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Analysis of Vietnamese attitudes in wake of Viet Cong attack on Saigon
Date of Creation:
February 6, 1968
Date of Declassification:
February 22, 1991
Type of Document:
Intelligence information cable
Level of Classification:
Status of Copy:
Pagination, Illustration:
18 p.
The most significant development and perhaps the decisive factor in the failure of the Viet Cong (VC) assault plan has been the almost total lack of popular support for the VC effort. People have been impressed with the strength shown by the VC but enraged by their violation of the Tet period. They now seem to realize that the VC are not to be trusted. For many, it was their first personal knowledge of the VC terror about which they had heard but to which they felt immune. Popular attitudes toward the government (GVN) are mixed. The GVN is faulted for having been caught unprepared but its reaction to the VC assault seems to have been well received. The threat of a VC takeover has tended to mute political differences and, for the moment at least, to create a semblance of unity. However, there is no evidence to date that any important group is sublimating vital interests. The ultimate reaction will probably depend heavily on how the GVN handles the economic and social problems caused by the attack. Various GVN officials are being criticized and it is quite possible that the National Assembly may undertake an investigation to affix blame for real or alleged shortcomings once the situation has returned to normal. The attack has promoted temporary unity and offers a chance to consolidate it, but the forces dividing Vietnamese still remain strong. Overal reactions to the US role are favorable, but a surprisingly large number of Vietnamese believe, or profess to believe, that the US somehow connived with the VC. Various and contradictory reasons are advanced. One possible explanation is that many Vietnamese are convinced that nothing happens in South Vietnam unless the Americans want it to happen. Hostility toward Americans could become a serious problem if continued VC attacks in Saigon should require strong US countermeasures in heavily populated areas, with a resulting heavy toll in civilian casualties and property damage.
Declassified Documents Reference System Location: