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Remarks on Return From Meeting With President Thieu at Midway Island

June 10, 1969

Mr. Vice President, Mr. Speaker, Members of the Cabinet, members of the diplomatic corps, Members of the Congress, of the House and of the Senate, and all of our friends here in Washington, D.C.:

After a very long journey that took us to the middle of the Pacific, it is good to be home again and to be received so warmly by all of you who have been so kind to come out here and greet us.

As all of you know from having heard the reports from our meetings in the Pacific, it was just 27 years ago that a great battle took place at Midway, which historians now recognize was one of the turning points, a decisive battle, in World War II.

I know that all of you will be interested in an appraisal of the meaning of Midway today. I am going to meet, immediately after addressing you, with the legislative leaders in order to brief them. But prior to that time, let me briefly tell you what I think is the meaning of the meeting that we had in Midway.

First, that meeting brought home the message that the forces of South Vietnam have now been trained and equipped to the point that they are able to take over a substantial portion of combat activities presently being borne by Americans.

Second, that meeting means that President Thieu completely approves and supports the eight-point peace program which I set forth in my May 14 speech to the Nation. There is no disagreement between us on that program.

And, third, that meeting means that after 5 years in which more and more Americans have been sent to Vietnam, we finally have reached the point where we can begin to bring Americans home from Vietnam.

This does not mean that the war is over. There are negotiations still to be undertaken. There is fighting still to be borne until we reach the point that we can have peace.

But I do think, in conclusion, that this observation is worth making: By the May 14 speech that I made setting forth an eight-point program for peace, and by our action in withdrawing 25,000 American combat forces from Vietnam, we have opened wide the door to peace.

And now we invite the leaders of North Vietnam to walk with us through that door, either by withdrawing forces, their forces, from South Vietnam as we have withdrawn ours, or by negotiating in Paris, or through both avenues.

We believe this is the time for them to act. We have acted and acted in good faith. And if they fail to act in one direction or the other, they must bear the responsibility for blocking the road to peace and not walking through that door which we have opened.

Finally, on a personal note, I haven't had much chance to follow the newspapers. at least from the standpoint of local news, since leaving Washington. But there was one byproduct of my trip abroad which I am sure of. No one can say what history will say about this meeting for sure, until perhaps a few months or even years later.

But I found that in the week or so that I was away from Washington, the Senators finally began to win and are now at .500.

One of the first things I am going to do when I do have a little time off, when they return from the road trip, is to go out and see them play. I hope I am not bad luck for them when I see them.

Thank you very much.

Note: The President spoke at 4:51 p.m. on the South Lawn at the White House.

Richard Nixon, Remarks on Return From Meeting With President Thieu at Midway Island Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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