Tuesday, 17 February 2009

U.W. co-ed leaves for Hanoi to negotiate a peace treaty

November 27, 1970

Thierrie Cook, 21, a University of Washington student and a member of the Seattle Liberation Front, left early today for Hanoi to "negotiate a peace treaty."

She and 16 other American students assembled in New York to make up a delegation bound for North Vietnam. A similar group of students is headed for Saigon.

"It has been shown that President Nixon has no intention of getting out of Vietnam," Miss Cook said. "If people want peace they have to take it into their own hands."

The group, selected by the National Student Association, plans to stay two weeks in North Vietnam during which the "treaty" will be "negotiated." The students also hope to visit the countryside and meet as many North Vietnamese as possible.

"That is, if it's safe to go because of all the bombing," Miss Cook said.

Two weeks for "negotiations" with students and officials of North Vietnam appear sufficient, she said.

"It is not a preset treaty," she said. "We will actually negotiate."

Miss Cook, a Seattle native, conceded she expects the "negotiators" will be in general agreement in advance.

"But there will be points which we will have to discuss," she said, "such as a withdrawal date, the prisoners of war, some of the democratic processes for Vietnam and how to implement the treaty."

The group bound for Saigon hopes to meet with student and anti-war leaders there to "negotiate" a similar "treaty." But that group may not even make it into South Vietnam because of its anti-war position, Miss Cook said.

The "treaty" will be brought before church and other organizations in the United States to be "voted on and ratified by the people," she said.

"We may also build our own organization to handle it," she added. "We will set a deadline of May 1 for Nixon to have withdrawn -- or substantially so -- American troops from Vietnam. If not, there will be massive nonviolent demonstrations May 1 through 5."

Mme. Nguyen Thi Binh, the "foreign minister" of the Provisional Revolutionary Gvoernment of South Vietnam (Viet-Cong), has made a peace proposal which calls for withdrawal of American troops by June 30.

"That's an area in which we'll have to negotiate a compromise," Miss Cook said. The students will meet Madame Binh in Paris on the return trip.

The students plan to stop in Moscow for a week en route to Vietnam, or may attend the sixth Stockholm Conference on Vietnam, which opens tomorrow.

The "peace treaty" will bring the Indochina war back in focus, Miss Cook said. After the Cambodian intervention last spring, the American public has "lost interest" in the war and become occupied with unemployment and other problems, she said.

Miss Cook said there are no plans to seek permission to visit American P. O. W.s while in North Vietnam.

"The bomber pilots are war criminals and should be tried as such," she said. "They are responsible for the murder of thousands of people."

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