Vietnam Era (1967-1972)


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Case’s itinerary for his trip to South Vietnam, May 5–27, 1967  Ruth Case Papers

Clifford P. Case and a Buddhist monk during Case’s tour of South Vietnam, May 1967 Ruth Case Papers
Senator Case was initially a supporter of the U. S. policy in Vietnam to stem the advance of Communist influence. In May 1967 he visited South Vietnam and seven other Asian nations as a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.  Following this visit, he recognized that the Republic of Vietnam was either unwilling or incapable of assuming control of the war effort, and became an outspoken critic of U. S. policy in Vietnam, eventually advocating U. S. withdrawal during the first Nixon administration.

Senators Hugh Scott, Clifford P. Case and John Sherman Cooper, October 8, 1969.
By the mid-1960s, Case was a member of an influential group of centrist Republicans in the Senate who favored a bipartisan foreign policy and supported many of Johnson’s Great Society social reform initiatives.  Pictured next to Senators Scott and Case is John Sherman Cooper of Kentucky, for whom Case had provided expert support by “loaning” his administrative assistant, Sam Zagoria, to help Cooper win a re-election campaign.

Clifford P. Case chatting with Conductor I. T. McLaughlin of Amtrak, September 19, 1972.
Case supported public transit, particularly rail service.  As the ranking minority member on the Senate Transportation Appropriations Subcommittee, he worked hard to place Amtrak on a firmer financial footing.

Clifford P. Case behind the wheel of the “Allectric” prototype car, showcased at hearings of the Senate Commerce Committee, March 13, 1967.
Case took a considerable interest in promoting efficient alternatives that would reduce America’s reliance on fossil fuels.  Here, the Senator is photographed behind the wheel of the “Allectric” prototype electric car developed by a Pennsylvania power company.  Less than a decade before Americans sat in lengthy lines at gas pumps, Case joined in sponsoring bills submitted to the Senate Commerce Committee to promote the development of electric cars or other alternatives to the internal combustion engine.  The parking meter at the right has been modified to serve as a potential source of “plug-in” power for parked electric vehicles.

Clifford P. Case and Harrison Williams examining a map of the Great Swamp in Morris County, April 1968.
Senator Case worked closely with his colleague Harrison Williams of New Jersey on many bills, including the creation of the Great Swamp Wilderness in Morris County.  This legislation made permanent the wilderness designation of 3,750 acres in the Great Swamp so that no further development would be permitted.  Case described the area “as an island of beauty in the midst of a sea of increasing urban ugliness.”

Stephen S. Rosenfeld, “A Challenge of a Sort to Executive Secrecy,” Washington Post, January 14, 1972.  Ruth Case Papers.
In the early 1970s, Case sponsored legislation dubbed the “Case Act,” which required the president to inform Congress within sixty days of any new executive agreement made with a foreign country.  This legislation gave the executive branch sufficient leeway to conduct foreign policy, while sustaining a strong role for Congressional oversight.  The Case Act also sought to make the operations of government more transparent and open to public scrutiny during an era when covert operations and abuses of executive power were becoming more prevalent.  The bill was signed into law by President Nixon in 1972.


Bill Canfield, “Welcome--In this club, three’s a crowd!” Newark Evening News, April 11, 1967.
This 1967 cartoon illustrates the challenges faced by Case and a handful of supporters in overcoming the resistance to financial disclosure by federal officials in Congress and the executive branch.


Herblock, “Hello--Is this my good old friend and fellow Democrat Bill Fulbright?” Washington Post, September 28, 1967.
On September 26, 1967, Case spoke eloquently on the floor of the Senate, leveling criticisms against the Johnson administration’s conduct of the war.  Case was particularly dismayed by what he considered the loss of trust between the executive branch and Congress regarding the intent and implementation of the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution, which had authorized the expansion of U.S. involvement in Vietnam.  Two days later, this editorial cartoon appeared in the Washington Post, depicting a wounded President Johnson seeking to recover from Case’s criticisms.