By Mr. Ngo Cong Duc, Deputy from Vinh Binh, Secretary-General of the Socialist Opposition bloc in the National Assembly, President of the Information Commission in the Assembly, editor of the daily Tin Sang, President of the Federation of newspaper editors of South Vietnam, Secretary-General of the Inter-Collegiate Association of South Vietnam, at a press conference held on September 21, 1970, at the Hotel Lutetia, Paris.
The South Vietnamese people aspire currently, more than ever, to peace, independence, and a life worthy of human beings. These aspirations are obvious, for at this moment the population of South Vietnam is caught up in one of the most atrocious of wars. Political, economic and cultural life is dominated by foreigners.
I. A Few Salient Points Concerning the Population of South Vietnam
(1) The current war is destroying untold human and material resources in South Vietnam. Not including the forces of the NLF, the army of the Republic of Vietnam numbers one million men; to this figure must be added the forces of self-defense numbering one million men; and police forces numbering 100,000 men. In other words, two million young people, instead of pursuing their studies and engaging in productive work, are forced to take up arms in order to help American imperialism achieve its political aim in Southeast Asia.
American forces and the forces of the allies of the Americans, numbering close to 500,000 men, are engaged in round-the-clock massacres of our innocent compatriots. Cases such as those of My Lai-Son My, which each time take 500-600 victims, are by no means isolated. The US has dropped more than ten million tons of bombs on our country, and scattered an untold quantity of toxic chemical products as well as nearly 100,000 tons of defoliants on our fields and rice plantations, which have resulted in the sterilization and destruction of all the harvests. Rich in rice, South Vietnam is now reduced to consuming American rice. As a result of the use of toxic products, South Vietnam is currently plagued with strange diseases: women are giving birth to monsters, and there is an ever growing number of women afflicted with psychic disorders.
(2) On the political level, with the Vietnamization of the war, the United States seeks only to uphold the militarists and prolong the war.
The government of Mr. Nguyen Van Thieu is a dictatorial government which persecutes all those who struggle for peace and independence, and jails the innocent. In the single province of Vinh Binh, of which I am a deputy, more than 300 people were last year arbitrarily arrested and jailed. In 1969 the Americans stated that there were only 20,000 cadres in South Vietnam; at the end of 1969, however, the government arrested more than 70,000 people, and it appears that the number of Communist cadres has not diminished. These very figures condemn the repressive policies of the Saigon government.
At present the Nguyen Van Thieu government severely represses all opposition movements. Several hundred war …