CBS Evening News for Friday, Sep 12, 1969
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(Studio) President Nixon met with Vietnam advisors. B-52 strikes over South Vietnam resume after 36-hr break due to enemy tempo increase 3 reporters analyze President Nixon's policy to see if his differs from predecessor.
REPORTER: Walter Cronkite
(DC) Walter Cronkite cites New York Times reporting: President Nixon's tardy reaction to truce proposal; contradictory South Vietnam cease-fire statements; refusal of South Vietnam to honor truce; and failure of United States to extend truce in editorial. Wonders if there is firm Vietnam policy. [RATHER - says President Nixon started withdrawals and halted B-52 raids for time. Long-range policy being formulated. Plan includes 200,000 pullouts by next year] [KALB - says President Nixon has said he had plan. No one answers "what price for peace?"] [ROWAN - cites Pentagon confusion about policy changes.] [KALB - says lack of confidence among top officials on policy they respected in May.] [RATHER - says President Nixon's policy tightly kept secret between him and Dr. Henry Kissinger.] [KALB - says this was to be open administration] [RATHER - says they've ad-libbed policy. Unsure what to do about Ho's death.] [KALB - says chaos isn't a plan.] Walter Cronkite asks if State and Defense Department know of President Nixon's plans. [RATHER - believes they don't have access to plan, except Secretary of State William Rogers. Kissinger has more influence.] [ROWAN - says Laird's people concerned about direction of plans. Joint Chiefs of Staff and others bypassed for Bunker and Abrams.] [KALB - says State Department wants to scale down military actions. Wants diplomatic answer.] Cronkite wonders if Kissinger and President Nixon took matters in own hands because of State and Defense Department differences. [ROWAN - says Laird wants to see 20,000 a month pulled out. General Abrams at odds with Pentagon representatives] [KALB - says President Nixon is own Secretary of State. Policy not inspired by State Department Diplomats may carry it out.] Cronkite asks about State and Defense Department leaders disagreeing with underlings. [KALB - says White House and Saigon relations broken down this wk.] [RATHER - disagrees about split between Thieu and President Nixon. Those on second level at State and Defense Departments have different opinions and are trying to influence President Nixon.] Cronkite asks what can be expected from Washington, DC meeting [RATHER - expects large pullbacks.] [ROWAN - expects nothing larger than pull-back for rest of year] [KALB - says leaks will tell us if President Nixon wants 200,000 by election time, 1970.]
REPORTER: Dan Rather, Marvin Kalb, Steve Rowan
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