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Cablegate: Meeting with Thich Thai Hoa

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.

141018Z Sep 00

2000HANOI02047 - UNCLASSIFIED

UNCLASSIFIED PTQ5015

PAGE 01 HANOI 02047 02 OF 04 292134Z
ACTION EAP-00

INFO LOG-00 NP-00 AID-00 ACQ-00 CIAE-00 SRPP-00 DS-00
FBIE-00 UTED-00 VC-00 TEDE-00 INR-00 IO-00 VCE-00
NSAE-00 OIC-02 SSO-00 SS-00 USIE-00 DSCC-00 DRL-02
NFAT-00 SAS-00 /004W
------------------8BDD5F 292135Z /38
FM AMEMBASSY HANOI
TO SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 0844
INFO ASEAN COLLECTIVE
USMISSION GENEVA
RUEHBJAMEMBASSY BEIJING 3853
USMISSION USUN NEW YORK
AMCONSUL HO CHI MINH CITY
AMCONSUL HONG KONG
SECDEF WASHDC
NSC WASHDC
JOINT STAFF WASHDC
SECDEF WASHDC
DIA WASHDC
USCINCPAC HONOLULU HI//J5/FPA/JTF-FA//

UNCLAS SECTION 02 OF 04 HANOI 002047

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE

C O R R E C T E D C O P Y (TEXT)

UNCLASSIFIED

PAGE 02 HANOI 02047 02 OF 04 292134Z
DEPT FOR EAP/BCLTV, DRL, DRL/IRF, INR/B AND IO
STATE ALSO FOR EAP/PD/DKIRCHOFFER
GENEVA FOR HRC
NSC FOR RAVIC HUSO
USCINCPAC FOR FPA
SECDEF ALSO FOR ISA/EA/LSTERN

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PHUM KIRF KPAO PREL PGOV VM UNGA HUMANR RELFREE
SUBJECT: MEETING WITH THICH THAI HOA


RECEIVED INVITATIONS ABOUT ONE MONTH BEFORE THE SUMMIT
FROM VIETNAM'S UN MISSION. THEY THEN WENT THROUGH
FORMAL GVN APPLICATION PROCEDURES FOR APPROVAL OF
TRAVEL FOR RELIGIOUS FIGURES. END NOTE).

7. (SBU) COMMENT: GIVEN THE DATE HOA RECEIVED THE
INVITATION (AUGUST 14) AND THE DATE HE FILED HIS
APPLICATION (AUGUST 21), IT IS DIFFICULT TO EXPECT HE
COULD HAVE RECEIVED A PASSPORT AND STILL BEEN ABLE TO
MAKE THE AUGUST 28-31 SESSION EVEN WERE HIS CASE NOT
CONTROVERSIAL BECAUSE OF HIS RELIGIOUS AFFILIATION. GVN
RELIGIOUS AUTHORITIES IN HANOI ARE FAMILIAR WITH HOA.
A FEW DAYS BEFORE POLOFF'S VISIT, EMBASSY SPOKE WITH
NGUYEN THE DOANH, DIRECTOR OF THE DEPARTMENT FOR
INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS OF THE VIETNAM GOVERNMENT
COMMITTEE FOR RELIGIOUS AFFAIRS. DOANH DENIED THAT HOA
HAD BEEN REFUSED A PASSPORT, WHICH IS TECHNICALLY TRUE,
SINCE NO FORMAL REFUSAL WAS EVER ISSUED. END COMMENT.

8. (SBU) THE PROVINCIAL COMMITTEE ASKED HOA TO STATE
WHETHER HE IS A MEMBER OF THE VIETNAM BUDDHIST SANGHA
UNCLASSIFIED

PAGE 03 HANOI 02047 02 OF 04 292134Z
(VBS). (NOTE: NO RELIGIOUS ORGANIZATION IS LEGAL IN
VIETNAM UNLESS IT IS REGISTERED WITH THE GOVERNMENT.
THE VBS, "OFFICIAL" UMBRELLA ORGANIZATION FOR
VIETNAMESE BUDDHISTS, IS THE ONLY ONE WHICH THE
GOVERNMENT HAS ALLOWED TO REGISTER. END NOTE.) HOA
SAID HE REPLIED THAT HE IS NOT A MEMBER OF THE VBS, HE
IS A MEMBER OF THE UNIFIED BUDDHIST CHURCH OF VIETNAM
(UBCV), AN ORGANIZATION WHICH THE GVN DOES NOT ALLOW TO
REGISTER. SINCE THAT TIME, HOA SAID, HE HAS HEARD
NOTHING FROM THE PROVINCIAL AUTHORITY OR ANY OTHER GVN
OFFICE ABOUT HIS REQUEST FOR A PASSPORT.

9. (SBU) ON AUGUST 25, HOA SAID, HE SENT AN E-MAIL TO
SIR BAWA JAIN, CHAIRMAN OF THE MILLENNIUM SUMMIT,
EXPLAINING THAT THE GOVERNMENT HAD NOT YET ISSUED A
PASSPORT AND ASKING JAIN TO INTERVENE. HE ALSO SENT
JAIN A COPY OF THE SPEECH HE INTENDED TO DELIVER TO THE
SUMMIT. (HOA PROVIDED POLOFF WITH COPIES OF BOTH
DOCUMENTS. WE DO NOT KNOW, AND HOA DID NOT STATE,
WHETHER JAIN RECEIVED HIS E-MAIL, OR REPLIED). ON
SEPTEMBER 2, HOA SENT A LETTER OF PROTEST TO NINE HIGH-
RANKING VIETNAMESE GOVERNMENT AND PARTY OFFICIALS,
INCLUDING GENERAL SECRETARY LE KHA PHIEU, PRESIDENT
TRAN DUC LUONG, PRIME MINISTER PHAN VAN KHAI, AND
NATIONAL ASSEMBLY SPEAKER NONG DUC MANH. COPIES WERE
SENT TO NUMEROUS PROVINCIAL AND GOVERNMENT RELIGIOUS
AFFAIRS OFFICIALS. THERE HAS BEEN NO RESPONSE OF ANY
KIND TO THIS LETTER, SAID HOA.

ON AND OFF PHONE AND FAX CONNECTIONS
------------------------------------
UNCLASSIFIED

PAGE 04 HANOI 02047 02 OF 04 292134Z

10. (SBU) HOA SAID HE HAD BEEN INTERVIEWED IN RECENT
DAYS ABOUT THE CASE BY PHONE BY THE VOICE OF AMERICA
AND RADIO FREE ASIA. HE SAID AN INTERVIEWER FROM THE
VOA'S ASIA DIVISION ALSO TRIED TO INTERVIEW HIM
SEPTEMBER 7, BUT THE CALL WAS INTERRUPTED AND THE
INTERVIEW NEVER TOOK PLACE. HOA BELIEVES GOVERNMENT
SECURITY FORCES OBSTRUCTED THE CALL. HE BELIEVES
SECURITY FORCES HAVE ALSO SOMETIMES JAMMED HIS FAX
MACHINE. (NOTE: IN VIETNAM, THE VAGARIES OF
INTERNATIONAL PHONE AND FAX SERVICE FREQUENTLY HINDER
COMMUNICATION. END NOTE).
NOT THE FIRST TIME HOA PREVENTED FROM TRAVEL
--------------------------------------------

11. (SBU) POLOFF ASKED WHETHER THIS WAS THE FIRST TIME
HOA HAD BEEN PREVENTED FROM TRAVELING. "NO, IT HAS
HAPPENED MANY TIMES," HE REPLIED. FOR EXAMPLE, HOA WAS
INVITED TO A BUDDHIST EVENT IN LAOS OVER ONE YEAR AGO,
HE SAID. HOA CLAIMED THE HUE RELIGIOUS AUTHORITIES
WOULD NOT ALLOW THE VISIT. LAST YEAR, HE SAID, HE WAS

UNCLASSIFIED

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