Manh 1, 1968 CONGRESSIONAL RECORD--:-- SENATE 81993
THE DESffiABILITY OF A RESOLUTION
OF OUR INVOLVEMENT IN
Mr. PELL. Mr. President, the problem
of Vietnam and what we should do in
achieving a decent resolution of our Involvement
In that wartorn, unhappy
land is a problem that looms over the
thinking, the plans, and the aspirations
of us all.
There is no Senator amongst us who
Is more familiar and knowledgeable concerning
this problem t.han Is the senior
Senator from Montana fMr. MANSFIELD),
whose knowledge of tl 1e area and whose
experience with its pc,Jple is great.
The distinguished Senator from Montana
made a s!ngulaJly perceptive and
forthright speech at the convocation of
the University of Indiana a week ago today.
In the course of that speech, the
Senator made the fundamental point
There Is no obligation to con tlnue to pour
out the blood f\w.l resources <;>f this Nation
untll south v .letnam Is made safe for one
Vietnamese faction or another.
- The Senator also cited the sad statistL~
s when he made his speech a week
aJo that reveal that there were 543 young
American men who had been kllled in
· the preceding 7 days. That was the highest
weekly total of deaths in the war. Today,
only 1 week later, we find that we
have reached the second h.\tTilest total of
deaths of the war, 470 deaths have occuned.
This brings us to a total of 18,709
young men killed and 115,144 wounded
in this unhappy war-a total that is not
far from the total young men killed and
wounded in the Korean conflict.
These mounting casualty figures of
the United States alone-figures that do
not include the young Vietnamese men,
women, and children that have been and
are being killed in North and South
Vietnam-! believe show, stress, and underline
the importance of the speech of
the Senator from Montana and make It
singularly significant today.
I call the speech to the attention of
my colleagues and ask unanimous consent
that it be printed at this point in
There being no objection, the speech
was ordered to be printed In the RECORD,
AssEsSMEN r IN VIETNAM
(Rema.rks of Senator MIKE MANSFIELD, of
Montana, at the Indiana University Convocation,
Bloomington, Ind., February 23,
The struggle In VIetnam bas turned grim.
pitiless. and deva.stnt!ng. The casualty figures
a.re staggering. The physical damage ls
enormous. Men, women, cbtldren, soldiere,
guerrillas, weapons, machines, cities, towns.
a.nd villages-all are thrown together In an
Inferno of destruction.
It l.s not surprising that the situation bas
been Interpreted In some quarters as approa.
chlng some sort or climax. It may well
be, as bas been suggcsteg. the beginning or
the end. The question Is what beglnn1ng and
what end? Peace by military vtctory? Peace
by negotiations? With whom? For what?
There Is no certainty at tbl.s point a.s to what
will emerge In VIetnam, or for that matter.
whether the end of this war Is to be found In
I have no desire. therefore, to Indulge, t<>day.
In what has become a kind or parlor
game called "Who's winning In Vietnam?" It
Is offensive to me, as I know It must be to
you. to hear this deadly confilct treated as
some sort of athletic contest. The llvoo of too
many young Americans are on the line ln
Vietnam. Too many bewildered men and
women and children nre being burnt.
bloodied and broken by this war. Too much Is
In ruins. Too many lle dead. Vietnam Is not
a game. There can be no ,vtnners; there are
only losers and the longer the war persisl.s
the greater are the losses for all concerned.
The tragedy of Vietnam constrains us all to
great sobriety In discussion. There Is little
point In speculating on the current clasheswho
Is winning and who Is not or what Is
being won ancl what l.s not. The need 1.s to
try to detl.ne accurately the chnrneter of the
present tragedy and, In that way. hopefully,
to see more clearly what the Interests Of this
nation will require In the days ahead.
In this respect, seldom bas a problem presented
greater dlftlcult!es than Vietnam and
seldom has the need for a solution been
Mike Mansfield Papers, Series 21, Box 44, Folder 18, Mansfield Library, University of Montana
81994 CONGRESSIONAL RECORD - SENATE 1, 1%8
(!:renter. A restoration or peace Is Imperative
tor the welfare of the people o! VIetnam:
they have been fought over tor so long that.
In the mllllons. they are torn from their
anccstraJ places seeking refuge where there
:s no refuge. For us, too. an honorable soluUon
Is of the utmost urgency. The war In
\'lctnam hns been deeply divisive In Its crf
'C ts on this na tlon. It has d1 ver ted energy
' .td resources from the great needs or our
own society The vast dlfficult!es o! the urban
re". for exam;>le. cry out for attention.
uut the cry Is barely heard above the din
nger of being thrown out of kilter by the
Immense demands or the war In this oonnectlon.
we have a.lready suffered a slgnH\cant
degree of Inflation. Furthermore, we
are confronted with what can only be called
the embarrassment or having to discourage
the travel of Americans abroad, because or
dtmcultles which the war and other foreign
commitments have Introduced Into the nation's
J:>.alance o! payments.
In our relations with the rest or the world,
the war In VIetnam ha.. placed formidable
blocks In the way o! further progress In International
cooperation . It has brought In
Its wake new threats to the st.1.blllty of peace,
116 In the case or the U.S.S. Pueblo Incident
which may be but the precursor of others.
In these pinpoints or Instability. moreover.
there are ever-present threats to the fra.ll
defenses of the world against nuclear catastrophe.
We did not arrive at thJs situation overnight.
Our involvement In VIetnam Is not
new born. It we are at a croosroacts. today.
It Ls but one In a chain or cr<>6&oads which
extends backwards tor many years. There
comes to mlnd, tor example, the moment o!
the French oollapse and the Geneva Conferences
of 1954; the a.ssasRtnntlon or Prellatlon tor specific
VIet Cong acts of offense .st weekly total or tile
war The over-all figures 110w st.1.nd at 18,239
deaths and the wounded t Jtal 112,469 Among
the opposing forces. or C'ourse. there 're reports
or astronmlcal Increase· In men killed,
taken prisoner, or deserting
I cite these l(rucsome t!gures to Indicate
the Immense growth In th•· scope or the conflict.
p:u-tlcull\rly as It hM Involved the Unltt>ct
States. I flnd It mo't In opproprlate that this
effort and these greM s.~• rlfices are, In effect,
called Inadequate In sontP quarters. The fact
Is that. short or what Pr•me Minister Wilson
bas called the "lunacy" or nuclear war, this
nation has made a mn.ss tvc military P!Tort In
VIetnam. The effort has i>een made by dedicated
Americans, ably led, who have r-arrled
out their orders with cour.t~e and sUil. At
thJs late date, It ought •t lenst to l!•· clear
that If the situation 111 VIetnam h tJI not
changed o.s anticipated. It has not J:>.•rn for
want of an extraordlna·y mlllt.~ry eff,rt by
the United St1.tes. Amer c:m forces may well
have done too much but by no stretch of
the Lmagtnntlon c:o.n It b said that they have
done to II ttl e.
Nevertheless, the real ity Is that the s ituation
has not chl\nged as anticipated. At t:te
time or my last visit t > VIetnam In 1965,
available estlm:ltes Indicated that 22 pPrcent
or the population or &>Uth Vll'tnam has
under control or the N~tlonnl Liberation
Front, 60 per~nt under government oontrol,
and 18 percent contested. At the end of lo&t
year. t11.e Satgon government was reported as
controlling 67 percent or the population, presumably
n gain of 7 pcrc<'n t. Subet.'ln tl.tl progress
was also reported In the so-called
pacification program "hich had been
designed to strengthen and expand Sa.lgon's
oontrol over t11.c rum! nrc s.
TI1en came the wave or attacks against
the cities or South Vlctuam. One can put
whatever Interpretation one chO<>:'es on these
recent cln.•·rntlon Front or
North VIetnam nrc nenrlnr the end or the
rope. Actually, Hanoi has c· tmmltted to the
wnr Jn the South ron~,J tlrr ahJ..· ln.;s than n
quarter or the f OfCI' o f Gcn<~ral VCJ Nguyen
Glnp. who Is gener:dly credited with ma,termlndlng
the cu rrent mlllthry strategy In he
South, And beyolld North Vietnom lies the
untapped manpower of China nd the EU!' ·I··
sources or both Chinn nnd the ~ovlet Unl"'"t '
These are some or the rea !I ties wh!ch ::.1 •
not measW'ed by the computers of "progre,, ..
In Saigon. These nre some of the realities
which seem to me to make It Imperative to
recall the onglnal purposes or the American
commitment to ~outh VIetnam They were.
above all else. limited purposes. There Is not
now and there has never been a mandate to
take over a war. The comml tment Is to support
not to supplant.
At the outset, It was not an American responsibility
and It Is not now an American
responsibility to win n victory ror any particular
group or VIetnamese or to defeat any
particular group or VIetnamese. Even rf we
could. It Is not In the lnt.Prests or this nation
to synthesize a political structure !or South
VIetnam. That Is not and ought not ever
to become the fu nctlon or the American
miLitary command, the American economtRU!.
administrators. diplomats. political scientists,
aid-officials, and others who are
gathered In VIetnam. The sooner that the
limits or our commitment are understood by
nil directly concerned the better for a.ll concerned
It Is time to recognize that our Immense
ctrort hne a.lrendy gone n long way to nl ter
the character of what wna once an Inner
struggle among VIetnamese. It ts also time
to recognize thn t whatever we may do, the
future of VIetnam depends not on us but on
the VIetnamese themselves. It Is their country;
they live In lt. They will be living In It
long after we are gone from lt.
Our responsibility Is to sustain, not to submerge.
To strip the VIetnamese struggle of
Its VIetnamese character. to convert It Into
a war to be won or lost by this nation. Is to
detract from Its relevl\nce ooth to the people
or VIetnam and to the people ot the United
States. To do so Is to consolidate an American
involvement on the Southeast Asian
mainland or Indefinite duration and obscure
purposes whose terminus Is not visible-not
In VIetnam, not In Laos, or In Cambodia Indeed,
It may well be an Involvement which
Is without exit except In World War III.
Thts nation Is deeply committed In South
VIetnam but let us not make the mistake
or Interpreting that commitment as compelling
us--In the name of victory or whatever-
to see to It that every last member
ot the NLF Is either dulled, dead, captive. or
ln flight. That course leads not to an ending
but to an endless succession of violent beginnings.
An Inextricable Involvement of American
forces In VIetnam may meet the needs of
some but It accords neither with the Interests
or the United States or the people
or VIetnam. In this connection. President
Johnson has repeatedly stated that this nation's
objective Is " .. only that the people
of South Vletnnm be allowed to guide
their own country In their own way" He
has stated that he l• willing to move at nny
time In negotiations which might bring
about that rceult. He has stated that we are
prepared to move out lock. stock. and barrel
In n mn.tter or months after a satisfactory
settlement Is nchlevcct.
It should be clear, therefore. to all concerned-
Americans and VIetnamese In Washlngbon.
In Saigon. and In Hanoi and to
whomever, wherever- that that Is the accurate
measure of this nl\tlon's commitment.
There Is no obligation to continue to pour out
the blood and resources or this nation until
South VIetnam Is made safe for one VIetnamese
fnctlon or another. On the contrary,
there Is an obligation to the people
ot the United States to conserve that blood
and those resources and, to tile people or
VIetnam. there Is an obligation to avoid the
Mike Mansfield Papers, Series 21, Box 44, Folder 18, Mansfield Library, University of Montana
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