Salient: Victoria University Students' Paper. Vol. 28, No. 7. 1965.
Lines of Resolution
Lines of Resolution
The chief spokesman in favour of the Administration's policy, Dr. Scalapino argued that only three logical possibilities are tenable in South Vietnam: they are withdrawal, negotiation or escalation. Having mentioned this, Scalapino discussed the first two of these possibilities and virtually ignored the question of escalation, or seemed to disregard it as a possibility. Other speakers, on both sides, seemed to concentrate most of their attention on withdrawal or negotiation. I will do similarly.
• On Outright Withdrawal:
"(Withdrawal) would only serve to reinforce 'National Liberation Movements' and would at the same time reduce the credibility of USA strike-capacity throughout Asia. Withdrawal would prove Peking right and Russia wrong—this would tend to militate against the spirit of moderation that does exist within International Communism." (Professor Scalapino).
"Once the USA is proved not to be a 'paper tiger' a new dialogue will have been started in the Communist World." (Professor Scalapino).
Comment: No speakers favoured complete, immediate, unilateral withdrawal: many saw withdrawal as a possibility, only after negotiations were undertaken.
• On Peace Talks and Negotiations: "The USA offer of 'unconditional' peace talks contains at least two implicit conditions; Firstly, that South Vietnam be recognised as an independent State, this is contrary to the Geneva Accords which we (the USA) uphold, and secondly, that the Viet Cong withdraw from South Vietnam—since it is often conceded that the Viet Cong control up to 50 per cent of the countryside, and since it is highly contentious that Hanoi could (or would) order such a withdrawal, this implicit condition flies in the face of political reality." (Professor Kahin).
Letters— In this issue are on page 5.
"Much has been said of the USA offer of unconditional negotiations. The point is that what is important is not what the USA intends, but what it does in relation to what it intends. Of course we want a negotiated settlement: I'm sure many people in our government pray for a negotiated settlement, but those people cannot see the implicit, unspoken conditions that make such a negotiated settlement, at the moment, an impossibility. Firstly, we refuse to negotiate with the Viet Cong; secondly, we implicitly state that we (the USA) remain there for the time being—that is to say we remain there as long as no stable government exists there, and that will take a very long time." (Professor Morgenthau).
"From Peking's view (and they have only lost one gun, now Mr McNamara's property, and no men) nothing better could happen that the USA be engaged in waging a war in Vietnam that she cannot hope to win, yet cannot afford to lose. Why should Peking under such circumstances recommend negotiations? Would you negotiate from such a position of strength Negotiation requires mutual willingness and objectivity, neither of which seems to exist at the moment." (Professor Morgenthau).
"We (the USA) will certainly gain more from peace talks and through the development of stability than through the infusion into South Vietnam of more and more USA troops. The USA should give U Thant an unequivocal mandate to undertake complete negotiations." (Professor Kahin).
"The overwhelming majority of people here today support negotiation as a tool; but on what terms should such negotiation take place? Negotiation demands a willingness on all sides to negotiate. China has already refused the hand of U Thant, Britain, through Sir Patrick Gordon Walker, India, who offered to mediate with an Afro-Asian force, and it (Peking) has sabotaged the proposed Cambodian Conference. What of Hainoi? We are still hoping that Hanoi will break its tie with China and negotiate." (Professor Scalapino).
• On the Need for Free and Independent Elections:
"It was unfortunate that free and independent elections were agreed to in the first place: such a thesis (free elections) contravene basic Marxist-Leninist assumptions." (Professor Scalapino).
"Between the years 1954-1958 Hanoi asked for elections: Hanoi still says it wants to hold to the Geneva Accords, and those Accords specify provisions for elections. Therefore, can it not be presumed that Hanoi supports such elections?" (Professor Mary Wright).