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Viet Cong Make Gains with Peasant Population

Jan. 17, 1962 - Despite considerable improvement in its information and propaganda services, the South Vietnamese Government is losing its fight with the Communists for the minds of the civilian population. American officials in South Vietnam say the Viet Cong maintain an edge in the propaganda war because Communist political agents are “closer to the people.” Government representatives spend only a few hours in a village, while clandestine Viet Cong agents live among the villagers and learn to exploit local grievances. The Government representatives dress well and look well fed, whereas the Viet Cong agents go barefoot and dress like peasants. Generally, the Viet Cong propaganda has not changed much since the Indochina War against France, which ended in 1954. Now, the U.S. has replaced France as the “imperialist villain.” The Vietnamese are told that as soon as the Viet Cong triumph over the “American-Diem clique,” a unified Vietnam will have peace and progress.

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