As we see it: Vietnam '68; Gen. Maxwell Taylor
Now a ceasefire is difficult. Why it would seem so simple as we sit here in the Hall of Fame. If we had good faith on both sides let's agree as we did in Korea of following the signature of Panmunjom. That 10 p.m. on a given evening I think on the 15th of July 1953 all hitting stops and it literally did. We fired right up to 10 o'clock watching our watch at 10 o'clock came every every gun was silent and stayed silent for. Literally years thereafter. The following morning I was able to take my helicopter and helicopter right down between the two front line. With the two opposing armies sitting on opposite hill hilltop waving or shaking fists at each other and I could go through areas that had been the stove so swept by a fire that no one had been in them for at least two years. Why is not possible here Ian. And yet now almost by their very nature here of the guerrilla war we have we have no single front line as we had in Korea. We have NO NO NO rear area completely free of the enemy. Instead we
have little packages little and little areas of military activity all through the countryside. And even if we agreed on a cease fire and even if we both intended to keep. It's almost impossible to move around the countryside without unknowingly walking in and starting up the firing again. So there are many many difficulties in the ceasefire. Now once we get to the table agreed on the agenda agreed that we're not going to tolerate foot dragging. Then what about what do we know that negotiate. I would say that both sides have several blue chips of great value. That must be played very carefully. If indeed the terminal settlement is satisfactory. What do we want from them. Well I say we want for a thing we want first at the end of the three wars the big war the little war and the criminal. That kind that should come to a halt. Next they should end the infiltration of men and supplies from North
Vietnam to South Vietnam. Then add it up at an agreed time they should start withdrawing the forces of North Vietnam which are now in the South Vietnam back to the north and then finally there must be some arrangement worked out to take care of the Viet Congorilla the indigenous get many years so that they have a reasonable future that they're brought back into the society of South Vietnam or if they preferred that they go north into the communist state in the north. So those are the four things we want from their end of the three wars. End of infiltration. Withdrawal of the North Vietnamese forces and a satisfactory arrangement for the guerrillas in the south. Now that they want for things from us. Here they are. They want us to end the bombing in the bombing of the north. And stop the military pressure on their forces in South Vietnam. Next they want us to end our United States below. No more American forces to be sent to South Korea. Then
again an agreed time they want us to withdraw. And give up our bases so we have no longer a military base in South Vietnam. And then finally they do want an arrangement for the Viet Cong guerrillas. But they want that arrangement to be such that in effect. They can take over the government of South Vietnam by from coalition divide. Now there's the curious you can see I parallelism between our ushered symmetry let us say between what we want we both want for things the ending of the military action on both sides quite similar. The ending of the infiltration on their side in the ending of reinforcement. Balances all quite well. The withdrawal of the North Vietnamese forces and we go whole. Seems like a quite a reasonable offset there. But the problem is the Vietcong. Whether or not we are leaving it we're setting up a minority in South Vietnam to take over the country by the coalition devise and I would
suspect it is a matter of. The hardest debating would take place and where our greatest difficulties will arise in reaching an agreement. So much then for the problems of negotiation. We're all for negotiation but we want a sincere one. In the words of President John who we want the result to be prompt on the discussions to be productive. Now we'll have to be very tough when we go to the negotiation table because we know that the other side views of the conference table simply as an extension of the battlefield. Another area of conflict. In which there is a fight with the same doggedness and the same determination they have shown in combat. We can't afford to pay anything to negotiate. We can't afford to give up any one of our four blue chips if we expect to get the four blue chip from them. Which we require. Hence we can't afford to give up the bombing simply to start in to go here. We can't afford a stalemate to drag out which will allow reinforcement of the build up
of strength. While talking goes on. And then while our negotiators I would hope are showing the firmness necessary. We as a people back home have to understand what is taking place. Appreciate the necessity for the firmness on the part of our negotiators not let the home front undercut these men who have to defend our national interests. At the conference table our home front is certainly has always been equally as important as the battlefront in Vietnam and I would say my misgivings about the outcome have been directed more at the question of can the home front maintain its firmness rather than any of the magnificent performance of our fighting men and our American civilians who are building it and trying to rebuild the nation of South Vietnam. Now with regard to this change of enemy strategy I think we should view it. We should welcome it. We
should welcome a showdown which offers the hope of a reasonably rapid itself. I no longer that fear which we had last year the end of this war. The tunnel that has no light at the end. So I think that we should now move forward philosophically recognizing the importance of what is taking place reinforcing our man in action in Vietnam by showing the same resolve that they are in defending the interest of the United States. And I know of no more. Better summary of the national attitude which I would hope we would see. In the words of President Johnson when he said three years ago we will not be defeated. We will not tire we will not withdraw. Either openly or under the cloak of a meaningless agreement. Thank you all very much. You've been listening to an address by General Maxwell Taylor former U.S. ambassador to
South Vietnam. A short period after General Taylor spoke. Mr. Roger Hillsman presented his views. Mr. Hill's man is a distinguished scholar soldier and statesman. His career ranges from guerrilla warfare in the Indochina area during World War 2 to Assistant Secretary of State for Far Eastern Affairs in 1963 and 1964. Time Requirements prevent us from presenting the entire text of Mr Hill's men's talk. Here is Mr. Roger Hill's month. Thank you. Thank you very much. It's a great pleasure for me to be here tonight and also to follow my good an old friend Max Taylor even though I disagree. I think that the major problems that perhaps
all Americans should focus on here in terms of putting Vietnam into a perspective into a context that of all the problems of Asia that you might pick out as salient to I think are the most significant one of these emerging nationalisms and the other is the long and I think very ominous shadow cast over the whole of Asia by communist China. I am thinking when I think of the emerging nationalisms of these teeming millions of people in Asia and also in Africa to some extent in Latin America and the Middle East who are coming out for the first time in two or three thousand years of a village culture which turned an inward on themselves it's a new envy form of nationalism I'm thinking of Egypt under Nasser Indonesia under Soprano tree Kong this militant Buddhist leader in Vietnam and all the rest. Now I think as Americans there are several things that
we ought to notice about these peoples. First of all that they're not communists though they borrow the verbiage of Marx. They are not really Congress. And I would say that predictions are difficult in foreign affairs. And my crystal ball is no less cloudy than anyone else's. But if I had to make a prediction and I had to make a bet about the wave of the future in Asia it would be that it is not communism and that is not some form of Pax Americana but it is these new nationalism. And I think it's worth spending a couple of minutes about what they're all about. Well first of all they're anti-colonialist now colonialism is really passed from the earth. And they talk about neo colonialism and they talk sometimes and pretty silly terms about it as if Wall Street was controlling the world. And I would say only this though their rationalization of it is sometimes silly and neo-Marxist that the
fear at least is genuine. There is a genuine fear that somehow Wall Street or the CIA or the Pentagon will be able to re-establish in some subtle fashion indirect controls to replace the direct controls of colonialism. Another thing about them is that they really if they were if they were an individual rather than peoples You would think of them as having an a density crisis. Who am I what I am and this bothers them. Vietnam Vietnam has never been controlled by a Vietnamese sovereignty. There was once an empire at why a but it controlled much of Laos and didn't control parts of Cochin-China in the south and parts of in the north. They too are humiliated that the only time their country has had a single sovereignty it was a French one which controlled it along with Laos and Cambodia
as part of French Indochina. They want to modernize these peoples. I hope I choose this word carefully. I think they would sneer as materialistic if I had said that they want prosperity to TV sets in every home and two cars in every garage. They want steel mills and transportation systems and jet aircraft all the things that make a nation strong make them able to to look other people in the odd Mao Tse-Tung the leader of communist China does not speak for these new nationalisms that I'm talking about. But he said one thing about China that did strike a responsive chord in their hearts. That is he said. China has stood up. Up from the gutter where it's going to look. Other nations in the UN. That's what the Indonesians want. That's what Vietnamese want Bernie is and all the rest. And I think as Americans what we ought to recognize is that is no longer a question of whether or not they will stand up whether or not they will modernize whether or not they will have a voice in regional affairs and even a
voice in world affairs. They will. The question is whether they will do it on a communist model or on our model. And I really don't think either one of those will happen. I think that they will modernize on some model that is peculiarly their own. Some native mixture of nationalism and socialism. And I think then the question is whether they modernize whether they achieve a voice in world affairs with our sympathy help in understanding or over our dead bodies because I am sure they will modernize. Let me say that this has nothing to do with communism what I'm talking about. This is not nothing to do with cons and this is a new and I think powerfully potent force in the world that will be a force in the world over all the years that we in this room will be on this planet. They can be this new nationalism can be extraordinarily dangerous. Indonesia for example is the fifth largest nation in the world in terms of population.
If it is ever developed economically it will be the third or fourth richest. It occupies a strategic place between the China Sea and the Indian Ocean. If this nationalism takes an aggressive turn quite apart from communism starts behaving like Japanese nationalism did under the militarists in the 30s or like German nationalism did under Hitler it can be a very very dangerous force in the world. But paradoxically if this new nationalism moves into constructive channels. It can be one of the greatest goods in the world. It's I want to picture for you this enormous release of human energy where these millions upon millions of people's turn awaken and come out of their villages and begin to take a part in the world. President Kennedy often said it's like a human H-bomb and it is. And notice also and this is terribly important when you come to the subject of Vietnam. Notice also
that the communist world regards these peoples with an almost hypnotic fascination because the communists understand most of them that if they do not capture this nationalism for communism and I think they already have failed irretrievably failed. Or if they do not then as a second choice allying themselves with these nationalists even though they're not communists and turn them against the West as the Chinese Commies were trying to do with the carno was not a communist but an anti-Western nationalist and they were trying to help him be anti Western. If they fail in both of these endeavors then their ambitions will be for ever. And because the real blow against communism in this part of the world are not American troops with white faces there are native nationalists and the only boat work in my judgment against creeping aggression guerrilla warfare is again this native nationalism. I don't think you can stop it with with white faces.
But let me end this particular section by what I think is is one of the probably the only cheerful thing I have to say tonight and that is that I have just come back from a tour all over Southeast Asia and I I want to exhibit my qualifications here by what I'm going to say by saying it as Assistant Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs. I was deeply worried about the possibility of a guerrilla warfare is in Thailand and in Burma and so on and so forth. I did everything I could to get the Thais to get ahead of these events in the north east Thailand and so on and so forth with a rather modest success in terms of alerting them to the problem and getting them to get ahead of events. But I've come back from this trip where I visited Singapore Indonesia Burma Thailand Laos Cambodia and Vietnam. And I think that Vietnam will turn out. With all the caveats about predictions but I think that Vietnam will be very likely to turn out to be unique unique in the sense of being the last nation in
Asia in which communism captured the leadership of nationalism. There are no dominoes in Southeast Asia today none at all. The Communists are going nowhere in Indonesia they're going nowhere in Burma. There's a Communist Party in Burma that's thoroughly discredited and it turns out you see that they've become identified with the Chinese. And I've said that it's no good to have a white face in Burma but it's equally no good to have a yellow face and the death of communism is when it gets a den of FIDE with China. This is happened and native nationalism is the bulwark and there are no dominoes in Southeast Asia today. Now my second major subject is this long and I think on the whole ominous shadow cast over Asia by communist China. Now I have to be very careful here tonight to try to avoid two misunderstandings of what I'm going to say. Two traps
one trap is the trap that Secretary Rusk fell into in his speech a few weeks ago which the press promptly labeled the Yellow Peril speech. And that is the trap of suggesting that the Chinese communists are chafing at the bit that they are anxious and getting ready to attack all their neighbors with regular troops. This is not so and I wish to avoid that misunderstanding because I'm going to say some things that about the danger of China but that is not what I mean. The second trap that one has to avoid and that is the trap of suggesting that the Chinese comments are not about to try to conquer all of their neighbors with direct military aggression that there are a bunch of nice guys there not a bunch of nice guys. King like a lot of other countries have got its hawks and doves but they are the hawks or the evil men there I think outnumber the others. Myself I think they're going to be real trouble in the
world. But I want to avoid either the implication that there are a bunch of nice guys or we don't need to worry about. Or that we ought to start putting up fences around San Francisco and barbed wire. If things don't go well in Vietnam neither is completely true. But let's consider this long an ominous shadow against that background. There are 700 millions of people in China at a conservative estimate there may be a hundred millions. No one really knows. Certainly not the Chinese government. It is of continental size. It has all the resources within its borders to make it one of the most powerful nations in the world. If there ever developed. They are building nuclear weapons and they're building rockets. This is going to go very slowly to be a long time before they can pose a threat to the American heartland through those weapons. The 700 millions of people are able they're hardworking they're ambitious they have had a very peculiar history. Never in their history have had they had the
experience of an international political system among equals. Their relationships to their neighbors has either been that of Master vassals or the sick man of Asia over whose prostrate body the Western nations and even Japan trampled most at will. They're now in the throes of a great cultural revolution and I am going to skip over the details of this in the interest of spending more time on Vietnam. But I would say that it's important to this audience I understand that you've also heard my old friend Walter Judd who I think is is is out of date on the events there. I have a great admiration for Walter Judd but I do think he's out of date on China. What is this not again. With my eye on the clock and trying to get on towards Vietnam I think that one thing that as Americans we must must
face up to realistically and coldly and that is much as we white want to think that. Shek. And the nationalist are going to make a comeback on the mainland. We just have to face this. It isn't going to happen. Here at a time when the lid has been taken off the political pot. In the mainland of China. There has not been a single voice raised for Chung and the for most of us not a single voice. There is nothing so dead as an exiled political leader nothing so quickly forgotten. And he's been gone almost 20 years now. There is no support for the nationalists on the mainland. The second thing I think we ought to recognize and face realistically is Americans not because we want it that way but because we ought to have the capacity not to delude ourselves. Is it this is not this great cultural revolution a revolution from below. This is not a rising of the masses of
China against their communist rulers. It is not that it is not even a civil war yet. What it is so far has been a struggle between three factions of the Communist Party the professional military the bureaucrats the Party bureaucrats an apparatus on the left and the Maoists in the center. That may become a civil war if it does it will be a civil war between factions of the Chinese Communist Party against other factions of the bureaucrats of the Chinese party there is no sign that any that whoever wins will be anything but a communist. And that's my final point that the likely outcome of this it may go on and may go on in chaos or many years. But the likely outcome the only outcome that one can see any evidence for is that one or another faction of the Communist Party will come out on top or some coalition of two or more of the factions.
This means that this nation of 700 million people will once again be united under one or another form of the Communist Party. Now again perhaps I differ with Mr. Judd in saying that there are different kinds of communist parties. There are differences in these factions now they're they're all hostile to us. But some of them are more pragmatic than others. Some of them are more ideological some of them are more militant than other factions. There are also differences now in the communist world enormously important things have been happening in the communist world the kind his world has broken up. The Sino-Soviet dispute is one of the most important international political facts of our time. And even if they succeed in healing their relationships the relationship between Peking in Moscow will never be the same again. And we are not dealing with the same kind of communist monolith that we were 10 or 15 years ago. Now this new Chinese Communist leadership will be
hostile to the outside world. It will be hostile to the United States but it will also be hostile to its fellow communist Soviet Union. I would not predict. A outright war between two I don't think it will happen but it is certainly within the realm of possibility. There have been many military clashes between Soviet troops and Chinese Communist troops in the last two or three years it could happen now again let me go back. Let me make one other point. Then too they will be hostile to the outside world but they will be extraordinarily cautious. I was on the mission that President Kennedy sent Avril Harriman Karl Case and Paul NITSA and myself were sent on a mission to India in 1962 following the Chinese attack on India. Now when we arrived in New Delhi on Thanksgiving day in 1962 the Chinese had destroyed the enemy army between New Delhi
and the Chinese armies there stood not one organized Battalion of the Indian Army. All the Chinese had to do to reach New Delhi was to walk. But they stopped they stopped short of a line to which they had some historical claim. More than that they pulled back twelve and a half miles. Now what I would say to you was that this was a cautious bunch of people and a very sophisticated politically sophisticated leadership. In other words what I'm saying is that I think that Mr Judd's emphasis as I understand what he's been saying on direct military aggression perhaps underestimates the nature of the threat that it's much more political than that if it were purely military the problem would be simple but it's political and political problems. American troops bombers and missiles just aren't appropriate. They don't work. And that is why I would suggest to you that what I have to say may be more honest than the proposition
The Chinese are have military aggression in their mind for they certainly do. Wish to restore China's dominance over Asia as a minimum they certainly do wish to do this. But I think that they understand the nature of some of these native nationalisms a little better than some of us do. And I think that they are not interested in occupying these countries I think they're interested in political domination achieved hopefully from their point of view by political means. Now again let me make myself clear. I have no doubt that they will use military force in a limited way for political purposes but they will use it with great caution. By the way let me just tell you a little anecdote about to illustrate the caution. And that is and when we were there in New Delhi with nothing between us and the Chinese armies I used to tease Avril Harriman because with his name a very famous name. The rest of us were not. I had no famous names but we had rather impressive titles. Carl Kazan was
special assistant to the present United States Paul Knutson was assistant secretary of defense for international security affairs and my title was Director of Intelligence and Research at the Department of State and I used to tease Avril that that with his name and our titles the United States it found the cheapest deterrent in world history. I wish we could deter other wars but they are cautious as my point is they're cautious. But there will be trouble. It will be trouble in a political way they'll be trouble in a limited military way for political purposes and they will not hesitate to invade and occupy a neighboring country if they think the United States intends to make that country a base for use against China or a bastion of anti communism. There will be a thorn in their sons from this point in a speech Mr Hill xmen turned his attention to Vietnam and called for actions a de-escalation in the
war an end to the bombing of North Vietnam a DE Americanization of the war effort and a broadened base in the South Vietnamese government. These actions would he felt defused the situation by removing pressures on the military. They would open up dialogues with Hanoi political pressures would shift from the US to Hanoi and they might open the way for other solid Vietnamese leaders to talk to the Viet Cong. Mr Hill's men however opposed an immediate sudden withdrawal of the US from South Vietnam. And while he did feel that a cessation of bombing in North Vietnam could produce negotiations he remained pessimistic over the productiveness of such talks. You've been listening to as we see it Vietnam 68 a series of appearances by prominent spokesman on the war in Vietnam. Speaking in this program was General Maxwell Taylor former U.S. ambassador to South Vietnam and former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Also speaking was Mr. Roger Hill xmen
- As we see it: Vietnam '68
- Gen. Maxwell Taylor
- Producing Organization
- Miami University (Oxford, Ohio)
- Contributing Organization
- University of Maryland (College Park, Maryland)
- AAPB ID
- For series info, see Item 3509. This prog.: Gen. Maxwell Taylor. Former chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff; Ambassador to South Vietnam; Special Advisor to Presidents Kennedy and Johnson.
- War and Conflict
- Media type
Producing Organization: WMUB
Producing Organization: Miami University (Oxford, Ohio)
- AAPB Contributor Holdings
University of Maryland
Identifier: 68-28-2 (National Association of Educational Broadcasters)
Format: 1/4 inch audio tape
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- Chicago: “As we see it: Vietnam '68; Gen. Maxwell Taylor,” 1968-07-01, University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed August 4, 2021, http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip-500-3n20h70n.
- MLA: “As we see it: Vietnam '68; Gen. Maxwell Taylor.” 1968-07-01. University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. August 4, 2021. <http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip-500-3n20h70n>.
- APA: As we see it: Vietnam '68; Gen. Maxwell Taylor. Boston, MA: University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip-500-3n20h70n