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Vietnam War Statistics and Facts
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Why Vietnam Matters- Excerpts from book that compares failures in Vietnam and Iraq and Afghanistan
Vietnam War Time Line
"Cold Blood" LBJ's Conduct of Limited War In Vietnam
Personnel
Allied Troop Levels - Vietnam 1960 To 1973
Vietnam War Casualties
Helicopter Sorties Flown During The Vietnam War-By Year
Helicopter Losses During Vietnam War - Includes Aircraft, Pilots, and Crew
Service Number Chart and MOS Guide
Women Who Died In Vietnam
Vietnam Looking Back - At The Facts  
Interesting Facts about Vietnam
More Interesting Facts About Vietnam
Bui Tin on the Media and President Johnson - He was a Colonel in the North Vietnamese Army Responsible For TET
Television Power and The Vietnam War
The Vietnam War and the Media's Effect on Public Opinion
Viet Nam Draft - How the Majority of my generation felt about the Vietnam Draft including President Clinton
Carter Pardon Of Draft Dodgers Executive Order -Pardoned Draft Dodgers, and those with Discharges other Than Honorable
The Insult of Carter's Mass Pardon - James Webb was an Assistant Secretary of Defense and Secretary of the Navy
Two Letters To Diem- Eisenhower and Kennedy
Letter From Schlesenger
The Tonkin Gulf Incident
Aggression From The North-The White Paper
Church Committee Report On Diem Coup-1963
Paris Peace Accord
Kent State - Proof to Save The Guardsmen
How the U.S. Got Involved In Vietnam
Vietnam History
TET 1968
History of the Bulwark B2 Theatre, Vol 5: Concluding the 30 Year War-NVA Colonel  General Tran Van Tra
Jane Fonda-Hanoi Broadcast 1972
The Fonda Falacies
Voices from the Past -The Search for Hanoi Hannah
History Of The NVA (PAVN)
Conscripted Service Good for Young Men
Left Behind In Laos
The Massacre At Hue-TET 68
Senior General Vo Nguyen Giap
General Weyand Vietnam Assessment 4 April 1975 - This documents the effects biased media, political weakness, and the abandonment of the Vietnamese People by the "Politicians" to end the war
Second Opinion On Vietnam Assessment From Security Council On Weyands Report- General Scowcroft
Lessons Learned About Vietnam - Henry Kissenger
Last Saigon Embasy Message
The Pentagon Papers (Under Construction)
North Vietnam's Final Offensive: Strategic Endgame Nonpareil -MERLE L. PRIBBENOW
War From Above The Clouds-B-52 Operations during the Second Indochina War and the Effects of the Air War on Theory and Doctrine
 Peers Inquiry: Report of the Department of the Army Review of the Preliminary Investigations into the My Lai Incident
Russian Soldiers Who Served In Vietnam Speak Out  
Vietnam Websources It would take you months to read all of this research grade info








 Personnel

9,087,000 military personnel served on active duty during the Vietnam Era   (5 August 1965-7 May 1975)

8,744,000 personnel were on active duty during the war (5 August 1964-28
     March 1973)

3,403,100 (including 514,300 offshore) personnel served in the SE Asia
     Theater (Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, flight crews based in Thailand and sailors
      in adjacent South China Sea waters).

2,594,000 personnel served within the borders of South Vietnam
     ( I January 1965 - 28 March 1973)

Another 50,000 men served in Vietnam between 1960 and 1964

Of the 2.6 million, between 1 and 1.6 million (40-60%) either fought in
      combat, provided close combat support or were at least fairly regularly
      exposed to enemy attack.

7,484 women served in Vietnam, of whom 6,250 or 83.5% were nurses.

Peak troop strength in Vietnam was 543,482, on 30 April 1969.

Casualties:

Hostile deaths: 47,359
Non-hostile deaths: 10,797
Total: 58,156 (including men formerly classified as MIA and Mayaguez
      casualties).
Highest state death rate: West Virginia--84.1. (The national average death
     rate for males in 1970 was 58.9 per 100,000).
WIA: 303,704 - 153,329 required hospitalization, 150,375 who did not.
      Severely disabled: 75,000, 23,214 were classified 100% disabled. 5,283 lost
      limbs, 1,081 sustained multiple amputations.
Amputation or crippling wounds to the lower extremities were 300% higher than
      in WWII and 70% higher than in Korea. Multiple amputations occurred at the
     rate of 18.4% compared to 5.7% in WWII.
MIA: 2,338
POW: 766, of whom 114 died in captivity.
Draftees vs. volunteers:
      25% (648,500) of total forces in country were draftees. (66% of U.S. armed
      forces members were drafted during WWII)
Draftees accounted for 30.4% (17,725) of combat deaths in Vietnam.
Reservists KIA: 5,977
National Guard: 6,140 served; 101 died.

Ethnic background:

88.4% of the men who actually served in Vietnam were Caucasian, 10.6%
      (275,000) were black, 1.0% belonged to other races

86.3% of the men who died in Vietnam were Caucasian (including Hispanics)
     12.5% (7,241) were black.
     1.2% belonged to other races

170,000 Hispanics served in Vietnam; 3,070 (5.2%) of whom died there.

86.8% of the men who were KIA were Caucasian
     12.1% (5,711) were black; 1.1% belonged to other races.
     14.6% (1,530) of non-combat deaths were black
     34% of blacks who enlisted volunteered for the combat arms.

Overall, blacks suffered 12.5% of the deaths in Vietnam when the percentage
of blacks of military age was 13.5% of the population.

Socioeconomic status:

76% of the men sent to Vietnam were from lower middle/working
      class backgrounds
75% had family incomes above the poverty level
23% had fathers with professional, managerial, or technical occupations.
79% of the men who served in 'Nam had a high school education or better.
63% of Korean vets had completed high school upon separation from the service)

Winning & Losing:

82% of veterans who saw heavy combat strongly believe the war was lost
      because of a lack of political will.
      Nearly 75% of the general public (in 1993) agrees with that.

Age & Honorable Service:

The average age of the G.I. in 'Nam was 22.8 (26 for WWII)
      97% of Vietnam era vets were honorably discharged.

Pride in Service:

91% of veterans of actual combat and 90% of those who saw heavy combat are
      proud to have served their country.
66% of Viet vets say they would serve again, if called upon.
87% of the public now holds Viet vets in high esteem.

Helicopter crew deaths accounted for 10% of ALL Vietnam deaths. Helicopter
      losses during Lam Son 719 (a mere two months) accounted for 10% of all
      helicopter losses from 1961-1975.



 Women Who Died In Vietnam

U.S. Army

* 2nd Lt. Carol Ann Elizabeth Drazba
* 2nd Lt. Elizabeth Ann Jones

Lt. Drazba and Lt. Jones were assigned to the 3rd Field Hospital in Saigon. They died in a helicopter crash near Saigon, February 18, 1966. Drazba was from Dunmore, PA, Jones from Allendale, SC. Both were 22 years old.

* Capt. Eleanor Grace Alexander
* 1st Lt. Hedwig Diane Orlowski

Capt. Alexander of Westwood, NJ, and Lt. Orlowski of Detroit, MI, died November 30, 1967. Alexander, stationed at the 85th Evac., and Orlowski, stationed at the 67th Evac. in Qui Nhon, had been sent to a hospital in Pleiku to help out during a push. With them when their plane crashed on the return trip to Qui Nhon were two other nurses, Jerome E. Olmstead of Clintonville, WI, and Kenneth R. Shoemaker, Jr. of Owensboro, KY. Alexander was 27, Orlowski 23. Both were posthumously awarded Bronze Stars.

* 2nd Lt. Pamela Dorothy Donovan

Lt. Donovan, from Allston, MA, became seriously ill and died on July 8, 1968. She was assigned to the 85th Evac. in Qui Nhon. She was 26 years old.

* 1st Lt. Sharon Ann Lane

Lt. Lane died from shrapnel wounds when the 312th Evac. at Chu Lai was hit by rockets on June 8, 1969. From Canton, OH, she was a month short of her 26th birthday. She was posthumously awarded the Vietnamese Gallantry Cross with Palm and the Bronze Star for Heroism. In 1970, the recovery room at Fitzsimmons Army Hospital in Denver, where Lt. Lane had been assigned before going to Viet Nam, was
dedicated in her honor. In 1973, Aultman Hospital in Canton, OH, where Lane had attended nursing school, erected a bronze statue of Lane. The names of 110 local servicemen killed in Vietnam are on the base of the statue.

* Lt. Col. Annie Ruth Graham, Chief Nurse at 91st Evac. Hospital, Tuy Hoa

Lt. Col. Graham, from Efland, NC, suffered a stroke in August 14, 1968 and was evacuated to Japan where she died four days later. A veteran of both World War II and Korea, she was 52.

U.S. Air Force

* Capt. Mary Therese Klinker

Capt. Klinker, a flight nurse assigned to Clark Air Base in the Philippines, was on the C-5A Galaxy which crashed on April 4 outside Saigon while evacuating Vietnamese orphans. This is known as theOperation Babylift crash. From Lafayette, IN, she was 27. She was posthumously awarded the Airman's Medal for Heroism and the Meritorious Service Medal.

Australian Nurse Corps

* Barbara Black

Barbara died at Vung Tau, Vietnam in 1971.

Civilian


American Red Cross

* Hannah Crews

Died in a jeep accident, Bien Hoa, 1969.

* Virginia Kirsch

Murdered by U.S. soldier in Cu Chi, 1970.

* Lucinda Richter

Died of Guillain-Barre Syndrome, Cam Ranh Bay, 1971.

Army Special Services

* Rosalyn Muskat

Died in a jeep accident, Bien Hoa, 1968.

* Dorothy Phillips

Died in a plane crash, Qui Nhon, 1967.


U.S. Department of the Navy OICC (Officer in Charge of Construction)


* Regina "Reggie" Williams

Died of a heart attack in Saigon, 1964.


Catholic Relief Services

* Gloria Redlin

Shot to death in Pleiku, 1969.


Central Intelligence Agency

* Barbara Robbins

Died when a car bomb exploded outside the American Embassy, Saigon,
March 30, 1965.

* Betty Gebhardt

Died in Saigon, 1971.


United States Agency for International Development

* Marilyn L. Allan

Murdered by a U.S. soldier in Nha Trang, August 16, 1967.

* Dr. Breen Ratterman (American Medical Association)

Died from injuries suffered in a fall from her apartment balcony in
Saigon, October 2, 1969


Journalists

* Georgette "Dickey" Chappelle

Killed by a mine on patrol with Marines outside Chu Lai, 1965.

* Phillipa Schuyler

Killed in a firefight, Da Nang, 1966.

Missionaries

* Carolyn Griswald

Killed in raid on leprosarium in Ban Me Thuot during Tet 1968.

* Janie A. Makil

Shot to death in an ambush, Dalat, 1963. Janie was five months old.

* Ruth Thompson

Killed in raid on leprosarium in Ban Me Thuot during Tet 1968.

* Ruth Wilting

Killed in raid on leprosarium in Ban Me Thuot during Tet 1968.


POW/MIA

* Evelyn Anderson

Captured and burned to death in Kengkok, Laos, 1972.
Remains recovered and returned to U.S.

* Beatrice Kosin

Captured and burned to death in Kengkok, Laos, 1972.
Remains recovered and returned to U.S.

* Betty Ann Olsen

Captured during raid on leprosarium in Ban Me Thuot during Tet 1968. Died in 1968 and was buried somewhere along Ho Chi Minh Trail by fellow POW, Michael Benge. Remains not recovered.

* Eleanor Ardel Vietti

Captured at leprosarium in Ban Me Thuot, May 30, 1962.Still listed as POW.



Operation Babylift


The following women were killed in the crash, outside Saigon, of the C5-A Galaxy transporting Vietnamese children out of the country onApril 4, 1975. All of the women were working for various U.S. government agencies in Saigon at the time of their deaths with the exception of Theresa Drye (a child) and Laurie Stark (a teacher).
Sharon Wesley had previously worked for both the American Red Cross and Army Special Services. She chose to stay on in Vietnam after the pullout of U.S. military forces in 1973.

* Barbara Adams

* Clara Bayot

* Nova Bell

* Arleta Bertwell

* Helen Blackburn

* Ann Bottorff

* Celeste Brown

* Vivienne Clark

* Juanita Creel

* Mary Ann Crouch

* Dorothy Curtiss

* Twila Donelson

* Helen Drye

* Theresa Drye

* Mary Lyn Eichen

* Elizabeth Fugino

* Ruthanne Gasper

* Beverly Herbert

* Penelope Hindman

* Vera Hollibaugh

* Dorothy Howard

* Barbara Kauvulia

* Barbara Maier

* Rebecca Martin

* Sara Martini

* Martha Middlebrook

* Katherine Moore

* Marta Moschkin

* Marion Polgrean

* June Poulton

* Joan Pray

* Sayonna Randall

* Anne Reynolds

* Marjorie Snow

* Laurie Stark

* Barbara Stout

* Doris Jean Watkins

* Sharon Wesley


59 civilians
9 military
--
68 total

OPERATION BABYLIFT - THE FLIGHT..

    The plane, a C-5A 'Galaxy', was carrying 243 children, 44 escorts, 16crewmen and 2 flight nurses. These numbers vary according to which news articles you read as totals vary between 305 to 319 on-board. Eight members of the Air Force crew perished in the crash. The plane was enroute to Travis AFB in California.
    Most of those who perished were in the lowest of three levels in what was then the largest aircraft in the world. A survivor of the crash stated:
"Some of us got out through a chute from the top of the plane, but the children (and escorts) at the bottom of the plane didn't have a chance."
    Air Force Sgt. Jim Hadley, a medical technician from Sacramento, Calif recalled later that oxygen masks dropped down automatically, but the children were sitting two to a seat and there weren't enough masks to go around. "We had to keep moving them from kid to kid."
     In a early report the U.S. embassy indicated possibly 100 of the children
and 10 to 15 adults survived, including the pilot. At least 50 of the children were in the lower cargo level of the plane.
    The Galaxy had taken-off from Tan Son Nhut airbase and had reached analtitude of approximately 23,000 feet and was approximately 40 miles fromSaigon when it's rear clamshell cargo doors blew off crippling its flight controls.
    In what was described as a "massive explosive decompression" near Vung Tau, the pilot lost control of his flaps, elevators & rudder. The pilot, with only the use of his throttles and ailerons, was able to turn the giant plane back towards Tan Son Nhut.
  At 5,000 feet Capt. Dennis Traynor, determined that he was unable to reach the runway safely with the crippled plane and set it down approximately 2 miles north of the airport to avoid crashing in a heavily-populated area where it broke into three pieces and exploded. The fact that many did survive such a crash was indeed a result of his flying ability. A Pentagon spokesman at the time commented on Capt. Traynor's efforts to bring the aircraft in safely as "a remarkable demonstration of flying skill." Victor Ubach, a Pan American World Airways pilot who was flying behind and above the crippled Air Force plane said the C-5A pilots "had done one heck of a job" to avoid a worse disaster.
    South Vietnamese sources said three militiamen on the ground were killed when the airplane fell.
    At first it was thought the crash may have been attributed to sabotage but later ruled-out by the USAF. The crash investigation was headed by Maj. Gen. Warner E. Newby. The flight-recorder was recovered by a Navy diver on 7 Apr 1975 from the bottom of the South China Sea. A Pentagon spokesman said the plane had undergone minor repairs to its radio and windshield in the Philippines before flying to Saigon but added that had nothing to do with the crash.
    At the time the USAF had taken delivery of 81 Galaxy's. Wing problems had plagued this immense cargo plane but were not considered a factor in this incident. In spite of it's wing problems this was only the second crash of a C-5A after over 190,000 combined flying hours by the USAF but the first crash resulting in loss-of-life. Two other C-5A's were previously destroyed in a fire while on the ground. Representative Les Aspin and Senator William Proxmire immediately urged the Air Force to ground the
remaining 77 C-5A's, pointing to the continuing problem of weak wings.
     By 8 Apr, Operation Baby Lift had resumed with the arrival of 56 orphans to the U.S. At the time of the crash over 18,000 orphans were being processed for evacuation from South Vietnam for adoption in the U.S. and other countries. Over 25,000 orphans were in South Vietnam in April of 1975.
    We compiled these facts from AP & UPI articles that appeared in the Seattle Times, Seattle P-I and New York Times from 4 April to 8 April of 1975.

Roger Young - Vietnam Veteran
Pam Young - Vietnam-Era Veteran
foreign invested projects coming on line.

 Vietnam: Looking Back - At The Facts
Updated – 9 May 04 © By: K. G. Sears, Ph.D. - mrken @saigonnet.vn
Information presented here was excerpted from Dr. Sears' dissertation and related research materials.

The reason America’s agonizing perception of “Vietnam” will not go away, is because that perception is wrong. It’s out of place in the American psyche, and it continues to fester in much the same way battle wounds fester when shrapnel or other foreign matter is left in the body. It is not normal behavior for Americans to idolize mass murdering communist despots, to champion the cause of human oppression, to abandon friends and allies, or to cut and run in the face of adversity. Why then, did so many Americans engage in, or openly support these types of activities during the country’s “Vietnam” experience?

That the American experience in Vietnam was painful and ended in long lasting (albeit self-inflicted) grief and misery can not be disputed. However, the reasons behind that grief and misery are not even remotely understood – by either the American people or their government. Contrary to popular belief, and a whole lot of wishful thinking by a crowd tens of millions strong that’s made up of mostly draft dodgers and their antiwar cronies, along with their families / supporters, it was not a military defeat that brought misfortune to the American effort in Vietnam.

The United States military in Vietnam was the best educated, best trained, best disciplined and most successful force ever fielded in the history of American arms. Why then, did they get such bad press, and, why is the public’s opinion of them so twisted? The answer is simple. But first, a few relevant comparisons.

During the Civil War, at the Battle of Bull Run, the Union Army panicked and fled the battlefield. Nothing even remotely resembling that debacle ever occurred in Vietnam.
In WW II at the Kasserine Pass in Tunisia, elements of the US Army were overrun by the Germans. In the course of that battle, Hitler’s General Rommel (The Desert Fox) inflicted 3,100 US Casualties, took 3,700 prisoners and captured or destroyed 198 American tanks. In Vietnam there were no US Military units overrun nor were any US infantry or tank outfits ever captured.

WW II again. In the Philippines, US Army Generals Jonathan Wainwright and Edward King surrendered themselves and their troops to the Japanese. In Vietnam, no US general, or any military unit ever surrendered.

Before the Normandy invasion (“D” Day 1944) the US Army1 in England filled its own jails with American soldiers and airmen who refused to fight and then had to rent jail space from the British to handle the overflow. The US Army in Vietnam never had to rent jail space from the Vietnamese to incarcerate American soldiers who refused to fight.
Desertion. Only about 5,000 men assigned to Vietnam deserted, and just 249 of those deserted while in Vietnam. During WW II, in the European theater alone, over 20,000 US Military men were convicted of desertion. On a comparable basis, the overall WW II desertion rate was 55 percent higher than in Vietnam.

During the WW II Battle of the Bulge in Europe, two regiments of the US Army’s 106th Division surrendered to the Germans. Again: In Vietnam no US Army unit, of any size, much less a regiment, ever surrendered.

The highest ranking American soldier killed in WW II was Lt. (three star) General Leslie J. McNair. He died when American war planes accidentally bombed his position during the invasion of Europe. In Vietnam there were no American generals killed by American bombers.

As for brutality: During WW II the US Army executed nearly 300 of its own men. Again, in the European Theater, the US Army sentenced 443 American soldiers to death. Most of the sentences were for the rape and murder of civilians.
In the Korean War, Major General William F. Dean, commander of the 24th Infantry Division, was taken prisoner of war (POW). In Vietnam there were never any US generals, much less division commanders, ever taken prisoner.

During the Korean War, the US Army was forced into the longest retreat in its history. A catastrophic 275 mile withdrawal from the Yalu River all the way to Pyontaek, 45 miles south of Seoul. In the process they lost the capitol city of Seoul. The US Military in Vietnam was never compelled into a major retreat, nor, did it ever abandon Saigon to the enemy.

The 1st US Marine Division was driven from the Chosin Reservoir and forced into an emergency evacuation from the Korean port of Hungnam. There they were joined by other US Army and South Korean soldiers and the US Navy eventually evacuated 105,000 allied troops from that port. In Vietnam there were never any mass evacuations of US Marine, South Vietnamese or allied troop units.

Other items: Only 25 percent of the US Military who served in Vietnam were draftees. During WW II 66 percent of the troops were draftees. On a percentage basis, the Vietnam force contained three times as many college graduated as did the WW II force. The average education level of the enlisted man in Vietnam was 13 years, equivalent to one year of college. Of those who voluntarily enlisted, 79 percent had high school diplomas. This at a time when only 65 percent of the American military age males in the general population were high school graduates.

The average age of the US Military men who died in Vietnam was 22.8 years old. Of the one hundred and one (101) 18 year old draftees who died in Vietnam, seven were black. Blacks accounted for 11.2 percent of combat deaths in Vietnam. At that time black males of military age constituted 13.5 percent of the US population. It should also be distinctly noted that volunteers suffered 77 percent of the casualties and accounted for 73 percent of Vietnam deaths.

The charge that the “poor” died in disproportionate numbers is also a myth. An MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) study of Vietnam death rates, conducted by Professor Arnold Barnett, revealed that servicemen from the richest 10 percent of the nations communities had the same distribution of deaths as the rest of the nation. In fact his study showed that the death rate in the upper income communities of Beverly Hills, Belmont, Chevy Chase and Great Neck exceeded the national average in three out of four, and, when the four were added together and averaged, that number also exceeded the national average.

On the issue of psychological health: Mental problems attributed to service in Vietnam are referred to as PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder). Civil War veterans suffered “Soldiers heart.” The WW I term was “Shell shock.” During WW II and Korea it was “Battle fatigue.” US Military records reflect Civil War psychological casualties averaged twenty six per thousand men. In WW II some units experienced over 100 psychiatric casualties per 1,000 troops; In Korea nearly one quarter of all battlefield evacuations were due to mental stress. That works out to about 50 per 1,000 troops. In Vietnam the comparable average was five per 1,000 troops.

Perspective

To put Vietnam in its proper perspective it is essential to understand that the US Military was not defeated in Vietnam and that the South Vietnamese government did not collapse due to mismanagement or corruption. Nor, was it overthrown by revolutionary guerrillas running around in rubber tire sandals, wearing black pajamas and carrying home made weapons. There was no “general uprising” or “revolt” by the southern population. South Vietnam was overrun by a conventional army made up of seventeen conventional divisions and supported by a host of regular army logistical support units. This totally conventional force (armed, equipped, trained and supplied by Red China and the Soviet Union), spearheaded by 700 Soviet tanks, launched a cross border, frontal attack on South Vietnam and conquered it in the same manner as Hitler conquered most of Europe in WW II.
A quick synopsis of America’s “Vietnam” experience will clarify and summarize the Vietnam scenario:

Prior to 1965; US Advisors and AID only

1965 – 1967; Buildup of US Forces and logistical support bases, plus heavy fighting to counter North Vietnamese Communist invasion.

1968 – 1970; Communist invasion halted, and the so-called Communist “insurgency” destroyed, to the point where over 90 percent of the towns and villages in South Vietnam were free from communist domination. As an example: In 1970 the South Vietnamese government held a bicycle race that ran from the Demilitarized Zone (The official boundary between North and South Vietnam) to Ca Mau near the southern tip of the Mekong Delta. Ca Mau was South Vietnam’s southern most city. The race course was over South Vietnam’s public highways. The participants were unmolested and the event took place with no, zero, interference from the communists. Why? Because they did not control any of the territory which the race course ran through. By 1971 throughout the entire, heavily populated Mekong Delta, the monthly rate of Communist insurgency action dropped to an average of 3 incidents per 100,000 population (Most US cities would envy a crime rate that low). In 1969 Nixon started US troop withdrawals that were essentially complete by late 1971.

December 1972; Paris Peace Agreements negotiated by North Vietnam, South Vietnam, the Southern Communists, (i.e., composed of the VC, NLF / PRG, etc.2) and the United States.

January 1973; Paris Peace Agreements officially signed by all four Parties.

March 1973; Last POW released from the Hanoi Hilton, and in accordance with the Paris Agreements, the last American G.I. leaves South Vietnam (Those few remaining US Military personnel were assigned to the Defense Attaché Office and in fact began performing as diplomatic administrative staff).

August 1973; US Congress passes the Case – Church Amendment which forbids, US naval forces from sailing on the seas surrounding, US ground forces from operating on the land of, and US air forces from flying in the air over, South Vietnam, North Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos. Case – Church was in effect an unconditional guarantee, by the US Congress to the North Vietnamese communists, that the United States would no longer oppose their efforts to conquer South Vietnam. This Act effectively nullified the Paris Peace Agreements. The communists had won on the floors of the US Congress, what they could not possibly have won on the battlefields of Vietnam.

Congress took this action3 at a time when America had drawn its Cold War battle lines, and as a result, had the US Navy protecting Taiwan, 50,000 US troops in South Korea, and over 300,000 troops in Western Europe (which had a land area, economy and population comparable to that of the United States). Along with those military commitments, were ironclad guarantees that if communist forces should cross any of those Cold War lines or Soviet armor should roll across either the DMZ in Korea or the Iron Curtain in Europe, there would be an unlimited response by the armed forces of the United States, to include if necessary, the use of nuclear weapons. Conversely, in 1975 when Soviet armor rolled across the international borders of South Vietnam, the US military response was nothing. In addition, Congress cut off all AID to the South Vietnamese and would not provide them with as much as a single dollar or a single bullet. In contrast, from the beginning of 1974 (after the Paris Peace Accords had been signed), up through the end of April 1975, the Soviet Union and Red China supplied over 823,000 tons of war materials to the Hanoi regime.

In spite of this Case – Church 1973 Congressional guarantee, the North Vietnamese were very leery of President Nixon. They viewed him as an incredibly tough leader who was also dangerously unpredictable. He had, in 1972, for the first time in the War, mined Hai Phong Harbor and sent the B-52 bombers against the North to force them into signing the Paris Peace Agreements. Previously the B-52s had been used only against Communist troop concentrations in remote regions of Vietnam and occasionally against carefully selected sanctuaries in Cambodia, plus against both sanctuaries and supply lines in Laos.

August 1974; Nixon resigns.

September 1974; North Vietnamese communists hold special meeting to evaluate Nixon’s resignation and decide to test implications.

December 1974; North Vietnamese invade South Vietnamese province of Phouc Binh located north of Saigon on Cambodian border.

January 1975: North Vietnamese capture Phouc Long, provincial capitol of Phouc Binh. Sit and wait for US reaction. No reaction.

March 1975; North Vietnam mounts full scale invasion. Seventeen North Vietnamese conventional divisions (more divisions than the US Army has had on active duty since WW II) were formed into four conventional army corps (This was the entire North Vietnamese army. Because the US Congress had unconditionally guaranteed no military action against North Vietnam, there was no need for them to keep forces in reserve to protect their home bases, flanks or supply lines), and launched a wholly conventional cross-border, frontal-attack. This attack was spearheaded by 700 Russian tanks, that were burning Soviet fuel and firing Soviet ammunition. Then, using the age old tactics of mass and maneuver, they defeated the South Vietnamese army in detail.

A complete description of this North Vietnamese Army (NVA) classical military victory is best expressed in the words of the NVA general who commanded it. Recommended reading: Great Spring Victory by General Tien Van Dung, NVA Foreign Broadcast Information Service, Volume I, 7 June 1976 and Volume II, 7 July 1976. General Dung’s account of the final battles for South Vietnam reads like it was taken right out of a US Army manual on offensive military operations. His descriptions of the mass and maneuver were extraordinary. His selection of South Vietnam’s army as the “center of gravity” could have been written by General Carl von Clausewitz4 himself. General Dung’s account goes into graphic detail on his battle moves aimed at destroying South Vietnam’s armed forces and their war materials. He never mentions revolutionary warfare or guerrilla tactics contributing in any way to his Great Spring Victory.

Other Aspects

US Military battle deaths by year:
                 - Prior to 1966 – 3,078 (Total up through 31 December 1965)
                 - 1966 – 5,008
                 - 1967 – 9,378
                 - 1968 – 14,589 (Total while JFK & LBJ were on watch – 32,053)
                 - 1969 – 9,414
                 - 1970 – 4,221
                 - 1971 – 1,381
                 - 1972 – 300 (Total while Nixon was on watch – 15,316)

Source of these numbers is the Southeast Asia Statistical Summary, Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense, and were provided to the author by the US Army War College Library, Carlisle Barracks, PA 17023. Numbers are battle deaths only and do not include ordinary accidents, heart attacks, murder victims, those who died in knife fights in barroom brawls, suicides, etc. For those who think these numbers represent “heavy fighting” and some of the “bloodiest battles” in US history should consider that the Allied Forces lost 9,758 men killed just storming the Normandy Beaches; 6,603 were Americans. The US Marines, in the 25 days between 19 February and 16 March 1945, lost nearly 7,000 men killed in their battle for the tiny island of Iwo Jima.

The single bloodiest day for the Americans in Vietnam was 17 November 1965, when elements of the 7th Cav (Custer’s old outfit) lost 155 men killed in a battle with elements of two North Vietnamese regular army regiments (33rd & 66th) near the Cambodian border southwest of Pleiku.

Comparative POW (Prisoner of War) Statistics
                - Americans taken POW during WW II 130,201 (The Greatest Generation)
                - Americans taken POW during the Korean War 7,140
                - Americans taken POW in Vietnam 771

These Vietnamese American POW numbers raise the obvious question. If the Vietnamese communist military were such a superb, uncanny, divinely lead fighting force, that always outfoxed the Americans, how come they didn’t take more prisoners? It’s because the communists were defeated on the field of battle in every single major engagement of the War. In order for the communists to have taken significant numbers of prisoners, they would first have to win battles and overrun American positions.

The majority of those 771 captured in Vietnam were airmen shot down over North Vietnam. Less than 200 of these men were captured on the ground, inside of South Vietnam. These figures alone, totally dispel the notion that somehow the US soldiers in Vietnam were not on a par with those who served in earlier wars. They also rubbish the notion that the US Military in Vietnam were a group of unmotivated, hapless souls who were poorly trained and commanded by inept leaders

This is not to say that these troops did not experience a lot of hard fighting. In Vietnam, the US Marines lost five times as many killed as they did in WW I, three times as many killed as they did in Korea and suffered more killed and wounded in Vietnam than during all of WW II.

The following is from a speech by the US Army’s 25th Infantry Division’s command sergeant major on the 25th anniversary of the fall of the Republic of Vietnam:

“The 25th Infantry Division (Tropic Lighting) fought in Vietnam from early 1966 to late 1971.
The Division had a little less than 17,000 men assigned.5 During its tour, the Division never lost a position to the enemy, never had a unit overrun, and never had a soldier surrender under fire.”

Quite a record for a force that was supposedly made up of uneducated, inadequately trained, drug addicted, bumbling draftees, who were poorly motivated, led by officers who were less than competent and continually being outsmarted by their enemies. That these Soldiers and Marines get little, if any, credit for their sacrifices and achievements is another story. One that is inextricably meshed into the fabric of that huge “anti-war” / draft dodging majority that still comprises the bulk of America’s media market.

Parallel Point

During its Normandy battles in 1944 the US 90th Infantry Division (roughly15,000+ men), had to replace 150% of its officers and more than 100% of its men. The 173rd Airborne Brigade (normally there are 3 Brigades to a division) served in Vietnam for a total of 2,301 days, and holds the record for the longest continuous service under fire of any American unit, ever. During that (6 year, 3+ month) period the 173rd lost 1,601 (about 31%) of its men killed in action.

Casualty Statistics

Again, the US Army War College Library provides the numbers. The former South Vietnam was made up of 44 provinces. The province that claimed the most American lives was Quang Tri, which bordered on both North Vietnam and Laos. Fifty three percent of Americans killed in Vietnam were killed in the four northernmost provinces, which in addition to Quang Tri were Thua Thien, Quang Nam and Quan Tin. All three shared borders with Laos. An additional six provinces accounted for another 26% of the Americans killed in action (KIA). These six provinces all shared borders with either Laos or Cambodia, or, had contiguous borders with provinces that did share borders with those two countries. The 15 southernmost provinces (Designated as IV Corps), which was home to 40% of South Vietnam’s population, accounted for just under 5% of US KIA. The remaining 19 provinces accounted for16% of US KIA. These statistics are sufficient to dismiss the popular American belief that South Vietnam was a flaming inferno of violent revolutionary dissent. The overwhelming majority of Americans killed in Vietnam, died in border battles against regular NVA units. The policies established by Johnson and McNamara prevented the American soldiers from crossing those borders and destroying their enemies. Expressed in WW II terms, those policies were the functional equivalent of having sent American soldiers to fight in Europe during WW II, but restricting them to France, Belgium, Holland, Italy, etc., and not letting them cross the borders into Germany, the source of the problem. General Curtis LeMay aptly defined Johnson’s war policy in Vietnam by saying that “We are swatting flies in the South when we should be going after the manure pile in Hanoi.”

Looking back it is now clear that the American military role in “Vietnam” was, in essence, one of defending international borders against a conventional cross-border communist invasion. Exactly as they had done in Korea. Contrary to popular belief, they turned in an outstanding performance. Again: The US military was not driven from Vietnam. They left under the terms of the Paris Peace Agreements. They were then barred from returning by the US Congress. This same Congress then turned around and abandoned America’s former ally, South Vietnam. Should America feel shame? Yes! Why? For kowtowing to the wishes of those craven anti-war / draft dodging voting hoards, and for bugging out and abandoning an ally that America had promised to protect.

Johnson’s Fatal Mistakes

Johnson made two colossal “Vietnam” blunders. First he failed to get a formal Declaration of War, which he could have easily had. The Gulf of Tonkin Resolution, which LBJ regarded as the “Functional equivalent of a formal Declaration of War.” was passed unanimously by the House and there were only two dissenting votes cast in the Senate. A formal Declaration of War would have altered the judicial state of the nation, exactly as the Founding Fathers had intended.

The Constitution begins with the words “We the people of the United States…” and it spells out what government is, and what it should do and cannot do. The Founding Fathers were mostly all veterans of the Revolutionary War, and fully understood how difficult it is to maintain public support during wartime. At one point 80% of the “American” people were against their war. Intentionally, the Framers of our Constitution crafted the requirement for a Congressional Declaration of War, in a manner which makes it a double-edged tool. It was designed to insure that America will not go to War without at least the initial support of the People’s Representatives, and through the Treason provision, it also creates impediments to public dissent once the battles are joined. The Constitution makes it perfectly clear that Congress shall have the “Power to declare War…” It then specifies that “Treason against these United States shall consist only in levying War against them, or, adhering to their Enemies, giving them Aid and Comfort.” It makes a last reference to this issue by stating “The Congress shall have the power to declare the Punishment for Treason…”

Much modern thinking assumes the Constitution is all about law and government. Not totally. It was written for “We the People…” The government does not fight wars. The People’s Representatives, authorize War, and, the appropriate entities of government to plan, staff, organize, direct, control and finance them. But, “We the People” do the fighting. And, when those of us “We” types are engaged on the field of battle, then “We” are entitled to every bit of protection that is provided for in Our Constitution.

A formal Declaration of War is an act which alters the judicial state of the nation. It not only provides measures for control of the press, but also to handle public dissent and deal effectively with traitors. Declaring War does not mean we have to impose martial law, reinstate universal conscription or launch the nukes. Control of the press in wartime is not for protection of the government. It’s for the protection of our soldiers. Control of the press does not mean absolute control. Only their reporting from the War zone, and their treatment of our enemies. The Constitution guarantees a free press, but not a responsible press. During WW II all news dispatches from the battlefields (in fact not only news dispatches but personal letters from the soldiers as well) were censored, and, the US media was not allowed to publish the picture of a single dead American GI, until after the Normandy invasion (D-Day, 1944) was successful.

Johnson’s second blunder was to grant blanket draft deferments to college students. This draft exemption loophole soon became a system of super loop highways, and the nation’s campuses quickly filled to overflowing with students evading the draft. The overwhelming majority of these men knew they were acting in a cowardly manner. Subsequently, they took to appeasing their consciences by convincing themselves the war was somehow immoral. Once this “immoral” concept emerged and became creditable, it spread like wildfire across the nation’s college campuses. In turn these campuses became boiling cauldrons of violent raging anti-war descent that swiftly overflowed onto the main streets of America. Anti-war protests and violent demonstrations became the accepted norm. Miraculously, acts of cowardice were transformed into respectable acts of defiance. However, when one goes back and scrutinizes those anti-war demonstrations, one promptly finds they were not really against the war. They were only against the side fighting the communists! This of course turns out to be the side which had the army from which the dodgers were dodging. Hmmmm!

Media

The following is not meant as an outright criticism of the media (neither is it intended to excuse their reprehensible behavior). In spite all the hullabaloo the US media puts out about freedom of speech and the public’s right to know, US media’s main motivation is profits. Period. The US media is first and foremost a business. The people who own and manage the nation’s television and radio networks, electronic forums, its newspapers and the other print media publications are in the business of making money. The US media understands only too well what Americans want to see, hear, and perhaps more importantly, feel. Those same media folks also very clearly comprehend, that the American people, in general, are not driven by intellect, but by emotions.

Once the draft dodging anti-war crowds’ numbers started climbing up into the tens of millions, the media and then the politicians started pandering to those numbers (with media it is either circulation numbers or Nielsen ratings. With politicians it’s votes). Media, unrestrained by a formal Declaration of War, quickly moved to the forefront of the anti-Vietnam crusade. Multi-million dollar salaries are not paid to people for reporting the news, in any form, be it written, audio or video. Multi-million dollar salaries (e.g., Cronkite) are paid to entertainers. Stars and super stars. One does not get to be, much less continue to be, a superstar unless one gives one’s audience what it wants. At the point where those draft dodging anti-war audience numbers reached critical mass, the media had no choice but pander to the wants of those mushrooming masses.

An excellent example of this number pandering can be found in a 1969 Life magazine feature article in which Life’s editors published the portraits of 250 men that were killed in Vietnam during one “routine week.” This was supposedly done to demonstrate Life’s concern for the sanctity of human life; American human life. And furthermore, to starkly illustrate the Vietnam tragedy with a dramatic reminder (i.e., the faces staring out of those pages), that those anonymous causality numbers were in fact the sons, brothers and husbands of neighbors. In 1969 the weekly average death toll from highway accidents in the United States was 1,082. If indeed Life’s concern was for the sanctity of American lives, why not publish the 1,082 portraits of folks who were killed in one “routine week” on the nation’s highways. Then they could have shown not only the sons, brothers and husbands of neighbors, but could have depicted dead daughter, mothers, grandmothers, aunts, babies, cripples, fools and draft dodgers as well. No Way! Life knew full well where its “numbers” were.

Another excellent illustration is media’s portrayal of the infamous “Siege” of Khe Sanh. According to Peter Braestrup, a 1968 Newsweek story on the battle of Khe Sanh displayed 29 photographs. Eighteen of these photos showed US Marines huddled under fire, wounded or dead. “None of the photos showed the Marines firing back, in spite of the fact that marine artillery fired ten rounds at the enemy for every one Khe Sanh received.” So biased was the news coverage that, even today Khe Sanh is perceived as a horrendous experience for the United States. This gloomy image persists, notwithstanding the fact that, when the fighting was over, the US Marines had lost a total of 205 men killed as opposed to in excess of 15,000 NVA killed.6

For those interested in a detailed, unbiased, factual account of the US Military’s performance in Vietnam, Unheralded Victory (HarperCollinsPublishers) by Mark W. Woodruff, provides exceptional insight.

Television

Quote from Newsweek (10 Oct 83) “At a certain point television became more important that the war itself. That point was the Tet Offensive 1968.” Vietnam was America’s first television war and the nation didn’t handle it very well. Early on in Vietnam, the media recognized the amazing potential for television to exploit war’s sensationalism. Unrestrained by a formal Declaration of War, and mesmerized by the power they possessed, media quickly spun out of control. Media’s influence exerted power far beyond description, and, eventually altered the War’s outcome in favor of the communists. Conventional wisdom has it that the Tet Offensive was the “turning point” where the American people lost faith in the war. Television’s coverage of this event had convinced them that the War was unwinnable. The singular most important incident in shaping this “turning event, was the “news dispatch” by Peter Arnett that the communists had captured the US Embassy in Saigon. This was a totally fictitious report.

The facts: In the early morning hours of 1 Feb 68, communist sappers blew a small hole in the outer wall of the US Embassy in Saigon, entered the embassy grounds and engaged in a brief firefight with embassy guards. They never entered the embassy, and all were doomed. Later, an investigation revealed that these sappers had no mission other than to enter the embassy grounds and make a psychological gesture for the benefit of American television. It was a suicide mission aimed at the American psyche. It was a total success. Astounded viewers back in America were being told that the Communist had captured the US Embassy in Saigon. This was a false report, and it mattered not that this false report was later corrected. In the words of General Dave Palmer, though the communists were to suffer “…thirty thousand dead in the first ten days of the Tet offensive—none would achieve as much as the twenty who blew a hole in the embassy wall and survived inside for four hours.”

As one US observer noted “The Americans might not understand the power of television propaganda, but the enemy sure as hell did.”

Peter Arnett7 also filed the infamous report supposedly quoting the US officer in the Mekong Delta as saying “We had to destroy the town in order to save it.” This was another sensational fabrication. The full story of Arnett’s deceptive reporting of this incident is covered in depth by B. G. Burkett in his book Stolen Valor.

Media & Dodgers: More Than a Double Whammy

When I asked a well known American reporter, who had covered the war extensively, why they never reported on this outside communist support, his answer was essentially that the North Vietnamese would not let the reporters into North Vietnam and because “We had no access to the North during the war…meant there were huge gaps in accurately conveying what was happening north of the DMZ.”

At the peak of the war there were 545,000 US Military personnel in Vietnam. However, most of them were logistical / support types. On the best day ever, there were 43,500 ground troops actually engaged in offensive combat operations, i.e., out in the boondocks, looking for, or actually in contact with, the enemy. This ratio of support to offensive line troops is also comparable to other wars, and helps dispel the notion that every troop in Vietnam was engaged in mortal combat on a daily basis.

The Reason it all, Hangs Like a Pall

There always has been, and always will be, American opposition to war. The Revolutionary War had the highest, (estimated at 80 percent) and that was because it was fought on home soil. Opposition to WW I was 64 percent. During WW II it peaked at 32 percent. The number for Korea was 62 percent, and 65% opposed Vietnam. What makes Vietnam so different is the dodging anti-war disaster. Of the 2,594,000 who served in Vietnam, only about 25 percent, or, 648,000+ were drafted. Compare that to the 16,000,000+ who dodged and it works out to 25 dodgers for every draftee who went.

Today, America’s crocks are crammed chock-a-block full of dodgers, with crocks in the fields of media, entertainment and academia being more fully crammed than most. America’s schools, colleges and universities are overloaded with faculty who either dodged or were members of the anti-war crowd. To this day the dodgers have a need to rationalize away their acts of cowardice and a compulsion to malign and belittle the very source of that guilt, Vietnam. Consequently, many of them devote inordinate amounts of time and energy to either giving classroom lectures and or speeches, writing articles, position papers or in some cases books, or otherwise carrying on about the tragic and foolish mistakes made by those who actually served in Vietnam.

The anti-war movement was akin to a national temper tantrum that eventually engulfed and the afflicted the entire nation with its warped rational. This group, fueled and led by dodgers and their cohorts, were responsible for poisoning the American public’s mind on the subject of Vietnam. Eventually those dodging hoards, and their cronies in the US media, influenced the body politic to elect a Congress that stripped the soldiers who fought in Vietnam of their victories, and voted to cut and run in the face of adversity. To this very day, academia, the media, the politicians, talking heads, and the draft dodging multitudes continuously feed off one another with their preposterous and deceptive hallucinations about “Vietnam.” This is done at small expense. Only a very small minority of Vietnam Veterans bear the brunt of their vicious absurdities.

The reason “Vietnam” will not go away is because the story the dodging masses and their supporters are perpetuating is not true, and it sticks in the craw of the non-dodging population. Especially the young. If a teacher wrote 1 + 1 = 2 on a blackboard, kids going by would take one look and forget it. However, if 1 + 1 = 6 were there, a certain portion of them would stop and question it. Same with Vietnam. The supposed “facts” being taught or presented just don’t add up.

Recently, a young man asked me “How come North Vietnam, which had a land area smaller than the state of Missouri and a population of less than one tenth the size of America’s could defeat the modern armed forces of the United States?” I answered “Son, they didn’t.” He came back with “Then why did my teachers tell me that?” My answer was “Son, they are mostly either draft dodgers or wannabes (as in wanted to be a dodger but were too young, too old, the wrong sex, or?) or their descendents, or kin of, or otherwise truck with, the dodgers. Take this article, go show it to your teachers, and then ask for a detailed description of that American military defeat.”

Today they cast sinister shadows over Iraq & Afghanistan. In WW II, movie actors, sports stars and politicians all readily volunteered for military service. During Vietnam the dodging anti-war and anti-military multitudes eventually led to their stars and politicians taking decisively anti-war, anti military and anti-American positions. As noted earlier, one does not get to be, much less continue to be a star or superstar unless one gives one’s audience what it wants. This spawned a new era in American life. Stars and superstars grabbed their anti-war anti-American banners and, in doing so, reached new and enthralling heights of adulation. The fundamental problem with this was, that the American public tends to look up to, and bestow credence on their stars. Subsequently stars who are merely actors, and in many cases have no real life experience or training, outside of acting or pretending, become looked up to as leaders. Public confusion results in actors becoming anointed as leaders who then can exert tremendous influence. During WW II, if movie stars had dodged the draft and openly championed the causes of Hitler and Tojo, their careers would have been obliterated, and they would have formerly been charged with treason. Today, actors who are anti-American and in many instances, pro Islamic terrorist, are held in high esteem and quoted and re-quoted over and over again.
War is a very serious undertaking. But starting with Vietnam and up through today, it is being treated as a new form of video entertainment, intended to create new big name, news mongers, enhance the images of existing celebrity reporters, generate billions of dollars in advertising revenues for the US media, and provide unique, but safe, enjoyable, exciting titillation for its viewing audience. In Iraq today, when a gang of two-bit thugs kidnap an ordinary citizen and threatens to execute him, the media immediately confers world class status on the thugs. These thugs are miraculously transformed and presented by media as equals with legitimate world leaders. These thugs then can bring pressure (at least perceived pressure) on democratic governments. A hand full of thugs and the life of an ordinary citizen are not world class issues, and should never be viewed as such.

More Misconceptions

The idea that “There were no front lines” and “The enemy was everywhere all the time” makes good press, and, feeds the reprehensible needs of a large majority of those 16,000,000 plus Americans who dodged the draft8 during the Vietnam War. Add either a mother or a father (only one, not both) and throw in another sympathizer or two in the form of either a relative or a friend and you are looking at a group that’s something in excess of 50-million Americans. During the entire period of the US involvement in “Vietnam” only 2,594,000 US Military actually served inside that country. Compare this number with the 50-million plus figure, and you have the answer to why the American view of its Vietnam experience is so skewed. The bulk of America’s draft dodging multitudes share a common emotion. Guilt. This guilt thing was aptly summarized in a Washington Post article, dated April 6, 1980. Arthur T. Hadley wrote “Those who avoided Vietnam through loopholes (or more correctly, loop-highways) in the draft, being in the main honorable men, now feel guilty. They relieve these feelings either by venomous attacks on all things military, including the draft: or become 200 percent American, and make Attila the Hun sound like Mother Goose.”

The most glaring example of the dodger’s guilt syndrome can be found in a statement made by the ranking head dodger himself. When asked for his reaction to McNamara’s book In Retrospect, Clinton’s spontaneous response was “I feel vindicated.” Clinton is a lawyer and understands the English language only too well. For one to “feel” vindicated, as opposed to “being” vindicated, one must first have been, by definition, “feeling” guilty.
This is also the reason no one writes gushy, romantic, nostalgic ridden, historically emotional books such as Tom Brokaw’s The Greatest Generation (a best seller featuring WW II veterans) about Vietnam veterans and their war.

The Government of South Vietnam

Its official name for this government was the Government of the Republic of Vietnam (GRVN). Another series of endlessly repeated myths portray the GRVN as an illegitimate creation of foreigners that was tyrannically oppressive, incompetent, hopelessly corrupt and plagued by military coups that were practically the order of the day. None of these illusions are true. These never ending contemptuous stories of the GRVN were filed by reporters who were in South Vietnam on visas (i.e., written permission to be there) issued by the very government they were so loudly criticizing.

The GRVN came into being as a result of the 1954 Geneva Accords, which legally established both North and South Vietnam as independent countries. Neither the United States nor South Vietnam signed those accords (Their failure to sign the Geneva Accords, succinctly dispels the notion that South Vietnam was somehow a creation of the United States). The first president of the GRVN was Ngo Dinh Diem. He was overthrown and murdered in November of 1963. The next nineteen months saw a series of military coups and leadership changes but the government of the GRVN stabilized in June 1965, with Nguyen Cao Ky9 as prime minister. Elections were held in 1967. Nguyen Van Thieu became president with Nguyen Cao Ky as his vice president. Thieu was elected in a democratic election in which nine political parties fielded candidates. Thieu won this election with only thirty five percent of the vote. He was then immediately and very loudly condemned by the majority of the US media for “rigging” the election (For the record, I’ve witnessed rigged elections staged by Asian dictators and the idea of “rigging” a thirty five percent win, is just plain silly).

From the beginning the government in Saigon had much greater legitimacy and international recognition than the communist government in Hanoi. In the words of Dr. Bernard Fall “In various test votes in the United Nations on admission of either one or both Viet-Nams, South Vietnam always led its northern neighbor by a sizable margin, and garnered more votes than South Korea when the latter’s admission was put to the test.” Eventually South Vietnam sat “As a full fledged member in every United Nations agency from which it cannot be barred by Soviet veto.” In 1957 the UN Security Council voted 8 to 1 (the Soviet Union cast the dissenting vote) and the General Assembly voted 49 to 9 to admit South Vietnam. Various UN members (excluding the United Sates) sent 39,000 troops to fight the communists in South Korea. At the height of the war in Vietnam, various United Nations members (again, excluding the United States) had over 60,000 troops10 in South Vietnam to aid them in their fight against the communists. In all, forty five countries sent men, money or supplies to help South Vietnam defend itself.

The GRVN allowed a free press and literally thousands of reporters traveled to South Vietnam, and once they arrived, they traveled freely around inside the country. When South Vietnam fell, the South Vietnamese media consisted of 28 Vietnamese daily language newspapers and 11 others printed in Chinese, English and French. In addition there were weekly, biweekly and monthly publications covering the full range of topics to include politics. This was supplemented by 24 radio stations and three television stations, plus a number of book publishing houses, and all were competing in a free market. There was also a free flow of foreign publications available at newsstands and bookstores throughout the country. The idea of a brutally repressive, corrupt, all powerful dictatorship operating under the merciless and constant surveillance of an unconstrained media, is just plain fantasy. Perhaps the best illustration would be to ask “If the GRVN was such a contemptible, despicable government,11 why didn’t the South Vietnamese people simply flee to the north or escape in Boats?” The fact is, it took North Vietnamese communist totalitarian domination to drive the Vietnamese people from their ancestral homelands.

The South Vietnamese Military

There are many loudly touted, absurd misperceptions about both the willingness and the ability of the South Vietnamese to fight. Between January 1965 and October 1972, the South Vietnamese Army lost 183,528 killed and another 499,026 wounded. Simply stated, during the period when the United States lost roughly 58,000 men, the South Vietnamese suffered 183,000+ battle deaths. This, out of a population base averaging fewer than 16,000,000, which is less than 10% of the average US population during that period. If America had bled its population at the same rate South Vietnam bled its population, America would have to have sustained 271,000 battle deaths and 730,000+ wounded every year for the entire seven year period that US combat troops were committed in Vietnam. That would have meant 1,875,000 American dead in Vietnam, along with 5,122,000 wounded.

The Americans who actually served in Combat with the South Vietnamese have a different view. US Army General H. Norman Schwarzkopf says it most authoritatively. During his first tour of duty in Vietnam, Schwarzkopf was questioned by a rear echelon American officer about staying in the field with the South Vietnamese troops. Of that encounter Schwarzkopf writes he responded by saying “I was confident staying with the airborne because I had no doubt about their ability to fight or their concern for my well being.”
Another item: By the early 1970s the South Vietnamese military was capturing such an enormous amount of material and weapons from the North Vietnamese Army, that in conjunction with various regional US Military Assistance programs, Russian made AK-47s captured from the NVA by the South Vietnamese were being issued to other allied nations in Southeast Asia.

The US media, politicians, dodgers from academia and assorted talking heads (still playing to those huge draft dodging anti-war numbers) dearly love to pour scorn on and ridicule the South Vietnamese military.

 They are continually implying that somehow the South Vietnamese just could not, and would not, defend their own country. During the Cold War period, the South Koreans, the Taiwanese and the Western Europeans, all depended on the military might of the United States to preserve their freedom. That US military shield was deliberately withdrawn from South Vietnam by the United States Congress.

The Battle of Xuan Loc; Mar 17 – Apr 17, 1975 & The End

Xuan Loc was the last major battle for South Vietnam. This town sits astride Q. L. (National Road) #1, some 40 odd miles to the northeast of Saigon (on the road to Phan Thiet) and was the capitol of South Vietnam’s Long Khanh province. The North Vietnamese Army (NVA) attack fell on the Army Republic of Vietnam (ARVN) 18th Division.12

On March 17th, 1975 the NVA 6th & 7th Divisions attacked Xuan Loc but were repulsed by the ARVN 18th. On April 9th the NVA 341st Division joined the attack. After a four thousand round artillery bombardment, these three divisions massed, and spearheaded by Russian tanks and other armored vehicles, mounted a second assault on Xuan Loc. But again, the ARVN 18th held its ground. The NVA reinforced with their 325th Division and began moving their 10th & 304th Divisions into position. Eventually, in a classic example of the art of “Mass and Maneuver” the NVA massed 40,000 men and overran Xuan Loc.

During this fight, the ARVN 18th had 5,000 men at Xuan Loc. These men managed to virtually destroy 3 NVA divisions, but on April 17th, 1975 they were overwhelmed by the sheer numbers and the weight of the “Mass.” Before overrunning Xuan Loc the NVA had committed six full divisions, plus a host of various support troops.
In the Sorrow of War, author and NVA veteran Bao Ninh writes of this battle “Remember when we chased Division 18 southern soldiers all over Xuan Loc? My tank tracks were choked up with skin and hair and blood. And the bloody maggots. And the fucking flies. Had to drive through a river to get the stuff out of my tracks.” He also writes “After a while I could tell the difference between mud and bodies, logs and bodies. They were like sacks of water. They’d pop open when I ran over them. Pop! Pop!”

The Communist Government of North Vietnam

There are various versions of a widely held belief (which resonates particularly well with those draft dodging anti-war hoards) that the communist government of North Vietnam was popular, perhaps even revered. The 1954 Geneva Accords, that legally brought into being both the North and the South Vietnamese governments, called for free elections to be held in 1956. Conventional wisdom has it that if the South Vietnamese and their American ally had agreed to those country-wide free elections in 1956, then the South Vietnamese people would have overwhelmingly elected to Join Ho’s communist government. This is pure nonsense. To this day (May 2004) the Vietnamese communists have never held a truly free and fair election. In 1956 Ho and his communist government were in the midst of their land reforms and in the process were murdering tens of thousands of their own people. Even peasant farmers with as little as one acre of land were being executed for having a “Landlord mentality.” According to historian Edgar O’Ballance, in 1956, these mass killings stirred such resentment in the North Vietnamese that it triggered a “real crisis” for Ho’s government. “Anxiously, Ho stepped in to prevent a national insurrection.” Over Radio Hanoi, Ho read out an apologetic letter to the people, released some 12,000 people who were waiting to be executed and declared the 50,000 people that had been killed resisting land reform to have been “executed by mistake” and proclaimed “national heroes” of the revolution.13 Anybody who, in fact, believes that free elections could have been carried out simultaneously with mass executions, is simply not playing with a full deck.

The North Vietnamese Military

This organization officially came into being on 22 December 1944 as an armed propaganda unit! Its main priority has always been, first and foremost, propaganda. Initially, this propaganda was directed primarily towards the soldiers themselves in the form of indoctrination. For example: “The collective masses are opposed to individualism and its role in history. The individual soldier is a worthless as a grain of sand, and to be crushed underfoot.” A quote from General Giap,14 speaking of his own soldiers, offers insight into this communist canon: “Every minute, hundreds of thousands of people die on this earth. The life or death of a hundred, a thousand, tens of thousands of human beings, even our compatriots, means little.” (Quote from Stanley Karnow’s VIETNAM a History)

Secondly, this propaganda effort was focused on the Vietnamese population both North and South. And last but most importantly, it was directed toward the world at large, and in particular on its American audience.

Recommended Reading

Works by Bao Ninh, the author of The Sorrow of War. He tells of being drafted in the North Vietnamese Army in 1968 and fighting for nearly seven years. His unit lost over 80% of its men, to battle deaths, sickness and desertion. On the later he wrote “Desertion was rife throughout the regiment, as though soldiers were being vomited out, emptying the insides of whole platoons.”

Dien Bien Phu; More Myth

The Chinese account of Dien Bien Phu dispels more Vietnamese communist myths surrounding General Giap. Research on Chinese Communist Party achieves, conducted by Qiang Zhai, a China-born American scholar, provides interesting insight. According to these records, when the French decided to fortify and expand their base at Dien Bien Phu, Chinese General Wei Guoqing was quick to recognize this as an exceptional opportunity. “This was the blunder General Guoqing, Chinese ‘advisor’ to the Vietminh, had been patiently waiting for. Giap, the titular Vietnamese commander, wanted to attack the French in the Red River delta, a plan with no hope of success. Wei overruled Giap with the support of Mao himself.” The Chinese then committed “An army of laborers, a thousand trucks and, most important the updated 17th-century siege tactics they had perfected in Korea.” to the battle for Dien Bien Phu.

The Irony

It’s ironic that in spite of all the media hype and hullabaloo about the “Viet Cong” and the “American Soldiers” both were absent from the final battles for South Vietnam. During the “Tet” battles of 1968, the so-called “Viet Cong” had been literally bludgeoned to death on the streets of the cities, towns, and hamlets of South Vietnam. The Americans had left under the terms of the Paris Peace Agreements, and were then barred by the US Congress, from ever returning. The end came in the form of a cross border invasion. Two conventional armies fought it out using strategies and tactics as old as warfare itself.

A brief word about the South Vietnamese government lacking support from the people, and the supposed “popular support” for the communists. During the 1968 Tet Offensive the communists attacked 155 cities, towns and hamlets in South Vietnam. In not one instance did the people rise up to support the communists. The people did rise, but in revulsion and resistance to the invaders. The general uprising, envisioned by the communists, was a complete illusion. At the end of thirty days, not one single communist flag was flying over any of those 155 cities, towns and hamlets. The citizens of South Vietnam, no matter how apathetic they may have appeared toward their own government, turned out to be overwhelmingly anti-communist. In the end they had to be conquered by conventional divisions, supported by conventional tanks and artillery that was being maneuvered in accordance with the ancient principles of warfare. But then, as with mathematics, certain rules apply in war, and military victories are not won by violating military principles.

Note

General Dung’s Great Spring Victory was spearheaded by a total of 700 (maneuverable) Soviet tanks, i.e., Soviet tanks, burning Soviet fuel and firing Soviet ammunition. By comparison, the South Vietnamese had only 352 US supplied tanks and they were committed to guarding the entire country’s borders with Cambodia, Laos and North Vietnam. However, because of US Congressional action, the ARVN were critically short of fuel, ammunition and spare parts with which to maintain and support these tanks.

Vietnam: Divided by a wall in the 1630s

Another widely held myth is that Vietnam was really one country but had been artificially divided by blundering foreign governments. Fact: Shortly after ousting the Chinese in the fifteenth century, the southern Nguyen and the northern Trinh became engaged in a series of bitter bloody struggles that lasted for nearly 200 years. In the 1630s, the southern Nguyen officially divided Vietnam into two countries by constructing two huge walls (not unlike the Great Wall of China) across the narrow waist of Vietnam near Dong Ha (In approximately the same location as the boundary between North and South Vietnam, established by the 1954 Geneva Accords), and the Northern and Southern Vietnamese continued to battle on for the next 150 years. It is true that there are language similarities between the North and South Vietnamese. However, this does not give the North the right to rule the South, any more than the English language gives Canada the right to rule the United States.

After the Communist Takeover

The facts speak clearly. If things were so bad for the South Vietnamese people when the South Vietnamese government was in power and the Americans were supporting them, how come no one fled, i.e., there were no “boat people”? But, as soon as the communist takeover was complete the Vietnamese fled by the millions, a first in the 4,000 year history of the country.15 Once the communist grip on the Vietnamese people was complete, they showed their true colors and conditions got so bad that not only the people from the south fled by the millions, but they were soon joined by northerners who fled as well. No one ever says that the South Koreans would like to be ruled by the communist North Koreans, or the Taiwanese would like to be ruled by the mainland communists, or the West Germans would have liked to have been ruled by the communist East Germans or that Western Europe would like to have been ruled by the communist Soviet Union. However, for some strange reason, almost every western writer who addresses this subject, along with politicians and the great majority of media’s talking heads seem to actually believe that the South Vietnamese really wanted to be ruled by the communist North Vietnamese.

Related Comments

Vietnam was another battle in the Cold War. This war officially started (Its actual origins date back to 1917 when the communists came to power in Russia) on 9 Feb 1946 when Soviet Dictator Joseph Stalin declared “War” on the West. This definitively divided the world into two main opponents. The Free World led by the United States and the Communist World led by the Soviets. The worldwide Cold War lasted until the Berlin Wall came down in November 1989. It was by far the longest and most costly War the US has ever engaged in. Definitively speaking, this war is not well recognized, and it’s even less clearly understood. Mainly because of the length of time, the areas covered, the extraordinary diversity of the participants, plus the ever changing nature and locations of the battles. In brief; the Cold War16 death toll far exceeded that of WW II. Exact figures are not available. Reliable estimates put the number of dead well above 80,000,000 (The vast majority of the dead were killed by the communists and were citizens of the country in which they were killed). Costs are also difficult to calculate. A good place to start would be to add up the US defense budgets for the years from 1946 through 1990. The bulk of those expenditures were directly related to the Cold War.

The early “official” Cold War battles were in Europe. Fighting in Greece, the Berlin Blockade, etc. The first big bloody battle was Korea. The US encouraged the Korean War in much the same way it later encouraged Vietnam. In January 1950,17 Dean Acheson, President Truman’s Secretary of State, gave a speech to the National Press Club in Washington, D. C., declaring that Korea was outside America’s sphere of interest. Five months later, in June 1950, the communist response to this speech was an all out armed invasion of South Korea. A conventional cross-border, frontal attack. The Truman Administration’s unfortunate choice of words, had led to the US becoming involved in the Korean War in much the same manner that, 14 years later, President Johnson’s irresponsible campaign rhetoric would result in America having to commit combat troops in Vietnam. Contrary to popular myth, the situation in South Vietnam during the early 1960s was not going well for the communists. By early 1964 communist kidnappings were wide spread. Heavy handed tax collection techniques, brutal recruiting methods, along with widespread and often indiscriminate assassination campaigns, against not only village officials, but also teachers, civil servants and ordinary citizens, had pretty much soured a considerable portion of the population on communism. Years of struggle had exacted its toll on the ranks of the southern communist cadre. People who had been taken north, indoctrinated, trained and infiltrated back into South Vietnam. Deaths through combat and natural attrition, along with the further loss of men through disease and desertion, had thinned the communist ranks to alarmingly low levels.

Campaigning in 1964, Johnson pledged over and over again that he would “Not send American boys to do what Asian boys should do for themselves.”18 Unfortunately, this message was not lost on the North Vietnamese communists. They took Johnson at his word and in late 1964 began their military invasion of South Vietnam In the words of US Army General Dave Palmer “Just as the North Koreans, listening to American pronouncements in 1950, had become convinced that the United States would not make a stand in Korea, so was North Vietnam convinced fourteen years later that America would not fight in Vietnam. Of such miscalculations are wars made.”

Communist North Vietnam itself had come into being as a direct result of the Cold War and the worldwide communist movement. After the communist take over of China19 in 1949, they had offered the North Vietnamese sanctuaries, weapons, war materials and training. The communist victory at Dien Bien Phu was made possible by the ending of hostilities on the Korean peninsular in June 1953. The end of the Korean War made it possible for the communists to start shipping enormous amounts of weapons and other war materials to the communist forces in Vietnam. By late 1953 (Dien Bien Phu fell on 7 May 54) the flow of communist war materials (both Soviet and Chinese) into Vietnam reached upwards of 6,000 tons per month. This support included 220 heavy artillery pieces (including Soviet made heavy rocket launchers) which fired in excess of 210,000 rounds into the French positions. In addition, as both a threat and a military distraction to the French, the Chinese communists massed a 225,000 man army on Vietnam’s borders in the areas near Dein Binh Phu. That this battle is still portrayed to the world as a Vietnamese guerrilla victory over the French, is yet another tribute to their formidable propaganda skills.20

For those who still believe Vietnam was strictly a civil war, the following should be of interest. With the collapse of communism and the Soviet Union, along with the opening up of China, records are now becoming available on the type and amount of support North Vietnam received from China21 and the Soviet Block. For example:

China has opened its records (at least partially) on the number of uninformed Chinese troops sent to aid their communist friends in Hanoi. In all, China sent 327,000 uniformed troops, and several hundred thousand “expert workers” to North Vietnam. Chinese historian Chen Jian wrote “Although Beijing’s support may have fallen short of Hanoi’s expectations, without the support, the history, even the outcome, of the Vietnam War might have been different.” A quote on the Chinese advisory effort, from NVA Colonel Bui Tin, provides illumination. He explains that as outside communist support grew “Larger numbers of Chinese advisors arrived and were attached to every unit at all levels.”
In addition, at the height of the War, the Soviet Union had some 55,000 “Advisors” in North Vietnam. They were installing air defense systems, building, operating and maintaining SAM (Surface to Air Missiles) 22 sites, plus they provided training and logistical support for the North Vietnamese military

When I asked a well known American reporter, who had covered the war extensively, why they never reported on this outside communist support, his answer was essentially that the North Vietnamese would not let the reporters into North Vietnam and because “We had no access to the North during the war…meant there were huge gaps in accurately conveying what was happening north of the DMZ.”

At the peak of the war there were 545,000 US Military personnel in Vietnam. However, most of them were logistical / support types. On the best day ever, there were 43,500 ground troops actually engaged in offensive combat operations, i.e., out in the boondocks, looking for, or actually in contact with, the enemy. This ratio of support to offensive line troops is also comparable to other wars, and helps dispel the notion that every troop in Vietnam was engaged in mortal combat on a daily basis.

1 In WW II the US Army included the US Army Air Corps which today has become the US Airforce.

2 These so-called “Southern communist” organization fronts were created by Hanoi. They were not legitimate vehicles of popular dissent, and after Northern Communist conquest of South Vietnam, none of them had any subsequent representative role in Vietnam’s communist government.

3 This Act gives real meaning to that old Maine Yankee saying “No man’s Life or Property is safe when the Congress is in session.”

4 General von Clausewitz (German military officer, 1780 – 1831) is the author of On War which is considered a, if not the, classical textbook on all aspects of War. He is said to have distilled Napoleon into theory. An analogy has further been made that Clausewitz is to War what Adam Smith (The Wealth of Nations) is to economics, or, what Machiavelli (The Prince) is to politics.

5 Assuming one year tours for the men, over a five and a half year period, approximately 90,000+ men would have served with this Division.

6 Another interesting point: All during “Vietnam” the US media again and again accused the US military of overestimating and over reporting enemy casualties. Today, the North Vietnamese openly admit to losing many more men than was reported by the American military. The fact is, the military being conservative by nature, consistently underreported enemy casualties.

7 Arnett was later fired by CNN for false reporting of the Tailwind incident in which he purported that the US military in Vietnam supposedly gassed their own men. After that, in 2003, he was fired by both NBC and National Geographic for his Anti-American and prejudiced coverage of the US Military operations in Iraq.

8 From first hand experience I know there are civilizations on this planet where such acts as begging, thievery, rape, sodomy, murder, head hunting and even cannibalism (some time ago I spent three years in the virgin jungles of West Irian Jaya, which was formerly Dutch New Guinea) are considered praiseworthy pursuits. The are however, two human traits which are universally despised; treason and cowardice. During Vietnam, 16-million-plus American men dodged the draft. The term “dodged” includes avoided, ducked, bobbed, weaved & wiggled, sneaked away, cut out, ran away from, and or got deferments from the draft. This 16-million-plus number covers the full array of dodgers, from those who sought student deferments, to those who faked egg allergies, showed up for their draft physicals with panty hose on, to those who fled the country. At the end of the day, draft dodging is an act of cowardice, and no man worth his salt is proud of being a coward. Those dodgers, whose grandfathers had marched off to WW I, whose fathers had won WW II, and whose younger uncles and older brothers had fought in Korea, when their turn came, they took to hiding out on campus, in Canada, Sweden, under their mommy’s bed or wherever. They were all acting cowardly and many committed acts of treason by marching around on campus or down the main streets of America under enemy flags. A good portion of these folks also took to idolizing the likes of Jane Fonda, and using words like “love” and “peace” to obscure their cowardice.

9 Ky is not only originally from North Vietnam, but a Buddhist as well. So much for the myth about the South Vietnamese government being completely dominated by Catholics.

10 Note: Unlike Korea, the UN member troops were not under the UN flag.

11 I lived in Vietnam, as a civilian, amongst the Vietnamese people from May 1965 through April 1975, and can attest to the fact that the GRVN was not a totalitarian government. And, contrary to popular belief (at least among those who did not live there) it was neither brutal, oppressive, evil nor excessively corrupt.

12 At one time I served (as a civilian engineer) with MACV (US Military Assistance Command, Vietnam) Advisory Team #87; which provided advisors to this Division. During the 1972 Eastertide Offensive when 12 NVA divisions attacked An Loc, Kontum & Quang Tri (Note: the NVA lost all three battles and over 100,000 men in these engagements), the 18th was sent to An Loc (up Q.L. 13 near the Cambodian Border) and they drove the NVA out of An Loc and back into their sanctuaries in the Cambodian border areas.

13 Even those popular American writers who pay great homage to Ho’s image (They make huge profits from writing bad things about the South Vietnamese and the Americans, but saying great things about the North Vietnamese communists in general and Ho in particular), acknowledge these murders. For example; in his book After the War was Over Neil Sheehan admits that “thousands died” during the communist land reforms, but goes on to offer an excuse for Ho’s atrocities by writing “Ho apologized for the crimes, abolished the tribunals and ordered the release of thousands who had been imprisoned.” Sheehan’s use of the words “thousands died” is in itself despicably misleading. He is pandering to his readers wants. The fact is those “Thousands” didn’t just “die” they were murdered in cold blood.

14 In the US and international media, Giap is widely held to be a military genius. Determined yes. Genius no. The North Vietnamese now openly admit they suffered close to 1,300,000 military deaths in their fight for South Vietnam. In terms of percentages of population (Based on figures from the United Nations Demographic Yearbook 1974) this is the equivalent of the Americans losing over 12,000,000 men killed in Vietnam. If any American general had lost over 12,000,000 of his men killed, he would most certainly not be considered a genius.

15 Crucial question: Not long after the communist takeover, starving, wretched, Vietnamese refugees, from both North and South Vietnam, were washing up on shores everywhere in Asia from Japan to Indonesia. What was their number one destination choice for resettlement? The United States of America. If the Vietnamese had been oppressed, maltreated, maimed and indiscriminately murdered by the Americans, why would their number one choice of a new homeland be the USA?

16 The Cold War and the worldwide communist movement were inextricably entwined.

17 At a conference in Moscow, on 16 Dec 1949, Ho had sought Stalin’s formal approval of, and increased communist military support for, intensifying the war against France in Vietnam. At a later conference meeting, on the evening of 14 Feb 1950, Stalin, Mao Zedong and Ho formalized the agreement for this support, and Stalin directed Mao to increase support for Ho. The communist victory in China, the previous year, had cleared the way for aggressive communist expansion in Asia. However, Dean Acheson’s unexpected January speech triggered the communist invasion of South Korea and full communist support for the war in Vietnam was delayed until the cessation of hostilities on the Korean peninsular in Jun 1953.

18 Barbara Tuchman in her book The March of Folly writes of Johnson “Long accustomed to normal political lying, he forgot that his office made a difference.”

19 China shared common borders with both the Soviet Union and Vietnam, which in effect turned both countries in to large strategic military and logistical support bases for North Vietnam

20 Tom Wolfe once summed up the ignorance and gullibility of the US media types covering Vietnam with a comment about Harrison Salisbury of the New York Times.“…it seemed as if the North Vietnamese were playing Harrison Salisbury of the New York Times like an ocarina, as if they were blowing smoke up his pipe and the finger work was just right and the song was coming forth better than they could have played it themselves.”

21 North Vietnamese Colonel Bui Tin speaks to this Chinese support for the NVA and the effectiveness of the communist propaganda “But I have to admit that all my equipment from top to bottom, from my solar topee to my rubber sandals, even my underpants—in fact everything I was equipped with was made in China. We were quick to condemn the regime in the South for relying on the Americans as foreign interventionists. What we did not realize in the North was that the Chinese and Soviets were also foreigners. We always considered them as fraternal comrades helping us in the spirit of goodwill. All we could see was a puppet regime in the South relying on imperialist support whereas we in the North regarded ourselves as fully sovereign and independent in concert with the progressive world trend.”

22 This opens up another interesting aspect of the much touted “horrors” of the 1972 Christmas bombing of Hanoi. In response to this bombing, the North Vietnamese and their Soviet “advisors” fired 1,242 Soviet made SAMs at the American war planes. Twenty six American planes were hit by SAMs. The other 1,216 SAMs, with warheads in tact, fell back to earth in the Hanoi – Hai Phong area. Has anyone ever heard of, seen or read a report that describes the damage and deaths caused by these self-inflicted missile strikes?




 
 Television Power and The Vietnam War
By- Erin McLaughlin

Introduction
     Growing up as the daughter of a Vietnam veteran, I've always been proud to say that my father is a war hero. When I was younger, I enjoyed bragging to classmates and teachers about my father's honors because I believed that all Americans respect Vietnam veterans as much as I do. As I grew older, however, I noticed in movies and on television that the Vietnam veteran is not portrayed as a brave soldier; rather, he is a violent psychopath who continuously experiences flashbacks of the war. What was coverage of the war like, and did it affect the image of the Vietnam veteran? Many Vietnam veterans feel that uncensored and overly negative television coverage helped turn the American public against the war and against the veterans themselves.
      The horrors of war entered the living rooms of Americans for the first time during the Vietnam War. For almost a decade in between school, work, and dinners, the American public could watch villages being destroyed, Vietnamese children burning to death, and American body bags being sent home. Though initial coverage generally supported U.S involvement in the war, television news dramatically changed its frame of the war after the Tet Offensive. Images of the U.S led massacre at My Lai dominated the television, yet the daily atrocities committed by North Vietnam and the Viet Cong rarely made the evening news. Moreover, the anti-war movement at home gained increasing media attention while the U.S soldier was forgotten in Vietnam. Coverage of the war and its resulting impact on public opinion has been debated for decades by many intelligent media scholars and journalists, yet they are not the most qualified individuals to do so: the veterans are.
      Journalists based in Saigon daily reported facts about battles, casualties, and the morale of the troops, yet only a soldier could grasp the true reality of war. Veterans understand what really occurred in the jungles of Vietnam, and only they can compare the truth to what was portrayed on television. Furthermore, their homecoming stories most accurately reveal how the American public has cruelly mistreated the Vietnam veteran. Therefore, after having researched the power of television and its coverage of the war, I interviewed four Vietnam veterans in order to understand how they interpreted the coverage and how they feel it contributed to the image of the Vietnam Veteran.
Section 1: Television Power and the Vietnam War
Why Television?
      By the mid-1960's, television was considered to be the most important source of news for the American public, and, possibly, the most powerful influence on public opinion itself. Throughout the Korean War, the television audience remained small. In 1950, only 9 percent of homes owned a television. By 1966, this figure rose to 93 percent (Bonior, Champlin, Kolly, 1984, p.18). As televisions became more popular in the home, more Americans began to get their news from television than from any other source. A series of surveys conducted by the Roper Organization for the Television Information Office from 1964 until 1972 demonstrates the growing power of television. With multiple answers allowed, respondents were asked from which medium they “got most of their news”. In 1964, 58 percent said television; 56 percent, newspapers; 26 percent, radio; and 8 percent, magazines. By 1972, 64 percent said television while the number of respondents who primarily relied on newspapers dropped to 50 percent (Hallin, 1986, p.106). Thus, as the Vietnam War dragged on, more and more Americans turned to television as their primary source for news.
      While a large audience is crucial in influencing public opinion, credibility is a much more significant factor. The Roper surveys mentioned above also asked respondents which medium they would trust if the media gave conflicting accounts of a story. In 1972, 48 percent said television while only 21 percent said newspapers (Hallin, 1986, p.106). Television is “consistently evaluated as more attention-grabbing, interesting, personally relevant, emotionally involving, and surprising”(Neuman, Just, Crigler, 1992, p.56) because of two elements: visuals and personality. The visual element of television allows viewers to feel as if they are part of the action. When news programs aired images of battles and death, Americans at home felt as if they too were in the jungles of Vietnam. Additionally, intense visuals helped explain the complex nature of war to Americans who could not understand the military's technical language. Anchors and reporters quickly became trusted, household names because the public turned to them every night for the day's information; Walter Cronkite was even referred to as the “most trusted man in America” throughout the war (Hallin, 1986, p.106). This trust allowed the opinions and biases of television news personalities to have some influence on the way in which many Americans viewed the war. Thus, Americans increasingly depended on television for images and accurate accounts of the Vietnam War; what they were watching, however, were edited, thirty-minute versions of an extremely complex war.
Early Coverage
     The television news industry is a business with a profit motive before it is a public service; consequently, producers and reporters attempt to make the news more entertaining by airing stories that involve conflict, human impact, or morality. Television news did not find material that was dramatic enough until the number of American troops was raised to 175, 000 in July 1965 (Hallin, 1986, p.115). Combat, interviews with American soldiers, and helicopter scenes all provided the television news industry with the drama that it required. The networks set up permanent bureaus in Saigon and sent hundred of correspondents there throughout the war. From 1965 through the Tet Offensive in 1968, 86 percent of the CBS and NBC nightly news programs covered the war, focusing mostly on ground and air combat (Bonior, Champlin, Kolly, 1984, p.4). This coverage was generally very supportive of U.S involvement in the war and of the soldier himself until 1967. The media labeled the conflict as a “good guys shooting Reds” story so that it could fit into the ongoing saga of the Cold War (Wyatt, 1995, p.81). As part of the human impact frame, network correspondents relied on American soldiers for their most important sources. During this early part of the war, the soldier was portrayed as a hero. One example is a striking story reported by TV correspondent Dean Brelis. As he was having his leg amputated, Marine colonel Michael Yunck said:
 hell, they can't be right around in there. So I didn't call bombs and napalm on these people. But that's where they were. I'm sure that's where they were. God damn it. I hate to put napalm on these women and children. I just didn't do it. I said, they can't be there (Bonior, Champlin,Kolly 1984, p.13-14).
      Thus, the anti-communism frame significantly contributed to the positive coverage that vilified the war, not the soldier (Bonior, Champlin, and Kolly, 1984, p.13).
The Turning Point
     By the fall of 1967, 90 percent of the evening news was devoted to the war and roughly 50 million people watched television news each night (Bonior, Champlin, Kolly, 1984, p.4-5). Up until this time, the war had strong support from the media, the public, and Congress. The military continuously reported that the U.S was making encouraging progress. Gradually, however, support for the war began to decrease. Because no military censorship was established, journalists could follow the military into combat and report their observations without formal censorship. Thus, as journalists saw more grisly combat, they presented the public with more graphic images. Also, for the first time, interviewed soldiers expressed their frustration with the progress of the war.
     Support began to decrease in the fall of 1967, but the major turning point in television's coverage of the war occurred during the Tet Offensive in late January 1968. Though North Vietnamese soldiers swept through more than one hundred Southern Vietnamese cities, Tet was actually a U.S victory because the North suffered enormous casualties. Television, however, portrayed the attack as a brutal defeat for the U.S; the media, not the military, confirmed the growing perception that the U.S was unable to win the war. The percent of television stories in which journalists editorialized news jumped from 5.9 percent before Tet to 20 percent in the two months after (Hallin, 1986, p.170). The most significant statement came from the “most trusted man in America”, Walter Cronkite. In a CBS special, Cronkite concluded, `To say that we are closer to victory today is to believe, in the face of the evidence, the optimists who have been wrong in the past…to say that we are mired in a bloody stalemate seems the only realistic, yet unsatisfactory conclusion” (Hallin, 1986, p.170).
     After the Tet Offensive and Cronkite's statement, coverage of American involvement in the war became predominantly negative. Before Tet, journalists described 62 percent of their stories as victories for the United States, 28 percent as defeats, and 2 percent as inconclusive. After Tet, 44 percent of the battles were deemed victories, 32 percent defeats, and 24 percent inconclusive (Hallin, 1986, p.161-162). Combat scenes were also more graphic. Films of civilian casualties increased from a pre-Tet average of 0.85 times per week to an average of 3.9 times per week. Films of military casualties also jumped from 2.4 to 6.8 times per week (Hallin, 1986, p.171). The most negative change in coverage was the portrayal of the U.S troops. Before the Tet Offensive, there were four television stories devoted entirely to the positive morale of the troops and zero negative stories. After Tet, two and a half stories mentioned positive morale while the number of negative morale stories increased to fourteen and a half (Hallin, 1986, p.180). Most of these negative references included increasing drug use, racial conflict, and disobedience among the U.S soldiers.
     Television coverage of the massacre at My Lai was perhaps the most damaging image for the U.S soldier's reputation. Though initial reports stated that the operation killed 100 enemy soldiers in March 1968, it was revealed a year later that First Lt. William Calley and his taskforce had killed up to 350 South Vietnamese civilians (Hammond, 1998, p.192). The massacre and Lt. Calley's trial became one of the war's leading stories. Moreover, it introduced the subject of American war crimes into television's remaining coverage of the war.

Withdrawal from Vietnam
      The intensely negative coverage of the war influenced both politicians and the public. Americans depended on television to see and understand the war, but the death and destruction they saw appeared as irrational killing when prospects for the war became increasingly negative. Therefore, the majority of Americans withdrew their support for the war after the Tet Offensive. War coverage declined from 90 percent of all newscasts to 61 percent from Richard Nixon's election through February 1969 (Bonior, Champlin, Kolly, 1984, p.7). Though the media had been covering the anti-war movement before 1968, it now overshadowed the war itself. Draft-card burning and demonstrations provided television with fresher conflict, human impact, and moral issues. With the massive loss of public support for the war, politicians initiated withdrawal policies. Television no longer focused on combat, but on the political process. From 1965 to 1969, the percentage of combat stories had been 48 percent; from 1970 until the end of U.S involvement, only 13 percent of news stores involved soldiers in combat (Bonior, Champlin, Kolly, 1984, p.8). Thus, Bonior, Champlin, and Kolly (1984, p.16) best sum up the damage done to the Vietnam veteran's image:
In the rush to declare the Vietnam War over through stories on Vietnamization and the Paris Peace Talks, in the rush to judgment without second thought on Tet, in the rush to avoid controversy at any cost, the U.S public was left with one               climactic image of their soldiers in Vietnam-losing the Tet Offensive while massacring civilians at My Lai.
Section 2: Veteran Perspective
     Most veterans returned home from Vietnam after television coverage began to focus on the dissent at home. Three million veterans served in Vietnam, yet only 200,000 had been discharged by 1967; the majority of all veterans served after 1968 (Bonior, Champlin, Kolly 1984, p.16).
      According to a Louis Harris poll conducted in 1979, nearly 60 percent of all Vietnam veterans felt that television was not positive. Additionally, more than two-thirds felt that the coverage of My Lai influenced the public's view of the typical Vietnam veteran (Bonior, Champlin, Kolly 1984, p.16). I interviewed four veterans (asking the same questions to each veteran) in order to understand how they feel the coverage truly reflected what they actually saw in Vietnam. Moreover, I asked them a series of questions regarding how they feel the coverage contributed to the Vietnam veteran's image.
Veterans' Pre-War Interpretations
     My father enlisted in the U.S Army in January 1965 and was sent to Vietnam in September 1966 at age twenty. He served there for one year as a helicopter door gunner. At the time of his departure from the U.S, he believed that the U.S had a reason to be involved in the conflict. Throughout his time there and after reading extensively about the regime for which the U.S was fighting, however, he changed his mind. Personally, he wanted to go to Vietnam. Two of his uncles had died in World War II, and so he felt a sense of duty to follow in the tradition of his family. Before he left, my father understood television to be extremely “pro-war.” Most of the stories he saw framed the conflict as one in which the “U.S soldiers were portrayed as the good guys fighting communism.” He also argues that public opinion was in heavy favor of being involved in the war.
      The second veteran I interviewed was Mr. Ron Leonard. He was drafted and sent to Vietnam in 1968 at age twenty as well. He served there for thirteen months as Sp-4 Crewchief on a helicopter gunship. He too wanted to serve in Vietnam for “honor and country.” Unlike my father, Mr. Leonard has always maintained that the U.S was correct in becoming involved with the war. When asked what public opinion was like before he left for Vietnam, he responded, “I didn't notice. I drive my own train. I went because it was the right thing to do. I was a jockey, a professional athlete. It was my duty to fight for this country.” Mr. Leonard interpreted the coverage to be completely negative, most likely because he left for Vietnam during 1968.
      Veteran C (he wishes to remain anonymous) was drafted in 1966. Because he did not want to go to Vietnam as an infantryman, however, he later volunteered for Army schools and ultimately went to Vietnam in 1969 at age nineteen. Throughout his seven months there, he served as a commissioned officer and flight leader in an assault helicopter company. He did not want to go to Vietnam, nor did he feel that the U.S should have been involved in the war. Before he left for Vietnam, Veteran C understood public opinion to be mixed. When he was drafted in 1966, he thought that there was much confusion about the war and that the American public was “essentially ignorant of the issues.” By 1969, he argues that the public was still confused:
 People confused patriotism and loyalty to the nation with patriotism and loyalty to  the government. In other words, many persons who considered themselves patriots and loyal U.S citizens were not comfortable disagreeing with the government or the president, and much disconcerted by images on TV of others openly and sometimes violently against the war policy.
       Though public opinion was mixed, Veteran C interpreted the television coverage to be polarized by the time he left for Vietnam. While there was a lot of coverage devoted to the anti-war demonstrators, he also feels that there was a lot of coverage that simply regurgitated the government's press releases.
     Mr. Alex Horster, the fourth veteran I interviewed, left for Vietnam in 1970 at twenty-five years old. He volunteered for Vietnam, where he served for six months as a Marines Corps helicopter pilot. Like both Mr. Leonard and my father, he felt that the U.S was right to become involved in the war. Before his departure, Mr. Horster understood public opinion to be very “anti-war.” Because he was attending college and working full-time, he did not pay much attention to television coverage of the war. What he did see, however, he believed to echo public sentiment.
Experiences in Vietnam versus Portrayal on TV
     Vietnam veterans are the most qualified people to assess television's portrayal of the war because they are the only group of people to directly experience the atrocities of war. Though reporters were sometimes present in the field, they could not experience the frustration, grief, fear, and confusion of a U.S soldier. John Laurence, a CBS reporter who covered the Vietnam War from 1965 to 1970, admits that the truth rarely got reported: “We decided where to go, what to observe, what to film, what not to film, what questions to ask, and how to describe what we saw and were told” (Laurence, 2001). After interviewing the veterans about pre-war coverage, I asked them to compare what they saw in battle to what television portrayed.
All four veterans agree that they witnessed a lot of events that occurred during the war that should have been covered by television news but were not. Primarily, they referred to atrocities committed by the North Vietnamese (NVA) and Viet Cong (VC) armies, which outnumbered U.S committed atrocities by “one thousand to one” (Mr. Leonard). Both my father and Mr. Leonard made it a point to inform me that the NVA and Viet Cong committed atrocities as policy, yet the media failed to report on the enemy's policies. My father pointed out that, “The North Vietnamese thought nothing of attaching a bomb to a little kid and sending that kid into a group of American soldiers.” Mr. Leonard added that, “Their favorite ploy to gain acceptance of the villagers (by fear) was to execute the village chief and threaten the village that worse could happen.” He also condemns the media for not covering the flamethrower death of the entire village of Bu Dop at the hands of the NVA.  Indeed, in all of my research for this paper, I never read about any coverage of Bu Dop or the NVA's policy; yet, My Lai was mentioned in every book devoted to media coverage of the war. Mr. Leonard also noted that there were not enough positive stories about the U.S soldier. He specifically mentioned the free medcaps they did for the villagers, the orphanages they financially supported as individuals, and the rebuilding of villages that the Viet Cong destroyed.
      After asking the veterans what they believe did not have enough coverage, I asked if there were any events or subjects that they feel was given too much television coverage. I suspected that they would all mention My Lai and human casualties, yet I did not receive the unanimous answer that I suspected. Veteran C felt that “My Lai was covered appropriately for what it was.” He was more disturbed by the media's focus on body counts, which he believes to be part of the limited coverage that the government and the military would permit.  
      Mr. Leonard and my father have a somewhat different opinion of My Lai's coverage than does Veteran C. They both said that My Lai's coverage was too extensive because television news did not cover the fact that the NVA and VC everyday committed worse acts as a matter of policy. My father attributes the massacre at My Lai to inadequate leaders, yet it was by far typical of the U.S troops. He said that, “Though what happened at My Lai was wrong, it wasn't policy.” They both agree with Veteran C that extensive coverage of mistaken deaths of civilians and American body bags demeaned the war and the U.S soldiers even more.
     Mr. Horster answered the question differently than the other three veterans. Instead of placing the blame for television's extensive coverage of My Lai and casualties solely on the media, he claims that the media only covers what makes a profit: “The media tends to cover what they think they will sell, so while I have no use for the bulk of them (media types), I do not feel they ought to get all the blame.”
Overall View of Television Coverage
     All four veterans agree that television coverage was negative, yet they each provided somewhat different answers for why they believe it was negative and how it affected the outcome of the war.
     My father feels that television coverage of the war was extremely negative, but he places some of the blame for this on the government. “The Tet Offensive was the major turning point in the war, even though it was a total victory for the U.S,” he said. “After Walter Cronkite made his statement against the war, all of the other journalists followed his lead. So did the American public.” Because the government and the military lied to the media about the progress of the war, he suggests that the media wanted to expose the war in a negative light. Thus, as part of an anti-war agenda, news producers and journalists purposely selected stories that depicted the war as uncontrollable and the U.S soldier as a crazed baby-killer. According to my father, television's slanted view of the war, the anti-war movement, and the chaos of the Civil Rights Movement caused Americans to grow tired of violence and war. All of these factors combined to turn the American public against the Vietnam War.
     Veteran C also blamed the government for negative coverage, but he does not feel that it was as negative as my father feels it was. Whereas my father said that anchors and reporters “absolutely” revealed their anti-war biases, Veteran C answered that they did only “sometimes.” Moreover, he does not believe that television set an anti-war agenda. Instead of deliberate negativity, he suggests that coverage was “fragmented, inaccurate, and incapable of providing a coherent story line” because the media was often reduced to reiterating military press releases. Because the government did not trust its citizens to understand its goals in the war, these press releases did not reflect the actual lack of progress. Veteran C, therefore, does not believe that the media cost the U.S the Vietnam War; rather, he blames the lies and deceptions of the government.
      Mr. Horster and Mr. Leonard both emphasized profit motive as the reason behind the negative coverage. Mr. Horster claims that the media covered what it could sell, and that the anchors and reporters were a “product of their environment.” He continued by saying that while war is never positive, television did not cover the U.S military's humanitarian efforts, its attempt to spread democracy, or the heroism of the troops after 1967. He used the slogan “We the unwilling, led by the incompetent, doing the unnecessary for the ungrateful” to describe the Vietnam War era. Mr. Leonard believes very strongly that television set an anti-war agenda and that journalists revealed their biases because the television audience consisted of sixteen million draft dodgers. He gave me an article that summed up his opinion:
 Once the dodging anti-war numbers started climbing through the stratosphere, it was not in the media's best interest to say something good about Vietnam to an audience          that was guilt ridden with shame and with a deep psychological need to rationalize away the very source of their burden of guilt (Sears, 2001).
      Therefore, both Mr. Horster and Mr. Leonard feel that the profit motive led its reporters and producers to air anti-war coverage that reinforced the draft dodgers' sentiments of the war. While Mr. Leonard says that the media “without a doubt” cost the U.S the war, Mr. Horster feels that the media should not get all the `credit' for losing the war. Overall, he believes that lack of resolve lost the war.
The Vietnam Veteran's Image
     The homecoming stories of Vietnam veterans reveal how bitterly divided the country was. Three out of the four veterans I interviewed were belittled by people who referred to them as “baby-killers” or “crazy Vietnam vets.” It was their experience that even family and friends did not want to talk about the war with them; those who did bring the war up often did so in an extremely negative fashion as a result of their own guilt or anger. The only veteran who was not accosted was Mr. Horster, who stayed in the Marine Corps and did not interact with the civilian sector often.
     According to all four veterans, the Vietnam veteran was stereotyped during and after the war. When I asked them what some of these stereotypes are, I received answers such as “baby-killer” (all four), “crazed nut” (my father), and “drug-taking, worthless, spineless, garbage” (Veteran C). My father gets particularly disturbed when reporters make it a point to mention that a suspect involved in a shooting or other criminal act is a Vietnam veteran. I then asked them if they are disturbed by any movies, television shows, or books that they feel portray the veteran in this stereotype: two veterans identified Deer Hunter and Apocalypse Now as being complete farce.
      When asked whether they feel that the Vietnam veteran's image has improved throughout the years, two out of four believe that it has. Mr. Leonard says that the image is excellent today, but only because the veterans themselves took care of each other (i.e. building the Wall). Veteran C understands the image to be mixed, but more positive than it used to be. Mr. Horster says that he does not buy the “let's let bygones be bygones” routine that exists today. My father feels very strongly that the image has not changed. He mentioned a newspaper article, written less than five years ago during the week of Veteran's Day, that upset him because it “made heroes out of the protestors and belittled the veterans.”
     Do Vietnam veterans blame television for their image? Do they resent the television and the media because of it? Veteran C differs from the other three veterans in that he is the only one who does not blame television for creating the Vietnam veteran's image, nor does he resent television for its coverage of the war. My father and Mr. Leonard feel very strongly that television news played a large role in stereotyping the Vietnam veteran. While U.S soldiers were portrayed as villains, the NVA and VC were often portrayed as victims. My father can never forget the image he saw on television of Jane Fonda sitting on an NVA anti-aircraft gunner that was used to shoot at American planes, and he can never forgive her for referring to U.S soldiers as murderers. He resents the media because it “sensationalized rather than reported” the true war. Mr. Leonard resents the media because, “they told lies and untruths or nothing positive at all.” While Mr. Horster does not blame the television media 100 percent, he suggests that it “needs to be aware of the responsibility that it brings, rather than how it will affect their ratings.” He also resents television for stereotyping Vietnam veterans. Thus, three out of the four veterans I interviewed blame and resent the media for its coverage of their images and the war itself.
Conclusion
      As television news became more and more popular throughout the turbulent years of the Vietnam War era, Americans increasingly relied on visuals to inform them of the situation in Vietnam. Television coverage brought images of the war home to the American public, yet these images were rarely a true reflection of the war itself. War is a complex, bloody, and brutal event that cannot accurately be condensed into thirty minutes of evening news. It is clear that after the Tet Offensive, the news media deemed the war to be a complete failure. After interviewing four veterans, whose experiences make them better qualified to interpret the coverage than any media scholar or journalist, I found that all four believe the coverage was quite negative. Specifically, body counts and the lack of attention to NVA and VC committed atrocities vilified the war and the U.S soldier. Before I started interviewing, I hypothesized that a majority of the veterans would at least partially blame television coverage for the rise in the anti-war movement. Moreover, I hypothesized that the same number would blame the coverage for the Vietnam veteran's image. Three out of the four veterans I interviewed feel that television coverage contributed to the American lack of resolve, which ultimately cost the U.S the war. Though they vary in their interpretations of the reason behind the negativity, three out of four agree that the negativity contributed to the crazy, baby-killer stereotype of the Vietnam veteran.
     In conclusion, I would like to thank my father, Mr. Ron Leonard, Mr. Alex Horster, and Veteran C for all of their time and generosity in helping me complete this paper. They were willing to revisit disturbing memories of the war in order to help a college student whom most of them did not even know.

 
TWO LETTERS TO NGO DINH DIEM

EISENHOWER'S LETTER TO NGO DINH DIEM
October 23, 1954
(Department of State Bulletin, November 15, 1954)

Dear Mr. President;

     I have been following with great interest the course of developments in Vietnam, particularly since the conclusion of the conference at Geneva.  The implications of the agreement concerning Vietnam have caused grave concern regarding the future of the country temporarily divided by an artificial
military grouping, weakened by a long and exhausting war, and faced with enemies without and by their subversive collaborators within.
     Your recent requests for aid to assist in the formidable project of the movement of several hundred thousand loyal Vietnamese citizens away from areas which are passing under a de facto rule and political ideology which they abhor, are being fulfilled.  I am glad that the United States is able to assist in this
humanitarian effort.
      We have been exploring ways and means to permit our aid to Vietnam to be more effective and to make a greater contribution to the welfare and stability of the Government of Vietnam.  I am, accordingly, instructing the American Ambassador to Vietnam [Donald R. Heath] to examine with you in your capacity as Chief of Government, how an intelligent program of American aid given directly to your Government can serve to assist Vietnam in its present hour of trial, provided that your Government is prepared to give assurances as to the standards of performance it would be able to maintain in the event such aid were supplied.
     The purpose of this offer is to assist the Government of Vietnam in developing and maintaining a strong, viable state, capable of resisting attempted subversion or aggression through military means.  The Government of the United States expects that this aid will be met by performance on the part of the Government of Vietnam in undertaking needed reforms.  It hopes that such aid, combined with your own continuing efforts, will contribute effectively toward an independent Vietnam endowed with a strong
Government.  Such a Government would, I hope, be so responsive to the nationalist aspirations of its people, so enlightened i purpose and effective in performance, that it will be respected at home and abroad and discourage any who might wish to impose a foreign ideology on your free people.

KENNEDY'S LETTER TO NGO DINH DIEM
December 14, 1961
(Department of State Bulletin, January 1, 1962)

Dear Mr. President:

     I have received your recent letter in which you described so cogently the dangerous conditions caused by North Vietnam's effort to take over your country.  The situation in your embattled country is well known to me and to the American people.  We have been deeply disturbed by the assault on your country.  Our indignation has mounted as the deliberate savagery of the Communist programs of assassination, kidnapping, and wanton violence became clear.
     Your letter underlines what our own information has convincingly shown - that the campaign of force and terror now being waged against your people and your Government is supported and directed from outside by the authorities at Hanoi.  They have thus violated the provisions of the Geneva Accords designed to
ensure peace in Vietnam and to which they bound themselves in 1954.
     At that time, the United States, although not a party to the Accords, declared that it "would view any renewal of the aggression in violation of the Agreements with grave concern and as seriously threatening international peace and security."  We continue to maintain that view.
     In accordance with that declaration, and in response to your request, we are prepared to help the Republic of Vietnam to protect its people and to preserve its independence.  We shall promptly increase our assistance to your defense effort as well as help relieve the destruction of the floods which you
describe.  I have already given the orders to get these programs underway.
     The United States, like the Republic of Vietnam, remains devoted to the cause of peace and our primary purpose is to help your people maintain their independence.  If the Communist authorities in North Vietnam will stop their campaign to destroy the Republic of Vietnam, the measures we are taking to assist your defense efforts will no longer be necessary.  We shall seek to persuade the Communists to give up their attempts to force and subversion.  In any case, we are confident that the Vietnamese people will preserve their independence and gain the peace and prosperity for which they have sought so hard and so long.


 THE TONKIN GULF INCIDENT
THE TONKIN GULF INCIDENT
1964

1. President Johnson's Message to Congress
August 5, 1964

(Department of State Bulletin, August 24, 1964)

     Last night I announced to the American people that the North Vietnamese regime had conducted further deliberate attacks against U.S. naval vessels operating in international waters, and I had therefore directed air action against gunboats and supporting facilities used in these hostile operations.  This air action has now been carried out with substantial damage to the boats and facilities.  Two U.S. aircraft were lost in the
action.
     After consultation with the leaders of both parties in the Congress, I further announced a decision to ask the Congress for a resolution expressing the unity and determination of the United States in supporting freedom and in protecting peace in southeast Asia.
     These latest actions of the North Vietnamese regime has given a new and grave turn to the already serious situation in southeast Asia.  Our commitments in that area are well known to the Congress.  They were first made in 1954 by President Eisenhower.  They were further defined in the Southeast Asia Collective Defense Treaty approved by the Senate in February 1955.
      This treaty with its accompanying protocol obligates the United States and other members to act in accordance with their constitutional processes to meet Communist aggression against any of the parties or protocol states.
     Our policy in southeast Asia has been consistent and unchanged since 19554.  I summarized it on June 2 in four simple propositions:

1. America keeps her word.  Here as elsewhere, we must and shall honor our commitments.

2. The issue is the future of southeast Asia as a whole.  A threat to any nation in that region is a threat to all, and a threat to us.

3. Our purpose is peace.  We have no military, political, or territorial ambitions in the area.

4. This is not just a jungle war, but a struggle for freedom on every front of human activity.  Our military and economic assistance to South Vietnam and Laos in particular has the purpose of helping these countries to repel aggression and strengthen their independence.

     The threat to the free nations of southeast Asia has long been clear.  The North Vietnamese regime has constantly sought to take over South Vietnam and Laos.  This Communist regime has violated the Geneva accords for Vietnam.  It has systematically conducted a campaign of subversion, which includes the
direction, training, and supply of personnel and arms for the conduct of guerrilla warfare in South Vietnamese territory.  In Laos, the North Vietnamese regime has maintained military forces, used Laotian territory for infiltration into South Vietnam, and most recently carried out combat operations - all in direct violation of the Geneva Agreements of 1962.
     In recent months, the actions of the North Vietnamese regime have become steadily more threatening..
As President of the United States I have concluded that I should now ask the Congress, on its part, to join in affirming the national determination that all such attacks will be met, and that the United States will continue in its basic policy of assisting the free nations of the area to defend their freedom.
     As I have repeatedly made clear, the United States intends no rashness, and seeks no wider war.  We must make it clear to all that the United States is united in its determination to bring about the end of Communist subversion and aggression in the area.  We seek the full and effective restoration of the
international agreements signed in Geneva in 1954, with respect to South Vietnam, and again in Geneva in 1962, with respect to Laos...

2. Joint Resolution of Congress  H.J. RES 1145 August 7, 1964
(Department of State Bulletin, August 24, 1964)

Resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That the Congress approves and supports the determination of the President, as Commander in Chief, to take all necessary measures to repel any armed attack against the forces of the United
States and to prevent further aggression.

Section 2.  The United States regards as vital to its national interest and to world peace the maintenance of international peace and security in southeast Asia.  Consonant with the Constitution of the United States and the Charter of the United Nations and in accordance with its obligations under the Southeast Asia Collective Defense Treaty, the United States is, therefore, prepared, as the President determines, to take all necessary steps, including the use of armed force, to assist any member or protocol state of the Southeast Asia Collective Defense Treaty requesting assistance in defense of its freedom.

Section 3.  This resolution shall expire when the President shall determine that the peace and security of the area is reasonably assured by international conditions created by action of the United Nations or otherwise, except that it may be terminated earlier by concurrent resolution of the Congress.

 "AGGRESION FROM THE NORTH":
STATE DEPARTMENT WHITE PAPER ON VIETNAM
February 27, 1965
(Department of State Bulletin, March 22, 1965)
      South Vietnam is fighting for its life against a brutal campaign of terror and armed attack inspired, directed, supplied, and controlled by the Communist regime in Hanoi. This flagrant aggression has been going on for years, but recently the pace has quickened and the threat has now become acute.
     The war in Vietnam is a new kind of war, a fact as yet poorly understood in most parts of the world. Much of the confusion that prevails in the thinking of many people, and even governments, stems from this basic misunderstanding.  For in Vietnam a totally new brand of aggression has been loosed against an independent people who want to make their way in peace and freedom.
     Vietnam is not another Greece, where indigenous guerrilla forces used friendly neighboring territory as a sanctuary.
     Vietnam is not another Malaya, where Communist guerrillas were, for the most part, physically distinguishable from the peaceful majority they sought to control.
     Vietnam is not another Philippines, where Communist guerrillas were physically separated from the source of their moral and physical support.
     Above all, the war in Vietnam is not a spontaneous and local rebellion against the established government.
     There are elements in the Communist program of conquest directed against South Vietnam common to each of the previous areas of aggression and subversion. But there is one fundamental difference.  In Vietnam a Communist government has set out deliberately to conquer a sovereign people in a neighboring
state. And to achieve its end, it has used every resource of its own government to carry out its carefully planned program of concealed aggression. North Vietnam's commitment to seize control of the South is no less total than was the commitment of the regime in North Korea in 1950. But knowing the consequences
of the latter's undisguised attack, the planners in Hanoi have tried desperately to conceal their hand. They have failed and their aggression is as real as that of an invading army.
     This report is a summary of the massive evidence of North Vietnamese aggression obtained by the Government of South Vietnam. This evidence has been jointly analyzed by South Vietnamese and American experts.
     The evidence shows that the hard core of the Communist forces attacking South Vietnam were trained in the North and ordered into the South by Hanoi. It shows that the key leadership of the Vietcong (VC), the officers and much of the cadre, many of the technicians, political organizers, and propagandists have
come from the North and operate under Hanoi's direction. It shows that the training of essential military personnel and their infiltration into the South is directed by the Military High Command in Hanoi. In recent months new types of weapons have been introduced in the VC army, for which all ammunition must come from outside sources. Communist China and other Communist states have been the prime suppliers of these weapons and ammunition, and they have been channeled primarily through North Vietnam.
     The directing force behind the effort to conqueror South Vietnam is the Communist Party in the North, the Lao Dong (Workers) Party. As in every Communist state. the party is an integral part of the regime itself.  North Vietnamese officials have expressed their firm determination to absorb South Vietnam into
the Communist world.
     Through its Central Committee, which controls the Government of the North, the Lao Dong Party directs the total political and military effort of the Vietcong. The Military High Command in the North trains the military men and sends them into South Vietnam. The Central Research Agency, North Vietnam's central
intelligence organization, directs the elaborate espionage and subversion effort...
     Under Hanoi's overall direction the Communists have established an extensive machine for carrying on the war within South Vietnam. The focal point is the Central Office for South Vietnam with its political and military subsections and other specialized agencies. A subordinate part of this Central Office is the liberation Front for South Vietnam. The front was formed at Hanoi's order in 1960.  Its principle function is to
influence opinion abroad and to create the false impression that the aggression in South Vietnam is an indigenous rebellion against the established Government.
      For more than 10 years the people and the Government of South Vietnam, exercising the inherent right of self-defense, have fought back against these efforts to extend Communist power south across the 17th parallel.   The United States has responded to the appeals of the Government of the Republic of Vietnam for help in this defense of the freedom and independence of its land and its people.
     In 1961 the Department of State issued a report called A Threat to the Peace. It described North Vietnam's program to seize South Vietnam. The evidence in that report had been presented by the Government of the Republic of Vietnam to the International Control Commission (ICC). A special report by the ICC in June 1962 upheld the validity of that evidence. The Commission held that there was "sufficient evidence to show beyond reasonable doubt" that North Vietnam had sent arms and men into South Vietnam to carry out subversion with the aim of overthrowing the legal Government there. The ICC found the
authorities in Hanoi in specific violation of four provisions of the Geneva Accords of 1954.
     Since then, new and even more impressive evidence of Hanoi's aggression has accumulated. The Government of the United States believes that evidence should be presented to its own citizens and to the world.  It is important for free men to know what has been happening in Vietnam, and how, and why. That is the purpose of this report...
     The record is conclusive. It establishes beyond question that North Vietnam is carrying out a carefully conceived plan of aggression against the South. It shows that North Vietnam has intensified its efforts in the years since it was condemned by the International Control Commission. It proves that Hanoi continues to press its systematic program of armed aggression into South Vietnam.  This aggression violates the United Nations Charter. It is directly contrary to the Geneva Accords of 1954 and of 1962 to which North Vietnam is a party. It is a fundamental threat to the freedom and security of South Vietnam.
     The people of South Vietnam have chosen to resist this threat. At their request, the United States has taken its place beside them in their defensive struggle.
     The United States seeks no territory, no military bases, no favored position. But we have learned the meaning of aggression elsewhere in the post-war world, and we have met it.
     If peace can be restored in South Vietnam, the United States will be ready at once to reduce its military involvement. But it will not abandon friends who want to remain free. It will do what must be done to help them.  The choice now between peace and continued and increasingly destructive conflict is one for
the authorities in Hanoi to make.
 This file contains selected documents regarding the signing of
the "Paris Peace Accord" to end the hostilities in South
Vietnam.

The file contains the following items:

(1) Letter from President Nixon to President Nguyen Van Thieu of the Republic of  Vietnam, January 5, 1973. [Reassuring Vietnam of US support.]

(2) "Peace With Honor": Radio-television broadcast, President Nixon re: initialing of the Vietnam Agreement, 23 Jan. 1973

(3) News conference statement by Dr. Henry A. Kissinger, Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs, January 24, 1973. [Chapter-by-Chapter analysis of the Paris Agreement, excerpts.]

(4) Agreement on Ending the War and Restoring Peace in Vietnam, signed in Paris and entered into force January 17, 1973.

(5) Act of the International Conference on Vietnam, Signed at Paris and entered into force March 2, 1973

(6) Complaints of Violations of the Cease-fire: United States Note Verbale transmitted April 10, 1973 for delivery to participants in the International Conference on Vietnam.

Collected, transcribed, and edited by:Larry W. Jewell jewell@mace.cc.purdue.edu

---------------------------------------------------------------
(1) Letter from President Nixon to President Nguyen Van Thieu of the Republic of  Vietnam, January 5, 1973. (Released Apr. 30, 1975)

January 5, 1973

Dear Mr. President:

This will acknowledge your letter of December 20, 1972.

There is nothing substantial that I can add to my many previous messages, including my December 17 letter, which clearly stated my opinions and intentions. With respect to the question of North Vietnamese troops, we will again present your views to the Communists as we have done vigorously at every ether opportunity in the negotiations. The result is certain to be once more the rejection of our position. We have explained to you repeatedly why we believe the problem of North Vietnamese troops is manageable under the agreement, and I see no reason to repeat all the arguments.

We will proceed next week in Paris along the lines that General Haig explained to you. Accordingly, if the North Vietnamese meet our concerns on the two outstanding substantive issues in the agreement, concerning the DMZ and type method of signing and if we can arrange acceptable supervisory machinery, we will proceed to conclude the settlement. The gravest consequence would then ensue if your government chose to reject the agreement and split off from the United States. As I said in my December 17 letter,
"I am convinced that your refusal to join us would be an invitation to disaster-to the loss of all that we together have fought for over the past decade. It would be inexcusable above all because we will have lost a just and honorable alternative. "

As we enter this new round of talks, I hope that our countries will now show a united front. It is imperative for our common objectives that your government take no further actions that complicate our task and would make more difficult the acceptance of the settlement by all parties. We will keep you informed of the negotiations in Paris through daily briefings of Ambassador [Pham Dang] Lam.

I can only repeat what I have so often said: The best guarantee for the survival of South Vietnam is the unity of our two countries which would be gravely jeopardized if you persist in your present course. The actions of our Congress since its return have clearly borne out the many warnings we have made.

Should you decide, as I trust you will, to go with us, you have my assurance of continued assistance in the post-settlement period and that we will respond with full force should the settlement be violated by North Vietnam. So once more I conclude with an appeal to you to close ranks with us.

Sincerely,

RICHARD NIXON

His Excellency Nguyen Van Thieu President of the Republic of Vietnam Saigon.

----------------------------------------------------------------
(2) "Peace With Honor": Radio-television broadcast, President Nixon re: initialing of the Vietnam Agreement, 23 Jan. 1973

(Text from PRESIDENTIAL DOCUMENTS, vol. 9 (1973), pp. 43-5)

Good evening. I have asked for this radio and television time tonight for the purpose of announcing that we today have  concluded an agreement to end the war and bring peace with honor in Vietnam and in Southeast Asia.

  The following statement is being issued at this moment in Washington and Hanoi:

At 12:30 Paris time today [Tuesday], January 23, 1973, the Agreement on Ending the War and Restoring Peace in  Vietnam was initialed by Dr. Henry Kissinger on behalf of the United States, and Special Adviser Le Duc Tho on behalf of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam.

The agreement will be formally signed by the parties  participating in the Paris Conference on Vietnam on January 27, 1973, at the International Conference Center in Paris.

The cease-fire will take effect at 2400 Greenwich Mean Time, January 27, 1973. The United States and the Democratic Republic of Vietnam express the hope that this agreement will insure stable peace in Vietnam and contribute to the  preservation of lasting peace in Indochina and Southeast Asia. .

That concludes the formal statement.

Throughout the years of negotiations, we have insisted on peace with honor. In my addresses to the Nation from this room of January 25 and May 8, [1972] I set forth the goals that we  considered essential for peace with honor.

In the settlement that has now been agreed to, all the conditions that I laid down then have been met. A cease-fire, internationally supervised, will begin at 7 p.m., this Saturday, January 27, Washington time. Within 60 days from this Saturday, all Americans held prisoners of war throughout Indochina will be
released. There will be the fullest possible accounting for all of those who are missing in action.

During the same 60-day period, all American forces will be  withdrawn from South Vietnam.

The people of South Vietnam have been guaranteed the right to determine their own future, without outside interference.

By joint agreement, the full text of the agreement and the protocols to carry it out, will be issued tomorrow.

Throughout these negotiations we have been in the closest  consultation with President Thieu and other representatives of the Republic of Vietnam. This settlement meets the goals and has the full support of President Thieu and the Government of the Republic of Vietnam, as well as that of our other allies who are  
affected.

The United States will continue to recognize the Government of the Republic of Vietnam as the sole legitimate government of South Vietnam.

We shall continue to aid South Vietnam within the terms of the agreement and we shall support efforts by the people of South  Vietnam to settle their problems peacefully among themselves.

We must recognize that ending the war is only the first step toward building the peace. All parties must now see to it that this is a peace that lasts, and also a peace that heals, and a peace that not only ends the war in Southeast Asia, but contributes to the  prospects of peace in the whole world.

This will mean that the terms of the agreement must be scrupulously adhered to. We shall do everything the agreement requires of us and we shall expect the other parties to do everything it requires of them. We shall also expect other interested nations to help insure that the agreement is carried out and peace is  maintained.

As this long and very difficult war ends, I would like to address a few special words to each of those who have been parties in the  conflict.

First, to the people and Government of South Vietnam: By your courage, by your sacrifice, you have won the precious right to determine your own future and you have developed the strength to defend that right. We look forward to working with you in the future, friends in peace as we have been allies in war.

To the leaders of North Vietnam: As we have ended the war through negotiations, let us now build a peace of reconciliation. For our part; we are prepared to make a major effort to help achieve that goal. But just as reciprocity was needed to end the war, so, too, will it be needed to build and strengthen the peace.

To the other major powers that have been involved even  indirectly: Now is the time for mutual restraint so that the peace we have achieved can last.

And finally, to all of you who are listening, the American people: Your steadfastness in supporting our insistence on peace with honor has made peace with honor possible. I know that you would not have wanted that peace jeopardized. With our secret negotiations at the sensitive stage they were in during this
recent period, for me to have discussed publicly our efforts to secure peace would not only have violated our understanding with North Vietnam, it would have seriously harmed and possibly destroyed the chances for peace. Therefore, I know that you now can  understand why, during these past several weeks, I have not
made any public statements about those efforts.

The important thing was not to talk about peace, but to get peace and to get the right kind of peace. This we have done.

Now that we have achieved an honorable agreement, let us be proud that America did not settle for a peace that would have betrayed our allies, that would have abandoned our prisoners of war, or that would have ended the war for us but would have  continued the war for the 50 million people of Indochina. Let us
be proud of the 2 1/2 million young Americans who served in Vietnam, who served with honor and distinction in one of the most selfless enterprises in the history of nations. And let us be proud of those who sacrificed, who gave their lives so that the people of South Vietnam might live in freedom and so that
the world might live in peace.

In particular, I would like to say a word to some of the bravest people I have ever met-the wives, the children, the families of our prisoners of war and the missing in action. When others called on us to settle on any terms, you had the courage to stand for the right kind of peace so that those who died and those who suffered would not have died and suffered in vain, and so that, where this generation knew war, the next generation would know peace. Nothing means more to me at this moment than the fact that your long vigil is coming to an end.

Just yesterday, a great American, who once occupied this office, died. In his life President [Lyndon B.] Johnson endured the vilification of those who sought to portray him as a man of war. But there was nothing he cared about more deeply than achieving a lasting peace in the world.

I remember the last time I talked with him. It was just the day after New Year's. He spoke then of his concern with bringing peace, with making it the right kind of peace, and I was grateful that he once again expressed his support for my efforts to gain such a peace. No one would have welcomed this peace more than he.

And I know he would join me in asking for those who died and for hose who live, let us consecrate this moment by resolving together to make the peace we have achieved a peace that will last.

Thank you and good evening.

--------------------------------------------------------------
(3) News conference statement by Dr. Henry A. Kissinger, Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs, January 24, 1973.

(Presidential Documents, Vol. 9 (1973), pp. 64-70)

(Excerpts)

DR. KISSINGER. Ladies and gentlemen, the President last evening presented the outlines of the agreement and by common agreement between us and the North Vietnamese we have today released the
texts. And I am here to explain, to go over briefly what these texts contain, and how we got there, what we have tried to achieve in recent months and where we expect to go from here.

Let me begin by going through the agreement, which you have read.

PROVISIONS OF THE AGREEMENT

Chapter 1: Vietnamese National Rights

The agreement, as you know, is in nine chapters. The first  affirms the independence, sovereignty, unity and territorial integrity, as recognized by the 1954 Geneva Agreements on Vietnam, agreements which established two zones, divided by a military demarcation line.

Chapter II: Cease-fire and Withdrawal

Chapter II deals with the cease-fire. The cease-fire will go into  effect at 7 o'clock Washington time on Saturday night [January 27]. The principal provisions of Chapter II deal with permitted acts during the cease-fire and with what the obligations of the various parties are with respect to the cease-fire.

Chapter II also deals with the withdrawal of American and all other foreign forces from Vietnam within a period of 60 days. And it specifies the forces that have to be withdrawn. These are in effect all military personnel and all civilian personnel dealing with combat operations. We are permitted to retain
economic advisers and civilian technicians serving in certain of the military branches.

Chapter II further deals with the provisions for resupply and for the introduction of outside forces. There is a flat prohibition against the introduction of any military force into South Vietnam from outside of South Vietnam, which is to say that whatever forces may be in South Vietnam from outside South Vietnam, specifically North Vietnamese forces, cannot receive  reinforcements replacements or any other form of augmentation by any means whatsoever. With respect to military equipment, both sides are permitted to replace all existing military equipment on a one-to-one basis under international supervision and
control.

There will be established, as I will explain when I discuss the protocols, for each side, three legitimate points of entry through which all replacement equipment has to move. These legitimate points of entry will be under international supervision.

Chapter III: Return of POW's

Chapter III deals with the return of captured military personnel and foreign civilians as well as with the question of civilian detainees within South Vietnam.

This, as you know, throughout the negotiations, presented  enormous difficulties for us. We insisted throughout that the question of American prisoners of war and of American civilians captured throughout Indochina should be separated from the issue f  Vietnamese civilian personnel detained-partly because of the  enormous difficulty of classifying the Vietnamese civilian personnel by categories of who was detained for reasons of the civil war and who was detained for criminal activities, and secondly, because it was foreseeable that negotiations about the release of civilian detainees would be complex and difficult and
because we did not want to have the issue of American personnel mixed up with the issues of civilian personnel in South Vietnam.

This turned out to be one of the thorniest issues, that was settled at some point and kept reappearing throughout the negotiations. It was one of the difficulties we had during the December negotiations.

As you can see from the agreement, the return of American military personnel and captured civilians is separated in terms of obligation, and in terms of the time frame, from the return of  Vietnamese civilian personnel.

The return of American personnel and the accounting of missing in action is unconditional and will take place within the same time frame as the American withdrawal.

The issue of Vietnamese civilian personnel will be negotiated  between the two Vietnamese parties over a period of 3 months, and as the agreement says, they will do their utmost to resolve this question within the 3 month period.

So I repeat, the issue is separated, both in terms of obligation and in terms of the relevant time frame from the return of American prisoners, which is unconditional.

We expect that American prisoners will be released at intervals of 2 weeks or fifteen days in roughly equal installments. We have been told that no American prisoners are held in Cambodia. American prisoners held in Laos and North Vietnam will be returned to us in Hanoi. They will be received by American
medical evacuation teams and flown on American airplanes from Hanoi to places of our own choice, probably Vientiane.

There will be international supervision of both this provision and of the provision for the missing in action. And all American prisoners will, of course, be released, within 60 days of the signing of the agreement. The signing will take place on January 27, in two installments, the significance of which I will explain to you when I, have run through the provisions of the agreement and the associated protocols.

Chapter IV: Self-determination for South Vietnam

Chapter IV of the agreement deals with the right of the South Vietnamese people to self-determination. Its first provision  contains a joint statement by the United States and North Vietnam in which those two countries jointly recognize the South Vietnamese people's right to self-determination, in which those two countries jointly affirm that the South Vietnamese people shall decide for themselves the political system that they shall choose and jointly  affirm that no foreign country shall impose any political tendency on the South Vietnamese people.

The other principal provisions of the agreement are that in  implementing the South Vietnamese people's right to  selfdetermination, the two South Vietnamese parties will decide, will agree among each other, on free elections, for offices to be decided by the two parties, at a time to be decided by the two parties. These elections will be supervised and organized first by an institution which has the title of National Council for National Reconciliation and Concord, whose members will be equally appointed by the two sides, which will operate on the principle of unanimity, and which will come into being after negotiation between the two parties, who are obligated by this agreement to do their utmost to bring this  institution into
being within 90 days.

Leaving aside the technical jargon, the significance of this part of the agreement is that the United States has consistently maintained that we would not impose any political solution on the people of South Vietnam. The United States has consistently maintained that we would not impose a coalition government or a
disguised coalition government on the people of South Vietnam.

If you examine the provisions of this chapter, you will see, first, that the existing government in Saigon can remain in office; secondly, that the political future of South Vietnam depends on agreement between the South Vietnamese parties and not on an agreement that the United States has imposed on these parties; thirdly, that the nature of this political evolution, the timing of this political evolution, is left to the South
Vietnamese parties, and that the organ that is created to see to it that the elections that are organized will be conducted properly, is one in which each of the South Vietnamese parties has a veto.

The other significant provision of this agreement is the requirement that the South Vietnamese parties will bring about a reduction of their armed forces, and that the forces being reduced will be demobilized.

Chapter V: Reunification and the DMZ

The next chapter deals with the reunification of Vietnam and the relationship between North and South Vietnam. In the many negotiations that I have conducted over recent weeks, not the least arduous was the negotiation conducted with the ladies and  gentlemen of the press, who constantly raised issues with
respect to sovereignty, the existence of South Vietnam as a political entity, and other matters of this kind. I will return to this issue at the end when I sum up the agreement, but it is obvious that there is no dispute in the agreement between the parties that there is an entity called South Vietnam, and that the future unity of Vietnam, as it comes about, will be decided by negotiation between North and South Vietnam, that it will not be achieved by military force,  indeed, that the use of military force with respect to bringing about unification, or any other form of coercion, is impermissible  according to the terms of this agreement.

Secondly, there are specific provisions in this chapter with respect to the Demilitarized Zone. There is a repetition of the agreement of 1954 which makes the demarcation line along the 17th Parallel provisional, which means pending reunification. There is a specific provision that both North and South Vietnam
shall respect the Demilitarized Zone on either side of the provisional military demarcation line, and there is another provision that indicates that among the subjects that can be negotiated will be modalities of civilian movement across the demarcation line, which makes it clear that military movement across the Demilitarized Zone is in all circumstances prohibited.

Now, this may be an appropriate point to explain what our position has been with respect to the DMZ. There has been a great deal of discussion about the issue of sovereignty and about the issue of legitimacy, which is to say which government is in control of South Vietnam, and, finally, about why we laid such great stress on the issue of the Demilitarized Zone.

We had to place stress. on the issue of the Demilitarized Zone because the provisions of the agreement with respect to infiltration, with respect to replacement, with respect to any of the military provisions, would have made no sense whatsoever if there was not some demarcation line that defined where South
Vietnam began. If we had accepted the preposition that would have in effect eroded the Demilitarized Zone, then the provisions of the agreement with respect to restrictions about the introduction of men and materiel into South Vietnam would have been unilateral restrictions applying only to the United States and only to our allies. Therefore, if there was to be any meaning to the separation of military and political issues, if there was to be any permanence to the military provisions that had been negotiated, then it was essential that there was a definition of where the obligations of this agreement began. As you can see from the text of the agreement, the principles that we defended were essentially achieved.

Chapters VI and VII: International Machinery; Laos and Cambodia

Chapter VI deals with the international machinery, and we will discuss that when I talk about the associated protocols of the agreement.

Chapter VII deals with Laos and Cambodia. Now, the problem of Laos and Cambodia has two parts. One part concerns those obligations which can be undertaken by the parties signing the agreement-that is to say, the three Vietnamese parties and the United States-those measures that they can take which affect the
situation in Laos and Cambodia.

A second part of the situation in Laos has to concern the nature of the civil conflict that is taking place within Laos and Cambodia and the solution of which, of course, must involve as well the two Laotian parties and the innumerable Cambodian factions.

Let me talk about the provisions of the agreement with respect to Laos and Cambodia and our firm expectations as to the future in Laos and Cambodia.

The provisions of the agreement with respect to Laos and  Cambodia reaffirm, as an obligation to all the parties, the provisions of the 1954 agreement on Cambodia and of the 1962 agreement on Laos, which affirm the neutrality and right to self-determination of those two countries. They are, therefore, consistent with our basic position with respect also to South Vietnam.

In terms of the immediate conflict, the provisions of the agreement specifically prohibit the use of Laos and Cambodia for military and any other operations against any of the signatories of the Paris Agreement or against any other country. In other words, there is a flat prohibition against the use of base areas in Laos and Cambodia.

There is a flat prohibition against the use of Laos and Cambodia for infiltration into Vietnam or, for that matter, into any other country.

Finally, there is a requirement that all foreign troops be  withdrawn from Laos and Cambodia, and it is clearly understood that North Vietnamese troops are considered foreign with respect to Laos and Cambodia.

Now, as to the conflict within these countries which could not be formally settled in an agreement which is not signed by the parties of that conflict, let me make this statement, without elaborating it: It is our firm expectation that within a short period of time there will be a formal cease-fire in Laos which, in turn, will lead to a withdrawal of all foreign forces from Laos and, of course, to the end of the use of Laos as a corridor
of infiltration.

Secondly, the situation in Cambodia, as those of you who have studied it will know, is somewhat more complex because there are several parties headquartered in different countries. Therefore,we can say about Cambodia that it is our expectation that a de facto cease-fire will come into being over a period of time relevant to the execution of this agreement.

Our side will take the appropriate measures to indicate that it will not attempt to change the situation by force. We have reason to believe that our position is clearly understood by all concerned  parties, and I will not go beyond this in my statement.

Chapters VIII and IX: Normalizing Relations; Implementation

Chapter VIII deals with the relationship between the United States and the Democratic Republic of Vietnam.

As I have said in my briefings on October 26 and on December 16, and as the President affirmed on many occasions, the last time in his speech last evening, the United States is seeking a peace that heals. We have had many armistices in Indochina. We want a peace that will last.

And, therefore, it is our firm intention in our relationship to the Democratic Republic of Vietnam to move from hostility to  normalization, and from normalization to conciliation and  cooperation. And we believe that under conditions of peace we can  contribute throughout Indochina to a realization of the humane  aspirations of all the people of Indochina, And we will, in that spirit,  perform our traditional role of helping people realize these aspirations in peace.

Chapter IX of the agreement is the usual implementing provision.

So much for the agreement.

PROVISIONS OF THE PROTOCOLS

Prisoners of War

Now, let me say a word about the protocols. There are four protocols or implementing instruments to the agreement: on the return of American prisoners, on the implementation and  institution of an international control commission, on the regulations with respect to the cease-fire and the implementation and  institution of a joint military commission among the concerned  parties, and a protocol about the deactivation and removal of mines.

I have given you the relevant provisions of the protocol  concerning the return of prisoners. They will be returned at periodic  intervals in Hanoi to American authorities and not to American private groups. They will be picked up by American airplanes,  except for prisoners held in the southern part of South Vietnam, which will be released at designated points in the South, again, to American authorities.

We will receive on Saturday, the day of the signing of the agreement, a list of all American prisoners held throughout  Indochina. And both parties, that is to say, all parties have an obligation to assist each other in obtaining information about the prisoners, missing in action, and about the location of graves of American personnel throughout Indochina.

The International Commission has the right to visit the last place of detention of the prisoners, as well as the place from which they are released.

International Commission of Control and Supervision [ICCS]

Now, to the International Control Commission. You will remember that one of the reasons for the impasse in December was the difficulty of agreeing with the North Vietnamese about the size of the International Commission, its function, or the location of its teams.

On this occasion, there is no point in rehashing all the  differences. It is, however, useful to point out that at that time the proposal of the North Vietnamese was that the International  Control Commission have a membership of 250, no organic logistics or communication, dependent entirely for its authority to move on the party it was supposed to be investigating; and over half of its  personnel were supposed to be located in Saigon, which is not the place where most of the infiltration that we were concerned with was likely to take
place.

We have distributed to you an outline of the basic structure of this Commission. Briefly stated, its total number is 1,160, drawn from Canada, Hungary, Indonesia, and Poland. It has a  headquarters in Saigon. It has seven regional teams, 26 teams based in localities throughout Vietnam which were chosen either
because forces were in contact there or because we estimated that these were the areas where the violations of the cease-fire were most probable.

There are 12 teams at border crossing points. There are seven teams that are set aside for points of entry, which have yet to be chosen, for the replacement of military equipment. That is for  Article 7 of the agreement. There will be three on each side and there will be no legitimate point of entry into South Vietnam other than those three points. The other border and coastal teams are there simply to make certain that no other entry occurs, and any other entry is by definition illegal. There has to be no other  demonstration except the fact that it occurred.

This leaves one team free for use, in particular, at the discretion of the Commission. And, of course, the seven teams that are being used for the return of the prisoners can be used at the discretion of the Commission after the prisoners are returned.

There is one reinforced team located at the Demilitarized Zone and its responsibility extends along the entire Demilitarized Zone. It is in fact a team and a, half. It is 50 percent larger than a normal border team and it represents one of the many compromises that were made, between our insistence on two teams
and their  insistence on one team. By a brilliant stroke, we settled on a team and a half.

With respect to the operation of the International Commission, it is supposed to operate on the principle of unanimity, which is to say that its reports, if they are Commission reports, have to have the approval of all four members. However, each member is  permitted to submit his own opinion, so that as a practical matter any member of the Commission can make a finding of a violation and submit a report, in the first instance to the parties.

The International Commission will report for the time being to the four parties to the agreement. An international conference will take place, we expect, at the Foreign Ministers' level within a month of signing the agreement.

That international conference will establish a relationship  between the International Commission and itself, or any other  international body that is mutually agreed upon, so that the  International Commission is not only reporting to the parties that it is investigating. But, for the time being, until the international  conference has met, there was no other practical group to which the  International Commission could report.

Cease-fire and Joint Military Commissions

In addition to this international group, there are two other  institutions that are supposed to supervise the cease-fire. There is, first of all, an institution called the Four-Party Joint Military  Commission, which is composed of ourselves and the three Vietnamese parties, which is located in the same place as the International Commission, charged with roughly the same functions, but, as a practical matter, it is supposed to conduct the preliminary  investigations, its disagreements are automatically referred to the  International Commission, and, moreover, any party can request the International Commission to
conduct an investigation regardless of what the Four-Party Commission does and regardless of whether the Four-Party Commission has completed its investigation or not.

After the United States has completed its withdrawal, the  Four-Party Military Commission will be transformed into a Two-Party Commission composed of the two South Vietnamese parties. The
total number of supervisory personnel, therefore, will be in the neighborhood of 4,500 during the period that the Four-Party  Commission is in existence, and in the neighborhood of about 3,000  after the Four-Party Commission ceases operating and the Two-Party Commission comes into being.

Deactivation and Removal of Mines

Finally, there is a protocol concerning the removal and  deactivation of mines which is self-explanatory and simply  explains-discusses the relationship between our efforts and the  efforts of the DRV [Democratic Republic of Vietnam] concerning the removal and deactivation of mines which is one of the obligations we have undertaken in the agreement.

Signing The Documents

Now, let me point another problem. On Saturday, January 27, the Secretary of State on behalf of the United States, will sign the agreement bringing the cease-fire and all the other provisions of the agreement and the protocols into force. He will sign in the morning a document involving four parties, and in the afternoon a document between us and the Democratic Republic of Vietnam.These documents are identical, except that the preamble differs in both cases.

The reason for this somewhat convoluted procedure is that, while the agreement provides that the two South Vietnamese  parties should settle their disputes in an atmosphere of national  reconciliation and concord, I think it is safe to say that they have not yet quite reached that point; indeed, that they have not yet been prepared to recognize each other's existence.

This being the case, it was necessary to devise one document in which neither of the South Vietnamese parties was mentioned by name and, therefore, no other party could be mentioned by name, on the principle of equality. So the four-party document, the document that will have four signatures can be read with great care and you will not know until you get to the signature page whom exactly it applies to. It refers only to the parties participating in the Paris Conference, which are, of course, well known to the parties participating in the Paris Conference.

It will be signed on two separate page. The United States and the GVN [Government of the Republic of Vietnam] are signing on one page and the Democratic Republic of Vietnam and its ally are signing on a separate page. And this procedure has aged us all by several years.

Then there is another document which will be signed by the Secretary of State and the Foreign Minister of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam in the afternoon. That document, in its operative provisions, is word for word the same as the document which will be signed in the morning, and which contains the obligations to which the two South Vietnamese parties are obligated.

It differs from that document only in the preamble and in its concluding paragraph. In the preamble, it says the United States; with the concurrence of the Government of the Republic of Vietnam, and the DRV, with the concurrence of the Provisional Revolutionary Government, and the rest is the same, and then the
concluding paragraph has the same adaptation. That document, of course, is not signed by ether Saigon or its opponent and, therefore, their obligations are derived from the Four-party document.

I do not want to take any time in going into the abstruse legalisms, I simply wanted to explain to you why there were two different signature ceremonies, and why, when we handed out the text of the agreement, we appended to the document which  contains the legal obligations which apply to everybody-namely,
the four parties-why we appended another section that contained a different preamble and a different implementing paragraph which is going to be signed by the Secretary of State and the Foreign Minister of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam.

This will be true with respect to the agreement and three of the protocols. The fourth protocol, regarding the removal of mines, applies only to the United States and the Democratic Republic of Vietnam and, therefore, we are in the happy position of having to sign only one document.

SUMMARY OF THE NEGOTIATIONS

Now, then let me summarize for you how we got to this point, and some of the aspects of the agreement that we consider significant, and then I will answer your questions.

As you know, when I met with this group on December 16, we had to report that the negotiations in Paris seemed to have reached a stalemate. We had not agreed at that time, although we didn't say so on the-we could not find a formula to take into account the conflicting views with respect to signing. There were
disagreements with respect to the DMZ and with the associated aspects of what identity South Vietnam was to have in the agreement.

There was a total deadlock with respect to the protocols, which I summed up in the December 16 press conference. The North Vietnamese approach to international control and ours were so totally at variance that it seemed impossible at that point to come to any satisfactory conclusion. And there began to be even
some concern that the separation which we thought we had achieved in October between the release of our prisoners and the question of civilian prisoners in South Vietnam was breaking down.

When we reassembled on January 8, we did not do so in the most cordial atmosphere that I remember. However, by the morning of January 9, it became apparent that both sides were determined to make a serious effort to break the deadlock in negotiations. And we adopted a mode of procedure by which issues in the agreement and issues of principle with respect to the protocols were discussed at meetings between Special Adviser Le Duc Tho and myself, while concurrently an American team headed by Ambassador
Sullivan and a Vietnamese team headed by Vice Minister Thach would work on the implementation of the principles as they applied to the protocols.

For example, the Special Adviser and I might agree on the principle  of border control posts and their number, but then the problem of how to locate them, according to what criteria, and with what mode of operation presented enormous difficulties.

Let me on this occasion also point out that these negotiations  required the closest cooperation throughout our Government,  between the White House and the State Department, between all the elements of our team, and that, therefore, the usual speculation of who did what to whom is really extraordinarily misplaced.

Without a cooperative effort by everybody, we could not have achieved what we have presented last night and this morning,The Special Adviser and I then spent the week, first on working out the unresolved issues in the-agreement, and then the unresolved issues with respect to the protocols, and finally, the surrounding circumstances of schedules and procedures.

Ambassador Sullivan remained behind to draft the implementing provisions of the -agreements that had been achieved during the week. The Special Adviser and I remained in close contact.

So by the time we met again yesterday, the issues that remained were very few, indeed, were settled relatively rapidly. And I may on this occasion also point out that while the North Vietnamese are the most difficult people to negotiate with that I have ever encountered when they do not want to settle, they are also the most effective that I have dealt with when they finally decide to settle. So that we have gone through peaks and valleys in these negotiations Of extraordinary intensity.

 Now then, let me sum up where this agreement bas left us, first, with respect to what we said we would try to achieve, then with respect to some of its significance, and, finally, with respect to the future.

 First, when I met this group on October 26 and delivered myself of some epigrammatic phrases, we obviously did not want to give a complete checklist and we did not want to release the agreement as t then stood, because it did not seem to us desirable to provide a checklist against which both sides would
then have to measure  success and failure in terms of their prestige.

At that time, too, we did not say that it had always been foreseen that there would be another three or four days of negotiation after this tentative agreement, had been reached. The reason why we asked for another negotiation was because it seemed to us at that point that for a variety of reasons, which I explained then and again on December 16, those issues could not be settled within the time frame that the North Vietnamese expected.

It is now a matter of history, and it is, therefore, not essential to go into a debate of on what we based this judgment. But that was the reason why the agreement was not signed on October 31, and not any of the speculations that have been so much in print and on television.

Now, what did we say on October 26 we wanted to achieve? We said, first of all, that we wanted to make sure that the control machinery would be in place at the time of the cease-fire. We did this because we had information that there were plans by the other side to mount a major offensive to coincide with the
signing of the cease-fire agreement.

This objective has been achieved by the fact that the protocols will be signed on the same day as the agreement, by the fact that the International Control Commission and the Four-Party Military Commission will meet within 24 hours of the agreement going into effect, or no later than Monday morning, Saigon time,
that the regional teams of the International Control Commission will be in place 48 hours thereafter, and that all other teams will be in place within 15 and a maximum of 30 days after that.

Second, we said that we wanted to compress the time interval between the cease-fires we expected in Laos and Cambodia and the cease-fire in Vietnam.

For reasons which I have explained to you, we cannot be as specific about the cease-fires in Laos and Cambodia as we can about the agreements that are being signed on Saturday, but we can say with confidence that the formal cease-fire in Laos will go into effect in a considerably shorter period of time than was envisaged in October, and since the cease-fire in Cambodia depends to some extent on developments in Laos, we expect the same to be true there.

We said that certain linguistic ambiguities should be removed. The linguistic ambiguities were produced by the somewhat extraordinary negotiating procedure whereby a change in the English text did not always produce a correlative change in the Vietnamese text. All the linguistic ambiguities to which we referred in October have, in fact, been removed. At that time I mentioned only one, and therefore I am free to recall it.

I pointed out that the United States position had consistently been a rejection of the imposition of a coalition government on the people of South Vietnam. I said then that the National Council of Reconciliation was not a coalition government, nor was it conceived as a coalition government.

The Vietnamese language text, however, permitted an interpretation of the words "administrative structure" as applied to the National Council of Reconciliation which would have lent itself to the interpretation that it came close or was identical with a coalition government.

You will find that in the text of this agreement the words "administrative structure" no longer exist and therefore this particular, shall we say, ambiguity has been removed.

I pointed out in October that we had to find a procedure for signing which would be acceptable to all the parties for whom obligations were involved. This has been achieved.

I pointed out on October 26 that we would seek greater precision with respect to certain 'obligations particularly, without spelling them out, as they applied to the Demilitarized Zone and to the obligations with respect to Laos and Cambodia. That too, has been achieved.

And I pointed out in December that we were looking for some means, some expression, which would make clear that the two parts of Vietnam would live in peace with each other and that neither side would impose its solution on the other by force.

This is now explicitly provided, and we have achieved formulations in which in a number of paragraphs, such as Article 14, 18(e) and 20, there are specific references to the sovereignty of South Vietnam.

There are specific references, moreover, to the same thing in Article 6 and Article 11 of the ICCS protocol. There are specific references to the right of the South Vietnamese people to self-determination.

And, therefore, we believe that we have achieved the substantial adaptations that we asked for on October 26. We did not increase our demands after October 26 and we substantially achieved the clarifications which we sought.

Now then, it is obvious that a war that has lasted for 10 years will have many elements that cannot be completely satisfactory to all the parties concerned. And in the two periods where the North Vietnamese were working with dedication and seriousness on a conclusion, the period in October and the period after we resumed talks on January 8, it was always clear that a lasting peace could come about only if neither side sought to achieve everything that it had wanted; indeed, that stability depended on the relative satisfaction and therefore on the relative dissatisfaction of all of the parties been a rejection of the
imposition of a coalition government on the people of South Vietnam. I said then that the National Council of Reconciliation was not a coalition government, nor was it conceived as a
coalition government.

The Vietnamese language text, however, permitted an interpretation of the words "administrative structure" as applied to the National Council of Reconciliation which would have lent itself to the interpretation that it came close or was identical with a coalition government.

You will find that in the text of this agreement the words "administrative structure" no longer exist and therefore this particular, shall we say, ambiguity has been removed.

I pointed out in October that we had to find a procedure for signing which would be acceptable to all the parties for whom obligations were involved. This has been achieved.

I pointed out on October 26 that we would seek greater precision with respect to certain obligations particularly, without spelling them out, as they applied to the Demilitarized Zone and to the obligations with respect to Laos and Cambodia. That, too, has been achieved.

And I pointed out in December that we were looking for some means, some expression, which would make clear that the two parts of Vietnam would live in peace with each other and that neither side would impose its solution on the other by force.

This is now explicitly provided, and we have achieved formulations in which in a number of paragraphs, such as Article 14, IB(e) and 20, there are specific references to the sovereignty of South Vietnam.

There are specific references, moreover, to the same thing in Article 6 and Article 11 of the ICCS protocol. There are specific references to the right of the South Vietnamese people to self-determination.

And, therefore, we believe that we have achieved the substantial adaptations that we asked for on October 26. We did not increase our demands after October 26 and we substantially achieved the clarifications which we sought.

Now then, it is obvious that a war that has lasted for 10 years will have many elements that cannot be completely satisfactory to all the parties concerned. And in the two periods where the North Vietnamese were working with dedication and seriousness on a conclusion, the period in October and the period after we resumed talks on January 8, it was always clear that a lasting peace could come about only if neither side sought to achieve everything that it had wanted; indeed, that stability depended on the relative satisfaction and therefore on the relative dissatisfaction of all of the parties concerned. And therefore,
it is also clear that whether this agreement brings a lasting peace or not depends not only on its provisions but also on the spirit in which it is implemented.

It will be our challenge in the future to move the controversies that could not be stilled by any one document from the level of military conflict to the level of positive human aspirations, and to absorb the enormous talents and dedication of the people of Indochina in tasks of construction rather than in tasks of
destruction.

We will make a major effort to move to create a framework where we hope in a short time the animosities and the hatred and the suffering of this period will be seen as aspects of the past, and where the debates concern differences of opinion as to how to achieve positive goals.

Of course, the hatreds will not rapidly disappear, and, of course, people who have fought for 25 years will not easily give up their objectives, but also people who have suffered for 25 years may at last come to know that they can achieve their real satisfaction by other and less brutal means.

The President said yesterday that we have to remain vigilant, and so we shall, but we shall also dedicate ourselves to positive efforts. And as for us at home, it should be clear by now that no one in this war has had a monopoly of moral insight.
And now that at last we have achieved an agreement in which the United States did not prescribe the political future to its allies, an agreement which should preserve the dignity and the self-respect of all of the parties, together with healing the wounds in Indochina we can begin to heal the wounds in America.

Now, I will be glad to answer any questions.

---------------------------------------------------------------
(4) Agreement on Ending the War and Restoring Peace in Vietnam,
signed in Paris and entered into force January 17, 1973.

(Text from TIAS 7542 (24 UST 4-23)

AGREEMENT ON ENDING THE WAR AND RESTORING PEACE IN VIET-NAM
The Parties participating in the Paris Conference on Viet-Nam,

With a view to ending the war and restoring peace in Viet-Nam on the basis of respect for the Vietnamese people's fundamental national rights and the South Vietnamese people's right to self-determination, and to contributing to the consolidation of peace in Asia and the world,

Have agreed on the following provisions and undertake to respect and to implement them:

Chapter I

THE VIETNAMESE PEOPLE'S FUNDAMENTAL NATIONAL RIGHTS

Article 1

The United States and all other countries respect the independence, sovereignty, unity, and territorial integrity of Viet-Nam as recognized by the 1954 Geneva Agreements on VietNam.

Chapter II

CESSATION OF HOSTILITIES - WITHDRAWAL OF TROOPS,

Article 2

A cease-fire shall be observed throughout South Viet-Nam as of 2400 hours G.M.T. [Greenwich Mean Time], on January 27, 1973.

At the same hour, the United States will stop all its military activities against the territory of the Democratic Republic of Viet-Nam by ground, air and naval forces, wherever they may be based, and end the mining of the territorial waters, ports, harbors, and waterways of the Democratic Republic of Viet-Nam. The United States will remove, permanently deactivate or destroy all the mines in the territorial waters, ports, harbors, and waterways of North Viet-Nam as soon as this Agreement goes into effect.

The complete cessation of hostilities mentioned in this Article shall be durable and without limit of time.

Article 3

The parties undertake to maintain the cease-fire and to ensure a lasting and stable peace.

As soon as the cease-fire goes into effect:

(a) The United States forces and those of the other foreign countries allied with the United States and the Republic of Viet-Nam shall remain in-place pending the implementation of the plan of troop withdrawal. The Four-Party Joint Military Commission described in Article 16 shall determine the modalities.

(b) The armed forces of the two South Vietnamese parties shall remain in-place. The Two-Party Joint Military Commission described in Article 17 shall determine the areas controlled by each party and the modalities of stationing.

(c) The regular forces of all services and arms and the irregular forces of the parties in South Viet-Nam shall stop all offensive activities against each other and shall strictly abide by the following stipulations:

- All acts of force on the ground, in the air, and on the sea shall be prohibited;

- All hostile acts, terrorism and reprisals by both sides will be banned.

Article 4

The United States will not continue its military involvement or intervene in the internal affairs of South Vietnam.

Article 5

Within sixty days of the signing of this Agreement, there will be a total withdrawal from South Viet-Nam of troops, military advisers, and military personnel, including technical military personnel and military personnel associated with the pacification program, armaments, munitions, and war material of
the United States and those of the other foreign countries mentioned in Article 3 (a). Advisers from the above-mentioned countries to all paramilitary organizations and the police force will also be withdrawn within the same period of time.

Article 6

The dismantlement of all military bases in South Viet-Nam of the United States and of the other foreign countries mentioned in Article 3 (a) shall be completed within sixty days of the signing of this agreement.

Article 7

From the enforcement of the cease-fire to the formation of the government provided for in Article 9 (b) and 14 of this Agreement, the two South Vietnamese parties shall not accept the introduction of troops, military advisers, and military personnel including technical military personnel, armaments, munitions, and war material into South Viet-Nam.

The two South Vietnamese parties shall be permitted to make periodic replacement of armaments, munitions and war material which have been destroyed, damaged, worn out or used up after the cease-fire, on the basis of piece-for-piece, of the same characteristics and properties, under the supervision of the
Joint Military Commission of the two South Vietnamese parties and of the International Commission of Control and Supervision.

THE RETURN OF CAPTURED MILITARY PERSONNEL AND FOREIGN CIVILIANS
AND CAPTURED AND DETAINED VIETNAMESE CIVILIAN PERSONNEL

Article 8

(a) The return of captured military personnel and foreign civilians of the parties shall be carried out simultaneously with and completed not later than the same day as the troop withdrawal mentioned in Article 5. The parties shall exchange complete lists of the above-mentioned captured military personnel and foreign civilians on the day of the signing of this Agreement.

(b) The parties shall help each other to get information about those military personnel and foreign civilians of the parties missing in action, to determine the location and take care of the graves of the dead so as to facilitate the exhumation and repatriation of the remains, and to take any such other measures as may be required to get information about those still considered missing in action.

(c) The question of the return of Vietnamese civilian personnel captured and detained in South Viet-Nam will be resolved by the two South Vietnamese parties on the basis of the principles of
Article 21 (b) of the Agreement on the Cessation of Hostilities in Viet-Nam of July 20, 1954. The two South Vietnamese parties will do so in a spirit of national reconciliation and concord, with a view to ending hatred and enmity, in order to ease suffering and to reunite families. The two South Vietnamese parties will do their utmost to resolve this question within ninety days after the cease-fire comes into effect.

Chapter IV

THE EXERCISE OF THE SOUTH VIETNAMESE PEOPLE'S RIGHT TO SELF-
DETERMINATION

Article 9

The Government of the United States of America and the Government of the Democratic Republic of Viet-Nam undertake to respect the following principles for the exercise of the South Vietnamese people's right to self-determination:

(a) The South Vietnamese people's right to self-determination is sacred, inalienable, and shall be respected by all countries.

(b) The South Vietnamese people shall decide themselves the political future of South Viet-Nam through genuinely free and democratic general elections under international supervision.

(c) Foreign countries shall not impose any political tendency or personality on the South Vietnamese people.

Article 10

The two South Vietnamese parties undertake to respect the ceasefire and maintain peace in South Viet-Nam, settle all matters of contention through negotiations, and avoid all armed conflict.

Article 11

Immediately after the cease-fire, the two South Vietnamese parties will:

- achieve national reconciliation and concord, end hatred and enmity, prohibit all acts of reprisal and discrimination against individuals or organizations that have collaborated with one side or the other;

- ensure the democratic liberties of the people: personal freedom, freedom of speech, freedom of the press, freedom of meeting, freedom of organization, freedom of political activities, freedom of belief, freedom of movement, freedom of residence, freedom of work, right to property ownership, and
right to free enterprise.

Article l2

(a) Immediately after the cease-fire, the two South Vietnamese parties shall hold consultations in a spirit of national reconciliation  and concord, mutual respect, and mutual non-elimination to set up a National Council of National Reconciliation and Concord of three equal segments. The Council shall operate on the principle of unanimity, After the National Council of National Reconciliation and Concord has assumed its
functions, the two South Vietnamese parties will consult about the formation of councils at lower levels. The two South Vietnamese parties shall sign an agreement on the internal matters of South Viet-Nam as soon as possible and do their utmost to accomplish this within ninety days after the ceasefire comes into effect, in keeping with the South Vietnamese people's aspirations for peace, independence and democracy.

(b) The National Council of National Reconciliation and Concord shall have the task of promoting the two South Vietnamese parties' implementation of this Agreement, achievement of national reconciliation and concord and ensurance of democratic liberties. The National Council of National Reconciliation and
Concord will organize the free and democratic general elections provided for in Article 9 (b) and decide the procedures and modalities of these general elections. The institutions for which the general elections are to be held will be agreed upon through consultations between the two South Vietnamese parties. The National Council of National Reconciliation and Concord will also decide the procedures and modalities of such local elections as the two South Vietnamese parties agree upon.

Article 13

The question of Vietnamese armed forces in South Viet-Nam shall be settled by the two South Vietnamese parties in a spirit of national reconciliation and concord, equality and mutual respect, without foreign interference, in accordance with the postwar situation. Among the questions to be discussed by the two South Vietnamese parties are steps to reduce their military effectives and to demobilize the troops being reduced. The two South Vietnamese parties will accomplish this as soon as possible.

Article 14

South Viet-Nam will pursue a foreign policy of peace and independence. It will be prepared to establish relations with all countries irrespective of their political and social systems on the basis of mutual respect for independence and sovereignty and accept economic and technical aid from any country with no
political conditions attached. The acceptance of military aid by South Viet-Nam in the future shall come under the authority of the government set up after the general elections in South Vietnam provided for in Article 9 (b).

Chapter V

THE REUNIFICATION OF VIET-NAM AND THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN NORTH
AND SOUTH VIET-NAM

Article 15

The reunification of Viet-Nam shall be carried out step by step through peaceful means on the basis of discussions and agreements between North and South Viet-Nam, without coercion or annexation by either party, and without foreign interference. The time for reunification will be agreed upon by North and
South Viet-Nam-

Pending reunification:

(a) The military demarcation line between the two zones at the 17th parallel is only provisional and not a political or territorial boundary, as provided for in paragraph 6 of the Final Declaration of the 1954 Geneva Conference.

(b) North and South Viet-Nam shall respect the Demilitarized Zone on either side of the Provisional Military Demarcation Line.

(c) North and South Viet-Nam shall promptly start negotiations with a view to reestablishing-normal relations in various fields. Among the questions to be negotiated are the modalities of civilian movement across the Provisional Military Demarcation Line,

(d) North and South Viet-Nam shall not join any military alliance or military bloc and shall not allow foreign powers to maintain military bases, troops; military advisers, and military personnel on their respective territories, as stipulated in the 1954 Geneva Agreements on Viet-Nam.

THE JOINT MILITARY COMMISSIONS, THE INTERNATIONAL COMMISSION OF
CONTROL AND SUPERVISION, THE INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE

Article 16

(a) The Parties participating in the Paris Conference on Viet-Nam shall immediately designate representatives to form a Four-Party Joint Military Commission with the task of ensuring joint action by the parties in implementing the following provisions of this Agreement:

- The first paragraph of Article 2, regarding the enforcement of the cease-fire throughout South Viet-Nam;

- Article 3 (a), regarding the cease-fire by U.S. forces and those of the other foreign countries referred to in that Article;

- Article 3 (c), regarding the cease-fire between all parties in South Viet-Nam;

- Article 5, regarding the withdrawal from South Viet-Nam of U.S. troops and those of the other foreign countries mentioned in Article 3 (a);

- Article 6, regarding the dismantlement of military bases in South Viet-Nam of the United States and those of the other foreign countries mentioned in Article 3 (a);

- Article 8 (a), regarding the return of captured military personnel and foreign civilians of the parties;

- Article 8 (b), regarding the mutual assistance of the parties in getting information about those military personnel and foreign civilians of the parties missing in action.

(b) The Four-Party Joint Military Commission shall operate in accordance with the principle of consultations and unanimity. Disagreements shall be referred to the International Commission of Control and Supervision.

(c) The Four-Party Joint Military Commission shall begin operating immediately after the signing of this Agreement and end its activities in sixty days, after the completion of the withdrawal of U.S. troops and those of the other foreign countries mentioned in Article 3 (a) and the completion of the return of captured military personnel and foreign civilians of the parties.

(d) The four parties shall agree immediately on the organization, the working procedure, means of activity, and expenditures of the Four-Party Joint Military Commission.

Article 1 7

(a) The two South Vietnamese parties shall immediately designate representatives to form a Two-Party Joint Military Commission with the task of ensuring joint action by the two South Vietnamese parties in implementing the following provisions of this Agreement:

- The first paragraph of Article 2, regarding the enforcement of the cease-fire throughout South Viet-Nam, when the Four-Party Joint Military Commission has ended its activities;

- Article 3 (b), regarding the cease-fire between the two South Vietnamese parties;

- Article 3 (c), regarding the cease-fire between all parties in South Viet-Nam, when the Four-Party Joint Military Commission has ended its activities;

- Article 7, regarding the prohibition of the introduction of troops into South Viet-Nam and all other provisions of this Article;

- Article 8 (c), regarding the question of the return of Vietnamese civilian personnel captured and detained in South Viet-Nam;

- Article 1 3, regarding the reduction of the military effectives of the two South Vietnamese parties and the
demobilization of the troops being reduced.

(b) Disagreements shall be referred to the International Commission of Control and Supervision.

(c) After the signing of this Agreement, the Two-Party Joint Military Commission shall agree immediately on the measures and organization aimed at enforcing the cease-fire and preserving peace in South Viet-Nam,

Article 18

(a) After the signing of this Agreement, an International Commission of Control and Supervision shall be established immediately.

(b) Until the International Conference provided for in Article 19 makes definitive arrangements, the International Commission of Control and Supervision will report to the four parties on matters concerning the control and supervision of the implementation of the following provisions of this Agreement:

- The first paragraph of Article 2, regarding the enforcement of the cease-fire throughout South Viet-Nam;

- Article 3 (a), regarding the cease-fire by U.S. forces and those of the other foreign countries referred to in that Article;

- Article 3 (c), regarding the cease-fire between all the parties in South Viet-Nam;

- Article 5, regarding the withdrawal from South Viet-Nam of U.S. troops and those of the other foreign countries mentioned in Article 3 (a);

- Article 6, regarding the dismantlement of military bases in South Viet-Nam of the United States and those of the other foreign countries mentioned in Article 3 (a);

- Article 8 (a), regarding the return of captured military personnel and foreign civilians of the parties.

The International Commission of Control and Supervision shall form control teams for carrying out its tasks. The four parties shall agree immediately on the location and operation of these teams. The parties will facilitate their operation.

(c) Until the International Conference makes definitive arrangements, the International Commission of Control and Supervision will report to the two South Vietnamese parties on matters concerning the control and supervision of the implementation of the following provisions of this Agreement:

- The first paragraph of Article 2, regarding the enforcement of the cease-fire throughout South Viet-Nam, when the Four-Party Joint Military Commission has ended its activities;

- Article 3 (b), regarding the cease-fire between the two South Vietnamese parties;

- Article 3 (c), regarding the cease-fire between all parties in South Viet-Nam, when the Four-Party Joint Military Commission has ended its activities;

- Article 7, regarding the prohibition of the introduction of troops into South Viet-Nam and all other provisions of this Article;

- Article 8 (c), regarding the question of the return of Vietnamese civilian personnel captured and detained in South Viet-Nam;

- Article 9 (b), regarding the free and democratic general elections in South Viet-Nam;

- Article 13, regarding the reduction of the military effectives of the two South Vietnamese parties and the demobilization of the troops being reduced.

The International Commission of Control and Supervision shall form control teams for carrying out its tasks. The two South Vietnamese parties shall agree immediately on the location and operation of these teams. The two South Vietnamese parties will facilitate their operation.

(d) The International Commission of Control and Supervision shall be composed of representatives of four countries: Canada, Hungary, Indonesia and Poland. The chairmanship of this Commission will rotate among the members for specific periods to be determined by the Commission.

(e) The International Commission of Control and Supervision shall carry out its tasks in accordance with the principle of respect for the sovereignty of South Viet-Nam.

(f) The International Commission of Control and Supervision shall operate in accordance with the principle of consultations and unanimity.

(g) The International Commission of Control and Supervision shall begin operating when a cease-fire comes into force in Viet-Nam. As regards the provisions in Article 18 (b) concerning the four parties, the International Commission of Control and Supervision shall end its activities when the Commission's tasks
of control and supervision regarding these provisions have been fulfilled. As regards the provisions in Article 18 (c) concerning the two South Vietnamese parties, the International Commission of Control and Supervision shall end its activities on the request of the government formed after the general elections in South Viet-Nam provided for in Article 9 (b).

(h) The four parties shall agree immediately on the organization, means of activity, and expenditures of the
International Commission of Control and Supervision. The relationship between the International Commission and the International Conference will be agreed upon by the International Commission and the International Conference.

Article 19

The parties agree on the convening of an International Conference within thirty days of the signing of this Agreement to acknowledge the signed agreements; to guarantee the ending of the war, the maintenance of peace in Viet-Nam, the respect of the Vietnamese people's fundamental national rights, and the South Vietnamese people's right to self-determination; and to contribute to and guarantee peace in Indochina.

The United States and the Democratic Republic of Viet-Nam, on behalf of the parties participating in the Paris Conference on Viet-Nam will propose to the following parties that they participate in this International Conference: the People's Republic of China, the Republic of France, the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, the United Kingdom, the four countries of the International Commission of Control and Supervision, and the Secretary General of the United Nations, together with the parties participating in the Paris Conference on Viet-Nam.

Chapter VII

REGARDING CAMBODIA AND LAOS

Article 20

(a) The parties participating in the Paris Conference on Viet-Nam shall strictly respect the 1954 Geneva Agreements on Cambodia's and the 1954 Geneva Agreements on Laos, which recognized the Cambodian and the Lao peoples' fundamental national rights, i.e., the independence, sovereignty, unity, and
territorial integrity of these countries. The parties shall respect the neutrality of Cambodia and Laos.

The parties participating in the Paris Conference on Viet-Nam undertake to refrain from using the territory of Cambodia and the territory of Laos to encroach on the sovereignty and security of one another and of other countries.

(b) Foreign countries shall put an end to all military activities in Cambodia and Laos, totally withdraw from and refrain from reintroducing into these two countries troops, military advisers and military personnel, armaments, munitions and war material.

(c) The internal affairs of Cambodia and Laos shall be settled by the people of each of these countries without foreign interference.

(d) The problems existing between the Indochinese countries shall be settled by the Indochinese parties on the basis of respect for each other's independence, sovereignty, and territorial integrity, and non-interference in each other's internal affairs.

Chapter VIII

THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN THE UNITED STATES AND THE DEMOCRATIC
REPUBLIC OF VIET-NAM

Article 21

The United States anticipates that this Agreement will usher in an era of reconciliation with the Democratic Republic of Viet-Nam as with all the peoples of Indochina. In pursuance of its traditional policy, the United States will contribute to healing the wounds of war and to postwar reconstruction of the Democratic Republic of Viet-Nam and throughout Indochina.

Article 22

The ending of the war, the restoration of peace in Viet-Nam, and the strict implementation of this Agreement will create conditions for establishing a new, equal and mutually beneficial relationship between the United States and the Democratic Republic of Viet-Nam on the basis of respect for each other's
independence and sovereignty, and non-interference in each other's internal affairs. At the same time this will ensure stable peace in Viet-Nam and contribute to the preservation of lasting peace in Indochina and Southeast Asia.

Chapter IX

OTHER PROVISIONS

Article 23

This Agreement shall enter into force upon signature by plenipotentiary representatives of the parties participating in the Paris Conference on Viet-Nam. All the parties concerned shall strictly implement this Agreement and its Protocols. Done in Paris this twenty-seventh day of January, one thousand nine
hundred and seventy-three, in English and Vietnamese. The English and Vietnamese texts are official and equally authentic.

FOR THE GOVERNMENT OF THE       FOR THE GOVERNMENT OF
THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA:   REPUBLIC OF VIET-NAM:

(Signed):                       (Signed):

William P. Rogers               Tran Van Lam
Secretary of State              Minister for Foreign Affairs

FOR THE GOVERNMENT OF THE       FOR THE PROVISIONAL
DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC                      REVOLUTIONARY GOVERNMENT OF
VIET-NAM:                                                 OF THE REPUBLIC  OF SOUTH VIET-NAM:

(Signed):                                                          (Signed):

Nguyen Duy Trinh                                            Nguyen Thi Binh
Minister for Foreign Affairs                            Minister for Foreign Affairs

----------------------------------------------------------------
(5) Act of the International Conference on Vietnam, Signed at Paris and entered into force March 2, 1973

(Text from TIAS; 24 UST 486-91)

ACT OF THE INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE OF VIET-NAM

The Government of the United States of America; The Government of the French Republic; The Provisional Revolutionary Government of the Republic of South Viet-Nam; The Government of the Hungarian People's Republic; The Government of the Republic of Indonesia; The Government of the Polish People's Republic; The Government of the Democratic Republic of Viet-Nam; The Government of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and  Northern Ireland;

The Government of the Republic of Viet-Nam;
The Government of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics;
The Government of Canada; and
The Government of the People's Republic of China;

In the presence of the Secretary-General of the United Nations;

With a view to acknowledging the signed Agreements; guaranteeing the ending of the war, the maintenance of peace in Viet-Nam, the respect of the Vietnamese people's fundamental national rights, and the South Vietnamese people's right to self-determination; and contributing to and guaranteeing peace in Indochina;

Have agreed on the following provisions, and undertake to respect and implement them;

Article 1

The Parties to this Act solemnly acknowledge, express their approval of, and support the Paris Agreement on Ending the War and Restoring Peace in Viet-Nam signed in Paris on January 27, 1973, and the four Protocols to the Agreement signed on the same date (hereinafter referred to respectively as the Agreement and the Protocols).

Article 2

The Agreement responds to the aspirations and fundamental national rights of the Vietnamese people, i.e., the independence, sovereignty, unity, and territorial integrity of Viet-Nam, to the right of the South Vietnamese people to selfdetermination, and to the earnest desire for peace shared by all countries in the world. The Agreement constitutes a major contribution to peace, self-determination, national independence, and the improvement of relations among countries. The Agreement and the Protocols should be strictly respected and scrupulously implemented.

Article 3

The Parties to this Act solemnly acknowledge the commitments and scrupulously implement the Agreement and the Protocols.

Article 4

The Parties to this Act solemnly recognize and strictly respect the fundamental national rights of the Vietnamese people, i.e. , the independence, sovereignty, unity, and territorial integrity of Viet-Nam, as well as the right of the South Vietnamese people to self-determination. The Parties to this Act shall strictly
respect the Agreement and the Protocols by refraining from any action at variance with their provisions.

Article 5

For the sake of a durable peace in Viet-Nam, the Parties to this Act call on all countries to strictly respect the fundamental national rights of the Vietnamese people, i.e. , the independence, sovereignty, unity, and territorial integrity of Viet-Nam and the right of the South Vietnamese people to selfdetermination and to strictly respect the Agreement and the Protocols by refraining from any action at variance with their
provisions.

Article 6

(a) The four parties to the Agreement or the two South Vietnamese parties may, either individually or through joint action inform the other Parties to this Act about the implementation of the Agreement and the Protocols. Since the reports and views submitted by the International Commission of Control and Supervision concerning the control and supervision of the implementation of those provisions of the Agreement and the Protocols which are within the tasks of the Commission will be sent to either the four parties signatory to the Agreement or to the two South Vietnamese parties, those parties shall be
responsible, either individually or through joint action, for forwarding them promptly to the other Parties to this Act.

(b) The four parties to the Agreement or the two South Vietnamese parties shall also, either individually or through joint action, forward this information and these reports and views to the other participant in the International Conference on Viet-Nam for his information.

Article 7

(a) In the event of a violation of the Agreement or the Protocols which threatens the peace, the independence, sovereignty, unit, or territorial integrity of Viet-Nam, or the right of the South Vietnamese people to self-determination, the parties signatory to the Agreement and the Protocols shall, either individually or jointly, consult with the other Parties to this Act with a view to determining necessary remedial
measures.

(b) The International Conference on Viet-Nam shall be reconvened upon a joint request by the Government of the United States of America and the Government of the Democratic Republic of VietNam on behalf of the parties signatory to the Agreement or upon a request by six or more of the Parties to this Act.

Article 8

With a view to contributing to and guaranteeing peace in Indochina,- the Parties to this Act acknowledge the commitment of the parties to the Agreement to respect the independence, sovereignty, unity, territorial integrity, and neutrality of Cambodia and Laos as stipulated in the Agreement, agree also to respect them and to refrain from any action at variance with them, and call on other countries to do the same.

Article 9

This Act shall enter into force upon signature by plenipotentiary representatives of all twelve Parties and shall be strictly implemented by all the Parties. Signature of this Act does not constitute recognition of any Party in any case in which it has not previously been accorded.

Done in twelve copies in Paris this second day of March, One Thousand Nine Hundred and Seventy-Three, in English, French, Russian, Vietnamese, and Chinese. All texts are equally authentic.

For the Government of the United States of America The Secretary of State
(Signed): WILLIAM P. ROGERS

For the Government of the French Republic The Minister for Foreign Affairs
(Signed): MAURICE SCHUMANN

For the Provisional Revolutionary Government of the Republic of South Viet-Nam The Minister for Foreign Affairs
(Signed): NGUYEN THI BINH

For the Government of the Hungarian People's Republic The Minister for Foreign Affairs
(Signed) : JANOS PETER

For the Government of the Republic of Indonesia The Minister for Foreign Affairs
(Signed): ADAM MALIK
For the Government of the Polish People's Republic The Minister for Foreign Affairs
(Signed) : STEFAN OLSZOWSKI

For the Government of the Democratic Republic of Viet-Nam The Minister for Foreign Affairs
(Signed): NGUYEN DUY TRINH

For the Government of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland The Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs
(Signed) : ALEC DOUGLAS-HOME

For the Government of the Republic of Viet-Nam The Minister for Foreign Affairs
(Signed): TRAN VAN LAM

For the Government of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics The Minister for Foreign Affairs
(Signed): ANDREI A. GROMYKO

For the Government Canada The Secretary of State for External Affairs
(Signed): MITCHELL SHARP

For the Government of the People's Republic of China The Minister for Foreign Affairs
[SEAL] (Signed): CHI PENG-FEI

--------------------------------------------------------------
(6) Complaints of Violations of the Cease-fire: United States Note Verbale transmitted April 10, 1973 for delivery to participants in the International Conference on Vietnam.

(Department of State Press Release 117, Apr. 24; text from Department of State BULLETIN, vol. 68 (1973), pp. 599-603)

 1. The Department of State of the United States of America presents its compliments to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs/Ministry of External Affairs of [Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, People's Republic of China, Great Britain, France, Republic of Vietnam, Democratic Republic of Vietnam, Hungary, Poland, Indonesia, Canada; and Secretary General of the U.N. Kurt Waldheim] and has the honor to refer to a note" dated April 16, 1973, transmitted by the Government of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam to the Government of the United States and, it is assumed, also to the other signatories of the Act of the
International Conference on Vietnam.

 2. In its Note, the Government of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam, on its own behalf and occasionally also in the name of the "Provisional Revolutionary Government", purports to describe the situation of South Vietnam and lodges charges against the Government of the United States and the Government of the
Republic of Vietnam.

 3 . The United States rejects as utterly groundless the accusations of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam, and views this note as an ill-disguised attempt by the Democratic Republic of Vietnam, to divert attention away from its own numerous and extremely serious violations of the cease-fire.

 4. Contrary to the contentions listed in the note, it is abundantly clear that the main obstruction to peace consists of the military activities carried out by the Democratic Republic of Vietnam and forces under its control in South Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia in direct and inexcusable contravention of the
Agreement on Ending the War and Restoring Peace in Vietnam and of the Agreement on the Restoration of Peace and Reconciliation in Laos.

 5. Of extreme concern is the vast quantity of military equipment shipped clandestinely since January 28 from North Vietnam into South Vietnam without the least effort to observe Articles 7 and 20 of the Peace Agreement of January 27. Evidence is overwhelming of continued illegal movement of equipment and
supplies out of North Vietnam into or through Laos and Cambodia and into South Vietnam for the use of the military forces opposing the legitimate governments of those countries. Included in the supplies reaching South Vietnam are over 400 tanks and armored vehicles, 300 artillery pieces of various types and vast
quantities of ammunition, vehicles, etc. For example, from the time of the Vietnam cease-fire through April 18, 1973, over 27,000 short tons of military supplies have been moved through the demilitarized zone into South Vietnam. In the same period, over 26,000 short tons were moved from North Vietnam into Laos.
Also during this period, we have detected over 17,000 military truck movements from North Vietnam into Laos and over 7,000 crossing the demilitarized zone into South Vietnam. None of the peace-keeping organs established by the Peace Agreement has been given the opportunity to monitor these shipments.

 6. Evidence of an intention to persist in violations of Article 20 of the Agreement is the substantial effort being made to upgrade the road system within Laos and adjoining parts of South Vietnam. Bridge and drainage ditch construction have been observed on Route 7, the primary route into the Plain of Jars
from North Vietnam and on Routes 4 and 4/7 which transit the northern plain in an east-west direction. Furthermore, there is evidence of continuing North Vietnamese efforts to construct a road from southern Laos into Quang Tri and Quang Ngai Provinces. This cross-border route is not close to any of the designated entry points and its only logical use could be as a clandestine supply highway into the central coastal regions of South Vietnam.

 7. The Democratic Republic of Vietnam also has moved military personnel and military equipment in and through the demilitarized zone is direct violation of Articles 7 and 15 (B) of the Peace Agreement and of Article 7 of the Cease-fire Protocol.

 8. In most serious violation of the Agreement, more than 30,000 North Vietnamese army personnel are known to have continued moving through Laos and Cambodia into South Vietnam after the cease-fire on January 28. These combat replacements have greatly increased the capability of North Vietnamese army units in the south. In addition there is evidence that new North Vietnamese army organizations, such as anti-aircraft artillery units, entered South Vietnam after January 28. For example, the Khe Sanh airfield complex has recently been ringed with SA-2 missiles, which clearly were not present prior to the ceasefire.

 9. Not content with illegally building up its military potential, the Democratic Republic of Vietnam has since the cease-fire actually employed these and other forces under its command to launch attacks on hamlets, villages and Republic of Vietnam military positions throughout the country in unequivocal violation of the fundamental purpose of the Peace Agreement as embodied in Articles 2 and 3. The assaults have generally consisted of mortarings and shellings, frequently followed by ground attacks in an obvious effort to expand the area controlled by forces under North Vietnamese command. In some cases the assaults were of such intensity as to require withdrawal of government defending forces, for example, from positions at Hoang Hau near Hue, on the Cambodian border in Chau Duc Province and in Bac Lieu Province. Other beleaguered outposts long occupied by the Republic of Vietnam armed forces continue to hold out despite persistent harassment, such as at Tonle Cham in Tay Ninh, at Rach Bap in Binh Duong and in the
Hong Ngu and Cai Cai districts of Kien Phong Province.

 10. North Vietnamese forces, moreover, continue larger military offensives aimed at opening up new supply routes and expanding their control, such as in the Sa Huynh area of southern Quang Ngai Province.

 11. Troops under the control of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam also have placed many mines in violation of Article 5 of the Cease-fire Protocol and have tried to interfere with resumed train service. Earlier this month, in Phu Yen Province, a mine was set under a train and a ground attack was launched on a
track repair crew.

 12. These forces, moreover, have fired mortars and artillery indiscriminately into many cities, refugee camps and other centers of population, for example in Tan Chau and Phan Thiet, causing heavy civilian casualties. They have even mortared the team locations of the International Commission of Control and
Supervision at Tri Ton and Hong Ngu.

 13. In addition to widespread attacks on Republic of Vietnam territorial security forces, agents of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam have continued their acts of terrorism including assassinations, tossing grenades in public places, minings of public thoroughfares and widespread abductions.

 14. Another serious impediment to peace is the record of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam and the "Provisional Revolutionary Government " of clear and calculated obstructionism in the Four Party Joint Military Commission. Both consistently refused to participate meaningfully in any Four Party Joint Military Commission investigation which would not benefit their cause. Accordingly, they blocked or prevented
investigation of the downing of a CH-47 helicopter, of the Sa Huynh attack and the Khe Sanh missile installation, to cite only three representative examples.

 15. The tactic to stall and obstruct was also clearly evident in the refusal to deploy fully to the field. The North Vietnamese deployed to only five of the seven regional headquarters, and their associates of the "Provisional Revolutionary Government " to only one. Deployment to subregional teams was minimal. The "Provisional Revolutionary Government had less than one quarter of its authorized contingent functional at any one time.

 16. Thus the Democratic Republic of Vietnam and the "Provisional Revolutionary Government" must bear the responsibility for failure of the Four Party Joint Military Commission to fulfill its assigned functions.

 17. Of particular concern to the United States is the failure to date of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam to provide information about Americans missing in action in Indochina or those known to have died there, as required by Article 8 (B) of the Paris Agreement.

 18. The charges levied against the United States by the Democratic Republic of Vietnam in its note, include the allegation that the United States gave "backing" to the Government of the Republic of Vietnam in failing to observe the cease-fire and thereby seriously violated Articles 2 and 3 of the Agreement on Ending the War and Restoring Peace in Vietnam. The entire charge is without foundation, The United States concentrated instead after January 28 on observing the terms of the Agreement scrupulously by withdrawing its own military forces from Vietnam and refraining from participating in any hostilities in Vietnam. Any arms and military equipment provided to the Republic of Vietnam have been strictly in accordance with Article 7 of the Paris Agreement and Article 7 of the Cease-fire Protocol.

 19. The Democratic Republic of Vietnam also alleges that the withdrawal of United States forces has been concluded in a manner at variance with Articles 5 and 6 of the Paris Agreement and accuses the United States of failing to withdraw its armaments and dismantle its bases as required by those Articles.
Article 5, however, required withdrawal only of those armaments, munitions, and war material which the United States (or allies of the United States and the Republic of Vietnam) may have owned in South Vietnam at the date of or subsequent to the date of entry into force of the Agreement. It did not require the
withdrawal from South Vietnam of any armaments which the United States, prior to the entry into force of the Agreement, no longer owned because of prior transfer. This was the meaning of the phrase "of the United States" in Article 5. The same phrase with the same meaning was used in Article 6 with respect to
military bases to be dismantled. The United States has fully complied with these provisions. All military equipment and military base facilities formerly owned by the United States forces in South Vietnam which remained there after March 28, had been transferred to the Government of the Republic of Vietnam
prior to January 27.

 20. The referenced note makes the further charge that the United States has supplied arms, munitions, and war materials to the Republic of Vietnam in violation of the Agreement and its Cease-fire Protocol. This charge is simply without merit. Article 7 of the Agreement permits the South Vietnamese parties
to replace, on a piece-for-piece basis, destroyed, damaged, worn out or used up armaments, munitions and war material. The United States and the Republic of Vietnam have established procedures
for monitoring arms shipments, to ensure compliance with these restrictions, and records are being maintained which verify this compliance. Introduction 'of these replacements, as well as these records and procedures, arc always open to inspection and observation of the International Commission of Control and
Supervision and the Two Party Joint Military Commission. Introduction of these replacements has been restricted to those three points of entry that have been designated by the Republic of Vietnam under the terms of the Agreement.

 21. The contention in the note of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam that the United States has left behind over 10,000 military personnel disguised as civilian advisers has no basis in fact and is undoubtedly an attempt to draw attention from the large numbers of North Vietnamese armed forces in the South. The
United States, in accordance with Article 5 of the Peace Agreement, has withdrawn its troops and its military and police advisers. There remain in South Vietnam only about 200 American military personnel, belonging to the Defense Attache Office, the Embassy Marine Security Guard and the team attempting to resolve the status of the missing in action, There are no military persons disguised as civilians. As publicly stated, the total number of official American personnel in South Vietnam is less than 9,000, the large majority of whom are filling logistics and maintenance functions which are soon to be taken over by the
South Vietnamese.

22. Other Americans are performing the kinds of functions conducted by diplomatic, consular and AID [Agency for International Development] missions throughout the world. The purposes and functions of the personnel of the United States remaining in South Vietnam are fully known to the Government of
the Democratic Republic of Vietnam and are completely in keeping with the January 27 Agreement.

 23. The United States also is accused of violating Article 8 of the Act of Paris" by virtue of its military activities in Laos immediately after the conclusion of the cease-fire agreement between the Lao parties. United States military activities since the cease-fire have been very limited. They were conducted at
the request of Prime Minister Souvanna Phouma. They were made necessary by, and were in direct response to, major and flagrant violations of that agreement by the North Vietnamese and Pathet
Lao forces, specifically the post-cease-fire attacks at Pak Song on February 23 and Tha Vieng on April 13.

 24. The Democratic Republic of Vietnam further alleges United States violation of the "independence, sovereignty, unity, territorial integrity and neutrality" of Cambodia by continuing to conduct military activities in that country. In fact, these activities are limited to air support operations in response to the continued military operations in Cambodia by the Democratic Republic of Vietnam, and were requested by the Khmer Republic itself. In late January, the Government of the Khmer Republic suspended all offensive operations and the United States likewise halted offensive air operations. However the reaction of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam and Cambodian forces under its control was a total military offensive, despite obligations assumed by the Democratic Republic of Vietnam in Article 20 of the Agreement and Article 8 of the Act of Paris. In order to induce compliance with those essential provisions, without which the entire Vietnam Agreement would be endangered, the United States is giving air support to the Khmer forces.

 25. With respect to allegations by the Democratic Republic of Vietnam concerning the continued detention of South Vietnamese civilians, the Government of the Republic of Vietnam will doubtless wish to rebut them, but the Government of the United States wishes to point out that the "Provisional Revolutionary
Government" has offered to release only several hundred civilian prisoners despite the fact it has captured many thousands. This is an issue where reciprocity is clearly essential.

 26. The allegation that the United States Government was deliberately delaying mine-clearing operations is patently false. The United States mine-clearing operation has progressed as rapidly as safety, available forces, weather and restrictions imposed by the Democratic Republic of Vietnam would allow. We have been able to adhere to our agreed schedule despite the loss of two helicopters. Every available United States mine counter-measures unit has been marshalled for this operation. In fact, a force significantly greater than that originally proposed by the United States and accepted by the Democratic Republic of Vietnam has been employed.

 27. The fact that only a few mines have been observed to explode is completely understandable and not at all surprising. As has been carefully explained to the Democratic Republic of Vietnam representatives on numerous occasions, the mines have a variable neutralization capability that can be programmed and
which has resulted in the neutralization of most of them by now. Nevertheless, adequate safety cannot be guaranteed unless all affected areas are methodically swept with proper equipment by highly trained personnel,

 28. However, in view of the many serious violations of other provisions of the Agreement by the Democratic Republic of Vietnam, which have been discussed above, the United States has decided to suspend its mine clearance operations. This suspension is justified as a response to the numerous material
breaches of the Agreement by the Democratic Republic of Vietnam in accordance with the rule of international law that a material breach of an international agreement by one party entitles the other party to suspend operation of the Agreement in whole or in part. This rule of customary international law is set forth in
Article 60 of the 1969 Convention on the Law of Treaties. The United States is, of course, prepared to resume mine clearance operations as soon as the Democratic Republic of Vietnam begins to act in compliance with its obligations under the Agreement.

 29. The Government of the United States thus categorically rejects the general and the specific charges that it has violated the terms of the Agreement on Ending the War and Restoring Peace in Vietnam. For its part, except as noted above, the Government of the United States again affirms its intention to adhere to the terms of the Agreement of January 27 and will exert its best efforts to help bring about a lasting peace in
Indochina. It calls on the Democratic Republic of Vietnam and all other parties to the Final Act of the International Conference on Vietnam to lend their support to this endeavor.

 Vietnam War Casualties
Original Source: Combat Area Casualty File of 11/93, National Archives
Reprinted from 69th Armour Home Page

All US Forces KIA in Vietnam - 58,169
US Army Soldiers KIA in Vietnam - 38,190
US Army Infantrymen KIA in Vietnam - 20,460
US Army Helicopter Crewmen KIA in Vietnam - 3,007
US Army Scouts KIA in Vietnam - 1,127
US Army Tankers KIA in Vietnam - 725
US Marines Killed In Action in Vietnam - 14,836
The highest loss-rate for any MOS - 11E (Armor Crewman) 27% KIA

CASUALTIES BY STATE

There are a number of data bases that can provide information concerning Vietnam casualties by state. They include:

http://www.vietnamwall.org
http://www.viethero.com/Search/Searchlink.html#State
http://grunt.space.swri.edu/statewall.htm

CASUALTY PROFILES

Note: NVA casualty data was provided by North Vietnam in a press release to Agence France Presse (AFP) on April 3, 1995, on the 20th anniversary of the end of the Vietnam War. The entire press release is reproduced below. US casualty information was derived from the Combat Area Casualty File of 11/93, and The Adjutant General's Center (TAGCEN) file of 1981, available from the National Archives. Additional information was derived from the sources listed at the end of this document.


Entire War
Force
KIA
WIA
MIA
CIA
US Forces
47,378 1
304,704 2
2,338 3
766 4
ARVN
223,748 1
1,169,763
unknown
unknown
NVA / VC
1,100,000
600,000
unknown
 26,500 5


  Note 1: there were an additional 10,824 non-hostile deaths for a total of 58,202
  Note 2: of the 304,704 WIA, 153,329 required hospitalization
  Note 3: this number decreases as remains are recovered and identified
  Note 4: 114 died in captivity
  Note 5: Does not include 101,511 Hoi Chanh
  Legend: KIA = Killed In Action WIA = Wounded In Action MIA = Missing In Action CIA = Captured In Action



1968 Tet Offensive
Force
KIA
WIA
MIA
CIA
US Forces
1,536
7,764
11
unknown
ARVN
2,788
8,299
587
unknown
NVA / VC
45,000
unknown
unknown
 6,991



Casualties By Year -1961-1965

Force
KIA
WIA
CIA
MIA
US Forces
1,864
7,337
18
unknown
ARVN
unknown
unknown
unknown
unknown
NVA / VC
unknown
unknown
unknown
 unknown





1966
Force
KIA
WIA
CIA
MIA
US Forces
5,008 1
29,992
61
unknown
ARVN
11,953
unknown
unknown
3,247
NVA / VC
unknown
unknown
unknown
 unknown

Note 1: there were an additional 1,045 non-hostile deaths for a total of 6,053


1967
Force
KIA
WIA
CIA
MIA
US Forces
9,378 1
56,013
113
unknown
ARVN
12,716
76,299
529
unknown
NVA / VC
133,484
unknown
unknown
 6,065


Note 1: there were an additional 1,680 non-hostile deaths for a total of 11,058



1968
Force
KIA
WIA
CIA
MIA
US Forces
14,594 1
87,388
176
unknown
ARVN
28,800
172,512
587
unknown
NVA / VC
208,254
unknown
unknown
 9,462

Note 1: there were an additional 1,919 non-hostile deaths for a total of 16,511



1969
Force
KIA
WIA
CIA
MIA
US Forces
9,414  1
55,390
112
unknown
ARVN
22,000
131,780
683
unknown
NVA / VC
132,051
unknown
unknown
5,905

Note 1: there were an additional 2,113 non-hostile deaths for a total of 11,527


1970
Force
KIA
WIA
CIA
MIA
US Forces
4,221 1
24,835
101
unknown
ARVN
23,000
137,770
727
unknown
NVA / VC
86,591
unknown
unknown
3,934

Note 1: there were an additional 1,844 non-hostile deaths for a total of 6,065



1971
Force
KIA
WIA
CIA
MIA
US Forces
1,380 1
18,109
16
unknown
ARVN
19,901
1123,545
727
unknown
NVA / VC
19,320
unknown
unknown
2,304


Note 1: there were an additional 968 non-hostile deaths for a total of 2,348



1972
Force
KIA
WIA
CIA
MIA
US Forces
300 1
3,936
11
unknown
ARVN
25,787
139,731
727
unknown
NVA / VC
4,261
unknown
unknown
1,349


Legend: KIA = Killed In Action WIA = Wounded In Action MIA = Missing In Action CIA = Captured In Action
Note 1: there were an additional 261 non-hostile deaths for a total of 561




Troop Levels

As of 1 January 1968
Force
Total Strength
Support

Combat Arms
US Forces
409,111
346,260
62,860
ARVN
Not Avail
Not Avail
Not Avail
NVA / VC
420,000
unknown
unknown





As of 1 January 1969
Force
Total Strength
Support

Combat Arms
US Forces
440,029
372,429
67,600
ARVN
Not Avail
Not Avail
Not Avail
NVA / VC
332,000
unknown
unknown


The figures for relative strengths assume the following: On January 1, 1969 there were 110 battalions in Vietnam (98 Infantry, 3 tank, and 9 artillery). An Infantry battalion had 656 infantrymen (4 companies per battalion with 164 men per company). An armor battalion had 204 tankers (3 companies per battalion with 68 tankers per company). An artillery battalion had approximayely 300 men. Therefore, the number of actual "trigger pullers" added up to 67,600. Note that this was "authorized strength". Most battalions were not even close to their TO&E strength during the war, with many infantry companies operating with 80 men. This was true despite the fact that the parent divisions reported being at, or slightly over, authorized strength. There were a large number of REMFs in Vietnam.


U.S. Army KIA by Unit
Source: National Archives and Records Administration
Unit
Nickname
KIA

Comment
1st Cavalry Division
First Team
5,464
-
25th Infantry Division
Tropic Lightning
4,561
-
101st Airborne Division
Screaming Eagles
4,022
-
1st Infantry Division
Big Red One
3,151
-
Various Individual Units
-
2,872
See Note 1 Below
9th Infantry Division
Old Reliable
2,629
-
4th Infantry Division
Ivy Division
2,541
-
173rd Airborne Brigade (Separate)
Sky Soldiers
1,758
-
1st Aviation Brigade
-
1,706
-
196th Light Infantry Brigade
-
1,188
-
11th Light Infantry Brigade
-
1,109
-
Military Assistance Command Vietnam
MACV
1,017
Advisors to ARVN
198th Light Infantry Brigade
-
987
-
United States Army Vietnam
USARV
847
Headquarters - includes advisors
5th Special Forces Group (Airborne)
 Green Berets
834
-
23rd Infantry Division
Americal
809
non-brigade units
199th Light Infantry Brigade
Redcatchers
757
-
11th Armored Cavalry Regiment
Blackhorse
729
-
1st Logistical Command
-
598
-
5th Infantry Division (Mechanized)
Red Diamond
530
1st Brigade only
I Field Force Vietnam
IFFV
353
-
82d Airborne Division
All American
228
3rd Brigade only
1st Signal Brigade
-
193
-
II Field Force Vietnam
IIFFV
80
-
Engineer Command
-
64
-
Unit unknown
-
6
-


Note 1: This group is comprised of the following individual units with no further breakdown

17th Field Hospital (An Khe)
22nd Surgical Hospital (Phu Bai)
71st Evacuation Hospital (Pleiku)
91st Evacuation Hospital (Tuy Hoa)
95th Field Hospital (Qui Nhon)
3rd Field Hospital (III Corps)
7th Surgical Hospital (III Corps)
45th Surgical Hospital (III Corps)
93rd Evacuation Hospital (III Corps)
80th Engineer Group
121st Assault Helicopter Company
18th Military Police Brigade
89th Military Police Brigade
8th Transportation Group
48th Transportation Group
11th Aviation Group
12th Aviation Group
23rd Artillery Group
108th Artillery Group
35th Engineer Group
45th Engineer Group
34th General Support Group
506th Field Depot


Additional Casualty Statistics Source: Combat Area Casualty File of 11/93, National Archives

All US Forces KIA in Vietnam = 58,169
US Army Soldiers KIA in Vietnam = 38,190
US Army Infantrymen (MOS 11B, 11C, etc.) KIA in Vietnam = 20,460
US Army Helicopter Crewmen KIA in Vietnam = 3,007
US Army Scouts KIA in Vietnam = 1,127
US Army Tankers KIA in Vietnam = 725 (equals 27% of all tankers ever assigned to Vietnam)
US Marines Killed In Action in Vietnam = 14,836 More US Army Infantrymen died than Marines of all MOSes
The highest loss-rate for any MOS was 11E (Armor Crewman) 27% KIA



U.S. Army KIA by Province- Source: Combat Area Casualty File of 11/93, National Archives


Code
Province
KIA
Comments
99
unknown
6,276
Military Region Unknown
02
Thua Thien
2,893
I Corps - Hue, etc.
23
Binh Duong
2,742
III Corps
22
Tay Ninh
2,648
III Corps
05
Quang Ngai
2,342
I Corps - Border w/II Corps
07
Binh Dinh
2,211
II Corps - Bong Son, An Loa Valley, etc.
04
Quang Tin
2,068
I Corps - Tam Ky, etc.
01
Quang Tri
1,683
I Corps - south of DMZ
06
Kontum
1,641
II Corps - Dak To, Ben Het, etc.
42
Hua Nghia
1,424
III Corps - Khiem Cuong, etc.
25
Bien Hoa
1,147
III Corps
24
Gia Dinh
1,064
Capital Special Zone - Saigon
08
Pleiku
1,015
II Corps - Hwy 14, Ia Drang, etc.
27
Long An
1,002
III Corps
03
Quang Nam
971
I Corps - Da Nang, etc.
21
Binh Long
909
III Corps
30
Dinh Tuong
904
IV Corps - My Tho, etc.
14
Phuoc Long
679
III Corps - Phuoc Binh, etc.
19
Long Khanh
558
III Corps - Xuan Loc, etc.
**
Unknown Code
467
NARA error
33
Kien Hoa
416
IV Corps - Truc Giang, etc.
17
Binh Thuan
300
II Corps - Phan Thiet, etc.
09
Phu Yen
282
II Corps - Tuy Hoa, etc.
11
Khanh Hoa
 275
II Corps - Nha Trang, etc.
26
Phuoc Tuy
204
III Corps - Vung Tau, Phuoc Le, etc.
18
Binh Thuy
176
III Corps - Ham Tan, etc.  
13
Quang Duc
171
II Corps - Gia Nghia, etc. .
10
Darlac
163
II Corps - Ban Me Thout, etc.
35
Phong Dinh
146
IV Corps - Can Tho, etc.
15
Lam Dong
143
II Corps - Bao Loc, etc.
32
Vinh Long
142
IV Corps
28
Kien Tuong
140
IV Corps - Moc Hoa, etc.
16
Ninh Thuan
97
II Corps - Phan Rang, etc.
36
Kien Giang
77
IV Corps - Rach Gia, etc.
12
Tuyen Duc
76
II Corps - Da Lat, etc.
29
Kien Phong
65
IV Corps - Cao Lanh, etc.
47
Unknown code
60
Possibly Saigon Area
38
Ba Xuyen
56
IV Corps - Khanh Hung, etc.
34
Vinh Binh
49
IV Corps - Phu Vinh, etc.
43
Go Cong
40
IV Corps - Go Cong, etc.
93
Province unknown
34
Military region 3 - III Corps
39
An Xuyen
33
IV Corps - Quon Long, etc.
37
Chuong Thien
30
IV Corps - Vi Thanh, etc.
92
Province unknown
25
Military region 2 - II Corps
46
Sa Dec
25
IV Corps - Sa Dec, etc.
41
Phu Bon
24
II Corps - Hau Bon, Song Ba River, etc.
99
Province unknown
22
Military region 1 - I Corps
31
An Giang
17
IV Corps - Long Xuyen, etc
81
Offshore
19
Military Region 1 - I Corps
89
Offshore unknown
19
Province & Military Region unknown
44
Bac Lieu
14
IV Corps - Bac Lieu, etc.
82
Offshore
11
Military Region 2 - II Corps
NZ
Unknown Code
10
NARA error
94
Province unknown
9
Military region 4 - IV Corps
83
Offshore  
2
Region 3 -III Corps
84
Offshore
2
Military Region 4 - IV Corps
20
No code provided
1
NARA error, possibly Cam Ranh Bay
40
Con Son Island
1
IV Corps
45
Chua Doc
1
IV Corps - Shau Phu, etc.
48
Unknown code
1
NARA error
49
Phu Quoc Island
1
IV Corps
50
DMZ
0
Demilitarized Zone


SOURCES:

A Bright Shining Lie, Sheehan, Neil, New York: Random House, 1988
After Tet, Ronald H. Spector, New York: Random House, 1993
Code Name Bright Light, Veith, George J., New York: The Free Press, 1998
Inside The VC And The NVA, Lanning, Michael, New York: Random House, 1992
The Rise And Fall Of An American Army, Stanton, Shelby L., Novato, CA: Presidio Press, 1985
The Vietnam War, Nalty, Bernard C., New York: Smithmark Publishers, 1996
Vietnam: A History, Karnow, Stanley, New York: Viking, 1983
Vietnam At War: The History 1946-1975, Davidson, Phillip, New York: Oxford Univ Press, 1988


Copyright © Ray Smith, 1996, 1998, 2000  



  Interesting Facts


 1. 1,713,823 of those who served in Vietnam were still alive as of  August, 1995 (census figures).

 2. During that same census count, the number of Americans falsely claiming to have served in-country was: 9,492,958.

 3. As of the current census taken during August, 2000, the surviving  U.S. Vietnam Veteran population estimate is: 1,002,511. This is hard to
 believe, losing nearly 711,000 between '95 and '00. That's 390 per day.

 4. During this census count, the number of Americans falsely claiming to  have served in-country is: 13,853,027. By this census,
FOUR OUT OF FIVE  WHO CLAIM TO BE VIETNAM VETS ARE NOT.

 5. The Department of Defense Vietnam War Service Index officially  provided by The War Library originally reported with errors that
 2,709,918 U.S. military personnel as having served in-country.

 6. Corrections and confirmations to this erred index resulted in the  addition of 358 U.S. military personnel confirmed to have served in
 Vietnam but not originally listed by the Department of Defense. (All  names are currently on file and accessible 24/7/365).

 7. Isolated atrocities committed by American Soldiers produced torrents  of outrage from anti-war critics and the news media while Communist
 atrocities were so common that they received hardly any media mention at  all.

 8. The United States sought to minimize and prevent attacks on civilians  while North Vietnam made attacks on civilians a centerpiece of its  strategy.

 9. Americans who deliberately killed civilians received prison sentences  while Communists who did so received commendations.

 10. From 1957 to 1973, the National Liberation Front assassinated 36,725  Vietnamese and abducted another 58,499. The death squads focused on
 leaders at the village level and on anyone who improved the lives of the peasants such as medical personnel, social workers, and school teachers.

-Nixon Presidential Papers.

More Interesting Facts About Vietnam
 

SOMETHING to think about - Most of the surviving parents are now deceased

There are 58,267 names now listed on that polished black wall, including those added in 2010.

The names are arranged in the order in which they were taken from us by date and within each date the names are alphabetized. It is hard to believe it is 36 years since the last casualties.


Beginning at the apex on panel 1E and going out to the end of the East wall, appearing to recede into the earth (numbered 70E - May 25, 1968), then resuming at the end of the West wall, as the wall emerges from the earth (numbered 70W - continuing May 25, 1968) and ending with a date in 1975. Thus the war's beginning and end meet. The war is complete, coming full circle, yet broken by the earth that bounds the angle's open side and contained within the earth itself.


The first known casualty was Richard B. Fitzgibbon, of North Weymouth , Mass. listed by the U.S. Department of Defense as having been killed on June 8, 1956. His nameis listed on the Wall with that of his son, Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Richard B. Fitzgibbon III, who was killed on Sept. 7, 1965.


There are three sets of fathers and sons on the Wall.


39,996 on the Wall were just 22 or younger.


The largest age group, 8,283 were just 19 years old


33,103 were 18 years old.


12 soldiers on the Wall were 17 years old.


5 soldiers on the Wall were 16 years old.


One soldier, PFC Dan Bullock was 15 years old.


997 soldiers were killed on their first day in Vietnam .


1,448 soldiers were killed on their last day in Vietnam .


31 sets of brothers are on the Wall.


Thirty one sets of parents lost two of their sons.


54 soldiers on the Wall attended Thomas Edison High School in Philadelphia . I wonder why so many from one school?


8 Women are on the Wall. Nursing the wounded.


244 soldiers were awarded the Medal of Honor during the Vietnam War; 153 of them are on the Wall.


Beallsville, Ohio with a population of 475 lost 6 of her sons.


West Virginia had the highest casualty rate per capita in the nation. There are 711 West Virginians on the Wall.


The Marines of Morenci - They led some of the scrappiest high school football and basketball teams that the little Arizona copper town of Morenci (pop. 5,058) had ever known and cheered. They enjoyed roaring beer busts. In quieter moments, they rode horses along the Coronado Trail, stalked deer in the Apache National Forest . And in the patriotic camaraderie typical of Morenci's mining families, the nine graduates of Morenci High enlisted as a group in the Marine Corps. Their service began on Independence Day, 1966. Only 3 returned home.



The Buddies of Midvale - LeRoy Tafoya, Jimmy Martinez, Tom Gonzales were all boyhood friends and lived on three consecutive streets in Midvale, Utah on Fifth, Sixth and Seventh avenues. They lived only a few yards apart. They played ball at the adjacent sandlot ball field. And they all went to Vietnam .. In a span of 16 dark days in late 1967, all three would be killed. LeRoy was killed on Wednesday, Nov. 22, the fourth anniversary of John F. Kennedy’s assassination. Jimmy died less than 24 hours later on Thanksgiving Day. Tom was shot dead assaulting the enemy on Dec. 7, Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day.



The most casualty deaths for a single day was on January 31, 1968 ~ 245 deaths.



The most casualty deaths for a single month was May 1968 - 2,415 casualties were incurred.



For most Americans who read this they will only see the numbers that the Vietnam War created. To those of us who survived the war, and to the families of those who did not, we see the faces, we feel the pain that these numbers created. We are, until we too pass away, haunted with these numbers, because they were our friends, fathers, husbands, wife's, sons and daughters ======= There are no noble wars, just noble warriors