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Encyclopedia > Gulf of Tonkin Resolution

The Gulf of Tonkin Resolution was a joint resolution of the U.S. Congress passed in August 1964 in direct response to a minor naval engagement known as the Gulf of Tonkin Incident. It is of historical significance because it gave U.S. President Lyndon B. Johnson authorization, without a formal declaration of war by Congress, for the use of military force in Southeast Asia. The Johnson administration subsequently cited the resolution as legal authority for its rapid escalation of U.S. military involvement in the Vietnam conflict.[1] A joint resolution is a legislative measure of the United States of America, designated as S.J.Res (for the Senate version) and H.J.Res (for the House version), which requires the approval of both chambers of the United States Congress. ... Type Bicameral Houses Senate House of Representatives United States Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D since January 4, 2007 Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, D since January 4, 2007 Members 535 plus 4 Delegates and 1 Resident Commissioner Political groups (as of November 7, 2006 elections) Democratic Party Republican... Chart showing the U.S. Navys interpretation of the events of the first part of the Gulf of Tonkin incident The Gulf of Tonkin Incident was an alleged pair of attacks by naval forces of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam (commonly referred to as North Vietnam) against two American... This article is about the office in the United States. ... “LBJ” redirects here. ... A declaration of war is a formal declaration issued by a national government indicating that a state of war exists between that nation, and one or more others. ... Location of Southeast Asia Southeast Asia is a subregion of Asia. ... Combatants Republic of Vietnam United States Republic of Korea Thailand Australia New Zealand The Philippines National Front for the Liberation of South Vietnam Democratic Republic of Vietnam People’s Republic of China Democratic Peoples Republic of Korea Strength US 1,000,000 South Korea 300,000 Australia 48,000...

Contents

Background and Congressional action

The Gulf of Tonkin Incident reportedly began with an attack by three North Vietnamese torpedo boats on the Maddox, a U.S. destroyer, in the Gulf of Tonkin on 2 August 1964. Two days later, that vessel and another U.S. destroyer (the Turner Joy) in the area both reported themselves under renewed attack, although North Vietnam subsequently insisted that it hadn't attacked — and no attack is now believed to have occurred on the 4th of August. The Democratic Republic of Vietnam (Vietnamese Việt Nam Dân Chủ Cộng Hòa), also known as North Vietnam, was founded by Ho Chi Minh and was recognized by China and the USSR in 1950. ... A torpedo boat is a relatively small and fast naval ship designed to launch torpedoes at larger surface ships. ... USS Maddox (DD-731), an -class destroyer was named for Captain William A. T. Maddox, USMC. She was laid down by the Bath Iron Works Corporation at Bath in Maine on 28 October 1943, launched on 19 March 1944 by Mrs. ... USS McFaul (DDG-74) In naval terminology, a destroyer is a fast and maneuverable yet long-endurance warship intended to escort larger vessels in a fleet or battle group and defend them against smaller, short-range but powerful attackers (originally torpedo boats, later submarines and aircraft). ... The Gulf of Tonkin is located to the south of China. ... August 2 is the 214th day of the year in the Gregorian calendar (215th in leap years), with 151 days remaining. ... 1964 (MCMLXIV) was a leap year starting on Wednesday (the link is to a full 1964 calendar). ...


Within hours, Johnson ordered retaliatory air strikes on the bases of the North Vietnamese boats and announced, in a television address to the American public the same evening, that U.S. naval forces had been attacked. In a message he sent to Congress the following day, the President affirmed that "the North Vietnamese regime had conducted further deliberate attacks against U.S. naval vessels operating in international waters." The terms international waters or transboundary waters apply where any of the following types of bodies of water (or their drainage basins) transcend international boundaries: oceans, large marine ecosystems, enclosed or semi-enclosed regional seas and estuaries, rivers, lakes, groundwater systems (aquifers), and wetlands [1]. Oceans and seas, waters outside...


Johnson requested approval of a resolution "expressing the unity and determination of the United States in supporting freedom and in protecting peace in southeast Asia". He said that the resolution should express support "for all necessary action to protect our Armed Forces" — but repeated previous assurances that "the United States... seeks no wider war". As the nation entered the final three months of political campaigning for the 1964 elections (in which Johnson was standing for election), the president contended that the resolution would help "hostile nations... understand" that the United States was unified in its determination "to continue to protect its national interests."[2]


On 6 August, U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert S. McNamara testified before a joint session of the Senate Foreign Relations and Armed Services committees. He stated that the Maddox had been "carrying out a routine mission of the type we carry out all over the world at all times" and denied that it had been in any way involved in South Vietnamese patrol boat raids on the offshore islands of Hon Me and Hon Nieu on the nights of 30 July and 31 July.[3] The administration did not, however, disclose that the island raids, although separate from the mission of the Maddox, had been part of a program of clandestine attacks on North Vietnamese installations called Operation Plan 34A. These operations were carried out by U.S.-trained South Vietnamese commandos under the control of a special operations unit of the U.S. Military Assistance Command, Vietnam called the Studies and Operations Group.[4] August 6 is the 218th day of the year in the Gregorian calendar (219th in leap years), with 147 days remaining. ... The United States Secretary of Defense is the head of the United States Department of Defense (DoD), concerned with the armed services and The role of the Secretary of Defense is to be the principal defense policy advisor to the President and is responsible for the formulation of general defense... This article or section does not cite any references or sources. ... U.S. Senate Committee on Foreign Relations is a standing committee of the United States Senate. ... The Committee on Armed Services is a committee of the United States Senate empowered with legislative oversight of the nations military, including the Department of Defense, military research and development, nuclear energy (as pertaining to national security), benefits for members of the military, the Selective Service System and other... July 30 is the 211th day of the year (212th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... July 31 is the 212th day of the year (213th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Operation 34A (full name, Operational Plan 34A, also known as OPLAN 34A) was a highly classified U.S. program of covert actions against North Vietnam, consisting of reconnaissance missions and sabotage operations. ... For other uses, see Commando (disambiguation). ... The United States Special Operations Forces is the official category where the United States Department of Defense lists the U.S. military units that have a training specialization in unconventional warfare and special operations. ... The U.S. Military Assistance Command, Vietnam, or MACV (phonetically mack vee), was the United States unified command structure for all its military forces in South Vietnam during the Vietnam War. ... The Military Assistance Command, Vietnam Studies and Observations Group (MACV-SOG) was a highly classified, multi-service U.S. Special Operations Forces unit which conducted covert unconventional warfare operations prior to and during the Vietnam Conflict. ...


After fewer than nine hours of committee consideration and floor debate, Congress voted, on August 7, 1964, on a joint resolution which authorized the president "to take all necessary steps, including the use of armed force, to assist any member or protocol state of the Southeast Asia Collective Defense Treaty requesting assistance in defense of its freedom."[5] The unanimous affirmative vote in the House of Representatives was 416-0. (However, Congressman Eugene Siler of Kentucky, who was not present but opposed the measure, was "paired" with another member who favored the resolution — i.e., his opposition was not counted, but the vote in favor was one less than it would have been.) The Senate conferred its approval by a vote of 88-2. Some members expressed misgivings about the measure, but in the end, Senators Wayne Morse of Oregon and Ernest Gruening of Alaska cast the only nay votes.[6] At the time, Senator Morse warned that "I believe this resolution to be a historic mistake," [7] August 7 is the 219th day of the year in the Gregorian calendar (220th in leap years), with 146 days remaining. ... 1964 (MCMLXIV) was a leap year starting on Wednesday (the link is to a full 1964 calendar). ... This article concerns the legal meaning of the term resolution. ... The Southeast Asia Treaty Organization (SEATO), created by the Southeast Asia Collective Defense Treaty or the Manila Pact, was an international organization for collective defense established on September 8, 1954. ... Seal of the House of Representatives The United States House of Representatives (or simply the House) is one of the two chambers of the United States Congress, the other being the Senate. ... Eugene Siler (June 26, 1900 – December 5, 1987) was a member of the United States House of Representatives from Kentucky between 1955 and 1965. ... Official language(s) English[1] Capital Frankfort Largest city Louisville Area  Ranked 37th  - Total 40,444 sq mi (104,749 km²)  - Width 140 miles (225 km)  - Length 379 miles (610 km)  - % water 1. ... Pairing is a system whereby two members of parliament from opposing political parties may agree to abstain where one member is unable to vote, due to other commitments, illness, travel problems, etc. ... Seal of the U.S. Senate Federal courts Supreme Court Chief Justice Associate Justices Elections Presidential elections Midterm elections Political Parties Democratic Republican Third parties State & Local government Governors Legislatures State Courts Counties, Cities, and Towns Other countries Politics Portal      Senate composition following 2006 elections The United States Senate is... Wayne Lyman Morse (October 20, 1900 – July 22, 1974) was a United States Senator from Oregon from 1945 to 1969. ... Official language(s) (none)[1] Capital Salem Largest city Portland Area  Ranked 9th  - Total 98,466 sq mi (255,026 km²)  - Width 260 miles (420 km)  - Length 360 miles (580 km)  - % water 2. ... Bronze by George Anthonisen. ... Official language(s) none Capital Juneau Largest city Anchorage Area  Ranked 1st  - Total 663,267 sq mi (1,717,855 km²)  - Width 808 miles (1,300 km)  - Length 1,479 miles (2,380 km)  - % water 13. ...


Repeal of the resolution

By 1967 the rationale for what had become a costly US involvement was receiving close scrutiny. With opposition to the war mounting, a movement to repeal the resolution — which war critics decried as having given the Johnson administration a "blank check" — began to gather steam. Opposition to U.S. involvement in the Vietnam War began slowly and in small numbers in 1964 on various college campuses in the United States. ... A blank check (carte blanche) is a check that has no numerical value written in, but is still signed; check owners are normally advised to specify the amount before signing. ...


An investigation by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee revealed that the Maddox had been on an electronic intelligence collection mission off the North Vietnamese coast.[8] It also learned that the US Naval Communication Center in the Philippines, in reviewing ships' messages, had questioned whether any second attack had actually occurred.[9] U.S. Senate Committee on Foreign Relations is a standing committee of the United States Senate. ... Mixed reconnaissance patrol of the Polish Home Army and the Soviet Red Army during Operation Tempest, 1944 Reconnaissance is the military term for the active gathering of information about an enemy, or other conditions, by physical observation. ... Chart showing the U.S. Navys interpretation of the events of the first part of the Gulf of Tonkin incident The Gulf of Tonkin Incident was an alleged pair of attacks by naval forces of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam (commonly referred to as North Vietnam) against two American...

Congressional opposition to
U.S. wars and interventions
1812 North America
House Federalists’ Address

Irreconcilables Image File history File links No higher resolution available. ... Opposition to the War of 1812 was widespread in the United States, especially in New England. ...

1935-1939 (General)
Neutrality Acts
1935-40 (General)
Ludlow Amendment
1970 Vietnam
McGovern-Hatfield Amendment
1970 Southeast Asia
Cooper-Church Amendment
1971 Vietnam
Repeal of Tonkin Gulf Resolution
1973 Southeast Asia
Case-Church Amendment
1973 (General)
War Powers Resolution
1974 Covert Ops (General)
Hughes-Ryan Amendment
1976 Angola
Clark Amendment
1982 Nicaragua
Boland Amendment
2007 Iraq
House Concurrent Resolution 63
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The administration of Richard Nixon, which took office in January 1969, initially opposed repeal, warning of "consequences for southeast Asia [that] go beyond the war in Vietnam". In 1970 the administration began to shift its stance. It asserted that its conduct of operations in southeast Asia was based not on the resolution but was a constitutional exercise of the President's authority, as commander in chief of US military forces, to take necessary steps to protect American troops as they were gradually withdrawn[10] (the U.S. had begun withdrawing its forces from Vietnam in 1969 under a policy known as “Vietnamization”). The Neutrality Acts were a series of laws passed in the United States in the 1930s, in response to the growing turmoil in Europe and Asia that was to lead to World War II. They were spurred by the growth in isolationism in the US following its costly involvement in... Louis Ludlow was a Washington correspondent for a large number of newspapers, and then served as a Democrat in the U.S. House of Representatives for the Indianapolis, Indiana district for twenty years. ... The McGovern-Hatfield amendment (alternately, Hatfield-McGovern amendment) was a proposed amendment in 1970 during the Vietnam War that, if passed, would have required the end of United States military operations in the Republic of Vietnam by December 31, 1970 and a complete withdrawal of American forces halfway through the... The Cooper-Church amendment was introduced in the United States Senate during the Vietnam War and is known as the first amendment to limit presidential powers during war time. ... The Gulf of Tonkin Resolution was a joint resolution of the U.S. Congress passed in August 1964 in direct response to a minor naval engagement known as the Gulf of Tonkin Incident. ... The Case-Church Amendment was a piece of legislation that sought to rein in President Richard Nixons conduct of the Vietnam War. ... The War Powers Act of 1973 (Public Law 93-148) limits the power of the President of the United States to wage war without the approval of Congress. ... The Hughes-Ryan Act was an amendment to the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961, that forces the President of the United States to report all covert Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) operations to a Congressional committee within a set time limit. ... The Clark amendment was an amendment to the U.S. Arms Export Control Act of 1976, named for its sponsor, Senator Dick Clark (D-Idaho). ... The Boland Amendment was an amendment to the House Appropriations Bill of 1982, which was attached as something known as a Barnacle Bill, or provision that would not be expected to pass on its own merit, to the Defense Appropriations Act of 1983. ... The New Way Forward redirects here. ... Richard Milhous Nixon (January 9, 1913 – April 22, 1994) was the 37th President of the United States, serving from 1969 to 1974. ... For the Stargate SG-1 episode, see 1969 (Stargate SG-1). ...


To those members of Congress who did not consider the resolution to be imprudent, the administration's position now made it seem meaningless. Rescinding it ceased to be controversial, and a provision to repeal it was attached to a bill that Nixon signed in January 1971.[11] Seeking to assert limits on presidential authority to engage US forces without a formal declaration of war, Congress passed in 1973, over Nixon's veto, the War Powers Resolution, which is still in effect. It describes certain requirements for the President to consult with Congress in regard to decisions that engage US forces in hostilities or imminent hostilities. 1971 (MCMLXXI) was a common year starting on Friday. ... The War Powers Act of 1973 (Public Law 93-148) limits the power of the President of the United States to wage war without the approval of Congress. ...


Notes

  1. ^ "Gulf of Tonkin Measure Voted In Haste and Confusion in 1964", The New York Times, 1970-06-25
  2. ^ President Johnson's message to Congress, August 5, 1964
  3. ^ "Excerpts from McNamara's Testimony on Tonkin", The New York Times, 1968-02-25.
  4. ^ Andradé, David and Kenneth Conboy. "The Secret Side of the Tonkin Gulf Incident", Naval History, August 1999.
  5. ^ Wikisource: H.J. RES 1145
  6. ^ Kenworthy, E.W. "Resolution Wins", The New York Times, 1964-08-08.
  7. ^ Congressional Record, 1964-08-07, pp. 18470-71, excerpted at "The Senate Debates the Tonkin Gulf Resolution"
  8. ^ Finney, John. "Tonkin Inquiry by Fulbright to Call McNamara", The New York Times, 1968-01-31.
  9. ^ "Excerpts from McNamara's Testimony on Tonkin", The New York Times, 1968-02-25.
  10. ^ "Gulf of Tonkin Measure Voted In Haste and Confusion in 1964", The New York Times, 1970-06-25.
  11. ^ UPI "Gulf of Tonkin Resolution is Repealed Without Furor", The New York Times, 1971-01-14.

External Links

  • Original Document: Tonkin Gulf Resolution
     

  Results from FactBites:
 
Gulf of Tonkin Incident - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (1925 words)
The Gulf of Tonkin Incident was a pair of alleged attacks by North Vietnamese gunboats on two American destroyers, the USS Maddox and the USS C.
On July 31, 1964, the American destroyer USS Maddox (DD-731) began a reconnaissance mission in the Gulf of Tonkin and was attacked by five North Vietnamese patrol boats, in international waters, on August 2, 1964.
While US officials were less than honest about the full extent of hostilities that led to the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution, critical claims that a naval commander fired weapons solely to create an international incident tend to overlook circumstances and opportunistic responses that suggest a less intentional motivation.
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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