understood by everybody who attended.
There is a battery outside waiting for you.
Secretary RUSK. Thank you very much.
[Whereupon, at 2:00 p.m., the committee recessed, subject to call
of the chair.]
Tuesday, January 30, 1968
Washington, DC.
The committee met, pursuant to notice, at 10:40 a.m., in room S–
116, the Capitol, Senator J. William Fulbright (chairman) presiding.
Present: Chairman Fulbright and Senators Gore, Lausche, Dodd,
Pell, McCarthy, Hickenlooper, Aiken, Williams, Mundt, Case, and
Also present: Mr. Marcy, Mr. Kuhl, and Mr. Bader of the committee staff.
The CHAIRMAN. The committee will come to order.
Senator GORE. Mr. Chairman, if you are going to give a report
on the White House meeting, I think you ought to start from the
The CHAIRMAN. Let me state for the record, I said I apologized
for being late but I was requested only at six o’clock, a little after
six last night, to attend what they called a leadership meeting at
the White House at 8:30 this morning, and this was a breakfast
meeting, and the meeting was primarily a discussion of the Pueblo
incident, and there were statements by the President, by the Secretary of State, the Secretary of Defense, and by General Brown,
George Brown, and General Wheeler.
In answer to this most recent question, the general thrust of the
arguments were they had examined every possible way to use force
to recover the men and the ship and concluded there just was not
any practicable way short of the risk of a war, and that they did
not think would recover the ship, certainly the men alive, and possibly the ship.
There are substantial forces in this area. It is a big port as well
as a big air base nearby and it would not have been easy. The military means, the use of force, just was not feasible under the circumstances and that is about the import of that aspect of it.
And then there were other discussions about the build-up of
forces, et cetera, they are having a substantial build-up of forces,
particularly aircraft in the area.
You see, the manpower in the area is in our favor. We have as
many men, we and the South Koreans have as many men as they
have. I mean there is no discrepancy in the manpower, but they
have some more planes than we do. So what the purport, as far as
the planning, is it to bring into the area more planes, together with
what is there, than they have. That is the present plan.
But they only believe, the only hope of any satisfactory, well, it
will not be satisfactory but the best solution, is through diplomatic
means as of the foreseeable future. They do not completely rule out
any movement later, but as of the moment.
And then there were these incidental questions which I have already covered. I do not know whether you want to go over them
or not, about communications.
Senator CASE. John asked a question before.
The CHAIRMAN. Incidentally, I think they requested us not to
talk about these things, not that they have not been in the press,
I mean publicly.
Senator AIKEN. That is why they get you down there, to tell you
what you read in Sunday’s paper and be sure so that you cannot
talk about it.
The CHAIRMAN. That may be true.
Senator AIKEN. That is the voice of experience.
Senator COOPER. Can I ask a question? I do not know whether
you responded to it or you cannot. I can understand all the problems they would have after this event occurred with all this military. Did they say whether or not they had any plans to go to the
assistance of this ship when it was attacked? Were there any plans
The CHAIRMAN. This question, they tried to answer the criticisms
that have been made such as no escort. They claim that these matters, these ships, are operating, we have six of them, I believe, they
are operating more or less continuously, and that they do not cover
them, I mean they do not accompany them with destroyers or aircraft, that this is against, you might say, the purpose of it. This
makes it more provocative than if just the ship goes itself along
and, of course, they claim if people will abide by international law,
that even if you get caught within the territorial waters that under
international law you are supposed to escort that ship back to
international waters, not to seize it.
That is their theory so that this is just an outlaw country, but
that any other country, if you catch them within your borders, you
are supposed to escort them to the high seas. In this case they did
not do it.
Well, I may say they do not admit, they do not admit, that it was
within the waters, the territorial waters.
Now, this question, of course—well, let me say this, I may not
want to overstate it. They say it was not in territorial waters when
it was picked up, that they say very positively. I am not so sure,
I do not believe I pressed them on it or anybody did, that it had
never been in, that they were certain it had never been in territorial waters.
Senator LAUSCHE. That is the inference I drew from what Rusk
said the other day. He stated when it was seized it was positively
in international waters.
The CHAIRMAN. That is correct.
Senator LAUSCHE. But that did not answer whether it had previously been or not been in territorial waters.
The CHAIRMAN. That is right.
Of course they say, as I just said, that does not make any difference, because even if it had been it does not entitle them to seize
it, that the remedy is to escort it to international waters.
Now, well that is the story. They did not claim the Russians had
been inside our territorial waters, they claim though they have
often been near our borders, near our shores, and that we have
never ever bothered them.
Senator HICKENLOOPER. And they are there all the time.
The CHAIRMAN. Yes, they had pictures of them, they had pictures
of one off San Francisco and they asked him how far off it was and
McNamara said 17 miles.
Senator MCCARTHY. Every time it is 17 miles. Why do they not
say 16?
The CHAIRMAN. I do not know, maybe it is a little easier to say
the same number. They do not get bothered about it.
Well, that is about it. There was a considerable time taken up
by a description of the Khe Sanh action in response to Senator
Byrd’s question.
Senator AIKEN. Did you discuss the coming election? Did they report on that?
The CHAIRMAN. No, but some of these defenses were to some of
these outrageous statements made by prospective candidates.
Senator GORE. Mr. Chairman, this business of the United States
having only six ships, I wonder if the Maddox and the Turner Joy
were included in the six.
The CHAIRMAN. No, they do not mean that kind. They mean this
kind of specially equipped ship, they call it an intelligence-gathering ship. The other kind, the intelligence function is incidental to
Senator HICKENLOOPER. The Liberty was one over in the Mediterranean.
The CHAIRMAN. One thing I had not heard about before is this
ship has a sister ship called the Banner, which I had not heard
about before and I had not seen it in the paper, and it had apparently been doing this before and it is apparently being sent back
now to take the place of this one.
Senator AIKEN. Of the Liberty?
The CHAIRMAN. No, of the Pueblo. They call it a sister ship
named the Banner, and it is, I believe they said, proceeding to resume monitoring messages in this area. I do not know whether precisely on the same course or not, but anyway, we have, as I understood it, we have six of this kind of ships.
Senator GORE. We had eight.
The CHAIRMAN. I thought he said six.
Senator GORE. But now with the Liberty and the Pueblo.
The CHAIRMAN. That is right.
Senator MUNDT. Six left?
Senator GORE. The point I was trying to raise is that I really do
not know what the technical difference is, although they are different sized ships, but a destroyer like the Turner Joy and the
Maddox on which these same intelligence devices have been installed——
The CHAIRMAN. I think that is much more limited, Albert. They
have all kinds of firings on this that are far more extensive and
sensitive than they had on the Maddox. That was a relatively limited capacity, the way I heard the description of it.
Senator GORE. This may be. I do not know.
The CHAIRMAN. This thing is just chock full of all kinds of monitoring devices.
Senator GORE. That brings up another point.
Down there the other night, General Wheeler was, appeared to
be very disturbed about the security casualty we had suffered. I remember he said that the codes and keys, k-e-y-s. I did not understand exactly what he meant by keys. I rather assumed that it
meant keys for interpretation of other codes. Do you remember him
saying that, John?
Senator COOPER. Yes. He said it twice.
Senator GORE. And furthermore, he said that destruction or overboard, whatever it meant, destroying intelligence information,
would have required from two and a half to three hours. Therefore,
I wonder why now we are justified in playing down of the intelligence importance of this loss.
Senator DODD. Do they play it down?
The CHAIRMAN. He did not say too much about it this morning.
I really cannot see how this could be very great because he said
the Russians have 18 ships of a similar nature. I think they know
how to do everything we know how to do.
Senator GORE. That is doubtful, Mr. Chairman.
Senator MUNDT. I do not think so.
Senator GORE. Two-thirds of the computers over the world are
within metropolitan Washington.
Senator HICKENLOOPER. Two-thirds of what?
Senator GORE. Two-thirds of the computers of the world are located in metropolitan Washington, and one-half of that two-thirds
is involved in intelligence. No nation, including Russia, has the intelligence competence of the United States in breaking and interpreting codes.
The CHAIRMAN. As I told you, one of the questions I asked is how
do these PT boats communicate with their headquarters. Of course,
that is by voice, they do not need it for that. You must be talking
about the kind of communications that might be from, say, assuming it is from Moscow to Pyongyang or something; is that the type
of thing?
Senator GORE. I understood it to mean that, I guess I misunderstood it.
[Off the record.]
Senator LAUSCHE. Bill, when they said that they sent the sister
ship in, did anyone ask ‘‘Why did you send it in after this last one
was seized?’’
The CHAIRMAN. Well, they have specifically to show that we are
not going to be bluffed off of the high seas, we have a right to be
there and we are going to be there. Of course, I think they are
going to have plenty of cover this time, that is available nearby.
That is, but they said specifically, they said in order to demonstrate we had a right to be there. We are going to continue to
do this. That is why they are continuing to do it, one of the reasons.
Senator LAUSCHE. I am not implying we should not have sent it
The CHAIRMAN. But I am sure, Frank, they will have adequate
Senator MUNDT. Is that a deduction or did they say that?
The CHAIRMAN. They said that. They said they were not going to
be bluffed out. They are going to send the Banner right in to resume this kind of work.
Senator MUNDT. Are you assuming they are going to have the
cover or did they say that?
The CHAIRMAN. I assume it. They said they are sending all these
planes up there.
Senator MUNDT. They had a lot of planes before.
The CHAIRMAN. But these are additional planes, and they have
the Enterprise there right off with 90 planes, I think, that are
equipped for any kind of war.
Senator HICKENLOOPER. What good is that going to do?
Senator MCCARTHY. They would have to bomb the Pueblo. They
needed some gunboats.
The CHAIRMAN. He meant against the Banner if they attempt
again, did you not; is that, not what you meant?
Senator MUNDT. Yes, sure. You said they protected them.
Senator HICKENLOOPER. Do we have any reason to think they
would protect the Banner any more than this one?
Senator MUNDT. They did not protect this one.
The CHAIRMAN. Well, gentlemen, you have had now three or four
days, what it is, four or five days to contemplate the staff memorandum. What is your reflection upon that? Who has any ideas
about it?
Senator LAUSCHE. What action are we going to take, what are we
going to say, about the Pueblo?
The CHAIRMAN. Oh, well.
Senator LAUSCHE. Are we going to advise that we should attack
or are we going to allow the President to determine the course?
Senator PELL. Just one little comment there.
Senator PELL. One, as a lowly member of the committee I would
like to express my own delight that the existence of the committee
is recognized by an invitation to the chairman to go to the meeting
Secondly, I think Senator Long is correct in public opinion in the
country. I know the people are far more aroused around the country, I think, than we are here in Washington, and do we not have
a responsibility to try to keep the lid on this, share it a little bit
with the leadership and with the President and should we not, if
it is the general view of the committee, I do not know whether it
is or not, express some support for trying to resolve this problem
through diplomatic channels?
The CHAIRMAN. Well, I am just, of course, speaking for myself,
I told you what I said, that I approved of their all-out effort to resolve it through diplomatic channels.
Senator PELL. But would it not be of assistance in keeping the
lid on around the country?
The CHAIRMAN. It is up to the committee. If the committee wishes to authorize a letter or a statement, why that is all right, I have
no objection.
Senator PELL. I think the opinion around it is very aroused all
The CHAIRMAN. I think it was, but it is calming down a little bit.
I do not know. Does anybody wish to do anything about the Pueblo?
Senator GORE. Well, Mr. Chairman, I have a suggestion to make,
not to do anything about it, but I think it may be extremely sensitive and extremely important, what intelligence data that the Soviets now have as a result of this capture. I do not know what this
word ‘‘keys’’ refers to. It has been suggested to me that such a ship
at sea, as the Pueblo, might have aboard keys to our own code.
I would just like for you to direct the staff, if the committee
agrees, to explore this business of keys.
The CHAIRMAN. Let me say, Albert, there were questions asked
about this and they obviously do not know how much was destroyed and what was left on it.
General Wheeler said that they presumably, the reports of our
own men being injured would probably have arisen from our own
efforts to destroy our own equipment, because as far as they knew
there had been no exchange of shots, I mean there had been no
battle because there was not any battle.
They also threw certain things overboard, and they have even
contemplated going back and having a salvage operation but they
think it is too deep anyway, and they do not take that seriously.
But the thing is, they do not know what they have on the ship.
On that kind of thing——
Senator GORE. May I complete my point?
The CHAIRMAN. That is all I intended to say, it was not entirely
Senator GORE. I do not offer any criticism of the administration.
Obviously you can say that a great mistake was made in insisting
upon our rights, if you want to put it that way. I have a right to
go over there and put my fist under Tom Dodd’s nose, I am not
sure that it would be wise to exercise that right too long and too
Senator DODD. It is very sensitive these days.
Senator GORE. I am not suggesting this in the nature of any criticism at all. I think this committee ought to be concerned with the
extent to which our nation’s security and communication and code
knowledge may have been compromised.
Senator DODD. I agree.
Senator GORE. And if these keys to our own code were present
on this vessel, it then raises a further question as to the advisability of allowing this ship or any other such ship to be out unprotected.
My only suggestion was that for the information of the committee, not from the standpoint of any criticism at all, that we have
the staff explore a bit what would be referred to in ordinary terms
by keys being present on this ship.
Senator MUNDT. Mr. Chairman?
The CHAIRMAN. Yes, sir.
Senator MUNDT. Somebody was saying something, if I understood
it correctly, Senator Pell, right, that we make some kind of statement from the committee, some kind of observation.
Speaking for myself, I am so totally devoid of a consistent pattern of information on this that I simply could not associate myself
with any resolution until we get the facts.
It seems to me that if this committee is going to maintain the
movement towards greater prestige in this country, and become
more meaningful and make headway under our chairman, as it has
in the last two years, that this is something which we should explore very thoroughly.
For example, none of us, except me, have talked to a Naval officer, Captain Sweitzer, who came to talk to me and gave me a totally different story from what General Wheeler gave, came to my
office, and it is all in the record because I put it in at our hearing
the other day. I do not know whether he is right or whether General Wheeler is right, but they are about a hundred planes apart,
which is too big a discrepancy to suit me.
Now we are told that the Banner is going to go in, presumably
on a similar mission, and I think we should conduct a study by motion and bring in some Naval officers, bring in Wheeler, get at least
a consistent story on which they all agree, and then I think we
should explore very thoroughly whether or not we are sending sensitive ships like this on spying missions into a semi-hostile area on
the basis of some military commander thinks it is good, or whether
it is done with the order and knowledge of the President, because
we have gotten pretty close to a shooting incident on this.
I do not think we should encourage any more wars until we finish the one we are in, and maybe not then. But I would like to suggest that we measure up to this. If we do not, Senator Stennis is
going to.
You all know Senator Russell is in the hospital, but I think we
should be in this, but if we sit around and wring our hands and
speculate and do not get information, I do not see how anybody is
going to follow our leadership on anything.
Senator PELL. You mean go into Wonsan?
The CHAIRMAN. No, he means study the subject.
Senator PELL. I am sorry.
Senator MUNDT. I have no quarrel about what they have done
since the incident.
Senator DODD. You mean publicly.
Senator MUNDT. No, in our own executive hearing to find out, so
maybe sometime we can make a public statement as to what happened. I think we are a bunch of stupes to sit around and none of
us really knows what happened. We piece together a story. I think
we should exercise our authority enough to bring these people into
an executive hearing, and when that is done we can decide whether
to make it public.
Maybe in the process we can learn something about the Tonkin
Bay thing.
The CHAIRMAN. What you are really proposing is a study similar
to the Tonkin Bay that the staff undertake, is that correct?
Senator MUNDT. No, hearings, an executive study. I did not use
the word ‘‘investigation’’ because that has a connotation but an executive, series of executive hearings to inform ourselves of what
The CHAIRMAN. If you are going to do that, as a preliminary
would it not be wise, I will say, to get some of the basic material
in order to have that?
Senator MUNDT. Very fine, let the staff do the same kind of job
they did on Tonkin Bay.
The CHAIRMAN. That is what I mean.
Senator MUNDT. Very fine, let the staff do the same kind of job
they did on Tonkin Bay.
The CHAIRMAN. That is what I mean.
Senator MUNDT. But I think we ought to get some witnesses then
who can tell us a consistent story. I was appalled to get a story so
completely different in my office from what General Wheeler was
telling the House at the same time.
The CHAIRMAN. Who is Captain Schweitzer?
Senator MUNDT. I never saw him before. General Brown, I was
never so flattered in my life, a captain in the Navy and a four-star
general, they volunteered.
The CHAIRMAN. They wanted to correct what Wheeler said?
Senator MUNDT. Yes, that is what they told me. I said this is altogether different from what Wheeler said. They said they know it
and ‘‘he wants you to have the correct story.’’
The CHAIRMAN. That is rather odd.
Senator MUNDT. He told us at the meeting. His information was
pretty inadequate, Al, and he could not be too sure of his facts and
he was trying to give us what he knew.
The CHAIRMAN. I see.
Senator MUNDT. So I thought this was fine, except Wheeler was
telling the House committee at the same time what he was telling
us in the White House.
Senator GORE. Mr. Chairman, may I have just a minute?
The CHAIRMAN. Yes, sir, Senator Gore.
Senator GORE. I suppose I am as anxious as anyone almost always for this committee to be as fully informed as possible and exercise a major role. I react quite reluctantly to any formal action
of this committee with respect to the Pueblo because any show of
division within the country might weaken our country’s ability to
effect an early release of the men and the ship.
If we are to do this, I would rather the decision be postponed for
ten days or something like this.
Senator MCCARTHY. Mr. Chairman, I would not argue that. But
about the Tonkin Gulf thing, do we leave that where it is?
The CHAIRMAN. No, we are coming to that in a minute.
You raised a question about what do you do about this.
Senator MCCARTHY. I kind of agree on the Pueblo, get the investigation going on the Pueblo, to see what the facts are. But I think
you have a lot of facts on Tonkin Gulf to argue this committee
doing something, or else do what——
The CHAIRMAN. Would it be inconsistent with your hope that the
staff simply request similar things they did at Tonkin Bay as of the
Senator GORE. Let me make it plain that any formal action of
this committee to investigate or to study the Pueblo at this time
might have deleterious effects and might have a divisive effect and
might present to the enemy an image of division at home.
Senator HICKENLOOPER. You have had plenty of evidence of that
over the last year or so.
Senator GORE. Well, that is true, but we have 83 men involved
here whose return we hope to get within days.
My only thought, and it may not be a serious one, is that the
chairman has authority, without any action of this committee, to
direct the staff to make certain, to acquire certain information, and
I had thought that if it is left to the chairman to make these things
and not be the subject of action or motion or anything of the committee, that it would be better.
Senator HICKENLOOPER. I agree with that and I would vote
against any formal declaration. I just want to make that clear. I
do not think it is the thing to do. Excuse me.
Senator LAUSCHE. Mr. Chairman, they are reporting on television and radio practically every day about a massing of 40,000
Viet Cong and North Vietnamese against United States forces in
South Vietnam. Our military men are expecting a brutal and tremendous attack upon our forces aimed to divide South Vietnam.
Last year 560 violations of the 1954 North Korean-United States
understanding were perpetrated. Our ship, the Pueblo, was in their
primarily because we wanted to know what the North Koreans
were ultimately intending to do.
Now then, I think it is clear they had two purposes possibly in
mind, and the second one which I will mention is primary one:
One, the gathering of this classified sophisticated instruments
that are on the ships;
Two, a diversion of our forces from South Vietnam and the forces
of South Korea from South Vietnam to South Korea.
Now, the question is, should we attack, can we engage in another
land war. In my opinion we cannot, and no better service could be
rendered to South Vietnam at this time with 40,000 troops massed
against our men than to open another front in South Korea.
That leads me to this conclusion:
One, we do not have the military personnel to engage in another
war. We do not have the military personnel to engage in a land
war in South Korea at this time. If we strike, North Korea will
move into South Korea, and we will be in another land war.
Now over and above all this, Secretary Rusk read to us the other
day the commitment which Peking and Moscow have with North
Korea and the Reds:
Should either of the contracting parties suffer armed attack by any state or coalition of states and thus find itself in a state of war, the other contracting party shall
immediately extend military and other assistance within all the means at its disposal.
Now, then, based upon this, I unhesitatingly take the position
the time to deal with North Korea is not now militarily on land.
We have too big a problem in South Korea—in South Vietnam already.
Senator MUNDT. Mr. Chairman?
The CHAIRMAN. I agree with that.
Senator MUNDT. Mr. Chairman, this is exactly why, I do not
think anybody that I know of, I have really heard say ‘‘Go in and
fight Korea about it.’’ This is exactly why I hate to sit around the
table as a member of the Foreign Relations Committee and have
the chairman tell me that we are going to send a Banner, which
he says is a sister ship, into these same hostile waters just to show
them that we have the power to do so, and you can start a war
on the sea and you can start a war in the air as well as you can
start it on the land.
I think that this kind of operation, and none of us have been told
that I know of the real essentiality of why this is so imperative,
but accepting the assumption that it is, I would like to have us
work out with somebody in the White House an understanding that
this is close enough to the type of operation that can start a war,
so that it should not be authorized, that we could be assured it
would not be authorize except by the President, just like you have
it on your atomic button, nobody is going to worry that some general is going to start an atomic war. The President under the law
alone can do that, and I think the President should be advised, I
do not know whether he has been advised about this, the Secretary
could not tell us, but look into the future. I would like to at least
have the assurance that the Commander-in-Chief knows what
these ships are doing and send them in under his orders, and you
do not have 15 or 20 other people who can start wars by this kind
of operation. And if we go poking our nose back into these hostile
waters, I think we are going to have trouble with the Banner like
we have had with the other one.
And for us to sit around and wring our hands and say we ought
to have something to do about advising and consent but we do not
want to do it, I think is a gesture of futility. You have to have different kinds of events.
Senator LAUCHE. I concur with that, Karl.
The CHAIRMAN. I concur with that. I do not think it is inconsistent with what Frank says, but what you are saying is simply
for the committee to inform itself before any kind of a decision is
Senator MUNDT. That is correct, and then maybe we can make
a recommendation.
Senator GORE. You are not making a motion but you are leaving
this to the initiation of the chairman?
Senator COOPER. Somebody has got to find out though if this is
true, if the ship is being sent in. Somebody has to ask about it.
The CHAIRMAN. They told me that this morning that the ship is
being sent in. It is already being ordered to do so.
Senator COOPER. It was in the paper yesterday.
The CHAIRMAN. They take the position that this kind of operation, not necessarily under these kinds of specific conditions but
the general operation, is very important, I mean——
Senator HICKENLOOPER. Will they send in a couple of destroyers
in there to patrol that ship?
The CHAIRMAN. They did not pursue it to that point, but I would
certainly assume they will be on the alert during the foreseeable
future if they do this.
Well, with that understanding, I think it is perfectly proper that
the committee should be informed about it, as you say. There is no
idea of having any open hearings or any open discussion or anything else.
Senator MUNDT. Not at all. But draw up a series of questions
and get the answers.
The CHAIRMAN. That is right.
Senator COOPER. Are you going to ask for the information?
The CHAIRMAN. I will suggest very much the same procedure, we
would like copies of the orders that were given on this, specific orders, and we will ask Mr. Bader who is our expert in this field to
be as thorough as he can in the preparation of a request and so
on of that nature, if that is agreeable.
Senator CASE. This has to do with what has happened.
Senator MUNDT. Right. Solely with what has happened.
Senator CASE. We are not inquiring as to the matter of the Banner and so forth.
Senator MUNDT. But knowing about the settlement of the situation, but I think we should know about the Banner.
The CHAIRMAN. On the settlement the Secretary says they are
pursuing every possible way they can about finding a settlement.
There always lingers this question, but I do not think we can probably do anything about it, if it had been in waters that maybe they
can find away to say, ‘‘Well, we regret having intruded, it was inadvertent’’ and maybe the thing can be settled.
I do not know. That is what I think they hope that some way
without the use of force can be found. They still have not—I do not
know why they make so much publicity about the Russians, because the Russians are embarrassed about it I think, but they
think the Russians have a similar interest to our own in continuing
these surveillance operations and, therefore, they will be sympathetic because of their own interest in preserving the opportunity
to do this. That was more or less their reasoning.
They have not given up hope that there will be some kind of a
way brought about by which they can resolve this thing without
any use of force. They really feel very apprehensive about using
force simply because of the fear of precipitating another war.
Senator AIKEN. I think we have had incidents in the past which
have been settled satisfactorily and quickly by other Presidents.
When the U–2 went down Eisenhower acknowledged it. When the
Bay of Pigs developed a fiasco, President Kennedy said, ‘‘It was all
my fault,’’ which it was not but he said it was, and how he rose
in the public estimation by saying that.
Senator GORE. Who was that said that, George?
Senator AIKEN. President Kennedy said the Bay of Pigs fiasco
was all his fault, which it was not. It was somebody’s fault all
right, but it was not his.
President Eisenhower said about the U–2, ‘‘We got caught, it was
our plane and they got us.’’ And I could not see that we lost prestige in the Cuban matter. That was a mess, but I never thought
Jack messed it. I did not think he knew enough about it to mess
Senator HICKENLOOPER. He messed it the night before the landing.
The CHAIRMAN. Let me say this: I will do the best I can on this.
It did take us nearly six months and it took not only that but it
took the cooperation of the chairman of the Armed Services Committee to get the documents we got. I mean this is not easy to do.
Senator MUNDT. I know.
The CHAIRMAN. Sometimes they will take a month to even reply
to a letter, but really we would not have gotten what we did excepting Dick Russell, I think I have already told you this, I meant
to, I think I told the committee, I met with Dick and Mr. Nitze and
Dick said, ‘‘I think that it is your duty to make available to the
Foreign Relations Committee all relevant documents.’’
Now we have not gotten them all yet but we did get, I think, a
fair amount.
Senator MUNDT. You do not have that one document.
The CHAIRMAN. I say we do not have them all, but we have a lot
of them.
Senator MCCARTHY. Bill, why do we have to wait for the Chairman of the Armed Services Committee to get something we are entitled to?
The CHAIRMAN. That is the way. Do you not have difficulty yourself getting things even from the Department of Agriculture?
Senator MCCARTHY. I know it.
The CHAIRMAN. This is partly bureaucratic inertia and partly
they do not want to give it to you.
Senator MCCARTHY. They do it to us every time.
The CHAIRMAN. They do not give it to you because they do not
feel we are sufficiently powerful to get it. Theoretically you are
right, but practically I think I am right in saying that is what enabled us to get it.
Senator MUNDT. What we are asking for are facts which have occurred and we ought to be able to get them in 48 hours.
The CHAIRMAN. We ought to, but I just say maybe we will run
into trouble, but we will initiate it and do the best we can and if
we have trouble, why I will report it to the Committee and we will
go again and do the best we can. Let’s go on.
Senator CASE. May I just ask on thing: What are we going to say,
when the proper order is obtained, what are we going to say or how
far are we going to talk to the press about this?
The CHAIRMAN. Personally, for whatever it is worth, I do not
think we ought to discuss this in public because it is still sensitive
and is still pending. Of course I do not presume to tell anybody
what to say.
Senator CASE. But we should have some kind of understanding.
The CHAIRMAN. I do not want to add fuel to the fire or make
things more difficult.
Personally, I am very much in favor of saying I am for pursuing
the diplomatic procedures, whatever it is worth, in the U.N. or any
other way, but I am not going into details. Really, most of the
things they told me have been more or less in the press about the
details. There are just nuances about how many ships or how many
planes and all that, practically everything, they were emphasizing
it and then their plans about taking in men and planes, they do
not like that talked about, although obviously people know it when
they start moving them, it has become public.
The President, in effect, said ‘‘I know there are not many of these
secret but I hope you will not say it because it lends further credence if officials and so on talk about it.’’
That is what he said this morning.
Senator MUNDT. Will you yield?
Senator MUNDT. I would like to suggest any of us who have questions we would like to have the staff pursue on this, we hand them
to Carl.
The CHAIRMAN. Oh, certainly.
Senator MUNDT. Or to you.
The CHAIRMAN. Certainly anyone who has an idea that would be
very appropriate. Anybody who wants something, we will request
and we will do the best we can to find out any information we have
on that.
Now, who has any views about the procedure?
I just throw this out because some members, I do not know
which ones, suggested that it would be proper at this stage, we
have already, I may say, invited Mr. McNamara to come before the
committee in the usual Secretary’s briefing, and he has replied that
he thought he should go to the Armed Services Committee first.
Has he been?
Mr. MARCY. No, sir, he has not.
The CHAIRMAN. I think we ought to have one. I would recommend——
Senator MCCARTHY. Are they going to tell him what he can tell
The CHAIRMAN. I would like in pursuance of this, if you all feel
like it, in executive session to simply ask his comment. He was the
principal informant of this committee on this Tonkin thing, as you
all remember, and you remember how positive he was, ask him,
and then if you still think right, I would suggest him and/or Nitze
who has been my principal go-between, so to speak, in this affair,
and if you like, Admiral Moorer who was intimately associated
with it, and all this, if anything, in executive session, if the committee feels like it.
Senator PELL. Mr. Chairman——
Senator HICKENLOOPER. What are you talking about?
The CHAIRMAN. I thought we said we disposed of the Pueblo, I
am talking about Tonkin.
Senator PELL. Mr. Chairman, before disposing of Pueblo, we have
always been fairly free in letting the President know when we do
not agree with what he is doing. When we do agree, and I think
the majority of us around the table do feel the administration is
doing a pretty good job in trying to resolve this problem, should we
not give him some little consensus.
The CHAIRMAN. Well, that is up to the committee. I told you I
already said that. I do not know whether you want to do it as a
committee or as people, as individuals.
Senator PELL. I do not mean in a form as a resolution, or is there
strong disagreement?
Senator HICKENLOOPER. I disagree thoroughly, because we do not
have enough facts about it.
Senator MUNDT. I have said publicly I have no fault to find with
what they are trying to do in settling it, but I do not want to vote
for another Tonkin Bay resolution. I learned something about the
The CHAIRMAN. I did not say what led up to this. I am merely
saying as of now I approve of pursuing diplomatic instead of military means.
Senator MUNDT. But if we put it in a resolution, it will come
back to plague us.
Senator PELL. Do we not all agree it is better to exhaust all diplomatic means first?
Senator HICKENLOOPER. Just to clarify my position, I think if we
had sent a destroyer in there right after that ship and pulled it out
right then, this thing would all have been over, just like the Berlin
wall. If we had done something about the Berlin wall the day they
started to put it up, it would all have been over. Unfortunately, the
destroyer was a thousand miles away.
Senator HICKENLOOPER. I understand, but now we are caught.
The CHAIRMAN. Let me say this to Bourke, about this very thing,
and I am not trying to argue about it but they said there is a big
base. There were a hundred MIGs within ten minutes of this place,
and that if it had pursued just what you are talking about——
Senator HICKENLOOPER. I understand.
The CHAIRMAN. They would do it—I think if a destroyer had been
there on the scene when these patrol boats approached they probably would not have approached, I mean as a preventive matter.
But once they boarded it and started it in, their position is to have
then sent in a destroyer and challenged them that you would have
run into an overwhelming force on their side that was available.
This is for whatever it is worth.
Senator HICKENLOOPER. After it gets cold, of course, you have a
terrible problem. I know it is a heavily fortified base and not only
ground fortifications but air and everything else.
The CHAIRMAN. That is right.
Senator MCCARTHY. Mr. Chairman, before you quit, before we
have McNamara, what about the information you asked for that
they will not give you?
The CHAIRMAN. Wait a minute, I have not gotten to that yet. All
I did was to throw out an idea to get us back on Tonkin. What do
you think of it?
Senator MCCARTHY. I mean on Tonkin Gulf. They said those
messages that are going to be reviewed, is there anything we can
do to shake them up or do we have to wait on Dick Russell?
The CHAIRMAN. What did you say about the communication was
in my office this morning?
Mr. MARCY. That was not relevant.
The CHAIRMAN. You all have in your folders sort of a resume of
that last letter.
Senator MCCARTHY. With respect to the remaining question of
the document in question, it is an internal staff paper of the Joint
Chiefs of Staff which is currently under review by the Chairman.
The CHAIRMAN. When McNamara comes, you can ask him why
it is not available.
Senator MCCARTHY. Do we have to ask him? Does the committee
have to review our request?
Mr. MARCY. No, sir; this was communicated to Senator Russell,
and this is the one document the committee has not received on the
Tonkin business, and if you recall this is presumably a document
that was, a study that was done covering all of the communications
at the time of the Tonkin incident. It was very highly classified because it was based upon, so far as we know, it was based upon telephone communications during the day principally of August 4, and
communications which involved the President talking to Admiral
Sharp and McNamara and the people in the field, this kind of
thing, and we were warned when the committee asked for this it
would probably be destroyed.
Actually, when the committee did ask for it, we got back a letter
saying that the document in question is an internal staff paper of
the Joint Chiefs of Staff and is currently under review by the
Chairman. That is all we know about it.
Senator HICKENLOOPER. This was not one of the papers that Mr.
Nitze told the Chairman he did not want delivered?
Mr. MARCY. No, sir.
The CHAIRMAN. That I will say over again was a very simple,
short communique which was a message—I have told you about it.
I will not repeat it. No, this is not that.
Senator HICKENLOOPER. It is open season on this one.
The CHAIRMAN. There is an open season made within the Department. You might say their own analysis of what happened.
Senator MUNDT. Have you written a letter over your own signature for that, Bill.
Senator MUNDT. Why do we not renew it?
Mr. MARCY. That is the answer we got. The fact we had asked
for this document was communicated to Senator Russell in expectation——
The CHAIRMAN. I gave Senator Russell last Wednesday the whole
thing that you have, including this letter, but Senator Russell went
into the hospital on Friday. I called yesterday and talked to his assistant, you know, Bill Darden, and he is in the hospital, and he,
they said he was feeling very bad yesterday, and I just did not feel
like trying to, bedevil him about this, and he authorized Bill Darden to talk to Bill Bader about this if he wanted to, and Bill Darden just felt he did not know what to talk to Bill Bader about.
Senator MCCARTHY. In view of what we know from other sources,
why do we not ask and make a formal request of this?
The CHAIRMAN. What is that?
Senator MCCARTHY. Make a formal request for this report saying
we have a right to it.
Senator HICKENLOOPER. He did but he said——
Senator MCCARTHY. Let’s make it by formal resolution of the
The CHAIRMAN. What is wrong with this, asking McNamara to
come up here because he really is a central figure in this whole affair—he was the principal witness in presenting what had happened, and in the course of that again requesting him to make it
Senator MUNDT. Will he come soon?
The CHAIRMAN. Well, I do not know. We asked him—I mean this,
I think we could renew, exactly did we and what was the letter,
I wrote him a letter, did I not?
Mr. MARCY. I talked with Mr. Stempler who was his aide. And
inquired of Mr. McNamara, and Mr. McNamara said he does not
like to appear before any other committees until after he has
briefed both the Senate and House Armed Services Committees, on
the general state of the Defense Department, and he said he does
not do that until after the budget has been presented, which was
yesterday, so this—this was the same business we got last year.
Senator MUNDT. This is two months away.
The CHAIRMAN. That is a general statement. We have not addressed a specific request to come and testify about his testimony
on Tonkin. I do not know that he would give that kind of answer
if the committee wants to ask him.
Senator MCCARTHY. Make that request.
The CHAIRMAN. Write a letter saying it is not a general review
and so on. This other is kind of a protocol matter. We want to talk
about this.
Senator GORE. Let’s do that specifically.
The CHAIRMAN. I do not know whether the committee wants it.
Senator GORE. Instead of mailing it, delivering it by hand down
there because Secretary McNamara is going to be gone.
Senator DODD. When does he leave?
The CHAIRMAN. When does he leave, Mr. Marcy?
Mr. MARCY. I do not know.
Senator AIKEN. World Bank Headquarters are in Washington.
Senator MUNDT. We would like to expand it because we would
like to talk to him about the Tonkin and Pueblo situation.
Senator GORE. I would not like for us, Mr. Chairman, to confuse
the two right now. Let’s stay on Tonkin.
The CHAIRMAN. I think we would have our hands full on Tonkin,
and then if we have time there is nothing to prevent you.
Senator MUNDT. Will you rule out any question on Pueblo?
The CHAIRMAN. You can do that on your own. But I think to keep
our lines straight, if you want to do it that we ought to address a
letter that we have it under way, he knows we have this under
way, and that we would most respectfully request him to appear
in executive session to discuss this affair.
Senator MCCARTHY. Let’s do that.
The CHAIRMAN. Does that suit you?
Senator MUNDT. Thursday morning.
The CHAIRMAN. Does that suit the committee? Does anybody object to it? Without objection, we will address today a letter request
ing him to come to testify on, we might say, on his testimony of
the Tonkin Gulf affair.
Senator MCCARTHY. Why do we not ask preliminarily that they
will get that paper up to us so we know what to ask him?
The CHAIRMAN. His testimony and the Naval records on Thursday morning, does that suit everybody.
Senator MCCARTHY. That is right.
Senator LAUSCHE. Mr. Chairman, have copies of these papers
been supplied to the State Department or to the Defense Department that are on my desk here this morning?
Mr. MARCY. No, sir.
The CHAIRMAN. The only one I have supplied was to Senator
Senator LAUSCHE. Here is a paper marked ‘‘addendum,’’ and it
The second former Naval officer was on active duty on another vessel in the Far
East. He was a nuclear weapons officer and saw secret traffic from the Maddox and
Turner Joy during the second incident. His testimony confirmed the substance of
the communications the staff received from the Department of the Navy. It was this
officer’s conclusion that the second incident did not take place.
Now you pick out one man but how many were there who said
that it did take place, and where is their statement in this addendum?
What I am trying to make clear is when I get the testimony I
will want it all, all testimony from those who said that it did take
place and not only testimony from those who said that it did not
take place.
The CHAIRMAN. Well, this testimony, if my memory serves me
correctly, is testimony that was volunteered to us. We described it
before, how one officer came and called a member of the staff and
came over and wanted to talk. We did not have we did not request
him to and so on, and most all, except for I think three instances
these are documentary, that is why it is addendum.
Senator LAUSCHE. Well and good. But there is no one so capable
of finding proof as the one who wants to find proof to support his
own conclusions, and I say that these reports when they quote
what individuals had said and are not a part of the record, is not
ample testimony. Those who said there was firing of torpedoes
ought to also be quoted in these reports——
The CHAIRMAN. We do not have those. So far as I know that they
exist, the Department has those. They did not make them available. Did they make them available?
Mr. MARCY. Yes, sir, and there is reference in your main document. On page 15 at the bottom to the voluminous reports that
were made available to the staff by the Department of Defense,
sworn testimony and the individuals. But I should say, Mr. Chairman, we have not interviewed any officers of any kind, shape or
form unless they volunteered, unless someone came in.
Senator GORE. Mr. Chairman, at the committee meeting the
other day, at which this was discussed, the committee had just on
the day of the meeting received a communication from the Naval
officer in the Philippines, and no, therefore no reference, no excerpts from that, from those communications were included.
I see here on page 5 of the document that the staff has submitted
this morning, pursuant to the instruction of the committee, the following communication:
At 1:27 in the afternoon of August 4—this is on the basis of reviewing this information——
Senator MUNDT. What page are you reading from?
Senator GORE. I am reading from page 5 of today’s report. Here
is the conclusion of the Naval Center in the Philippines, some ten
hours or so, I am just estimating, eight or ten hours before the attack was made on North Vietnam.
Review of action makes many reported contacts and torpedos fired appear doubtful. Freak weather effects and overeager sonarmen may have accounted for many
reports. No actual visual sightings by Maddox suggest complete evaluation before
any further action.
That was the conclusion.
Senator MUNDT. Read that next sentence.
Senator GORE. ‘‘Subequently, doubts came from the ships themselves.’’
Well, the members can read that for themselves. I just wanted
to cite it.
Senator LAUSCHE. I know the staff does not need any defenses,
but if you will read above that in the page before you will see that
there are, they cite, the various communications, sightings, alleged
sightings and torpedoes and so forth, and then they come finally
to a quotation from the conclusion message of the Naval Center in
the Philippines, which evidence was not before the committee at
the time of the last report.
The CHAIRMAN. That only came in after the report had been
Senator GORE. I believe it arrived that morning, did it not? At
the time we were meeting?
The CHAIRMAN. That is correct.
Mr. MARCY. That is correct,
Senator GORE. At the same time that the chairman requested the
report, not the report but the actual copies of communications with
the Naval Center in the Philippines, he asked for this other report
which we have been denied.
The CHAIRMAN. That is right.
Senator GORE. This one was supplied is that correct now?
The CHAIRMAN. That is correct.
Senator GORE. So I wanted to say, I think the staff has given us
what they have received.
Senator LAUSCHE. Here on page 6 of the document from which
you are reading there is a statement:
The Commander-in-Chief of the Pacific Fleet some five hours after the presumed
attack on the U.S. ships and just five hours before the retaliatory airstrike on North
Vietnam sent a telegram to the Operational Commander of the Maddox and Turner
Joy as follows:
‘(1) Can you confirm absolutely that you were attacked?
‘(2) Can you confirm sinking of PT boats?
‘(3) Desire reply directly supporting evidence.’
Over the next few hours, the demands for confirming information and evidence
mounted. Finally, at 9:03 p.m., Washington time the Commander of the 7th Fleet
asked the Turner Joy to amplify urgently its reports. The following is from the
cable: ‘Who were witnesses, what is witness reliability?’
Who were those witnesses? Do we have anything in this report?
Senator GORE. Yes. In the first one.
Mr. MARCY. Continue right on, Senator.
Senator LAUSCHE.
‘Most important that present evidence substantiating type and number of attacking forces be gathered and disseminated.’ Thirty minutes later the Turner Joy was
ordered to locate debris to substantiate.
Well, now, is there anything in this record or have we identified
who the witneses were on the Maddox or the Turner Joy or whatever its name is?
The CHAIRMAN. There are two different ships.
Senator LAUSCHE. Yes, the Turner Joy, who said that they saw
these torpedoes.
Mr. MARCY. Yes, sir, this is what is referred to on page 15 in the
earlier document, and it says there is voluminous evidence of, that
was collected by the Department of the Navy in a subsequent inquiry, and those are sworn affidavits from a variety of individuals.
Commanding officers——
Senator HICKENLOOPER. Have we considered getting the best evidence, which is the commander of the Turner Joy and the commander of the Maddox?
Mr. MARCY. Could I say that the operation of the staff has not
been to go out and talk to any of these individuals.
Senator HICKENLOOPER. I think you have done a good job I am
not criticizing the staff. Frank raises the questions.
Mr. MARCY. No, I am saying I would be delighted to if you wanted us to.
Senator GORE. Let us set, it straight. The chairman of the committee told us the other day he had not given instructions or told
the staff to go out and interrogate anyone, is that right?
The CHAIRMAN. I want to say on behalf of the staff that Mr.
Bader, formerly in the Navy for two or three years, correct me, Bill,
if I am wrong, served in the CIA, he is the only man on the staff
who could decipher these documents because of his previous experience in the Navy, and,—was it Naval intelligence, Mr. Bader?
Mr. BADER. Yes, sir.
The CHAIRMAN. And he was in the CIA, and I said, when I first
looked at a few of these documents they didn’t mean a thing to me,
I mean utterly unintelligible to an ordinary person, so we turned
them over to him, and I think he has done a magnificent job in
this. He has done only what I asked him, to do. He was not asked,
he or Mr. Marcy, to go and start questioning people. I thought that
would be certainly not without the committee authorization, and I
still think, I don’t want to get a big furor going on around.
We were dealing only with the documentary evidence, except for
three people, I think, who volunteered to give testimony, and it is
not of very much importance one way or the other in here.
Senator LAUSCHE. It is important when it is in the record.
The CHAIRMAN. I mean these three people I am talking about.
One, I told the committee once before about this ødeleted¿ who felt
it was on his conscience. He called up Mr. Jones on staff first, and
then he conferred, then he requested he come to my office, and he
did come and the reporter was there, and we made a record of it
just for whatever it is worth. He asked to come. It was simply in
a way substantiating some of the other things.
But we don’t rely on his testimony as being of great significance.
The main reliance here is on what is in the documents and they
are interpreted. Of course maybe Mr. Bader may have made some
mistakes. I don’t think he has, because he has been working on
this most carefully, and I think he is extremely competent to interpret what the documents mean. I will guarantee if you read them,
most of them, they are in these codes, I mean they use funny words
and all that, and they don’t mean anything to me. I do have great
confidence in Mr. Bader’s integrity as well as his capacity.
Senator HICKENLOOPER. Mr. Chairman, I think we are just talking in circles here. I haven’t heard anybody criticizing the staff. I
think they have done a splendid job here. But I am talking about
the possibility of an investigation. I am not prepared to make up
my mind on this on unilateral testimony.
Now, that is what we have. We have certain anonymous testimony, we have certain records of the Navy Department, radio messages, and things like that. There are many gaps.
I am merely suggesting awhile ago, if I didn’t say it, apparently,
and that is my fault, if we are going to look into these things any
further, to come to any conclusions that we consider, that we might
go to the very best evidence possible which would be the commander of the Turner Joy and the commander of the Maddox.
Now, that is all, and I am not criticizing the staff. I don’t know
how anybody can decipher that stuff that is contained in those
messages. I have seen them and I think a wonderful job has been
But I think we have the basis for question here, but I submit
that is all we have here, is the basis for question.
There is a lot of evidence that——
Senator MUNDT. That is all we are proposing. That is all we propose.
Senator AIKEN. The question I would like answered, did Secretary McNamara know that he was not given, telling us, the right
story at the time he told it? I think that is important and I guess
he is the only one who can answer that.
Senator COOPER. Mr. Chairman, may I ask a question?
The CHAIRMAN. Senator Cooper.
Senator COOPER. Following up what Senator Lausche asked
awhile ago, on page 14 of the first staff memorandum: After these
questions had been sent to the commander of the Maddox and
Turner Joy, this staff report says that the commander of the Maddox and Turner Joy gave a confused picture. But he did say the
Turner Joy claimed sinking one craft and damaging another.
Then when Moorer called him again and asked whether he could
confirm that he was attacked, the Turner Joy replied that it was
I would assume that on the basis somebody up the line accepted
the answer of the commander and agreed that it was attacked.
Now, my question comes to this: Somebody had to make a decision that it had been under attack and those people there, whether
they were right or not, whether they thought they were being attacked, and I think that kind of situation could occur. From my little experience once in the Army, I thought we were shot at, and
we were shot at by our own men, but——
Senator HICKENLOOPER. Well, but you were shot at.
Senator COOPER. I was not shot at by the enemy, but it seems
to me what you are really asking them, because finally you come
out on this, the Navy already on their Board of Inquiry already determined they were attacked.
Whether or not they were or not they found it so they are going
to come and say under investigation that they were attacked.
You don’t think you can ever disprove that.
My thought is what is it we are really asking? Are we asking
whether or not the evidence of the attack was such that in good
judgment they should have retaliated or they should have said it
was such a serious matter that we should prepare for war with
Vietnam, and. it finally gets down to a question of the judgment
of the Commander-in-Chief, that is what you finally end up with,
or is it you are trying to determine that these methods of communication are so vague and so poor and so uncertain that we can be
launched into some major war?
Senator AIKEN. Mr. Chairman?
The CHAIRMAN. Let me respond.
I assume it is addressed to me. I think that the fact that the attitude of this committee toward the Pueblo in itself is almost justification for all we have done, because all the members of this
committee have taken a very different attitude on this than they
otherwise would have, I think, without this background.
Senator COOPER. I want you to go ahead, myself.
The CHAIRMAN. What disposition is made of this is entirely up
to the committee.
My own feeling is that it is very dangerous if this kind of procedure is allowed to continue without them knowing that this committee is deeply concerned about the method of making decisions
that, in effect, amount to war, particularly in view of the administration’s attitude that they no longer need a declaration of war.
If we are going to follow the procedure they have in this, I think
we have got to have a much more careful way of reaching these decisions, and that this committee, and I believe they will henceforth,
be a lot more skeptical of a similar story brought in here by any
future Secretary of Defense.
I have always felt greatly at fault as chairman that at that time
I was carried away with the story, I believed it, I was carried away,
influenced by other things going on at the time of a political nature, and if you all, I am sure have been reminded on the floor of
the Senate and I know very well what I know now if I had known
it then by a previous experience I certainly would not have, advised
the committee to do what they did.
I can also speak for Senator Russell. He has expressed the same
feeling to me.
When I said to him one of the reasons I thought we should look
at this from our own information, I felt at fault, he said, ‘‘I do, too.’’
He said, ‘‘I don’t know why I did not ask for some further consideration.’’
He said almost the same thing because he said, ‘‘I sat with you,
my committee sat with you, and we all just accepted it without
And I think if we don’t do anything other than discuss it here,
and if at the end of this the committee says, ‘‘Put it in the files and
forget it,’’ I am not going to make any big howl. I think it is an
exercise well worthwhile if this committee is to amount to anything
and if it is to have any influence in the future. And if it is to play
any part or if the Senate isn’t to be completely eliminated as having any signficance in the conduct of foreign relations.
That is the way I feel about it.
Senator COOPER. I am for it.
The CHAIRMAN. It is educational in a sense.
Senator COOPER. What I am trying to do is find out what your
purpose is. Is it to try for this committee to prove that no attack
The CHAIRMAN. No, I think the burden as far as you are going
to put the burden is for them to prove it did, and the way they
have got to support their own story.
Senator COOPER. My own feeling is that what we are trying to
show is that an attack or not, was it of such a nature that it required retaliation, and I think you can justify retaliation, or was
it of such a nature that it required bringing a resolution here and
engaging the Senate and Congress and the country to the prospects
of a major war.
The CHAIRMAN. It seems to me that the committee, having acted
on this, and the Senate having acted on it, is entitled to know the
Now, what we do about it, we can’t undo it. I know we can’t undo
it, but I think it is very important that if we are to function at all
that we know what happened and learn about these things, that
about the extent of it.
What the committee wishes to do about it, I haven’t any suggestion at this time other than to get at the bottom of it and see what
really happened.
I didn’t know enough at the time to do it.
This, as I say, originated due to other outside things that had developed.
Senator LAUSCHE. Mr. Chairman, I concur with what Senator
Cooper has said. The issue is: Were the circumstances of a character which justified the persons in charge to do what they did in
the Tonkin Bay? Post facto judgments reached with a pretense of
great accuracy are folly. I have been through that time and again
when after all of the things are done and you see clearly what it
is, you say, ‘‘Well, the judgment was wrong,’’ but judgment has to
be formulated on the basis of what those who were present in the
turmoil concluded.
Today we are arguing about why the United States didn’t hit the
Korean boat when it seized the Pueblo.
Well, at the same time, we are arguing why did we strike at the
patrol boats in the Tonkin Bay when we shouldn’t have struck at
Senator AIKEN. Mr. Chairman, this discussion, particularly that
part relating to the Turner Joy, reminds me of the old fellow who
said, ‘‘Ten years ago I shot a 600 pound bear out at the Beech tree
back of my house. If you don’t believe me, I will show you the tree.’’
That is about where the Turner Joy stands today, I would say.
They can show us the ocean where they shot at them.
Senator GORE. Mr. Chairman, the document which I requested
the other day has now arrived. I have read it or tried to read it
and found it a bit unintelligible to me. I asked Mr. Bader to read
it, and he says it would be, before he could interpret it, since it refers to four reference points of previous orders, it would be necessary to have an identification of those points. So unless there is
some objection on the part of the committee, I would like the chairman to direct the staff to proceed to get those reference points, so
this becomes an intelligible document.
The CHAIRMAN. Well, he has done that wherever—in most cases.
Certainly he can do that.
Well, as of the moment, it is agreed, then, I will invite Mr.
McNamara. If he doesn’t wish to come for any reason or refuses,
shall I ask Mr. Nitze in his place? He is the Under Secretary, and
the man, I may say, with whom we have had most of our communications.
Is that correct?
Senator HICKENLOOPER. He didn’t make them.
The CHAIRMAN. I can’t force Mr. McNamara to come.
Senator LAUSCHE. I have no objection to that being done.
The CHAIRMAN. I don’t know. What do you want the chairman
to do when the Secretary of State or Navy won’t come, what do you
think I am going to do, go down there and bring him up?
Senator CASE. Is it just fair to ask him to come without telling
him we have questions as to the honesty and accuracy of these
The CHAIRMAN. He knows we have these documents. We are not
going to take him by surprise. Goodness knows, I am sure they
have conferred about this.
Senator LAUSCHE. May I suggest that we send to the Secretary
and to the Department of Defense complete copies of these statements that have been filed?
The CHAIRMAN. They have the originals of all these documents
It seems to me their business——
Senator LAUSCHE. They don’t have the originals of these private
conversations with men who came in and say, ‘‘I am consciencestricken and I have got to tell you that we were not attacked in
the Tonkin Bay.’’
They don’t have that.
Senator GORE. Mr. Chairman, these, this addendum is not a part
of the conclusions reached.
I personally think the staff would have been remiss if it had
withheld from the committee testimony volunteered, et cetera,
They informed us of it, but did not include it in the chronology and
in the conclusions reached, but as an addendum for the information
of the committee.
The CHAIRMAN. That is right.
Senator DODD. How much do we know about the informant, we
don’t know his name. I don’t know anything about him. How reliable is he?
Senator GORE. I don’t know.
Senator DODD. Does he have an axe to grind? Does anybody
Senator HICKENLOOPER. As I understand it, he is G–2ing this
from remote control.
Senator GORE. The point I was trying to make, it is not a part
of the conclusions.
Senator HICKENLOOPER. He just said, ‘‘I heard some things going
over the air and I don’t believe they were attacked.’’ He was on the
Senator DODD. I think we ought to know something about an individual who comes in, and the chairman ought to know.
Senator GORE. He went to see the chairman.
The CHAIRMAN. Well, there are two different classes. I thought
he was asking—we did receive only, not too long ago anonymous
letters, they just came in with no name on them. They said ‘‘If I
put my name on this, I will be fired.’’ They apparently are in the
Pentagon. I don’t swear they are, they just said, ‘‘We can’t give our
names because we will be fired.’’
What they did suggest is that we ask for this document. That is
Senator GORE. And suffice it to say——
The CHAIRMAN. That is all, we don’t know who they are.
Senator GORE.—neither the committee nor its staff had any
knowledge that such a document existed, that such a document had
been made, except that as a result of this anonymous letter the
staff asked for the two documents referred to in this anonymous
communication. One of them we have, one of them it refuses.
Senator DODD. No, I wasn’t raising a question about those anonymous documents. I was raising a question about what I thought
I understood to be a Naval officer who came in.
The CHAIRMAN. That is a separate one, Tom. There are two different classes. One came in, we have his testimony, his name, I
gave it to you before, his name is ødeleted¿. He still is a ødeleted¿
in the Navy, he is still there, and they know, that is, his superiors
know he came.
I mean there is no secret. They know all about that.
Senator DODD. I didn’t know about that.
The CHAIRMAN. They know he came. That is a separate one.
Then these last two, he came, November or December, he still is
in the Navy, and been in there a long time. These two last letters
came anonymously. They just came a short time ago.
[Discussion off the record.]
Senator HICKENLOOPER. I don’t think an anonymous thing should
be dismissed, but they can be tested and we did test it by asking
for these reports that this fellow wrote about it.
But I wouldn’t take anonymous declarations just whole on their
face without testing them in some way.
Senator DODD. That is all I wanted to say.
Senator MUNDT. Let me add to what Al said.
Alger Hiss went to jail because of an anonymous call I got in
New York at midnight from someone whom I thought was a kook
or drunk, but he said, ‘‘Why don’t you talk to the editor of Time?’’
I never even knew his name. I took the trip up to Time and Whittaker Chambers had expected it for years, strictly an anonymous
tip. It is worth checking.
Senator GORE. Here is the document that was sent up just since
there has been reference to the so-called gobbledygook. It isn’t gobbledygook. But it is technical terms, and I would just like to pass
it around for members to see.
Senator DODD. I think I was misunderstood, Mr. Chairman. I
was not advising not checking into an anonymous letter. I didn’t
know anything about this officer.
Senator CASE. Is there a question that John raised before have
we considered this and decided it, whether or not there is ground
for questioning the accuracy of the statements that were made to
the committee that this is the wrong time to pursue it, we ought
to hold it six weeks or two weeks or three weeks or four weeks
until the Pueblo thing is settled and not by an inquiry being active
now cast doubt on the leaders who are trying to settle the Pueblo?
The CHAIRMAN. I am certainly against any public statement
about this. But I don’t see any objection to an executive meeting
and the Secretary, of course, will be leaving. I don’t know that—
that is up to the committee.
Senator GORE. I understood with respect to the Pueblo we had
left it without formal action, but the chairman on his own authority would direct the staff to start gathering information.
Senator CASE. That is not the question. The question is whether
by actively pursuing Tonkin Gulf under circumstances suggesting
a question of the honesty of people in government who are now
conducting the Pueblo affair, you hurt the Pueblo settlement.
Senator MUNDT. There is an issue—nobody is questioning the
honesty on the Pueblo; we are not questioning it. We are just questioning the advisability of the method of determination of who sent
it in.
Senator CASE. Just to lay it out, if I may, and then John can—
it is his idea, but he is too modest sometimes. It isn’t a question
of the facts of the Pueblo that we are requesting now; it is a question of the integrity of the individuals who are dealing with it who
were the individuals then, McNamara, Rusk, the military, even the
President, and I think this is worthy of serious consideration before
we decide not to postpone action on Tonkin Gulf which is, after all,
not an emergency matter.
Senator COOPER. I would like to say one word on that. First, let
me say at some point I want to favor going ahead and looking to
see what actually happened in Tonkin Bay and also the Pueblo, because I think the procedures they use; and as Karl said the other
day, at this time could bring us into another war, if we are not very
But in the Tonkin Bay matter, if these facts are correct the staff
assembled, and I think they are, it is clear that at times the Maddox was in the territorial waters of North Vietnam, and it may appear, it may be shown later, we don’t know, that at times the Pueblo might have been in territorial waters.
You may remember the other day I asked Secretary Rusk if they
could produce the communications before the first message they did
report on, where the Pueblo said that, you know, they sighted these
patrol boats, at that point they said the Pueblo was in territorial
waters, and when it was seized it was in territorial waters, but I
asked him if they had any message to show where they had been
before. He said he didn’t know. They didn’t have those messages.
It could be that before they might have been in territorial waters
and they moved out.
So, in pursuing the Tonkin Bay, I think the press and others
would be bound to associate it with the Pueblo, and——
The CHAIRMAN. John, I don’t know why. They know this has
been going on long before the Pueblo. We had our own first meeting
before that.
Senator COOPER. I am talking about the next two weeks, and
would it be said in here, and it has been said, and it will be said
again, that the Maddox was in territorial waters and it was not in
international waters as the Defense Department purported at that
time, and then I think it will question them all as to what really
happened at the time of the Pueblo I think it would bring all that
under question, it could bring that under question, and I just ask
the question in the next two or three weeks when this matter is
being pursued with the Pueblo, do you want to raise any doubt
which might affect the success of the mission. That is my question.
I want to go ahead with this, but I want it done at a time when
we do not in any way do anything to affect the efforts they are
making with respect to the Pueblo. It is a matter of timing.
I may be very cautious, but the situation is still dangerous, in
my judgment. It has exposed a weakness of the United States when
we haven’t got the means to support a policy.
The CHAIRMAN. I don’t agree with that. I don’t think it shows we
are weak.
Senator COOPER. What?
The CHAIRMAN. I don’t think it shows we are weak.
Senator COOPER. The Pueblo?
The CHAIRMAN. Nobody denies we have got the power to destroy
North Korea tomorrow if we wanted to. It is not a weakness about
it; it is a question of judgment of how to proceed.
Senator COOPER. With the conventional strength we have over
The CHAIRMAN. I think we could destroy them certainly this
morning, if that is what you think is wise. It isn’t a matter of
Senator COOPER. I don’t believe it, myself.
The CHAIRMAN. It is a question of how we use it.
Senator COOPER. You said we have the manpower, but the reports in the press are that it is not a coordinated force.
The CHAIRMAN. John, as of next Tuesday, according to this morning, we will have more, a good many more planes. We have already, I told you, had the manpower, we will have a good many
more planes, fighter bombers, bombers, et cetera, in South Korea
than the North Koreans have. I don’t think if you are just talking
about Korea—now, if you are talking about a war with Russia, we
haven’t got the strength to back her down; that is another matter.
But as far as Korea, North Korea, I don’t think it is a question of
strength, and I don’t think it means the United States has no
strength at all. I don’t think that is the question.
It will have, he said it would be, I don’t know how much you
want to go into this, but certainly it would be very careful, not that
he says it won’t be found out but they are going to put in 341
planes that will be there in addition to what they had before, next
Tuesday. They are moving them in from all over, and he said how
many were available from western Europe, if you need them, and
so on. He gave a lot of big figures about it this morning. I didn’t
go into that because I didn’t know that it was very pertinent. I
don’t think they have the slightest doubt that they can deal with
North Korea itself, if that is alone.
The implications of this go way beyond that as to what you
should do as a matter of wisdom or whether or not you want to
take a chance of precipitating a, war with Russia, et cetera. All of
that is involved.
It is not whether or not, I don’t think anybody has any doubt
that we are stronger than Korea and it does not show any weakness in the military sense. It may show a weakness in judgment,
or something else, or a faulty planning or so on, but not weakness
of military strength. I don’t think there is anything that would indicate that.
Senator COOPER. I think, believe it is, myself, but that is a matter of judgment.
Senator LAUSCHE. What is your proposal?
Senator COOPER. I just asked if we weigh whether or not to actually pursue this matter of Tonkin Bay for the next couple of weeks
until we see what is happening with the Pueblo thing, so it won’t
be associated in the public mind when our government is making
very important and delicate efforts with respect to the Pueblo I
think that is the most important thing before the country, riqht
Senator MUNDT. How long is McNamara going to be on the job?
The CHAIRMAN. I don’t know.
Senator HICKENLOOPER. I think he is going to leave the 1st of
Senator GORE. I don’t want to divert, but in answer to one of the
questions asked this morning, whether the Pueblo was in in any
ways prepared to defend itself. Here is the concluding order, ‘‘Installed defensive armament should be stowed or covered in such a
manner as not to elicit interest from surveilling units. Apply only
in cases where threat to survival is obvious.’’
Senator HICKENLOOPER. Well, it wasn’t applied.
Senator GORE. I just thought I would read that. Don’t you think
this document should be a part of the record this morning, or do
you want to wait and let it be a part of the study on the Pueblo?
The CHAIRMAN. Why don’t you just use it as a part of the study
on that?
All I can say is that two or at most, I forget whether it was two
or three, 50 caliber machineguns are certainly not adequate armament for any purpose.
Senator DODD. Is that what that refers to?
Senator GORE. That referred to the Pueblo.
The CHAIRMAN. That was all we had.
Senator PELL. I can’t help but be personal because I was both a
communications officer in the Navy and also a gunnery officer, and
I can see the whole situation. I don’t see what those fellows could
have done because by the time you had unstowed the guns, got the
canvas covers off and got them loaded, the fellows were already
aboard, and the instructions—I think the most interesting thing I
have seen yet are the operations orders that Albert or the chairman got, and I would hope the maximum publicity could be given
to those operations orders because they really put us very much in
a clear and international way, I would think efforts should be made
almost to declassify it. It is a fascinating document, and it show
what the areas were.
Senator HICKENLOOPER. How long would it take to get the covers
Senator PELL. Ten or fifteen minutes.
Senator HICKENLOOPER. They had two or three hours.
Senator PELL. But they, actually, weren’t actually being boarded
until the ships were coming right on top. The next thing, they
knew the fellows were right on top.
Senator HICKENLOOPER. It was too late.
The CHAIRMAN. The General’s point is that they would have been
very foolish to attempt to use a 50 caliber machine gun against a
patrol boat with 3-inch guns.
Senator HICKENLOOPER. I agree with that.
The CHAIRMAN. It wasn’t in the cards to try to resist with that
kind of armament, that is really what he is saying, whether they
had time or whether they were uncovered or not. This is just——
Senator HICKENLOOPER. They shouldn’t have used that language.
The CHAIRMAN. That is the way I understood it this morning, it
was a subchaser that I think he said had 3-inch guns. PT boats
had torpedoes and also just small caliber, I don’t know whether
they were 50 caliber or not. But one of them had a 3-inch gun.
Senator PELL. The interesting thing about that, those orders give
such firm instructions where it is to be 6 miles to 13 nautical miles
off the coast and the whole thing comes through that I would think
Goldberg would try to use that at the U.N.
Senator GORE. Well, Claiborne, I just looked at this document
which came to us marked ‘‘Secret’’ so it is not within our privilege
to release it.
Senator PELL. I agree.
Senator GORE. If the chairman, after studying these reference
points or the committee, wished to suggest to the administration
the advisability of its release, I think it is worth consideration. So
far as I have seen, I have no reason to question the accuracy and
the truth and integrity of the information that has been given to
us about the Pueblo.
As the chairman has said, we are made very wary about the fact
that from all the evidence now submitted one can reach a tentative
conclusion, and I say tentative, that precipitate action was taken
with respect to the so-called happenings at Tonkin Bay. If so, then
the administration has learned a good lesson, as I see it now, and
if these reference points bear out the accuracy of this, as Senator
Pell has said, it might be well for the committee to consider asking
that the document be made public because it might buttress the
case that Ambassador Goldberg has made at the U.N.
The CHAIRMAN. Well, what does the committee think? I mean do
they wish to reconsider their thoughts in view of Senator Cooper’s
observations or not? I don’t wish to push this if the committee
doesn’t want to. I don’t want to embarrass the committee at all.
All I seek is the advice of the committee. You are the ones who
determine whether we should ask McNamara or not.
Senator LAUSCHE. Mr. Chairman, we say that our government
was in the right on the Pueblo. The North Koreans say that we
were in the wrong. There is that dispute now. We are contemplating calling in McNamara where we will make the charge not
directly but indirectly, but impliedly, that he was mistake, I am
putting it in a mild way, in the information which he gave us.
Senator PELL. About Tonkin Bay?
Senator LAUSCHE. Yes. But we are saying more than mistaken.
What position does that leave our government in with reference
to North Korea?
Senator GORE. In the same way that the U–2 leaves us. Everybody knows that the incidents involving the U–2 were fabricated;
nobody denies it now. It went to the highest levels.
Senator HICKENLOOPER. What do you mean fabricated?
Senator GORE. The cover story was untrue.
The CHAIRMAN. He is talking about the cover story.
Senator GORE. It would be unfair to say that, I think, without
further evidence that misrepresentations were made to this committee, there is at least a lot of doubt raised. I see nothing that
thus far causes me to doubt at any rate the accuracy of the information that has been supplied about the Pueblo. I do not believe
that pursuit of the Tonkin Bay matter would complicate our situation any more than pursuit of the U–2. There is a lot in my view
to the suggestion Senator Pell made that if this is conclusive then
the administration can buttress its case by actually releasing the
orders, although it refers to instructions there to surveil the Soviet
fleet, which the administration for other reasons might not wish to
The CHAIRMAN. There is one big difference between the U–2 and
this, we didn’t go to war about it. They shot it down, but we didn’t
go to war about it. I don’t mean by that what we did caused them
not to.
Senator HICKENLOOPER. But there is a big difference. The U–2
was way in the interior violating Russian air space, and our claim
here with the Pueblo is, at least so far as I could find, that it was
at no time within the territorial waters of North Korea; it was in
international waters all the time.
Senator PELL. I have a thought here somewhat in support of Senator Cooper’s and wondering if it might make any sense. It seems
to me our national interest would suggest that we ought to put this
on ice for a little while, if we can.
The problem is whether we could get McNamara as a witness.
Wouldn’t he be an even more interesting witness when he is no
longer in the administration and would agree to come to us after?
The CHAIRMAN. He is very likely to say, as Gene Black said to
me on a number of occasions, he is an international civil servant
and he will not come before a committee. He refused to come positively before the Banking and Currency Committee when I was
chairman, as a witness. All he would do would be to meet informally at a lunch or dinner at the Alibi Club. I don’t know whether
you would be met with that. That was Gene Black’s position.
Senator MUNDT. He would say Clark Clifford is the Defense Secretary and he has access to all the records and you should call him.
The CHAIRMAN. We would really have a rough time with him. He
would disavow any interest.
Senator MUNDT. If you call him at all, you have to call him when
he is on the job.
The thing that disturbs me most this morning when I heard it,
Bill’s story, is we are sending a sister ship back to Korea to demonstrate we have got the right to the sea, and I would like to talk
a little bit to McNamara about just whose idea that is, the thought
they have in mind and how they would protect it. I don’t want to
stumble into these wars when I have been alerted in that.
Senator PELL. Call him in on that and ask him about Tonkin
Bay. I think it would be an error to just call him in on Tonkin Bay.
The CHAIRMAN. I do not want to pressure the committee, but it
seems to me it is the same as Karl Mundt said in the beginning,
I don’t know what the function of this committee is. I used to assume that it was to furnish advice, we will say, in a constitutional
sense, and to function with the Executive in the belief that in a discussion, an examination, and so on, we would have a wiser policy.
If it is simply to O.K. and to agree with everything they say, I
think it has a very minor function and we ought to not kid ourselves that we have any, influence about it.
I think that in the long run this and future administrations are
more likely to reach wise decisions to exercise their great power
with caution and wisdom if they know there is somebody interested
in what they are doing. If we just always say, ‘‘Amen’’ to everything, they know well that doesn’t amount to anything.
I think they have been, my present view is, what I call, at least
improvident, and imprudent in some of their decisions.
Now, that is probably true of every administration, there is nothing new about that, but I think we have a role to play in this whole
operation. The same argument I made about the resolution which
we reported out unanimously would apply in a specific case to this
kind of an incident, that this committee and the Senate have not
only the responsibility but it has an opportunity to, I think, make
a contribution to present and future deliberations of the administration.
I don’t quite think these people are infallible simply because they
occupy certain offices.
I mean, I think they have the same problems we all have in
making up their mind, and I think we can be helpful to them,
maybe not in correcting past mistakes but you learn from that, and
may be useful in the future mistakes.
As I said, I think the very fact that we have had this report the
day before the Pueblo happened was a very healthy thing. All the
members of this committee had quite a different approach to it,
and were able, I think, to ask the right questions and to impress
upon the Secretary of State that we were concerned. This committee, I think, what they said in that meeting, when I wasn’t
here, was much more sensible than a whole lot of the members of
the Congress said in public that same day and the next day, and
I think one of the reasons is this committee knew what can happen
in these situations.
I am at a loss now. I mean, I thought you wanted me to ask
McNamara, now I am not sure. Do you want me to or not?
Senator CASE. I raised the question.
Senator HICKENLOOPER. I think you ought to.
Senator CASE. I think you ought to
Senator MUNDT. I am in favor of it.
Senator GORE. I am in favor of it.
The CHAIRMAN. All right. Then a clear majority seems to me to
want to invite him. If he says he will not come, then shall I ask
Nitze? He is the next best authority.
Senator HICKENLOOPER. What good will that do?
The CHAIRMAN. He has been aware of it.
Senator DODD. Do I understand Senator Cooper’s position to be
not questioning, but I think you very well put the proper interest
this committee should take or whether it is the right thing to do
at this time, is that your position, Senator Cooper?
The CHAIRMAN. He raises the question, but I understand now he
says it is all right.
Senator COOPER. I raised the question as to timing. My own
judgment is that it would be better to postpone it for two weeks
while we are dealing with the Pueblo thing, but that is my judgment.
The CHAIRMAN. I think, John, it really depends on whether we
are really discreet enough to keep our mouths shut, and if we are
not harm will fall. If we are not, it might.
Senator PELL. Senator Lausche asked me to say that he hoped
Secretary McNamara, he hoped we would not ask him to come.
The CHAIRMAN. I think the clear majority of everyone but one or
two was to ask him. He may not come, but we will ask him Thursday morning.
Senator COOPER. Then this means if we are asked, you are going
to make the statement, this is in effect a decision of the committee,
then, to continue to look into Tonkin Bay.
Senator PELL. Not just Tonkin Bay, but about the Pueblo, too.
The CHAIRMAN. No. It is my understanding not to say we are
looking into Pueblo, is that correct? And that we—they know we already had this, we already had a meeting last week, it is perfectly
well known, and we are just simply reviewing the case of Tonkin
Bay. That is all.
Senator GORE. Why not just say it is for the purpose of reviewing?
The CHAIRMAN. Reviewing the incident. They know that, it has
already been in the press.
Senator COOPER. For my information, how will we describe, then,
our position on the Tonkin Bay resolution, that the committee is
going ahead to look into the Tonkin Bay situation?
The CHAIRMAN. Just reviewing the incident. I am going to say reviewing the events. They already know that we are doing it, and
we will confer with the Secretary of, invite the Secretary of Defense.
Senator PELL. Bill, would it be going too far to say except for the
Secretary of Defense, and we want to speak to him before he leaves
office, we are postponing other actions in this regard until later?
Senator CASE. I would think that implies there is an awful lot
of stuff we don’t want to open up and we don’t know that is so.
Senator GORE. Let the chairman handle it.
The CHAIRMAN. I am going to say very little, as little as I can.
Senator COOPER. How are you going to state it, just for my information?
The CHAIRMAN. That we will invite the Secretary of State simply
as a part of our review of the Tonkin Bay incident—Secretary of
Defense as a part of our review of Tonkin Bay, preferably on
Thursday morning, if he is available. If he gives us a different alternative, I mean he says I can’t come, then I will come in the
afternoon, why we will get in touch with you.
You don’t care about the date. I mean just some day in the near
[Whereupon, at 12:30 p.m., the committee recessed, subject to
call of the chair].
Thursday, February 1, 1968
Washington, DC.
The committee, pursuant to notice, at 10:00 a.m., in room S–116,
the Capitol, Senator J. William Fulbright (chairman) presiding.
Present: Chairman Fulbright and Senators Gore, Clark,
Hickenlooper, and Aiken.
Also present: Mr. Marcy, Mr. Kuhl, Mr. Jones, and Mr. Bader,
of the committee staff.
Edward D. Re testified on his nomination to be Assistant Secretary of State for Educational and Cultural Affairs. Senator Jacob
K. Javits appeared in his behalf.
Dixon Donnelley, Assistant Secretary of State for Public Affairs,
accompanied by Jamez Hurd, Bureau of Public Affairs, Ewen C.
Dingwall, consultant to the Budget Bureau on International Exhibitions, and Charles I. Bevans, Assistant Legal Adviser for Treaty
Affairs, Department of State, testified on Ex. P, 90/1, International
Exhibitions Convention, with protocols.
The committee then proceeded into executive session and approved the nominations of Mr. Re and Palmer Hovt and Morris S.
Novik to be members of the Advisory Commission on Information.
It was agreed to hold up Ex. P, 90/1 until the implementing legislation was received.]
Senator CLARK. Bill, I will tell you, I think the thing is extremely
I spent several days in Saigon being briefed by Westmoreland’s
people. My wife and I stayed with Bunker at his residence, which
he has now had to evacuate.
Senator AIKEN. It would take him about 15 minutes to do that.
Senator CLARK. That is right. Despite the Marine guards and everybody was polite to me. The Ambassador is a charming fellow
and they were very optimistic. They said at that point they were
looking forward to this winter-spring offensive with keen anticipation because they expected to be able to blunt it.
General Robert Cushman, up from the I Corps area, who is a terrific fellow, he is just the best kind of of Marine you ever want to
see, I was very much impressed with him as a fighting man, as a
Marine. He said, ‘‘I think the enemy is demented.’’
Senator GORE. What?
Senator CLARK. Demented. He said the losses they are taking no
human being with any sense would take. He said, ‘‘I think they are
going to make one more try, it will be a great blood bath and we
will murder or kill an awful lot of them and they will quit.’’
I asked General Westmoreland if he thought the enemy was demented, and he said, no. I asked him if he thought there would be
a military victory in this war, and he said, no.
The CHAIRMAN. Who said that?
Senator CLARK. Westmoreland, which surprised me. I taxed him
with that speech he made, and he was very polite and very friendly, but I had his speech he made at the Press Club down there in
November and he went over it point by point. And I said, ‘‘General,
that just hasn’t turned out to be right, has it?’’
And he hesitated a bit and he kind of half admitted that maybe
he had been a little unduly optimistic.
Bunker told me that he was very annoyed at Westmoreland for
making that speech. It was supposed to be cleared with him. It had
not been cleared with him, and if it had been cleared he would
have not permitted him to make it.
I don’t know what the hierarchy is between Bunker and Westmoreland, maybe he could have kept it——
The CHAIRMAN. It is clear the President could have.
Senator CLARK. Bunker said it was not cleared with him.
The CHAIRMAN. With anybody.
Senator CLARK. I had better be careful. Bunker said, ‘‘It was not
cleared with me and it should have been and if it had been,’’ I
thought he said, ‘‘I would not have let him make it.
He may have said, ‘‘I would have persuaded’’——
The CHAIRMAN. You didn’t ask him about the President.
Senator HICKENLOOPER. Of course, in this country, not Bunker’s
jurisdiction extends only in Vietnam.
Senator CLARK. He works very closely.
Then I had a dinner one night. Barry Zorthian, 1 a very competent fellow——
Senator AIKEN. My constituent.
Senator CLARK. A very good man of Greek extraction. And
Norvill Jones is absolutely essential, God, he is a good boy, he did
a wonderful job, he went over a week ahead of me, did line all this
up, and I think you have just a fine young man in Norvill Jones,
and he had gone to Zorthian and he said, ‘‘The Senator has heard
a lot about the press not agreeing with the military, and I want
you to name some of the top people of the press to have dinner
with Senator Clark, so he can talk to them.’’
Well, Zorthian picked these guys and we had a dinner down at
one of the restaurants, my wife and I.
The CHAIRMAN. Do you want to put on the record who they were
just for information?
Affairs Officer for the U.S. Military Mission in South Vietnam since 1964.
Senator CLARK. If I can remember. One was a man named Tom
Buckley of the New York Times, and another was one named
Coffey, who represents a Los Angeles paper. A third was, Peter
Arnett, of the Associated Press. He is a New Zealander, very articulate. Ray Coffey, Chicago Daily News; Merton Perry of Newsweek; Bob Shackness of Columbia Broadcasting System, and then
later, I met later with, separately with Lee Lecaze of the Washington Post, who is married to a very close friend of my daughter’s.
We took his wife and him to dinner. He is a little better balanced
than these other fellows, but he is essentially a quiet fellow. These
other fellows got a few drinks and they let General Westmoreland
and Ambassador Bunker and Ky and Thieu, and let them have it.
He said these fellows are living in a dream world. They don’t know
what is going on out here. The situation is really bad, there is
going to be a real blow-up, and they are pretty cynical, of course,
but they gave me an entirely different point of view than I got from
either Ambassador Bunker or the military.
So, who do I believe? This puzzled me.
There was one incident, there are several incidents that disturbed me. I went up to, with Norvill, and a group of other fellows,
to Quang Ngai Province, I am probably pronouncing it wrong, it is
that province, it is south of Da Nang. We stopped off there in order
to visit a provincial hospital and look at some of the work the
Quakers are doing there, and they are doing magnificent work with
a great lack of staff in building and fitting these artificial limbs on
these poor devils.
Of course we are so civilized here, it is hard to imagine the stark
misery of one of those provincial hospitals and the pain and agony
of these little kids all marked up, it got to me.
In any event, this Lieutenant Colonel Grubard, a fine type of Marine officer, although he was in civilian clothes because he is actually the American adviser to the Vietnamese provincial chief, was
all bothered because two nights before one of the provincial PF,
they call it, provincial fronts they call it, I guess, provincial patrol
of the South Vietnamese Army, they are not the regular guys, the
Senator HICKENLOOPER. Joe, I am interested in this, but I have
an appointment.
Senator CLARK. I understand—had been out on a patrol at night
searching out, one of these search and destroy things of the Viet
Cong, and at about daylight they came across a Viet Cong patrol
which attacked them, and they have these walkie-talkies, so they
called for a column to relieve them, and a column came out, I
think, one or two companies of South Vietnamese regulars and
some more of these popular front guys with five American advisers,
and they ran into the Viet Cong, the Viet Cong stood their ground,
and a battle ensued, and after a couple of rounds everyone of the
relieving party except the five American advisers turned tail and
ran, and the American advisers stuck around.
The CHAIRMAN. How many, approximately, were they?
Senator CLARK. I would say probably a hundred, 125.
The American advisers were on the wrong side of the river for
safety and, of course, these South Vietnamese had thrown a good
many of their weapons away when they turned and ran and the
American fellows had dropped their weapons and swam the river
under machine gun fire to get back to safety, and made it.
Well I told that to General Westmoreland when I saw him two
days later. He said that can’t be true. It is just not true. He said,
‘‘I will get the account of what happened.’’
So he sent out and brought out an account which in general
terms said there had been a skirmish up there, and the Viet Cong
had retired from the field, and we hadn’t been able to establish the
number that we lost about a third of what Grubard told me we lost
in the fight.
So I said, ‘‘General, this just can’t be the same incident that I
am telling you about. It can’t be.’’
I said, ‘‘I don’t want to get this Lieutenant Colonel in trouble, but
I am perfectly convinced there must have been another incident.’’
‘‘Well’’ he said, ‘‘I will look into it and before you go off tomorrow’’—I was leaving the next day—he said, ‘‘I will double check to
see whether my report is accurate.’’
Well, the next day one of his young intelligence officers appeared
at an Air Force briefing I was being given and he must have sat
up all night because he made a little watercolor sketch in blue to
show the river, in green to show the trees, and the dark color to
show the road. He had his pointer and he covered it up a bit but
the end result was that the account that I brought back was absolutely accurate, and they had given Westmoreland the wrong pitch
and that disturbed me very much.
Of course it is one little incident, but I think he is not getting
the straight story, and that he is terribly and unduly optimistic,
and Bunker is, too.
I told Bunker that. There is no nicer quy in the world than
Senator GORE. Did you tell Bunker about this particular incident?
Senator CLARK. I did.
Senator GORE. What was his reaction?
Senator CLARK. Well, he just shrugged his shoulders.
Wait a minute, Albert, let me see. I am pretty sure I did. I am
not positive because this took place the last afternoon I was there,
and I used to have breakfast with Bunker every morning, he used
to get up at 7:15 and I would get up the same time, and we used
to have breakfast together, and I am not positive whether at the
last breakfast I told him that, but I think I did.
Well, the other highlight, to give it to you very quickly, I went
down to all four corps and they were very good. They would give
me an airplane, give me helicopters, and the next vignette that
stuck itself in my mind is we went down the IV Corps which is in
the Delta and we went to what was described to me as the richest
province in South Vietnam, agriculturally, and I can’t remember
the name of it, but we came in in a fixed wing aircraft and transferred to helicopters on an airfield where there was a nice kid from
South Philadelphia who was a captain in charge of the airfield as
administrator, and it was his job to look after the so-called VIP and
he told me there had been a series of raids in there of Viet Cong,
hit and run, knocking out helicopters, knocking out two or three of
the fixed wing aircraft, and that they expected more, this is constant. They had a pretty good airport guard there, they always
drove these guys off, they often killed a few of them, but they were
damaging the aircraft, and we were suffering some casualties.
So, then, we got down to this aircraft and there was a very nice
guy named Mike Thorn, he is a former State Department fellow,
and I think he also has been in World War II and Korean War, and
we were flying down in these helicopters to inspect this village
which is being pacified by one of these RD types and as we flew
down it was on the edge of one of the mounds of the Mekong River,
Thorn pointed out to me this island in the middle of the river, and
he said that island is completely controlled by the Viet Cong, and
it would take a division to knock them out of there.
I said to him, ‘‘Gee whiz, how is it feasible to pacify this village
just on the other side of this stream,’’ which, well, it was, I don’t
know whether any of you know the Schuylkill River in Philadelphia, but it is not a great big river but it is a perceptible, maybe
a hundred, 150 yards across, something like that, but he said,
‘‘Well, we are not concerned about that.’’
I found out later that they had assigned 150 soldiers to guard me
which was kept very much in the background, but Norvill found
that out.
Here comes Norvill.
The CHAIRMAN. One hundred fifty soldiers to guard you?
Senator CLARK. Yes.
Isn’t that right, Norvill?
Mr. JONES. Yes, sir, they had large numbers of troops everywhere we went.
Senator CLARK. They had it pretty well concealed. I saw a few
guys standing around with rifles, I thought it was sort of a home
So they brought all these villagers in and I was impressed. Everyone of those hamlets is a rabbit warren, more little kids than
you ever saw in your life, and no men at all, they are all off either
in the VC or in the ARVN, but they come back and do their family
duties at night and the population doesn’t seem to be decreased
any by reason of the war. So they had this school up there, and
the kids are pretty well trained.
Senator GORE. You wouldn’t necessarily confine that to family
Senator CLARK. No, I would leave that to you, Albert, the Tennessee version of it.
So in any event, these kids looked happy and they sang songs
and I thought it was the nice thing to do was to clap, so then they
all clapped, too, you see.
They got the elders around there, and I talked to them through
an interpreter. They all looked like Ho Chi Minhs, they all have
these little goatees and all sort of standing around like this, and
I said, ‘‘Aren’t all of you gentlemen afraid with that Viet Cong island out there that all this fine pacification thing is going to go
down the drain because they will come over here some day and
they will let you have it?’’
‘‘Oh, no,’’ they said, ‘‘many relatives on island back out there, we
visit back and forth all the time.’’
Then there was another island up the stream away and they said
to me that is the richest piece of ground in South Vietnam in the
richest province. There are eight families on that island, they pay
25 percent of their produce to Viet Cong, 25 percent of their
produce to the Government of South Vietnam and they are living
the life of Riley on the other 50 percent.
The next thing, the last one, we went on up to—well, two more
You know they have the Iron Triangle there, the III Corps outside of Saigon which has given them hell because it was an enormously heavily fortified place, and they were staging raids from
there all over the area including into Saigon itself.
So they decided to blast them out, about nine months or a year
ago. And we went in there with everything there was, napalm, defoliation, but before we went in and really clobbered the place and
did clean it out, we moved or gave an opportunity to move all of
the villagers who were in there in a refugee camp.
Well, this particular village was Viet Cong, and they moved the
whole village and created a refugee camp for it in territory controlled by the South Vietnamese, and they took me through that
village. They always show you the good ones, you know, but this
one was pretty good, and I didn’t have any doubt that those people
were living with a higher standard of living than they had before.
But, the important thing is that there were all these kids running around and running around and I said, ‘‘I don’t see any men
around here at all.’’ They said the Viet Cong fathers sneak in at
night, and the village itself is under the government control of
South Vietnam but it certainly is not loyal, but in effect they are
prisoners in a refugee camp.
And this is so true. They tell you that there are a million people
under the control of the South Vietnamese government now than
there were a year ago, and this is probably true.
But around a third of them, or maybe more, are refugees whose
loyalty is very dubious indeed, and a lot of the rest of them are people who may have sought the protection of the South Vietnamese
government, and maybe go through the motions of indicating that
they are grateful to the Americans and South Vietnamese, but they
don’t have a feeling of loyalty.
The final thing I want to say, and make it very quick, we talked
to General Cushman up in Da Nang. He brought in and showed
me, rather his staff people did, one of these Russian rockets, this
long thin thing, it breaks up into three pieces, it weighs 102
pounds, so three soldiers could carry, I mean one soldier can carry
a third of it, and then the rocket launcher folds up and another soldier can carry that. So four soldiers can carry a rocket. It is very
mobile. And he said to me, he said, ‘‘These rockets have a range
of 9 miles,’’ and he said, ‘‘One of the things that worries me most,
and one of my toughest jobs is to patrol the area with a periphery
of 9 miles around Da Nang so as to keep these guys from firing
rockets right into the city.’’
As you know, they did, just 2, nights ago, and raised quite a lot
of hell.
But he said, ‘‘My boys have to patrol 600 square miles of territory every night, much of it in the woods, and in jungles, and in
the hills and mountains. They are full of Claymore mines, full of
booby traps, and this is a terrible thing for these young Americans,
but if we don’t do that—we have been quite successful,’’ he said,
and he has been until just lately, ‘‘these rockets are just going to
knock out all of our installations.’’
At that point, they were building up for this battle, and expected
them to open up every day.
I think there is a fair chance that we are going to have another
Dien Bien Phu.
Senator GORE. You mean you think it is possible?
Senator CLARK. Yes.
The CHAIRMAN. At Khe Sanh?
Senator CLARK. At Khe Sanh. Sure, absolutely. That place is cut
off from all road contact. There is the bad weather and the monsoon and it will stay bad until the first of April.
In my opinion, the reason they have not launched an offensive
so far is because the last week or so the weather has been unseasonably good.
We have 40,000 troops and they have 40,000. They can’t supply
the 40,000 because the weather is clear.
Senator GORE. Macomber appeared yesterday saying to Karl and
me that a general interpretation of this offensive in the cities was
to distract and draw reinforcements away from the Khe Sanh area.
Senator CLARK. Yes.
Senator GORE. And I suggested that it just might be the other
way around, that the threat of a big offensive in Khe Sanh may
have been to draw the forces out of the cities, and that the real jungle battle was now going to be in the cities.
Of course that was just a thought.
Senator CLARK. I think it is both, Albert. I think they did want
to prevent the further fortification of the north situation, but this
hit and run stuff they are doing in Saigon and elsewhere, you can’t
break that up with American armaments and troops marching
down the street and infiltrating out there unless you are going to
destroy the whole countryside. So I think it is both.
Senator GORE. Well, a member of the House Armed Services
Committee told me last night, after the meeting at the White
House, that his committee had yesterday quite a pessimistic military briefing pointing out the enormous dangers, military dangers
of a military catastrophe over there. Surely that is not possible.
But you say it is possible.
Senator CLARK. Well, my judgment is that they might win the
battle of Khe Sanh, overrun the strong point there, knockout Con
Thien and generally drive us out of the hills.
And my own view is we would be smart to get out of the hills
before we have all those Marines killed.
But I don’t think there is any chance, myself, of the Viet Cong
taking over South Vietnam.
One of the worst things, of course, is the relationship with the
South Vietnamese government. I had a talk with Thieu and a talk
with Ky, and I talked to a number of the disenchanted South Vietnamese who were non-communist, who had served perhaps in the
Diem government, perhaps in the Minh government, and they are
all sore at Thieu and Ky.
Norvill I don’t think agrees with me. Maybe you did. Ky had a
lot of charisma, he is a smart man. But this question of what they
called leverage was coming up all the time because they are proud
as hell, they don’t like us to tell them what to do, and every now
and then they tell us to go to hell. There was a big to-do, they had
thrown out this reporter from Newsweek, it was a question of face.
I think the fellow played it very poorly. He went to the public. If
he had kept to himself, they probably would have let him stay.
But I came back with no conviction that this government can
really last too long except to the extent we bolster it up.
I am pretty sure the people don’t care who wins; they just wanted to be left alone.
I tried very hard to be objective, didn’t I, Norvill?
Mr. JONES. Yes, sir, you did indeed.
Senator CLARK. I worked hard and I think my view was more optimistic than Norvill’s.
Mr. JONES. Yes, sir.
The CHAIRMAN. Coming back to what you just said of the difference between the official version of what the situation is and the
reporters’, are the reporters all divided just as so many people are,
or is there a fairly high degree of agreement among reporters about
the situation?
Senator CLARK. If there is not a consensus, and if there are some
reporters there, except Joe Alsop at whom they laughed, they just
think Joe is a joke, if there are other reporters over there who don’t
agree with the ones we saw, I certainly would have thought Barry
Zorthian would have included them in the group which he picked
for me to have dinner with.
Norvill, you have a different view.
Mr. JONES. I was told by two different reporters over there, there
is only one well-known reporter in the American press who thinks
things are going somewhere close to what the administration
thinks, and that is the fellow from the U.S. News and World Report. All the rest of the American press feel as the ones that Senator Clark met with, were very pessimistic.
The CHAIRMAN. Which is that it is very bad and much worse
than the official version.
Senator CLARK. I would say, you know, this is a mature way to
get the President’s nose out of joint, but when I was there it was
a stalemate.
The CHAIRMAN. Which is much worse than the administration
says. The administration is always, progress.
Senator CLARK. There is a map I wanted to show. I had dinner
with Komer, he is quite a character, my wife and I went out and
had dinner with him. He is very pleasant and he had a couple of
West Point advisers over there, and he has concocted this thing
called the hamlet pacification evaluation.
The CHAIRMAN. I read about it.
Senator CLARK. It shows we are not making progress. He gets
these maps out once a month and he got it declassified, for which
three cheers. I brought some of them back, one for November and
December, and I would like you to look at it. It, shows the map of
Vietnam. He evaluated 12,600 hamlets. Of course, you can’t get
them all, but he gets a pretty good sampling and he lists in blue
or green hamlets where there is some kind of government presence,
and he rates them from A to E, just the way you rate college examinations. Then the ones where there isn’t any government presence are in red, and with the symbol V.
You put that map up on the wall and, by God, there are as many
or more V’s than there are all the A, B, C, and D’s put together.
And I don’t think the pacification program has gotten to first base.
One of the real problems of it, Bill, is that this thing that confronts us in every underdeveloped country in the world and confronts us so much in this country is the lack of skilled manpower.
These RD teams, there are 58 members of each team, well, there
won’t be anybody on the team who has got more than a third grade
Because there isn’t anybody around who has more than a third
grade education who isn’t in the army or hasn’t fled somewhere.
And what can you do with that kind of human material?
This same Lieutenant Colonel who told me about that incident
where the boys had run away, he said, ‘‘I take a pretty dim view
of this RD thing, because,’’ he said, ‘‘this province has had a brain
drain working on it for five years.’’ He said, ‘‘Everybody who is
worth anything has either been killed or is in one army or the
other, and the kind of people they have to get to do these RD
teams, they just don’t have the proper capacity.’’
The CHAIRMAN. I don’t know whether it is a fair question, but
in view of your observations what do you recommend now should
be done about this situation?
Senator CLARK. Yes. Well, I think now, and I say this with deep
regret, we have got to win this battle or at the very least we have
got to blunt this offensive. We can’t let them win a military victory
at Khe Sanh.
Then I think just what I thought before I went away, just as
stubborn as a mule, I still think it, I would stop the bombing in
the North, I would stop it unconditionally. I would say we are
going to fire only when we are fired upon. I would kill the search
and destroy policy which is the thing which is killing so many
American boys, and I would attempt to occupy with the help of the
South Vietnamese as much of the populated areas as we think can
be made reasonably secure.
If you take a line from metropolitan Saigon south through the
Delta, two-thirds of all the people in South Vietnam are in that
area, 45 or 47 provincial capitals.
Mr. JONES. Forty-four.
Senator CLARK. Forty-four provincial capitals, of which we have
held, up until the last two or three days, we may have lost a few
of them, and I would just hole up there and say, by God, you can’t
drive us out, we have the airpower and just come and get us, and
they can’t come and get us, they won’t get their country back and
in due course they will have to negotiate.
The CHAIRMAN. Well, then, the final thing is we negotiate, but
do you find any sentiment in high official circles that they are willing to negotiate?
Senator CLARK. Yes.
The CHAIRMAN. Who might that be?
Senator CLARK. Well, for example, Bunker told me that Averell
Harriman is doing nothing else, he is spending his entire time trying to get negotiations going.
Bunker said, ‘‘The President said to me—if you find any hopeful
signs, you let me know, but we are going to conduct this thing from
Westmoreland’s admission to me that he can’t win a military victory, I thought was pretty significant.
The CHAIRMAN. You know when Westmoreland was here——
Senator GORE. Did you hear this?
Mr. JONES. Yes, sir, I was with him.
Senator GORE. Did you take it down?
Mr. JONES. I had notes all the time.
Senator GORE. Wonderful.
Senator CLARK. This is my draft report which Norvill wrote.
The CHAIRMAN. I asked Westmoreland in this fashion, what did
he think the North Vietnamese would do if we pressed them to the
point where they were about to collapse, or invaded them, but I
said about to collapse, if we bombed them, would they call upon the
Chinese before they surrendered. He said he didn’t think it would
ever come to that, that one of these days they would decide they
had had enough and they would quit. That is a summary of the
way he said it.
Senator CLARK. That is what Cabot Lodge said.
The CHAIRMAN. The same thing that Cabot Lodge thinks, and he
included that in the language. This does not indicate to me they
have any desire to negotiate, Joe. I know they say it, they use
these words, but they haven’t taken any actions which would promote the idea of negotiation, it seems to me.
Senator CLARK. Well, certainly nothing on the surface, I agree
with you. But I have a feeling there is a good deal going on behind
the scenes.
The CHAIRMAN. For example, what? Give me an example of what
you feel, even though you don’t know, what could they be doing?
Senator CLARK. I think this last thing of Clark Clifford may be
significant. We are not now insisting that they should not continue
to infiltrate to the South at the same rate they were before, and
that if they will give us some kind of assurance they won’t step up
the escalation, we will stop the bombing and talk. I think that is
progress. I can add a couple of more things, Bill, while we are at
it, which just occurred to me now.
Norvill and I pressed them very hard as to the extent there were
uncommitted North Vietnamese divisions which could be brought
down, this following out our theory of a stalemate, and the best we
could get out of it, and we pushed them hard, was that there were
at least four and maybe six uncommitted North Vietnamese divisions.
Mr. JONES. Six.
Senator CLARK. Six, I think, which can be sent down, too. You
know, that is a lot of people, 8,000.
Mr. JONES. Ten thousand.
Senator CLARK. Ten thousand to a division.
We had an interesting briefing——
Senator GORE. Are they within reach of Khe Sanh?
Senator CLARK. Not at the moment we don’t think. They deceived
us on some of the figures they gave us. We caught them, really.
The CHAIRMAN. Who did?
Senator CLARK. Westmoreland’s people. Not him, but his intelligence people.
The CHAIRMAN. His intelligence people?
Senator CLARK. I don’t want to make a federal case out of that,
because they did deceive us—didn’t they?
Mr. JONES. Yes, sir.
The CHAIRMAN. In what way would they deceive you?
Senator CLARK. Here is an example. They told us the infiltration
rate was 6100 a month.
The CHAIRMAN. Now, or when?
Senator CLARK. Now. It has been that way through ‘67. So
Norvill goes up to the III Corps and he asks the intelligence officer
up there——
Mr. JONES. The II Corps, the chief of staff.
Senator CLARK. The II Corps, the chief of staff, what is the infiltration rate here? The fellow says 7,000 a month in one of the four
We got up to the I Corps and this intelligence officer there told
me that the infiltration rate in the I Corps was 1500 a month.
Mr. JONES. Fifteen hundred.
The CHAIRMAN. Did he mean just into that corps?
Senator CLARK. Just into that corps.
I said, ‘‘Well, now, look, we were told in Saigon that two divisions
of North Vietnamese had come down in December to fight in this
battle of Khe Sanh, and I understand that is a minimum of 18,000
people, so how can you tell me it is 1500 a month?’’
‘‘Oh,’’ he said, then he went off and he had to come back, and,
‘‘Well, Senator,’’ he said, ‘‘We didn’t count them.’’ Then he said,
then it was very hush-hush, and told me that they had certain
methods of electronics identification of infiltration, which I suppose
they have. All that thing is too weird for me, I can’t understand
it. He said, ‘‘We didn’t count the people we identified that way. Actually, Senator, you are entitled to know there were 10,000 more
we didn’t tell you about.’’
Mr. JONES. Actually, there were 28,000, Senator.
Senator CLARK. Yes, the two divisions make 18,000 and the extra
10,000 makes 28,000, just in that one corps.
They can get a division down there in between, I think, two and
three months.
I had an interesting talk with a four star general who is in
charge of the bombing of the North, Momyer. I think he is a Pennsylvania Dutchman; I don’t know.
Anyway, he was very candid and a nice guy, too. They were all
nice guys. It is hard to hate them.
He said, he showed us a map which indicated those rail routes
coming down from China to Hanoi, and the system of rails there
and one coming over from Halphong. And he said, ‘‘Almost all the
supplies that come in by sea come from China, come down by rail,’’
and he said, he is an old tactical airman, and he said, ‘‘My objective
had been to just smash the hell out of those communications, so
they couldn’t get the stuff there to send to the South. Locomotives,’’
he said, ‘‘It’s damn hard to find the locomotives, they only travel
at night, they have them beautifully camouflaged and it is a rare
day we get a locomotive. Rolling stock, we knocked out a lot of rolling stock. It is harder to conceal and when they get into the marshalling yards we get at that. Tracks,’’ he said, ‘‘We knock the
tracks out every day and they put them back. Bridges, we knocked
out some bridges.’’ He showed us pictures, ‘‘And they are not as
easy to fix as people say they are. Of course they do put in pontoon
bridges and they can carry a fantastic amount on the back of a coo-
lie on a bicycle, but,’’ he said,‘‘I have been quite pleased with what
we are doing with communications but when the monsoon started
in October,’’ he said, ‘‘we haven’t been able to do a thing since except 10 days in December when the weather was unseasonably
good, we did go in and clobber them good, But,’’ he said, ‘‘by the
time the monsoon is over in April we will have it up again.’’
The CHAIRMAN. I want to ask one last question. What did they
tell you there is the objective of all this fighting? What do they expect to achieve by this war?
Senator CLARK. They expect to roll back godless communism.
The CHAIRMAN. Roll back what?
Senator CLARK. Godless communism.
The CHAIRMAN. Roll it back how far?
Senator CLARK. To the 17th Parallel. Pacify the country, make
it a beautiful showcase of democracy the way allegedly we have
done with Taiwan. And, of course, the military will tell you, ‘‘That
is none of our business. We have been given a mission here to pacify the country and to defeat the military forces which are against
Bunker will tell you that, just what he told us when he was here
in November. After all, he is only acting under orders.
The CHAIRMAN. I understand that.
Senator GORE. Before you go—off the record here.
[Discussion off the record.]
Senator CLARK. Between the November map and the December
map, he faded out the deep red and the V’s, on the November map,
the V’s stand out in brilliant red. But look at——
The CHAIRMAN. It is pink now.
Senator CLARK. Yes, it is pink now. You see, all population is
from here down, these are all mountains. Here is Khe Sanh, it is
Senator GORE. Lots of red there.
The CHAIRMAN. There is a lot of red around Da Nang.
Senator CLARK. Sure.
Mr. MARCY. Look at Hue.
Senator CLARK. Well, they say they have got half of Hue City in
VC hands now.
The CHAIRMAN. Do you think this objective, as you stated it, is
Senator CLARK. No.
The CHAIRMAN. And I think the cost of doing what you are saying is absolutely astronomical. I believe it will drain this country
just indefinitely.
Senator CLARK. I want to tell you one dollar in Indonesia is
worth a thousand dollars in Vietnam. There is some hope in Indonesia. I was very much impressed by it.
The CHAIRMAN. Are you going to report to the President what
you told us this morning?
Senator CLARK. Well, let me ask your advice.
[Discussion off the record.]
[Whereupon, at 11:45 a.m., the committee recessed, subject to
Wednesday, February 7, 1968
Washington, DC.
The committee met, pursuant to notice, at 10:15 a.m., in room S–
116, The Capitol, Senator J. William Fulbright (chairman) presiding.
Present: Chairman Fulbright and Senators Sparkman, Mansfield, Morse, Gore, Symington, Dodd, Clark, Pell, Hickenlooper,
Aiken, Carlson, Williams, Mundt, Case, and Cooper.
Also present: Mr. Marcy, Mr. Kuhl, Mr. Holt, and Mr. Henderson
of the committee staff.
The CHAIRMAN. The committee will come to order.
One reason we changed the time was to accommodate Senator
Mundt. He wanted to present a motion, and I was waiting for him.
The regular meeting this morning is to hear Mr. Adrian Fisher on
the Nuclear Free Zone in Latin America, but I thought Senator
Mundt would be here. I understand, Mr. Marcy, what is it, have
you prepared something for him.
Mr. KUHL. I just called his office and he is on his way.
The CHAIRMAN. My informal understanding is he was outraged
by the administration’s effort to monopolize the television as a substitute for this committee hearing. I read in one of the papers as
saying, I think it is in the New York Times——
Senator MANSFIELD. Come to think of it there wasn’t a Republican on it.
The CHAIRMAN. He wasn’t thinking of it. But they did have Katzenbach at 11:30 and immediately followed by McNamara and Rusk
for an hour and then Taylor is scheduled for next week.
Senator CLARK. While you are waiting, do you want to have any
informal discussion about this rather frightening report that Carl
Marcy came up with yesterday about tactical nuclear experts being
on the way to Vietnam? It seems to me that is terribly important.
Senator HICKENLOOPER. Where was that?
The CHAIRMAN. Well, Mr. Marcy can tell you what he knows. It
is a little vague. Marcy, you tell them briefly what happened and
then we will go on with Senator Mundt’s.
Mr. MARCY. The day before yesterday, Senator Fulbright’s office
got an anonymous telephone call from someone in New York saying
that a Richard Garwin, nuclear physicist for Columbia University,
and one of the research institutes and a great expert on tactical nuclear weapons and a group of five or six had gone to Vietnam, and
he suggested that this was rather significant move, over this last
I called or talked then with the staff director of the Joint Committee on Atomic Energy, who made an independent check by calling someone who knew this man in Los Alamos and he called back
and said that there was absolutely nothing to it. That the man was
going out on some highly secret mission with another group of individuals so that there was nothing to any kind of tactical nuclear
weapons’ possible use in that connection in any way.
Subsequently we got a call from New York from the New York
Times which had gotten the same story, and they had checked out
and found that the five or six individuals who were going to Saigon
were all in the category of highly expert and that one common element according to the report I was given was familiarity with the
use and/or development of tactical nuclear weapons.
At that time I told the New York Times chap that I had positive
assurances from the Joint Committee on Atomic Energy staff that
this man Garwin was, the only name actually that I had was, going
out on something which was completely unrelated to tactical nuclear weapons and their use. That is the end of it.
Senator HICKENLOOPER. Did the New York Times have Garwin’s
win’s name?
Mr. MARCY. They had Garwin’s name. I suppose they had a call
from the same one.
Senator CLARK. My own view is, Bill, just to state it and then
get back to the other business, that the situation at Khe Sanh is
pretty likely to be desperate. There is high likelihood if they are
willing to take the casualties which they are willing to take they
can overrun that and it may be well in contemplation to use tactical nuclear weapons. I hope I am not an alarmist. If there is any
danger at all I think we ought to do something to indicate a slowdown.
Senator MANSFIELD. Well, Joe, my information is that it is not
that desperate, that as far as manpower is concerned it is pretty
much of a standoff on both sides, and that the preponderance of
fire power rests with the U.S. forces as it has been during the war.
Senator CLARK. I think this is true, Mike, but I think it depends.
It must be a question of judgment as to how large casualties they
are prepared to take. If you look at the terrain——
Senator MANSFIELD. Oh, yes.
Senator CLARK [continuing]. And you know the communications
are practically cut off. The weather is going to be bad until the 1st
of April, it is going to be awfully hard to keep these fellows supplied under siege conditions. I don’t want to be an alarmist.
Senator MANSFIELD. You gave me your information and I gave
you what I have. If there is something going to break there its
about a standoff.
Senator GORE. None of us are military men and I just wonder
what the military justification is of leaving 25 men, I just heard before I came over that their positions had been overrun and the last
communication was that, a radio communication was, only 5 were
left and they were fighting from an underground position for their
lives. I wonder what the military justification for this is.
Senator HICKENLOOPER. Where is that?
The CHAIRMAN. Langvei.
Senator MANSFIELD. There are supposed to be 500 Montagnards
with them there.
Senator GORE. But surrounded, and according to this report they
had been surrounded for many days. It is a pretty hard-hearted
policy to leave a small group of fellows out there in a place where
they really can’t have any chance of defending themselves. Is that
necessary in military operations?
Senator MANSFIELD. From the maps I see of Khe Sanh it looks
like the Marines there are surrounded, too.
Senator CLARK. I came back with one conviction from this trip
I went on and that is that Westmoreland’s headquarters are unduly optimistic and have been for a long time about the military
situation. I have a strong conviction that the information that is
coming out of Saigon headquarters is not an accurate portrayal of
the conditions in the field. I don’t blame anybody. It is easy to see
how that can happen, but I am convinced of the fact.
Senator WILLIAMS. I think Westmoreland may have been brainwashed by McNamara.
Senator CLARK. No, I think it is his own intelligence people,
John. Many of us have been in the Armed Services and it is a terrible temptation to tell the boss what he wants to hear.
The CHAIRMAN. I wonder if we can recognize Senator Mundt?
Senator MUNDT. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
I can be very brief about what I want to bring up.
But I would like to have our committee renew its invitation to
Secretary Rusk to appear before us in public hearing. I say that for
the following reason and I say that because I was one of those who
opposed it at the time we took it up the other time and accepted
his explanation that he didn’t want to discuss the war question and
answer on television. So I felt that that was valid and if he adhered
to that maybe we shouldn’t break the sonic barrier.
However, I think we have gotten our committee in a perfectly untenable position, if it is left at the present rate, where it is assumed
by the public and it would have to be that we as Senators and
members of the Foreign Relations Committee have less self-restraint and less responsibilities than a bunch of newspaper people,
and since the Secretary willingly and for a long time appeared on
the television spectacular to discuss the Vietnam situation and our
foreign policy, I certainly think that we should ask him to appear
before this responsible committee in public hearing in order to answer questions.
I would be perfectly willing as far as I am concerned, if the thing
that is going to worry him is that we are going to get into the Tonkin Resolution or the Pueblo thing, to assure him in advance that
we wouldn’t discuss that. But as far as the overall picture is concerned I really feel we are derelict in our duty and we look pretty
bad in front of the public because they all know he turned us down,
and so I would like to suggest to the committee that we extend him
a new invitation to appear before us in public.
Senator HICKENLOOPER. Mr. Chairman, I didn’t know anything
about this until about five minutes before I came over here and I
called Carl Marcy and they told me what the meeting was all
about. I think it would be a great mistake, I am just as much opposed to it now as I was then. We can get the Secretary here any
time we want him within maybe an hour or subject to the President’s suddenly calling a meeting today, but within a day we can
get him here, we can ask him all the questions we want and don’t
put him on the red hot grill of humiliation and innuendo and declaration of personal opinions and all those things.
I think we are doing the country a great disservice and we are
in not too good a situation because of a lot of things, we are suffering casualties, and I am not going to contribute to the continued
disruption of our military operations and our military effort. This
is not a question of the Secretary not coming or refusing to come
before this committee. He has been before this committee many
times, and he has said repeatedly that he would testify here freely
in executive session, and you can sanitize the hearings and release
whatever is needed to be released. But, of course, the television
cameras are not here, and that is and could be a factor. But we
can get the information, at least I assume we can. I haven’t asked
him myself except I heard what he said and what the letters say.
You can get the information any time we want to in executive session and then cut out the sensitive material and release it to the
public, and I think that is what we should do myself.
I am just as much opposed to a public spectacle as I was before
because I don’t think it is in the public interest or to the best interests of the United States. I knew there is a vast difference between
the committee of this kind questioning a man in front of television,
and where he must be courteous and he must answer questions
and he must seem to be responsive, and he doesn’t dare talk back
to this committee at all, and the committee can talk to him any
way they want to, and sometimes it is pretty abusive, and I think
that there is a lot of difference there than there is in a public news
conference where the news is pretty carefully or where the program
is pretty carefully screened. But that is my view on it and I merely
wanted to put that on the record.
Senator MANSFIELD. Mr. Chairman?
The CHAIRMAN. Senator Mansfield.
Senator MANSFIELD. Mr. Chairman, I personally feel that the
Secretary ought to be before this committee, but I am unprepared
to add to further divisiveness in this country, which I think can
well result from his appearing in public session.
It appears to me that we can get all the information we want in
executive session. The Secretary has indicated that he would be
prepared to meet with this committee at any time, so I am prepared to subordinately personal feelings and to support the thesis
that he should not appear in public session. I know there are many
who disagree, but that he should be heard in executive session at
which time he could be questioned in full detail and without any
question as to whether or not what we are asking might endanger
the national security or add to the divisiveness of the country. If
he is willing to allow sanitized versions of his testimony to be sent
out, I think that is all to the good. That is all I have to say.
The CHAIRMAN. Senator Morse?
Senator MORSE. I want to respectfully say that I respect Bourke’s
and Mike’s opinion, but I just couldn’t possibly disagree more, because I think we are missing the basic issue, and that is what the
American people are entitled to.
The American people are entitled to a public discussion within
the rules of the committee. When a British Cabinet officer has to
be before the House of Commons on the floor of the House and be
publicly examined, what has happened to our democratic processes
in this country that we hesitate to call the Secretary of State before
a public hearing of the Foreign Relations Committee when everybody on this committee knows he is completely protected. All he
has to say in regard to any question ‘‘I consider it involving privilege. I consider it involving the matter of separation of powers’’ and
he is protected.
Look at your record of your committee. There has never been a
time in my years on this committee that a Cabinet officer hasn’t
been protected or administration witness. Let me take you back to
the Douglas MacArthur hearings. You remember when attempts
were made to get Marshall Omar Bradley to answer privileged
questions who was it who was the first to insist that the separation
of powers doctrine be applied? It happened to be me, joined by
many of the others. No question about their protection.
But let me say that there are some questions, that ought to be
answered in public for the benefit of the American people. We still,
I hope, are running a representative government here where the
people are entitled to hear their elected representative ask questions that are appropriate and proper in public.
My judgment is that you are walking out on one of your great
responsibilities as Senators. You have a duty to bring these men
before the people in public hearings. I strongly support bringing
him before it. If he can go before a bunch of newspaper men, as
he did last Sunday, for questions, and don’t forget there on one occasion he made clear that with regard to one of the question he
didn’t think this was the place for him to answer, nobody pressed
him after that.
I think that you will strengthen the effort of this country in this
war by a public discussion. But denying that public discussion you
are increasing the suspicion of a credibility gap, that they just don’t
dare come out in public and answer appropriate questions. I am for
public hearings.
Senator CLARK. Mr. Chairman?
The CHAIRMAN. Senator Clark.
Senator CLARK. It seems to me this is an academic discussion because he is not going to come, and while I think he ought to come,
I am not entirely convinced that in the present condition in Vietnam which, I believe, is very critical indeed, that it is wise to put
on a public show even if we could get him to come, until this
present offensive is blunted, as I hope it will be, within the next
few weeks.
I would like to see this committee think in terms of, or at least
a majority of this committee think in terms as to, how we could use
such power as we have to get the shooting stopped and the war
ended and that every move we take will be a tactical move toward
this strategic end. I don’t have much hope, I think I would vote for
Senator Mundt’s motion, but I don’t have much hope that it will
get the Secretary before us, and I have some sympathy with Senator Mansfield’s point of view that this probably is not the time to
harass the Secretary for two reasons: First, because I think the administration is at bay and I don’t believe that we are going to help
the situation by putting on the kind of a performance which inevitably would be put on if we were to come in public session; and,
secondly, because I think we ought to hold our fire and wait until
we see the whites of their eyes which will be once this offensive is
blunted or Khe Sanh is lost, and then——
Senator AIKEN. Whose eyes, Joe?
Senator CLARK. The eyes of those who are intent on a military
victory and accelerating this war. So I am not sure the timing is
But I must say, I am confused about it. I tend to think that Mike
is right, and he is not going to come anyway.
The CHAIRMAN. Senator Case?
Senator CASE. I urge that we support Karl’s motion primarily for
the reason that there is a great group of Americans represented by,
for example, the committee of Clergy and Laymen who were here
recently, who have the feeling that the President is more and more
running this all on his own, that the American people have no way
of making their views known to him and no effective way of expressing themselves on this whole situation, and that for the President to refuse, because it really isn’t Mr. Rusk, it is the President
who really is involved here, to refuse to allow his representatives
in this matter to appear before the group which these people and
millions of others think are here for the purpose of expressing their
views, not that they necessarily do, if they are not in the majority,
have the right to have their views finally become the policy of the
country, but they do have the right to have their views expressed,
and openly, and if we refuse to bring what I think is a normal way
for them to have their views expressed, I think we are not lessening the division in this country, but increasing it by suppressing
the presentation of this extremely vocal and extremely articulate
and sensitive group.
Senator HICKENLOOPER. Will the Senator yield?
Are we after information or are we after a public television exhibition because they can get all the information that they want
when we release the record.
Senator CASE. Nobody will ever know whether we get the information or not, Bourke. That really isn’t the central issue here. The
central issue here is in some fashion persuading the people of this
country that our policy is right or wrong, and if wrong changing it,
and that our democratic institutions are not ineffective in times of
crisis to provide a means for expressing the will of the people. That
is the issue, not the question of information about this or that or
anything else.
Senator HICKENLOOPER. Excuse me. I am sorry.
The CHAIRMAN. Senator Gore?
Senator GORE. Mr. Chairman, and members of the committee,
our country has suffered a disaster. I have just returned from two
and a half weeks in South America. In every country some member
of our party in meetings with public officials in every country, both
executive and legislative, brought up the subject of the war in Vietnam. Some pressed for some favorable statement on the part of officials. In not one country did we find one single public official who
was willing to say one word publicly in support of the United
States. A few expressed privately their understanding and sympathy, but acknowledged that public sentiment in their country
would not permit them to speak out.
Let us face it, we have eroded the moral position of the United
States and the influence and prestige of the United States with the
war in Vietnam. This is not to say the war is right or wrong, I am
talking about the consequences of it.
Outside the boundaries of the United States the world is cheering the Viet Cong. It is another case of David and Goliath, as I
found it. Not only have we suffered this catastrophe, erosion of our
position of leadership, but we face an utterly dark situation. Like
Joe, I think we have no choice but to try to contain the current offensive.
Who could have foretold when General Westmoreland was here
in November, saying we had turned the corner, he appeared before
the National Press Club and outlined the strategy of the war for
the next two years, that come January the jungles of Vietnam
would be the cities of Vietnam? You hear nothing of the fighting
being waged in the cities of South Vietnam by the North Vietnamese. These are indigenous South Vietnamese, which illustrates
that this is in large element a civil war.
What should our objectives be in a public hearing, which I favor?
I think Cliff Case put his hand on it. After this offensive is contained, which I hope it will be, then this country and this government, need thoroughly to reassess its policy and its position. If this
committee waits to play its role very much longer then that decision is going to be made without its participation.
Out of this dark cloud has come some silver lining, and to me
the brightest of the slight silver lining that one might detect is the
determination on the part of an increasing number of Senators to
play the responsibile constitutional role which the Founding Fathers intended it to play in questions of peace and war.
Now, we are told, whether accurately I do not know, that President Johnson informed the television network that he would make
available the Secretaries of Defense and State. We are told that the
program was only agreed to after the reporters—it was agreed as
to who the reporters would be who made the questions. This is inconsequential really, except that it goes to the question of who we
should address our letter to. I think it should be addressed to the
President because the Secretary of State is his agent.
Now, what are the benefits of a public hearing? As Senator
Mansfield says it might add to the divisiveness of the country except I do not know how the country could be more deeply divided
and more deeply troubled than it is now. I doubt if you can add
to it. At least I have never seen the country so troubled and so divided.
It might be that by a public hearing, as Senator Morse suggests,
more unity and less divisiveness could be attained. This we do not
know. But the responsibility of this committee is to the institution
of which it is a part, and which it serves, and to the American people whom we serve.
What is to be done to this institution—the United States Senate,
if we are so relegated and treated with disregard, not to say contempt, but disregard, to the extent that the Secretary of State not
only appeared before television, but I see here another report this
morning that he appeared at a press conference at the Collegiate
Press Service. He appears on foreign television, for the foreign
press, but the American people can only hear on television a staged
It is one thing, Mr. Chairman, for an executive official to respond
to a panel of reporters where a man can be shushed off with one
answer, another reporter recognized. It is one thing to go before a
collegiate auditorium and answer questions of students. It is quite
another to answer with respect to policy to a committee of United
States Senators, clothed as they are with constitutional responsibility, authority and duty. Here there can be some incisive examination of policy.
What would be the objective? Public education on a policy and on
a program about which the people suffer deep division.
Secondly, to lay the foundation for the re-examination of policy
and, I think, a change of policy, once this horrible, costly, bloody
offensive is contained.
I would suggest, therefore, that Senator Mundt consider modifying his motion to ask the chairman to write the President, and
I would prefer it be kept without the press, that it be entirely confidential. I agree with Joe Clark this is a delicate time. We have
had this subject up twice, Senator Mundt, and we haven’t had a
vote either time. I didn’t press it to a vote. We were very closely
divided. If you press it to a vote I will vote with you, but I would
prefer to have a consensus that the chairman write to the President or go see the President, do it very quietly.
I thought the chairman handled this the last time we met when
we decided to ask Secretary McNamara, I thought he handled that
beautifully, and the members of this committee responded in an
equally responsible way. There was no blare of publicity about Secretary McNamara being invited to testify. I would prefer that this
be handled in the same way, but that it be handled directly with
the President with whom the Constitution places a formula or an
equation, not with the Secretary of State.
Senator CLARK. Would you yield, Albert?
You don’t think he is going to come, do you?
Senator GORE. Yes, I do. Yes, I do.
I think——
Senator MUNDT. I think, too.
Senator GORE. If this committee authorizes Senator Fulbright to
go down and talk to the President about it that he will come. I do
think so.
The CHAIRMAN. Senator Pell?
Senator PELL. Mr. Chairman, I find myself torn, as we all are.
I think if we are honest, with ourselves, our objective here, the majority of us, is not the information which we already can get, it is
not an exhibition, it is merely to secure a change in policy by taking cognizance of the fact the country is divided, there is divisiveness now. The viewpoint of the majority of this committee is in the
minority of this country. We are a democratic country and we
would like to see our views become the majority views of the country. One of the ways of doing it in a perfectly frank and open way
is a hearing of this sort and I think it is a basic objective and I
think it is a good objective. I think it would be against the national
interest to do it while this offensive was going on. I think we
should have him up, I would hope, I would like, to see it worked
out along the lines Albert Gore suggested, but adding into it another factor after the offensive is over and I think it shouldn’t be
for 60 days or 90 days, but we should do it and we should be honest with ourselves and that our reason, as I say, is not to have an
exhibition, but to make the minority the majority view.
Senator MORSE. Mr. Chairman, may I take 30 seconds? I only
want to backup what Albert said, but I want to stress this: The
greatest service we can render to the President is for you to go
down there and urge that he sends Secretary of State to a public
hearing and not until, and not after the offensive is over, but right
now. The American people need that assurance now, and it would
be the best way to strengthen the President with the people of this
country, because what is happening is that they are afraid of this
tendency of his to run this whole situation behind the scenes and
not out in the open, and I think if you want to really serve the interests of the President you go, down and tell him, ‘‘Mr. President,
you are making a great mistake in keeping this man behind the
scenes in executive session. You ought to be the first to insist, as
your Secretary of State, he get out in public before the committee.’’
Senator MUNDT. Mr. Chairman?
The CHAIRMAN. Senator Mundt.
Senator MUNDT. I have no particular view as to whether the letter should go to the President or to the Secretary of State, and if
the consensus is that the letter should go to the President so be
I think it should be a letter, but I think it would be perfectly appropriate to hand deliver it down here, but I think in the records
of our committee we should have the letter because I don’t think
the committee should be clear out of the ring for all time to come
when they have us relegated below the collegiate press conference.
I didn’t think we had gotten that low. I don’t think when the Constitution says advise and consent that you consent in public and
advise in quiet. I think that the country can be solidified. I speak
as one who has supported the policy of Vietnam and still do, but
I am getting more and more confused as to the reasons I am supporting it. They entirely changed the reasons. I happened to like
the second set of reasons better than I did the first, but at least
I would kind of like to know when I am supporting it what the reasons are. I am just scared to death about having another secret
hearing with some handouts because I think you increase the credibility gap which is propaganda pap they are handing out, and I
just resent the fact that we are getting ourselves in position where
we are beginning to admit that we are more irresponsible than the
newspaper people, we can’t trust ourselves to ask questions. Each
of us has to run for office and stand before the people and are responsible for the kind of questions we ask. If we act like an idiot
on the television, who gets hurt? Not the Secretary of State. He can
protect himself but somebody who says the wrong thing or the improper thing.
But I think that we have reached a situation where we either
ought to fold up our tents and quit talking about the thing in private and in public ourselves or else we ought to trust ourselves to
examine it. I think we will solidify the country. I have every confidence in Dean Rusk being able to present the proposal. I think
the divisiveness is because there has developed a credibility gap.
A man called me last night on the point you made which escaped
my notice in that the press conference was held only after they had
discussed who the questioners were going to be and perhaps the
questions, I don’t know, but that is a funny way to have a public
press conference on Meet the Press. So I think on balance we serve
the country much better, and I speak as one who doesn’t suggest
any policy changes because I am not smart enough to find a new
one, but I would kind of like to know whether what I am saying
and writing is in harmony with what the current reasons are for
whatever we are doing over there and what our objectives are.
Senator MORSE. Bill, Carl just hands me what happened in 1919
when President Woodrow Wilson met with the Foreign Relations
Committee and met with them on the condition that nothing said
at the conference would be considered confidential. He talked about
the old peace settlement with Germany which they were working
on, and there followed a series of Foreign Relations Committee
meetings following their conference with the President, and there
the President brought in the Foreign Relations Committee. It
wasn’t the kind of a public hearing we are talking about, but with
the understanding that everything said would not be confidential,
and the committee was free to tell the public, and they did. Quite
a contrast.
The CHAIRMAN. Senator Cooper?
Senator COOPER. I was impressed with what Albert said and if
this is going to be done I think we should follow his method. I like
what Senator Gore said and the reasons he gave, but I like also
his way of approaching it.
I believe, too, there is going to have to—well, I think some of you
know the position I have taken, and I believe there is going to have
to be a reassessment of policy. I believe that the situation there is
much worse than we are told, but there is a consideration I think
we have to take, we have to think about, too, as we go into this.
There are these men who are fighting there, and according to the
reports the North Vietnamese and the Viet Cong can launch a bigger attack on all these cities than they have, and also they say this
attack on Khesanh might take place. There are rumors that I have
heard whether it is true or not, that our military people, of course,
they would be considering it, but at some point if the situation is
bad they propose the use of tactical nuclear weapons. I don’t know
whether that is correct or not, but it is rumored.
I think a lot of these questions would come up in a public hearing and if the Secretary didn’t answer them or wouldn’t answer
them then, of course, that would create greater and greater doubts.
I think Albert’s position is right, but I think that the chairman
ought to talk to the President about this. There is this problem of
this battle going on and likely to be resumed in greater force any
time, and I think that we owe it to the President and the President
owes it to the chairman of the committee to discuss with him, to
bring up, any issues or any problems that he thinks might result
from a public hearing at this time. On the basis of their consultation then we could decide what we think is best. But I think
Albert’s position is essentially sound.
The CHAIRMAN. George, do you have anything to say?
Senator AIKEN. I don’t think I can make much contribution. I
would be very critical of the administration if it felt that they
haven’t made very bad mistakes, some of which may or may not
be permanently damaging. However, I have a feeling we are not too
far from a nuclear confrontation. From the fact that any planes
which could have gone to the aid of the Pueblo couldn’t go because
they were all carrying nuclear weapons, thus indicates how close
we may be to that situation.
We can have a wonderful convention, televise it, if you want to,
of the Monday morning quarterbacks, we are in very strong position now, I will say that. But I feel that the situation today is so
tense, so sensitive I am not sure how far we could go. I wish they
knew three years ago what they do now. They probably would have
done something differently. But I am inclined to feel that a public
television show at this time might be a little damaging, although
I will have to say that I don’t like the way the administration is
looking for fall guys, particularly those who—there is a shortage of
fall guys and a surplus of Monday morning quarterbacks today.
But I think we have got to think of the country first and whether
the administration can be dissuaded from going all the way, and
if the situation gets much worse it will be a very great temptation.
Those people who advised the President that he could end the
war in no time flat if he would only do so and so are never going
to admit any mistake on their part, but, at the same time, I am
a little apprehensive about insisting that the Secretary appear in
a public hearing now, and I don’t like the way the administration
is using the television network at all either. As a matter of fact,
I don’t know what to do. If I knew exactly what to do I would go
down 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue myself and see if I could get in.
The CHAIRMAN. You could always get in.
Senator MORSE. George, what do you think, there is a danger of
their using nuclear weapons, what do you think the reaction of the
rest of the world will be if they use them?
Senator AIKEN. I think Russia will promptly let theirs loose on
us. I have a feeling that short-range nuclear weapons are what we
may have, our military people may have, in mind, but I think it
would result probably in the ultimate war which I don’t believe
Russia wants, I am sure we don’t. But nevertheless it only takes
one or two men in the right position to bring on a holocaust.
Senator MORSE. If you have that fear I think we ought to get Bill
Fulbright down to the White House immediately to talk to him
about what our fears are. I share your fears.
Senator GORE. Senator Aiken, will you yield there? I don’t think
that, I don’t hear Karl indicate that, he thought the hearings
should be tomorrow or the next day. It seems to me there can be
some negotiations between the chairman and the President as to
when would be a good time.
Senator MUNDT. If you will yield, you are exactly right, nor have
I insisted on it, but we renew our invitation. I might come.
Senator AIKEN. No harm in renewing the invitation.
Senator GORE. Mr. Chairman, might I go one step further?
Senator AIKEN. I would even make it a request rather than invitation.
Senator GORE. With respect to nuclear weapons, suppose we
have, looking to a catastrophe we all hope and pray never develops,
but suppose the apprehension which Joe has expressed materializes, suppose 40,000 American boys are surrounded there and they
do in a monsoon season when reinforcements cannot reach them,
suppose they face annihilation, as to the use of tactical nuclear
weapons, what would be the decision of this committee under these
Senator CASE. Use them.
Senator GORE. If we put ourselves in a position, if the country
allows it to get into this situation, the choices are pretty hard and,
of course, I think it would be prudent given strategy we are following over there, to hold an isolated hill, that is now all but surrounded, I think it is but prudent that the administration send
people over there who would know how to use tactical nuclear
weapons. I would abhor it, but I would abhor seeing 40,000 American boys overrun, too. That is a tough situation. It is all the more
reason why the chairman of this committee should be delegated to
have a talk with the President, upon the responsibility of this committee.
Senator SPARKMAN. Mr. Chairman, let me just say this: I am
glad Albert brought that point out. I have been running that thing
over in my mind. It is horrible to think of the use of even tactical
nuclear weapons, yet what would be our position under the circumstances that Albert mentioned or suppose we are told that
these planes that are loaded with nuclear weapons in Korea are
there for use in the event North Korea and hordes break through
and invade South Korea. It would be a terrible choice to make. Certainly, I would hope the choice would not devolve upon this committee, but at the same time it would be a horrible thing. And in
the event the chairman goes down to talk to the President, and I
certainly see nothing wrong with that, I would not want him to go
with the idea that we are, we have set ourselves against the possible use of tactical nuclear weapons which would be absolutely
necessary to save ourselves.
I think we are dealing with a very sensitive thing, and I certainly subscribe to what Mike Mansfield said at the beginning. It
is something regardless of our personal feelings we ought to subordinate those feelings to what I think will be in the national interest. I think the quieter things are kept so far as any conflict between us and the administration on this thing, I mean on appearing before the committee in public and so forth, I think the less
said about that the better off we are going to be.
There has never been a war conducted in this country, I believe,
in which situations similar to this have arisen.
Senator AIKEN. We never had a war financed, John, where we financed both sides of it either.
Senator SPARKMAN. Well, that is possibly true.
Senator AIKEN. But we are in it. Here is where we have to start
Senator SPARKMAN. That is the sad part of it. We find ourselves
here, and the question is how best to manage it until we can get
out of it.
Senator CLARK. Mr. Chairman.
The CHAIRMAN. Senator Clark.
Senator SPARKMAN. I am finished.
Senator CLARK. I am really concerned about the way the discussion is going. It seems to me there is an alternative which the
President ought to take before he faces the question of the use of
tactical nuclear weapons, and that is the withdrawal of our troops.
from Khe Sanh and the pulling back into the open plains.
Senator MORSE. We still have time.
Senator CLARK. This is not a necessary choice between destruction of 40,000 Americans or the use of tactical nuclear weapons.
Senator SPARKMAN. May I interject?
I certainly did not intend to suggest and I am sure Albert didn’t,
that it is necessarily true. As a matter of fact, I have rather strong
confidence in our maintaining our positions at Khe Sanh. I think
that position was selected with sufficient study and consideration
of all the factors involved by military experts, and I have no cause
to doubt their ability to defend themselves.
Senator CLARK. I don’t want to argue with you. I do. I have great
doubt about their confidence. I am no military expert, but I want
to raise one other point, Bill, for your consideration. If, as apparently most of the committee agrees, and I agree, you are going to
go, I think you ought to think very seriously about taking somebody with you so there can be no question of who said what to
The CHAIRMAN. Well, gentlemen, I think this has been a very
useful discussion. Of course, the background of this is, it was suggested, by Senator Gore, I think, what is the role of the committee
and what is our responsibility, and I, for a long time, ever since,
certainly since, Katzenbach appeared and seemed to take the view
that this committee in effect has no role to play, we have no responsibility, I think the President isolated himself from communication with other people who do have a responsibility in this government. I think he does not consult members of this committee.
I don’t think he consults the Majority Leader, which is customary.
At one time, I think the Majority Leader told me that he rarely
brings up the question at all of Vietnam with the Majority Leader,
which is most unusual.
Senator MANSFIELD. Except in the past several weeks.
The CHAIRMAN. You told me that at one time when I asked you
about it. I think the committee does have a role. I happen to think
that the experience and wisdom, the collective wisdom, of a committee like this does have a feel about the people of this country
as well as other people that is quite superior to a man like Rostow
or Rusk, and I have been very, as you know, very critical of the
policy itself. On that people have different views, of course, but it
seems to me that this committee does have a responsibility to at
the very least express itself and take some responsibility in these
Senator Case mentioned that and all the various members have,
Senator Morse. I think, of course, what my objective is, I would
hope to change it. This reassessment of the policy is the ultimate
objective. How do we do it? I think we are in the most disastrous
situation the country has been in since the Civil War and I would
like to do anything that would promote some re-examination of this
policy because it is leading, it seems to me, to further incidents
such as the Pueblo. When that is over there will be another one.
If we continue this, we are—the way we are going, it seems to me
in the direction that is disastrous to the country, not only abroad
in a military way, but in the fiscal policies.
You see this morning again the attitude of the House with regard
to taxes and so on, I think this reflects a disillusionment with their
policy, because there is no denying that most of our troubles stem
from the preoccupation and the tension as well as the expense of
the war. I can’t see anything that can do any good other than a
change in our policy in Vietnam.
So to me the question is how can you exercise any influence upon
the decision of the President? He has become almost solely the decisive factor and we have no influence at all. I think we ought to
have some. We ought to do something that at least insofar as we
can, is seeking to influence his judgment, if we can.
I am willing to do whatever the committee thinks. If they wish
me to do, if that is the decision of the committee, we ought to have
at least a small group of the members, there ought to be five or
six, and go down there if that is what you want to do. I think I
can anticipate now what it would be. I am not sure it would be effective. I don’t think it would be. The numerous consultations we
have had down there under conditions which are very restrictive of
members’ freedom of questioning is very frustrating. I have been
there many times and the atmosphere is of such a nature that it
is almost impossible to develop a point. In the first place it is almost impossible to even get an opportunity to say anything. I mean
he is of such a disposition that he completely dominates the conversation.
I don’t know that it would be effective. Perhaps if a group, at
least five or six members of this committee, went it would be a different reception. I don’t know. But I do think we ought to do something. I think it is a question of what can we do to cause him to
reassess and re-evaluate the course that we are on.
You have already raised the most honorable alternative of the
use of weapons. I don’t believe the Russians would stand by if we
start again. We are the only country in the world that has ever
dropped a nuclear bomb on anybody in anger, as you all know, and
I think that creates in the minds of other peoples the suspicion
that we won’t hesitate to do it again, and if they think we are going
to do it why they will probably feel they have no alternative, but
to do it before we do. If we use small ones I think they will use
big ones. I think that is an absolutely disastrous policy.
I thought the hearings, the public hearings, as Senator Gore said
so well, are educational. The President is a political figure, among
other things, and if the hearings are properly done, and I think
they would be, much more useful than a television program with
a few questions from people who are under limited time. I don’t
think they prove much if anything. Perhaps they are better than
nothing, but they certainly are not a substitute for hearings, and
I don’t like the way they try to give the impression that they are
an adequate substitute for the traditional constitutional procedures
which this government ought to follow.
I think that we ought to do something. I am not entirely sure in
my mind what is the right thing to do. It seems to me the more
traditional and time-proven way is public hearings where the matters can be discussed and the public, the country, which after all,
it is their boys who are being killed, it is their money that is being
spent, it is their country that is being ruined and they ought to be
given an opportunity to judge about the course of it. I hate to think
that just we are taking the responsibility. In the final analysis
itself everybody, the people of this country’s responsibility to make
this kind of decision. If they want to go down this line, why, they
have the power to do it under our system. But they ought to know
where they are going, and I don’t think they know where they are
Senator Mundt expressed my own feeling. He says they have
shifted their views in justification. They most certainly have. They
have had three or four different views as to what is the objective
of this war, and when one is knocked down or questioned about it
why they bring up another one and this is very frustrating to justify it. I certainly have to try to justify it when I go down home,
and it is no easy matter. Of course, I can’t justify it. I have never
been able to justify it since about two years, and I think to go
alone, because of my past objections, would not get anywhere. But
if the members would like, other members would go it might be
useful, I don’t think very useful. I really think that our only weapon is our traditional one, and that is to expose for the consideration
of the whole country what is involved here.
Then we know elections are impending, that is our system. If he
believes, and I think he is under a great misapprehension in my
own opinion as to what the people of this country really want, I do
not think the people of this country want to dominate Asia. I don’t
think they want to resume a colonial role. I don’t think that is in
their tradition. I think it is offensive to most people. There are a
few people who like that role. It is a traditional role. But with nuclear weapons that makes all the difference in the world of even
trying to play with that kind of a role.
If it is disclosed properly, and I think we could, given a little
time and under the proper circumstances, just what is our situation, then this would have a reaction in the country and they are
the ones who finally should be the arbiter of this kind of a question, and my role, and I think our role, the role of this committee,
is largely to do that.
We don’t have all the wisdom in the world, of course, but I think
we have more than advisers who I think are advising the President
today. I believe I would trust the judgment of the members of this
committee more than I would them.
I don’t know how to bring it to bear. I am inclined to think the
hearings, if we could get them, would be more effective. I am not
inclined to think that we can privately impress the President. He
thinks, I believe, the country is behind him, and that is why he
pursues it. I don’t think they are if they understood the implications of what he is doing, if they understood that our balance of
payments, that our internal deficit, that our fiscal difficulties, our
interest rates stem from the prosecution of this war without having
made proper financial provisions to carry it on, and that is where
we are now. The struggling around with a few little insignificant,
primarily significant, measures such as tourist travel and so on is
not going to do a thing to correct the basic problem here. He has
evaded it. He is unwilling to have a declaration of war and price
controls and all that go with it. He has just eased into a situation
and he is not knowing himself, in my opinion, what the ultimate
consequences would be, and the country has gone along with it or
thinking it was a small war, it would be over in a little while, this
optimism for three or four years, we are told everything is going
fine and, therefore, everybody goes along without being disturbed.
Now, we are up against the real hard plays, in my opinion, and
I think we are in a very, very serious and disastrous situation.
How to got out of it is a very difficult matter. But I don’t know any
better way than to reveal as best we can the situation we are in,
and then in a sense you get a feeling from the country as to what
should be done about it.
We are kind of a vehicle and I think that is why we were set up
here in the way we are under the Constitution, and that is why I
resented so much the attitude of Katzenbach when he said that our
power is outmoded, that we no longer have a role to play in really
the making of the most fundamental decisions for the security of
the country. That offended me very much and, of course it offends
me very much, the Secretary’s attitude. This man is able to take
care of himself. He is the greatest master of obfuscation I have ever
seen in my life and he can defend himself very well. But in the
course of that usually there is some grain of truth comes out because of the searching questions that members of this committee
are able to develop. I mean you could try to tie him down and do
a job as to what is the justification for this war, and then we are
able maybe to judge whether it is justifiable or not. I don’t happen
to think it is, but maybe it is. I mean this is a matter, that is why
we have differences of opinion. Of course, we are not all agreed.
But that is the way I think would be, if we could make any contribution at all it would seem to me to be, public hearings rather
than going down there.
I don’t know what we can gain by going down there. I can almost
tell you right now how it would go. I was down there just a week
ago, and they line up, it has been exactly the same format every
time I have been there, they line up the generals and so on, they
give the story and he ends up by saying we are all unanimous in
our agreement, and they are supposed to have some super wisdom
and they happened to have seen some cables. I just don’t buy that
at all. I think they are absolutely wrong and I have never been
able to see the use of those consultations.
But I think public hearings are very educational, I think they
bring it into the forum where it ought to be.
I would defer maybe on this timing, right now, if they are willing, if they are for public hearings. I do think if we do defer it just
until Khe Sanh is finished, I think the committee should maybe express itself as to the use of nuclear weapons. I would much prefer
what you said rather than nuclear weapons they ought to draw
those troops out and ought to draw them out immediately, if there
is any danger at all, any possibility of being overrun.
Senator GORE. Well, Mr. Chairman, I put the hypothesis when
I mentioned we would have a hard choice, I assume the hypothesis
40,000 men were surrounded and facing annihilation which you say
may be the possibility there.
Senator CLARK. Not yet. I think they can fight themselves out
right now.
Senator GORE. I didn’t talk about ‘‘right now’’. I agree right now,
but I am talking about three weeks from now.
Senator CLARK. My point was the committee if it agrees, and it
may not agree, ought to present to the administration our views
that if the alternative is withdrawal from Khe Sanh or the use of
nuclear weapons we ought to withdraw. I wonder, Bill, if you
couldn’t, getting back to the other subject of going to see the President, couldn’t request your seeing him alone, he could bring in
Rostow or Rusk, but without the display of military strength, a
very small meeting, I wouldn’t take six, I would take three at the
most, including the ranking minority member.
The CHAIRMAN. You understand when you meet with the President you don’t set the conditions. He runs everything down there,
he has the procedures, he has who he likes and he does nearly all
the talking. It is not easy to interrupt this kind of President. It is
not easy to make this kind of President listen, I have never been
able to do it and I don’t know that anybody else has.
Senator GORE. Mr. Chairman, would you yield right there? This
is entirely a personal observation, but I think it is a valid one.
Since the Pueblo crisis, I have noticed what I think is a change in
the President, an uncertainty, and a troubled spirit. I think he has
been reaching back to bring a few old friends into consultation.
Senator CLARK. He had Gen. Matthew Ridgway in two days ago.
Senator GORE. This is entirely personal. He asked me down there
yesterday, and I sat for an hour and a half down there with him
ard nobody but the two of us.
The CHAIRMAN. Why didn’t you tell me?
Senator GORE. It is unimportant except I didn’t know about
The CHAIRMAN. I didn’t know either.
Senator GORE. Tuesday of last week you were invited to the leadership breakfast for the first time in a couple of years. I think the
President’s confidence in the advice he has been getting and taking
is a bit shaken.
The CHAIRMAN. Did you detect that yesterday?
Senator GORE. Well, I won’t say that I did. I don’t know. But out
of this has come—that is why, one reason why, I answered Joe the
way I did, that I believe if you go down there with the consensus
of this committee and say that this committee thinks there should
be public hearings, I think he is in a more receptive attitude than
he was before the Pueblo.
Senator MORSE. I don’t think there is any doubt about it.
The CHAIRMAN. There is no doubt about what?
Senator MORSE. The President is in a much more receptive mood,
and I think the best service we could render the President is to
give him an opportunity to hear whatever select group you take
down. I don’t care who you take down but you certainly ought to
take Karl Mundt who is the one who has proposed this. The President knows Mundt’s position for a long time, and I think he ought
to be in there presenting his point of view and take whoever else
you want to take, but I think Karl ought to be taken.
Senator CLARK. And ask to see him without the benefit of his
military advisers.
Senator GORE. You can’t do that, Joe.
The CHAIRMAN. You can’t set conditions.
Senator CLARK. Not a condition.
Senator MORSE. He isn’t going to bring them in. Leave it to him.
He isn’t going to bring them in with this kind of a request.
The CHAIRMAN. If you don’t mind, Albert, I don’t want to press
you, I had no idea you were there, but I am curious. You surely
talked about this.
Senator GORE. I shouldn’t have mentioned a personal thing.
The CHAIRMAN. It is very interesting.
Senator GORE. I feel that the man is, and I felt, the man is, troubled and disturbed and it just might be that he would welcome
some consultation.
The CHAIRMAN. Well, he hasn’t. When I went down there it was
the usual format, I mean he had Wheeler and Johnson and Rusk,
and McNamara, and he had all the story, and I am frank to say
those presentations have—have become allergic to them. I don’t believe what they tell me, I mean their positiveness about, the optimism about, this situation. They told us there that Khe Sanh, we
had all these troops there, that were well-entrenched and well-supplied and as many as they had and they had no fear, and this
wasn’t but a few days before you see what happened.
When I look back on it nearly every time they told us a story it
proved to be erroneous. I mean the situation was just before the
explosion, and no one seemed to be aware of it. They certainly
didn’t suggest to us and this was what, four or five days before this
explosion, not a one of them said they thought, seemed to know,
anything about what might happen, and this gets to be very disturbing. They don’t seem to know what they are doing. Either that
or they don’t tell you.
And then this business of the Tonkin, to be frank about it, when
we get into that I felt very strongly about that, I meant strongly
in the sense that I had been deceived. I have been catching the
devil ever since that happened, you know. Every time they say
‘‘well, you voted for it, you were the sponsor of it,’’ and I think we
were just plain lied to, just in so many words. I don’t think they
told us the truth, and this has made me feel very badly about it
that we were deceived and we have no influence upon it and I don’t
know upon the course of events, and I don’t know of any better
way, maybe it is not the best way, than public discussions of it, because presumably this country still has a form of democracy in the
ultimate sense, not in the immediate sense.
Senator GORE. Does anybody object to the chairman going——
Senator MORSE. I think we owe it to the President. He can turn
it down. But I think we owe it to make the offer to send a group
down to talk to him.
Senator CASE. May I say this: This is a very political animal, this
President, and properly so. We are trying to be objective. Unless he
is persuaded that it is not only right but also politically wise to do
this he will not do it. He has done pretty well in a campaign of suppression from the last time of—and politically, I mean, and we
have to take this into account, but I think in the long run it is to
his political advantage, at least it is as much to his political advantage to do this as not to because I don’t think that he can keep this
lid on the way he has succeeded in doing it with the country, and
his rise in popular support is just a result of frankly the restraint
of you and you and you, all of us in the last three or four months
because we have wanted not to make the thing worse.
Good gracious, we could just inflame the country with the horrible way this thing is going if we had wanted to. We could have,
I haven’t myself. All of us have observed restraint on the Pueblo
in regard to negotiations that were suggested and what not, to give
him the utmost freedom of action and maneuver, and this cannot
last for many months more with the way things are going, and so
he would be politically well advised, and I think this, because he
is probably a candidate for election, this ought to be brought to his
attention by members of his own party, privately if you will, in addition to this.
Senator CARLSON. Mr. Chairman, I didn’t want to let this discussion end without saying this: I question the advisability of inviting
ourselves down to the White House. Couldn’t we get word to the
Secretary of State that there are members of this committee who
would be glad to come down and visit with the President about
this, and if it comes the other way I think it looks a lot better if
you are going to do it. Personally I am not sure we ought to go
down. But if we should it ought to come the other way. I would
think the Secretary or someone down there should be told we are
concerned and we are. I think Cliff Case has mentioned something.
We all have had a lot of restraint, every member on both sides of
the aisle, and I am for the hearings. I just can’t conceive that the
country expects us not to have them, and I would hope if we don’t
do anything else that we would have a strong letter down to the
Secretary of State that we would like to have hearings, they can
be Executive as far as I am concerned or they can be open, but in
view of what happened last Sunday, I don’t see how they could
turn us down without coming up here. It was arranged by the
White House, there wasn’t any question about it.
I do have some question though about inviting ourselves down,
I really do.
Senator MORSE. We are not inviting ourselves, we are advising
him under the advise and consent clause we would like to confer
with the President just as the Foreign Relations Committee did in
1919 and Wilson had them down for that series of conferences.
The CHAIRMAN. That was the whole committee. Are you suggesting, I wonder about this, whether the whole committee, if anybody goes, why not.
Senator CLARK. Too big, it ought to be a small meeting.
The CHAIRMAN. It is extremely difficult to convey to you, I mean,
what takes place in these. It is a very hard role to play. The President, unless he has changed his attitude as I indicated here——
Senator GORE. I didn’t mean to indicate he had changed his attitude.
The CHAIRMAN. I thought you did.
Senator GORE. I mean to say he was open to some questioning,
he was reaching out and drawing people in whose advice he had
not sought in a long while.
The CHAIRMAN. Did he really seek your advice or did he seek to
convert you to the validity of our present course, that is what he
has always done every time I have seen him.
Senator GORE. I prefer to make no references to my meeting.
The CHAIRMAN. All right.
Senator GORE. I only brought it up to indicate that—well you
have been, I will say again, you were, invited down Tuesday of last
week for the first time in a couple of years.
The CHAIRMAN. The whole meeting was set up to justify and excuse the Pueblo affair. I mean, Mike was there, I don’t think I am
being unfair, they had——
Senator GORE. But you were there.
The CHAIRMAN. That is correct.
Senator GORE. You were there.
The CHAIRMAN. But they not only had me, I think in the next
three or four days they had a large number of both Houses for the
purpose of disproving suggestions that they hadn’t done everything
just the way it should have been done. That I was the purpose of
the meeting. He didn’t ask any advice on the major policy of the
course we are following.
To me it isn’t these small tactical matters, that I think are at
fault. I think the whole concept of this war is absolutely wrong and
it has to be, in the most honorable way possible I would like to see
it, liquidated, in some form. I have tried to make that clear
through more extensive hearings. That is my view. I don’t think
there is any way to win a great victory here which can be an asset
to the country or to him.
Senator GORE. Well, Karl’s motion was not to discuss the whole
war, but to renew the invitation.
Senator MUNDT. As I hear the discussion the more I think we
should proceed as first originally suggested, that is, a more persuasive letter to the Secretary which we write on the positive assumption that he is going to say yes. If he says no, then I think we
might well consider the second step of going down to see the President.
Frank makes a good point, to invite ourselves down I think indicates some kind of weakness at the very beginning. If you think the
letter should be more appropriately sent to the President than to
the Secretary of State I would send the letter first. But I think I
would send it to the Secretary of State, which is the normal way,
and I have a feeling he might want to come, he won’t say no.
Senator CLARK. But we have done that.
Senator MUNDT. But it has changed. Since then he has appeared
on television. He told us he didn’t want to. I told him specifically,
‘‘if so I don’t think you would be on another television program.’’
He says, ‘‘I found that out,’’ he had a bad experience at Indiana
I would write this letter calling attention that he had been on
television, we respectfully ask him to come. If he comes, fine. If, he
doesn’t, then we can consider going down to see the President or
writing the President. But I feel certainly more comfortable if he
invited us down than to go down carrying the letter which would
indicate we were kind of weak.
I know, I have been down like Bill has, I know what the result
has been of sending a committee down or the whole committee.
Senator PELL. But, Mr. Chairman, in inviting him down there is
no limitation of time. Would you be willing to include some phrase
such as after this Khe Sanh business has played itself out?
Senator MUNDT. ‘‘At an appropriate time to be selected by you.’’
This war may stay hot for three months. I don’t want I to see the
shooting stop, but ‘‘at an appropriate time suggested by you.’’
Senator MORSE. I am not so sure you had not better give him advice because part of the advice we ought to talk to him about is
whether or not we are going to use nuclear weapons.
Senator PELL. I want to say I just hope we never have this anguish of choice of tactical nuclear weapons. Personally I would hope
under no circumstances we would ever use tactical nuclear weapons. There is no objective in Vietnam worth the results of their use.
The CHAIRMAN. I think we ought to talk about that a little bit
Senator PELL. I do, too. We get into divisiveness.
The CHAIRMAN. I don’t know what the consensus is. Personally
I would be willing to join in a letter to the President or Secretary
that they should not use nuclear weapons and, if you would like,
to suggest before doing that they ought to withdraw from Khe
Sanh, if that is the situation.
But before we get to that, on your letter, I personally am agreeable on Karl’s suggestion. I only call your attention to what the
Secretary said in his letter of December 8. He says, I won’t read
it all it is too long, ‘‘As you know, Mr. Chairman, it has been a consistent policy of all previous administrations to discuss matters of
this kind in executive session while an armed conflict is in
progress. The single exception to this policy which occurred early
last year is not in any way, I suggest, inconsistent with the practice of the past that should be abandoned and, therefore,’’ you know
the rest of it. But that was December 8.
Now, it is suggested, and Albert gives an example, that there
may be a change of attitude on this which would justify a reissuing
of the invitation. I think that is all right. personally think so, and
then if he turns it down we can consider the next step. But I do
think the committee ought to be feeling that is has a responsibility
in doing what it can to influence these decisions. I particularly feel
strongly about nuclear weapons. It just seems horrible to me for us
a second time to use nuclear weapons in view of what can happen
if we precipitate a real nuclear exchange. We have been told that
before, there is no use dwelling upon it.
Senator CASE. Mr. Chairman, on that point if I may just be brief,
Karl makes a suggestion that when the President asked and got
from the Joint Chiefs each of the Joint Chiefs in writing that Khe
Sanh could and should be defended, that meant with or without
tactical nuclear weapons. This is a matter that could be explored
Senator HICKENLOOPER. Did he get such a statement?
Senator CASE. He got such a statement in writing.
Senator HICKENLOOPER. I saw it in the paper, but I didn’t see
Senator CLARK. The President is said to have gotten a statement
in writing from each of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. He said I don’t
want Dien Bien Phu’s, but the question was not included and he
The CHAIRMAN. Wait a minute, you are both talking at once, I
am not clear what you are talking about.
Senator CASE. My point is, Mr. Chairman, I just want to say in
connection with this question of timing that both of you have
touched on, I am not sure that we should say we will until after
two at least have some consultation on this matter.
Senator CLARK. Not on this point.
Senator CASE. I think it relates directly to this.
Senator PELL. That is a separate subject though.
Senator CASE. It is in a sense a separate subject, but it is a very
important part of the whole subject.
Now, I am not clear how do you express to the President a view
about nuclear weapons, their rightness of use or not use? I think
in a particular matter of this sort we could say so, but I am not
prepared to say that never in Southeast Asia should we use nuclear weapons. I am not prepared to say they never should be used
in any circumstances. I think we can express our views if it is possible to withdraw an exposed salient as it is here, I would be willing to do that and go that far, but I do urge that this question be
pursued rather more rapidly than the general question.
The CHAIRMAN. Cliff, I certainly thought it was the understanding of most of the people in this country, and it was mine,
that we wouldn’t be the first to use nuclear weapons again. I just
felt that just sort of understood, we wouldn’t precipitate a nuclear
war. This came up, you know, in Europe and so on, these were
purely defensive. We have always taken that view.
Senator CASE. Of course, what is purely defensive? You let yourself get into an impossible position are you going to prevent yourself from using this?
Senator MANSFIELD. I think in view of this statement about tactical nuclear weapons which is the first time I have heard it today,
as long as we have three members of the Joint Atomic Energy
Committee present they would go into this question.
We have three members of this committee who are also members
of the Joint Committee on Atomic Energy, and I would anticipate
in view of this, which is news to me, they would very likely want
to look into this.
Senator MORSE. I have one minute.
Senator COOPER. I think I was the first one who mentioned nuclear weapons here today, and I did it because at some place I
heard the rumor, and I would think that any competent military
staff would, of course, take into consideration every eventuality and
what they would do to meet it. So the fact they think about it as
far as the military staff is concerned I don’t think would be unusual.
The question would be whether or not they press it upon the
President and other advisers press it upon him. I could see a situation arising, I hope it wouldn’t, where, say, Khe Sanh where they
were encircled, and to save the lives of them, to prevent them from
being annihilated would present a difficult situation for the President of the United States to have to come to such a decision. When
I talk about public hearings I think you would have to contemplate
and anticipate that somebody would ask the Secretary that. Then
he would be in position that he would have to say no or he would
have to say ‘‘I can’t talk about it,’’ and then it would be all over
the world the United States may anticipate the use of nuclear
weapons. I think that is a subject if that is going to be talked about
it ought to be talked of to him——
Senator MANSFIELD. That would be a dangerous subject to raise
in public.
Senator COOPER. I agree.
Senator HICKENLOOPER. I am just going to say that is just the
very point about these public hearings and a lot of other fields.
Senator MORSE. I would like to take one minute, Mr. Chairman,
after listening to all of this discussion. I am not a betting man, but
I will give you 10 to 1 odds if you write a letter to the President
over your signature, giving him a brief statement about this discussion this morning and that the subcommittee awaits his pleasure
to discuss some of the matters that we raised in this committee,
if he would like to talk to us, the President will call you down. I
am convinced that the President of the United States would welcome an opportunity to talk to you if you want to make that kind
of an approach.
I think we owe it to the President. These are things that we
ought to raise with him on the basis of this discussion this morning
and conference with a small number of this committee of talking
with him. I don’t know what you are so afraid about in regard to
a discussion with the President or a public discussion of the issue
that is of vital concern to the security of the people of this country.
I hope to God we haven’t gone so far that we are now going to operate a government by secrecy in time of crisis.
I close by saying just look at what this committee, what our forebears did. On August 19, 1919 they had a long conference with the
President. They published it as a committee document with all the
comments of the President, all the questions asked by the President, all the differences with the President. What we did in that
great crisis, the President had the conference with the full committee there, and there is it and it was released to the public, the
record, and the understanding was there would be nothing confidential about it. I don’t know what has happened to us that we
have got the notion that you have got to operate in time of war a
government by secrecy. I say you are carrying the very foundations
of the Government away if you are continuing this.
Senator GORE. Mr. Chairman.
Senator GORE. I would like to dissuade Karl from a further letter
to the Secretary in whom is the responsibility and authority vested? The Executive power is vested in the President. The power of
advise and consent is vested in the Senate. The equation is between the Senate and the President. I don’t think the President
would—I believe Wayne has suggested something, a wording and
a modus vivendi superior to anything else, that is instead of writing a letter and taking it to him and asking for an appointment,
write a letter expressing the concensus of the committee and, as
you say, if the President should so desire you would await or your
subcommittee would await his pleasure.
Now, there is another reason why I don’t think this committee
should address another letter to the Secretary. It demeans this
committee. The chairman himself has directed a letter, two letters,
and then upon instruction of this committee he addressed another
one, so three times he has written letters. He also invited the Secretary up and he took several months to answer the letter and this
is demeaning to the committee, and we have a responsibility to exercise so it seems to me the communication should be between the
committee and the President. That is where the responsibility lies.
Senator MUNDT. I would agree with Albert. We write a letter to
the President asking him to ask the Secretary to come down, but
I don’t think it should be carried down by hand and I don’t think
we should weaken the impact by saying ‘‘we think we ought to talk
to you.’’ He is going to write back and say ‘‘no,’’ or he is going to
write Bill back and say ‘‘Yes, I would like to talk to some of you
fellows.’’ If we put it as part of the letter we would like to come
down and discuss it we would weaken our letter. I am sure he is
not going to write back like Dean Rusk and say ‘‘no.’’ If he has good
and sufficient reasons we ought to discuss it. But addressing it
maybe to the President under the circumstances would be better
than the Secretary. I would be glad to change that motion.
Senator MORSE. I think that is fine, I think that is what we
ought to do.
Senator HICKENLOOPER. Mr. Chairman, again I want to ask one
question. We seem to be talking all the time about the Secretary
refusing to come before this committee. So far as I know he never
has refused to come before this committee. He has offered to come
and said he will come anytime. It is a question of whether it is in
executive session where you can take out the sensitive parts of that
record and release it or whether you are having it public, with the
attendant publicity media that is there, and all the rest of it; and
embarrassing questions are asked, and the refusal to answer is
bound to give information or give rise to speculation. I think the
illustration was made about the question about the use of atomic
weapons. We could ask him about atomic weapons here and should
in executive session. But he never has refused to come here, and
he has come here a number of times. It is just a question of whether you open the doors and bring in the television cameras or not,
The CHAIRMAN. Bourke, what was the purpose of putting them
both on Sunday?
Why did he put them on Sunday?
Senator HICKENLOOPER. There is a vast difference between a socalled controlled conference where you don’t have to submit to a lot
of rather violent comment and so on and answer certain questions
that are asked. The format——
The CHAIRMAN. It is different. What was the purpose though of
putting these two men on at their request on television? Wasn’t it,
do you think it was to——
Senator HICKENLOOPER. I don’t know. As a matter of fact I am
not supporting the President. I didn’t vote for him the last time
and I don’t expect to vote for him the next time. I don’t expect to
campaign for him. I expect to campaign for the Republican candidate, and I don’t want to be put in a position of trying to pull
his chestnuts out of the fire. He can pull his own out of the fire.
But I am interested primarily in what I believe to be the basic best
interests of this country. I don’t want to set up another Committee
for the Conduct of the Civil War, and that is about what we are
heading toward in this thing because that was the most colossal
dangerous failure. The Union almost broke apart on that.
The CHAIRMAN. That is what I am most interested in myself. I
am not particularly interested in his re-election either or his defeat
or anything else. What I am thinking of is this country. We are in
the worst position we have ever been, and we gradually eased in
it and I played a part in it and so did you and I think under false
information, and I think the purpose of those hearings that he
asked on Sunday was to continue to create a false impression in
this country that things were going well and so on. He refuses to
face up to the most serious situation, I think we have been faced
with since the Civil War.
I think that we ought to do something to try to change his policy
myself. The only reason for me, I don’t know what the political effect would be and that is not in my purpose at all, I think we are
in a very, very disastrous situation and I don’t see any way out of
it except some kind of a drastic change in his basic policy of just
pursuing on and on until the last gasp this war in an area which
I think is not in our interest and so on. It is the old overall policy
that interests me and how do you bring any influence to bear upon
it, that is the question.
Senator MORSE. Mr. Chairman, I simply want to say I am not
going to sell this committee short. The President and the Secretary
of State are in a much better position having questions asked in
public hearings by this committee than by the President.
Let’s go through the record now about public hearings and those
that are afraid of what the committee is going to ask and give me
the list of the questions that any member of this committee has
asked in a public hearing of the Secretary of State that was improper or if a question that they asked could possibly be involved
in the necessities for answering it in executive session there wasn’t
any agreement. I want to say you are just dead wrong if your argument is you are running a danger of having the Secretary of State
before a public hearing of this committee. Your real danger of you
have him before a public hearing of the press, and apparently that
is all right with the administration, but I don’t think you are facing
up to the basic issue that confronts this committee and this President, namely that under this system of government of ours with
the advise and consent clause, the American people are entitled as
a matter of right to have these issues discussed in public with the
executive branch of government. If you don’t do that then you
haven’t got a representative form of government, you have a government by the Executive.
Senator HICKENLOOPER. Wayne, then let’s disclose the war plans.
Senator MORSE. Well, of course, that is just exactly what you
shouldn’t do and nobody is asking for that.
Senator HICKENLOOPER. It is the same thing.
Senator MORSE. No, we are asking about what they can tell us
about these broad policy questions that the people are entitled to
know to have some of their fears allayed. You have got a people
who are disturbed by fright in this country today and I want to say
most respectfully, it is only my own view, we are walking out on
our responsibility to carry out our trust for public hearings. I think
we owe it to the American people.
Senator CLARK. Mr. Chairman, do you think we could separate
the two issues? It seems to me they severable, first as to how to
handle the question of getting the Secretary down here—first, the
question of how we get the Secretary down here for an open session, and this discussion has satisfied me that I would support Karl
Mundt’s position on that; but, secondly, I think what very critical
and imminent and that is what fulcrum, if any, of power are we
going to try to bring to bear on the Executive in secret with respect
to the use of nuclear weapons. I think there is enough in it now
so that we just shouldn’t walk off and not do anything about it.
Senator AIKEN. Mr. Chairman?
The CHAIRMAN. Senator Aiken.
Senator AIKEN. It seems to me that policy as a rule is rather a
long range matter. We are in an immediate predicament the results of which can be undesirable, to say the least. Apparently
there is no relation at all between the Foreign Relations Committee
of the Senate and the executive branch of government. Nobody
knows, I don’t believe any member of the Senate knows, what the
plan of the President may be for restoring peace in Southeast Asia
or a reasonable degree of stability.
I would suggest that we try to establish some relationship with
the White House, and when the chairman goes down to interview
him, I think it would be nice to ask him outright what his plans
are for extricating us from the trap that we are in on, and I think
it is a trap. I think the Russians set the trap and we walked into
it ourselves, that is they continue to bait it anyway, and I object
to their being so darned considerate of Moscow all the time, as our
administration appears to be.
But I think we ought to ask him outright what the plans are for
getting us out of this. That is even more important than it is to
put the Secretary of State on public view.
Senator HICKENLOOPER. I agree with what was said here awhile
ago by the chairman or somebody else, if you go down there and
talk to the President I know what kind of an answer you would get.
You would get a lot of words, that is very true. You won’t get an
Senator AIKEN. Yes.
Senator SPARKMAN. He will take it over.
Senator AIKEN. But I wouldn’t hesitate to let the world know
that the committee has gone to the President and if he gives us a
lot of words give that report to the public that he didn’t do anything, and that puts the bee in the right place.
Senator MUNDT. Mr. Chairman, back to the motion let’s see what
happens. We send a letter to the President and make that request.
If the letter is persuasive enough and the President is concerned
the Secretary should come, fine. If he says, ‘‘no,’’ I think he will invite the committee or portions of the committee or the chairman of
the committee down to talk to him about it. So I don’t see how we
lose anything, we gain a little stature, and we have at least tried
to measure up to our responsibility. Certainly if the President himself says ‘‘yes’’ that is conclusive that he believes he should come
and that you can incorporate the fact that the situation has
changed since the other exchange of correspondence because the
Secretary has been appearing in public and we feel we have a right
to discuss with him the foreign policy of the United States, however, you want to put it. If he calls you down we can work out the
rules of the game, say we won’t talk about the Pueblo, if something
is sensitive we won’t talk about that. But the overall idea of trying
to clarify in the minds of the American public what we are trying
to do there is basically important, and I speak as one who has supported consistently, still am, but am confused in my own mind now
when I say something in support of it they changed the doggone
reasons, and I would like to know what they are at least currently.
Senator MORSE. I think we have discussed it long enough. I move
that the chairman be authorized to send such a letter to the President.
The CHAIRMAN. He has already moved that. Is it now your move
to send a letter to the President?
Senator MUNDT. Right.
The CHAIRMAN. Requesting the Secretary of State to appear in
public session.
Senator MUNDT. And deliver it by mail.
Senator PELL. At his convenience at an appropriate time.
Senator MUNDT. At an appropriate time.
Senator PELL. Which could be two or three months.
Senator MORSE. Don’t put that in.
The CHAIRMAN. At an appropriate time.
Senator MUNDT. At an appropriate time.
The CHAIRMAN. Do you wish to call the roll on it or what do you
wish to do? All in favor of the motion raise their hands.
[Showing of hands.]
The CHAIRMAN. All opposed.
[Showing of hands.]
Senator CLARK. Mr. Chairman, I suggest, this is pretty important, we ought to poll the absent members of the committee.
The CHAIRMAN. Well, they haven’t heard the discussion.
Senator CASE. No, they haven’t had the benefit of this discussion.
Senator CLARK. You have a record.
Mr. HOLT. We don’t know who voted on this and who didn’t. So
we don’t know who to poll.
Senator CLARK. You know who to poll, the absent members. You
can look around.
Mr. HOLT. some of these didn’t vote.
Senator CLARK. Everybody voted. I think this has gone so far we
ought to have a roll call.
Senator GORE. He wants a roll call.
Senator CLARK. I am not going to be stubborn about it. It is a
Senator HICKENLOOPER. What is the purpose of a roll call?
Senator CLARK. So the staff can poll it.
Senator MORSE. You have 2 to 1. You have the members.
The CHAIRMAN. It is 8 to 4.
Senator CASE. This leaves this other question of nuclear weapons.
The CHAIRMAN. That is just to request the open hearing. What
do you want to do, if anything, about the nuclear weapons?
Senator HICKENLOOPER. I again ask the question what is the authentication of the fact that they are contemplating nuclear weapons?
Senator CLARK. Let’s find out.
Senator HICKENLOOPER. It is some newspaper story.
Senator MORSE. You can’t meet with the President without talking to him about it. That is where you ought to talk about it.
Senator CLARK. He may not call us down for a month or 6 weeks.
Senator MORSE. He will call you down shortly.
Senator CASE. I am content to leave it as we leave it for the moment, we leave that to see if we do get further information.
Senator CLARK. I think this may be something we are going to
use nuclear weapons within a week, and I think we ought to explore it.
Senator HICKENLOOPER. That is a pretty strong statement, Joe.
What is your basis for it?
Senator CLARK. The basis is what Carl Marcy has developed,
these people are going over there, five of them who are experts in
nuclear weapons, they are flying to Vietnam today and we know
Senator CASE. Even in the war the broad matter of these people’s
Senator SPARKMAN. Don’t you think the chairman can discuss
that without being instructed?
Senator CLARK. I was going to go further than that. I was going
to suggest the staff take up at the staff level either with the Pentagon and/or the White House and/or the Department of State is
there any truth in this rumor?
Senator HICKENLOOPER. They already have. They already have
on that.
Senator CLARK. He has only gone to the Committee on Atomic
Energy. They ought to go to the Executive.
Senator HICKENLOOPER. Their pipeline is right square in there
and it is a broad one.
The CHAIRMAN. If you want to open it up by a simple letter to
the President just saying you heard this rumor and we would like
to be informed about it.
Senator CLARK. I like that.
Senator HICKENLOOPER. I think it would be a mistake to put it
in writing. I think you ought to ask him personally.
Senator WILLIAMS. If you put that in a letter, we are inquiring
about these nuclear weapons or even thinking about it, put it in
the form of a letter or instructions to this committee it will be
leaked out and be on the front page of the New York Times tomorrow and the damage will be done.
Senator MORSE. Can’t he raise it verbally?
Senator GORE. Leave it to the chairman’s judgment.
Senator HICKENLOOPER. That is what I say.
Senator MORSE. I think he should raise it is all I am asking for.
If the chairman says he will raise it that is all we need.
The CHAIRMAN. Yes, I will do that.
I am not going to say anything to the press.
[Whereupon, at 12:00 noon, the hearing was adjourned.]
[EDITOR’S NOTE.—0n June 12, 1968, after four years of negotiations, the United
Nations General Assembly approved a draft of a treaty that banned the spread of
nuclear weapons to nations that did not already possess them. The United States
signed the treaty on July 1, and President Johnson submitted it to the Senate on
July 9. The Foreign Relations Committee immediately began consideration of the
treaty, holding public hearings on July 10, 11, and 12, and 17, followed by a series
of executive sessions. Although the president pressed mightily for a Senate vote before he left office, the Soviet military invasion of Czechoslovakia in August made
many Senators unreceptive. The presidential election also played a part when the
Republican candidate, Richard Nixon, argued that swift ratification might appear to
condone the Soviet invasion. On Sept. 17, the committee reported the treaty favorably, by a vote of 13 to 3. However, Senate Majority Leader Mike Mansfield concluded that the treaty lacked sufficient bipartisan support and announced on October 11 that he would not call it from the calendar during that session. President
Johnson considered but chose not to call the Senate back into special session after
the election. Instead, the Senate approved the ratification of the treaty on Mar. 13,
1969, by a vote of 83 to 15, during the Nixon administration.]
Thursday, February 8, 1968
Washington, DC.
The committee met, pursuant to notice, at 2:30 p.m., in room S–
116, the Capitol, Senator J. William Fulbright (chairman) presiding.
Present: Chairman Fulbright, and Senators Morse, Gore, Clark,
Pell, Carlson, and Cooper.
Also present: Mr. Marcy, Mr. Holt, and Mr. Bader of the committee staff.
The CHAIRMAN. The committee will come to order.
Mr. Fisher, I offer to apologize for the committee because on yesterday the discussion took much longer than anyone anticipated,
and I am very sorry to have caused you that inconvenience, but in
this case, you know how we operate, it is sometimes difficult to
control the committee’s discussions.
Will you proceed, please, sir?
Mr. FISHER. Yes, sir, if I may make—obviously no apology is necessary, sir, and my own frame of mind in this situation when there
is obviously a heated discussion going on of some kind changes
from a hope that I will be able to get in before you adjourn to a
fear that I might be able to. [Laughter.]
The CHAIRMAN. You are a good psychologist. [Laughter.]
Senator GORE. Well, as a fellow Tennesseean, I want to extend
my sympathy and my support and my pride.
[The staff memorandum on the treaties under discussion follows:]
February 7, 1968
The Non-Proliferation Treaty and the Latin American Nuclear Free Zone
I. The Non-Proliferation Treaty
The United States and the Soviet Union on January 18, 1968, presented to the
18-Nation Committee on Disarmament at Geneva a revised text of the draft treaty
to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons. This is a new and completed version of
the partial draft tabled at the Conference on August 24, 1967. At that time the identical texts put forth by the United States and Soviet Co-Chairmen of the Conference
were incomplete. Article III was left blank because of failure to agree on provisions
to govern safeguards over peaceful nuclear activities. The gap has been filled in today’s draft.
In addition, the revised draft contains several amended articles and three new articles: these deal with the peaceful applications of nuclear energy (Article IV), access
to the benefits of peaceful nuclear explosions ( Article V), and obligations to pursue
negotiations on measures of disarmament (Article VI). The amendments clause has
been redrafted to provide that amendments enter into force only for those parties
that accept them (Article VIII). The number of ratifications necessary to bring the
treaty into force has been fixed at forty (Article IX). In response to the desires of
many non-nuclear countries, the co-drafters have provided for a review of the treaty
25 years after its entry into force ‘‘to decide whether the Treaty shall continue in
force indefinitely’’ (Article X).
Article III safeguards are intended to verify the treaty obligations that nuclear
material is not diverted to weapons. Safeguards will be those set forth in agreements to be negotiated between the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA—
located in Vienna) and signatory states. These agreements must be negotiated in
accordance with the IAEA Statute and its safeguards system.
II. Latin American Free Zone
The United States is considering signing Protocol II of the treaty. In signing this
Protocol the United States will agree to respect the aims and provisions of the treaty which attempts to limit nuclear energy in Latin America to peaceful purposes by
prohibiting the testing, use, and production of nuclear weapons by the parties of the
treaty as well as any form of possession of nuclear weapons.
The Latin American nuclear free zone is just one of many efforts to exclude nuclear weapons from regions of the world. Proposals for such zones have taken many
forms: Walter Ulbricht’s Baltic ‘‘sea of peace’’ in 1955; the atomic free zone in Central Europe first put forward by Poland’s Foreign Minister Rapacki in 1957; an
Asian nuclear free zone advanced by Nehru in 1958 and echoed thereafter by the
Communist Chinese; the ‘‘Unde Plan’’ first championed by the Swedish Foreign Minister in 1961; the Kekkonen Plan in 1963; a Soviet proposal in 1963 for a nuclear
free zone in the Mediterranean. More recently, the emphasis has been on nuclear
free zones for Africa and Latin America. The most important statement of African
willingness to form a nuclear free zone came in 1964 when the African Heads of
State and Government pledged their readiness to accept through an international
treaty under the auspices of the U.N. the denuclearization of Africa. This pledge
was reconfirmed at the Addis Ababa summit meeting in May of 1965 where the delegates declared ‘‘their readiness for a denuclearized zone in Africa.’’
In Latin America there have been sporadic efforts since 1962 to attain a nuclear
free zone. In 1963, for example, the Presidents of Mexico, Ecuador, Chile, Brazil,
and Bolivia issued a joint declaration stating willingness to cooperate in the formation of a nuclear free zone in Latin America. In 1965 Mexico and Brazil took the
lead in organizing meetings held in Mexico City to consider ways of organizing a
nuclear free zone.
On February 14, 1967, the Latin American countries signed the Treaty for the
Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons in Latin America. The United States had reservations from the beginning about signing Protocol I which called upon the nuclear
powers to apply the prohibitions of the treaty to all territories within the zone. The
United States does not wish to have included in the proposed nuclear zone the Virgin Islands or the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico. Moreover, the United States intends to make it clear that we will continue to have the right to move nuclear weapons through the Panama Canal zone.
Therefore, the United States has decided not to sign Protocol I which calls on signatories to apply the provisions of the treaty to the geographical zone established
by the treaty (the zone includes our Caribbean holding).
The United Kingdom will sign Protocol I as well as Protocol II.
Mr. FISHER. Mr. Chairman, the reason—excuse me for wanting
to trouble you at this time—is particularly with respect to the
Latin American Nuclear Zone Treaty is that we are thinking of recommending the signature of Protocol II of the Latin American Nuclear Free Zone Treaty.
Now, we did not want to do so until we had had a chance to consult with the committee. Clearly this does not commit the committee. If the Protocol II were to be signed, it would be presented
to the committee in the normal constitutional procedure for a vote
on a resolution authorizing ratification but we wanted to have a
preliminary go-around in advance.
Now, before getting on to Protocol II of the Latin America Nuclear Free Zone Treaty, you might deal with the treaty as a whole.
Some of you, I am sure, know as much if not more about it than
I do. There is the basic article of this treaty, Article 1, which prohibits the contracting parties from producing, testing or possessing
nuclear weapons in their respective territories. It also forbids the
receipt or installation of any nuclear weapons, and the contracting
parties undertake to use nuclear materials and facilities exclusively
for peaceful purposes.
Now, there is a definition of nuclear weapons in Article 5 that
has some elements of controversy in it, and I would like to get that
in explaining our adherence—proposed adherence—to Protocol II.
The treaty also, in Article 7 through Article 11, sets up an organization called the Agency, or the Agency for the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons in Latin America, which, together with the International Atomic Energy Agency, is for the purposes of verifying the
obligations of the treaty, and there is provision in the treaty, which
I will also deal with in more detail, dealing with the use of nuclear
energy and explosions for peaceful purposes.
Now, you might wonder, since we have been discussing in some
detail the problem of the Non-Proliferation Treaty, a worldwide
treaty, why we are treating with the Latin American nuclear free
Well, the Latin American nuclear free zone is much more comprehensive in a smaller area, since it not only deals with the development and acquisition of nuclear weapons by the contracting parties but prohibits the actual deployment or introduction into the
territory covered.
Now, quite a few countries have signed the treaty. Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, on and on, 21 in all have signed. Cuba has not
signed; for some reason Barbados has not yet signed.
Senator Gore. Who did you say has not signed?
Mr. FISHER. Cuba has not signed and said they will not. Barbados has not signed. This may be related to a peculiar—their sympathy with Guyana, former British Guiana, which is not permitted
to sign under a provision of the treaty that says if they have any
territorial disputes holding over from the days when they were a
colony, they cannot sign unless those disputes have been subject to
arbitration by peaceful purposes.
I was in the U.N. when Guyana was objecting to this, and some
wit pointed out that if the majority view held, Guyana had no alternative if she was not able to negotiate her differences with Venezuela over certain territory but to develop nuclear weapons. So it
seemed to me that may be somewhat counter-productive, but on
the whole I think it may be worked out.
Now Article 28, which provides for the entry into force of the
treaty, is a compromise between two opposing factions in the treaty, Brazil and Mexico. Paragraph 1 of Article 28 states all nations
that can sign the treaty and all of its protocols must sign before
the treaty goes into force.
Now, this means that all the countries in the geographical area
of the region must sign, all the nuclear powers must sign.
The CHAIRMAN. That about Cuba?
Mr. FISHER. Well, including Cuba. Now, Article 28, paragraph 2
of the treaty, however, which is the other side of the compromise,
Mr. Chairman, provides that countries can waive the requirements
of paragraph 1 and have the treaty enter into effect for them and
other people that sign the waiver when they deposit their ratifications with the waiver. In other words, you can have certain countries to which the force of this treaty will not be binding until all
the countries in the region, including Cuba, sign, until all the countries with territories in the region sign, Protocol II, until all the nuclear powers sign—pardon me, Protocol I, correct my statement;
until all the nuclear powers sign Protocol II which would be truly
the millennium because it would include the Communist Chinese.
Now, the countries that insist on that are obviously not those
that are enthusiastic about the treaty, except as a millennium.
There are other countries that could waive this requirement of
paragraph 1, and all who signed a waiver could have a nuclear free
zone applicable as opposed to them, whether or not Cuba had
signed, whether or not the Communist Chinese had signed Protocol
II and whether or not a variety of conditions which probably are
not going to occur in the near future had in fact occurred.
This was the Mexican position, and Mexico has waived the conditions of Article 28, section 1, and considers that, as far as Mexico
is concerned, the treaty is now in effect.
Brazil has given its advice and consent, its congress has, but it
has not yet deposited its ratification and it is unlikely that they
will do so with any waiver of paragraph 1 so this treaty will not
be binding on Brazil for some period of time.
Now, Protocol I to the treaty calls for countries outside of the
zone that have territories inside the zone to undertake the obligations of the treaty with respect to their territories inside the zone.
The CHAIRMAN. Does that refer to Britain?
Mr. FISHER. Yes, sir, it refers to Britain.
The CHAIRMAN. France?
Mr. FISHER. France, the United Kingdom and the United States.
Those are the only countries that—pardon me—The Netherlands.
The CHAIRMAN. What is our territory?
Mr. FISHER. Well, the principal ones are Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands.
The CHAIRMAN. Puerto Rico is a commonwealth. Do you refer to
it as a territory?
Mr. FISHER. The definition of the treaty—
The CHAIRMAN. They would not like that, I do not think.
Mr. FISHER. I will now then stand corrected. All territory in the
United States, in the territorial area not part of the continental
part of the territory of the United States, if I can stand corrected
on that definition, that is the treaty I definition.
The CHAIRMAN. They would not like it as a legal matter. They
do not like to be called a territory for their own purposes.
Mr. FISHER. They are quite correct. Can I stand corrected? Insofar as I referred to them, you are correct; I would be wrong. They
are in Protocol I, because Protocol I gives a geographical definition
which includes Puerto Rico and excludes from that geographical
definition—this is Article 4 of the treaty; you I will see it on, I believe it is, page 16—the territorial area of the treaty excludes from
this large bite only the continental a part of the territory of the
United States of America and its territorial waters.
Now, that would——
Senator GORE. Mr. Chairman, I would like to observe that since
Mr. Fisher became an ambassador, he has advanced up the ladder
of diplomatic maneuver more rapidly than any man I know, and he
just made a statement to which I commend your attention, and
which I would suggest he take back to the executive branch as an
example of how to get along with Congress. Remember he said,
‘‘You were right, and I was wrong.’’
The CHAIRMAN. It is unprecedented. [Laughter.]
Mr. FISHER. In this case, sir, in order to correct any prior error.
Mr. FISHER. We have to satisfy our friends in the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico that it does not demean their status to say
that they are not part of the continental part of the territory of the
United States or in its territorial waters, and that is the situation.
Now, Protocol I, which we were referring to, includes this geographical description that I have just finished making, and in that
area are a variety of real estate of varying descriptions, some Commonwealth, some admittedly territories, some controversial in
terms of the description. From our point of view the two that we
are principally concerned with are Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands, and I am not up here, Mr. Chairman, consulting on the signing of Protocol I because we at the moment deal with—we have a
SAC base on Puerto Rico. I do not believe that Puerto Rico would
be terribly happy about treating Puerto Rico as being sort of separate from, say, different, insofar as we deal with it from the point
of view of foreign relations.
Senator GORE. They are very happy to be treated differently in
tax policy.
Mr. FISHER. Yes, they are, but I am not sure that from the point
of view of foreign relations they are. I have urged on occasions,
Senator Gore, that, as I am aware, residents of the District of Columbia would be very happy to be treated on the same basis as
Puerto Rico. But we have told the preparatory commission, Mr.
Foster did, that we did not wish to—as far as we were concerned,
we did not propose to include in a nuclear free zone the Virgin Islands, since it is United States territory, or the Commonwealth of
Puerto Rico because of its integral relationship with the United
States, and we are not now contemplating signing Protocol I.
Now the British have signed Protocol I. I doubt if the French
will. We hope that some of the other countries will. The Netherlands, we hope that they will. But what we are up for is to consult
with respect to Protocol II.
Now, Protocol II is a call upon the nuclear weapons states to
agree to respect the status of denuclearization of the setup by the
treaty and not to contribute to any violations of Article I of the
treaty and not to use or threaten to use nuclear weapons against
the contracting parties to the treaty.
Now, what we are proposing to do—or thinking of doing, not proposing, which too depends on the reactions we get—is to sign Protocol II with an interpretive statement which covers four or five
points that are not entirely clear in the treaty itself, and which we
would like to have established and which our statement of interpretation would cover.
The first is that our signing Protocol II, which incorporates the
language of the treaty which defines as territory all space ‘‘over
which the state exercises sovereignty in accordance with its own
legislation,’’ does not mean that we recognize the various territorial
claims of the contracting parties because some of them, particularly
in the field of breadth of territorial sea are pretty wide—and this
committee in other contexts has gone into this, I am sure, much
more than I can now because it is 200 miles in some places—and
by appearing to respect a treaty which in turn says territory means
what you say your territory is, we want to make it clear that we
are not agreeing to any possible ambiguity that means we accept
all territorial claims. This is only territorial claims exercised consistent with their authority do so under international law.
Now we also—and that is in the wish in our approval, in our Protocol II—we wish to make it clear that this treaty does not refer
to the rights of transit. There is not a great deal of ambiguity on
that, but a really hard argument—a really fancy lawyer could
make the argument that in some way transport was identical with
transit and not stationing or having in the territory could refer not
only to the country having itself but to permitting transit through
its territorial waters either through the right of innocent passage
or through port call, and we have normally not wanted to get into
the practice of declaring which particular U.S. boat had—whether
a device in it was a nuclear device or not and, particularly, through
the Canal, so we wanted to establish the transit problem.
And finally we want to, not finally, but next to finally, to indicate
that in the event that we had a war in which an attacking party,
which was a contracting party to this treaty, was allied with a nuclear weapons state, that we would consider that it had breached
its obligations under the treaty and that the treaty was therefore
no longer in effect.
Now, there are two more—there is one other understanding and
one other additional commitment we were going to make. The other
understanding is our old friend which you and I discussed, I believe, in August of ‘66. That is the question of nuclear explosions
for peaceful purposes, in which the treaty has a definition of nuclear explosions which hinges it—in Article 5—which hinges it on
whether the device is capable of releasing nuclear energy in an uncontrollable manner, which means an explosion and which has a
group of characteristics that are appropriate for use for warlike
It begs the question as to whether or not the so-called Plowshare
type devices that we are developing do have a group of characteristics which are suitable for warlike purposes.
We think there is no scientific argument on this subject. We
think they all do, and I have never seen a scientist yet who was
asked about this question who does not say that the nuclear innards of a peaceful nuclear explosive device are the same as a
weapon; in fact they are the same as a very good one. So we are
making a statement to that effect, that we think that this prohibits
the treaty, the parties to the treaty, from developing the peaceful
nuclear explosive devices but reiterating our position that we are
prepared to carry out nuclear explosive services for them with the
device under our control. That is an offer we have made in another
context in the Non-Proliferation Treaty.
Senator GORE. May I ask a question?
Senator GORE. To whom did you make this offer?
Mr. FISHER. Well, the offer in the other context was made by tabling the Non-Proliferation Treaty on January 18, 1968, Senator
Gore. A previous draft of this in the preamble to the Non-Proliferation Treaty was in the treaty tabled on August 24.
Senator GORE. What do you mean when you say, ‘‘Did we jointly
with the Soviets make this agreement or did the two countries severally make it or did the various countries involved in Geneva
make it?
Mr. FISHER. In the tabling, the treaty texts that were not jointly
tabled, sir, but draft identical texts, sort of conscious parallelism so
to speak, they were tabled by the U.S. and the Soviet Union in August of ‘67, it had a preamble that made this statement.
Senator GORE. You mean our text. Did the Soviets have a similar
Mr. FISHER. Identical, sir, identical.
Senator GORE. Was this the reason why they insisted on tabling
a separate though identifical text?
Mr. FISHER. I think the reason they would not agree to tabling
a joint text was they thought that a joint tabling was not appropriate until the end of the process, until the end of the negotiating
Senator GORE. Well now, that is a good facade on the reason.
There must have been something more material.
Mr. FISHER. Well, maybe it was that they did not want to table
a joint treaty until they had one that was the last word. Actually
we have recommended more changes from the August 24, 1967,
text to the January 18, 1968, text. There were more of the changes
in those two identical drafts on the recommendation of the U.S.
than there are on the recommendation of the Soviets.
Senator GORE. I fear I am diverting you from the principal subject just now which is Plowshare, how the proposed treaty would
affect Plowshare.
To come back to the subject, do I understand you do not think
that a reluctance to table a joint draft stemmed for the Russians
from a divergence of opinion in respect to Plowshare?
Mr. FISHER. I do not, sir.
Senator GORE. And do I understand when you say you begged
the question, do I understand you to mean that it consciously has
ambiguity and sufficient ambiguity to permit our country to utilize
and to provide for other countries Plowshare type of nuclear explosions?
Mr. FISHER. Well, Article 5, which defines nuclear weapons, begs
the question in that it merely states a scientific test and it does not
include in that scientific test the conclusion of all known and reputable scientists as to where that leads you. That is with respect
to the development of Plowshare devices by the Latin American
countries themselves, not with respect to our supplying them.
There is no difference of opinion that we are permitted to supply
them under this treaty, and no Latin American country would take
the view that we could not. There is a difference of opinion as to
whether or not under Article 5 they could develop them themselves, the Brazilians stating that—and forgive me for putting it in
a macabre-like way—some day something will turn up that will be
a nuclear explosive device that will have no use whatsoever as a
Senator GORE. I had an interesting conversation with the foreign
minister of Brazil recently on this point.
Mr. FISHER. Yes.
Senator GORE. And he opened the door a little, and maybe only
a little. He started out by saying flatly that Brazil would have no
part and would not be signatory to either of these treaties, but before the conversation was over, because of the commitment and implications of our offer to make available nuclear devices and energy
for peaceful purposes, he opened the door a little that he would be
open for consideration. Were you aware of that, or are you aware
of that?
Mr. FISHER. Well, I was not quite as optimistic from what the
Brazilians at Geneva that I have recently talked to were talking a
little tougher than that.
Senator GORE. Well, our ambassador there said he had gone closer in the course of this discussion than he had, either he or his representatives in Geneva had gone.
Mr. FISHER. If that is true, that is very encouraging. When I say
‘‘beg the question,’’ that is only in the Latin American Nuclear Free
Zone Treaty, and there the Brazilians have stated at the time of
the final act they think this permits the peaceful use of nuclear devices, and the Mexicans stated they did not.
Forgive me for jumping between treaties, but in the Non-Proliferation Treaty there is not any beg the question there. If it is a
nuclear explosive device, it is covered and it says either weapons
or explosive device for peaceful purposes because we thought it was
misleading to hold open an apparent option that some day, sometime, they would be coming down the pike with something that
would explode and only blow up rock but not blow up people, but
only blow up canals and not blow up buildings. I mean that we felt
that just was not the case. But we were not the controlling factor
in drafting the Latin American Nuclear Free Zone Treaty, but we
have to make in the statement if we were to sign it—we would sign
it with a statement of interpretation making our understanding
quite clear.
Now, again, this Latin American Nuclear Free Zone Treaty
would have no commitment on the U.S. to supply the peaceful services that would be in the Non-Proliferation Treaty.
Senator GORE. And you have already tabled that commitment as
a preamble.
Mr. FISHER. Well now, as a result of the Mexican suggestion, it
is no longer a preamble. It is an operative article. It is not a complete or self-executing article, Senator, and if I may I will read it
to you.
Senator GORE. Yes. But I will not persist further because it may
be confusing to refer——
Mr. FISHER. To one treaty and then another, that is right
Senator GORE.—alternately to the two treaties.
Mr. FISHER. Well, the way this thing finally comes down, we
would sign Protocol II with a statement of understanding that says,
‘‘We think this prohibits the parties to the treaty from developing
so-called peaceful nuclear explosive devices,’’ but we would stand
by our position that we will—we were willing to do them at cost
for other countries.
Now, the final statement in our signature of Protocol II would be
that although it is not required by Protocol II we would also have
a similar obligation or we would act with respect to the territories
in Protocol II with the signatories in Protocol I. In other words, we
would give the same treatment to, say, the Dutch island of Saba
which would be covered by the Dutch adherence to Protocol I or to
the British island that would be covered by the British adherence
to Protocol I as we would to the parties to the treaties themselves.
Mr. Chairman, that is really, with one statement as to why we
are doing this, it is generally speaking, we think that the work in
developing the idea of a Latin American Nuclear Free Zone is
worthwhile, and we want to encourage it to the extent that we can.
We are not now in a position for a variety of reasons to adhere to
Protocol I, but we propose to adhere to Protocol II with the statement of understanding that I have indicated.
The British have already signed Protocol I with roughly comparable statements of interpretation, Protocol I and II, with roughly comparable statements of interpretation, and there have been no
screams of wrath with respect to the statement of interpretation
stretching the treaty. So if there is the general sense of this group,
not in any sense a commitment but in the sense that this does not
seem to you to be a silly thing to do, I believe we were thinking
of designing Protocol II and then submitting it to the Senate in the
regular way.
The CHAIRMAN. I am not quite sure I know, maybe I do not get
it, but supposing the Non-Proliferation Treaty does not go into effect. I know Germany—several countries have reservations as of
now, is that not so?
Mr. FISHER. Some do, yes, sir.
The CHAIRMAN. How many have to abide by that, I mean sign
it, to make it effective, 40?
Mr. FISHER. Well, it will be 43. The three original powers, the
three plus 40.
The CHAIRMAN. It has not been——
Mr. FISHER. It has not been opened yet.
The CHAIRMAN. Somebody hands me this of February 7: Romania
joins Italy and Brazil in objecting to it. I thought I saw somewhere
where Germany objected.
Mr. FISHER. Well, Chancellor Kiesinger has stated that the
present treaty is much improved over the previous draft, but he
would like to have some further improvements. Now it depends on
how ambitious his terms are for making some additional improvements.
The CHAIRMAN. The point I am making is this protocol, in your
contemplation, is it useful and do you intend to push it even
though the other one fails, or is it complementary to the other one?
Mr. FISHER. I think it is worthwhile in itself in building a political atmosphere that gains the nuclear developments by—in the
Latin American area, even if the other one fails, which I do not believe it will.
The CHAIRMAN. And the Latins, you think, would be content to
deny themselves this even though the Africans do not, and so on,
that you think is correct.
Mr. FISHER. Well, they have favored this treaty. There have been
similar discussions of African free zones, but the African organization does not seem to be as effective a one as the Latin American
one, and the Latin American countries that have pressed this treaty have done so whether or not—without relating it to any similar
action in Africa.
Now, there is a compromise, Mr. Chairman, implicit in the paragraphs—one of the requirements for the treaty coming fully into effect which can be waived in paragraph 2 of the coming into effect
of Article 28 of the treaty in that many of the Latin American
countries that want to stand on their right, so to speak, and not
to have any waivers in the treaty can require all countries in the
zone to sign and ratify, can require all countries eligible to sign
Protocol I, to sign and ratify, and all countries eligible to sign Protocol II to sign and ratify, and that will be quite a long time coming, because this would require both Cuban signature of the treaty
The CHAIRMAN. China?
Mr. FISHER [continuing]. Chinese signature of Protocol II.
On the other hand, there are many Latin American countries
that want to sign and waive paragraph I of Article 28. Mexico is
the best example of that, and there are others that are similarly
inclined to sort of create a smaller treaty association between them
and I think we ought to encourage it, and I think the only way we
can encourage them is to do so at this stage by signing Protocol II
and by signing with the understandings I have indicated which we
have discussed informally with the particular proponents of this
point of view—namely the Mexican Government with no screams
of rage on their part, and, in fact, the British Government has already signed both Protocols I and II with the same statements of
understanding, and there has been no statement of outrage with
that statement of understanding.
The CHAIRMAN. Any questions?
Senator CLARK. I have a couple of questions.
This is purely technical. Why is not Barbados in as one of the
proposed signatories?
The CHAIRMAN. He explained that right at the beginning. You
were not here when he explained it.
Senator CLARK. I am sorry, is that covered?
Mr. FISHER. Well, it is only my speculation that they are doing
it out of sympathy with their former colleagues in Guyana.
Guyana is not permitted to sign under the provisions of the treaty. They have a border dispute with Venezuela holding over from
Guyanas colonial status as British Guiana and this treaty has a
provison—I said some wit in the U.N. says they have either got to
settle their dispute with Venezuela or go nuclear, they have no option.
Senator CLARK. What is the situation with respect to the several
countries as listed on this draft treaty which you have given us
who have not signed, for example, Argentina and Brazil?
Mr. FISHER. Brazil, I am afraid, if I gave you one that indicated
it has not signed, that meant they did not sign the original document. I will read you the list of signatories now. Senator Clark.
Senator CLARK. Do not bother to do that. I do not want to take
the time.
The CHAIRMAN. Read the ones that have not. A while ago I
thought you said all but two or three had.
Mr. FISHER. All but, I believe it is, Cuba, Barbados have signed,
not all at the time of the original act. Guyana would like to sign
but cannot.
Now, signature, however, Senator Clark, and even ratification,
unaccompanied by a waiver of paragraph I of Article 28, does not
mean a great deal at the present time.
Senator CLARK. Yes, but I would still like to know—and then let
us get back to the other—whether this draft which I have been
handed is obsolete, and if I can boil it down to make it as quickly
as possible, this shows the Argentine Republic——
Mr. FISHER. Has signed now.
Senator CLARK. Three have.
Mr. FISHER. Yes, sir.
Senator CLARK. Brazil.
Mr. FISHER. Has signed.
Senator CLARK. Jamaica.
Mr. FISHER. Has signed.
Senator CLARK. Nicaragua.
Mr. FISHER. Has signed.
Senator CLARK. Paraguay.
Mr. FISHER. Has signed.
Senator CLARK. Dominican Republic.
Mr. FISHER. Has signed.
Senator CLARK. Trinidad and Tobago.
Mr. FISHER. Has signed.
Senator CLARK. Then everybody listed as a signatory has signed.
Mr. FISHER. Yes. We still have—of countries in the region—however, of countries that have not signed are Cuba and Barbados.
Senator CLARK. Barbados is not important, Cuba might be.
Mr. FISHER. Well, Barbados is important to the extent that any
country wanting to make a lawyer’s point and insisting on its
rights under paragraph 1 of the coming into force clause, Article
28, could use that as a ground for not being bound itself.
Senator CLARK. I see. What are the prospects for getting Barbados in?
Mr. FISHER. I think if the Guyana problem is solved in some
way, Barbados will come along. They indicated their support of the
Guyana arguments in the U.N. They were sticking up as friends.
Senator CLARK. It seems to me this is a good opportunity for my
close friend Freddie Mann to get Barbados in.
Mr. FISHER. If we could get Cuba—no great disrespect for getting
Barbados in—if we could get Cuba in, it would be much better.
Senator CLARK. Is our failure to sign the first protocol a serious
deterrent to putting this treaty into effect?
Mr. FISHER. I do not think so, Senator Clark. If, say, Cuba were
to sign and everyone else were to sign, and even China were to
sign Protocol II and the only thing that kept the treaty from going
fully into effect for everybody was our failure to sign Protocol I,
then we would have a different question. As of now, I think our
signing Protocol II is all that is expected.
Senator CLARK. Well, but you enumerate as briefly as you can
the obstacles which still stand in the way of this treaty becoming
completely effective.
Mr. FISHER. For this treaty to become completely effective, we
would have to have signatures by Cuba, signatures and ratifications by Cuba and Barbados.
Senator CLARK. How about British Guiana? I mean how about
Mr. FISHER. Well, that would not prevent it because it cannot
sign under Article 25 of the treaty. And so the requirement of paragraph I of Article 28 does not apply to it. This may seem strange.
I can only say that I felt it was strange when I first heard this
point debated in the General Assembly. But the concern of our
neighbors to the south of settling territorial disputes that they regard as a holdover from colonialism seems to be stronger than their
desire to have complete territorial coverage of the treaty.
Senator CLARK. It is not clear to me—maybe you made it clear
before I came in, but looking at Article 25 for a moment, I do not
understand why Venezuela can and Guyana cannot, if there is a
dispute between Venezuela and Guyana. Venezuela has signed.
Mr. FISHER. Well, because ‘‘The general conference shall not take
any decision regarding the admission of a political entity’’—this of
course means Guyana—‘‘part or all of whose territory is the subject, prior to the date when this treaty is opened for signature, of
a dispute or claim between an extra-continental country and one or
more Latin American states.’’
Well, that language, I see your point, it is not wholly clear, but
that has been interpreted as being applicable only to the country
that has—that had colonial parentage at the time when the dispute
arose, and the dispute between Venezuela and Guyana arose at a
time when Venezuela was Venezuela but Guyana was British Guiana.
Senator CLARK. Yes. But Guyana is not now an extra-continental
country, is it? I may be thick about this, but I do not understand
Mr. FISHER. Well, the reference to ‘‘prior to the date when this
treaty is opened to signature’’ is the reason. The general conference, at least, or the parties to this treaty, including practically
all of the Latin American states of the U.N., have interpreted this
as barring Guyana, not barring Venezuela, Venezuela being a
non—not an extra-continental country at the time the dispute
arose. Guyana inherited from an extra-continental country at the
time the dispute arose.
The CHAIRMAN. You mean she has Great Britain’s quarrel.
Mr. FISHER. Yes, she is still carrying on Great Britain’s quarrel,
and as long as you are still in a quarrel which you inherited from
an extra-continental country with one of the boys, you cannot sign
the treaty.
Now it is not for me to argue the wisdom of that other than to
repeat the facetious observation I heard one of the secretaries of
the United Nations make last November, and also to repeat that
probably if Guyana’s adherence was to become very important, this
matter might be worked out somehow.
Senator CLARK. How about the Dutch and French West Indies,
I did not see any reference to them.
Mr. FISHER. For the treaty to come completely in force, the
French, the U.S., the U.K., and the Dutch would have to sign Protocol I.
Senator CLARK. But not the treaty.
Mr. FISHER. No, not permitted to sign the treaty. We are only—
Protocol I covers the extraterritorial countries that have territories
in the region.
Senator CLARK. I get it.
Mr. FISHER. Protocol II covers the obligation of the nuclear powers with respect to the region.
Senator CLARK. Is there any chance that France will sign Protocol II?
Mr. FISHER. I think it unlikely, sir.
Senator CLARK. Have you now enumerated more or less inadvertently the principal obstacles to the treaty becoming completely effective.
Mr. FISHER. I have not gotten around to the people who would
have to sign Protocol II. All the nuclear powers would have to sign
Protocol II.
Senator CLARK. Yes.
Mr. FISHER. We are proposing to do so. The United Kingdom has
Senator CLARK. How about the USSR?
Mr. FISHER. The USSR are not sure. They abstained on a resolution approving this in the U.N., and they are not sure that they
will do it.
Senator CLARK. Would their adherence to Protocol II be necessary to completely effect the treaty?
Mr. FISHER. Yes, as well as the Chinese Communists.
Senator CLARK. So we are a still a long way from the treaty becoming effective.
Mr. FISHER. We are a long way from the treaty becoming effective except as to countries who have elected to waive their requirements under paragraph 28.
Senator CLARK. Will you state for the record——
Mr. FISHER. Only one has done so far, and that is Mexico. We
hope others would do so and hope our adherence to Protocol II
would help that.
Senator CLARK. Did you explain before I came in the relationship between the Non-Proliferation Treaty and this Latin
American treaty?
Mr. FISHER. There is no formal relationship. In response to a
question, I indicated we think it is a good idea for us to adhere to
Protocol II in the Latin American Nuclear Free Zone Treaty irrespective of the action taken on the Non-Proliferation Treaty, and
I say that without any diminution of my enthusiasm for the NonProliferation Treaty which I think will be a very good thing.
Senator CLARK. What is the judgment of your agency as to the
likelihood of the Non-Proliferation Treaty becoming effective in the
foreseeable future?
Mr. FISHER. I am optimistic, sir.
The CHAIRMAN. What is the foreseeable future? Do you wish to
give any idea, two or three years?
Senator CLARK. Make it easy for him, two or three years.
Mr. FISHER. I do not think that is beyond the realm of possibility.
I do not think that—I think that it might be in two or three years
we might have a treaty effective in that the three principal signatories and 40 other countries had signed but not completed in the
sense that there were very important countries that we wanted to
sign that had not yet come in.
Senator CLARK. Is anybody trying to get Cuba to sign?
Mr. FISHER. Well, we are now discussing the Latin America Nuclear Free Zone Treaty.
Senator CLARK. Yes.
Mr. FISHER. I think other Latin American countries are but with
limited success.
Senator CLARK. Is it your view that as a practical matter there
is very little danger of any of these Latin American countries which
have signed the treaty using as an excuse the fact that Protocols
I and II have not been signed by these parties to engage in nuclear
activities which would otherwise be violated by the treaty?
Mr. FISHER. I think there is very little danger of that. I think
there is a danger that they will use that as a device for maintaining a legal freedom which they will talk about at considerable
length but will probably not exercise, meaning particularly the development of peaceful nuclear explosive devices, which is a very expensive thing to do.
Senator CLARK. One of our able staff members who is an expert
on Latin America has just whispered in my ear that he is suspicious that Brazil would violate the treaty if they could find the
money. My guess would be they cannot find the money. What
would be your response to that?
Mr. FISHER. I would think Brazil has made it clear that they
would like not to develop nuclear weapons, but what they say, develop these quite diffeient things, peaceful nuclear explosive devices, which all of their government, including the military, say are
very important to them.
Senator CLARK. There is no such thing, is there? You just said
a while ago there is no such thing.
Mr. FISHER. I say there is no such thing. I have not been able
to get my Brazilian colleagues to accept me at face value. What the
reasons are for not accepting it, they will have to explain. I think
a peaceful nuclear device, from my point of view, is a weapon. It
may not have fins on it or not have devices to enable it to drop it
from an airplane, but so far as the nuclear part is concerned it is
a weapon, it is a bomb.
Senator CLARK. Could we go off the record?
[Discussion off the record.]
Senator CLARK. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
The CHAIRMAN. Anyone else have any questions?
Senator COOPER. I just got here. I have glanced hurriedly
through it. What implications would this treaty have, if any, for
Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands?
Mr. FISHER. Well——
Senator CLARK. Protocol I.
Senator COOPER. Did we go over that?
Mr. FISHER. Let me answer quickly. None. We are only considering adhering to Protocol II at this time.
I did say in answer to a question—and this is purely personal—
that if this treaty were almost, completely into effect—and the only
thing stopping the treaty from being completely effective as to
Cuba and as to Chinese Communist adherence to Protocol II and
everything else, I would think we would reconsider Protocol I.
Senator CLARK. I would hope you would.
Mr. FISHER. But as of now, all we are considering, sir, is not
dealing with Protocol I, which extends the obligations of the treaty
to the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico and other territories, and—
pardon me, scratch ‘‘other’’—and territories of the United States in
the area. We are not considering that. We are merely considering
applying Protocol II to the countries that are parties to the treaty
which really means we will not station nuclear weapons in their
territory and will not bomb them.
Senator CLARK. øDeleted¿ the Canal Zone?
Mr. FISHER. Yes.
Senator CLARK. øDeleted¿.
Mr. FISHER. øDeleted¿ covered also but whether or not—I think
in terms of—in our own—the Canal Zone would not be covered. I
think the primary relevance of the Canal Zone is transit.
Senator COOPER. Is what?
Mr. FISHER. Is transit.
Senator COOPER. Yes.
Senator CLARK. You do not think the Canal Zone is protected by
nuclear weapons at the moment.
Mr. FISHER. If it is, I am not sure they are in the Canal Zone.
Senator CLARK. I do not care to pursue this further.
Mr. FISHER. We have a problem as to who would bring the Canal
Zone in. We have problems of sovereignty with the Canal Zone, and
I would just as soon not adhere to Protocol I irrespective of what
we might not or may do with Panama. [Deleted].
The CHAIRMAN. Does this have any implications in the Canal
Zone with the possible treaty regarding a new canal in which we
might want to use nuclear devices?
Mr. FISHER. No, sir, it does not.
The CHAIRMAN. No restrictions.
Mr. FISHER. This treaty itself would impose no restrictions. As
your committee has advised at the time of the limited test ban, the
limited test ban would have to be amended to actually build it now.
There always has been some discussion as to how far you can go
in testing devices to build a canal, but there is not any question
when you get around to actually building it you would have to
amend the limited test ban.
The CHAIRMAN. You did test a device in Nevada, I think, of
which it was said it opened a crevasse of 4,000 feet long and varying from what, 25 to 30 feet wide, and I do not know how many
feet deep. It looked like you almost built the canal there with one
Mr. FISHER. Well, the test of the limited test ban is whether radioactivity debris goes outside the country, and the State of Nevada
has got a little more mileage between it and getting outside of the
U.S., particularly in view of the prevailing wind, than the Canal
Zone has.
The CHAIRMAN. It sounds like a device where you could built a
canal very quickly the way I understood it.
Mr. FISHER. But, Mr. Chairman, in terms of this committee, the
extent to which this treaty would have no implication one way or
the other.
The CHAIRMAN. It would have no effect on it.
Mr. FISHER. No, sir.
The CHAIRMAN. Any other questions?
Senator Cooper?
Senator COOPER. I think you were talking about this other problem also before I came in: Whether or not explosions for peaceful
purposes are actually compatible with the sense and purpose of the
Mr. FISHER. Well, Senator, on that, I think I described perhaps
a rather inept term, but I think it is accurate. As far as the development of those devices by the parties to this treaty, this treaty
begs the question. It does not settle it. We think as a factual matter under the text of the treaty as now, which is a weapon which
has characteristics that are appropriate for use of warlike purposes, that any peaceful explosive device that is going to be developed now or in the future will be covered as far as development of
the parties to the treaty.
We also think the treaty has no prohibition about non-parties to
the treaty be they adherents to Protocols I or II or not, bringing
in under appropriate safeguards peaceful explosive devices and performing the sort of explosive services we have indicated we would
Senator COOPER. Does this have any influence upon the Non-Proliferation Treaty?
Mr. FISHER. I think it will help it if for no other reason than momentum, it is a step in the same direction, and putting it on another, rather, I think it might increase a little bit the tempo of
Mexican support for the Non-Proliferation Treaty at the ENDC in
Geneva which may not be wholly unrelated to the fact that I wanted to come up and see the committee before the Lincoln Day recess
since the satisfactory and prompt conclusions of the ENDC discussions in Geneva, which got off to a pretty good start in January,
is something very dear to my heart.
Senator CLARK. Are you going back there?
Mr. FISHER. I am not sure. It depends. Either Bill or I will go
back. We have an excellent representative there, Sam DePalma,
and the President has given him the title of personal representative. It might be helpful to have myself or Bill back. We have not
settled that, but we are not nervous because the chair is being held
down by Sam who is a very capable man.
The CHAIRMAN. Any other questions?
I guess for the moment that is all. We will have to have little
time to digest all you have told us. There are so many qualifications in here I am not sure I understand it all, but anyway I understand the general drift of it. It is rather complicated language in
some of these provisions.
Mr. FISHER. Well, sir, all that is really involved is an agreement
that we will not station nuclear weapons in the territory of any
party that adheres to the treaty and waives the fully ‘‘coming into
effect’’ requirement and we will not bomb them.
The CHAIRMAN. I did not mean just from our point of view.
Mr. FISHER. Yes.
The CHAIRMAN. But from the whole concept of the treaty is what
I had reference to.
What our part of it is is clear, but I was thinking of how it would
affect all the others, Protocol I.
Mr. Fisher. Well, as I say, all we are thinking of now, sir——
The CHAIRMAN. I. understand——
Mr. FISHER. ——is thinking of Protocol II, and to the extent that
we get some indications that we might—not in any sense of commitment—but any indications that indicate that we are going to
sign it sometime in the near future would not meet with your objections at this stage, it would be helpful to non-proliferation discussions.
The CHAIRMAN. Well, at the moment I have no objection.
Senator CLARK. I would urge you to do it.
The CHAIRMAN. But there are some few of us here—I do not
know whether Senator Hickenlooper, who is very interested in this
atomic energy aspect, he could not be here this afternoon——
Mr. FISHER. I had the opportunity of discussing this thing with
Mr. FISHER. I had the opportunity of discussing this with him.
The CHAIRMAN. You have already discussed it.
Mr. FISHER. Well, he had not expressed himself, but in context
before another committee, I had the opportunity to discuss this before the Joint Atomic Energy Committee of which he is a member.
The CHAIRMAN. Has that committee taken a position itself on it
or would they?
Mr. FISHER. They do not propose to take any formal position. I
did not ask them to.
The CHAIRMAN. I assume if they have any objections, they will
let us know, would they not?
Mr. FISHER. I just told them we were thinking of doing this and
had a discussion, and at the same time I discussed the Non-Proliferation Treaty, and while I had some rather sharp barbs thrown
in my direction by a member of the other House in the Non-Proliferation Treaty, I had no indications of objections on the Latin
American nuclear free zone.
The CHAIRMAN. In matters like this where you have overlapping
jurisdiction, you like to consult. If we have a tax measure, we ask
the Finance Committee, their staff, if they have any observations
to make. We do not necessarily have to follow them or be influenced by them, and the same with Atomic Energy. If they raised
any questions, I am sure we would like to go into it. They specialize in this area, and I think they feel they should be consulted.
Mr. FISHER. Well, of course, the relations between these committees is not for me to observe.
The CHAIRMAN. I understand. I am just telling you why we ought
to clear this.
Mr. FISHER. Yes.
The CHAIRMAN. I think we should.
Mr. FISHER. Thank you.
The Chairman. Well, if not, is that all you wish to say?
Mr. Fisher. There are two things, sir. I would appreciate if I
could get some indication—putting it in its coldest terms, the Mexican ambassador is coming in to see me tomorrow, and they very
much want us to adhere to Protocol II, sign it. They do not require
it to be submitted for ratification at any time in the near future;
they would like us to sign it. I do not have to give him an answer,
he does not control this body, but if you could have some sort of
informal discussion with our Joint Committee——
The CHAIRMAN. I did not know what you had in mind, this is
what I meant. I think the other members of the committee ought
to have an opportunity to express themselves.
Mr. FISHER. Yes.
The CHAIRMAN. And particularly those on Atomic Energy.
Senator CLARK. Of course, the trouble is you will never get him
here, we pretty nearly have to——
The CHAIRMAN. I understand he already knows it and the staff
can ask him. He is familiar with it. You just said——
Mr. FISHER. Yes, it was discussed with the Joint Committee on
Monday of this week.
The CHAIRMAN. Yes. I do not think it is a great obstacle. Maybe
we can ask him between now and tomorrow, I do not know.
Mr. FISHER. The other thing, Mr. Chairman, this is entirely up
to you, if at some stage of the game it would be appropriate, and
this may be to go into on its own bottom, so to speak, of the present
status and how we got there of the Non-Proliferation Treaty. It is
not necessary to do it today, but I would just like to indicate whenever the committee would like to hear some discussions on that as
to where we are and where we are going, we are available.
Senator CLARK. I do not want to take the time of the other members of the committee, but if you and George can stay for a few
minutes afterwards, I would like to explore that with you.
Mr. FISHER. Certainly.
Senator CLARK. I do not want to hold the other members.
The CHAIRMAN. Fine. Then the committee is adjourned.
[Whereupon, at 3:30 p.m., the committee recessed, to reconvene
subject to the call of the chair.]
[EDITOR’S NOTE.—A chief architect of the American war in Vietnam, Defense Secretary Robert S. McNamara began having doubts about the growing expansion of
the war during the summer of 1966, and by 1967 had become pessimistic about the
chances of stabilizing South Vietnam or defeating North Vietnam. In May 1967 he
advised President Johnson that ‘‘killing or seriously wounding 1,000 non-combatants
a week, while trying to pound a tiny, backward nation into submission on an issue
whose merits are hotly disputed’’ was undermining America’s image in world opinion as well as at home. McNamara proposed an unconditional bombing halt and a
cap on the number of American troops in Vietnam. The president’s other top advisors opposed McNamara’s recommendations. On Nov. 27, 1967, Johnson announced
that he would nominate McNamara to become head of the World Bank, and on Jan.
19, 1968, Johnson selected Clark Clifford as the next Secretary of Defense. Nine
days before McNamara left the Defense Department, he testified at this executive
Tuesday, February 20, 1968
Washington, DC.
The committee met, pursuant to notice, at 10 a.m., in room S–
116, the Capitol, Senator J. W. Fulbright (chairman) presiding.
Present: Chairman Fulbright and Senators Sparkman, Mansfield, Morse, Gore, Lausche, Church, Symington, Dodd, Clark, Pell,
McCarthy, Hickenlooper, Aiken, Carlson, Williams, Mundt, Case,
and Cooper.
Also present: Senators Gruening, Morton, and Percy.
Mr. Marcy, Mr. Kuhl, Mr. Holt, and Mr. Bader of the committee
[This hearing was published in 1968 with deletions made for reasons of national
security. The most significant deletions are printed below, with some material reprinted to place the remarks in context. Page references, in brackets, are to the published hearings.]
The CHAIRMAN. According to an article written by Hanson Baldwin of the New York Times in July of 1964, the Pentagon at that
time was arguing in favor of extending the war into North Vietnam. Were there, in fact, recommendations by the United States
military at any time from late 1963 until July of 1964 to extend
the war into the North by bombing or any other means?
Secretary MCNAMARA. Mr. Chairman, I would have to check the
record on that.
When he says the Pentagon argued for extending the war to the
North, I don’t know who the Pentagon is——
The CHAIRMAN. Well, but——
Secretary MCNAMARA. May I just finish my answer?
I know it wasn’t me.
The CHAIRMAN. Was it General Wheeler?
Secretary MCNAMARA. Whether there were any recommendations
from the Chiefs recommending extension of the war to the North
during that period, I can’t recall. I will be very happy to check the
record and put the proper answer in the record.
The CHAIRMAN. I wonder if General Wheeler knows that at this
General WHEELER. I don’t believe so, Mr. Chairman. I think that
the proper answer would be that there were certain intelligence activities, air drop of intelligence teams and things of that kind,
which could have been extended to the interior, to the best of my
knowledge and belief during that period there was no thought of
extending the war into the North in the sense of our participation
in such actions, activities.
The CHAIRMAN. You can supply any change?
General WHEELER. I will check for the record.
The CHAIRMAN. And the Maddox was given orders to penetrate
the territorial waters of North Vietnam and stimulate their electronic networks, assuming their territorial waters was 12 miles.
Secretary MCNAMARA. Absolutely not. The Maddox was specifically instructed to stay out of territorial waters and was instructed
to go no closer than eight miles to the coastal area.
The CHAIRMAN. I said assuming their territorial waters was 12
Secretary MCNAMARA. But you said the Maddox was instructed
to penetrate territorial waters.
The CHAIRMAN. Assuming it was 12 miles.
Secretary MCNAMARA. I want to just make perfectly clear the
Maddox was not instructed to penetrate territorial waters assuming anything.
Senator LAUSCHE. What is the further language in that which
gives the primary cause.
Secretary MCNAMARA. Yes, I was just trying to find the specific
cable, and if I may have a moment I will find it and read from it
I am reading now from the cable to the commander of CTF 72,
which was the task force that the Maddox was part of, and this
was sent on 17 July its timedate code is 170531Z.
Paragraph 9 states ‘‘The primary purpose of this patrol is to determine, DRV,’’ meaning Democratic Republic of Vietnam, ‘‘coastal
activity along the full extent of the patrol track,’’ that is the primary purpose and that was the charge given to the commander.
Now, paragraph 10:
‘‘Other specific intelligence requirements are as follows: (a) location and identification of all rader transmitters, and estimate of range capabilities; (b) navigational
and hydro information along the routes traversed and particular navigational lights
characteristics, landmarks, buoys currents and tidal information, river mouths and
channel accessibility, (c) monitoring a junk force with density of surface traffic pattern, (d) sampling electronic environment radars and navigation aids, (e) photography of opportunities in support of above. In addition, includes photography as best
detail track would permit of all prominent landmarks and islands, particularly in
vicinity of river and build-up areas, conduct coastal radar scope photograph by ship
which is transmitting from Point A’’ which is the end of the mission.
12. Specific search location identification requirements as follows, to be conducted
while the Maddox is in the Gulf of Tonkin, (a) to determine whether, two types of
signals can be equated to a particular type of equipment, moon, Double A gong
equipment, (b) to confirm any signal in frequency range of a certain level, which
is a low frequency associated with submarine communication, and pinpoints location
if possible.
The CHAIRMAN. I think we should put in the record the fact that
I sent a letter on January 12 to Honorable Paul R. Ignatius requesting one of the cables relating to this question. I say this was
with regard to the Senator from Ohio’s observations. I will ask the
reporter to put it in the record, this is January 12. I might read
it. It is very difficult to translate it except by those familiar with
the symbols that are used by the Navy:
In the message sent by CTU72.1.2 to AIG181 dated 04124Z the following sentence
is included: ‘RCVD info indicating attack by PGM/P–4 imminent. My position 19–
10.7 N 107–003 proceeding southeast at best speed.
The reply to that—I will put the whole letter in—Mr. Ignatius
replied that:
With respect to your letter to me of January 12, it is my understanding that the
points you raised were discussed at length with Secretary Nitze, Senator Russell,
and yourself. There is nothing further I can add to these discussions.
In other words, it was not supplied to the committee although it
was requested.
Secretary MCNAMARA. Mr. Chairman, I am confused on that. The
message that you read from has a date code of 041240Z. My information is that it has been supplied to the committee. Am I in error
on that?
The CHAIRMAN. Mr Bader, has it?
Mr. BADER. Senator, we have the message.
Secretary MCNAMARA. There is another clearance which is the
special intelligence clearance we are talking about, that relates to
intercept information, and it is this latter clearance in particular
that is at issue here, and, the staff members of this committee have
not been cleared for that kind of information. So far as I know they
have not requested clearance. If they do request clearance, we will
be happy to consider it.
The President instructed me specifically to make information
available to members of the committee members of the Congress,
whether they are cleared or not. I have the information here with
me this morning and I will be happy to go over it with you, but
I will have to ask individuals in the room, staff members and others, who are not cleared to leave the room when I do it.
Senator GORE. Because it deals with intercepts.
Secretary MCNAMARA. It deals with intercepts.
Senator GORE. Ambassador Goldberg discussed the intercepts at
the U.N. on television.
Secretary MCNAMARA. But the problem here involves an intercept with the particular traffic involved. Our intelligence analysts
have gone over this and have stated the area is a danger to us in
certain kinds of intercept material and disclosure of it. It is a fact
that we are continuing to benefit from certain capabilities we had
then and we have now which they can deny us if they knew we had
certain benefits therefrom. We are under instructions to deny it
other than to members of Congress and others properly cleared.
Secretary MCNAMARA. That is correct.
Senator SPARKMAN. I think that might explain the difference between 1964 and 1966.
Secretary NCNAMARA. It might well.
The CHAIRMAN. I forgot that. Did you reply to why the Maddox
did not break off the patrol when they believed they had stimulated—according to this cable, they said that the North Vietnamese
regarded them as hostile and an enemy and that they were very
sensitive about Hon Me. Why did they not break off at that point?
Secretary MCNAMARA. I am not certain I know which particular
message you are referring to.
The CHAIRMAN. The one I read.
Secretary MCNAMARA. Yes. Can you give me the time date group
on it? I think I have it here, and it is 0414 040140Z, and in that
particular message he was speculating on North Vietnam’s interpretation of his operations. He did not at that point consider the
risks sufficiently high to break off the patrol.
The CHAIRMAN. They did not?
As to the second incident itself, I want to read a cable sent to
Washington in the immediate aftermath of the second incident by
the Naval Communications Center in the Philippines. I want to
note, as background, that this Naval facility had monitored all of
the messages coming from the Maddox and the Turner Joy during
the incident. The text of the message from the Philippines, after review of all too reports from the Maddox and Turner Joy, reads as
Review of action makes many recorded contacts and torpedoes fired appear doubtful. Freak weather effects and over-eager sonarman may have accounted for many
reports. No actual visual sightings by Maddox. Suggest complete evaluation. before
any further action.
With a cable like this coming from the Philippines, it seems to
raise a very serious question as to why, in view of this suggestion,
at least some reasonable investigation or delay in time in order to
clarify was not taken.
The CHAIRMAN. I think, Mr. Secretary, you will have to admit
that this was a pretty clear warning that there were some uncertainties about the situation.
Secretary MCNAMARA. Mr. Chairman, let me make sure we have
the right cable so we can all be talking about the same thing.
The CHAIRMAN. Mr. Bader, bring the document.
Secretary MCNAMARA. Give me the time date, let me get it from
Mr. BADER. 041727.
Secretary MCNAMARA. 071727.
Mr. BADER. Yes.
The CHAIRMAN. Will you place it in time context?
The CHAIRMAN. To pin it down again, when was that message
Secretary MCNAMARA. I believe it was sent—the number date
group is 0417727Z, meaning Greenwich time, and that would mean
it was sent on the 4th of August at 1:27 p.m. Eastern Daylight
The CHAIRMAN. What was local time?
Secretary MCNAMARA. Local time would have been 1:27 a.m. August 5.
The CHAIRMAN. Approximately four or five hours after the attack
took place.
Secretary MCNAMARA. Yes, perhaps three hours.
The CHAIRMAN. Is that approximate?
Secretary MCNAMARA. Three hours.
The CHAIRMAN. Three hours afterward and it was received in
Secretary MCNAMARA. Essentially a few minutes.
Senator GORE. If you will yield so that I may relate something.
Senator GORE. One instruction to the task force was that it
search the area for debris. Was this after the search for debris?
Secretary MCNAMARA. Substantially before the search for debris.
I have forgotten the exact times. I can give it to you or insert it
in the record. It was the following day that the search for debris
was to take place.
Senator GORE. In that connection, did they find any debris?
Secretary MCNAMARA. I do not believe so.
Senatar GORE. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
The CHAIRMAN. As a matter of fact, this 1:37 a.m. would be on
the 5th, would it not? It would have been a.m. of the 5th.
Secretary MCNAMARA. That is correct, local time. If I said 1:37,
I meant 1:27, Mr. Chairman.
The CHAIRMAN. 1:27.
Secretary MCNAMARA. On the 5th.
The CHAIRMAN. The morning of the 5th.
Secretary MCNAMARA. That is correct. Local gulf time.
The CHAIRMAN. That is right.
Well now, will yeu come back to that message. Did you have
something to say?
Secretary MCNAMARA. Yes, Mr. Chairman; if I may take a few
minutes of your time, I would like to tell you of a sequence of conversations with respect to this subject. Because needless to say we
were concerned about the question raised. Although the message
itself does not state that he questioned whether an attack had
taken place, it did say that many reported contacts and torpedoes
fired appeared doubtful. So we began then to correlate information
and ask for further views and evaluations from the commander in
chief of the Pacific.
At 1448 Eastern Daylight Time, which is roughly an hour and
20 minutes later, the commander in the Pacific, or rather the commander of the task force, reported to the commander in the Pacific
that he was certain that the original ambush was bona fide. This
is a message 41848Z. Details of the action present a confusing picture, but he had made positive visual sightings of cockpit lights or
similar lights passing near the Maddox, and the Turner Joy reported two torpedoes passed near here.
Secretary MCNAMARA. The commander in the Pacific at one point
was in doubt—I do not believe as to whether an attack had been
made, but as to the character of the attack and the details of the
attack, and his doubts occurred for at least two reasons: First, because he had received a copy of the message that we referred to
a moment ago, message 041727Z from the commander of the task
force reporting questions about certain of the details of the incident, and, secondly, the commander in the Pacific expressed doubts
because I, having seen the same message, called him on the telephone and said I had seen it. I had doubts as to the details. I wanted him to examine them, supply me additional evidence, and, to
use my words, ‘‘be damned sure’’ that no retaliatory action was
taken until any doubts as to what went on were eliminated, at
least to the point of justifying retaliation.
Mr. BADER. It is from the Turner Joy. But this is a summation.
General WHEELER [Reading].
The commander of Task Force 72.1 reported at 0235 hours position of vicinity of
Point Delta, suspect Red Shadow 15 miles to west. Skinhead radar detected on same
The CHAIRMAN. What is the time of that message?
General WHEELER. It would be 2:35 in the morning Eastern Daylight Time.
Captain SWEITZER. The day time group is 040635 Zulu.
The CHAIRMAN. The time, the local time?
General WHEELER. The local time would have been 1435.
The CHAIRMAN. Is that 2:35?
General WHEELER. 2:35 in the afternoon.
General WHEELER. No, p.m. I gave it to you first in Eastern Daylight Time.
The CHAIRMAN. You mean long before the attack.
General WHEELER. Yes.
The CHAIRMAN. This was very early in the game, before——
Captain SWEITZER. It is the afternoon. The attack took place that
The CHAIRMAN. This was about six hours before the attack took
General WHEELER. Roughly.
The CHAIRMAN. Is that correct?
General WHEELER. That is correct.
The CHAIRMAN. It was the afternoon of the 4th at 2:30. I thought
it was afterward. Read that again. I am getting the picture now.
General WHEELER. I have been given three answers. They could
track on the wakes of the destroyers, they could have been vectored
by radars on the shore, or they could have been vectored from
Swatows over the horizon.
The CHAIRMAN. Well, in the Turner Joy’s communication of the
5th, it is hard to identify this, the date time is 050511Z,—says this:
‘‘Estimate two PTs attack originally. However must admit two factors defer. No ECM’’—which I take it is electronic activity—‘‘activity from PT boats. However, tactics seem to be to bore-sight on
wake thus accounting for lack of radar signbals. No sonar indications of torpedo noises even that which passed down side. Self
noise was very high.’’
Senator GORE. I do not in any sense question your patriotism or
your sincerely. On the other hand, I feel that I have been misled,
and that the American people have been misled. Indeed the statement that you released today does not comport with the testimony
that you gave to this committee today.
I cite one instance, the statement—well, when I say testimony I
mean other than the prepared statement. I read from your prepared statement:
In addition to the above
This is on page 17——
Intelligence reports received from a highly classified and unimpeachable source
reported that North Vietnam was making preparations to attack our destroyers with
two Swatow boats am with one PT boat if the PT could be made ready in time.
The second sentence—I raise no question about the first sentence I just read, except that the qualification of the source as classified and unimpeachable.
The second sentence:
The same source reported, while the engagement was in progress on August 4,
that the attack was under way.
I submit, Mr. Secretary, you have given us nothing from the
intercepted message to support that.
Secretary MCNAMARA. Let me put in at this point in the record,
if I may, the four messages, starting with the first at 5:01 from
Haiphong to Swatow Class T146 indicating there were two objectives, enemy attack vessels, located at a point at which the Maddox
and the Turner Joy were located or located within three thousand
yards of them; and the second message, which stated that——
Senator GORE. Directing them to make ready for military operations.
Secretary MCNAMARA. Make ready for military operations, again
referring to the T146, and the use of T133; and the third message
indicating that the Swatow boats reported an enemy aircraft falling
and enemy vessel wounded, and that message coming 12 minutes
after our ships reported that they were being attacked.
Secretary MCNAMARA. Mr. Chairman, may I make one or two
brief comments. I do not think you will want me to take time at
6:25 in the evening to respond in full to Senator Gore’s comments,
because I disagree almost completely with all of them, and I think
the record or the testimony today will show why.
I do want to make two points, however, that the Commander of
the Task Force did not say he doubted there was any attack, as
Senator Gore alleged. He specifically did not use that language,
and I think the record should not be allowed to show that——
Senator GORE. Mr. Chairman, could I ask that his——
Secretary MCNAMARA. Yes.
Senator GORE. I was paraphrasing.
Secretary MCNAMARA. He raised a question about certain details,
and we will put the exact message in here. It is at 1327.
The CHAIRMAN. Mr. Secretary, I do not like to take issue with
you, but it is awfully hard for me to believe that three and a half
years after that this is of any significance to current security. It is
just incredible. General Johnson said we changed our—we could
change our code—within an hour after the Pueblo was taken. If we
can do it I do not know why they cannot do it.
Secretary MCNAMARA. Mr. Chairman, I am quite prepared to
have this issue presented to the Foreign Intelligence Board and
rely on their decision. I simply tell you that the intelligence, senior
intelligence, directors of our government, CIA, DIA and NSA, state
categorically that it would be a serious compromise of intelligence
I am quite prepared to have my acceptance of their statement
judged and overridden by a decision of the Foreign Intelligence
Board, and I will put it up to them if you wish.
The CHAIRMAN. Of course, you raise this very difficult question
that confronts us all along, and it seems to me the executive
branch takes the position that the Congress has no function to play
in foreign relations and in making war; that we should do anything
and everything that the executive——
Senator SYMINGTON. Mr. Chairman, if I may, if you will yield to
me for just a minute, having had some experience in this field, if
you will remember when the question of Tonkin Gulf came up—
and I would like to present this—that I did suggest in effect what
the Secretary is suggesting today, that we get somebody who is
knowledgeable in cryptography or whatever the words are, and so
forth, and have him come to the committee. You remember, I am
sure, I said that before we decided to go ahead, so that we could
get an independent slant, I might say, on what the damage might
be, which, to me, frankly, I did not know what it was.
I just figure that we are losing, well, what are we losing, three
or four hundred men a week now, and so forth, and we would want
to be careful. I did make that suggestion. That was before the two
Secretaries went on ‘‘Meet The Press’’ three or four weeks ago. But
I still think it was a good suggestion, and if Secretary McNamara
says that he would like to leave it to, leave the decision in our
hands, based on what we were told by the Intelligence Community,
I would hope that the chair and the committee would give consideration to that, not as a decisive matter but something that should
be considered.
The CHAIRMAN. The Senator says he has not read it. But if he
reads the Secretary’s statement which has been released, it is quite
definite, I think, to anyone that that indicates in itself that we
have broken their code.
Senator SYMINGTON. I must say that was my impression when I
read it. But you never know whether it was because you knew.
The CHAIRMAN. It is a highly classified source. That is the only
thing it could mean, and he has already stated in so many words
we have broken their code, and for us to say it a second time does
not seem to me to add anything to it, although I personally doubt
very much that they even use codes on most most occasions. They
did not in Korea. They talked on the telephone.
Senator GORE. Mr. Chairman, it is nearly seven o’clock.
The CHAIRMAN. I move we adjourn.
Senator GORE. I suggest you and the Secretary talk about this
The CHAIRMAN. I move we adjourn.
Senator SYMINGTON. I second that motion.
Secretary MCNAMARA. If you want my opinion, I agree with the
[Whereupon, at 6:50 p.m., the committee adjourned.]
[EDITOR’S NOTE.—After Defense Secretary McNamara’s executive session testimony on Feb 20, the Department of Defense released copies of his opening statement, which defended the Johnson administration’s interpretation of the Gulf of
Tonkin incident. In it, McNamara dismissed the suggestion that the U.S. government had induced the incident in 1964 to provide an excuse for military retaliation
against North Vietnam, and he added: ‘‘I can only characterize such insinuation as
monstrous.’’ In response, Senator Fulbright called another executive session for the
following day.]
Wednesday, February 21, 1968
Washington, DC.
The committee met, pursuant to notice, at 2:45 p.m. in room S–
116, the Capitol, Senator J.W. Fulbright (chairman) presiding.
Present: Chairman Fulbright and Senators Mansfield, Gore,
Lausche, Church, Pell, Hickenlooper, Aiken, Carlson, Williams,
Mundt, and Cooper.
Also present: Mr. Marcy, Mr. Kuhl, and Mr. Bader of the committee staff.
The CHAIRMAN. Gentlemen, I thought we could come together
and see where we are on this statement. Senator Case, I just
talked to him, and he said to give his proxy to Cooper, but Cooper
is not here. He thought Cooper would be here. He said he thought
that—I do not want to speak for him—he thought that we should
make some statement. I wanted to see what you thought about, in
view of the Secretary’s release of that statement, we should not release our statement and make it at least a full-rounded presentation and stand on that.
I think the implications of the Secretary’s statement—as you all
know we just got it, just before the meeting yesterday, I had not
had a chance to read it. I think his statements about the monstrous idea of a conspiracy, nobody has been suggesting a conspiracy. We were suggesting that there was ineptitude, I guess, in
evaluating their reports, and urgency beyond the call of duty to get
to do something before they had a chance to evaluate what actually
Even the task force commander suggested that they delay and
evaluate what had happened and they went ahead and did it anyway.
Well, I think it leaves the committee, without doing something,
in the attitude of having pursued a study without any justification
at all. I do not think—those of you who heard the Secretary describe these so-called intercepts, none of which is in our report, incidentally which he refers to—which are clearly intercepts which
certainly demolishes his idea of security because that is obviously
the only thing that could be involved.
I do not think they prove anything at all that there was an attack or the character of the attack. But I think the committee
ought to make available the staff study, put it in the record of the
Senate is the proper way I think it ought to be done.
Senator HICKENLOOPER. Well, is it classified information in the
staff study?
The CHAIRMAN. Not in the intercepts. The classification of the
material contained is not something which involves codes. These
are simply communications among our own people, and I never understood that classification was intended simply to protect our own
people from the knowledge by the Senate or the country. I think
that is a distortion of the idea. The idea was to protect them from
the enemy. This happened three and a half years ago, and I cannot
imagine how this has anything to do with security of anything.
These are not code messages.
Senator HICKENLOOPER. I do not know. I was not raising objection one way or the other or approval. I merely asked about it.
The CHAIRMAN. The way he interpreted it, he classifies and declassifies at will. He puts in his own statement references to the
only parts that would relate to the enemy and that is the intercepts
which we do not mention at all, and he tried to base the whole
thing on that basis, and we can leave those as they are, we do not
purport to put any of them in. As a matter of fact, we did not have
any anyway, the staff never did have it.
You heard what he read yesterday. I think it is a lot of poppycock telling everybody to go out of the room. I notice his own people
stayed. These messages, I think most of them were telephone conversations, ship to shore telephone, but I do not want to make any
point of that. We do not have them anyway.
But the idea of classification is protection of the integrity of our
communications from the enemy. Well, this cannot possibly be involved in this. If the idea is to protect the executive from any
knowledge or criticism by the legislature, well I think we have
given up any possibility of having a thing to do with our government. He classifies anything he likes.
I think in view of his action—I asked him twice, I asked him at
the beginning, before we met, and I asked him during the meeting
not to release it. He evidently had already made up his mind to release it. He released it during the noon hour. Mr. Marcy had a call
this morning from a member of the New York Times staff saying
that they had had a call—James Reston, head of the New York
Times Bureau, had had a call alerting them to the release before
McNamara even made his statement. I do not think McNamara’s
statement warrants anything other than a denial that he said what
he did not say, which is all right. But he just used that as an excuse to put out the whole statement. I think he was determined to
put it out anyway. I do not think that was——
Senator HICKENLOOPER. I do not think there was any question he
was determined to put it out.
The CHAIRMAN. He was determined to put it out.
Senator HICKENLOOPER. The question in my mind is whether we
can control releasing a statement on his own.
The CHAIRMAN. We cannot control it obviously.
Senator HICKENLOOPER. I do not think he can or should be permitted to put out a dialog that goes on between himself and this
committee in the committee without the mutual concent of both.
The CHAIRMAN. I am not talking about the transcript. I asked
him about the transcript. I am talking just about the staff study
which study is not in his transcript.
There is a further question that is a different question which is
whether or not we should put out the transcript. I think that in
the interest of public understanding the time may come that we
would like to do it but I do not—under the pressure of time and
otherwise—I do not think that I would want to propose that today.
I think we will have to look at that and so on. It is very long and
complicated but the staff study you have all seen. It is based on
documents that are documents; I mean there is no speculation in
it. It is just that these are the facts. The comments are interpretive
of what has to be interpreted because they use this gobbledygook
in these various symbols. Somebody has got to interpret these. It
is just like Greek. I cannot read those documents because I do not
understand them. Mr. Bader is a former naval officer, and he is the
only one who knows how to interpret what those symbols mean.
But this really comes back, Bourke, to the same problem we have
been struggling with on the resolution. Is the Senate and the committee, is it going to be helpless before a member of the executive
and cannot look into these things, cannot understand what has
gone on? Are we just supposed to be a rubber stamp and it here
and cannot do anything about it?
I think he has thrown down the gauntlet and he has put out his
statement ahead of time.
My idea and what I said to him, if you do not put it out and then
after we have had the hearing perhaps we can put out a joint statement or we can at least put out simultaneously statements that
give a picture of it.
I think the committee, if it is ever to amount to anything and if
Senators are ever to have any influence at all—not on this; we cannot undo it but we have got to assert the right to express ourselves
and to give views about matters as important a declaring war.
I do not see how we have any real function—if we cannot do that,
then I do not know what our function is.
It is a similar idea as to the resolution, that they should not
make commitments without the Senate being consulted, and we
happen to be that body which, at least in the first instance, is concerned. If we do not do it, I think we are just a useless appendix
on the governmental structure if we do not take some stand on participating in decisions.
Now, in this case it is a stand of reviewing what has been done.
I cannot see any reason why we should not at least put our version
of what it is, and then it has to stand on its own feet.
The American people are really the ones involved. Here they are
in a major war, and I think one of the reasons why there is great
confusion and dissent, we all have our views about it, one of the
reasons is that they have not been told the whole truth. They are
not being told the whole truth.
You heard the other day two of the best reporters we ever had
and they tell you and tell me—and I have no reason to doubt their
sincerity—that we are not and the Government is not getting—I
mean the President is not getting a true picture of what is going
on. Is that not right?
Senator HICKENLOOPER. That is what they said.
The CHAIRMAN. McCullough. We had two up here, and I had dinner with another one. I had dinner with a man Martin, the Newsweek man who was kicked out over there. Here is Frank
McCullough who was Life-Time representative for four years in
Vietnam and Ward Just, Washington Post. Both of these have been
very much in support of the war. They are not what you call doves.
They have no—they both said—McCullough said to you, ‘‘When I
went out there’’—he had been a former Marine officer—he said, ‘‘I
was all for the war,’’ I believe is about it. He said, ‘‘After observing
it,’’ he said, ‘‘I have changed my mind.’’ Not because he is not willing——
Senator HICKENLOOPER. Changed his opinion basically because of
the manner of the conduct of the war.
The CHAIRMAN. Well, that is right. But he has changed it. I do
not know how you can impute—I cannot—these are not friends of
mine, these are just—as a matter of fact their magazines and papers have been some of my most severe crities. I had nothing to
do with—McCullough, the first time I ever laid eyes on him is
when he came over here and I do not see any possible incentive for
men like that to misrepresent the case, whereas if you are a member of a government organization, there is great pressure to conform. We all know that. I mean it is just inevitable in this case.
But I think this has to do with the committee. I think Mr. McNamara treated us very shabbily by putting out his statement against
our request not to do it so that we would not be pushed into it.
We have held this report around here, the leaks have been minimal, I do not know of anybody who has had one, there have been
occasional references to it for over a month, and he comes up, prepares his statement and gives it to the press immediately against
our request not to give it, so that we would have time to adjust our
own thinking about it and see maybe to correct it or change it if
there is anything new.
There are several thing about it that raise further questions to
me. I do not understand—when I talked to Nitze only a little over
a month ago, he never mentioned this second prisoner they had
last summer, never mentioned it at all. He said they rest their case
entirely—not entirely but primarily upon that one intercept which
said, ‘‘We have shot down two airplanes and have damaged a boat.’’
Senator HICKENLOOPER. Did McNamara not claim they did not
know about the second prisoner until a few days ago?
The CHAIRMAN. But it seems funny to me they did not know
about it last summer. He said they only discovered it last week.
Mr. Marcy, I think you might read it for some of the information,
that in the hearing we had in 1966, I forget why we had it, but
we did have it about Tonkin, Frank. John McNaughton, who was
a high official in the Pentagon, he certainly did not take the position that the three-mile limit applied. I mean it was quite clear
that in his mind, without saying so in so many words, that was the
limit. It never occurred to me nor did it to the staff they were going
to try to base it on that ground. I do not think it makes a lot of
difference as to whether or not there was provocation, it makes
some, but it was a complete surprise, and yet he puts it out without ever intimating that nor did Nitze when I spoke with him with
Dick Russell, he did not mention any such thing. It never occurred
to him, I do not think, until their boys began to develop this report.
Senator LAUSCHE. What about the position of a member of this
committee who is told it is a closed executive hearing, and he proceeds under the assumption that it is a closed executive hearing.
Subsequently you say to him, ‘‘We are going to change it and make
it an open public hearing.’’
The CHAIRMAN. Well, I do not think they ought to do it, if you
are talking about McCarthy’s statement.
Senator LAUSCHE. No, I am talking about releasing the whole
The CHAIRMAN. We are not talking about the transcript, Frank.
I made the distinction. I am not now talking about the transcript
which involves the hearing. I am talking about the staff study only.
If you want to go into the transcript, that is another matter. I am
not talking about the transcript at all. That is a different matter.
It would require considerable, I think, thought and work on it. I
am talking about the memorandum that was prepared by the staff,
which was based upon the documents, included none of the addendum, none of the references at all to any letters or to any of that
business, only the memorandum based solely upon the documents.
Senator COOPER. What is the problem about it now?
Senator COOPER. What are you suggesting now?
The CHAIRMAN. All I am suggesting, John, it seems to me we are
left in a very difficult position having engaged in it in view of the
Secretary of Defense’s releasing his statement which has some very
equivocal statements in it, in my opinion, and casts reflection upon
the committee. I mean it leaves the impression we had no justifica-
tion at all to even raise the question. It says it is monstrous in that
anyone suggest that he was engaged in a conspiracy. Well, no one
suggested he was in a conspiracy, but that is what you deduce from
what he said.
What I am suggesting is only the memorandum. I think it should
be put in the record with a very short introductory statement to
the effect that in order to give a balanced view of this affair, the
Secretary having released his, this is the view of the staff study of
the committee. That is all. I am not going to make any arguments
about it.
Senator LAUSCHE. The staff, however, makes arguments throughout its whole document as distinguished from submitting reports.
The CHAIRMAN. Well, they are based on the documents though.
I do not think any of them are not relative to the documents, and
those documents being written in a very highly specialized language with all kinds of symbols have to be interpreted. If you just
put the documents out, it would unintelligible to most people.
Senator PELL. Excuse me, the one you are talking about is the
top secret memorandum of January 17.
The CHAIRMAN. That is all.
Senator PELL. But it would seem to me from a technical viewpoint, security viewpoint, that this document is more than half extracts from radiographic.
The CHAIRMAN. No, these are not the intercepts.
Senator PELL. No, no, our own traffic.
The CHAIRMAN. These are not with the—I do not think the classification is designed to protect our own communications from our
own people.
Senator PELL. Excuse me. Then there has to be a paraphrase.
You cannot release——
Senator HICKENLOOPER. That is the point.
Senator PELL. You cannot release our own traffic when it comes
through classified channels, I am sure.
Senator HICKENLOOPER. If we give verbatim our own traffic verbiage.
Senator PELL. You can do a paraphrase.
Senator HICKENLOOPER. If gives the key to our code.
The CHAIRMAN. This is almost four years ago. When the Pueblo
came up, for example, we asked—General Johnson was asked
about this down at the White House. He said, ‘‘We changed our
code within an hour after the Pueblo was taken,’’ and I do not
think there is the slightest chance that we could find out, I think,
but I do not think they use the code now they used three and a
half years ago.
Senator PELL. No, but they use the same systems. I may be
wrong. But this is a thing that a technical man can say. I used to
be a communications officer.
The CHAIRMAN. He said that the other morning when he was
asked about what is our situation now that they have the Pueblo
with all this equipment. He said it is no problem, we can change
it within an hour.
Mr. MARCY. If I can just say, Mr. Chairman, the Department of
Defense on August 14, 1964, released excerpts of this communication in the article.
The CHAIRMAN. They release whatever they like.
Mr. MARCY. To Time Magazine.
Senator HICKENLOOPER. Were they excerpts?
Mr. MARCY. No, exact quotations.
The CHAIRMAN. Exact quotations, a check on the documents
which we have since got.
Senator HICKENLOOPER. Maybe they are paraphrases.
The CHAIRMAN. They are not. I think they do this any time they
want. I think this is an intolerable situation for us to accept, that
we are absolutely bound and he can do as he pleases. Whatever
suits his purposes he puts in, and he gives this to Life Magazine.
Was it not Life? It looks like Life.
Mr. MARCY. Life of August 1964.
The CHAIRMAN. We have the exact messages. I think that is all
a lot of hooey as far as endangering our security now. If it happened last week or yesterday, but this is three and a half years
Senator COOPER. Is this record going to be released to the press?
The CHAIRMAN. Not the record, John, only the memorandum prepared by the staff is all I am talking about.
Senator COOPER. That is what I am talking about. Are they going
to release this memorandum prepared by the staff to the press?
The CHAIRMAN. I was going to present it to the Senator and
Senator COOPER. We are not deciding it should be released to the
Senator HICKENLOOPER. It would be.
The CHAIRMAN. If we put it in the record, it would be available
to the press just like his was. He gave his statement to the press
yesterday afternoon.
Senator LAUSCHE. What about ascribing to me or some other
member of this committee that we approve of what the staff has
Senator LAUSCHE. It is not speaking for me.
The CHAIRMAN. It will be released as a staff study of the documents submitted to the committee. I would not say I approve or
disapprove of it. Actually that is what McNamara’s speech was. I
doubt very seriously if he prepared it. He does not have time. That
was a staff study by the Pentagon is what it was. It has to be in
the nature of that.
Senator PELL. But he took full responsibility for it.
Senator HICKENLOOPER. Of course.
The CHAIRMAN. I will take the responsibility if that makes any
Senator LAUSCHE. But I will not.
The CHAIRMAN. That is all right.
Senator WILLIAMS. Will we be able to get McNamara up here tomorrow or Friday?
The CHAIRMAN. He said he would not come.
Senator WILLIAMS. Get him back and just have an open session?
The CHAIRMAN. He would not come in open session. He has
turned us down in open sessions.
Senator WILLIAMS. That is right, we will have him in an executive session just like we had before and we will just change our
mind the same as he does.
Senator HICKENLOOPER. He had one here yesterday.
Senator WILLIAMS. I know that——
Senator HICKENLOOPER. You mean you are going to tell him this
an executive session but when it is over we are going our mind.
Senator WILLIAMS. No, start it executive and then suddenly just
open it up. I voted against the holding of these public sessions because I did not think it would do any good and I voted yesterday
to keep this executive but frankly I do not think he had a right to
go ahead and release this without at least coming back to the committee and explaining why he did.
The CHAIRMAN. John, I asked him before we even started not to
and then in the course of the meeting I said I hope——
Senator WILLIAMS. I was here when you did, and I supported
that position.
The CHAIRMAN. And he did it anyway, and he had obviously
made up his mind he was going to do it. They prepared that for
public consumption and I think it was a very unfair procedure.
Senator MUNDT. His last paragraph was obviously for the press
and not for the committee. That was the tipoff.
The CHAINNAN. Of course.
Senator MUNDT. That last afterthought paragraph.
Senator HICKENLOOPER. There was not any question when he as
sitting there he was going to release it.
The CHAIRMAN. I hoped he might change his mind. I agree he
never did say he would not, but he did not say he would do it.
Senator HICKENLOOPER. My position is that he had a right to release it.
The CHAIRMAN. Then I think we have a right to release.
Senator HICKENLOOPER. We have a right to release what we
wish. But he has no right to release the verbiage of a give and take
The CHAIRMAN. You mean the transcript.
Senator HICKENLOOPER. Dialogue between—yes, between the
witness and this committee.
The CHAIRMAN. That is not what I am talking about.
Senator HICKENLOOPER. And I think the committee should not
release a dialogue transcript unless it were submitted to the other
side for possible—as we usually do—for possible security and
things like that.
Senator PELL. Why do we not do exactly that? Why would that
not be the answer to it? Submit it to them for security. They had
to take the court reporter out for things that were in it, and that
The CHAIRMAN. That was the second step.
Senator HICKENLOOPER. He is not talking about that at all.
The CHAIRMAN. I am not talking about that at all.
Senator PELL. That will meet the objectives that the chairman
The CHAIRMAN. Of course that will come so late, because they
can stall. It usually takes a long time if you submit it to them.
Senator PELL. You cannot press it, for them to do it in so many
The CHAIRMAN. They just do not do it.
Senator MUNDT. They did it fast in the MacArthur meeting when
Dick Russell did it.
The CHAIRMAN. But under the arrangement they did it.
Senator HICKENLOOPER. They did it within 15 minutes after testimony was given.
The CHAIRMAN. Yes, they had a regular routine on it.
Senator MUNDT. Prod it. ‘‘We want to release this—we expect to
release it for Sunday’s papers; that gives you a chane to sanitize
it if you want to.’’
Senator HICKENLOOPER. I do not know what is in the staff study.
When I read it, I thought there was a lot of classified stuff in this
staff study, and I would not be for releasing it, and there are some
conclusions in it. But if it is not highly sensitive and injurious material, I assume the committee would have a right to release what
the committee wanted to or that portion which is not highly classified or injurious. But I think we are getting into deep water here
now. I do not think the Secretary helped it any. But we are sure
getting into deep water. We can injure our country more than it
has been injured already. I think we have had maybe not a mortal
wound or two, but we have been wounded, and——
Senator MUNDT. You mean militarily. You do not mean as a result of these hearings, do you?
Senator HICKENLOOPER. Well, I think partly as a result of what
has gone on in the diversified comments that are free-wheeled by
a lot of people, and I think we have created the idea that this country is just hanging on a little longer over there and we will turn
tail and run in Vietnam. Maybe we will, I do not know, but we
have given aid and comfort to the enemy I think right down the
line in the last several months.
It makes it very distressing to me anyway, and I am not in full
agreement with everything that has gone on over there either so
far as that is concerned. I do not think we help ourselves if we drag
all the family skeletons out of the closet right in the midst of an
The CHAIRMAN. I do not think we help ourselves by just abandoning any function on the part of the Senate of the United States.
I do not have that much confidence in this administration or any
other. I think the Senate and this committee have a role to play,
and I think I certainly take my share of the blame in not having
played it properly and adequately in the past because I had too
much confidence in their own judgment.
I think if we are going to be subject to the kind of treatment we
had yesterday, and their willingness to take advantage of the press
and put out their statements as they did, I do not see much function that we have to perform. We are completely at their mercy on
expressing ourselves in any meaningful way. I do not think we
ought to accept it. I do not want to accept his version of it, because
I do not think it is correct. I think it is highly prejudicial to the
committee and to—well, to the truth primarily.
I think we ought to make some effort to balance the record and
then of course it stands up or it falls on its own merits.
Senator HICKENLOOPER. Mr. Chairman, I agree with you in many
particulars. A good many years ago, and this gets back into antiquity, at one time I was chairman of the Joint Committee on Atomic
Energy, and I was all prepared with legal briefs and everything
else to mandamus the Atomic Energy Commission to produce certain documents that they refused to produce on the order of Harry
Truman. Finally Harry Truman produced them. We did not have
to go to court. I do not think the court case would necessarily have
stood up. But we—on several occasions we have got to try to defend
the rights of committees, but we have become subservient and supine.
The CHAIRMAN. I think so, too.
Senator HICKENLOOPER. We have taken the orders of the administration, whether it is the Eisenhower administration, whether it
is the Truman, Kennedy or Johnson, administration. We have become subservient to the administration, this committee and other
The CHAIRMAN. That is correct.
Senator HICKENLOOPER. That does not mean we ought to go out
and commit a lot of indiscretions which are basically harmful to
our country, and I am not so sure that is what I meant a minute
ago when I said we are probably getting into deep water on this
thing and maybe we may be up to our nose right now. I do not
know. But we could pursue this to the point where it will do us irreparable damage, if it has not already. I do not mean this necessarily. But a lot of these things I do not approve of myself.
The CHAIRMAN. I just do not see how he can justify that. We
voted in here, in this committee, and then we, I did, and he quotes
it, my language, in his statement as if that was all initiated with
me. All I was doing was repeating what he told me. I believed it
all then, what the testimony was here. I said it on the floor just
as he said. Why he went to all the trouble of quoting me, why he
did not say that is what he said then, and and he uses it in his
statement as if I was the sponsor of this thing—you would think
I originated that resolution.
You know the facts, he brought it up here and he justified it, and
if you look at what he said on the 6th of August 1964 and compare
what he said yesterday, it is entirely different, very different.
Senator HICKENLOOPER. Bill, there is no question in my mind
that document yesterday was written for the purpose of releasing
Senator HICKENLOOPER. I thought so yesterday and I still think
so. And while I may not approve of it, I mean of the procedure, yet
I think he had a right to release it just as we have a right to release on behalf of the committee——
The CHAIRMAN. I do, too.
Senator HICKENLOOPER [continuing]. Our opinions. The only test
should be our responsibility in releasing something that could be
unwarrantedly injurious or harmful to our national interests at
this particular period in time. I think that is the test. It is not a
question of right. We have a right to do it.
Senator LAUSCHE. If we release the staff report, it contains opinions of the staff and not opinions of the members.
Senator HICKENLOOPER. I got my fingers burned on that a little
while ago myself last year.
The CHAIRMAN.Well, his statement is the opinion of his staff,
that is all it is really. He has to prepare it the same way. That is
his staff study is what it is.
Senator MUNDT. I know what you mean.
Senator HICKENLOOPER. With Karl Mundt’s assistance, you
okayed it, you seconded the motion. You sure did.
Senator MANSFIELD. Mr. Chairman.
The CHAIRMAN. Senator Mansfield.
Senator MANSFIELD. Mr. Chairman and gentlemen——
The CHAIRMAN. Will you listen to Senator Mansfield.
Senator MANSFIELD. I am sure that every member of this committee knows about my deep feelings and misgivings about Vietnam, and they are deep, and they are strongly felt. But I am also
concerned about the spreading divisiveness in this country. And
rather than pull further apart from the administration, it might be
better if we tried to get a little closer and endeavor to influence
them a little more.
I feel like George Aiken, three and a half years of history, you
cannot undo it. It is done. But the important factor is what lies
ahead of us in the next three months, the next three years, who
knows maybe for a longer period than that.
I am not at all sanguine about the situation in Vietnam or in
Korea. I do not believe this stuff about how many people we have
killed, and the reports are beginning to indicate that they had been
overinflated tremendously. I do not believe this stuff that what has
happened in the last month in Vietnam has been a resounding victory for us and has brought about more security and stability to
the Vietnamese government. Quite the contrary. I think the
groundwork is laid for a deeper and bigger and more expensive
American involvement; we cannot get away from it. We are in a
box and we do not know how to get out of it.
I do not care what your feelings are or how you label it. I think
deep down every member of this committee would admit it.
But if you release a report like this, Mr. Chairman, I think you
are just throwing this stuff up against the fan. You are going to
increase the divisiveness in the country. You are not going to better
the influence, such as it is, that this committe has, which in reality
it does not have but should have. And I would hope that some recognition of the difficulties which confront us now and lie ahead for
us in eastern Asia, and I include Korea, that that would bring
about a feeling not that we ought to retaliate but we ought to exhibit statesmanship if the administration cannot. I would like to
see it come to such a pass that this committee would go down and
have a heart to heart talk with the President alone to tell him how
we feel and to see if he would not maybe take some of our guidance, because some of it may fit in.
He does not know it all. Rusk does not know it all. McNamara
does not know it all.
When we get out among our own people and we know how they
feel and we know how we feel and we know we are the ones who
have to vote for added manpower, added appropriations, draft bill
extensions and the like.
So I would hope, Mr. Chairman, that we move carefully and cautiously and place the interests of the country first ahead of party
or committee or the institution and see if there is not some way
that we can bring about the recognition which is due this committee and the Senate as a body and see if we cannot develop some
way in which our influence, for whatever it may be worth, could
be felt more.
But you release this report—I am sorry he released the McNamara report yesterday—you have got a first-class war beginning
again. It would not benefit the administration; it would not benefit
us; it would not help the Senate. It will divide the country further
and you will give people who are not too interested in facts a
chance to exploit them and to magnify them out of all proportion.
And I think we have another situation confronting us in addition
to the war in Vietnam, the possibilitly of a war in Korea, the coming difficulties in the urban areas this summer, all these other
problems, which are so many for which answers are so few.
In my opinion, gentlemen, I think we are living in the most dangerous period in the history of this Republic, not excluding the
Civil War, and I think if any statesmanship is going to come, it is
going to come from this committee and this Senate, and we ought
to think this over pretty carefully.
Senator LAUSCHE. Those are my thoughts.
The CHAIRMAN. Well, those are mine, too. The only difficulty is,
What do we do to have any influence? I agree with your thought
that I think they would have been much better off if they had
taken some counsel of this committee and the Senate.
Senator MANSFIELD. So do I.
The CHAIRMAN. But they have not, and now the Secretary goes
off on his own in this fashion, and I do not see any way to make
them take any notice of it. We have all—you have certainly as
much or more than anybody tried to influence them, and we obviously are ignored just as we were yesterday when we asked him
not to make his statement public. As I have already said before you
came in, we only received it a few minutes before the meeting
started. He read it very rapidly. Senator Case had to ask him to
read it a little slower so he could follow him and he had obviously
determined to make it public before he came in here.
It is a question. of is this committee going to have any influence
or are we just going. to take whatever they say and do and with
no response.
I particularly feel it, as he said in here the staff gave me the
quote—he said, ‘‘With respect to the legitimacy of those South Vietnamese operations, you, Mr. Chairman, stated during the Tonkin
Gulf floor debates,’’ and then he gives me the quotes. Well, everything I said was based upon a belief that what they told us was
the truth. I had not the slightest doubt but what they said was the
truth, and I have plenty of doubts now. I think it was very questionable, the statements that he made, and he himself revealed
yesterday the differences between the facts and what he told the
I think this is very shabby treatment of the committee. If we do
not do anything and just take it, they will certainly continue to do
I do not know how you expect to influence the administration. I
agree with everything you said about the danger. I think he is
going to plunge on into a million men by this time next year very
likely. He already has given notice that 525,000 are not enough. I
see no indication of his capacity to stop the escalation of this war
which I think is even more desperate and more damaging, and he
talks about we are fighting communism. If there is any way to lose
the battle to communism, he is following it. I think it is a most disastrous course if you are not interested in promoting the cause of
communism, and I certainly am not. I think he has already weakened us, and I have tried every way I know to influence his judgment, but he seems to think the Secretary of State and Rostow
know it all. I think they are completely bemused by their past commitments, and I do not think they are capable of making a change.
If the committee is not going to influence him, I do not think anybody is. I do not know who can. But I do not mean that this report
in itself will do it. But I think the committee, accepting the Secretary’s action and doing nothing about it as if that is the last
word, is in a very weak position where no one will pay any attention to us at all.
I personally—I am not going to accept it, just as an individual
Senator, in the way he presented that thing. I will have to make
my own remarks, but of course I am not going to give the report
on the Senate floor without the committee’s approval because it is
a committee document. But I might as well say I am not going to
remain silent in the face of that statement he made yesterday.
Well, I think it is up to the committee. If you do not want to say
anything and just want to keep it secret and sit on it, why that is
your privilege. I think it is a very important matter, and it is right
in line with the resolution which we voted on unanimously in this
area. This committee has a role to play that as Senators we are not
just rubber stamps and we are supposed to have an influence. If
you do not wish to or you think it is unwise to in this instance,
that of course is the privilege of yours, that is your function.
Senator LAUSCHE. Bill, I have been trying to analyze in my own
mind what are we trying to prove: One, that the United States
made the attack upon North Korean boats. Two——
Senator MANSFIELD. North Vietnamese.
Senator LAUSCHE. Yes, North Vietnamese.
Two, that we deliberately planned a situation where we precipitated the North Vietnamese to attack us.
Three, that we never were attacked and that the statements
which were made are untrue.
Four, that McNamara did not tell the truth.
How is that going to serve our country at this time? I do not care
which objective you have, you cannot help our country by trying to
prove anyone of these four conditions.
Now, there may be others, other objectives. One, that we initiated the attack. Two, that North Korea shot at us.
The CHAIRMAN. Not Korea. You keep saying that.
Senator LAUSCHE. North Vietnam.
Three, that McNamara did not tell the truth, and, four, that we
plotted and planned and designed a situation which precipitated
the North Vietnamese to strike us.
The CHAIRMAN. The most offensive thing he said was that last
one, that we were alleging he had plotted and planned in the nature of a conspiracy. I do not think any of those alternatives that
you state are accurate or supported by the record. The record, I
think, does support that this was a very uncertain incident that
took place, and they resolved the uncertainty precipitately and took
retaliatory action far beyond any justification of the event and
caused us to take action which was the equivalent of a declaration
of war. I think it is very important as to the future conduct of the
executive and the Senate that this is not a way for a responsible
nation to perform.
It is not a conspiracy at all, but it is a very questionable procedure they follow in making this kind of a decision, and I think the
documents support that.
When you get the task force commander of their own force sending a telegram at the last minute that this whole thing should be
re-evaluated before any further action, I think one of the key messages from Hedrick, the commander, and they go right ahead any-
way, because the momentum was already established and they
went on.
Now, this may not be significant, I think it is, as to the conduct
of our relations. If this is the way they are going to go ahead, they
are going to the same thing with nuclear weapons. I think it is
probably the next step, if they feel like doing it, they are not going
to tell us about it, they are going to start using them. Maybe you
think they should, but I think in a matter of that importance this
committee ought to know about it.
We have already—for example, the way they treat the committee. Within the last few weeks, we wrote a letter to the President asking him to make Rusk available. I think it was on your
motion. We have had no answer at all. The hell with us, they do
not even answer the letter.
We also wrote a letter to Rusk with regard to the Pueblo affair.
I did not initiate these, members of this committee did, suggested
it in the name of the committee, write to him and ask them.
Senator MUNDT. Those 20 questions.
The CHAIRMAN. I have had no reply to either letters, and they
wait to suit themselves. This is their general pattern of their conduct. Even in this matter of these other documents they waited
weeks and weeks and finally they did not produce anything hardly
on this, on the Tonkin thing until Dick Russell—we had a meeting
in Dick Russell’s office, Nitze set it up, and Dick Russell said, ‘‘You
ought to make it available.’’ On the strength of this committee’s request they just ignored it. I mean they acknowledge it and we get
nothing. We never did get all of it. They did not even know what
Dick told them to do as was evident yesterday. He told them in my
presence, ‘‘You should make available to the committee all relevant
documents.’’ The fact of the matter is they did not even pretend to
do that. I mean in the final analysis he never did make them all
available. They only made some of them, and the important ones
we had to find out from other sources what they were before we
made a specific request, and then they finally got them here.
Senator WILLIAMS. Could we not achieve the same objective by
opening public hearings on the foreign aid bill next week and just
start hearings on that and you would automatically have, them
down here, that is unless they did not want the bill.
The CHAIRMAN. Well, Secretary Rusk is of course not really competent on these subjects.
Senator AIKEN. Mr. Chairman, the Secretary of State told me
last night that he would be up here I believe the 11th of March
to testify in open session and believe it or not he was smiling
broadly when he said it. You can interpret that to mean what——
Senator PELL. Before what committee?
Senator AIKEN. He was coming up here to testify.
Senator PELL. Foreign Relations?
Senator AIKEN. The Secretary of State.
Senator HICKENLOOPER. Before the Foreign Relations Committee.
Senator AIKEN. Before the Foreign Relations Committee.
Senator MANSFIELD. George, would, you yield there?
Senator AIKEN. Yes.
Senator MANSFIELD. Would you yield there?
Senator AIKEN. I do not have the floor. Somebody yielded to me.
The CHAIRMAN. Yes sir.
Senator MANSFIELD. Well, I would say that in a certain sense the
committee is achieving its desire because I have an idea that while
he is coming up here on foreign aid with Mr. Gaud that Mr. Gaud
would not testify that day and that the questions raised by this
committee will cover the rainbow, and many of the questions which
have been on our minds and which we would like to find out about
can and will be asked that day and it would be my assumption that
the whole day would be devoted to Mr. Rusk in open session. And
in that—it is the achievement of the objective which counts, not
really so much whether or not we get a letter in return. The committee for the first time is getting him in open session where they
can ask him any question they want on any subject.
Senator AIKEN. And the cameras.
Senator MANSFIELD. And the cameras are there, and I would assume that on the basis of conversations held in this committee
when this matter was discussed before, that he would be treated
with decorum, and that if he said that these are questions which
would be answered better in executive session that the committee
would honor that, as it always has, and that all members, I would
hope, would get a chance to ask questions which are first and foremost in their minds.
So you are getting the objective because Gaud is going to come
along, and the weapon is being used, not the weapon, but the vehicle is the foreign aid program, but you have got Mr. Rusk there in
the open, vulnerable or invulnerable, all depending.
Senator GORE. It may be a good way to do it.
The CHAIRMAN. Of course he will not be prepared to talk about
the Tonkin Gulf. It is not really within his knowledge, I do not
think, or his jurisdiction. We cannot go over this matter. That is
an entirely different subject, and I do not think he should be expected to answer questions on it.
Senator AIKEN. Mr. Chairman, I think if he is not willing to answer questions, general questions, in regard to our international affairs, that we would not be bound to proceed with the foreign aid
bill very fast.
Senator MANSFIELD. I am sure he would answer them, George.
Senator AIKEN. He would answer them.
The CHAIRMAN. I would not expect him to know the answers as
to what we had yesterday.
Senator MANSFIELD. Insofar as he can.
Senator CHURCH. Mr. Chairman.
The CHAIRMAN. Senator Church.
Senator CHURCH. I have listened to the inquiry that Senator
Lausche put to you about what our objective is. I had supposed our
objective was to attempt to ascertain the truth, and then the question was: Is it then our responsibility to disclose the truth about
an event that was used for purposes of justifying the assault we
have since directed toward North Vietnam? And a resolution that
the President has since repeatedly referred to as his congressional
authority to proceed.
I think historically the truth about this is terribly important. I
think that is an issue.
As far as what influence this committee has with the President,
it has none and it will not have any until we agree with his policy
and attempt to assist him in implementing that policy. with him
or his agents. But, on the other hand, as I said today in the Senate—and I do think that if we have any disagreement with the policy—and we obviously do—there are ways that we can force
changes on the policy if we will.
I do not know that a disclosure at this time would have any influence on the administration, but I do know ways that it could be
influenced. We would not raise the gold cover. We would no do
those—agree to those measures that are necessary to sustain perpetually such a policy. We could effect changes.
I have not been here through all these hearings. I am not going
to talk very long. I am going to look at the record and read it and
try to apprise myself fully of it. I want you to have any proxy on
this matter in the interim. But I think the issue is the truth and
what responsibility this committee has to disclose the truth on a
matter of vital importance affecting not only the course of events
but an awful lot of American lives.
The CHAIRMAN. I would say that you have expressed it when you
say the truth is it.
It strikes me that in a democracy you cannot expect the people,
whose sons are being killed and who will be killed, to exercise their
judgment if the truth is concealed from them. I do not like to take
the responsibility of making all the decisions when they do not
know what is going on.
The one thing we can do, if we cannot influence the President’s
judgment, we can at least make the truth available to the people
and they have to vote, that is their function. I would feel guilty myself if they are faced with elections, as they are going to be, and
not knowing and being confused and not having had access to the
truth of what happened, and I think our memorandum makes a
greater contribution to it than the Secretary’s. But nevertheless it
is two different views of the same incident. But I think that is the
one thing we can do, and I think one of our principal functions is
to make available to the people what actually happened.
Well, it is up to the committee.
Senator LAUSCHE. Mr. Chairman, on the basis of the testimony
that I heard, it is my conclusion, one, that we did not designedly
and by, plan push the North Vietnamese into an attack upon our
ships. Two, that we were not in the territorial waters of North
Three, that an attack was made upon our ships, both on the 2nd.
and the 4th of August.
And fourth, that we did not make an attack upon them except
in return for their attack that was made upon us. That is my finding of the truth.
Senator MUNDT. Mr. Chairman.
Senator MUNDT. I find myself very badly perplexed by this whole
sequence of events. As most of you know, I did not approve going
into the Tonkin Bay resolution to begin with, purely on the basis
that I had accepted as valid what we had been given the report of
the committee would verify. As a matter of fact, when I got the
committee report, the staff report, I did not even read it until we
heard it in the committee, and at that time I was kind of shocked
out of my happy feeling that everything was just according to the
picture. And I think that we have achieved some good by what we
have done so far, because I am convinced that this administration
or any successor administration is going to be mighty careful in
sending up another resolution to be sure that they can prove all of
the points.
In hindsight, as well as looking ahead in this regard, I have the
feeling that if we had gotten this Tonkin Bay thing much earlier,
we would never have had the kind of Pueblo incident that we had,
there would have been more caution, more prudence displayed,
they would have had air or sea cover or something behind it.
Senator PELL. Would you yield at that point?
And probably if we had not been doing it when we were doing
it, we might have had much more of an overresponse on the part
of the administration.
Senator MUNDT. That is correct. There would not be an overkill
on that.
The CHAIRMAN. While you are yielding, I may say we started it
but they did not give us anything for nearly three months before
Dick Russell intervened and told them.
Senator MUNDT. That is right, but if we had had what the staff
produced to us before that and had this colloquy we had yesterday
with McNamara, I do not think there would have been the kind of
Pueblo incident that we had. I think we achieved something worthwhile.
Now, where this leaves me is almost with Frank Lausche, but
not quite. I do not believe there is an effort to create an incident
The CHAIRMAN. I don’t, either, I may say.
Senator MUNDT. Your second point, Frank, I think was that you
are sure there was some kind of attack. I think there was some
kind of attack, too, but I am not, it is not the kind of attack I
thought it was when I voted for the Tonkin Bay resolution, there
was a wake and there were some shadowy figures out there and
they had some intercepts, and so I think that, I am not sure I can
be critical of the commanders of these two ships even that they
started shooting back out there in the dark. They thought something was coming at them and they started shooting back at them.
But what disturbs me, it was not the definite demonstrable kind
of attack that I thought it was at the time. This is a rather vague
uncertain kind of thing. I haven’t criticism of anything we did that
night in fighting back in terms of the resolution. I am disturbed,
I think the resolution was drawn up and the evidence was clearly,
shows a long time before Tonkin Bay. I think they expected something to happen some place in the war that would activate its presentation to the Congress. And I think it was that they should have
come to the Congress with the full demonstrable story.
My main concern is that they are hanging too big a package on
too small a peg when they come here with the resolution clause of
the Tonkin Bay Resolution, basing it principally upon what happened out there in the Gulf on those two nights which is not as
clear as I would like to see it.
If they were going to use that to bring the thing before us, I
think they might have used it as one prong of a series of reasons
which we could have presented to the people as to why we should
take the action that we took in Congress and made the resolution
which we did, and I think it is there where our committee can be
useful, if we insist upon having the full story at the time.
Now, where we go from here, I don’t know. I am disturbed about
the fact that they tried to put this committee in the light of conjuring up some monstrous, which it would be a monstrous thing,
I think, if we had done that, to try to pretend that we believed that
Johnson and McNamara had gotten together in the quiet of their
room and said, we are going to precipitate it. I don’t believe that,
and I don’t think anybody believes that, and certainly the evidence
that the staff report has doesn’t prove that.
I wonder whether, now that McNamara has presented his case,
I thought Bill did a real good job at that long-winded series of
questions that he asked prior to the rest of us asking questions, but
I didn’t complain about that. I thought you had a great sequence,
very valuable.
The CHAIRMAN. Well, that is the staff, the staff deserves the
Senator MUNDT. You did a real good job, and some of them were
concerned, and you can see the concern that the Secretary expressed when he answered them.
Why don’t we take this transcript and send it out to Mr. McNamara and say if there is something in here which is sensitive, take
it out. We want the whole report presented to the public after it
had been sanitized to protect the national interest. I think that
would put the committee in a much better light, certainly put the
chairman in a much better light. I was a bit appalled, I don’t agree
with Bill’s position on the floor that he kind of made him a chief
agitator, chief provocateur, his quoting you in what you had to say,
which was manifestly unfair.
The CHAIRMAN. Yes, he quoted me. What gets me, Karl, I was
only acting as a vehicle and he acted as if I initiated it, and I feel
a very deep moral responsibility to the Senate and the country for
having misled them.
I was repeating what he told me.
Senator MUNDT. Exactly what anyone of the rest of us would
have had to say in your position on the basis of the facts as we
know them, but I don’t see any reason at all that this, the whole
transcript should not appear once it has been sanitized. Nobody
wants to jeopardize the national interest, nobody wants to put in
anything about the intersects, it is in his public release so it is not
much of a secret to the communist world any more.
The CHAIRMAN. He puts it more than we do anyway, when he
talks about those unimpeachable——
Senator MUNDT. Yes, let’s take out this point, ‘‘Let’s go into executive session now, I have something very hush-hush I want to tell
you because I want you to know before you read it at night in the
paper,’’ is the effect of it.
Senator HICKENLOOPER. Karl, I think the record ought to be compared to his release.
Senator MUNDT. What?
Senator HICKENLOOPER. The record you are talking about here
yesterday before its release ought to be compared, laid down side
by side with the statements in his release of yesterday, that long
statement of his because I think most of the stuff in our study is
the same stuff he released.
Senator MUNDT. I would just put the transcript out and let the
truth come out, that is what we are after, take out, I think we
ought to do that, in the middle of a war I don’t think we ought to
release anything without having people in charge of security check
it with them, through our inability to know what is and what is
not secret to the enemy, violate any security, but I think that
would be established.
Senator HICKENLOOPER. The point I am trying to make I didn’t
make. I agree with you thoroughly, but if the Department of Defense comes through and says that on the hearing of yesterday this
should be taken out because it affects national security.
Senator MUNDT. Yes.
Senator HICKENLOOPER. Then check that as against what he had
in his release which sometimes is the same thing and tells it on
that kind of a basis.
Senator MUNDT. Yes, precisely.
But I think we have to do something to stand in a good light
with the public. We are kind of condemned as a bunch of people,
trying to say it is some kind of a Machiavellian plot which some
of us believed.
Senator AIKEN. If the Secretary had the information which he
gave us yesterday afternoon he was negligent in not giving it to the
committee a long time before.
Senator MUNDT. He might not have had it, George, at the time
it first changed.
Senator AIKEN. I am not insinuating they made it up.
The CHAIRMAN. I don’t think he had it.
Senator MUNDT. He admitted to you he made a mistake—I
should have told you about this second witness a long time I ago,
but I didn’t.
Senator COOPER. I sat through the hearing yesterday and listened to all he had to say, and also all of the questions you had
to present which I agree were very good, because there had been
such a lot of talk on this subject, rumors, statements, I would think
that the release at the proper time, I think you would have to determine the proper time, of the record. I don’t see how it could
harm anything because it would bring all the facts that were
brought out in the hearing to the public. It would replace rumor,
speculation, and charges.
I would have to say that this answer he made at the very end
of some kind of conspiracy, although I don’t think he could have
phrased it in such a way, but in those terms—but those rumors
have been out. I have had newspapermen come to me from the
New York Times, and say they had been informed that there might
be a situation where facts had been concealed and where there was
an absolute disposition on the part of the administration to cover
up facts at that time, retaliate to bring this resolution before the
Senate so I think it would be fair that all the facts be brought out.
I would say, as I said before when we were talking about calling
him, I think the committee would have to consider what was happening at the time, the war in Vietnam, and see what the relationship, if any, it would have to that, but the truth speaks for itself.
But I must say I do not favor putting the staff report in.
The CHAIRMAN. You do not.
Senator COOPER. I do not. I will tell you why I take that position.
You said that his statement was a staff report. I am sure it was
in the sense that it was greatly prepared by the staff, and yet when
he presented it he presented it up on behalf of the administration,
it was a decision by the administration. We have a staff report, but
if it is put in then it appears that it is the judgment of the whole
committee, and I don’t know that that is correct. I agree it is a very
good one, but I don’t know if there are other facts which were not
included in it.
Also, it does, at least so far as I am concerned, it arrives it conclusions with which I do not agree, and I say that with due respect
to all the members, but it does give the impression very strongly
that there was no engagement.
To my mind, there was an engagement, without question. There
are other things, it does say specifically on several times that
McNamara misled the committee.
Well, I don’t know. I wasn’t here. But I think that is a pretty
strong statement.
Finally, I agree with Karl Mundt’s analysis if we could look at
it again and we had all the time the kind of engagements it was
and evidently it was a shooting engagement, but we didn’t know
what they were shooting at exactly, that might not have been the
kind of situation, the kind of a battle upon which an administration would come to Congress and say, ‘‘This is such a cause, cassus
belli, that we will ask for a resolution,’’ which has later been described as a declaration of war. That was my judgment about it.
I felt that there was an engagement, I felt there was not any proof
it was provoked unless you take the position that the patrolling is
itself a provocation, and also I couldn’t find any evidence that was
a deceit of the Congress in the sense that it was the purpose to
mislead us.
But I do think that there probably wasn’t enough. Well, I would
say if you could look at it in this instance there wasn’t enough to
get what has later been called a declaration of war.
But, for that reason, if I were to support it at the proper time,
the submission of the whole hearing, the whole truth, but I do not
vote for inclusion of the staff report.
The CHAIRMAN. Let me say that that business of the monstrosity,
the monstrous conspiracy referred to, after the meeting referred to
this morning, I know some of you had left, I said that I thought
that was a grave charge for which there was no foundation at all.
This morning, after the end of the meeting this morning, didn’t
want to stand there, at the end of the meeting this morning, just
about one o’clock or a quarter of one, you weren’t there.
Senator HICKENLOOPER. At the open hearing.
The CHAIRMAN. There was at the open hearing, I stated this
statement about the monstrous conspiracy, that it wasn’t monstrous, that we suggested it. What we suggested was that it was
an untruth, that nobody on the committee and certainly including
myself, had at any time implied or otherwise stated that it was a
deliberate conspiracy on their part. I didn’t want to let that stand.
There were just a few of the press left there and Senator Gore was
still there, he also made a statement to that effect that this has
never been entertained by any member of the committee that it
was a deliberate conspiracy, and I never have believed that. It was,
if anything, it was ineptitude, if it was anything, they just muddled
through and went ahead on very flimsy evidence, made a decision
to request declaration of war.
Senator MUNDT. May I direct my remarks now to Mike because
I think you made a very good presentation, Mike. But in line with
that, I think it is conceivable we could help public opinion by the
release of these hearings. There wasn’t a word uttered yesterday
to even lead anyone to indicate there was a conspiracy. It has been
batted around the country that McNamara giving it the publicity
it would create rumor, because mischief-makers will pick it up and
use it, and I think this will put at least entirely when they read
these hearings there is nothing in there to indicate it at all.
Senator Gore. Mr. Chairman?
The CHAIRMAN. Senator Gore.
Senator GORE. After the chairman had made the statement to
which he referred, I spoke up and said that so far as I was, concerned my intention, as I understood it if it was the committee’s
intention to make a quiet but incisive examination of these incident, not to determine the existence or non-existence of a war conspiracy but to determine if mistakes, were made.
Among the questions was whether or not the attack or attacks
were unprovoked or entirely unprovoked, whether the reprisal attack was precipitate or whether it was taken only after the attack
on the 4th had established beyond doubt. Whether the response
was in proportion to the provocation and overall whether or not by
not by design but by mistake the Congress had been misinformed
or misled. And, thereafter, I pointed out, and this occurred yesterday afternoon in the committee when I don’t think anyone but Senator Fulbright——The CHAIRMAN. Yes, it was late.
Senator GORE. Senator Pell was here late. It was about six
o’clock before I got to my turn, and I pointed to certain discrepancies in the Secretary’s statement that do not comport with the
facts as developed before the committee.
I would like to say to my colleagues that there were two things
yesterday that tended to arouse more questions rather than allay
them. One was the repeated reference to the North Vietnamese
prisoner who, according to the Secretary, had turned up in the last
two or three days. And, second, the building of this, the mushrooming, the ballooning of this highly classified unimpeachable
Now, if you will recall this was built up by a letter from the
President that under no circumstances was this, the intercepts to
be referred to in the presence of the staff of this committee, so the
staff was excused, and this was discussed, read to us.
So I begin with the second by pointing out that on page 17 had
cited the evaluation report to the Secretary of Defense, ‘‘The actuality of the attack is confirmed.’’ That this occurred not before the
response, but after, August 6th.
The CHAIRMAN. After August 6th.
Senator GORE. What is that?
The CHAIRMAN. After August 6th.
Senator GORE. No, this report was on August 6th.
Now, the attack, of course, is on the 5th.
Senator GORE. Then the evaluation of Admiral Roy L. Johnson
cited on page 17, not that it had been made before the decision, to
attack North Vietnam the record doesn’t so state but I got a copy
of the message and it was August 14th.
If you will let me read you a couple of sentences here from the
Secretary’s statement he released or read to us, ‘‘In addition to the
above intelligence reports received from highly classified and unimpeachable source,’’ what is unimpeachable?
This source reported three of our planes shot down.
No planes were shot down.
You can’t exactly say it is unimpeachable.
And after the release of this testimony the source can’t be classified because the Secretary himself testified just here that release
of this testimony would give notice to the North Vietnamese that
we had broken their code.
So it stands now as not classified and it stands as very impeachable, not unimpeachable.
Well, let us read the second sentence:
The same source reported while the engagement was in progress on August 4,that
the attack was underway.
I pointed out to the Secretary that nothing he had submitted to
this committee bore this out.
What was his reaction?
Immediately, with the staff still here, he reclassified his so-called
highly classified material and started reading the same thing.
One of his staff members reached over and spoke to him, if he
wanted that on the record. He nodded yes.
Now, all of these things are just a little unusual, I am pointing
out are just a little unusual.
I don’t think this leads to anything except the conclusion that
here is, here was an event on a cloudy dark night which one of the
sailors said was dark as the knob of hell, and one fellow said he
never could see anything to shoot at. He shot, but just to be shooting, to clean out his gun.
We don’t actually yet know what happened.
If I had to resolve the doubt on it from all I have heard would
agree with most of the conclusions Senator Lausche states. I don’t
think there was any conspiracy to create it, but they responded before they knew what happened because they had this recommendation from the task force commander, five hours before those planes
left that he thought there was a great deal of doubt that there were
any attacks, and recommended that it be careful and fully evaluated before any further actions were taken.
Yet the action was taken.
These are the kind of things that I think we ought to discover.
I didn’t think the Secretary allayed any of these questions yesterday.
So I don’t know what to do, Mr. Chairman, but the committee
is left in an unenviable position with this statement which I can
point out, at least a half dozen more inaccuracies in this statement.
The CHAIRMAN. It is more than inaccurate. The way he presents
the very things you mentioned are misleading because if you read
it without knowing a lot about it you would think all of these reports he mentioned had been made before and were a basis for the
decision, whereas they actually were afterwards. He doesn’t say
that specifically, but as you read it, would say that is a normal person’s reaction, that these evaluations had taken place before, and
all these eye witness accounts, all of these were gathered after the
decision was made to amount the retaliation, and the same way
with Burchinal’s report, and yet when you read it, I think it is
grossly misleading because they simply had not taken place before
the decision was made.
Senator CARLSON. Mr. Chairman, I just want to say for the
record at least that I was distressed yesterday when the Secretary
was determined to release this statement. As a matter of fact, I am
confident he came up here with the thought of releasing it. I hoped
we could have this hearing and nothing said by anyone, that it
would be truly executive.
Senator MUNDT. That was the understanding.
The CHAIRMAN. I asked him about it as strongly as I could.
Senator MUNDT. More than that, if you will yield just a minute,
I recall 1 o’clock when he got up and a few of us left, he said to
the Chairman, ‘‘What will you say when you go out; I am going to
say nothing at all,’’ and Bill said, ‘‘That is what I am going to say.’’
He knew then he was going to release this thing. He just deliberately lied to us on that statement and I do not like it very much.
That was pretty shocking.
Senator CARLSON. That is all past now, and we are in a very difficult situation. I did not hear all the testimony yesterday, but I am
not convinced of a second attack. I have no problem of the first one,
but when this Admiral Sharp’s first message came in, he said, ‘‘In
my opinion they had an attack.’’ He did not go full all aboard as
I heard the testimony read, and I had some question about it. But
now that is a matter that is past.
I doubt very much that I would vote to release the commitee staff
statement, but I do think Karl Mundt has made a suggestion that
I think has got merit. I believe we ought to send that record down
and I think the chairman ought to send it down and ‘‘We give you
48 hours or 24 hours to desanitize it,’’ or whatever you want to call
it, and send it back here, and then we will see how it compares
with the statement he makes.
They might want to take out a lot of things that even they have
in their own statement because this was a pre-arranged deal in my
thinking to put themselves in good position.
There is a lot—I think Senator Cooper hit the point. I have been
out home, people there are asking questions about this, and they
just are wondering now, was there something sinister about this,
did they really arrange it, and I think we need to do something,
and I would go that far, I would like to do that. In fact I think we
Senator HICKENLOOPER. I think, Mr. Chairman, people still remember the doubts and questions about the few days before Pearl
Harbor, a lot of people were convinced there was something a little
bit unusual about that situation. They have long memories.
Senator LAUSCHE. This is not for the record, but if there is going
to be desanitizing, will all of us be permitted to desanitize?
Senator GORE. Only that exchange between you and me that
needs to be deleted.
The CHAIRMAN. Senator Pell wants a word.
Senator PELL. Mr. Chairman, having sat through that whole
hearing yesterday, I have sort of a subjective view because I guess
I am the only fellow around the table who has stood a watch underway at night and served as a communications officer under combat conditions and I can see how this whole so-called second attack
was thought out. They saw some starshells going in the air and
they thought there were three planes singing. The other side had
these ridiculous orders to attack with small caliber machine guns
two large destroyers. They no more wanted to carry that out—I remember in a Coast Guard cutter we were ordered to engage and
delay the Bismarck in World War II. We never wanted to do that
at all and did not.
The point here is they probably felt they had to go through the
motion of an attack as well and so both sides embellished, which
we certainly did many, many times in World War II, and I think
soldiers and sailors will do as long as wars go on.
I think that the release of this particular memorandum would
serve no real purpose. In the first place our memorandum is built
a great deal around the 12-mile limit, and they have us over the
barrel on that because we really made every effort to resolve that
yesterday. There is no evidence anywhere that the three-mile
limit—that they had said or claimed that the 12-mile limit prevailed until after our attack.
In addition to that, this memorandum does not contain the commanding officer’s statement to the effect he doubted the attack, and
that is the most important single bit of evidence that came out yesterday.
My own view would be that you, Mr. Chairman, should be authorized to make a little statement by us in general terms regretting the release by Mr. McNamara particularly in view of his statement that he would not make any release of that sort, and perhaps
expressing a very general view that would even meet Senator
Lausche’s views that we may have perhaps a little overreacted with
hindsight, we did not have hindsight at the time and we were requesting the transcript to be released along the line of Senator
Mundt’s suggestion and do exactly what Senator Carlson suggested, give a 48-hour ultimatum on it and that would be our responsibility.
In a more general way of reaction to Senator Mansfield’s thought
that we should not encourage divisiveness in the country, I think
he knows the affectionate regard we have for them, but I wonder
if we do not have to because we are a republic, and the President
is utterly determined on his course apparently. His advisers are
equally determined on their present course. When the majority of
the country disagrees with the President on the way the policy is
being conducted, then policy in Vietnam will change and we have
a responsibility to change, to increase the divisiveness until our
people are a majority, and that is where I would just take one
slight exception to what you said.
Thank you.
The CHAIRMAN. Let me say in that connection, your first part
about the three-mile limit, I think that is correct. But I will remind
you that McNaughton, who was speaking for the Department in his
testimony in 1966 was under the impression it was a 12-mile limit,
and I think everyone has assumed that without anyone thinking
about it until yesterday’s testimony. That is implicit in the testimony which was in an executive hearing of this committee in ’66.
I did—the statement about regretting the issuing is a statement
I made on my own just as I regretted the release of it, and I
thought that his statement was erroneous in the respect that you
mentioned, and that I thought it was, well, very unfortunate that
he had made such a statement and it was over my request that he
not make it.
So I will make another one if you think it will serve any purpose,
but that was the one where Albert and I—Albert heard it this
morning at the end, in open session of the committee just before
we adjourned. I did not want the time to pass—it will take time,
the reaction; you know how it goes in this business.
This is what I thought, he is calling it to my attention, and all
of this, I may say, as is usually the case, was made in view of the
testimony here, and I was very—they were very friendly in those
days in coaching me. You know about what happened. Here is what
I said in 1964 on the floor. I said, ‘‘It so happens, I say this to keep
the record straight, that the actual attack according to my information, took place far beyond the 12-mile limit. The first attack was
approximately 25 miles out and the second was 60 miles out.
Mr. Russell: I believe it was 30 and 60 miles.
I said, ‘‘Yes.’’
Mr. Russell: I might add that our vessels had turned away from the South Vietnam shore and making for the middle of the gulf where there could be no question
at the time they were attacked.
Mr. Fulbright: At the time of the first attack they were steaming away from the
shoreline; the second attack came at night, the first one in the daytime. Our ships
were not in the 12-mile limit so-called at the time of attack. I had stated from time
to time we did go deliberately within the 12-mile limit simply to emphasize our nonrecognition of the 12-mile limit or, to put it another way, to re-establish or reaffim
our right to be there.
But I was under the impression, the Defense Department or nobody else said you are wrong, they only have a three-mile limit. I
was clearly under the impression, as it shows in the record, and
I was up until yesterday.
As I said in my conversations with Nitze, and with Dick Russell,
he never raised this point at all. It just did not occur to me it was
not in the 12-mile limit. This was a complete surprise to me they
were going to base something on that assumption.
Senator MUNDT. I would agree with everything Claiborne said
except one thing. I think it would be all right for the chairman to
reiterate our disappointment that he released it and explain why
we did that. I doubt the wisdom of saying it is the consensus of the
committee that perhaps the administration overreacted. I think I
was a little unfair to our colleague in a summation of what happened. I said I think the administration was a little Goldwaterish
in its reaction.
Senator GORE. Was this on the floor?
Senator MUNDT. No, a reporter called me up. I hope he does not
use it, it may be unfair to Barry. But, anyhow, I do not think we
should be finding any conclusion at this time. I think we will just
say let the truth speak for itself.
The CHAIRMAN. If I understand, the sentiment is, everybody has
spoken, that you are in favor of sending the transcript of yesterday
down to the Pentagon and saying—within what time do you say,
24 hours, 48 hours?
Senator WILLIAMS. By Monday.
The CHAIRMAN. 48 hours, then that would be Friday, for 48
hours so that we release it Sunday, we want it back within 48
hours, and—
Senator LAUSCHE. You have the holiday in between.
The CHAIRMAN. That is tomorrow.
Senator HICKENLOOPER. Is it the transcript of yesterday or is it
the staff study?
The CHAIRMAN. I would guess the sentiment is against the staff
study, is that correct? I am trying to interpret it.
Senator MUNDT. I think that is correct.
The CHAIRMAN. Frank, you feel that way.
Senator LAUSCHE. Yes.
The CHAIRMAN. But nearly everybody has spoken in favor of having the transcript of yesterday sent to them and returned within
48 hours and then to be released, is that correct?
Senator LAUSCHE. No, I am against releasing it.
The CHAIRMAN. Does everybody else?
Senator AIKEN. If they agree to it, if they delete anything that
they think should be deleted that will be no different from other
Senator LAUSCHE. With the staff report out many comments
which I made must be out, because I spoke about the staff report
Senator AIKEN. You are talking about testimony.
The CHAIRMAN. We are talking about the transcript of the record
yesterday. He is, too.
Senator LAUSCHE. That will have to be removed because my remarks will not be pertinent.
Senator COOPER. Of course they will.
The CHAIRMAN. They are always pertinent.
Senator LAUSCHE. Impertinent.
The CHAIRMAN. Or impertinent.
Senator LAUSCHE. You show it to me.
Mr. MARCY. We will show the transcript to any Senator who
wants to review his remarks.
Senator GORE. I want to review mine.
Senator PELL. I want to review mine.
Mr. MARCY. Remember the 48-hour limit.
The CHAIRMAN. Do you agree with that? Is that your agreement?
The staff says we need more time than Sunday ourselves. If we
give them 48 hours to do what they want and then we will have
to—because of arranging for printing and everything.
Senator LAUSCHE. Is that all right with you, Mike?
Senator MANSFIELD. Okay.
The CHAIRMAN. Is that okay? Without objection, so ordered.
Senator LAUSCHE. Wait a while, let me ask Hickenlooper. He is
my polestar.
Senator HICKENLOOPER. I think if you send this transcript of yesterday over and give them 48 hours to do it, they can do it in 48
hours, take out what they believe to be highly classified and sensitive material in there if there is any and then send it back here
and let individual members look over their own testimony and take
out what they think should not be in there. You might not have
any transcript left when you get through, I do not know.
The CHAIRMAN. You may not.
Senator PELL. It may be so gilted, it is nothing.
Senator AIKEN. Could we not give it to the members simultaneously?
The CHAIRMAN. Why not give it to the members simultaneously?
I do not understand it that we have to accept everything they do,
particularly in light of their own statement.
Senator MUNDT. Hick makes the point they cut out something in
their own statement.
The CHAIRMAN. I think we have to exercise the final judgment.
Senator HICKENLOOPER. If they take out something that it is in
McNamara’s statement, they release it to the people.
The CHAIRMAN. I think the record will show—I do not want to
trust my memory—at one point did he have any objection to releasing the transcript, taking out reference to intercept, and I think he
said he did not, is that not correct?
Senator PELL. That is correct.
The CHAIRMAN. Did I not ask him that?
Mr. MARCY. That is correct.
The CHAIRMAN. That is what he said on the record.
Senator GORE. But, Mr. Chairman, he also came back after he
had released his own statement and said that this is notice to the
North Vietnamese we have broken their code.
The CHAIRMAN. Of course his own statement refers to the intercepts more clearly than anything we have in our record.
Senator GORE. Mr. Chairman, as I understand it, you are going
to reserve for the committee the decision as to what it releases.
The CHAIRMAN. That is correct.
Senator GORE. But get their advice.
The CHAIRMAN. That is correct, its advice on what is secure and
then the committee makes their final responses.
Senator MUNDT. I think we ought to be governed by what they
do unless it is something taken out that is in McNamara’s release.
The CHAIRMAN. Unless it is arbitrary.
[Whereupon, at 4:20 p.m., the committee recessed, to reconvene
at 10 a.m., Friday, February 23, 1968.]
Friday, March 1, 1968
Washington, DC.
The committee met, pursuant to notice, at 2:35 p.m., in room S–
116, the Capitol, Senator J. William Fulbright (chairman) presiding.
Present: Chairman Fulbright and Senators Mansfield, Gore,
Lausche, Symington, Dodd, Clark, Pell, McCarthy, Hickenlooper,
Aiken, Carlson, Mundt, Case, and Cooper.
Also present: Mr. Marcy, Mr. Kuhl, Mr. Jones, and Mr.
Lowenstein of the committee staff.
The CHAIRMAN. Let us come to order while the Senator from Missouri is here. He cannot talk, so we have got him at a disadvantage. He has to stay and he has to listen.
The Senator from Kentucky has addressed a letter to me which,
I think, you sent a copy to every member of the committee did you
not, Senator Cooper?
Senator COOPER. YES.
The CHAIRMAN. And I called this morning at his request to discuss the possibility of some hearings, not this week or not next
week because we are booked up until, how long, Mr. Marcy, at
least three weeks?
Mr. MARCY. That is right.
The CHAIRMAN. It is just to give the staff, if we wish to have any
on this subject, give them some advance notice. They cannot just
cook up witnesses overnight, and it is really about a month off if
anything is to be done, when our hearings on aid and the present
Latin American hearings of Senator Morse’s, which I have been to,
and I may say they have been very interesting. We have some extremely knowledgeable people yesterday and the day before.That is
what this is for. Senator Cooper, you are recognized to explain
what you had in mind.
Senator COOPER. I will speak to the committee. My purpose in
making the proposal I am about to make is this: I think we all
know that we have reached another crisis and one of decision with
respect to the war in Vietnam.
I am aware, as all of us are of the dangerous situation which exists there and, of course, as it affects our men there, and it is a
rather—it is not only difficult but it makes it rather difficult to
speak at this time. But yet I believe that we have that duty to keep
thinking about it, and to speak if we have anything to offer which,
at least, we think is of some value.
Now, many people in this Senate and House have spoken about
negotiations. There are organizations all over this country that talk
about negotiations. There are prominent individuals throughout
the world who are giving advice to the United States Government
about negotiations. There are governments now which have taken
action to express an official viewpoint about negotiations.
We have had hearings upon the Tonkin Bay situation and about
the question of national commitment which have great value, in my
view, looking to the future, and it would seem to me that the most
immediate problem which the administration must continually be
considering is this question of any alternative to problem of winning the war by military means. Some want to do that.
So this—I will read briefly my statement—and I may say I have
written a letter to Senator Fulbright, after talking to him, and I
have sent a copy of that letter to each member. I do not know
whether you have had an opportunity to read it. I have it with me.
This will probably make clear my purpose in my remarks.
I have proposed that the Foreign Relations Committee hold hearings on the problem of negotiations with a purpose of leading to the
end of the war in Vietnam.
I think it obvious, but I make it clear that such hearings could
not intrude on the authority of the President and the administration to conduct negotiations. My purpose is that the hearings
should give advice and assistance to the President.
The immediate importance of this study arises from the evident
fact that our Government is faced with the decision whether it
shall commit additional resources and men to the war in Vietnam.
As the administration has stated many times, that it seeks to
enter into negotiations, and as various countries and individuals
are offering advice upon negotiations, I think it proper and, I may
say consistent, that our committee give such assistance as it is able
to provide in this field, as an alternative to an expanded war.
The committee could call witnesses who have had experience in
actual negotiations with Communist countries under conditions of
war or in negotiations to avoid war, and I will try to give an example. If such witnesses have not been consulted by the administration, their testimony and advice would be of value and could be
made available to the administration during, after the hearings of
the committee.
As the subject is admittedly a delicate one, I would recommend
that hearings be conducted in executive session.
Now, concerning the witnesses whom the committee might call,
I would suggest that witnesses who have participated in the Geneva Conference negotiations of 1954 concerning the protocol states
of Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos, and in the negotiations of 1962
concerning Laos.
Now, speaking of those witnesses, of course, Mr. Dulles and General Bedell Smith were the chief representatives of the United
States at the Geneva Conference. Both are dead. But, undoubtedly
there were assistants from the Department of State and, perhaps
others, who had participated in those negotiations and were concerned with them.
Regarding the negotiations of 1962 concerning Laos, of course
Ambassador Harriman was the chief negotiator, and I understand
that there is a man named Chester Cooper—no relation of mine—
but who was his assistant at the time, and he is now not in the
State Department but with some organization called IDA.
The CHAIRMAN. Institute for Defense Analysis, is it not?
Senator COOPER. I think so.
Then further the experiences of those who participated in the Korean negotiations, I think that would be important because negotiations continued or rather the war continued alongside of negotiations.
I would think that such witnesses as General Matthew Ridgway,
Commander-in-Chief of our forces in Korea at the time, and military officers who conducted actual negotiations at Panmunjon. It is
rather interesting to note that, I think, the first officer who conducted the actual negotiations at Panmunjon was Admiral Turner
Senator COOPER. Admiral Turner Joy.
The CHAIRMAN. I did not know there was such a person.
Senator COOPER. He is dead now.
Anyhow, he was followed by a General named Harrison. I do not
know where he is.
Then, in the U.N. at various times our ambassadors have had negotiations there both with respect to Vietnam and Korea and, as
we know, Ambassador Goldberg and Ambassador Lodge and former
Ambassador Ernest Gross, who was the deputy under Warren Austin, and they have dealt with these matters.
Then it seems to me there are more technical questions like the
procedures of negotiation technique, and it might be of some interest, and certainly there are a number of people available upon that.
Also there might be those who participated in negotiations at Warsaw with the Chinese, John Cabot Lodge who used to be the ambassador there, I think he negotiated with them.
The committee could decide after a time whether it thought this
was of value. But, as I have said, we have not been conducting negotiations. I have participated in and have approved of events that
related to the past. But it seems to me here is a situation where
such evidence could be made available to the President if he desired it; it would be of value to the committee, and if, under appropriate circumstances, the committee decided to submit it to the
Senate and the public, I think it would give a side of this problem
which up to this point has been made known just chiefly in speech-
es of individuals and the cries, organized cries throughout the
I said in my letter to the chairman:
It would be necessary to find out if these men would be willing to testify.
I thought it would be more likely in executive session.
It is difficult to define the exact scope of such hearings, but the committee could
draw upon the large experience of such witnesses and inquire in to the procedures
and means by which negotiations might be obtained under terms which would be
considered in negotiations and which hopefully would be acceptable to the countries
[The letter of Senator Cooper follows:]
February 29, 1968
Hon. J.W. Fulbright
Chairman, Committee on Foreign Relations,
United States Senate
Washington, DC.
DEAR MR. CHAIRMAN: I am writing you to spell out more precisely my suggestion
that the Senate Foreign Relations Committee hold hearings on the subject of negotiations which might lead to an end of the war in Vietnam, and upon which the
committee might properly advise and be of assistance to the President.
I believe it would be helpful to ask for the testimony and advice of persons who
have been involved in negotiations with Communist countries in past years. Among
those I suggest are General Matthew Ridgway, George Kennan, Ambassador Averell
Harriman, Ambassador Arthur Goldberg, Ernest Gross, and Arthur Dean.
General Ridgway could be most helpful to the committee by explaining how negotiations can proceed during a wartime situation, as they did during his time as
Commander of the United Nations Forces in Korea. Ambassador Charles Yost, Ernest Gross and Chester Cooper would all be very helpful in informing the committee
of the technical aspects of negotiations. An important aspect of such hearings would
be to define as best we can what the Vietnamese, both North and South, would consider acceptable. Toward this end, the committee could hear Mr. Thomas Hughes,
the Director of Intelligence and Research in the Department of State. It would be
necessary to find out if these men would be willing to testify, and I believe that
hearings should be in executive session. I am sure that other members of the committee will have further suggestions.
It is difficult to define the exact scope of such hearings, but the committee could
draw upon the large experience of such witnesses end inquire into the procedures
and means by which negotiations might be obtained and the terms which would be
considered in negotiations and which hopefully would be acceptable to the countries
If the hearings should prove of value, the committee could submit the record or
the summary of the record to the President, and its conclusions if it desired to do
so. I am sure that the record would provide to the administration the advice of some
persons of experience who have not been consulted. It is my idea that the committee
would not be encroaching upon the responsibilities of the Executive, but would be
carrying out its constitutional function to give advice.
I believe the consideration of this subject is important, particularly at the present
time when a further commitment of United States’ men and resources is being considered. Further, as the committee has been considering past events end their
present end future implications, it would be helpful to consider the present situation
in Vietnam and the ways by which it can give advice addressed to the subject of
negotiations, which the administration has declared again and again it seeks.
Yours sincerely,
Senator COOPER. Well, that is about my proposal.
The CHAIRMAN. Senator Mansfield, do you have any comments?
Senator MANSFIELD. No. I have just got notice of a meeting on
further hearings, and I did not know what it was about, and I just
came down to find out.
The CHAIRMAN. Did you get a copy of Senator Cooper’s letter?
Senator COOPER. No. I am sorry. I meant to talk to you, but you
were so busy with Civil Rights all morning, and I had no chance.
The CHAIRMAN. That is all right.
Senator Hickenlooper, do you have any comment?
Senator HICKENLOOPER. Yes, I do, but I do not know what it
should be. [Laughter.]
The CHAIRMAN. Do you want to think a minute?
Senator COOPER. Say what is on your mind.
Senator HICKENLOOPER. I think I know what I am going to comment about.
Senator CLARK. You will find out after you make it.
Senator HICKENLOOPER. Well, let me make a few and then find
out. [Laughter.]
While I am thoroughly sympathetic in the desire to explore and
pursue every possible means of an honorable negotiation, it seems
to me that is what we have been doing now for two or three years.
I do not know who we are going to negotiate with.
We are still up against this impasse of a declaration that if we
stop bombing the North then maybe they will negotiate. They do
not say they will stop furnishing supplies to the South, troops, supplies and everything else.
I think I agree with the administration—I do not agree with a
lot of things that the administration has done, do not misunderstand me, but on this I think I agree that this thing could stop almost overnight if they would agree to stop furnishing supplies and
withdraw their men from South Vietnam back to North Vietnam,
and we agree to stop the bombing of North Vietnam, and then negotiate the relationship of the two countries. We have made a lot
of statements.
Now, these people that you mention are all very fine people.
They have had varying degrees of experience. Some of them are
like a piano player who was able to play Dardenella fifty years ago
but have not played much since, and he has got out of practice with
his fingers. I am not sure some of these people have got their fingers on the keys this time, although they have got good sense and
good judgment.
But in any event, they are all available to the President, they are
all available to the administration.
I said just before you came in, John, I just wondered if we would
be accused of setting up a committee for the conduct of the Civil
War, and which would add to the idea that we are so willing to do
almost any given thing, surrender, that all you have to is hang on
and we will keep fooling around with this movement until we do.
Sometimes it reminds me a little bit about the fellow who called
up a girl one night and said, ‘‘Is this you, Mary?’’ And she said,
He said, ‘‘Mary, I have got a question to ask you. Will you marry
And she said, ‘‘Yes. Who is it?’’
And we seem just about that anxious to seem just about that
anxious to surrender.
Senator LAUSCHE. Who is the man and who is the woman in this
Senator HICKENLOOPER. I do not know, but she was pretty anxious, I will say that.
Senator LAUSCHE. That is the United States is anxious to get
Senator HICKENLOOPER. Yes, that is right.
Anyway, I fear that we would be creating more of a roadblock
than anything else.
In any matter of this kind, the uncertainty of what the enemy
is going to do is one of the biggest psychological and strategic advantages, technical advantages, that you can have.
I do not know, I think the administration has access to all these
people or could have, and I am not so sure Congress ought to be
trying to either run or create the idea that it is running the administrative functions of this operation. Much as I would like to see it
brought to a reasonable halt——
Senator COOPER. May I respond briefly?
The CHAIRMAN. Yes. Senator Cooper.
Senator COOPER. I am not going to take up all the time of the
committee. I recognize first, that the question may be asked, well,
is this committee trying to conduct negotiations. Well, of course, we
have no right to do it and no authority to do it. It would be a criminal offense to do so.
I do not think it might be stated that it would have no practical
The second question is, is this harmful. Well, of course, this can
be argued about anything that is done by this committee. On that
theory the Tonkin Bay investigation is harmful; the arguments we
had over national commitments are harmful; the speeches made in
the Senate are harmful, and I have no doubt it has some psychological effect here and also, perhaps on the Government of Hanoi.
But, it would seem to me, if this is conducted in executive hearings, and if responsible witnesses are called, I think these and others that you would suggest would be responsible, and that it would
be helpful.
It is correct that the administration can call any of these, but I
do not think many of them have been consulted with. There are
some very able men in this group. Arthur Dean is another one who
negotiated with the—many times under Mr. Dulles, and they are
responsible people.
If we secured any information that is valuable, could be given to
the President, whether he used it or not.
It is suggested in many quarters that he only listens to, well to,
Mr. Rostow and Mr. Rusk, and while they are undoubtedly men of
ability, there are other views in this country.
I have come to feel quite strongly, because I have suggested it,
that it would be of help to this committee, and I hope it would be
of help to this administration.
The CHAIRMAN. Senator Gore.
Senator GORE. I yield to Senator Aiken.
The CHAIRMAN. Senator Aiken.
Senator AIKEN. Well, Mr. Chairman, as I understand the principal reason for the North Vietnamese wanting to veto a conference
is because they feel that the San Antonio formula which the President continually refers to is the one that was promulgated by
Santa Ana, and it strikes me, Mr. Chairman, that the suggestion
which has been made here frequently that you, maybe Senator
Cooper and, perhaps, somebody else, go down and talk with the
President, and you might work something out of it which could be
helpful, he might have some suggestions for us—I am sure we
would have some suggestions for him, too, but I think I would try
that first.
Then it might be possible to go ahead and do something that
would be helpful to both Congress and the executive branch in
working out of an uncomfortable situation.
We are having conflicts of interest in our hearings these days
now at this time of year, when some of us have two or three at the
same time. But it could work out, John. I am not saying it would
not, but I would like to have some members of the committee talk
with the President.
The CHAIRMAN. Senator Gore.
Senator GORE. Mr. Chairman, I would like to comment.
The committee will have a hearing on Vietnam with Secretary
Rusk on March 11th. So that in so far as commencing a hearing
on a subject, it seems to me that is already scheduled.
What Senator Cooper suggests is in addition thereto, I take it.
Senator COOPER. It would be helpful and preparatory to it.
Senator GORE. Well, it would hardly be preparatory to it.
The CHAIRMAN. We could not have it soon.
Senator GORE. No, because he has already been scheduled, and
it is proper that he would be the first witness.
What contribution can this committee make, and what is its duty
that it is required to try to make?
Senator Pell said something the other day that has been ringing
in my ears. It does not happen often.
Senator PELL. Maybe it was just too loud. [Laughter.]
Senator GORE. Senator Mansfield suggested, with respect to the
Tonkin Bay hearing that we not do anything that would be divisive. Claiborne responded that under the circumstances duty compelled that we be divisive.
Senator LAUSCHE. At this point may I interpose that I most vigorously disagree with that statement.
Senator GORE. I remember that when Senator Pell made that
Senator LAUSCHE. That is all.
Senator GORE.—that Senator Lausche swallowed real hard.
Senator LAUSCHE. Yes, I did.
Senator DODD. What was the statement?
Senator GORE. I yield to Senator Pell and I will let him speak
for himself. But it was rather an arresting statement.
Senator PELL. The point that I finally came out with, a conclusion, is that, perhaps, at least I am not being completely honest
with myself in wanting these public hearings.
Senator DODD. These are executive.
Senator PELL. Yes. But we are talking about public hearings in
the future. This is executive.
The CHAIRMAN. The ones he is proposing are executive.
Senator CLARK. The ones that Cooper proposed are excutive.
Senator PELL. You propose executive hearings?
Senator COOPER. Yes, because I think it is a critical matter when
these witnesses testify.
Senator PELL. Let me finish this thought that is in my mind,
that we are a democracy and if those of us who believe we are following an incorrect policy are presently in the minority, we believe
that it is a course that would bring our country to disaster——
Senator DODD. Where is the minority, not on this committee.
Senator PELL. No. We, as individuals, just one of us, if we believe
that we have a duty, it seems to me, to try to make what is a minority into a majority, because I am confident the President is responsive to the will of the majority, I think we have a right and
an obligation to disagree with the escalat ing upward course to say
so. That is about it.
Senator CASE. Would the Senator yield to me on this, on this
Senator GORE. Yes.
Senator CASE. Because on this I support Mr. Johnson’s idea. I
think it is a useful thing. It does not go far enough, in my opinion.
I think we should have public hearings to bring out to the people
of this country what is actually going on in South Vietnam, the extent to which the facts are in direct conflict with the statements
and opinions of the administration, so that the American people
can form an opinion about this war which, I think, when they do,
will be the opinion which I have come to, that we have no chance
of winning the war under these present circumstances, but escalation without the destruction of the country, and that this is something that the President will not change unless public opinion in
this country requires him to change it, and that all the rest of the
stuff we are going to be doing is shadow boxing. This does not
mean we should pullout, or anything else. But it does mean that
this committee, if it feels this way, has got the responsibility to
bring the facts out so that the people will know.
I proposed to the chairman, and sent copies to the members of
the committee two weeks ago, an inquiry as to the scope and the
quality of the official reporting in the evaluation process in the
Government and nothing happened. I have been groping, as we all
have, for some way to make a contribution.
I think it is a curious thing that Parade, which is not necessarily
my guide in all matters spiritual or intellectual or otherwise, is
coming out with an editorial this Sunday in which it urges this
committee to give a platform, and I will use the words here, ‘‘so
that the American people might obtain the views of some of the
most knowledgeable and experienced war correspondents, wouldn’t
it be a good idea for the Senate Foreign Relations Committee to invite these returning newspaper and TV correspondents to testify in
public session?’’
Senator CLARK. Who is this, Cliff?
Senator CASE. This is coming out, Carl called it to my attention,
as his general bedside reading, and this is directly on the point.
This committee, it is not a question of our learning what is going
on. This is—I proposed something like this before and I was turned
down by the staff and, perhaps, by the chairman, partly on the
ground that we were not seeking facts. The question was a matter
of judgment, not of the facts. But it may be a matter of judgment
for us who have essentially, I think, the facts now, but the people
of this country do not have the facts.
As this magazine says here, ‘‘The New York Times isn’t read in
Peoria, the Chicago Sun-Times in Hartford, or the Honolulu StarBulletin in San Antonio.’’
The country does not get this stuff, and I think we would be
making an enormous contribution if we could help develop a public
understanding of what the facts are, so that when an intelligent
policy of measured deescalation, not quitting and running, or anything of this sort, could be worked out along the lines that Frank
McCullough told some of us who were able to hear him that afternoon at a coffee which we had in the committee room, and others,
The only way to get the South Vietnamese to get on the job is
to make clear to them that, by God, if they do not, they are going
to get out. President Johnson is not determined—he is determined
to win the war the other way. It cannot be won the other way without the destruction of the country, in my opinion.
Senator DODD. May I interrupt, Mr. Chairman?
Senator COOPER. May I——
The CHAIRMAN. The Senator asked me to yield first.
Senator LAUSCHE. It is my deep conviction that we cannot expect
justly for our men on the battlefield to try to break down the will
of the North Vietnamese and Vietcong to resist and let’s bring the
war to an end while we in this committee are strengthening the
will of the North Vietnamese to continue the battle.
Now, my judgment is that if we are trying to intelligently reach
a decision that would be in the best interests of the United States,
we should try to coordinate the efforts of the President, the men
on the battlefield, and this committee.
Tragically, this committee has become obsessed with the belief
that it has been disregarded by the President and, therefore, there
shall be public acrimonious confrontation between the President
and this committee.
Senator Mansfield the other day suggested that we ought to meet
with the President and discuss the subject with him, and in that
type of meeting try to bring him to our way of thinking. But that
we are not doing.
Standing out conspicuously is the effort that goes to the floor of
the Senate, and in vigorous lacerating terms to condemn the administration without the achieving of anything except causing the
death of more men and bodily injury to more men.
Now, what I would propose is the carrying out of what Mr.
Mansfield said. Let us sit down with the President and discuss the
matter and see if you cannot reach a sort of understanding without
publicly throwing blows at each other, libeling and slandering each
other, which is conducive to no help to anyone.
Senator GORE. Mr. Chairman, maybe it would be best if I conclude.
Senator LAUSCHE. All right, go ahead. I am through.
Senator GORE. Well, the response to Claiborne’s statement that
it was an arresting statement.
What is the duty of dissent, the duty of disagreement? What is
the responsibility of it?
The CHAIRMAN. Of what?
Senator GORE. The duty and responsibility of disagreement with
It is, if one does feel as Claiborne says he feels, that we are on
a disastrous course, that the consequences of the policy if pursued
will be catastrophic to the country, what does one do? What does
a member of this committee do?
We must all rationalize our duty. Unfortunately sometimes we
are accused of aiding the enemy or almost insinuating that we are
on their side. I think this is most unfortunate in our system. However, it cannot be allowed to deter us.
My own conviction is that we are considering a disastrous course.
I would like to relate to the committee, since we are in executive
session, a personal conversation I had with the President a long
time ago when he was considering sending ground troops to Vietnam. I went to him and undertook to dissuade him. I suggested the
possibility of trouble flaring up in Korea again, the possibility of
Russia moving into the Mediterranean, and the Middle East, the
possibility of a Berlin blockade flaring up again. Fortunately that
has not occurred.
The President reviewed the whole situation. He recalled how he
was called down to the White House when President Eisenhower
was considering sending troops to Dienbienphu. I recalled it, too,
because along with about a half dozen other Senators I waited in
the cloakroom until he came back to tell us what the decision was.
He recalled how he had told President Eisenhower he opposed it,
thought it would be very unwise, tragic, to get involved in a land
war in Asia.
But he went on to say that after President Eisenhower and Secretary Dulles committed us to economic aid, and how President
Kennedy had increased it there, and then how—well, he finally
said, ‘‘It is now in my lap,’’ or something to that effect. I am not
sure those were his exact words. I am going to quote him exactly
in a moment, but anyway he said it was his responsibility. He ei-
ther must withdraw the advisers or send combat troops, and the
one thing I want to quote him as saying is, ‘‘I am not going to be
the first President to run.’’
The CHAIRMAN. To what?
Senator GORE. To run, r-u-n.
Senator DODD. To run away.
Senator CLARK. Yes.
Senator MUNDT. You do not mean run for election? [Laughter.]
Senator GORE. I did not think that was the framework in which
the decision should be made. I thought we should look cooly and
coldly and as dispasisionately as possible at the long-term national
interest which, I thought, required our extrication from that morass instead of our plunging headlong into it.
Now, I saw the President quoted a few days ago. I did not hear
him say this. He said those words to me. I read him quoted in the
press as saying that the other side had not offered anything which
he would find acceptable, and here are the quotes attributed to
him, ‘‘I am not going to be the first President to surrender to the
I cannot vouch for the accuracy of the quote. I only cite these two
things to illustrate that we are led by a man of very great ability,
enormous capacity, and a stubbornness which some people admire
beyond stint but which in this situation, I think, may be one of our
very greatest obstacles to peace.
What do we do? I searched the Tonkin Bay resolution the other
day. I think most of you will agree that it remained for me, in part,
to pull the cover back and expose a situation by which we were
misled, a situation which showed, I believe, that Mr. McNamara
was attempting to mislead us again.
I am not sure he attempted to, intended to, in the first instance
but I could not escape the conclusion that he did intend to mislead
by the release of his statement the other day. So I concluded then
that in so far as our records were concerned, the truth must be revealed.
What do we do now? How do we rationalize our duty? What
course does patriotism dictate?
Frank Lausche, who is as patriotic as any man living, feels that
we must yield our doubts and achieve unity in order to achieve victory. What kind of victory? Will it be Pyrrhic? What would be the
end purpose of unity? Would the end result, the consequences, be
a war with China? That is what I fear, frankly.
I do not think there are many steps, many further escalation
steps, steps of escalation, short of that. Right now we are advised
that the program, the Vietnam policy, is being reassessed and reviewed. I hope it is. It certainly needs reassessment. Every reassessment in the past has resulted in a decision to escalate. I hope
that will not again be the result. It may be. Suppose it is? I think
it would be tragic.
I do not know what to do. We are all afflicted with doubts. I can
only retire to the old adage, let the Nation know the truth and the
truth shall make us free.
I would support Senator Cooper’s proposal, except that to the the
fullest extent possible the hearings be public because this is a democracy, this is a people’s government. It is their sons who are
dying, it is their country that is suffering. So that is my response.
Excuse me for being so long.
Senator CASE. Would the Senator yield?
Senator GORE. I have finished.
Senator CASE. Yes but on your point.
Senator GORE. Yes, I yield.
Senator CASE. I would hope you would go further than that. The
trouble with limiting this matter to negotiations is, in the first
place, I do not think it is broad enough. I think the facts as to what
is going on and what will happen if we continue in this fashion in
the war on the ground is equally important as to whether we—perhaps more important as to whether in the past we have failed to
take observation of a wink of the eye or a nod of the head or something else, as many people have said, and I have never put much
stock in that story.
I am certainly not against a negotiation inquiry, and I think it
is fine. But I think the facts as to what will happen if we continue
in the present fashion are essential to be made public.
Senator GORE. I want to proceed on that for just a moment. I say
to you that I have about reached a conclusion in my own heart that
this Congress either ought to declare war or undeclare war.
Senator LAUSCHE. I pretty near reached the conclusion that the
way to bring this to a clear understanding is for the chairman to
introduce a resolution that we pull out of Vietnam, let it go to a
vote, and then if the vote is that we should not pull out, join shoulders in support of our men. Now I do not know whether it should
be done or not.
Senator GORE. Well, the manner in which the resolution is presented would be important. But if this country declares war my
dissent will end. We have not declared war. We have been led step
by step into a war each time being assured we did not seek a wider
Senator HICKENLOOPER. Will you yield there, Senator?
Senator GORE. Yes.
Senator HICKENLOOPER. You asked a question which is a very
pertinent question a minute ago, as to what is our role. We are a
legislative committee. We are not an administrative branch here,
and our remedy and our weapon is legislation.
Senator GORE. Bourke, that is not all. The Constitution places
the United States Senate in a peculiar partnership with the President.
Senator HICKENLOOPER. Advise and consent, on what? Advise
and consent on appointments of ambassadors and ministers and a
few other things.
Senator GORE. No, it is not confined to that.
Senator LAUSCHE. You were going to say something. You agree
with what?
Senator HICKENLOOPER. I was about to agree with you. That is
why you are so enthusiastic about it. [Laughter.]
I think there is something to what Frank Lausche says. If we
feel this way about it, then from a legislative standpoint and with
a legislative vehicle, introduce resolutions of legislative authority
and have them voted on.
Senator CLARK. We did. We did it on April 17th—on April 4,
1967 at the behest of Senator Mansfield, to which I added——
Senator HICKENLOOPER. That is all I wanted to say.
Senator GORE. I have yielded. Let Joe talk.
Senator HICKENLOOPER. Our weapon and our forte is legislation.
Senator GORE. I will speak briefly and then I will yield. I do not
agree that our role is limited to legislation. The Constitution gives
to the Congress the power and responsibility of raising and supporting an Army or not doing so.
Senator HICKENLOOPER. That is legislation.
Senator GORE. Of raising the revenue.
Senator HICKENLOOPER. That is legislative.
Senator GORE. Well, let me go ahead for a moment. It also places
the Senate itself in a unique and peculiarly limited partnership for
the conduct of the foreign relations of this country with the President, and I do not think we can absolve ourselves from the responsibility, and I think in this particular circumstance, tragic as it is,
we need to rise and assert our responsibility and our duty.
Excuse me, Joe.
Senator CLARK. I want to take my turn because my turn has not
come yet.
The CHAIRMAN. All right.
Senator Carlson, do you want to respond?
Senator CLARK. Frank, await your turn. Let us let this thing go
on the basis of seniority.
The CHAIRMAN. I thought you wanted to respond.
Senator COOPER. If I might make one statement that I think will
be helpful in this discussion, it seems to me what you all have been
saying is, of course, of substance, and that is people do have a right
to know everything that is going on, as far as I understand this
system, conducive with security, and I certainly have made my dissent, which has not been, I would say, as critical as some, but I
have tried to make my suggestions from time to time and for a
good long time.
But what I see happening is this: The war, if the decision is
made to send the troops, and in my judgment it will be because
they will take into consideration the safety of these men, with that
response then from North Vietnam of more men and weapons from
China in time, I would say a response from Russia, and more sophisticated weapons, and so you have a continued war.
Now, the split in the committee, the split in Congress, the split
in the country, and as long as that split goes on, I think the President is going to follow his course.
Now, we all have been agreed upon one thing, the President and
the administration have said always they seek negotiation. I do not
know whether you can get negotiation or not. I have always said
that. But they say they seek it.
This Congress has said it sought and approved negotiations, and
in the act I think which Senator Clark is going to talk about, what
my proposal would do would be to limit it to that point where all
have said they agreed, and see if we can build some help from distinguished men of this country who had actual experience in this
field, which could be made available to the President, and which
would help us, and if the committee felt right, to give it to the public.
I thought that, for the moment, because of this critical situation,
and to give the affirmative feeling we are trying to do something
affirmative, that it might be executive, but that is up to the committee.
That is all I am going to say.
The CHAIRMAN. Senator Carlson.
Senator CARLSON. I think the discussion around the table indicates that we are all under a very severe and difficult problem and
burden. We do not know just exactly what to do. We want to do
what is in the best interests of our country, and I think when it
gets out to the final analysis, the Senator from Ohio mentioned the
President and the men overseas and this committee, and I think
you have got to go further. I think you have got to go out to the
The people are getting greatly concerned about this situation and
we are, at least the people in Kansas have a feeling that we, as
a Congress, particularly this committee, are not meeting our responsibility.
When we had this up before I suggested that I hoped the President would invite members of the committee down and discuss this
situation before he further escalated the war, and I am still of that
I am fearful that, in fact I feel confident that, they are going to
escalate this war.
I was over in Vietnam last July, and there are two groups that
want an escalation of this war in this way. They want more troops
over there. One is the American boys themselves, and the second
is the South Vietnamese, including President Thieu with whom I
discussed it.
I sincerely hope that we do not act today. I think the President
is going to have to make his decision now within the next week or
two because there is great concern over there about our being in
position to maintain our troops.
Our troops might just as well be frank about it, the Deputy Commander Abrams said that we are too thin. He just said it publicly
here within the last 30 days, so they are going to have more troops
if we maintain our position.
Now, the question with me is should we try to do something now
or just with a hope that the President would, at least, and I think,
I saw, somebody in the White House did say the other day that he
is going to consult with some people up in Congress before he goes
through with it, I may have misread that, but I did read that, so
I would like to have it come from down at the White House instead
of our trying to press it. But I do say there is a severe feeling out
in the country that we are not meeting our responsibilities. That
is all I have to say.
The CHAIRMAN. Senator Lausche.
Senator LAUSCHE. Yes.
Frank, I do not think that I am far apart in my thinking with
a majority of the members of this committee.
The only way in which I differ is the technique chosen to achieve
an objective which is common in the minds of all of us. I think we
are overcommitted around the world. I do not believe we can act
as the policeman to bring about a pacified condition in countries far
removed from our shores.
I have great apprehensions about our ability to succeed in Vietnam. But I come to the point of how can I best put into effect the
thinking which I have about what ought to be done.
Frank, you say that now we are confronted with sending more
troops to Vietnam. I think we are. But the issue is not whether we
should send more troops to Vietnam. If we stay there we must send
adequate troops to insure that we will not make a butchery out of
the men who are there.
Senator CASE. That is axiomatic.
Senator LAUSCHE. Now, the issue is shall we stay there or pullout.
Senator CLARK. That is not the issue and it never has been the
issue. That oversimplifies it. It is not right to say that is the issue.
Senator CASE. That is accepting the President’s framework and
Senator LAUSCHE. Anyhow, that is my view, that the issue is
whether we stay there or pullout. If we stay there we have got to
send in adequate numbers of men to make certain that those who
are there will not be slaughtered.
Senator GORE. Would you yield there, Frank?
Senator LAUSCHE. Yes, I do.
Senator GORE. Now, you put it in the hard context of stay there
or pull out. We know what you mean by pull out, that is a term
that has connotations.
Senator CLARK. Which are provocative.
Senator GORE. What do you mean by ‘‘stay there’’ and what are
the consequences of staying there, in what manner stay there?
Senator CLARK. What do you mean by ‘‘pull out’’?
Senator LAUSCHE. I mean stay there to reach the objective which
we have in mind.
Senator CLARK. Which is what?
Senator LAUSCHE. There will be non-interference and non-aggression from the Communists in the North in the purpose of the citizens of the South trying to establish their own government under
constitutional processes.
Senator GORE. Will you yield there?
Senator LAUSCHE. I yield, yes.
Senator GORE. I think the facts are that the Tet offensive which
did such terrific damage to the pacification program, which recaptured a great deal of territory, was not by North Vietnamese alone,
but very much by the indigenous population of South Vietnam.
How would you stay there in that situation?
Senator LAUSCHE. I will not undertake to argue that issue as to
whether it is the South Vietnamese or the North.
Senator GORE. But it is crucial to what you mean by staying
Senator LAUSCHE. I do not concede what you have said there because if the South Vietnamese are the ones who are primarily involved in this guerilla uprising under the protection of the Lunar
holiday season, the expectations of the North Vietnamese that the
people would rise in rebellion would have become a reality, but it
did not become a reality.
Senator CLARK. There was not a single North Vietnamese soldier
in the IV Corps area, not one.
Senator LAUSCHE. Let me go on.
The CHAIRMAN. The Senator from Ohio.
Senator LAUSCHE. Thanks very much, Mr. Chairman. I agree
with you, John.
Senator COOPER. On what? [Laughter.]
Senator LAUSCHE. Speeches that have been made on the Senate
floor have been harmful.
Senator COOPER. I did not say that.
Senator LAUSCHE. I think the record will show that.
Senator COOPER. I said some people will consider it.
Senator PELL. Did you say that?
Senator COOPER. No.
Senator LAUSCHE. Let the record speak for itself.
The. Tonkin Bay hearings were not helpful. In my opinion, this
committee acting separately, without first attempting to have an
understanding through consultation with the President, has been
At this point I want to repeat that what we ought to do is ask
for a meeting with the President, and there behind closed doors express our views.
Instead of doing that, we are moving farther and farther apart
from the President. He is making statements in accord with his
thinking. We on the floor of the Senate are challenging him, the
result being that we are driven farther and farther apart.
The CHAIRMAN. Frank, will you yield just for a comment?
Senator LAUSCHE. Yes, I will yield.
The CHAIRMAN. When the matter came up I said to the Majority
Leader who conveyed this, speaking as far as myself, that I was
ready to go with any part or all of this committee whenever the
President desired it, and that is what I said and that is the way
it stands. It happened at least a month ago. I say this just for the
Senator LAUSCHE. What about the proposal of Senator Mansfield
that we ask, the whole committee ask, for a meeting with the
Senator AIKEN. I think he has practically invited us.
The CHAIRMAN. I have received no invitation. I told Mike I was
ready to go either individually or as a member of the committee or
any part of it, whenever the President invited us. That is exactly
what I told him.
Senator AIKEN. He invited you and Bill in the same way he
would like to end the war, a tacit understanding.
The CHAIRMAN. That was a fact that I told the Majority Leader
when this matter was brought up.
Senator LAUSCHE. How can we bring out this objective instead of
arguing in public, sitting down——
The CHAIRMAN. My position is that unless he desires our consultation it is worth nothing to insist on going to see him. If he is
interested in this committee’s or my own personal view, I am perfectly willing to do it. But he is the President of the United States,
and if he does not desire to have our views I do not think it is any
good to insist on going.
Senator CASE. Would the Chairman yield.
The CHAIRMAN. I just wanted to clarify the record.
Senator LAUSCHE. I have the floor.
Senator CASE. Would you yield just on that point?
Senator LAUSCHE. Yes.
Senator CASE. I do think if we arrange such meeting I would be
happy and flattered if I would be included, as it would be for the
whole committee. It would not be on the basis of the President giving us the dope, but that we would have a chance to tell him. Not
one of these formal briefings with all the boys and the panoply of
the brass and all the rest, not that I want to exclude it, but this
is our chance to discuss it with him.
Senator AIKEN. Would you yield to me? I am just wondering, because we have a war, I noticed from the press releases of the administration, that the number of enemy killed exceeds the 300,000
mark, 302,000 were the figures given on the ticker. The highest
number of Vietcong, plus Vietnamese in South Vietnam ever reported to this committee were 298,000. If we killed 302,000 out of
298,000, what are we shooting at?
I think the administration, somebody down there, was a little
careless or a little overoptimistic. But I will leave this to Carl. The
highest figures we ever had were 298,000.
The CHAIRMAN. Senator Lausche.
Senator AIKEN. I do not expect you to answer that, Frank, but
I thought it was a ridiculous release.
Senator LAUSCHE. I can understand that, but that is going down
a different avenue from what I am going to discuss.
Senator CLARK. Is this a filibuster, Frank?
Senator LAUSCHE. For goodness sake, Joe, others have done most
of the talking.
The CHAIRMAN. You are recognized. Nobody is trying to shut you
Senator DODD. Can I raise a parliamentary question? Are we
going to have a vote today?
The CHAIRMAN. This was a discussion. Were you here when Senator Cooper opened up?
Senator DODD. No. I am sorry I was not, but I was detained. I
read the letter.
The CHAIRMAN. That is what it was about. He requested I this
to discuss it.
Senator DODD. I want to catch a plane.
The CHAIRMAN. The only thing up before us is: Does the committee wish to agree to have hearings? They are at least a month
off. It takes the staff—we have got hearings scheduled for three
weeks, along the lines Senator Cooper suggested.
Senator LAUSCHE.
Senator LAUSCHE. Senator Hickenlooper asked who are we to negotiate with. In my opinion, the President, motivated by politics, in
part, has been trying to get Ho Chi Minh to the negotiating table.
He has not been able to do so.
In other words, in my opinion, the administration has attempted
to bring Ho Chi Minh, yes, drag him to the negotiating table, but
has not been able.
Now, here are my proposals: That this committee recommend
that, there be a truce in the firing, in the movement of the troops
and military equipment, and that that should be sought through
the joint action of the President of the United States and the Communists. The recommendation probably will not be carried into effect. The President would join in it.
2. That there be a meeting with the President of all of the members of this committee, that being our primary objective, to talk out
in closed quarters the differences which we have between us.
3. That we condemn the United Nations for failure to perform
the functions which the charter says it shall perform. That is the
end of my presentation.
The CHAIRMAN. Senator Mundt.
Senator MUNDT. I think I am as confused as everybody is sitting
around the table.
I have got a few convictions. I do not think that this committee
should ask the President to have us come down and discuss with
him the various obvious differences which will be ventilated down
there before him, to expect him to arbitrate the various points of
I think if he invites us to come we should go. But at least until
and unless we have got a consensus of viewpoint to carry down
there and to present, I see, I try to visualize this meeting, and everybody is going to say the kind of things we are saying around the
table, and I do not see how that is going to be helpful to the President, and certainly we do not want to assume the responsibility for
running the war, and he has got that responsibility and he has got
to continue to do it.
Regarding the Cooper Resolution, I think we have got lots of time
to think about that because obviously we cannot vote on this or, in
my opinion, should not vote on it until we hear Secretary Rusk in
open hearing.
If that hearing goes off, as it should, I would expect him to be
before us for several days, and I would think we could work out
some kind of understanding among ourselves as to how we are
going to conduct it, how long each one of us should take because
otherwise we will have him there for the rest of the war, but I
think we can decide in advance if we want to let everybody exhaust
his questions on the first round or have 10– or 15–minute limitations, or nothing at all, but I think we ought to have some understanding before we start this that we do not have the customary
public brawl about somebody taking too much time and somebody
not taking enough.
But I think, I would think, that out of that we would get some
illumination as to whether we want to proceed with the Cooper
type of hearings in an executive session or in public session or not
at all. But I just think it is wrong for us to ask the President to
invite us down, to sort of referee our different points of view.
I think we ought to try to thrash it out around this table so at
least more than half would have the same point of view to suggest.
I do not see how we can contribute anything otherwise excepting
providing him with a format to tell us what he is going to do, and
then we are part of the act, because we have got no way of stopping
it, we have no way of publicly protest ing it, it is not our function,
it seems to me, to try to conduct the war. I think that is his function. If it is not his function then it belongs to Dick Russell’s committee rather than ours, a military advisory council, I do not think
it was built for that particular kind of job. We deal with foreign
policy, and I think that some discussion—Bill has initiated some
good ones, what is the function of this committee, we had some
hearings on that. We had a very good Senate hearing, I think, on
the Chinese policy, what should be our attitude toward the Chinese
situation. I have been carrying around in my pocket for some time
and have not offered it, and I may or may not offer it, but I would
like to see us conduct some public hearings also not on the outcome
of a situation which is serious, but as to the cause, the basic problem——
The CHAIRMAN. What? I did not hear that.
Senator MUNDT. As to the cause of the basic problem or the basic
situation in Vietnam.
I think we are all aware of the fact, although we do not talk
about it very much, that you kind of have got a war going on over
there between the U. S. and Russia, between Communism and our
way of life by proxy that ballooned farther out than just a little war
between the South Vietnamese and the North Vietnamese, and I
think it would be very illuminating and helpful to this country if
we conduct a series of public hearings which we might label a
study, which has never been done, of the international relations between the United States and the USSR in the last half century.
This is the basic thing, unless we can reconcile the differences
between the Communist half of the world and ourselves, otherwise
we are going to have a war. We have a little war now, and we
might have a big war.
On this we might contribute something which would lead possibly to a helpful conclusion concerning Vietnam, and it would not
be directed toward trying to negotiate that war. It would not be directed toward trying to ascertain blame for that war.
It would be, here we are, here is Russia. For 50 years we have
moved together, and we have moved apart, a scholarly public, intelligent hearing with the best authorities we can get on the relationships, not to form any conclusion, not to accuse the Russians of
anything or say that we have always been right, but to try to find
out just exactly what these differences are and what are the possibilities of reducing them.
I think that would be a fruitful and useful hearing, and I have
got a resolution, as I say, but I have never introduced it. I am not
sure enough about the angle, but I think in that field this committee, in its own bailiwick, can make some constructive suggestions and out of those hearings might come some concept of how
to lessen the tensions between Russia and its way of life and the
United States and its way of life.
Until we do, either Vietnam or some other situation, I think, is
going to continue to boil up and bring us either directly or by proxy
into conflict. That is all I have to say.
The CHAIRMAN. Very good.
Senator Dodd.
Senator DODD. Mr. Chairman, I am very reluctant to say anything because I have a very unpopular view of the whole situation.
I do not think anyone agrees with it. I think it is part of a worldwide conflict, and we have not faced up to it, and if it is not Vietnam it will be South Africa or some other place in Africa or Central
America or South America.
I do not think there is going to be any end to it. Nobody wants
to hear it. I think we are on the threshold of another war, and I
do not think there is any escaping it as long as the Communists
stick to their declared objective of destroying us.
I remember when the Korean negotiations went on, I remember
Dienbienphu, I was a member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee at that time, and I do not pretend to want to appear as a
prophet, but it was easy to prophesy that it would occur quickly
somewhere else.
Then came South Vietnam. It will be something else. So I do not
share any of the views expressed here, and I have said so to the
people I am privileged to represent, and I am going to go on saying
so as a matter of conscience. So I do not think I can contribute
If there is a vote, of course, I will vote, but I do not know how
the question will be posed.
The CHAIRMAN. Senator Case.
Senator CASE. Well, I have said everything that I think I want
to say, Mr. Chairman. I could not disagree more with people like
Frank who think that ventilating the facts and the issues contributes to in any way adversely to the interests of this country. If I
thought that, of course, I would keep my mouth shut.
I think the reverse is true, and I think that our responsibility
and our chief function in the present circumstances, particularly
with a President of the sort we have in the White House, with
great ability and great stubbornness, as I said before, to bring to
bear the pressure of enlightened public opinion on him, to require
him to change policies which, I think, can lead only to disaster.
I think our hearings ought be based upon putting the facts out,
not trying to persuade anybody of anything that is not true, but to
give everybody a chance to say what he thinks about it, and that
this is the way that we will get somewhere and the only way we
will get somewhere with the President.
He has already committed heavily in one direction because once
you take a course, make a choice, you naturally are going to continue, and it will require something very extraordinary, and nothing short, I think, of public opinion is going to do it.
This, I think will, and if we are wrong then public opinion will
tell us that. But in any event I think we will have attempted to
fulfill our function.
The CHAIRMAN. Senator Dodd.
Senator DODD. Mr. Chairman, I do not want to be discourteous,
but I would like to get a plane, and I would like to be excused.
The CHAIRMAN. Certainly you may, and if we arrive at any consensus, your position is against the hearings, I take it, which will
certainly be considered and invited.
Senator DODD. I do not know, I really am not opposed to airing
this and talking it out, and Senator Cooper’s letter, I think, is a
very intelligent letter. I do not know how I would vote. I do not
know how it would be put up to it.
Senator CLARK. We are not going to vote today.
The CHAIRMAN. It was not intended to be strictly that. We are
trying to get a consensus of what is the attitude of the committee
toward this suggestion.
Senator DODD. Mr. Chairman, if you will excuse me.
The CHAIRMAN. Certainly.
Senator LAUSCHE. I am suggesting that we try to have a meeting
with the President to see if we cannot reach a common understanding, and if that cannot be done, I am not against individuals
expressing their views on what they think of the problem.
I am of the belief that we cannot maintain a victorious position
any place 10,000 miles away. That is my own judgment.
Senator CASE. I think there are many points on which we would
find ourselves completely in agreement, Frank, and I certainly am
not against attempting to see the President. I have a real doubt as
to whether it would be effective.
The CHAIRMAN. Senator Clark.
Senator CLARK. Mr. Chairman, I think I am the last member of
this committee to have been in Vietnam. One cannot obviously acquire an expertise in a week, but it certainly does sharpen one’s
thinking and one’s vision, and I have prepared an unclassified report entitled ‘‘Stalemate in Vietnam’’ which has been printed by the
committee. It will be issued, I think, some time next week.
I agree, I think, completely with Cliff Case. If we cannot get anything better than the Cooper Resolution I would vote for it. But I
would like to see open hearings, and I would like to see them cover
the entire spectrum of our involvement in Vietnam because, in my
opinion—and here I agree with Albert and Claiborne that we are
on a disaster course, a course which might even destroy this republic if we do not change our point of view and our position.
I think this committee has a duty to keep unrelenting pressure
on for a political solution in the face of an administrative determination and executive determination to attempt to achieve a military solution which, in my judgment, is impossible, and would be
disastrous if we continue much further.
I am afraid I agree, and while I am very much disturbed about
the divisiveness in the country today, I do not think we can solve
that by burying our convictions, smothering our consciences, and
getting behind a policy which I, in good conscience, cannot agree
Therefore, I do not believe—I think we have to put aside, Claiborne has suggested, the argument about the divisiveness. The
country is divided. I think we have an obligation to try to turn the
executive thinking and executive action toward a political solution.
Now, with respect to a meeting with the President, I agree with
Karl Mundt. I think if we go down there with the points of views
as different as those which have been expressed today, which is no
more than what we have expressed for the last six months or a
year, we do not do the committee any good, and we do not do the
President any good, so I would stay away from that. If he asks us,
I guess we would have to go. I hope he does not ask us.
Senator MUNDT. I agree.
Senator CLARK. One final thought: I am a little worried about
this meeting with Secretary Rusk on the 11th, because as I understand it, it is going to be an open session supposedly directed toward the foreign aid bill, and I would be a little bit allergic to see-
ing members of this committee attempt to convert that into a public hearing on Vietnam when the Secretary has refused to come
down here on Vietnam. I think there is a very real ethical question
The CHAIRMAN. Could I respond to that? It is my understanding—you all know this came through the Majority Leader, the
suggestion that he would like to come, and the Majority Leader
said he would not come with the idea of responding only to foreign
aid. He comes with the——
Senator MUNDT. I did not get you.
The CHAIRMAN. He does not come with the idea that he is to be
confined to foreign aid.
Senator MUNDT. Fine.
The CHAIRMAN. This was all initiated—I thought I said this before.
Senator CLARK. I did not understand that.
The CHAIRMAN. The Majority Leader suggested to me—this was
some time ago—that the Secretary of State would be now willing
to come, and they thought this was a good time to come. This came
through the Majority Leader which, I assume, came through the
President, and he would be prepared to discuss anything. I mean,
he is not coming with the understanding that he is to be asked only
about aid. I mean, you are not going to catch him by surprise by
asking him about anything else.
Senator MUNDT. Joe, that should obviate your problem.
Senator CLARK. It does, completely. I did not so understand it.
Senator GORE. A graceful way to respond.
The CHAIRMAN. I think probably in his statement he will be prepared to give very forcefully the administration’s current position.
Senator CLARK. Mr. Chairman, not only in conclusion but finally,
I would hope——
Senator MUNDT. He should have that right.
Senator MUNDT. He should have that right to answer questions.
The CHAIRMAN. Surely. This came, I may say, from the Majority
Senator CLARK. In conclusion and finally, I would hope that the
majority of the committee would go along with Cliff Case. If it
won’t, I would go along with John Cooper. That is my position.
Senator LAUSCHE. What is the Cliff Case position?
Senator CLARK. Well, Cliff thinks there ought to be public hearings which will cover the whole waterfront, not just executive hearings which will cover only negotiations.
Senator MUNDT. Cliff, don’t you envision that is what is going to
happen, starting on the 11th of March?
Senator CASE. I do not know whether it will or not. I do think
this will happen in a completely useful way unless we make this
as our objective, unless we have preparation for it by the staff, by
ourselves, a broad inquiry into the facts. This is a big undertaking.
It cannot be just done by having maybe half a dozen first-rate people come before us, but I do think it is, in a sense, if you will what,
whoever it was talked about, as unhappily, in the sense, of a com-
mittee on the conduct of the Civil War. The only trouble with a
committee on the conduct of the Civil War was that it did not succeed.
The CHAIRMAN. We are not trying to conduct the war, but the
matter of policy as to which direction you go, it seems to me, is
quite aside from the conduct of the war.
Senator CASE. You can put it in different ways. Is this winnable
on the basis of the present course? Will we succeed militarily but
only by the complete devastation of the whole country and the destruction of all the people? And laying it open to Communist infiltration in a way that never would happen if the normal barriers
against Communist expansion which would exist if the country remained and the people remained essentially as they have been,
were still in place.
This is the kind of thing I think that the President has made it
impossible for himself any longer to consider unless he is forced to
look at it. That is my view.
The CHAIRMAN. Senator Pell has not had an opportunity, has not
had a turn, I guess.
Senator Pell.
Senator PELL. Thank you.
I have several points. In the first place, I cannot help but remember several years ago at one of the briefings at the White House,
before I was a member of this committee, Secretary McNamara
mentioned the possibility of 600,000 men being in Vietnam, and I
think the figures he showed would even go higher than that, so
there should be no surprise about the path of the administration
in its wish to escalate this conflict.
To my mind, we can be sure of a couple of things. We can be sure
that the war will be escalated, and from the viewpoint of tactics I
imagine we will probably end up by going down to the White
House. I hope it would be effective. I do not know.
When we come to this question of butchery—there is no doubt
about anybody’s patriotism here, Senator Lausche’s or anybody
else’s, but I do not think that those who have disagree with the administration have slandered them in any way. I think they have
been a good deal restrained.
When it comes to butchery, I think for us to leave 5,000 in Khe
Sanh surrounded by 25,000 or 30,000 or 20,000 or whatever it is
now, it is like a pimple or a wart over there in the corner waiting
to be pinched off, I think there is going to be terrible butchery involved there.
From the South Vietnamese viewpoint, I think when we saved
Hue, and the local government reports that 70 percent was destroyed, that is a kind of poor saving.
As an individual, I have always sought to be as harmless as possible in this case and probably, I think I am the only active Reserve Officer around the table, and I am conscious of the military
facts involved, I come from a state which has as high a number of
military people as any state of the Union, and a lot of my people
are overseas, and we do not want victims, and for that reason those
of us who have objected have talked strongly and privately. I have
gone down to the White House and talked to the President privately. We have talked here pretty harshly, we have taken publicly
far less strongly than we have talked privately, but we have been
utterly ineffective.
I am struck, as a brand new man on this committee, or as new
as anybody, I guess, I guess the newest Democrat, by the way this
committee has changed its thinking.
I came on three years ago without too many preconceived ideas.
I was not convinced that the policy we were leading was correct,
and I fought my own election as a dove, quitting the bombing of
the North, not to get into negotiations, but it was wrong and counterproductive, and to deescalate in the South, but that was my own
personal view.
But as I sat in this committee and have seen, with the exception
of three or four men, the majority of the people gradually come out,
with all respect to Senator Hickenlooper and Senator Lausche,
those others who support the President, the majority of us have
come out with a good many doubts, and it is because of seeing this
happen as we examined it, that I want to see the public as a whole
examine it, because what has happened here, and I am sure it has
happened to you, Frank, if you went over another 200 hours and
asked the questions and got the answers, asked the questions and
got the answers, in the end all of us are sensible patriotic men, we
would come out, I think, with very similar replies.
What I want to do is to see the American public come out with
the same conclusions we have because when they do, I think it is
a democracy, and I think the Government will have to respond, and
that is why I, for one, stick to the idea of liking public hearings.
I would hope—I would support Senator Case’s suggestion. I like
Senator Cooper’s very much, but I do not think it is going to be as
productive as public hearings on the general policy because when
it comes to actual negotiations, there is no problem about negotiations. We can have negotiations and the war will go on. There were
more casualties in Korea after they started it. I am not against negotiations per se. Both sides are too far apart, and the real guts
of the matter is to try to bring the two sides closer together.
As far as contacts go, the contacts are galore, and I think when
there is a will on the North Vietnamese part to give way—I do not
think it is coming because it is their country—there is no difficulty
about signaling, and when we have eventually indicated a willingness to get our fingers out of that pie, there is no difficulty about
signaling. The problem is not about negotiations, but bringing positions together, is my view.
The CHAIRMAN. Senator Cooper.
Senator COOPER. I will be short.
Senator PELL. I support Senator Cooper. It can do absolutely no
harm, and I like the idea of these hearing.
Senator COOPER. I personally like the argument that if this resolution is carried out or the proposal could have an effect, I will try
to compare, if I can, contrast, the proposal which has been made
with the more narrow proposal I have made.
I participated in these hearings since I have been a member, and
I am not opposed to any public hearings. I think it is correct that
in time if the public is convinced, it might work its will upon the
administration. But I would only point out to you a few months ago
there was a wide protest in the Congress and in the country, and
as manifested by the polls, against the policy of the President in
Suddenly General Westmoreland came over here, Ambassador
Bunker came. It seemed that we were winning some victories, and
the protest died out right here in the Senate and the Congress and
in the country.
So I think public opinion fluctuates as the conditions exist on the
Senator CASE. Appear to, John; appear to exist.
Senator COOPER. Appear to, and they do, in my own judgment
and examination and discussion with people, as you all do.
Now, in the time that public opinion might manifest itself, and
I think the Congress has a duty of leading it. It could be months.
In the meantime the war goes on, more and more resources are
committed, more and more men are killed. Perhaps a year from
now or some time later the war might—this idea might be impressed upon the President. But even then the conditions under
which we would have to act would be much more intolerable for
him. He would have to admit defeat. It would be humiliating in the
eyes of many in the country, and I think it makes it more difficult.
I think, just to make that clear, if the President had been able
to two years ago, three years ago, even last year, to take some
chances toward negotiations, we cannot say they might have had
negotiations, but I think we all agree that it might have been easier.
All I am arguing is this: That there is one point upon which the
administration, the President, this committee, the Congress are
agreed, with the exception of a very few, that they would like to
see negotiations and the war ended.
My point is that having these hearings on negotiations, and soon,
that it does have influence beyond just the questions discussed, the
fact that this committee is discussing the importance of negotiations, the people who are important in the country are talking
about it, it could influence the President, but also it could give him
assistance to stand up against public opinion, if there is such public opinion about it.
I am not against all these others, all these other types of investigations. But what you are dealing with is the actuality of decisions made which will carry this war on for months and months
and months, and now we are doing a thing which is acceptable,
said to be acceptable to the administration to try to give their influence toward negotiation, even take some risks and chances to enter
Kosygin,1 and I do not—well, I do not make any—but Kosygin
laid himself on the line that if the bombing would stop—I do not
know whether it would be bombing or not just because I said it—
that we could have negotiations.
Now, the Government of France, we do not have to like them,
but when the Government lays itself on the line and puts itself in
a pretty difficult position that there will be negotiations, why not
give him some assistance, urge him, give him some influence instead of waiting six or seven months when the possibilities would
be much more difficult. That is my argument and I hope you will
all consider it.
Senator PELL. Mr. Chairman, may I just comment here that
while I do definitely support Senator Cooper’s suggestion, obviously
it creates a more peaceful atmosphere if negotiations are going on.
But I would also like to see it go further. The other point that
I would like to make or should have made is I think what is really
involved here, when it comes to the unity of the country, we will
all support our President even in his mistakes as long as they are
small ones. But it is when the full faith and credit of the country
are put into an adventure that we feel is an open-ended one, that
then one thinks we should be limited partners rather than general
partners, to use a business term. What I am driving at here in a
more simple analogy, I can see a very nice looking pair of shoes
and admire them very much. But if they cost $75 I will say they
are too expensive and I will not get them. I would get them if they
were worth $25.
What we are saying here is when we have invested because of
certain interests in Southeast Asia where we were perfectly justified in putting some blood, some money, but we have put the full
faith and credit of our nation behind this investment, and that is
where I take exception to it and feel we have to follow the channels
suggested elsewhere, Senator Case and others of us, who would
like to see the open hearings.
Senator LAUSCHE. I subscribe to what Senator Pell has said. I
only differ with him in the technique chosen to achieve the objective. I think it should be done by consultation and not by their public conflict in which there is no communion. There is no communication now between the President and this committee, and I am
hoping that we would adopt some formula where there would be
Senator CASE. God knows, Mr. Chairman, I do not disagree with
this at all. Somebody suggested we might ask him to come up here
for lunch. But I think there is something to what Joe said. There
is a difference of opinion even among us in the committee. I am not
sure there is a majority for any single course.
If you take good old down the line supporters of the administration like John Sparkman, in the end he will not be with me. He
will be——
Soviet Premier Alexsei Kosygin.
Senator LAUSCHE. I am not so sure.
Senator CASE. No. This is—I do not believe we have a consensus
in the committee, except of concern, and I do not want to be
against it. I would be happy to see the President any time, and
honored to sit at the same board with him, and all that sort of
thing. But I do not think we are going to do much more than confuse him by the way we would talk to him if we all talked as we
talk now.
Senator MUNDT. This is why I do not think we should initiate the
invitation until and unless we have a recognizable consensus
among ourselves, if we do have. I do not think we have got a majority point of view of any one specific course of action.
Just to go down and bat around our differences in front of him
I think is a waste of time, and an imposition, unless we can consult
him about it.
The CHAIRMAN. You express my own feeling about it. It was not
this committee that broke off communications, it was the President
who declined to have his Secretary of State come.
Senator MUNDT. I see some hope in the fact of resuming communication by the Secretary of State coming down with the understanding that we can ask him any questions we want.
The CHAIRMAN. That is correct.
Senator MUNDT. What more can you ask him? You do not want
to have the President, you want him. I think he has got to try this
out and then take another look at this Cooper suggestion or any
other suggestion, after we find out what happens on March 11th,
12th and 13th, however long it is going to take.
Senator PELL. Why can’t we do both?
Senator CASE. Except they are different functions. One, we need
to tell the President what we want him to do, and, the other is to
give the country the picture of what is going on. That is the thing
that I want.
The CHAIRMAN. I do not see any answer to that argument. You
and Senator Gore both made this.
It seems to me the function of this committee—we cannot make
him do anything, but the principal function, it seems to me, is to
give the country an opportunity to know what is going on. I mean,
we are the vehicle for that purpose. It still is a democracy, and we
ought to share the responsibility with him.
If you give him adequate information, and we hope that it is true
information, then they have the responsibility, they certainly share
the responsibility of what the decision is.
Someone has already said that—someone said all of these
things—that it is their boys, their money and everything that is involved. They ought to have a reasonable opportunity to know what
the best minds we have think about these things. That is one thing
that, it seems to me, that is clearly within our responsibility to do.
I do not know how you can avoid that. That is its function, and
I think they cannot be blamed for making a wrong decision if some-
body has not given them access to reasonable knowledge about
The way we do it is always open to question. I would favor either
of your views, whatever the committee wishes. Maybe we can do
Senator CASE. They are not mutually exclusive.
The CHAIRMAN. We have always had some executive and some
open. You can have some executive, and after we have taken a look
at the matter, decide what you want to have in open session.
When I was chairman of Banking and Currency, investigating
the RFC [Reconstruction Finance Corporation] and so on, we always had executive sessions first and then whatever was worth, we
thought was significant, we had open sessions and went over the
same material.
Senator MUNDT. We do that in our investigating committee all
the time.
The CHAIRMAN. There is always a limitation of time. I certainly
agree with Senator Mundt’s views about consultation.
I have been to these consultations. When you go to the regular
ones where we are briefed, we never have an opportunity to say
I do think in this question of the responsibility of the committee,
the administration has vast resources to give its story. You look for
the last several weeks, all the prime programs, with just one or two
exceptions, have been occupied by the Secretary of State, the Secretary of Defense, Assistant Secretary Bundy, Rostow, et cetera,
General Taylor, and so on, and there have just been one or two
Congressmen. This is an inherent advantage he has.
This committee is about the only body which can begin to offer
an opportunity for discussion that is not clearly the administration
Somebody made reference a moment ago to Frank McCullough.
Unfortunately, there were not too many here. I felt after that meeting with McCullough and Just——
Senator MUNDT. Is that the Life Magazine fellow?
The CHAIRMAN. Yes. He and Just came. Later, this was not a
committee—it was a private meeting—it happened to be a day later
with this fellow Martin. Here were these three top American journalists, and I felt well, now, I am hearing the real truth about the
situation. The same way when our staff members go, they are not
under these restrictions of official things, I think they tell us the
truth. They have not been as long and not as expert as McCullough
and Ward Just and this other one, but I regret that we cannot put
these people—we have not so far put them on in public session.
Senator CASE. I think it would be a good idea to do that.
The CHAIRMAN. I think they give the most accurate and perceptive views about the real situation in Vietnam of anybody. Of
course, I think Walter Cronkite’s program in its way is very good.
It is limited in time. It is only 30 minutes. I think it should have
been an hour, and all that.
But anyway, I think he gave an accurate picture of what goes on,
and this is the function, above anything else, it seems to me, of the
Occasionally we have the opportunity on certain resolutions to
act in another way, but primarily we are an educational body for
the enlightenment of the American public opinion.
I am for either one or both of these provisions, I mean the suggestions, that Senator Cooper and Senator Case and others have
discussed here.
Senator PELL. Mr. Chairman, another thought might be, Senator
Cooper’s proposal calls for executive committee hearings, and you
might be able to run them simultaneously with a subcommittee, an
ad hoc subcommittee, set up to do it, to get the testimony from the
The CHAIRMAN. What I wanted to get here today, in view of Senator Cooper’s proposal, was an expression of view about the committee because, at least on what our function is, even though we
disagree on the substantive question as to the wisdom of pursuing
this war on an all-out basis, we ought to agree on how we perform
our function and what is the best way to do it.
I am perfectly willing to take the responsibility, but I certainly
need guidance on how we proceed. I would like to proceed in a way
the committee is most favorable to.
I think, I believe, there is a consensus that there ought to be
some hearings. There is a little division in my mind, a little doubt
in my mind, as to—and this is for the guidance of the staff and myself, as to—making the arrangements for it.
This is not easy, to get the kind of people that Senator Cooper
suggested, and others have suggested. I cannot just call them up
and say, ‘‘Come next week.’’ They need two or three weeks advance
notice. These people are busy. There are several other people who
have not been mentioned here. At least for the record I would mention that we have had requests from various people who want to
testify, and suggestions from members who have suggested people
in addition to the ones Senator Cooper has suggested.
There has been a suggestion about having, well, Ridgway, General Shoup, a group of veterans who have served in Vietnam who
have requested that they would like to be heard. I have had a number of individual letters, and also from some kind of an oranization
of veterans who have served their allotted time and would like to
give their views about it.
Normally, in the ordinary days, we used to always have what we
called public days for anybody like that who wished to testify.
These are all ideas as to how we have hearings.
But I wonder if, in view of this discussion—I am sorry everybody
leaves after we discuss it and then you are up in the air as to the
summary of what it means.
Senator MUNDT. We had an understanding there would be no
vote taken.
The CHAIRMAN. No vote, but I still wanted for the guidance of
the staff and myself, because we have to take the responsibility of
arranging them if we want to have them. I detect, I think, a majority of those who expressed themselves are for some hearings; that
we ought to do something to promote the fuller understanding by
the country of what we are involved in and the possibilities of a
vast escalation.
I am bothered about the time element. I detect, I sense, that they
are in the process right now, the JCS and the President, probably
deciding on a very substantial escalation. I deeply regret it. I wish
I could make them hesitate and stop a little longer, but I do not
know how to do that, and I do not know that we can do that with
these hearings. But we cannot be guided altogether by that.
We have our responsibility, as Senator Gore and others have
said. I think we ought to have some hearings. I certainly am open
to suggestions as we have had them today as to what kind of hearings.
Senator MUNDT. Could you induce the Secretary to set our hearings up a little earlier than March 11th?
The CHAIRMAN. Well, unfortunately when I got the word that he
was willing to do this, we had already scheduled—Senator Morse
had seven days and he had witnesses invited, who agreed to come,
on his Latin American hearings, and this is not easy to invite people and then dis-invite them. It is very difficult. I only got this
word, you all knew when it was, I think it was about a week ago.
Senator MUNDT. Right.
The CHAIRMAN. And this was the earliest vacant date.
Senator MUNDT. The only reason I mentioned it——
The CHAIRMAN. That we could have it.
Senator MUNDT. I think it is highly inappropriate to be conducting hearings in advance of the 11th when he has agreed to
Senator GORE. I think he ought to be the initial witness.
The CHAIRMAN. He is going to be. These other hearings are peripheral.
Senator GORE. We have a chance to have some public hearings
and to see what happens. They are going to be public. Hopefully
every member of the committee will have a chance to ask questions
and to make speeches and make a presentation.
The CHAIRMAN. On the procedure, let me say this about it. I
want to be reasonable about this. I think it is greatly to the advantage of the witness and against the committee’s advantage if you
have a five-minute rule or a ten-minute rule. No one can pursue
it. He can take a long answer and completely snow you, and you
get no where. It is not because I want to monopolize it. I am perfectly willing to yield my first time to anybody. I do not care about
I think the members who are interested enough to pursue it
ought to have an opportunity to make some points, and you are not
going to make them against a skillful witness in a limited time.
If he knows you have only got five or ten minutes you get nowhere. You just leave it dangling and you never get to make a
Senator MUNDT. Mr. Chairman, I agree with you 100 percent.
The CHAIRMAN. It is just to make it effective, is all in the world
I want.
Senator PELL. Will the chairman yield?
Senator PELL. As the lowest man on our side in that connection
normally speaking, speaking very individually, when it is not of
very great importance I would not be as much in agreement. But
in a case like this where the national interest is involved, I would
completely agree with you on this particular hearing.
Senator MUNDT. The only reservation I have is that we have an
understanding with the Secretary then——
Senator PELL. That we all get a crack.
Senator MUNDT [continuing]. Is going to come until everybody
has had chance to get his opportunity to question. Then I have no
objection at all. I agree with you you are terribly handicapped.
The CHAIRMAN. You see, we do not have a fair chance, no member has, to develop any line of thought.
We did try that, and I thought it was the most frustrating thing
that just as you are getting up maybe to a point, your time is up,
and you just leave it dangling, and by the time you get around to
it it is lost.
Senator MUNDT. When he comes on the 11th and the 12th, and
I have got to go to New Delhi on the 13th or something like that
what happens?
The CHAIRMAN. I really had not investigated that. If you wish,
I will write him a letter suggesting that in view of the size of the
committee, and so on, that we certainly would like to go on that
afternoon, and would he be available the next day if we do not finish, if that is what you wish.
Senator MUNDT. That would help.
Senator GORE. We cannot finish in one day.
Senator MUNDT. I agree with you that you should be able to develop your point, and each member should. But if you do that without some understanding with him, the last half of the committee
might just as well not come.
The CHAIRMAN. Yes. I think it is a terrible problem. I tried it the
other way, and I just thought we did not get anywhere. He has this
advantage. He comes, and we cannot prevent his taking an awful
long time to make his initial statement.
I am going to suggest, as we often do, we hope that he will summarize his initial statement because in so far as aid goes we know
exactly what that statement is.
Senator MUNDT. We can eliminate that.
The CHAIRMAN. And summarize that in order to give us as much
time for questioning as we can have. He does not have to do that.
If I appear to be arbitrary the press and everybody says ‘‘Well, you
are browbeating him.’’
Senator GORE. I must leave. I agree that you as Chairman of the
committee must first present the case.
The CHAIRMAN. Let me ask, before you leave, do you have any
strong feeling about executive versus open hearings along the line
of John’s suggestion?
Senator GORE. I think we ought to have a mixture.
The CHAIRMAN. A mixture.
Well, in order for the guidance of the committee should we schedule some closed hearings to begin with, with the idea that we are
going to follow them with open hearings? Does that meet with——
Senator CASE. That is okay.
Senator GORE. That sounds good to me.
The CHAIRMAN. We have a problem about getting these witesses.
I mean, they are not easy with the kind of people he wants.
What do you think about journalists? We never had them. We
discussed this at the time of the Dominican Resolution.
Senator PELL. About whom?
Senator GORE. I think we ought to have a panel of journalists.
Senator CASE. Like we had Ward Just and McCullough here.
The CHAIRMAN. We discussed it at one time and decided not to.
Senator GORE. I want to suggest David Halberstam as one of
The CHAIRMAN. We will leave it open for every member to make
his own suggestion. I am only asking about the principle because
we cannot have—do you think some open hearings with the men
who are acknowledged to be the most knowledgeable about Vietnam is appropriate?
Senator GORE. I do.
Senator MUNDT. If you are asking for an answer now, my answer
would be no until I found out what develops out of the Rusk hearings.
The CHAIRMAN. Let me raise it and you think about it anyway.
Senator MUNDT. Yes, I will think about it. I do not want to make
that decision now because we might decide to call other witnesses
right in line with the Vietnamese hearings, proceed right along, I
mean, with the aid hearings, that we wrap it all up together.
The CHAIRMAN. The reason I asked this, when I brought this up
in the Dominican thing, the committee felt we should not. I have
had them, you were there at the executive hearing. I must say I
was greatly impressed by those two fellows. They are knowledgeable——
Senator MUNDT. I was, too.
The CHAIRMAN [continuing]. And they are impartial.
Senator CASE. I would suggest more of them, and we know what
Halberstam is like.
The CHAIRMAN. There, are others.
Senator MUNDT. My main objection to John’s letter about holding
hearings, private or public on that resolution, is that it sort of pre-
judges the options in advance. It says we are going to have hearings on negotiations. I think they should be on the Vietnamese situation or something even broader than that. I do not want to forego hearings which consider other options except negotiation.
I feel like Pell, you may get negotiations and a long continuing
war. A truce or something like that would be a more practical thing
to me than negotiations. I do not think that necessarily solves it.
The CHAIRMAN. The way I interpret his resolution, Karl, was not
just negotiations and how we set them up and so on, to develop
what would you negotiate if you did have it, what do you develop,
what do you wish to achieve. It was much broader.
Senator MUNDT. I mean if we were going to have hearings it
should be wrapped up with the concept of where do we go from
here in Vietnam.
The CHAIRMAN. I agree with you.
Senator MUNDT. Not to say we are going to negotiate or not negotiate.
The CHAIRMAN. I agree with you. What do we negotiate about.
Senator MUNDT. I mean the whole subject.
The CHAIRMAN. Yes, that is right. I felt that is what he had in
mind. That is what I think he had in mind.
Senator MUNDT. Maybe so.
The CHAIRMAN. We talked about it, and I felt that is what he had
in mind.
Senator MUNDT. Maybe so.
Senator COOPER. That is the purpose, to try to get them——
Senator CASE. I enjoyed it very much, Mr. Chairman.
The CHAIRMAN. I think what you said to me is exactly what this
is all about, what can this committee do. The least thing it ought
to do is inform the American people.
Senator CASE. I think so.
The CHAIRMAN. What is going on now. In all honesty I do not
think the administration has submitted a true picture. Frankly, I
do not think the administration itself has a true picture of what
is going on.
Senator COOPER. I am afraid that is correct.
The CHAIRMAN. All of these reporters and our own staff members
who have been there, they all disagree with the situation there,
and it is a hell of a thing that this country is asked to do what it
is doing in ignorance of what is involved.
Senator CASE. The question, of course, that Frank raises, and
that troubles all of us—it did me—it keeps you quiet much longer
probably than you should be—is are we really hurting a legitimate
chance to win. Is it like the soldiers——
The CHAIRMAN. I have heard nobody but the administration and
its avid supporters say that. None of these reporters that I have
seen have said it.
Senator CASE. That is right. It is obvious to those of us who have
seen them and talked to them privately they are just as unhappy
about the situation, and they are not happy to report it.
Senator PELL. It is not what is best for us to do, but is there a
greater harm. The greater harm is to continue it. But I do not see
how we can plead surprise because I remember those briefings
three years ago when McNamara had the figure, my recollection is,
600,000, 800,000, people on the wall.
The CHAIRMAN. Wait a minute. On the surprise, you know very
well their official reports on that were very misleading. It was overly optimistic. It is only recently that I have become extremely skeptical of what they tell us.
Senator PELL. That is what first convinced me, got me upset
when I first saw that figure of 600,000.
The CHAIRMAN. This Tonkin thing, I think I was certainly misled, and the whole committee was absolutely misled, and including
the Armed Services Committee, as to what happened. I don’t have
any doubt we were misled about it. I think the record speaks for
This was not that way, and what effect it would have had or may
have had, I do not know. I think it would have been a very different situation. It surprises me—the greatest surprise to me was
to find out that my own government was capable of the kind of
misleading statements they made. That is the biggest surprise to
me. I was naive enough to believe them, and I did believe them,
and I repeated the misstatements on the floor, and I am now being
taxed with telling the country what they told me.
Senator PELL. It sounds like a political campaign.
The CHAIRMAN. It is exactly. They say, ‘‘Well, you said so and so
on the floor.’’ Well, the only basis I had to say it was on what they
told me, and I believed it.
Senator CASE. And they did it with the best of intentions, I am
sure of that. They thought it was necessary at the time.
The CHAIRMAN. I am sure they did, but I think it is a case of
grave misjudgment.
Senator CASE. Yes.
The CHAIRMAN. That is what it is all about.
Senator PELL. Misjudgment, yes, but I cannot still be convinced
there was intentional lying involved or misleading, but there is a
question which is very subjective, I think, for each one of us.
The CHAIRMAN. It is the same argument you can make about
these outwardly optimistic reports. I get the impression from these
reporters and our own staff that what they get when it is finally
refined through channels and down at the White House is completely misleading itself. I could go along with the idea that they
do not know what the facts are and, therefore, they mislead us.
Senator PELL. I guess intent comes into it.
The CHAIRMAN. I say this could be from their point of view perfectly honest because they have not got the facts, and they really
are not willing to consult the kind of people we are. They do not
listen to these people.
Senator CASE. I think that is true.
The CHAIRMAN. I do not think for a moment the President has
ever talked to a man like Frank McCullough. I am quite sure he
has not personally and privately with an open mind or a man like
Ward Just or this man Martin. They do not talk to that kind of
people. He gets this refined through Mr. Rusk now. It has come up
through channels and each one of them being very careful not to
offend his superior. This is inherent in a bureaucracy.
Senator CASE. I would like to say one more thing, Mr. Chairman.
About a year ago, a little more than that, we were on vacation
down in Jamaica, and I happened to run into General David
Sarnoff, and we were unhappy, and he is very unhappy, about Vietnam, terribly depressed, and he said——
The CHAIRMAN. You mean the RCA Sarnoff?
Senator CASE. Yes.
I said, ‘‘Why don’t we get hold of some of your friends like you
know, Sidney Weinberg and Eddie Weisl, and somebody like this
and go to the President and explain how bad things are and how
he ought to change his view about this thing.’’
This is the point: Sarnoff said, No, these fellows have no influence with the President at all. They have a position to maintain
as Presidential advisors. They would not say anything to him that
they thought he would disagree with.
He said, ‘‘Only you guys in the Senate of the United States are
in a position to disagree with him and to change his course.’’
This may be true. He is a very wise man, this guy Sarnoff.
The CHAIRMAN. Yes, I think that is correct.
Senator PELL. Let us do it.
The CHAIRMAN. I think that is the function of this committee,
and if we have any function at all that is it, especially in a time
of crisis. The idea that you should not speak out in time of trouble,
there is no point in speaking out when you are not in trouble.
Senator CASE. Poor old Frank, he just about dies with this patriotism.
The CHAIRMAN. Close the record.
[Thereupon, at 4:25 p.m., the committee was adjourned.]
[EDITOR’S NOTE.—Although President Johnson submitted a record-low request for
Foreign Assistance funds in 1968, a growing mistrust of the program together with
the burden of increased spending for the Vietnam War caused Congress to slash the
amount even further. The administration’s requested $2.9 billion was reduced by a
third to $1.5 billion in economic aid and $375 million in military support. The largest share of this trimming originated in the House of Representatives, but the Senate Foreign Relations Committee cut nearly $50 million more. Amendments for additional cuts were rejected on the Senate floor.]
Washington, DC.
The committee met, pursuant to notice, at 4:35 p.m. in room S–
116, the Capitol, Senator J. W. Fulbright (chairman) presiding.
Present: Chairman Fulbright, and Senators Sparkman, Morse,
Gore, Symington, Pell, Hickenlooper, Carlson, Mundt, Case and
Also present: Mr. Marcy and Mr. Kuhl of the committee staff.
The CHAIRMAN. We have a pretty good representation here. I will
call the meeting to order.
The main reason I called you just at noontime was that Mr.
Marcy gave me a report—tell them, Mr. Marcy. He has done the
negotiation, and you relate what is happening. It made me kind of
hot, and I think the committee ought to know about it without my
just responding on my own.
Mr. MARCY. Mr. Chairman, since about the middle of February
I have been negotiating with Mr. Stempler, who is the aide to the
Secretary of Defense, to arrange a time for the Secretary of Defense
to appear in connection with the hearings on the subject of foreign
aid, especially the Military Assistance part of that program.
This, of course, ran into Mr. McNamara’s leaving, and Mr.
Clifford’s coming, and the understanding in the early stages was
that it would be up to Mr. Clifford to decide whether he would appear or not.
Senator HICKENLOOPER. Mr. Who?
Mr. MARCY. Mr. Clifford, the Secretary of Defense.
When he first assumed office, Mr. Stempler called me and said,
Mr. Clifford would appear but it would have to be with the under(353)
standing that he had not had a great deal of time to familiarize
himself with the program, and I said I was sure the committee
would understand that, and he could certainly bring any aides
along, but I thought the committee would want to follow the past
practice and hear the Secretary of Defense on this subject.
We have never been able to fix a date until on March 12th when
Mr. Rusk appeared before the committee and, at that time, Mr.
Rusk said, in answer to a question, ‘‘That the Secretary of Defense
will be before this committee, I understand, on Monday in connection with the Military Assistance Program.’’
So that was the first notice, and it was public notice, and the
press boys began to say, ‘‘Well, has Mr. Clifford, has the Secretary
agreed to come?’’
I called Mr. Stempler and he said, Yes, that was his understanding, but he could not be real firm about it.
On about the 14th of this month, Mr. Stempler called and said
that Mr. Clifford had just come back from a Cabinet meeting and
that he wanted to pass word on that Mr. Clifford felt he was too
busy to appear before the committee, and he had not yet had an
adequate time to acquaint himself with the program and, therefore,
he wanted to have Under Secretary Nitze and Assistant Secretary
Warnke appear in his place.
At that time I informed Senator Fulbright, who was home for a
couple of days, and asked him whether that was agreeable to him,
and the chairman said he did not want to make a fuss, and he understood about it, understood that, so we scheduled Secretary Nitze
to appear on last Monday.
On the Friday before last Monday I got a call from Mr. Stempler
asking if we could make another arrangement for Mr. Nitze’s appearance because Mr. Nitze was tied up over the weekend on the
subject of gold. So he gave me then on Monday of this week three
alternate dates for Mr. Nitze to appear, and of those three dates
I selected next Monday for Mr. Nitze to appear before the committee.
About 12:30 today when I called Mr. Stempler on another matter, he said that he was under instructions to call me this afternoon, and this is the language he gave me. He said, ‘‘He had been
instructed to tell me that the Defense Department was sending its
best two authorities on Military Assistance to appear at the Monday meeting, Assistant Secretary Warnke and Vice Admiral Heinz.’’
I asked Mr. Stempler at that point what about Mr. Nitze. And
Mr. Stempler said all he could do was to repeat his statement,
which he then repeated to me.
I then told Mr. Stempler that I thought I got the message, and
I would pass it on to Senator Fulbright.
I might add that since then we have checked on past practice
and we find in—this applies not only to an appearance on the subject of Foreign Aid, in 1958 Mr. Neil H. McElroy, who was Secretary of Defense, appeared in public. In 1959 he was still Secretary, he appeared in public. In 1960, Mr. Thomas S. Gates was
Secretary of Defense, and he did not appear, but Mr. John N. Irwin
did. In 1961 Mr. McNamara appeared only in executive session. In
1962 he appeared in public session. In 1963 he appeared in public
session. In 1964 he appeared in executive. In 1965 in executive. In
1966 he appeared twice in public session, and in 1967 he appeared
only in executive session.
I may say that in connection with the executive session appearances the Department of Defense has always gone over and sanitized the record so that even the executive appearances of the Secretary of Defense have always been published in the hearings.
The CHAIRMAN. Well, we have had this thing of Mr. Marcy and
I trying to set up a hearing. These are routine hearings, and they
act like they are trying to make it difficult, and it kind of puts me
off. We have been asking them and asking them, and finally they
agree on Nitze, and they back off and I cannot hear of any good
reason. They do not give a good excuse, and don’t even try to give
one. It is a sort of impertinence, I think, and I thought—maybe I
take it too seriously—but take these other things. We have never
had a reply really from the Pueblo letter, which I think you, Karl,
moved we write, you remember the letter. They acknowledged it
and that is all. They apparently intend to do nothing about it.
Then the material promised by McNamara on several occasions,
I mean at different spots during the hearing, nothing more is done
about it, there is no follow-up. There is apparently no effort made
to cooperate. It looks that way to me, they are just trying to be difficult.
Senator HICKENLOOPER. Mr. Chairman, do you have any record
as to who appeared before the House Foreign Affairs Committee?
Senator MUNDT. On this bill?
Senator HICKENLOOPER. Yes, on this bill.
Mr. MARCY. I do not know this year. We can check on the phone
right away. Every year the Secretary of Defense, the normal practice is when the administration presents its bill, for the Secretary
of State and the Secretary of Defense to appear and testify on the
overall policy considerations.
And it has been the practice for the lower level employees to
come in and talk oftentimes about the specifics of the bill in executive session. I believe that is the same practice in the House. We
will check on what the situation was this year.
Senator HICKENLOOPER. I was just wondering if they had their
hearings at this stage of their hearings and who appeared——
Mr. MARCY. We will find out.
Senator HICKENLOOPER [continuing]. Before the House Committee.
The CHAIRMAN. I do not like this, their being so difficult.
The Secretary the other day made a great concession to come before this committee—no concession, well, he was worn out because
he had been four days, I think, before the Armed Services Committee. That is the only time he has been before this committee in
two years, but they think nothing of going three or four days before
the Armed Services Committee.
Senator MUNDT. I think the only mistake we made was we
should have asked for the Secretary of Defense. We did not ask
high enough.
The CHAIRMAN. We did ask on this.
Senator MUNDT. Did we?
The CHAIRMAN. We did. You did not hear the beginning. You did
not hear, before you came in he gave the beginning of it. Tell him
again, Mr. Marcy. You were not here.
Mr. MARCY. About the middle of February I began negotiating
with Stempler, who is the representative——
The CHAIRMAN. He is their representative.
Mr. MARCY [continuing]. Of the Secretary of Defense, and we
were going to try to get Mr. McNamara in before he left. Then subsequently I said that the committee would want to hear Mr.
Clifford in the usual course because we always heard the Secretary
of Defense.
Then subsequently he said, Mr. Clifford just had not had time to
prepare himself, and at that time Senator Fulbright said he did not
want to make a fuss.
Senator MUNDT. I think we ought to give him time to familiarize
himself with the job, because you have a new Secretary, but I am
all the more interested, because you have a new Secretary, in hearing him than to have McNamara. I knew what he was going to say.
This is a new man, and I would like to know what in the world
he has to say.
The CHAIRMAN. We asked him, and it was only to accommodate
him that we agreed to take Nitze.
Senator MORSE. Before you came in, Karl, Marcy pointed out
that Rusk in our hearings said that he understood on a certain
Monday that the Secretary of Defense would be up, and Carl Marcy
then talked to Stempler and he said that was his understanding,
too, Stempler’s understanding, and then subsequently there was a
Cabinet meeting, and after that Cabinet meeting Stempler called
Carl and said that he would not be able to appear because he was
going to send up Nitze.
The CHAIRMAN. They changed their mind.
Mr. MARCY. Mr. Chairman, I think I should make it clear that
I do not know whether that was discussed after the Cabinet meeting or not. All that happened was that Mr. Stempler called me and
said, ‘‘Mr. Clifford has just come back from a three-hour meeting
of the Cabinet and I finally got to talk to him and he said he was
too busy.’’
Senator GORE. Mr. Chairman, I think Senator Mundt has a good
idea. Secretary Clifford has now been in office some weeks, and
since Under Secretary Nitze does not wish to appear, I would be
glad to join with Senator Mundt and suggest that we now renew
our invitation to the Secretary of Defense.
Senator PELL. And, perhaps, adding a little polite note we do not
want to hurry him in any way. Let it simmer for a week or two.
Senator MORSE. Yes, no hurry.
Senator MUNDT. At his convenience.
The CHAIRMAN. No hurry. Let that bill just sit.
Senator GORE. We do not have to say that.
The CHAIRMAN. No, don’t say that.
Senator PELL. We do not want to hurry him.
Senator GORE. Say it deserves the testimony of the Cabinet, pertinent Cabinet rank, and we will await his pleasure.
Senator MUNDT. Right.
The CHAIRMAN. Is the committee agreed on that?
Senator MORSE. I think that is what we ought to do.
The CHAIRMAN. Any other thoughts on that?
Do you think we should do anything about the Pueblo letter and
the Tonkin hearings? I think they should furnish the things which
they agree to furnish during the course of the hearings certainly,
somebody ought to have done it. I think we ought to write. What
do you think about it?
Senator MORSE. That is exactly what I think.
The CHAIRMAN. Don’t you think we should on both of them?
Senator CARLSON. Yes.
Senator MUNDT. Yes.
The CHAIRMAN. Say that the committee is disappointed that they
have hot been received. They would like to receive something.
Senator HICKENLOOPER. I just got a report from a telephone call.
They think over there that Rusk maybe a wind-up witness before
the House committee but as yet they have not had anyone from the
Armed Services testifying before the House committee.
Senator MUNDT. They have not finished their hearing.
Senator HICKENLOOPER. No, but they are in the process of having
their hearings.
The CHAIRMAN. What about further hearings on the economic,
that is, not the military but the economic bill? Is there any desire
to have further witnesses other than just starting to mark up that
Mr. MARCY. You usually have some public witnesses, Mr. Chairman.
The CHAIRMAN. We do?
Mr. MARCY. Yes.
The CHAIRMAN. How many?
Mr. MARCY. About 8 or 10. We scheduled them for next Friday.
The CHAIRMAN. A week from tomorrow?
Mr. MARCY. A week from tomorrow, yes.
The CHAIRMAN. Ten of them?
Mr. MARCY. Eight or 10.
Senator SPARKMAN. The 29th.
Senator SYMINGTON. Am I to understand, Mr. Chairman, that
Mr. Nitze does not intend to testify?
The CHAIRMAN. Yes, we just went over that.
Senator SYMINGTON. Doesn’t that solve the Foreign Aid problem?
The CHAIRMAN. It does for the moment, and the committee
agreed to just extend an invitation to the Secretary and let it stay
there, not do anything about it.
Senator PELL. Terribly politely.
Senator MORSE. A polite letter.
The CHAIRMAN. But to tell them we are not prepared to receive
Admiral Heinz.
Senator SYMINGTON. I would think that Clifford would be very
glad to have Nitze testify because he does not know a thing about
it yet. He has been on the job a few days.
The CHAIRMAN. You came in late. Marcy just explained the routine. We first asked—Carl, tell him about what you told us.
Mr. MARCY. About the middle of February we began negotiating
with Mr. Stempler to have the Secretary of Defense, whoever he
might be, come before the committee, as they have in the past, to
testify on the military side of the Foreign Aid bill and, at that time,
it was understood it was going to be either Mr. McNamara or Mr.
After Mr. Clifford took office, the first reference we had thereafter to it was the statement of the Secretary of State on March
12 in public session when he said, ‘‘That question would be one
that could be better answered by the Secretary of Defense who is
coming on next Monday.’’
I then checked with Mr. Stempler and he said that that was is
understanding, but he could not really confirm it.
A few days later he called back and said that Mr. Clifford had
just returned from a Cabinet meeting and told Mr. Stempler that
he, the Secretary of Defense, Mr. Clifford, would not be able to appear because he had not had a chance to bone up because he was
too busy.
Senator SYMINGTON. I have not discussed it with Clifford, but I
think it was very smart of him.
Mr. MARCY. But that Mr. Nitze would appear in his place accompanied by Mr. Warnke and then this afternoon I got a call from the
Secretary, from Mr. Stempler, who said that next Monday, when
Mr. Nitze was to appear, Stempler simply said the two best, the
two most competent people to testify are Mr. Warnke and Admiral
Heinz, and I said what about Mr. Nitze, and he said, ‘‘I am just
instructed to tell you that the two best informed people on the Military Assistance Program are Mr. Warnke and Admiral Heinz, and
they will be there on Monday.’’
Senator MORSE. It is not for their prerogatives to choose the witnesses this committee wants. The Secretary can come and he can
bring whatever staff members he wants to advise with him to testify, but we cannot let them pick our witnesses for us.
The CHAIRMAN. We have done everything we could do to get him.
Senator SYMINGTON. If you could get Nitze’s reversal on that you
would not object to that?
The CHAIRMAN. No. We already agreed to that.
Senator SYMINGTON. Because he knows about it.
Senator MORSE. In view of this Clark Clifford should come and
bring Nitze with him. The Secretary of Defense—the American people are entitled to know what he has to say, and he can pass it
right over to Nitze whenever he wants to, but he is the Secretary
of Defense and he ought to appear.
Senator GORE. Mr. Chairman, can I have a moment on another
Senator GORE. We were advised in the hearing by Secretary
Rusk that the policy in Southeast Asia was under examination
from A to Z.
When questioned about General Westmoreland’s recommendation
and request he answered that no specific recommendation was before the President.
Well, last Sunday there appeared on page 1 of the press across
the country a news story quoting some anonymous but official
source that a ‘‘moderate’’ number of troops would be sent to Vietnam. That is all the information that either this committee or the
American people have had.
I do not know what ‘‘moderate’’ means. There was a speech Saturday by the President in which he said, and I would like to quote:
As your President, I tell you today we must meet our commitments in the world
and in Vietnam, and we shall. We are going to win. To meet the needs of our fighting men in Vietnam we will do whatever is required. We and our allies seek only
a just and honorable settlement. We seek nothing else. The Communists have made
it clear that they are unwilling thus far to negotiate or work out a settlement except
on the battlefield. If that is what they choose then we shall win a settlement on
the battlefield. If their position changes, as we fervently hope, then we are prepared
to meet anywhere, any time in a spirit of flexibility and generosity. But make no
mistake about it, we are going to win in Vietnam.
I suggest that in view of this statement, following the public notice by the Secretary that the policy was being reexamined from A
to Z, that it is very appropriate for the Secretary of Defense to testify. What does this Military Assistance Program mean? Is this an
all-out war for victory in Vietnam or is it not?
Now, in the afternoon paper there is another story, page 1, again
quoting some anonymous source, but officially identified as official
but anonymous, to the effect that this is rhetoric, I’m not sure what
the words are.
Senator SYMINGTON. Will the Senator yield to a sinking hawk?
How can it be an all-out war if instead of using your airpower and
your seapower you are going to draw blank thousands of more boys
to go out in the woods in the country they have never seen except
a few weeks before, with a rifle that is not as good as the Russian
rifle, and continue this on a one-to-one basis? And if they do happen to have a little success they are not allowed to go into Cambodia or into Laos or into North Vietnam, so the sanctuaries extend
all around to the ground troops, and it is forbidding the proper use
of airpower and seapower, so how are you going to win? I know this
is not part of this discussion, I know that. I see the Senator from
Oregon giving me the cool, gray look.
Senator MORSE. I was smiling.
Senator SYMINGTON. It is a question.
Senator CASE. He does not care how you get there as long as you
get there.
Senator SYMINGTON. They do not care how they lose so long as
they lose.
The CHAIRMAN. Well, I will say to the Senator, in following up
the last hearing, I instructed Mr. Marcy to try to set up an executive hearing. Rusk said he would come in executive hearing, you
will remember, and to try to set up a hearing in executive session
for the first week in April. That was our understanding, it was the
first chance we would have, perhaps the week after next, in executive session for the discussion of what you are talking about.
Senator GORE. What about the American people?
The CHAIRMAN. Well, I agree with you. I think it is terrible his
rejection of a willingness to confide in this committee and, for that
matter, the people, what their policy is. It irritates me very much.
Senator SYMINGTON. Can’t you just send the letter to the Secretary of Defense and say since one of his henchmen notified the
committee that now he was not going, to testify, and that Nitze
was not going to testify, the committee would be glad to consider
the possibilities of some Foreign Aid any time they changed their
mind. But put that language in there.
Mr. MARCY. That is what we had in there at one time.
The CHAIRMAN. We talked about it, and thought it would not be
wise to put it in the nature of a threat or bargain. They give it to
the press and say that, the committee, are trying to blackmail
them or something, so they decided not to give any excuse.
[Discussed off the record.]
The CHAIRMAN. I think, of course it is getting awfully bad, too—
but coming back to the proposal, I think they ought to get off this
high horse, and ought to tell the committee what they have in
Senator GORE. Mr. Chairman, let me just read you this now:
President Johnson’s recent win-the-war speeches are causing trouble for State Department officials who have been badgered by foreign diplomats and newsmen who
want to know if America’s objectives in Vietnam have changed. The answer is ‘No’.
U.S. objectives remain limited, say, but U.S. officials privately say that Johnson’s
apparent decision to campaign on a theme that the United States will ‘win the war’
either on the battlefield or at the negotiating table is leading to suspicions that
America is not interested in anything but an unconditional surrender by North Vietnam.
If we are confused, what about the American people whose sons
are dying?
Senator SYMINGTON. You cannot win the war now, that is what
distresses me. Today North Vietnam has got the most sophisticated
defenses in the history of the world, radar, weapons, and the Russians are pouring it in there with delight. I just learned from the
State Department today that all the weapons that the Jordanian
terrorists have are Russian or Chinese, and a lot of it is moving
into Syria. They are going to make in North Vietnam—in due
course they could take a small tactical missile and it is an ICBM,
there are no distances over there, so the idea—there is no way you
can win this war the way I can see. You can smash Hanoi and Haiphong. I think a military victory is relatively easy if they had taken
Rostow out of handling the war and letting the generals and admirals handle it. That could have been done two years ago. But they
are calling for the and I think the Russians are raising the ante.
If we raise it they will raise it. Remember they have a marvelous
new supersonic bomber, the Blinder, and they have all kinds of
They are very close. Look at Hainan, just a spit from Danang.
So if they want to get serious about it they can really have a lot
of fun.
Now, you have got an ironical situation that nobody talks much
about, and that is you go down to the delta, and they put this stuff
up, boatload after boatload is going into Cambodia and being
shipped right to the Vietcong and the North Vietnamese, and our
people are patrolling the river, but they cannot stop the boats going
into Cambodia. It is the damndest war.
Senator GORE. Do you want me to tell you something else that
is happening?
Senator SYMINGTON. I wish you would.
Senator GORE. A lot of U.S. corporations are weekly paying protection money to the Vietcong in Vietnam.
Senator SYMINGTON. That is horrible. Are you sure of that?
Senator GORE. I think I am. I will produce it within a few days.
The CHAIRMAN. Coming back to this, is there anything we can
do, think of to do, first, to induce them to confide in the committee
so that we can have something to deal with, get our teeth into? I
think it is a dreadful situation when they do not.
Senator SYMINGTON. Is this an executive session we are asking
them to come up?
Senator SYMINGTON. It makes no sense.
Senator PELL. It was an open session.
The CHAIRMAN. No. He said he would come in executive session.
What is your situation? I told you to try to arrange it.
Mr. MARCY. We have not got a firm time. The first time the committee has any time free will be the first week in April.
The CHAIRMAN. That is the week after next, about 10 days. after
that. What did they say?
Mr. MARCY. They have not fixed a date.
Senator SYMINGTON. When Nitze declined to come was that in an
open session?
The CHAIRMAN. That is customary. They were not arguing about
open or closed.
Senator SYMINGTON. You were willing to have—they were willing
to have an open session?
The CHAIRMAN. They always do. This is on Foreign Aid. We always have had it.
Senator SYMINGTON. I want to be sure that it was not——
The CHAIRMAN. They did not make any point about that, did
Mr. MARCY. No, sir. there has been no question about his appearing. We have always talked about public sessions.
The CHAIRMAN. They did not say anything else.
Mr. MARCY. As we have in the past.
Senator SYMINGTON. Did Nitze offer to come in a closed session?
Mr. MARCY. No, sir. We have never talked about a closed session.
Senator SYMINGTON. You have my proxy, Mr. Chairman.
The CHAIRMAN. I do not know that there are any votes.
What about this Clark——
Mr. MARCY. Senator Clark has withdrawn that idea. You might
mention it to the members.
Senator CARLSON. Before you get into that, Mr. Chairman, why
don’t you write the letter, write the Secretary a very nice letter, informing him that we would like very much to have his appearance
before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and we would be
ready to proceed with further consideration of the Foreign Aid Bill
without much further ado, and he will understand. We won’t set
any dates. He will set a date. If he does not want to come up, why,
that is fine.
Senator MORSE. I think Frank is right. I do not think you ought
to proceed with the bill at all until you——
Senator GORE. You do not have to say that in a letter.
Senator CARLSON. No.
Senator MORSE. But except for that letter you have some other
hearings scheduled.
Senator PELL. I think it is very important not to say it at all.
Senator GORE. Say the importance of the subject deserves and requires the testimony of a member of Cabinet rank, and we will
await his pleasure.
Senator MORSE. We shall wait for the administration to move.
When they have made their case we will go ahead with other public hearings and do not go ahead with any until that happens.
The CHAIRMAN. I think that is right. That is the main thing I
wanted to do.
You say Clark has asked you to withdraw this?
Mr. MARCY. Yes, sir. Senator Clark said he talked with you
about that. I sent to all the members of the committee a resolution
that Senator Clark expected to introduce this next week, and he
wanted to know how many members would join him in it, but he
gave me word this morning he is not going to push it. I think he
had a conversation with you that he referred to.
Senator MORSE. Mr. Chairman, I want the record to show my
high commendation of Pat Holt for the work that he has done in
helping put on our hearings of the Subcommittee on Latin American Affairs in regard to the Alliance for Progress. I want to thank
the members of the committee who came as much as they were
able to come to assist, but you are going to be proud of that record
when you get it printed.
I have been around here a long time, and I want to say that I
think the hearings that we held on the Alliance for Progress are
going to be of great help to us when the full committee comes to
work on some of our Alliance for Progress programs.
I know many of you were busy and many of you could not come,
and some only for a little while.
The CHAIRMAN. I enjoyed them. I thought the one on the military
was one of the best ones.
Senator MORSE. Very good hearings.
I want the record to show that as chairman of the subcommittee
I highly commend Pat Holt. I wish he were here. I have already
thanked him personally for the fine work he did.
Senator GORE. He did a fine job with me on a trip to South
America, and he helped me in preparing a speech for the floor.
Senator CARLSON. I want to join in that. They were fine educational hearings, and Pat Holt did a fine job.
The CHAIRMAN. Yes, they were.
You were not here, Wayne, when they came up—what was the
hearing a couple of days ago—it was a study they had made, Bill
Foster’s outfit, disarmament. They had a study made on arms in
South America and paid $25,000 for it, and I said I would send him
a copy of yours, which cost $4,000, which was a lot better than the
one they paid $25,000 for.
Mr. MARCY. Yours was done in four months, and they have been
working four years.
The CHAIRMAN. Four years on the military situation, arms in
Latin America. But I thought that hearing on that subject was extraordinary. That fellow [Edwin] Lieuwen was a very good fellow.
Senator MORSE. Very good.
The CHAIRMAN. They were all good hearings.
Anything else, Mr. Marcy.
Mr. MARCY. There is a press problem on this, on this Nitze business, because the press knew he was coming.
The CHAIRMAN. This is really embarrassing, giving and taking
back and changing. I think sometimes they are deliberately trying
to make the committee look foolish.
Senator MORSE. A dignified statement to the press that we are
going to wait on them is what we should give out.
The CHAIRMAN. That is all, I guess, that is all we can do. Any
other ideas that you have got?
The leadership now says the commitment resolution should be up
about the first week in April for discussion. Anything else?
Senator CARLSON. This does not deal with military, but I was on
an international program at Topeka last Friday night with two
Greek college professors and Ambassador K.B. Lall who had represented India at the United Nations for 12 years, and he is a very
fine man. He conducted himself in a very fine way, but he made
this statement to this group in attendance. He said the U.S. is
sending more money to India than they should send.
The CHAIRMAN. Should send?
The CARLSON. Sending more money to India than they should
send. They would do a lot better if they sent less dollars and more
technicians and begin to cut it back. I was amazed at it.
Senator HICKENLOOPER. Is he teaching now in New England?
Senator CARLSON. That is Lall. He is a very fine man.
Senator HICKENLOOPER. He was considered to be a second brother to the Communists, a complete Communist sympathizer, unless
he has changed. I happen to agree with what you said he said, but
I know his reputation.
Senator CARLSON I do not know him at all.
The CHAIRMAN. Frank, what about the grain agreement? You are
supposed to be our authority on grains.
Senator CARLSON. I do not say I am any great authority on it,
but I am glad the Senator from Alabama set up hearings beginning
on the 26th, as I understand it, and I think there are some good
problems involved in this, and I am for it, because it is an extension of the International Wheat Agreement. I wish it were two
years instead of three, but I think we ought to have a good hearing
and let the facts speak for themselves, I really do.
Senator CASE. Let the chips fall where they may.
The CARLSON. Yes, sir; and I have talked with John Schnittker
who is going to represent, I understand, the Department of Agriculture, and he said, ‘‘I am going to come up here and lay all the
facts on the table,’’ and I think he should.
Here is what happened: These 6 countries over there formed a
common fund for the moving of agricultural products out of these
6 countries. So France sells 500,000 tons of wheat to China, and
they paid an export duty of $63 a ton. Now, a ton of wheat is 33
bushels, it depends on whether you go to a long ton, so it makes
about $2 a bushel subsidy, and we talk about our subsidy at the
present time is one to three cents a bushel. We were at 60 cents,
we went to 17, and we have—France did not pay it, this Common
Market paid it, so those are some of the problems.
The CHAIRMAN. Two dollars?
The CHAIRMAN. $63 a ton for 500,000 tons of wheat. They want
to get the wheat out of the country to help the farmers get their
local market up. That is what they did.
Senator HICKENLOOPER. Who got the subsidy, the farmer?
Senator CARLSON. Well, the farmer——
The CHAIRMAN. To whom did they sell this?
Senator CARLSON. Red China.
The CHAIRMAN. What did they get from China for it?
Senator CARLSON. I do not know.
The CHAIRMAN. I just wondered. It is a cut price.
Senator CARLSON. Let us find out when the Department gets up
here, but I know my figures are correct on the export duty, the subsidy.
Senator CASE. What country?
The CARLSON. France.
Senator SPARKMAN. France selling to China.
The CHAIRMAN. 500,000, $2 a bushel.
Senator CASE. That is not soft red winter wheat, is it?
Senator MORSE. Are you going to take up anything else?
The CHAIRMAN. No, unless you have something on your mind. I
hope you will be a round the week after next when there is the debate on the commitment resolution. You know the one, this committee, the Senate should be advised about making commitments,
play a part in it.
Senator MORSE. I am for that.
The CHAIRMAN. It is going to come up on the floor for debate.
Senator MORSE. When?
The CHAIRMAN. The week after next.
Senator MORSE. I am always ready for that.
Senator SPARKMAN. Mr. Chairman, on these grain hearings, I
would suggest that all members might, other members might, like
to attend.
The CHAIRMAN. Oh, yes.
Senator SPARKMAN. I think they all should be given notice.
Senator CARLSON. I think they will. I think you will find a lot
of interest in it. There is quite a lot of opposition to it, too.
[Whereupon, at 5.10 p.m., the committee adjourned.]
Wednesday, April 3, 1968
Washington, DC.
The committee met, pursuant to notice, at 10:15 a.m., in room S–
116, the Capitol, Senator J. William Fulbright, (chairman) presiding.
Present: Chairman Fulbright and Senators Mansfield, Gore,
Lausche, Symington, Pell, Hickenlooper, Aiken, Mundt, and Cooper.
Also present: Mr. Marcy, Mr. Kuhl, Mr. Holt, Mr. Henderson,
and Miss Hansen of the committee staff.
The CHAIRMAN. Let’s come to order and take up the first item
and have Mr. Holt explain for the record the significance of Ex. L.
Mr. HOLT. Yes sir, the committee had a hearing on this February
6th at which Ambassador Sol Linowitz explained it in some detail
and I think you have got those before you, but briefly, these are
a series of fairly detailed and far-reaching amendments to the
Charter of the OAS reorganizing the organization, upgrading somewhat the Economic and Social Council which is the agency for the
Alliance for Progress and creating a new Inter-American Council
for Education, Science and Culture. The Council of the OAS will be
called the Permanent Council and its powers will be broadened
somewhat particularly with respect to the Pacific settlement dispute. The Inter-American Conference will be done away with, and
replaced by something that is going to be called the General Assembly which will be a foreign ministers’ meeting and will be held
every year.
The term of the Secretary General is reduced from 10 years to
five, and the General Secretariat is given kind of more explicit
budget-making powers. At the same time, the articles of the Charter having to do with economic and social standards are very considerably expanded and rewritten.
You will recall, Mr. Chairman, that in the Spring of 1966 this
committee held a number of meetings with the then responsible officials of the State Department with respect to the wording of these
economic and social articles, and the wording which has now been
approved and which is before the committee is substantially the
same that the committee worked out at that time.
The CHAIRMAN. Is there anything in this relating to this question
of administration of the funds, because recently there have been
rumors about misapplication of funds. You are familiar with that,
are you not, Under Secretary Jose A. Mora?
Mr. HOLT. Yes.
There is a little on this, I will find it in just a moment. One of
the things that has happened in that respect quite apart from
these amendments to the Charter is that within the existing framework a new assistant Secretary General has been created to have
charge of the administration of the Pan American Union.
The CHAIRMAN. Well, in any case, even though something should
be done about that it is too late to try to incorporate anything of
that character in these changes, is that correct?
Mr. HOLT. That is right.
The Secretary General has more authority.
Senator MANSFIELD. I think we might just as well declare a recess for the time being.
[Short recess.]
The CHAIRMAN. Where were we, Mr. Holt?
Mr. HOLT. Well, you were considering these amendments to the
Charter of the OAS, and you had asked a question of whether new
provisions are made for the control of funds, and so on. The only
thing specific really that these amendments do is to give the Secretariat of the Organization the authority to prepare the proposed
program budget, and that is about all.
The. CHAIRMAN. How much of this budget do we pay?
Mr. HOLT. We pay 67 percent, I think.
The CHAIRMAN. Well, I think we ought to have some safeguard
about it. I forget now, Pat, the exact details but there was a scandal in the paper not long ago about somebody misapplying funds.
Mr. HOLT. That is right, there was.
Senator MANSFIELD. The Dominican.
Mr. HOLT. There were two instances: One an OAS representative
in Costa Rico and one in Argentina.
The CHAIRMAN. If we pay 67 percent it seems to me somebody,
the GAO or someone, ought to have the right to see that the money
goes for what it is appropriated for.
Senator SYMINGTON. How much money is involved?