18 August 2009
Mr Nguyen Anh Thi. Director
8.1, E-town 2 Building
364 Cong Hoa Street. Ward 13, Tan Binh District
Ho Chi Minh City. Vietnam
Dear Mr Nguyen,
I shall be in Ho Chi Minh City arriving 21 October until leaving for Hanoi on 30th. During my stay in the city will be having a series of meetings and discussions and would very much like to meet with you at a time convenient for you.
Have been travelling to Vietnam each year since 1989 that has included Ho Chi Minh City. During my visits to the country have met a number of people of all ages that affected by the herbicide used namely Agent Orange. It is on this that I hope we can meet to discuss some proposals I have.
On previous visits I have written to Mr Weraphon and in his absence left a letter at his then office 14th Floor, Room 140 at Sun Wah Tower. In his reply to me some weeks later he stated that he could not discuss the matter as it was then sub judice. You will, I am sure be aware that the matter of the lawsuit between VAVA and a number of US Chemical Companies has ended and therefore the issue is no longer sub judice.
It would be appreciated if you would let me have your reply as to what date and time we could meet while I am in Ho Chi Minh Ci8ty.
Your reply by E-Mail would be welcome.
20 August 09
Thanks for the email!
I will be out of town during the last two weeks of October and most of November and therefore would not be able to meet you in Ho Chi Minh City. Meanwhile I enclosed the statement regarding our position on Agent
Orange matters for your reference.
"During the Vietnam War, the U.S. government, using its authority under the Defense Production Act, directed seven companies to manufacture this material. The government specified how it would be produced and
controlled how it was used in the field, including application rates.
Agent Orange was a 50-50 mix of two common herbicides, 2,4-D and 2,4,5-T. Since the Vietnam War, both scientific and public concern has arisen over a byproduct in the manufacturing process for one of these herbicides - the dioxin compound 2,3,7,8 TCDD.
The research on the issue of Agent Orange has gone on more than 30 years and continues today. Extensive epidemiological evidence has been and continues to be examined. All of this study has not conclusively
demonstrated a cause-and-effect link between spraying of Agent Orange and the diseases that were evaluated. A committee of the U.S. Institute of Medicine discusses "statistical associations" between Agent Orange
and a number of diseases in bi-annual reports conducted at the request of the U.S. Congress. However, the committee itself says in its 2006 report that "the target of evaluation is association, not causality
between exposure and health outcomes."
We have a great respect for the soldiers sent to war and those affected by the Vietnam conflict. We believe these kinds of issues arising out of the war are best resolved by the governments involved".
From: Len Aldis [mailto:email@example.com]
Sent: Tuesday, August 18, 2009 2:56 PM
To: NGUYEN, THI ANH [AG/5282]
Subject: Request for meeting in October
18 August 2009
Mr Nguyen Anh Thi. Director
8.1. E-town 2 Building
384 Cong Hoa Street. Ward 13
Tan Binh District. Ho Chi Minh City. Vietnam
Ref: Use of Agent Orange during the US war on Vietnam and its consequences.
Dear Mr Nguyen,
As promised in my previous correspondence here is my reply to your email of 20 August that I will be delivering by hand to your office at the above address in your absence. It deals with the points I would have raised with you in person. Had we met, I would have also invited you to come with me to see the disabled children – affected by Agent Orange - at the Peace Village at Tu Du Hospital, a place that I visit each time I am in the city. That invitation Mr Nguyen is still open to you when you are once again in Ho Chi Minh City.
Let me first reply to the points you raised in your email to me of 20 August. As I found them interesting, for example you state that:
· During the Vietnam War, the U.S. government, using its authority under the Defence Production Act, directed seven companies to manufacture this material.
· The government specified how it would be produced and controlled how it was used in the field, including application rates.
· Agent Orange was a 50-50 mix of two common herbicides, 2,4-D and 2,4,5-T. Since the Vietnam War, both scientific and public concern has arisen over a by-product in the manufacturing process for one of these herbicides – the dioxin compound 2,3,7,8 TCDD.
Let me first point out that in the lawsuit brought by lawyers acting on behalf of
the Vietnamese affected by Agent Orange, thirty-seven US chemical companies were named as manufacturers of Agent Orange. Among the leading companies was Monsanto.
Yes, Agent Orange was a 50-50 mixture of 2,4-D and 2,4,5-T. And that dioxin 2,3,7,8 TCDD was a by-product in the manufacturing. But Mr Nguyen I must take issue with you on this; the danger of dioxin was known at the time of manufacture. The companies knew of this but shamefully kept silent.
Due to the U.S. government requirement for more supplies of Agent Orange the process of manufacturing was speeded up, so leading to yet more dioxin being produced. I repeat the companies knew of this but remained silent.
If the speed of manufacturing had remained as it was, or even reduced, the production of dioxin would have been much less. The companies that knew this - and I include Monsanto - must therefore share part of the blame along with the U.S. government for the horrific consequences of the use of Agent Orange on Vietnam.
Again I must take issue with you when you write “All of this study has not conclusively demonstrated a cause-and-effect link between spraying of Agent Orange and the diseases that were evaluated”. Mr Nguyen, this is an incredible statement and flies in the face of international research carried out by international scientists from a number of countries.
The National Academy of Science has published lists of illnesses and disabilities due to the use of Agent Orange. They have also listed those that could have been due to Agent Orange and others that possibly might have been caused by Agent Orange. Mr Nguyen, the illnesses and disabilities caused by Agent Orange are on record and cannot be denied.
U.S. Veterans succeeded in their lawsuits against the companies that manufactured Agent Orange for the effects it has had on them, and their children, this is on record. In 1984 Monsanto was one of the companies involved in the out of court settlement of $180 million. Mr Nguyen if Agent Orange does not cause illnesses or disabilities, why did the companies agree to pay $184 million?
Let me remind you that 80 million litres of Agent Orange were sprayed over areas of South Vietnam, not areas of the United States. More reasons surely for the companies, and the US government to make a financial settlement to the Vietnamese victims, and to their families.
I hope that you will make that visit to the Peace Village at Tu Du Hospital and see the children and teenagers that I have seen. Look at the glass containers in the special room that contain the foetus of the babies that were still born, thankfully a number died in their mothers womb due to the horrific abnormality caused by Agent Orange. Look carefully at them Mr Nguyen, you will then perhaps understand the anger felt by thousands of people like me who will continue to seek justice for these tragic victims caused by Agent Orange caused by the products produced by Monsanto.
Look also Mr Nguyen at the living youngsters in Tu Du, they are just a few of the many thousands of victims born years after the use of Agent Orange ended. Victims Mr Nguyen that need 24 hours attention day in day out year in year out.
The result of the use of Agent Orange, a product manufactured by the company you represent.
The above are the points I would have discussed with you in your office, or at Tu Du Hospital. I hope the opportunity will arise when we will meet and discuss the grave injustice done to the Vietnamese Victims.
Let me end with this extract from a report I picked up a few days ago: On Oct. 13, the New York Times ran a news story headlined "Door Opens to Health Claims Tied to Agent Orange," which was sure to be good news to many American veterans of the Indochina War. It reported that 38 years after the Pentagon ceased spreading the deadly dioxin-laced herbicide/defoliant over much of South Vietnam, it was acknowledging what veterans have long claimed: in addition to 13 ailments already traced to exposure to the chemical, it was also responsible for three more dread diseases—Parkinson’s, ischemic heart disease and hairy-cell leukemia.
Under a new policy adopted by the Dept. of Veterans Affairs, the VA will now start providing free care to any of the 2.1 million Vietnam-era veterans who can show that they might have contracted any of those new diseases by their exposure to Agent Orange.
Mr Nguyen surely you must now agree that this report shows beyond any doubt that Agent Orange has had serious effects on the lives of US veterans and their families. I must also remind you again that 80 million litres of Agent Orange was sprayed over South Vietnam and not the United States, and in Ho Chi Minh City