Gulf of Tonkin Resolution

Gulf of Tonkin Resolution


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August 3, 1965: Captain of USS Maddox Says Ship Considered Enemy by North Vietnamese because of Military Operations Nearby

One day after the alleged “unprovoked” attacks on the USS Maddox by North Vietnamese torpedo boats (see August 2, 1964), the vessel’s captain, John J. Herrick, reports to Washington: “Evaluation of info from various sources indicates DRV considers [my] patrol directly involved with 34-A ops (see July 31, 1964) DRV considers US ships present as enemies because of these ops and have already indicated their readiness to treat us in that category.” [Ellsberg, 2003]


Gulf of Tonkin Resolution - HISTORY

OOO President Johnson's Message to Congress on Tonkin Incident &

OOO Gulf of Tonkin Resolution

President Johnson's Message to Congress


Last night I announced to the American people that North Vietnamese regime had conducted further deliberate attacks against US. naval vessels operating in international waters, and that I had therefore directed air action against gunboats and supporting facilities used in these hostile operations. This air action has now been carried out with substantial damage to the boats and facilities. Two US. aircraft were lost in the action.

After consultation with the leaders of both parties in the Congress, I further announced a decision to ask the Congress for a resolution expressing the unity and determination of the United States in supporting freedom and in protecting peace in southeast Asia.

These latest actions of the North Vietnamese regime have given a new and grave turn to the already serious situation in southeast Asia. Our commitments in that area are well known to the Congress. They were first made in 1954 by President Eisenhower. They were further defined in the Southeast Asia Collective Defense Treaty approved by the Senate in February 1955.

This treaty with its accompanying protocol obligates the United States and other members to act in accordance with their constitutional processes to meet Communist aggression against any of the parties or protocol states.

Our policy in southeast Asia has been consistent and unchanged since 1954. I summarized it on June 2 in our simple propositions:

1. America keeps her word. Here as elsewhere, we must and shall honor our commitments.

2. The issue is the future of southeast Asia as a whole. A threat to any nation in that region is a threat to all, and a threat to us.

3. Our purpose is peace. We have no military, political, or territorial ambitions in the area.

4. This is not just a jungle war, but a struggle for freedom on every front of human activity. Our military and economic assistance to South Vietnam and Laos in particular has the purpose of helping these countries to repel aggression and strengthen their independence.

The threat to the free nations of southeast Asia has long been clear. The North Vietnamese regime has constantly sought to take over South Vietnam and Laos. This Communist regime has violated the Geneva accords for Vietnam. It has systematically conducted a campaign of subversion, which included the direction, training, and supply of personnel and arms for the conduct of guerrilla warfare in South Vietnamese territory. In Laos, the North Vietnamese regime has maintained military forces, used Laotian territory for infiltration into South Vietnam, and most recently carried out combat operations-all in direct violation of the Geneva agreements of 1962.

In recent months, the actions of the North Vietnamese regime have become steadily more threatening. In May, following new acts of Communist aggression in Laos, the United States undertook reconnaissance flights over Laotian territory, at the request of the Government of Laos. These flights had the essential mission of determining the situation in territory where Communist forces were preventing inspection by the International Control Commission. When the Communists attacked these aircraft, I responded by furnishing escort fighters with instructions to fire when fired upon. Thus, these latest North Vietnamese attacks on our naval vessels are not the first direct attack on armed forces of the United States.

As President of the United States I have concluded that I should now ask the Congress, on its part, to join in affirming the national determination that all such attacks will be met, and that the United States will continue in its basic policy of assisting the free nations of the area to defend their freedom.

As I have repeatedly made clear, the United States intends no rashness, and seeks no wider war. We must make it clear to all that the United States is united in its determination to bring about the end of Communist subversion and aggression in the area. We seek the full and effective restoration of the international agreements signed in Geneva in 1954, with respect to South Vietnam, and again in Geneva in 1962, with respect to Laos.

I recommend a resolution expressing the support of the Congress for all necessary action to protect our Armed Forces and to assist nations covered by the SEATO Treaty. At the same time, I assure the Congress that we shall continue readily to explore any avenues of political solution that will effectively guarantee the removal of Communist subversion and the preservation of the independence of the nations of the area.

The resolution could well be based upon similar resolutions enacted by the Congress in the past-to meet the threat to Formosa in 1955, to meet the threat to the Middle East in 1957, and to meet the threat in Cuba in 1962. It could state in the simplest terms the resolve and support of the Congress for action to deal appropriately with attacks against our Armed Forces and to defend freedom and preserve peace in southeast Asia in accordance with the obligations of the United States under the Southeast Asia Treaty. I urge the Congress to enact such a resolution promptly and thus to give convincing evidence to the aggressive Communist nations, and to the world as a whole, that our policy in southeast Asia will be carried forward--and that the peace and security of the area will be preserved.

The events of this week would in any event have made the passage of a congressional resolution essential. But there is an additional reason for doing so at a time when we are entering on 3 months of political campaigning. Hostile nations must understand that in such a period the United States will continue to protect its national interests, and that in these matters there is no division among us.


Joint Resolution of Congress: H.J. RES 1145 August 7, 1964


To promote the maintenance of international peace and security in southeast Asia.

Whereas naval units of the Communist regime in Vietnam, in violation of the principles of the Charter of the United Nations and of international law, have deliberately and repeatedly attacked United States naval vessels lawfully present in international waters and have thereby created a serious threat to international peace and

Whereas these attacks are part of a deliberate and systematic campaign of aggression that the Communist regime in North Vietnam has been waging against its neighbors and the nations joined with them in the collective defense of their freedom and Whereas the United States is assisting the peoples of southeast Asia to protect their freedom and has no territorial, military or political ambitions in that area, but desires only that these peoples should be left in peace to work out their own destinies in their own way: Now, therefore, be it

Resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled , That the Congress approves and supports the determination of the President, as Commander in Chief, to take all necessary measures to repel any armed attack against the forces of the United States and to prevent further aggression.

Sec. 2. The United States regards as vital to its national interest and to world peace the maintenance of international peace and security in southeast Asia. Consonant with the Constitution of the United States and the Charter of the United Nations and in accordance with its obligations under the Southeast Asia Collective Defense Treaty, the United States is, therefore, prepared, as the President determines, to take all necessary steps, including the use of armed force, to assist any member or protocol state of the Southeast Asia Collective Treaty requesting assistance in defense of its freedom.

Sec. 3. This resolution shall expire when the President shall determine that the peace and security of the area is reasonably assured by international conditions created by action of the United Nations or otherwise, except that it may be terminated earlier by concurrent resolution of the Congress.


Here is how to go from grunt to security contractor

Posted On April 02, 2018 09:39:09

There are many military specialties that translate into thriving careers in the civilian sector. These are usually POG jobs—personnel other than grunts in military speak—like engineering, communications, and any other skills outside of the trigger pulling.

While there’s a future in police work after the military, there is also an opportunity in private security contracting (PSC), usually a more lucrative one. The latest example of PSCs in action are the real heroes from Benghazi, who’s story is based on in 󈫽 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi” These military veterans turned private contractors were hired to protect CIA agents. Here’s how you too can join their ranks:

1. First, don’t let anyone tell you that being in the infantry doesn’t translate to a career in the civilian world.

Image: ACADEMI

2. If you like kicking down doors and blowing stuff up, private security contractors are looking for you!

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These firms are also knowns as private military contractors (PMCs).

3. Some firms do not require that you have prior military service …

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4. … but it definitely helps.

U.S. Army photo by Capt. Charlie Emmons

5. ACADEMI, one of the leading private military contractors, claims that more than eighty percent of all its employees are former military or law enforcement.

ACADEMI operators training. (Image: ACADEMI)

ACADEMI, formerly known as “Blackwater,” was founded by former Navy SEAL Erik Prince in 1997. Prince is famous for explaining his firm’s purpose by stating: “We are trying to do for the national security apparatus what FedEx did for the Postal Service”.

6. The most lucrative contractor jobs typically go to those with former special operations backgrounds such as Special Forces and Navy SEAL troops.

Photo: Wiki Commons

7. Like in the military, these are tier 1 operators.

John Krasinski plays Jack Silva in 13 Hours. Image: 13 Hours, Paramount

Jack Silva was a former Navy SEAL turned Global Response Service (GRS) operator in 13 Hours.

8. But good news, there’s a growing need for operators with infantry and combat arms experience.

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9. Training companies also exist for those who want to be contractors but didn’t serve in the military.

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11. Counter kidnapping …

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12. Tactical driving …

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13. … and being a bodyguard.

Heavily-armed bodyguards from SEAL Team Six provide close protection for Afghan President Hamid Karzai. Image: Wikimedia

14. But many contractors are tasked with defending compounds or military installations.

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. . . like the CIA outpost in Benghazi.

15. The job sometimes requires deployments that last for months in dangerous areas around the world …

Image: Adademi Training Center

16. … but there’s also need for contractors to guard federal installations in the U.S. like nuclear storage sites and important infrastructure.

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Articles

Gulf of Tonkin Resolution - HISTORY

Gulf of Tonkin Resolution
Digital History ID 3639

Author: U.S. Congress
Date:1964

Annotation: The Gulf of Tonkin Resolution gave the president the power to protect the armed forces of the United States and its allies without a formal declaration of war. Prior to the agreement of this resolution, the United States had witnessed two unprovoked attacks by the North Vietnamese.


Document: Joint Resolution of Congress Resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,

That the Congress approves and supports the determination of the President, as Commander in Chief, to take all necessary measures to repel any armed attack against the forces of the United States and to prevent further aggression.

Section 2. The United States regards as vital to its national interest and to world peace the maintenance of international peace and security in southeast Asia. Consonant with the Constitution of the United States and the Charter of the United Nations and in accordance with its obligations under the Southeast Asia Collective Defense Treaty, the United States is, therefore, prepared, as the President determines, to take all necessary steps, including the use of armed force, to assist any member or protocol state of the Southeast Asia Collective Defense Treaty requesting assistance in defense of its freedom.

Section 3. This resolution shall expire when the President shall determine that the peace and security of the area is reasonably assured by international conditions created by action of the United Nations or otherwise, except that it may be terminated earlier by concurrent resolution of the Congress.


Gulf of Tonkin Incident

The Gulf of Tonkin Incident began on August 2, 1964, when an American ship, the USS Maddox, was performing a radar sweep of the North Vietnamese coast. The destroyer was attacked by North Vietnamese torpedo patrol boats* and the nearby USS Ticonderoga carrier quickly sent out aircraft to help defend the Maddox. The U.S. planes were able to destroy one of the boats while severely damaging the others. Later that night, the ships detected swiftly approaching vessels and fired into the night sky. After President Lyndon B. Johnson was apprised of the incident, he brought together a special session of Congress, and on August 4, an air strike was approved. The following day, strategic North Vietnamese targets were taken out, and on August 7, Congress passed the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution. The resolution gave the president authority to use any means necessary to resolve the situation in neighboring Vietnam. The first massive infusion of troops arrived in Vietnam in March of 1965 and the United States' involvement in Vietnam lasted until 1975.

*Some observers contend that the incident is not historically accurate.


The First Attack

Photograph taken from USS Maddox (DD-731) during her engagement with three North Vietnamese motor torpedo boats in the Gulf of Tonkin, 2 August 1964. The view shows all three of the boats speeding towards the Maddox.”By US Navy sailor aboard USS Maddox

On August 1st, USS Maddox on a covert electronic warfare support measures mission as part of the wider operation called DESOTO, that was intended to gather intelligence concerning North Vietnam. The ship was ordered to keep a safe distance of eight miles from the North Vietnamese shore. Aware of its presence in their territorial waters, the North Vietnamese launched a search party of three torpedo boats.

Intercepted communications indicated that the vessels intended to attack the Maddox, so the American ship began to retreat. On the second day, the patrol boats caught up with the USS Maddox who, in return, fired three warning shots. The Vietnamese responded with a full-scale attack. The attack occurred in waters claimed by the North Vietnam, but the US didn’t recognize this and saw the incident in the context of international waters.

The US aircraft carrier, USS Ticonderoga, which was stationed nearby, launched jets to assist Maddox after the attack had occurred. Maddox suffered only minor damage from a single 14.5 mm bullet from a P-4’s KPV heavy machine gun into her superstructure, even though two torpedoes were fired. After returning fire from its 127 mm guns, the Vietnamese boats started to retreat.

The jets from the Ticonderoga arrived 15 minutes after the warning shots were fired and chased the boats, claiming that they sunk one and heavily damaged the second. The third was reportedly undamaged. After the incident, the Vietnamese claimed differently ― one torpedo allegedly hit the ship, and one jet was shot down. The State Department denied these claims. After the incident, some inconsistencies were evident.

For instance, President Johnson insisted that the Vietnamese fired first, even though reports were filed in which it stated clearly that the Maddox fired warning shots first, which could have been interpreted as attack shots by the Vietnamese. There is also the question of territorial waters. Maddox, when confronted, was approaching Hòn Mê Island, three to four nautical miles (nm) (6-7 km) inside the 12 nautical miles (22 km 14 mi) limit claimed by North Vietnam.

This territorial limit was unrecognized by the United States. After the skirmish, President Johnson ordered Maddox together with USS Turner Joy to stage daylight runs into North Vietnamese waters, testing the 12 nautical miles (22 km 14 mi) limit and North Vietnamese resolve.

These runs into North Vietnamese territorial waters coincided with South Vietnamese coastal raids and were interpreted as coordinated operations by the North, which officially acknowledged the engagements of August 2nd, 1964.


The Pentagon Papers

“Pentagon Papers.” National Archives and Records Administration. National Archives and Records Administration, n.d. Web. 28 Apr. 2017.

Sheehan, Neil. The Pentagon papers as published by the New York Times. New York/Chicago: Quadrangle , 1971. Print.

Gravel . Pentagon papers: the Defense Department history of the United States decisionmaking on Vietnam. Boston: Beacon Press, 1972. Print.

Located in Part IV.c.2.b: Military Pressures Against North Vietnam, July- October 1964 in the Pentagon Papers you can find records and descriptions of the events that happened between July 1964 and October 1964. Of the events in this period were the Gulf of Tonkin incidents of August 2 nd and 4 th as well as the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution. However, before the Gulf of Tonkin incidents, OPLAN 34A was in place already. OPLAN 34A was a variety of anti-infiltration, sabotage, and psychological warfare measures. OPLAN 34A was carried out by South Vietnamese or hired personnel and supported by U.S. training and logistical efforts. On August 2 nd , reports that the USS Maddox was attacked by three DRV patrol boats using torpedoes and machine guns. Immediately taking action, the USS Maddox returned fire while air support from a nearby aircraft carrier was sent out. The USS Maddox reported that one DRV boat was destroyed on site while the other two boats retreated to safety after being damaged. As for the USS Maddox, she headed back to South Vietnamese waters and was then joined by the USS Turner Joy.

On August 3 rd , more 34A attacks were being carried out. Before the attacks, it was clear that the Seventh Fleet out in the Gulf of Tonkin would be clear from any 34A force. The Pentagon Paper mentioned that the USS Maddox and the Seventh Fleet might have never known that OPLAN 34A was in progress, but the idea was to stay far enough away that the NVN would not identify the fleet as GNV.

On August 4 th , the USS Maddox would report that is has been attacked once again, but this time by torpedo boats. It’s not clear whether or the Fleet intercepted communication by the North Vietnamese and found that there was going to be a second attack. Also, there is no specific question whether the second 34A raid on the night of Aug. 3 rd , or whether the air strikes on Aug. 1 st and 2 nd motivated the North Vietnamese to order a second attack on the destroyers. The study ties the attack with the 34A raid that took place on July 30 th , but also beliefs that NVN were taking aggression based on the embarrassment of the attacks on Aug. 2 nd where the USS Maddox was not hit once.

The Pentagon Papers are probably the best source of the Gulf of Tonkin as the study underlines almost everything that has happened. As military analyst Daniel Ellsberg started to oppose the war during his study, he wanted the papers to become public. In March 1971, Ellsberg secretly photocopied the report and gave the copy to The New York Times, which subsequently published a series of articles based on the findings. Needless to say, the federal government was not pleased, but the public got the word and could understand the war from the papers.


50 Years Ago Congress Gave the President a Blank Check for War

Leonard Steinhorn is a professor of communication and affiliate professor of history at American University, where he teaches politics, strategic communication, and courses on the presidency and recent American history. He is the author of the much discussed book on baby boomers, The Greater Generation: In Defense of the Baby Boom Legacy, and co-author of the critically acclaimed By the Color of Our Skin: The Illusion of Integration and The Reality of Race.

Walt Rostow showing LBJ a map of Khe Sanh in 1968

Fifty years ago, on August 10, 1964, President Lyndon Johnson signed what is known as the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution. It is a day that should live in infamy.

On that day, the President gave himself the power “to take all necessary steps, including the use of armed forces,” to fight the spread of communism in Southeast Asia and assist our ally in South Vietnam “in defense of its freedom.”

Or as former Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara put it decades later, it gave “complete authority to the president to take the nation to war.”

History has shown that the resolution was built on a foundation of misinformation, fabrication, and willful evasion of the truth. Contrary to what the President claimed, there was no unprovoked “act of aggression” against the American destroyers that were patrolling the Tonkin Gulf, and a second alleged incident never even took place.

But the Johnson administration was looking for a pretext to escalate the war. “We don’t know what happened,” National Security Adviser Walter W. Rostow told the president after Congress passed the resolution, “but it had the desired result.”

The Gulf of Tonkin Resolution may have had the desired result, but the war it unleashed didn’t.

By the time Lyndon Johnson left office more than four years later, we had amassed over half a million troops in Vietnam, lost nearly 37,000 soldiers, dropped more bomb tonnage than we had in all of World War II, released chemical weapons – Napalm and Agent Orange – throughout Southeast Asia, and burned thousands of South Vietnamese homes and villages to the ground.

Yet it was increasingly clear by then that we could not win the war.

Rather than stopping any dominoes from falling in Southeast Asia, the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution set in motion a series of dominoes in our own country that would profoundly alter our politics, economy, and culture for years to come.

Perhaps the most significant decision President Johnson made beyond using his newly authorized power to escalate the war was to hide the cost of the war and resist any tax increase to pay for it. Johnson feared that any congressional debate over funding the war would come at the expense of his Great Society program.

He wanted both guns and butter, but he worried that Congress would choose guns over butter. So once again he resorted to obfuscation and deception to get his way.

What resulted was a cascading series of economic consequences that would transform our nation and undermine the Great Society he so dearly wanted to protect.

To pay for the war without gutting his robust domestic agenda, Johnson resorted to deficit spending which fueled an already overheating economy that was now being asked to divert its productivity away from consumer goods and toward the war effort.

Consumer demand began to outstrip supply, and that let the inflation genie out of the bottle. Less than five years after the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution passed, inflation more than quadrupled.

Johnson couldn’t hide the rising cost of the war for long, and by 1968 he asked for a 10 percent tax surcharge on all but the poorest Americans. But it came at a cost: Congress demanded, and he had to accept, a 10 percent reduction in domestic discretionary spending. Barely three years after birthing the Great Society, he began to starve it to pay for the war. It never fully recovered.

To middle and working class Americans, the backbone of the New Deal coalition, the war’s economic impact was taking a toll. Though inflation meant pay raises once a year, prices for food and consumer goods were rising every month which then ate away at any increase in their wages.

Their standard of living began to stagnate. Nor were taxes indexed to inflation in those years, so every pay increase risked pushing them into a higher tax bracket, which took even more money from their pockets in addition to the tax surcharge they would have to pay.

These were largely Democratic voters who generally supported the president and the war – many had their own boys fighting in Vietnam – so if they were looking for blame they weren’t about to point the finger at a deceptive and misguided war policy.

Instead, they saw higher taxes, higher domestic spending, and lots of fanfare for a Great Society that didn’t seem to include them. They also saw domestic unrest and urban riots.

To them, they were hard-working Americans who played by the rules yet were now forced to tread water just to keep from falling behind while government seemed to be giving everything away to the poor. That domestic programs themselves were getting squeezed by the war was a detail that got lost in the heat of the moment.

Couple these growing resentments with the fact that it was their boys, not the children of the well-educated, who were being sent off to war. From their perspective, the liberal elites were taxing them to coddle the poor, yet when it came to defending our nation these same liberal elites sheltered their sons in colleges and universities.

Those seeking to understand the rise of Reagan Democrats and white working class Republican populists – and the corresponding demise of the New Deal majority – need look no further. The cultural and political divide that began in the Sixties was a direct result of the deceit that brought us the Vietnam War.

And what was then a still fragile liberal consensus that government could mitigate the hardships of poverty – a consensus that enabled passage of the Great Society legislation – began to erode.

That an administration could dissemble us into war would lead to another cultural and political repercussion of Vietnam: our growing and seemingly permanent distrust of government.

Trust in government peaked at 76 percent in 1964, not coincidentally the same year as the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution, and declined precipitously in the years thereafter, reaching what was then a low of 25 percent in 1980, according to the University of Michigan’s National Election Studies.

Not all of this decline is due to Vietnam, but a war built on the original sin of deception, fiction, and illusion deserves a good deal of the blame.

Almost daily, Americans were treated to an official version of the war that had us winning. The Johnson administration trumpeted body counts and bombing raids and assured us, in the famous words of General William Westmoreland, that there was “light at the end of the tunnel.”

But there was no light. The dark reality we saw every night on television contradicted what our leaders were telling us. We saw bloodied soldiers, troops burning villages, body bags, fear and despair and little of the triumphalism that was emanating from the Pentagon.

When the Vietcong launched their Tet Offensive in January 1968, striking at the U.S. Embassy and other key sites in the heart of Saigon, Americans had a hard time reconciling the official version with what they were witnessing.

Thus was born the credibility gap between the American government and its citizens.

And nowhere did it grow wider than among journalists, who were greeted with untruths during the daily military briefings in Vietnam – known as the Five O’clock Follies – and saw through such euphemisms as “pacification,” which in truth meant torching Vietnamese huts and shooting those who resisted, and “collateral damage,” which in reality meant civilian deaths.

Reflexive skepticism of government remains a defining characteristic of contemporary journalism.

Watergate, which calcified the credibility gap, also grew out of Vietnam when President Richard Nixon authorized his secretive White House Plumbers to retaliate against Daniel Ellsberg, whose leak of the Pentagon Papers laid bare the duplicity behind the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution and the U.S. prosecution of the war.

Years later Senator Wayne Morse of Oregon, one of two who voted against the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution, told Ellsberg that if members of Congress had seen the evidence from the Pentagon Papers in 1964, “the Tonkin Gulf Resolution would never have gotten out of committee, and if it had been brought to the floor, it would have been voted down.”

What Lyndon Johnson saw as a ploy to grant him war powers ended up harming so many and transforming our nation in ways the President surely never intended. It would end up engulfing the liberalism he so loved. The Gulf of Tonkin Resolution and the hubris behind it were the linchpins of Johnson’s Shakespearean Vietnam tragedy – and ours as well.


The Gulf of Tonkin Resolution

During the Kennedy administration, the US became minimally involved in a civil war in Vietnam, sending military advisors to assist the South Vietnamese in countering efforts, supported by North Vietnam, to unify Vietnam under a communist government.

Unlike the event that triggered large-scale military involvement in Korea—the invasion of the south from the northern part of a divided country—the episode that triggered a gradually escalating US military involvement in Viet Nam could be described as an isolated attack. North Vietnamese torpedo boats attacked the US Destroyer Maddox, on August 2, 1964 in the Gulf of Tonkin off North Vietnam. Attacks reported to have taken place on the Maddox and another Destroyer, the Turner Joy, on August 4 appear not to have taken place, although this was not known for certain at the time.

President Johnson announced the attacks in a television address to the American people on the night of August 4. The next day he sent Congress a request for “a resolution expressing the unity and determination of the United States in supporting freedom and in protecting peace in Southeast Asia.”

Congress passed a resolution on August 10, now known as the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution, stating that the United States was prepared to use “all necessary steps, including the use of armed force,” as the President determined, to defend states in southeast Asia asking for assistance.

In the light of more recent history of US military intervention overseas, the last paragraph of this message makes interesting reading:

The events of this week would in any event have made the passage of a congressional resolution essential. But there is an additional reason for doing so at a time when we are entering on 3 months of political campaigning. Hostile nations must understand that in such a period the United States will continue to protect its national interests, and that in these matters there is no division among us.