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U.S. Officials in Vietnam Down on Diem

July 2, 1963 - Some U.S. officials in South Vietnam who two months ago were praising President Ngo Dinh Diem (pictured with Vice President Johnson in 1961) have changed their minds about him and his chances of winning the war against the Communists. These officials would like to see a new government in Saigon. Young Vietnamese military officers are reported to be unsure what position the U.S. would take if they tried to oust Diem. Some of these officers are reported ready to act, but they give the impression they would like the Americans to make a public statement calling for a change. It is widely believed in Saigon that any statement from Washington critical of Mr. Diem for his handling of the Buddhist crisis would touch off an internal military strike at the Government. The attitude of the American Embassy in Saigon is of vast domestic political importance in Vietnam. Through its vast military and economic aid, it is, in the view of many observers, Mr. Diem’s main base of support.


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