Salient. Victoria University Student Newspaper. Volume 36, Number 10. 23rd May 1973
N.Z. Still Supports Nixon
N.Z. Still Supports Nixon
This week a joint delegation from the Democratic Republic of Vietnam and the Provisional Revolutionary Government of the Republic of South Vietnam should have been visiting New Zealand.
Because of statements by the Prime Minister, alleging that the P.R.G. was no more than a 'political movement', and suggesting that the P.R.G. representatives were merely puppets of the North Vietnamese, the delegation decided to decline the Committee on Vietnam's invitation to come to New Zealand.
When questioned by the press at the beginning of the month about the visit Mr Kirk said that although no application for visas had been received, only people who accepted the Government of North Vietnam or the Government of the Republic of Vietnam (the Thieu Administration) as their government could visit New Zealand.
The delegation's and the C.O.V.'s fears that Mr Kirk intended to use the visit to try to politically embarrass the P.R.G. were confirmed in a letter he wrote to Ken Stanton of Porirua on May 10. Kirk stated: "Upon enquiry we have found that members of the party, including the three Viet Cong (sic), are travelling on North Vietnamese passports.
"This confirms the Government's view that the so-called "Provisional Revolutionary Government of the Republic of South Vietnam" is not an independent government".
After the delegation decided not to come to New Zealand the Chairman and Treasurer of the C.O.V., Mike Law and Rona Bailey, and the co-editor of "Salient", Peter Franks, flew to Sydney to meet the Vietnamese. Thanks to the co-operation of A.I.C.D., the organisers of the delegation's visit to Sydney, they were able to attend all the delegation's meetings. The articles in this supplement are based on the meetings and discussions with the Vietnamese.
Mr Kirk's attitude to the delegation's visit and to the whole Indochina question is curious in the light of the Government's boasts that it is following an independent foreign policy. Despite the recognition of China and Joe Walding's trip to Peking the Labour Party has not changed it predecessor's pro-American policy towards Indochina.
Since the ceasefire Mr Kirk has echoed Nixon's policy by continuing to support Thieu in South Vietnam and Lon Nol in Cambodia. Like the Americans and Lon Nol he has called for a negotiated settlement in Cambodia, despite the fact that Lon Nol rules little more than Phnom Penh, while (he Royal Government of National Union, headed by Prince Sihanouk, controls over 90% of the territory and the great majority of the population. Kirk has repeated all the U.S. Government's wild accusations about D.R.V. and P.R.G. violations of the Peace Agreement. Occasionally he has tried to cover up his pro-American policies by 'condeming' U.S. bombing of Vietnam and Cambodia, but these attempts have not been successful.
All this suggests that Kirk's 'independent foreign policy' is just a new way of continuing Holyoake and Marshall's sub-servience to the United States Government. As the People's Voice stated on May 16: "The Labour Government is just as partisan under its guise of impartiality: It uses the old technique of appearing to find fault on both sides in order to do nothing — except carry on as usual while doing nothing to oppose aggression, tyranny and injustice."