"U.S. Calls for Frontier Patrol to He!p Prevent Border Incidents Between Cambodia and Vietnam." Statement by Adlai Stevenson to Security Council, 21 May 1964, Department of State Bulletin, 8 June 1964


Source: Source: The Pentagon Papers, Gravel Edition, Volume 3, pp. 715-716


"U.S. Calls for Frontier Patrol to He!p Prevent Border Incidents Between Cambodia and Vietnam." Statement by Adlai Stevenson to Security Council, 21 May 1964, Department of State Bulletin, 8 June 1964, P. 908:

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First, the United States had no, repeat no, national military objective anywhere in Southeast Asia. United States policy for Southeast Asia is very simple. It is the restoration of peace so that the peoples of that area can go about their own independent business in whatever associations they may freely choose for themselves without interference from the outside.

I trust my words have been clear enough on this point.

Second, the United States Government is currently involved in the affairs of the Republic of Vietnam for one reason and one reason only: because the Republic of Vietnam requested the help of the United States and of other governments to defend itself against armed attack fomented, equipped, and directed from the outside.

"This is not the first time that the United States Government has come to the aid of peoples prepared to fight for their freedom and independence against armed aggression sponsored from outside their borders. Nor will it be the last time unless the lesson is learned once and for all by all aggressors that armed aggression does not pay--that it no longer works--that it will not be tolerated.

The record of the past two decades makes it clear that a nation with the will for self-preservation can outlast and defeat overt or clandestine aggression-even when that internal aggression is heavily supported from the outside, and even after significant early successes by the aggressors. I would remind the members that in 1947, after the aggressors had gained control of most of the country, many people felt that the cause of the Government of Greece was hopelessly lost. But as long as the people of Greece were prepared to fight for the life of their own country, the United States was not prepared to stand by while Greece was overrun.

This principle does not change with the geographical setting. Aggression is aggression; organized violence is organized violence. Only the scale and the scenery change; the point is the same in Vietnam today as it was in Greece in 1947 and in Korea in 1950. The Indochinese Communist Party, the parent of the present Communist Party in North Vietnam, made it abundantly clear as early as 1951 that the aim of the Vietnamese Communist leadership is to take control of all of Indochina. This goal has not changed--it is still clearly the objective of the Vietnamese Communist leadership in Hanoi.

Hanoi seeks to accomplish this purpose in South Vietnam through subversive guerrilla warfare directed, controlled, and supplied by North Vietnam. The communist leadership in Hanoi has sought to pretend that the insurgency in South Vietnam is a civil war, but Hanoi's hand shows very clearly. Public statements by the Communist Party in North Vietnam and its leaders have repeatedly demonstrated Hanoi's direction of the struggle in South Vietnam. For example, Le Duan, First Secretary of the Party, stated on September 5, 1960, "At present our Party is facing [a] momentous task: . . . to strive to complete . . . revolution throughout the country . . ." He also said this: "The North is the common revolutionary base of the whole country." Three months after the Communist Party Congress in Hanoi in September 1960, the so-called "National Front for the Liberation of South Vietnam" was set up pursuant to plans outlined publicly at that Congress.

The International Control Commission in Vietnam, established by the Geneva accords of 1954, stated in a special report which it issued in June 1962 that there is sufficient evidence to show that North Vietnam has violated various articles of the Geneva accords by its introduction of armed personnel, arms, munitions, and other supplies from North Vietnam into South Vietnam with the object of supporting, organizing, and carrying out hostile activities against the Government and armed forces of South Vietnam.

Infiltration of military personnel and supplies from North Vietnam to South Vietnam has been carried out steadily over the past several years. The total number of military cadres sent into South Vietnam via infiltration routes runs into the thousands. Such infiltration is well documented on the basis of numerous defectors and prisoners taken by the armed forces of South Vietnam.

Introduction of communist weapons into South Vietnam has also grown steadily. An increasing amount of weapons and ammunition captured from the Viet Cong has been proven to be of Chinese Communist manufacture or origin. For example, in December 1963 a large cache of Viet Cong equipment captured in one of the Mekong Delta provinces in South Vietnam included recoilless rifles, rocket launchers, carbines, and ammunition of Chinese Communist manufacture.

The United States cannot stand by while Southeast Asia is overrun by armed aggressors. As long as the peoples of that area are determined to preserve their own independence and ask for our help in preserving it, we will extend it. This, of course, is the meaning of President Johnson's request a few days ago for additional funds for more economic as well as military assistance for Vietnam.

And if anyone has the illusion that my Government will abandon the people of Vietnam--or that we shall weary of the burden of support that we are rendering these people--it can only be due to ignorance of the strength and the conviction of the American people.


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