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Reactions to Pueblo Incident (1968)

KPRC-TV

Sound | 1968

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  •  Threat of nuclear war 
  •  The taking of the USS Pueblo as a communist diversion from the Vietnam War 
 
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On January 23, North Korean sub chasers and torpedo boats intercepted the USS Pueblo, a Navy intelligence vessel, in the Sea of Japan. One crewmen was killed in the attack, while the other 82 were taken prisoner and moved to camps. In this news segment for Houston’s KPRC-TV, an unidentified reporter asks individuals in downtown Houston about what actions they believe the United States should take to recover the ship and its crew. All the featured respondents advocate for some degree of military force. President Lyndon B. Johnson and his administration considered more aggressive response plans, including the use of nuclear weapons, but ultimately opted for a symbolic show of force and diplomacy. Defense Secretary Clark Clifford later defended the decision not to conduct a military rescue, telling Congress that such a course of action “would pretty well assure [the crew’s] destruction.” The crewmen spent 11 months in captivity before the United States and North Korea negotiated a settlement for their release on December 23. The Pueblo stayed in North Korea, and is currently on display at the Pyongyang Victorious War Museum.