A U.S. medical team that went to Hanoi last month to discuss Vietnamese programs to rehabilitate the war wounded thinks that the United States should respond favorably to Vietnam's request for assistance.
"We're going to make a positive recommendation," said Fred Downs, a Veterans Administration official and member of the study group.
Downs made clear that assistance resulting from the survey would come from private organizations, not the government. The United States does not have diplomatic relations with Vietnam.
Downs, who heads the VA's prosthetics and sensory aids service, joined two other rehabilitation experts on a four-day trip to Vietnam. They talked with foreign ministry and health officials and toured a center near Son Tay where artificial limbs, orthopedic devices and other rehabilitation equipment are produced and fitted.
The panel was sent under an agreement worked out in Hanoi earlier in August by retired Army general John W. Vessey Jr., President Reagan's emissary.
The pact called for Vietnam to resume help in accounting for 1,776 Americans listed as missing in Vietnam during the war in Southeast Asia. The United States pledged to look into some of Vietnam's "humanitarian" concerns.
Downs said that during their talks in Hanoi none of the Vietnamese officials sought to link resolution of the cases of missing Americans with their desire for U.S. assistance.