Here is the text of the statement issued today by the CBS Broadcast Group after retired general William C. Westmoreland announced he was ending his $120 million libel suit against the television network.

"First of all, CBS would like to express its appreciation to the jury for its unstinting attention over the past several months, and to Judge Pierre Leval, for the authority and impartiality that characterized his handling of this case.

"We also want to express our admiration and respect for the many current and former military and civilian government officials who came forward at great personal and professional cost to support the broadcast.

"We regret that Gen. Westmoreland and his supporters felt compelled to bring the suit. We feel now, as we did three years ago, that this issue should never have been brought to the court. The complex and controversial issues of the Vietnam war are more appropriate to ongoing public inquiry and debate than to judicial determination.

"Three years ago, CBS News broadcast 'The Uncounted Enemy: A Vietnam Deception,' which reported charges that Gen. Westmoreland and his command misled the public, the Congress and the president about enemy troop strength to advance the political argument that the war was being won.

"Since then, the CBS News documentary has been subjected to perhaps the most intensive scrutiny ever brought to bear on a journalistic effort. CBS News conducted its own internal examination of the broadcast 2 1/2 years ago. It concluded that the broadcast was accurate, and that minor procedural violations of CBS News standards in no way compromised the editorial integrity of the broadcast.

"Nothing has surfaced in the discovery and trial process now concluded that in any way diminishes our conviction that the broadcast was fair and accurate, and that it was a valuable contribution to the ongoing study of the Vietnam era.

"We continue to stand by the broadcast and are pleased that Gen. Westmoreland has withdrawn his legal challenge to it.

"With this legal matter concluded, Mike Wallace will return to '60 Minutes.' George Crile will rejoin the documentary unit as a producer.

"We have enjoyed our relationship with defense counsel David Boies and his colleagues. One could not ask for better representation.

"We also appreciate the contributions of Sam Adams to the broadcast and its defense.

"In conclusion, this experience has further strengthened the CBS News commitment to vigorous, fair and impartial journalism. It is a fundamental principle of CBS that the journalistic process not be limited or intimidated by those seeking to constrain free inquiry and debate and the dissemination of information.

"We believe this experience has advanced that principle."