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South End (Boston, Mass.) Place Laos
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VIETNAM PROJECT FINAL DAYS Col. Le Gro SR 454 This is the 13th of November, 1981 and we’re in the Presidio in San Francisco for the Vietnam Project for WGBH in Boston. I have been told the correct way to slate for this is the Vietnam Project TVP013. Elizabeth Deane producer, Final Days, . I really believe that the Secretary did the best possible job, but leaving large North Vietnamese regular formations in the South was a situation that the South could not contend with. They couldn't defeat those major formations, and those major formations had the capability, from the very beginning, furthermore denied the South Vietnamese, because they had no capability essentially, any means to counter North Vietnamese continued buildup in the North. In other words, the territory North of the Demilitarized Zone was sacrosanct. The United States agreed not to continue any military action against
Summary
William E. Le Gro was a colonel in Vietnam and author of "Vietnam from Cease-Fire to Capitulation." Le Gro reports that he felt the Paris Peace Accord was doomed from the start, at least in terms of maintaining a cease fire, but that its purpose for the United States—to disengage the US from Vietnam and to ensure the return of American prisoners of war—was a success... more
Date Created
11/03/1981
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Vietnam: A Television History / End of the Tunnel, The (1973 - 1975)
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the right and wrong of the US commitment in Vietnam for more than indicated between the '65 and til the end in '75. But, eh, I would like to stress the point of view of a Vietnamese who look at the problem and who happen to have ah participated here in Washington in many of the developments at this time. Let us put aside the problem of right and wrong of the US commitment in South Vietnam. But, from the point of view of the Vietnamese, we would say that we think the US in terms of a responsible great nation whether it was wrong or right, we hoped and we believe strongly by then that the United States would believe as a respectable nation. Suppose that you are wrong by this time, you cannot say after committing the more than half a million troops in South Vietnam and well, putting the whole house in shambles and say that well, we are wrong. Let us ah call it quits and you leave
Summary
Former South Vietnam ambassador to the United States, Bui Diem recalls the tension between South Vietnam and the United States post 1975. Bui Diem discusses President Nguyen Van Thieu’s growing isolation from the United States and the trouble Bui Diem experienced as he tried to improve the image of South Vietnam.
Date Created
10/23/1981
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Vietnam: A Television History / End of the Tunnel, The (1973 - 1975)
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. This was to go until Dien Bien Phu, until the end. Cut. Take 4, . I often forget that there were two Chinese generalissimos at that time, General Chaing Kai Shek to be sure, and the other Lu Han in the south of China. Lu Han, this was still 17th, . End Side 2 VIETNAM T 876 (SYNC) Side 1 #2810 Take 8. Camera Roll What was your
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Vietnam veteran and former foreign correspondent, Frank White discusses his opinions of General Gracey. He mentions that he was gentlemanly and very gracious. He did not empathize with any particular American group, but rather viewed the Americans as another distraction. White also recounts the attitude of the French when the Vietnamese began to protest the British and American forces and the bloodshed that occurred during the Vietnamese fight for independence... more
Date Created
04/02/1981
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of Vietnam, South Vietnam would occur, probably by the end of 1965 or early 1966. Ah. We felt that the, the situation in Vietnam was so weak and the, the North Vietnamese exploitation of that weakness was such that they, the victory would have been to the enemy, unless we put substantial U.S. combat forces in to establish a screen behind which something could be built in South Vietnam. We Americans had brought about chaos by the overthrow of Ngo Dinh Diem - I think the most stupid thing we did in Vietnam. But nonetheless, the fact was ah that we felt that if you put troops, do to the north what they were doing to our friends in the south, and ah, that the vehicle was the bombing. I always thought that the key to the war in Vietnam was in the villages of Vietnam, that to the degree to which the villagers took their own responsibility to protect themselves you would
Summary
William Colby was a high-ranking CIA officer during the Vietnam War. He would later direct the Agency. Here he recalls the CIA’s assessment of the Vietnam War in 1965 and the failure of the US to anticipate the Tet Offensive. He discusses the Phoenix Program, which he directed, describing its impact on the War. Finally, he recounts events surrounding the Fall of Saigon and the end of the War, and reflects on the success or failure of US strategy in Vietnam.
Date Created
07/16/1981
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Vietnam T-879 Sound Roll 2638 George Ball Special reference tone minus 8 d.b. This is Vietnam T888, WGBH TV Boston. This is May 18, 1981. Sound roll 2638. This is presence only for sound rolls #2636 and #2637, 60 cycle reference tone, 7-1/2 ips. 24 frames per second monorecording. Okay. That's the end of presence. I'll start before you start rolling so you can just say stop. I wanted to start with the Kennedy period and ask you where Vietnam stood on ah...I'm sorry, I have to start again, . I want to jump now on to (clears throat) the period just after the Taylor-Rostow mission at the end of 1961. What was your own reaction to that mission? Taylor-Rostow Mission concluded its visit and came back with a series of reports
Summary
George W. Ball served in the State Department under Presidents Kennedy and Johnson, and later as Ambassador to the United Nations. He describes the early Johnson Administration as a period of “drift” when the US was becoming increasingly involved in Vietnam, a trend Ball opposed in numerous memos and meetings. Ball discusses his role as the voice of dissent within the Johnson administration, arguing that they learn from mistakes previously committed by the French in Vietnam... more
Date Created
05/18/1981
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Laotian Withdrawal by South Vietnamese troops: 1) Cut story: Helicopters and wounded. (25' silent and sound on film) 2) More of helicopters and landing area. Scores of ARVN (Army of the Republic of Vietnam) troops returned, standing. Crying young soldier. Men off helicopters. Man hanging on bottom of helicopter as it comes in to land (55' silent and sound on film) 3) Men off both sides of helicopter-low angle shot... more
Date Created
03/18/1971
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American Experience / Nixon
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themselves were having terrific morale problems too. Ah. Terrific by their own standards. Ah. Nothing to equal the morale problems that finally beset the South Vietnamese. But, they were having morale problems. In part because ah the South ah the cease-fire had been presented to them as the end of the war, terrific casualties from this war. Every year from 1965 up to the end of the war itself at the very least sixty thousand to a hundred thousand North Vietnamese boys had been sent down that trail system through Laos into South Vietnam and never come back. Ah. Every year. So, they had, ... Beep. Beep. Beep. End of Snd. Roll 2420. Frank Snepp Vietnam TVPO13 Snd Roll #2421 Frank Snepp Can we talk again about was there anyone in the South Vietnamese government who really didn't believe that the American stories
Summary
Frank Snepp was the former chief analyst of North Vietnamese strategy for the CIA in Saigon. Snepp recalls the decision of the American forces to pull out of Vietnam. He discusses that Nguyen Van Thieu’s cousin, Hoang Duc Nha was the sole member of the South Vietnamese government who did not believe that the Americans would continue to send support and tried to warn Nguyen Van Thieu not to rely on the Americans... more
Date Created
10/14/1981
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Vietnam: A Television History / End of the Tunnel (1973 - 1975)
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des Jarres and all the other things and he gave a very pointed description of that at a press conference with a map and all that sort of business, saying what's happening in Laos is against our good friends in South Vietnam, they're stepping up the operations there, etc. etc. etc, . But cut that Ho Chi Minh Trail. That's where they kept their operations going. It was the lifeline for all their supplies, their men and everything. And it didn't necessarily have to put our troops in but why not encourage and urge and get our Viet...er, ARVN South Vietnamese troops to go in there. I'm sorry, are you getting that dog? If you could just repeat those last couple of thoughts you had about putting South Vietnamese in
Summary
United States Ambassador to South Vietnam from 1957 to 1961, Elbridge Durbow describes his first impressions of Saigon, comparing it to a southern French provincial town. Durbrow talks about his first meeting with Ngo Dinh Diem and the differences in personality between Diem and his brother Nhu. Durbrow supported the idea that the US should stand behind Diem and continues on to describe the 1960 attempted coup against Diem. Durbrow also recalls the role the Chinese played in the Vietnam conflict and the lessons learned from Vietnam.
Date Created
02/01/1979
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Vietnam: A Television History / Legacies
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reaction when the demonstrations and the media uh uh comments. Did you think that the U.S. support for South Vietnam was running out? End of Roll Roll 662 Clapstick (Phone rings) Near the end of the American involvement when there is all the American uh, people and the American wealth and money, and didn't this have a real effect on South Vietnamese customs, them. I mean you could stop the invasion of the Communists. You can't just fight within South Vietnam? There
Summary
Nguyen Cao Ky served as Prime Minister of South Vietnam from 1965 until 1967 and then Vice President unti 1971. Nguyen Cao Ky recalls wanting to move the war north as a way to stop the Communists from infilitrating South Vietnam. As much as Nguyen Cao Ky wanted to see a unified Vietnam, he knew that was not possible and that the higher priority was to stop the spread of communism. Nguyen Cao Ky also talks about the Buddhist unrest in 1964 and his arrangement for the departure of Nguyen Khnah.
Date Created
05/07/1981
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the experience of your first year in Vietnam was? I'd like to basically take you very quickly up to the end of the Tet Offensive. You don't need to deal with Tet. But, I wonder what your first few months there taught you? And what, what you expected and what you came across? Was there a major thing that stuck, forces finally, by the end of '67, by '68 you're talking, had become well-organized, light rifle companies, walking infantry companies. These were separate as companies; they were never united into the next larger formation. The, and the war that had changed substantially by the end of '68. Do you feel that way? Well, there's certainly...the, the war changed and the persons who were in the fighting establishments certainly changed. Often by '69, we were getting
Summary
Colonel Carl Bernard served in World War II, Korea, Laos and Vietnam. He discusses the role of South Vietnam's regional forces in protecting villages against the Viet Cong and the difference between these local platoons and the larger Army of the Republic of Vietnam. He comments on the efficacy of the Phoenix Program in converting Viet Cong, and describes the conflicting objectives between the South Vietnamese and the Americans. Finally, he discusses his work in Laos in the early 1960s.
Date Created
07/16/1981
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Video, Transcript