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U.S. Moving Toward Confrontation with Diem Regime

Aug. 31, 1963 - The United States appears to be moving deliberately toward a direct confrontation with the Diem regime in South Vietnam. Diplomatic sources say Americans have decided that no government that includes Ngo Dinh Nhu — brother of President Diem — and his wife and the country’s de facto First Lady, Madame Nhu (right), can win the war against the Communists and that the Nhus cannot be separated from the Government. Therefore, sources say, the U.S. is ready to initiate action that might lead to the overthrow of the Government. The Americans are believed to be adhering to the position that those responsible for the August 21 attacks on the Buddhists — the Nhus, that is — must go. The most likely form of American action, sources say, will be a demand to President Diem to get rid of his brother and sister-in-law immediately. The Americans do not believe there is a chance this will happen. One source said the Americans were past the point of negotiating and had decided on action. Americans see President Diem as a somewhat more sympathetic figure than the Nhus. They believe he is better-intentioned but that he and his Government have lost all popularity and that Diem is no longer a serious political figure.


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