Letter from John Paul Vann to Daniel Ellsberg, January 26, 1970

This letter was written in 1970 when the trial of Tran Ngoc Chau was making international headlines. Vann, still in Vietnam, updated Ellsberg about the situation with Chau as he tried to protect his friend. Vann wrote to his and Chau’s friends around the world for help. This letter is significant because Vann tells Ellsberg how bad the situation has gotten. He asks Ellsberg to address letters to an alias as he has reason to believe he was being watched. This letter was the first time I saw in the archives how serious Chau’s trial was and how it played into the larger political system of Vietnam and the United States.

Emma Lewis