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Madame Nhu Assails Buddhists

Aug. 3, 1963 - Madame Ngo Dinh Nhu, sister-in-law of South Vietnam’s President Ngo Dinh Diem, accused Buddhist leaders today of treason, murder, and Communist tactics. Madame Nhu, the country’s unofficial First Lady, attacked the Buddhists as “so-called holy men” who had used Communist tactics in their protests against the Government’s religious policies. The U.S. Embassy, which had been working hard to improve President Diem’s image at home and abroad, was not happy with Mrs. Nhu’s remarks. Washington fears that religious dissension will coast Saigon the public backing it needs to defeat the Communist Viet Cong in the countryside. The Diem regime is dominated by Catholics, and 70% of the South Vietnamese are Buddhists. Discussing the June 11 suicide of Quang Duc, a 66-year-old monk who set himself on fire in a Saigon protest, Mrs. Nhu accused Buddhist leaders of “murder.” “What else can be said,” she asked, “when they murder their own kin and their own peers in a most barbaric manner under the pretext of defending a faith that has never been under attack?” Many Vietnamese regard Quang Duc as a martyr.


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