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Salient. Victoria University Student Newspaper. Volume 37, Number 5. 3rd April 1974

Obstruction of Peace Agreement

Obstruction of Peace Agreement

Most of the political prisoners still in jail (and still being dragged into prison by the Thieu police) are neutralists, members of the Third Force in South Vietnam. Article 12 of the Peace Agreement states that the Third Force, along with the Provisional Revolutionary Government of South Vietnam and the Thieu administration, shall form a National Council of National Reconciliation and Concord. This council is meant to organise free and democratic elections throughout South Vietnam, which will be a crucial stage in determining the country's political future.

By suppressing democratic liberties in the areas of South Vietnam it still controls, and especially by imprisoning members of Third Force groups the Thieu administration is trying to prevent the implementation of the Peace Agreement.

Menras stressed that the Thieu government could not continue its policy of repression without the support of the United States government. He pointed out that the U.S. is financing 80% of the Thieu administration's budget, providing $15,217,000 to run the Saigon prison system and to train the Thieu police (according to a June 1973 estimate by Senator Edward Kennedy) and providing millions of dollars of Military 'aid' (see box).

Some people try to explain away the repression in South Vietnam by saying that Asians are naturally cruel. But who taught them the techniques of torture, asked Menras—and he answered that it was the American government, the Japanese who occupied Vietnam during World War II, and the French who colonised the country. He mentioned that Chi Hoa gaol in Saigon where he was imprisoned was mainly built by the French and completed by the Japanese.