ALLIES OF THE
REPUBLIC OF VIETNAM

SGM Herbert A. Friedman (Ret.)

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Flag of the Republic of Vietnam

During the decade that the Vietnam War was fought, both the Republic of (South) Vietnam (RVN) and the Democratic Republic of (North) Vietnam (DRVN) had numerous allies. The North was aided by the entire Communist Bloc, most noticeably the Soviet Union and the People's Republic of China. They sent men, money and material to keep the North Vietnamese Army and the Viet Cong insurgents in the field.

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Allied Safe Conduct Pass depicting the flags of the United States, Australia,
Thailand, Vietnam, South Korea, New Zealand and the Philippines. These are
the nations that supplied military support to the Republic of Vietnam

The 1975 Department of the Army publication Allied Participation in Vietnam, by Generals Robert Larsen and James Lawton Collins Jr. adds:

More than forty nations provided assistance to the Republic of Vietnam in its struggle against North Vietnam. This aid ranged from economic and technical assistance to educational and humanitarian contributions. Hundreds of Free World civilians worked in Vietnam as doctors, teachers, and technical specialists. Eight nations also provided military assistance. The flags of these Free World countries—the United States, the Republic of Korea, Thailand, Australia, New Zealand, the Philippines, the Republic of China, and Spain—flew alongside the colors of the Republic of Vietnam at the headquarters of the Free World Military Assistance Forces in Saigon…

Some of the nations that helped Vietnam under the Free World assistance program are listed below:

The nations involved in helping the Government of Vietnam were: Australia; Belgium; Republic of China; Denmark; Japan; Federal Republic of Germany; Republic of Korea; France; Laos; Greece; Malaysia; Ireland; New Zealand; Italy; Pakistan; Luxembourg; Philippines; The Netherlands; Thailand; Norway; Spain; Switzerland; Iran; United Kingdom; Turkey; Canada; Liberia; Morocco; Argentina; South Africa; Brazil; Tunisia; Costa Rica; Honduras; Ecuador; Uruguay; Guatemala and Venezuela.

The South was officially aided by six Free World nations that sent men, money and material to support the government and the Army of the Republic of Vietnam (ARVN). In addition, a number of other nations sent along small contingents of medical, transportation, construction and other experts. I will leave it to a Russian to write the story of the Communist support. In this article we will discuss and depict the psychological Warfare leaflets and operations used to convince the people of the Republic of Vietnam that with the help of their many allies, victory was guaranteed.

Psychological warfare makes use of various themes to destroy the enemy’s confidence in ultimate victory. One of the major themes of the American and Vietnamese PSYOP specialists during the Vietnam War was the overwhelming strength and power of the Republic of Vietnam and its allies. These leaflets enforce that theme, showing the enemy that a host of nations all around the world is on the side of the Republic of Vietnam.

It is difficult to know if the numbers of peak troop strength and deaths are accurate, and they do vary according to source, but according to official statistics, the numbers for peak Allied forces during the Vietnam War are: the United States - 543,400 troops deployed and 57,702 deaths; South Korea - 48,869 troops deployed and 4,407 deaths; Thailand - 11,568 troops deployed and 350 deaths; Australia - 7,672 troops deployed and 520 deaths and New Zealand – 550 troops deployed and 35 deaths. Taiwan quietly deployed 31 troops and Spain deployed another 13, neither nation losing any of its members.

Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos requested Congressional approval to send a combat engineer battalion to South Vietnam in February 1966 after the government of South Vietnam asked the Philippine government for aid. This force eventually totaled more than 2,000 men. Marcos said that the Philippines had a long-standing commitment to SEATO, which could no longer be ignored. The Philippines were traditionally anti-Communist and faced an immediate threat at that time from the Hukbalahap (pro-Communist) guerrillas within the Philippines itself. This may have contributed to Marcos’ rationale for commitment to South Vietnam.

John R. Campbell, a civilian psychological warfare advisor in Vietnam from 1965 to 1967 says about the Filipinos in Are we Winning? Are they Winning: A Civilian Advisor’s Reflections on Wartime Vietnam, Author House, 2004:

…A number of Filipinos who, among other things, manned much of our communication network and were a mysterious source of excellent imported Filipino beer, reportedly in exchange for a few stray American military trucks now and then.

The Republic of Vietnam had a peak force of 1,048,000 and lost 185,528 troops.

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Leaflet 2429

This leaflet depicts a map of the world with all of the nations helping the Republic of Vietnam. The text on the front is in part:

WE DO NOT FIGHT ALONE

In the struggle against Communist aggressors, the South Vietnamese people have been wholeheartedly helped by 31 countries of the free World in various aspects such as economic, military, agriculture, medicine, education, etc.

The back is all text and lists the countries aiding the Vietnamese:

Afghanistan, Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, China, Denmark, Ecuador, Germany, Greece, Guatemala, Honduras, Iran, Italy, Japan, Korea, Laos, Liberia, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Netherlands, New Zealand, Philippines, Spain, Thailand, Tunisia, Turkey, United Kingdom, Uruguay, Venezuela, United States.

Having the wholehearted support of the peace-loving countries in the world, we will surely win. The Communists will surely be defeated.

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Australia

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Leaflet 2725 Front

This leaflet depicts an Australian nurse caring for a Vietnamese patient and crates of milk shipped from Australia. The text says in part:

An Australian nurse is inquiring about the health conditions of a child patient.

Thousands of cases of sweetened-condensed milk for the newly-born babies.

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Leaflet 2725 Back

The text says in part:

Well-drilling machines are sent by the Australian people to improve the living conditions of the people of the Republic of Vietnam.

This leaflet was later reprinted as 2725T and dropped over North Vietnamese troops coming down the Ho Chi Minh Trail.

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Leaflet 246-273

This 246th PSYOP Company leaflet explains the Australian presence in Vietnam. 10,000 copies were printed to be disseminated by aircraft and hand. The text says in part:

We Australian soldiers, along with other Allied and Vietnamese Army forces, are working together to destroy the Viet Cong and their bases. We are here in a mutual effort with you to defeat the Viet Cong and to help build up your country.  We are your Australian friends, who have parted from our homes and families in order to come here and fight and die beside you to stop Communist aggression. While some of our units are fighting the Viet Cong, others will assist you in your villages and hamlets. We are glad to be able to help you…

Australian support for South Vietnam in the early 1960s was to help stem the spread of communism in Europe and Asia. In 1961 and 1962 the Government of South Vietnam, repeatedly requested security assistance from the US and its allies. Australia eventually responded with 30 military advisers, dispatched as the Australian Army Training Team Vietnam (AATTV), also known as "the team". Their arrival in South Vietnam during July and August 1962 was the beginning of Australia's involvement in the Vietnam War. In August 1964 the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) also sent a flight of Caribou transports to the port town of Vung Tau. By early 1965, it was clear that South Vietnam could not stave off the communist insurgents and their North Vietnamese comrades. The US government requested further support from friendly countries in the region, including Australia. The Australian government dispatched the 1st Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment (1RAR) in June 1965 to serve alongside the US 173rd Airborne Brigade in Bien Hoa province. In March 1966 the government announced the dispatch of a taskforce to replace 1RAR, consisting of two battalions and support services (including a RAAF squadron of Iroquois helicopters). All the RAAF aircraft (fixed wing and rotary wing) were based at Vung Tau, at the US airbase. Army aircraft were based at Nui Dat – to include the U-17A Cessna Dragonfly, PC-6 Pilatus Porter and OH-13S Sioux helicopters.

All nine RAR battalions served in the taskforce at one time or another, before it was withdrawn in 1971. At the height of Australian involvement it numbered some 8,500 troops. A third RAAF squadron (of Canberra jet bombers) was also committed in 1967 and destroyers of the Royal Australian Navy joined US patrols off the North Vietnamese coast. The year 1968 began with a major offensive by the Viet Cong and North Vietnamese Army, launched during the Vietnamese lunar new year holiday period, known as “Tet.” For Australian troops, the effects of the offensive were felt around their base at Nui Dat, where a Viet Cong attack on targets around Baria, the provincial capital, was repulsed with few casualties.

By late 1970 Australia had begun to wind down its military effort in Vietnam. The 8th Battalion departed in November but, to make up for the decrease in troop numbers, the Team's strength was increased and its efforts, like those of the taskforce, became concentrated in Phuoc Tuy province. The withdrawal of troops and all air units continued throughout 1971. The last battalion left Nui Dat on 7 November, while a handful of advisers belonging to the Team remained in Vietnam the following year. In December 1972 they became the last Australian troops to come home, with their unit having seen continuous service in South Vietnam for ten and a half years. Australia's participation in the war was formally declared at an end on 11 January 1973.

From the time of the arrival of the first members of the Team in 1962 some 50,000 Australians, including ground troops and air force and navy personnel, served in Vietnam; 520 died as a result of the war and almost 2,400 were wounded.

I am going to add New Zealand to the end of the Australia section. I do not have an image but leaflet 2731 mentions that nation at the very end of the text portion:

New Zealand, one of 31 countries that have provided assistance for the Republic of Vietnam.

According to the New Zealand Government's Vietnam page:

New Zealand combat troops entered what would become their country's longest and most controversial war in July 1965.

New Zealand sent two infantry companies (V and W Companies, RNZIR), an SAS detachment (4 Troop, NZSAS), and a tri-service medical team (1st New Zealand Services Medical Team). About 60 personnel were made available for service in 1st Australian Logistic Support Group, including two nurses who served in 1st Australian Field Hospital. The peak strength of V Force was 543 men and women. From 1966 New Zealand units were integrated within the 1st Australian Task Force, the gunners joining an Australian field regiment, the infantrymen forming part of an Anzac battalion and the SAS serving in an Australian SAS squadron. Most were based at Nui Dat in Phuoc Tuy province. A small number of RNZAF personnel also served as helicopter pilots or forward air controllers.

By the time New Zealand withdrew its combat troops in 1971, around 3500 had served there; 187 were wounded and 37 died. Two civilians serving with the surgical or Red Cross teams also lost their lives.

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Korea

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Leaflet 2845

Leaflets 2843 to 2845 are a series labeled “The Vietnamese-Korean Friendship.” Each leaflet depicts the Koreans helping the Vietnamese in either farming or construction.

Some of the text on leaflet 2843 is:

These Korean soldiers are helping our peasants reap their paddy crop during harvest time. This beautiful gesture indicates the strengthening solidarity between the Korean and Vietnamese people…

The Lai Thieu hospital in Binh Duong Province was constructed by the Korean Army.

Some of the text on leaflet 2844 is:

When not engaged in operations to destroy the Communists to insure the safety and welfare of the Vietnamese people, Korean soldiers help peasants reap paddy rice, so that a timely harvest of the crop can be made…

This Korean soldier is giving a haircut to a Vietnamese child. This is only a very small act, but it embodies the feeling of a kind heart.

The text on leaflet 2845 is:

The last two waves of Communist attacks on the capital city of Saigon and other cities and town in South Vietnam resulted in the displacement of tens of thousands of civilians who became homeless and have crowded into temporary refugee camps for shelter. For the sake of humanity, Korean soldiers expedite construction of houses to promote more comfortable shelters to our people.

School children who walk on the A-Ri-Rang bridge to school every day can never forget the service of the Korean soldiers. Besides fighting the enemy to insure the safety of these children, Korean soldiers develop communication means, making it convenient for the children to go to school.

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Leaflet 3301

This leaflet depicts a hospital and medical personnel donated by South Korea. The text on the front is:

RETURN IN FRIENDSHIP

The back is all text and says in part:

FIGHTING FOR FREEDOM AND THE RIGHT CAUSE

The South Korean troops in Vietnam do more than just fight against the Communist invaders. They also suffer due to the Northern Communists. Here is a hospital built in Phuoc Tuy by the Korean troops whose purpose it is to give medical treatment to the people of the Republic of Vietnam, Allied and even wounded Communist soldiers left behind on the battlefield by their comrades…

When I saw this leaflet I thought of the Australians who were also in Phuoc Tuy. I asked one of their veterans if he recalled this Korean hospital. He did:

In Vung Tau there was an Australian Field Hospital (1 Australian Field Hospital) and a Korean (ROK) hospital. If an enemy soldier was wounded and ‘dusted off’ to an Australian hospital they (South Vietnamese military) tried to as quickly as possible to allow some of the treatment in the Australian hospital, then discharge them to the ROK Hospital.  The Vietnamese complaint was that the Australian looked after them too well. The Koreans were tougher. In Vung Tau there were two South Vietnamese prisons where ongoing wounded had very little medical treatment.  I went there a few times to interview prisoners and convicted Viet Cong suppliers and others involved in the Viet Cong Infrastructure. Their conditions were quite bad.

I worked a couple of times with the Korean and Thai forces in village ‘cordon and searches.’   The Korean soldiers were very tough with the civil population. It was just a reflection of their own society at home.

Campbell adds:

The largest contingent was some 49,000 South Koreans as a “pay back” for our help to them during the Korean War a decade earlier...Our Korean allies’ fighting prowess was greatly respected . A local gibe in Saigon where many Korean soldiers could always be found enthusiastically partaking of the Post Exchange “goodies” was, “This war would soon be over if we just temporarily closed the Saigon PX and told the Koreans that it had been transferred to Hanoi. They would be up there in a week trampling any North Vietnamese that got in their way.”

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Leaflet .214

>This strange code with a decimal point in front of the number is unknown to me. The U.S. did code such leaflets in the Lao language for Laos, but I have not seen any leaflets with such a code for Vietnam. Since this leaflet mentions the Korean Army, it may be that the code was for leaflets requested from the U.S. PSYOP printers by the Korean Army. It is a mystery. The front of this leaflet depicts a Korean soldier giving a young Vietnamese child a haircut. The text is:

Vietnamese-Korean Friendship

The Korean Army did not come to the Republic of Vietnam just to kill communists; it also is concerned about the lives of our people, and especially of our children.

The action of the Korean soldier who is giving a child a haircut is only a little thing, but it displays a heart of pure gold.

The back depicts Korean soldiers helping the Vietnamese farmers pick rice. The text is:

Vietnamese-Korean Friendship

When they stop to rest while conducting operations aimed at killing communists in order to protect the peace and tranquility of the people of the Republic of Vietnam, Korean soldiers without hesitation willingly go to work helping the people to harvest their crops quickly, before the harvest season ends.

Korean soldiers view working in the country of their Vietnam friends as being just like working in their own native land.

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Thailand

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Leaflet 246-215-68

75,000 copies of this 4 x 5-inch leaflet were prepared in 1968 by the 246th PSYOP Company. They were distributed by aircraft and by hand. The leaflet depicts a Thai soldier and a Vietnamese civilian. The text is in part:

Your neighboring country is coming to work with you. We, the Royal Thai Volunteer Regiment, representing the people of Thailand, which is your close neighbor and a member of the Free World, is now here to give you a hand and collaborate with you.

You need not worry; you can count on us. We are ready to devote every bit of effort, even our lives to cooperate with you in order that the Vietnamese people, who love freedom, will live in happiness. This is the reason we volunteered to come here.

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Leaflet 2733

This leaflet depicts generators being unloaded from a ship. The text is:

THE FRIENDSHIP BETWEEN FREE MEN

People all over the world have been aware of the destruction inflicted on the South Vietnamese people by the so-call Communist general offensive on cities and towns.

To help heal the destruction caused by the Communists; the people of Thailand donated three generators for use in the rehabilitation of the stricken people of South Vietnam.

Thailand, one of 31 countries that have provided assistance for the Republic of Vietnam

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Leaflet 2781

Leaflet 2781 reassures the people of Vietnam that they are not fighting alone. It depicts members of Thailand’s Black Panther Division deploying to Vietnam. The text on the front is:

You Have no Hope if You Expect to Win

The text on the back is in part:

…The first elements of the “Black Panther” Division of Thailand have arrived in Vietnam. By the end of this year their strength will reach 12,000 men. You have no hope if you expect to win in South Vietnam

Leaflet 2733 also mentions Thailand. The text is:

HERE, THE FRIENDSHIP BETWEEN FREE MEN

People all over the world have been aware of the destruction inflicted on the South Vietnamese people by the so-called Communist general offensive of cities and towns.

To help heal the destruction caused by the Communists, the people of Thailand donated three generators for the use of the rehabilitation of the stricken people of South Vietnam.

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Spain

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Leaflet 2724

This leaflet depicts Spanish doctors treating Vietnamese patients. The text is:

Spain, which is thousands of miles away from Vietnam, also provides assistance to South Vietnam in genuine friendship.

The photos show medical team members sent by the Spanish government examining Vietnamese patients in South Vietnam.

It is believed that there were 12 or 13 Spanish medical volunteers sent to Vietnam. They arrived in Saigon 8 September 1966. They were issued American uniforms and papers to use at the PX, commissary, etc. Their hospital had 150 beds. They treated land mine and gunshot victims, tuberculosis, dysentery, hepatitis and malaria patients. During the Tet uprising of 1968, eight Vietnam workers were killed and two Spaniards were wounded in grenade attacks. The Government of Vietnam decorated them on three occasions. The medical unit quietly returned to Spain in 1971. They received no official recognition in their own country.

This leaflet was later reprinted as 2724T and dropped over North Vietnamese troops coming down the Ho Chi Minh Trail.

Leaflet 2627 also depicts Spanish doctors treating patients with the text:

The European people understand the suffering of the people of South Vietnam. The Government of Spain, by love of humanity, has helped the victims of this war created by the Communists by sending medical teams.

The back of leaflet 2627 also shows Spanish doctors treating patients and the text:

Thirty-one Nations of the world have supported the fighting of the people of the Free South by every means.

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The patch worn by the Spanish contingent

In 2013, a Spaniard wrote to me to tell me about parachutist and Master Sergeant Ramon Gutiérrez de Teran who was a surgical assistant in the Spanish Army. De Teran was interviewed and told about his experience as a Spanish medic in Vietnam in an article entitled “Spanish Medical Aide in the Vietnam War” in the October 2009 Spanish-language magazine Military. He said in part:

The U.S. invited Spain to send military aid to Vietnam in early 1966. President Johnson wanted combat troops but Franco thought that the Vietnamese would be victorious and agreed only to send a Military Health team to South Vietnam. On 26 April 1966, a letter was sent requesting doctors and volunteers to deploy to Vietnam. The mission, limited to twelve people, began immediately and was done very quietly and in almost complete secrecy.

In late August 1966, four military doctors agreed to deploy for one year along with seven medical staff and a Quartermaster-officer who served as liaison with the U.S. Army. They arrived in Saigon on 8 September 1966. The U.S. Army medical system in Vietnam was perfectly organized; an impressive network of ambulances and evacuation helicopters. We heard that from 1966 to 1973 about 372,947 wounded were evacuated by helicopter, with a total of 406,022 patients receiving medical assistance.

The Spanish team worked in a civilian-military hospital known as Truong Cong-Dinn in Go Kong province in the Mekong Delta. About 200 beds were crammed with patients and their families who spent the night lying at the foot of each bed. The real need was for surgeons, and although the Spanish team was mostly made up of other medical specialties they soon adapted to the needs of the hospital: Operating, women’s needs, postoperative care, laboratory, radiology, pediatrics and general practice.

The civilians and military patients were women, children, and the elderly, many of them affected with tropical diseases such as dysentery, amebiasis, typhoid, tuberculosis and leprosy, among others. We saw about 23,000 patients in the first six months. We also did outpatient work in the district villages and isolated houses in the Delta. On these outings we took care of the disabled, pregnant, and newly born. The Spanish medics were very dear to those people, and that affection is one on my fondest memories of that part of the mission. We sometimes found out later that the drugs we gave these people ended up with the Viet Cong but we could not control that.

We enjoyed full freedom to treat patients. I suspect at night many of them were Viet Cong, but we made no distinction among the ill or injured.

In September 1968, I ended the mission, and we all returned to Spain. I decided to return to Vietnam and found myself in the middle of the Viet Cong uprising known as Tet 1968. We worked day and night with almost no supplies. The medical residence was mortared one night. During the attack an American sergeant was injured and a Spanish doctor went to his aid through enemy fire. He returned to the hospital and never said a word to anyone, but later he was awarded a U.S. medal for his bravery.

I stayed until 1971, the maximum time a Spanish soldier was allowed to stay. Our people were always extraordinary; they always delivered no matter the conditions. Many times we had to walk to a patient to donate blood for surgical operations. I was very proud to receive the Vietnam paratrooper badge, several foreign decorations, and a cross of Military Merit. We did the job under terrible conditions and we did it well. More than one hundred Spanish soldiers including physicians, medical specialists, and other staff participated in this operation. Twelve troops were sent every six months for five years. On our return, we were not received as heroes, but urged to silence.

Today, Ramon Gutiérrez de Teran is a Captain in the Spanish Army.

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The Philippines

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Leaflet 2714

The back side of leaflet 2724 depicts Philippine politicians and medical personal. The text is:

HERE THE SUPPORT OF THE WORLD FOR THE REPUBLIC OF VIETNAM

Here is a moving sight – a Philippine Congressman is visiting an elderly patient on sick bed.

The Government and peoples of the Philippines deeply sympathize with the tragic war in the Republic of Vietnam, and have sent many medical teams to alleviate the agonies and sufferings of the South Vietnamese people.

This leaflet was later reprinted as 2724T and dropped over North Vietnamese troops coming down the Ho Chi Minh Trail.

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Poster 1317

This 17 x 22-inch poster is entitled MEDICAL AID FOR THE VIETNAMESE. I have placed it here in the Philippine section, but the five photographs depict medical aid being given by Vietnamese, Australian, Iranian, American and Philippine doctors. The text for the Philippine doctor at the lower right is:

A Philippine doctor checks an elderly man who has never had modern medicine or treatment before.

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Iran

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Leaflet 2732

This leaflet depicts Iranian Medical aid given to the Vietnamese people. Some of the text is:

Iran is a country in the Middle East which is also actively helping the victims of Communism in South Vietnam. An Iranian surgical team is working in a hospital in the Republic of Vietnam. Iran, one of the 31 countries which have provided assistance for the Republic of Vietnam.

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West Germany

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Leaflet 2733

This leaflet depicts West German Technical aid to Vietnam. Some of the text is:

Technical assistance of West Germany for the Republic of Vietnam is a very precious thing because the South Vietnamese people have to quickly rebuild the destruction caused by the Communists.

Here is the Vietnamese-German technical school donated by the people of West Germany. South Vietnamese youth who graduate from this school will be the nation-builders in the future.

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Leaflet 2726

A second leaflet depicts buses donated by West Germany to Vietnam. The text is:

To provide facilities in emergency treatment of patients in South Vietnam, the people of West Germany donated a number of specially equipped ambulances to the Republic of Vietnam which symbolizes the strengthened friendship between the peoples of Vietnam and Germany.

Leaflet 2733 adds:

Technical assistance of West Germany for the Republic of Vietnam is a very precious thing because the people of South Vietnam need to rebuild the destruction caused by the Communists. Here is the Vietnam-Germany technical school donated by the people of West Germany. South Vietnamese youths who graduate from this school will be the nation-builders of the future.

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Nationalist China

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Leaflet 2726

This leaflet depicts plows and machinery donated by Nationalist China. The text is:

To assist in the improvement and development of agriculture in South Vietnam, the people of Nationalist China donated a number of improved plows to raise higher the national economy of the people of South Vietnam.

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Japan

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Leaflet 139

Leaflet 139 was dropped over North Vietnam during the period when the United States bombed the North. It depicts Japanese doctors and nurses caring for Vietnamese citizens that have been injured by Viet Cong attacks. Some of the text on the leaflet is:

43 NATIONS ARE GIVING AID TO SOUTH VIETNAM

 The Communist regime in Hanoi attempts to hide its aggression against South Vietnam by talking loudly of a war of “Liberation” against Americans. Actually, the United States is only one of 43 nations giving various forms of aid to the people of South Vietnam in their struggle against Communist aggression.

A Japanese surgical team helps to ease the suffering of civilians wounded by the Communists in their attacks.

Montagnard victims of the Communists receive gifts from a British organization.

Leaflet 2731 mentions the Japanese very briefly. The text is:

Japan, one of 31 countries that have provided assistance for the Republic of Vietnam. The Japanese surgery team.

The whole world deeply sympathizes with the raging hostilities against the people of South Vietnam caused by the Communists. To alleviate in some part the agony and suffering of innocent civilians caused by Viet Cong attacks on cities and towns, friendly countries have sent medical teams to provide assistance.

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Canada

Although Canada did not officially sent troops to Vietnam, many of its citizens came south to the United States to join in the fight against international communism. There are no official records of their number, but we have unofficial estimates. Roderick Engert, chief of the reference branch of the Center of Military History of the Pentagon, said the number might be 2,500 to 3,000. Christopher S. Wren said in a 24 January 1985 New York Times article that he doubted that more than 5,000 Canadians had served in Vietnam. Marci McDonald said in a 29 April 1985 article for Maclean’s, “The war also lured an estimated 5,000 Canadians to enlist in its jungle hells.” Fred Gaffen, Chief Historian at the Canadian War Museum said in an August 1991 Vietnam Magazine, “I estimate that of the many thousands who served in the U. S. Vietnam-era military, some 12,000 Canadians actually served in Vietnam itself.”

John R. Campbell’s numbers are much greater. He says:

Another ironic statistic also touching on motivation is that while about 30,000 young Americans sought refuge in Canada to avoid the draft during the Vietnam War, 40,000 Canadians came south to join the U.S. forces and were statistically absorbed as “Americans.” Of these, 30,000 actually served in Vietnam.

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The United States

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Leaflet P-08

There are thousands of leaflets that show U.S. power, troops, tanks and bombers. In this article we are not going to spend a lot of time on the military aid to Vietnam. Instead, we will talk about the general aid, the services to the people and how it was explained. A good example is leaflet P-08 which depicts an American helping on a Vietnamese construction site and explains in depth to the Vietnamese people why the Americans are there and what they are doing. The text on the front is:

IS THIS IMPERIALISM?

The Back is all text:

The United States is the richest and most powerful country in the world. What does it need from Vietnam? NOTHING. In fact, it is now giving Free Vietnam 40,000,000,000 piasters in food and economic assistance a year. Is this a new form of “imperialism” as propagandized and distorted by the North Vietnam Communists?

Why is the United States helping Free Vietnam economically and militarily? It is helping Free Vietnam resist Hanoi’s Lao Dong imperialist aggression. It is doing this because history shows that such aggression can cause a large war which would threaten all mankind. The Communist imperialists in Hanoi and Peking would not stop after taking free Vietnam and Laos; they would try to conquer all of Asia. That would bring a large war and tragedy to the whole world. This is why the Americans are in Vietnam

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Leaflet 2791

JUSPAO leaflet 2791 told the Vietnamese that American doctors and nurses cared about their health. One side depicted a female American doctor and Vietnamese nurses and the other a Vietnamese doctor and American nurse. The leaflet points out that the Americans have such humanity that they will care for both the friendly and enemy Vietnamese. To be free is to be humane. Some of the text is:

THE LOVE OF HUMANITY BY FREE MEN

Free men have always loved humanity regardless of friend or foe.

The Army woman doctor Nicora and the two Vietnamese nurses are dressing the wound of a North Vietnamese Army soldier who has been left behind by his comrades.

A Vietnamese doctor and an American nurse are caring for an old woman who was the victim of the Communist aggressors’ attack.

 

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Poster 2198

This 17 x 22-inch poster was developed in October 1967 to explain the American presence. It says in part:

WHAT DO THE AMERICANS WANT HERE?

DO THE AMERICANS WANT OUR RICE AND LAND?

America is rich and powerful, and every year grows more food than her people can eat. She has surplus rice and other grain which she gives to other countries around the world, including Vietnam. She has no need for our land or food.

DO THE AMERICANS WANT OUR MARKETS FOR THEIR GOODS?

The billions of dollars that America has spent to support our fight against Communism and to provide things that the people of Vietnam need – schools, hospitals, roads, bridges and the like – could not be repaid from Vietnam’s economy for many decades…

DO THE AMERICANS WANT MILITARY BASES IN VIETNAM?

America has many times solemnly reiterated its pledge to remove its troops from the bases they occupy in Vietnam as soon as our peace and freedom are assured. America has plenty of bases throughout the Pacific, from Hawaii to the Philippines, to assure its own security. America does not want or need bases on Vietnam’s land.

THEN WHAT DO THEY WANT HERE?

America’s help to Vietnam, like that of 30 other free nations comes at the request of the Vietnamese government.They have asked for help to defend their country against Communist aggression….

Leaflet 2738 mentions American military aid:

The United States Secretary of Defense stated “We intend to give preference to the ARVN forces, all ARVN forces, even at the expense of our own forces. We will issue every ARVN an M-16 rifle just as soon as we can.”

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Great Britain

I did find two Allied propaganda leaflets that mention Great Britain. The first is coded 2731. The short text is:

Gifts from the British OXFAM charitable organization are given to highlanders who are the victims of the communists. England, one of the 31 countries which have provided assistance to the Republic of Vietnam.

Authors Note: The name “Oxfam” comes from the “Oxford Committee for Famine Relief,” founded in Britain in 1942.

Leaflet 139 (see above under “Japan”) says about the same thing, though it mentions the name of the highland tribe but leaves out the name of the British organization.

Montagnard victims of the Communists receive gifts from a British organization.

Great Britain had some early post-war experience in Vietnam that might have made a convincing argument to stay out of that nation’s internal affairs. In 1945, Lord Mountbatten, Supreme Allied Commander Southeast Asia, was ordered to form an Allied Control Commission to go to Vietnam to ensure civil order in the area surrounding Saigon, to enforce the Japanese surrender, and render humanitarian assistance to Allied prisoners of war and internees. By September, anarchy, rioting and murder were widespread, Saigon’s administrative services had collapsed and a loosely-controlled Communist-led revolutionary group had seized power.

In late September, parties of armed Viet Minh (later called “Viet Cong”) clashed with British and Indian patrols. By October 1945, the roads into Saigon were blocked by the Viet Minh who were attempting to strangle the city. On 13 October, the Communists attacked Tan Son Nhut airbase. By mid-October, British and Indian troops had killed about 307 of the Viet Minh. On 25 October, a Russian advisor was captured with the Communist troops. Near the end of October, a British taskforce killed about 190 Viet Minh in operations east of Saigon. In January 1946, the British happily handed over military control of Vietnam to the French. Britain’s half-year Vietnam War casualty list was 40 British and Indian soldiers killed. It is believed that they killed about 600 communist troops.

Great Britain is not considered a member of the Allies of the Republic of Vietnam because they did not send fighting forces and quite often criticized the conduct of the war in the world press. However, they did very quietly take part in some early training of Vietnamese forces. Carolyn Page mentions this in U.S. Official Propaganda during the Vietnam War, 1965-1973, Leicester University Press, London, 1996:

President Kennedy and President Diem both used British advice and expertise in the form of the British Advisory Mission in Saigon. This mission existed from 1962 to 1965, advising the South Vietnamese Government on pacification…When the mission was disbanded in 1965 Britain continued to help train the South Vietnamese police through the British Embassy in Saigon. So from 1961 to 1965 there was a tangible British commitment to South Vietnam and this continued in a small way even after the war escalated in 1965.

Conclusion

There are dozens, if not hundreds more leaflets that show the various nations that supported the Republic of Vietnam in its fight against Communism. This article will never be complete. From time to time I will add new items that add to this PSYOP theme of the brotherhood of free nations aligned against North Vietnam and its Communist supporters.

People’s Republic of China aid to North Vietnam

Since we have mentioned the many nations that helped the Republic of Vietnam, perhaps we should mention the aid given by the People’s Republic of China to North Vietnam. The Chinese have gone on record in an article entitled “China's Involvement in the Vietnam War, 1964-69” by Chen Jian in the June 1995 issue of The China Quarterly.

China's support of Vietnam took three main forms: Engineer troops to construct and maintain defense works, air fields, roads and especially railways in North Vietnam; Chinese anti-aircraft troops to protect important strategic areas and targets in North Vietnam; and the supply of large amounts of military equipment and military and civil aid.

To build the roads and maintain the railways, about June 1965 seven divisions of Chinese engineers began quietly entering North Vietnam. Units came and went and about 160,000 engineers in all were probably working on roads, railways and airbases at one time or another.

Two Chinese anti-aircraft divisions and one regiment were sent to protect Hanoi and some major roads in 1965. On 9 August 1965 Chinese guns brought down their first U.S. F-4 fighter. From 1965 to 1969, 16 Chinese anti-aircraft Divisions totaling 150,000 troops got to practice their skills in North Vietnam. They claimed to have shot down 1,707 U.S. aircraft.

Chinese aid to North Vietnam was so great that we cannot list it all; looking at just 1964 and 1965 we see the supply of guns increased from 80,500 to 220,767; bullets increased from 25.2 million to 114 million; and artillery pieces increased from 1,205 to 4,439.

Since the Chinese were doing construction and maintenance and protecting the skies, the North Vietnamese could use their army to attack the south rather than protect their own country. It allowed them to be very aggressive.

The Russians also gave massive amounts of aid but so far they have not talked about their support of North Vietnam during the Vietnam War.

The author invites comments. Readers are encourages to contact him at sgmbert@hotmail.com.