Address by Secretary Rusk at the Founder's Day Banquet of the Boston University School of Public Communications at Boston, Massachusetts on March 14, 1966, "Keeping Our Commitment to Peace"; Department of State Bulletin, April 4, 1966, p. 514.


Source: The Pentagon Papers, Gravel Edition, Volume 4, (Boston: Beacon Press, 1971), pp. 647-648


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". . . The lesson of World War II was that it was necessary to organize and defend a peace--not merely to wish for it--and to 'unite our strength to maintain international peace and security.'

"Article 1 of the United Nations Charter is utterly fundamental and, although some may think it old-fashioned to speak of it, I should like to remind you of what it says:

'To maintain international peace and security, and to that end: to take effective collective measures for the prevention and removal of threats to the peace, and for the suppression of acts of aggression or other breaches of the peace, and to bring about by peaceful means, and in conformity with the principles of justice and international law, adjustment or settlement of international disputes or situations which might lead to a breach of the peace; . . .'

"Unhappily and tragically, the ink was not dry on the United Nations Charter before it became fully apparent that Joseph Stalin had turned to world revolution and a policy of aggressive militancy. The first major issue before the Security Council was his attempt to keep Russian forces in Iran. Then came guerrilla operations against Greece, pressure on Turkey, the Berlin blockade, and the Korean aggression. These moves led to defensive action by the free world and a number of mutual defense treaties--the Rio Pact, NATO, the ANZUS treaty with Australia and New Zealand, and bilateral treaties with the Philippines and Japan.

"Under President Eisenhower we concluded the Southeast Asia treaty, which, by a protocol, committed us to help the three non-Communist states of former French Indochina--South Viet-Nam, Laos, and Cambodia--to repel armed attacks, if they asked for help. Under Eisenhower we also entered mutual defense pacts with the Republic of Korea and the Republic of China on Formosa.

"All of those commitments to oppose aggression-through the United Nations and through our various defensive alliances-were approved by the Senate by overwhelming majorities of both parties. And these and related obligations have been sustained over the years by authorizations, appropriations, and other supporting measures enacted by bipartisan votes in both Houses of Congress.

THE BACKBONE OF WORLD PEACE

"I have read that I have drawn 'no distinction between powerful industrial democratic states in Europe and weak and undemocratic states in Asia.' The answer is that, for the Secretary of State, our treaty commitments are a part of the supreme law of the land, and I do not believe that we can be honorable in Europe and dishonorable in Asia.

"I do believe that the United States must keep its pledged word. That is not only a matter of national honor but an essential to the preservation of peace. For the backbone of world peace is the integrity of the commitment of the United States."

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"The fact is that I have always treated the SEATO treaty--which the Senate approved with only one dissenting vote--as an important part of our commitment to defend South Viet-Nam."

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"I do not regard our policy in Viet-Nam as based only on past commitments. I believe that it is now just as much in our interest--and that of the free world--to repel Communist aggression there as it was when we made those earlier commitments."

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