YU Washington Delegation Presents Vietnam Petition (Vol. 31, Issue 8)
Military Aide to Vice President Humphrey, U.S. Marine Corps Colonel H. L. Beckington and Deputy Secretary of State William Jordan received a delegation of 27 Yeshiva College students Tuesday, February 1 in the Old Treat Room of the Executive Office of the White House. The delegation, headed by Yeshiva College Student Council President Joseph Isaiah Berlin and Political Science Club President Robert L. Mark, presented a petition of 800 signatures supporting the administration's policy in Vietnam.
Prior to and following a debate on Vietnam sponsored by Student Council, some 700 Yeshiva College students and 100 Stern College students signed the petition reading as follows: “We the undersigned students, members of the academic community, do hereby affix our names, to this petition to record our position in support of the policy of the President of the US regarding the war in Vietnam.
Despite snowed-out roads, the Yeshiva delegation filled three cars Tuesday morning in front of the New Dorm.
In presenting the petition, the delegates read the following statement:
“The history of this nation has recorded many crises from its very inception to date in its struggle to attain freedom and liberty for itself and the people of the world.
“Jewish History, too, reflects a similar vein in its quest for freedom and abolition of oppression, except that too often we were the personal victims of the said oppression.
“We as Jews are aware of the murder of 6,000,000 of our people by the Hitlerian aggressors and totalitarians and are also conscious of the present day Communist aggression throughout the world. We are also sympathetic to any group of people who want to preserve their freedom, their independence, and their own way of life. As loyal Americans and loyal Jews steeped in the traditions of Orthodox Jewry we feel duty bound to express support for the policy of the administration in Vietnam.
“It is essential that the President be backed by national unity so that all aggressors or would-be aggressors, be they the Communist North Vietnamese, the Red Chinese, or the Nasserites of Egypt will be duly warned that the US can make their ‘wars of liberation’ extremely unprofitable.
“President Johnson no doubt wants a negotiated settlement which would guarantee the South Vietnamese freedom from Communist bondage and a chance to develop their own institutions of government. We feel that no loyal American can be opposed to this policy. It is our considered opinion that under the present circumstances the withdrawal of our troops can only lead to a Communist takeover in South Vietnam, followed by the Red Chinese subversion of other Asian countries. If such a course is followed, neither India, nor Israel, nor any other nation struggling for the preservation of its culture and the freedom of its citizens will be safe.”
Colonel Beckington received the petition and called the delegation part of an “informed public.” He stressed the Vice President’s firm belief that the more informed the public becomes, the more they understand the policy of the U.S, in Vietnam, and the more they side with it. Deputy Secretary of State William Jordan termed the petition an “important… first step” but added that much more can and should be done now. The delegation, interpreting his statement as a suggestion for a cultural exchange, felt gratified in knowing that David Rubin, a delegate, will join the Peace Corps next year to teach English in Thailand.