Lethbridge Herald, The (Newspaper) - April 11, 1973, Lethbridge, Alberta
48 THE UTHBRIDGE HERALD Wednesday, April 11, 1973 Canadian observers at tvork Confrontation on volley ball court By HAROLD MORRISON CP Foreign Editor DUG CO, South Vietnam (CP) The biggest "daily confrontation" between the Canadians and the Viet Cong is the five-o'clock volleyball game in which the Canadians undiplomatically manage to "Can't afford to let Canada said Capt. Harky Smith of Ottawa and Halifax with a shrug. He and Major Dick Pauktaitis of Winnipeg are the Canadian representa- tives on the four-country truce observer team in this primi- tive camp near the Cambo- dian border. They are supposed to watch and report if the Viet Cong use a nearby road to bring arms and troops into South Vietnam illegally. The observ- ers find there is little to re- port. But since their move- ments are restricted to visible sight of about IVz miles the two Canadians readily agree that arms and men can be slipped across the border al- most anywhere without their knowledge. The Viet the North Vietnamese as they may explain the area is seprfed mines and it would be dangerous to allow the observ- ers freedom of movement. In effect, as long as the observ- ers are stationed in this camp of bamboo and thatch, they are ''confined" guests with lit- tle to do but worry about the possibility of snakes and scor- pions and how to keep up their good relations with their hosts. JIUT LACKS FLOOR Pauktaitis and Smith, both family men, hunger for home, but they feel that their pres- ence here may be doing some good. "Perhaps it will help to achieve something to bring peace to this war-damaged said Smith, "but I will be glad to get home." Their but of fresh-STripped slender timber, covered "with thatch and with walls of woven bamboo, has a boy- scout look about it. The floor is the bare red earth. The chairs are home-made. Pauktaitis said there is little point in having wooden floors. They would become ideal hid- ing places for snakes and scorpions and In any case when the hot wind whips up the loose earth in the com- pound everything is covered in red dust. The hut is known as Canada House and beyond it are the latrines v.ith chickens and roosters flying out of the shade as you approach. A se- ries of large tin cans provide a walk between the various huts. The Canadians have a shower made of a five-gallon can with a screw-type shower head. Since their predecessors suffered malaria and infec- tious hepatitis, drinking water for the Canadians as well as the Indonesians, Poles and Hungarians on the truce team is flown in from Pleiku about 35 miles to the northeast. But the Viet Cong group drink the local water drawn from a well. The Viet Cong youngsters look vigorous and determined. PAY RESPECTS The Canadians reach ea- gerly when helicopters bring letters from home or Cana- dian newspapers. Commandant Ba who heads the camp is a small, bright- e y e d. sincere-looking man dressed in washed-green fa- tigues with no signs of decora- tion or rank. Through his interpreter he extended his respects to Can- ada and expressed hope that Canada will be able to con- tribute to peace in Viet Nam. We raised small tumblers of light-green tea. Due Co and Ben Het, 70 miles north, are merely names of villages which have disappeared in the war. Both became essentially U.S. and South Vietnamese fire bases which the Viet Cong or the North Vietnamese over- whelmed. The debris of tanks and guns litters the camp per- imeters. Capt. Tony Ferguson of Moose Jaw, Sask., the Cana- dian at Ben Het, lives on C ra- tions, packaged food. He also is able to detect little activity of illegal shipments of arms or men in the mined area al- though he can see down part of the Ho Chi Minn trail. "They move down" the trail by foot, bicycle and said Ferguson whose bam- boo-and-thatch hut is named Canadian Embassy. Since he has fishea and hunted back home, he finds living in the bushland rela- tively easy. The small-sized Viet Cong soldiers with their Russian rifles slung over their shoulders and their Chinese jeeps watch visitors closely. Part of the helicopter pad at Ben Het is badly ripped, the product of previous artillery duels. Possibly to back up their ar- gument that their Provisional Revolutionary Government (PRO) must be fully recog- nized, the Viet Cong demand formal requests for entry into their territory. This involves writing the Viet Cong or PRG delegation in their confined quarters at Tan Son Nhut air base near Saigon. But you may wait many days without receiving an repl. ARRANGED RECEPTION The man who works won- ders with the Viet Cong is Col. 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