Magazine article VFW Magazine

Kennedy: Withdraw from Vietnam?

Magazine article VFW Magazine

Kennedy: Withdraw from Vietnam?

Article excerpt

Fifty years later, the debate continues. William P. Bundy, deputy assistant secretary of defense for international security affairs in the Kennedy Administration, said, "The quesi i arises whether the President was truly implying an unconditional intent to withdraw. ... I do not believe that, not at all.... [It is] simply not historically the correct assessment of his views."

Kennedy's trusted advisor Theodore Sorenson said JFK "was simply going to weather it out, a nasty, untidy mess to which there was no other acceptable conclusion."

Walt W. Rostow, then head of the State Department's Policy Planning Council, wrote a letter to the New York Times saying Kennedy would have expanded American involvement. Indeed, in October 1963, JFK had decided "we are planning to add twenty thousand more [troops]" in Vietnam.

Just that September, JFK declared in a TV interview: "I don't agree with those who say we should withdraw. That would be a mistake. …

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