1964 – In a meeting with North Vietnam’s Premier Pham Van Dong, J. Blair Seaborn, the chief Canadian delegate to the International Control Commission, is serving as a secret envoy for the US government for he has been authorized to appraise the situation in Hanoi, specifically, to see whether the North Vietnamese leaders are ready to pull back from the war. Although Seaborn is not authorized to make any literal threats, he leaves the Premier with little doubt that the United States was prepared to ‘carry the war to the North…if pushed too far.’ Seaborn, however, was not informed about, nor authorized to convey a package of proposals including the withdrawal of US forces and various forms of economic aid if Hanoi would halt hostilities in South Vietnam. When Seaborn returns to Saigon and sends two long reports to the US State Department, no action is taken by the US authorities.
1969 – Former Secretary of Defense Clifford Clark, writing in Foreign Affairs, proposes a timetable for withdrawal from Vietnam which calls for the removal of 100,000 combat troops in 1969 and an additional 100-150,000 troops by the end of 1970. President Nixon, speaking at a news conference expresses the ‘hope that we could beat Mr. Clifford’s timetable.’
1954 – A cease-fire ‘Agreement on the Cessation of Hostilities in Viet Nam’ is signed by General Ta Quang Buu for the Vietminh and General Henri Delteil for France. The agreement ceases hostilities in Cambodia and Laos as well. A second document, the ‘Final Declaration of the Geneva Conference,’ receives the general support of Britain, France, Laos, China, the Soviet Union, Cambodia, and the Democratic Republic of Vietnam but is never signed. It states: 1) Vietnam is provisionally partitioned along the 17th parallel into North and South Vietnam, pending reunification or other permanent settlement to be achieved through nationwide elections, 2) for a period of 300 days all persons may pass freely from one zone to the other, 3) limits are imposed on foreign military bases North and South, on personnel movements, and re-armaments, 4) nationwide elections are scheduled for 20 July 1956, 5) an International Control Commission made up of representatives from India, Canada, and Poland is established to supervise the implementation of these agreements. The Vietminh accept elections because their popular support is such that they would win, so South Vietnam pushes the elctions as far into the future as possible, and Molotov pressures the Vietminh to agree. The United States does not agree with the Final Declaration but does support it, and Bao Dai’s government denounces all agreements.
1967 – The United States apologizes to the Soviet Union for what it calls an inadvertent US air attack on the Soviet ship Turkestan on 2 June.
1972 – President Nixon appoints General Crighton W. Abrams, commander of US forces in Vietnam, to be the US Army Chief of Staff.
1972 – US Marine unit HMA-369 begins flying armed helicopter strikes with the new AH-1J Sea Cobra from the decks of USS Constellation, off the coast of South Vietnam, Flying from the USS Coral Sea, A-6 Intruders of Marine unit VMA (AW)-224 make most of their missions into Laos and North Vietnam.
1954 – American observer Walter Bedell Smith issues a unilateral declaration stating that the United States 1) ‘will refrain from the threat or the use of force to disturb’ the Geneva agreements, 2) ‘view[s] any renewal of aggression in violation of the aforesaid agreemetns with grave concern and as seriously threatening international peace and security,’ and 3) supports the concept of unity through free elections supervised by the United nations. Dulles remarks, “The important thing from now on is not to mourn the past but to seize the future opportunity to prevent the loss in northern Vietnam from leading to the extension of Communism through Southeast Asia and the Southwest pacific.’
1965 – US planes bomb targets only 80 miles from the Chinese border, the deepest raids into North Vietnam so far.
1918 – A joint Anglo-French force occupies the north Russian port of Murmansk to aid those forces, “White Russians”, opposed to the Bolshevik government. Similar operations follow at Archangel and Vladivostok are both occupied, Vladivostok by US troops, in August. The two US regiments committed at Vladivostok are commanded by General William Graves. Unlike his allies in the north he is under strict orders not to interfere in internal Russian affairs. his roles are to prevent the Japanese, who have a garrison there, from taking over the port permanently and to aid in the repatriation of a 100,000 strong group of Austro-Hungarian prisoners, later known as the Czech Legion. US troops also guard part of the Trans-Siberian Railroad to facilitate the possible evacuation of the Czech legion, but they become involved in clashes with both Bolshevik and anti-Bolshevik forces. American forces will remain in the region until April 1920.
1966 – The American Baptist Association unanimously endorses a resolution denouncing ‘the rash of protests and demonstrations’ against US policy in Vietnam.
1967 – President Johnson and Soviet Premier Alekesi Kosygin meet in Glassboro, New Jersey for a three day meeting on world issues.
1972 – US helicopters are required to fly almost all the dangerous missions around Anloc because South Vietnamese crews have panicked under fire. Several US helicopters and their crews have been lost in the last two weeks of heavy fighting causing bitterness among US airmen.
1915 – Some 70,000 attend the National German-American meeting at New York’s Madison Square Garden.
1917 – US General John Pershing lands with the first contingents of the American Expeditionary Force. Other units will follow; 180,000 men by the end of the year.
1965 – Hanoi Radio announces that the Vietcong have shot POW and US Army Sergeant Harold G. Bennett. Harold Bennett and Charles Crafts were MACV advisors to an ARVN unit operating in Phuoc Tuy Province, South Vietnam. A native of Maine, Crafts had been in country about 1 month. On the afternoon of December 29, 1964, Bennett, Crafts and their ARVN unit made contact with Viet Cong guerrillas and the unit engaged in a firefight. During the firefight, both were taken prisoner. By early 1965, Crafts and Bennett joined other prisoners held by the Viet Cong. Those who returned supplied information on the fates of those who did not. In late spring, 1965, Bennett began to refuse food. This was not an uncommon occurrence among prisoners suffering dysentery, malnutrition, malaise, injury and other ills that were common among prisoners of war in the South. Normally, the other prisoners worked hard to prevent further illness by forcing food on the POW who refused food, provided the sick man was not isolated. Returned POWs report the death of several men from the cycle of illness-refusal to eat-depression-starvation. Bennett did not die of starvation, however. The Vietnamese National Liberation Front (NLF) announced on Radio Hanoi on June 24, 1965 that Bennett had been shot in retaliation for Viet Cong terrorist Tran Van Dong’s execution by South Vietnam. He was the first POW to be executed in retaliation. When the war ended in 1973, the Vietnamese listed Bennett as having died in captivity. They did not return his remains. He is one of nearly 2400 Americans still missing in Southeast Asia.
1970 – The US embassy in Phnompenh discloses that the United States has stepped up the shipment of arms to Cambodia and that all of the $7.9 million in arms aid promised for the current fiscal year either had arrived or would arrive shortly.
1973 – Graham Martin is sworn in as ambassador to South Vietnam, replacing Ellsworth Bunker.