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Sources in Saigon: War Against Communists Going Badly

Dec. 8, 1963 - Sources in South Vietnam indicated today that the war against the Communist Viet Cong guerrillas is going badly, and American optimism for the new Government is turning into serious concern. Since the Nov. 1 coup, the Viet Cong have mounted a sobering series of sharp, punishing attacks, particularly in the Communist-infested Mekong Delta area in the south. Dozens of outposts and strategic hamlets have been overrun, and many were burned. The new Government is moving to counter the assaults but, in the minds of many observers, it is not moving nearly fast enough or even according to plan. “What’s happening here,” stated one American adviser, “is that we’re running out of time.” There is considerable speculation in Saigon regarding the announced visit of Secretary of Defense Robert S. McNamara later this month. The majority of sources believe he is concerned over the new Government’s failure to press the fight against the Reds. Others see the visit as a prelude to the replacement of General Paul D. Harkins, head of the U.S. military advisory mission.


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