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It is time for the United States to "react in a spirit which seeks to heal the wounds of war" in East Asia, former Senate Majority Leader Mike Mansfield (D-Mont.) told approximately 200 people in Longfellow Hall last night.
A member of the presidential delegation sent to Vietnam to search for American soldiers missing in action, Mansfield said the United States should accept the reality of Vietnam's existence by normalizing diplomatic relations with that country.
Mansfield said the United States should maintain friendly ties with East Asia, lessen tensions in the area to prevent conflict, and prevent any one power from dominating East Asia.
Citing specific cases, he said the United States should withdraw its remaining forces from Taiwan and remove pressure from Japan to expand its military power because expansion "would unsettle all of Asia."
"Korea is the time bomb which must be diffused" because friction between North and South Korea would directly involve American troops, he said, adding that increased contact between the two countries would "break the impasse."
Mansfield's speech was the first in a series being sponsored by the Kennedy School of Government.
Mansfield concluded his remarks by commenting on past domestic affairs. He described Watergate as "an attempt by the administration to put itself above the law" and praised Congress for challenging the executive branch and ordering investigations.
He added the democratic system in America has not only "endured, it has been strengthened."
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