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tv   1966 Fulbright Vietnam Hearings General James Gavin  CSPAN  February 14, 2016 4:37pm-5:51pm EST

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was divided. wasjohnson administration furious and try to dismiss him. they imply that he was racist because he wanted to use american forces in europe and not southeast asia. was anggested he impractical dreamer. george kennan became a hero to the anti-war movement. he never agreed with the student radicals and felt uncomfortable with that response. his rationale and his arguments give a lot of credence to the arguments being made by the antiwar movement, at the time. the national war college had a tribute to him and invited dean rusk, robert mcnamara, and come.rd to
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they invited george kennan. kennanup all agreed with 's thesis on containment and agreed in 1988. 1968,f them agreed in when it really mattered. it is a great tragedy that he was not listened to in the 1960's when we decided to go to war. >> we continue our look at the vietnam hearings. presents hisavin views on the war to the foreign relations committee. his statement is followed by senator's questions. this was broadcast by cbs news 1966.ruary 8,
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he was a commander during world war ii and was the only general ur times intofo combat. he retired from the army and was the u.s. ambassador intto france. this is the first 70 minutes. eisenhower's involvement in indochina. he served as the chief of staff in the operations and general gavin has served his
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country very well and has a retirementjoy his from the controversies of washington. we need his advice, there are few with his experience. i believe that we are confronted with momentous decisions in the future and i need not tell you what the subject matter of the decisions involves. this committee is trying to explore certain aspects of our policy, upon which you can shed light. all we is information and enlightenment. through the judgment of the people and the committee, we may be as wise as possible. this is not a novel or new approach. it is traditional. it is to be reviewed by the senate as a whole and by the country.
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we have many precedents for the inquiry. one of the most distinguished leaders in the senate that the theye has ever had expressed themselves well on the subject. on -- insist insist the american people will be treated as adults. >> first of all, it is a great thislege and i look upon appearance. >> these are difficult.
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[indiscernible] microphone.or i apologize. >> may i say, what a privilege. privilege and there is a hearing and i feel strongly about the issues and they should hear differing views. come athis will consolidated national will.
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two years of service with i visited scouts and others about the problems and went on to thailand. thehat time, i recommended construction and it was a sensitive spot and may become deeply involved as part of southeast asia. with mr. kennedy, after a month,
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he asked me to talk about laos. he was confronted with a different situation. i speak from memory now. the extentporting they should be involved and, i we would havet committed forces. the more we talked about it, the theyi agreed with him and seem to offer a situation to us. we could see that we could
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independent laos. giving'se missed because they were close to the -- misgivings because they were close to the communist. they conducted negotiations in geneva parallel to my own. and iived at neutrality was aware then and now that what presidents sought to achieve was . settlement he was absolutely right and we did arrive at that solution. since then, i continued to
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devote a great deal of my time to matters of global strategy. i was asked by the new york to do an article on the meaning of the atomic bomb. -- evenn then it lacked then, it lacked credibility. and weritten an article escalate world war ii experience into more and more. hashinking on this matter
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changed over the last 20 years. i did an article on this. in the midst of this, i was expanding correspondents. it was considered too radical ,or acceptance at the time and at that time, late in the summer the changingl, , were of global strategy must look at our vietnam commitments that are alarmingly out of balance. i might say that we should look and whatwe are today we can do. are, thealternatives
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and our judgment. i base this on statements from those who return with optimistic statements. it -- tter, i point out the futility of bombing and that this would cause -- create more problems than it would solve. -- and i would like to make that clear. >> is this still in 1962? . want to places in time
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-- place this in time. at the moment, i am touching upon the letter. aunte bombing went on, the to lay this att rest. for psychological reasons achieves little. andcourt of public opinion, could be damaging. to my own opinion that it would not solve anything.
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i would like to fit vietnam into the global strategy. two of the most important things spaceeen the bomb and implication, both with military implications. the bomb is an interesting case in point. we ask ourselves the meaning of the bomb and if it was the beginning of a new age. are we able to saul military problems in a way we were not able to in the past? suspect, is this the end? i suspected it was. as man has sought to impose will, he has sought to use energy in every form he could.
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the fusion of the adam, he has finally succeeded. the explosions that take place, he brought the energy of the cosmos to the earth and no longer can use it because it will destroy a segment of the human race. he is at the end. was finding more discriminating means and greater mobility. on asws what was going avoids as he can and major catastrophes that occur.
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this is so, and it is purely a concept and i'm grateful for the opportunity to express it. if this is so, for the first time in history, something is happening and i believe that it has. with measureso do you take short of war that make absolute victory certain. if war occurs inadvertently your sure to win. it seems to me now on the best analysis i have been able to make -- >> i did not understand. >> if war occurs inadvertently if your strategy is right you will win out give you examples of that. i would say if i may that i've given a great deal of thought and done writing on the subject. i've taught political science at the university of california four weeks in 1964 on a sabbatical. i have not come to these
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conclusions casually as they represent for me considerable effort and thought. it seems to me that our strategy today should be based upon first of all a dynamic viable economy. an economy that can export much for new real skills managerial techniques dollars or acquisitions, ventures abroad to help other people. we have developed a way of life that provides an abundance of means for our people and we should continue to export this just as aggressively as we can to help other people. i'm not talking about economic colonialism. for the enlightened fitness man trying to help other people help themselves. people are not born equal nor our nations born equal and they
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need help to achieve a place for their people. we have been doing extremely well in this respect. i'm talking in this context of the strategy. but it seems to me, for example that if one of the great books on decisive battles -- the 15 decisive battles -- were it to be rewritten today waiting clued the donees of mr. khrushchev who sought to coexist within his own to tell a terry and system based on planning and not market demand, who failed because he could not get the green grown and to that have the fertilizer and his economy could not produce. characteristically this happens in a failing strategy and he saw attacked the gamut to recoup. with the cuba and a great adventure that thanks to our secretary of defense he was defeated in. i would say that his demise is
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one of the decisive setbacks in all of history and i think that now in my personal opinion that our efforts to work closely with the soviet people should be rewarded. and in the present state of the union message making changes to encourage trade is a good thing. we've done a great deal exporting professors entertainers and scientists. i think we can go a long way together. it was a turning point. now, i would say further, that strategy today is in the realm
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of science and technology. out of science we are producing an abundance of new knowledge that can energize our economy and keep it moving. and very briefly, in the court of world opinion, world opinion itself we have the area that will have a great deal to do with what we may do. i would draw the parallel of the use of energy and power through the many centuries of human existence when people were restrained by their fellow men and what they could do to do many things even city states restrained with their armed forces could do in this nation has shrunk to the point today where we simply cannot do all the things we would like to do. i've always felt that one of our greatest captains of all time was general macarthur and yet even he had to come to realize
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and learn the hard way that the use of a nuclear bomb because we had them in our arsenal could not be permitted under his mandate from the united nations. it was sickly and intolerable thing. i've touched upon three areas of strategy that i believe are of overriding importance. my concern therefore for vietnam first became aroused when i found us cutting back in our global commitments and the relevant economics. i began to suspect that the escalation in southeast asia was beginning to hurt our strategic position. if this has significance now, it may have tremendous significance in the long run. when we turned back and what we are doing in world affairs through economic endeavors to support a tactical confrontation that appears to be escalating, we are in dangerous territory and for this reason what we are doing deserves looking at. there are several areas where confrontations occurred tactically.
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i mentioned cuba. europe is one today. in my opinion, our tactics in europe are far in excess of our needs. to get to asia, the korean commitment is one that we must maintain and we are maintaining. this apart -- support of chang kai-shek likewise. southeast asia is a very volatile and endemic area of operations. vietnam was not alone. thailand i look on as a very dangerous area and one that we should regard seriously at this time. therefore, in looking at it i raised some questions. first of all, what do we have today and what can they do. i stated they would have sufficient forces to hold areas along the coast.
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-- one could put a core don't but it should still be open a bit at the ends. -- a cordon, but it should still he opened at the ends. this appears to me to be incredibly costly and manpower and national wealth. i came to the conclusion and i think this is important. charges have been made about what i have said and i quote we must do the best we can with the forces we have deployed in vietnam now. i did not say withdraw or attack or do anything else. we must do the best we have with what we have in hand. keep in mind the true meaning of global strategy and world affairs today.
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economic science, technology and world opinion will serve >> and i quote we must do the best we can with the forces we have deployed in vietnam now. i did not say withdraw or attack or do anything else. we must do the best we have with what we have in hand. keep in mind the true meaning of global strategy and world affairs today. economic science, technology and world opinion will serve strategic interests well if we handle our resources wisely. on the other hand, tactical mistakes could be disastrously costly. since the advent of the space age there has been a revolution in the nature of global conflict. the confrontation in vietnam is our first test in the understanding of such change or our lack of it will stop the
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measures we now take must stem from sagacity, thoughtfulness, restraint and an awareness in the changing strategy in this rapidly shrinking world. that is right from the letter that i wrote. mr. chairman perhaps at this point i might say nothing further and i would be very pleased to have an opportunity to answer any questions that may be addressed. >> thank you very much general. i think that your review of the overall strategy is very useful and speaking for myself not being a military man and has great appeal. but i would not wish to pass judgment on it further than that will stop i believe general that you had something to do with the study of indochina. about 1954 when you are working
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with the general. >> yes sir, i was the chief of plans developed in the beginning of early 54 and i stayed in that position for several years. >> did you participate in the study that general ridgway ordered relative to the feasibility of, at that time entering in to indochina? >> yes mr. chairman, we consider the advisability of entering the hanoi delta and as i recall, we talked about the need and many engineer battalions. around we anticipated 35. environmental losses would be very great and there was some talk about the significance of hanoi island if we would go into the delta. we give it quite thorough consideration. >> in general ridgway's book on
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page 276 he says -- i would read it to see if you would comment on it. this is general ridgway's statement, i felt it was essential that all who had any influence in making the decision on this grave matter should be aware of all the factors involved. a lot of these facts i sent out to indochina, a team of experts in every field. engineers, communication specialists medical officers and experience combat leaders who knew how to evaluate in terms of battle tactics. the area that they found was practically devoid of those facilities which modern forces such as ours find essential to the waging of war. telecommunications, highways and railways all the things that make possible the operation of a modern combat force on land were almost nonexistent. the facilities and airfields were totally inadequate and to
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provide facilities we would need would require tremendous engineering and logistical efforts. on page 277 he writes, we could have fought in indochina and we could have one if we had been willing to pay the tremendous cost and men and money that such intervention would have required, a cost in my opinion that would've eventually been as great as or greater than that we had in korea. in korea we learned that air and naval power alone would not win a war and inadequate ground forces cannot win when either. it was incredible to me that we had lost this bitter lesson so soon, that we were on the verge of making that same tragic error. that error was not repeated. as soon as the full report was in i lost no time in having it passed on up to full chain of command. it reached president eisenhower. to him it was clear.
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the idea of intervening was abandoned and it is my belief that the analysis which the army made played a considerable and perhaps decisive part in persuading our government not to embark on that tragic adventure. >> general, as far as you know, are the conditions in indochina different today than they were at that time? >> there is one basic difference sir. he was talking about going into the hanoi delta and going right to the chinese frontier. which certainly meant the immediate intervention of chinese opposition. now we are considerably farther south. we are talking about the 17th parallel on down. other than that i would say conditions are not essentially different although this was an important point, too. i should say that in the way of background there is more than a cold piece of paper in this type of planning. we spent a lot of time worrying
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about it, certainly i did. i have had considerable combat experience from europe to africa to berlin, and i knew that i would be responsible for the planning conduct of operations , and i divulged a great deal of talk about it with colleagues who had considerable experience in southeast asia and china. we finally decided that what we were talking about doing was going to war with china under the conditions that were appallingly disadvantageous. we were talking about going to war, thousands and thousands of miles from the heart of our warmaking capacity. and it frankly made little sense to the men that had to do the fighting. i was more than pleased to see general ridgway take the initiative and it took moral courage to do it and say let's take a look at this. >> do you think the conditions in south vietnam, the conditions mentioned in this statement are
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more favorable to conduct of the war the north vietnam? is the terrain more favorable, are the conditions more favorable is the terrain easier , to maneuver? >> there is one factor. >> the communication lines would come from china and supply would be much longer so there was a bit of an advantage but this is of almost minimal import. environmental conditions are no doubt just as costly and south vietnam as it would've been a north vietnam. >> your conclusion was it might probably lead to a confrontation with china and i would take it that you felt and general ridgway felt that this was not a wise thing to undertake. do you see any reason it would be wiser today?
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>> i don't but i would say the initiative is that of the chinese. >> what you mean by that? >> i think the confrontation will occur when and where they choose to make it occur. for this reason -- >> are you saying the initiative was with the chinese? >> could you repeat the question , mr. chairman? >> he did say the initiative is now with the chinese. did you not say that? i feel the in vietnam, today, yes, and that is what i said a moment ago, and this makes me uneasy. the escalation is not occurring out of our will as much as it is in response to the commitment of an opponent with just a quick -- logistically supported by the chinese. there may be variations of new wants to this but i feel that the confrontation with the red chinese is real, and a compelling fact of life today. for this reason i'm uneasy about
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and over response in vietnam. we could get ourselves so deeply involved as to lack the capability that we should have. in korea if it were reopened, and thailand if it became very serious and then fitting us into the spectrum of global commitments, then im becoming concerned because international , strategic position is being eroded badly. so the choice is not whether or not we will be in vietnam but to use good judgment and discretion in what we do there. that is what i maintain that we should do. >> it is a little bit subtle about the initiative being in the hands of the chinese. if our escalation is confined or if it doesn't take place in north vietnam it certainly would minimize the risk of chinese entry. the chinese are not now presley
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engaged in this war directly? >> not directly except through additional support. i would be happy if the initiative were entirely ours and we could do just as we pleased and things are cut back as we see fit. >> why can't we? >> i think we have try to and has successfully increased our commitment for reasons that seem to be out of our control. >> what are the reasons that make it beyond our control? >> our secretary of defense should be quite ready to answer a question of that sort. we first sent trainees and then we felt we had to do the same with combat advisors. we had to send troops to protect our basis. >> why did we have to do all of this? what was the irresistible force? >> it was the judgment of our secretary of defense this had to
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be done and i'm not questioning why he exercised that judgment i'm just technology it is an historical fact that it has been done. >> the fact it has been done does not necessarily mean it we had no choice. it seems to me and several instances there was the freedom of choice. this was rather a strong country anything we could have some , control over whether we proceed or not proceed in this area. >> i would say so. >> this is where it loses me that we thought we had to do this. there is an inevitability about it from your statement that i cannot see. >> perhaps we did not have to, we could have stopped at any point along the way. >> if i understand general ridgway's statement he said we could do this and we could win but the cost was out of proportion to what we could gain. >> that's true. >> then in 54 would you agree
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with it now? >> sure. >> i don't see any great change in the circumstances between 1954 and the present that would warrant a different conclusion from the study that you made. >> as i pointed out in the theater to the men doing the fighting it's of little difference there but is not great significance as far as our commitment goes. >> this question of commitment is another question that perhaps i should not ask you. you did not make any commitment, did you? >> no i didn't. >> i have many other questions. we are very good attendance this morning and i shall reserve mind for later on. >> general gavin, i share with other members of this committee great admiration that we have
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for you and your work and the respect for your views and any questions that i asked pertaining to it, are certainly not to be taken is critical. but trying to get to the basic facts. the reasoning in this case. i've read the article published in harper's. i have also read the newspaper stories reporting on a speech that you made in new york? or was it a speech? anyway, you said there had been a misconstruction of your views that you did not advocate stopping the bombing. is that right? >> that's right. >> you did advocate holding out for a time.
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>> i noticed in the article though you used the term desist. on the other hand, if we should maintain enclaves on the coast, desist our attacks in north vietnam and seek to find a solution through the united nations, was that to be taken as meaning that you simply meant to pause in the bombing until you had a chance to take it to the united nations? >> i have the letter to the editor december 3. that's a long time ago and when written it seems barred and remote indeed from the scenario. at that time it seems to me that first of all, what is the head off any idea that urban bombing was the answer to our problem. that's why i made specific reference to anoint speaking. i didn't say stop word cease or give it up. i said slow down and take a look at the situation.
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>> my thinking is that desist means to stop. but it may not mean permanently. is that your meeting? >> yes. i would be happy to talk about it and i feel this way about it. if the gentleman has a mission to carry out i see no reason for restricting his bombing of military targets whatsoever. for combat forces in combat weapons that come into his area he our young men deserve that support. i began to be very uneasy in late november when we were bombing the our plants and i could see us beginning to bomb cities where women and children and noncombatants might lose their lives in great numbers and we begin slowly to creep into urban bombing which is why i said let's desist now and take a look at this whole situation. what our commitment is perhaps
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we can find an opponent -- an approach. this is what i meant by that. >> i'm glad to have that explanation. the way it is worded. >> that's the problem with writing something tightly that is not too long for people to read. >> i'm glad to hear your answer about bombing military objectives and i was going to answer that question. would you include -- in that? >> i do not know enough about it. i would have to know more about the conditions of the harper. i presume it could be mined or otherwise blockaded. >> it could just be done away with since it is a major port of entry. >> that would be true of any military objective? >> i would say so.
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>> but barring civilian centers. >> that's right. >> i think that is a very clear statement and a very good statement. you do say that in the meantime, we must do the best we can with the forces we have deployed in vietnam keeping in mind the true meaning of strategy and global affairs. in other words you are , advocating maintain the force at its present level? >> that is exactly what i said sir. >> may i elaborate on this? i was startled to find that for fiscal year 67 we are going to $10.5 billion in vietnam. this is as a citizen who has devoted a lifetime to our global physician -- position and the nature of global conflict. if vietnam at this point is
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worth disinvestment of our national resources, are we not becoming too mesmerized with this? are we not losing sight of the total global picture? i recommend that we make do with what we have. could we do better with what we have? i don't know. we have many commitments in many areas along the coast and in land. it might be possible in a purely dietary sense to redeploy resources. it would be certainly unwise to maintain status quo and just sit there and do nothing. i think that we should not only divest with what we have, but look at how we might do better with what we have. >> in the macarthur hearings, general bradley one-time used an expression in reference to a land war which he said would be
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the wrong war in the wrong place at the wrong time. you hold somewhat to that view? >> i can only speak for myself but i think he was referring to the war in manchuria. unfortunately we are involved in southeast asia now and our young men are doing a splendid job. i do not think the armed forces have done a better job right if the outset and we must given the best support that we can. keep in mind the nation's total commitments. i could not quite agree with that as john bradley once expressed. >> you do point out in your article that if we are going to have a war with red china it ought to be in the men sharia -- in the manchuria area? >> to be perfectly honest, i would say if china brings on
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herself a global war, the place to fight her is not southeast asia but the place where you can take the real heart of her warmaking capacity and this is the manchurian area. >> there is one statement in your article that seems to me to be of considerable importance and concern where you say if the communists consider -- continue on their present course of aggression and continue to develop more devastating weapons, the time may, when china will ring upon -- will bring upon herself a nuclear war. do you believe that? >> of course i do. >> do you think that is likely? >> i don't know. i have hope as we all do. i know nuclear weapons well.
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in 1947, i attended a nuclear weapon school and went to operation greenhouse in the pacific where the first h-bomb trigger was fired as well as the 50 k weapon. i was later responsible for the weapons program, and one gains tremendous respect for these weapons once you know the real capabilities and i think the soviets understand this. i would hope that the chinese would begin to understand it. for example they have said and i have here the source of the quote. it wasn't from mr. ma or one of his staff, what does it matter if they lose a couple hundred million people, there are still 300 million more. this is very primitive thinking that is quite unreal. , his problem would be catastrophic beyond belief. people of the a reliability to him. i hope he will learn this in time. in the meantime, judging by what they say and how they behave,
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they are quite aggressive and what they are doing. this may relate to their position to united nations. and the way they are treated in global affairs. there is no doubt that they are very aggressive right now. >> i saw a tv program a couple of nights ago telling about the showing of how the situation was handled. it took the british 12 years to clean that up. >> they didn't good job of it and i touched upon it here and there in my service and we talked about how well they did. they had a unique position with the peninsula really cutting it off and then they could control the environment. we have an entirely different following in southeast asia. >> if i remember correctly, secretary rusk made a statement -- or it may not have been him but that we were going after --
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we were not going to wait for the viet cong to come to us, we were going after them and had to pull them out one at a time. that was what they did, isn't it? >> i don't know. i really don't know. i think you have an entirely different thing in vietnam than malaysia. >> i notice you quoted -- here in an article in the evening star. you said -- i do not see it now, but you said -- oh yes. general gavin, a former ambassador to france said he now wishes he had not written the letter. >> no. i was asked in the context of the problems i had in the last two weeks how i felt about it and i must say it is unbearable. -- a burden.
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i don't know when in my life i have had such techniques used against me where i am charged with having said things i did not say and then the charge having been made i'm attacked for having sent them. i had been accused of receiving, -- retreating wanting to , withdraw, being a turtle and wanting to hold and i have said none of these things are recommended none of these things but worst -- worth than this is being charged with these views and -- i almost look upon it more seriously than vietnam itself. if this is the state of our government, where in the world are we going? >> i understand everything about you. [laughter] >> you still stand on the letter. >> absolutely. every idea i believe in and i stand behind every word and it. >> thank you mr. chairman.
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>> general gavin, with your experience and service to your country in various capacities i'm sure that we welcome your views, the opportunity of discussing them with you and perhaps especially because of the confusion that has risen about the interpretation of what you really mean and what you really said. time is limited and we have a vote on the floor at 11:00 so i will try to not take up all my time. do i understand that you advocate that we hold what we have -- that is a broad statement?
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in essence, if we hold what we have that we not attempt to , extend or expand our physical control of the areas of vietnam except by peaceful means? >> there is a not too subtle point involved in the use of language here. when i wrote that we were apparently escalating at a rather steady rate. we were around 200,000 men. some writers were saying we may need to double this to 500,000. they were even talking about a million and by some military columnists. i felt at the time had come to take a reappraisal of where we were feeling that we were being initiated not of our own will and judgment but of the initiative of an opponent and i did say let's take a look at what we now have their what we can do with what we have and see if we cannot find another solution to this problem because
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the alternative is quite clear. we can go to three quarters of a million men if we do this we must understand that these are the implications. so i did say let's take a look at where we are today and what we can do with what we have and see if we cannot find a solution. >> regardless of your own personal desires what do you conceived to be the objective of our country and what ever allies we may have and the activities in south vietnam today? how do you understand it? >> noah has told me this. it is my impression -- no one has told me this. it is my impression we are seeking to establish a government chosen by the people of south vietnam that can
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operate freely without interference by the vietcong. that's all. we have no desire to stay there. we want them to have a good government. >> under the history of the last two to three years, do you believe that would have the possibility of being accomplished by holding what we have now and not attempting to escalate in any way? >> i'm really not sure. i was led to believe a year or two ago that this was quite possible. i don't know. i decide i better worry a little bit more about this now. i would like to know what the alternatives are. there is much talk now if we cannot do it with what we have, where are we going? i would like to know what the cost is. it could be a sound military investment. >> do you consider this to be primarily a military operation
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or is it basically a political operation? >> certainly a has become military almost entirely now. it was originally political. when we were providing advisors, it was really a political problem. the commitment of military forces on both sides has made it overwhelmingly a military problem. if we could solve political -- i guess this -- refers to what i said about laos. if we could solve political conditions in vietnam, the military problem would disappear. it may be far too late for that now. >> at the present time, it seems to indicate that the viet cong
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control more than 50% of the land in south vietnam. i don't know what the percentage is. let's a two thirds. -- let's say two thirds. policy, to user desisting," or standing fast or holding, what would keep the viet cong from running riot over the rest of south vietnam? general gavin: i said desisting an application the bombing. -- they can be carried out. >> that would revert under the circumstances to jungle fighting, would it not? general gavin: that is what it is today. >> i'm interested in your
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comments upon the bombing military objectives, military targets. understanding that one of the ultimate actions of a war on either side if they cannot win quick victory in the field basisattack the enemy's of strength. his production facilities. the things that feed the war machine. certainly the media i would think would include power plants, canals, railroads, and all manner of things. for hiss that produce armies. i don't understand why power
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plants should be excluded. thisal gavin: i look upon is one of the great illusions of all time. that with air power you can win this way. i think a result of the survey will show that is bombing tonnage went up, german production went up until he overran facilities. you cannot win by bombing. >> that's been an undisputed military theory for a long time, that you can take ground by certain means but you cannot hold it without men on the ground. airplane came with its great prominence, you cannot hold it unless you had men on that you had temporarily captured with artillery fire. general gavin: the use of the airplane in vietnam today is sensational and its effectiveness.
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living hercules, the helicopter, the role of the air force. it's absolutely indispensable. but this is not bombing. >> i don't like to get into professional arguments. you have read the report of general maxwell taylor's speech in new york somewhere around the first of this month. general gavin: yes, i have served. --sir. i will just read this pt.ra that exer he knewted as saying,
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of no officer who had "current" responsibilities who share the enclave theory. they go on and refer to your -- i'm assuming that's referring to your article in "harpers magazine." the comments in the speech that if we don't succeed in south efficacy of a war of liberation will be established and proved. expect more attempts at wars of liberation around the world in various places in the
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succeeded in south vietnam. -- if this succeeded in south vietnam. quotes allegedly a direct from the speech. "thisl taylor says, country cannot escape its destiny as the champion of the free world. there is no running away from it. the impulse to withdraw our troops and safe enclaves in south vietnam has much in common with the yearning for safety beyond defenses at our coastlines and is equally illusory." ever for -- i assume you are familiar with the sixth each -- with this speech. general gavin: i have a copy in front of me. >> time is up. finish the question. regardless of me
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how power -- our plan or what got us into this situation in south vietnam, it seems to me our presence there has the most formidable part of the free world may go far beyond the question of winning the battles. it's an ideological struggle we are facing at that point. would you agree there is an ideological factor here? general gavin: no question about it. >> if we don't win that battle, how do -- what do you think will happen to american prestige in africa, southeast asia, the philippines, formosa and japan? general gavin: is that the question? >> what do you think about the respect? general gavin: would you include cuba in that? >> it looks to me like cuba has
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been well-suited to the communists already. cuba is 90 miles from our sure. -- shore. >> we are not in there now. i'm talking about the old communist philosophy from moscow that the way to paris is by way of peking. and the encirclement policy of capturing first south asia, moving through the south asia, moving to africa and portions of it and the mediterranean and slip -- and so on. general gavin: i assume you base your question on statements made by general taylor. senator, these i find deeply disturbing. i am not sure if you read what i wrote that he had things to say. youtube is to make their holding strategy and a sensation of bombing.
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and withdrawal of united states ground forces which would lead to a crushing defeat, a capitulation. a retreat. thatferred to the retreat would be disastrous. i don't understand this. this to me is a technique i find so devastating. the u.s. why do you feel like this -- then you ask why do i feel like this? i don't think you read what i wrote. i don't understand why he would say things like this. >> i think that's one of the purposes here, to clarify the situation. there is a great deal of confusion. >> my time is up. general gavin: on the matters of wars of liberation, these are powers. i worry that since the initiative may be that of the chinese let's say, we feel
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one- we must rise to each with the national resources with all we have. i have no doubt in the long run that our system will triumph, vis-a-vis that of the chinese communist. no doubt about that. what i want is to see my nation act with strength, wisely show restraint. i think we are doing quite well in vietnam. i worry about going further. whether or not we win a so-called war of liberation with the chinese is not worry me have as much as all the other things that could happen to us. i think we are doing quite well in total confrontation. >> thank you. >> we are informed there will be a vote at 11:15. i think we can run to one more turn at 11:10. we will reconvene at 11:40 in run to 12:55 a come back into: 30. that's the best i can give you.
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senator? senator morrison? i want to say that not only do i think that this committee for the a great debt distinguished public service you rendered so many times in the past for will i be the greatest serves you rendered yet, and that is your testimony this morning. i think you have demonstrated what it means in a democracy to inform the people through public sanction. i hope there will be those in the administration that will learn the lesson from this session this morning. there is not a single person on this committee that has any desire or intention of asking anyone to be the secretary of defense of the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff or anyone else questions involved in security of this republic.
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having sat in these hearings free years they know that particular question i want to talking- we've been basic policies with you this morning. the american people are entitled to have been discussed in public by anyone coming before us, including the administration witnesses. for this thank you great service you rendered the country. withrst question will deal a concern you expressed throughout your testimony at various times this morning. you are concerned up inwhere we may end this war in southeast asia. vis-a-vis china. we have got to face that general question of policy.
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incannot stick our heads the sand and say there is no war -- no danger of war with china. i hope they will not involve themselves in a nuclear war but who knows. suppose they do? suppose they decide to move on the ground? suppose we get in a war with them and we do the bombing and we knock out their cities and their nuclear installations and their industrial complex, but they still carry on on the ground? of how your estimate many american troops we want to send over in the early stages of that war? general gavin: that is quite a complex question. muche i respond to it, would depend not on the theater and depend upon where they would have to go. i sometimes wonder what the theater slices for vietnam because it takes four to five times and many people behind the
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slice to keep them there. if the major confrontation were to occur in northern china and the manchurian area, operating out of korea we could probably do quite well with double the forces we have in korea -- had in korea. i would like to be specific with the question, doesn't lend itself to pacific answers? -- specific answers? lets theublic hearing question be raised. i response to whether or not you can do it with a number of men we now have in southeast asia, or double that or triple that. what not true judging from other leaders of said in the past that it would take hundreds of thousands of men to fight red china on the ground?
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whether you do it in manchuria or move up from south korea to the border of china? general gavin: if they get -- if it became a chinese volunteers, followed by some semblance of ourlar forces, i would say commitment would escalate to double and double again the number of men we haven't southeast asia to save themselves. >> when we got done forcing them to their knees and i'm satisfied we could at terrible cost but we --ld, the final surrender does that and our occupation of china? >> i have a feeling of this point if you're that far down the road in total conflict you would involve the ussr and some role or another. whether they seek to move it once into the vacuum into china, i suspect they would, and there would be real problems and
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further confrontations in the successive following theater. >> i expect well with your brilliant mind it was way ahead of me come to this question in a moment. i will carry a bit longer on my last question. in andg russia does come it's the united states versus china, after we for searchers surrender, there will still be a china devastated as it is. would it be possible for us to automatically withdraw our troops and go home or will be have -- or would we have a policing job to do for a long time thereafter? general gavin: there is no doubt there would be hundreds of millions of chinese left he would be in dire straits. many of them very ill from the effects of the use of nuclear weapons. the whole base of food production and food availability, the economy, the agriculture would be laid flat.
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i assume we would have some responsibility for trying to get the situation straightened out. it would be an appalling problems deal with. would that not also be an appalling drain of the economic resources and the manpower of our country? general gavin: no question about it. >> i will take the possibility of red russia getting involved. i'm surprised the number of people who seem to think russia would not come in. we have a duty to giving some thoughts of the problem of if she does come in, what our position would be then. if russia should come in on the basis of the fact that she has a security pact with china or any other reason, do you think russia would fight us in china? or which you fight us in new york city and chicago and washington and moscow and
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stalingrad? general gavin: russia will always fight with its at her advantage to do so. i would think if she saw clearly an opportunity to achieve greater control and greater amount of territory, she would go ahead and see current in its were ever it would take her. into northern china or wherever it would be. this would involve a confrontation with us, i don't know. she has great respect for our nuclear weapons. >> we can't dismiss it as impossible to happen? general gavin: it's a contingency we should be aware of in the back of our minds. >> chairman, one more question. you responded about what we might do if we escalated the war with handling -- hanoi.
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we might mind the harbor or -- blockade it. the position of noncombatant countries with respect to blockading the harbor? could you name for us the neutral or noncombatant nations that would lower those flags of that blockade, including the union jack? general gavin: there would be serious trouble of that arrived. >> do you know of any time in the history of the british empire that the union jack is ever been lowered to a blockade that the british empire was not a party to? general gavin: i know of none. we worried about dealing with some of the problems of china. this is a very difficult thing to do. it would probably be impossible to enforce.
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>> do you think the russian flag would be lowered to that blockade? general gavin: i don't know. i doubt it. would you sync the first russian ship when it wasn't lowered to that blockade? i suppose it: would be time to bomb. >> we will be back, general. [indistinct chatter]
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[captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit ncicap.org] >> president's day on american history tv's real america. the vietnam history 50 years later. 1966, the senate foreign relations committee. he gives equal time to critics of the war and members of the johnson administration in hearings televised live to the nation. that is monday, february 15 at 8:00 a.m. and it the emmys time -- and 8:00 p.m. eastern time. only on c-span3. year we are exploring american history. next, look the recent visit to santa barbara, california. you are watching american history tv all weekend, every weekend on c-span3. john: we have the oldest dated human skeletal remains in north america.

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