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Uploaded on Dec 31, 2009
President John F. Kennedy State Department Auditorium Washington, D.C. April 24, 1963
QUESTION: Mr. President, with Laos boiling up, could you assess for us the relative threats posed to the United States by the Soviet Union and Red China?
THE PRESIDENT: No, I think it would be a mistake to attempt to make that assessment on this occasion. We have difficult problems in Southeast Asia. They directly involve, of course, the Soviet Union, as the Soviet Union is the Co-Chairman, and is also as I have already said a signatory to the Geneva Accord. It has assumed in the past a special responsibility for the maintenance of a neutral and independent Laos, in the Vienna statement which the Chairman and I made in June of 1961, committing ourselves to that result. We have also been conscious of the threat to the security of independent countries of Asia and Southeast Asia, which has been made quite clear by the Chinese, so I would say that we have serious problems with them both. We would hope that the Soviet Union would make an effort to fulfill its commitments under the Geneva Accord as the United States is attempting to do.