In my analysis, “An Agreement Ending the War and Restoring Peace in Vietnam” represents America’s surrender to the People’s Republic of China. In reality, the Americans are fighting against the spread of Communism to mainland China and they are yet to fight against Communist China. Korea and Vietnam is not the real Enemy.
Rudra Narasimham Rebbapragada
Nixon announces peace settlement reached in Paris JANUARY 23, 1973
President Nixon announces that Henry Kissinger and Le Duc Tho, the chief North Vietnamese negotiator, have initialed a peace agreement in Paris “to end the war and bring peace with honor in Vietnam and Southeast Asia.”
Kissinger and Tho had been conducting secret negotiations since 1969. After the South Vietnamese had blunted the massive North Vietnamese invasion launched in the spring of 1972, Kissinger and the North Vietnamese had finally made some progress on reaching a negotiated end to the war. However, a recalcitrant South Vietnamese President Nguyen Van Thieu had inserted several demands into to the negotiations that caused the North Vietnamese negotiators to walk out of the talks with Kissinger on December 13.
President Nixon issued an ultimatum to Hanoi to send its representatives back to the conference table within 72 hours “or else.” The North Vietnamese rejected Nixon’s demand and the president ordered Operation Linebacker II, a full-scale air campaign against the Hanoi area. This operation was the most concentrated air offensive of the war. During the 11 days of the attack, 700 B-52 sorties and more than 1,000 fighter-bomber sorties dropped roughly 20,000 tons of bombs, mostly over the densely populated area between Hanoi and Haiphong. On December 28, after 11 days of intensive bombing, the North Vietnamese agreed to return to the talks. When the negotiators met again in early January, they quickly worked out a settlement.
Under the terms of the agreement, which became known as the Paris Peace Accords, a cease-fire would begin at 8 a.m., January 28, Saigon time (7 p.m., January 27, Eastern Standard Time). In addition, all prisoners of war were to be released within 60 days and in turn, all U.S. and other foreign troops would be withdrawn from Vietnam within 60 days. With respect to the political situation in South Vietnam, the Accords called for a National Council of Reconciliation and Concord, with representatives from both South Vietnamese sides (Saigon and the National Liberation Front) to oversee negotiations and organize elections for a new government.
The actual document was entitled “An Agreement Ending the War and Restoring Peace in Vietnam” and it was formally signed on January 27.
January 27, 1973
Paris Peace Accords signed
The United States, South Vietnam, Viet Cong, and North Vietnam formally sign “An Agreement Ending the War and Restoring Peace in Vietnam” in Paris. Due to South Vietnam’s unwillingness to recognize the Viet Cong’s Provisional Revolutionary Government, all references to it were confined to a two-party version of the document signed by North Vietnam and the United States—the South Vietnamese were presented with a separate document that did not make reference to the Viet Cong government. This was part of Saigon’s long-time refusal to recognize the Viet Cong as a legitimate participant in the discussions to end the war.
The settlement included a cease-fire throughout Vietnam. In addition, the United States agreed to the withdrawal of all U.S. troops and advisors (totalling about 23,700) and the dismantling of all U.S. bases within 60 days. In return, the North Vietnamese agreed to release all U.S. and other prisoners of war.
Both sides agreed to the withdrawal of all foreign troops from Laos and Cambodia and the prohibition of bases in and troop movements through these countries. It was agreed that the DMZ at the 17th Parallel would remain a provisional dividing line, with eventual reunification of the country “through peaceful means.” An international control commission would be established made up of Canadians, Hungarians, Poles, and Indonesians, with 1,160 inspectors to supervise the agreement. According to the agreement, South Vietnamese President Nguyen Van Thieu would continue in office pending elections. Agreeing to “the South Vietnamese People’s right to self-determination,” the North Vietnamese said they would not initiate military movement across the DMZ and that there would be no use of force to reunify the country.
Footnote: The last U.S. serviceman to die in combat in Vietnam, Lt. Col. William B. Nolde, was killed by an artillery shell at An Loc, 60 miles northwest of Saigon, only 11 hours before the truce went into effect.
The Cold War in Asia literally shaped my life’s journey. In my analysis, on January 27, 1973, America surrendered to the People’s Republic of China which never took part in the Paris Peace Accords.
Indeed, Korea and Vietnam are not the Enemy. The United States is concerned about the spread of Communism to Asia. The United States spent billions of dollars and lost the lives of thousands of its members of its Armed Forces to avert the spread of Communism to mainland China. But,the US could not succeed in preventing the emergence of the People’s Republic of China.
I coined the phrase ‘The Unfinished Korea-Vietnam War’ to clearly indicate that Korea and Vietnam are not the adversaries that we faced. We were fighting against the threat posed by Communist China in Asia. The Chinese troops took part in the War in Korea and Vietnam. But, the United States has yet to fight against Communist China, the Enemy who provoked the conflicts in Korea and Vietnam.