THE CASE OF THE MISSING EMBASSY PLAQUE
***Communique from Saigon***
On 5/13/99, one of our contributors sent me the following message:
** John, memorial plate which was dedicated to the men killed defending the US Embassy during TET 68. It was in a small [Vietnamese] museum...stuck away behind some other display cases [and] out of view until I caught sight of it.
I found this
We pulled it out and took a photo or two. It might be worthwhile trying to contact your Ambassador in Hanoi to see if it could be returned to the US and put in some place it would be duly given the honor it deserves. It is in the old French Governor's Residence which is now known as the Revolutionary Museum on Nam Ky Khoi Nghia St in District 1 only a couple of blocks away from the former Presidential Palace.**
On 5/16/99, I sent a fax to Ambassador Peterson asking for information regarding this.
On September 5, I received the following email from Mr. Charles A. Ray, U.S. Consulate General, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam:
Ambassador Peterson gave me a copy of your May 16 fax about the Tet commemorative plaque that is in the Revolutionary Museum in Ho Chi Minh City. Along with our Defense Attache, LTC Frank Miller, I visited the museum and talked to the director. She was understanding and sympathetic, but does not have the authority to return the plaque on her own. That will require a decision in Hanoi, which Colonel Miller is working on from his end. Here in the city, I am maintaining contact with museum authorities here. One other thing: On the display of the plaque. I will admit that it is not in a place of honor as we would define it, but it is an integral part of the display. I fully agree with you that it should be in a place of honor, and will work with the Embassy to see that it is done. We will keep you informed as progress is made.
Charles A. Ray
U.S. Consulate General
Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam **
UPDATE - JANUARY, 2000
The following exchange of emails occurred in January, 2000 -
I sent this message to Mr. Charles Ray:
**From: John Paul Rossie [SMTP:firstname.lastname@example.org]
Sent: Sunday, January 09, 2000 12:22 AM
To: Ray, Charles A
Subject: Re: TET Plaque
Dear Mr. Ray,
I wonder if you could provide me an update on your and or Col. Miller's efforts in regaining possession of the U.S. Plaque which I understand is still in the Revolutionary Museum, and still kept out of sight?
John Paul Rossie **
I received the following email from Mr. Ray:
**Subject: RE: TET Plaque
Date: Sun, 9 Jan 2000 21:33:09 -0500
From: "Ray, Charles A"
CC: "Miller, Frank L"
The Embassy has sent a diplomatic note to the Ministry of Culture and Information requesting return of the plaque. We have not received a response. Just and update, the plaque is no longer really out of sight, but part of a display of the attack on the Embassy during Tet. We will continue to work on this. Regards, Charles A. Ray **
Well, I have to admit that I am impressed at the one-day turn-around. But.... I also have to admit I don't believe a word of it. The Plaque being "...part of a display..."?? It never was and I am informed that it still isn't - although I'd surely apologize if proven wrong.
I will attempt to stay in contact with Mr. Ray and report the final disposition of the Plaque.