The final volume of the Foreign relations series of documents on Indochina
during the Nixon and Ford presidencies is not as detailed as those which preceded
it. However, the documents do not support the view that, once the January 1973
Agreement between the Democratic Republic of (North) Vietnam and the United
States had been concluded, the US was prepared to accept DRV’s hegemony over
the rest of Indochina, provided only that there was a ‘decent interval’ before it
occurred. In fact, both the Nixon and Ford administrations did seek to prevent
this from happening, but found their hands tied by congressional opposition.
In the case of Cambodia, the United States also found itself the victim of its
own illusions about the willingness of the People’s Republic of China to support
an alternative government led by the former ruler, Prince Norodom Sihanouk.
Following the more or less total collapse of American policy in April 1975, some
interesting ‘post-mortems’ from various government departments on the history
of US involvement in Indochina are also printed in the volume under review.