top of page

President Diem’s Brother Defends Buddhist Crackdown

Aug. 24, 1963 - Ngo Dinh Nhu (pictured), who is reputed to be the mastermind of the South Vietnamese Government’s moves against Buddhists, says that Americans and others abroad have been “intoxicated” by the ritual suicides and other “clever tactics” of the Buddhist monks and their followers. In an interview, Mr. Nhu took sharp issue with the U.S. State Department and other critics of the Government of his elder brother, President Ngo Dinh Diem. Mr. Nhu controls the secret police. His wife is a member of the National Assembly and head of the nation’s women’s organizations. Together, they exercise more power than the quiet bachelor President. “According to American opinion,” Mr. Nhu said, “what is happening is comparable to a situation in which President Kennedy, because he is a Catholic, would decree a blockade of Protestant churches in the U.S.” He was referring to the order by President Diem for the army’s seizure of principal Buddhist pagodas through South Vietnam this week. Mr. Nhu said, “Suppose that American Protestant churches were transformed into fortifications by rebellious elements. The United States President would be forced to free the people inside.” He then asserted, without providing any evidence, that “innocent” Buddhists had been held inside the pagodas through “terror” by monks opposed to the Government. Numerous sources have indicated that Mr. Nhu’s assertion is false.


bottom of page