Cablegate: Presidential Envoy Gordon Mansfield's Meeting With

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



E.O. 12958: N/A
SUBJECT: Presidential Envoy Gordon Mansfield's Meeting with
FM Nguyen Dzy Nien on the 10th Anniversary of Normalization

1. (SBU) Summary: Vietnamese Foreign Minister Nguyen Dzy
Nien and Deputy Secretary of Veterans Affairs Gordon
Mansfield met in Hanoi July 12 to exchange high level
greetings and congratulations on the tenth anniversary of
bilateral relations. They reaffirmed the importance of
building mutual understanding and continuing the positive
momentum generated by Vietnamese Prime Minister Phan Van
Khai's recent visit to Washington and highlighted several
areas of especially beneficial cooperation, including
POW/MIA accounting, commercial ties, humanitarian assistance
and student exchange. End Summary.

2. (SBU) Deputy Secretary of Veterans Affairs and
Presidential Envoy to Vietnam for the Celebration of the
10th Anniversary of Normalization Gordon Mansfield met with
Foreign Minister Nguyen Dzy Nien July 12. The Ambassador,
PAO and Poloff accompanied. Deputy Secretary Mansfield told
FM Nien he was pleased to be in Vietnam as President Bush's
representative and happy to be able to heighten relations
and bring "a message of cooperation and friendship from the
American people to the Vietnamese people." Nien said the
anniversary is a great occasion and well-timed, coming
immediately following the historic visit of Vietnam's Prime
Minister to the United States. He passed on a message from
the Prime Minister to the President that the PM "highly
appreciates the friendly development of the relationship for
mutual benefit and cooperation, and expects it will reach
new heights on the principle of peace, stability and
development in the world." Deputy Secretary Mansfield
promised to convey that message to the President, and noted
that the President and the Vietnamese PM clearly had a
substantive and important meeting during the PM's visit to
Washington June 21.

3. (U) Deputy Secretary Mansfield said it is important to
recognize that in the past 10 years the United States and
Vietnam have taken steps to address issues of mutual
concern, such as human rights and religious freedom. Nien
replied that Vietnam sees great progress in all fields,
especially trade and economic ties. The United States is
Vietnam's top trade partner, he observed, and investment is
growing with the boost from the PM's visit. Tourism from
the United States is another booming area, Nien said. Areas
of disagreement exist, he acknowledged, but he is convinced
that through discussion it will be possible for both sides
to come to agreement.

4. (U) Nien said that as a senior official in the Veterans
Affairs Department, Deputy Secretary Mansfield must
understand the need for humanitarian assistance. The
assistance the United States already supplies to Vietnam is
highly appreciated, Nien said, noting especially the
President's decision to help Vietnam with HIV/AIDS relief.
As a veteran, Mansfield must understand the consequences of
war, Nien continued. Nien said he hopes Mansfield will
continue to examine and address the issue of helping
Vietnamese veterans suffering from the consequences of war.
(Note: "consequences of war" is the Vietnamese euphemism for
a basket of outstanding requests for assistance with the
cleanup of sites contaminated with unexploded ordinance and
landmines, and for individuals whose disabilities the GVN
believes are caused by Agent Orange. End Note.) Vietnam is
also committed to humanitarian action, Nien said, noting
that on the issue of fullest possible accounting for U.S.
personnel missing in action Vietnam is providing the
"fullest help." Now that field activities have expanded to
the Central Highlands, the two sides will see "successful
operations in coming months," Nien said. Deputy Secretary
Mansfield thanked Nien for the cooperative efforts of the
people and the Government of Vietnam in accounting for U.S.
servicemen missing in action. The bilateral effort predates
normalization, Mansfield noted, and demonstrates the
dedication of the Vietnamese and American peoples to working
together. The USG hopes to expand accounting efforts, as
well as access to documents and information, he continued.

5. (U) Commercial ties are also a strong component of the
U.S.-Vietnam bilateral relationship, Mansfield said. As
President Bush told the Prime Minister, the United States is
committed to working with Vietnam to facilitate Vietnam's
entry into the World Trade Organization (WTO). Mansfield
added that he had seen news articles earlier in the morning
reporting a series of commercial and economic laws that
passed in the National Assembly, which demonstrated that
Vietnam is moving forward with its legislative framework for
WTO entry.

6. (U) U.S. Veterans are important advocates of the
development of the bilateral relationship, Mansfield said,
noting that Senators John Kerry (D-MA) and John McCain (R-
AZ) had both stood with President Clinton when he announced
the normalization of relations in 1995. Nien said that
Vietnam's people are "optimistic for the future of relations
with the United States." The younger generation is much
more open and understanding of all outsiders, but especially
Americans, he said. Student exchanges enhance this positive
development, and Vietnam wants to send even more Vietnamese
students to the United States. Vietnamese students coming
to the United States, and Americans, especially veterans,
visiting Vietnam, will increase understanding, Deputy
Secretary Mansfield replied.


7. (U) Nien added that Vietnam is happy that relations have
expanded to cover security and military cooperation, and
that Vietnam looks forward to participating in International
Military Exchange and Training (IMET) activities and is
already engaged in counterterrorism cooperation with the
United States. Deputy Secretary Mansfield expressed the
USG's appreciation for that, saying "terrorists threaten all
civilized countries." Security cooperation, and cooperation
in all areas at all levels, will cement the partnership.
"When we have mutual understanding," he concluded, "we will
find mutual paths for moving forward."

8. (U) Later that same evening, Nien was the main GVN
representative at the large Embassy representational event
formally commemorating the 10th anniversary of the
normalization of relations. He repeated publicly many of
his private comments, saying in his speech that "the visit
has brought the two countries' ties to a new level through
the development of a constructive partnership, friendship
and multifaceted cooperation on the principle of equality,
mutual respect and mutual benefit." The event, and Nien's
comments, received wide press attention. GVN representation
at the event was above average, with several guests at the
vice-minister level or higher.

9. (U) Deputy Secretary Mansfield cleared this message.


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