Article by Leonard Unger, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Far Eastern Affairs, "The United States and the Far East: Problems and Policies"; Department of State Bulletin, March 21, 1966, p. 452.


Source: The Pentagon Papers, Gravel Edition, Volume 4, (Boston: Beacon Press, 1971), pp. 649-650


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"Our national interest--I speak as an American-is no longer explicitly guided in the Far East, by particular economic or military concerns with individual areas, as was indeed to a considerable extent the case not only with ourselves but also with the British and others before World War II. We have a deep concern for expanded trade and cultural ties--which alone can in the end bind the world together--and we have military base rights and needs related to our role in assisting in the security in the area. But neither of these is an end in itself. The first will, we believe, flourish if the nations in the area are able to develop in freedom; the second, the security role, must now be maintained but will over time, we hope, become susceptible of reduction and indeed, wherever possible, of elimination."

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". . . In the fall of 1961 President Kennedy made the decision that the United States would have to go beyond the limits of the Geneva accords. That decision was a fully justified response to the wholesale violation of the accords by the other side. We raised our military personnel from the levels provided in the Geneva accords to 10,000 men in 1962 and to roughly 25,000 men at the end of 1964. These men acted as advisers and assisted the Government of South Viet-Nam in its logistics. They did not operate as combat ground units."

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"There is in addition the strategic stake, for, without accepting the pat simplicities of 'domino' theories, none of us could doubt that the preservation of the independence of Thailand, of Malaysia, of Singapore, of Burma, and beyond them in the long run of India, the Philippines, and Australia would become infinitely more difficult if this Communist venture were to succeed in South VietNam. It is a Hanoi venture, but its success would feed the fires of the clearly expansionist thrust of Communist Chinese policy. That expansion must be contained so that over time there may emerge the latent moderate and constructive elements within Communist China.

"There is the world stake in defeating efforts to change the international framework by force, whether the attempt be, as in this case, by a Communist nation across a line that separates it from a non-Communist country or across a line that divides countries where communism is not a part of the issue. These are the stakes as we see them. We shall continue to do what is necessary to insure that South Viet-Nam will be able to stand on its own feet and determine its own future."

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