And I know that he would join me in asking those who are dead and those who are alive, let us consecrate this moment by dissolving ourselves together to make the peace we have achieved, a peace that will hold. Thank you very much and good evening. Now that we have reached an honourable agreement, we should be proud that America has not been content with a peace that would have betrayed our allies, left our prisoners of war, or ended the war for us, but pursued the war for the 50 million people in Indochina. Let us be proud of the 2 1/2 million young Americans who served in Vietnam, who served with honor and distinction in one of the most selfless companies in the history of nations. And let us be proud of those who sacrificed, who gave their lives so that the people of South Vietnam would live in freedom and the world could live in peace. Both sides agreed to the withdrawal of all foreign troops from Laos and Cambodia and the banning of bases and troop movements by these countries. It was agreed that the DMZ would remain a provisional demarcation line on the 17th parallel, with possible reunification of the country “by peaceful means”. An international monitoring commission of Canadians, Hungarians, Poles and Indonesians would be set up, with 1,160 inspectors overseeing the agreement. Under the agreement, South Vietnamese President Nguyen Van Thieu will remain in office until the elections. The North Vietnamese accepted the “right of the South Vietnamese people to self-determination” and stated that they did not inspire military movement throughout the DMZ and that there would be no use of force for the country`s reassurance. However, as American casualties increased throughout the conflict since 1965, American support for the war deteriorated and in the fall of 1972 the Nixon administration came under intense pressure to withdraw from the war.
As a result, the United States exerted strong diplomatic pressure on its South Vietnamese ally to sign the peace treaty, even though the concessions Thiu wanted could not be obtained. Nixon promised to continue to provide substantial assistance to South Vietnam and, given his recent victory in the presidential election, it seemed possible that he could keep that promise. To demonstrate his seriousness towards Thiu, Nixon ordered the bombing of Operation Linebacker II in northern Vietnam in December 1972.