Fact Check

Naval Disaster

Did Clinton change naval regulations to allow the Vietnamese flag to be flown higher than the American flag?

Published Nov 16, 2000

Claim:   During a trip to China and Vietnam, President Clinton altered long-standing naval regulations to allow the American flag to fly below that of Vietnam on a U.S. Navy ship.

Status:   False.

Example:   [Collected on the Internet, 2000]

President Clinton reportedly plans to visit China and Vietnam before the end of his term, and, according to high-ranking Navy officers, the commander in chief will alter long-standing naval regulations to allow the American flag to fly below that of Vietnam when he sails into the communist nation's territorial waters on a U.S. Navy ship . . . visceral outrage is resulting from a proposed change to Navy regulations that would result in the American flag being displayed subordinate to the flag of Vietnam.

Origins:   The "Vietnam flag flap" story stemmed from a single source, the web publication WorldNetDaily. Nothing that was described in the article actually happened, other than the trip to Vietnam.

After attending the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum in Brunei, President Clinton arrived in Vietnam on Thursday, November 16. Clinton traveled from Vietnam to Brunei by air, not by sea. No U.S. Navy ship flew an American flag subordinate to a Vietnamese flag.

Last updated:   2 December 2007


  Sources Sources:

    Carter, Chelsea J.   "In Little Saigon, Clinton's Visit Cause for Hope and Suspicion."

    Associated Press.   16 November 2000.

    Hunt, Terence.   "Thousands Turn Out at Midnight to Welcome Clinton to Vietnam."

    Associated Press.   16 November 2000.

    Marshall, Tyler.   "Clinton Assures Pacific Rim That Trade Expansion Efforts Will Continue."

    Los Angeles Times.   16 November 2000.

    Metcalf, Geoff.   "American Flag Dips to Vietnam, China?"

    WorldNetDaily.   23 August 2000.

David Mikkelson founded the site now known as snopes.com back in 1994.

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