Culhane, Claire, Letter, 10 February 1968

Letter, Claire Culhane dated February 10, 1968.
to Pix Daly


Case Study: 
Claire Culhane: Canadian Peace Activist and Humanitarian
Culhane, Claire
10 February 1968
Place: Da Nang, Vietnam
McMaster University Libraries
Copyright, public domain: McMaster University owns the rights to the archival copy of the digital image in TIFF format.


[This letter describes the closing of the hospital in early February 1968, and Culhane’s subsequent evacuation to Da Nang, prior to her decision to leave Vietnam; transcript of second and third pages of the letter].
more in defiance than in surrender and shouting invectives at his captor, while all onlookers silent! So significantly silent!! Looked me square in eye as he passed but made no change – I always expect to be spat at as a “MYEE” (“Amer[ican]” in VN [Vietnamese]) (as is occasionally happening NOW) so like to think our reputation as humanitarian Canadians is definitely known at least in our environs.
Then two nights of local VN Police Militia using our hospital as a more comfortable base for shooting from than the surrounding fields in spite of orders NOT to enter hospital until actual VC [Viet Cong] attack. When we protested to authorities that they were endangering lives of patients & it should not be repeated were told “go tell it to the VC” (the 2nd night I was on duty alone with 44 patients – had to get them under their beds & then just sit it out while the shooting went on from 2 – 6.30 am). But they (the patients) were just wonderful, when
I dozed off once sitting on floor with them. One patient covered me with her blanket and not one showed panic – after all, most of them have lived with war all their lives.
The only tears & heartbreak were the next day when we had to decide to pack them home as being safer than remaining at hospital – that part still haunts me and always will.
Then we had to evacuate to Da Nang on the 6th Feb. where we are still sitting waiting for next developments. As of this moment we are told there are still 6,000 [Viet Cong] surrounding Quang Ngai & so not to return.
But here in Da Nang 2 nights ago [we] were given emergency posts in the bldg. complex where we are billeted & told that 30,000-40,000 NV Army had been moving in since 4 p.m. BUT we would be evacuated by helicopter should it be necessary.
[Along the side of the page, CC explains why she is writing on United States Government letterhead (Note that she has scrawled lines across the U.S. logo)] This section explained by fact that we have been all billetted in Da Nang in apt. of gal who just happens to be secty. of U.S. consul – and this is only paper she has on hand to give me to write so don’t go thinking anything else.