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Lodge Optimistic on Vietnam

Aug. 11, 1963 - Henry Cabot Lodge (pictured with President Kennedy in 1961), who will take up his new post as U.S. Ambassador to South Vietnam later this month, predicted today there will be “impressive victories” over Communist Viet Cong forces within that country in the next year. Lodge, who is scheduled to assume his post Aug. 23, described Vietnam as “the only place in the world where the cold war has become a hot war” and added his belief that the military campaign being waged against Communist guerrillas by the South Vietnamese with American assistance is “going well.” A Communist victory in South Vietnam, he said, would have “tremendous repercussions” in the surrounding countries of Cambodia, Laos, Burma, and Thailand. But a South Vietnamese victory, he declared, “would have worldwide repercussions as an index of the will of the free world to stand up for its rights.” Answering questions on ABC-TV’s “Issues and Answers,” Lodge was reminded that government policy in South Vietnam has made it difficult for American newsmen to “tell the full story” of what is going on there. “I will naturally do everything I can to help our American newsmen,” he replied. Lodge said he did not believe he was chosen for his new diplomatic post by President Kennedy to forestall Republican criticism of the Administration’s policies in Vietnam. “Under our system of government, whoever is President has the responsibility,” he remarked. “The buck ends there, and there is no way that any President can divest himself from it.”

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