This document contains extracts from an interview
with Cyrus Vance in 1970. The interview was part of a very large Oral History
Project carried out by the University of Texas and the Lyndon Baines Johnson
Library. The aim was to capture the memories of people involved in major events
in their own words rather than through history books or newspapers or similar
Cyrus Vance was a very senior US politician. By
the end of his career he rose to become head of the US State Department (the
equivalent of the British Foreign Office).
At the time of the events he was describing he
was a senior official in Johnson's government.
The Tonkin incident refers to an event when North
Vietnamese patrol boats fired on US warships. Johnson then got Congress to
pass the Tonkin resolution. This basically meant that the President could
take any action which he felt was necessary in Vietnam.
Four months later Johnson ordered US troops into
action in Vietnam at Da Nang (see Source 1).