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Vietnamese and “Provisional Revolutionary Government” authorities have:
-built up the North Vietnamese main-force army in the South through the illegal infiltration of over 160,000 troops;
-tripled the strength of their armor in the South by sending in over 400 new vehicles, as well as greatly increased their artillery and antiaircraft weaponry;
-improved their military logistics system running through Laos, Cambodia and the Demilitarized Zone as well as within South Viet-Nam, and expanded their armament stockpiles;
-refused to deploy the teams which under the Agreement were to oversee the cease-fire;
--refused to pay their prescribed share of the expenses of the International Commission of Control and Supervision;
-failed to honor their commitment to cooperate in resolving the status of American and other personnel missing in action, even breaking off all discussions on this matter by refusing for the past seven months to meet with U.S. and Republic of VietNam representatives in the Four-Party Joint Military Team;
-broken off all negotiations with the Republic of Viet Nam including the political negotiations in Paris and the Two Party Joint Military Commission talks in Saigon, answering the Republic of Viet-Nam's repeated calls for unconditional resumption of the negotiations with demands for the overthrow of the government as a precondition for any renewed talks; and
-gradually increased their military pressure, overrunning several areas, including 11 district towns, which were clearly and unequivocally held by the Republic of Viet-Nam at the time of the cease-fire. Their latest and most serious escalation of the fighting began in early December with offensives in the southern half of South Viet-Nam which have brought the level of casualties and destruction back up to what it was before the Agreement. These attacks which included for the first time since the massive North Vietnamese 1972 offensive the overrunning of a province capital (Song Be in Phuoc Long Province appear to reflect a decision by Hanoi to seek once again to impose a military solution in Viet-Nam. Coming just before the second anniversary of the Agreement, this dramatically belies Hanoi's claims that it is the United States and the Republic of Viet-Nam who are violating the Agreement and standing in the way of peace.
The United States deplores the Democratic Republic of VietNam's turning from the path of negotiation to that of war, not only because it is a grave violation of a solemn international agreement, but also because of the cruel price it is imposing on the people of South Viet-Nam. The Democratic Republic of VietNam must accept the full consequences of its actions. We are deeply concerned about the threat posed to international peace and security, to the political stability of Southeast Asia, to the progress which has been made in removing Viet-Nam as a major issue of great-power contention, and to the hopes of mankind for the building of structures of peace and the strengthening of mechanisms to avert war. We therefore reiterate our strong support for the Republic of Viet-Nam's call to the Hanoi“Provisional Revolutionary Government” side to reopen the talks in Paris and Saigon which are mandated by the Agreement. We also urge that the (Addressees) call upon the Democratic Republic of Viet-Nam to halt its military offensive and join the Republic of Viet-Nam in reestablishing stability and seeking a political solution.
The full text of the Dept. of State's note appears in Dept. of State Bulletin, Vol. LXXII, No. 1858, Feb. 3, 1975, pp. 144-145. The countries addressed in the note are the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, the People's Republic of China, the United Kingdom, France, Hungary, Poland, Indonesia, and Iran. For previous allegations of violation of the Agreement on Ending the War and Restoring Peace in Viet-Nam and the Act of the International Conference on Viet-Nam, see the 1973 Digest, pp. 478 484, and the 1974 Digest, Ch. 14, § 1, pp. 683–85.
On April 10, 1975, following the launching by North Viet-Nam of an all-out offensive against South Viet-Nam, the Department of State addressed a diplomatic note to the non-Vietnamese participants in the International Conference on Viet-Nam and members of the International Commission of Control and Supervision, and to Secretary-General of the United Nations Kurt Waldheim, urging them to join with the United States in calling upon North VietNam to cease military operations and honor the Accords. The note requested them also to use their influence to halt the fighting and enforce the Accords. The Department's note reads as follows:
The Department of State of the United States of America presents its compliments to (the Ministry of Foreign Affairs/ Ministry of External Affairs of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, People's Republic of China, Great Britain, France, Hungary, Poland, Indonesia, Iran, and Secretary-General of the U.N. Kurt Waldheim) and has the honor to refer to the Agreement on Ending the War and Restoring Peace in Viet Nam signed at Paris January 27, 1973; to the Act of the International Conference on Viet-Nam signed at Paris March 2, 1973; and to the Department's diplomatic note of January 11, 1975, on the situation in Viet-Nam.
More than two years ago, the signatories of the Paris Agreement accepted a solemn obligation to end the fighting in VietNam and to shift the conflict there from the battlefield to the negotiating table. All nations and peoples who love peace had the right to expect from that Agreement that the South Vietnamese people would be able to peacefully determine their own future and their own political institutions after the Paris Agreement was signed. The parties to the International Conference on Viet-Nam undertook a responsibility to support and uphold the settlement which the Agreement embodied.
The Democratic Republic of Viet-Nam has undertaken a massive, all-out offensive against South Viet-Nam in total contempt of the Paris Agreement. Their forces, which were built up over the past two years in violation of the Agreement, are more numerous and better equipped with modern weaponry than ever before during the course of the war. A human flight of historic proportions has taken place before the advancing North Vietnamese armies, and untold misery has been inflicted on the land which has already seen more than its share of misery.
We believe the suffering of the South Vietnamese people must be ended. It must be ended now. We therefore call upon the [addressee) to join the Government of the United States of America in calling upon Hanoi to cease its military operations immediately and to honor the terms of the Paris Agreement. The United States is requesting all the parties to the Act of the International Conference to meet their obligations to use their influence to halt the fighting and enforce the Paris Agreement.
The United States Government looks forward to prompi and constructive responses to this Note from all the parties.
On April 11, 1975, the Department addressed a note to the Government of the Democratic Republic of Viet-Nam (D.R.V.), calling attention to the solemn obligation accepted by that Government in signing the Paris Agreements and noting its “total violation” of their terms.
Dept. of State Bulletin, Vol. LXXII, No. 1870, pp. 539_540.
On Apr. 17, 1975, the U.S. Mission to the United Nations received from the Secretary-General of the United Nations a reply to the Department's note of Apr. 10, 1975, quoted above. The Secretary-General's note reads, in principal part, as follows:
The Secretary-General, who has carefully studied the note of the Department of State, wishes to recall that he has repeatedly stated in public his concern at the continuing conflict in Viet-Nam and the great human suffering to which it has given rise. The Secretary-General has also in this context appealed to all concerned to do everything within their means to relieve the plight of innocent persons, including those who have been displaced. He has also earnestly requested the governing authorities of all sides of the fighting for effective efforts to limit the suffering of innocent people. Obviously a cessation of hostilities would be an essential step in this direction.
Although the Secretary-General is not a signatory party to the Act of the International Conference on Viet-Nam of March 2, 1973, he wishes to observe that the Act of Paris would seem to provide a framework through which the present conflict could be shifted from the battlefield to the negotiating table, provided that conditions are established which are acceptable to all the parties.
At the Paris Conference, the Secretary-General stated that the United Nations stood ready to assume its responsibilities wherever and whenever it was called upon to offer useful and realistic assistance. He further stated that, should the governments of the area so desire, the United Nations and its family of organizations could play a significant role in receiving, coordinating and channelling international relief and rehabilitation assistance to the governments and people of the region.
With this end in view, the Secretary-General made his appeal of March 31, 1975. He also appealed to governments and individuals everywhere for increased humanitarian assistance to help meet essential needs of the millions who find themselves in such tragic circumstances of deprivation and suffering. The Secretary-General has set up special machinery at U.N. headquarters to coordinate the responses of this appeal and to maximize the effectiveness of the humanitarian effort.
It goes without saying that, should the parties to the conflict so desire, the good offices of the Secretary-General would be available for the purpose of attempting to bring an end to the fighting and for the resumption of efforts to achieve a peaceful settlement.
Dept. of State File No. 075 0134-1125.
Economic and Military Assistance
In a press conference on March 26, 1975, Secretary of State Henry A. Kissinger stated that, in connection with the Viet-Nam peace agreements, the United States had undertaken a moralbut not a legal-commitment with respect to continued economic and military assistance to South Viet-Nam. He also said that when the agreements were negotiated in 1973 “there was never any question that the United States would continue to give economic and military aid to (South] Viet-Nam.” He added:
these agreements were negotiated on the assumption that ... the United States would continue economic and military aid to South Viet-Nam-and also that there would be some possibility of enforcing the agreements.
In response to a question as to what assurances there were in 1973 that the Congress would continue this assistance, the Secretary replied:
We had no assurances. If you review now the nature of our domestic debate-say, from 1969 to 1973—it was essentially that American involvement in Viet-Nam should be terminated but that the Vietnamese should be given an opportunity to defend themselves.
We stated on the date that the agreement signed ... that economic and military aid would continue.
There were no assurances, but it seemed to us inherent in the whole posture that we had taken that this would continue.
Asked whether at that time assurances had been given to the South Vietnamese Government that the aid would continue, the Secretary replied:
We told the South Vietnamese Government, not a commitment of the United States that aid would continue, but that, in our judgment, if the South Vietnamese cooperated in permitting us to withdraw our forces and, therefore, to reclaim our prisoners, that in our judgment the Congress would then vote the aid that would be necessary to sustain Viet-Nam economically and militarily. It was not given as an American commitment. We're not talking here of a legal American commitment; we are talking here of a moral commitment.
For the full text of Secretary Kissinger's News Conference of Mar. 26, 1975, see Dept. of State Bulletin, Vol. LXXII, No. 1868, Apr. 14, 1975, pp. 461-470.
President Ford, in a press conference at San Diego on April 3, 1975, with reference to his request to Congress for military, economic, and humanitarian assistance for South Viet-Nam, re ferred to the failure of the United States to carry out “the solemn commitments that were made in Paris, at the time American fighting was stopped in South Viet-Nam."
Dept. of State Bulletin, Vol. LXXII, No. 1870, Apr. 28, 1975, p. 546.
Two days later, at a news conference in Palm Springs, Secretary Kissinger reiterated that the President was not talking of a legal commitment, but a moral commitment. He said:
I believe that what the President was talking about was a moral obligation, not a legal commitment. He was talking about something growing out of a 10-year engagement of the United States ended by our withdrawal, not about secret clauses in particular documents.
it was never put in the form of a legal commitment, and it is not that we are violating a legal commitment. It is the President's perception of the moral obligation growing out of the context of events.
Ibid., p. 555.
On April 21, 1975, the Senate of the United States passed Senate Resolution 133, expressing the sense of that body that the President should undertake immediate efforts to obtain a cessation of hostilities in Viet-Nam through negotiations. The resolution reads as follows:
Resolved, That it is the sense of the Senate that the President should (a) request all Vietnamese parties to reopen discussion toward the implementation of the Agreement on Ending the War and Restoring Peace in Viet-Nam; (b) undertake immediately to encourage and support those elements in South VietNam who are desirous of seeking a political settlement; (c) make known to all Vietnamese parties that the extent of present and future American assistance to all Vietnamese will depend on the degree of good faith efforts made by them to obtain a cease-fire and political solution to the conflict.