Address by President Johnson at the White House, 15 August 1966, "The Enemy We Face in Viet-Nam"; Department of State Bulletin, August 15, 1966, p. 227.


Source: The Pentagon Papers, Gravel Edition, Volume 4, (Boston: Beacon Press, 1971), pp. 657-658.


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"They may not look like we do. They don't speak the same language that we do. They may not even think like we do. But they are human beings. We promised them, by treaty, to help protect their independence, and America doesn't break its promises. We are going to stay there."

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"Second, a victory for the Communists in South Viet-Nam will be followed by new ambitions in Asia.

"The Communists have taught us that aggression is like hunger: It obeys no law but its own appetite. For this reason they have gambled heavily on success in the South.

"The leaders of free Asian nations know this better than anyone. If South Viet-Nam falls, then they are the next targets. North Viet-Nam's effort to impose its own system on South Viet-Nam is a new form of colonialism. The free nations of Asia want it stopped now. Many of them are standing there by our side, helping us stop them now.

"Third, a Communist victory in South Viet-Nam would inspire new aggression in the rest of the world.

"Listen to me while I repeat the words of North Viet-Nam's top military commander. I want you to hear what he says:

'The war has become (in his words) the model of the national liberation movement of our time. If the special warfare that the United States imperialists are testing in South Viet-Nam is overcome, then it can be defeated anywhere in the world.'

"Let me repeat to you those last words: '. . . it can be defeated anywhere in the world.'

"Now what he really means is this: If guerrilla warfare succeeds in Asia, it can succeed in Africa. It can succeed in Latin America. It can succeed anywhere in the world."

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