127. Policy Program Directive Prepared in the Office of Policy and Research, United States Information Agency1

No. 11–2–67



The United States and the Government of South Vietnam are together making an unprecedented effort to build a nation in the midst of a shooting war. Yet—

—foreign media give most space to the shooting war;

—most reporting from Saigon bolsters the notion that the war in all its aspects is primarily an American show.

Fresh impetus is now being given to the “Other War.”

We should focus attention upon the determination with which Vietnamese, Americans and colleagues from other countries are tackling an enormous and difficult job.

We must give candid recognition to the fact that it may be some time before these exertions begin to show substantial results. Doing so will provide opportunity to take frequent account of a fundamental reason why the task is so large and difficult—the systematic Viet Cong attempt to impose a Communist system and to undercut GVN efforts at democratic economic and social reform.

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Hopeful progress in specific areas can be reported as an indication of what can be achieved in all of South Vietnam as soon as the military situation permits. Key fronts are the Revolutionary Development Program in the countryside; the evolution toward a more representative central government signalized by the drafting of a new Constitution and plans for a national election;2 the Chieu Hoi or “Open Arms” program; and continuing major programs in public health, education and other fields. These are described at more length in Attachment A.


(1) To bring about a wider understanding abroad of the “Other War” and of the energy, patience and courage committed to it.

(2) Remind audiences frequently that the task of nation-building in Vietnam has been made much more difficult by a decade of Viet Cong sabotage and terrorism.

(3) Promote greater awareness that more than 30 other nations are providing help for the “Other War.”


The following materials on this subject are either in hand or in the pipeline:


“The Hands of a Stranger”—describes a Filipino medical doctor at work in Vietnam. Completed January, 1967.

“A Distant Province”—depicts a typical day’s activities of an American AID provincial representative in Vietnam. Completed January, 1967.

“The Other War”—describes a rural Vietnamese revolutionary development team working in the countryside. Completed January, 1967.

“The Eighth District”—Developing the self-help theme, this film shows how a small Vietnamese community helped to improve its own lot. Scheduled for completion February, 1967.

“Philippine Contingent in Vietnam” (working title)—a Philippine military group at work on civic action projects in Vietnam. Scheduled for completion July, 1967.

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“Rice” (working title)—stressing the importance of agricultural development in Vietnam. Scheduled for completion July, 1967.

“Three Free Men” (working title)—describing the contributions of countries other than the U.S. in Vietnam by depicting the activities of individuals from three other countries. Scheduled for completion September, 1967.


USIS Packet, “The Other War in Vietnam” (F–66–140)—Packet was sent to the field May 4, 1966.3

White House (“Komer”) report on progress in “the other war” released September 13, 1966 and distributed to all posts.4 Additional copies will be available from IPS by March, 1967.


Four-part series on Komer report broadcast in September 1966; English scripts and tapes available on post request.

“The Third Face of War,” eight-part series broadcast during January, 1966; English scripts and tapes available upon post request. Describes reconstruction effort.


Lecture: “Behind the Crisis” (with 180 color slides) distributed in November, 1966.5 Describes the economic and social progress achieved with Free World assistance, and underscores U.S. policy of helping the Vietnamese build a modern, self-sufficient and peaceful country.

Book: “War Without Guns” by George K. Tanham.6 Fifteen hundred hard-back copies sent to the field, multiple rights obtained and posts notified; 20,000 copies of student edition distributed in September, 1966.

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Attachment A

Paper Prepared in the Office of Policy and Research, United States Information Agency7

The Other War: A Checklist

For the information of Agency elements, here is a checklist of the major programs in the “Other War” effort in Viet Nam:

1. Revolutionary Development (RD).8 More than a simple expansion of previous rural pacification programs, this program is an effort to weave together a single program to cope with all aspects of the struggle for hamlets and villages. The chosen instrument is the specially-trained 59-man armed team which enters a village to establish local military security, learn the grievances and aspirations of the villagers. In the process team members offer technical advice, funds and materials—and their own labor—to the villagers to carry forward wanted or needed self-help projects.

Although Revolutionary Development has made slow progress in its first year, we can look forward to increased momentum as more and better-trained teams are deployed. A development to watch for is the substantial new task GVN forces are taking on in providing better security for areas undergoing RD and also in participating more actively in RD projects.

2. Progress toward a representative national government. The Constituent Assembly elected on September 11, 1966 is drafting a Constitution, with work expected to be completed in the early spring. In the final Manila communiqué9 the GVN declared its intention to hold national elections within six months after the new Constitution is promulgated.

3. Democracy at the riceroots level. Village and hamlet elections are expected to take place sometime between April and June this year. Similar elections were held in May 1965.

4. Land reform and modernization of agriculture. At Manila the GVN declared its intention to give high priority to land reform and other [Page 404] programs concerned with agriculture. Watch for an expansion of farm credit facilities, and effective Vietnamese use of increased aid to farming (e.g., improved seed, more fertilizer and more insecticide) in the latter half of 1967.

5. Chieu Hoi. One major program already showing significant success is the “Open Arms” program to attract defections from enemy ranks. Some 11,000 enemy soldiers, political teams, etc. came over in 1965, and 20,242 in 1966, an increase of 82%. The GVN hopes to bring in over 45,000 in 1967, although this figure is for planning purposes and should not be publicized. Also in prospect is a “National Reconciliation Plan” to induce middle and high level officers of the Viet Cong and the National Liberation Front (NLF), the political facade of the Viet Cong movement, to defect and be integrated into public service with a guarantee of full civil rights. However, for program planning purposes, there may not be too many exploitable results right away.

6. Education and Youth. Despite the war—and frequent enemy attacks on schools and assassination of teachers—the GVN has managed to expand educational facilities in rural areas with the aid of the U.S. and other countries. Plans for 1967 include 3,400 new school-rooms, 4,000 additional teachers, 8 million more textbooks. The GVN has started a new University of the South, the first in the Mekong delta. This may be worth following. In the past two years some students have joined a number of programs in support of the “Other War.”

  1. Source: National Archives, RG 306, Director’s Subject Files, 1967–1967, Entry UD WW 108, Box 7, Policy and Plans—General 1967. Confidential. Ryan sent a copy of the Program Directive to all USIA Assistant Directors and USIS posts under a February 1 memorandum noting that action was to be taken in accordance with a March 24, 1966, memorandum from USIA Director Marks. (Ibid.) Marks sent copies of the Program Directive and Ryan’s memorandum to Komer under a February 23 memorandum in which Marks noted: “I thought you might like to see the enclosed report which we released on ‘The “Other War” in Viet Nam.’ If you haven’t see the material to which we refer (exclusive of the films), I will be glad to send it to you. One of these days, we might even inveigle you into seeing some of our excellent films on your field.” (Ibid.)
  2. The Directorate approved the Constitution on March 27 and promulgated it on April 1. (Foreign Relations, 1964–1968, vol. V, Vietnam, 1967, Document 120; and R.W. Apple, Jr., “Saigon Promulgates A New Constitution,” New York Times, April 1, 1967, p. 1) For additional information about the election of the Constituent Assembly in Vietnam, see “Vote in Vietnam: The Second Front Is Political,” New York Times, September 18, 1966, p. 199; and Foreign Relations, 1964–1968, vol. IV, Vietnam, 1966, Document 229.
  3. Not found.
  4. Komer’s report was also published in two parts in the Department of State Bulletin under the title “The Other War in Vietnam—A Progress Report.” See Department of State Bulletin, October 10, 1966, pp. 549–567 and ibid., October 17, 1966, pp. 591–601.
  5. Not found.
  6. Reference is to George K. Tanham, War Without Guns: American Civilians in Rural Vietnam (New York: Frederick A. Praeger, Inc., 1966).
  7. Limited Official Use.
  8. See footnote 3, Document 91.
  9. Reference is to the Manila Summit Conference—Joint Communique issued at the close of the Manila Conference on October 25, 1966. (Public Papers: Johnson, 1966, Book II, pp. 1259–1265) For additional information on the Manila Conference, see Foreign Relations, 1964–1968, vol. IV, Vietnam, Documents 280 and 281.