MEMO TO THE PRESIDENT FROM RICHARD HELMS RE MESSAGE FROM SECRETARY RUSK. (W/ATT

Created: 9/5/1967

OCR scan of the original document, errors are possible

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57

KSXORAKDUM FOR: The President

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la the mmagi Secretary Rue* semtloned at

lunch today.

I had requested pendaator. frm Secretarydisregard an Instruction from the embassadornotessaex, rather that wethe Ambassador's own description of awhich this

would be incorporated.

The kb sage la not inarks,la our Station Chief'a write-up of <bmto bin.

Thursday, September7

A r< ,August,

rom Cantono unionaughter who arrived'in Canton from Haiphong inrandson who also fled from Haiphong to China in mid-August, stated that according to these members of her family there was no electricity nor water service in Haiphong. (Source comment: These refugees were not questioned about the specific dates tho stoppages occurred nor the emergency measures put into effect.)

According to these two members of her family, the electric dynamo station at Lac Vien and Minh Khai Streets, Haiphong, had been completely dostroyedecent air attack. (Source comment: The informant did not question her relatives about the specific date of the incident.) The refugees stated further that other recent air attacks against Haiphong had resulted in the destruction or heavy damage of the Haiphong Cement Works, the sardine factory at Cua Can, the battery factory near the railroad bridge, the wool factory at An Duong, and the dockyards at Ha Ly. The refugees reported also that the Haiphong customs godowns had suffered heavy damage as well as the Paul Bert CNartersadre training facility in recent attacks.

The refugees stated (but did not say they had personally witnessed the incident) that during one recent air attack against Haiphong, in early August, the crew of an anti-aircraft position in the city had panicked before American aircraft were actually over the city and had fired their weapons at ground level instead of skyward, killing andarge number of civilians gatheredquare on Saigon Street close u> the Chinese Communal House.

According to the refugees, living conditions in North Vietnam were extremely hard. Families were being allowed to purchase only two rice bowls and one towel per family every six months. These essentials wore only sold upon submission of the family's registration booklet. In the event of breakageice bowl, the broken pieces had to be shown in evidence before authorisation could be obtained to replace them. Each family was further allowed only onear of soap every three months.

The refugees stated that vegetables were rare and expenatvo. Although meat was available, the price hadevel beyond the means of most, with some people complaining they had not tasted porkear; pork was being sold atatty. The price of rice at the official rate was sot0 Dongs per catty; rice on the black market, however,rice of three Dongs per catty. The official rice ration was approximatelyilos per person per month, but this was cut byercent with flour from the Soviet Union. No cooking oil or sugar was seen on the market. It appeared that the North Vietnamese Government was acting leniently towards the black market, since the refugees had heard of no profiteer having ever been punished for this activity. Cheap cotton cloth from the Soviet Union had recently been brought in and was not rationed. Despite its poor quality, according to the refugees, the people were happy to have it and It sold well.

Original document.

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