August 4, 1964
In response to purported attacks on American vessels in the Gulf of Tonkin, ten miles off the shore of North Vietnam, United States bombers destroyed oil facilities and naval targets in North Vietnam. “We Americans know,” President Johnson said in a nationwide telecast, “although others appear to forget, the risk of spreading conflict. We still seek no wider war.”
Three days later, Congress passed almost unanimously the “Gulf of Tonkin Resolution,” put forth by the White House, allowing the President to “take all necessary steps, including the use of armed force” against further attacks on U. S. forces.