Letter from Philip Berrigan to Walt Whitman Rostow, April 22, 1967.
|Cornell University Library
|Date of Digitization:
|Daniel and Philip Berrigan Collection at the Division of Rare and Manuscript Collections, Cornell University Library
|Berrigan, Philip, 1923-2002
22 April 1967
Mr. Walt Whitman Rostow
Special Assistant to the President
3414 Lowell St. N.W.
Dear Mr. Rostow:
The clergy and laity of the Baltimore & Washington Interfaith Peace Mission are
protesting at your home for some of the following reasons:
We believe the Vietnam war to be an enormous moral, political and economic dis-
aster to both Vietnamese and Americans, and a criminal threat to world peace.
We hold America largely responsible for this critical situation, believing as we
do that economic and military power must be matched by moral responsibility.
We agree with U Thant that Vietnam's survival is now at stake, and with other
critics who now accuse America of incipient genocide.
We fail to see how the Vietnamese can be crushed without recourse to nuclear arms
nor how we can assure a 'win' while avoiding World War III.
We recall your Ft. Bragg lectures, and your exposition of ruthless power dip-
lomacy, and we see no indication that you believe better or differently.
We notice the war escalating inexorably into greater disaster- every escalation
preceded by familiar and dishonest peace moves.
We see the honor of our country shamed and besmirched, and we say that America's
disgrace hangs upon the ambition of a few men, and the profits of more.
We are aware of no signs that this madness is being evaluated and checked by
policy makers like yourself, or that you intend anything in Vietnam but a peace
forced by American might.
There is still time for dissent, and that is why we are here. There may be less
time for reason and justice. Indeed, we court no special hope about the efficacy
of protest, or that foreign policy must adjust to our opposition or that of
millions like us. We do not even hope to meet with you as friends and equals,
since you will probably judge that your time can be better spent. But we still
speak as religious men, as Americans, as humanitarians. And perhaps you cannot
entirely discount us.
Gratefully in the Lord,
Rev. Philip Berrigan, SSJ
For the Baltimore Washington
Interfaith Peace Mission