tv 1966 Fulbright Vietnam Hearings General James Gavin CSPAN February 15, 2016 8:38am-9:50am EST
i did not say withdraw, retreat, go ahead, attack, do anything else. we must do the best we have with what we have. keeping in mind the true meaning of global strategy and world affairs today. economics, science, technology will in the long run serve as a strategic plan. on the other hand, tactical mistakes if they're allowed to escalate at the initiation of an enemy could be disastrously
costly. the confrontation in vietnam is the first test of the understanding of such change or a lack of it. the measures that we now take in southeast asia must stem from segasity, thoughtfulness, restraint, nature's restraint in a shrinking world and that is right from the letters that i wrote to harpers. mr. chairman, perhaps at this point i might say nothing further. i am pleased to have an opportunity to answer any questions that may be addressed to me. >> thank you very much, general. i think your review of the overall strategy is very useful. speaking for myself, not being a military man, it had great appeal, but i wouldn't wish to pass judgment on it further than that. i believe, general, you had
something to do with a study of indochina in about 1954 when you were working with general ridgeway? >> yes, sir. i was the chief of plans and the development in the beginning of early '54 and i stayed in that position and then in research for several years. >> and did you participate in the study that general ridgeway ordered relative to the feasibility of at that time entering into indochina? >> yes, mr. chairman. we considered the advisability of entering the hanoi delta, and as i recall to be precise, we talked about the need for some divisions and many engineered it. we anticipated the environmental office would be great, i mean medical and so on. there was some talk about the significance of hanoi island if we were going to go into the delta and so on.
we gave it quite thorough consideration. >> and in general ridgeway's book "the soldier" on page 276 he said this. i would read it to see if you would comment on it. this is general ridgeway's statement, i felt that it was essential, therefore, that all who had any influence in making the decision on this grave matter should be fully aware of all the factors involved. to belie these facts i sent out to indochina an army team of experts in every field, engineers, signal, communication specialists, medical offices and experienced combat leaders who knew how to evaluator rain in terms of battle tactics. the area they found was practically devoid of those facilities which modern forces such as ours find essential to the wagging of wars. its telecommunication, highways, railways, all of the things that make possible the modern combat
force on land were almost nonexistent. its air fields were totally inadequate and to provide the facilities we would need would require tremendous engineering and logistical effort. on page 277 he writes, we could afford an indochina. we could have won if we had been willing to pay the tremendous cost in men and money as such intervention would have required, a cost that in my opinion would have been eventually as great as or greater than that we paid in korea. in korea we had learned that air and naval power alone could not win a war and inadequate ground forces cannot win one either. it is incredible to me that we had forgotten the bitter lessons so soon. we were on the verge of making that same tragic error. that error, thank god, was not repeated. as soon as the full report was
in i had lost no time in having it passed up the chain of command. it reached president eisenhower. to a man of his military experience, the implications were clear. it was abandoned. it is my belief that the analysis which the army made and presented to higher authority played a considerable, perhaps a decisive part in persuading our government not to embark on that tragic adventure. well, general, as far as you know, are the conditions in indochina any 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're considerably farther south. we're talking about the 17th parallel on down. other than that, i say the conditions are not essentially different, although this is a very important point, too. i should say, too, in the way of background, there's more than
just a cold piece of paper in this type of planning. we spent a lot of time worrying about it. certainly i did. i had had considerable combat experience in europe, from africa to berlin, and i knew that i would be responsible for planning the conduct of operations, and i developed a great deal of talk about it with colleagues who had had conservative experience in southeast asia and china. we finally decided when we were all true what we were talking about doing was going to war with red china under conditions that were appallingly disadvantageous. we were talking about going to war with her thousands and thousands of myles from the heart of war-making capacity. it frankly made little sense to a man that had a good deal of flanking. so i was more than pleased to see general ridge way make the initiative. it took more courage to do as he did, say let's take a look at this.
it makes little sense to do it. >> do you think the conditions in south have i et nanl, the conditions mentioned in this statement are any more favorable to conduct of a war than in north vietnam? is the terrain more favorable? are the conditions more favorable? is the terrain easier to maneuver modern weapons in? >> no, there's but one factor. the lines of supply, the communication lines that would come from china and the logistical support that comes from china are much longer. this is of almost minimum -- not great import. conditions are just as disagreeable. environmental conditions are just as costly in south vietnam as they would have been in north vietnam. >> so your conclusion was that, as you say, it might probably lead to a confrontation with china and i would take it you felt and general ridge way felt this was not a wise thing to
undertake. then do you see any reason why it would be any wiser to do it today? >> no, i don't. i must say though i think the initiative is perhaps that of the chinese. it is, indeed, that of the chinese. what do you mean by that? >> i think the confrontation will occur when and where they choose to make it occur for this reason. i think -- >> i don't quite understand it. you say the initiative was with the chinese now? >> repeat the question, mr. chairman. >> well, he did say that the initiative is now with the chinese, did you not say, sir? >> i feel in vietnam today, yes. this is what i said a moment ago and this is what makes me uneasy. the escalation is not occurring on our will as much as it is to the escalation and commitments of an opponent logistically supported by the chinese. there may be variations of nuance to this, but i feel that the confrontation of the chinese
is a real compelling fact of life today and for this reason i'm quite uneasy about an over response in have i elt nam. we could get ourselves so deeply involved in vietnam as to seriously lack the capability we should have. in korea, if it were reopened, in taiwan if it became very, very serious, and then fitting this into the spectrum of global commitments, then i am concerned because our international strategic position is being eroded badly. so the choice is not whether or not we are in vietnam, it's to use discretion if we are there. that's what i maintain we should do. >> it is a little subtle there about the initiative being in the hands of the chinese. if our escalation is confined -- is confined or if it doesn't
take place in north vietnam, it certainly would minimize the risk of chinese entry, isn't it? the chinese are not now presently engaged in this war, are they, directly? >> no, not directly, except through logistical support. i would be happy if the initiative were entirely ours. we could do as we please, increase our cut back as we city see fit. >> why can't we? >> i think we've tried to. we've successively escalated and increased our commitment for reasons beyond our control. >> i don't understand. what are the reasons that make it beyond our control? >> yes. i think that our secretary of defense should be quite prepared to answer a question of that sort. we first sent trainees and then we thought we had to send combat advisers. this seemed to be adequate at one time. then we had to send troops to protect our bases and -- >> why did we have to do this? you say we had to do all of
this. what was the irresistible force that made us do this? >> it was a judgment of our secretary of defense that had had to be done, and i'm not questioning why he had that judgment. i just know it's a historical fact that it has been done. >> the fact that it has been done doesn't necessarily mean that we had no choice in that. >> no. quite true. quite true. >> it seems in several instances there was a freedom of choice. this is a rather strong country. i think we could have some control over whether we proceed or not proceed in this area. >> kwle, i would say so. >> so this is where it loses me that we had to do this. there's an inevitability about it apparently from your statement that i haven't been able to see. >> yes. well, perhaps we didn't have to. we could have stopped at any point along the way. >> and if i understood general ridgeway's statement, he said we could do this, we could win -- >> that's right. >> -- but the cost was out of proportion to what we could gain by doing this. >> yes, that's true.
>> would you agree with that? >> yes, i would, indeed. >> then in '54. would you agree with it now? >> of course. sure. >> i don't see any great change in the circumstances between 1954 and the present that would warrant any different conclusion from the study you made? >> no. as i pointed out in a theater to a man doing the fighting, there is a little difference there. there isn't any great change in national security. >> his question of commitment isn't one i should make you. you didn't make any commitment, did you? >> no, i didn't. >> wherever it arose from is from other sources than from you or the army. i have many other questions. we have a very good attendance this morning and i shall reserve mine for later on.
general. >> general gavin, i certainly share with the other members of this committee my great -- the great admiration for you and for your work and respect for your views and any questions that i ask pertaining to it will certainly not be -- not be taken as critical but trying to get to the basic facts, reasoning in this case. now i have read your -- the article published in "harpers." >> yes, sir. >> and i've also read the newspaper stories reporting i believe a speech that you made i guess it was in new york or was it a speech? but anyhow, where you said that there had been a misconstruction. >> yes. >> of your views, that you did not advocate stopping the
bombing, is that right? >> that's right. >> you did advocate holding it up -- >> that's right. >> -- for a time. >> that's right. >> now i noticed in the article though you used the term desist. >> desist, that's right. >> on the other hand, if we should maintain enclaves on the coast, desist in our bombing 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? >> yes. this letter was written in november and i have the letter accompanying it to the other that went in on december 3rd. indeed, when written it seemed far, remote indeed from this hearing. at that time it seemed to me that first of all i wanted to head off any idea that urban bombing was the answer to our problem. that's why i made specific
reference on pea kiking. i didn't say stop, desist, give it up. i said, let's stop and take a look at the situation. >> my thinking is that desist means to stop. >> it does. >> probably -- it may not mean permanently. >> this is what i had in mind. >> is that your meaning? >> yes. >> but for the time being? >> yes. i would be happy to talk about it. we have a mission to carry out. i see no reason for restricting his bombing of military targets whatsoever, military targets, combat forces, combat weapons come into his area our young men deserve this support. i don't see why he has to go to anyone else to make a decision if he were this type target. i began to be very uneasy in late november when we were bombing public facilities, power plants, and i could see us beginning to bomb cities where women and children and non-combatants might lose their lives in great numbers.
we began to slowly creep into urban bombing. this is why i said let's desist now in our bomb and take a look at this whole situation, what our commitment is. perhaps we can find an approach to the united nations or geneva. i didn't know nor would anyone else. this is what i meant by that. >> i'm glad to have that explanation. i think that is capable of misunderstanding. >> yes, i think it is. >> the way it is worded. >> writing something tightly and not too long that people would read. >> i'm glad to hear your answer with reference to bombing military objectives. in fact, i was going to ask you that question. would you include the harbor of hyphong in that? >> i really don't know enough about it sitting here in this hearing. i'd have to know more about the actual conditions of the harbor. i would presume it could be mined or it could otherwise be blockaded. >> i meant actually -- >> i would say its value should be done away with since it's a
major port of entry for military supplies. >> that would be true of any military objective? >> yes, i would say so. >> but a 1r0void civilian cente >> yes. >> i want to say to you, i think that's a very clear statement and i think certainly it's a very good statement. now 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. >> right. >> in other words, you're advocating maintaining the force at its present level. >> that's exactly what i said, yes, sir. yes. >> go ahead. >> let me elaborate on this. i was startled to find that in the budget if i have the correct figures for '67, fiscal year '67 we're going to $10.5 billion in vietnam. this is what as a citizen who's devoted a lifetime almost to the study of our global position and the nature of global conflict,
this is what worries me quite a bit. if vietnam at this point is worth this investment of our national resources with all of the other commitments we have worldwide, aren't we come to go mesmerize this? aren't we losing sight of a total global picture? so i recommend therefore that we make due with what we have. now i was very happy to have an opportunity to go over to the pentagon and talk to mr. mcnamara and mr. vance about this very thing. could we do better with what we have for example? i really don't know. i don't believe he is sure at the moment either. we have many commitments in many areas along the coast and inland and it might be possible in a purely military sense of gaining an advantage to redeploy our resources. i don't know. it would be certainly unwise in any combat to maintain a status quo, just sit there and do nothing. so i think we should not only do the best at what we have but look at how we might do better with what we have.
>> i remember in the mcarthur hearings general bradley at one time used an expression with reference to a land war in asia, particularly in china, which he said it would be the wrong war in the wrong place at the wrong time. you hold somewhat to that view, i take it. >> i will speak for myself, sir. i think he was referring to a war coming out of ventureia. we're involved in southeast asia right now. our young men are doing a splendid job now. i don't think they've done a better job from the outset and they've done a fine job. we must give them the best support we could. i couldn't quite agree with that as general bradley once expressed it. >> you do point out in your article though that we're going to have a war with red china, it ought to be in the manturia area
rather than the southern area. >> to be very objective in a military sense about this as an adviser if i were called upon advice to my people, i would say if china brings upon herself a global war, the place to fight her is not in southeast asia, the place to fight her is where you can take away the real heart of her war-making capacity, the roar of china, this is the manturian area. >> there's one statement in your article that seems to me to be of considerable importance and concern. that is where you say if the chinese communists continue on their present course of aggression and at the same time continue to develop more devastating weapons, and i refer to nuclear weapons, the time may come when china will bring upon herself a nuclear war. >> yes. >> do you agree with that? >> of course i do. >> that that's likely? >> i don't know. >> of course, you've got some
ifs in there. >> i have hope, as we all do. i know nuclear weapons well. in 1947 i attended our nuclear weapons school, went to operation greenhouse in the pacific where the first trigger was fired as well as a 50 k t weapon. i later was responsible for the small to intermediate weapons program. one gains tremendous respect for these weapons once you know the capability. i would hope that the chinese would begin to understand it. the mere -- for example, they have said, and i have here in my papers the source of the quote, and it wasn't from mr. mahr, it was from one of his staff, what does it matter if they lose a couple hundred million people? there's still 3, 400 million more. you know, this is very primitive thinking that's quite unreal. his problems would be catastrophic beyond belief and people would be a real liability to him. you wouldn't be better off.
i hope you will learn this -- mahr will learn this in time. in the meantime judging by what they say and how they behave, they are quite aggressive in what they're doing. this may relate to their position to the united nations and the way they're treated in global affairs. i don't know. there's no doubt but that they're very aggressive right now. >> i saw a tv program just a couple of nights ago telling about the -- showing the -- how the situation was handled to the communists in malia. it took the british 12 years to clean that up, didn't it? >> they did an awfully good job on it. i've touched on it here and there. we talked to them howe well the did. they had a unique position with the peninsula. they cut it off and controlled the environment. we have an entirely different situation there and it's a
sieve. >> secretary rusk made a statement, may not have been him, may have been a military commander, that we were going after -- we were not going to wait for the viet cong to come to us, we were going after them. we had to pull them out one at a time. that was somewhat the way the british malayans did it, isn't it? >> i don't know. i really don't know. i think you have an entirely different thing in vietnam. >> yes. i notice you quoted in an article here from "the evening star" on february 4th in which you said -- i don't see it now, but you said that you were -- oh, yes, general gavin, a former ambassador to france, former army planning chief said he now wishes he hadn't written the letter. >> no. i was asked in the context of the problems i've had in the
last two weeks how i felt about it, and i must say it's been a burden. 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 didn't say and then the charge having been made, i'm attacked for having said them. for example, i've been accused of retreating, wanting to withdraw, being a turtle, wanting to hold, all of these things, and i said none of these things. i recommended none of these things. worse than this is being charged with these views and being attacked for this. this is a very troublesome and burdensome thing for me. i almost look upon it more seriously, and i'm personally involved now, than vietnam itself. if this is the state of affairs in our government, where in the world are we going? >> i understand everything you said. >> you still stand on the -- on the letter? >> absolutely. every idea in there i believe
in. i stand behind every word in it. yes, sir, i do. >> thank you, mr. chairman. >> become a member of a certain select group. >> thank you, mr. chairman. general gavin, with your experience and service to your countries country in various capacities, i'm sure we welcome your views, welcome the opportunity discussing them with you and perhaps more especially because of the confusion that has arisen about the interpretation in what you really mean, what you really said. >> yes. >> time is limited and we have a vote on the floor at 11:00 so i'll try and not take up all of my time. do i understand that you
advocate that we hold what we have, that's a rather broad statement, but it is -- in essence we hold what we have, we not attempt to extend or expand our physical control of the area in south vietnam except by, let's say, peaceful means? >> yes. >> there is a not too subtle point involved in the use of language here. when i wrote that we were then apparently escalating at a rather steady rate. we were up around 200,000 men. some writers were saying we may need to double this to 500,000. there was even talk of a million men i understand by some military columnists. i felt that the time had come to take a reappraisal where we were feeling that we were being initiated not at our own will and judgment but at the
initiative of employment and then i did say, therefore beings let's take a look at what we have there, what we can do and see if we can find another solution to this problem because the alternative is quite clear. we can go ahead and go to half a million men or 3/4 of a million men but if we do this, we understand these are all the implications. therefore, 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 can't find another solution to this problem. >> general gavin, regardless of what your own personal desires or program would be, what do you conceive to be the objective of our country and whatever allies we may have in the activities in south vietnam today? >> yes. >> what's your conception? how do you understand it? >> this is the impression i get but no one's told me this.
it is my impression we are seeking to establish a government that is a democratic government, a government chosen by the people of south vietnam and that can operate freely without interference by the viet cong. that's all. we have no desire to stay there. we want them to have a good government of their choosing. >> under the history of the last two or three years do you believe that that would have any possibility of being accomplished by holding what we have now and not attempting to escalate in any way? in a material substantial way. >> i'm really not sure. i was led to believe a year or two ago that, yes, this was quite possible. we would say we could by providing trainees and instructors. so i don't know. i decide i better worry a little bit more about this right now. i'd like to know what the alternatives are. we can't build what we have, where are we going? i'd like to know what the cost
of where we're going is. >> do you consider this to be a -- primarily a military operation in south vietnam or is it basically a political operation in south vietnam? >> well, certainly his character has become military almost entirely now. it was originally political. when we were providing advisers, a handful, i believe it was, it was really a political problem, but the commitment of the military forces on both sides have made it overwhelmingly a military problem. we seem to be trying to solve a military means. i guess this relates to what i said about laos and the late president kennedy's solution to the ocean problem. it was a -- in prospect a foreboding military problem. we found an adequate political solution to it. if we could solve political
conditions in vietnam, the military problem would disappear. it would be far too late for that now. >> at the present time the evidence seems to indicate that the viet cong control more than 50% of the land in south vietnam. the land -- i don't know what the percentage is. we get various estimates. let's say 2/3. if we followed the policy of let's say to use your word desisting on our military activities or standing fast or holding, what would keep the viet cong from running riot over the rest of -- over the rest of south vietnam? >> yes, mr. senator, may i point out i said desisting in application to bombing. the use of the land forces in any way we can use them effectively i think should be carried out. >> well that would revert mostly
to jungle fighting, would it not? >> that's what it is today. >> listed in your comments among bombing military objectives, military targets -- >> yes. >> -- it's my understanding that one of the ultimate actions of a war on either side if they can't win quick victory right in the field is to attack the enemies, wherever they can, to attack the enemies. the basis of strength is production facilities, is the things that feed the war machine, which certainly to me i would think would include power plants, i would think it would include canals, i would think it would include railroads and all the other things, factories that produce the centers of war for
his armies. >> yes. >> so i don't understand why power plants should be excluded. >> sure. sure. i must say i look upon this as one of the great illusions of all time, that through air power you can really win this way. i think the results of the strategic bombing survey will show that as our bombing was delivered the german production went up until we overran facilities. i don't think you can hold them by booming it nor by really winning the bombing. >> that's been pretty much of an undisputed military theory for a long, long time, that you can take ground by certain means but you can't hold it without men on the ground. >> that's right. >> before the airplane came into such great prominence that you could take ground with artillery but you couldn't hold it unless you had men on the ground that you temporarily captured with artillery fire. >> the airplane is transportation and the use of
the airplane in vietnam is sensational in its effectiveness. the big hercules. the helicopter. the things we're doing there and the role the air force is playing in this respect, absolutely indispensable. this isn't bombing. bombing is another matter. >> i don't like to get into professional arguments here, but i presume you've -- you've read the report at least of general maxwell taylor's speech in new york somewhere around the first of this month. >> yes. yes, i have, sir. >> and i'll just leave this excerpt. i don't like to read from context alone, but this will
shorten time. he's quoted as saying in effect at least that he knew of no officer with, quote, current, unquote, responsibilities who shared the enclave theory. they go on and refer to your -- i assume that was referring to your article in the february issue of "harper's" magazine. and then his comments in this speech that if we don't succeed in south vietnam, the advocacy of a war liberation will be established and proved and that i take it that it would follow that we could expect more attempts at wars and liberation
around over the world in various places if this succeeded in south vietnam. i'll read this paragraph. this is allegedly a direct quote from the speech. general taylor says this 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 into safe enclaves in south vietnam has much in common with the yes or noi iyearning o beyond the coast lines and is equally illusory. i assume you're familiar with this piece? >> i have a copy, purported to be a copy. >> probably the same that i have. >> now -- >> time is up.
>> well, it seems to me regardless of how our land or what got us into this situation in south vietnam, it seems to me that our presence there as the most formidable part of the free world may go far beyond the question of let's say winning a battle. it's an ideological struggle that we are facing at that point. would you agree that there is an ideological factor here. >> oh, sure. no question about it. >> and if we don't win that ideological battle, then what do you think will happen to american prestitige in africa, indonesia, asia, the philippi s philippines, japan? >> is that the question, sir? >> yes. i said what do you think about
the effect? >> yes. would you include cuba in that? >> well, it looks to me like cuba's been pretty well conceded to the communists already. >> go halfway around the world to worry about it and leave cuba go 90 miles from the shore. >> well, i -- i -- i agree with some criticism on that but we're not in there now. i'm talking about the -- i'm talking about the old communist philosophy in moscow that the way to paris is by way of peking and the encirclement policy of capturing first south asia, moving through south asia, moving on into africa or portions of it and the mediterranean and so on under that long-range theory. >> yes, sir. i assume you base your question based upon the statements made by general taylor, senator, and these i find deeply disturbing. i'm not sure if he read what i wrote, but he has these things to say. he attributes to me a holding
strategy, a permanent cessation of bombing, a halt to further united states reinforcements, a withdrawal of united states ground forces which would lead to a crushing defeat, a capitulation, the abandonment of many people, a retreat. he referred to it as a retreat which would be disastrous and a great defeat and so on. i don't understand this. this to me is the technique that i find so devastating that all of these things are attributed to me, then you're asked why do you feel like this and you find yourself defending yourself against things you didn't say. i don't think he read what i wrote. i don't understand why he would say things like this. >> i think that's one of the purposes here is to try to clarify what the situation is because there is a great deal of concern. >> sure. >> on the matters of war -- >> excuse me. my time is up. >> yes, on the matters of wars, liberation, the serious of it, the serious import of this, of course, of course, yet i worry that since the initiative may be
that of the chinese, let's say, we feel that we must rise to each confrontation with every national resource and defeat this then and there with all that we have. i have no doubt in the long run that our system will triumph advice vis a vis the chinese nation. i want to see my nation act restrained and wisely show restraint wisely and well around the peripheral of each confrontation. i think we're doing well in vietnam. i worry about going further. whether or not we win a war of liberation and what it means to the chinese doesn't worry me half of as much of all of the other. i think we're doing quite well in the total confrontation. >> i satisfy that we are informed of the floor there will be a vote at 11:15. i think we can run to one more turn, 11:10. we'll reconvene at 11:40 and run to 12:55 and then come back at
2:30. that's the best i can give you information. senator -- senator morse. >> general, i want to say that not only do i think that this committee owes you a great debt for the distinguished publish service that you've rendered so many times in the past for what might be the greatest service you have rendered yet, that's your testimony this morning. i think you've demonstrated what it neens a democracy to inform the people through public sessions. and i hope there will be those in the administration that will learn the lesson from this session this morning because there isn't a single person on this committee that has any desire, intention of asking anyone be it the secretary of defense or the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff or anyone
else a question that involves security of this republic. and having sat in these hearings for many years, they know that all they have to say at a given time, mr. senator, that particular question i want to answer in executive session is automatically made aside. we've been talking basic policies with you this morning and the american people are entitled to have them discussed in public by anyone coming before us, including the administration witnesses, too, and i want to thank you for this great service you have rendered the country. my first questions deal with a concern that you have expressed throughout your testimony at various times this morning, and i'd put it this way. it seems to me you're concerned about where may we end up in this war in southeast asia
vis a vis china. and we have to face this general question of policy. we can't stick our heads in the sand and say there isn't any danger of a war in china. i hope they'll have sense enough not to involve themselves in a nuclear war, but who knows. so my first question is, 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 of the cities and their nuclear installations and their industrial complex but they still carry on on the ground, what is your estimate of how many american troops we'll have to send over in the early stages of that war? >> that is quite a complex question, mr. senator. i'd like to be fully responsive to it. much would depend upon the theater and much would depend upon where they have to go. i sometimes wonder what the
theater slices were for vietnam because to maintain a division there four to five times that many people really behind the slice to keep them there. if the major confrontation were to occur, as i would hope it would in northern china, the manchurion area, operating out of korea, we could probably do quite well with perhaps double the forces we had in korea when we were involved there when general wrigley was in command. i would like to be specific, but the question doesn't lend itself to specific answers. >> i don't see how you can be specific, but i think it's important however in this public hearing that the question be raised. >> yes, i think so. >> to elicit from you -- >> yes. >> -- a response as to whether or not you've been doing it with the number of men that we now have in southeast asia or double that or triple that? is it not true judging from what other military leaders have said in the past it would take a good many hundreds of thousands of
men to fight the red china on the ground whether you do it in manchuria or whether you move up to south korea through the border of china? >> yes. if the commitment began with chinese volunteers followed by the semblance of some semi-regular forces i would say our commitment would rise rapidly to double and double again in southeast asia to save ourselves and save their own bases. >> when we have them forced to their knees, i'm satisfied we could, horrible cost but that we could, final surrender, does that end our occupation in china? >> no. i have a feeling that at this point if you got that far down the road in total conflict, you would certainly involve the ussr in some role or another. whether they would seek to move it once into the vacuum of the mongolia and indochina, i don't
know. i suspect they would. it would be real problems then of further confrontations in the successive following the sea of china. >> i expect one with your brilliant mind, you're way ahead of me. i was coming to the russian question in a moment, but i carry a bit longer on my last question. assuming russia doesn't come in and it's the united states versus china, after we force her to surrender, still going to be a china, devastated as it is. would it be possible for us to just automatically withdraw all of our troops and go home or will we have a policing job to do for a long time thereafter? >> well, there's no doubt that there would be hundreds of millions of chinese left who would be in dire, dire straits, very ill from the effects of the use of nuclear weapons. the whole base of food production, food availability,
the economy, the agriculture would be laid flat and now assume we take some responsibility for trying to get the situation straightened out, it would be a very -- it would be an appalling problem to have to deal with, i would think. >> would that not be also an appalling drain on the economic resources as well as the manpower of our country? >> yes, it would. no question about it. >> now take the possibility of red russia getting involved. >> role call. >> one minute. i'm surprised at the number of people that feel that russia wouldn't come in. we have a duty of giving some thought to the problem if she does come in what our position will 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 would she fight us in new
york city, in chicago, in washington as we fought her in moscow and stalingrad? >> russia will always fight where it's to her advantage to do so. i think of the policies of stalin still are present, perhaps latent, but there, and i would think if she saw clearly opportunity to achieve greater control and greater amounts of territory, she would go ahead and seek her advantage wherever it would take her into northern china, wherever it be. if this involved a confrontation with us, i don't know. this is another matter. i have deep respect for nuclear weapons. >> we can't dismiss it as impossible to happen? >> no, no. i don't think so at all. it's a contingency we should have lurking in the back of our mind. >> chairman, let me ask one more question. in response to the senator's question of what we might do if
we he is escalated the war into, the harbor, you said we might either mine it or blockade it or i assume both. have you given any thought, general, as to what the position of non-combatant countries in respect to their flag would be if we blockaded the harbor? could you name for us the noncombatant nations that would lower their flag to that blockade including the union jack? >> no. i think we'd be in very serious trouble with our lives. >> it would be no better than its enforceability? >> that's right. >> do you know of any time in the history of the british empire that the union jack has ever been lowered to a blockade that the british empire was not a party to? >> no. i know of none. this matter came up in the past when i was in the pentagon, too. we worried about dealing with some of the problems of china. i know this is a very difficult
thing to deal with and we would have it probably impossible to deal with. >> do you think that russian flag would be lowered to that blockade? >> i don't know. i doubt it. >> if we sank the first russian ship and it wasn't lowered to that blockade, do you think they would send us a valentine in february or send us a bomb? >> i would suppose they'd be inclined to bomb. >> i'd much prefer a valentine. >> yes, i think so. >> we'll be back. >> yes