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    U.S. Secretary of State Dean Rusk held a news conference today (31 January) minutes after?

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    Rusk on Council meeting.

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    Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved

    Background: U.S. Secretary of State Dean Rusk held a news conference today (31 January) minutes after President Johnson had announced resumption of the bombing of North Vietnam. The Secretary discussed the recent "peace offensive" and commented on President Johnson's call for a U.N. Security Council meeting.

    In recent weeks, reports from Washington have quoted government sources to the effect that the United States saw little point in taking the Vietnam war to the U.N. because an open debate might result in hardened positions and a propaganda struggle. The Secretary was asked about this and asked if quiet diplomacy was being put aside now in favour of public debate in the United Nations. Mr. Rusk said that quiet diplomatic efforts were indeed continuing even though they appeared so far to have failed. It also appeared, he said, that conditions which had heretofore prevented a public debate in the U.N. had altered. He said a lively debate in the world body appeared to lie ahead.

    Elsewhere in the news conference, he repeated what the President had said earlier, and reviewed the history of the peace offensive. In response to a question, he said he had no information as to the probable reaction of the Soviet Union in a Council debate.

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