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May 24, 1973 - Image 9

Resource type:
Michigan Daily, 1973-05-24

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I Thursday, May 24, 1973


Page N i ne

The VC capital. of S. Vietnam

Associated Press Photographer
LOC NINH, Vietnam - The
town nestles amid rubber trees
just one hour's helicopter ride
from Saigon. its streets are mud-
dy like any other South Vietnam-
ese town in the monsoon season.
Barefooted children wave and
point at the foreigners pasingtsy.
But here the similarities with
the rest of the country end. Loc
Ninh is in effect the Viet Cong
capital of South Vietnam. The
flags painted on doors have the
yellow star against a background
of red and blue.
THE SOLDIERS guarding t h e
old French airstrip that ends at
a now-empty plantation swim-
ming pool wear pith helmets and
baggy green uniofrms and care-
lessly carry Communist-made
AK47s rifles as they amble along.
The vehicles are made in China,
the ambulances are Russian,
and the motorcycles - a fix-
ture now in Vietnamese rural life
- are high-powered models driv-
en across the nearby border from
Cambodia. But in comparison
with the rest of South Vietnam,

the cars are few, and bicycles
and foot seem the chief means
of transport.
Loc Ninh fell into Communist
hands in the 1972 offensive. Sai-
gon forces were routed from
the area overnight and never re-
gained a foothold in the town
they had held steadily up to that
time. Now the nearest Saigon
troops are about 10 miles away.
the first to enter the forbidden
town since it fell to the Com-
munists, were invited by the Viet
Cong to watch an investigation
by the International Commission
of Control and Supervision into
alleged raids on the area along
the Cambodian border by United
States and South Vietnamese air-
The peacekeepers flew in two
helicopters to Loc Ninh yester-
day morning.
A waving Viet Cong flag sig-
naled where to land. About 20
men, all in uniform, stepped out
from grass huts under the ruber
trees and invited the delegation
to sip tea in one of the shelters,.

made vehicles brought the invest-
igating team to a wooden villa at
one time owned by the director
of the Loc Ninh plantation. A por-
trait of Ho Chi Minh smiled down
on the district chairman of the
Viet Cong, Pham Tran Thang,
in an upstairs meeting room.
Thang politely refused the re-
quest of the senior Canadian de-
legate, Col. James Morrow of
Montreal, to allow South Viet-
namese liaison officers to ac-
company the peacekeepers on-
their mission.
The motorcade then rolled nine
miles north to the ruins of the
village of Hoa Lu, past several

Saigon armored personnel car-
riers destroyed last year in the
offensive and now stripped of
their engines. Young men in
floppy hats were cutting old rub-
ber trees and dragging them to
the roadside to feed a sawmill.
A SINGLE wrecked truck, ho-
ed by shrapnel and rusted, lad
at the roadside. The Viet Cong
produced a man they said was
the driver who told the delegation
a jet strafed and destroyed his
vehicle in mid May. He could net
identify the type of aircraft ur
The Viet Cong then showed
some alleged bomb craters, and

escorted the group to a village
where witnesses claimed jet straf-
ing vibration had broken three
table glasses. One woman, vs-
ibly upset, said the jets h a d
strafed and destroyed her thatch
In each instance, Viet Conyg
officials pressed the delegation
for on-the-spot judgments. They
asked, "Doesn't this prove ag-
gression?" The delegation v a s
On the way back to Bien Hta
the helicopters flew low over a
checkerboard of rubber tree and
paddyfields. The peasani:s work-
ing in the fields didn't ok t up.

Progress cited in
six-day peace talks
fly The Associated Press assistant secretary of state,v
Henry Kissinger said yesterday submiting agreed proposals
in Paris he and Hanoi's Le Duc Thieu in Saigon and hinted t
Tho have made "significant pro- neither the United States n
gress" in six days of talks to Hanoi would allow possible obj
make the iVetnam peace agree- tions from Thieu to prevent c
ment work better. clusion of the new agreement
liefore departure for Wash- the next session.
ington to report to President Nix- Sullivan flew to Saigon Tu
on, Kisinger told newsmen he day night after attending I
and Tho will meet again on June singer-Tho meetings for a to
6 to complete their new accord of more than 30 hours and seve
designed to stop cease-fire vio- meetings at expert level, incl
lations. ing a 12-hour session Sunday.
Kissinger conferred with'
KISSINGER'S chief aide in the for almost seven hours Wedn
cease-fire talks, William Sullivan, day, making a total of more tl
was in Saigon to report to Presi- 31 hours of intensive talks a
dent Nguyen Van Thieu on the the North Vietnamese lea
Paris sessions. so,, i-1


N11c iay 1.
DETAILS of the proposals the
two men worke dout were not
A display of cordiality on both
sides marked all sessions of the
latest round of talks between the
two peace negotiators.
Kissinger read from a prepared
statement when talking with
newsmen at Orly airport "to
make sure that I keep to what we
have agreed."
HE SAID the purpose of t h e
talks was "to bring about a
strict implementation of the Paris
"The meetings were conducted
in a constructive and positive
manner," he added. "Significant
progress was, made."
Kissinger said he and T o
intend to conclude their discus-
sions during the meetings start-
ing June 6.

nIs siner3
Kissinger, smiling and visibly
relaxed, read a prepared state-
ment which he said he had clear-
ed in advance with Tho.
"He will confirm what I am
saying," Kisinger declared.
HE SAID Sullivan, a deputy

PITH-HELMETED Viet Cong officers discuss, with members of the International Commission of
Control, their allegations that American jets are strafing Communist-held areas of Vietnam.
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