The Courier News from Blytheville, Arkansas on May 17, 1966 · Page 12
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The Courier News from Blytheville, Arkansas · Page 12

Blytheville, Arkansas
Issue Date:
Tuesday, May 17, 1966
Page 12
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fig, Twelv* - KythevlUe (Ark.) Courier News - Tuesday, May IT, (•^ Tumultuous South Viet Nam Mocks U.S. Officia ,: By WILLIAM L. RYAN AP Special Correspondent • How accurate have U.S. lead- fled, tumultuous South Viet Nam? , - A recapitulation of some or ' their less lucky statements about a frustrating war in a frustrating country suggests that a pattern has been repeating itself over and over with 'deadly regularity. . . Events mock the assessments, the predictions and the sometimes guarded optimism of harassed U.S. administration leaders. Absence of an ambassador from his post in Saigon can be U.S. strategy conference in Honolulu can be transformed Into an omen of Saigon turmoil to come. . Time after time Washington expresses surprise at a sudden stormy development in Saigon's politics. Now, once again, Washington is surprised as it looks at echoes of the 1963 turmoil which brought down the regime of President Ngo Dinh Diem. Only a week ago, Secretary of State Dean Rusk remarked to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee that "some interpretations may have been overdrawn" in the reporting of a statement by Premeir Nguyn Cao Ky. Ky, discussing pvospecive South' Viet Nam elections said it would take at least a year to prepare orderly transition to civilian rule and he expected to remain in power that long. Rusk said Ky was ''not going to try to stand in the way of the constitutional and electoral process." A few days later Ky himself left little room for misinterpretation. Washington received another in a long series of Viet Nam jolts when Ky sent government troops into Da Nang to seize that strategic port city from his political foes. Ky's action immediately ignited the anger of the politically powerful Buddhists who brought down the Diem regime in November 1963. Fears were expressed of civil war in a nation already tormented by a frustrating war with Communist guerrillas. The current upheaveal came while Ambassador Henry Cabot serverance in action are not i said to have poured into the Before his Lodge about departure, to succeed with him, Nolting made a prediction: "Victory over the Viet Cong," in my judgement is well on its way in Viet Nam, provided only that unity of purpose and per- mor« there were. In 1962, the hard-core main force of guerrillas was estimated at 20,000. The main force is now estimated at 60,000 and over-all Viet Cong strength at 203,000, exclusive of 30,000 North Viet Nam regulars weakened by internal dissen- The internal dissension was already there and burning furiously. In his one year as ambassador, July 1964 to June 1965, Gen. Maxwell D. Taylor left Saigon for Washington four times. During three of those absences there were political upheavals in Saigon. Only once did Taylor South, snice early 1965. And there still is a big pool in the North. Perhaps the least lucky with predictions and assessments has been MeNamara. In September, 1963, McNamara and Taylor visited Viet Nam. They reported to President John F. Kennedy "their judgment that the major part of the U.S. military task can be completed return to find in office men j by the end of 1965" and that the who were there when he left. Administration figures such as Defense Secretary Robert S. McNamara and Rusk have been frequently unlucky with assessments and predictions regarding the Viet Nam war. U.S. military men, too, frequently were need for major U.S. involvement would end then. Two months later a military coup brought down the Diem regime. Rusk and McNamara went to Honolulu for a crisis conference, and total support was expressed While Ambassador nenry ^auoi nary men, luu, nequenuy weiciauu wiai aupyuiL naa <='>piv^tiv... Lodge was in Washington for j confounded by the frustrating | for the new top man, Maj. Gen. u.,i: Thi*. «.,ifarw ic wav otumfa rieu01nn*>ri iii Viet I Dunnff Van Minb. consultations, familiar, too. This pattern is In the summer of 1963, the fateful Buddhist crisis built up during the vacation of Ambassador Frederick Nolting. The crisis was at « high temperature when he returned. way events developed in Viet I Duong Van Minh. Nam. In 1962, military men in Viet Nam were expressing the opinion that the way to win the war was to kill more and more Viet Cong. But they found that the more Viet Cong were killed, the At the end of 1963, McNamara expressed optimism about prospects for 1964, noting that the rate of Communist attacks had declined Jan. 27, _.._, . Minh's government "has consid- dramatically." 1964, he noeld On that erably more popular lupportj than its predecessor and the military revolutionary committee is beginning to take actions to intensify military operations and improve civil administration. Three days later ,Minh was evicted by a coup and Maj. Gen. than declining, increased in intensity. A few days later McNamara said he and President Johnson were delighted with Gen. Khanh's plans to step up the war. On Feb. 18 he said "the United States will pull out most troops by 1965, even if the anti- Nguyen Khanh was in. Minh had been going downhill all along. The fact of 1964 was that Communist attacks, rather than declining, increased in intensity. Communist drive falters" in Viet Nam. Keeping all American troops in South Viet Nam, he said, "would be a waste of our personnel." * * + What if the South Vietnamese effort should cave in? "I don't believe that pouring in hundreds of thousands of troops is the solution," said McNamara. He said the administration had no plans to do so. Today there are 255,000 U.S. troops in Viet Nam. After a visit to Saigon In March, 1964, McNamara remarked: "I think Gen. Khanh has got it now. I was most impressed with their pacification program and now all we have to do it help administer it." The pacification program had difficulty getting off the ground. McNamara, who had made many public demonstrations of support for Khanh in South Viet Nam; was back there again in May, 1964, with Taylor, and the two reported "excellent progress." The secretary did say, however, it might be necessary to send more U.S. troops on training missions and reconsider plans for withdrawal of most of the 15,000-man force by the end of 1965. Now he said it would be a "long, hard war." In less than three months, a major U.S. military buildup was in progress. In June, 1964, administration representatives consulted in Honolulu on the Viet Nam situation. Lodge left Saigon to campaign in presidential primarries and Taylor took his place. And a storm was brewing. Suddenly Khanh, under heavy political pressure, announced he was stepping out as premier. A civilian became pretnir, and Saigon floundered for a while under civilian rule sponsored by the military. Khanh remained in the background, feuding, incidentally, with Taylor. This - August, 1964, was the month of "escalation." U.S. Warships in the Tonkin Gulf, and the Americans retaliated with air strikes against the gunboats' bases in North Viet Nam. * * * In July, 1965, McNamara wa back in South Viet Nam, now under Ky's rule after a bewildering series of coups and political maneuvers. He noted a deterioration in the situation since he had last been there 14 months before. But in November, 1965, ending yet another visit, he said his most dramatic impression was that "We have stopped losing the war." Last week, McNamara conceded that political turmoil in South Viet Nam cut U.S. military effectiveness, but he predicted "that will terminate shortly." Then South Viet Nam blew again. Early this year President Johnson traveled to Honolulu and gave his personal endorse- Thieu, as young leaders determined that a social revolution should not wait until the guns went silent. He said "The leaders of both governments are determined that we shall move forward." There are some who say now that the Honolulu meeting was a mistake, indeed a political blunder. It foretokened new political trouble in South Viet Nam. Some commentators pointed out that the display of U.S. patronage for Ky offended feelings of national sovereignty and dignity in South Viet Nam. And Ky appeared to be emboldened by the meeting to take a firm stand against a military rival in the 1st Corps area — the scene of the latest big explosion. GAVE ADVICE, $| DIDN'T TAKE IT ' WEST PLAINS, Mo. (AP) Orval Rranch was careful to caution his neighbors to tie up their dogs because he was setting trap lines for foxes that were feasting on his ducks. On Branch's first trip over nis trap lines he found his own and gaVB niS personal ellUUISC- ma UQJJ llu^a iiv jvuuu (iiu w.... ment to Ky and the chief of! two hounds in the traps. He had state, Lt. 'Gen. Nguyen Van! forgotten to tie them up. 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