Press Release

MAY 30, 2001

No. 01-10 
301 585-4000
Contact: Jim Greene


Vietnam Veterans of America (VVA) will hold a one-day symposium observing the 30th anniversary of the release of The Pentagon Papers, the top-secret 7,000-page government study of U.S. Vietnam War policymaking from 1945 to 1967 at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C., Tuesday, June 5, 2001.

“The study that became known as The Pentagon Papers played a key role in turning an already disturbed U.S. public further against the war,” said VVA President George C. Duggins. “This study also reveals the decision-making process that was responsible in large part for creating a military and political environment that directly affected how the war was waged even down to the squad level.”  

Keynote speaker Daniel Ellsberg worked on the study, formally known as United States-Vietnam Relations, 1945-1967, and was responsible for leaking it to the press in June 1971.  The flurry surrounding the publication of the Papers went all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court.  On June 30, 1971, a 6-3 decision citing the First Amendment ruled The New York Times and The Washington Post had a constitutional right to publish the documents.

Retired U.S. Senator Mike Gravel (D-Alaska), who took the unprecedented step of reading portions of the Papers into the record of a Senate subcommittee hearing, is the luncheon speaker.

Other participants include reporters from the two papers that broke the story and historians who will comment on the impact of the publication 30 years later.

“The timing of the symposium and its location at the National Press Club add to the importance of the event,” Duggins said. “A generation of Americans has grown up since the Supreme Court reaffirmed the importance of a free press.  I cannot think of a better venue for those young Americans to learn how the Papers exposed a government’s deceit about decisions that led us into that conflict.”                  

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Vietnam Veterans of America (VVA) is the nation's only congressionally chartered veterans service organization dedicated solely to the needs of Vietnam-era veterans and their families.  VVA's founding principle is 
"Never again will one generation of veterans abandon another."   


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