New York Times -- 10/18/1965
JOHNSON DECRIES DRAFT PROTESTS; PRESSES INQUIRY
He Fears Enemy will Doubt Nation's Resolve and Fight Harder, Prolonging War
CONGRESS ALSO CRITICAL
Mansfield Asserts Marchers Are Irresponsible and Hurt Vietnam Peace Efforts
Led by President Johnson, official Washington erupted today with criticism of the nationwide demonstrations last weekend against the war in Vietnam.
Bill D. Moyers, White House press secretary, told newsman . . . that the President was dismayed by the demonstrations and had given his full endorsement to the Justice Department's investigation of possible Communist infiltration of the antidraft movement.
On Capital Hill, leaders of the Senate were even more outspoken in their denunciation of the demonstrators. The Senate majority leader, Mike Mansfield of Montana, said that some of their actions reflected a "sense of utter irresponsibility." He said that the net effect would be to "undermine the President" in his effort to end the war in Vietnam. . . .
Mr Johnson is disturbed by preliminary reports of Communist infiltration of the peace movement. He is concerned, Mr. Moyers said, "that even well-meaning demonstrators can become the victims of Communist aggression."
The issue of Communist infiltration was raised yesterday in Chicago by Attorney General Nicholas deB Katzenbach. . . .
Mr Moyers said that the Justice Department's investigation had been initiated over the weekend by the Attorney General, not the President. . . .
"I am sure," Mr. Moyers said, "that the President feels the concern as strongly as it was expressed by the Attorney General. . .
According to aids, Mr. Johnson feels no personal bitterness against most of the demonstrators. . . .
"One of the subjects he touched on this morning," Mr. Moyers said, "was to express suprise that any one citizen would feel toward his country in a way that is not consistent with the national interest."
He also showed concern, Mr. Moyers said, "that there is this lack of understanding by a few of what we are trying to do in South Vietnam in helping the peopole of that country maintain the freedom and and independence that this rightly theirs."
The reaction on Capital hill was bipartisan. . . .
One of the most outspoken critics was the liberal Republican Senator from California. . . .
He called those responsible for persuading young people to avoid the draft "vile and venomous." The effect of these demonstrations would be to "sow the seeds of treason." . . .
Senator Frank J. Lausche, an Ohio Democrat, asserted: Substantially these demonstrations are the product of Communist leadershp and countless youth are in them not knowing they are following the flags of the Reds."
He call the demonstrators "yellow in color and lacking in courage."