President Kennedy's Explanation for the Differences in US Policy Toward Laos and Vietnam, News Conference, 8 May 1963


Source: The Pentagon Papers, Gravel Edition, Volume 2, p. 819


President Kennedy's News Conference, May 8, 1963, Public Papers of the Presidents, Kennedy, 1963, p. 375:

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Q: "Back on the subject of Vietnam. Could you explain to us, sir, why we have committed ourselves militarily in Vietnam but have not committed ourselves militarily in Laos, depending instead upon this neutralist government?"

A: "Because the situations are different. That's why the remedy has been different. We have had a commitment for a good many years to the integrity of South Vietnam. We are anxious to maintain the neutrality of Laos. It may not be possible to do so and it may be necessary to seek other remedies. But we have adopted what we considered to be, considering the geography, the history, the nature of the threat and the alternate solution-we've adopted for each country what we regarded as the best strategy. And we'll have to wait and see what happens on them."

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