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Safe Conduct Pass

The Chieu Hoi1 program was established in 1963 by President Ngo Dinh Diem to encourage the defection of NVA and Viet Cong soldiers. Passes were produced that measured approximately 3 by 6 inches and featured the flag of the Republic of Vietnam and its allies. Five basic versions of the Safe Conduct Pass were produced during the lifetime of the program (in chronological order):
  • 5 Flag (Republic of Vietnam plus the U.S., Australia, South Korea and New Zealand)
  • 7 Flag (Thailand and the Philippines added) with the signature of Nguyen Cao Ky on the reverse
  • 7 Flag bearing the photo and signature of President Nguyen Van Thieu on the reverse
  • 7 Flag with just the signature of Nguyen Van Thieu on the reverse
  • 1 Flag (Republic of Vietnam)
The passes, which were air-dropped and hand distributed, represented only one aspect of the Chieu Hoi psyops media that also made use of audio broadcasts, posters, leaflets, bags and publications. In addition to the inducement tactics the Chieu Hoi program also encompassed:
  • Hoi Chanh (returnee) reception centers
  • Political re-indoctrination
  • Intelligence exploitation of returnees
  • Resettlement – finding jobs for returnees

1. The Vietnamese phrase Chieu Hoi translates to "a call to return", but English speakers often referred to the program as the "open arms" plan.

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