The Bombs and the Life of the World Perhaps you have the impression that the Johnson Administration is seriously_ advocating that the spread of nuclear weapons to nations that do not have them be stopped. If so, you are wrong. For on this vital’ matter, which Senator Robert Kennedy says should occupy “a central priority of American policy,” 4 the Administration has advanced a sham of a draft treaty. The U.S. proposal would perriait the formation of a multinational nuclear force that do not have nuclear bombs. 5 I don’t trust Germany with nuclear bombs, and I don’t blame anyone else for not trusting them with nuclear bombs. It is a sham to respond to Senator Kennedy’s urgent call last June for a stop in the spread of nuclear weapons with the proposal that we will stop spreading them, except to our NATO allies. Senator Kennedy subsequently proposed that China be invited to the 17-nation Geneva disarmament conference. Agreements in our common interest might be reached, he said; if the Chinese refused to come, we would have lost nothing; with China present, all the nuclear powers would be talking together at the same table for the first time. “I think no one, looking at United States foreign policy since 1961, will interpret our civility as a sign of weakness.” he said. 6 The Senate Majority Leader, Mr. Mansfield, immediately endorsed the proposal. But the State Department, speaking presumably and of course for the President, said there was no indication of any serious interest in disarmament by China and used this pretext to ignore Kennedy’s proposal for action.’ Kennedy also indirectly criticized the U.S. draft of the proliferation treaty because of the MLF loophole, Mr., Mansfield called the proviso “divisive,” and Sen. Joe Clark, D-Pa., said Mr. Johnson should abandon it forthwith. This is serious debate within the Democratic Party debate that is also in fact raging about Vietnam and about our invasion of the Dominican Republic. In the case of nuclear proliferation, it seems.clear to me that the President is not acting on good proposals from Senators Kennedy and Mansfield and is thereby unnecessarily risking the further spread of nuclear weapons. All this involves is the life . of the world. Challenge Hanoi to a Cease-fire Walter Lippmann recently wrote what appears to be a simple, but seldom-spoken fact: that our policy in Vietnam has changed in the last year. In what way has it changed? By tending toward a general land war in Asia. Theodore Sorenson, questioned in Austin recently about Mr. Kennedy’s, as to Mr. Johnson’s policies in Vietnam, said that Mr. Kennedy was working within two extremes. “I believe President Kennedy was determined not to abandon this country’s long-standing commitment to Vietnamese independence,” Sorenson said. “I believe lie was equally determined not to precipitate a general land war in Southeast Asia. I believe President Johnson is working between those same two extremes. His goals are the same as President Kennedy’s; namely to make clear to the communists that they cannot gain power in Southeast Asia through aggression and subversion. Whether Mr. Johnson’s day-to-day tactics would have been followed by Mr. Kennedy, who was faced with a somewhat different situation. is really impossible to say.” We do know, however, that the U.S. troop commitment in Vietnam, which began to enlarge under Mr. Kennedy, has gone from 16,000 to 160,000 Americans in nine months, is expected to reach 200,000 by Christmas, and may well go much higher than that. We also know that the bombing is new. Day to day, Mr. Johnson has permitted the enlargement of the American commitment, and the distinction between “advisers” and combatants has been abandoned. There is some dissent about this development even from the Republicans. A GOP white paper in August reminded the President that last year he was eampaigning against Mr. Goldwater saying, “Some others are eager to enlarge the conflict. 4 The Texas Observer They call upon us to supply American boys to do the job that Asian boys-should do.” 9 GOP Gov. Mark Hatfield of Oregon said last summer that the. U.S. appears to be moving all the people to the earth toward World War III. Hatfield also said: “President Kennedy, in September of 1963; told us that in the final analysis, it is a war of the Vietnam people they are the ones to win or lose it, while we could send equipment and men as advisers, the people of Vietnam are the ones to win it. Today we are told it must be our boys who must win it not as advisers but as combatants.”” United Press International reported of the three-day battle of Cho Ping Mountain that there were “no reports of any action by South Vietnamese . government forces . . . It turned out to be a direct confrontation between Hanoi and the Pentagon.”ll This spring Mr. Johnson was assuring us flatly that he did not intend to enlarge the war ; it has also been argued that increasing the pressure has meant to make Hanoi negotiate. But the war is enlarging, and Hanoi, represented as ready to negotiate last fall, is also represented as refusing to negotiate now. As Mr. Galbraith observed, bombing always makes a people’s will to resist stiffen. We learn that Hanoi is sending more and more troops southward and that more escalation is likely.” Former Vice-President Richard Nixon said in Dallas there should be no negotiations that reward the aggressor”in other words, no concessions by the U.S. in the interests of peaceand U.S. News & World Reports informs us that military men in Vietnam want to attack “communist positions inside Cambodia.” 14 In short, the area of concern toward which citizens can legitimately address their attention is whether Mr. Johnson’s policies are tending to slip us into a gen eral land war in Asia. I believe that they are, and that we are in grave danger of thus becoming involved, to use Mr. Lippmann’s words, in “a war between Americans and Asians.”” As James Reston has written, “we somehow merely advance deeper into the bog. “16 No simplificatibn of our position in Vietnam can be accepted. I am myself not convinced by argument that the United States should unilaterally withdraw, leaving the Viet Cong to work its will on those our people fight beside. Dubious though the history of our involvement is, we cannot honorably abandon the South Vietnamese to a slaughter. Nor can Americans who join the American Civil Liberties Union refuse to consider the values of civil lib -Chicago Sun-Times
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