top of page

Nixon Meets with Lodge in Saigon

Apr. 1, 1964 - Richard M. Nixon and Henry Cabot Lodge conferred today in Saigon on U.S. political developments that have made them potential rivals for the Republican Presidential nomination. They approached the subject gingerly, and it was understood there was no specific discussion of possible pre-convention moves by either man. Both insist they do not intend to become candidates.

The two Republican nominees of 1960 met for the first time in nearly a year shortly after the former Vice President arrived in Saigon for a two-day visit. Mr. Lodge, Ambassador to South Vietnam, did not go to the airport to meet his former running mate, but Mr. Nixon drove straight to the embassy for a two-hour conference.

Emerging, Mr. Nixon said the bulk of the time was taken up in discussion of U.S. policy in South Vietnam, but toward the end the two men turned to domestic politics.

“We covered everything significant about this political year,” Mr. Nixon told newsmen. “This was a casual conversation about developments — it had nothing to do with decisions — about what we’re going to do in the political field.”

Mr. Lodge is scheduled to entertain Mr. Nixon at dinner tomorrow after a day of conferences with South Vietnamese officials.

In an airport statement, Mr. Nixon criticized past U.S. policy on Vietnam for what he called “compromises and improvisations.” He went on to praise Defense Secretary Robert McNamara’s recent statements of support for the South Vietnamese war against the Communist Viet Cong, and said “we should stick to this.”

“Men on the scene in other countries I have visited say the real problem of the U.S. in this area is knowing for certain what we are going to do,” Mr. Nixon said, adding: “There should be one voice — not this continued situation of going uphill one day and down the next.”

Asked if he expected Vietnam policy to become an issue in the Presidential campaign, Mr. Nixon replied: “I hope it doesn’t; it will only become an issue if the policy has weaknesses worthy of criticism, if it is plagued with inconsistency, improvisation, and uncertainty. That has been the case in the past. There is no substitute for victory in South Vietnam.”

Support this project at


bottom of page