President Nixon enjoys a lighter moment before addressing the nation on the evening of June 3, 1970.
On the evening of June 3, 1970, President Nixon told the nation in a televised address that the Cambodian sanctuary operation launched one month ago had been successful. In a joint operation manned dominantly by American-trained South Vietnamese military personnel, both American and South Vietnamese troops cleared all of President Nixon’s objectives laid out in his April 30, 1970 address to the nation.
Watch the United States Information Agency film explaining the American incursion into Cambodia, which includes segments from President Nixon’s June 3, 1970 Cambodia Speech and his ensuing press conference:
The President reiterated the necessity of a Cambodian incursion, citing a series of concerted attacks on behalf of the North Vietnamese between April 20th and April 30th with the intent to link together bases they had maintained in neutral Cambodia. President Nixon continued:
The entire 600-mile Cambodian-South Vietnam border would then have become one continuous hostile territory from which to launch assaults upon American and allied forces.
This posed an unacceptable threat to our remaining forces in South Vietnam. It would have meant higher casualties. It would have jeopardized our program for troop withdrawals. It would have meant a longer war. And–carried out in the face of an explicit warning from this Government–failure to deal with the enemy action would have eroded the credibility of the United States before the entire world.
Staunch in his decision to enter Cambodian territory to weed out these hostile North Vietnamese communist bases, President Nixon presented to the American people tangible evidence of the operation’s success:
As of today I can report that all of our major military objectives have been achieved. Forty-three thousand South Vietnamese took part in these operations, along with 31,000 Americans. Our combined forces have moved with greater speed and success than we had planned; we have captured and destroyed far more in war material than we anticipated; and American and allied casualties have been far lower than we expected.
In the month of May, in Cambodia alone, we captured a total amount of enemy arms, equipment, ammunition. and food nearly equal to what we captured in all of Vietnam in all of last year.
Here is some film of the war material that has been captured.
[at this point, Department of Defense films were shown while the President continued speaking.]
This is some ammunition you see. We have captured more than 10 million rounds of ammunition. That is equal to the enemy’s expenditures of ammunition for 9 months.
And here also you see a few of the over 15,000 rifles and machine guns and other weapons we have captured. They will never be used against American boys in Vietnam.
With the quick-strike success of the Cambodian sanctuary operation and the proper post-op withdrawal of American and South Vietnamese troops from Cambodian territory, achieving peace with honor appeared closer to fruition.
“Peace is the goal that unites us. Peace is the goal toward which we are working. And peace is the goal this Government will pursue until the day that we reach it.”