The Tet Offensive and the Media
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Central Office for South Vietnam: Resolution No. 9 (1969)

The following resolution was drafted in 1969 by the Central Office for South Vietnam (COSVN), the headquarters for Viet Cong political and military activities in the Republic of Vietnam (RVN). Confronted with the United States' policy of Vietnamization (referred to here as de-escalation and de-Americanization), the Viet Cong wondered if the war would go out with a bang or with a whisper: either Americans would suffer heavy military losses and quickly sue for peace, or the war would gradually wind down until the Americans were forced to seek a political solution. The latter proved to be more the case—the American presence gradually disappeared and, in the end, North Vietnam seized control of the south.

On our part, the outstanding point is that, on the basis of thoroughly understanding the Central Committee's strategic determination, we have achieved obvious progress since the Spring of 1969 to date in applying the guidelines and methods of struggling and building, both in military and political fields, and making them more fitting to the rules of the General Offensive and Uprising; especially, we have applied and developed the direction and method of fighting with high efficiency which caused very heavy losses to the enemy at very light cost in friendly casualties; we have applied and developed the guidelines and methods for operations in the three areas designed to win and hold control of the weak areas, the areas bordering the cities and parts of the cities and municipalities. This is an improvement in the quality of our Party body's leadership and guidance aimed at securing a more thorough understanding of the Central Committee's lines, policies, and resolutions and fully applying them in a most fitting way to the practical realities of the General Offensive and Uprising in our war theater. This [improvement] has opened up vast possibilities for our army and people to fight strongly and sustainedly, to become stronger as they fight, to win bigger victories as they fight, to launch strong military attacks at the same time as they launch strong political offensives in the cities and countryside, to firmly hold and expand the liberated areas, to widen our mastership, to secure our strategic positions, and to keep up and develop our offensive position and our encirclement of the enemy, especially on the major battlefield under extremely fierce and complicated [fighting] conditions of our war theater. . . .

However, the General Offensive and Uprising is a phase which marks a leap forward of our people's revolutionary warfare; it requires more than ever a strong impulse and improvement in leadership and guidance. Yet the reality of the recent past indicated that the leadership and guidance of our authorities at various echelons did not meet these objective requirements; worse still, in some places and at times, this leadership and guidance evolved too slowly.

a. The key issue which is the origin of all shortcomings and weak points in the leadership and guidance of our authorities at various echelons during the recent period lies in the fact that we did not thoroughly comprehend the basic problems of the General Offensive and Uprising and problems relating to [Party] policies and guidelines; worse still, in some places and at times we made serious mistakes both in ideological concepts, viewpoints, and standpoints, and in the supervision of policy execution. A few of our cadres and Party members, including those at Region and Province Party Committee levels, are usually superficial and narrow-minded in assessing our strength and the enemy's; they only see the manifestations [of things] and fail to see their nature, they overestimate the enemy and underestimate the revolutionary capacities of the masses; therefore, when faced with difficulties, they become skeptical and lack resolution vis-à-vis the Central Committee's strategic determination; and they lose interest in attacking, which is the highest principle of the General Offensive and Uprising. Because they are not firmly anchored in the working class standpoint, they lack absolute determination, and their thinking is subjective and superficial; therefore, they usually have an erroneous conception of the transitional nature of the General Offensive and Uprising, now thinking it is a one-blow affair and consequently lacking vigilance against the enemy plots, now thinking it is a period of protracted struggle and consequently lacking boldness and a sense of urgency; worse still, they become right-leaning and shrink back from action.

Part II. Future Enemy Schemes and Our Immediate Tasks

The Americans' subjective intention is to carry out the precept of deescalating [the war] step by step; to strive to seize the initiative in a passive position; to win a strong position on the battlefield as they de-escalate; to de-escalate in order to "de-Americanize" the war but not to immediately end the war; to reinforce the puppet army as American troops are withdrawn; to have necessary time for having appropriate de-escalation steps; and at every de-escalation step, to strive to launch partial counter-offensives infierce competition with our forces.

b. At present, there is very little possibility that the enemy will carry out a massive troop build-up and expand the limited war to the whole country; however, we still need to keep our alertness. There are two possible developments to the war as follows:

One: In the process of de-escalating the war, the Americans may suffer increasing losses and encounter greater difficulties; therefore they may be forced to seek an early end to the war through a political solution which they cannot refuse. Even in this case, there will be a period of time from the signing of the agreement ending the war until all American troops are withdrawn from South Viet-Nam. During this period of time, our struggle against the enemy will go on with extreme complexity and we will have to be extremely alert.

Two: If our attacks in all aspects are not sufficiently strong and if the Americans are able to temporarily overcome part of their difficulties, they will strive to prolong the war in South Viet-Nam for a certain period of time during which they will try to de-escalate from a strong position of one sort or another, and carry out the de-Americanization in a prolonged war contest before they must admit defeat and accept a political solution.

In both these eventualities, especially in the case of a prolonged de-escalation, the Americans may, in certain circumstances, put pressure on us by threatening to broaden the war through the resumption of bombing in North Viet-Nam within a definite scope and time limit, or the expansion of the war into Laos and Cambodia.

Whether the war will develop according to the first or second eventuality depends principally on the strength of our attacks in the military, political and diplomatic fields, especially our military and political attacks, and on the extent of military, political, economic and financial difficulties which the war causes to the Americans in Viet-Nam, in the U.S.A. itself, and over the world.
 

 

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