83. Airgram From the Embassy in Vietnam to the Department of State1



  • JUSPAO Weekly Activities Report—April 26–May 2, 1970. Department Pass AID/V, CIA, JCS for SAGSA, USIA for IAF/VN

1. SUMMARY: President Nixon’s announcement of combined U.S.-South Vietnamese operations against VC/NVA sanctuaries in Cambodia2 was given major play by local media as JUSPAO rushed English and Vietnamese texts to all media and top officials and issued policy guidance for Mission elements on psyop exploitation of the action.

MOI began transmission on medium-wave radio of dictation-speed daily policy guidance to rural and urban cadre.

First Signal Brigade gave go ahead to JUSPAO for renovation of Qui Nhon transmitter site on Vung Chua mountain.

The mass abduction of 200 civilians from a resettlement community in Pleiku headed the list of terrorist actions reported by cable to IPS.

2. U.S./FREE WORLD SUPPORT: Within one hour after transmission of President Nixon’s May 1 speech on the Cambodian situation,3 JUSPAO distributed full English texts to the GVN Presidential Palace, Ministries, legislators, and media. Vietnamese texts followed a few hours later, as did English and Vietnamese versions of Wireless File backgrounders on the speech. Tapes of the Vietnamese translation of the speech, as broadcast by VOA, were rushed to VTVN, THVN and Voice of Freedom, all of which used them in their news programs the same day. Favorable Vietnamese reactions to the speech were cabled to IPS and voiced in English, Vietnamese, Cambodian and Spanish for IBS use. JUSPAO issued policy guidance on May 1 which will govern production of psyop leaflets, air tapes and a special 500,000-copy issue of Free South. Copies of the July 1969 backgrounder on COSVN were made available by JUSPAO to the international press through the Mission Press Center.

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Korean plans to construct a large medical facility in Viet Nam were the subject of a report cabled to IPS, as was a wrapup on the extent of GVNROK economic and technical cooperation. A similar piece was voiced for VOA in Vietnamese, Mandarin, Cambodian and Spanish.

The installation of a modern playground in Cholon by Korean forces was reported by the Vietnamese edition of Free World No. 4 (monthly magazine for educated adults; circulation 155,000), utilizing Viet Nam Feature Service photos.

VOF broadcast details of Japanese financial aid to the GVN, in the form of a 100 million piaster grant for the construction of homes for war victims.

3. MOI/VIS/COMMEDIA: On May 1, MOI shifted from short-to medium-wave radio its daily transmission of dictation-speed news, information and guidance on Pacification and Development progress for use by rural and urban cadre. Few cadre have access to short-wave receivers, but medium-wave sets are ubiquitous. The program is originated in Saigon and rebroadcast by provincial stations.

The 1st Signal Brigade approved JUSPAO occupancy on May 1 of its building on Vung Chua Mountain, where the Qui Nhon THVN transmitter will be installed. Renovation of the building will begin in the next few days. Installation of electronic equipment is scheduled to begin June 8.

The program to substitute surface distribution of JUSPAO and MOI materials for delivery by Otter aircraft was reported progressing well in III CTZ. VIS offices in the provinces were showing initiative and enterprise in picking up their own material at truck drop-off points and in cooperating with other VIS offices to forward material for outlying provinces.

4. GVN IMAGE: A Japanese trade mission survey showing improving stability in Viet-Nam, citing Vietnamese resources which can open the way to increased production and trade, and recommending serious consideration of Japanese investment here was the subject of two in-depth pieces cabled to IPS. A story on the development of community schools as part of South Viet-Nam’s expanding educational system was also cabled to IPS.

The weekly tape “Vietnamese Images and Current Events” emphasized the accomplishments of the GVN village self-development program for 1970 as viewed by a favorably impressed recent returnee from North Viet-Nam.

Viet-Nam Today (CPDC Pacification weekly, 600,000 circulation) reported the granting of apartments to 1,700 disabled war veterans as a result of cooperation between the VN Invalids’ Association and the Ministry of Veterans’ Affairs.

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Two backgrounders were cabled to IPS: one on the record 1969 fish catch resulting from improved security, improved methods, and the motorization of boats, and the other on the bumper 1969–70 rice crop, up 17% from the previous year, because of improved security and the wider use of miracle rice.4

Eight hundred copies of the Viet-Nam Feature Service article “Pacification Program at Work” were distributed worldwide.

5. ENEMY AND ENEMY IMAGE: A report on the mass abduction of 200 civilians from a resettlement community in Pleiku and a wrapup of communist terrorist acts during the week were cabled to IPS. Protests to the International Control Commission by the GVN against NVN terrorism were voiced in Spanish, Mandarin and Cambodian for VOA; and a feature on how the Viet Cong force children into committing terroristic acts was taped in Spanish. Both Viet-Nam Press and the new Saigon English-language newspaper Daily Mirror began serializing the Viet-Nam Feature Service article “Children of the Viet Cong”.

The plight of Vietnamese living in Cambodia, who have received the brunt of Cambodian retaliation against communists living among them, was broadcast to the enemy by VOF, along with a report on the establishment by the GVN of a committee to accept Vietnamese who leave Cambodia.

The critical shortage of food supplies for troops in the South, as reported by a North Vietnamese major who rallied, was emphasized in a broadcast to the enemy by Voice of Freedom.

6. ELECTIONS: The coming Provincial and City Council elections in June were again given heavy publicity in-country and abroad. A feature voiced in Vietnamese for IBS reported that some 2,000 candidates are likely to run for over 550 seats.

The JUSPAO Van Tac Vu team5 worked with a popular Vietnamese comic singing trip to produce a song for a THVN performance, informing citizens how to vote in these elections and urging election of candidates who will provide good local leadership rather than those who are running for personal motives.

Special Pacification Tape No. 24 described provincial/municipal council voting procedures and the significance of these elections, using interviews with the Deputy Minister of Interior and the Director of the Local Administration Service.

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The continuing election of village and hamlet chiefs was the subject of a report voiced in Vietnamese for IBS, a picture story given worldwide distribution, and an article in Viet Nam Today, which also ran a three-photo spread showing elected village councils in action.

7. CHIEU HOI: Long Me (Mother’s Heart), the unattributed Ministry of Chieu Hoi magazine, which appears bi-monthly in 200,000 copies for educated adults and the population of enemy areas, covered the mass conversion ceremony at Bien Hoa of 91 POWs to Hoi Chanh status and their preparation for vocational training at the Bien Hoa Center.

Free South reviewed the results of the Spring Solidarity Campaign in which over 8,000 communist cadres and soldiers rallied and brought with them hundreds of weapons. In the same issue the Minister of Chieu Hoi announced that almost 5,000 returnees have been released to civilian life so far in 1970. Viet Nam Today and VOF told of the vocational training of nearly 400 returnees in Saigon since the first of the year, and Offset News Service (fortnightly rural-oriented; circulation 150,000) ran three photos and a story quoting the reasons given by four high-ranking returnees for rejecting the communist side.

8. ARVN IMAGE: The ARVN 12th Infantry Regiment’s civic action activities in Go Cong province, particularly in educating servicemen’s children, were the subject of a feature taped in Vietnamese in support of the ARVN image. Two photos in Viet Nam Today showed ARVN units distributing rice to civilians and reconstructing a house.

A TV clip was released on the graduation of over 1,000 officers at the Thu Duc Military School as a significant contribution to improved leadership in ARVN. A Spanish voice tape for this clip was also produced. A report on the turnover of U.S. Coast Guard vessels and of the Camp Davis port facilities to Vietnamese forces was cabled to IPS and voiced in Vietnamese.

The role of Vietnamese police women in security work was the subject of a two-page spread in Free World magazine, which is distributed monthly in 155,000 copies to educated adults throughout South East Asia. JUSPAO’s picture story was the source of the material used. Pictures of ARVN in action were provided to MACV for display at its headquarters.

Free South told of increasing security enjoyed by the border province of Hau Nghia, where the principal military force is the ARVN 25th Division, aided by paramilitary and local militia units.

9. MISCELLANEOUS: MACV-obligated funds are to be used to purchase special weather-resistant paper for the printing of three million PSDF badges.

Negotiations continued between JUSPAO and the landlord of the Rex building toward modification of JUSPAO’s current lease to provide additional space essential to JUSPAO’s proper security.

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Two local employees of JUSPAO, Pham Ngoc Quang and Ung Van Luong, were scheduled to participate in the Local Employees’ Administrative Conference in Singapore from May 20 through 22.

10. LEAFLETS: During the period April 8–14, 311 C–47 or 0–2B sorties were flown over 2,865 loudspeaker targets and 3,645 leaflet targets. This resulted in 332.1 hours of loudspeaker use and the dissemination of 78.55 million leaflets.

During the same period, 12 C–47 sorties were conducted in target areas 15, 16 and 17, dropping 45,954,000 leaflets.

One sortie was flown in III CTZ in support of FRANTIC GOAT, dropping 12 million leaflets on April 22 using the Nguyen Trai III series theme. In support of the TRAIL campaign, one sortie on April 22 dropped 12 million leaflets in target area 16 using the anti-NVA series theme, and another on April 23 dropped 12 million leaflets in target area 17 using the Laos-Safe Conduct series theme.

  1. Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1970–73, INF 2 VIET S. Confidential. Drafted by T. Mason (JUSPAO) and Hoffman; approved by Lee. Repeated for information to Bangkok, Vientiane, CINCPAC, CINCPACFLT, and CINCUSARPAC. None of the cables referenced in the airgram were found.
  2. The President made this announcement in an April 30 televised speech. See Public Papers: Nixon, 1970, pp. 405–410.
  3. Nixon delivered the speech on April 30; see footnote 2, above.
  4. Reference is to the development of hardier rice strains, notably IR8 or “miracle rice,” during the “Green Revolution” of the 1960s and 1970s. The International Rice Research Institute, located in Los Banos, Philippines, contributed to the development of these varieties.
  5. Traveling theater troupe.
  6. Bunker initialed below this typed signature.