Salient: Victoria University Students' Paper. Vol. 28, No. 9. 1965.
[K. J. Holyoake outlines government view on Vietnam (edited version)]
These obligations were accepted by both parties in New Zealand when in power. Should New Zealand now forget such treaty obligations when requests are made for help? The Government believes both in terms of its treaties and of the United Nations Charter that New Zealand must assist in resisting aggression. It is only in this way, given the world as it is at present, that we can hope for a settlement that will end Communist aggression in Indo-China and stay the threat elsewhere in South-East Asia.
Test of Wars of Liberation
For the Communists make no secret of their view that the Indo-Chinese war is a test of the theory of wars of liberation. General G$$lap has said it. Peking has spoken of the "liberated" area of Laos with the inference that the remainder is still to be liberated. Thailand has been warned by Communist China that it stands next in line. Malaysia's fate is then easy to imagine. Many profess not to believe in the "domino" theory.
But if we remember how recently the young nations of South-East Asia attained independence—without, like New Zealand, the blessing of protection for a century by British sea power—we must recognise that they need time to attain political stability and proceed with the economic and social development required in a modern state. The fall of one country quite obviously means an increase in the pressure on its neighbour. A glance at the map will show just how strategically significant Vietnam is and just what it would mean for all South-East Asia — including Malaysia—if it were to succumb.
Moreover, if this tactic of [unclear: t] "war of national [unclear: liberation"] which is a war of terrorism—[unclear: su] ceeds in Vietnam it will, in Communist eyes, be confirmed as [unclear: t] road to power, and it will be attempted again and again.
Danger of Escalation
Some critics fear that [unclear: mili] support for South Vietnam [unclear: ri] escalation of the war. But New Zealand does not, any more [unclear: th] the United States, wish to [unclear: ov] throw the Government of [unclear: No] Vietnam. The President of the United States has again and again sought negotiations. The Communists have repeatedly refused take up his offers. They [unclear: have] jected the approach of the 17 [unclear: no] aligned nations, declined to [unclear: see] British Special Envoy, [unclear: denied] possibility of United Nations [unclear: me] ation, and denounced the [unclear: propos] of the President of India. [unclear: T] are insisting, in effect, that [unclear: t] have the right to secure the [unclear: So] by conquest.
It is this aim which New [unclear: Zeala] has joined in resisting. If [unclear: No] Vietnam's major partners [unclear: wi] because of a New Zealand [unclear: comm] ment, to expand the war, [unclear: that] be their decision. But it is [unclear: nonse] to suggest that a New Zealand [unclear: fo] of 120 men will lead to the [unclear: int] vention of Communist [unclear: Chin] armies.
It is indeed clear that both sides are concerned lest [unclear: th] conflict widen. But this [unclear: ha] been true of all the [unclear: campaign] inflicted on the world by [unclear: th] Communists since 1945. [unclear: I] would be a strange [unclear: commentar] on those 20 years if we [unclear: wer] to cease from defensive [unclear: actio] because of the danger of [unclear: wide] Communist intervention. Communist plans will not be affected by any New Zealand commitment. But the lesson [unclear: o] history is surely that by showing collective [unclear: determinatio] now we may head off the danger of wider conflict.
Military support alone will not defeat Communism. New Zealand more than most, has recognised the importance of the second main strand of the Charter "the search for social progress and better standards of life in larger freedom." That is why the Government has welcomed President Johnson's imaginative and generous proposal for a vast South-East Asian development programme to be devised by the United Nations. We recognise the obligation we have under the Charter not only to keep the pence, but also to assist development.
If military action alone will not defeat Communism, it is in most cases an essential means of creating the conditions in which political and economic measures can assume full effect and meaning. Vietnam is such a case.
New Zealand's military aid must be small. But was it not so in Malaya and Korea or even in the Second World War, when measured against the overall forces? It will, we may be sure, prove useful and effective. It will have political value out of proportion to its size. It will show we ore not fair weather friends. It will show we value our treaty obligations and intend to meet them. And that we intend to play our full part in measures for collective self defence in South - East Asia.
New Zealand's interests are now bound up with the security, stability and peaceful development of South-East Asia. Those interests are also bound up with the wider issues of world peace and freedom under the rule of law. These issues of peace and freedom are now under test in Asia. New Zealand may not decide the struggle. But it cannot stand aside from it. It is on this basis that the Government has acted to help safeguard New Zealand security and to maintain international law and order.