Interview with Cyrus Vance


On Monday morning I got a call from Bob McNamara. I was at home because I had just recently, ah, ah, left the, ah, Department of Defense. And I believe it was about 11:00 in the morning, ah, Bob called me and, ah, asked if I could come down to the White House immediately to meet with him and the President. Ah, he said that there had been a very bad riot that had taken place in Detroit last night, and that the, ah, city was still burning and, ah, looting was taking place and that the President had been asked by Governor Romney and Mayor Cavanagh to, ah, send federal troops into the area. And they wanted me to come down and talk with them and with the mayor and with the governor to see whether or not we should send troops and if so they wanted me to be able to go out to, ah, Detroit as the President's representative in connection with this matter. I said I would. So I, ah, got in a car and drove over to the, ah, Pentagon and, ah, ah, to the White House and, ah, met with, ah, them in the cabinet room. They brought me up to date as to the details of what had taken place. Ah, we then talked to the Governor, ah, on the telephone and the President indicated to him that I would be coming out with the federal forces and would be in charge of the federal forces, ah, throughout the duration of the riot. The President had not yet made a determination whether or not the federal forces should be committed but he accepted the request of the Governor to put the troops on the ground out there so they could be deployed if it, ah, became clear that the, the local forces, the national guard plus the state police and local police couldn't contain the matter.