June 23

This Day in History

Vietnam War

Jun 23, 1964:

Johnson announces new ambassador to South Vietnam

At a news conference, President Lyndon B. Johnson announces that Henry Cabot Lodge has resigned as ambassador to South Vietnam and that Gen. Maxwell Taylor will be his replacement. It was reliably reported that virtually every top official in the administration volunteered to serve as ambassador. Johnson made a point of insisting that this change would in no way affect the U.S. commitment to South Vietnam.

It was also announced that General Westmoreland was to become the "executive agent" to supervise the civilian advisory and assistance programs in three provinces around Saigon, the first stage of a plan to coordinate the entire U.S. military and civilian program in South Vietnam under the military command.

Lodge had left his ambassadorial post to pursue the Republican presidential nomination. Ultimately, Senator Barry Goldwater of Arizona secured the nomination and was defeated by Johnson in the general election. Lodge returned to Saigon in 1965 for another two-year stint as ambassador.

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