Excerpts from President Kennedy's News Conference, March 6, 1963

Source: The Pentagon Papers, Gravel Edition, Volume 2, pp. 816-817

President Kennedy's News Conference, March 6, 1963, Public Papers of the Presidents, Kennedy, 1963, p. 243:

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Q: "Mr. President, the Mansfield committee, sent at your suggestion to the Far East and Europe, has recommended a thorough security reassessment in the
Far East and a clamp down, if not a reduction in our aid to that part of the world. Would you have any comment on this, sir?"

THE PRESIDENT: "I don't see how we are going to be able, unless we are going to pull out of Southeast Asia and turn it over to the Communists, how we are going to be able to reduce very much our economic programs and military programs in South Viet-Nam, in Cambodia, in Thailand.

"I think that unless you want to withdraw from the field and decide that it is in the national interest to permit that area to collapse, I would think that it would be impossible to substantially change it particularly, as we are in a very intensive struggle in those areas.

"So I think we ought to judge the economic burden it places upon us as opposed to having the Communists control all of Southeast Asia with the inevitable effect that this would have on the security of India and, therefore, really begin to run perhaps all the way toward the Middle East. So I think that while we would all like to lighten the burden, I don't see any real prospect of the burden being lightened for the U.S. in Southeast Asia in the next year if we are going to do the job and meet what I think are very clear national needs."

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