The war in Vietnam came to an end, officially, on Saturday (January 27) as the United States, North and South Vietnam, and the Viet Cong signed the final peace agreements in Paris, France.
The war in Vietnam came to an end, officially, on Saturday (January 27) as the United States, North and South Vietnam, and the Viet Cong signed the final peace agreements in Paris, France. No words were exchanged in the formal, 20-minute signing ceremony as the four representatives put their signatures a total of 128 times to dozens of documents -- putting an end to a war which began more than a decade ago, taking over two million lives.
The representatives were foreign ministers William Rogers, of the United States of America; Tran van Lam of South Vietnam; Nguyen Duy Trinh of North Vietnam; and Madame Nguyen Thi Binh of the Viet Cong's Provisional Revolutionary Government.
Outside the conference centre, meanwhile, a crowd of about two thousand mainly pro-communist demonstrators voiced their protests so loudly that Tran van Lam demanded -- and received -- a formal apology from the French Government.
Later, Mr. Rogers and Nguyen Duy Trinh signed other agreements which included provision for the removal of mines in North Vietnamese waters by the United States.
The military ceasefire in Vietnam, beginning at midnight, Saturday to Sunday (January 27-28), one of the agreements signed by the four foreign ministers, will be policed by troops from Canada, Hungary, Indonesia and Poland. Another of the accords, that the South Vietnamese will be allowed free elections, will be supervised by a commission of U.S., South and North Vietnamese, and Viet Cong representatives.
In South Vietnam itself, meanwhile, only ninety minutes before the ceasefire was due to go into affect, Saigon's Tan Son Nhut airbase was hit by 15 big communist rockets. The airfield, used by military and civil flights, was closed to all but essential military traffic.
The airfield was the scheduled arrival point for members of the ceasefire supervision commission.
SYNOPSIS: A mainly pro-communist crowd of about two thousand gathered outside the international conference centre in Paris on Saturday for the signing of the Vietnam peace agreements, bringing to an end a war which began over a decade ago and has cost more than two million lives. They voiced their pro-communist feelings loudly - jeering South Vietnamese foreign Minister tran van Lam and cheering Viet Cong representative Madame Binh. But it was so loud that Tran van Lam demanded, and received, an apology from the French Government.
North Vietnamese Foreign Minister Nguyen Duy Trinh received a similar ovation that the crowd gave Madame Binh. His country's principal negotiator, Le Duc Tho, had returned home a had the Untied States chief negotiator, Presidential ??? Henry Kissinger.
Mr. William Rogers, the U.S. Secretary of State, was there to sign for the Americans.....receiving loud jeers from the crowd. Later, following Tran van Lam's angry complaint, police tightened security around the area.
Inside, the four foreign representatives seated themselves round a large baize-covered table, flanked by their aides. In an almost silent, very formal twenty-minute ceremony, they put their signatures a total of a-hundred-and-twenty-eight times to dozens of documents.
Outside, Mr. Rogers and his South Vietnamese ally, Tran van Lam, shook hands before parting. The agreements they signed, after years of negotiation, provided for a ceasefire to be supervised by a commission of Hungarian, Polish, Canadian and Indonesian representatives backed by troops from their own countries. It also provides for the return of prisoners of war; free elections in South Vietnam; and a withdrawal of all United States troops. The elections will be supervised by a commission of the United States, North and South Vietnam, and the Viet Cong.
Later in the day the United States and North Vietnamese teams returned to the conference centre in sign more agreements. Some of these more or less duplicated those signed earlier, but included the name of the Viet Cong Provisional Government -- which the South Vietnamese insisted on deleting from the agreements THEY signed.
One of the protocols signed in this session covered the United State agreement to remove all the mines it laid in North Vietnamese waters during the war. In a ceremony lasting ten minutes, in a more relaxed atmospheres than earlier, the two men put the final eighty signatures to they treaty -- officially bringing the war to an end.