ListMoto - Paris Peace Accords

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The PARIS PEACE ACCORDS, officially titled the AGREEMENT ON ENDING THE WAR AND RESTORING PEACE IN VIETNAM, was a peace treaty signed on January 27, 1973 to establish peace in Vietnam
and end the Vietnam
War . The treaty included the governments of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam
(North Vietnam), the Republic of Vietnam
(South Vietnam), and the United States
United States
, as well as the Provisional Revolutionary Government (PRG) that represented indigenous South Vietnamese revolutionaries. It ended direct U.S. military combat, and temporarily stopped the fighting between North and South Vietnam. However, the agreement was not ratified by the United States
United States
Senate .

The negotiations that led to the accord began in 1968, after various lengthy delays. As a result of the accord, the International Control Commission (ICC) was replaced by the International Commission of Control and Supervision (ICCS) to fulfill the agreement. The main negotiators of the agreement were United States
United States
National Security Advisor Henry Kissinger
Henry Kissinger
and Vietnamese politburo member Lê Đức Thọ ; the two men were awarded the 1973 Nobel Peace Prize
Nobel Peace Prize
for their efforts, although Lê Đức Thọ refused to accept it.


* 1 Provisions of the accords

* 2 Paris peace negotiations

* 2.1 Early deadlocks * 2.2 Claimed sabotage of negotiations by Nixon campaign * 2.3 Nixon government * 2.4 Breakthrough and agreement

* 3 Aftermath * 4 Signatories * 5 Other key figures in the negotiations * 6 See also * 7 References * 8 Further reading * 9 External links


The approximate areas of control at the time of the signing of the Accord. The South Vietnamese government controlled about 80 percent of the territory and 90 percent of the population, although many areas were contested.

The document began with the statement that "the United States
United States
and all other countries respect the independence, sovereignty , unity, and territorial integrity of Vietnam
as recognized by the 1954 Geneva Agreements on Vietnam
". The inclusion of this provision was a victory for the communist side of the negotiations by allowing that the war was not a foreign aggression against South Vietnam. The main military and political provisions of the agreement were:

* Beginning on 27 January 1973 at midnight, Greenwich Mean Time —in Saigon
time, 08:00 on 28 January—there would be an in-place ceasefire . North and South Vietnamese forces were to hold their locations. They were permitted to resupply military materials to the extent necessary to replace items consumed in the course of the truce. * Once the ceasefire is in effect, U.S. troops (along with other non-Vietnamese soldiers) would begin to withdraw, with withdrawal to be complete within 60 days. Simultaneously, U.S. prisoners of war would be released and allowed to return home. The parties to the agreement agreed to assist in repatriating the remains of the dead. * There would be negotiations between the two South Vietnamese parties— Saigon
and the Vietcong —towards a political settlement that would allow the South Vietnamese people to "decide themselves the political future of South Viet-Nam through genuinely free and democratic general elections under international supervision." * Reunification of Vietnam
was to be "carried out step by step through peaceful means".


Play media 1971 newsreel about the peace talks


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Following the success of anti-war candidate Eugene McCarthy in the New Hampshire primary
New Hampshire primary
, in March 1968 U.S. President Lyndon B. Johnson halted bombing operations over the northern portion of the North Vietnam
( Operation Rolling Thunder
Operation Rolling Thunder
), in order to encourage Hanoi
(the perceived locus of the insurgency) to begin negotiations. Shortly thereafter, Hanoi
agreed to discuss a complete halt of the bombing, and a date was set for representatives of both parties to meet in Paris, France. The sides first met on May 10, with the delegations headed by Xuân Thuỷ , who would remain the official leader of the North Vietnamese delegation throughout the process, and U.S. ambassador-at-large W. Averell Harriman
W. Averell Harriman

For five months, the negotiations stalled as North Vietnam
demanded that all bombing of North Vietnam
be stopped, while the U.S. side demanded that North Vietnam
agree to a reciprocal de-escalation in South Vietnam; it was not until October 31 that Johnson agreed to end the air strikes and serious negotiations could begin.

One of the largest hurdles to effective negotiation was the fact that North Vietnam
and its ally in South Vietnam, the National Front for the Liberation of South Vietnam
(NLF, or Viet Cong
Viet Cong
), refused to recognize the government of South Vietnam; with equal persistence, the government in Saigon
refused to acknowledge the legitimacy of the NLF. Harriman resolved this dispute by developing a system by which North Vietnam
and U.S. would be the named parties; NLF officials could join the North Vietnam
team without being recognized by South Vietnam, while Saigon's representatives joined their U.S. allies.

A similar debate concerned the shape of the table to be used at the conference. The North favored a circular table, in which all parties, including NLF representatives, would appear to be "equal"' in importance. The South Vietnamese argued that only a rectangular table was acceptable, for only a rectangle could show two distinct sides to the conflict. Eventually a compromise was reached, in which representatives of the northern and southern governments would sit at a circular table, with members representing all other parties sitting at individual square tables around them.


Bryce Harlow , a former White House staff member in the Eisenhower administration, claimed to have "a double agent working in the White House....I kept Nixon informed." Harlow and Henry Kissinger
Henry Kissinger
(who was friendly with both campaigns and guaranteed a job in either a Humphrey or Nixon administration in the upcoming election) separately predicted Johnson's "bombing halt". Democratic senator George Smathers
George Smathers
informed President Johnson that "the word is out that we are making an effort to throw the election to Humphrey. Nixon has been told of it".

According to presidential historian Robert Dallek , Kissinger's advice "rested not on special knowledge of decision making at the White House but on an astute analyst's insight into what was happening." CIA intelligence analyst William Bundy stated that Kissinger obtained "no useful inside information" from his trip to Paris, and "almost any experienced Hanoi
watcher might have come to the same conclusion". While Kissinger may have "hinted that his advice was based on contacts with the Paris delegation," this sort of "self-promotion...is at worst a minor and not uncommon practice, quite different from getting and reporting real secrets."

Nixon asked the prominent Asian-American politician Anna Chennault
Anna Chennault
to be his "channel to Mr. Thieu "; Chennault agreed and periodically reported to John Mitchell that Thieu had no intention of attending a peace conference. On November 2, Chennault informed the South Vietnamese ambassador: "I have just heard from my boss in Albuquerque who says his boss is going to win. And you tell your boss to hold on a while longer." In response, President Johnson ordered the wire-tapping of members of the Nixon campaign. Dallek wrote that Nixon's efforts "probably made no difference" because Thieu was unwilling to attend the talks and there was little chance of an agreement being reached before the election; however, his use of information provided by Harlow and Kissinger was morally questionable, and vice president Hubert Humphrey
Hubert Humphrey
's decision not to make Nixon's actions public was "an uncommon act of political decency."


After winning the 1968 presidential election , Richard Nixon
Richard Nixon
became president of the U.S. in January 1969. He then replaced U.S. ambassador Harriman with Henry Cabot Lodge Jr.
Henry Cabot Lodge Jr.
, who was later replaced by David Bruce . Also that year, the NLF set up a Provisional Revolutionary Government (PRG) to gain government status at the talks. However, the primary negotiations that led to the agreement did not occur at the Peace Conference at all, but were carried out during secret negotiations between Kissinger and Lê Đức Thọ, which began on August 4, 1969.

North Vietnam
insisted for three years that the agreement could not be concluded unless the United States
United States
agreed to remove South Vietnamese President Nguyễn Văn Thiệu
Nguyễn Văn Thiệu
from power and replace him with someone more acceptable to Hanoi. Nixon and Kissinger were unwilling to sign an agreement to overthrow a government the NLF had failed to overthrow by force of arms, though the extent of North Vietnamese demands is contested. Historian Marilyn B. Young , whose expertise is in American foreign relations, contends that the contents of Hanoi's proposal were systematically distorted from their original plea to permit Thiệu's replacement, to what Kissinger propagated as a demand for his overthrow.


On May 8, 1972, President Nixon made a major concession to North Vietnam
by announcing that the U.S. would accept a cease-fire in place as a precondition for its military withdrawal. In other words, the U.S. would withdraw its forces from South Vietnam
without North Vietnam
doing the same. The concession broke a deadlock and resulted in progress in the talks over the next few months.

The final major breakthrough came on October 8, 1972. Prior to this, North Vietnam
had been disappointed by the results of its Nguyen Hue Offensive (known in the West as the Easter Offensive
Easter Offensive
), which had resulted in the United States
United States
countering with "Operation Linebacker," a significant air bombing campaign that blunted the North's drive in the South as well as inflicting damage in the North. Also, they feared increased isolation if Nixon's efforts at détente significantly improved U.S. relations with the chief communist powers, the Soviet Union and the People\'s Republic of China , who were backing the North Vietnamese military effort. In a meeting with Kissinger, Thọ significantly modified his bargaining line, allowing that the Saigon government could remain in power and that negotiations between the two South Vietnamese parties could develop a final settlement. Within 10 days the secret talks drew up a final draft. Kissinger held a press conference in Washington during which he announced that "peace is at hand." Signing the peace accords

When Thiệu, who had not even been informed of the secret negotiations, was presented with the draft of the new agreement, he was furious with Kissinger and Nixon (who were perfectly aware of South Vietnam's negotiating position) and refused to accept it without significant changes. He then made several public radio addresses, claiming that the proposed agreement was worse than it actually was. Hanoi
was flabbergasted, believing that it had been duped into a propaganda ploy by Kissinger. On October 26, Radio Hanoi
broadcast key details of the draft agreement.

However, as U.S. casualties had mounted throughout the conflict since 1965, American domestic support for the war had deteriorated, and by the fall of 1972 there was major pressure on the Nixon administration to withdraw from the war. Consequently, the U.S. brought great diplomatic pressure upon their South Vietnamese ally to sign the peace treaty even if the concessions Thiệu wanted could not be achieved. Nixon pledged to provide continued substantial aid to South Vietnam, and given his recent landslide victory in the presidential election, it seemed possible that he would be able to follow through on that pledge. To demonstrate his seriousness to Thiệu, Nixon ordered the heavy Operation Linebacker II
Operation Linebacker II
bombings of North Vietnam
in December 1972. Nixon also attempted to bolster South Vietnam's military forces by ordering that large quantities of U.S. military material and equipment be given to South Vietnam
from May to December 1972 under Operations Enhance and Enhance Plus . These operations were also designed to keep North Vietnam
at the negotiating table and to prevent them from abandoning negotiations and seeking total victory. When the North Vietnamese government agreed to resume "technical" discussions with the United States, Nixon ordered a halt to bombings north of the 20th parallel on December 30. With the U.S. committed to disengagement (and after threats from Nixon that South Vietnam
would be abandoned if he did not agree), Thiệu had little choice but to accede.

On January 15, 1973, President Nixon announced a suspension of offensive actions against North Vietnam. Kissinger and Thọ met again on January 23 and signed off on a treaty that was basically identical to the draft of three months earlier. The agreement was signed by the leaders of the official delegations on January 27, 1973, at the Hotel Majestic in Paris, France.














The Paris Peace Accords
Paris Peace Accords
effectively removed the U.S. from the conflict in Vietnam. However, the agreement's provisions were routinely flouted by both the North Vietnamese and the Saigon government, eliciting no response from the United States, and ultimately resulting in the communists enlarging the area under their control by the end of 1973. North Vietnamese military forces gradually built up their military infrastructure in the areas they controlled and two years later were in a position to launch the successful offensive that ended South Vietnam's status as an independent country.

Nixon had secretly promised Thiệu that he would use airpower to support the Saigon
government should it be necessary. During his confirmation hearings in June 1973, Secretary of Defense James Schlesinger was sharply criticized by some senators after he stated that he would recommend resumption of U.S. bombing in North Vietnam
if North Vietnam
launched a major offensive against South Vietnam, but by August 15, 1973, 95% of American troops and their allies had left Vietnam
(both North and South) as well as Cambodia
and Laos
under the Case-Church Amendment . The amendment, which was approved by the U.S. Congress in June 1973, prohibited further U.S. military activity in Vietnam, Laos
and Cambodia
unless the president secured Congressional approval in advance. However, during this time, Nixon was being driven from office due to the Watergate scandal
Watergate scandal
, which led to his resignation in 1974. When the North Vietnamese began their final offensive early in 1975, U.S. Congress refused to appropriate additional military assistance for South Vietnam, citing strong opposition to the war by Americans and the loss of American equipment to the North by retreating Southern forces. Thiệu subsequently resigned, accusing the U.S. of betrayal in a TV and radio address:

At the time of the peace agreement the United States
United States
agreed to replace equipment on a one-by-one basis. But the United States
United States
did not keep its word. Is an American's word reliable these days? The United States did not keep its promise to help us fight for freedom and it was in the same fight that the United States
United States
lost 50,000 of its young men.

fell to the North Vietnamese army supported by Viet Cong
Viet Cong
units on April 30, 1975. Schlesinger had announced early in the morning of April 29 the beginning of Operation Frequent Wind
Operation Frequent Wind
, which entailed the evacuation of the last U.S. diplomatic, military and civilian personnel from Saigon
via helicopter, which was completed in the early morning hours of April 30. Not only did North Vietnam
conquer South Vietnam, but the communists were also victorious in Cambodia
when the Khmer Rouge
Khmer Rouge
captured Phnom Penh
Phnom Penh
on April 17, as were the Pathet Lao
Pathet Lao
in Laos
successful in capturing Vientiane
on December 2. Like Saigon, U.S. civilian and military personnel were evacuated from Phnom Penh, U.S. diplomatic presence in Vientiane
was significantly downgraded, and the number of remaining U.S. personnel was severely reduced.


* Henry Cabot Lodge, Jr.
Henry Cabot Lodge, Jr.
, former United States
United States
Ambassador to South Vietnam
, led the U.S. delegation * William P. Rogers , United States
United States
Secretary of State * Trần Văn Lắm
Trần Văn Lắm
, Minister for Foreign Affairs for the Republic of Vietnam * Nguyễn Thị Bình , Minister for Foreign Affairs for The Provisional Revolutionary Government of the Republic of South Vietnam * Nguyen Duy Trinh, Minister for Foreign Affairs for The Democratic Republic of Vietnam


* Henry Kissinger
Henry Kissinger
* Lê Đức Thọ * Thích Nhất Hạnh


* Vietnam


* ^ The Paris Agreement on Vietnam: Twenty-five Years Later Conference Transcript, The Nixon Center, Washington, DC, April 1998. Reproduced on mtholyoke.edu. Accessed 5 September 2012. * ^ The Constitution - Executive agreements Accessed 29 July 2014. * ^ A B Robert Dallek (2007), Nixon and Kissinger: Partners in Power, HarperCollins, pp. 73-74. * ^ Dallek, pp. 74-75. In 1997, Chennault admitted that "I was constantly in touch with Nixon and Mitchell." * ^ Dallek, p. 75. * ^ Taylor, David The Lyndon Johnson tapes: Richard Nixon\'s \'treason\' BBC News Magazine 22 March 2013 Last retrieved 22 March 2013 * ^ Dallek, pp. 77-78. * ^ Marilyn Young (1994) The Vietnam
Wars: 1945–1990, HarperPerennial, pp.263-264. * ^ "Memoirs v Tapes: President Nixon and the December Bombings"., accessed 23 Jun 2015 * ^ Isaacs, Arnold R. (1983), Without Honor: Defeat in Vietnam
and Cambodia, Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press, p. 48-49, 511 * ^ Le Gro, Col. William E. (1985), Vietnam
from Cease-Fire to Capitulation, US Army Center of Military History, Department of the Army, p. 28 * ^ "1975: Vietnam\'s President Thieu resigns". On this day. BBC News. April 21, 1975.


* Herrington, Stuart A. (1983). "Peace with Honor? An American Reports on Vietnam" Presidio Press. Part II, "Life Under The Paris Agreement" pp. 16–40. * Herschensohn, Bruce (2010). An American Amnesia: How the U.S. Congress Forced the Surrenders of South Vietnam
and Cambodia. New York: Beaufort Books. ISBN 978-0-8253-0632-7 .


* Text of the Paris Peace Accords * Nixon and Vietnam