Paris Peace Accords

The Paris Peace Accords, officially titled the Agreement on Ending the War and Restoring Peace in Vietnam, was a peace treaty signed on January 27, 1973 to establish peace in Vietnam and end the Vietnam War. The treaty included the governments of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam (North Vietnam), the Republic of Vietnam (South Vietnam), and the United States, as well as the Provisional Revolutionary Government (PRG) that represented indigenous South Vietnamese revolutionaries. It ended direct U.S. military combat, and temporarily stopped the fighting between North and South Vietnam. However, the agreement was not ratified by the United States Senate. [1] [2]

The negotiations that led to the accord began in 1968, after various lengthy delays. As a result of the accord, the International Control Commission (ICC) was replaced by the International Commission of Control and Supervision (ICCS) to fulfill the agreement. The main negotiators of the agreement were United States National Security Advisor Henry Kissinger and Vietnamese politburo member Lê Đức Thọ; the two men were awarded the 1973 Nobel Peace Prize for their efforts, although Lê Đức Thọ refused to accept it.

Provisions of the accords

The approximate areas of control at the time of the signing of the Accord. The South Vietnamese government controlled about 80 percent of the territory and 90 percent of the population, although many areas were contested.

The document began with the statement that "the United States and all other countries respect the independence, sovereignty, unity, and territorial integrity of Vietnam as recognized by the 1954 Geneva Agreements on Vietnam". The inclusion of this provision was a victory for the communist side of the negotiations by allowing that the war was not a foreign aggression against South Vietnam. The main military and political provisions of the agreement were:

  • Beginning on 27 January 1973 at midnight, Greenwich Mean Time—in Saigon time, 08:00 on 28 January—there would be an in-place ceasefire. North and South Vietnamese forces were to hold their locations. They were permitted to resupply military materials to the extent necessary to replace items consumed in the course of the truce.
  • Once the ceasefire is in effect, U.S. troops (along with other non-Vietnamese soldiers) would begin to withdraw, with withdrawal to be complete within 60 days. Simultaneously, U.S. prisoners of war would be released and allowed to return home. The parties to the agreement agreed to assist in repatriating the remains of the dead.
  • There would be negotiations between the two South Vietnamese parties—Saigon and the Vietcong—towards a political settlement that would allow the South Vietnamese people to "decide themselves the political future of South Viet-Nam through genuinely free and democratic general elections under international supervision."
  • Reunification of Vietnam was to be "carried out step by step through peaceful means".
  • If South Vietnam required any military hardware to defend itself against any North Vietnam aggression, the United States agreed to provide replacement aid to the South Vietnam on a piece-by-piece, one-to-one replacement basis. [3]