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President Says He's Being as "Frank as Possible" on Vietnam

Feb. 14, 1962 - Responding to criticism, President Kennedy said today he was being as frank as possible about U.S. involvement in the war in Vietnam. He asked that such sensitive matters be left to “responsible leaders” of both parties. The President countered charges of excessive secrecy with a statement that no American combat troops “in the generally understood sense of the word” had been sent into Vietnam. Yet he conceded, without giving statistics, that military support had been increased to match increased Communist activity. That support, Mr. Kennedy said at his news conference, is consistent with a 10-year policy of trying to keep South Vietnam out of Communist hands. The President said he had fully briefed Congressional leaders on the Vietnam situation at a White House review of foreign affairs in early January. Further information had been given Congressional committees by Secretary of State Dean Rusk and Robert S. McNamara, Secretary of Defense.

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