American-Vietnamese Relations in the Wake of War

Diplomacy After the Capture of Saigon, 1975–1979

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About the Book

When the Vietnam War ended with the North Vietnamese capture of Saigon on April 30, 1975—27 months after a cease-fire had been signed in Paris—the differences between the United States and Vietnam were far from being resolved. Mutual bitterness regarding the war remained. Newly unified Vietnam wanted normalization of relations and the subsequent economic reconstruction aid promised in the Paris Peace Accords. Understandably wary of such diplomatic relations, the United States requested information regarding soldiers listed as missing in action and assistance with the repatriation of military remains. A series of misconceptions and misunderstandings as well as changes from a regional to a global U.S. foreign policy left both countries bereft of an easy solution.
This book describes the negotiations during the late Ford and early Carter administrations (1975–1979) and discusses the repercussions the diplomatic stalemate had on the domestic and international politics of the United States and Vietnam, emphasizing the conflicting priorities and political goals of both countries, at home and abroad. This previously neglected period in United States-Vietnam relations deals with issues such as Hanoi’s constant exultation over the victory, American denial of responsibility, the division between the presidents’ public declarations and congressional policies, and both sides’ use of the MIA issue. Based primarily on recently declassified documents and former U.S. official Douglas Pike’s uncensored collection, the work also makes use of media press sources from America, Vietnam, Britain, France and China. Interviews with Vietnamese immigrants and former U.S. politicians provide insight unavailable in written histories. Appendices contain the February 1973 correspondence between President Nixon and the Prime Minister of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam, six diplomatic notes from 1976, and a January 30, 1979, letter from President Carter to Chinese Vice Premier Deng Xiaoping.

About the Author(s)

Author Cécile Menétrey-Monchau lives in Paris, France.

Bibliographic Details

Cécile Menétrey-Monchau
Format: softcover (7 x 10)
Pages: 316
Bibliographic Info: appendices, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2006
pISBN: 978-0-7864-2398-9
eISBN: 978-1-4766-0977-5
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments      vi

Preface      1

Abbreviations      5

Important Names and Offices      7

Introduction      11

I : FORD AND VIETNAM’S PEACE

• A New Start for Vietnam and a First Opening to Washington      21

• Hanoi and Saigon’s Application for Membership to the United Nations      32

• Adapting to a New Environment: Vietnamese Policies and Ford’s Election Campaign      51

II : THE ADVENT OF THE CARTER YEARS

• The Fourth Party Congress      77

• The New Socialist Man, the New American Man and the New China      83

• The Woodcock Mission      91

III : TALKS TURN COLD

• The Paris Negotiations ( January–May 1977)      108

• The Nixon Letter      115

• Background to the Nixon Letter      121

• The Paris Negotiations ( June and December 1977)      130

• The Spying Affair      144

IV : COLD WAR CLASH

• Brotherhood Turns Sour      148

• Vietnam Changes Its Mind      151

• The Hoa Crisis      154

• Vietnam’s Dual Opening to Moscow and Washington      161

• Brzezinski’s Growing Influence and His Visit to China      165

• Consequences of the Brzezinski trip to China on the NSC Perception of the Sino-Cambodian-Vietnamese Conflicts      173

V : REVERSAL IN U.S. FOREIGN POLICY

• Vietnam’s American Card      176

• The Thach Delegation to New York      192

• The Drawing of Lines      203

• Normalization with Peking      210

VI : WINNING THE THIRD VIETNAM WAR

• Vietnam Invades Cambodia      217

• Deng’s Visit to the United States      221

• China’s Lesson on Vietnam      227

Conclusion      235

Appendices      243

Chapter Notes      255

Bibliography      291

Index      301

Book Reviews & Awards

“highly recommended”—Choice.