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Business Law, Public Responsibility, and Ethics | Corporate Finance


On May 21, 1968, while the warring parties in Vietnam held peace talks in Paris, twenty-four business executives engaged in a heated exchange with Republican Illinois senator Everett Dirksen in his Washington, D.C., office. As described by the Chicago Daily News reporter Betty Flynn, the fifteenminute meeting began with a plea by the business delegation to a "Republican candidate not persisting in hawkish attitudes" to push for a military withdrawal from Vietnam. The delegation misjudged Dirksen's outlook. Although he was arguably a press favorite, Dirksen was also critical of congressional doves. Insisting that "whether we like it or not, this is a military operation," Dirksen then added, "I can't betray the people back home." One of the businessmen retorted, "We are the people back home" before trying to explain that "Twenty minutes after we leave Saigon, that government would fall apart. We are laying waste to a country without just cause." Dirksen snapped: "You don't have the facts.... I know my history. I know my geography. We're not going to get anywhere arguing like we do." Recovering his composure at the end of the meeting, Dirksen thanked the men for their visit.1


Capital Gains : Business and Politics in Twentieth-Century America, edited by Richard R. John and Kim Phillips-Fein, University of Pennsylvania Press, 2017

Copyright © 2017 University of Pennsylvania Press. All rights reserved. Permission to include in repository granted by the University of Pennsylvania Press.




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