JFK was getting us out of Vietnam
In today's New York Times:
To the Editor:
In her essay on John F. Kennedy, Jill Abramson states: “The belief that he would have limited the American presence in Vietnam is rooted as much in the romance of ‘what might have been’ as in the documented record.”
The record shows that on Oct. 2 and 5, 1963, President Kennedy issued a formal decision to withdraw American forces from Vietnam. I documented this 10 years ago in Boston Review and Salon, and in 2007 in The New York Review of Books.
The relevant documents include records of the Secretary of Defense conference in Honolulu in May 1963; tapes and transcripts of the decision meetings in the White House; and a memorandum from Gen. Maxwell Taylor to the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Oct. 4, 1963, which states: “All planning will be directed towards preparing RVN forces for the withdrawal of all U.S. special assistance units and personnel by the end of calendar year 1965.”
JAMES K. GALBRAITH
The writer is a professor of government at the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs, University of Texas at Austin.