Lewiston Daily Sun, Jan 18, 1968
DANANG--After many months of vacillation, Gov. George Romney of Michigan finally has come out with a definite plan for peace in Southeast Asia. His proposal reflects his idealism, confirms his desire for peace, but unfortunately ignores the realities of the situation facing the United States and the world.
Gov. Romney chose a Keene, N.H. audience as the first to learn the details of the policy he said he would follow if elected President. He has been campaigning in New Hampshire as the only announced candidate for the Republican nomination, and plans to return in another week for another round of vote-seeking efforts.
The Romney peace plan calls for "guaranteed neutralization" of North and South Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia, to keep out of the cold war and "liberated from the destructive presence of so-called wars of national liberation." The plan would include "a removal of foreign military troops or bases in the area and there would be no alliances by nations in the area with outside blocs, either eastern or western. The principal of self-determination would sway internally. The nations concerned would be free to pursue and should be assisted in achieving economic development cooperatively on a regional basis."
The Romney goal is desirable and attainable from the American viewpoint. But it is contrary to the Communist aims and purposes. The neutralization of Southeast Asia only could become real if Red China and Russia were willing to give up the objective of Communist conquest. The "wars of national liberation" only form the current means of Communist penetration and take-over.
Removal of foreign military troops or bases would bring American servicemen home, while Communist troops remained behind to force the people into submisiion. The unhappy experience of Laos gives ample evidence of the Communist tactics.
Gov. Romney strongly was critical of President Johnson's policy and his failure to find the path to peace. But the course he proposes would, in the long run, amount to American withdrawal and Communist success. He will need a more realistic policy if he is to win the support of the American people.