27. Editorial Note

In confirmation hearings before the Senate Armed Services Committee during January 1968, Secretary of Defense-designate Clark M. Clifford answered questions on the Vietnam war. In testimony on January 25, Clifford opposed a halt to the bombing under the current circumstances, citing the need for reciprocal actions on the part of the North Vietnamese. In response to a question on whether the North Vietnamese had to end all military activity as a condition of a cessation, Clifford responded that under the San Antonio formula, postulated by President Johnson the previous September, the only conditions were that the North Vietnamese engage in negotiations promptly following a halt and not take advantage of it militarily. “Their military activity will continue in South Vietnam, I assume, until there is a cease-fire agreed upon. I assume that they will continue to transport the normal amount of goods, munitions, and men to South Vietnam. I assume that we will continue to maintain our forces and support our forces during that period. So what I am suggesting is, in the language of the President, that he would insist that they not take advantage of the suspension of the bombing.” Clifford’s testimony was reported in The New York Times, January 26, 1968. The Senate unanimously confirmed Clifford’s nomination on January 30.