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Wright PropoJeJ a Jruce A careful reading of the Vietnam proposal Cong. Jim Wright, Fort Worth, has made this month, \(with very light pubthat Wright is proposing, not only free elections in South Vietnam this year, but also that the President propose publicly and formally “a UN-supervised six weeks’ truce” prior to the elections. In his newsletter, Wright said: “Hardly anybody actually wants to tuck tail and run, inviting an armed Communist take-over. Few indeed are bloodthirsty for a bigger war. Practically nobody is really satisfied with the present situation, and almost everybody yearns for an honorable solution.” President Johnson, Wright said, declared Feb. 23, “We stand for self-determination for free electionsand we will honor their result.” Wright continued: “Part of the vulnerability for the South Vietnamese to Viet Cong propaganda stems from the dismal fact that for the 12 years of its independent existence South Vietnam has not elected its national leaders! They’ve had ten premiers in the past two years alone, and not one of them chosen by the people. Little wonder that so many in that land show such limited enthusiasm for defending their ‘freedom.’ “Think for a moment what a dramatic thing it would be if the President should publicly and formally propose to the United Nations a clear-cut peace plan based upon the simple keystonethe will of the people. “To begin, the President could recommend that a free election be held in all of South Vietnamnot next year but this yearin which it would be proven, by ballots rather than bullets, just exactly Incorporating the State Observer and the East Texas Democrat, which in turn ineorported the State Week and Austin ForumAdvocate. We will serve no group or party but will hew hard to the truth as we find it and the right as we see it. We are dedicated to the whole truth, to human values above all interests, to the rights of man as the foundation of democracy; we will take orders from none but our own conscience, and never will we overlook or misrepresent the truth to serve the interests of the powerful or cater to the ignoble in the human spirit. Editor and General Manager, Ronnie Dugger. Farther, Mrs. R. D. Randolph. Associate Editor, Larry Lee. Business Manager, Sarah Payne. Contributing Editors, Elroy Bode, Bill Brammer, Larry Goodwyn, Harris Green, Franklin Jones, Lyman Jones, Larry L. King, Georgia Earnest Klipple, Al Melinger, Robert L. Montgomery, Willie Morris, James Presley, Charles Ramsdell, Roger Shattuck, Robert Sherrill, Dan Strawn, Tom Sutherland, Charles Alan Wright. Staff Artist, Charles Erickson. what government the people of South Vietnam want to represent them. “He could propose that these elections be supervised by the UN to avoid their being falsely rigged by either sideand be preceded by a UN-supervised six weeks’ true to provide a proper atmosphere for their conduct. “It would be necessary, of course, for both combatant forces to agree in advance to respect and abide by the results of the elections. But on what defensible basis could Hanoi or the Viet Cong refuse? A turndown on their part would expose as total fraud their pretenses at representing 5he add Already, ten thousand people starve to death every day in the world. Yet the world’s population will have doubled in the next forty years. The Malthusian specters of famine, pestilence, and war make mere words blanch and surrender: none can describe, none can anticipate, none can encompass these awful disasters already upon us and multiplying by the hour. President Johnson turned to an historic new page in our national farm policy when he delivered to the Congress his “food for freedom” message. Until then we had dumped surplus foods abroad with a kind of blush”Sorry, we produced more than we need. You hungry?” But now as national policy the President asks farmers to undertake to produce more, that we may send it abroad. We are to have brought back into production some of our idle sixty Contributing Photographer, Russell Lee. The editor has exclusive control over the editorial policies and contents of the Observer. None of the other people who are associated with the enterprise shares this responsibility with him. Writers are responsible for their own work, but not for anything they have not themselves written, and in publishing them the editor does not necessarily imply that he agrees with them, because this is a journal of free voices. The Observer is published by Texas Observer Co., Ltd., biweekly from Austin, Texas. Entered as second-class matter April 26, 1937, at the Post Office at Austin, Texas, under the Act of March 3, 1879. Second class postage paid at Austin, Texas. Delivered postage prepaid $6.00 a year; two years, $11.00; three years, $15.00. Foreign rates on request. Single copies 25c; prices for ten or more for students, or bulk orders, on request. Editorial and Business Offices: The Texas Observer, 504 West 24th St., Austin 5, Texas Telephone GR 7-0746. Change of Address: Please give old and new address and allow three weeks. the popular will, betray their lack of faith in the people of South Vietnam, and help turn the tide of Asian opinion to our side. ., . . “At worst, it would put Hanoi on the psychological defensive. . . . No longer, if Hanoi rejected the proposal, could the Viet Cong masquerade as ‘liberation’ forces or accuse us of trying to force our will upon their country. . . . And if they should accept, it might pave the way to the conference table and the honorable settlement for which all men of good will so fervently yearn.” In the Observer’s judgment, this proposal by Congressman Wright, made on March 4, in his newsletter, is the most persuasive affirmative proposal yet made by any member of the Texas delegation on Vietnam, and we commend it to the President’s most serious consideration. million acres of land. The program seems too cautious, too slow ; but it is a beginning. Our people do not yet understand that if we do not lead in the feeding of the starving millions, they will starve ; starving, they will riot ; rioting, they will explode into wars; warring, the world and all of us in it can go. Our national interest is to feed the starving. We are not reassured by the ideological emphasis of the new program. Are we to let helpless millions starve because somebody like Thomas Mann dislikes the politics of their leaders? When we must make hard choices, perhaps so, but our policy should seek to obviate such choices in the general success of our policy. Nothing can validate our free way of life more in the minds of the peoples of the world than proof of our abundance by a worldwide war on hungernot only food, but our teaching others how to grow it. Nothing, by the by, can do more to revive our farm life and the farm economy”the dying towns,” the abandoned fields. Properly contrived, a worldwide war on hunger mounted in America’s fields can mean also a new chance for the family-sized farm. Sen. Yarborough’s amendments to the President’s bill would add, to the factors the President is to consider in deciding whether a nation being helped is moving toward self-reliance, the state of birth control education in that nation. We are to receive, from nations that can pay for the food, payment in their currencies, and Sen. Yarborough also proposes that a portion of these be dedicated to child welfare services in the countries from which the currencies come. This is the session of Congress that will work out the outlines of this nation’s program to avert world-wide starvation within the next decade. Let the people support the President and the Congress as they strive to transcend old borders and to stretch, to dissolve, to replace obsolete fixations and calamitously outmoded ideas. He doesn’t even know it, but the hungry child with the bloated belly is waiting. THE TEXAS OBSERVER Texas Observer Co., Ltd. 1966 A Journal of Free Voices A Window to the South 60th YEAR ESTABLISHED 1906 Vol. 58, No. 4 7a6MYD March 18, 1966