A new study by the Stanford Research Institute (SRI) might indícate why the United States government was willing to spend billions of dollars and thousands of lives to fight the Indochina war. The SRI study predicts that Southeast Asia will rapidly become the most lucrative area in the world for overseas U.S. corporate investments. According to the study, direct investments by the United States in Southeast Asia will leap from the current $4 billion toSlObillionby 1980. Says the SRI report: 'it may be that opportunities in Europe have been decreasing but, more signifïcantly, investment returns in Asia tend to be higher than obtainable elsewhere." SRI reports that profit returns of 14 per cent on investments are common in Southeast Asia- with some, particularly in the Philippines, paying as high as 31 percent profit returns. The study also predicts that oil will be the major industry atlracting American capital to Southeast Asia. Less than two weeks ago, the Shell Oil Company reported making a potentially-rich oil strike in South Vietnamese waters.