15. LELIO BASSO

Summing-up of the Second Session

We have come to the end of our labours and I should like to begin {324} this summing-up with a retrospective view of the role which we have played. At the beginning of the session in Stockholm, our President, Jean-Paul Sartre, opened with a speech which is still in our memory, wherein he confirmed that the legitimacy of our existence and of our judgements would be a posteriori.
     If we compare the reception we had in the press a year ago at our formation in London, with the reception we have had during our work, we must note that there is a rising interest. Our serious work, the evidence we have accumulated, the testimonies which we have brought to the knowledge of the public, the search for the truth which we have together pursued, has, in the eyes of public opinion, legitimized our existence. The American ex-soldiers have sought to present their testimonies to us and several states have asked us to express ourselves on various problems. Even if we decide not to take up other questions, the authority of the institutions which have addressed us confirms the validity of our initiative. But, above all, the awakening of conscience to what is going on in Vietnam, and the increasing pressure of the masses of the whole world against this aggressive war proves that the wish expressed by our President at Stockholm has been realized.
     Our initiative is even more necessary because the aggressive war in Vietnam poses a series of new problems which international organizations are unable to solve. They cannot be solved because of the dominant presence of the Americans who are able to manipulate too many governments.
     But, while new aggression, new weapons, new techniques of destruction, make necessary an evolution of the international penal code, the competent organs are paralysed. The American government, therefore, is able to continue to commit crimes and to augment them by escalating with a certitude that the United Nations will never have the necessary majority to pronounce a clear condemnation.
     In anticipation of our conclusions, I should like to underline now the new aspects presented by the war in Vietnam. This will help us to understand all the acts which we will take under consideration. This war of extermination is the natural fruit and necessity of American imperialism. It is not a case of extraordinary ferocity which almost accidentally adds itself to a conventional war. We cannot imagine that this war is different from {325} all the others where both parties commit a few crimes, as is usual throughout the history of wars. Here everything fits: everything reflects the same systematizing. The aggression with complicity of other government, the genocidal crimes - everything is explained by the omnipotent imperialism of the United States, which will dominate the world, which will refuse the people's right to autonomy. The imposition of neo-colonialism as a way of life on all populations on the road towards development is an essential part of this imperialist system. Against a people which will not subordinate itself, `special war', total war, torture, concentration camps and genocide are essential elements of world-wide neocolonialist wars.
     From an analysis of the results of our debates and the information given to us, I would like to make some preliminary observations which I deem necessary. First, some juridical considerations: our experts of the Legal Commission have raised the question of how we should treat certain material on the violation of various international Conventions. It has been pointed out that the American government has objected to the existence of some Convention obligations. In some cases a Convention has been left unsigned or unratified by the United States, or Conventions have not, for other reasons, been implemented. In other cases there are Conventions in force that are applicable even if one party has not signed them, as is the case with the DRV and the NLF. I should like to point out to members of the Tribunal who are not jurists that rules of international law do not spring from signed and ratified Conventions alone. Besides these rules there also exists a body of general law based on custom which is pre-existent to these Conventions. Conventions do not create new codes of conduct, but merely make regulations confirming codes of conduct already existing. New crimes, therefore, depend on the pre-existing general laws of custom for condemnation - it is precisely such crimes which now occupy us.
     You have already been informed of the Clause Martens contained in the preamble to the Hague Convention of 28 July 1899, and repeated in the Hague Convention of 18 October 1907. These two Conventions were signed by the United States on 9 April, and ratified on 27 November 1909. This preamble confirms that: `Civilians and the armed forces remain protected and regulated by {326} the principles of international law, such as has been the result of common practice amongst the civilized nations, the laws of humanity, and the demands of public conscience.'
     These principles were confirmed at the Nuremberg Trial, which in its decree, as recalled by Maître Jouffa, stated:
Independent of the treaties, the laws of warfare stand out, with usages and customs, progressively and universally recognized, from the doctrine of jurists and jurisprudence of military courts. This Law is never immoveable; it adjusts itself incessantly to the needs of a world under transition. Ordinarily, the treaties do no more than to specify the principles of laws that are already in force.
The judges at Nuremberg could not think otherwise because they were judging international crimes that were unknown in written law at the time. This principle of retroaction was also utilized by the judges at Tokyo in judging Japanese war criminals.
     The Allies dictated this retroactive principle and it was commonly recognized, because it did not really constitute `retroactive law'. The war crimes were already `recognized as such by common, public demand, and by the existing laws of humanity'. These crimes were already illicit in the sense that Professor Rousseau has given this expression: `thus, the illegality is manifest, independent of the existence or non-existence of a prohibition'.
     In his report, Professor Chesneaux has pointed out that the American President of the Tokyo Court, in his decree during the `High Command' case, expressed the same opinion, stating:
The fact of crimes does not arise by the presence of a prohibition, but because the act is criminal by itself, and is a breach of the principles of the laws of humanity, such as these [principles] are recognized by the civilized nations.
We, then, shall pass our judgement on the basis of the very principles used in the judgement by the United States of the Japanese war criminals. First, although we have already covered it at Stockholm, because of the massive escalation which has been confirmed by our witnesses recently returned from North Vietnam - we must again address ourselves to the indiscriminate bombings.
     It is enough to recall that general rules exist prohibiting the bombing of hospitals, schools, religious buildings, the civil population, {327} etc., to clearly see that such rules have been repeatedly violated. The US has violated the Convention of the Hague. the Nuremberg Judgements, the Geneva Convention of 1954, all of which have been accepted by the collective conscience of the peoples of the world. Such actions have recently also been solemnly condemned by the Vatican Council. In the face of testimony by our numerous witnesses and by American correspondents. the US authorities flatly deny the facts - simply because they know that these acts are criminal.
     Let us recall the words of President Johnson that the Americans aim only to destroy `concrete and steel'. Let us also recall that the use of ball-bombs was admitted by the Americans only after our Stockholm session had supplied a mass of evidence to prove the fact. Likewise, the use of poison gas was at first denied by them, but later admitted, though they claimed it to be only `tear gas'. Let us recall that torture was attributed by them to the puppet government; that the concentration camps are called `new life hamlets' .. . etc. Yes, as by our work we have proved, there is a great gap between the truth and that which is said by the US authorities. It seems to me that lies are proof of guilt.
     As Maître Jouffa has shown, laws against the use of illegal weapons have been in existence for at least a century. In general terms, such prohibitions are in the Declaration of St Petersburg of 1868, and in the Hague Conventions of 1899 and 1907. As for edicts against the use of asphyxiant or toxic gas, there exists the Convention of Washington of 6 February 1922, and the Protocol of Geneva of 17 June 1925. The fact that, for several technical reasons, these articles cannot be applied, does not invalidate them, for their intent contains a general affirmation of existing rules. Apart from fascist Italy in Ethiopia, and the United States in Vietnam, no power has dared use gas since the end of the First World War, not even Nazi Germany or Japan during the Second World War.
     The use in time of war of poison gas and all other liquids or materials of like effect has been justly condemned by universal opinion of the civilized world and an indictment of such usage has been formulated in numerous treaties signed by the majority of civilized nations. The signatory powers, having as their aim the {328} universal proscription of such inhumanities as part of the Rights of Man, want to impose this opinion upon the conscience of the nations.
     Specifically, with respect to the United States, I should like to remind you that President Roosevelt stated on 8 June 1943, that:
the use of toxic or noxious gases, and all other inhuman weapons of war ... has been put outside the law by the general opinion of all civilized people, and that our country has renounced that use ... we shall not, in any case put gas to use, except in the case when our enemies first start.
The work done here at the Tribunal by our Scientific Commission has shown us to what extent the US has violated these rules in Vietnam. This Committee's report compiled by Professors Behar, Minkowsky, Kahn and others is of a high technical and scientific order. Permit me to repeat the conclusion of the Scientific Commission's report: `Poison gas has been and is being used in Vietnam by US forces.' And `... they have continuously used the gases CN, CS, and PM repeatedly and massively', and finally:
we solemnly declare that in spite of official American denials of the fact, the Commission consider it satisfactorily proved [beyond doubt] that under the conditions where gases actually are in use, these so-called `harassing' gases are actually mortal - lethal and thus come under the prohibitions of international law as poison gas.
It is the same with defoliation of large tracts of land: the report submitted to us by Lederer concluded: `the use of chemical weapons is liable to provoke, in the very near future, biological effects that are wholly unpredictable', and these weapons are prohibited under international law. Lastly, the indiscriminate use of napalm against the civilian population has been attested to by doctors who have treated victims, by victims themselves who have appeared before the Tribunal, by numerous witnesses, and by the Scientific Commission. The witness, Donald Duncan, has told us that the majority of US troops use the M-16 rifle in violation of international law against dum-dum bullets. Thus, the Tribunal can assuredly reply in the affirmative to the question relating to the use of prohibited weapons.
     And what of the question concerning the treatment of prisoners {329} of war? Rules for the treatment of pows have been internationally accepted since their formulation in the nineteenth century. Since then, there have been specified strict limits to the use of violence against those who have laid down their arms and can no longer fight. The general rules states that Pows shall be treated humanely and beside this general rule there are international laws agreed to by a majority of countries. The 1864 Geneva Convention, the 1899 and 1907 Hague Conventions, and again the Geneva Conventions of 1929 and 1949 together form a complete code for treatment of Pows to which all nations, signatory or not, can adhere. Let us note here that during the Korean War, the four powers that were most directly implicated, the US, China, and North and South Korea, all appealed for the respect of these Conventions even though none had ratified them.
     It is not necessary to go into the details here to learn that the US violates every rule of humane treatment of Pows. The American soldier's testimony to the Tribunal is definite and crushing. David Tuck has told how orders were given to kill all prisoners who were not officers, especially the wounded. The wounded never died by themselves, but were killed off for the sake of convenience. Duncan confirmed that instructions are given to kill prisoners and has told of a specific case:
One day we took a lot of prisoners; too many for our group to cope with. So I telephoned back to ask for instructions and was told, `get rid of them'. I played dumb and pretended I didn't understand and took them along in the helicopter back to the base. But I got bawled out; I was supposed to have killed them off - but they would not say that on the radio.
As to tortures, we have heard unequivocal testimony. Martinsen, Tuck and Duncan, all three, have told us of tortures they have witnessed or taken part in themselves. Apart from these specific cases there is also a general affirmation. Martinsen has said: `As long as the torture left no marks it was OK to do it.' And Duncan said: `They encouraged us to use our imagination, only insisted that whatever we did should not leave traces.'
     These testimonies coming from American combatants who have themselves participated in the acts they tell about, who have come here in obedience to their own consciences, are sufficient to {330} answer `yes' on this point. But, besides this, the American newspapers do not deny that torture is practised. But they do claim that torture is used by Special Forces, or others for whom only Saigon is responsible, and who are always present, at least as interpreters, at the interrogation of prisoners of war. From our witnesses we know positively that American officers always lead and direct these interrogations and that torture is also used by the Americans themselves. In any case, the United States is responsible for the prisoners it takes and for the treatment they receive: it is a serious violation of international law to turn POWS over to others.
     And now we come to the most painful chapter in this war - the treatment of the civilian population. The provisions of the Hague and Geneva Conventions of 1899 and 1907, where rules were laid down as existent general opinion, is the same for the rights and treatment of civilians as for the other matters. Civilians must be protected against ill-treatment. Especially, because the US has signed and ratified these Conventions; still more because the proper behaviour of troops towards the civilians is laid down in the US army's own manual, The Law of Land Warfare. This manual contains direct citations and references to applicable international laws and Conventions. No officer in the US army can be ignorant of his obligations: the Americans are responsible. The authorities at Saigon are completely dependent on the massive presence of American troops and are directly in the pay of the US. The Saigon army is under the command of the US Headquarters, therefore whatever part of this crime is committed by Saigon is either accepted or ordered by the United States.
     In addressing ourselves to this question of genocide, we must pass from the laws of warfare to `crimes against humanity' in the sense expressed by the Nuremberg Judgements. I will refrain from giving a résumé of the testimony we have heard here in the course of the past few days: there are no words strong enough to express the feeling of tragedy and horror...
     The term `genocide' has only been in use since the Nuremberg Trial after the Second World War. The extermination of Jews was included among the `crimes against humanity' - a term that encompasses crimes other than genocide - in the statutes and judgement of that trial. Crimes that have as their object the destruction, {331} partially or totally, of a group defined as `national', `ethnic', `racial' or `religious', are today called genocide. Our legal experts have explained to us that the United States has not ratified the Convention concerning genocide.1 But the default of ratification does not permit the US to commit the crime. The crime is named and defined before the deed, and has, even before that, been recognized as a crime `in all civilized countries'.
     Let us look closer. David Tuck has told us that `anything that moves is shot at', and since the men are usually away, this means women and children. We have been told of the `free strike zones' where it is permitted to kill anyone left in them. We are told that thousands of women and children have been gassed in the bomb-shelters, or have been burnt in their huts and villages, or have been killed by pellet bombs dropped on civilian targets. We have heard the words of Colonel Jackson as quoted by Tuck, `I want to see Vietnamese blood cover the ground.' Jean Bertolino has told us, `A village was surrounded, attacked and ignited without a soldier taking the trouble of seeing if there was anyone in the thatched huts. Afterwards the paratroopers told me that several women were indeed burned alive.' The same fate, Doctor Wulff told us, struck the village of Da Phuc. Roger Pic has given us impressive statistics on the single village of Cong Doan in the country of Binh Hoa Bac, where an average of eight bombs per inhabitant and four grenades per square metre have been dropped. And that is only one village among thousands. The Director of Mercy College Child Institute, William Pepper, stated in the January 1967 Ramparts the results of an investigation in which he estimates that more than 250,000 children have been killed and at least 750,000 wounded in South Vietnam alone. Since then, a whole year of extermination by aggression has passed and the number of victims has risen accordingly.
     If one takes the whole fourteen million population of South Vietnam into account, these figures take on a very serious significance. People are victimized regardless of their personal views; death strikes any and all South Vietnamese. How can we deny that what we have before us is indeed a `partial destruction {332} of a national group', which is, as has been said, genocide.
     But there is another aspect - the concentration camps. In its `criminal methods', the Convention includes the submission of persons to conditions that are likely to endanger their personal integrity, or to voluntarily submit such persons to living conditions that threaten their physical existence, partially or in full. The inhuman conditions in a concentration camp are one of the criminal practices specifically covered by this definition.
     Duncan has explained to us that, according to his information, a third of the South Vietnamese population is interned in camps and that these camps are `garbage heaps' where the conditions are incredible. Martinsen and Tuck have explained that the inmates are famished, ragged, and must fight between themselves for scraps of food from the American garbage. Jean Bertolino has told us of one camp where 6,500 persons huddle in tents surrounded by barbed wire as in any concentration camp. Doctor Wulff tells us of the provinces of Binh Dinh and Fu Yen where half the population is interned.
     Torn from their villages, from their rice paddies, from their belongings, with sons taken away from families, with little chance of ever reuniting, the South Vietnamese are subjected to treatment and conditions that certainly gravely endanger their very existence. The separation of families is, in Vietnam, more than an attack upon the social institution, for the majority of the people are farmers and the family unit is essential to survival. History has many examples of populations becoming exterminated by the mere forcible displacement from their habitual environment. For the people to survive under these conditions, we have been told, some villages have been turned into immense brothels and the young women are forced to turn to prostitution to keep their families alive.
     In the same category of crime comes the wilful destruction by fire or chemicals of the food stocks and harvest of the population. This systematic destruction is explained by the Americans as an attempt to deprive the enemy of food. It has been carried out on a scale that threatens to starve the entire population and make malnutrition and starvation a constant spectre for the future.
     It is impossible to avoid the conclusion that the crime of genocide is daily committed in Vietnam. It is useless for the US to {333} claim that the victims have only to comply with American conditions to have a better life. Each people has its own rights and among these is the right to choose its own way of life. It is plainly criminal to attempt to force any people to change or modify their chosen culture or to put them to such trials as these as an alternative to submitting to any repression whatever. It is clearly an abuse of the Convention on the Rights of Man and a violation of international law to make any person or group of people choose between submission to the domination of an unwanted foreign power and slavery or death in a concentration camp.
     We must hand down our decision in this context. In spite of the fearsome connotations and emotion attached to the word `genocide', it must be said that genocide is only part of the crimes against humanity committed by the Americans in Vietnam. Some crimes are simply not as yet included in the definition of genocide, albeit they are recognized as crimes. I mean things such as the persecution of political opponents, arbitrary arrests, torture of civilians - things such as the witness Pham Thi Yen has testified to.2
     In torturing, the US has retrogressed to before Louis IX of France who by decree outlawed torture. These crimes, I believe, do not come under the heading of genocide, however horrible they be.
     I have made plain that the war against the Vietnamese is an imperialist war and as such has a tendency to expand. On one hand, the American imperialists aim to draw their satellite states into battle on their side and, on the other hand, they attempt to strike a blow against those who will not submit to their domination. Let us examine the aggression against the neighbours of Vietnam.
     We have already confirmed the aggression against Cambodia at our Stockholm session, and now we have received further proof. Our own Commission of Inquiry, as well as Commandant {334} Khouroudeth, Jean Bertolino, Wilfred Burchett, Bernard Couret and others have given testimony which confirms the US disregard for Cambodian neutrality. The US claims, as an excuse, that Cambodia aids and abets the NLF, but these accusations remain unproved. In effect, as imperialists always do, the US considers itself above the law. In this connexion, the Tribunal has been requested to treat the persecution of the Cambodian minority living in South Vietnam as a case of genocide committed by the Saigon regime. While there is no doubt about the gravity of this persecution, which may be a cultural genocide as defined but not incorporated into the Convention of 1948, we have not, as yet, gone into the matter.
     However, the situation in Laos merits close attention for it closely resembles that of Vietnam, with a puppet government obedient to the US and with a permanent US aggression against the liberated zones in that country. Methods in use there are as illegal as those in Vietnam and I believe that we must make a judgement on the question.
     In this Copenhagen session we must also consider the matter of accomplices such as Thailand, the Philippines and Japan. In its aggression the US has been able to procure a vast and numerous array of accomplices, helpers and followers who have given a ready hand. Practically every country in the Orient has been somehow induced into this accomplice role. So has Great Britain, which also furnished the concentration camp model from its own experience in Malaysia. But complicity is a difficult thing to prove by juridical methods from the corpus of existing international law. As for Thailand, the participation of its expeditionary corps in the fighting amply proves its complicity. This is also true of the Philippines, although the Philippine government has not officially admitted to the fact. The facts concerning Japan have been documented by Professor Hirano and other members of the Japanese Committee.3
 

     Our President, Jean-Paul Sartre, has said that it is impossible for {335} us to restrict ourselves to a mere analysis of the facts and deeds; that it is impossible to give a mere juridical appraisal, but that it is necessary to go further and deeper in order to understand the political mechanism that can explain the crimes. This observation is very important. The people of the Western world are unable to understand the reasons for this war and are reluctant to admit that the United States is capable of committing crimes that can be compared with Nazi war crimes. The myth of the US as a democracy is long-lived and slow to die. It dates back to the Declaration of Independence, from which, incidentally, the opening of the Constitution of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam is copied. The intervention by the US in two world wars on the side of the democracies, the traditional attitude of the Americans against classic colonialism, and lastly, clever propaganda have maintained this myth.
     In Stockholm I dwelt briefly on political aspects; I return to these because the Tribunal must attempt to illuminate beyond the mere determination of irrefutable facts, but must also explain the reasons and causes behind these facts. Thus, the Nuremberg Sentence began with an analysis of the Nazi regime, then went on to judge the crimes of the regime.
     We must always make a distinction between the American people and those in the United States who control them, whether this control is political, economic or intellectual. The ordinary public of the United States lets itself be controlled. They are convinced that this is the incarnation of democratic ideals and have been taught to so believe. They are quite certain that the American way of life is an ideal model which deserves to be exported so that the whole world may partake of its joys. This `way of life' depends on `free enterprise' or, in other words, capitalism and private profits. This belief is quasi-mystical and is not incompatible with a well-developed sense of humane conduct. At the `controlling level', however, everything is clearer; pragmatism and vested interests are shrouded in a language that appeals to the humanist sentiments of the people and is expressed as a mixture of idealism, hypocrisy and cynicism typical of American life.
     If we try to understand the policies of the US managers at the level where decisions are made, we can say that such policies are characterized by the necessity for continued expansion. The war {336} of 1812-14 against England was followed by and allowed a westward expansion beyond the Mississippi. Some years later the Monroe Doctrine solidified the supremacy of the United States over the whole American continent. Though, before the end of the nineteenth century, the westward movement had reached the Pacific Ocean, even this did not satisfy US expansionism. With regard to Latin America, Richard Olney, the Secretary of State under President Cleveland, could declare: `Today the US is practically sovereign on this continent and its will is law wherever we intervene.' The thesis expressed by the historian Frederick Jackson Turner was also representative of the American attitude towards the eventual limits of its frontiers. Turner believed that the democracy and wealth of the United States was a result of the previous thirty years of expansion, and he stated: `The needs of the USA are a vigorous foreign policy, an inter-oceanic canal, an awakening of our naval power and the extension of our influence to encompass faraway islands as well as countries closer to us, in order to show clearly that we are on the move, that we continue to expand.'
     At the very time this was written, the US was in transition from an agricultural to an industrial economy. The westward drive now was not for new lands to till, but to buy raw materials and to sell finished products, to find new natural resources and new markets. This need for new markets was essential to what had at the turn of the century become `big business', which foresaw and feared a crisis of overproduction. This new expansion - of markets - was later replaced by an economic influence on and expansion in foreign countries. If need be in certain countries, there was also a territorial expansion. From then on, American movement was an imperialistic movement which most often used a policy of indirect political domination, reinforced when necessary with armed intervention whenever a population threatened US interests.
     As a result of two currents of thought - that wealth was the result of expansion and that democracy was a result of expansion, as had been the case within the continent - in the historian William Appleman Williams's words, expansionism became the motivating force in US foreign policy. To a great extent, the same was true of American business expansion into overseas markets, since the managers explained economic crisis in terms of inadequate {337} domestic markets. Implied or expressed, Williams writes, this idea had the aim of preserving democracy and restoring prosperity.
     `We must have the Chinese market, or we shall have a revolution,' stated Senator Frye. And Brooks Adams concluded that the US would have stagnated if she had not consolidated her position in Latin America and had not made the Far East into an economic colony. Fifty years prior, Quincy Adams had used Christian principles in the expression of the same thing:

The moral obligation upon which commercial relations are based is, exclusively and entirely, the Christian proverb `Love thy neighbour as thyself', but [he went on], the Chinese are not Christian, they do not consider that they should love their neighbours as themselves. They have a system that is hostile and anti-social.... The principle of the Chinese Empire is anti-commercial, it does not believe in having any relations with other countries. ... It is high time that this outrage against human rights, against human decency is ceased.
Samoa and the Hawaiian Islands were the first stages of American expansion en route to Asia. `To retain our commercial supremacy in the Pacific,' said Cabot Lodge in 1895, `we must control the Hawaiian Islands and stay on Samoa.' The Declaration of War against Spain - for Cuba - was a favourable occasion to snatch up the Philippines in the name of a crusade to civilize. As President McKinley then said: `The Lord had said that the US had the duty of educating and elevating the Philippines in the Christian civilization and, by the grace of God, to do all that we can for our brother nation, for whom Christ also died.' But in the same breath he added, `The Philippines are ours forever - and right behind them there is the immense Chinese market. We shall not leave either one.'
     Shortly after, in 1899, under the same President McKinley, the principle of the `Open Door' was proclaimed. This opened to the US a commercial beachhead into China and denied the exclusivity of the spheres of influence of the other powers. The Press of Philadelphia commented then: `This Declaration is as important as the Monroe Doctrine was for the Americas in the last years. It protects the present and the future.' From this time on, the principle of the Open Door, of American expansionist capitalism and free enterprise, has been a dogma of the US. This dogma, to which {338} other ideas are linked, is the ideology of American imperialism - free enterprise as a foundation for freedom and liberty. Integral to this dogma is the belief that the unlimited expansion of the American economy and the `American way of life' are necessary for prosperity in the US, that there exists an historic mission to export this way of life to all other peoples, and that those who live this way of life are superior. This is a doctrine of superiority; it is a sentiment that generates racism.
     Who has not heard expressed the common opinion that God has chosen the USA to improve the world? A curious mixture of Christianity, evolutionism and racism leads to the consideration of other races as inferior and created solely to prepare the way for the American race. Referring to the American Indians, Josiah Strong said, .... it seems as if these tribes were simply created as the forerunners of a superior race - as the voices that cry in the desert - "Make way for the Lord".'
     The Fate of America, according to President Wilson, was `to be the most just, the most progressive, the most honourable, the most enlightened of all the nations of the entire world', and that its mission is to `make the world safe for democracy' - but we know that `democracy' translates to `free enterprise'. `If,' said Wilson in 1912, `America had not had free enterprise, it would not have any sort of liberty at all.' Later in the same year: `Our industry has developed to the point where it collapses unless it finds a free opening on the world market. Our home market is insufficient, we must have a foreign trade.' In 1924, Herbert Hoover stated: `Foreign markets will be more important for us, to assure a stable and normal function of our industry.... It is of an importance that is greater than the percentage of export in relation to home consumption.' The Great Depression from 1929 to 1932 gave added impetus to this search for foreign markets and new forms of domination, and the Second World War gave the US an historical occasion to assume world leadership, or at least to have a try at it. Between the two World Wars the American government sought to implement its pursuit of Asian markets by collaborating first with the Japanese and later with Chiang Kai-shek, the motivation always being the imposition upon the non-socialist world of the American way of life and economic domination. Different methods were used in Europe {339} from those used on other continents where the neo-colonial policy of `granting independence' or obtaining an Open Door established the mechanism for economic dominance.
     I do not believe I wander if I quote some leading Americans in order to precisely define the design for American hegemony - now dubbed `globalism' - which is merely another name for super-imperialism on a global scale. In 1898, Senator Beveridge said in a speech:
American industrial production has surpassed the needs of the American population. The American production of foodstuffs is above and beyond our own consumption. Destiny has thus indicated our future policy. World trade must be dominated by the USA and it will be. We can learn how from our mother country, England. We must establish a world-wide system of trade centres from which our products can be distributed. Our merchant marine must dominate the oceans. Around these trade centres will cluster vast self-governing colonies, flying our flag and trading with us. Our institutions will follow in the wake of our trade. American law and order, American civilization, will settle on the shores that, until then, are steeped in darkness and bloody strife, and by their work as divine tools, these shores will come into a future beauty.
Forty-two years later, the President of the National Industrial Conference Board, Virgil Jordan, took up the same idea and said on 10 December 1940:
Whatever the outcome of the war may be, America has taken the road towards imperialism on an economic plane, as on all other planes of life. Some fear this word `imperialism', so menacing and well known. Most people prefer, in the American way, to mask the fact under a more vague expression, such as defence of the Western hemisphere. But consciously or not, America is destined by her temperament, by her capacity, by her resources, and by the course of world affairs, not alone those of the last few years, but since 1900, destined to follow this road. Truly we have no choice. We have but to continue on the road that we have been going along for a quarter of a century and which began with the annexation of Cuba and the Philippines, etc.
Later in the same speech: `This Empire is seeing its possibilities for expansion on the southern part of this hemisphere and west - {340} in the Pacific - disappearing. The sceptre falls in the hands of the USA.'
     But the Pacific is not enough. Since 1941, Henry Luce talked of `the American Century' and invited the American people enthusiastically `to accept the duty and mission of the most vigorous, the most powerful nation in all the world', and `to make noticeable that full weight of our influence, wherever we find reason therefor, and always with the methods that we find most opportune'. In his speech at Baylor University, President Truman reaffirmed the principle: `The American system can only survive in America itself if it become global', and that thus `the entire world should adopt the American system'. The Truman doctrines on Greece and Turkey, the Eisenhower doctrine on the Near East, the interventions in Latin America are all manifestations of this policy. The facts confirm that everywhere a reactionary regime will always find support forthcoming from the United States. Everywhere, and above all where there is anti-imperialism - Arbenz in Guatemala, Jagan in Guyana, Castro in Cuba, Lumumba in the Congo - the American government is ever ready to foment or support plots, subversion, espionage, coups and invasions. To a lesser degree, but just as inevitably, the reformers, the lukewarm friends - such as Bosch in Santo Domingo, Prince Norodom Sihanouk in Cambodia, Goulart in Brazil and Papandreou in Greece, feel the pressure of the US.
     The doctrine of `globalism' is a doctrine to justify American intervention in every part of the world. It is the theory held by a whole school of foreign-policy-makers. The result has been that it is not the now petrified apparatus of the United Nations, but the unilateral decision of the US that decides if, where and how the US should intervene without concern for the will of the interested parties. Walt Whitman Rostow has defined the aim, which is to establish everywhere a world-wide `community of order'.
     But in this world-wide community of order which the US is to dominate, all doors must remain open to `free [American] enterprise'. All people must submit to American leadership and assume the role of subjects. To integrate into such a world economic imperialism is clearly to integrate into an American-dominated economy which automatically means that other economic systems are reduced to inferior positions. For the world's {341} peoples, the loss of an independent economy means the loss of political independence, as well as the loss of their own cultural personality.
     It is in the light of all this that we should examine American aggression in Vietnam. The policy of the Open Door to American capitalism all over the world cannot fail to have as its number one enemy, the socialist countries. Socialist countries must, by definition, close this door to `free enterprise' and construct a solid barrier to capitalist domination. Given this fact, the main object of American policy must be to prevent extension of the socialist zone. If the 1956 elections had been held in Vietnam, doubtless Ho Chi Minh would have been victorious: but the immediate and imperative aim for the US there was to establish a satellite state on the lines of Taiwan and South Korea. In other words, the US had to choose between two alternatives, a socialist government in South Vietnam or another puppet state. Their choice surprised no one. But the puppets could not subdue the resistance of the people; the neo-colonialists could not thwart the Vietnamese will to be free and independent. And during the years 1963-4 a new dilemma arose: the puppet regime was collapsing under the people's pressure, the war between the puppets and the people was being won by the people. The next choice for the Americans was an acceptance of the facts or an all-out American war. Again no one was surprised, the choice was inevitable.
     As I have already said at Stockholm, the underlying deeper reasons for this choice are not directly economic in the sense that the US has invested capital in that country that could justify intervention. Nor is it, in my view, a strategic concern which merits this colossal expenditure. Even though the US pushes its military bases close to China, South Vietnam is not indispensable to them.
     The American choice of intervention and war was and is grounded on the fact that they are faced with a general revolt against American domination in the three continents where the people are rising in defence of their objective and true self-interests. The US could not avoid this show-down in South Vietnam and must win any guerrilla war.
     But are they winning? Not merely is there no proof of this, there are signs of the opposite. In spite of the enormous disproportion {342} between means, in spite of a concentration of firepower hitherto unknown in warfare, in spite of an incredible technological development of weapons of mass destruction, the American imperialists have suffered constant defeat. They have been defeated because the NLF and the DRV have retained the total support of the Vietnamese. Apart from the few mercenaries and collaborators, the overwhelming majority of the people support the struggle against the United States. Doctor Wulff, who has lived for years in Vietnam, and the American press substantiate this; there is no other explanation for the course of the war.
     And now the Americans have another dilemma - defeat or genocide. And since the most haughty imperialist of the world cannot face defeat, with cynicism and indifference they choose genocide. And for this choice there is a historical precedent. When the American Indians failed to conform to the design, they, too, were exterminated.
     The United States is still moving westward and the frontier is being pushed on, over the Pacific, towards and into Asia - until the whole is transformed into an American colony. Those who resist are, in the imperialist's eyes, in the same obstructionist position as was the Indian: they oppose the will of God. They are of an inferior lesser race which stands in the way of the exalted. They must, then, be exterminated.
     It is in this way that American expansionism has made them become aggressors, arrayed against other races and peoples. And it is the final solution of `escalation' which brings the genocide on the people that refuse to submit. This is the political logic of the American government, and it is against this logic that we must unite the people. Not only in the cause of humanity, not only in solidarity with the people of Vietnam, but in common defence of the common good, in affirmation of the right freely to choose a way of life in accordance with one's own conscience; a right which the NLF has inscribed upon its banner; a right for which they and the heroic Vietnamese people are fighting and dying every day. {343}
 

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NOTES
1. The United Nations Convention of 1948, which defines genocide, in part, as: `the voluntary extermination of persons who by chance belong to a national, racial, ethnical or religious group'.Back
2. Mrs Pham Thi Yen, a political opponent to the US-supported Diem dictatorship, was imprisoned in the infamous Paulo Condore Prison on the island of that name off the coast of South Vietnam. She testified to tortures inflicted upon political prisoners among which were insertion of field telephone generator electrodes and broken bottles into the vaginas of women prisoners, water and electric torture, starvation and executions.Back
3. Professor Yoshitaro Hirano, Doctor of Jurisprudence, presented to the Tribunal the findings of the Tokyo Tribunal of 1967, which examined US conduct in the Vietnam war and Japan's supporting role. Japan was found guilty of complicity with the US.Back
 

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