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Under Secretary of State George Ball Speaks Out on Vietnam

Apr. 30, 1962 - George W. Ball (pictured), Under Secretary of State, warned today that the war against the Communist Viet Cong in South Vietnam would be a “long, slow, arduous” struggle of a type that is not “congenial to the American temperament.” But he said it could “definitely” be won with the help the U.S. was providing to the South Vietnamese Government. Discussing the nature of the American assistance, he insisted that no U.S. combat units were in Vietnam, that “we are not fighting the war,” and that “we are not running the war.” However, the U.S. is increasing its contribution in logistics and in training and transporting the Vietnamese troops, he said. The Viet Cong are fighting “under distinct handicaps,” Mr. Ball said. Often, he said, they are poorly trained and equipped and not motivated by deep conviction. Often, they are conscripted “by terror or treachery,” he stated.

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