Wednesday, April 24, 1963: Kennedy on Vietnam

We don't have a prayer of staying in Vietnam. Those people hate us. They are going to throw our asses out of there at almost any point. But I can't give up a piece of territory like that to the Communists and then get the American people to re-elect me.

-- Said by President Kennedy to journalist Charles Bartlett. The conversation took place on April 24, 1963, according to Richard Reeves' 1993 book "President Kennedy: Profile of Power."

In late December 1962, Kennedy had said to Senate Majority Leader Mike Mansfield: "In 1965, I'll be damned everywhere as a Communist appeaser. But I don't care. If I tried to pull out completely now, we would have another Joe McCarthy red scare on our hands, but I can do it after I'm re-elected. So we had better make damned sure that I am re-elected." (As recounted by Kennedy aide Kenneth O'Donnell in his 1970 book "Johnny We Hardly Knew Ye"; link to excerpt below)

* Transcript of JFK's April 24 news conference (from The American Presidency Project: @; from JFK Library: @; audio: @)
* "LBJ and the Kennedys" (Kenneth O'Donnell, Life magazine, August 7, 1970): @
* "JFK Reportedly Planned Vietnam Pullout in 1965" (Milwaukee Journal, August 3, 1970): @
* New York Times review of "JFK and Vietnam" (John M. Newman, 1992; no preview available of the book itself): @
* "1963 Vietnam Withdrawal Plans" (from Mary Ferrell Foundation): @
* Earlier blog post about Vietnam, from December 1962: @ 

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