The statement that follows was presented by Dr. Allen M. Butler at the high school forum on Our Vietnam Policy held on Nov. 20. The Gazette will be glad to publish, in substantially equal length, any statement from the opposing side. We regret that it is not always possible, and was not possible in this instance, to have a reporter present at such discussions.

At a time when the expression of differing opinion on our foreign policy is being criticized as being disloyal it seems desirable to present the point of view of the loyal opposition to our present Vietnam policy: the point of view of those who believe that this policy is not in the best interest of the United States or mankind - indeed possibly harmful to both. Thus, though one does not like to publicly voice opposition to an administration that you support in most respects, not to voice opposition would be disloyal. Let’s not forget that the wisdom and success of democracy depend upon such loyal dissent and opposition, and not on conformity.
As to considered public expression of opposition being “irresponsible” or giving “aid and comfort” to the enemy, one can do no better than quote Senator Fulbright - “I am not prepared to accept the charge that a statement following upon many hours of listening to testimony in the Foreign Relations Committee and many more hours of examining and evaluating relevant documents was ‘irresponsible.’ Nor do I take kindly to the charge that I give ‘aid and comfort’ to the enemies of the United States. If that accusation is to be pressed - and I should hope it would not be - an interesting discussion could be developed as to whether it is my criticisms of the United States policy in the Dominican Republic or the policy itself which has given ‘aid and comfort’ to our enemies.”

A Wiser Course?

And if time permitted, we could here develop an interesting discussion as to whether it would not have been wise to have supported in 1956 the national hero Ho Chi Minh, who twice had freed Vietnam from colonialism, in the establishment of an independent Vietnam with its own type of Marxist-Socialism that would resist Chinese aggression and monolithic communism - witness Yugoslavia - rather than to have pursued a policy that forces his government to rely on China and encourage Chinese aggression.
“I think,” writes George Kennan, our ex-ambassador to Russia, in his book On Dealing with the Communist World, “There could be no more useful innovation in discussion, public or governmental, of the affairs of the ‘Communist’ orbit than a law which forbade all of us, including myself, to use the word ‘Communist’ at all and force us to treat the re­gimes and people of each of these countries specifically, for what they are — which is something much more differentiated as among themselves, and something much less differenti­ated from what exists elsewhere, than we commonly suppose.”

Question of Loyalty

As to the charge that opposition to our present Vietnam policy is dis­loyal to our troops, one may ask—Is loyalty supporting a war that may not be in the hest interest of the United States, that has no predictable end and no clearly defined objective and in which thousands of our young soldiers and uninvolved Vietnam men, women and children are dying and suffering? Or is loyalty advocat­ing a policy of reasoned compromise, peace, an end to killing, dying and wasteful destruction of property and the promotion of a coexistence pro­fitable to the United States and Viet­nam?
What will military victory in Viet­nam accomplish? After victory what? Will we in winning a military vic­tory defend South East Asia from Communism? Or are we suffering a loss of good will in South East Asia and most of the world that will re­sult in our losing the political cold war? Will we stay on to assure the establishment of the kind of govern­ment we like and thus become in­volved in a colonialism that is gen­erally opposed?
Or shall we permit the Vietnamese to have their free elections?—Elec­tions as to whether they want a di­vided Vietnam or a unified Vietnam and election of the type of govern­ment They want?
And if we decide such elections serve the United States and mankind best and permit them now, why did­n’t we permit them in 1956? But most important what might we now do to make them possible?

Walter Lippmann Cited

To ease tensions and make dis­cussions possible, Walter Lippmann, the United States’ senior columnist, advocates recognizing The Peoples Republic of China as the government of mainland China and the Chang government in Taiwan as the goveth­ment of Taiwan:—and then admit­ting The Peoples Republic of China to the United Nations as represent­ing China and admitting the govern­ment of Taiwan to the United Na­tions as representing Taiwan. Sim­ultaneously why couldn’t the United States advocate a cease fire in Viet­nam, withdrawal of North Vietnam and United States forces from South Vietnam with establishment of a U. N. force to assure the cease fire and peace pending free elections un­der the supervision of the U. N.? And to make the establishment of such a U. N. force feasible, why don’t we, the United States, offer to meet the costs? They would be far less than our current war costs.
This would be the type of bold ac­tion Secretary General U Thant of the U. N. believes is needed. It would be an example of which the United States could be proud.
Perhaps in the discussion, that I hope will follow, we can discuss your role as students—some potential draftees—in participating in the dem­ocratic process of developing or changing our national policy that the President under our Constitution has the responsibility of executing. To some of you, who for religious con­victions, disapproval of the suffering of non-combatants and wanton des­truction of property, or belief that our present policy is detrimental to the best interests of the United States, decisions concerning your at­titude and role may present difficult dilemmas.