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John B. OakesJohn B. Oakes
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did seem to me increasingly -- the more I talked with Lyndon Johnson or had pressure from him -- and the more I saw and read what the right-wing people were saying, and the more I read the news accounts of our own excellent correspondents in Vietnam, the more I became convinced that this was not a war that the U.S. should get so deeply involved in that we would have to even maybe, God knows what, we would have to devote the entire strength of the United States, in the same sense that we really did -- and in my view should have -- in the European war only twenty years before. But it was an evolutionary conviction, increasingly, that the emphasis of the U.S. should be entirely on negotiation, including negotiation which would have made concessions to the North Vietnamese that, of course, the South Vietnamese government probably couldn't, wouldn't accept. But I didn't feel that we were obligated to wage an all-out -- what, of course, it really became, a very strong, all- out military defense of a South Vietnamese government that, even with all the changes, obviously was not capable -- or even had the support of the people behind it -- of defeating the Vietcong on their own.

And so that is an effort, perhaps a bit long-winded, of trying to explain to you what my own views were, in which I was supported almost -- very strongly by all the members, or almost all the members of my own editorial staff, some of whom would push further in that direction than I, but almost all of whom felt essentially that we were on the absolutely right position. I also had the tacit and occasionally explicit support of the publisher, whom I was responsible to, of course.


Appreciating that it was an evolutionary viewpoint, as you described it, I would like to go back and ask some questions about the process of how you went through the

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