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Digital Archive International History Declassified

May 28, 1965

NOTE OF CONVERSATION ON OCCASION OF THE RECEPTION OF THE AMBASSADOR OF THE DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF VIETNAM IN BUCHAREST, HOANG TU

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    This conversation consists of a briefing on the situation in Vietnam, including the failures of recent US military plans, US military escalation, and the topics discussed by the Vietnamese Worker's Party delegation with the Soviet Union Communist Party in Moscow.
    "Note of Conversation on Occasion of the Reception of the Ambassador of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam in Bucharest, Hoang Tu ," May 28, 1965, History and Public Policy Program Digital Archive, ANR, Fond CC al PCR, Secţia Relaţii Externe, dosar 23/1965, f. 4-7. Translated by Larry L. Watts. https://digitalarchive.wilsoncenter.org/document/122554
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[…]

Funeral briefing March 1965, invite to July 1965 RCP Congress –

Ambassador Hoang Tu: A series of military plans drawn up by the U.S. General Staff have suffered failure in South Vietnam. For example, the plan for the pacification of Vietnam in 18 months as failed. American imperialism and its servants in South Vietnam have concentrated in a defensive position in those 9 provinces around Saigon. The three points of support of the imperialist forces: the puppet government, the puppet army and the strategic villages, are very thin and on the path of unraveling. Under the leadership of the National Liberation Front of South Vietnam, the revolutionary forces have liberated 4/5 of the territory of South Vietnam with a population of 10 million inhabitants, out of a total of the 14 million inhabitants in South Vietnam.

American imperialism is not the only one to find itself in dire straits, but there are also intractable contradictions within English, French and Japanese imperialisms. Facing this critical situation, the imperialism of the U.S.A. should have respected the Geneva Accords, however, they adopted a different path. Although Vietnam is 10 thousand kilometers from the U.S.A., American imperialism has mounted an open aggression against Vietnam, at the same time accusing North Vietnam of aggression, as if the Vietnamese people could somehow commit an aggression against itself.

From that, American imperialism has adopted the tact of escalation, undertaking reprisals against the D.R. Vietnam. But this tactic is also destined to fail. From August 5, 1964 up until the present 300 enemy aircraft have been shot down and the fight of the people of South Vietnam is very sharp. Seeing these defeats, USA imperialism uses a new tactic, namely, the transformation of this special war into a local war. In order to prepare public opinion and to accuse the D.R. Vietnam of aggression, on April 7 of this year, the President of the U.S.A., Johnson, gave a speech at the University of Baltimore, in which he made a proposal for peaceful negotiations. At the same time, he added that U.S. troops will not withdraw from South Vietnam. Although he affirmed that he desired unconditional negotiations, he wants to achieve the subjugation of the revolution in South Vietnam by American imperialism.

On May 12 of this year, Johnson launched a new tactic: the temporary suspension of the bombardment of D.R. Vietnam territory. He affirmed that have in view certain suggestions that have come from several parts of the globe, the U.S.A. has agreed to suspend the bombing, but that if they will be attacked they will restart the bombing of D.R. Vietnam on an even greater scale. Reality has shown that after Johnson’s declaration of April 7 of this year, over 16,000 U.S. soldiers were brought into South Vietnam, and the air raids against D.R. Vietnam intensified four-fold compared to the period August 5, 1964 – April 7, 1965.

At the Honolulu Conference it was decided to send another 60,000 soldiers, a South Korean division, and the mobilization of 120,000 South Vietnamese soldiers. At the conference it was declared that Vietnam together with its territorial waters are a combat zone of the U.S. Armed Forces. From this we can draw the conclusion that the peace proposals made by Johnson are only deceptions. The Vietnamese people fought against French imperialism for 100 years and they have been conducting an armed struggle directly against America imperialism for 10 years. It has the necessary experience and will not allow itself to be fooled. American imperialism knows that we cannot agree to such proposals. American imperialists make a great propaganda in the sense that the Vietnamese have a bellicose attitude. This is nothing but a falsification of the truth, a deception of public opinion, a maneuver in order to intensify their aggressive actions in Vietnam.

In this 10-year fight against American imperialism, the Vietnamese people have drawn the conclusion that although American imperialism is rich, it is not powerful. We must not underappreciate the U.S. forces. We see that they are much better armed than us, however, we consider that the victory will be on our side. It is possible that they will introduce an even large military force in Vietnam, creating a dangerous situation for D.R. Vietnam as well as for the socialist camp. The Vietnamese people is a peace-loving people, however, American imperialism has forced it to take up arms and fight. We are not bellicose, however, we cannot accept the peace proposals.

There are nonetheless some who, not knowing the true situation in Vietnam and manifesting doubts, hesitate regarding these proposals. Even at the Belgrade Conference [of non-aligned states], in which 147 countries participated, these hesitations were expressed. Cuba and Mali did not sign the appeal of the Belgrade Conference, because they knew well the situation in Vietnam. The Algerian representative, although he signed the appeal, later recognized that it had been a mistake. The United Arab Republic [Egypt and Syria] representative, although he signed the appeal, recognized that it was very weak and did not reflect the point of view of the U.A.R. After that, President Nassar of Egypt sent a special mission to Vietnam lead by Sabri in order to directly inform itself on our position. Because, during this period, North Vietnam was under the permanent threat of U.S. bombing, it was decided the meeting should take place at the China-Vietnam frontier. We clearly presented the current situation and the mission led by Mr. Sabri was in complete agreement with the position of D.R. Vietnam.

Also among the socialist countries there are some who do not know our situation very well. For example, the USSR views as more or less acceptable the proposal presented by Johnson. As a result, the Vietnamese Workers Party sent to Moscow a delegation led by comrade Le Duan, first secretary of the CC of the VWP, in order to present the position of our party. After three days of discussion, our two parties reached agreement on the following four points:

  • The CPSU agrees with our political line regarding the struggle against U.S. imperialism.
  • The CPSU and the Soviet government agree to give a greater importance to the National Liberation Front of South Vietnam. Up until then the USSR had not given the appropriate importance to the National Liberation Front of South Vietnam.
  • The USSR will accord more substantial economic and military assistance.
  • In its future conversations, the USSR will pronounce its support of the Four Points contained in the speech of comrade Pham Van Dong in connection with the resolution of the problem of Vietnam.

Thus, the USSR and the Chinese C.P. agree with our general political line. And you also, I believe, know the Four Points presented by comrade Pham Van Dong. They denote the flexibility of our policy and demonstrate our good intentions.

Now, I would like to say that the Workers Party of Vietnam is for the strengthening of cohesion between the communist parties and the socialist countries in the struggle against American imperialism. Such an understanding is based on prior understanding between the USSR and China. The Workers Party of Vietnam considers that there are and there have been divergences between the communist parties and the socialist countries, however, these divergences are of an internal order and the communist and workers parties, being fraternal parties, must resolve all of their problems in a fraternal spirit.

We will concentrate forces in the struggle against American imperialism, based in the first place on our own forces. However, the assistance received from the fraternal countries is precious to us. We will win in the struggle that we conduct against American imperialism, just as we defeated the French expeditionary corps of 700,0000 men.

Certainly we will also have difficulties. The National Liberation Front of South Vietnam declared that it is ready to receive assistance from the socialist countries. Given that, the Central Committee of the Workers Party of Vietnam and the government of D. R. Vietnam have given a member of the Political Bureau the task of presenting this problem to the comrade ambassadors of the socialist countries, accredited to Hanoi. Likewise, it was decided to organize in Hanoi, on 2-5 June of this year, a international trade union conference. The aim of this conference is to expose the American machinations, in order to obtain more powerful support for our struggle. This conference will also be an expression of and a proof of the solidarity of the socialist countries, of the world trade union movement against U.S. imperialism. In this sense, we sent an invitation to the Central Council of Trade Unions of the People’s Republic of Romania. We hope that a delegation of trade unions from the P. R. Romania will participate in this conference and will pronounce in favor of our struggle against U.S. imperialism.

I thank you for the attention with which you have followed my presentation. If anything was unclear, I invite you to ask me to give supplementary information because, as we say here, there should be no secrets between fraternal parties.

Cde. N. Ceausescu: In the first place, I wasn’t to thank you for the salutations sent by comrade Ho Chi Minh and to ask the comrade ambassador to transmit to the Central Committee of the Workers Party of Vietnam and to comrade Ho Chi Minh the salutations of the C.C. of Romanian Workers Party, of our Political Bureau and from me personally.

Your briefing was very interesting and I would like to underscore again that the Romanian party and government are entirely in accord with the position of the Workers Party of Vietnam and of the government of the D. R. Vietnam. As we have explained in the past as well, when a delegation of yours participated in the funeral of comrade Gheorghe Gheorghiu Dej, we consider that the position of the Vietnamese comrades is just and should be supported by the socialist countries.

[…]

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