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Rusk Arrives in Saigon

May 30, 1964 - Secretary of State Dean Rusk arrived in Saigon today and declared that the U.S. was determined to force Communist China and North Vietnam to leave their neighbors in Southeast Asia alone.

“We are serious about Southeast Asia,” Rusk said after landing in Saigon for a six-hour stopover en route to a high-level conference of U.S. officials on Southeast Asia in Honolulu.

“It is absolutely necessary that Hanoi and Peking decide to leave their neighbors in this part of the world alone,” he said. “So, all of our efforts will be spent on requiring them to make that decision. If we do so, there can be peace in this part of the world. It’s just as simple as that.”

Rusk arrived from Bangkok, Thailand, where he spent the night after having attended funeral services for Prime Minister Nehru in New Delhi.

Rusk indicated that important decisions affecting the fate of Southeast Asia would be made at the Honolulu conference and by President Johnson in Washington after that.

“These will be very important days and weeks ahead of us,” he said.

Rusk was scheduled to meet Premier Nguyen Khanh less than two hours after his arrival.

He will be accompanied on his flight to Hawaii by Ambassador Henry Cabot Lodge, Lieut. Gen. William Westmoreland, who will be taking over command of U.S. forces in South Vietnam Aug. 1, and other top aides in the U.S. mission in Saigon.

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