Political and Government Figures
Involved in the Vietnam War

Now we have a problem in making our power credible,
and Vietnam is the place.
--John F. Kennedy, 1961

Dean Acheson
During the 1960s, he advised both the Kennedy and Johnson administrations on foreign policy.

Ad Hoc Task Force on Vietnam
President Johnson assembled the Ad Hoc Task Force on Vietnam in 1968 to evaluate Westmoreland's request for more troops.

Bao Dai
Emperor of Vietnam.

The Best and the Brightest
by David Halberstam
This 1973 classic is an unforgettable chronicle of John Kennedy's Camelot and its legacy --f eaturing remarkable portraits of the men who conceived and executed the Vietnam War, including Robert McNamara, McGeorge Bundy, Dean Rusk, and Presidents Kennedy and Johnson.

Leon Blum
One of the leading French socialists.

McGeorge Bundy
Vietnam War historical information on a U. S. government key player.

Ellsworth Bunker
U.S. Ambassador to Vietnam, 1967-73.

The Color of Truth: McGeorge Bundy and William Bundy: Brothers in Arms: A Biography by Kai Bird
This dual biography of the brothers who were top aides to Presidents Kennedy and Johnson is an outstanding study of the mindset that allowed the United States to become slowly ensnared in the Vietnam War. Both McGeorge Bundy, a national security advisor, and William Bundy, a senior official at the Pentagon and State Department, were liberal anti-Communists trying to balance American interests in Southeast Asia between what they considered the dangerous extremes of both Left and Right.

Lucien Conein
Conein entered Hanoi when Japan surrendered and met with Ho Chi Minh and other Vietminh leaders.

Chester Cooper
Unlike the majority of men in either the Johnson or Nixon administrations, Cooper constantly encouraged a political solution over a military solution to the conflict in Vietnam.

Pham Van Dong
North Vietnamese leader.

Duong Van Minh
The last president of the Republic of Vietnam.

Dwight D. Eisenhower Presidential Press Conference, April 7, 1954
The Row of Dominoes explanation.

Eisenhower's Letter of Support to Ngo Dinh Diem
October 23, 1954.

Dwight D. Eisenhower Quotations

President Ford's Speech on the Fall of Vietnam, 24 April 1975
Excerpts from the text of a speech by President Ford as prepared for delivery to the student body of Tulane University.

J. William Fulbright Testifies on China and Vietnam, 1966

Huynh Tan Phat
President of the Provisional Revolutionary Government of South Vietnam.

In Retrospect: The Tragedy and Lessons of Vietnam
by Robert S. McNamara with Brian VanDeMark
Former Secretary of Defense McNamara's controversial indictment of American policy in Vietnam.

Johns Hopkins Speech
President Lyndon B. Johnson offered to hold "unconditional discussions" with the North Vietnamese about ending the war.

President Lyndon B. Johnson's Address at Johns Hopkins University:
"Peace Without Conquest" April 7, 1965

President Johnson on U.S. Aims in Vietnam

Lyndon Johnson Quotations

Paul Kattenburg
First known American official to propose withdrawal from Vietnam.

Inaugural Address, President John F. Kennedy, Washington, D.C., January 20, 1961

President Kennedy's News Conference, February 7, 1962
Response to a question on American involvement in South Vietnam.

Henry A. Kissinger
Between 1969 and 1973, Henry Kissinger was the principal figure in the diplomatic effort to restore peace in Southeast Asia.

Kissinger: A Biography
by Walter Isaacson
The fullest account of Kissinger's life and career to date, other than his memoirs, this engrossing portrait provides plenty of ammunition for the former Secretary of State's supporters and detractors both.

Nguyen Cao Ky
A career soldier and politician in South Vietnam.

Edward Lansdale
Super spy.

Le Duc Tho
Le Duc Tho was North Vietnam's principal negotiator at the Paris peace talks.

The Living and the Dead: Robert McNamara and Five Lives of a Lost War
by Paul Hendrickson
This book is another worthy step in trying to figure out what the Vietnam War meant in human terms.

Lodge in Vietnam: A Patriot Abroad
by Anne Blair
Part biography and part diplomatic history, this book focuses on Henry Cabot Lodge`s ambassadorship to South Vietnam from 1963 to 1964.

Graham Martin
Martin was named to replace Ellsworth Bunker as ambassador to Vietnam in 1973.

Eugene McCarthy
Senator McCarthy was a blunt opponent of the Vietnam War.

Robert Strange McNamara
U.S. Secretary of Defense, 1961-68.

Ngo Dinh Diem
His oppressiveness and refusal to instigate reforms tried the patience of the United States.

Letter from President Nixon
to President Nguyen Van Thieu
of the Republic of Vietnam
January 5, 1973

Released April 30, 1975.

None So Blind: A Personal Account of the Intelligence Failure in Vietnam
by George W. Allen
"Few Americans knew more about the inner workings of American Vietnam War policy over as long a period of time as Allen did. A WWII navy veteran, Allen went to work as a midlevel civilian defense department intelligence analyst after the war. In 1964, he switched to the CIA, where he served in a similar capacity until his 1979 retirement. Allen spent virtually all of that time in Vietnam and Washington compiling firsthand intelligence about the French and American wars; he tells (what seems like) all in this wide-ranging, illuminating memoir." --Publishers Weekly

Richard Milhous Nixon's First Inaugural Address, January 20, 1969

President Nixon's "Silent Majority" Speech

Richard Nixon Quotations

The Nightingale's Song
by Robert Timberg
The life stories of five graduates of the U.S. Naval Academy -- John McCain, John Poindexter, Bud McFarlane, Jim Webb, and Oliver North.

San Antonio Formula
President Lyndon B. Johnson delivered a speech in which he offered to cease the bombing of North Vietnam.

Shanghai Communique of 1972
Issued by President Richard Nixon during his diplomatic mission to the People's Republic of China.

Taking Charge: The Johnson White House Tapes, 1963-1964
by Michael Beschloss
These secretly recorded conversations between President Lyndon Johnson and members of his family, his staff, and the troubled nation he was governing constitute one of the most exciting audio programs of the decade, invaluable to anyone who is interested in history, politics, or the workings of human nature.

Maxwell Taylor
Between 1962 and 1964, Taylor served as chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and then spent a year as ambassador to South Vietnam.

Nguyen Van Thieu
President of South Vietnam.

Cyrus Vance
Vance was a close friend of Lyndon B. Johnson, and he became deputy secretary of defense in 1964.

Vietnam: A History
by Stanley Karnow
This monumental narrative clarifies, analyzes, and demystifies the tragic ordeal of the Vietnam war. Free of ideological bias, profound in its understanding, and compassionate in its human portrayals, it is filled with fresh revelations drawn from secret documents and from exclusive interviews with the participants -- French, American, Vietnamese, Chinese: diplomats, military commanders, high government officials, journalists, nurses, workers, and soldiers. Vietnam: A History puts events and decisions into such sharp focus that we come to understand -- and make peace with -- a convulsive epoch of our recent history.

Vu Van Mau
Minister of foreign affairs in the government of Ngo Dinh Diem.

War of Numbers: An Intelligence Memoir
by Sam Adams
Adams, an intelligence analyst with the CIA, discovered evidence in 1966 that the number of Vietnamese communist soldiers in Vietnam was closer to 600,000 than the 280,000 count made by the Pentagon. Unable to persuade CIA director Richard Helms to convene a board of inquiry, he unsuccessfully took his appeal to Congress and the White House, then resigned from the agency in '73 to write this account of the affair. His central argument is that General William Westmoreland, commander of U.S. forces in Vietnam, had deliberately overlooked some 300,000 Vietcong militiamen in order to buttress the government line that the U.S. was winning the war. In 1980 Adams was hired as a consultant for the CBS documentary The Uncounted Enemy: A Vietnam Deception , based largely on the evidence he had uncovered; the film caused Westmoreland to file a much-publicized libel suit against the network, with Adams a co-defendant. Westmoreland dropped the suit before it went to jury. Adams died in 1988, leaving the memoir unfinished, but far enough along to explain how the CIA and top military brass -- with White House encouragement--misled the Congress and the American people about enemy strength before the 1968 Tet Offensive. The expose offers a convincing inside look at CIA analytical techniques during the Vietnam war.

Paul Warnke
General William Westmoreland blamed Warnke for converting Clark Clifford from a hawk to a dove about Vietnam.

Wars of National Liberation
On January 6, 1961, Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushschev delivered a speech in Moscow.

Xuan Thuy
A veteran North Vietnamese diplomat.