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War of Words between U.S. and South Vietnam

Sept. 3, 1963 - The United States and the Government of South Vietnam exchanged bitter words today. There were no signs of a solution to the crisis. The State Department answered Saigon’s charges of a plot by the CIA to overthrow President Ngo Dinh Diem. The story “sounds like something out of Ian Fleming,” officials said. They sarcastically recommended the English writer’s spy thriller “Doctor No.” The accusation against the CIA was made yesterday in The Times of Vietnam, an English-language Saigon newspaper that generally reflects the views of the Ngo family. In Saigon, a Vietnamese spokesman accused President Kennedy of using poor judgment in saying that Saigon could not win the anti-Communist war unless it recovered popular support. Mr. Kennedy made the remarks in a television interview yesterday. Most observers in Saigon agree that President Diem will not accept a peaceful transfer of power to others, that the President and his brother, Ngo Dinh Nhu, now are prepared to fight any effort to alter the Government. It is widely accepted that a coup of some kind will be attempted against the ruling family, but there is no agreement as to when it will come. South Vietnamese Army units in Saigon have been strengthened considerably since a state of emergency was declared last week, and most of these troops are considered to be probably loyal to the regime.


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