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McNamara Says U.S. Resolved to Oppose Communist Aggression

Jan. 19, 1962 - Secretary of Defense Robert S. McNamara said today that the United States was resolved to oppose Communist aggression “in all its forms.” It will do so, he told a Senate committee, until the Soviet and Chinese leaders are convinced that their policies “endanger their security as well as ours.” He added: “There is no question that our strategic retaliatory forces are capable of destroying the Soviet target system, even after absorbing an initial attack.” It was U.S. policy, Secretary McNamara said, not to plan to initiate a nuclear strike against the Soviet Union, but to build forces capable of deterring war — and, if that failed, retaliating. Secretary McNamara stressed the “problem of sub-limited war,” quoting Soviet Premier Khrushchev’s advocacy of wars of national liberation or popular revolts. In such wars, the Communists use “political assassination, robbery, arson, subversion, bribery” and thus put the U.S. at a disadvantage, he asserted. “But this is the challenge we must meet if we are to defeat the Communists in this kind of war.”

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