Joint Statement Following the Meeting in Guam With Chairman Thieu and Prime Minister Ky.
THE PRESIDENT of the United States and the Chief of State and the Prime Minister of Vietnam completed their discussions in Guam. These talks have demonstrated again their joint determination with their allies, to defend freedom in South Vietnam and at the same time to continue the earnest search for an honorable peace.
President Johnson took this occasion to present to Chairman Thieu, Prime Minister Ky, and their party the new leadership of the U.S. Mission in Saigon. Ambassador Ellsworth Bunker will take up from Ambassador Lodge the maintenance and strengthening of close relations with the Government of Vietnam. He will be working with that Government in its struggle to preserve the nation's freedom, in its steady progress toward economic and social development, and in the new political chapter now opening of constitutional and representative government under elected leaders. President Johnson introduced Ambassador Eugene Locke, who will take Ambassador Porter's place as Deputy Chief of the U.S. Mission, and he also explained that his Special Assistant, Mr. Robert Komer, would be in Saigon giving his attention to pacification/RD matters.
Meeting with their advisers, President Johnson and Chairman Thieu and Prime Minister Ky reviewed the encouraging progress on the various programs of the Vietnamese Government which had been discussed at Honolulu early in 1966 and were outlined in the communiqué of the seven allied nations meeting in Manila last October.
Discussion covered the military front, where the initiative lies increasingly with the allied forces and where the leaders of North Vietnam must recognize the futility of their effort to seize control of South Vietnam by force.
The meeting also reviewed those programs of the Vietnamese Government to which the United States is providing assistance. They found that, a solid foundation having been laid, the pacification and revolutionary development program was now beginning to show encouraging results, despite Vietcong efforts to disrupt it by terror and intimidation. They noted the successful maintenance of financial stability while recognizing the need for continued vigilance on this front. They heard from Dr. Vu Quoc Thuc and Mr. David Lilienthal of the long-range economic planning now getting underway. Plans for continued efforts in the fields of national reconciliation and reform of land policies and tenure provisions were described by the Vietnamese leaders.
They also outlined the provisions of the Constitution drafted by the Constituent Assembly elected last September 11 and agreed by the Assembly and approved by the Directorate in the last few days. This instrument provides for the principal organs of a representative government and assures to the people civil and economic rights and social justice. The Constitution offers full civil rights to those who respect its provisions and the world looks forward to the day when the Vietcong will take advantage of this offer, abandon the course of terror and violence, and join in making a free, modern society in South Vietnam.
It was also announced that elections for a President will be held under the Constitution within 4 to 5 months and the elections for a legislature shortly thereafter. Meanwhile a major forward step will be made toward the restoration of democratic local government when village hamlet elections take place, starting in April.
The numerous and varied efforts made in recent months to bring about a peaceful settlement were reviewed by the heads of both delegations. Thus far, they noted regretfully, North Vietnam has failed to respond to all such efforts. However, Chairman Thieu, Prime Minister Ky, and President Johnson reaffirmed their undertakings at Manila and Honolulu and pledged themselves anew to the diligent pursuit of peace. Continuing consultations about the search for peace will be maintained among the nations whose forces are now fighting against aggression in South Vietnam.
The Vietnamese and American leaders also took note of the forthcoming meetings in Washington of SEATO on April 18-20 and of the Foreign Ministers of nations having troops in Vietnam on April 20-21. The latter will bring together again the Governments which met at Manila last October and provide an opportunity for them to review progress and programs in Vietnam and consult on future courses of action.
The Vietnamese leaders are leaving Guam for Saigon this morning and President Johnson is expected to depart at the end of the day.
Note: The joint statement was released at Guam.
Lyndon B. Johnson, Joint Statement Following the Meeting in Guam With Chairman Thieu and Prime Minister Ky. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/237856