178. Editorial Note
On June 16 in Saigon, the Interministerial Committee of the Government of Vietnam and the Buddhist Delegation issued a joint communique on flying the Buddhist and national flags and on essential religious activities. The communique noted the debates held between the Interministerial Committee and the General Association of Buddhists of Vietnam June 14-16 “to seek a satisfactory resolution for the five demands” presented by the Buddhists. The following points were agreed on:
- The conditions and circumstances for flying the national flea and the religious flag. “The national flag, the symbol of the spirit of the nation, should always be respected and be put at its appropriate place.”
- A decision to “detach religious associations from the regulations of Ordinance No. 10 and set up new regulations suitable to the particular characteristics concerning the activities essential to these religious associations.” The communique noted that the National Assembly would consult with the religious associations concerning these new regulations.
- Establishment of a “committee of investigation to re-examine the dossier of Buddhist complaints” concerning the arrest and detention of Buddhists. In addition, “all those who are involved in the movement” would receive a Presidential pardon.
- The right to practice “normal and purely religious activities” within the boundary of the pagodas or the headquarters of the General Association of Buddhists without permission from the government.
- An investigation to determine responsibility for the incidents since May 8, and punishment for those government officials responsible.
President Diem signed the communique under a paragraph that reads: “The articles written in this joint communique have been approved in principle by me from the beginning.”
For full text of the communique, see American Foreign Policy: Current Documents, 1963, pages 856-859. A copy was transmitted in telegram 1194 from Saigon, June 16. (Department of State, Central Files, SOC 14-1 S VIET)