March 22

This Day in History

Vietnam War

Mar 22, 1965:

Officials confirm "non-lethal gas" was provided

The State Department acknowledges that the United States had supplied the South Vietnamese armed forces with a "non-lethal gas which disables temporarily" for use "in tactical situations in which the Viet Cong intermingle with or take refuge among non-combatants, rather than use artillery or aerial bombardment." This announcement triggered a storm of criticism worldwide. The North Vietnamese and the Soviets loudly protested the introduction of "poison gas" into the war. Secretary of State Dean Rusk insisted at a news conference on March 24 that the United States was "not embarking upon gas warfare," but was merely employing "a gas which has been commonly adopted by the police forces of the world as riot-control agents."

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