« PrejšnjaNaprej »
PEKING FROWNS ON FRONT It might prove that the Front possesses not only more independence but more iconoclastic views in Communist terms than have been attributed to it. One thing is certain: the Chinese Communists take a very dim view of the Front's platform.
Behind the maneuver and countermaneuver in Vietnam are other forces that cannot be ignored. The Chinese, for example, have made no secret of their strong approval of the general nature of the Vietnamese conflict. They think it is going very well. They see it as the opening phase of possibly 25 or even 50 years of similar guerrilla conflicts that will spread through Asia, Africa and Latin America, eventually leading to the "encirclement" of the West.
By “West” they mean North America, Western Europe and the Soviet bloc. It is the great phase of the battle of the "country versus the city"—the same struggle that was won in China by the "country" and which the Chinese see as being won in world terms by the "country"--that is, the peasant masses, which they would lead.
China apparently has no interest in seeing the Vietnam war ended. It has no interest in a peaceful negotiated settlement. Not only has it no interest but also it is likely to oppose any step in that direction with great force.
This includes some powerful persuasives. China could at a single stroke close the frontier to the passage of arms and aid to Hanoi. China could cut off the supplies it provides. It might even do more. It might seek to reverse Hanoi's policy by calling on sympathizers within North Vietnam's leadership to oppose any effort to end the war.
Å small clue as to China's reactions : diplomats of Eastern Europe eagerly inquired into the significance of this correspondent's trip to Hanoi. They wondered if he was bringing a peace bid from Washington or taking one back from Hanoi.
When he told them that he was not acting as a messenger, they plainly did not entirely believe the denial. They made no secret of their earnest desire that an end be found to the war in Vietnam. They expressed fervent hope that maybe at long last some steps toward that end were being taken.
The Soviet reaction was more restrained. But the Soviet press published and commented on this reporter's dispatches from Hanoi and their possible significance on the progress toward the conference table. There was no reaction from China or the Chinese. Not a word about the visit appeared in the Chinese press.
There was even speculation among some Hanoi diplomats that the visit of an American journalist to Hanoi and the succession of visits of other non-Communists might bring some real problems in North Vietnam's relations with Peking.
One diplomat thought that the Hanoi reaction to the peace proposals of Mr. Brown were couched in somewhat sharper language than might have been er: pected, simply to reassure the Chinese that Hanoi was holding the line.
There is another nightmare that haunts Hanoi's leaders as they ponder the future. This is the possibility that at some moment the Chinese internal political struggle will bring on an open struggle between the contending factions and that in the process China's ability to continue aid to Hanoi will be radically affected.
DEEPENING OF SPLIT FEARED Associated with this fear is another: that the quarrel between Moscow and Peking might grow from a polemic and diplomatic struggle into a major military conflict. While many diplomats who closely follow events in the Communist world feel that this is an extreme possibility, they cannot entirely discount the angry mutterings the Russians now make for almost anyone to hear, mutterings that the quarrel may evolve into a military conflict.
No one in Hanoi can fail to observe the signs of the intra-Communist struggle. They are visible in personal and diplomatic relations, in difficulties North Vietnam has in getting transit facilities for invited guests, in the open wranging between Moscow and Peking about methods of shipping in aid.
“North Vietnam has enough problems with the Americans.” a Communist diplomat said, "without having this terrible quarrel with all its dangerous possibilities going on all around her."
With these factors in the background, it would seem to be prudent to watch carefully for any sign of a situation that might lead to an honorable settlement. But here North Vietnam is divided against itself.
The declarations that Hanoi statesmen make about national honor, about independence, about survival seem entirely genuine. That is what they believe they are fighting for.
They look askance at suggestions that the object of their struggle is to spread the influence of “international communism.” Once, perhaps, that might hare been a goal. Some day in the future it might be again. But today the struggle as they see it is for the survival of Vietnam as a nation. They feel that the United States seeks to establish a "puppet" regime for the whole of Vietnam. This they are willing to give their lives to prevent and in this the Hanoi leadership appears to have the strong support of the country.
It is generally believed by non-Communist diplomats in Hanoi, rightly or wrongly, that the American bombing in the North not only has strengthened the regime in its conviction that the Americans aim at its destruction but also has crystalized a national spirit of patriotism and self-defense that gives the country a united aspect in standing against the United States regardless of how some citizens may privately feel on the question of Communism.
*The t'nited States has never shown any signs of goodwill," Premier Dong said. The same sentiment was echoed by other Government members and by ordinary North Vietnamese. It was their conviction that the United States had set itself resolutely against them and that there was no real alternative bat to fight it out to the end.
ADAMANT ON SUBMISSION
We will die but we will not submit," was a phrase echoed repeatedly. It was apparent that to the North Vietnamese mind there was no alternativeDo real road to an honorable conference to resolve the disagreements without further fighting.
This kind of attitude makes it difficult to take even a small step toward peaceful talk. When this was pointed out to the North Vietnamese, they fell back on the view that it was up to the United States not them to take the first steps toward halting the conflict. As to what would come later they did not say precisely but did leave an impression that they would not sit with folded hands if-against all their expectations—the United States did halt its bombing.
What influence do the Russians have on Hanoi's attitude toward negotiation ? Sot much, it seems evident. Soviet representatives stress the independence of the Hanoi officials.
One Soviet diplomat, bemoaning a New Year's hangover, said in despair : "And this is the day I'm supposed to turn in my annual report on the North Vietnamese economy !"
A friendly Westerner expressed his sympathy, adding, “After all, it's just a matter of writing up the figures."
"Don't make jokes,” the Russian said. “That's the whole problem. They tron't give us the figures on anything."
The North Vietnamese resent suggestions from Moscow about the conduct of the war and they resent suggestions from Moscow about making peace. In part, it would seem, this is deliberate policy on Hanoi's part. In order to maintain some kind of relations with its two big allies it emphasizes its independence of twth. It takes no advice from Moscow and none from Peking.
In that fashion neither side can accuse it of favoritism. But if this acts to reduce the effectiveness of Peking's arguments in favor of protracted war, it Finally reduces any advice that Moscow may proffer about the advisability of putting the conflict short.
The continuation of the war is difficult for the North Vietnamese people--they make no bones about that. But they insist that on balance it is not going too ladly. Their towns, villages, cities, roads and railroads have taken a beating. The danger to the dikes is considered great. The rice crop is down because of lad weather and lack of manpower.
But the movement of forces, materials and arms to the south goes on. And in the south, too, although rosy expectations of major victories against the Amerimans have not been fulfilled, the Front says that in 1966 it actually extended its territorial sway over larger areas than in 1965—a claim that some neutral ubervers believe is pretty well founded.
The Americans have conducted some effective "spoiling" operations in the South lint when they are completed the control of the territory drifts back into the bands of the Vietcong. Nothing has happened that has made either the North of the South feel continued persecution of the war impossible or too costly.
READY TO GO INTO CAVES
And, as Hanoi says, if worst comes to worst and the people are bombed back into the caves—well, they will go into the caves and the jungles and carry on from there until the Americans tire of it all,
That is a grim prospect, but the North Vietnamese have faced up to it and this correspondent found no one, Vietnamese, Communist or non-Communist, who doubted that they were prepared to go through with it if necessary.
Nonetheless, this correspondent left Hanoi with a private impression that if the conference table ever was reached it would be possible for statesmen on both sides to hammer out a settlement that could well surprise each side by its effectiveness.
One other impression : in spite of all the harsh language that each side has used against the other, in spite of the desperate fighting, the death and destruction and cruelty, if the war could be ended, the North Vietnamese and the Americans could well end up excellent friends.
It would not, for one thing, require much actual contact with Hanoi for Washington to come to a clear understanding that, whatever else they may be, the North Vietnamese leaders are never going to be stooges for Peking, Moscow-or for that matter, the United States.
They have-or think they have fought all comers to a standstill for nearly 2,000 years. That is one reason the thought of ending the present war ever comes as a shock and a surprise to some youthful North Vietnamese.
"End the war?” one said recently. “End the war? What would we do with ourselves without the war?"
[From the Washington Post, Monday, Jan. 9, 1967)
TEXT OF THE STATEMENT MADE BY PREMIER PHAM IN Hanoi Haxor, NORTH VIETNAM, Jan. 6.–Following is the transcript of Premier Pham Van Dong's statment made last Monday to The New York Times. The text has been checked by the Foreign Ministry for translation errors. The Premier spoke in Vietnamese and the conversation was translated into English by interpreters. The text does not include the informal discussion of the Vietnamese situation that followed the general statement.
First we will talk about the war and proceed from that to talk about a settlement-do you agree?
Maybe about the war your viewpoint and mine might be different—that's why we most talk. Because if we don't have correct understanding of the war, any question relating to the war may not be understood. The fundamental question is the origin of the war. The main questions are : Who started the war? Who was the cause of the war? Concerning this question our point of view is very clear, and in this we have the agreement of so many people in the world. Have you read the statement of de Gaulle on the occasion of New Year's? De Gaulle says this war was caused by the Americans. He says the war is an unjust, despicable war and he draws the conclusion that the Americans should withdraw. What do you think?
If you agree, later on the Government, sooner or later, must arrive at that conclusion, and if not now they must agree next year and if this party does not agree another party must agree. If American responsibe authorities don't agree with this, then they may commit more errors. Sometime they must arrive at this conclusion-do you agree?
I think polities is the main thing. I think you are right in expressing doubts. It is a very big problem relating to us and to you. You and individuals like Tourself must make a contribution to solving it.
TRACING THE CAUSES
Sooner or later American ruling circles must realize the truth-it is becoming clearer and clearer and binds people to accept it.
I want to trace with you the cause of the war in South Vietnam and over the whole country.
You remember how the United States intervened in South Vietnam after the Geneva accords? How they undermined the elections? How they helped the then Diem government to rule over South Vietnam? How the situation in South Vietnam became explosive in spite of everything in the years 1958 to 1:10. Nineteen sixty-one was the year Johnson paid a visit to Diem and made some agreement with Diem.
From 1942 on the Americans put a military command into South Vietnam. They sent in more advisers. Then it was the Taylor plan, thinking that they would be able to pacify Vietnam in 18 months. Of course that plan failed. Then there was the assassination of Diem and Nhu, and the fighting in Vietnam became very explosive, both militarily and politically. It was at that time that in South Vietnam heavy fighting took place, and that was also the time of the burning of Buddhist monks and priests.
After the overthrow of the Diem government, the situation in South Vietnam berame even more complicated. The Americans had at that time begun to admit that they faced a tunnel, and a man like Kennedy had to admit that at the end of the tunnel there was no light.
That was the situation at the end of 1964. The military then started a new phase. The American Government was confronted with new escalation, which was very serious. They saw that it was very difficult for them to win the war in South Vietnam and they thought that if, perhaps, they struck at the North, they might save the situation in the South.
The military are rather short-sighted, and if you will pardon my saying so, very stupid, and now they have to pay for their stupidity. They had thought that after some months we would have to kneel before them, and if we had to succumb it would be very easy for them to solve the question in South Vietnam.
EVOLVING SITUATION How the situation in North Vietnam has developed I will tell you later on. But what is clear is that between February and April in 1965, we did not capitulate. President Johnson delievered on April 7 his Baltimore speech, and he started sending an expeditionary corps to South Vietnam. Now then, the Pentagon generals had a very short-sighted calculation. The generals thought that, sending an army of 150,000 to 200,000, they would be masters in South Vietnam. By the end of 1965 they had something like 160,000 to 170,000 in South Vietnam and a very large arsenal of armor, tanks, guns, planes and nary.
But how did the situation evolve?
At the start of the first dry season, the Americans thought they would be victorious. You remember the four points of General Westmoreland? But the first dry season passed and the aims of General Westmoreland were not materialized and the expeditionary corps of the United States grew continuously, and also the number of mercenary troops from satellite countries. This is not to include the South Vietnam puppet troops numbering half a million. In spite of all that, the Liberation Army scored victories after victories, and its strength was further increased.
After the dry season came the rainy season. Because of the defeat in the dry season, they continued to increase the size of the expeditionary corps in the rainy season. Still the strength of the Liberation Army also grew, and the Liberation Army's strength was shown in very heavy victories in main-force engagements and in guerrilla war.
Now we are in the second dry season. How is the situation? It is clear that the situation is very bad for the expeditionary corps of the United States. This is not clear to everybody. Perhaps it is known to the Americans in Saigon and Washington. As for us, we know it very well. The situation is very bad- worse than ever before. And they are now facing an impasse.
What are they bound to do? Increase their strength in South Vietnam? How much? Where will they fight? And how to win victories? These are problems which are unsolved by the United States military, and if ever you meet General Westmoreland and put the question to him, I don't think he would be able to answer it.
POINTS INTERPRETED You agree that he might once have thought he had the answer, but now he does not. Shall I repeat to you his four point program? First to smash the force of the Liberation Army-its battle force; secondly, pacification; thirdly, consolidation of the puppet administration and army; fourthly, cut the lines between North and South.
It is now clear that these points cannot be achieved. But Americans will not admit that. They even say the first point could be achieved that they would be able to crush the battle corps of the Liberation Army. They will not be able to do that. On the contrary, the strength of the Liberation Army is growing stronger and stronger-and stronger than the Americans think.
On the second point, the Americans have been defeated.
On the third point, they do not like to admit the truth, but they must admit collapse of the puppet army and administration. On the fourth point, they are not able to put it into effect.
In a word, the whole Westmoreland plan has collapsed. Moreover, there is no possibility in the re for to succeed. In South Vietnam the Americans find themselves in an impasse.
We should talk at length about these points. So many think that the material superiority of the Americans will finally win the war in South Vietnam. However, it is very dangerous to think this way, particularly for the Americans to think that way-that by new escalations they will be victorious due to material strength. They increase the first time to bring victory. Then a second time. Then a third step and even after the third step a fourth step. Is it necessary to think that after the fifth step they will be victorious? I affirm to you that they will not be able to win.