Remarks to the Press With General Westmoreland Following the General's Report on the Situation in Vietnam
FOR THE past two days, General Westmoreland has been here in Washington conferring with me and my senior advisers, briefing us on the military situation in South Vietnam and exploring personnel and other matters that we desired to take up with him.
He has spent the lunch hour and this afternoon with Secretary Rusk, since the Secretary returned from a visit to the Pacific area.
General Westmoreland is leaving shortly to return to South Vietnam and will stop over, at my request, in California to brief General Eisenhower on the matters that we discussed here.
General Westmoreland will have a brief statement to make to you before he goes to the plane. Along with Secretary Clifford, I expect to go to the plane with General Westmoreland and continue our talks until his departure.
[At this point General Westmoreland spoke briefly. The President then resumed speaking.]
Ladies and gentlemen, General Westmoreland is due to arrive back in Saigon on Tuesday. After his arrival Ambassador Bunker will come to Washington for conferences during the latter part of the week with the President and with his senior advisers, the Secretary of State and the Secretary of Defense.
Thank you very much.
Note: The President spoke at 4:10 p.m. in front of the entrance to the West Lobby at the White House. General Westmoreland's remarks follow:
Yesterday and today I conferred with the President, the Secretary of State, Secretary of Defense, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and other officials of the Government. I discussed the military situation in South Vietnam, the status of enemy forces, the performance of the Vietnamese military, mobilization and modernization of the Vietnamese Armed Forces, and current and future military operations and plans.
I told the Commander in Chief that:
--Despite the initial psychological impact of the enemy's Tet offensive, the enemy failed to achieve a public uprising by the people of South Vietnam, to bring about the defeat of the Armed Forces of Vietnam, or to achieve his military objectives.
--The Vietnamese Government is proceeding rapidly to increase the strength of its Armed Forces by 135,000 men.
--An assessment of the performance of the Vietnamese Armed Forces during the past several months reveals that, in general, they fought bravely and well.
--The spirit of the offensive is now prevalent throughout Vietnam, with the advantage being taken of the enemy's weakened military position in Vietnam.
--Our troops of all services have continued to perform in magnificent fashion and their conduct since the first of the year has been enhanced and my admiration for them has likewise been increased.
--Militarily, we have never been in a better relative position in South Vietnam.
--The enemy's siege of Khe Sanh has been relieved by ground action. Following news from my command, I have sent a message to General Cushman, congratulating him and the troops under his operational control for their success in relieving the Khe Sanh base and wresting the initiative from the enemy. A copy of my message will be distributed to you.
Ladies and gentlemen, in view of the sensitive nature of the present situation, I have nothing further to say.
Lyndon B. Johnson, Remarks to the Press With General Westmoreland Following the General's Report on the Situation in Vietnam Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/237950