... By now you have heard of
the letter in the Navy Publication. I have not a copy of it to send to
you ( Dr. MaMahon has I'm sure ) but I did see it when one of the transports
was in. I am a little amazed,; I received a dispatch several weeks ago
requesting permission to publish it, but I thought they were referring
to a copy of that article about the ship that I had sent to you, and a
copy to Dr. Casberg. Instead, they published the personal letter. I am
getting a lot of ribbing, but it is a good letter. Many of the older officers
have commented on the fact that it is refreshing to hear someone who isn't
complaining about the navy's policies.
My lecturing has reached quite a scale,
and often consumes a lot of time. I received instructions from the admiral
to talk to every ship in the task force when it came through Haiphong.
Many ships call for me warning me that they will be in on the 12th, or
the 14th and they request me to speak to them. Many have a podium and
loud speakers rigged for it, just like a senator. Severl have taken wire
recordings of the things that I have said. I give the picture in the camps
and the people themselves, then go back into the history of the situation
that caused this. Have done a lot of reading on it, and go back to Genhis
Kahn, and take it all the way to Dien Bien Phu. Then the Geneva treaty,
and the future. It last a little over an hour, and although it is now
sort of stock, it is always received very warmly.
I used little cards in the beginning,
but have done it so often now that I don't need anything. So far I have
given it about 14 times. The crews are always interested in just exactly
what they are doing, those who make wire recordings write them up, mimeograph
them and pass them around.... I've several copies myself.
When a sailor understands what he
is working for, and why the people are as they are, the refugee instead
of being a dirty foul smelling, sickly person dirtying his deck, becomes
a true refugee, a true escapee from the terrors of red rule. When I tell
the boys of the priest who was hung by his feet from an overhead, and
beaten with short bamboo rods ( and then brought by another priest to
me ) they understand what is meant by the Church Militant.
General O'Daniel and General J. Lawton
Collins were in Haiphong last week and I had dinner with them. General
Collins is more like a benevolant old uncle than a tough army general.
He is intensely interested, and almost youthful in his enthusiasm. Hope
he can do something. President Eisenhower believes that he can, but the
future looks so black for south viet nam. ...