Modern History Sourcebook:
US State Dept:
Aggression from the North, February 27, 1965
February 27, 1965
From Department of State Bulletin,
March 22, 1965
South Vietnam is fighting for its life against a brutal campaign
of terror and armed attack inspired, directed, supplied, and controlled
by the Communist regime in Hanoi. This flagrant aggression has
been going on for years, but recently the pace has quickened and
the threat has now become acute.
The war in Vietnam is a new kind of war, a fact as yet poorly
understood in most parts of the world. Much of the confusion that
prevails in the thinking of many people, and even governments,
stems from this basic misunderstanding. For in Vietnam a totally
new brand of aggression has been loosed against an independent
people who want to make their way in peace and freedom.
Vietnam is not another Greece, where indigenous guerrilla forces
used friendly neighboring territory as a sanctuary.
Vietnam is not another Malaya, where Communist guerrillas were,
for the most part, physically distinguishable from the peaceful
majority they sought to control.
Vietnam is not another Philippines, where Communist guerrillas
were physically separated from the source of their moral and physical
Above all, the war in Vietnam is not a spontaneous and local rebellion
against the established government.
There are elements in the Communist program of conquest directed
against South Vietnam common to each of the previous areas of
aggression and subversion. But there is one fundamental difference.
In Vietnam a Communist government has set out deliberately to
conquer a sovereign people in a neighboring state. And to achieve
its end, it has used every resource of its own government to carry
out its carefully planned program of concealed aggression. North
Vietnam's commitment to seize control of the South is no less
total than was the commitment of the regime in North Korea in
1950. But knowing the consequences of the latter's undisguised
attack, the planners in Hanoi have tried desperately to conceal
their hand. They have failed and their aggression is as real as
that of an invading army.
This report is a summary of the massive evidence of North Vietnamese
aggression obtained by the Government of South Vietnam. This evidence
has been jointly analyzed by South Vietnamese and American experts.
The evidence shows that the hard core of the Communist forces
attacking South Vietnam were trained in the North and ordered
into the South by Hanoi. It shows that the key leadership of the
Vietcong (VC), the officers and much of the cadre, many of the
technicians, political organizers, and propagandists have come
from the North and operate under Hanoi's direction. It shows that
the training of essential military personnel and their infiltration
into the South is directed by the Military High Command in Hanoi.
In recent months new types of weapons have been introduced in
the VC army, for which all ammunition must come from outside sources.
Communist China and other Communist states have been the prime
suppliers of these weapons and ammunition, and they have been
channeled primarily through North Vietnam.
The directing force behind the effort to conqueror South Vietnam
is the Communist Party in the North, the Lao Dong (Workers) Party.
As in every Communist state. the party is an integral part of
the regime itself. North Vietnamese officials have expressed their
firm determination to absorb South Vietnam into the Communist
Through its Central Committee, which controls the Government of
the North, the Lao Dong Party directs the total political and
military effort of the Vietcong. The Military High Command in
the North trains the military men and sends them into South Vietnam.
The Central Research Agency, North Vietnam's central intelligence
organization, directs the elaborate espionage and subversion effort...
Under Hanoi's overall direction the Communists have established
an extensive machine for carrying on the war within South Vietnam.
The focal point is the Central Office for South Vietnam with its
political and military subsections and other specialized agencies.
A subordinate part of this Central Office is the liberation Front
for South Vietnam. The front was formed at Hanoi's order in 1960.
Its principle function is to influence opinion abroad and to create
the false impression that the aggression in South Vietnam is an
indigenous rebellion against the established Government.
For more than 10 years the people and the Government of South
Vietnam, exercising the inherent right of self-defense, have fought
back against these efforts to extend Communist power south across
the 17th parallel. The United States has responded to the appeals
of the Government of the Republic of Vietnam for help in this
defense of the freedom and independence of its land and its people.
In 1961 the Department of State issued a report called A Threat
to the Peace. It described North Vietnam's program to seize South
Vietnam. The evidence in that report had been presented by the
Government of the Republic of Vietnam to the International Control
Commission (ICC). A special report by the ICC in June 1962 upheld
the validity of that evidence. The Commission held that there
was "sufficient evidence to show beyond reasonable doubt"
that North Vietnam had sent arms and men into South Vietnam to
carry out subversion with the aim of overthrowing the legal Government
there. The ICC found the authorities in Hanoi in specific violation
of four provisions of the Geneva Accords of 1954.
Since then, new and even more impressive evidence of Hanoi's aggression
has accumulated. The Government of the United States believes
that evidence should be presented to its own citizens and to the
world. It is important for free men to know what has been happening
in Vietnam, and how, and why. That is the purpose of this report...
The record is conclusive. It establishes beyond question that
North Vietnam is carrying out a carefully conceived plan of aggression
against the South. It shows that North Vietnam has intensified
its efforts in the years since it was condemned by the International
Control Commission. It proves that Hanoi continues to press its
systematic program of armed aggression into South Vietnam. This
aggression violates the United Nations Charter. It is directly
contrary to the Geneva Accords of 1954 and of 1962 to which North
Vietnam is a party. It is a fundamental threat to the freedom
and security of South Vietnam.
The people of South Vietnam have chosen to resist this threat.
At their request, the United States has taken its place beside
them in their defensive struggle.
The United States seeks no territory, no military bases, no favored
position. But we have learned the meaning of aggression elsewhere
in the post-war world, and we have met it.
If peace can be restored in South Vietnam, the United States will
be ready at once to reduce its military involvement. But it will
not abandon friends who want to remain free. It will do what must
be done to help them. The choice now between peace and continued
and increasingly destructive conflict is one for the authorities
in Hanoi to make.
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(c)Paul Halsall Aug 1997