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grees of success. The most successful program to date has been the U.S.-supported Van Tac Vu program, which over the past two years has operated from 13 to 20 teams, of from six to eight members each, in remote hamlets of South Vietnam.

Early in 1968 Van Tac Vu teams were increased from 13 to 20 and the plan was to effect an increase up to 26 by December 1968. This plan was rendered impracticable by national mobilization. Military conscription of Van Tac Vu personnel reduced the program from 20 field teams in March to 11 in May 1968; and by 1 August 1968 the number had been reduced to five.

In order to keep the culture-drama program operating at an effective level, it becomes necessary to identify or organize teams in the provinces, consisting of personnel assigned to ARVN military organizations, Revolutionary Development cadre, CIDG or Armed Propaganda Teams, and other personnel who are draft exempt or have draft deferment status.

A culture-drama team is a group of young and talented artists, organized to conduct PSYOP programs through the medium of entertainment. Each team should be composed of from five to nine members. Experience has revealed that a good balance is achieved by the formula of two-thirds male members, one third female. These teams tour the hamlets of remote and contested rural areas, entertaining the people and using entertainment as a medium for PSYOP messages in support of programs and objectives of the Government of Vietnam. Such programs and objectives include, but are not necessarily limited to, those of National Reconciliation and Chieu Hoi, Revolutionary Development, the GVN Image, the Refugee and Police Programs, Phoenix, RF/PF and other pacification efforts. The teams perform not only in village/hamlets, but also in refugee and Chieu Hoi Centers and at RF/PF outposts. When necessary and feasible they operate in direct support of military operations. GOALS OF CULTURE-DRAMA TEAMS

1. To revive the native culture-drama tradition and forge it into a tool of combat; in other words, to create a National Combat Culture-Drama.

2. To counter alien culture-drama forces adopted by the Communists.

3. To provide a medium whereby, through entertainment, PSYOP support may be provided to programs and objectives of the Government of Vietnam. RESPONSIBILITIES

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United States organizations-military or civilian—which conduct psychological operations are encouraged to organize and/or support culture-drama teams at the province level, each to operate within a province. Such U.S.-supported teams should operate under the control of a local agency of the Government of Vietnam but may be supported entirely or in part, according to need, by U.S. organizations. In no case should a culture-drama team use the title of a U.S. supporting agency in its publicity or during performances. Continuation of support must, of course, be determined on the basis of the effectiveness of the teams, as determined by the supporting organization.


Culture-Drama Performances The basic mission of a culture-drama team is to perform for populations of village complexes. Such teams normally perform once or twice a day. If the security situation permits, they conduct night performances.

The typical performance lasts for an hour or more and includes modern and traditional VN songs, a magic show, skits, plays and humorous tales. Dances may be performed if the requisite talent exists. Virtually all of the material is PSYOP-oriented, i.e., it serves the objectives of GVN programs.

Cultural Seed Planting This activity is directed toward school children and other youngsters of elementary and early secondary school age. In Cultural Seed Planting sessions, children learn patriotic songs and develop pride in being citizens of Vietnam. Woven into the singing sessions are lessons designed to encourage children to respect their teachers, to obey their parents, to get along with their friends, to love their native country, and to identify themselves clearly with the elected Government of the Republic of Vietnam. Parallels are drawn between the present defense against aggression and struggles in past centuries against other invaders.

Cultural Seed Planting is conducted at schools, in parks, in orphanages and at any other location where children may be assembled. This is a regular, daily task for the teams. A normal session lasts from one to two hours.

PSYOP Civic Action Activities In addition to the PSYOP content of their performances, culture-drama teams, by the nature of their operations, have an unusual opportunity to disseminate information and publications at the “rice-roots” level. This also is a daily major assignment.

Before leaving the provincial capital on an operation, the team should contact organizations conducting PSYOP in the province and pick up leaflets, posters, magazines, and other materiais supporting current PSYOP programs for distribution in rural areas.

Culture-drama team members may conduct Chieu Hoi broadcasts at night, when the situation warrants, over ground public address systems. They attempt to communicate with the Viet Cong and with VC-connected families to explain the Chieu Hoi program and in this way to persuade members of the Viet Cong to return to the Government of Vietnam.

In order to create a strong identification between the people and the team, the team cadre engage in manual labor on small projects designed to help the people of the hamlet. They clear and dig drainage ditches, repair fences, sweep out marketplaces, help improve roads, wash babies, and tend to sick and wounded soldiers. In short, they perform any helpful task that is within their capabilities. Such activities are conducted daily—they are symbols of the bond that joins the culture-drama team members to the people. This spiritual aspect of their work is more important than the practical significance of the tasks performed, although each task must have practical benefit if the teams are to communicate with the villagers.

Popularization of Culture-Drama A culture-drama team may organize local artists into hamlet and village culture-drama teams. Through this means, songs and dramas are woven into the daily lives of the rural population. Further, the formation of village/hamlet culture-drama teams opens up new possibilities for information and PSYOP activities. Culture-drama team cadre are able to concentrate on Cultural Seed Planting over longer periods of time and thereby to promote a more deeply-rooted sense of patriotism among young people.

To accomplish this task a team must live in a hamlet over an extended period of time. The goal was successfully reached by Van Tac Vu Teams at three experimental locations. However, this success engendered particularly strong and violent reactions from the Viet Cong and the program had to be suspended temporarily under 1968 post-TET security conditions.

This activity should be resumed as soon as practicable, since popularization of culture-drama can assist in accomplishing the pacification objectives of the GVN. The basis of this concept is: The strength of any given program is limited, but the ultimate strength of the people is boundless. Culturedrama aims to tap the strength of the people. At the same time it seeks to guide and motivate the people to identify themselves with the Government of Vietnam.


Financial assistance to or support of culture-drama teams must be based clearly and directly on their effectiveness in psychological operations in support of GVN objectives. There is no justification for using U.S. funds for support of mere entertainment troupes.

U.S. organizations supporting culture-drama teams in whole or in part must provide adequate funds for such support. The cost of maintaining one team of eight members for one year is, at present wage levels, approximately one million piasters, not including any initial cost of equipment.

All pay systems should be as uniform as circumstances permit. There should be no competing for talent by one organization offering higher pay than another.

In any case, it is essential that the pay scale adopted by any organization incorporate some kind of incentive pay, modeled after that applying to Van Tac Vu Teams. The incentive pay system has been a vital element in the success of the Van Tac Vu program.

Provincial-level teams may be composite in nature, i.e., composed of personnel drawing salaries from different organizations. In such cases, personnel whose basic salaries are lower than the standard for culturedrama team members should be brought up to the team level by augmentation of their pay, and all personnel on a team must have equal opportunity to earn incentive pay.

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Experience has revealed certain principles of organization and operation which are fundamental to the success of a culture-drama program. U.S. organizations should support only those programs which meet, or show definite promises of meeting, these basic principles.

It is essential that culture-drama teams live among village/hamlet populations. ...

Culture-drama work must be fulltime employment, not an afterhours' activity (of) students. ...

Appearances of culture-drama teams at social functions of GVN or U.S. organizations should be limited to those necessary for public relations purposes, i.e., to gain support. ...

Team members must be dedicated, patriotic citizens of the Republic of Vietnam. ...

Team members must be of high moral character. ...

Team members should have the ability, or the potential to develop the ability, to establish strong identification with the rural population, to win their favor, and to establish a channel of communication from the Government of Vietnam to these rural audiences.

Teams must earn their pay. ...

It is not sound to assume that musical or acting ability is the sole requirement for becoming a member of a culture-drama team. ...

Membership on a culture-drama team must not be permitted to serve the financial interests of the team members or the sponsors.

The basic requirements for employment on a team must be talent and proper attitudes. ...

It is essential that team members, while operatng in the field, function as a family. ...

Programming, within the general themes and objectives outlines by a supporting organization, should be left largely up to the team members.


Experience has revealed that a culture-drama team should operate within a defined monthly cycle. The cycle established for Van Tac Vu teams is cited here as an example only. These teams generally depart from their headquarters, usually the province capital, for field operations on the fifth day of each month. They spend 20 days in intensive operations in the hamlets. On the 25th day of the month they report back to their headquarters and file their report on operations and the team's diary with the sponsor. Payment of salaries is made at this time, since the amount of incentive pay due cannot determined until the report is filed. The team leader is reimbursed at this time for costs of transportation and other allowable team operational costs.

After the 25th of the month the team members are allowed five days for recuperation. The first five days of the subsequent month are spent in rehearsal of songs, skits, plays and other program material for use in the upcoming monthly program

Material used by culture-drama teams must be unsophisticated, i.e., it must be aimed at rural audiences rather than at urban people. The music selected for presentation must be inherently Vietnamese, classic and modern. In the past, some teams have consistently appealed to the tastes of urban audiences influenced by Western culture. This kind of music, particularly including the modern popular music imported from the United States and featured in city night clubs, does not serve the purposes of the culture-drama program.

Operational schedules should be drawn up well in advance of each operational month, in consultation between the supporting organization and the team leader. This schedule should list the hamlets, refugee centers, outposts and other locations to be included in the itinerary. Program content also should be planned in advance, including "themes of the month.” In developing monthly plans, it may be helpful to consider the content of the Van Tac Vu Magazine, which is a primary source of program material.

The sponsors must provide the maximum attainable security for the team, since it will be a target for the Viet Cong.

Experience has revealed that it is a bad practice to lend money to or provide advance payments to team members. This practice has invariably had an adverse effect on cadre discipline and morale.


By the 7th PSYOP GROUP

Songs are an important medium of communication in many cultures. Singing often accompanies work routine and thus can become a significant medium not only for

communicating messages, but also for reenforcing ideas.

*Excerpts from “Communist Propaganda Trends,” Issue no. 608, pp. 11-15.

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