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South Vietnamese President: We’ll Win War by 1966

May 18, 1963 - President Ngo Dinh Diem (pictured center) of South Vietnam, in an interview with the Los Angeles Times, forecast victory over the Communist Viet Cong by early 1966. His estimate of the time needed to inflict decisive defeat on the Viet Cong was more pessimistic than that of Gen. Paul D. Harkins, the U.S. military commander in South Vietnam. Harkins said in March that “this is the key year” and that 1963 would see sufficient containment of the Viet Cong to enable the nation to shift to a peacetime economy. Diem said: “It is always hazardous to make predictions on the length of time of a guerrilla war. One can say, however, without fear of being mistaken, that thanks to a certain number of original measures, the people of Vietnam have succeeded in paralyzing the enemy as much from the political point of view as from the military one. If our friends of the Free World can hold on, we can break communism insofar as its political and military apparatus is concerned within three years, if not sooner.”

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