Brown University News Bureau

The Brown University News Bureau

1996-1997 index

Revised June 10, 1997
Contact: Mark Nickel

News Advisory
Hanoi conference to seek missed opportunities for peace in Vietnam war

Former U.S. and Vietnamese military, diplomatic and government leaders, including Robert McNamara and Nguyen Co Thach, will summarize their discussions at a news conference Monday June 23, 1997, in Hanoi. (See also news release 96-136.)

Editors: Conference dates have changed since this advisory was first distributed.

PROVIDENCE, R.I. -- Three decades after their ruinous conflict, former military, diplomatic and government officials of the United States and Vietnam will meet in Hanoi June 20-23, 1997, to reexamine the early years of the Vietnam War, 1961-68.

Supported by historians and scholars from both sides and informed by recently declassified documents, the former adversaries will try to determine whether and why either side failed to act on opportunities to prevent the war or limit the destruction it caused.

On Monday, June 23, 1997, the final day of the conference, members of both delegations, including former U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara and former Vietnamese First Deputy Foreign Minister Tran Quang Co, will summarize and discuss the results of the previous three days. This final session will be open to the press; other sessions are open only to conference participants.

Editors: For more information about the conference and to arrange coverage of events in Hanoi, please contact the Brown University News Bureau.

The conference

  • Purpose. Participants hope to learn whether there were missed opportunities to prevent the war or bring it to an earlier conclusion.

  • Site: All sessions will be held in Hanoi at the Hotel Metropole, June 20-23.

  • Participants. Each side will have a 13-member delegation of scholars and former military, diplomatic and political leaders at the table.

  • Schedule. Each day of the four-day conference will have three working sessions followed by a daily press briefing at 4 p.m. Working sessions are closed to the press. The final afternoon session will be devoted to a press conference attended by both delegations. Press briefings will be conducted in English.

  • Language. Participants may speak English or Vietnamese, as they wish. Simultaneous translation into English and Vietnamese will be provided during all conference sessions.

  • Sponsorship. The conference is co-hosted by the Institute of International Relations of the Vietnamese Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Thomas J. Watson Jr. Institute for International Studies of Brown University.

Press coverage

The following events will be open to all news media at the conference:

  • Opening ceremony. The conference will begin with a message from Presidents Le Duc Anh and Bill Clinton, delivered by U.S. Ambassador Douglas (Pete) Peterson and Nguyen Xuan Phong, of the Vietnam Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Press will be allowed inside the conference room for the opening ceremony, beginning at 9 a.m., prior to the first working session.

  • Daily briefings. Two participants will review the day's discussions and answer questions at a daily briefing at 4 p.m., immediately following the day's last session. Current plans are to hold the briefings at the Hotel Metropole. All briefings will be conducted in English.

  • Photo opportunities. In addition to the working sessions, conference planners are attempting to arrange discussions between the U.S. team and other former Vietnamese leaders. These may begin with brief photo opportunities. Further information will be available through the Brown News Bureau.

  • Concluding news conference. At approximately 3 p.m. on Monday, June 23, leading former officials from both sides will summarize discussions and draw conclusions from the conference. Robert McNamara and Tran Quang Co will make statements. The news conference will be chaired by Dao Huy Ngoc, director general of the Institute for International Relations, and Thomas Biersteker, director of the Watson Institute at Brown University.

Admission to conference sessions will be limited to participants and a small number of observers. Working sessions of the conference will not be open to the press or the public.

Additional interview time may be available. Interpreters will be available, although most members of the Vietnamese delegation speak fluent English. Contact Mark Nickel at the Brown University News Bureau for more information about the conference agenda, participants and sponsorship or to arrange interviews.

Until June 15During the conference
Brown University News BureauHotel Sofitel Metropole Hanoi
38 Brown Street / Box R15 Ngo Quyen Street
Providence, RI 02912Hanoi, Vietnam
Telephone: (84-4) 8266-919
Email: Mark_Nickel@brown.eduFax: (84-4) 8266-920
Telephone: 401-863-2476
Fax: 401-863-9595
Web: "News & Events" at  


Return to news release 96-136.