Remarks by President Johnson at White House Before House and Senate Committees on May 4, 1965, "Congress Approves Supplemental Appropriation for Vietnam"


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


Remarks by President Johnson at White House Before House and Senate Committees on May 4, 1965, "Congress Approves Supplemental Appropiation for Vietnam," Department of State Bulletin, May 24, 1965, p. 817.

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This is not the same kind of aggression which the world has long been used to. Instead of the sweep of invading armies there is the steady and the deadly attack in the night by guerrilla bands that come without warning, that kill people while they sleep.

In Viet-Nam we pursue that same principle which has infused American action in the Far East for a quarter of a century. There are those who ask why this responsibility should be ours. The answer, I think, is simple. There is no one else who can do the job. Our power alone, in the final test, can stand between expanding communism and independent Asian nations.

Thus, when India was attacked, it looked to us for help, and we gave it immediately. We believe that Asia should be directed by Asians. But that means that each Asian people must have the right to find is own way, not that one group or one nation should overrun all the others.

Now make no mistake about it, the aim in Viet-Nam is not simply the conquest of the South, tragic as that would be. It is to show that American commitment is worthless, and they would like very much to do that, and once they succeed in doing that, the gates are down and the road is open to expansion and to endless conquest. Moreover, we are directly committed to the defense of South Viet-Nam beyond any question.

In 1954 we signed the Southeast Asia Collective Defense Treaty and that treaty committed us to act to meet aggression against South Viet-Nam.

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