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Twenty-Two Senators Call for Halt to Vietnam Aid

Sept. 12, 1963 - Twenty-two U.S. Senators introduced a resolution today calling for an end to all military and economic aid to South Vietnam unless it abandons its “policies of repression” and seeks popular support. In offering the resolution with support from 21 colleagues, Democratic Frank Church (left with President Kennedy and Senator Edmund Muskie) said “the persecution of Buddhists by the present government of South Vietnam is an affront to the good conscience of the American people.” “If these cruel repressions are not abandoned, further American aid to this government should be terminated and American personnel withdrawn,” Church added. “The loss of South Vietnam to communism would be deplorable and particularly bitter after so long and agonizing an effort there,” he said. “But in the end, the country will fall victim to the relentless Communist penetration unless the Diem regime abandons its policies of repression or another non-Communist regime emerges to rally the people.” Church said about 14,000 U.S. military personnel in South Vietnam are “engaged in an assistance program that is costing us more than $1 million a day,” and added: “To persist in the support of such a regime can only serve to identify the U.S. with the cause of religious persecution, undermining our moral position throughout the world. We have turned our eyes away from the sacrificial protests of Buddhist monks burning themselves alive on the streets of Saigon. Such grisly scenes have not been witnessed since the Christian martyrs marched hand-in-hand into the Roman arenas.” Joining with Church to sign the resolution were Republican Senators Frank Carlson of Kansas, Milward Simpson of Wyoming, and J. Glenn Geall of Maryland, and the following Democrats: E.L. Bartlett, Alaska; Birch Bayh, Ind; Alan Bible, Nev.; Joseph S. Clark, Pa.; Ernest Gruening, Alaska; Olin D. Johnston, S.C.; George S. McGovern, S.D.; Wayne Morse, Ore.; Frank Moss, Utah; Gaylord Nelson, Wis.; Maurine Neuberger, Ore.; Claiborne Pell and John Pastore, R.I.; Ralph Yarborough, Tex.; Edmund Muskie, Me., and Stephen Young, Ohio.


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