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Vietnam Victory Out, Hart Says

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WASHINGTON- A purely military U.S. victory in Vietnam is not possible, according to Sen. Philip A. Hart, D-Mich. Hart, who toured several Far East nations on a fact-finding trip for the Senate Commerce Committee, returned with a pessimistic view of conditions in South Vietnam. In Hart's opinion, the Mideast crisis has greatly reduced chances for an early peace settlement in Vietnam. He said that Russian influence in Hanoi had provided most of the pressure for a peaceful settlement, while Chinese advice to the North Vietnamese had been hawkish. "The Russian voice is now muted in Hanoi," Hart said, "because of their apparent abandonment of the Arab states when the chips were down." Sen. Hart also takes a dim view of hopes that South Vietnam can be unified under a modern, honest government "The revolutionary development program is making some progress," he said, "but corruption and political infighting continue in the government, and there is a great lack of leadership." He added that it is unlikely that the South Vietnam elections in September will help the situation. The United States never should have become involved in Vietnam, Hart said. But he believes that the United States should not now pull out. "At least 200,000 South Vietnamese would be slaughtered if we pulled out without setting conditions for their protection," Hart said. The Michigan senator said he went to South Vietnam with some doubts that the United States is doing all it can to obtain peace. But he now has changed his mind. On the question of whether the United States should stop bombing North Vietnam in an effort to begin peace negotiations, Hart said: "I just don't know and I realize that I will get my ears boxed for saying that, because politicians are never supposed to admit that they don't know something."