Gulf of Tonkin Resolution 73 Stat. 384 (1964) 84 Stat. 2053 (1971) (Repeal)
GULF OF TONKIN RESOLUTION 73 Stat. 384 (1964) 84 Stat. 2053 (1971) (repeal)
One criticism of American participation in the vietnam war was based on the Constitution: half a million troops had been committed to combat without a declaration of war by Congress. In 1964 President lyndon b. johnson reported that North Vietnamese boats had attacked United States naval vessels in the Gulf of Tonkin. Accepting the truth of these reports, Congress adopted a resolution supporting the President in "taking all necessary measures to repel any armed attack against the forces of the United States and to prevent further aggression." The resolution further approved the use of armed force to defend other nations that had signed the Southeast Asia treaty. Massive escalation of the American involvement in South Vietnam soon followed; the President cited this resolution and successive appropriations measures as evidence of congressional ratification of his actions.
In 1971 Congress repealed the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution. President richard m. nixon did not oppose the repeal; he asserted that his power as commander-in-chief of the armed forces authorized continuation of American participation. After the American troops were withdrawn in 1973, Congress reasserted its authority, adopting the war powers resolution over Nixon's veto.
Kenneth L. Karst