Henry Kissinger - no sooner did we conclude the odyssey of Vietnam than the Mayaguez incident popped up.
Henry Kissinger – no sooner did we conclude the odyssey of Vietnam than the Mayaguez incident popped up.

. . . or click on the link here for Audio Player – Sec. Of State Kissinger Press Conference – May 13, 1975 – Gordon Skene Sound Collection.

With the fall of Saigon and the War in Vietnam effectively over, new incidents popped up on the horizon that made some feel as though this was the gift destined to keep on giving.

The latest was an incident involving a U.S. container ship, the USS Mayaguez and its seizure by Khmer Rouge rebels some three miles off the Cambodian coast. Disputes surrounded what was considered territorial waters. The U.S. recognized a 3 mile limit, where the Khmer Rouge recognized a 12 mile limit. The ship was seized approximately 6 miles off the coast of Cambodia.

The incident triggered a wide range of responses, with some feeling this was a provocation to engage U.S. forces, yet again.

At the time of this Press Conference (May 13th), the matter was unresolved and whatever steps being taken to successfully conclude the incident hadn’t been taken yet.

This Press conference covers much of the on-going story of the Mayaguez and its implications on U.S. Foreign Policy in Southeast Asia. Secretary Kissinger is also questioned regarding the recent capitulation of the South Vietnamese and is asked his thoughts on U.S. handling of the situation as well as American response to the question of Vietnamese refugees.

Other subjects covered was news of a book about to be released in Israel but censored by the Rabin government, where Kissinger is implicated in a number of potentially damaging negotiations. The ongoing Middle-East situation. Questions regarding our Policy towards North and South Korea as well as the definition of the Policy of Containment with reference to negotiations.

All together, a snapshot of where we were in relation to U.S. Foreign Policy as of May 1975 – a pivotal time and a period of sweeping changes as we closed the last chapter on Vietnam, as given on May 13, 1975 at Kansas City Missouri.

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