President Nixon announced on Monday (May 8) that he has ordered the mining of all North Vietnamese ports and a United States navel blackade of North Vietnamese waters to prevent war materials reaching communist troops operating in South Vietnam.
GV White House (silent)
CU Nixon speaks
NIXON: "In these circumstances, with 60,000 Americans threatened, any President who failed to act decisively would have betrayed the trust of his country and betrayed the cause of peace. I have therefore concluded that Hanof must be denied the weapons and supplies it needs to continue that aggression. In full co-ordination with the republic of Vietnam, I have ordered the following measures which are being implemented as I am speaking to you. All entrances to North Vietnamese ports will be mined to prevent access to these ports and North Vietnamese naval operations from these ports. United States forces have been directed to take appropriate measures within the international and claimed territorial water of North Vietnam to interdict the delivery of any supplies. Rail and all other communications will be cut off to the maximum extent possible. Air and naval strikers against military targets in North Vietnam will continue. These actions are not directed against any their nation. Countries with ships presently in North Vietnamese ports have been notified that their ships will have three daylight periods to leave in safety. After that time the mines will become active and any ships attempting to leave or ??? these ports will do so at their own risk. These actions I have ordered will cease when the following conditions are meet. First, all American prisoners of war must be returned. Second, there must be an internationally supervised ceasefire throughout Indo-China. Once prisoners of war are released and once the internationally supervised ceasefire has begun, we will stop all acts of force throughout Indo-China. And at that time, we will proceed with a complete withdrawal of all American forces from Vietnam within four months".
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Background: President Nixon announced on Monday (May 8) that he has ordered the mining of all North Vietnamese ports and a United States navel blackade of North Vietnamese waters to prevent war materials reaching communist troops operating in South Vietnam.
In a nationwide television and radio broadcast, the President said rail and all other supply routes were to be cut to the maximum possible extent. He added that air and naval strikes against military targets in North Vietnam would continue.
Mine-layeing and the naval blockade were begin implemented even as the President spoke. Mr Nixon admitted that the measures were aimed primarily at cutting Soviet war supplies but underlined that the actions were not directed against the Soviet Union or any other country.
The measures were necessary, the President said, because there was only one way to stop the invasion off South Vietnam: "That is to keep the weapons out of the hands of the international outlaws of North Vietnam."
President Nixon said the United States had "exercised a degree of restraint unprecedented in the annals of war...(But) when the enemy abandons all restraint, throws its whole army into battle on the territory of its neighbour and refuses to negotiate, we face a new situation."