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Defoliation Plan for Vietnam on Temporary Hold

Jan. 11, 1962 - A plan by U.S. officials to “defoliate” trees and bushes in South Vietnam with a chemical sprayed from planes as a means of combating Communist guerrilla operations has been delayed. The question of how to publicize this form of chemical warfare has held up the program for several weeks. Meanwhile, agents of the Viet Cong have spread reports of American plans to cut a swath of devastation through the countryside. The spraying now is expected to begin soon, following a formal announcement approved by high officials of both countries. The announcement declares that the chemical operation is intended to “improve the country’s economy by permitting freer communication” as well as to “facilitate the Vietnamese Army’s task of keeping avenues of communication free of Viet Cong harassments.”

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