On Monday (8 May) President Nixon announced that increased measures wore being taken by the United States to limit the amount of supplies going into North Vietnam.
On Monday (8 May) President Nixon announced that increased measures wore being taken by the United States to limit the amount of supplies going into North Vietnam. American Naval aircraft have laid mines at the entrances to North Vietnam's harbours. The mines will activate automatically on Thursday (11 May).
Haiphong is the chief port and a major industrial centre of North Vietnam. U.S. officials claim that 90 percent of the goods coming into North Vietnam come through the port of Haiphong. The bulk of these supplies come from the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe. Mr. Nixon also announced that rail and other communications would be hit.
Haiphong has been a strategic target of American bombing over a period of years. The most recent raid came on April 16 when 200 U.S. aircraft bombed the port inflicting damage, the North Vietnamese claim, to residential areas in non-military areas of the city and to a Russian freighter in the harbour.
Air raid shelters have been built in Haiphong, and children are trained in their use. Civilian militia training is also a part of the state of preparedness that exists in the city.
When Mr. Nixon announce the blockade of the North, 35 foreign ships were believe to be in Haiphong harbour. Most of these are from the Soviet Union and Eastern European countries but some ships flying the British flag were seen.
Haiphong owes its great strategic importance to its position as gateway for the country's essential supplies of aid -- including munitions, weapons and medical supplies -- from abroad.