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Walter Cronkite Interviews President Kennedy on CBS-TV

Sept. 2, 1963 - President Kennedy said today that the leaders of South Vietnam should realize that the war against the Communist guerrillas was “their war” and that it could not be won unless the Government recovered the popular support it had lost. “We are prepared to assist them,” the President said, “but I don’t think that the war can be won unless the people support the effort and, in my opinion, in the last two months, the Government has gotten out of touch with the people. In the final analysis, it’s their war. They’re the ones who have to win it or lose it. We can help them, give them equipment, we can send our men out there as advisers, but they have to win it, the people of Vietnam, against the Communists.” The President made it clear, however, that he did not agree with those who advocate a withdrawal of U.S. troops and aid from South Vietnam. “That would be a great mistake,” he said. “I know people don’t like Americans to be engaged in this kind of effort. Forty-seven Americans have been killed in combat with the enemy, but this is a very important struggle even though it is far away.” Seated in a cushioned wicker chair on the lawn of his summer home, President Kennedy gave these and other views during an interview by Walter Cronkite of CBS-TV.


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