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Highlights of President Kennedy’s Press Conference

Nov. 14, 1963 - Following are the main points of President Kennedy’s news conference today:

Vietnam — The United States’ long-range objective is to withdraw American troops once the South Vietnamese are able to “maintain themselves as a free and independent country.” Mr. Kennedy also defended Gen. Paul D. Harkins against allegations that he may have lost his usefulness because of his identification with the deposed Diem regime.

Congress — Although still hopeful his tax and civil rights bills will be acted upon by Congress this year, Mr. Kennedy fears that both will be delayed until next year. However, he predicts that by next summer Congress will have passed “significant” legislation not only in taxation and civil rights but education, mental health, and medical care for the aged.

Foreign Aid — The Congressional attack on foreign aid is the “worst that we have seen since the beginning of the Marshall Plan.” Further cuts and restriction in the aid program would “deny the President of the United States a very, very valuable weapon in maintaining the influence of the United States in this very diversified world.”

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