Senator Mark O. Hatfield (R-Ore.) said last night that America is in the grip of "the subtle tyranny of no alternatives" and that Republicans can win the presidency in 1968 only if they offer "a choice, not an echo" on Vietnam.
Hatfield drew two standing ovations from a Lowell Lecture Hall crowd of 300, about half of whom were Harvard Republican Club members. The club presented him its "Republican Man of the Year" award for 1966 before his speech because of his "responsible dissent" from administration Vietnam policy.
The alternative Hatfield offered last night was "de-Americanization" of the war through greater involvement of Asian allies. He suggested setting up a timetable to gradually replace American troops with Asian troops.
He said the U.S. should limit its role to helping Asians train their troops, set up an Asian summit conference, and create a viable regional economy. "We must help them achieve an Asian solution for Asian problems," he added.
America became involved in Vietnam, Hatfield charged, because the administration has duped the people by consistently misrepresenting the situation. He devoted much of his time to pointing out contradictions in administration policy.
Hatfield said before his speech that his closer contact with the Vietnam situation since becoming Senator in January had merely strengthened his opposition. He said his briefings with Rusk had been like listening to a record.
When he was through giving his stand, a student asked Hatfield, "why are you a Republican?" "My family was -- I was born that way," he remarked. In a more serious vein, he said he felt Republicans, overall, had less trouble with their conservatives than the Democrats. "Sure, we've got our turkeys, too," he added.