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RFK Meets Reports to President Johnson on Malaysian Crisis

Jan. 28, 1964 - President Johnson heard a cautiously optimistic report today from Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy on the dispute over Malaysia. Mr. Kennedy warned, however, that if a long-range settlement was not reached, the U.S. could become involved in a full-scale jungle war.

The Attorney General spent nearly an hour and a half at the White House this morning, briefing the President and other high officials and members of Congress on his 13-day peace mission. He returned to Washington last night after talks at the President’s behest with leaders of Indonesia, Japan, the Philippines, South Korea, Malaysia, Thailand, and Britain. After this morning’s meeting, the President accompanied Mr. Kennedy to the Fish Room in the west wing of the White House. Speaking before television cameras, Mr. Johnson commended the Attorney General for his efforts on a “very important mission.” “We are of the unanimous opinion,” President Johnson said, “that he carried out his assignment constructively and with real achievement.” “There are obviously great problems still ahead,” Mr. Kennedy said. “There are antagonisms, and there is mistrust between the various nations. There are differences of approach and differences on positions. But I think with goodwill and with genuine effort that the conference has a chance of success.”

The Attorney General warned that the alternative was “continued war in the jungle.” “I think it is quite clear that if that happens,” he said, “it will escalate and very possibly involve other nations. The U.S. has certain treaty obligations and other certain responsibilities in that part of the world, so it is a very serious matter.”


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