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Indochina Peace Campaign, Boston Office : Records, 1972-1975


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As an anti-war and peace movement organization, the Indochina Peace Campaign (IPC) operated in such cities as Boston, New York, Detroit, and Santa Clara, Calif., from the years 1972 to 1975. Founded by the social activist Tom Hayden, the organization's professed aims included the mobilization of dissent against the Vietnam War, the formation of a broad-based campaign demanding unconditional amnesty for U.S. war resisters, and the dissemination of educational information on a wide variety of subjects connected to U.S. domestic and foreign policy.

Within Massachusetts itself, the local organization (known as the Resource Center and located in Cambridge) worked steadily in the Boston area from its inception in October of 1972. Performing consistent outreach work by means of films, slide showings, and speaking tours, the Boston IPC also initiated a weekly newsclipping service on Indochina ("Southeast Asia Between the Lines") and assisted in the collection of general medical aid for Indochina (in connection with the Medical Aid to Indochina organization). It also lent a considerable mount of support when, in 1974, the national IPC spearheaded the formation of the United Campaign for Peace.

Organized in response to the continued U.S. involvement in Indochina, the United Campaign embraced numerous peace groups and included such organizations as the American Friends Service Committee, Clergy and Laity Concerned, and the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom. In 1975, after the perceived completion of their work, the organizations comprising the IPC (including the Boston IPC) disbanded themselves. Their final act was to create two new organizations (the "Friends of Indochina" and the "Campaign for a Democratic Foreign Policy")--neither of which ever fully materialized.

Scope and Content

The records of the Boston IPC span the years 1972 to 1975 and contain not only newsletters, press releases, and reports but also copies of the proposals, minutes, and programs of different meetings within both the organization itself and those held with its associated groups and committees (see especially series III and V). Though in theory an autonomous organization, the Boston IPC was closely connected with other regional groups and maintained correspondence with various committees, especially those of the national office located in California. For this reason, a quantity of the printed material originating in California and many of the records of meetings concerning the national conferences held in various years were received and appear in the records. The organization also collected material from other groups, such as the Indochina Solidarity Campaign (ISC), the Coalition to Stop Funding the War, and the American Friends Service Committee (AFSC). The bulk of material from these latter groups consist mainly of leaflets, reports, newsletters, and newspapers.

Contained within the records of the local office are contemporary research materials relating to the different issues the IPC worked on (series V). Documenting the public controversies the IPC participated in, the materials cover such subjects as the Paris Peace Talks, U.S. intervention, prisoners-of-war (POW's), and amnesty for U.S. war resisters. Because the IPC members did not view themselves as part of a structured organization (in the strict sense of the term) but as members of a group working on the issues of the day, the records have been arranged under these respective issues.

Within the records as a whole, four series concern the local organization's work and the material received from the national and state offices of the IPC (series I-IV). While the sequence of issues files serve to provide some insight into the IPC's organizational concerns, these series reflect the functional aspects of the IPC. As with all other series, the included materials have been arranged by subject type (with a chronological arrangement within each series, where feasible). Original folder titles have been retained where possible. Title changes have only been conducted where it could better identify the material contained within.

The nature of the records for contemporary avenues of research present both strengths and weaknesses. Use of the records will neither illuminate the strict internal structure of the IPC nor serve to provide any large measure of biographical insight into the organization's personalities and leaders. One may be able to ascertain, however, through use of the "Staff Member's File" (series VII), the materials a staff member considered relevant to her experience within the organization itself. Besides copies of newsletters not widely available to the researcher (within series II, III, V, and VI), the records of the working papers, programs, and proposals may serve to highlight--to a small degree--the internal planning and debates both within the organization itself and between its affiliated groups (see especially series III and V.H). Reports and interviews dispersed throughout the collection (but especially in series V) will also serve to provide information on the IPC's conception of events within both Indochina and the U.S. while the records of the national conferences and meetings may help in illuminating the IPC's conceptions of itself and its work