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Một Sự Thật Không Thể Chối Cãi - Gửi Nhơn Nguyễn Đọc Để Mở Mắt

From Ri Nguyen on 2022-05-27 04:38

Gửi Nhơn Nguyễn Đọc Để Mở Mắt - Một Sự Thật Không Thể Chối Cãi

Xin giới thiệu:
Vài tài liệu ngắn gọn dưới đây chỉ rõ Mỹ-Vatican đẻ ra chính phủ bù nhìn thiên chúa giáo Ngô Đình Diệm như thế nào và đâu là nguyên nhân chia cắt việt nam, chính phủ thiên chúa giáo Ngô Đình Diệm gian manh tiêu diệt phật giáo ra sao, hai mươi năm chiến tranh.

Ngô Đình Diệm:
gia đình - tam đại việt gian

(Thư Ngô Đình Thục Gửi Đô Đốc Jean Decoux, Toàn Quyền Đông Dương – ngô đình thục anh của Ngô Đình Diệm kể thành tích gia đình làm chó má cho giặc pháp.



Ảnh http://dcvonline.net/2013/05/21/vu-ngu-chieu-nhung-nghien-cuu-lich-su-lien-quan-den-ho-chi-minh/

Điều cần biết:
Người Mỹ đã nhìn thấy Ngô Đình Diệm là kẻ bất tài – độc tài không được lòng dân ngay từ năm 1954-1955 và đã muốn thay thế Diệm.

Tác gỉa Elizabeth Becker viết trong bài "Những bí mật và sự dối trá của Chiến tranh Việt Nam, được phơi bày - The Secrets and Lies of the Vietnam War, Exposed in One Epic Document". Đính kèm.- Fri, June 11, 2021, 1:42 PM·9 min read


"Niềm tin vào lý thuyết domino này mạnh mẽ đến mức Hoa Kỳ đã đoạn tuyệt với các đồng minh châu Âu và từ chối ký Hiệp định Genève 1954 kết thúc chiến tranh với Pháp. Thay vào đó, Hoa Kỳ tiếp tục cuộc chiến, ủng hộ hết mình cho Ngô Đình Diệm, nhà lãnh đạo độc tài, chống Cộng của miền Nam Việt Nam.

Tướng J. Lawton Collins khi là đại diện đặc biệt của Hoa Kỳ tại Việt Nam với cấp bậc Đại sứ, 1954-1955 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/J._Lawton_Collins, đã cảnh báo tổng thống Eisenhower rằng Diệm là một nhà lãnh đạo không được lòng dân và không có khả năng và nên được thay thế. Nếu không, Collins viết, "Tôi đề nghị nên đánh giá lại các kế hoạch hỗ trợ Đông Nam Á của chúng ta."

Thứ 78-Ngô Đình Diệm trong 100 TÊN BẠO CHÚA độc ác nhất trong lịch sử nhân loại.


Phát biểu của Thượng nghị sĩ John F. Kennedy tại Buổi Tiệc trưa về Việt Nam ở khách sạn Willard, Washington, D.C., ngày 1 tháng 6 năm 1956

John F. Kennedy Speeches
Remarks of Senator John F. Kennedy at the Conference on Vietnam Luncheon in the Hotel Willard, Washington, D.C., June 1, 1956
(Attachment 1)

2. Những bí mật và sự dối trá của Chiến tranh Việt Nam, được phơi bày

The Secrets and Lies of the Vietnam War, Exposed in One Epic Document
(Elizabeth Becker)
Fri, June 11, 2021, 1:42 PM·9 min read
Robert McNamara
(Attachment 2)

3. Giáo hoàng Paul VI và Tổng thống Lyndon Johnson trong Chiến tranh Việt Nam

Pope Paul VI and President Lyndon Johnson during the Vietnam War
https://www.patheos.com/blogs/... pope-paul-vi-and-president-lyndon-johnson-during-the-vietnam-war.html
(Attachment 3)

4. Vietnam Tại Sao Chúng Ta Tới Đó? Câu chuyện gây sốc về vai trò của "Giáo hội" Công giáo trong việc khởi động chiến tranh Việt Nam.

Vietnam Why Did We Go? The shocking Story of the Catholic "Church's" Role in Starting the Vietnam War
Paperback – June 1, 1984
by Avro Manhattan (Author)
(Xem https://sachhiem.net/SACHNGOAI/Ydidwego.php)


1.Remarks of Senator John F. Kennedy at the Conference on Vietnam Luncheon in the Hotel Willard, Washington, D.C., June 1, 1956
This is a redaction of this speech made for the convenience of readers and researchers. Two copies of the speech exist in the Senate Speech file of the John F. Kennedy Pre-Presidential Papers here at the John F. Kennedy Library. One copy is a draft with handwritten notations and the second copy is a press release. The redaction is based on the press release. Page images of the draft and press release are available.

It is a genuine pleasure to be here today at this vital Conference on the future of Vietnam, and America's stake in that new nation, sponsored by the American Friends of Vietnam, an organization of which I am proud to be a member. Your meeting today at a time when political events concerning Vietnam are approaching a climax, both in that country and in our own Congress, is most timely. Your topic and deliberations, which emphasize the promise of the future more than the failures of the past, are most constructive. I can assure you that the Congress of the United States will give considerable weight to your findings and recommendations; and I extend to all of you who have made the effort to participate in this Conference my congratulations and best wishes.

It is an ironic and tragic fact that this Conference is being held at a time when the news about Vietnam has virtually disappeared from the front pages of the American press, and the American people have all but forgotten the tiny nation for which we are in large measure responsible. This decline in public attention is due, I believe, to three factors: (1) First, it is due in part to the amazing success of President Diem in meeting firmly and with determination the major political and economic crises which had heretofore continually plagued Vietnam. (I shall say more about this point later, for it deserves more consideration from all Americans interested in the future of Asia).

(2) Secondly, it is due in part to the traditional role of American journalism, including readers as well as writers, to be more interested in crises than in accomplishments, to give more space to the threat of wars than the need for works, and to write larger headlines on the sensational omissions of the past than the creative missions of the future.

(3) Third and finally, our neglect of Vietnam is the result of one of the most serious weaknesses that has hampered the long-range effectiveness of American foreign policy over the past several years - and that is the over emphasis upon our role as "volunteer fire department" for the world. Whenever and wherever fire breaks out - in Indo-China, in the Middle East, in Guatemala, in Cyprus, in the Formosan Straits - our firemen rush in, wheeling up all their heavy equipment, and resorting to every known method of containing and extinguishing the blaze. The crowd gathers - the usually successful efforts of our able volunteers are heartily applauded - and then the firemen rush off to the next conflagration, leaving the grateful but still stunned inhabitants to clean up the rubble, pick up the pieces and rebuild their homes with whatever resources are available.

The role, to be sure, is a necessary one; but it is not the only role to be played, and the others cannot be ignored. A volunteer fire department halts, but rarely prevents, fires. It repels but rarely rebuilds; it meets the problems of the present but not of the future. And while we are devoting our attention to the Communist arson in Korea, there is smoldering in Indo-China; we turn our efforts to Indo-China until the alarm sounds in Algeria - and so it goes.

Of course Vietnam is not completely forgotten by our policy-makers today - I could not in honesty make such a charge and the facts would easily refute it - but the unfortunate truth of the matter is that, in my opinion, Vietnam would in all likelihood be receiving more attention from our Congress and Administration, and greater assistance under our aid programs, if it were in imminent danger of Communist invasion or revolution. Like those peoples of Latin America and Africa whom we have very nearly overlooked in the past decade, the Vietnamese may find that their devotion to the cause of democracy, and their success in reducing the strength of local Communist groups, have had the ironic effect of reducing American support. Yet the need for that support has in no way been reduced. (I hope it will not be necessary for the Diem Government - or this organization - to subsidize the growth of the South Vietnam Communist Party in order to focus American attention on that nation's critical needs!)

No one contends that we should now rush all our firefighting equipment to Vietnam, ignoring the Middle East or any other part of the world. But neither should we conclude that the cessation of hostilities in Indo-China removed that area from the list of important areas of United States foreign policy. Let us briefly consider exactly what is "America's Stake in Vietnam":

(1) First, Vietnam represents the cornerstone of the Free World in Southeast Asia, the keystone to the arch, the finger in the dike. Burma, Thailand, India, Japan, the Philippines and obviously Laos and Cambodia are among those whose security would be threatened if the Red Tide of Communism overflowed into Vietnam. In the past, our policy-makers have sometimes issued contradictory statements on this point - but the long history of Chinese invasions of Southeast Asia being stopped by Vietnamese warriors should have removed all doubt on this subject.

Moreover, the independence of a Free Vietnam is crucial to the free world in fields other than the military. Her economy is essential to the economy of Southeast Asia; and her political liberty is an inspiration to those seeking to obtain or maintain their liberty in all parts of Asia - and indeed the world. The fundamental tenets of this nation's foreign policy, in short, depend in considerable measure upon a strong and free Vietnamese nation.

(2) Secondly, Vietnam represents a proving ground of democracy in Asia. However we may choose to ignore it or deprecate it, the rising prestige and influence of Communist China in Asia are unchallengable facts. Vietnam represents the alternative to Communist dictatorship. If this democratic experiment fails, if some one million refugees have fled the totalitarianism of the North only to find neither freedom nor security in the South, then weakness, not strength, will characterize the meaning of democracy in the minds of still more Asians. The United States is directly responsible for this experiment - it is playing an important role in the laboratory where it is being conducted. We cannot afford to permit that experiment to fail.

(3) Third and in somewhat similar fashion, Vietnam represents a test of American responsibility and determination in Asia. If we are not the parents of little Vietnam, then surely we are the godparents. We presided at its birth, we gave assistance to its life, we have helped to shape its future. As French influence in the political, economic and military spheres has declined in Vietnam, American influence has steadily grown. This is our offspring - we cannot abandon it, we cannot ignore its needs. And if it falls victim to any of the perils that threaten its existence - Communism, political anarchy, poverty and the rest - then the United States, with some justification, will be held responsible; and our prestige in Asia will sink to a new low.

(4) Fourth and finally, America's stake in Vietnam, in her strength and in her security, is a very selfish one - for it can be measured, in the last analysis, in terms of American lives and American dollars. It is now well known that we were at one time on the brink of war in Indo-china - a war which could well have been more costly, more exhausting and less conclusive than any war we have ever known. The threat to such war is not now altogether removed form the horizon. Military weakness, political instability or economic failure in the new state of Vietnam could change almost overnight the apparent security which has increasingly characterized that area under the leadership of Premier Diem. And the key position of Vietnam in Southeast Asia, as already discussed, makes inevitable the involvement of this nation's security in any new outbreak of trouble.

It is these four points, in my opinion, that represent America's stake in Vietnamese security. And before we look to the future, let us stop to review what the Diem Government has already accomplished by way of increasing that security. Most striking of all, perhaps, has been the rehabilitation of more than ¾ of a million refugees from the North. For these courageous people dedicated to the free way of life, approximately 45,000 houses have been constructed, 2,500 wells dug, 100 schools established and dozens of medical centers and maternity homes provided.

Equally impressive has been the increased solidarity and stability of the Government, the elimination of rebellious sects and the taking of the first vital steps toward true democracy. Where once colonialism and Communism struggled for supremacy, a free and independent republic has been proclaimed, recognized by over 40 countries of the free world. Where once a playboy emperor ruled from a distant shore, a constituent assembly has been elected.

Social and economic reforms have likewise been remarkable. The living conditions of the peasants have been vastly improved, the wastelands have been cultivated, and a wider ownership of the land is gradually being encouraged. Farm cooperatives and farmer loans have modernized an outmoded agricultural economy; and a tremendous dam in the center of the country has made possible the irrigation of a vast area previously uncultivated. Legislation for better labor relations, health protection, working conditions and wages has been completed under the leadership of President Diem.

Finally, the Vietnamese army - now fighting for its own homeland and not its colonial masters - has increased tremendously in both quality and quantity. General O'Daniel can tell you more about these accomplishments.

But the responsibility of the United States for Vietnam does not conclude, obviously, with a review of what has been accomplished thus far with our help. Much more needs to be done; much more, in fact, than we have been doing up to now. Military alliances in Southeast Asia are necessary but not enough. Atomic superiority and the development of new ultimate weapons are not enough. Informational and propaganda activities, warning of the evils of Communism and the blessings of the American way of life, are not enough in a country where concepts of free enterprise and capitalism are meaningless, where poverty and hunger are not enemies across the 17th parallel but enemies within their midst. As Ambassador Chuong has recently said: "People cannot be expected to fight for the Free World unless they have their own freedom to defend, their freedom from foreign domination as well ass freedom from misery, oppression, corruption."

I shall not attempt to set forth the details of the type of aid program this nation should offer the Vietnamese - for it is not the details of that program that are as important as the spirit with which it is offered and the objectives it seeks to accomplish. We should not attempt to buy the friendship of the Vietnamese. Nor can we win their hearts by making them dependent upon our handouts. What we must offer them is a revolution - a political, economic and social revolution far superior to anything the Communists can offer - far more peaceful, far more democratic and far more locally controlled. Such a Revolution will require much from the United States and much from Vietnam. We must supply capital to replace that drained by the centuries of colonial exploitation; technicians to train those handicapped by deliberate policies of illiteracy; guidance to assist a nation taking those first feeble steps toward the complexities of a republican form of government. We must assist the inspiring growth of Vietnamese democracy and economy, including the complete integration of those refugees who gave up their homes and their belongings to seek freedom. We must provide military assistance to rebuild the new Vietnamese Army, which every day faces the growing peril of Vietminh Armies across the border.

And finally, in the councils of the world, we must never permit any diplomatic action adverse to this, one of the youngest members of the family of nations - and I include in that injunction a plea that the United States never give its approval to the early nationwide elections called for by the Geneva Agreement of 1954. Neither the United States nor Free Vietnam was a party to that agreement - and neither the United States nor Free Vietnam is ever going to be a party to an election obviously stacked and subverted in advance, urged upon us by those who have already broken their own pledges under the Agreement they now seek to enforce.

All this and more we can offer Free Vietnam, as it passes through the present period of transition on its way to a new era - an era of pride and independence, and era of democratic and economic growth - an ear which, when contrasted with the long years of colonial oppression, will truly represent a political, social and economic revolution.

This is the revolution we can, we should, we must offer to the people of Vietnam - not as charity, not as a business proposition, not as a political maneuver, nor simply to enlist them as soldiers against Communism or as chattels of American foreign policy - but a revolution of their own making, for their own welfare, and for the security of freedom everywhere. The Communists offer them another kind of revolution, glittering and seductive in its superficial appeal. The choice between the two can be made only by the Vietnamese people themselves. But in these times of trial and burden, true friendships stand out. As Premier Diem recently wrote a great friend of Vietnam, Senator Mansfield, "It is only in winter that you can tell which trees are evergreen." And I am confident that if this nation demonstrates that it has not forgotten the people of Vietnam, the people of Vietnam will demonstrate that they have not forgotten us.

Những bí mật và sự dối trá của Chiến tranh Việt Nam, được phơi bày
Daniel Ellsberg and Patricia Marx, his wife, center, at the Watergate hearings in Washington in 1973. (Mike Lien/The New York Times)

Brandishing a captured Chinese machine gun, Secretary of Defense Robert S. McNamara appeared at a televised news conference in the spring of 1965. The United States had just sent its first combat troops to South Vietnam, and the new push, he boasted, was further wearing down the beleaguered Viet Cong.

"In the past 4 1/2 years, the Viet Cong, the Communists, have lost 89,000 men," he said. "You can see the heavy drain."

That was a lie. From confidential reports, McNamara knew the situation was "bad and deteriorating" in the South. "The VC have the initiative," the information said. "Defeatism is gaining among the rural population, somewhat in the cities, and even among the soldiers."

Lies like McNamara's were the rule, not the exception, throughout America's involvement in Vietnam. The lies were repeated to the public, to Congress, in closed-door hearings, in speeches and to the press. The real story might have remained unknown if, in 1967, McNamara had not commissioned a secret history based on classified documents — which came to be known as the Pentagon Papers.

By then, he knew that even with nearly 500,000 U.S. troops in theater, the war was at a stalemate. He created a research team to assemble and analyze Defense Department decision-making dating back to 1945. This was either quixotic or arrogant. As secretary of defense under Presidents John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson, McNamara was an architect of the war and implicated in the lies that were the bedrock of U.S. policy.

Daniel Ellsberg, an analyst on the study, eventually leaked portions of the report to The New York Times, which published excerpts in 1971. The revelations in the Pentagon Papers infuriated a country sick of the war, the body bags of young Americans, the photographs of Vietnamese civilians fleeing U.S. air attacks and the endless protests and counterprotests that were dividing the country as nothing had since the Civil War.

The lies revealed in the papers were of a generational scale, and, for much of the American public, this grand deception seeded a suspicion of government that is even more widespread today.

Officially titled "Report of the Office of the Secretary of Defense Vietnam Task Force," the papers filled 47 volumes, covering the administrations of President Franklin D. Roosevelt to Johnson. Their 7,000 pages chronicled, in cold, bureaucratic language, how the United States got itself mired in a long, costly war in a small Southeast Asian country of questionable strategic importance.

They are an essential record of the first war the United States lost. For modern historians, they foreshadow the mindset and miscalculations that led the United States to fight the "forever wars" of Iraq and Afghanistan.

The original sin was the decision to support the French rulers in Vietnam. President Harry S. Truman subsidized their effort to take back their Indochina colonies. The Vietnamese nationalists were winning their fight for independence under the leadership of Ho Chi Minh, a Communist. Ho had worked with the United States against Japan in World War II, but, in the Cold War, Washington recast him as the stalking horse for Soviet expansionism.

U.S. intelligence officers in the field said that was not the case, that they had found no evidence of a Soviet plot to take over Vietnam, much less Southeast Asia. As one State Department memo put it, "If there is a Moscow-directed conspiracy in Southeast Asia, Indochina is an anomaly."

But with an eye on China, where the Communist Mao Zedong had won the civil war, President Dwight D. Eisenhower said defeating Vietnam's Communists was essential "to block further Communist expansion in Asia." If Vietnam became Communist, then the countries of Southeast Asia would fall like dominoes.

This belief in this domino theory was so strong that the United States broke with its European allies and refused to sign the 1954 Geneva Accords ending the French war. Instead, the United States continued the fight, giving full backing to Ngo Dinh Diem, the autocratic, anti-Communist leader of South Vietnam. Gen. J. Lawton Collins wrote from Vietnam, warning Eisenhower that Diem was an unpopular and incapable leader and should be replaced. If he was not, Collins wrote, "I recommend re-evaluation of our plans for assisting Southeast Asia."

(Thay vào đó, Hoa Kỳ tiếp tục cuộc chiến, ủng hộ hết mình cho Ngô Đình Diệm, nhà lãnh đạo độc tài, chống Cộng của miền Nam Việt Nam. Tướng J. Lawton Collins viết từ Việt Nam, cảnh báo Eisenhower rằng Diệm là một nhà lãnh đạo không được lòng dân và không có khả năng và nên được thay thế. Nếu không, Collins viết, "Tôi đề nghị nên đánh giá lại các kế hoạch hỗ trợ Đông Nam Á của chúng ta.")

Secretary of State John Foster Dulles disagreed, writing in a cable included in the Pentagon Papers, "We have no other choice but continue our aid to Vietnam and support of Diem."

Nine years and billions of American dollars later, Diem was still in power, and it fell to Kennedy to solve the long-predicted problem.

After facing down the Soviet Union in the Berlin crisis, Kennedy wanted to avoid any sign of Cold War fatigue and easily accepted McNamara's counsel to deepen the U.S. commitment to Saigon. The secretary of defense wrote in one report, "The loss of South Vietnam would make pointless any further discussion about the importance of Southeast Asia to the Free World."

The president increased U.S. military advisers tenfold and introduced helicopter missions. In return for the support, Kennedy wanted Diem to make democratic reforms. Diem refused.

A popular uprising in South Vietnam, led by Buddhist clerics, followed. Fearful of losing power as well, South Vietnamese generals secretly received American approval to overthrow Diem. Despite official denials, U.S. officials were deeply involved.

"Beginning in August of 1963, we variously authorized, sanctioned and encouraged the coup efforts ...," the Pentagon Papers revealed. "We maintained clandestine contact with them throughout the planning and execution of the coup and sought to review their operational plans."

Tạm dịch đoạn trên:

"Bắt đầu từ tháng 8 năm 1963, chúng ta đã cho phép, phê chuẩn và khuyến khích các nỗ lực đảo chính...", Văn bản của Lầu Năm Góc tiết lộ. "Chúng ta duy trì liên lạc bí mật với họ trong suốt quá trình lập kế hoạch và thực hiện cuộc đảo chính và tìm cách xem xét các kế hoạch hoạt động của họ."

The coup ended with Diem's killing and a deepening of American involvement in the war. As the authors of the papers concluded, "Our complicity in his overthrow heightened our responsibilities and our commitment."

Three weeks later, Kennedy was assassinated, and the Vietnam issue fell to Johnson.

He had officials secretly draft a resolution for Congress to grant him the authority to fight in Vietnam without officially declaring war.

Missing was a pretext, a small-bore "Pearl Harbor" moment. That came Aug. 4, 1964, when the White House announced that the North Vietnamese had attacked the USS Maddox in international waters in the Gulf of Tonkin. This "attack," though, was anything but unprovoked aggression. Gen. William C. Westmoreland, the head of U.S. forces in Vietnam, had commanded the South Vietnamese military while they staged clandestine raids on North Vietnamese islands. North Vietnamese PT boats fought back and had "mistaken Maddox for a South Vietnamese escort vessel," according to a report. (Later investigations showed the attack never happened.)

Testifying before the Senate, McNamara lied, denying any American involvement in the Tonkin Gulf attacks: "Our Navy played absolutely no part in, was not associated with, was not aware of any South Vietnamese actions, if there were any."

Three days after the announcement of the "incident," the administration persuaded Congress to pass the Tonkin Gulf Resolution to approve and support "the determination of the president, as commander in chief, to take all necessary measures to repel any armed attack against the forces of the United States and to prevent further aggression" — an expansion of the presidential power to wage war that is still used regularly. Johnson won the 1964 election in a landslide.

Seven months later, he sent combat troops to Vietnam without declaring war, a decision clad in lies. The initial deployment of 20,000 troops was described as "military support forces" under a "change of mission" to "permit their more active use" in Vietnam. Nothing new.

As the Pentagon Papers later showed, the Defense Department also revised its war aims: "70 percent to avoid a humiliating U.S. defeat ... 20 percent to keep South Vietnam (and then adjacent) territory from Chinese hands, 10 percent to permit the people of South Vietnam to enjoy a better, freer way of life."

Westmoreland considered the initial troop deployment a stopgap measure and requested 100,000 more. McNamara agreed. On July 20, 1965, he wrote in a memo that even though "the U.S. killed-in-action might be in the vicinity of 500 a month by the end of the year," the general's overall strategy was "likely to bring about a success in Vietnam."

As the Pentagon Papers later put it, "Never again while he was secretary of defense would McNamara make so optimistic a statement about Vietnam — except in public."

Fully disillusioned at last, McNamara argued in a 1967 memo to the president that more of the same — more troops, more bombing — would not win the war. In an about-face, he suggested that the United States declare victory and slowly withdraw.

And in a rare acknowledgment of the suffering of the Vietnamese people, he wrote, "The picture of the world's greatest superpower killing or seriously injuring 1,000 noncombatants a week, while trying to pound a tiny backward nation into submission on an issue whose merits are hotly disputed, is not a pretty one."

Johnson was furious and soon approved increasing the U.S. troop commitment to nearly 550,000. By year's end, he had forced McNamara to resign, but the defense secretary had already commissioned the Pentagon Papers.

In 1968, Johnson announced that he would not run for reelection; Vietnam had become his Waterloo. Nixon won the White House on the promise to bring peace to Vietnam. Instead, he expanded the war by invading Cambodia, which convinced Daniel Ellsberg that he had to leak the secret history.

After The New York Times began publishing the Pentagon Papers on Sunday, June 13, 1971, the nation was stunned. The response ranged from horror to anger to disbelief. There was furor over the betrayal of national secrets. Opponents of the war felt vindicated. Veterans, especially those who had served multiple tours in Vietnam, were pained to discover that U.S. officials knew the war had been a failed proposition nearly from the beginning.

Convinced that Ellsberg posed a threat to Nixon's reelection campaign, the White House approved an illegal break-in at the Beverly Hills, California, office of Ellsberg's psychiatrist, hoping to find embarrassing confessions on file. The burglars — known as the Plumbers — found nothing, and got away undetected. The following June, when another such crew broke into the Democratic National Committee Headquarters in the Watergate complex in Washington, they were caught.

The North Vietnamese mounted a final offensive, captured Saigon and won the war in April 1975. Three years later, Vietnam invaded Cambodia — another Communist country — and overthrew the genocidal Khmer Rouge regime. That was the sole country Communist Vietnam ever invaded, forever undercutting the domino theory — the war's foundational lie.

This article originally appeared in The New York Times.

Pope Paul VI and President Lyndon Johnson during the Vietnam War

This is a paper I wrote six years ago on the relationship between Pope Paul VI and President Lyndon Johnson that developed over issues regarding the Vietnam War. This post is long, but I hope you find it interesting. I have placed the footnotes at the end of the paper, for a full bibliography contact me. If you found the article useful, please leave me a comment telling me what you thought and what you're working on, it'd be interesting for me. I'd appreciate it!


At the beginning of the anti-communist involvement of the United States in Vietnam, the Untied States did not have formal diplomatic relations with the Vatican, yet this lack did not impede President Lyndon Johnson from purusing Pope Paul VI for help to resolve the conflict. Johnson considered Paul VI a strong ally because the Catholic Church was a fervent enemy of communism as indicated by Pope Leo XIII's late 19th century encyclical Rerum Novarum (1891), and was a persistent voice calling for peace in the world evidenced in John XXIII's Pacem in Terris (1963). In addition, Johnson found the Pope's international relations with communist countries instrumental to finding an honorable end to the ongoing war. Despite the Church's support of the United States' intentions, it did not agree with its bombings over North Vietnam, creating tension between their leaders. The nations' contact peaked on December 23, 1967 when Johnson made a quick visit to the Vatican to implore Paul for help. Four months later in 1968, the Vatican proved influential in bringing Hanoi to Paris to begin peace negotiations. (1)

Pope Leo XIII denounced socialist states in his 1891 encyclical Rerum Novarum. In the encyclical, Leo XIII systematically proved socialism and communism contrary to human nature and proposed instead a state of duties between classes based upon Christian charity. He argued that these governments deprived man of the natural right to be rewarded for his labor especially through the ownership of private property. He asserted that socialism replaced the authority of the father in the family, which is the smallest societal entity, with the state, thus destroying the fundamental piece that kept families together. Socialism hurt those it claimed to aid by allowing power-hungry men to rise to power from where they could exploit the working class.

The Pope continued by proposing a state constructed by mutual agreements between the working and owning classes. The classes should respond towards each other through certain duties while always recognizing the dignity of each individual. The state should concern itself with the affairs of the rich and poor alike while avoiding greed and envy. Leo called for the creation of workingmen unions where members would help each other through Christian brotherhood and charity. These unions would strive to satisfy the material and spiritual needs of its members. Leo held his proposal would serve to fight social evils from industrialization, re-establish Christian morals, and bring about state laws in accordance with God's eternal law. (2) The contents of the encyclical paralleled American policy towards communist nations in the 1960s. The stance of the Catholic Church on communism at the outbreak of the conflict in Vietnam was clear since the Church had openly condemned it. Johnson expected Paul VI's support against communism now that they shared a common enemy.

In Pacem in Terris, Pope John XXIII described the new order of the world of 1963 in the midst of the Cold War between the Soviet Union and the United States. John harkened back to Leo's emphasis on the dignity of every individual by stating that each human being had rights and duties that protected him and bound him to other people and to the state. Based on these rights and duties, John constructed a structure for society that reflected human nature and recognized the importance of peace. John praised the world in three specific socio-political advances, suggested three initiatives for every nation of the world that applied primarily to communist nations, and condemned Cold War policies the Soviet Union and the United States practiced.

The Pope pointed out with satisfaction that the economic and social conditions of working men across the world had improved. Along with this improvement, the role of women in politics had increased. Lastly, as European empires crumbled in Africa and Asia, he commended the growing number of nations that were becoming independent and were no longer subject to foreign powers. Next, without accusing communist nations explicitly, he called for every nation to write down and to incorporate fundamental human rights into its constitution. Communist nations neglected the dignity of each individual using their citizens as tools of the state, thus this initiative may have been specifically intended for communist states. Following this, he requested each nation to have a constitution establishing a planned juridical order. Finally, he encouraged nations to use the terms rights and duties to articulate the relationship between the state and its members. After calling for unity among races and aid for political refugees across the world, he requested the Soviet Union and the United States to reduce their stock-piling of armaments, to ban nuclear weapons, and to act in accordance to reason, not force. John XXIII believed that if nations followed these points, wars and fears would cease and the peace all men long for would reign. He believed that the founding of the United Nations was a good sign of the world moving in this direction and that little by little, the peace God wills for all mankind would be achieved.(3) John's idealistic desire to achieve peace on Earth corresponded to Johnson's yearning to end the conflict in Vietnam. Johnson wanted to find a peaceful resolution to Vietnam by the end of his presidency, and he trusted Paul VI would aid him in achieving it.

The opening of the Catholic Church towards the communist world after the Second Vatican Council (1962-1965) surprised the United States' State Department, which until then had considered the Catholic Church an adamant antagonist to communism and now worried that the Church was becoming sympathetic to communist ideals. The Catholic Church supported nationalistic independence movements in Africa, appointed native African and Asian bishops and cardinals, maintained links with the Catholic hierarchy, activists, and organizations in communist states, dialogued with the Orthodox Churches in communist Eastern Europe, and in January 1969 suggested it longed to initiate contact with Communist China. The Church was criticized by the United States for maintaining connections with North Vietnam through humanitarian and refugee assistance. The Church replied undisturbed by the criticism that as long as Catholics were present in North Vietnam, it had a responsibility to provide for them.(4) President Johnson, unlike some members of the government, realized that the Vatican did not pose a threat by opening communications with communist states, but rather became an asset for the United States. The Vatican could be used as a diplomatic mediator. As evidenced through Johnson's 1967 meeting with Paul VI, which will be recounted shortly, he believed that the Vatican had the ability to communicate with those he could not and hopefully bring them to the bargaining table.

President Johnson and Pope Paul VI met for the first time on October 4, 1965 at the Woldorf-Astoria of New York City. At this brief and cordial meeting, Paul VI congratulated Johnson for his focus on educating children and his concern for the poor.(5) Paul had traveled to New York to address the United Nations where he distanced himself from the ever-growing polarization the Cold War was causing in the world. He wished to defend world peace and social justice without advocating one particular side of the Cold War. His unwillingness to identify with one particular faction and to seek peace independently from them explains his ability to maintain diplomatic relations with communist nations, including North Vietnam, praise the United States' intentions to save Vietnam from a communist takeover and openly criticize the bombings of the United States over North Vietnam.(6)

In his effort to bring about world peace, Paul VI attempted to bring Hanoi to the bargaining table in 1966. Paul used an Italian Communist delegation to Vietnam to contact Ho Chi Minh on November 29, 1966. The Vatican requested Ho Chi Minh to allow relief teams and supplies to enter North Vietnam and offered him the Vatican as a location for peace talks with the United States. His response was initially positive, but Ho dismissed the possibility of talking when on December 13 the United States began bombing Hanoi indiscriminately. A frustrated Paul continued to dialogue in vain with North Vietnam. He maintained this peace-seeking dialogue despite the lack of an American diplomat in the Vatican to explain Johnson's intentions and plans in Vietnam.(7)

Vice-President Hubert Humphrey paid Paul a visit in April 1967 where Paul expressed mixed feelings over Johnson's actions in Vietnam. He believed that the bombings over the North eroded the moral position of the United States and they seemed ineffective since North Vietnam continued to be unwilling to negotiate for peace. He recommended that the United States downplay its role in the war allowing South Vietnam to speak for itself. He believed many European nations saw the United States as the aggressor, yet he understood this was not true. Paul recommended that the United States find support from the international community so more pressure could be placed on Hanoi. Despite policy disagreements, Humphrey assured the State Department that "we have a friend here, but, more importantly, I am positive that he is a great man – not only brilliant but compassionate, and one who has a broad knowledge of the forces at work in the world today."(8)

It was in this tense yet cordial atmosphere that Johnson unexpectedly visited Pope Paul VI on December 27, 1967 as he returned to the Untied States from Vietnam. Johnson's urgency to speak with the Pope spurred him to fly by helicopter from Rome's airport directly to the Vatican avoiding Italian government leaders who would have delayed him with formal ceremonies. Johnson did not have time for Italian officials, but did have it for Paul VI. This displays Johnson's great confidence that the Vatican could aid him in Vietnam.(9)

During this climactic visit, Johnson persistently and stubbornly sought the Pope's assistance in two issues. First, he wished Paul to address the South Vietnamese directly or indirectly to assure the defeat of the communist National Liberation Front at the polls in order to maintain a communist-free South Vietnam. Second, he petitioned Paul to send a delegation to inspect prisoner-of-war camps in both North and South Vietnam to report on the condition of the prisoners. Johnson was worried about the possible inhumane treatment of United States' prisoners in North Vietnam. Johnson implored Paul for help, yet the Pope responded by condemning the bombings over North Vietnam, which he believed decreased the United States' moral credibility. The Pope called for immediate peace and encouraged Johnson to improve the reputation of the United States in the world. Paul VI did not agree to aid the United States immediately; rather he was cautious and brought forth three points. Paul had links to Moscow and knew through Soviet diplomats that the Soviet Union did not intend to stop its efforts in Vietnam, so he wanted Johnson's assurance that he sincerely wished for peace before offering help. After having assured Johnson's peace intentions and having pleaded ignorance of sophisticated military maneuvers, he advised Johnson to make the war a more defensive war rather than an offensive war to improve the view the world had of the United States. Lastly, he requested an extension of the expected truce on Christmas 1967. After presenting Johnson with these points, Paul agreed to support him as long as his primary intention remained to achieve a peace settlement. He concluded the meeting by stating, "I assure you of my loyalty and devotion to the ideals that the United States stand for. I will do whatever is possible."(10)

In 1968, both Johnson and Paul overcame their differences for the good of the world when Paul sent diplomatic invitations to the United States and to Hanoi to begin peace talks compelling Hanoi to suggest Paris as a site to begin the talks. Johnson's top assistant for domestic affairs, Joseph Califano, vividly recounted in America the exchanges that occurred between the White House and the Apostolic Delegate to the United States, Bishop Luigi Raimondi, in late April of 1968. On April 27 Johnson contacted Raimondi to request a public declaration from the Pope offering the Vatican as a neutral location for peace negotiations. Johnson gave further directions that there was no need to invite South Vietnam and that the invitation should be done as soon as possible. Johnson waited for a response from Raimondi until the next day, but at the lack of a response, that night at 9:30 pm he sent Califano to Raimondi's house to solicit an answer. Raimondi asked for patience and time, a request that was hard for Johnson to satisfy since he desired an honorable solution to the Vietnam problem immediately. After another visit from Califano to Raimondi in the morning of April 29, an answer arrived from the Vatican on April 30. Raimondi delivered an invitation to Johnson from the Pope where he offered the Vatican for confidential meetings between the United States and North Vietnam. The Pope, due to "grave, serious reasons," decided to use private invitations through diplomatic channels instead of a public invitation.(11) A grateful and satisfied Johnson praised Raimondi for the invitation saying, "This is a beautiful message... it suits us fine either publicly or privately."(12) The next morning Johnson responded to Paul affirmatively. Hanoi had not responded yet, so Johnson decided that if Hanoi declined the invitation, he would make Paul's invitation public in order to harm the world's opinion of the North Vietnamese government. Johnson did not have to implement this plan since on May 3 he was awakened with then news that Hanoi had suggested to meet in Paris on May 10 or a few days later. Even though the initial talks in Paris did not yield much good, a cease-fire was finally achieved in Paris between Henry Kissinger and Le Duc Tho in 1973.

Johnson found a powerful ally in the Catholic Church, or Vatican State, through its leader Paul VI. The relationship that developed between these two leaders was intriguing. Two men who shared a grave concern towards the spread communism and longed for the achievement of world peace became distanced by their views over the aggression used in Vietnam. A frustrated Paul who slapped his desk and raised his voice in disapproval during his 1967 meeting with Johnson, became in 1968, Johnson's instrumental link to begin peace dialogue with Hanoi.(13) The United States found a strong ally and changed its perspective on the Vatican State, which Franklin Roosevelt had called an honorable fiction in 1939. President Nixon later praised Paul VI in 1969 during their meeting in Rome exhorting, "What the world needs today is the spiritual and moral leadership which Your Holiness has stood for, stood for here in the Vatican and in your arduous travels to other nations in the world."(14) Johnson was very astute in longing to gain such a resourceful ally since the role Paul VI played in beginning dialogue with Hanoi was one of the first steps in bringing the Vietnam era of the United States to a close.

o See Pope Leo XIII, Rerum Novarum (Huntington, IN: Our Sunday Visitor, 1965), 24-5.
(2) See Leo XIII, 37, 58.
(3) See Pope John XXIII, Pacem in Terris (Washington DC: National Catholic Welfare Conference, 1963), 11, 20, 27.
(4) Thomas Patrick Melady, "Background to US-Vatican Relations," New Catholic World 209 (1969): 110.
(5) Joseph Califano Jr., Governing America: An Insider's Report from the White House and the Cabinet (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1981), 221.
(6) Melady, 109.
(7) Wilton Wynn, Keepers of the Keys: John XXIII, Paul VI and John Paul II: Three Who Changed the Church (New York: Random House, 1988), 196.
(8) The State Department, "Document 308 Foreign Relations of the United States, Vol XII, Western Europe," . Accessed 28 October 2004.
(9) Wynn, 177.
(10) The State Department, "Document 310," .
(11) Joseph Califano Jr., "The President and the Pope: L.B.J., Paul VI and the Vietnam War," America 165, no. 10 (12 October 1991): 239.
(12) Califano, "The President and the Pope," 239.
(13) Wynn, 196.
(14) Melady, 107.

Ri Nguyễn

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