Statement by Secretary Ball on May 3, 1965 at the Opening Session of the SEATO Council Ministers' 10th Meeting at London


Source: Source: The Pentagon Papers, Gravel Edition, Volume 3, pp. 737-738


Statement by Secretary Ball on May 3, 1965 at the Opening Session of the SEATO Council Ministers' 10th Meeting at London, Department of State Bulletin, June 7, 1965, p. 922.

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We have, however, come to realize from the experience of the past years that aggression must be dealt with wherever it occurs and no matter what mask it may wear. Neither we nor other nations of the free world were always alert to this. In the 1930's Manchuria seemed a long way away, but it was only 10 years from Manchuria to Pearl Harbor. Ethiopia seemed a long way away. The rearmament of the Rhineland was regarded as regrettable but not worth a shooting war. Yet after that came Austria. And after Austria, Czechoslovakia. Then Poland. Then the Second World War.

The central issue we face in South Viet-Nam should, I think, be clear for all to see. It is whether a small state on the periphery of Communist power should be permitted to maintain its freedom. And that is an issue of vital importance to small states everywhere.

Moreover, it is an issue that affects the security of the whole free world. Never has that point been more succinctly stated than by one of the greatest of all Englishmen, Sir Winston Churchill. "The belief," he said, "that security can be obtained by throwing a small state to the wolves is a fatal illusion." And let us not forget that General [Vo Nguyen] Giap, the head of the North Vietnamese armed forces, has said quite explicitly that if the so-called "war of liberation" technique succeeds in Viet-Nam, it can succeed "everywhere in the world."

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