GENERAL STAFF OF THE ARMED FORCES OF THE USSR
MAIN INTELLIGENCE DIRECTORATE [GRU]
OF THE DEPUTY CHIEF OF THE GENERAL STAFF OF THE VNA [VIETNAMESE PEOPLES ARMY] GENERAL-LIEUTENANT TRAN VAN QUANG AT THE POLITBURO MEETING OF THE TSK PTV
15 SEPTEMBER 1972
(translation from Vietnamese into Russian)
Moscow - 1972
I reported to you earlier about the situation which has developed and about the fundamental characteristics of the past stage of our people's conflict against the American imperialists. I will cover the main tasks of the people and the army of North and South Vietnam which were proposed by the 23rd Plenum of the TsK PTV.
These tasks once again confirm our resolve to attain victory. This is a very correct course for our party and people at the present stage of conflict. We have already worked out measures for achieving the resolutions of the 23rd Plenum of the TsK. We will also cover a number of the Supreme Command's and the Government Defense Council's positions, in which an evaluation of our victories gained over the period from 30 Mar 72 to the present is given.
The military situation for us is developing favorably on all fronts. A number of profound changes which took place in the military situation demanded that we develop a necessary frame of reference for solving all issues which arise during the war. Several meetings between us and the US aimed at developing measures on resolving the Vietnam issue have already taken place.
We have decisively rejected a number of proposals put forth by the American side. With assistance from a number of countries, there were to be secret meetings in Paris and in other places aimed at drawing up a solution to the Vietnam issue. Such meetings took place. They once again testified to the deranged nature of the proposals put forward by the American side. As before, we have maintained our position, the essence of which includes the following: if the US truly wants to resolve the Vietnam issue, then above all else it must refuse to support the Nguyen Van Thieu regime, and only afterwards will we engage in a discussion about a cease fire. This demand is the main tenet in our conflict against the American imperialists.
If Nixon continues adhering to his policy of "Vietnamization" of the war and desires to leave the present Saigon Government of Thieu in power, then the peace negotiations between us and the US will not yield any results.
During our general offensive on the fronts of South Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia, the progress which we have attained in implementing our strategic and tactical line [direction, orientation] was clearly evident.
Earlier, I analyzed the activity of our command, elucidated the great victories we have attained and also explained the shortcomings and mistakes that we made during the general offensive. The lessons we learned from analyzing the mistakes we made were also discussed. I stated all of this to the Politburo in order to work out a direction for solving the fundamental principal problems.
Today I will report a number of positions regarding expanding the scope of our future offensive.
We organized meetings with South Vietnamese representatives aimed at preparing a solution of the military and political issues in South Vietnam according to the Politburo's and State Defense Council's plan. These meetings have great significance for us, and we are linking several of our plans with them (South Vietnamese representatives). A number of our comrades have met with representatives of the South Vietnamese authorities, and it can be said that we have succeeded in winning their sympathy at these meetings. We were able to exchange ideas not only orally, but also in written form during these meetings and contacts. This gave us the opportunity to draw definite conclusions. Recently, we have conducted 8 similar meetings with representatives of the Saigon-authorities and South Vietnamese political figures.
First, we will cover meetings with General Ngo Dinh Dzu(1). Earlier Ngo Dinh Dzu was listed as a candidate for president of South Vietnam and fought with Nguyen Van Thieu and Nguyen Cao Ky for this post. Ngo Dinh Dzu is a prominent South Vietnamese capitalist and well-known political figure. He occupied the post of chairman of the upper chamber of the Saigon Parliament and during the Ngo Dinh Diem government, he was a senator in the upper chamber. Ngo Dinh Dzu, in his own opinion, is a nationalist.
(1) Commander of the 2nd Regional Corps of South Vietnam, General- Lieutenant (GRU's note).
He speaks against American troops on South Vietnamese territory, and also against several policy positions conducted by the Saigon authorities. At the same time, he is characterized as a reactionary, an enemy of communism. Afterwards, as Ky and Thieu attained victory in the presidential elections, the latter undertook all measures to take revenge on General Dzu. Dzu used the preelection campaign to criticize the Saigon regime and to undermine its security. He spoke against American troops on South Vietnamese territory, for which he was subjected to bitter attacks from Nguyen Van Thieu. General Dzu was forced to leave the political arena after 9 months under pressure from Thieu. Afterwards, General Dzu became an even greater enemy of Nguyen Van Thieu and his government. This is why we tried to win this person over to our side.
Despite General Dzu remaining an enemy of communism, his relations with Nguyen Van Thieu and the present Saigon factions, as well as our meetings with him have allowed him to see the nature of the Americans and the true colors of the Saigon Government.
We sent one of our comrades from the Supreme Command to Saigon for meetings with General Dzu. At the meeting, which lasted 3 hours, General Dzu agreed to enter into a future coalition government and spoke out against the policy of "Vietnamization" of the war carried out by Nixon and also against the Nguyen Van Thieu clique. During this meeting he also stated that he will fight against Nguyen Van Thieu's clique and Nixon's present designs.
Now, we see clearly how significant changes have taken place in General Dzu's life and way of thinking. He is no longer the same ardent anticommunist. Now prevailing in his views are those features such as the conflict against Nixon's policy of "Vietnamization" of the war and against Nguyen Van Thieu's clique which he considers as fascist and as expressing the interests of the financial oligarchy which is against freedom and independence. And finally, General Dzu is for the expansion of democracy and freedom over the entire territory of South Vietnam. Such are General Dzu's basic national qualities which correspond to our present course. This is why we are attempting to win General Dzu over to our side and why we entered into contact with him. After the first meeting, there were three other recent meetings during which he expressed his opinions. During these meetings, we understood what kind of major changes took place in his way of thinking and in the position he has taken and in his approach to solving the problem.
Thus, we can ascertain that these meetings and contacts with General Dzu had very good results. Recently, General Dzu requested to meet with one of the prominent leaders of the NFO [National Liberation Front) of South Vietnam. We are now busy preparing for the upcoming meeting between General Dzu and Hyuyn Tan Phat. This meeting will be conducted in secret to insure the fulfillment of our main principles as we understand that this new person is contradictory - he is among those in the Saigon Government whose number is daily growing.
The second person is Nguyen Khanh. He earlier occupied the post of prime minister for three years after the overthrow of Ngo Dinh Diem. Nguyen Khanh is a representative of the army. Earlier he served in the French Army; now he is a prominent South Vietnamese capitalist whose capital is invested in various foreign enterprises, especially in France. Nguyen Khanh is a representative of the new trend. This is why we have entered into contact with him. These contacts took place in Paris, where we have conducted 5 meetings.
Nguyen Khanh maintains constant contact with military circles in the Nguyen Van Thieu government. After being removed from his post, he left the country, but periodically returns to Saigon where he engages in political activities in the capacity of an emigre representative.
In summarizing the five meetings, we noticed in Nguyen Khanh the following: first, as regards the ruling faction he believes that Nguyen Van Thieu is a dictator and fascist who is not capable of being the head of the government. Khanh considers the present government to be rotten to the core; second, he is against the bombing of North Vietnam; third, while criticizing the Nguyen Van Thieu faction, he speaks against the participation of Saigon troops in combat actions on Cambodian territory. He believes that the Saigon Army is in danger of disintegration and that it has poor morale and combat spirit. Nguyen Khanh speaks for the establishment of a new government which would have authority with the people and which would carry out a nationalist policy, while receiving foreign aid. These are the views of Nguyen Khanh. He says nothing about his feelings toward the policy of "Vietnamization" of the war. This is explained primarily by his connections with military circles. Therefore, we are not striving to directly attract him to our side. Presently, Nguyen Khanh is maintaining connections with the current Saigon generals.
The third person is Duong Van Minh, who also represents the military circles. Previously, he occupied the post of prime minister after Nguyen Khanh, and was then sent out of the country as an ambassador. The political views of Duong Van Min' differ from the political views of Nguyen Khanh. This is first expressed in Duong Van Min' speaking out against Nixon's policy of "Vietnamization" and for the independent solution of internal problems by the Vietnamese without US interference. He believes that the US should be responsible for prolonging the Vietnamese War and for its consequences. He subjects the Vietnamese policy of Nixon to sharp criticism, as well as the policy carried out by the current Saigon Government. These are very good political views. He speaks against Thieu's clique, considering it to be pro-fascist, anti-democratic and not capable of carrying out the leadership of the country. These are the primary political views of Duong Van Min'.
As a result of these contacts with Duong Van Minh, we have attained an important victory, which has forced him to reflect. He also met with Nguyen Thi Binh several times in Paris. At these meetings, Duong Van Minh felt that, as before, he was close to the Fatherland and that he is Vietnamese. This is why he began to conduct this great work with us and with the intelligentsia and military circles located outside of the country. He did this with the aim of entering into a coalition government and in the hope of solving the Vietnamese issue on the basis of conducting consultations and negotiations between the various political factions of South Vietnam. This is Duong Van Min's desire.
The fourth person is the former emperor Bao Dai. At one time the possibility existed that the former emperor would have been behind us. But, under pressure from reactionary factions after the August revolution, he was forced to emigrate to France. As before, Bao Dai holds great influence amongst the political figures in the Quang Tri and Thua Thien Provinces and also in the city of Hue, the ancient capital of Vietnam. This is why we moved to make contact with Bao Dai. We are not hoping that Bao Dai becomes a part of the coalition government, but to attract him to our side is to attract his supporters in the regions where he has influence. As a result of the meetings conducted, we clarified that Bao Dai will come out against the presence of American troops on the territory of South Vietnam, and he also criticizes Nguyen Van Thieu's existing regime. Bao Dai is also calling for all political factions to create a free, neutral, peace-loving government that would resolve the tense situation that has taken form in the country. This is why we entered into contact with Bao Dai and are trying to win him over to our side. We hope that he, in turn, will work with his people in a plan for securing peace and freedom for our country.
The fifth person is General Nguyen Van Vi who previously occupied the post of Minister of Defense of South Vietnam. Tkhieu removed him from his post for disorder and chaos in the army's financial affairs. The real reason, however, for Nguyen Van Vils retirement was the series of serious defeats that the puppet army has suffered. From Nguyen Van Tkhieu's viewpoint, the military circles responded to this move with a specific reaction. We also had contacts with General Nguyen Van Vi which allowed us to understand his political position. He thinks that the US will certainly suffer defeat in this war and that a war in Vietnam is not the responsibility of the American Army. This is why Nguyen Van Vi is also coming out for the creation of a coalition government in order to resolve the Vietnam issue through peaceful negotiation between all of the political factions of South Vietnam.
Nguyen Van Vi is also coming out against Nixon's "Vietnamization" of the war. Such are the basic political views of General Nguyen Van Vi. We scored a great victory at the meeting with him; we received his agreement to take part in a coalition government to resolve the Vietnam issue through peaceful negotiation between all of the political factions of South Vietnam. Nguyen Van Vi also officially recognized the victories won by the National Liberation Front of South Vietnam, i.e. our victories.
As concerns our contacts within the South Vietnamese governing apparatus, it is fitting to mention here the letter from Nguyen Cao Ky addressed to us. In the letter, he lays out his views on the course to a resolution of the Vietnam problem.
I have reported to you today on the contacts with all of these people so that you would know how the Politburo's instructions to win over these people to our side is being carried out.
The strong protest from their side is a result of a growth of contradictions within Nguyen Van Tkhieu's clique and of contradictions of Nixon's "Vietnamization" of the war. We can use these contradictions to improve the situation in South Vietnam and to resolve the issue in our favor. Their agreement to enter into a coalition government will precisely go in our favor. In addition to a resolution of the issue by military means on the battlefields of South Vietnam, we have engaged in contacts with several South Vietnamese political figures, who may be able to join the ranks of a coalition government. As a result of these contacts we have gained an understanding of the political views of these people and have expressed our point of view on ways to resolve the Vietnam problem.
These contacts with people who occupy high stations, prominent military and political figures, ministers and senators of the upper and lower chambers of the Saigon parliament provide the basis for making the following conclusions:
1. They are against the present regime of Nguyen Van Tkhieu, considering that Nguyen Van Tkhieu's clique is dictatorial, pro-fascist, rotten and not capable of carrying out the leadership of the country under the present situation that has developed in South Vietnam. They also think that if the US withdraws its troops from South Vietnam and stops aiding the regime, the government would instantly collapse.
2. The majority of them are against Nixon's "Vietnamization" of the war, against the escalation of the bombing of North Vietnam, and think that Nixon does not want to resolve the Vietnam issue or the Indochina issue as a whole.
3. They consider that the National Liberation Front has recently scored enormous victories on the military, political and diplomatic fronts. They recognize that on the military front we were able to win over extensive heavily populated regions. They also recognize the National Liberation Front's great success with the strengthening of the army, the increase in its combat ability and leadership level, the improvement in cooperation between the branches of service and many other areas.
We also tried to win over to our side the category of people from the provinces and many towns who occupy less important positions in the state apparatus. It is possible to say that they are also ready to aid in the creation of a coalition government. They are also against the policy of "Vietnamization", against Nguyen Van Tkhieu's clique and want to resolve the Vietnamese issue on the basis of a cessation of war.
Thus, on the orders of the Politburo we have been preparing to conduct meetings with various categories of the South Vietnamese population, aimed at resolving the South Vietnamese issue through peaceful negotiations between all of the political factions of South Vietnam. As a result of the contacts that have taken place to win these people over to our side, conditions have presented themselves so that these people will be able to aid us in the creation of a coalition government and in the overthrow of Nguyen Van Tkhieu's dictatorial regime. We see that we have chosen the correct course. This is also clearly indicated in the resolutions of the 23rd Plenum of the Central Committee.
In other words, we should win these people over to our side, and bring them into the coalition government so that we can use them to our favor in the diplomatic and political plan. In order to create a base for the successful resolution of the issues that stand before us, we specifically want to bring into the coalition government those people who earlier worked in the South Vietnamese state apparatus and held or are holding at the present a high post in the power structure.
If we are successful in resolving these issues, we will be concluding a mammoth case on which we will again report to the Politburo so that you are well informed on these issues and have formed a plan of action for mission completion. Thanks to these meetings, we are able to know who supports us and who is against us in South Vietnam. We have also worked out a new plan for the realization of our new intentions in South Vietnam and now know which representatives of the present South Vietnamese power apparatus are in favor of the war.
The meetings and contacts which we initiated were conducted with complete equality of rights and helped us win over representatives of all strata of South Vietnamese society to our side. This is our grandest victory, won in the course of these contacts with the aim of resolving the Vietnamese issue.
Thus, thanks to these contacts we understand which part of the population considers the course we are taking to be just, i.e. we have exposed all of those who are against Nixon's politics for the prolongation of the war, against Ncmyen Van Tkhieu's clique and will join with us in the creation of a coalition government.
In addition to the military issues, this is one of the problems we are trying to resolve. We are therefore conducting these meetings and contacts directed at the resolution of political and diplomatic problems.
With the goal of realizing these aims, the Supreme Command, in conjunction with the Governmental Council of Defense, has developed directives for the army to prepare and conduct the "Ba Be" plan, which is scheduled to be executed in October. The "Ba Be" plan provides for the resolution of a number of goals. Four hundred and six individuals  were sent to execute the plan in South Vietnam. These individuals had gone through sufficient training and are well armed. Earlier, these people worked in the governing apparatus of South Vietnam. After the August revolution, during the period of the war of resistance against the French colonials, we left these people behind. They actively worked for the enemy and subsequently joined various organs of the Saigon governing apparatus. We trained and armed them well to carry out the "Ba Be" plan before they left for South Vietnam.
The basic aims of the "Ba Be" plan:
- Elimination of all people who are resistant and oppose our course and of those who occupy leadership positions at the province-district level and above; a full paralysis of the will of such people.
- Conduct of activities to carry out a disruption of the Saigon governing apparatus at the province level and below with the goal of a subsequent replacement of this apparatus with new people. We are attentively observing those people who oppose us and our decision with regards to this group must be very serious and firm. This matter has an important place in the execution of the "Ba Be" plan. We must have lists and full dossiers on these people beforehand in order to conduct the preparatory training to quickly do away with them and disrupt their routine.
- Search for and acquire materials which testify to crimes by Americans and their puppets with regard to the Vietnamese people, so that during opportune conditions, we can accuse them of committing these crimes by publishing the materials.
These are the three basic missions for the people who were dispatched for execution of the "Ba Be" plan. As for the time of completion, it is generally believed that it will be executed simultaneously with the TS-6 plan (Chyong Shon-6)(2), i.e. in the month of October. This plan must be executed well in order to influence the course of the Paris Peace talks on Vietnam as well as the development of the situation in the near future. This is very important task. Its outcome may help us make a more successful advance on the front. We need to increase the pace of development on the front to win great victories in a short span of time. Therefore, the "Ba Be" plan is already being executed and we are continuing to train people to carry it out.
(2)The TS-6 plan is a VNA plan of military action in South Vietnam with the main effort concentrated in the Hue region (GRU note).
The pace of the plan must be increased. We have to quickly move these people from North to South Vietnam in order to destroy a large quantity of enemy personnel. In other words, the elimination of all traitors, reactionaries, and counter- revolutionaries who currently make up a fairly significant part in South Vietnam is an important mission of the "Ba Be" plan.
We must attract the neutral forces to our side; those who are fighting for national independence from the USA; those forces who earlier fought against the regime of Ngo Dinh Diem and now fight against the regime of Nguyen Van Thieu. We must do everything necessary in order to successfully carry out the "Ba Be" plan.
Along with that, we must work on the demoralization of the puppet army on all fronts. Under good conditions, such work will lower the fighting spirit of the puppet army soldiers in the future and increase the number of servicemen who defect to our side. This is a basic requirement which helps us create the conditions for revolts in the puppet army. We were faced with this matter after the victory in Quang Tri.
Was there actually a collective anti-military uprising in the puppet 56th Regiment? No, in actuality it was not like that at the front. After we surrounded hill 241, the Regiment command understood the futility of further resistance and surrendered along with its soldiers. However, to increase the effect, we announced that because of good use of propaganda, there was an anti-military uprising in the 56th Regiment. This is a new form of stimulating anti-military uprisings in the puppet army.
The political views of puppet army officers captain and above are very reactionary. Previously they were officers or soldiers in the French Army. Now they are remaining in the army and speak in favor of the previous Saigon government, inciting counter-revolution and anti-nationalism. They hate the revolution. Therefore, applying propaganda amongst soldiers and especially amongst the officer corps is difficult and varied, demanding study from all sides and a creative approach in the choice of methods and means.
The brilliant results must be given their due: results which we in the propaganda organization recently achieved among the High Command staff, right up to Saigon Army generals.
We had contacts and meetings with a number of officers. For example, with General Khoang Xuan Lam, the former 1st Regional Corps Commander. He was very reactionary and spoke against our revolution. After the defeat at Quang Tri, Thieu removed him, and he began to make contact with us. At the meetings, Khoang Xuan Lam told us--if it can be said this way--a number of his views. In his opinion, the Saigon puppet army will not be able to execute missions which the plan of "Vietnamization" of the war places on the army. He believes that the revolutionary forces will achieve victory and that the puppet army will not be able to impede this. The Thieu regime is a dictatorship, is pro-fascist, and does not have the support of the people. These are some of the basic tenets expressed by General-Lieutenant Khoang Xuan Lam.
As for the closest person to the Thieu regime--General Ngo Dinh Dzu--in meetings with us, he expressed the opinion that even the 2nd Regional Corps will be lost and that the puppet army will be unable at any cost to withstand us in this region, i.e. the Tay Nguyen region. Thus, Dzu has expressed the same ideas that Khoang Xuan Lam has. He also said that the puppet army will be unable to withstand us if the Americans leave Vietnam. Ngo Dinh Dzu sees an increase in insurgency and revolution in South Vietnam, an increase in authority for the National Front for the Liberation of South Vietnam, a rise in the level of our strategic and tactical leadership as well as in the level of combat actions. Dzu understands that Nguyen Van Thieu is a bloody dictator, a fascist and that the regime he created is wholly anti-democratic.
Thus, we see that these meetings with the generals are a great victory for us and will be beneficial to us. In order to successfully manage a resolution of the issues linked to conducting propaganda work with the South Vietnamese Army generals aimed at awakening their consciousness and winning them over to our side, it is necessary to understand that the outcome of the coming battle depends upon the solution of these important issues. It is necessary to attain a clear understanding among the generals that the Thieu regime will never employ popular support and cannot exist. Such are the fundamental issues which we should resolve in the near future.
From the utterances of the generals set forth above, we see that the situation is developing in a direction favorable to us. We can bring Plan "BA BE" into being, but for this we should expand the net of communications and contacts with people who will carry out Plan "BA BE," in order to obtain from them all necessary materials. We should likewise search for ways to establish connections with officers and officials of the Saigon government. This matter occupies a significant place in the implementation of Plan "BA BE." The Supreme Command and Ministry of State Security discussed all matters related to successful implementation of this plan and levied new tasks upon the commands of the combat zones responsible for implementation of this plan. We successfully inserted and deployed our forces in all regions and are now conducting the final work in order to complete preparatory measures for this Plan by September 30th of this year. In comparison to other plans, the preparation of Plan "BA BE" is developing well. This is the first time we are implementing such a plan on the territory of South Vietnam. In the course of its realization we will acquire experience which can help us counter the designs of the enemy at the front.
The more savage the bombings and barrages of the enemy may become, the more victories we should grasp at the front, because such victories will aid realization of Plan "BA BE." We are linking great hopes to the implementation of this plan, especially in accelerating the pace at which the offensive at the front develops, of which I reported to you above. The favorable development of the situation will be a huge and significant factor in the collapse of US military designs and of the puppets at the front in South Vietnam. We must thwart the reactionary and treacherous plans of the enemy; successful carrying out of Plan "BA BE" will indeed help us to grasp new victories. These victories will have great strategic significance in implementation of Plans TS-6 and Plan S-6(3), which were topics above.
(3) Plan S-6 -- Plan for military operations in the Saigon region (footnote of the GRU)
The goal of Plan "BA BE" is introduction of division into the ranks of the enemy and lowering of his will to resist. Successful implementation of Plan "BA BE" will help us to attain successes at the Paris negotiations on Vietnam. The nearer the victory, the more clearly will appear the treacherous designs of the Nixon-Kissinger-Laird clique, and likewise those of the puppet government of Nguyen Van Thieu. Therefore implementation of Plan "BA BE" will be a great step in the resolution of many issues in the current situation. Because of this, its significance is so great.
For successful realization of this plan we should as soon as possible insert our forces, in order to begin implementation of this plan in the month of October in accordance with indicated deadlines.
In the Paris negotiations on Vietnam we have met with a series of difficulties in recent days. These difficulties are explained by the fact that Nixon being stubborn as before and is trying above all to achieve a solution of the military issue and only then to move to settlement of political issues, which will exercise great influence on the course of development of the contemporary situation in Vietnam. As a result of exchanging opinions in private meetings with Kissinger--Nixon's advisor--, we understood that Nixon as before is being stubborn on settling the situation which is developing today in Vietnam. To attain settlement we should conduct careful preparation to counter Nixon's designs. Let him understand: if he does not renounce this war, then precisely the US will suffer defeat in it. However, Nixon is being stubborn in continuing the aggressive war and maintaining the status quo. That is why we think, that with the US taking such a position, peaceful solution of the Vietnam issue is not possible. We see that the US obstinately continues aggression, while Nguyen Van Thieu as before holds to his insolent position. That is why we are resolved to carry out Plan "BA BE," the realization of which will be a turning point in the settlement of the situation at the front.
This would be our first military thrust on the front aimed at resolving the complicated political issue at the present stage. Until this, the Supreme Command had never tried working out a plan similar to the plan "Ba Be".
Over the course of six months, we prepared to execute this plan. During this time, we gathered everyone who should take part in its realization, and then conducted a thorough training of them. The intelligence directorate of the Ministry of National Defense and the Ministry of State Security conducted the training of these people. We well understand that the better the training of these people is conducted, the fewer the losses we will suffer and the faster we will be able to attain execution of this plan.
Thus, once again evaluating the plan "Ba Be", the thorough training which is now going on, and which will be realized jointly with the plan TS-6 in October, it can be said that its successful realization will assist us to attain new great victories at the Paris negotiations on Vietnam. These are very serious issues which we must devote constant attention to.
Yesterday the State Defense Council directed the Supreme Command to conduct a conference for the cadres responsible for training and carrying out this plan. At this conference, the forms, means and methods were stated, which were worked out according to the organs and confirmed at a Politburo session.
We can now say that we have achieved great successes and we are convinced that this plan will be realized. Presently, this plan is being carried out. We have already succeeded in inserting a portion of our comrades into South Vietnamese territory. We succeeded with difficulty in certain areas and for this we had to procure all possible means. In other areas, this operation was carried out more successfully, and now our people are occupying stable positions in the puppet governing apparatus.
Dear Comrades! In summing up what is stated above, it can be said that we are going in the right direction in carrying out our plans, especially the plans TS-6 and "Ba Be", and also in training for the realization of our plan S-6, the realization of which is slated for the near future.
In addition to these issues, in accordance with the instructions from the Politburo, I will also report to you today on American POWs captured on the various fronts of Indochina.
The work with American prisoners of war has always been within the field of vision of the Politburo and has been reflected in its decisions, such as decision No. 21 DST dated 23 Mar 71, and decision No. 21 E dated 4 Apr. 72. Both of these decisions concern the issues of exploiting these American POWs captured during the war. This disturbs the public opinion of the whole world and of the US. There are various thoughts on the American POW issue. Some of these are correct, others are not, but even among us there are a number of comrades whose opinions differ from the opinion of the Politburo. These comrades are not taking into consideration the particulars of the developing situation nor the inherent difficulties in their judgments. These opinions harm us in our search for methods of resolving the American POW issue.
Dear comrades! The American POW issue is very complex. The peoples of the world [world opinion] and the peoples of our fraternal socialist nations [allied popular opinion] as well as our [people] want to know the exact number of POWs located in North Vietnam. Allow me to inform you specifically on this matter. We have captured a very large number of American POWs on the fronts of Indochina since the time that the US introduced their troops into Vietnam, escalated the air war against North Vietnam, and expanded the total scope of their aggression by spreading this aggression onto the territories of Laos and Cambodia. At first, the number of American POWs was not large and world public opinion paid little attention to them. The number of American POWs in North Vietnam grew day by day after 5 Aug. 65 when the US imperialists started massive air bombing and off-shore bombardment by the 7th fleet of the territory of North Vietnam, and after having expanded their aggression onto the territories of Laos and Cambodia. The number of American POWs in the DRV has not been made public to this day. We have kept this figure secret. At today's Politburo session, I will report to you, Comrades, the exact number of American POWs.
The total number of American POWs captured to date on the fronts of Indochina, i.e. in North Vietnam, South Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia, comprises 1205 people. Of them, 671 people were captured in North Vietnam and 143 aviators [were captured] in South Vietnam. This means the total number of aviators, and diversionists [special operations] (American advisors on diversionary ships and divers), captured on the territories of North and South Vietnam comprises 814 people. In addition, from other categories of American servicemen in Indochina, we have captured 391 people, including: 283 in South Vietnam, 65 in Cambodia and 43 in Laos; 814 and 391 comprise 1205 people.
Here is more data on the 1205 POWs.
We have captured 624 American aviators in North Vietnam, to include 7 colonels, 85 lieutenant colonels, 183 majors, i.e. the total number of senior US Air Force and Navy officers comprises 275 people. The 624 American aviators include 3 astronauts, i.e. three people who have completed the necessary training for space flight, for instance, Jim Katlo, who was captured in the vicinity of Hanoi. This figure also includes 15 US Air Force aces having more than 4000 flight hours each: Norman Klarvisto, Karmet, Jim Intist Shasht and others. This is the specific data on American aviators captured in North Vietnam.
Among the other 47 prisoners captured in North Vietnam, there are 36 advisors of diversionary detachments who were inserted in the border region between the DRV and Laos; lone diversionists who were conducting reconnaissance of our main transportation routes from helicopters and reconnaissance ships; and several seamen who abandoned their ships that we damaged and whom we picked up. Therefore the figures 624 and 47 add up to 671.
In South Vietnam we have captured 143 US aircrew members, mainly helicopter aviators and some jet aviators.
Among the 391 American POWs captured in South Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia, we have 9 colonels, 19 lieutenant colonels and 52 majors. The remaining officers are captain and below, as well as American enlisted soldiers.
Thus in summary, I want to remind you again that the 1205 American POWs presently in prisons of North Vietnam include:
- 624 aviators captured in North Vietnam;
- 143 aviators captured in South Vietnam;
- 47 diversionists and other American servicemen captured in North Vietnam;
- 391 American servicemen of other categories, which includes 283 captured in South Vietnam, 65 in Cambodia, and 43 in Laos.
All of them are presently in prisons in North Vietnam. Currently we have 11 prisons where American POWs are held. We used to have 4 large prisons, however after the American attempt to free their POWs from Ha Tay [Son Tay] we expanded this number to 11. Each prison holds approximately 100 POWs.
Seven Air Force colonels captured in North Vietnam and nine colonels of various branches of service captured in South Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia (16 officers in all) are being held together; through them, we are attempting to gain an understanding of the current situation which has developed in the American Army, extract the material and information we need, and determine our position toward them.
We are also holding 104 American lieutenant colonels in one location and are attempting to extract information - secret information about troop dispositions and information concerning the US Defense Department from them.
We have 235 majors concentrated in two locations.
Thus we have dedicated special prisons for senior officers of the American Army: one for colonels, one for lieutenant colonels and two for majors. The rest of the POWs, captains and below, were placed in other prisons.
A few words about the political views and attitudes of American POWs.
There are 368 POWs who have progressive attitudes.
They understand very well that this war is unjust and unpopular on their part. They condemn the American administration and express a strong protest against this war. We will be able to release these 368 POWs first, if as a result of the struggle of the progressive peoples of the world, including the American people, a favorable international environment will develop, forcing Nixon to move toward a resolution of the political issue. We are carrying out work with this category of POWs to explain to them the aggressive nature of the war being conducted by the Nixon administration and the nature of the Nguyen Van Thieu regime, and also to make them understand the unjust character of this war which is inflicting great damage on the American people. One can assert that this group of POWs is progressive in their political views.
There are 372 of the POWs who hold neutral views. i.e. their political outlook is not fully progressive, yet not too reactionary. We plainly see that they still do not clearly understand the role of the American administration in unleashing the aggressive war in Indochina.
The remainder of the POWs hold reactionary views. In spite of the work carried on to explain to them the real state of things, they have not changed their reactionary views.
The following is a summation:
368 POWs holding progressive views can be released first.
372 POWs hold neutral positions.
465 POWs hold reactionary views.
All the POWs among the senior officers hold reactionary views, i.e. they do not condemn Nixon, they do not protest his policies, and they distort our course of action. We understand that these officers come from rich families. Their reactionary views are precisely a result of this.
We well understand that the American POW issue has great significance for the resolution of the South Vietnamese problem. We must continue propagandistic and educational work with the American POWs, leading to their understanding of the nature of the aggressive war which the US is carrying out in Vietnam, as well as the senseless obstinateness of Nixon, which only delays the release of POWs and their return to their homeland. Soon we will free several POWs in order-to put pressure on the Nixon administration, observe his reaction and the reaction of the American public, as well as to demonstrate our good intentions in this matter.
Thus, the 1205 American POWs captured on the fronts of Indochina (in North and South Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia), presently kept in prisons in North Vietnam represent a significant force in the American army, a basic part of which is made up of American aviators.
The large number of American aviators imprisoned during the time of Johnson and Nixon inflicted huge damage on the US Air Force. This should cause the US government and Nixon himself to reflect. We intend to resolve the American POW issue in the following manner:
1. The US government must demonstrate compliance, i.e. a cease fire and the removal of Nguyen Van Thieu, and then both sides can begin discussing the matter of returning POWs to the Nixon government.
2. While the American side is resolving the above-mentioned problems, we can free several more aviators from the number who are progressively inclined. Nixon should not hinder the return of these aviators to their homeland and not undertake any disciplinary measures toward them.
3. Nixon must compensate North Vietnam for the great damage inflicted on it by this destructive war.
Here then are the principles on the basis of which we may resolve the American POW issue. However, Nixon continues to resist resolving the Vietnamese question, thereby delaying the resolution of the American POW issue.
I have reported these specific figures and fundamental aspects of the American POW issue to the Politburo. But we also have these comrades who do not understand this problem correctly. It is necessary to resolve this issue taking into account settling the military and the political aspects of the Vietnamese problem. If we take a path of concession toward Americans and release POWs, then we would lose much. That is why our point of view on this issue remains the same: this issue must be resolved on the basis of military and political aspects of settlement.
Holding 1205 POWs creates certain difficulties for us, but more importantly, the loss of 1205 POWs, particularly aviators, is a great detriment to the American Army, particularly the US Air Force. At the same time, we were able to collect data about American weapons and also valuable scientific materials about the US Army, for instance, material on how to use different types of weaponry, tactical/technical characteristics of aircraft, Air Force directives, as well as materials about other types of armament of the US Army. We have been able to uncover US intentions in the international arena and on a number of other issues which are related to war in Indochina.
That is why we are convinced that our position concerning POWs has and continues to be correct. If we could successfully resolve the POW issue, then the other issues would not exert any influence on our policy toward the US. That is why we are now concentrating on the successful resolution of this problem on the collection and study of materials from interrogations of American aviators who were shot down over North Vietnam and American scientists captured in this war, particularly Air Force specialists, as well as scientists in other technical areas. Their loss is a major liability for the American Army, because in no other war have there been so many captured Americans as there are in this war of aggression.
The 1205 American POWs kept in the prisons of North Vietnam represent a large number. For now, we have officially published a list of only 368 POWs. The rest are not acknowledged. The US government is aware of this, but they do not know the exact number of POWs, or they perhaps only assume an approximate number based on their losses. Therefore in accordance with the instructions from the Politburo, we are keeping the number of POWs secret.
We continue to collect and study materials from interrogations of POWs in order to have a basis in specific circumstances to expose US designs in the Indochina war of aggression as well as in other matters. Collection and study of these materials has provided us great assistance in studying the scientific discoveries of the US, in developing methods to counter contemporary weapons, including chemical, which have inflicted great harm upon us in this war.
I reported to the Politburo several fundamental aspects related to the matter of American POWs, namely: concerning the policy we are implementing on this matter, I gave the specific number of American POWs seized in North Vietnam, South Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos.
We still have among us Comrades who think: why do we keep these POWs and not take advantage of the Nixon proposals? Do we really want to resolve this matter after all? It needs to be noted that such a point of view is profoundly mistaken. This is not political bargaining but rather a key condition and serious argument for successful resolution of the Vietnam problem. That is why the matter of the American POWs has great significance in exposing Nixon's designs in this aggressive war in Vietnam. We are completely unanimous in this matter and condemn individualistic mistaken views current among us on this matter. We firmly hold to our position -- when the American government resolves the political and military issues on all three fronts of Indochina, we will set free all American POWs. We consider this a very correct course.
I have reported the following matters to Politburo sessions: the course of our party on the general offensive conducted in South Vietnam from March 30th to the present; our errors and deficiencies in the offensive and summing up results of the offensive in South Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia; positive and negative aspects of the offensive; immediate plans of the enemy and our operations; analysis of errors permitted in strategic and tactical leadership; our contacts with political figures of South Vietnam from the Saigon regime; the matter of American POWs, captured on the three fronts of Indochina.
Today on assignment of the Supreme Command, the State Defense Council and the Military Committee of the Politburo, I reported to you on these matters so that the Politburo could study these problems, could express its opinion on them, and set forth forms and methods for their resolution. Soon the State Defense Council, together with the Supreme Command will study matters related to carrying out new operations at the front. The State Defense council assigned the Supreme Command, and the latter in turn the General Staff, to address matters related to the development of new military plans for the year 1973,. At the present time these plans are being worked out with the goal of preparing the necessary forces for their implementation. We are occupied with matters of mobilization and training of reinforcements for all three Indochinese fronts. We should mobilize 250,000 men, 200,000 of which would be sent to South Vietnam and 50,000 to Laos and Cambodia.
Summing up this report it is necessary to say that I have touched on the fundamental features of the situation which has developed in South Vietnam, on our difficulties and successes, and also on the difficulties existing for the enemy. I set out our plans and our course, and also illuminated a series of matters which the Politburo assigned to the State Defense Council and Supreme Command. At the next Politburo session, I shall set forth matters touching upon the present situation in Laos and Cambodia and views on its development.
Presently, the situation is turning out quite favorably. The peoples of South Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia have decisively frustrated the plan for "Vietnamization" of the war and identical plans being implemented in Laos and Cambodia. We hold high the invincible banner of Marxism-Leninism!
We are carrying out the precepts of Ho Chi Minh. The war of resistance against American imperialists for the salvation of the Fatherland will yet be stubborn and hard, yet we will definitely grasp victory. We will decisively frustrate the plans of Nixon or anyone who takes his place and continues the aggressive war! The course of our party is assuredly correct. Our people are heroic people. Our forces are heroic forces!
The three countries of Indochina, closely united one with another, will fight to the last drop of blood for the freedom and independence of their Fatherlands. The Vietnamese people will fully carry out its international duty toward the fraternal peoples of Laos and Cambodia!
To the current session of the Politburo I wish successful work. I have completed the presentation of the report.