National Archives and Presidential Libraries to Host Historic Two-Day Conference on Vietnam and the Presidency
Press Release · Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Kissinger, Haig, Sorensen, Rather, Halberstam Among Participants

Susan Cooper (National Archives): 202-357-5300
Brent Carney (Kennedy Presidential Library): 617-514-1662

On March 10 and 11, 2006, the National Archives and the nation’s Presidential Libraries will host an unprecedented two-day conference examining the history of the Vietnam War and the American presidency. The conference, which is free and open to the public, will be held at the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum in Boston.

"Vietnam and the Presidency" is the first national conference sponsored by all the Presidential Libraries – from Hoover to Clinton – and the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA). Leading historians, key policymakers of the era, and journalists who covered the war will examine the antecedents of the war, presidential decision-making, media coverage, public opinion, lessons learned and the influence of the Vietnam experience on subsequent U.S. foreign policy.

Among those participating in the historic two-day conference will be General Alexander Haig; Secretary of State Henry Kissinger; Special Counsel to President Kennedy Theodore Sorensen; Special Assistant to President Johnson Jack Valenti; Senator Chuck Hagel; New York Times columnist Bob Herbert; Ambassador Pete Peterson; professors George Herring, Robert D. Schulzinger, and Marilyn Young; journalists Steve Bell and Dan Rather; Pulitzer Prize-winning authors David Halberstam and Frances Fitzgerald; and historians Michael Beschloss, David Kaiser and Jeffrey Kimball. Former President Jimmy Carter will speak via video and NBC Nightly News anchorman Brian Williams will moderate all of the second day’s sessions.

The Vietnam War was the longest and most controversial war that the United States ever fought. It claimed the lives of more than 58,000 Americans and over three million Vietnamese. From the arrival of the first U.S. military advisors in the 1950s to the fall of Saigon on April 30, 1975, U.S. involvement in Vietnam was central to the Cold War foreign policies of Presidents Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson, Nixon and Ford. The war has continued to affect the policies of subsequent presidents and its legacy is particularly relevant today during America’s war on terror.

"It is our hope and expectation that this conference will reveal a wealth of new information on the history of the Vietnam War and its impact on the office of the President," said Archivist of the United States Allen Weinstein. "As keepers of the nation’s official history, the National Archives and the Presidential Libraries are uniquely positioned to provide a forum for examining the effect of the war in Vietnam on our nation, and its citizens."

Reservations for "Vietnam and the Presidency" are required and may be made by calling (617) 514-1642 or by writing the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum, Columbia Point, Boston, Massachusetts, 02125, Attn: "Vietnam and the Presidency." The program is subject to change due to speakers’ schedules. For more information, and an updated schedule of the conference, access the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum’s Web site at

"Vietnam and the Presidency" is sponsored by the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA); Herbert Hoover Presidential Library and Museum; Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt Institute; Harry S. Truman Library Institute; Eisenhower Foundation; John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum; John F. Kennedy Library Foundation; Lyndon Baines Johnson Library and Museum; Richard Nixon Library and Birthplace; Gerald R. Ford Foundation; Jimmy Carter Library and Museum; Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation; George Bush Presidential Library Foundation; William J. Clinton Presidential Library and Museum; and the Foundation for the National Archives.



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