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7 Flag Safe Conduct Pass | by Svadilfari
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7 Flag Safe Conduct Pass

A Vietnam War safe conduct pass in my collection.


According to SGM Herbert A. Friedman:


"The United States and its allies dropped over 50 billion leaflets on Vietnam. Many of them were safe conduct passes.


During the Vietnam War, the United States produced a series of safe conduct passes depicting the flag of the Republic of (South) Vietnam with other allied flags, to encourage defection of Viet Cong and North Vietnamese troops. The passes and leaflets were produced under the jurisdiction of the Joint United States Public Affairs Office (JUSPAO)


The main Allied operation using such PSYOP in Vietnam was the Chieu Hoi program. It is usually translated as "Open arms." It is a combination of two verbs, "to welcome" and "to return." The program was first started by President Ngo Dinh Diem in 1963. Diem believed that a defector who willingly came over to the government side was more valuable that one who is taken prisoner. He encouraged the Allies to drop billions of leaflets offering amnesty to those who might rally to the government. In 1969, over 47,000 Viet Cong deserted. During the length of the war, about 160,000 enemy soldiers voluntarily came over to the Government of (South) Vietnam.


The United States began the aerial bombing and leafleting of Vietnam of North Vietnam in 1964, following the Gulf of Tonkin incident. Two South Vietnamese leaders are identified on the leaflets. Nguyen Cao Ky headed a military junta that assumed control in June 1965 following a series of short-lived military regimes that operated after the fall of long-time President Ngo Dinh Diem in November 1963. Nguyen Van Thieu was elected president in 1967. The process of American withdrawal and their replacement with Vietnamese troops ("Vietnamization") began in July 1969. As the American and South Vietnamese position worsened, a cease-fire was negotiated in Paris in January 1973, but it was never implemented. Saigon fell to the North Vietnamese on 30 April 1975.


(This) variety bears the signature and photograph of Nguyen Van Thieu. The leaflet was developed in January 1968. Nguyen Van Thieu was born on 5 April 1923, in the province of Ninh Thuan. As a young man, he briefly helped the Viet Minh fight the French colonial powers in his native province. He attended the National Military Academy in Hue and joined the French-backed Vietnamese army fighting the Viet Minh. By 1963 he was chief of staff of the Armed Forces of South Vietnam. During the confusion of the mid-1960s, when South Vietnam was wracked by coups, General Thieu became commander of the military region embracing the Mekong Delta. In June 1965, Thieu was appointed chairman of a 10-member military directorate. From there it was a short step to the presidency. He was elected in 1967, and presided over the country for eight years of the war. As the North Vietnamese armies moved south in greater numbers Thieu appealed to President Nixon for more financial aid. Nixon was sympathetic but the United States Congress was not and the move was blocked. Starved of funds, Thieu had difficulty paying the wages of his large army and desertion became a major problem. With the fall of the government to the Communist armies he fled to Taiwan in April, 1975. He died in September 2001 in Boston."


Much more information is available at


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Taken on April 23, 2009