President says Viet Cong attacks fail

WASHINGTON, Feb. 2, 1968 (UPI) - President Johnson Friday termed the Viet Cong attacks on major South Vietnamese cities "a complete failure" militarily and said they would force no change in American troop levels or basic war strategy. "No great new overall moves are going to be made," he said, but cautioned: "Anything can happen on a moment's notice."

In an informal meeting with newsmen in the White House cabinet room near his office, Mr. Johnson also said that when the dust settles, it will appear that the Communists also failed to score a psychological victory.


He said the guerilla raids were the "general uprising" phase of a plan by North Vietnamese leader Ho Chi Minh to overthrow the Saigon government and lead the way to a Communist-dominated coalition government.

"The biggest fact is that the stated purposes of the general uprising have failed," the President said in a statement read to newsmen. "Communist leaders counted on popular support for their effort. They found little or none. On the other hand, there have been civilian casualties and disruption of public services."

The President warned of a second phase of a Communist winter-spring offensive of which the United States has had advance warning - "a massive attack across the frontiers of South Vietnam by North Vietnamese units."


"We may at this moment be on the eve of a major enemy offensive in the area of Khe Sanh and generally around the demilitarized zone," he said.

Mr. Johnson said he had conferred closely with the joint chiefs of staff and Gen. William C. Westmoreland, the U.S. commander in Vietnam, in recent weeks to make certain American forces are fully prepared for the expected onslaught.

The President declined to predict the outcome of an offensive but said "I am confident that our men and the South Vietnamese will be giving a good account of themselves."

He said the situation was "fluid" and that he would keep the public informed of developments.

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