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March/April 2024   -   -  

March 1: A federal grand jury indicts seven ex-aides to President Richard Nixon—John Mitchell, H.R. Haldeman, John Erlichman, Charles Colson, Robert Mardian, Kenneth Parkinson, and Gordon Strachan—for conspiracy stemming from the Watergate break-in.

March 3: In Los Angeles, Vietnam War veteran protesters at Democratic Sen. Alan Cranston’s office end a 19-day hunger strike. The veterans meet VA administrator Donald Johnson to air their grievances.

March 4: “In the spirit of respect and strict implementation of the Paris agreement on Vietnam,” Hanoi agrees to repatriate remains of 12 American prisoners who died in captivity. In a New York Times report, sources assert Air Force photos and other information suggest a massive buildup of troops and supplies by North Vietnam into the South. In an 8-1 vote, the Supreme Court rules that a conscientious objector who did two years of civilian service rather than enter the military is ineligible to receive veterans education benefits.

March 6: U.S. military officials receive the remains of 12 Americans from the North Vietnamese. The Defense Department says it is still negotiating for the return of more remains believed to be buried in North Vietnam. South Vietnam releases 97 communist prisoners in a goodwill gesture.

March 7: Ehrlichman, Colson, G. Gordon Liddy, Bernard Barker, Eugenio Martinez, and Felipe de Diego are indicted for the 1971 break-in into the office of Dr. Lewis Fielding, who was Daniel Ellsberg’s psychiatrist. Named as co-conspirators, but not indicted are E. Howard Hunt, Egil Krough, Jr., and David Young, Jr. South Vietnam accuses the VC of many terrorist acts, including throwing grenades into a pagoda, which resulted in the deaths of 11 refugees. Deputy Secretary of State Kenneth Rush ends a one-day visit to Saigon during which he met with President Nguyen Van Thieu and Premier Tran Thien Khiem. The Pentagon denies imprisoned Army deserter Pvt. Lewis Simon a chance to testify during congressional amnesty hearings.

March 8: South Vietnam and the Provisional Revolutionary Government complete the prisoner exchange of those officially listed as captured before the signing of the January 1973 peace accord. The U.S. Embassy says North Vietnam will release the remains of the last eleven POWs who died in captivity. The Army asks U.S. District Judge J. Robert Elliot to revoke Lt. William Calley, Jr.’s bail because he had been improperly released.

March 9: Mitchell, Haldeman, Ehrlichman, Colson, Mardian, Parkinson, and Strachan plead not guilty. The Saigon military command reports a VC mortar killed 32 children and wounded 56 in a school playground in the Mekong Delta. The South Vietnamese Army says fighting has intensified in the Mekong Delta and in areas north of the capital.

March 10: The Nixon Administration cites growing inflation and continued fighting as reasons it is asking Congress for a 65 percent increase in Southeast Asian aid for the coming fiscal year.

March 11: Sources claim South Vietnamese troops have begun the second phase to “consolidate sovereignty” over the disputed Spratly Islands. In Saigon, Buddhist leaders and government opponents are turned away from Chí Hňa Prison when they try to visit over 200 inmates who are reportedly on a hunger strike.

March 12: Sources assert four leading Cambodians—Ing Kiet, Khek Sisoda, Sieu Sophon, and Siv Hak—left the country almost two months ago to join Prince Norodom Sihanouk’s government-in-exile in Paris. Cambodian troops clear a five-mile strip along Route 4 to open Kompong Speu to the coast. The North Vietnamese Foreign Ministry announces Ambassador Lę Van Hien will return to Vientiane tomorrow after a ten-year absence; he left without resigning after the collapse of Laos’ coalition government. Gen. William Westmoreland, former commander of U.S. forces in Vietnam and Army chief of staff, announces he will run for the Republican candidacy as governor of South Carolina.

March 13: In Hanoi, North Vietnam turns over to the U.S. the remains of the last 11 Americans known to have died in captivity. Spokesmen for the Defense Department tell a House subcommittee the agency opposes amnesty for deserters because it would be “detrimental” to troop discipline and morale. The U.S. turns over four new F-5E fighter jets to the South Vietnamese Air Force in what is considered the first of 150 to be supplied.

March 14: Liddy, Barker, Martinez, and de Diego plead not guilty.

March 15: At Kampot, a seaport 85 miles southwest of Phnom Penh, a U.S. C-130 transport plane drops ammunition for the embattled Cambodian troops.

March 18: The Saigon command reports that over the weekend, intense fighting in the Central Highlands has resulted in the deaths of 348 enemy and 72 South Vietnamese troops. One government battalion is reportedly overrun. Pentagon officials testify before the House Armed Services Committee that the South Vietnamese government, without immediate aid, will run short of funds in April and will be unable to support her military actions.

March 19: Sen. James Buckley (R-N.Y.), a Nixon supporter, urges the president to serve as an “extraordinary act of statesmanship and courage,” and resign. Nixon vows to “stand and fight.”

March 22: In Paris, the PRG proposes a six-point plan which includes provisions for a general election in the South and for a new ceasefire.

March 23: The South Vietnamese government expresses skepticism over the new VC peace proposal, but it does not reject it. Saigon asks to set up working groups for detailed negotiations. The largest convoy in six months arrives in Phnom Penh with food, ammunition, and fuel.

March 24: Thousands of Buddhist monks gather in a Phnom Penh stadium to protest the destruction of historical and religious landmarks in beleaguered Phasar Oudong.

March 26: House impeachment investigators receive the material about Nixon’s Watergate role from the grand jury. Thieu declares he has ordered the land-distribution program to speed up allocation to prospective farmers. Saigon radio announces Thieu has freed 420 prisoners for Land Reform Day.

March 27: A 60-truck in a South Vietnamese convoy is ambushed at An Khe Pass. Two government troops are killed, three are wounded, and ten trucks are destroyed. Sen. Harold Hughes (D-Iowa) announces his Armed Services Committee hearings have discovered strong evidence that from early 1970 to 1973, the Nixon administration allowed 60 covert ground operations into Laos and Cambodia in violation of the law.

March 29: A federal grand jury indicts eight Ohio National Guardsmen for violating the civil rights of the four Kent State University students killed and the nine wounded on May 4, 1970. The Pentagon says that one-third (about 10,000 men) of the U.S. Air Force units will be withdrawn from Thailand within the next few months. Sweden accuses South Vietnam and its outside help—without specifically naming the U.S.—of sabotaging the Paris peace treaty.

March 30: Thieu adviser Hoang Duc Nha accuses North Vietnam of planning a general offensive to defeat the South. Intelligence reports contend Hanoi is sending thousands of civilians into the South to populate VC-controlled areas.

March 31: Moscow backs Hanoi’s demand that the U.S. cease violating the peace accords by shipping war materiel to South Vietnam.

April 1: The State Department denies Sen. Ted Kennedy’s (D-Mass.) accusation that the White House has made “new commitments” to support South Vietnam. The department discloses it has about 200 civilian and military government workers in Cambodia, which is the limit set by Congress. In Beijing, Khieu Smaphan, the leader of the Khmer Rouge forces, claims the U.S. is still very involved in his country’s war.

April 2: On the Senate floor, Kennedy makes public a telegram from U.S. ambassador to South Vietnam Graham Martin to Henry Kissinger. In the telegram, Martin asks the secretary of state not to give an “honest and detailed answer” to questions raised by Kennedy concerning U.S. policy in Southeast Asia.

April 3: North Vietnamese troops capture three government bases northeast of Kontum. The Senate Armed Services Committee approves a $226 million increase in military aid to South Vietnam, about half what Nixon was asking. The House Appropriations Committee approves even less.

April 4: The full House rejects Nixon’s attempt to increase military aid to South Vietnam for the fiscal year. Eight Ohio National Guardsmen plead not guilty to charges of violating the civil rights of those killed and injured during the Kent State University shootings in 1970.

April 5: North Vietnamese premier Pham Van Dong arrives in Yugoslavia for four days of talks. It is his first leg of a tour of several nations.

April 8: Nixon’s deputy special assistant Bruce Herschensohn calls the media’s treatment of the Vietnam War “one-sided.”

April 9: Saigon charges the VC with kidnapping 90 civilians from the Michelin rubber plantation and from five villages in the Mekong Delta.

April 12: After a 411-day siege, the Tong Le Chan camp, 50 miles north of Saigon, is reported overrun.

April 14: Sources dispute reports that VC cadres overran Tong Le Chan. They contend that during the night, the South Vietnamese rangers successfully withdrew from the camp and that the VC found it empty in the morning.

April 15: In a letter to the Rev. Dr. George Webber, Ambassador Graham Martin accuses him of implicit responsibility for the deaths of 32 South Vietnamese children and the wounding of 50 in a Viet Cong attack. Martin said Webber and other antiwar activists who visited Saigon did not contact the VC and NVA to use their “great influence” to get them to stop their mortar and rocket attacks. Webber denies the charges. The Supreme Court refuses to review a U.S. Court of Appeals decision upholding Nixon’s right to bomb Cambodia without congressional authorization.

April 16: Secretary of the Army Howard Callaway reduces the sentence of Lt. William Calley, Jr., from twenty to ten years. Outside Paris, South Vietnamese delegates suspend the political talks with the Provisional Revolutionary Government because of the increased number of VC cease-fire violations. UNICEF announces a three-year plan to help children in North Vietnam and in VC-held areas in the South. The Pentagon discovers an accounting error which allows it to send $226 million in military aid to South Vietnam without congressional approval.

April 17: The Supreme Court rules that parents of the victims in the Kent State University shootings can sue for damages.

April 18: Radio Hanoi charges South Vietnam with isolating the 250 PRG delegates at their Tan Son Nhut compound and with sabotaging the two-party Joint Military Commission.

April 20: A Gallup Poll shows 58 percent (down from 67 percent a year ago) feel those who left the country to avoid being drafted should not be allowed to return without receiving some form of punishment. Unconditional amnesty is favored by 34 percent (up from 29 percent).

April 27: For the third week, Saigon keeps the PRG delegation at Tan Son Nhut cut off, preventing them from giving their usual Saturday news conference.

April 28: The Defense Department puts together a committee from eight agencies to study what can be done to help South Vietnam cope with ecological damage from the spraying of Agent Orange and other herbicides during the war.

April 30: South Vietnamese Army veteran Huynh Phuc immolates himself outside An Quang pagoda in Saigon. The South Vietnamese government claims to have cut the phone lines of the PRG delegation and to have ended its news conferences because it has misused its power by giving “false news and distorting arguments, prejudicing the host country, and misleading world opinion.”




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