You would have thought all the high-level officials of the Republic of Vietnam who had fled the country and are living in California are now just private citizens.
Ha! Shows how much you know!
A 79-year-old man, with the help of other septua- and octogenarians, is reminding everyone that it is not the case.
And, on behalf of the Republic of Vietnam, he just sent a letter (here and here) and a lengthy dossier (here) to the Secretary-General of the United Nations Ban Ki-moon staking the country’s claim to the Spratly and Paracel Islands. The “Office of the Prime Minister” has also been sending out news releases and stuff.
In the final month of the Vietnam War, San Jose resident Nguyen Ba Can (in Vietnamese: Nguyễn Bá Cẩn) was Prime Minister from April 4, 1975.
Can was the next-to-last Prime Minister of the Republic of Vietnam. After 20 days on the job he was replaced by a much better known name, respected legal scholar and Law Faculty Dean Vũ Văn Mẫu.
Not so, says Can. He’s saying lately that, as of today, he’s still the Prime Miniter of a country that still exists, the Republic of Vietnam.
Just in case the events at the end of the war were going by too quickly and you missed Can’s name, let’s review:
Many people peg South Vietnam’s defeat on the fatally flawed decision by President Nguyen Van Thieu to withdraw from the Central Highlands. That decision took place on March 14, 1975. A month and a half later, Saigon would fall. But, in the meantime, these things happened:
* On April 9, communist forces reached Xuan Loc, less than 40 miles from Saigon. South Vietnamese forces, however, put up tremendous resistance for weeks, marking Xuan Loc as the last major battle of the war.
* On April 21, President Thieu resigned and left the country. Vice-President Tran Van Huong took over and tried to negotiate.
* No negotiations. A week later, Huong resigned and left the country too. Huong would stay in the country, remaining under house arrest throughout the rest of his life, refusing the communists’ offer of clemency ahead of South Vietnamese soldiers.
* General Duong Van “Big” Minh took over on April 28.
* Somewhere around that time, former Vice-President Nguyen Cao Ky (yes, that Ky) gave a televised speech, exhorted the troops to fight on to the death, then turned around and immediately boarded a helicopter and left the country.
* On April 30, Minh called off the war and surrendered.
And where was Can in all this? On April 4, the South Vietnamese Prime Minister resigned and fled the country. At that time, Can was President of the lower house of Parliament, so he became Prime Minister.
Then, on April 24, a new Prime Minister was named. He would become South Vietnam’s last.
But, according to Can, it’s him, Can, who’s still Prime Minister.
According to Viet Bao here, he’s saying that he never turned over his post, and the takeover by the following Prime Minister was not legitimate because the Parliament meeting that approved him never had quorum.
No quorum? As in, not enough deputies showed up to meet the minimum requirement?
Maybe, but can anyone point out where the deputies were and why they weren’t present?
And, for that matter, why wasn’t Can present to turn over his post?
Hint: Read the bullet points above to see what Thieu, Ky and thousands of other head honchos did in the last days of the war instead of fighting the communists.