Timeline: US-Vietnam Relations

Contemporary Southeast Asia, December 2010 | Go to article overview

Timeline: US-Vietnam Relations


* 1954: The French garrison at Dien Bien Phu surrendered to Viet Mirth forces on 7 May. The First Indochina War ended with the Geneva Agreements, signed by France and North Vietnam (Democratic Republic of Vietnam, DRV) but not by the United States or South Vietnam (Republic of Vietnam, RVN). Vietnam is partitioned along the 17th parallel pending reunification elections in 1956.

* 1954-55: The Geneva Agreements allowed free movement across the 17th parallel until May 1955. The United States and France facilitated the transfer of 600,000 people from North to South Vietnam. The United States helped establish the RVN under President Ngo Dinh Diem. Reunification elections were never held.

* 1963: President Diem was assassinated on 2 November. By the end of the year, 16,000 US military advisors were stationed in South Vietnam.

* 1964: Incident involving US and DRV naval forces resulted in the passage by the US Congress of the Tonkin Gulf Resolution on 7 August, authorizing President Lyndon Johnson broad latitude in the use of military force in Vietnam.

* 1965: First major US ground combat forces arrived in South Vietnam in March.

* 1968: The Communist "Tet Offensive" began the most intense phase of the Second Indochina War. US military presence in South Vietnam peaked in 1969 with 534,000 personnel in-country. President Johnson did not seek re-election; Richard Nixon became President in January 1969.

* 1968-72: Peace negotiations between senior US and Vietnamese officials took place intermittently in Paris and elsewhere.

* 1973: 27 January, The Agreement on Ending the War and Restoring Peace in Vietnam was signed in Paris by the United States, North Vietnam, South Vietnam and the Provisional Revolutionary Government (PRG) in South Vietnam.

* 1974: President Nixon resigned on 9 August. The US Congress reduced and subsequently ended military and economic assistance to South Vietnam in the first months of 1975.

* 1975: After a country-wide offensive, DRV/PRG forces entered Saigon on 30 April and forced the capitulation of RVN. The United States cut off all relations with Vietnam and tightened trade embargo and other restrictions. The Second Indochina War ended.

* 1977-78: Initial attempts to normalize bilateral relations between the United States and the reunified Socialist Republic of Vietnam (SRV) took place under President Jimmy Carter. After three formal sessions, negotiations failed in October 1978. Reunified Vietnam signed a security pact with the Soviet Union, expelled the "Hoa people" (ethnic Chinese) and prepared to invade Cambodia. The United States moved to normalize relations with China and joined ASEAN in isolating Vietnam.

* 1978-89: The Vietnamese occupation of Cambodia and inadequate cooperation on POW/MIA issue dampened any US interest in bilateral normalization. In September 1989, Vietnam completed its military withdrawal from Cambodia.

* 1991: In April, the United States presented Vietnam with a road map for quid-pro-quo normalization.

* 1991-93: Vietnam cooperated in implementing the Agreements on a Comprehensive Political Settlement of the Cambodia Conflict.

* 1993: On 13 January, the US Senate Select Committee on POW/ MIA Affairs' favourable final report cleared the way for the Clinton Administration to resume IMF and World Bank lending to Vietnam.

* 1994: President Bill Clinton lifted the trade embargo on Vietnam on 3 February.

* 1995: The United States and Vietnam signed agreements on property claims and established liaison offices in Hanoi and Washington. …

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