166. Telegram From the Embassy in Vietnam to the Department of State 1

924. Subject: Letter to President From President Thieu.

This morning (January 25) President Thieu personally handed Ambassador letter addressed to President Ford, text of which given below. President Thieu told Ambassador he did not intend to make the letter public but that President Ford should feel free to do so if he [Page 612]thought this would be useful. At the same time Foreign Minister Bac has sent the Ambassador a copy of President Thieu’s letter for forwarding to Secretary Kissinger. Original being pouched Department.
Begin text:

Dear Mr. President:

As we are approaching the second anniversary of the signing of the Paris Agreement of 27 January 1973, I wish to draw your attention to the very grave situation our country is facing as a result of the continuing aggression carried out by North Vietnamese troops in South Viet-Nam.

Indeed during the last two years, and despite the existence of the Paris Agreement, North Viet-Nam has vastly increased its military capability in the south, stepped up land and population grabbing operations and launched incessant attacks against outposts, bases, district towns which were indisputably under the jurisdiction and control of our government long before the Paris Agreement was concluded. The recent capture of the Phuoc-Long Province last week—certainly the most massive and the most blatant violation of the Paris Agreement—clearly shows that the North Vietnamese and their political instrument in the south, the “National Liberation Front,” have completely disregarded the agreement. It is quite evident by now that North Viet-Nam instead of seeking a political solution within the framework of the Paris Agreement, has again resorted to military adentures to impose their will over South Viet-Nam.

You are certainly aware, Mr. President, that this continued aggression from North Viet-Nam constitutes a most serious threat to the survival of South Viet-Nam as a free and independent country and destroys the chance for the South Vietnamese people to exercise their right of self-determination, a principle for the defense of which more than fifty thousand young Americans as well as hundreds of thousands of Vietnamese had sacrificed their lives. To uphold this principle, our troops have fought gallantly and well, and since the withdrawal of all allied troops they have shown determination and ability to go forward alone to preserve our independence and freedom.

Nevertheless as North Viet-Nam continues to receive large quantities of war material from Communist countries to pursue their armed aggression against South Viet-Nam, we must rely on the assistance of the United States of America for the supply of equipment and ammunition necessary to our defence. In most cases we have sustained setbacks solely because of the Communist massive application of fire power and armor; on our side our troops had to count every single shell they fire in order to make the ammunition last.

I understand that some sections of the American public opinion have been induced into believing that too much aid to the Republic of [Page 613]Viet-Nam would only prolong the war and encourage us not to seek a political solution. The record clearly shows the opposite. Reduction of military assistance to Viet-Nam by the U.S. Congress has only encouraged the Communists. Thus, they have broken off all the negotiations in Saigon as well as in Paris and systematically rejected all our proposals for general elections. Taking advantage of the scarcity of our supplies and hoping that adequate aid for us will not be forthcoming, they are once again undertaking to destroy our government structure by force of arms with a view of imposing a solution of their own.

Two years ago we signed the Paris Agreement with the hope that the elaborate structure for global peace would effectively work. We also signed with the great conviction that should the Communists resort to the use of force again we will be provided with adequate means to defend ourselves.

Today I wish to appeal to you to take all necessary action to preserve the Paris Agreement. I am aware of and thankful for the numerous personal efforts and intervention you have made in our behalf since you took over the highest office of your great country. I am also very heartened by your decision last week to seek more supplemental military assistance for the Republic of Viet-Nam.

I hope that you will be successful in convincing the United States Congress and the American people that the cutbacks and restrictions in aid to the Republic of Viet-Nam could undermine its very survival and eventually make a mockery of the commitment of the United States to the defence of peace in Viet-Nam.

I trust that you and the Secretary of State will not spare any effort to preserve the Paris Agreement and to ensure that the countless sacrifices that our two nations have made will not be made in vain.

Sincerely yours,

Nguyen Van Thieu

End text.

  1. Source: Ford Library, National Security Adviser, Presidential Country Files for East Asia and the Pacific, Box 21, Vietnam, State Department Telegrams, To SECSTATE, Nodis (2). Secret; Nodis.