Pham xuan an

Phạm Xuân Ẩn
Nickname Hai Trung
Born (1927-09-12)September 12, 1927
Died September 20, 2006(2006-09-20) (aged 79)
Allegiance Vietnam
Service/branch Vietnam People's Army
Rank Major General
Awards Template:Hero of the People's Armed ForcesTemplate:Independence OrderTemplate:Military Exploit OrderTemplate:Feat Order

Phạm Xuân Ẩn (September 12, 1927 – September 20, 2006) was a Vietnamese general with nickname "Hai Trung" or "Tran Van Trung". He worked in South Vietnam as a reporter for Reuters, Time magazine and the New York Herald Tribune during the Vietnam War, while simultaneously spying for North Vietnam. Pham earned a North Viet Namese war medal, the Viet Minh, after the Battle of Ap Bac, and he contributed to the ultimate defeat of the US and Saigon. He was awarded the "People's Army Force Hero" by Vietnamese government on January 15, 1976.[1] He was also put in a "softer" version of a reeducation camp for a year after the war for being too close to the Americans.[2]


Phạm Xuân Ẩn was born in 1927 in Binh Truoc, Biên Hòa, Đồng Nai Province, but his parents were originally from Hải Dương Province. His grandfather was the headmaster of a school in Huế, and was awarded the King's gold ring. Phạm's father was a high-level engineer of the Public Administration Department. His family's service to France did not earn him French nationality. Phạm was born in Biên Hòa hospital with the help of French doctors.

When Ẩn was a child, he lived in Saigon. Then, he moved to Cần Thơ and studied at the College of Cần Thơ. When August Revolution began against the French government, Pham left school and joined Volunteer Youth Organisation. Later, he took classes offered by the Viet Minh.

In the 1950s Ẩn attended Orange Coast College (OCC) and earned an Associate of Arts degree. He wrote for the campus newspaper, then called The Barnacle.

According to The Fall of Saigon by David Butler and Flashbacks by Morley Safer, Ẩn helped Tran Kim Tuyen, a South Vietnamese intelligence commander and CIA asset, escape Saigon on one of the last helicopters out of Saigon in 1975.[3](See also Operation Frequent Wind).

Toward the fall of Saigon, Ẩn obtained transport of his wife and four children to the safety of the U.S. by transport provided by Time magazine. After the fall of Saigon, he was interrogated by the Communists and put under house arrest after that, to ensure he had no contact with westerners. His family was subsequently allowed to return to Saigon and him. He was made a Brigadier General and retired on a pension of around $US30 a month. He told his friend Stanley Karnow, in his book Vietnam: A History, that his love for America and Vietnam was like the French song "J ai Deux Amours", but he had like many Vietnamese they had to see their country free.

After the communist victory, Ẩn was put under house arrest, as the Hanoi leadership suspected him of being "corrupted" by capitalism after decades of living in South Vietnam as a spy.

Ẩn died on September 20, 2006 in Ho Chi Minh City in a military hospital from complications of emphysema.

In February 2009 The Spy Who Loved Us: The Vietnam War and Pham Xuan An's Dangerous Game by Thomas A. Bass was published.

Safer interview of 1989 [4]

In 1989 Ẩn did an interview with Morley Safer, described in Safer's book Flashbacks. He told Safer he had joined the Viet Minh in 1944 to fight the Japanese during World War II and the French later on. The book says he got a scholarship to the US in the late 50s and worked at a newspaper in Orange County, California, before returning to Vietnam. He said in 1960 he joined Reuters and later Time, when he was made a Colonel in the Viet Cong. He claimed to have passed information periodically through secret meetings in the Ho Bo forest near Saigon during the Vietnam War, and that only a handful of Vietcong knew about his identity as a spy. Safer also writes that Ẩn was close with Charlie Mohr, Frank McCulloch, David Greenway, Richard Clurman, Bob Shaplen, Nguyen Hung Vuong, and other noted journalists. Safer called Ẩn a "dignified and decent man" but also noted the "enigma" and "layers" of the man. Safer also mentions Arnaud de Borchgrave's 1981 testimony before Senator Jeremiah Denton's subcommittee that Ẩn had a "mission" to "disinform the Western press". An denied the disinformation charge, claiming his superiors felt such tactics would have given him away. Safer and Ẩn also discuss Ẩn's year-long imprisonment in a reeducation / lecture camp near Hanoi by the Vietcong after the end of the war because of his connection with Americans. Ẩn also described to Safer his opinion of the "paternalism and a discredited economy theory" being used by the Vietnamese leadership that had led to the failure of the revolution to help "the people".[5]


External links

  • Pham Xuan An Dies at 79; Reporter Spied for Hanoi
  • Death of Vietnamese Super-Spy
  • Interview with biographer Larry Berman about An

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