American Secretary of State William Rogers told the Senate Foreign Relations committee Monday that the renewed bombing of Hanoi and Haiphong was ordered because of the North Vietnamese army's "massive invasion" of South Vietnam.
GV INT. Rogers facing Senate hearing
SV Senators seated
CU Rogers speaks ZOOM OUT TO GV Senator Fullbright says "Take him out"
ROGERS: "We are doing it to make certain that the withdrawal programme that the President has announced can continue. and we're doing it to give the South Vietnamese a chance to defend themselves against the massive invasion by the North Vietnamese. As you know, Mr Chairman, for a long time the North Vietnamese have been able to pedal, to sell, a cruel hoax to a segment of the American people that somehow the war in Vietnam was a civil uprising. Now it is quite clear, and I don't believe anyone can deny it, that this is a major invasion, offensive action by the North Vietnamese in South Vietnam. It comes at a time when its purpose is to disrupt the withdrawal programme, to endanger American lives, the lives of Americans who are still in South Vietnam, and the enemy has committed outside of North Vietnam twelve of its thirteen combat divisions. So we think it's essential to conduct the attacks that the President has ordered to be conducted, against military targets wherever he decides to make these attacks, to protect the Americans lives, to permit the withdrawals to continue, and to give South Vietnamese forces a chance to defend themselves.
FULBRIGHT: Why was the decision to make, to bomb Haiphong made at this particular time? What was it about the timing that was significant?
ROGERS: "Well, it's because of the major invasion that has occurred and because the military targets in Haiphong - and I might say that the harbour itself was not bombed, the military targets in the area of course, some of them were near the harbour but the harbour itself was not bombed - but it was decided to make these attacks to slow down this major offensive that's under way in South Vietnam. The attacks included petroleum storage dumps, places where heavy equipment is stored, warehouses, and other such places of that kind which contribute of course to the offensive in the south.
VOICE: "That's a lie, you're bombing people, you're bombing people....
FULBRIGHT: ....Take him out Mr ....
ROGERS: ...We are not going to engage in negotiations while this major invasion is under way. As you know there are offensives now occurring in many parts of South Vietnam. They've committed almost all of their combat troops to this invasion. Therefore we're not going to do that. What we would do in the future - depending on the end of the invasion of course - the President will have to decide.
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Background: American Secretary of State William Rogers told the Senate Foreign Relations committee Monday that the renewed bombing of Hanoi and Haiphong was ordered because of the North Vietnamese army's "massive invasion" of South Vietnam.
In the administration's first official explanation of the air attacks Mr Rogers described three precise objectives: to protect American troops, to make sure the U.S. troop withdrawal programme continued, and to give the South Vietnamese a chance to defend themselves.
Mr. Rogers said the United States would not resume peace negotiations with North Vietnam until Hanoi's forces were either withdrawn from the South or defeated.
Many questions were critical of the latest bombing. Senator william Fulbright, the committee chairman, called it "ironic and tragic."
In the Senate and in the House of Representatives resolutions were presented calling for an immediate end to all United States military activity against North Vietnam.
This Visnews film shows Mr Rogers during a key section of his argument, and includes a question from Senator Fulbright, and a man's voice accusing the administration of lying, and bombing people, with Senator Fulbright's voice ordering him removed.
SYNOPSIS: American Secretary of State William Rogers appeared before the Senate Foreign Relations committee Monday and gave the first official explanation of the renewed bombing of North Vietnam. It was a tense confrontation....
"We are doing it......"
"....President will have to decide."