TONKIN GULF RESOLUTION, AUGUST 7, 1964
On August 2, 1964, US destroyer Maddox of the US Seventh Fleet was attacked in the Gulf of Tonkin, located off the coast of North Vietnam. President Lyndon B. Johnson claimed this attack was unprovoked, an allegation that has been in question for quite some time. Information supporting that secret South Vietnamese naval raids against North Vietnam were approved by Johnson suggests otherwise. Two days later, on August 4, Johnson announced that there had been another attack on Maddox and a second US destroyer from the same fleet, the C. Turner Joy. The claim of this second attack was more controversial, as it was doubted by some at the time, and has yet to be confirmed. Johnson retaliated by authorizing airstrikes against North Vietnam almost immediately. On August 5, Johnson proposed a resolution to the US Congress. This resolution would allow him to take “all necessary measures to repel any armed attack against the forces of the United States and to prevent further aggression.” The Tonkin Gulf Resolution was passed by both houses of Congress on August 7. The vote was unanimous in the House of Representatives, with a total of 414 votes, while the Senate won with 88 votes to 2. The only two senators that did not vote in favor of the resolution were Wayne Morse of Oregon and Ernest Gruening of Alaska. In the years following its establishment, the Tonkin Gulf Resolution was being used as clearance to expand American involvement in the Vietnam War. The American public became increasingly displeased with partaking in the war, as its causes were growing obscure. When President Richard Nixon made the decision to invade Cambodia, it stirred much controversy. Many American citizens did not feel like the US had any reason to be in Cambodia, and as a result, the Tonkin Gulf Resolution was terminated on December 31, 1970.