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Reply to Reporter About Reaction to Address on Southeast Asia

October 08, 1970

REPORTER. Have you heard any comment on your speech last night from the North Vietnamese or the rest of the world?

THE PRESIDENT. The rest of the world, yes. The North Vietnamese, I think, made a brief comment this morning, indicating that they, of course, will look at the [proposal] next week.

We don't expect a formal comment from them until next week when they come back to the Paris conference. But the rest, the reaction in the world and in the Nation, has been extremely favorable.

We are particularly pleased, naturally, at the strong support within the Nation, the bipartisan support, because one of the hopes that the North Vietnamese have had is that by division in the United States they will get what they want at the conference table and a better deal than they could get now.

We have made a very forthcoming proposal, and the fact that it has wide bipartisan support will not go unnoticed in Hanoi. I appreciate the fact that our Democratic leaders like Mike Mansfield, as well as Republican leaders, have endorsed it, and Congressmen and Senators of both sides. It was a bipartisan speech. There was no partisanship in it. When people are working for peace, there's no politics in that.

World reaction, of course--I talked to the Secretary of State this morning-naturally, it takes a little time to pick that up, but it's been very favorable throughout the world up to this point, with the usual reactions that you might expect from some areas, but very favorable from European, Latin American, African, and Asian sources. This also is important because it means now that the position of the United States on Vietnam, diplomatically, has broad support within the world community. We had strong support before, and considerable understanding, but now that we have taken this diplomatic initiative, world leaders generally, I think, will give us support who might previously have waited or hedged on doing so because they may have felt that we had not gone as far as we could at the conference table.

No one now can raise a question on that. Well, they can raise a question, but serious questions will not be raised because whether it is a cease-fire or a total withdrawal of all of our forces, or whether it is a political settlement, or the offer with regard to prisoners of war, the United States has made a very forthcoming proposal. We would expect that the North Vietnamese, after their first, shall we say, reaction indicating that they do not see much new in it--which we would naturally expect at first blush---that as they consider it we would hope that they would take it as seriously as we took it when we made it, as world leaders have responded to it, as leaders in both parties here have responded to it, including critics of the Vietnam war, as well as those who support it.

REPORTER. Thank you, Mr. President.

Note: The President responded to the reporter's question at 11:30 a.m. on his arrival at Hunter Army Airfield, Savannah, Ca.

Richard Nixon, Reply to Reporter About Reaction to Address on Southeast Asia Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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