Paris Agreement of 1973

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Paris Agreement of 1973


(Agreement on Ending the War and Restoring Peace in Vietnam), an agreement signed on January 27 by the foreign ministers of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam (DRV), the USA, the Provisional Revolutionary Government of the Republic of South Vietnam (PRG), and the Saigon regime. The text of the Paris Agreement was prepared during the four-party negotiations on Vietnam, which began in Paris in January 1969.

In Article 1 of the Paris Agreement of 1973 the USA promised to respect the independence, sovereignty, unity, and territorial integrity of Vietnam as recognized by the Geneva Agreements of 1954 on Vietnam. Among the terms outlined in subsequent articles were the immediate cessation of military actions in South Vietnam and of all military operations of the USA against the DRV, as well as the total withdrawal from South Vietnam, within 60 days of the signing of the agreement, of the troops and military personnel of the USA and of other foreign states allied with the USA and the Saigon regime. All American military bases in South Vietnam were to be dismantled within 60 days, and, simultaneously with the withdrawal of foreign troops, all parties to the agreement were to return captured military personnel and foreign civilians. The Paris Agreement of 1973 stipulated that the two South Vietnamese parties (the PRG and the Saigon regime) would decide within 90 days of the cease-fire the question of the release and return of Vietnamese civilians captured and detained in South Vietnam.

Chapter 4 regulated the settlement of South Vietnam’s internal problems. The governments of the USA and the DRV promised to respect the South Vietnamese people’s right to self-determination and agreed that the political future of South Vietnam would be decided by the people themselves in free and democratic elections held under international supervision (art. 9).

Chapter 5 considered questions related to the reunification of Vietnam, which was to be accomplished “step by step through peaceful means,” on the basis of agreements between North Vietnam and South Vietnam, and without foreign interference. The Paris Agreement of 1973 reaffirmed principles of the 1954 Geneva Agreements, which stated that the demarcation line along the 17th parallel was provisional and that North Vietnam and South Vietnam should not join any military alliance or bloc.

Control and supervision of the implementation of the provisions of the Paris Agreement of 1973 were assigned to the International Commission of Control and Supervision, which was made up of representatives of Canada, Hungary, Indonesia, and Poland. (Canada resigned from the commission and was replaced by Iran after July 31, 1973.) To ensure coordinated implementation of the provisions of the agreement in South Vietnam, Chapter 6 called for the creation of a four-party joint military commission (the DRV, the USA, the PRG, and the Saigon regime), as well as for the establishment of a joint military commission made up of the two Vietnamese parties to the agreement.

The signatories promised to observe strictly the Geneva Agreements of 1954 on Cambodia and the Geneva Agreements of 1962 on Laos, which recognized the fundamental national rights of the Cambodian and Lao peoples. They also promised to respect the neutrality of these states (art. 20). The USA agreed to contribute to healing the wounds of war and to postwar reconstruction of the DRV and all of Indochina (art. 21). Four protocols resolving concrete questions concerning the implementation of the major provisions of the agreement were signed at the same time as the agreement itself.

The signing of the Paris Agreement of 1973 was an important victory of the Vietnamese people and of the peace-loving forces of the whole world in the struggle against imperialist aggression. It also made an important contribution to alleviating international tension.

From Feb. 26 to Mar. 2, 1973, the International Conference on Vietnam was held in Paris. It was attended by the foreign ministers of the USSR, the USA, France, Great Britain, China, the DRV, the PRG, the Saigon regime, Canada, Hungary, Indonesia, and Poland, as well as by the secretary-general of the UN. In the Act of the International Conference on Vietnam, the participants approved and took into consideration the Paris Agreement of 1973 and the protocols.

Serious difficulties were encountered in implementing the Paris Agreement of 1973, owing to the obstructionist position of the Saigon authorities. With the support of the liberation army, a national popular uprising in South Vietnam in March-April 1975 overthrew the Saigon regime. Elections were held throughout Vietnam to the National Assembly, which proclaimed the creation of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam on July 2, 1976.


Mezhdunarodnaia zhizn’, 1973, nos. 4–5.

K. IUR’EV [19–620–1; updated]

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.