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U.S.-Vietnam Relations and the Security of Southeast Asia

Courtesy Reuters

The Carter Administration's policy concerning the normalization of relations with Vietnam has grown increasingly enigmatic. In the early months of the new Administration, there seemed to be ample evidence of a firm commitment to the rapid normalization of relations. The dispatch of the Woodcock mission to Hanoi and, in May 1977, the initiation of discussions with the Vietnamese in Paris seemed to foreshadow the early establishment of ties with Hanoi. The United States dropped its opposition to Vietnam's entry into the United Nations and pledged to end its trade embargo once diplomatic relations had been established. The Vietnamese promised to intensify efforts to provide an accounting of Americans listed as missing-in-action (MIA) in the war, and Hanoi's negotiator went out of his way to say that Vietnam was asking the United States not for "war reparations" but for "contributions" to the reconstruction of the country. Broadcasts over Radio Hanoi indicated that

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