March 31

This Day in History

Vietnam War

Mar 31, 1968:

Johnson announces bombing halt

In a televised speech to the nation, President Lyndon B. Johnson announces a partial halt of bombing missions over North Vietnam and proposes peace talks. He said he had ordered "unilaterally" a halt to air and naval bombardments of North Vietnam "except in the area north of the Demilitarized Zone, where the continuing enemy build-up directly threatens Allied forward positions." He also stated that he was sending 13,500 more troops to Vietnam and would request further defense expenditures--$2.5 billion in fiscal year 1968 and $2.6 billion in fiscal year 1969--to finance recent troop build-ups, re-equip the South Vietnamese Army, and meet "responsibilities in Korea." In closing, Johnson shocked the nation with an announcement that all but conceded that his own presidency had become another wartime casualty: "I shall not seek, and I will not accept, the nomination of my party for another term as your president."

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