851G.02/2–150: Telegram

The Consul General at Saigon (Abbott) to the Secretary of State


73. Projects appearing immediately feasible in IC as requested Deptel 42 January 271 include: Bao Dai memo (Contel 69 January 31) requests funds for:

Housing estimated 500,000 persons homeless in major cities and destroyed villages involving construction 25,000 housing units estimated cost US $37 million.
Health and sanitation comprising erection temporary hospitals, infirmaries, maternity wards, etc., in congested areas, distribution vaccines, medicines, canned milk, rice, bandages, cloth, etc., estimated cost US $9 million. Consulate General anticipating participation by private relief agencies of one-half cost, US share estimated $3 to 5 million.
Emergency agricultural aid through supply farm tools, seeds, draft animals, livestock, fertilizer and perhaps some technical advice, to some 100,000 families. Total cost estimated US $10 million.

In addition Consulate General proposes aid to rice production and marketing involving purchase tow boats and possibly barges, construction [Page 716] of rice mills and to dredging and irrigation projects, total cost estimated US $6 million.

Grand total cost US $56 to 58 million. Should be noted while projects one and two nonproductive they have sound moral and humanitarian basis difficult for Communist to attack and of excellent propaganda value to US and Bao Dai allaying discontent among homeless, demonstrating concern of Bao Dai for people in striking contrast to scorched earth Viet Minh policy, and arousing popular support new government.

Projects three and four designed provide maximum increase in output in shortest period minimum cost and minimum administrative machinery.

  1. Ante, p. 3.