July 13

This Day in History

Vietnam War

Jul 13, 1968:

Rockefeller announces new peace proposal

Governor Nelson Rockefeller of New York, a Republican presidential candidate, reveals a four-stage peace plan that, he argues, could end the war in six months if North Vietnam assented to it. The proposal called for a mutual troop pullback and interposition of a neutral peacekeeping force, followed by the withdrawal of all North Vietnamese and most Allied units from South Vietnam; free elections under international supervision; and direct negotiations between North and South Vietnam on reunification.

In his proposal, Rockefeller represented the liberal northeastern wing of the Republican Party. Taking a stance between Rockefeller and the more conservative elements of his party led by Ronald Reagan, Richard Nixon won the nomination on the first ballot at the Republican National Convention in Miami Beach. For his running mate, he chose Spiro T. Agnew, the governor of Maryland.

In his speech accepting the nomination, Nixon promised to "bring an honorable end to the war in Vietnam" and to inaugurate "an era of negotiations" with leading communist powers, while restoring "the strength of America so that we shall always negotiate from strength and never from weakness." The party subsequently adopted a platform on the war that called for "progressive de-Americanization" of the war. Indeed, shortly after assuming office, Nixon instituted a program of "Vietnamization," a policy aimed at turning the war over to the South Vietnamese and withdrawing U.S. troops.

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