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complete control of South Vietnam."*6 He further alleged that the United States violated three articles of the Peace Accords: Article 8 of the Protocol by leaving behind in Vietnam all "their weapons, ammunition, and military equipment"; Article 3 by withdrawing troops prior to a withdrawal plan approved by the Four-Power JMC and supervised by the ICCS; and Article 6 by failing to submit a plan for U.S. base dismantlement and in fact dismantling no bases when it had agreed to dismantle all of them.7 Tran Van Tra accused the Americans of a deception "brazen beyond words" because they had told him, " '. . . we have no bases in South Vietnam. All of them were turned over to the Republic of Vietnam prior to the signing of the agreement. [We] are now stationed in camps temporarily borrowed from the Republic of Vietnam.' "8
Even more critical than the issue of total removal of U.S. forces and their allies from South Vietnam was the question of what to do with North Vietnamese troops still occupying RVN territory. It represented disagreement between the United States and its ally. In attempting to conclude a peace acceptable to all parties, President Richard M. Nixon authorized Henry Kissinger, head of the U.S. delegation in Paris, to agree to North Vietnam's demands. This decision did not meet with President Nguyen Van Thieu's approval. During the ongoing negotiations in Paris, the leader of South Vietnam repeatedly had voiced his opposition to any agreement which would allow North Vietnam to leave its troops in the Republic of Vietnam. To President Thieu this military arrangement represented an important strategic advantage for the Communists and a decided disadvantage for the government of South Vietnam (GVN), and it only served to intensify his displeasure with the Accords. Neither the events in Paris nor Kissinger's overtures had changed his position. Thieu contended that American estimates placing North Vietnamese military strength in the South at 140,000 were "imaginary and misleading" and suggested that the actual figure was not less than 300,000. Yet in the end when confronted with the possibility of a unilateral signing by the United States and Nixon's repeated pledges that the U.S. would " '. . . take massive action against North Viet-Nam in the event they break the agreement,' " President Thieu reluctantly agreed to comply with the terms of the Paris Peace Accords. It would not be his last tough decision nor would he have to wait long for his concerns to become reality.9
Despite serving as voting members of the Joint Military Commission responsible for maintenance of the peace, the North Vietnamese and Viet Cong openly violated the ceasefire agreement. Using force wherever necessary to accomplish political ends, Communist military activities focused on strategically important areas. One such area and the site of numerous ceasefire violations was the Mekong River which played a central role in the resupply of Cambodia and U.S. support of that government.** On 29 June 1973, Congress altered that role when ic voted on the Case-Church Amendment, a measure to end military assistance to Cambodia. Unlike its predecessor, the Cooper-Church Amendment which had attempted to ban combat activity in Cambodia in 1970, this rider to a continuing funding resolution passed. It prohibited the United States, after 15 August 1973, from engaging in any combat activity in Indochina, especially air operations.*** Without U.S. combat air support to protect the overland lines of communication, the
*Some of Tran Van Tra's statements are based on highly questionable sources as evidenced by his use of a quote from a report issued on 6 April 73 by the Committee to Denounce War Crimes in Vietnam, a U.S. antiwar group. He writes: "In the 2-month period between 28 January and 2S March 1973. the Saigon administration violated the Paris Agreement more than 70.000 times, including 19,770 landgrabbing operaiions, 23 artillery shellings, 3,375 bombings and sirafings of liberated areas, and 21,075 polic.e operations in areas under their control." B2 Theatre, pp. 18-19.
**ln 1970, a coup replaced Prince Nocodom Sihanouk, an avowed neutralist, with Lon Nui, who openly professed his alliance with the United States, which then immediately recognized the new Cambodian government and began aiding it in its struggle with Communist insurgents. For more information on Cambodia, see Chapter 7.
***In response to the American incursion into Cambodia in 1970, Senator Frank F. Church, a Democrat from Idaho, and Senator John Sherman Cooper, a Republican from Kentucky, cosponsored an amendment to the Foreign Military Sales Act which would have prohibited the use of American troops and advisors in Cambodia and outlawed direct air support of Cambodian forces. It passed the Senate but failed in the House and when finally passed on 29 December 1970 as parr ofihe Defense Appropriations Bill, it only barred the introduction of U.S. ground rroops in Laos and Thailand. Two years later. Senator Church and Senator Clifford P. Case, a Republican from New Jersey, combined forces to sponsor a bipartisan measure bearing their names. Its passage in June 1973 reflected the growing disenchantment of Congress with even minimal American involvement in Asian combat. In December 1973, Congress passed yet another ban on combat activity in Southeast Asia- This one, a part of the foreign aid bill, forbade rhe use of any funds for military operations in or over Vietnam, Laos, or Cambodia. Col Harry G. Summers, Jr.. Vietnam Almanac (New York: Facts On File Publications, 1985), pp. 132-133; "Senate OKs Another War Curb," Facts On File (1973), p. 498; and "Foreign. Aid Authorized." Facts On File (1973), p. 1078.
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