Mr. William Clements, a Texas oilman nominated by President Nixon as Deputy Defence Secretary, started?
Mr. William Clements, a Texas oilman nominated by President Nixon as Deputy Defence Secretary, started a furore in Washington on Thursday (11 January) over the question of using nuclear weapons in North Vietnam.
During a senate Armed Services Committee hearing on his nomination. Mr. Clemento declined to rule out such a possibility. When asked if he would support their use in Vietnam if no settlement was reached at the Paris peace talks, Mr. Clements said: "It depends on circumstances." He added: "I would not eliminate the was of nuclear weapons in North Vietnam, but that is not to say I would be in favour of it."
On Friday (12 January) the White House and the U.S. Defence Department both issued statements disclaiming any intention of using such weapons in Southeast Asia.
Presidential spokesman Ronald Ziegler said that President Nixon and other administration officials hade stated that nuclear weapons would not be used, and there was no change in that position.
SYNOPSIS: Mr. William Clements, a Texas oilman nominated by United States President Nixon as Deputy Defence Secretary, faced a Senate Committee hearing on his nomination last week. He was asked whether he would consider the use of nuclear weapons.
In failing to rule out the use of nuclear weapons in North Vietnam, Mr. Clements forced the Defence Department to disclaim any such intention Mr. Clements was also asked if he felt there was a difference between conventional war and the use of tactical limited nuclear weapons.