Lyndon B. Johnson photo

Remarks Upon Signing Resolution Appropriating Funds for Military Requirements in Viet-Nam

May 07, 1965

Members of the Congress and my fellow Americans :

Congress has acted with dispatch and clear purpose to approve the request that I made on Tuesday for $700 million to meet our mounting military requirements in Viet-Nam.

I am very proud to be signing this resolution only 3 days after it was sent to the Congress.

Let the meaning of this action be clear.

--To the brave people of South Viet-Nam, who are fighting and who are dying for the right to choose their own way of life, this resolution says: "America keeps her promises. And we will back up those promises with all the resources that we need."

--To our own boys who are fighting-and dying--beside the people of South Viet-Nam, this resolution says to them: "We are going to give you the tools to finish the job."

--To the aggressors, to those who by assassination and terror seek conquest and plunder, and to those who encourage and guide their aggression from afar, this resolution says: "We will not be defeated. We will not grow tired."

This money will be spent for arms, for weapons of war, for helicopters, for ammunition, for planes, not because we want war, but because the aggressors have made them necessary.

We will lay aside these weapons when peace comes--and we hope it comes swiftly. But that is in the hands of others besides ourselves. For months now we have waited for a sign, a signal, even a whisper, but our offer of unconditional discussions has fallen on unreceptive ears.

Not a sound has been heard.

Not a signal has been sighted.

Still we wait for a response. Still America is anxious for peace.

I wish it were possible to convince others with words of what we now find it necessary to say with guns and planes--that armed hostility is futile. Because once this is clear, it should also be clear that the only path for reasonable men is the path of peaceful settlement.

But our willingness to talk must not be taken as a symbol of cowardice. Until there is a response, until the aggressors have indicated their willingness to talk, we intend to press on. Our patience and determination are unending.

That is why this resolution, that you patriotic men and women so promptly considered and so wisely passed, is so important.

It is not the money but it is the message that matters. And that message is simple. I think that message is honest and clear: "We will do whatever must be done to insure the safety of South Viet-Nam from aggression. We will use our power with restraint and we will use it with all the wisdom that we can command. But we will use it."

Once this message is clearly understood by all--all the aggressors--there should be much greater hope for peace. For then the men who now seek conquest by force will learn to seek settlement by unconditional discussions-the talks that we have invited and that we want will start, and the road then to the peace, that the people of the world want so much, will finally be open.

On behalf of all the American people, I say to this Congress, made up of patriots of both parties: You have acted wisely. You have acted patriotically. You have acted promptly. Again you have measured up-in the finest American tradition.

Thank you very much.

Note: The President spoke at 9:30 a.m. in the East Room at the White House.

The resolution (H.I. Res. 447), as enacted, is Public Law 89-18 (79 Stat. 109).

Lyndon B. Johnson, Remarks Upon Signing Resolution Appropriating Funds for Military Requirements in Viet-Nam Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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