President Kennedy's View of the "Domino Theory," News Conference, April 24, 1963


Source: The Pentagon Papers, Gravel Edition, Volume 2, pp. 818-819


President Kennedy's News Conference, April 24, 1963, Public Papers of the Presidents, Kennedy, 1963, p. 343:

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Q: "Mr. President, on Laos again, several years ago we heard a great deal about the 'falling domino' theory in Southeast Asia.

"Do you look upon Laos in terms of that country alone, or is your concern the effect that its loss would have in Thailand, Vietnam, and so on?

"Would you discuss that?"

THE PRESIDENT: "That is correct. The population of Laos is 2 million and it is scattered. It is a very rough country. It is important as a sovereign power. The people desire to be independent, and it is also important because it borders the Mekong River and, quite obviously, if Laos fell into Communist hands it would increase the danger along the northern frontiers of Thailand. It would put additional pressure on Cambodia and would put additional pressure on South Vietnam which in itself would put additional pressure on Malaya.

"So I do accept the view that there is an interrelationship in these countries and that is one of the reasons why we are concerned with maintaining the Geneva Accords as a method of maintaining stability in Southeast Asia. It may be one of the reasons why others do not share that interest."

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