Address by Vice President Humphrey at Commencement Exercises at the United States Military Academy, West Point, New York on June 8, 1966, "Perspective on Asia"; Department of State Bulletin, July 4, 1966, p. 2.

Source: The Pentagon Papers, Gravel Edition, Volume 4, (Boston: Beacon Press, 1971), pp. 655-656

"World peace and security will be threatened by propaganda, subversion, and agitation, by economic warfare, by assassination of honest and able leaders, as well as by the naked use of armed force.

"World peace and security will be threatened, above all, by the very existence, for two-thirds of mankind, of conditions of hunger, disease, and ignorance.

"We must learn that the simple solutions of times past will not meet the present day challenges and new forms of aggression we face.

"Our 'doves' must learn that there are times when power must be used. They must learn that there is no substitute for force in the face of a determined enemy who resorts to terror, subversion, and aggression, whether concealed or open.

"Our 'hawks' must learn that military power is not enough. They must learn, indeed, that it can be wholly unavailing if not accompanied by political effort and by the credible promise to ordinary people of a better life.

"And all of us must learn to adapt our military planning and actions to the new conditions of subversive warfare, the so-called 'wars of national liberation.'"

* * *

"America's role in Asia today is a direct product of the century that preceded World War II and of the war itself. For with the end of that war, the responsibilities of victory imposed on us a stabilizing role in Japan and Korea. And with the beginning of the cold war, the Communist victory in China, and the outbreak of the Korean war, American power was the only shield available to fragile and newly independent nations in non-Communist Asia."

* * *

"But what of the states of former French Indochina? There, of course, is the present focal point of war and revolution in Asia. And there we are tested as never before. We face a situation of external aggression and subversion against a postcolonial nation that has never had the breathing space to develop its politics or its economy.

"In South Viet-Nam both defense and development--the war against the aggressor and the war against despair--are fused as never before. Viet-Nam challenges our courage, our ingenuity, and our ability to persevere. If we can succeed there--if we can help sustain an independent South Viet-Nam, free to determine its own future--then our prospects, and the prospects for free men throughout Asia, will be bright indeed.

"We know this. Our friends and allies know it. And our adversaries know it. That is why one small country looms so large today on everyone's map of Asia."

* * *

"War is always cruel. But the war in Viet-Nam should not obscure for us the fact that behind the smoke and uproar is the testing of an issue vital to all of Asia and indeed the world. Can independent, non-Communist states not only survive but grow and flourish in face of Communist pressure?"

* * *

Return to Vinnie's Home Page

Return to Vietnam War Page