13. NGUYEN VAN DONG

Testimony for the NLF of South Vietnam

We will try to present a general outline of the concentration of fourteen million inhabitants in 17,000 concentration camps called strategic hamlets.
     Within the framework of the operation which was called Sunrise, and which took place in March 1962 in a certain number of provinces, Tay Ninh, To Dal Mot and Bien Hoa, etc., the American aggressors and their agents burned more than 3,000 homes, they pillaged 500 tons of paddy, they devastated 1,500 hectares of fruit trees, they killed or wounded 300 persons, and they locked up more than 70,000 in strategic hamlets.
     The New York Times, on 28 March 1962, in an article from their correspondent who was visiting one of the regions concerned in this operation, described it in the following way. `One thousand two hundred families have been obliged to leave their villages to go and live in strategic hamlets. Their homes have been entirely destroyed. Some of them were able to save a bed or a table before their house was destroyed. Others could take nothing else with them except the clothes which they were wearing. A woman next to me,' says the correspondent, `with wild eyes was thinking perhaps of the two tons of paddy which was the reserve of her family and which had just been burnt by the American soldiers.'
     In the district of Thanh Fou in the province of Ben Tri, from 2 to 16 April 1962, the American aggressors mobilized millions of soldiers so as to go through these villages, destroy them and take the populations to the strategic hamlets. In Than Cat and Rat Cu, 209 out of a total number of 250 were burnt to cinders. In Jao Tan and An Yon, more than 1,000 others were razed. All along both sides of the road from Tan Cat to Guiong Ba Tim, which is twenty kilometres long, houses were burned or entirely razed. Pagodas and churches were also burned or destroyed. Cattle were killed, paddy burned, trees cut and water pots broken. This was again the report of the American correspondent. As a consequence of these {147} barbarian acts the Americans boasted at the end of September 1962 that 7,276,000 people had been put in the strategic hamlets, according to Radio Saigon, October 1962. And by 25 June 1963, that figure was at 8,737,463 people or 61.9 per cent of the South Vietnamese population (according to Time of Vietnam published in Saigon on 4 July 1963).
     In the province of Vin Binh, tip to September 1962, they concentrated 356,459 people, or 67 per cent of the population of the province. These again are figures given by Radio Saigon, 12 September 1962.
     Of course these figures are exaggerated because of the psychological war. But they are quite enough to show that millions of persons have been placed in this network of camouflaged concentration camps after a violent operation.
     Up to 1965, twenty-six out of forty-three provinces in South Vietnam have been submitted to raids which used toxic chemicals. Seven hundred thousand hectares of fields and forests have been devastated, 146,274 persons have been poisoned. This is thirteen times more than in 1964 and eighty times more than in 1961. In Bin La'ap, Bin Yap and Bin Yin, in the commune district of Long Tien, the province of Can Tut, the raids using toxic chemicals took place on 14, 17, 21 and 22 December 1964. This caused the death of fourteen persons, one old man, three women and ten children, and poisoned almost 8,000 persons. This means almost all the population of the three hamlets which was 9,000 inhabitants. The province of Ben Tre was hardest hit: thirty-one times in four and a half years. The province of Ka Mao was hit twenty-five times, the province of Quong Tri twenty-four times, the province of Long Nam twenty-two times. In the province of Ben Tre, out of 195,000 hectares of fertile ground, thousands of cocoa trees are drying up because of these toxic chemicals. In the district of Long Quan 200 hectares of coconut trees have been destroyed as well as 1,500 hectares of fruit trees and 30,000 hectares of rice paddy. Thirty per cent of the rice plants of the province have become sterile. Hundreds of thousands of inhabitants have been poisoned and have different types of illnesses, headaches, fever, difficulties in breathing, and among these 46,000 women and children are in very serious shape.
     Among the victims of toxic chemicals, thousands have become {148} blind, invalid or are slowly dying. According to statistics which are not yet complete and which were set up by the Public Health Commission, under the authority of the Central Committee of the NLF and the Red Cross for Liberation, after the inquiries undertaken in a certain number of regions, the number of persons killed has increased by thirty per cent, or rather fifty per cent of these people have stomach trouble, seventy per cent have bronchitis. Women who were feeding their children suddenly had no more milk and very often children are stillborn: eight cases, for instance, in the province of Canton.
     So as to be as efficient as possible in this matter, the aggressors have also used other chemical weapons such as gas, napalm and phosphorus bombs. In the village of Fu Lak, province of Fu Yan, on 25, 26 and 27 January 1965, the American air force dropped massively gas bombs, explosive bombs and napalm bombs. Eighteen people were killed and hundreds of people were seriously poisoned. Most of them were old people, women and children. On 8 September 1965, the American soldiers threw toxic gas grenades in the shelters, where the population of Ba Lang An was, in the province of Quong Gai. They killed seventy-eight civilians in one raid.
     Since 1961, the American aggressors and their agents have dropped napalm bombs on more than a thousand villages in South Vietnam. In the school of Lin Fung, the district of Ngon Chon, province of Bin Trai, forty-five school children were burnt, on 8 July 1964. In the school of Mong Huang, forty-five school children were burnt. On 1 July 1966, napalm bombs and explosive bombs were dropped on the market of Thanh Guien. One hundred and sixty people were killed and wounded. Forty-four of them were school children.
     On 2 August 1965, more than a hundred American jet planes dropped explosive bombs and napalm bombs on the southern region of the district of Mor Van, and on the northern region of the district of Dien Banh, province of Quang Nam. At the same time the warships were shelling these regions. During this time 6,000 American Marines, supported by sixty M-113s, arrived in the hamlets of Chal Sung, Kam Lai, Nyen Har, An Dien and almost 4,000 homes were destroyed or burnt to cinders by tanks or flame-throwers. The American soldiers again committed barbarian {149} acts. They even raped old women, pregnant women and little girls of ten to twelve years old. Among the dead there were seventy-nine old men, women and children. A correspondent of the American agency Associated Press who took part in this operation wrote: `There were GIs who were running all over and shouting, "Today I'm a killer. Kill them all. Don't let a single one escape."' On 26 February 1966, four battalions of mercenary troops from Pang Dung Mi went to the commune of Bin Nan province of Bin Dinh and committed extremely barbaric acts. Two hundred and eighty-eight people were killed, 137 of them were women and seventy-six were children. They took a little child from his mother's arms and threw him against a tree, killing him, and then threw his body in the flames. Many women were knifed and ripped open, including pregnant women. Many inhabitants were locked up in a house which was then set fire to. More than 2,000 homes, with all the reserves of paddy and the production tools, were burnt to cinders.
     On 24 March 1966, during Operation Texas, three battalions of American Marines who had come from Tu Lai, which is an air base, completely wiped out the village of Hong Dinh in the district of Song Tin in the province of Quang Nai. In the press release of 26 March 1966, UP stated: `The American troops fired 6,700 shells of 105, 155, 203 mm. on the village of Fung Dinh. There is not one person who has survived among the 167 inhabitants of the village.'
     When he spoke of pacifying, the French journalist, Jacques Decornoy, in Le Monde on 5 November 1965, stated that, according to a soldier of the Special Forces in the US, massacre comes before psychological and political war.
     I would now like to mention the case of Cu Chi, a district of the province of Gia Dinh, which is thirty kilometres to the north-west of Saigon. There are more than 60,000 inhabitants in eighteen villages of this district. In the past years, and particularly since the arrival of the second brigade of the American 25th Division, at the beginning of 1966, this district has several times been attacked. Day and night. It is attacked by American air force and artillery. A target is anything that moves. A shadow, a little smoke, a shadow of an animal or of a man, a bush swaying in the wind. Today in the district of Cu Chi, there is not one house which is left standing, nor {150} a pagoda nor a single church. According to the press agency, AFP, from 18 to 28 January 1966 the population of the district of Cu Chi was fired on with 180,000 shells by the first battalion of the American 25th Division. In other words, an average of 4,500 shells per day, and three shells per person.
     Such acts are an illustration of the policy which is `burn all, destroy all, kill all'. I cannot give all these examples in this report. It is obvious that in South Vietnam the American imperialists in their cruelty have done more than the Hitlerite fascists. They are the aggressors who commit the greatest war crime of our times. They are trying to make the population of South Vietnam submit by bombing them, gassing them, using toxic chemicals, without taking the slightest account of international law nor the protests of peoples who want peace and justice in the whole world.
     The South Vietnamese population wants peace, but they want a real peace and a real peace means real freedom. We require that the United States should abide by the Geneva Agreements of 1954 on Vietnam. They must stop their aggression against our country. They must withdraw their troops and weapons as well as satellite troops and weapons from South Vietnam. They must recognize that the NLF is the only real representative of the South Vietnamese population, and they must let that population decide on its own affairs without any foreign intervention.
 

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