Well, I didn't send it to him immediate. I did not send the memorandum to President Johnson immediately because he was engaged in in his political campaign
at that time. I thought it was very, very ah very ill advised ah to try to ah focus his attention on something when his larger attention was obviously on domestic politics. Ah.
I left it really to my three colleagues as to whether they wanted to show the President. Ah. They didn't do it. Ah. If I had asked them to I'm, I have no doubts that they they would have shown it to the President. It was simply my own decision not to do it at that time, but ah after the escalation began and become a more serious affair then I thought it was time for the President to look at it.
In the meantime, I had, I had done a number of things to prepare that in the way of other memoranda to the President and dissent on one proposal after another for escalation. So, I gave it ah to Bill to Bill Moyers who came over the lunch and ah he showed it to the President and the President called me very disturbed. He said "I've read this. Why haven't I seen it before?" And, I said, well, I didn't ah ah give it to you before because ah I had discussed it with my colleagues. I didn't think the timing was right. He said, "We must have a discussion on it immediately and will take all day, if necessary."
So, we did discuss it. You know, a very long session and ah the President gave me full opportunity to make my, my case, which I did to the best of my ability. Ah. But, there was opposition from the, everyone else and I was alone on this and ah while I think the President was shaken by it, he was not fully persuaded that there was any way out that he could conceive that would be acceptable to him. Ah.
That was the beginning then of a whole series of memoranda in April
and so on that I gave the President. Each ah ah insisting that ah we find a way to extricate ourselves making it clear that ah we were in a position which was tactically impossible, that we could not win a war, that white men couldn't win a war against ah ah Orientals in a Asian jungle, particularly when we didn't have the the intelligence cooperation on the part of the local inhabitants who by and large would would tip off the Viet Cong
but would not tip off off us off.
And, ah, that, therefore, we should find the ways and means to cut our losses and get out and I had a whole series of proposals by which we might achieve this. Ah. This was an argument that continued clear on until June when the decision was made to commit troops and here again I fought very hard against this in various memoranda which I gave the President and ah I ah I didn't, I didn't succeed in in stopping the the movement, although I think I may have slowed it down to some extent.
But, ah, what I fell back on was telling the President that as the escalation proceeded he would more and more lose control of the situation because ah each move would inspire another move on the other side and we were in effect riding a tiger. I used Emerson's uh famous phrase that things were in the saddle and ah were riding mankind and that ah events were getting the saddle here and were taking over and that the President didn't dare put himself in the position where he didn't control and that, therefore, we should concentrate on finding a tactical extrication.