“Kẻ hèn nhát hỏi: ‘Có an toàn không?’ Kẻ cơ hội hỏi: ‘Có khôn khéo không?’ Kẻ rởm đời hỏi: ‘Có được tiếng tăm gì không?’ Nhưng, người có lương tâm hỏi: ‘Có là lẽ phải không?’ Và có khi ta phải chọn một vị trí không an toàn, không khôn khéo, không để được tiếng tăm gì cả, nhưng ta phải chọn nó, vì lương tâm ta bảo ta rằng đó là lẽ phải.”
PHÁT BIỂU CỦA TỔNG THỐNG NGÔ ĐÌNH DIỆM TRƯỚC ĐẠI HỘI ĐỒNG LHQ VỀ CHÍNH SÁCH ĐỐI NGOẠI CỦA VIỆT NAM CỘNG HÒA
President Ngo Dinh Diem
ADDRESS BEFORE “THE COUNCIL ON
(New York, May 1957)
It is for me both a great
pleasure and an honor to be among you today, for you rightly represent the
elite of the United States.
By accepting your kind
invitation I have not only respected a long tradition, for other foreign
statesmen have preceded me here and their eloquence can still be felt in these
precincts. But still more, I have just seen a personal wish come true. I have always
wanted to have the opportunity of meeting personally with men of good will and
high learning who, in spite of their very important work, take time for the
serious study of international questions. I know with how much interest
you have followed the situation in Vietnam.
Therefore much I shall say will
be already known to you. But I hope it will be of interest to you if I outline
some of the problems facing my country -how they arose- how some of the are
being solved and how our struggle organist communism is part of yours.
Vietnamese problem, a problem of civilization.
The Vietnamese problem is not
merely a local once. It is an integral part of the problems of modern Asia. By
virtue of its location at one of the main points of access to raw materials,
Viet Nam is also a big stake. Its possession can be decisive for one of the two
contending camps of our time.
Before and after the Geneva
Conference, the problems of Viet Nam have been extremely broad and complex.
The Asian problem is a
centuries-old evolutionary problem common to all the peoples of the East, which
can now be rightly considered, with its mass and dynamism, the central historic
movement of the Twentieth Century. The march toward political and economic
liberation of this mass of peoples has obliged the modern world to abandon the
old colonial system in order to involve experiment with a new formula of
international cooperation. The problem of Viet Nam, because of its geographical
position, forms an important part in the general Asian complex-in this problem
The Asian people are no longer
passive and resigned-they are embittered by past colonial oppression and also
are impatient to catch up with the West. A large percentage of them are
dissatisfied with the slow results of total planning. This yearning for haste
is putting enormous pressure on all Asian leaders-regardless of their
Therefore, Asian leaders are
not permitted the luxury of plenty of time to study problems-debate about or
curry on experiments- to find the best solutions. They will not be able to work
out evolutionary solutions as American leaders could in the past. For that is a
luxury which Asian peoples cannot afford. This is especially true of Viet Nam,
placed by history and geography in a most vulnerable position in the seething
Asian volcanic mass.
It is necessary, therefore, to
appraise Viet Nam’s special problems in this context.
data on the Vietnamese problem.
What have been Vietnam’s
special problems after the Geneva Settlement ?
Our country inherited a
bankrupt political system, a disorganized administration, a crumbling economy,
an empty treasury. The country was plagued with the politico religious armed
sects which had carved it up, and appropriated its best parts. Our army was shapeless
and under the command of foreigners. Nearly one million refugees -a tenth of
the population- had to be received and resettled. Moreover, Viet Nam had to
wrest back her sovereignty from France, who maintained over 150.000 troops in
our country. We had to make of Viet Nam, partitioned by the Geneva diktat, an
independent and modern state, capable of governing and defending itself against
colonialism, political and economic feudalism and. above all, against
absorption by Communism, implanted in North Viet Nam by the Geneva Accords. The
task seemed almost hopeless and beyond our means, so that the defeatists were
not the only once to think that we would receive our independence only to lose
it immediately to the Communists.
for our success
Events have belied those
apprehensions. We have achieved independence without sacrificing our
reconquered independence. We are now building a free economy in spite of the
illusory temptations of state ownership. In the same fashion, we shall achieve
unification without abandoning freedom.
We have restored political
stability, internal and external security, thanks to the sense of unity, the
sound judgment and the energy of our people, as well as to the moral and
material support of the American people. The political and moral tradition of
Viet Nam has always been a tradition of deep and persist ant spiritual unity.
The Vietnamese people have always rejected separatism as they have feudalism
and megalomania. We have never been governed by a hereditary nobility nor a personal
It is by drawing inspiration
from that long tradition, by adopting a clear-cut policy, characterized by
sincerity and loyalty and adapted to the geopolitical realities of Viet Nam, by
relying on the moral and material support of the American people, that we have
erected around us a climate of confidence and determination indispensable to
the recovery of a situation seemingly past mending.
to be drawn from those experience
I have enumerated some of our
achievements not out of vanity, but to draw from them the indispensable lessons
for the next stage of our national reconstruction. These lessons have been both
painful and exulting. They have many facets.
In the first place, all our
problems, however minor, can be solved only by extraordinary efforts of
imagination and will power. Viet Nam is part of Asia. We cannot therefore solve
our problems by Western methods without profound modifications. The West had at
its disposal plenty of time to achieve and digest revolutions. We do not.
Secondly, thanks to a
convergence of favorable circumstances and a willingness to understand,
American aid has met a complete success in Viet Nam. This undeniable success
must be known to the American people.
Lastly, it must not be
forgotten that Viet Nam has just recovered from a crisis of exceptional gravity
and is not completely cured, she is only in convalescence. In spite of this
serious handicap, she has to face economic competition on the part of the
Communists for such is the iron law of Asian reality.
major tacks as present
Our difficulties have been
enormous. Some of them were transient others permanent, all of them were
inherent in the geopolitical situation of Viet Nam. By relying upon Vietnamese
and Asian traditions and on the experience of our elders in democracy we have
surmounted most of these difficulties and laid the foundation for a new
political structure. We have adopted a constitution capable of handling the
permanent dangers which face our country, while safeguarding the essential
liberties of the individual.
We are convinced that the
present regime of Viet Nam can become a system which will be more free each day
since it is built on national realities and the realities of man. We can
achieve this by extensively acquainting the Vietnamese people with our doctrine
of respect for the human being and the common good, and by making our citizens
more conscious each day of its inspiring and invigorating internal logic. The
major political preoccupation of our government will be to preserve and
maintain the free character of the regime, and prevent it from falling into any
form of totalitarianism, despite the pressures working in that direction.
It is in keeping with these principles
that we are endeavoring to provide Viet Nam with a new economic structure
commensurate with its means and conforming to the fundamental aspirations of
the Vietnamese people. We are aware that in the present situation, only a
system of economic planning can solve our economic and social problems. By
industrializing, we shall meet the condition of continuous economic progress
and guarantee the preservation of our political independence. By raising the
standard of living of our people, we shall raise its purchasing power so that
they will become the natural customer for the products of our industries.
We realize that the economic
structure in a large measure deter mines the political regime of a country, and
that total planning would result in the regimentation of the masses, we cannot
forget that the time at our disposal to achieve economic recovery is very
short, and that we must use methods best suited to bring quick results. At the
same time, we have to defend our border a stability that is continuously
threatened by Communist subversion and demagogues. I must also add that my
government has the duty of defending the country against economic imperialism,
and that in Viet Nam the state must initially take a part in starting big
enterprises because the Vietnamese, ruined by war and little used to taking
financial risks, have to be encouraged.
Such are the facts of Viet
Nam’s economic problems and such are also our limitations. Here again, you
should take into account the various aspects of our problems before making a
final judgment on our actions and before gauging your sympathy for our efforts.
In order to preserve the
essential freedoms, to avoid a system of absolute state control, which is
contrary to technical progress, we are endeavoring to reduce to the strictest
minimum the areca subject to planning. Our plans call for the State to transfer
whatever shares it may have in enterprises to private owners as this is made
possible by economic stabilization. The problem is nevertheless complex. The
question is how to obtain the quick economic and sound results demanded by the
masses. By force or by more liberal methods which are nonetheless effective ?
It is here that the importance
of American aid comes in. Will it be large enough, applied rationally and given
at the right time ?
I need not elaborate on the
technical details of our five-year plan, I shall only mention, its main
political and sociological features to point out the important stake we aim to
attain. Placed in its real setting and given the short time which is at our disposal
for its solution, the problem of economic and social democracy presents
contradictory aspects. It is in the interest of the western industrial powers
and especially of the United States, to reduce the number of these ‘’internal
contradictions’’ by a concerted cooperation with Viet Nam at the planning as
well as the executive level.
Americans and Vietnamese have
had to solve together difficult problems over the last two years. The success
we have obtained must encourage us to continue our endeavors.
In any case, Viet Nam is
determined to keep moving forward along the course it has chartered over the
last two years, especially in regard to its foreign relations.
It is obvious that the foreign
policy of Viet Nam is also conditioned by its geopolitical determinants as well
as by its concept of liberty.
Geographically as well as
historically and culturally. Viet Nam is a part of Asia. Its point of view is
above all Asian.
Cut off from the world, and in
particular from its Asian neighbors by the French conquest. Viet Nam’s first
concern, once she regained independence, has been to renew and intensify its
traditional bonds with other neighbors. Viet Nam would like to help revive the
spiritual community which should be the main feature of Contemporary Asia and
which is one of the most important contributions of Asian civilization to the
history of mankind. Viet Nam would also like to see established between the
various free countries of Asia a certain coordination of their economic
efforts. The idea of Asian common market could easily be possible between
peoples with the same technological level and standard of living. This would
help mightily toward the solution of our economic and social problems without
taking us away from the ideas of Asia.
The importation into China of a
doctrine and of methods alien to Asia is a danger for its neighbors and
especially for Viet Nam. For Communism is organically interventionist.
It is only natural that Viet
Nam, which is the country most threatened by this new form of Colonialism,
should seek to defend herself. For this reason we can only congratulate
ourselves for our alliance with the United States, which is for us, like for
other countries, a fundamental element of our legitimate defense.
The unselfish aid of the
American people, its respect for our independence have contributed to tighten
the relations between our two countries.
Our relations with France,
however, after a period of uncertainty have greatly improved. A number of
questions remain to be settled between France and ourselves before our
relations become perfect. We hope this will come to pass.
Nam is a seating ground
However that may be, and from
whatever angle one looks at it from the purely Asian or -from the point of view
of the new formula of international cooperation based on freedom of choice
advocated by the United States- the experiment made by Free Viet Nam, with its
own efforts and with the aid of the Free World, and especially of the United
States, is a success no one can deny. It is at the same time a testing ground
for other Asian countries.
I conclude on this optimistic
note hoping that I have made clear to you the main contour of the problem of
Free Viet Nam and the noble part played by American aid, despite the malicious
and slanderous efforts of our adversaries to belittle our accomplishments.