Foreign Influences in Peace Movements during the Vietnam War

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Foreign Influences in Peace Movements During the Vietnam War

Roger Canfield's 30 years of research shows CIA reports to the presidents on the subject of foreign influence were superficial. The CIA looked for foreign control. The FBI and elected politicians understood political influence, e.g. ultimately lobbying Congress to cut aid to South Vietnam.

Historians of the peace movement see only goodness and light, pretty girls stuffing flowers in gun barrels.  Canfield's research documents in numbing detail, mounds of data, rather than a few anecdotes, how many leaders of the peace movement and Hanoi appreciated their extensive relationships across the planet.

The whole story can be found at Comrades—BurnsCIAReports Foreign Influences in Peace Movement in Vietnam War By Roger Canfield, ATN2, Ph.D.[citation needed]

Ken Burns, like most before him, hangs on to the notion that the peace movement was entirely an American domestic enterprise walled off from foreign influences despite the Vietnam War being a major battle in the international Cold War across the planet. Superficial CIA reports and peace movement historians tell this fairy tale.

President Seeks Intelligence on Foreign Connections of Antiwar Activists

At the request of President Lyndon Baines Johnson, CIA Director Richard Helms ordered CHAOS’s[1] Richard Ober to prepare a report on foreign connections of the antiwar movement.[2]

Ober had only two weeks to collect information from uncooperative CIA field offices and domestic U.S. agencies and to read, analyze and write a report1. The superficial CIA reported, “contacts and communications on the international peace network appear to have dropped off,” but noted: "Continuing coordination between U.S. peace activists and the North Vietnamese. Hanoi kept in touch with peace activists[3]

Director Helm’s transmittal memo to the President admitted “significant holes in the story,” like an inability to “uncover any sources of funds” for the “costly travel schedules of prominent peace movement coordinators.”[4]

There was underreported evidence of Soviet/CPUSA and Cuban funding. And the deaf, dumb and blind CIA found no contacts with foreign embassies3 missing many visits to Chinese, Cuban, Laotian, NLF, Soviet, and North Vietnamese outposts across the globe….

CIA Sees No Evil, No Treason No Fault Treason

Today only a few “second thought” former leftists believe anti-war protesters were guilty of treason. Peter Collier, a Ramparts editor and an advocate of Robert Scheer for Congress, says that many of the most prominent antiwar leaders during the Vietnam War engaged in “no fault” treason.[5] Yet in November and December of 1967 two CIA reports4 minimized the meaning of contacts between the antiwar movement and Hanoi.

CIA Criterion: Control

The CIA insisted that the Communists did not “control” the peace movement. Short of generous travel vouchers, KGB and friends did not provided peace activists with paychecks, health insurance or pensions. Hayden, Davis, David Dellinger and many other giddy enthusiasts were volunteers, not employees. The CIA said antiwar activists had “not forged significant links with foreign radicals.”[6] From 1960 through 1967, antiwar activists had recurring links with the enemy. Antiwar activists met communist leaders of foreign governments all across the planet not only in Hanoi, but also in Paris, Toronto, Geneva, Budapest, Moscow, Sofia, Saigon, Vienna, London, Helsinki, Beijing, Havana, Jakarta, Stockholm, Prague, Phnom Penn, and Bratislava. Very close to home in Canada and in Cuba American cadre trained for the political struggle, dich van, against the war in Vietnam. Antiwar activists publicly cheered for the other side. They transmitted Hanoi propaganda word perfect. In WWI, this would have been treason, but Vietnam was an undeclared war.

1968 would prove extensive political cooperation, coordination, and influence, but not mechanical control.[7]

Politicians Disaffected from CIA Analysts and Bureaucrats

Political leaders were the real experts on politics and their careers depended upon knowledge and experience with political recruitment, organization, influence, power, authority, loyalty and betrayal. Similarly, military leaders understood the concepts of psychological warfare, influence operations in war. Hanoi’s strategy for victory—not peace— made the antiwar movement an integral part of their war plans. During seven years CIA’s CHAOS program produced 34 memos to the President certainly too many to say so little about nothing.[8]

The Vietnamese with the help of KGB dominated Cuban intelligence, the DGI, recruited hundreds of Americans into their revolutionary cadre. The CIA did a much better job of covering Cuban operations among the New Left6 than it did Vietnamese and Soviet operations.

Peace Movement Claims of Innocence

What Did the Peace Movement Do During the Vietnam War?

“No evidence has ever been produced for foreign communist involvement in the anti-Vietnam War Movement.”[9]

“The antiwar movement was not a movement inspired or led by foreign powers.”[10]

‘[N]o clear evidence of foreign influence or communist direction.”[11]

The truth is massive Hanoi involvement in the American peace movement.

The Vietnamese people have great appreciation for the peace and antiwar movements in the United States and view those movements’ contribution as important in shortening the war.[12]

The Vietnamese spies were the force behind the antiwar movement in the 1960s.[13]

“The opposition of the peace loving peoples, the U.S. people themselves” put the U.S. “into a passive position.”[14]

Motivate the American people… We always… try to motivate youths, intellectuals, and religious sects to protest the war….Make sweeping efforts to enlist support…forming a front of united action against the imperialists.[15][16]

The anti-war movement of the American people…have often requested us to provide them with…papers with personal handwriting…found on dead or wounded U.S. soldiers…for motivating the American people… [This] is very necessary for…advancement of the anti-war movement in the USA.[17]

“We formed American proselyting groups to conduct anti-war lobbying in order to create anti-war movements,”[18][citation needed]

… [V]ictories are due to…the struggle capabilities of our people and that of the peace-loving people…including the Americans.”[19]

Anticommunism [is] as destructive as Stalinism.[20] March 1969, NEIL SHEEHAN of New York Times.

Promote the struggle movement…in the U.S.[21]

The reason the Vietnamese called the meeting [in Cuba] was to get us moving against the war again. The Viet Cong was giving us a kick in the ass….[22]

The Viet Cong organized the Moratorium and they organized us.[23]

Diplomatic offensive is…designed to coordinate with the American antiwar movement.”[24]

Step up …the anti-Vietnam War movement…. Use newspapers…and radio stations… Emphasize the upsurge of the American’s struggle…[25]

The spontaneous antiwar movements in the US have received assistance and guidance from the friendly [Viet Cong/North Vietnamese] delegations at the Paris Peace Talks….The PCPJ [People’s Committee [sic] for Peace and Justice]…maintains relations with us…[26]

We have a common enemy---U.S. imperialism.[27][28]

Photographs of peace movements had been sent to COSVN by the peace organizations in the US and these were used in the leaflets (NLF) and sometimes produced by the Source himself.[29]

Never before had the veterans of a war [VVAW] openly supported the other side.[30]

Half the people…hated the war…the other half…the hippies.”[31]

The U.S. government never clearly realized that (it had to protect the nation) [on] the critical battlefield, the hearts and minds of the American people…[32]

The anti-communist fight in Vietnam is seventy-five percent political and twenty-five percent military, everything Americans do is devoted to the twenty-five percent and nothing to the seventy-five percent.[33]

Campuses, editorial offices, film and television studios became the strategic arena. …The politics of peace in the West was the politics of war for the communist conquest of Indo-China.”[34]

The communists were behind organizing all of these rallies and things. … We didn’t want to believe in evil so we just hid from it.25[35]

A nation can survive its fools or even the ambitious. But it cannot survive treason within.[36]

The first casualty of war is truth.[37]


  1. Rafalko, Frank J. (2011). MH/CHAOS: The CIA’s Campaign Against the Radical Left and the Black Panthers. Annapolis, MD: Naval Institute Press. Retrieved 24 October 2017. 
  2. Rockerfeller Report (Report). p. 692. 
  3. CIA, FOIA, case number EO11978-00207, “International Connections of US Peace Groups—III,”
  4. Helms to President Johnson, November 15, 1967 cited in Rockefeller report 693.
  5. Holzer, Henry Mark; Holzer, Erica (March 4, 2002). Aid and Comfort: Jane Fonda in North Vietnam. Jefferson, NC: McFarland & Company. ISBN 978-0786412471. Retrieved 25 October 2017. 
  6. Canfield, Roger (1988–2014). Comrades in Arms How the Ameri-Cong Won the Vietnam War Against the Common Enemy – America. California: self-published. p. 866. 
  7. Romerstein, Herbert; Levchenko, Stanislav (July 1989). The KGB Against the "Main Enemy": How the Soviet Intelligence Service Operates Against the United States (aFirst Edition First Printing. edition ed.). Lexington, Mass.: Lexington Books. ISBN 9780669112283. Retrieved 25 October 2017. 
  8. Canfield, Roger (1988–2014). Comrades in Arms How the Ameri-Cong Won the Vietnam War Against the Common Enemy – America. California: self-published. p. 868. 
  9. Wells, Tom (May 16, 1994). The War within: America's Battle Over Vietnam by Tom Wells (16-May-1994) Hardcover (1st Edition edition ed.). Berkeley, CA: University of California Press. Retrieved 25 October 2017. 
  10. Zaroulis, Nancy; Sullivan, Gerald (November 1989). Who Spoke Up?: American Protest Against the War in Vietnam 1963-1975 (1st edition ed.). Horizon Book Promotions. ISBN 9780385175470. Retrieved 25 October 2017. 
  11. Benedetti-Tylinski, Laura de; DeBenedetti, Charles; Chatfield, Charles (1990). An American Ordeal: Antiwar Movement of the Vietnam Era (1st edition ed.). Syracuse University Press. ISBN 9780815602446. Retrieved 25 October 2017. 
  12. Pollock, Richard. "Vietnamese Communist Leader Says US Anti-War Activists Helped Their Victory". The Daily Caller. The Daily Caller Foundation. Retrieved 25 October 2017. 
  13. Krall, Yung (December 1995). A Thousand Tears Falling: The True Story of a Vietnamese Family Torn Apart by War, Communism, and the CIA. Atlanta, GA: Longstreet Pr. ISBN 9781563522314. Retrieved 25 October 2017. 
  14. CDEC, Log. 02-1856-67, KIN (confidential),“Assessment of U.S. Military Strategy by the VC,” 6,8, 28 January 1967, captured 7 February, published 3 May 1967.
  15. AIRGRAM, A-579, W/enclosure text of Viet Cong document 15 June 1966, American Mission Saigon to Department of State, 4 April 1967, (Texas Tech university, Vietnam Center Archives), 1. Cited in James Rothrock, Divided We Fall, 6-8.
  16. Rothrock, James (May 10, 2006). Divided We Fall: How Disunity Leads to Defeat. Bloomington, IN: AuthorHouse. pp. 6–8. ISBN 9781425911089. 
  17. VC Unit #495 DIRECTIVE C/3, 21 April 1967
  18. Brigadier General Nguyen Quang Phong assigned to propagandize Americans in Cuba and in France. NOVEMBER 2013.
  19. CIRCULAR NO. 75/CTNT, “Intensification of…Diplomatic Struggles…to Gain Greater Victories,” Feb. 27, 1969 in U.S Mission to South Vietnam, Viet-Nam Documents and Research Notes, Document No. 101, Part IV, Saigon, January 1972, 2,10-11
  20. Widener, Alice (March 14, 1969). "The Coo of the Doves: From Waldorf to Hilton, 1949-1969". U.S.A. XV (26). 
  21. ”CIRCULAR NO. 4 AND DIRECTIVE NO. 96/CTNT, May 31,1969, “Development of…Diplomatic Struggles in Conjunction with Military and Political Struggles…” in U.S Mission to South Vietnam, Viet-Nam Documents and Research Notes, Document No. 101, Part IV, Saigon, January 1972, 22-27.
  22. Bernardine Dohrn’s notes, captured at a Chicago bomb factory, cited in FBI, FOIA, Weather Underground. The primary source is Acting Special Agent in Charge, SAC, Chicago to Director, memo, “Foreign Influence-Weather Underground Organization,” August 20, 1976, 106; See also: AP, “Chicago Officials Drop Charge in ‘Bomb Factory,” New York Times, June 17, 1970.
  23. FBI, FOIA, Weather Underground. The primary source is Acting Special Agent in Charge, SAC Chicago to Director, memo, “Foreign Influence-Weather Underground Organization,” August 20, 1976, 204.
  24. DIRECTIVE NO. 6 CT/BT, Executive Committee of Binh Tan Party division, PRP of Vietnam, Sept 17, 1970 in U.S Mission to South Vietnam, Viet-Nam Documents and Research Notes, Document No. 101, Part IV, Saigon, January 1972, pp. 36-39.
  25. DIRECTIVE NO. 31 OT/TV, April 28, 1971 captured in the field by the 23rd infantry Division forwarded to Commander, United States Military Assistance Command, Vietnam (COMUSMACV) and to Combined Documents Exploitation Center, CDEC, at the United States Military Assistance Command, Saigon, Vietnam. Directive 31 is CDEC Doc Log No. 05-1660-71 and item number 2150901041 on line at the Vietnam Archive at Texas Tech. The directive is also cited in small part in Thomas Lipscomb, “Hanoi Approved of Role Played by Anti-War Vets,” New York Sun, October 26, 2004 at
  26. “On Antiwar Movements in the US," Circular No. 33/VP/TD, Combined Documents Exploitation Center, CDEC, United States Military Assistance Command, Saigon, Vietnam, CDEC doc log no: 12-1370-71,Hoai Huong District Party Committee, VC Binh Tuy-province, VC Region, 16 July 1971. The circular is item number 2150901039b at the Vietnam Archive at Texas Tech. Links to a copy of full text of document are also at: Thomas Lipscomb, “Hanoi Approved of Role Played by Anti-War Vets,” New York Sun, October 26, 20045 at and Art Moore, WorldNetDaily, October 28, 2004 and Freepnet/Kerry/staticpages/index.php?page=vccircular The Combined Documentation Exploitation Center (CDEC) was created in October 1966 under the MACV Assistant Chief of Staff for Intelligence (J-2), with the mission of receiving and exploiting captured enemy documents as a source of military intelligence for assessments and planning
  27. Activities, United States Congress House Committee on Un-American (1967). "Hearings". 
  28. JANE FONDA, July 1972
  29. Garnett "Bill" Bell and George J. Veith, “POWs and Politics: How Much does Hanoi Really Know,” Center for the Study of the Vietnam Conflict Symposium, "After the Cold War: Reassessing Vietnam," Texas Tech University, 19 April 1996, 35.
  30. VVAW-WSO, (Anti-Imperialist, AI), “In A Time of Struggle, An open Letter to Anti-Imperialist Forces,” May 11, 1975.
  31. Isaacs, Arnold R. (March 2000). Vietnam Shadows: The War, Its Ghosts, and Its Legacy. Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University Press. ISBN 9780801863448. Retrieved 25 October 2017. 
  33. Dan Van Sung, Dilemmas in Vietnam, January 1964 cited in Rufus Phillips, Why Vietnam Matters: An Eyewitness Account of Lessons Not Learned, Naval Institute Press, 2008, XIV.
  34. Rood, Harold W. (1980). Kingdoms of the Blind: How the Great Democracies Have Resumed the Follies That so Nearly Cost Them Their LIfe (First Edition edition ed.). Durhan, NC: Carolina Academic Press. ISBN 9780890891216. Retrieved 25 October 2017. 
  35., The Washington Times. "VOIGHT: My concerns for America". The Washington Times. Retrieved 25 October 2017. 
  36. Caldwell, Millard F. "Cicero's Prognosis". Retrieved 25 October 2017. 
  37. "Philip Snowden, 1st Viscount Snowden - Wikiquote". Retrieved 25 October 2017. 

Part III. Essays

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