U.S. CORPORATE LARGESSE IS raining down on Vietnam, Asia's newest emerging tiger. This coincides with the 20th anniversary of the Vietnam War's end on Apr. 30. For some, that date evokes the humiliating image of panicking South Vietnamese clinging to the skids of fleeing American helicopters. But a host of U.S. companies hope good deeds coinciding with the anniversary will build goodwill. Although President Clinton lifted the trade embargo last year, he is reluctant to restore full diplomatic ties, so progress for U.S. business has been slow.
One effort to balm leftover bitterness is the Apr. 23 airlift of $7 million worth of medicine to clinics and hospitals in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City. The airlift, underwritten by McDonnell Douglas, Federal Express, and dozens of others, was organized by Heart to Heart International, a charity group. Says Mark Schlansky, a McDonnell exec: "This is a time of healing."
Among the other bids to do well by doing good: The Business Alliance for Vietnamese Education is helping to launch an English-language curriculum for Vietnam's schools. McDonnell and 19 other blue-chip companies are giving $35,000 each to train Vietnamese teachers at UCLA this summer.