A Note On South East Asia

A Note On South East Asia

Our fact-oriented Administration might consider the folIowing facts in evaluating its interventionist policy in South East Asia (Laos, Vietnam, and Thailand):
• Since 1954 we have spent over $2.5 billion (by the end of this year it will be $3 billion) in economic and military aid to the government of Ngo Dinh Diem of Vietnam. The results, in terms of democratic social and economic progress, are minuscule.
• Since 1951, we have given over $500 million in aid (80 per cent of it military) to Thailand, and have built up for Thailand an Army, Navy and Air Force of 120,000 men. Where was this force when it came to insuring, in the words of President Kennedy, “… the territorial integrity of this peaceful country”?
• After expenditures of hundreds of millions of dollars in a few years’ time, with the added presence of hundreds of American military technicians of the toughest fiber, 5,000 Royal Laotian troops under U. S. command and leadership were driven out of Northern Laos at the first sight of advancing Communist forces.
• We began with a few dozen military advisers in South East Asia; it grew to a few hundred technicians and experts. We now have over 11,000 men in the area (7,000 ground forces in Thailand), with a steady additional flow coming in.
• Our unconditional commitment to unpopular regimes in Vietnam, Laos, and Thailand is duplicated in South Korea, the Philippines, Formosa etc. Thanks to the stepped-up military and economic activity of the new Administration, our commitment to these governments is firmer than under the last Administration, since our “stake” in their survival is that much greater.

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