12th Governor of Arizona
Arizona Post Democrat, Fall 1964
The Vietnam Conflict
During his term in office, Governor Goddard supported President Johnson’s policies in Vietnam. He believed that not only did the United States have a moral commitment to protect South Vietnam from Communist domination, but it was in the best interests of the United States to maintain the confidence of other Southeast Asian nations that depended on American aid and protection. Like Johnson, Goddard felt that abandoning the South Vietnamese would have meant giving up all of Southeast Asia to Communism.
Goddard supported Johnson’s efforts to prevent the spread of Communism and bring peace to Vietnam by “every available means." As Goddard defined it, “every available means meant to include persuasion, social, cultural and political action and communication… and that the instruments of force should also be included in our arsenal of diplomatic tools.”1 Goddard felt that reason and force needed to be used in tandem when advancing the cause of freedom, and to neglect one would be tantamount to denying “freedom the full range of instruments that might be used to advance it.”2
Despite Goddard’s justifications for the war and his support of the president, support for the war in Arizona declined as the body counts rose and the reasons for fighting became less clear. In an analysis of his failed re-election bid in 1966, Goddard recognized the significant role support for the war policy had in his defeat. Just as Governor MacFarland told President Truman in 1952, Goddard recognized that the public voted against “the return of the black boxes from the war zone.” 3
1 Goddard to Betsy McDonald, Aug. 30, 1966. Office of the Governor: S.P. Goddard 1965-1966, Box 29, File "Governor's Reading Files August 15 - 31, 1966." RG 1 SG 19. Arizona State Library, Archives, and Public Records.
3 Governor to George Seros, November 28, 1966. Office of the Governor: S.P. Goddard 1965-1966, Box 29, File, "Governor's Reading Files November 16 - 30, 1966." RG 1 SG 19. Arizona State Library, Archives, and Public Records.