Cablegate: Vietnam: Meeting with Justice Ministry On

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



CA/VO/F/P AND EAP/BCLTV, L/EAP, Bangkok for DHS/DD, Ho Chi
Minh City for CONS and DHS OIC

E.O. 12958: N/A

REF: A) Diplomatic Note, Vann-Savage email June 19th, 2003,

B) draft Protocol, Vann-Savage email June 19th, 2003, C)
State 177624 and previous

1.(U) Summary. Consul delivered the diplomatic note and
revised protocol (refs A and B) to Ministry of Justice (MOJ)
official on July 1. The official noted that the relevant
section in MOJ that handles adoptions is reorganizing. It
is possible that this reorganization will cause delays and
backtracking. End Summary.


2. (U) Consul delivered the Embassy's diplomatic note (ref
A) and the revised "Protocol" on adoptions (ref B) to Mr.
Binh, Vice Director of the International Cooperation of MOJ
on July 1, 2003. She expressed the USG's hope to move
forward carefully, but as quickly as possible to reach
concurrence on a document that will protect the interests of
the children and adoptive parents alike.

3. (U) In turning over the diplomatic note, Consul briefly
highlighted the reasons why the USG is required to work
towards some form of document other than an "agreement."
She requested confirmation in writing from the MOJ that a
document other than a bilateral agreement will be
acceptable. She also stated that the diplomatic note
verifies the authority of employees of the US Embassy and
Consulate to negotiate this document with the guidance of
the Ambassador and certain offices of the USG. In addition,
Consul encouraged the GVN to accede to the Hague Convention
on International Adoptions.


4. (U) At the same meeting Consul delivered the new draft
(ref B) noting its new title ("protocol") and more formal
format. She also told Binh about the extensive references
to US and GVN laws which confirm the legal authority of this
document and that it will be fully acceptable throughout the


5. (U) Binh said that he would study the documents with the
relevant authorities from other ministries, and respond.
Binh welcomed the diplomatic note and the suggestion of a
new title and format for the document. He also agreed that
the best way to negotiate is with Embassy officials. As
reported earlier, he confirmed that negotiations are carried
out at the expert level (first round), government level
(designated by the Prime Minister), and state level
(designated by the President). Acquiring GVN designation
for the government and state level rounds is a lengthy
process. According to Binh, the most critical negotiation
is the first negotiation at the expert level, and he is
hopeful that negotiations can be completed in this round.

6. (U) Binh promised that the relevant authorities would
study the Protocol at earliest time possible, but he noted
that due to an ongoing reorganization at MOJ, getting
attention to the document might take a bit longer than


7. (U) During the meeting, Binh described the ongoing
reorganization of the international adoptions function at
MOJ. He stated that his Department, International
Cooperation, would be divided into 3 bureaus - International
Relations, International Law, and a Bureau for International
Adoptions, according to Decree 62, which was issued
approximately two weeks ago. (A copy will be provided
separately.) This decree will be effective as of July 12,
2003. He noted that the reorganization is still unclear and
MOJ will have to issue decisions stipulating the structures,
rights and responsibilities of these new offices. The
Bureau of International Adoptions will be responsible for
negotiating and signing adoption `agreements'. Until July
12th, Binh will remain responsible for adoptions
negotiations. Binh thinks that because thus far he has only
worked as a negotiation team leader, he may not be assigned
to the new Bureau. He does believe that even if not
assigned permanently, he will be asked to serve as an
advisor and consultant for the Bureau during its first days.
Binh stated that although the structure of MOJ is changing,
work continues.


8. (U) Comment. This reorganization may cause delays and
backtracking, particularly if written confirmation of GVN
willingness to proceed on a document that is not an
"agreement" is not received by the July 12th changeover
date. A worst-case scenario would be that we have to start
over again at square one. The GVN is known to change its
mind from day-to-day with the only rationale being, `that
was yesterday, this is today'. Until a decision is
confirmed in writing, it cannot be taken as a certainty.
Delays will certainly occur as new staff are identified and
get up to speed. Mission intends to update adoptions
information on our websites to reflect the likelihood of
increased delays before any potential protocol can be signed
with the GVN. End comment.

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