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[VIDEO] June 23, 1964 | Henry Cabot Lodge Resigns as Saigon Ambassador

June 23, 1964 - Henry Cabot Lodge is hurrying back from South Vietnam to help Pennsylvania Governor William Scranton’s bid for the Republican Presidential nomination.

President Johnson accepted today the resignation of his Ambassador in Saigon and assigned General Maxwell Taylor to replace him. The President also appointed a prominent career diplomat, U. Alexis Johnson, to the specially created job of Deputy Ambassador to South Vietnam.

General Earle Wheeler will succeed General Taylor as chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. No replacement has been chosen for Wheeler as Army Chief of Staff.

Lodge said in Saigon that he intended to support Scranton for his party’s Presidential nomination. He said the Saigon Government was “on the right track” in its determination to resist foreign domination. “This is indeed a time to persist and not get discouraged or impatient,” he said. “I am sure we will persist.”

President Johnson accepted the resignation with “deep regret.” He vowed that the change of ambassadors would not alter Washington’s determination to resist “Communist terror and put an end to external aggression.”

He added: “The United States intends no rashness and seeks no wider war. But the United States is determined to use its strength to help those who are defending themselves against terror and aggression. We are a people of peace — but not of weakness or timidity.”

Johnson said he believed Communist China and North Vietnam were aware of Washington’s attitude and had “no doubt” about American policy.

He also said that General Taylor and deputy ambassador Johnson together would give the U.S. “the best possible field leadership in support of our embattled friends, the people of South Vietnam.”

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