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STEM – FOA 1953

The United States created the Foreign Operations Association (FOA) in 1953 to coordinate all American foreign economic and technical and assistance programs.

Under FOA, the Special Technical and Economic Mission (STEM) provided assistance with refugee settlement including the 800,000 who migrated from North to South Vietnam. The US Navy transported more than 300,000 under Operation Passage to Freedom

The French resented STEM and the publicity it generated for its efforts.

The French diplomatic counselor in Saigon complained that Americans seem to think Indochina was discovered in 1950 and the “history of civilization in Indochina began with the arrival of US aid. If [a] water pump is delivered [to] Indochina, it becomes, in STEM publicity, [the] first water pump Indochina has ever had.”

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