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Digital Archive International History Declassified

January 12, 1973

CABLE FROM THE CENTRAL MILITARY PARTY COMMITTEE TO COSVN ON GUIDANCE PRINCIPLES FOR LEADING THE STRUGGLE MOVEMENT AFTER A POLITICAL SETTLEMENT AND CEASEFIRE

This document was made possible with support from the MacArthur Foundation

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    In preparation for future attacks from U.S. and South Vietnamese forces, the Central Military Party Committee sent COSVN guidance on strengthening combat units, monitoring enemy operations, and expanding political struggle activities.
    "Cable from the Central Military Party Committee to COSVN on Guidance Principles for Leading the Struggle Movement After a Political Settlement and Ceasefire," January 12, 1973, History and Public Policy Program Digital Archive, Lich Su Bien Nien Xu Uy Nam Bo va Trung Uong Cuc Mien Nam (1954-1975) [Historical Chronicle of the Cochin China Party Committee and the Central Office for South Vietnam, 1954-1975], 2nd ed. (Hanoi: Nha xuat ban Chinh tri quoc gia, 2008), 1187-1188. Translated by Merle Pribbenow. https://digitalarchive.wilsoncenter.org/document/175817
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The tremendous victories won by the soldiers and civilians of North and South Vietnam forced the American imperialists to unconditionally halt their bombing and destructive acts against North Vietnam, and to sit down at the conference table in Paris to negotiate the contents of the Agreement. However, based on our analysis and assessment of the situation on the battlefields of South Vietnam, the National leadership concluded that the U.S. and their puppets had not yet given up their plans of aggression against South Vietnam. They were planning to launch attacks into our liberated zones to seize and occupy important locations. The primary focal points of these attacks would be in the Quang Tri sector, where their goal would be to recapture territory along the De-Militarized Zone, in Eastern Cochin China, and in areas of northern Kontum province. In Laos, they would try to capture the Bolovens Plateau, and in Cambodia they were preparing to try to seize Route 1.

Faced with this situation, the Central Military Party Committee sent the following guidance to COSVN: [Summary]

1. Closely monitor enemy operations, ensure that you review our preparations, strengthen our leadership and command, and mobilize our cadre and soldiers to defeat the enemy’s land-grabbing operations, to defend our liberated zones, and to intensify our operations behind enemy lines.

2. Review your plans to utilize elite forces [sappers] to launch attacks against enemy airfields, ports, and logistics warehouses and attacks designed to destroy the enemy’s logistical support facilities and implements of war. Seize and hold roadblocks on the important lines of communications (Routes 1, 4, 13, 14, and 19) to ensure our supply lines and our freedom of movement.

3. Step up guerrilla operations, armed propaganda, civilian proselyting operations, and political struggle activities and preserve and expand our infrastructure in the weak areas.

4. Maintain a firm grip on our main force units in order to be able to aggressively fight the enemy in all situations. Develop a deception plan to mislead and trick the enemy in order to force him to disperse his forces.

5. Maintain a firm hold on the Loc Ninh liberated zone.

[Translator’s Note: This document can also be found in the first edition of Lich Su Bien Nien Xu Uy Nam Bo va Trung Uong Cuc Mien Nam (1954-1975) [Historical Chronicle of the Cochin China Party Committee and the Central Office for South Vietnam, 1954-1975] (Hanoi: Nha xuat ban Chinh tri quoc gia, 2002), 947-948.]