Political Perspective, 1967

03Fox2/1

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REPUBLICANS GET BEHIND JOHNSON

SUPPORT FOR POLICY

Washington, Wednesday. -- The U.S. Senate Republican leadership yesterday pledged "whole-hearted support" for President Johnson and his Vietnam war policy.
They apparently sought to dispel signs that the party intended to split with the President.
The Republican leader in the Senate, Senator Everett Dirksen, told a Press conference which followed a luncheon meeting of nine top Senate Republicans:
"Not for a minute do we dissociate ourselves from President Johnson's policy. "Preserving wholly the right of full and fair inquiry and criticisms, we reiterate our whole-hearted support for the Commander-in-Chief."
Senator Dirksen said his statement was prompted by erroneous interpretations given a Republican policy report on Vietnam issued yesterday.
He conceded that a dispute had risen in the party over release of the report, which questioned whether U.S. interests were being served in South-East Asia, and which asked to what length the country should go in serving those interests.
Once again yesterday, President Johnson hit out at critics of his Vietnam policy.
He said dissenters must be prepared to acknowledge the price of debate as American troops risked their lives in the war.
He did not define the "price," but was apparently referring to the Administration's position that anti-war demonstrators were encouraging Hanoi and costing American lives.

Rejection

Last night, the Defense Department rejected a Peking Radio charge that U.S. aircraft had bombed one of China's southern provinces bordering on North Vietnam.
"Although the Department of Defense does not normally comment on Chinese Communists propaganda broadcasts, reports failed to show any evidence that these propaganda allegations are true," it said.
The special statement was issued a few hours after a Peking broadcast claimed that four F-105 aircraft had intruded over Chinese territory and had dropped bombs.
Meanwhile, in Saigon, the U.S. commander, General William Westmoreland, has asked President Johnson to increase American fighting strength to at least 600,000 men, according to informed sources quoted by the "New York Times" news service.

Conference

General Westmoreland is reported to have urged that the reinforcements be sent "as soon as possible" and that the build-up be completed by January 1.
At a Press conference today Mr. Johnson had no direct comment when asked about the Saigon report.
He said he had no doubt that his military advisors would recommend the dispatch of more American troops to Vietnam.
However, he said he personally had no recommendation before him at this time.
The President also reiterated his desire to reach a peaceful settlement of the war as soon as possible.
"We will diligently pursue each day any route we can that can lead to a peaceful settlement,' he said.


*The above article taken from the newspaper, The Sydney Morning Herald, Thursday, May 4, 1967.
 

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