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Salient: Victoria University Students' Paper. Vol. 28, No. 10. 1965.

Herd Says White Paper Inadequate: NZ Out Of Place

Herd Says White Paper Inadequate: NZ Out Of Place

—Tony Adams photo.

—Tony Adams photo.

Professor Herd commented on the New Zealand Government Foreign Policy with particular reference to the Government White Paper on Vietnam.

The Professor sought to determine the validity of the White Paper in the terms of its persuasive reasoning and on the grounds that, this reasoning by the Government had no relation to the reality of the Vietnamese situation. The aim of the White Paper, he said, was to give the New Zealand people the background to the Vietnam situation. But in these terms it was quite inadequate and should have been presented before the Government made the decision to commit New Zealand troops.

The Professor questioned whether New Zealand had the right, the duty or in fact any reason for sending combat troops to Vietnam. He also questioned whether New Zealand's action would shorten the war, or whether it would simply substantiate the South Vietnamese Governments which have a reputation for being unstable. The basic question was whether New Zealand's aims would bring the crisis nearer to a peaceful situation.

A compromise based on negotiation as well as nudging the United States into a realistic appraisal would be a more satisfactory role for New Zealand. He said that the difficulty was the USA could not face defeat and the Chinese could not face defeat in a revolutionary war. Negotiations then are inevitable and a compromise the only answer.

The compromise situation between the USA and China, he said, would probably result in a militarily neutral communist state in Vietnam. In this case the USA would have to accept a valid communist state and the Chinese would have to accept a communist state which was militarily neutral. He compared this with the situation in Europe where Communism and the West have managed to live side by side.

When questioned as to whether the USA was intruding on a civil war he said that he thought the situation had gone past the stage of civil war when both sides intruded upon each other's territory and used these actions as excuses for legitimate defence. He quoted as an example the United States bombing of North Vietnam.

When the feasibility of setting up a neutral Government was doubted on the grounds of the bitterness and wide difference between the parties, he said that sooner or later the neutralist compromise would have to come and the sooner the better because time would only increase the bitterness and the political differences.