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NEWS: JFK, aides weighed use of nuclear arms against China in '63

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posted on Aug, 27 2005 @ 04:31 PM
Newly released tapes indicate that President John F. Kennedy considered the use of nuclear weapons with china in May of 1963. The discussion centered around the possibility that China would invade India a second time. In the scratchy tape, Kennedy and his advisors can be heard discussing how to prevent a communist takeover of India. Robert McNamara, the defense secretary, is heard to say "Before any substantial commitment to defend India against China is given, we should recognize that in order to carry out that commitment against any substantial Chinese attack, we would have to use nuclear weapons."
MUMBAI, INDIA - In May 1963, President John F. Kennedy and his aides discussed the feasibility of using nuclear weapons in the event China attacked India for a second time, according to newly declassified recordings released Thursday by the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum in Boston.

Over the crackle of the decades-old tapes, Kennedy and his advisers can be heard discussing how to prevent India from becoming, in the popular idiom of the day, another domino to fall to Communism.

Robert McNamara, Kennedy's defense secretary, is heard to say: "Before any substantial commitment to defend India against China is given, we should recognize that in order to carry out that commitment against any substantial Chinese attack, we would have to use nuclear weapons.

Please visit the link provided for the complete story.

Given the focus on terrorism and the demise of the Soviet Union, people seem to forgotten how tense the cold war was. I do not believe that this was an idle intellectual exercise either. Kennedy is overheard to say "We should defend India, and therefore we will defend India". I have no doubt that he would have done so. During the time India was seen as a natural counter to growing Chinese influence. Fast forward to today. Yet another example where history repeats itself.

posted on Aug, 27 2005 @ 06:09 PM
Didnt they recently sign unprecedented trade agreements?

Any how, this is an interesting story. JFK knew the score with nuclear weapons, it seems McNamara did not. The use of nuclear weapons was pretty much the last resort and to use them against the Chinese would of been quite literally over kill.

People tend to forget that India has always been quite a powerful military force. Their troops have seen more combat through the likes of the United Nations than any other country. They could of fought against the Chinese without the United States lobbing a few nuclear missiles into the fray. If the Americans wanted to help the Chinese they could of helped in many other conventional ways and not drag the USSR into it.

Afterall, did Vietnam result in a nuclear war? The United States didnt use nukes because they knew what the Soviet response would be; they would of replied in kind to help their allies.

Its all theorhetical and speculative now but I think MacNamara was merely floating an opinion. I seriously doubt they gave it any more than a passing consideration, if that.

[edit on 27/8/05 by subz]

posted on Aug, 27 2005 @ 06:16 PM
Trade is one thing. We do alot of trade with China ourselves as evidenced by the huge deficit. But I was thinking more along the lines of a military counterbalance.

I do not think Mac the Knifes comments were bluff or conjecture. They were willing to risk nuclear conflict over missiles in Cuba and the "Domino Theory" influenced alot of thinking during the time. I think it was a simple matter of fact that they would rather pop off a few nukes than risk so many men as stated in the article.

What I want to know is who voted that this story was not right for ATS :shk:

posted on Aug, 27 2005 @ 09:32 PM
Not I, I think this falls into the category of that history you should know, so you are not doomed to repeat it. This is the sort of thing that still influences the thinking of today......

McNamara was still around during LBJ's administration.....any idea if they also thought about this?? Wonder if McNamara gives any hint of this in his later writings? Anyone read his book(s)?

posted on Aug, 27 2005 @ 09:37 PM
From the article above

McNamara said in a telephone interview on Thursday that he could not remember the conversation, "but it is probably correct."

Did LBJ discuss the use of nuclear weapons in say Vietnam? My guess is that at every conflict the possibility of a nuclear exchange was discussed.

posted on Aug, 28 2005 @ 12:25 PM
After reading all this some questions came to mind: Did China know of the United States' willingness to defend India, possibly with nuclear weapons? And if so, was this the main reason (or a significant one) that led China to refrain from invading India for the second time?

Sadly, because of the secrecy inside the Chinese Communist government, we may never know. Until such a time comes where their government collapses and makes way for a free one, or until someone involved in Chinese government discussions at the time comes forward, we may never truly know what was going through the collective minds of the Chinese government and military officials at the time.

posted on Aug, 29 2005 @ 08:23 AM
People should also not forget that the military nuclear technology was not so good in early 60ties as today. And the Chinese one was especially not good, they had few nukes and no hydrogen bombs or ICBMS in early 60ties (I think). So the US should be capable to win nuclear war with China easily (if USSR ws not involved). And remember that Mao was not Russian friend at that time so maybe they would not intervene, in fact in later 60ties the Russsian conisdered the Chinese the same threat as US.


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