June 9, 1970 CONGRESSIONAL RECORD- SENATE 88635
.;"""fhe PRESIDING OFFICER. Without
objection. it is so ordered.
Mr. MANSFIELD. Mr. President, what
I am about to say has no personal implications
for the President. for any Member
of this body. or for anyone who may
disagree with my remarks. I thought tha.t
the President. April 20 last. did an excellent
job in quieting the doubts and fears
of the American people and. a.t the same
time. raising our hopes on the basis of
his prf'viously announced and further
announced withdrawals of U.S. troops
from Vietnam. Even the campuses were
relatively quiet and seemed to be willing
to give support to the President's phased
Since that time a number of things
have happened which have caused a
change in attitude. a change in climate,
and have brought about a division among
our people. a polarization in the Nation,
and a. guli between young anct old, black
and white. hawks and doves
It has not been helpfUl to know that
the economy has stfa.dily deteriorated.
It has not been helpfUl to know o! the
stock marke~ convulsion. even after a
partial recovery which was a result. I
am sure. of a meeting which President
Nixon had with a sizable number of
Since that time. also. t..J.:ie President ha.s
hailed military gains in Cambodia-and
rightly- but critics have feared that what
he did in Cambodia will expand. enlarge,
and accelerate the war rather than
Then, of course, there are those who
feel that the President, before he made
this precipitate move. should have consulted
with Members of Congress, not
necessarily v.ith the Democratic Members,
although that is alwayG appreciated.
but primarily and sp-ecifically with his
own leaders in the House and the Senate,
so that there could have been some show
of consultation before the move was
The Cambodian adventure-and that
is what it is-has rarsed questions: What
is going to happen to the South Vietnamese
who remain L'1 Cambodia. R.fter
the first of next month? What will be
the policy of this count!"'J insofar as
bombing Cambodia is concerned after
the fust of next month? What will be
our concepts, after the capture of huge
enemy supply dumps and the like, as tc
what Peking and Moscow will do in the
way of replenishing the mater: a! that has
been captured. lost. or destroyed'?
What about the que.<.tions which have
be<>n raised with regard to the omcia'.
explanations? Was it a fo:-ay to p1.uLsh
&."1 enemy threat as i."ldicated by Pres!-
dent Nixon on April 30, or was it to seize
a milltary "opportunity," as stated by
Secretary of Defense Laird on May 13,
around the time, I believe he said that,
when the invasion of Cambodia took
place, the Vietcong and the North Vietnamese
forces had already retreated 15
miles to the west?
What forces were concentrating on the
Cambodian border at that time in the
What forces were actually moving out
All of these developments and questions
serve as a. prelude to the rise of a
deep feeling of concern which many of
us feel. I know that the same concern is
felt by those who uphold the pending
business, the Byrd-Grillln amendment,
as those who oppose it.
So, I want it very clearly understood
that I will not be a party to divisiveness
in this country. I Will do nothing to bring
about a polarization in this country. I
will explain my views. take my stands,
and assume my responsibilities. That is
a part of the duty of any Senator. regardless
of how we look at the situation
which confronts all of us today· I repeat--
regardless of our views.
Mr. President, it is not for me to question
any Senator's motive with respect
to the Cooper-Church amendment. Each
Senator will determine his own position
on this legislation. I would merely express
the hope that we will oo able to
dispose of the entire matter in the near
future. With the cooperation of the Senator
from Michigan (Mr. GRIITIN) there
is now agreement to vote. Thursday, on
the Byrd-Griffin modification. With his
further cooperation. perhaps, some accord
might soon be reached to bring the
Cooper-Church question to a close.
The Senate should face up to this matter
without further delay because what
began as a debate has shifted to an extended
discussion and for some days has
verged on a filibuster. It hardly reflects
credit on the Senate to obfuscate the
question by prolonged resort to the indulgent
procedures of the Senate rules.
The issue wi..ll not go away, no matter
how long it may be debated. It will not
be swept aside, whether the Cambodian
adventure is held to be a military success
or a failure. It will not be laid to
rest in the Senate because it cannot be
laid to rest in our consciences.
As long as Americans continue to die
in this misbegotten involvement in Indochina,
the issue will remain alive. It will
be v.ith us on June 30 and after June 30.
There is no escaping it, whether 30,000
Americans remain in Cambodia. 300,
three. or none. More is involved here
than another m1l!tary sortie into Cambodia,
a military sortie which. incidentally,
has already cost well over a thousand
additional American casualties in
this new theater of war.
Beyond military success or failure, the
issue posec by Cooper-Church is fundamental.
For too long, we have skated the
thin 1Ce of constitutional expediency in
matters of vro.r and peac.e. For too long,
the Senate has shrouded its constitutional
responsibilities in the skirts of
To be sure, it has been easier to say:
"Leave it to the Commander in Chief" or
"trust the Commander in Chief," or
"blame the Commander in Chief." When
all has been sa.id, however, there is stlll
the involvement in Vietnam. There is
still the involvement in Laos. There is
stlll the involvement in Cambodia. There
is still the ever-rising level of dead and
wounded young Americans in Indochina,
a level which now stands at 330,000.
There are still the haunting questions:
"What for? Why?"
I ask these questions, now not of President
Nixon or of his predecessors. Rather,
I ask them of the Senate and of myself
as one Senator. Since World War II,
Presidents have exercised the powers of
the Presidency, explicit, assumed or delegated,
as they have seen fit. On entering
omce each has found that the executive
branch is a repository of an awesome inheritance
of overseas commitments. A
President cannot escape these commitments
or evade them because they were
collected under his predecessors. He must
face them. He must act on them in the
best interests of the Nation as he comes
to see those interests. In turn, he leaves
a modified but continuing set of commitments
to his successor.
I do not speak with rancor of the President's
exercise of his responsib1lities in
this connecti'On. Rather, I SJ)eak in all
humility and with some regret of the
manner in which we have perceived and
acted on pur responsibilities as a Senate
with regard to Southeast Asia.
To be sure, the Senate's intentions
have been of the best. For many years,
we have seen our role in matters of war
and pea.ce largely as one of acquiescence
in the a.cts of the executive branch. If we
have had doubts, we have swallowed
them. Since President Eisenhower's administration.
at least, we have time. and
again deferred to the executive branch
in international matters. The executive
branch has presented us with decisions.
We have gone along. We have rocked few
That is the explanation of hundreds of
billions of dollars of defense asppropriations
little debated in this body for 15 or
more years. That is the sound of various
Senate declarations of support of Presidential
actions abroad, sometimes even
before the actions were taken. We have
proceeded in the name of national unity
and in the language of nonpartisanship.
In the presumed pursuit of security, not
only politics but the exercise of the separate
constitutional powers of the Senate
has stopped at the water's edge.
That is the eJCplanatlon of the Tonkin
Gulf resolution of 1964. In that act, the
Senate ioined the House in deferring to
the President Then, too, the Senate gave
assent to what the Executive had done,
was doing. and might do in the future in
the way of committing the Nation's
Aimed Forces in Vietnam.
Why did we do it? WhY did the Senate
adopt the Tonkin Gulf resolution
in short order and with only two dissenting
votes? Were we fearful of exercising
-an independent judgment? Was
it because we accepted assurances that
we were strengthening the hand of the
President in protecting American forces
already m Vietnam? Were we persuaded
Mike Mansfield Papers, Series 21, Box 46 , Folder 31, Mansfield Library, University of Montana.
88636 • CONGRESSIONAL RECORD-SENATE June 9, 1970
that a. show or unity here would secure
freedom in South Vietnam? Were we
convinced that what was tantamount to
a post-dated declar!lltion of war would
so frighten the North Vietnamese as to
forestall the further spread of the war
and, hence, our deepening involvement?
Such were the reasons for the Tonkin
Gulf resolution thS,t were propounded
at the time. Such were the judgments of
the executive branch. That was almost 6
years ago. The Senate passed the Tonkin
Gulf resolution. The Senate acted,
we thought, to protect American servicemen
alrea.dy in Vietnam. The Senate
gave the green light to go further into
Vietnam in order the more quickly, we
thought, to withdraw from Vietnam.
The rest is history.
In August, 1964, there were less than
20,000 U.S. servicemen in Indochina. Today
there are upwards of 425,000 and
under the previous administration the
total rose to well over 500,000. In the
11 years before the Tonkin Gulf resolution,
our casualties were less than 200
Americans killed-20 a year-in retrospect,
even that was far too manyin
Vletna.m. In the 6 years ~ince, 50,000
have died in Indoehi.nar-almost 9,000 a
Six years ago the U.S. milltary presence
was confined largely to Saigon and
a few coastal Vietnamese cities. The U.S.
involvement was still i.ndirect and peripheral.
Now 6 years after the Tonkin
Gulf resolution, U.S. servicemen are scattered
through Vietnam. Laos. Thailand,
and Cambodia. The invo vement is direct
and, notwithstanding thP so-called Vietnamization
program, it is central to the
entire structurP of the war in Indochina.
I do not recaJ~ this history without a
painful awar~"nE'~< of the Senate's part in
its '.\oTiting ~,r,- "t must be recalled.
It must be reca'1.e6. because the Senate is,
again, face to •arP with another Tonkin
Gul:: resolution I refer +..o the ByrdGriffin
modification wl-ich is now pending
to the Cooper-Church amendment.
Once again, the Senate is asked, in
effect. to accept what the executive
branch has done, what i>t is doing, and
what it may do with regard to Cambodia.
That is the price the Senate is quoted
if we would retain even a promise of preventing
the further spread of the war
under the CQoper-Church amendment.
We are asked by the Byrd-Griffin moctmcation
to give legal endorsement to whatever
course may be set by the executive
branch in Cambodia. We are asked to
subscribe not only to what is done in
Cambodia in the name of the Commander
in Chief under this President
but, if the war persists, under his successor,
whomever he may be and, perhaps,
his successor·s ~uccessor.
That is the nub of the Byrd-Grimn
modification. :rt would establish for the
Cambodian policies of t.~e ~xecutive
branch the same legal basis that the
Tonkin Gulf resolutic:>. fashioned for the
Vietnamese involvement 6 :ong years ago.
The Byrd-Griffin modification says that
Cooper-Church wili not a.pply unless the
executive branch decrees that it should
apply, Under Byrd-Griffin, the statutory
wall of Cooper-Church against the
spread of our involvement into Cambodia
stands or falls on a word from the White
Let the executive branch affirm that
what it does in Cambodia is for the purpose
of protecting our forces in Vietnam.
Let the executive branch assert that what
it does in Cambodia is to facilitate the
withdrawal of U.S. forces from Vietnam.
Let either be said by the executive branch
at any time and the Cooper-Church limitations
are nul.lified. No matter that the
Senate is not consulted. No matter that
the Congress is ignored. No matter how
long U.S. forces remain in Cambodia, no
matter how many Americans may die in
Cambodia, no matter how many more
billions are spent in compounding tlle
tragedy of Vietnam, it will all be done
with the legal sanction of the Senate.
I know that the authors of the ByrdGriffin
modification do not expect the
modification to work in that fashion. I
know that the Senator from West Virginia
and the Senator from Michigan
want not to prolong but to end the involvement
in Cjj.mbodia. They want to
protect American servicemen in Vietnam,
not jeopardize others in C!limbodia.
That is what we all want.
Is it not what we wanted-all of us-when
we passed the Tonkin Gulf resolution
6 years ago?
The Byrd-Griffin modification is a direct
descendant of the Tonkin Gulf resolution.
The clay carries the same imprint.
The door to fUrther involvement
.in Cambodia is not closed by ByrdGriffin.
Byrd-Gritll.n opens the door
wider. It sanctions an in-and-out entanglement
in Cambodia. It sanctions
a direct or indirect entrapment in Cambodia.
It sanctions an ad infinitum involvement
in Cambodia even as the Tonkin
Gulf resolution did the same for the
open-ended involvement in V1etnam.
Byrd-Griffl.n lifts the Congressional
counterweights which Cooper-Church
seeks to place against the pressures for
expanding mvolvement in Indochina. It
shackles the Senate's responsibility to
join Its separate constitutional authority
with that o! the President l.n a common
effort to confine the war and withdraw
If Byrd-Grtmn is adopted on Thursday
next, let there be no Monday mornjng
regrets. Let there be no shocked indignation
later. Whatever our intent, we
will have cleared the way for another
Vietnam in Cambodia :mci, perhaps, for
still others elsewhere. The time to face
the implications of Byrd-Griffin is now.
It is not next yea.r or thE' yea.r after.
Six years of tragic afteriT'..e.:'" tc the
Tonkin Gulf resolution flags t.hc warning.
We cannot consign the Senate's
constitutional responsibilities 1n matters
of war and peace. We crumot transfer
them to the executive branch under this
President or any other We cannot take
refuge from them without doing fundamental
violence to the Constitution and
endanger the stability of the Republic.
The Senate can work with a President
within the constitutional framework in
matters of war an.d peace. It can work
with this President or another But the
Senate cannot and must not work for
any President. regardless of party con-siderations.
in matters of war and peace.
It is not a question of supporting or opposing
the President. It is a question
of fulfilling our separate constitutional
I am aware that the President has expressed
some sort of unofficia.l endorsement
of the pending modification. The
White House has written a letter. That
is the President's right and his comments--
solicited or unsolicited--deserve
the most careful consideration of· the
Senate. Let us be clear. however, on one
point. The President's constitutional responsibility
in this matter does not begin
at this time. His constitutional responsibility
is not activated unless and until
this legislation has passed, not only the
Senate but also the House. Then and
only then does the measure become subject
to the Presdent's approval or rejection.
Then and only then does it become
the Constitutional business of the
Now it is the Senate's responsibility.
Now, the disposition of the Byrd-Griffin
modification is a. matter for the Senate
alone. We have had the President's letter.
We have also ha« citizens' letters, by the
hundreds of thousands. We have had
lobbying and lectures. That is appropriate
and proper. But the obligation
now-the oonstitutional obligation-is
for the Senate alone. for 100 Senators.
May I say that contrary to a great
camouflage of words, the Cooper-Church
amendment is not an indication of lack
of confidence in the President. The m.irage
of current gossip, notwithstanding,
Cooper-Church throws down no Senate
gauntlet to the constitutional powers of
the Presidency. If that were its intent, I
assure the Senate that I would have no
part of it. I have too much respect for the
office of the Presidency, too much concern
for its occupant, whomever he may
be, whatever his party.
Cooper-Church is not aimed at this
President or any other. Rather, CooperChurch
would strengthen the joint control
of the elected representatives of this
Nation-of the President and the Congress-
over the far-flung activities of
this Government in Southeast Asia
which for too long have veered too close
to the edge of irresponsibility. CooperChurch
would add the strength of the
war powers of the Congress under the
Constitution to the President's constitutional
powers as Commander in Chief.
Cooper-Church would provide not a
rebuff but a recourse for the President. It
would require, henceforth, that the advice
of the continuing counsellors in the
executive branch shall be weighed in the
scales of responsible congressional consideration
before critical new commitments
are undertaken in the name of this
In that sense Cooper-Church might orfer
an antidote to any tendencies to irresponsibility
in government in all of it.s
agencies. Hopefully, it m,ight raise a stoplook-
and-listen to discourage the launching
of impetuous or precipitous adventures
abroad which, in the end, affect
deeply the lives of millions of people
and jeopardize the welfare of the Republic.
I say "might'' Mr. President, because
the hour is late, very late.
Mike Mansfield Papers, Series 21, Box 46 , Folder 31, Mansfield Library, University of Montana.
June 9, 197() CONGRESSIONAL RECORD- SENATE
We have spilled too much of the Nation's
young blood In a wasting and mistaken
war In Indochina. We have spent
too much of the Nation's strength In allen ·
lands for an ill-starred purpose. We have
thought too much of sav.lng face an(l.
not enough of saving lives. All the while,
the troubles within our own borders have
multiplied. All the while, fiashes of new
dangers streak across other horizons. All
the while the Nation remains bound in
Southeast Asia where fundamental .Interests
are not engaged but great na'tiona.l
resources disappear In an endless fiow.
The hour Is late, very late.
The Byrd-Grlffi.n modification, In my
judgment, Is the critical vote of this Issue.
Reject it and the Senate will say that
the way out of Vietnam is not by way of
Cambodia. Adopt Byrd-Grimn to
Cooper-Church and the Senate will still
say that the way out of VIetnam Is not
by way of Cambodia, but only if the executive
branch also says the same thing.
The constitutional message of CooperChurch
without this proposed addition· is
clear. The Senate acts In concert with
the President's expressed determination
but under its own legal responsiblllty in
an etrort to curb the further expansion
of the war In Indochina. The Byrd-Griffin
modification clouds that message.
In my judgment, the Senate should
keep the Cooper-Church amendment
free of distortion. The credlbtlity of the
Senate demands it. The urgencies of the
..Nation require it.
Mike Mansfield Papers, Series 21, Box 46 , Folder 31, Mansfield Library, University of Montana.
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