An overview on the Paris peace accords


 

   After nearly five years of negotiations (from May 13, 1968 to January 27, 1973), with over 200 public sessions, 24 high-level private meetings, 500 press conferences and 1,000 interviews, the Agreement on Ending the War and Restoring Peace in Viet Nam was officially signed on January 27, 1973 in the French capital of Paris. This was a major event during the years of Vietnamese struggle for the liberation of the South and national reunification, marking a significant milestone in international relations.

 

   The signing ceremony of the Agreement was formally organized at the Kleber Conference Center. There were four signatories, namely Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Democratic Republic of Viet Nam Nguyễn Duy Trinh, the United States Secretary of State William P. Rogers, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Provisional Revolutionary Government of the Republic of South Viet Nam Nguyễn Thị Bình and Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Viet Nam Trần Văn Lắm.

 

   The Protocol to the Paris Agreement on Ending the War and Restoring Peace in Viet Nam entered into force upon signature. The Agreement consists nine chapters as follows and 23 articles:

 

-   Chapter I: The Vietnamese People’s Fundamental National Rights (Article 1)

 

-   Chapter II: Cessation of Hostilities, Withdrawal of Troops (Article 2-7)

 

-   Chapter III: The Return of Captured Military Personnel and Foreign Civilians, and Captured and Detained Vietnamese Civilian Personnel (Article 8)

 

-   Chapter IV: The Exercise of the South Vietnamese People’s Right to Self-Determination (Article 9-14)

 

-   Chapter V: The Reunification of Viet Nam and the Relationship Between North and South Viet Nam (Article 15)

 

-   Chapter VI: The Joint Military Commissions, The International Commission of Control and Supervision, The International Conference (Article 16-19)

 

-   Chapter VII: Regarding Cambodia and Laos (Article 20)

 

-   Chapter VIII: The Relationship Between the United States and the Democratic Republic of Viet Nam (Article 21-22)

 

-   Chapter IX: Other Provisions (Article 23)

 

   Here are some important articles:

 

Article 1: The United States and all other countries respect the independence, sovereignty, unity, and territorial integrity of Viet Nam as recognized by the 1954 Geneva Agreements on Viet Nam.

 

Article 2: A cease-fire shall be observed throughout South Viet Nam as of 2400 hours G.M.T. [Greenwich Mean Time], on January 27, 1973.

 

   At the same hour, the United States will stop all its military activities against the territory of the Democratic Republic of Viet Nam by ground, air and naval forces, wherever they may be based, and end the mining of the territorial waters, ports, harbors, and waterways of the Democratic Republic of Viet Nam. The United States will remove, permanently deactivate or destroy all the mines in the territorial waters, ports, harbors, and waterways of North Viet Nam as soon as this Agreement goes into effect.

 

   The complete cessation of hostilities mentioned in this Article shall be durable and without limit of time.

 

Article 5: Within sixty days of the signing of this Agreement, there will be a total withdrawal from South Viet Nam of troops, military advisers, and military personnel, including technical military personnel and military personnel associated with the pacification program, armaments, munitions, and war material of the United States and those of the other foreign countries mentioned in Article 3 (a). Advisers from the above-mentioned countries to all paramilitary organizations and the police force will also be withdrawn within the same period of time.

 

Article 21: The United States anticipates that this Agreement will usher in an era of reconciliation with the Democratic Republic of Viet Nam as with all the peoples of Indochina. In pursuance of its traditional policy, the United States will contribute to healing the wounds of war and to postwar reconstruction of the Democratic Republic of Viet Nam and throughout Indochina.

 

Article 22: The ending of the war, the restoration of peace in Viet Nam, and the strict implementation of this Agreement will create conditions for establishing a new, equal and mutually beneficial relationship between the United States and the Democratic Republic of Viet Nam on the basis of respect for each other’s independence and sovereignty, and non-interference in each other’s internal affairs. At the same time this will ensure stable peace in Viet Nam and contribute to the preservation of lasting peace in Indochina and Southeast Asia.

 

 

 

 

 

 

File 1231, Second Republican Presidential Palace: Confidential documents surrounding secret talks on an agreement to end the war and restore peace in Viet Nam. (The draft document produced on October 8, 1972). Source: Viet Nam’s National Archives Center II.

 

 

   Although the Agreement was signed in early 1973, the U.S. government continued to provide financial aid and weapons to the Sài Gòn government in order to pursue its “Vietnamization” policy to “change the skin color of the dead bodies” (or to reduce the number of U.S. combat troops). It was not absolutely an agreement which would “usher in an era of reconciliation with the Democratic Republic of Viet Nam as with all the peoples of Indochina” as what it regulated. Consequently, the war dragged on until the day when the old Sài Gòn government officially fell.

 

 

 
   
  Date 29/01/2021  

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