United States. Dept. of State. Office of Public Co.

Department of State bulletin (Volume v. 56, Jan- Mar 1967) online

. (page 87 of 90)
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posed of one-third of the present Ky regime,
one-third National Liberation Front, and
one-third Catholic-Buddhist ?

A. I think the basic concept is that we
do not reject those proposals. What we do
say is: It is for the people of the South to
make their own determination of the type
of government they want in a democratic
way. I have always subscribed to the view
that a great United States Senator has,
George Aiken, which he expressed, that we
are not the ones to tailor a government for
South Viet-Nam. We are not a colonial
power. We are not to do that. The people
themselves are to do that by constitutional
processes.

Q. Mr. Ambassador, do you think free
elections are possible in South Viet-Nam
when war is going on, when half a million
troops are in South Viet-Nam?

A. Yes, I do. I say this for two reasons:
First, the elections that were held for the
constituent assembly by the verdict of all of
the press in South Viet-Nam, at least I met
with the whole press corps, and I did —
maybe, perhaps, "all" is a big word, but I
met with the press corps — and the press
corps is largely of the opinion that the
elections that were held were free elections.

Secondly, I was told by the Government of
South Viet-Nam that they would welcome
the most maximum observation of the elec-
tions that would be held after the constitu-
tion was adopted and that there was an
open-door policy to the press, to diplomats,
to the U.N., to any reputable international
organization, to observe the election which
is being held.

As far as our troops' being present, I
have not heard a single accusation that our
troops, in any way, interfered with the elec-
tion that was held for the constituent as-
sembly.

Q. Mr. Ambassador, along the same line,
do you think that the elections coming up



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will be free, if the voters of South Viet-Nam
are not allowed to vote for a National Lib-
eration Front candidate, if those candidates
are barred from the ballot?

A. We still don't know what the final con-
stitution will provide. I would rather not
comment today upon what the constitution
will provide as far as their being candidates
until they come out with their constitution.
They have not yet settled that problem.

Q. Mr. Ambassador, you say tvithin an
early period thereafter of the constitution's
being adopted you expect an election. Could
you be more precise ? Do you expect it in the
fall or in the summer?

A. The general time given was 6 months.
It is hoped to expedite that. Machinery will
have to be established for the election. I
found a very common desire, both on the part
of the Government and on the part of the
constituent assembly, to hold elections at an
early date.

Q. Do you think General [Nguyen Cao]
Ky will run ?

A. I am not competent to speculate about
that. I have read the speculation. I didn't
think it was my province to ask him that
question, and I did not ask him.

Q. U Thant, Mr. Ambassador, said in Cal-
cutta, I believe it i



Online LibraryUnited States. Dept. of State. Office of Public CoDepartment of State bulletin (Volume v. 56, Jan- Mar 1967) → online text (page 87 of 90)