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Position paper on South Vietnam



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POSITION PAPER - SOUTH VIETNAM

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PREPARED BY MR IAN SINCLAIR, M.P., MR ANDREW PEACOCK, M.P. & MR. JOHN SULLIVAN, M.P. Introduction ■

This paper deals with the present situation in South Vietnam. It follows the visit made to Indo-China by Mr. I. Sinclair, M.P., Mr. A. Peacock, M.P., and Mr. J. Sullivan, M.P. from April 1 to April 8. .

It also outlines the major action which should be taken by the Australian Government to help alleviate the present tragic situation. '

1. MILITARY SITUATION IN SOUTH VIETNAM

Latest intelligence reports in Saigon indicate that the North Vietnamese Army (NVA) has now moved at least 400,000 troops into South Vietnam. The majority of these are located in the Northern Military Zones 1 (3 Divisions) and 2 (8 Divisions).

Some now moving into Military Zone 3 near Saigon, where several NVA Divisions are already present.

These troops are being infiltrated at an estimated rate of 12,000 per week from the Democratic Republic of Vietnam (North Vietnam). They are equipped with recent models of Russian and Chinese weapons, heavy lift helicopters, and it is reported there is a

radar station established in Military Zone 3 capable of directing ground strike aircraft against Saigon.

All training bases in North Vietnam are reported to have been . closed indicating that all available troops have been sent South. . This would seem to be the final push.

In the view of many South Vietnamese leaders, the Viet Cong is no longer regarded as a separate military force by the North Vietnamese - the flags hoisted in the captured city of Da Nang, are those of North Vietnam. This additionally confirms it is a

North Vietnamese invasion.

Over the past two weeks there has been a substantial build up ‘ in Military Zone 3, with the recent shelling of the vital Na Bahe fuel depot. Attempts are now being made to cut the road from , Saigon to Vung Tau, isolating Saigon from the coast and making the Mekong unnavigable. .

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POLITICAL SITUATION

President Thieu remains as head of the South Vietnamese Government. However, a new government is presently being formed and the new Cabinet will be announced probably by the end of the week. The Prime Minister is Mr. Can - replacing former Prime Minister Khiem.

MILITARY AID SITUATION .

In compliance with the Paris Accords, the United States has withdrawn all military personnel and reduced the value of aid from a high of US$14,000 million per annum to less than US$1,000 million this year.

Weaponry and aircraft are being replaced at a far lesser rate than the one for one allowable under the Paris Accords in South Vietnam. .

PROGRAM OF AID FOR SOUTH VIETNAM .

The Opposition Parties urge the government to adopt this 12 point program of aid immediately:-

1. Call for an immediate ceasefire in South Vietnam .

2. Re-affirm the right to policitical self-determination by South Vietnam (As also reiterated by Mr. Whitlam in January 1973)

3. Insist on compliance with the Paris Accords by the North . Vietnamese. ■ . .

4. Following a cease fire, call on the International Committee for control and supervision to ensure that the Paris Accords are implimented.

5. Use Australia's prestige and influence among the major nations of the world to bring pressure to bear on the North Vietnamese to honor the Paris Accords. ·

6. Request both the USSR and the People's Republic of China to restrict the supply of arms to, at most, that allowed by the accords.

7. Seek, through member countries, a meeting of the Security Council of the United Nations and rally support for the International Commission for Control and Supervision providing inspection teams on the ground in' South Vietnam. These inspection teams are urgently required to observe the actions of the invading North Vietnamese forces and to protect the rights of the South Vietnamese in captured territory.

8. Begin a programme of refugee evacuation in consultation with the Saigon Government. Both children and adult South Vietnamese to , be included in this evacuation to Australia. If requested by- Saigon, make Australia available as a staging base as well as a

final destination for refugees. Many other countries should also be called on to assist in this evacuation. It is obviously a problem too vast for Australia alone.

9. Begin a major programme of aid to people in both South Vietnam and North Vietnam through both private and government assistance agencies. Those items which are urgently required include Food, Medicines, Vaccines, Clothing Material, Clothes and Paramedical needs. A detailed list of needs was obtained

in Saigon.

In the medium term there is a need for building materials of all kinds.

Construction personnel both in NVA controlled territory and in : North Vietnam could be provided following a ceasefire and United Nations supervision, for the building of refugee centres and resettlement complexes. '

10.Increase the Australian Government grant to the Australian . Disasters and Emergencies Committee appeal from the present sum of $50,000 to $500,000 and the target from $5 million to $20 million.

11.Provide facilities for volunteers from Australia such as medical, „ paramedical and other personnel to go to South Vietnam and help in reconstruction following a ceasefire. These facilities to ' include Australian aimed service personnel such as Army engineers.

12.Insist that steps be taken to guarantee South Vietnam's right to self-determination, free from armed aggression

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