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Reply to a Letter From a Group of House Members Relating to the Situation in Vietnam.

January 22, 1966

Dear Mr. Congressman:

I am responding to you as the first in alphabetical order of those Members of the House who have written to me under date of January 21 on the search for peace in Vietnam. I hope you will share this answer with your co-signers.

I am grateful for your strong support of our effort to move the war in Vietnam to the conference table. This support is a real encouragement, coupled as it is with the equally strong support of our determination to meet our commitments in Vietnam.

I share your interest in effective action through the United Nations, and I want you to know that there is no part of this whole problem to which we give closer attention. I have reviewed this matter many times with Ambassador Goldberg, and we have repeatedly considered the suggestion you offer. You can be assured that he and I are firmly determined to make every possible use of the United Nations in moving toward peace, and toward an effective cease-fire as part of that purpose.

Unfortunately, you are correct in your statement that the response from the other side has not been encouraging. The evidence available to this government indicates only continuing hostility and aggressiveness in Hanoi and an insistence on the abandonment of South Vietnam to Communist takeover. We are making no hasty assumptions of any sort, but it is quite another matter to close our eyes to the heavy weight of evidence which has accumulated during the last month.

I can give you categorical assurance that there will be no abandonment of our peace efforts. Even though it is increasingly clear that we have had only a hostile response to the present pause in bombing North Vietnam, you can be sure that our unflagging pursuit of peace will continue. As I said this week in a letter to Speaker McCormack, "Whether the present effort is successful or not, our purpose of peace will be constant; we will continue to press on every door."

And at the same time, I am confident that as elected representatives of the American people, you will share my determination that our fighting forces in Vietnam shall be sustained and supported "by every dollar and every gun and every decision" that they must have--"whatever the cost and whatever the challenge." For a month we have held our hand in an important area of military action. But the infiltration of the aggressor's forces has continued, and so have his attacks on our allies and on our own men. I am sure you will agree that we have a heavy obligation not to add lightly to the dangers our troops must face. We must give them the support they need in fulfillment of the commitment so accurately stated in your letter--"the determination of our Government to resist the terror and aggression which deny the people of South Vietnam the right freely to determine their own future."



[Honorable Brock Adams, House of Representatives, Washington, D.C.]

Note: The letter to which the President replied, signed by 77 Members of the House of Representatives, is printed in the Congressional Record of January 24, 1966 (p. 844).

For the President's reply to a similar letter signed by 15 Senators, see Item 36

Lyndon B. Johnson, Reply to a Letter From a Group of House Members Relating to the Situation in Vietnam. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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