Johnson Administration responds to Harrison Salisbury’s charges - HISTORY
Year
1966

Johnson Administration responds to Harrison Salisbury’s charges

Assistant Secretary of Defense Arthur Sylvester admits that the North Vietnamese city of Nam Dinh has been hit by U.S. planes 64 times since mid-1965, and that the air strikes were directed only against military targets: railroad yards, a warehouse, petroleum storage depots, and a thermal power plant. He denounced New York Times correspondent Harrison Salisbury’s reports on the results of the air raids in North Vietnam as “misstatements of fact.”

Salisbury, an assistant managing editor of the Times, filed a report on December 25 from Hanoi describing U.S. bombing destruction in several North Vietnamese cities. Salisbury stated that Nam Dinh, about 50 miles southeast of Hanoi, had been bombed repeatedly by U.S. planes since June 28, 1965. Salisbury’s report caused a stir in Washington where, it was reported, Pentagon officials expressed irritation and contended that he was exaggerating the damage to civilian areas.

Also on this day: Student-body presidents from 100 U.S. colleges and universities sign an open letter to President Lyndon B. Johnson expressing anxiety and doubt over U.S. involvement in Vietnam. They warned in the letter that many youths might prefer prison to participation in the war. Johnson did not respond to the letter.

ALSO ON THIS DAY

Worst air raid on London

On the evening of December 29, 1940, London suffers its most devastating air raid when Germans firebomb the city. Hundreds of fires caused by the exploding bombs engulfed areas of London, but firefighters showed a valiant indifference to the bombs falling around them and saved ...read more

Texas enters the Union

Six months after the congress of the Republic of Texas accepts U.S. annexation of the territory, Texas is admitted into the United States as the 28th state.After gaining independence from Spain in the 1820s, Mexico welcomed foreign settlers to sparsely populated Texas, and a ...read more

The making of an English martyr

Archbishop Thomas Becket is brutally murdered in Canterbury Cathedral by four knights of King Henry II of England, apparently on orders of the king.In 1155, Henry II appointed Becket as chancellor, a high post in the English government. Becket proved a skilled diplomat and won ...read more

U.S. Army massacres Indians at Wounded Knee

On this day in 1890, in the final chapter of America’s long Indian wars, the U.S. Cavalry kills 146 Sioux at Wounded Knee on the Pine Ridge reservation in South Dakota.Throughout 1890, the U.S. government worried about the increasing influence at Pine Ridge of the Ghost Dance ...read more

Germans raid London

On this day, German aircraft blanket incendiary bombs over London, setting both banks of the Thames ablaze and killing almost 3,600 British civilians.The German targeting of the English capital had begun back in August, payback for British attacks on Berlin. In September, a ...read more

Andrew Johnson is born

On this day in 1808, future President Andrew Johnson is born in Raleigh, North Carolina.Johnson’s career took him from mayor of Greeneville (1834) to the Tennessee legislature (1835) and then to the U.S. House of Representatives (1843). He went home to serve as Tennessee’s ...read more

U.S. Army massacres Sioux at Wounded Knee

In the tragic final chapter of America’s long war against the Plains Indians, the U.S. Cavalry kills 146 Sioux Indians at Wounded Knee, South Dakota.Tensions had been running high on Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota for months because of the growing popularity of a new ...read more

Cheers star Ted Danson born

On this day in 1947, the actor Ted Danson, who will become best known for his role as bar owner Sam Malone on the mega-hit TV sitcom Cheers, which originally aired from 1982 to 1993, is born in San Diego, California.After graduating from Carnegie Mellon University, where he ...read more

Bridge collapses in Ohio

A bridge in Ashtabula, Ohio, collapses on this day in 1876, causing a train to fall into a gorge, killing 80 passengers.The Lake Shore and Michigan Southern Railway brought passengers into Chicago from points east. On December 29, a snow storm forced one of the trains (two ...read more

The “Railway Rapist” commits his first murder

The “Railway Rapist” attacks 19-year-old Alison Day and abducts her from a London train. Her strangled body was recovered two weeks later. Although the perpetrator had attacked and raped many women since 1982, this was his first murder.The Railway Rapist had a distinctive method ...read more

Battle of Chickasaw Bluffs

On this day in 1862, at the Battle of Chickasaw Bluffs, Union General William T. Sherman is thwarted in his attempt to capture Vicksburg, Mississippi, when he orders a frontal assault on entrenched Rebels.Chickasaw Bluffs was part of Union General Ulysses S. Grant’s attempt to ...read more

British capture Savannah, Georgia

On this day in 1778, British Lieutenant Colonel Archibald Campbell and his force of between 2500 and 3600 troops, which included the 71st Highland regiment, New York Loyalists, and Hessian mercenaries, launch a surprise attack on American forces defending Savannah, Georgia. ...read more