Statement on US Normalization of Relations With Vietnam, July 11, 1995
Bishop Daniel P. Reilly, Chairman
USCC Committee on International Policy
July 11, 1995
We welcome the decision of the United States Government to establish formal relations with Vietnam,in the hope it will improve and strengthen discussions between our two countries on matters of great concern, especially human rights and religious freedom, the MIA-POW question, and refugee and immigration concerns.
In 1989, the U.S. Catholic bishops called for efforts to promote dialogue and healing between our two countries:
We wish to emphasize that an official presence and an ongoing dialogue do not indicate approval or disapproval of a particular regime, but it is mutually advantageous to establish a formal mechanism by means of which problems may be discussed and, when possible, resolved...[T]his official dialogue must include, as we have consistently advocated, a constant concern for human and religious rights and a continuing search for justice. (A Time for Dialogue and Healing: A Pastoral Reflection on United States-Vietnam Relations, pp.8-9) The Catholic bishops of Vietnam have long advocated increased diplomatic, trade and other relations between their country and the United States. We welcome this step, then, not as a sign of approval of a regime that still fails to assure the full rights of its people, but as a means of strengthening the needed dialogue, of making more effective our concerns for the people of Vietnam, and of moving forward in healing the wounds of war.