Cablegate: Ambassador Calls On New Institute Of

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.




E.O. 12958: N/A

1. (U) SUMMARY: In a February 26 courtesy call,
Ambassador Trinh Quang Thanh, the new Director General of
the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) Institute of
International Relations (IIR), told Ambassador Burghardt
that IIR "greatly appreciates" Embassy Hanoi's support and
looks forward to a continued and expanded cooperative
relationship. Thanh expressed interest in receiving help
from FSI in developing a course for senior GVN diplomats.
Ambassador said that the embassy would welcome more
engagement with IIR. END SUMMARY

2. (U) Ambassador Burghardt paid a courtesy call on new
IIR General Director Trinh Quang Thanh on February 26.
Prior to assuming the IIR post, Ambassador Thanh was
Vietnam's ambassador to Canada (1999-2002; worked in the
MFA's Policy Planning Division (1990-1999); and served in
the MFA's Europe I Division (1972-1989). He holds a BA from
Charles University in Prague, Czech Republic and an MA from
Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies


3. (U) The GVN established IIR in 1977 and tasked it with
doing research on international affairs and training the
MFA's diplomats. In Department of State terms, IIR can be
viewed as a MFA combination of FSI and INR. Current
enrollment is about 1,100 students. According to Ambassador
Thanh, about twenty percent of IIR graduates actually end up
working in the MFA; most land in other GVN ministries or in
external relations offices within provincial governments.

4. (U) IIR's research component consists of three
divisions: (1) North America/Europe; Northeast Asia; and
Southeast Asia. There are approximately 25 researchers who
do research projects for the MFA. Some projects are self-
generated, while others are done upon request. A number of
researchers have access to classified information, according
to Ambassador Thanh, and many also have concurrent teaching
responsibilities. Ambassador Thanh said that during his
tenure, he envisions IIR assuming more of a "think tank"
role, focusing on Vietnam's activities within the regional


5. (U) Strong ties already exist between IIR and US
institutions. The Ford Foundation and Asia Foundation both
support scholarships for students to study in the U.S.
and/or bring in guest lecturers from the U.S. Ambassador
Thanh noted that IIR researchers/instructors have studied at
Columbia, Johns Hopkins/SAIS, Notre Dame, Tufts University
Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, St. Johns, and the
University of Hawaii.

6. (U) Ambassador Thanh said that he "very much
appreciates" the support of the US embassy for IIR. He also
invited Ambassador Burghardt for another roundtable
discussion, similar to one held in 2002. Reaction among the
students who attended was "very positive," noted Ambassador
Thanh. Ambassador Burghardt said that he would also welcome
expanded cooperation, including more guest speakers from the
U.S. and would look forward to another roundtable.


7. (U) While IIR trains young and mid-level diplomats,
there is currently no training at the senior level.
Ambassador Thanh said that he plans to develop such a course
and would like to learn more about FSI's approach.
Ambassador Burghardt agreed that it would be useful to
implement such training and said that he would inquire how
FSI could help.


8. (U) While the relationship between the embassy and IIR
is already quite strong, Ambassador Thanh appears genuinely
interested in expanding it. Although at times IIR
researchers have been fearful of attending PAS programs on
"sensitive" topics such as U.S. policy towards Iraq or North
Korea, there are elements within the institution, which
consider the contact useful. This relationship is worth
nurturing and embassy will continue to work with IIR towards
the goal of expanding USG contacts among a significant group
of well-educated men and women who have a good chance of
moving into future policy making positions. BURGHARDT

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