U. S. Halts Bombings of North Vietnam; Soviets, Chinese Decry Cambodia Drive
The Defense Department announced yesterday a temporary halt of the series of heavy bombings of North Vietnam but added that the air attacks may be resumed.
At the same time, response from China and the Soviet Union condemned President Nixon's decision to send U. S. troops into Cambodia to attack enemy positions.
Soviet Premier Alexei N. Kosygin said that the U. S. S. R. would re-examine its aid commitments to North Vietnam as a result of the U. S. invasion. The Red Chinese government issued a statement calling the action a provocation against China as well as Southeast Asia.
Speaking at one of his rare news conferences, Kosygin said, "By launching the war in Cambodia and resuming large-scale barbarous bombings of populated localities in North Vietnam, President Nixon actually nullifies the decision. . . on the termination from November 1968 of all air bombings against North Vietnam."
The Pentagon said the air missions against the three North Vietnam areas were authorized in Washington as "protective reaction strikes" to safeguard unarmed American reconnaissance planes flying over North Vietnam.
In actions in Cambodia, U. S. reconnaissance planes sighted a North Vietnamese jungle hide-out yesterday two miles inside Cambodia while searching for the headquarters of the supreme Communist command. No major enemy troop movements were observed in the area.
Brig. Gen. Robert M. Shoemaker, head of the allied task force of about 8800 Americans and 2000 South Vietnamese, declined to speculate whether the complex of over 500 buildings might be part of the disperse enemy headquarters.
Yesterday's two massive drives into the areas of Cambodia known as Parrot's Beak and Fishhook accounted for 1952 North Vietnamese and Viet Cong, 14 American, and 151 South Vietnamese deaths.
The announced aim of the twin offensive is to root out and destroy enemy base camps, storage areas, and supplies. More than 240 weapons and 120,000 pounds of rice had been seized thus far.
Rolling deeper into Cambodia, U. S. and South Vietnamese forces have cut off any escape routes for the estimated 7000 Communist troops believed inside the two areas.
"We're still on top of the enemy, but I don't know what we're going to find exactly. I don't know where he is or where he's going," Shoemaker said.
Defense Secretary Melvin R. Laird reported Saturday that U. S. field commanders are planning to attack all the enemy sanctuaries along the 350-mile border between Cambodia and South Vietnam.
The stock market fell 19.07 points yesterday, the sharpest single-day loss since President Kennedy's assassination. The brokers attributed the drop to Nixon's decision to enter Cambodia.