A Conversation with Dean Rusk, NBC News Program on January 3, 1965, Department of State Bulletin, January 18, 1965


Source: Source: The Pentagon Papers, Gravel Edition, Volume 3, pp. 725



A Conversation with Dean Rusk, NBC News Program on January 3, 1965, Department of State Bulletin, January 18, 1965, p. 64.

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Secretary Rusk: . . . Now, when North Viet-Nam was organized as a Communist country, almost immediately its neighbor, Laos, and its neighbor, South Viet-Nam, came under direct pressure from North Viet-Nam. Now, this is the nature of the appetite proclaimed from Peiping. One doesn't require a 'domino' theory to get at this. Peiping has announced the doctrine. It is there in the primitive notion of a militant world revolution which has been promoted by these veterans of the long march who now control mainland China. So we believe that you simply postpone temporarily an even greater crisis if you allow an announced course of aggression to succeed a step at a time on the road to a major catastrophe.

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Now, there are some in other countries, for example, who seem to be relatively indifferent to problems of this sort in Southeast Asia, and yet they are the first ones to say that if we were to abandon Southeast Asia, this would cause them to wonder what our commitments under such arrangements as NATO would mean. Do you see?

In other words, the issue here is the capability of halting a course of aggression at the beginning, rather than waiting for it to produce a great conflagration.

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