From “What Did Eisenhower Tell Kennedy about Indochina? The Politics of Misperception,” Fred I. Greenstein; Richard H. Immerman, The Journal of American History, Vol. 79, No. 2. (Sep., 1992), pp. 568-587.
The Truth About Indochina Senator John Kennedy April 6, 1954 Mr. President, the time has come for the American people to be told the blunt truth about Indochina. I am reluctant to make any statement which may be misinterpreted as unappreciative of the gallant French struggle at Dien Bien Phu and elsewhere; or as partisan criticism of our Secretary of State just prior to his participation in the delicate deliberations in Geneva. Nor, as one who is not a member of those committees of the Congress which have been briefed -- if not consulted -- on this matter, do I wish to appear impetuous or alarmist in my evaluation of the situation. But to pour money, material, and men into the jungles of Indochina without at least a remote prospect of victory would be dangerously futile and self-destructive…. Despite this series of optimistic reports about eventual victory, every member of the Senate knows that such victory today appears to be desperately remote, to say the least, despite tremendous amounts of economic and materiel aid from the United States, and despite a deplorable loss of French Union manpower… I am frankly of the belief that no amount of American military assistance in Indochina can conquer an enemy which is everywhere and at the same time nowhere, "an enemy of the people" which has the sympathy and covert support of the people…. It is time, therefore, for us to face the stark reality of the difficult situation before us without the false hopes which predictions of military victory and assurances of complete independence have given us in the past…. If the French persist in their refusal to grant the legitimate independence and freedom desired by the peoples of the Associated States; and if those peoples and the other peoples of Asia remain aloof from the conflict, as they have in the past, then it is my hope that Secretary Dulles, before pledging our assistance at Geneva, will recognize the futility of channeling American men and machines into that hopeless internecine struggle.
Robert Strange McNamara, Secretary of Defense Born, 1918, San Francisco B.A., Univ. of California, Berkeley, 1937 Sophomore PBK, varsity crew MBA, Harvard University, 1939 Assistant Prof., Harvard Business School, 1940: highest paid and youngest (24!) Assistant Professor at the time US Army Air Force, 1943-46, Lt. Colonel; served in Washington Joined Ford Motor Co. in 1946; in Nov. 1960 became first president of Ford from outside the family Jan. 1961, Becomes Secretary of Defense; served until late 1967
McGeorge Bundy Special Assistant for National Security Affairs Born 1919, Boston B.A., Yale, 1940, member Skull & Bones U.S. Army, 1941-46; 1946-48, helped former Sec. of War Stimson write memoirs Appointed Lecturer, Dept. of Government, Harvard University, 1949 ”without ever have taken any course in political science”* Received tenure, 1951; became chair of Govt department in 1953; Dean of Faculty of Arts and Sciences later that same year Appointed National Security Advisor in 1961; Served until 1966. Born 1919, Boston B.A., Yale, 1940, member Skull & Bones U.S. Army, 1941-46; 1946-48, helped former Sec. of War Stimson write memoirs Appointed Lecturer, Dept. of Government, Harvard University, 1949 ”without ever have taken any course in political science”* Received tenure, 1951; became chair of Govt department in 1953; Dean of Faculty of Arts and Sciences later that same year Appointed National Security Advisor in 1961; Served until 1966.
Dean Rusk, Secretary of State Born in Cherokee County, Georgia, 1919 B. A. Davidson College, 1931 Rhodes Scholar, 1931-33 Taught at Mills College, 1934-1940 Law Degree, UC Berkeley, 1940 US Army, 1940-45; served in Burma; achieved rank of Colonel US Dept of State, 1945-52 President, Rockefeller Foundation, 1952- 60 Secretary of State, 1961-69; second longest serving Secretary of State
OTHER B&B BOYS ON JFK’S TEAM Robert F. Kennedy - Attorney General and…. B.A. Harvard. 1948. Football team. Law degree, the University of Virginia School of Law, 1951, started his career working for Senator Joseph McCarthy; then Senate Labor Rackets Committee; managed JFK’s senate and presidential campaigns. Nicholas Katzenbach -Deputy Attorney General Phillips Exeter Academy B.A. cum laude from Princeton University in 1945 LL.B. cum laude from Yale Law School in 1947 Rhodes Scholar 1947-1949. Professor at Yale and University of Chicago Law Schools Walt Whitman Rostow -Deputy National Security Advisor B.A., Yale University, 1935, graduating at age 19 Rhodes Scholar, 1936-38; Ph.D., Economics, Yale 1940 in OSS during WWII; rank of major Taught economics at Columbia and MIT (1950-1961) General Maxwell Taylor; Prof. John Kenneth Galbraith (Harvard); Prof. Roger Hilsman (Columbia); Prof. Samuel Huntington (Harvard)