(from ongoing Vietnam Legacy Project, as detailed here July 4, 2009)
THE INDOCHINA CORRESPONDENTS
The Saigon Post, Feb 15, 1971
And now they are dying again---this time not in Vietnam. They were all photo-journalists who go into war. An anti-aircraft shell smashed their Huey chopper in the sky over Laos during the South Vietnamese incursion. Four went down, besides the Vietnamese crew. Larry Burrows, Life Magazine. Henri Huet, the Associated Press. Kent Potter, United Press International. Keisaburo Shimamoto, Newsweek.
I remember Larry Burrows in a chopper on May 2 of last year. There he was, bespectacled and famous, yet flying into the X-Ray Zone of the Fish-hook to see the first wave of American troops into Cambodia. He carried four cameras.
Somebody told me that KENT POTTER was from my home town, Philadelphia. I didn't know that.
HENRI HUET, another seasoned pro, was a Frenchman and one of the real friendlies at the AP Bureau in the Eden Building. He was tiring of Japan and didn't mind coming back here. One day up in Pleiku he and DAVID ROSENZWEIG, also of the AP, joined a party of two helicopters. The first one, which they almost boarded, was shot down. Their chopper landed at the wreckage and found no survivors. A great many choppers have gone down in this war.
That was then for DAVID ROSENZWEIG. He had already done a lot of good coverage in Cambodia during the torrid May-June campaign and began to tire of the war. He didn't get to this recent action in Laos. He had quit and gone back to California to get married.
According to a former very high-ranking official, the GVN is planning new ways to create a viable tax collection system. If it succeeds, it will have done that which has never been done before around here.
The present tax control program is very unpopular. In questionnaires, householders are asked to list all their items of property, including air conditioners, TV sets, radios etc. People are alleging that some tax collectors are becoming outright extortionists.
President Thieu, it's reported, is considerng a revision of the whole tax campaign. He may consider methods like arbitration and other techniques used in the United States. One obstacle to tax collection is the fact that 80% of Vietnamese businesses do not keep books. How long this will continue is still debatable.
Sources say that the most successful tax evaders in the country are corrupt Generals, former high-ranking Government officials, and wealthy, influential businessmen. The United States is expected to support some of these Government of Vietnam efforts to get these uncollected assets into the nation's treasury.
AROUND THE TOWN
DAVE BAQUIRIN of the Manila Chronicle has arrived for a six-month tour. The English press is sometimes called the most free in the world, but from what we hear, that title may also be claimed by the Filipino press. Seven of the eight leading newspapers in the Philipines, incidentally, are in the English language. DAVE told us that one Filipino newsman, in order to get a story on the drug scene, went so far as to smoke pot and jab himself with heroin. Sounds like enterprising journalism.....TITO CARBALLO, in from Cambodia, says that no matter what you read in wire-service dispatches, Phnom Penh is still standing. And although hypertension has been afflicting LON NOL, there are no signs of it affecting most Cambodians, according to medical reports. The pace goes on. You sip each hour instead of gulping it.....Discussed sundry items recently with retired BRIGADIER GENERAL RICHARD S. WHITCOMB (a Colonel in the D-Day landing at Normandy.) He commented on Joe Fried of the NY Daily News. "Fried is one of the newsmen who are on America's side," the General said.
P.S. Tips? Contact Saigon Notes, the Mon-Wed-Fri column. Names withheld on request.