SAIGON, Viet-Nam, Aug. 3, 1964 (UPI) - South Viet-Namese Premier Gen. Nguyen Khanh said today the United States should take strong retaliatory measures for the Communist PT-boat attack on the destroyer Maddox, lest it be branded as a "paper tiger." "The Americans should do something about this to save face," Khanh told newsmen.
Khanh said the "question now is whether we are going to do something or just let the Communists attack like that."
"My viewpoint is that we should be firmer toward them," he said.
U.S. Seventh Fleet warships were patrolling as usual today off the coasts of Red China and North Viet-Nam, prepared to retaliate with the appropriate "sting" to any further Communist attack.
Three North Viet-Namese high-speed patrol-torpedo boats made an "unprovoked attack" on the destroyer USS Maddox yesterday 35 miles off the North Viet-Namese coast and were repulsed by the destroyer's five-inch guns and four F8 jet fighters from the carrier Ticonderoga.
The Maddox sustained no damage or casualties.
One of the boats launched three torpedoes at the destroyer and then opened fire with its 37-millimeter guns.
It was the first clash on record between warships of the United States and a Communist power, though several aerial incidents have occurred.
Two of the PT boats limped away and the third was stopped dead in the water.
Adm. Ulysses Grant Sharp Jr., commander-in-chief of U.S. Pacific forces, announced the action from his Honolulu headquarters. He said the Americans suffered no casualties or damage. Communist casualties, if any, were not known.
In New York, Secretary of State Dean Rusk said, "The other side got a sting out of this. If they do it again, they'll get another sting."
In Tokyo, where he is on a Far East inspection tour, Navy Secretary Paul Nitze told a press conference that American naval vessels operating off Communist coasts have orders to fire back if attacked but have "no orders to pursue attackers."
In other developments in the Viet-Namese war:
Communist North Viet-Nam yesterday charged that four American fighter-bombers from Laos strafed a North Viet-Namese border village with bombs and rockets, wounding one person and destroying several dwellings. Radio Hanoi did not clarify whether the planes were manned by Laotians or Americans.
Motorcycle-mounted terrorists left a bomb outside the "Shadow" taxi dance hall near Saigon's Tan Son Nhut air base, Saturday night. It killed a Viet-Namese soldier and injured seven American servicemen and 13 Viet-Namese civilians, several of them dancing girls, including one whose leg was blown off.