THE WHITE HOUSE
November 3, 1966
I would have enjoyed a meeting of the full leadership of
the Congress today to discuss my Asian trip and all its
implications. But, in the absence of a number of your
colleagues, I would like to convey to you personally
some of my principle conclusions.
First, I found a huge reservoir of friendliness and
goodwill toward the United Staes in all parts of the
They recognize, from our past actions in
from our present actions in Viet-Nam, that we are
prepared to sacrifice to see them remain free and
prepared to help them develop their economic life.
Second, I found that those closest to the danger of
aggression and subversion are those who understand
best why that danger must be faced and turned back.
These are people who are prepared to stand up and be
counted. It is now clear to one and all that we are not
in this thing alone.
Third, there is profound understanding in
Asia that by
our firm stand in Viet-Nam and in Southeast Asia, we
are buying time for all the nations of that region to face
their own problems realistically and to begin to build
their own future together as a region.
Finally, I found an
Asia very much on the move. In one
country after another I found leaders and governments
intent on making a better life for their peoples. Their
problems are immense. But they are not daunted by the
scale of the task. And they are making progress --
sometimes amazing progress -- as in Korea.
We stated our resolve to resist aggression; conquer
hunger, illiteracy and disease; build a region of
security, order and progress; seek reconciliation
There were other accomplishments that received
little or no attention in many of the reports from
Manila. I call your attention to the following com-
mitments by Vietnamese Chief of State Thieu and
Prime Minister Ky: to train and assign a substantial
share of the Vietnamese armed forces to clear-and-
hold actions in order to provide a shield behind which
a new society can be built; to give land reform "top
priority"; to begin mapping a new and expanded
postwar economy (and the related allied commitment
to plan conversion of military installations in the
context of Vietnamese peacetime planning); to elect
a Chief of government six months after the Constitu-
tion is completed -- it will not be later than March,
1967; to begin holding village hamlet elections
early in 1967; to carry forward a program of National
Reconciliation; to ask their allies to remove their
forces as the military and subversive forces of
North Viet-Nam are withdrawn and peace becomes
possible in the South -- to which we replied, with
Vietnamese agreement, with the six months
I consider all of these substantial advances in the
continuing effort to achieve a peaceful, secure, and
prosperous South Viet-Nam.
In closing, I want to pass along my impression of the
men who are fighting in Viet-Nam and standing guard
in Korea. They are magnificent. General Westmoreland
told me that no Commander-in-Chief ever commanded
a finer armed force. They are brave, and good
humored, and selfless.
I sincerely wish you could have been with me --
to see them and to see the vital and exciting Asia
that is forming up and will take shape if we see it
through to an honorable peace in Viet-Nam.
[Subscription (recipient's name and address at foot of page)]
Honorable Leverett Saltonstall
United States Senate