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Letter to the Speaker of the House Requesting Supplemental Appropriations in Support of Military Operations in Southeast Asia.

January 24, 1967

Herewith is submitted a supplemental request to the Congress for new obligational authority in the amount of $12,275,870,000 for the support of military operations in Southeast Asia to help finance an increase of $9.1 billion in fiscal 1967 expenditures over our earlier estimates.

These funds are needed to sustain our combat operations and to supply our field forces with the aircraft, weapons, ammunition, and equipment they must have to fight aggression in Vietnam.

The Congress will, I believe, want to act promptly to provide these funds.

One year ago, we were in the midst of the most rapid and efficient military response in our Nation's history. The uncertainties were such that it was impossible to forecast accurately our requirements for either men or material a full 18 months or more in advance. The Secretary of Defense fully informed the Congress of this fact and emphasized that a supplemental appropriation would be necessary unless the conflict ended by June 30, 1967.

Today, we are taking every initiative in our search for peace. But as yet, our offers to negotiate have not been accepted. We will persist in these efforts to bring an honorable peace to Vietnam.

At the same time, we must--and will-sustain our pressure on the battlefield until the enemy realizes that the war he started is costing him more than he can ever gain.

Thus, I know that you will want to continue your firm support of the nearly 500,000 American fighting men who are bravely defending the cause of freedom in Southeast Asia.

Never have we had more cause to be proud of our armed forces. When I visited Cam Ranh Bay last October, General William Westmoreland, the Commander of our forces in Vietnam, told me that our troops--in the air, on the sea, and on the land--were the finest the United States had ever fielded.

We should in the Congress and the Executive Branch match the magnificent morale of these men with the means they require to carry out their mission.

Last year, we pledged to the Nation that we would give our fighting men what they must have, every gun and every dollar and every decision, whatever the cost or whatever the challenge.

We must demonstrate our continuing support of these young Americans so that we may prove to them--half a world away-that our determination is no less than theirs.

The new obligational authority requested for fiscal 1967 will provide:

--$6,841,000,000 to equip military units and to replace aircraft, ordnance, ammunition, and materiel lost or consumed in combat, with expenditures of $850,000,000.

--$3,311,500,000 for operating costs to support additional military units and the intensified level of field operations, with expenditures of $2,900,000,000.

--$1,363,870,000 for pay and allowances of additional military personnel and training additional Reserve enlistees, with expenditures of $1,310,000, 000.

--$624,500,000 for the construction or improvement of needed airfields, roads, troop housing and other facilities, with expenditures of $110,000,000.

--$135,000,000 for research and development efforts related to Vietnam, with expenditures of $20,000,000.

These expenditures total $5.2 billion.

When added to the $3.9 billion in expenditures from funds previously made available, the total fiscal 1967 expenditure increase over the estimate published in January 1966 totals $9.1 billion.

The Congress and the country will support our troops who bear the burden of combat by providing the funds they need to do the job.

Respectfully yours,


[The Speaker of the House of Representatives]

Note: A letter of the same date from the Director, Bureau of the Budget, in which the Director concurred in the supplemental appropriations request recommended by the Secretary of Defense, is published in the Weekly Compilation of Presidential Documents (vol. 3, P. 98).

On April 4, 1967, the President signed the Supplemental Defense Appropriation Act, 1967 (Public Law 90-8; 81 Stat. 8). See also Item 159 below.

Lyndon B. Johnson, Letter to the Speaker of the House Requesting Supplemental Appropriations in Support of Military Operations in Southeast Asia. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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