10. Telegram From the Embassy in Vietnam to the Department of State1

664. CINCPAC for POLAD. Dept pass USIS. Ref: Embtel 627,2 Tousi 138,3 and A–369.4GVN apparently intends proceed surrender program at Tet.5 As reported ref messages first phase of program will apparently last until July 7 (anniversary Diem taking office) then continue in phase two until March 1964. Civic Action Minister Hieu in meeting with DGI Tao, Psywar Director Gen. Oai, and US reps Jan 9 said President would make pre-recorded radio proclamation (which would also be filmed) January 25 (Tet). GVN will attempt provide us with tape and film of proclamation (which reportedly to be submitted for President’s approval today) prior Jan 15.

Hieu described three aspects of program: philosophy, techniques, and organization. Asked us suggestions and help with last two but pointedly not with first. He stated program which will follow general outlines his proposal described ref messages, and will be called “Chieu Tap” (rassemblement), will receive “generous” support from Interministerial Strategic Hamlet Committee but will also require some US aid. Principal means of carrying out program will be civic action cadres who will receive indoctrination under DGI and Psywar Director beginning next week. All ARVN Psywar officers will also be brought to Saigon for special course. Three days of ten-day Strategic Hamlet school in Saigon now being devoted to surrender program. Additional points brought out in meeting: program will include national and provincial “welcome” centers and district “welcome” bureaus with latter merely serving to turn over surrenderers to province centers. National center for those considered “interesting enough”, presumably from intelligence standpoint, will be located in Gia Dinh in rehabilitated [Page 19] camp formerly used receive refugees from DRV. After interrogation those surrenderers not sent to national center will be returned to hamlets or used in GVN propaganda teams.

At meeting it tentatively agreed:

DGI will supply film and tape of President reading proclamation, USIS to make special newsreel and film leader on event, plus maximum use of all its publications including Kien Quoc.
On morning of Jan 26 air drop (possibly including US aircraft) will be made of one million leaflets in white areas and two million in red (to be printed by USIS, DGI and Psywar). Leaflets to have text proclamation, and on reverse side instructions to friendly population and military forces on reception surrenderers. Radio coverage to be handled by DGI. Use of theater programs and street banners also planned.
USIS will also print 400,000 posters with Diem picture in color and proclamation text. Planning to bring posters by air from Manila printing center.

Next joint meeting set for Jan 29, to be held monthly subsequently. Thompson Mission working closely with GVN and us on program. We will inform US military advisors and USOM rural reps general outlines plan and provide them with guidance on how to assist in its implementation. We will also impress on GVN need for adequately informing population and particularly military personnel of treatment to be afforded surrenderers.

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 751K.5/1-1163. Secret. Repeated to CINCPAC.
  2. In telegram 627 from Saigon, December 27, 1962, the Embassy reported on a number of indications of progress in the development of a Viet Cong surrender program by the Diem government. (Ibid., 751K.00/12-2762)
  3. Not found.
  4. Airgram A–369 from Saigon, January 11, enclosed a translated text of the proposed surrender plan which was approved in principle by the Interministerial Strategic Hamlet Committee of the Vietnamese Government on December 21. The airgram also enclosed a copy of a paper prepared for President Diem by R.G.K. Thomson, head of the British Advisory Mission, on the question of interrogation of Viet Cong who surrendered. (Department of State, Central Files, 751K.5/1-1163)
  5. The “Chieu Hoi” policy anticipated in this telegram, which called on Viet Cong members to surrender, was formally established on April 17 with a proclamation issued by President Diem. See Document 92.