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Sunday, October 3, 2010

Hillary Rodham Clinton-The American Experience in Southeast Asia, 1946-1975

The American Experience in Southeast Asia, 1946-1975

Conference on The American Experience in Southeast Asia, 1946-1975

September 29-30, 2010
U.S. Department of State
George C. Marshall Conference Center
Washington, D.C.

The U.S. Department of State’s Office of the Historian is pleased to invite you to a conference on the American Experience in Southeast Asia, 1946-1975, which will be held in the George C. Marshall Conference Center at the U.S. Department of State.

The conference will feature a number of key Department of State personnel, both past and present. Those speaking will include:

  • Former Secretary of State Henry A. Kissinger
  • Former Deputy Secretary of State John D. Negroponte
  • Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan Richard C. Holbrooke

The conference will include a panel composed of key print and television media personnel from the Vietnam period discussing the impact of the press on public opinion and United States policy.

There will be a number of scholarly panels, where leading scholars will present thought-provoking papers.

Historical Conference on the American Experience in Southeast Asia

Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
East Auditorium, George C. Marshall Conference Center
Washington, DC
September 29, 2010

Thank you very much, Ambassador, and it’s a great pleasure and privilege for me to welcome all of you to the Department of State. I know we have in this audience scholars and historians, diplomats, and those who have great personal knowledge of and experience with the important issue that will be discussed throughout the day. A lot of history has been made in the State Department and continues to be made every day. And some of the people who are working here and who have worked here previously know that very well.

I want, personally, to welcome Secretary Henry Kissinger back to the State Department, Ambassador Richard Holbrooke, Assistant Secretary Kurt Campbell, and all of my colleagues who are engaged in the art of diplomacy in the 21st century. I also want to offer a special word of welcome to our guests from the Republic of Vietnam: Ambassador Tran Van Tung and Dr. Nguyen Manh Ha. Thank you all for being here and thank you for participating in this important dialogue. I see former Deputy Secretary John Negroponte. Thank you for being here as well.

I want to acknowledge all of the hard work of the historians here at the State Department who have completed an exhaustive record of United States policy regarding Southeast Asia from 1946 until 1975. They have compiled more than 24,000 pages of official documents, many thousands of messages, memoranda, intelligence reports, military assessments, and transcripts of meetings and telephone conversations among key policymakers. They did not, at least, have to sort through millions of emails. (Laughter.) I’m afraid we’re going to have to quadruple the size of the Historian’s Office for future assessments. (Laughter.) This collection will be a resource for students and scholars, for families and citizens in both of our countries who remain keenly interested in this chapter of our shared history.

For Americans of my generation, the war in Vietnam shaped the way we view the world and our country. Like everyone in those days, I had friends who enlisted – male friends who enlisted – were drafted, resisted, or became conscientious objectors; many long, painful, anguished conversations. And yet, the lessons of that era continue to inform the decisions we make. And for Vietnamese of the same generation who saw their country torn apart by war and who shared also the anguish, the loss of loved ones, friends, and family members as so many Americans did, the memories are also vivid and, for many, still painful.

People do not easily shake off the weight of history. All over the world, we see the bitter legacy of old conflicts and enmities. It is a source of many of our most persistent challenges. I see it every day as I work with governments on very intractable conflicts that are difficult to even imagine resolving because of the accumulated history of mistrust, of violence that has joined peoples together over time. But how remarkable it is that the American and Vietnamese people have decided to leave behind a history they could not change and embrace a future that we can shape together.

I was recently in Hanoi. I will be returning to Hanoi at the end of next month. My first visit when I went with my husband when he was President, 10 years ago, was extraordinarily moving. We met our counterparts at that time in the Government of Vietnam. We walked the streets of the cities. There are many stores in Hanoi with our picture where we helped the economy dramatically. (Laughter.)

But the most moving experience was our visit to a site where Vietnamese and American archeologists, along with American and Vietnamese soldiers, were searching together for the remains of a missing United States pilot who had crashed 33 years before, Lieutenant Colonel Lawrence Evert. Bill and I stood there watching this work with Lieutenant Colonel Evert’s children, now grown beside us. We watched the workers carefully sift through the mud. Knee deep, they painstakingly excavated the fragments of Colonel Evert’s F-105 fighter plane and the tatters of his uniform. It was a sacred site and both sides were joined in that work. The Vietnamese Government had sent engineers to help, villagers had come forward with artifacts and information, and eventually the Everts were able to take their father home.

On this last trip to Hanoi, I stood on the tarmac of the airport while a military process that accompanies the return of the remains of every American lost in Vietnam occurred, and I again was struck by the solemnity and the sacredness of the work. Thanks to the unprecedented cooperation between our governments and our peoples, as well as the tireless efforts of leaders such as Senator John McCain, Senator John Kerry, and former Ambassador Pete Peterson, many families like the Everts in both countries have been able to find some measure of peace.

The image of that dig 10 years ago has stayed with me. Americans and Vietnamese covered in mud, searching together for traces of a shared and painful past, not because they sought to relive it nor to open old wounds, but because together we recognized we have to face our past if we’re going to make peace with it.

And that is what history, your work, this conference, and the many volumes that have been published, is all about. Historians are excavating, sifting, and straining, helping us know our history more fully so that we can put the past behind us and move forward together.

The progress between Vietnam and the United States has been breathtaking. When I was in Hanoi to help commemorate the 15th anniversary of the normalization of relations, I addressed a large group of American and Vietnamese businesses that are working together. Our trade agreement has created jobs and spurred growth on both sides of the Pacific. Our friendship has become an anchor of security and stability in the region. An entire generation of young people has grown up knowing only peace between Vietnam and America, and the relationships that they are forming through educational and cultural exchanges, through new businesses and social networks are drawing us even closer together.

Vietnam is home to an ancient and proud civilization. This year, Hanoi will celebrate its 1,000th birthday. But it is also a dynamic and growing nation with a young and vibrant population. I met so many young people working at the conference center, young Vietnamese, who came up and asked me if there could be more educational exchanges, more scholarships, more cooperation between the young people of both our countries. I think there is an enormous amount that still lies ahead of what we can do together as we deepen and broaden our relationship. And I am confident that the next 15 years will bring the United States and Vietnam closer together.

I also hope that our commitment to a shared future, despite our shared history, can serve as an inspiration and even a model to others, because there are so many countries who are being held back because they cannot overcome their past, who refuse to search for common ground because the ground behind them is littered with the bodies and the blood of previous generations. In today’s world, it is more imperative than ever that we seek to end conflict and to look for ways that we can connect based on our common humanity. We will not agree on everything. We will have different political systems. But we have to look for a way to find that common ground and to work toward common aspirations that fulfill the potential for peace, progress, and prosperity.

So I thank you for being here for this conference. I am looking forward to hearing reports of the day’s events. I have looked at the program. It is quite international. We have experts not just from Vietnam and the United States, but from universities around the world. And we appreciate greatly the efforts that everyone has made led by our historians here in the State Department, not only to put on this conference, but to help us come to terms with our own history.

Thank you all very much. (Applause.)



Ngoại trưởng Hillary Clinton: 'Quan hệ Mỹ-Việt ngoạn mục'

Hội Thảo 'Kinh nghiệm Hoa Kỳ tại Ðông Nam Á', nhiều nhân vật cao cấp, bao gồm Henry Kissinger

Ngoại Trưởng Hillary Clinton phát biểu tại Hội Thảo “Kinh nghiệm Hoa Kỳ tại Ðông Nam Á.” (Hình: Chris Kleponis/AFP/Getty Images)

WASHINGTON, DC - Bộ Trưởng Ngoại Giao Hoa Kỳ Hillary Clinton, phát biểu rằng quan hệ Mỹ và Việt Nam “đang tiến triển ngoạn mục,” trong khi đọc bài diễn văn khai mạc hội nghị về vai trò lịch sử của Mỹ tại Ðông Nam Á trước đây.

Hội thảo được tổ chức trong hai ngày 29 và 30 tháng 9, tại Bộ Ngoại Giao Hoa Kỳ, Washington, DC., có mặt của một số nhà ngoại giao hàng đầu của Hoa Kỳ, trong quá khứ cũng như hiện tại. Trong số này, phải kể đến sự hiện diện của Cựu Ngoại Trưởng Henry Kissinger.

Hội nghị có tên “Kinh nghiệm của Mỹ tại Ðông Nam Á, 1946-1975” (The American Experience in Southeast Asia, 1946-1975), trong bài diễn văn dài hơn 12 phút, được chiếu trên trang web của Bộ Ngoại Giao, bà Clinton nói rằng: “Quan hệ giữa Mỹ và Việt Nam đang tiến triển ngoạn mục. Khi có mặt ở Hà Nội để dự lễ kỷ niệm 15 năm quan hệ ngoại giao, tôi đã nói chuyện với một nhóm doanh gia Việt-Mỹ... Quan hệ thương mại giữa hai nước đã tạo ra việc làm cho cả hai phía hai bên bờ biển Thái Bình Dương.”

Bà nói rằng mối quan hệ thân hữu của hai nước “đã trở thành căn bản cho an ninh và ổn định trong khu vực.”

Hồi cuối tháng 7 rồi, khi tham dự một hội nghị an ninh ASEAN tổ chức tại Hà Nội, nhà ngoại giao hàng đầu của Mỹ từng tuyên bố: “Hoa Kỳ có quyền lợi quốc gia tại Ðông Nam Á.”

Lời tuyên bố của bà Clinton sau đó làm Trung Quốc khó chịu và đã phản ứng bằng một số tuyên bố gay gắt, cho rằng Mỹ đang nhắm vào họ.

Trong thời gian qua, Trung Quốc đã ngang nhiên tuyên bố chủ quyền khoảng 80% Biển Ðông, trong đó có hai quần đảo Hoàng Sa và Trường Sa đang có tranh chấp với Việt Nam và một số quốc gia trong khu vực.

Trong bài diễn văn tại Bộ Ngoại Giao, bà Clinton cũng nhắc đến quan hệ hợp tác trên nhiều lĩnh vực giữa hai quốc gia từng là cựu thù.

Bà nói: “Tôi nghĩ, vẫn còn nhiều việc phải làm để có thể gia tăng mối quan hệ này hơn nữa. Và tôi tin chắc rằng thời gian 15 năm tới sẽ đưa Hoa Kỳ và Việt Nam gần lại nhau hơn nữa.”

“Chúng ta sẽ không đồng ý trên mọi phương diện. Chúng ta sẽ có hệ thống chính trị khác nhau. Nhưng chúng ta phải tìm cách để có một điểm chung và cùng làm việc tạo ra hòa bình, tiến bộ và thịnh vượng,” bà Clinton nói tiếp.

Kể từ chuyến viếng thăm Việt Nam của bà Clinton hồi tháng 7 năm nay, Hoa Kỳ đã có nhiều hoạt động tại Ðông Nam Á. Một số tàu chiến và hàng không mẫu hạm Mỹ đã ghé Việt Nam cùng với nhiều chuyến viếng thăm của các viên chức ngoại giao và dân cử Hoa Kỳ.

Hồi hạ tuần tháng 9 năm nay, Tổng Thống Barack Obama cũng gặp lãnh đạo các quốc gia thành viên ASEAN và đưa ra một thông cáo chung kêu gọi ứng xử ôn hòa, tránh đụng độ và bảo đảm quyền tự do đi lại trên các vùng biển.

Vào tháng 10 tới đây, Bộ Trưởng Ngoại Giao Hillary Clinton và Bộ Trưởng Quốc Phòng Robert Gates sẽ sang Hà Nội dự hai hội nghị an ninh cấp vùng.

Hội nghị “Kinh nghiệm của Mỹ tại Ðông Nam Á, 1946-1975,” do văn phòng “Office of the Historian” của Bộ Ngoại Giao Mỹ tổ chức, có sự tham dự của cựu Bộ Trưởng Ngoại Giao Henry Kissinger, cựu Thứ Trưởng Ngoại Giao John Negroponte và đại sứ đặc biệt của Mỹ tại Pakistan và Afghanistan Richard Holbrooke.

Cả ba nhân vật này từng là những nhà ngoại giao cao cấp của Mỹ trong thời chiến tranh Việt Nam.

Ngoài ra, hội nghị còn có sự hiện diện của phụ tá Bộ Trưởng Ngoại Giao Kurt Campbell, một số nhân vật từ Việt Nam sang và nhiều nhà nghiên cứu và truyền thông làm việc trong thời chiến tranh tại Ðông Nam Á như William Beecher, Marvin Kalb, Edith Lederer, Morley Safer và Barry Zorthian.

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