Transcript for April 18, 1969: US reconnaissance plane shot down by North Korea
And car for just 88 days the president now faces a most serious crisis. In the shooting down of an American naval reconnaissance flying with 31 aboard over the Sea of Japan might do North Korean made us. Until now the president has been silent about this since it. But in the presidential campaign last year he was sharply critical of the Johnson's administration. Failure to do more he's a C undermining. The president of the United States. What should be seated please. To garner. All of our alliances where do we go from here with the in. What further action my two played diplomatically we'll. Car Mayer first I think code word with regard to. The facts in this case. As was pointed out in the protest that was filed at penmen John yesterday and also on the Defense Department statement. The plane involved was an unarmed constellation. Propeller driven. The admission was a reconnaissance mission. Which at no time took the plane closer to the shores of North Korea opened forty miles. And at the time the plane was shot down all the evidence that we have indicates. There was shot down approximately ninety miles. From the shores of North Korea while it was. Moving outward aborting the mission and orders it had been receipt. We knew this based on our radar. What has also even more important the north Koreans know it based on their radar. Therefore this attack was unprovoked. It was deliberate it was without morning. The protest has been filed. The north Koreans have not responded. Now word with regard to why we have such missions in the Sea of Japan. As you ladies and gentlemen are aware there 56000. American troops stationed in South Korea. Those have to 6000 men are the responsibility. The president of the United States is commander in chief. In recent weeks and months in fact going back over the last two or three years but particularly in recent weeks and months. A North Korea has threatened military action against South Korea and against our forces. In South Korea. The number of incidents has increased. It is responsibility. Of the commander in chief to protect the security of those men. That is why going back over twenty years. And throughout the period of this administration. Being contained. We have had a policy. Reconnaissance flights in the Sea of Japan similar to this flight. This year we have had already. A 190 these flights without incident without threat without warning at all. Now the question is. What do we do about these flights in the future they were discontinued immediately after this incident occurred. I have today ordered that these flights be continue. They will be protected. This is not a threat it is simply a statement of fact. As the commander in chief our armed forces I cannot and will not ask our men to serve in Korea. And I cannot and will not ask. Our men to take flights like they've sent on arm planes without providing protection that will be the case. Looking to the future. As far as what we do will depend upon the circumstances. It would depend upon what. Is done with rate as far as North Korea is concerned its reaction to the protest. And also any other developments that occurred. As we continue these flights.
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