Reconstruction in South Vietnam

April 17, 1968

Report Outline
Offer of Postwar Aid to Both Viet Nams
Damage from the War in South Viet Nam
Viet Nam's Long-Term Economic Prospects
Foreign Aid and Regional Cooperation

Offer of Postwar Aid to Both Viet Nams

After war's destruction, there must follow inevitably the difficult but more gratifying task of reconstruction. Attainment of a peace settlement in Viet Nam is no doubt still distant. But if success attends the efforts now being made by both sides to find a way to open negotiations, interest will turn increasingly to problems of postwar adjustment. Central to that interest will be the role of the United States in helping South Viet Nam or both Viet Nams to repair the damage of war. The population of the Viet Nams is roughly 34 million, almost evenly divided between North and South.

President Johnson, in his televised address to the nation on March 31, asked North Viet Nam to join the United States in “serious talks on the substance of peace.” He then repeated an offer he had made three years earlier, in a speech at Johns Hopkins University on April 7, 1965, to help in the postwar reconstruction and development of North as well as of South Viet Nam. “Our determination to help build a better land—for men on both sides of the present conflict—has not diminished,” the President said in the more recent address. “Indeed, the ravages of war have made it more urgent than ever.”

Precedent for extensive aid to a war-damaged former enemy was fully established after World War II, but the United States, clearly victorious in that war, could afford to be magnanimous then. The war in Viet Nam is likely to be terminated by a truce agreement, and North Viet Nam can be expected to demand reparations for damage wrought by bombing. The term “reparations” is not likely to be acceptable because of its implication of war guilt. Differences on that point, however, should not be beyond compromise.

ISSUE TRACKER for Related Reports
Vietnam War
Feb. 18, 2000  Legacy of the Vietnam War
Dec. 03, 1993  U.S.-Vietnam Relations
Mar. 18, 1988  Vietnam: Unified, Independent and Poor
Jul. 06, 1984  Agent Orange: The Continuing Debate
Nov. 04, 1983  MIAs: Decade of Frustration
Mar. 11, 1983  Vietnam War Reconsidered
Oct. 21, 1977  Vietnam Veterans: Continuing Readjustment
Jan. 18, 1974  Vietnam Aftermath
Feb. 21, 1973  Vietnam Veterans
Jun. 09, 1971  Prospects for Democracy in South Vietnam
May 06, 1970  Cambodia and Laos: the Widening War
Jan. 07, 1970  War Atrocities and the Law
Jul. 02, 1969  Resolution of Conflicts
Apr. 17, 1968  Reconstruction in South Vietnam
Aug. 23, 1967  Political Evolution in South Viet Nam
Jan. 11, 1967  Rural Pacification in South Viet Nam
May 26, 1965  Political Instability in South Viet Nam
Mar. 25, 1964  Neutralization in Southeast Asia
Apr. 17, 1963  Task in South Viet Nam
Jun. 14, 1961  Guerrilla Warfare
May 17, 1961  Threatened Viet Nam
Sep. 23, 1959  Menaced Laos
Cold War
Conflicts in Asia
Humanitarian Assistance
U.S. at War: Vietnam
War and Conflict