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Joint Statement Following Discussions With President Thieu of the Republic of Vietnam.

April 03, 1973

THE PRESIDENT of the United States, Richard M. Nixon, and the President of the Republic of Vietnam, Nguyen Van Thieu, met for two days of discussions in San Clemente at the outset of President Thieu's official visit to the United States. Taking part in these discussions on the United States side were the Secretary of State, William P. Rogers; the Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs, Henry A. Kissinger; the Ambassador of the United States to the Republic of Vietnam, Ellsworth Bunker; the Ambassador-designate of the United States to the Republic of Vietnam, Graham Martin; and other officials. On the side of the Republic of Vietnam the Minister for Foreign Affairs, Tran Van Lam; the Minister of Economy, Pham Kim Ngoc; the Minister of Finance, Ha Xuan Trung; the Special Assistant to the President for Foreign Affairs, Nguyen Phu Duc; the Vietnamese Ambassador to the United States, Tran Kim Phuong, and other officials also participated in the discussions.

The discussions were held in a very cordial atmosphere appropriate to the enduring relationship of friendship which exists between the governments of the Republic of Vietnam and the United States. The two Presidents discussed the course of U.S.-Vietnamese relations since their meeting at Midway Island on June 8, 1969 and the postwar relationship between the two countries. They reached full consensus in their views.

President Nixon and President Thieu reviewed the progress that has been made in economic, political and defense affairs in Vietnam since the Midway meeting. President Nixon expressed gratification with the proficiency of South Vietnam's armed forces and noted their effective and courageous performance in halting the invasion launched by North Vietnam on March 30, 1972. The President also expressed satisfaction with the development of political institutions and noted the political stability that has prevailed in South Vietnam in recent years. President Thieu reaffirmed his determination to assure social and political justice for the people of South Vietnam.

The two Presidents expressed their satisfaction at the conclusion of the Agreement on Ending the War and Restoring Peace in Vietnam, as well as the Act of the International Conference on Vietnam which endorsed this Agreement. They asserted the determination of their two governments to implement the provisions of the Agreement scrupulously. They also affirmed their strong expectation that the other parties signatory to the Agreement would do the same in order to establish a lasting peace in Vietnam. The two Presidents expressed their appreciation to the other members of the international community who helped in achieving the Agreement and particularly to the four member governments of the International Commission of Control and Supervision whose representatives are observing its implementation. They consider that the International Commission, acting in cooperation with the Four Parties to the Agreement, is an essential element in the structure of restoring peace to Vietnam and expressed their determination to further encourage the most effective and objective possible supervision of the Agreement.

President Nixon informed President Thieu of his great interest in the meetings between representatives of the two South Vietnamese parties which are currently taking place in France in an effort to achieve an internal political settlement in South Vietnam. President Thieu said that his government is resolved at these meetings to achieve a settlement which will fully insure the right of self-determination by the South Vietnamese people in accordance with the Agreement on Ending the War. President Thieu expressed his earnest desire for a reconciliation among the South Vietnamese parties which will fulfill the hopes of the South Vietnamese people for peace, independence, and democracy.

Both Presidents, while acknowledging that progress was being made toward military and political settlements in South Vietnam, nevertheless viewed with great concern infiltrations of men and weapons in sizeable numbers from North Vietnam into South Vietnam in violation of the Agreement on Ending the War, and considered that actions which would threaten the basis of the Agreement would call for appropriately vigorous reactions. They expressed their conviction that all the provisions of the Agreement, including in particular those concerning military forces and military supplies, must be faithfully implemented if the cease-fire is to be preserved and the prospects for a peaceful settlement are to be assured. President Nixon stated in this connection that the United States views violations of any provision of the Agreement with great and continuing concern.

Both Presidents also agreed that there could be lasting peace in Vietnam only if there is peace in the neighboring countries. Accordingly they expressed their earnest interest in the achievement of a satisfactory implementation of the cease-fire agreement reached in Laos on February 21. They expressed their grave concern at the fact that Article 20 of the Agreement which calls for the unconditional withdrawal of all foreign forces from Laos and Cambodia has not been carried out. They agreed that this Article should be quickly implemented.

In assessing the prospects for peace throughout Indochina the two Presidents stressed the need for vigilance on the part of the governments in the Indo-Chinese states against the possibility of renewed Communist aggression after the departure of United States ground forces from South Vietnam. They stressed the fact that this vigilance will require the continued political, economic, and military strength of the governments and nations menaced by any renewal of this aggressive threat. Because of their limited resources, the nations of the region will require external assistance to preserve the necessary social and economic stability for peaceful development.

In this context, President Thieu affirmed the determination of the Vietnamese people and the Government to forge ahead with the task of providing adequate and timely relief to war victims, reconstructing damaged social and economic infrastructures, and building a strong and viable economy, so that the Vietnamese nation can gradually shoulder a greater burden in the maintenance of peace and the achievement of economic progress for its people. The two Presidents agreed that in order to attain the stated economic goals as quickly as possible, the Republic of Vietnam will need greater external economic assistance in the initial years of the post war era. President Nixon reaffirmed his wholehearted support for the endeavors of post war rehabilitation, reconstruction and development of the Republic of Vietnam. He informed President Thieu of the United States intention to provide adequate and substantial economic assistance for the Republic of Vietnam during the remainder of this year and to seek Congressional authority for a level of funding for the next year sufficient to assure essential economic stability and rehabilitation for that country as it now moves from war to peace. He recognized that the economic development and self-sufficiency of South Vietnam depend to a significant extent on its ability to promote and attract foreign investment. He also expressed his intention to seek Congressional support for a longer range program for the economic development of South Vietnam now that the war has ended.

The two Presidents expressed their earnest hope that other nations as well as international institutions will act promptly on a positive and concerted program of international assistance to the Republic of Vietnam. They also agreed that consultations should soon be held in this regard with all interested parties.

The two Presidents expressed hope that the implementation of the Agreement on Vietnam would permit a normalization of relations with all countries of Southeast Asia. They agreed that this step and a regional reconstruction program will increase the prospects of a lasting peace in the area.

President Nixon discussed the future security of South Vietnam in the context of the Nixon Doctrine. The President noted that the assumption by the Republic of Vietnam of the full manpower requirements for its own defense was fully in keeping with his doctrine. He affirmed that the United States for its part, expected to continue, in accordance with its Constitutional processes, to supply the Republic of Vietnam with the material means for its defense consistent with the Agreement on Ending the War.

President Thieu asked President Nixon to convey to the American people and particularly to families bereaved by the loss of loved ones, the deep and abiding appreciation of the people of South Vietnam for the sacrifices made on their behalf and the assistance given to the Republic of Vietnam in its long struggle to maintain its freedom and preserve its right of self-determination.

Prior to the departure of President Thieu for Washington to continue his official visit to the United States, both Presidents agreed that through the harsh experience of a tragic war and the sacrifices of their two peoples a close and constructive relationship between the American and the South Vietnamese people has been developed and strengthened. They affirmed their full confidence that this association would be preserved as the foundation of an honorable and lasting peace in Southeast Asia.

President Thieu expressed his gratitude for the warm hospitality extended to him and his party by President Nixon.

Note: The text of the joint statement was released at San Clemente, Calif.

Richard Nixon, Joint Statement Following Discussions With President Thieu of the Republic of Vietnam. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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