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John B. OakesJohn B. Oakes
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Part:         Session:         Page of 512

Q:

No. Not at all, but that there was a climate of fear.

Oakes:

My reference to the nuclear thing was that we -- the Times editorially -- were concerned that in the long run, if we kept on and looked as though we were really going to wipe out the whole Vietcong movement with overwhelming kind of force, that this could conceivably have brought the Soviet Union into this thing, and perhaps this is -- and that the only way to stop us from sort of re-conquering South [east] Asia, from their point of view, would be that -- or we'd get in such an argument with the Soviet Union that they might suddenly decide to drop a nuclear bomb. I don't think that that's realistic, but this was -- I certainly don't think I ever thought that Johnson or the Pentagon or anybody else was ever, ever advocating --

Q:

No, I didn't mean that. I simply meant were they afraid of that and were they --

Oakes:

Afraid of that happening.

Q:

Yes. I was just asking if you thought that they were afraid that that would happen.

Oakes:

Well, as I say, I certainly -- I don't know -- It seems to me that I remember somewhere -- I don't think ever in an editorial, but it seems to me that I remember -- maybe in a memo somewhere, expressing the fear in the long run that this might lead to such a confrontation with the Communist world that, if we kept on, it might lead to them starting a nuclear war. That's what I was saying before, that I think that I may have felt that. Maybe I got that idea from somebody in the Pentagon. I don't know. I do remember having that concern, a long-range concern. But, you see, I don't think anybody in the Pentagon



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