Official passport used for Vietnam - Our Passports
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  • early Vietnamese War official US passport.
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  • official Vietnamese visa.
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Official passport used for Vietnam

US Navy officer serving in the Far East.


Much has been written about the Vietnam War.


The war that lasted close to 20 years, erupting on November 1st 1955 with the involvement of Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia on the one side and with the United Sates mainly on the other, and that ended with the Fall of Saigon on April 30th 1975.


Each side was supported by its allies: the North Vietnamese by the Soviet Union, Communist China and others in the Communist sphere of influence and South Vietnam by the US with its western allies, such as the Philippines and others.


At the beginning the area was then called Indochina, which is also why some call it the Second Indochina War (the First Indochina War erupted on December 19th 1946 in French Indochina and lasted until August 1st 1954, a war that saw the local uprising and fight against years of French occupation and oppression).


When I collect passports, the ones issued during the early stages of the war interest me the most, so the item in this article can fall under that category: US official passport issued on February 7th 1956 at Manila, Philippines, to naval officer ranked Lieutenant Commander (LCDR) named William Augustus Wheless, based at the Naval Station Sangley Point.


The passport clearly states inside on page 7 that “This passport is issued gratis for use on official business and is not valid upon termination of the bearer’s official status“.


The attractive sections of this passport include official & GRATIS visas issued by the South Vietnamese diplomatic missions abroad. The Chinese visa found in the added sheets of pages was issued by diplomat Du Yuan Fang (杜元方) – Vice Consul at Manila, also later Consul General in Johannesburg and future posts included official representation to Austria and Finland.


Other entries included are from Thailand, United Kingdom, Japan, and India.


I have added images of this early Vietnamese War official passport.



Thank you for reading “Our Passports”.



Neil Kaplan
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