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Cablegate: Official Complaint About Flag Bills

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

UNCLAS HANOI 000690

SIPDIS

STATE FOR EAP/BCLTV

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREL VM
SUBJECT: OFFICIAL COMPLAINT ABOUT FLAG BILLS

1. (U) In a diplomatic note to the State Department dated
March 20, the MFA formally asked for assistance to "abolish"
recent bills by the City Councils of Westminster and Garden
Grove, California to permit the use of the flag of the
former Republic of Vietnam and to prevent further such
legislation at the local and state level. Text of the
diplomatic note is in para 3.

2. (U) Comment: unusually, the MFA did not address the
note to the Embassy nor summon emboff to receive the protest
in person. This may be due to what appears to be at least a
partial freeze in official appointments here due to the
onset of hostilities in Iraq. End comment.

3. (U) quote
(unofficial translation)

No: 118 NG-CM

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Socialist Republic of
Vietnam presents its compliments to the Department of State
of the United States of America and has the honor to refer
to the latter the following:

It is known that on the (sic) March 11, 2003, the City
Council of Garden Grove, State of California, endorsed the
Res. 8486-03 allowing the flag of the former regime of the
South of Vietnam to be displayed at public institutions, and
at public functions of Vietnamese-American community in the
City of Garden Grove. At present, considerable efforts are
being made to instigate other city councils in the State of
California namely those in Oakland, Hayward, Fremont, San
Jose . . . to introduce a similar resolution, and at the
same time, to encourage the State of California's Assembly
to consider and pass a bill in this regard. Such
developments have not only been causing great indignation
among the Government and entire people of Vietnam, but also
triggered the past of hatred among Vietnamese-American
community in the U.S., undermining the process of national
reconciliation and unity of the Vietnamese nation,
completely running afoul of the current course of our
bilateral relations in consistence with the common interests
of the two peoples. Furthermore, the existence of those
resolutions will send wrong signals to the U.S. Government's
formal position, in observance of U.S. Laws, to acknowledge
the National Flag of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam in
the bilateral diplomatic relations.

The Government of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam strongly
opposes and requests the Federal Government and the State
Department of the United States, for the sake of greater
interests of the two countries, to take timely, and
appropriate measures to abolish the wrongful resolutions of
the City Councils of Westminster and Garden Grove, to
prevent any similar development wheresoever in the United
States, and to avert consideration and endorsement of any
similar bill in this regard by the Assembly of other states.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Socialist Republic of
Vietnam takes this opportunity to renew to the Department of
State of the United States of America the assurances of its
highest consideration.
Hanoi, March 20, 2003

To: The Department of State
The United States of America.
end quote
BURGHARDT

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