U.S. Vice President Mr. Lyndon Johnson, on a tour "to assess the Communist danger" in?
U.S. Vice President Mr. Lyndon Johnson, on a tour "to assess the Communist danger" in South East Asian countries, arrived in Saigon, the South Vietnamese capital, May 11 for a two-day visit to consult with President Ngo Dinh Diem of South Vietnam.
The Vice President called South Vietnam "this frontier of freedom". - Over the frontier is Communist controlled North Vietnam. On its western frontier is Laos. The U.S. Government estimates the Communist guerilla force in South Vietnam at 12,000.
Mr. Johnson's 40-member suite included his wife; Mrs. Stephen Smith, sister of President Kennedy; her husband and part of the American Press.
Mr. Johnson had talks with President Diem for two hours and 45 minutes. The two statesmen later declared that Vietnam's independence and territorial integrity were being "brutally and systematically violated by Communist agents".
After a round of official talks, Mr. Johnson drove along the new high way between Saigon and Bien Roa, on the second day, May 12 to "meet the people" He was accompanied by S. Vietnamese Vice-President Mr. Nguyen Ngo??? Tho.
On the way Mr. Johnson stepped down from his car many times, bent low to shake hands with hundreds of people, shy but keen on meeting him.
Later he watched a military exercise. Mr. Johnson looked impressed by a show that revealed high-level military training.
At the airport, before he left for Manila, thousands of South Vietnamese waited to bid him farewell. In a statement he invited "free governments" to join in supplying military or economic aid to President Diem in his battle against Communism. He pledged U.S. aid to enlarge Vietnam's regular armed forces by another 20,000 troops, and assist Vietnam's civil guard force. New economic and social measures were to be undertaken to accompany anti-guerilla measures to restore law and order in rural areas.