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President Johnson Reaffirms U.S. Policy in South Vietnam

Nov. 24, 1963 - President Johnson reaffirmed today the policy objectives of his predecessor regarding South Vietnam. He called upon all Government agencies to support that policy with full unity of purpose. This was disclosed by White House sources after a meeting between President Johnson and Henry Cabot Lodge (far left), U.S. Ambassador to South Vietnam. The meeting lasted nearly an hour. It was described as being devoted to a full review of the conclusions reached by participants in a strategy conference on South Vietnam held in Honolulu last week. President Johnson’s meeting with Ambassador Lodge was also attended by Secretary of State Dean Rusk, Defense Secretary Robert S. McNamara, Under Secretary of State George W. Ball, CIA director John A. McCone, and Special Assistant to the President McGeorge Bundy. Following the meeting, President Johnson laid down a general policy line emphasizing the following points:

— U.S. policy on South Vietnam remains to assist the new Government there in winning the war against the Communist Viet Cong insurgents.

— The White House statement of Oct. 2 on the withdrawal of American troops from South Vietnam remains in force. This statement said the program for training of Vietnamese troops should have progressed by the end of 1963 to the point “where 1,000 U.S. military personnel” can be withdrawn. The U.S. now has 16,500 military men in South Vietnam.

— All U.S. agencies represented in Vietnam are to assist the present Government in its tasks of consolidation and the development of public support for programs directed toward winning the war. President Johnson asked that all agencies in the field support these policies with full unity of purpose.


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