November 24, 1970
Release: 11:45 a.m.
The National Student Association and student body presidents from throughout the United States have been invited by students in Vietnam to meet and discuss the possibilities of a treaty to end the War in Vietnam. As final preparations were being made for our departure, NSA received a telephone call from the South Vietnamese Embassy here in Washington. They informed us that they had received the following cable from Saigon reading:
"David Ifshin is under no circumstances to be given a visa to enter South Vietnam".
This action on the part of the government of President Thieu, Premier Kien, and Vice President Ngoyen Cao Ky is not an isolated event. Viewing it in terms of the full scale repression within South Vietnam, and in light of the recent massive protests by the South Vietnamese people against the regime, this refusal to allow me to meet with the representatives of the South Vietnamese National Union of Students is seen as an attempt by the Saigon dictatorship to deny the Vietnamese people the right to talk peace with the American people.
Why is it that Ky's government is afraid to allow American students to visit Vietnam? Could it be that he fears that students talking with students might be able to work out a settlement based on common values-- a settlement which the Thieu-Ky-Kiem government and the Nixon-Agnew-Mitchell government would find unacceptable. What is it that Huyen-Tam-Man, the democratically elected president of the Vietnam National Union of Students, has to say to me which so frightens the dictators of South Vietnam that they must mobilize their petty diplomatic bureaucracy to keep us apart?
The very day that the Saigon government denied my entry into the southern half of Vietnam, the United States military announced what amounted to the beginning of a new invasion of the North. Yesterday's helicopter raid deep into North Vietnam and the recent renewal of bombings is a clear indication of Nixon's strategy of maintaining in power a government favorable to United States' interest. This strategy is not only immoral and illegal-- it is impossible in the face of the determination of the Vietnamese people to win their right to decide their destiny without the coercion of the wealth and armed force of the government of the United States. This escalation, launched supposedly to liberate American bomber pilots captured over North Vietnam, is a fraud.
We are here today to confront South Vietnam's Vice President Ky. We are here because Ky, as a member of the ruling elite in South Vietnam, has the power to grant our visa applications. If he, a despot and a war monger, can come to the United States to advocate war, then why can't we, as democratically elected representatives of student governments throughout the United States, go to South Vietnam to advocate peace?