Alton Evening Telegraph from Alton, Illinois on July 8, 1968 · Page 7
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July 8, 1968

Alton Evening Telegraph from Alton, Illinois · Page 7

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Alton, Illinois
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Monday, July 8, 1968
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Page 7
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MONDAY, JtJLV 8, 1968 ALTON EVENING TELEGRAPH PAGE A-7 Rumor of Coup Is Rampant in Saigon By CARL T. ROW AN SAIGON - ftumots of a new "coup" have plagued this beleaguered city in recent weeks as the press has speculated about a deep plit between President Npyen Van Thieu and Vied President Nguyen Cad Ky. How much fire lies beneath all the smoke? None, according to President Thieu, It is all a matter of American newspapermen falling too eas'ly for the divisive propaganda of two groups of Vietnamese, he told me. Thieu says the foreign press Is a constant target for the malicious propaganda of: 1 — Officials he has ousted, or who face removal, for corruption and inefficiency, and who think they can retain their jobs and special privileges by stirring up a governmental crisis. 2 — Agents of the Vletcong whose p-imary task is to destroy the present government — or at least the people's faith in it. "There is no trouble at the top of this government," Thieu told mo. The young general has been accused of firing "Ky men" and replacing them with his own supporters. He called this charge nonsense. "I am the President and Commaider-ln-Chief," he said. "Naturally, any citizen I ap point to a post is 'my' man." A presidential aide made It dear, however, that Thieu had found some members of the old Ky regime unresponsive to his wishes, so he replaced them. "It has been done slowly and carefully — the way President Johnson acted in the year or so after President Kennedy's as- sassinati'-n," he explained. In the process, it is clear, Ky's power base has eroded and his prestige has slipped like many a U.S. vice president, Ky reportedly is Irked that he has so few important chores to do But Thieu apparently has been irked that Ky took on several important assignments with a great burst of energy and then lost interest before completing the jobs. Yet, tbere are no signs here of American worry about a "Ky coup." In fact, Ky and other leaders have been warned that the U.S. win consider a new coup" a perfect excuse for beginning withdrawal from the struggle. For once, t h e Vietnamese seem to believe it. The best informed observers here see the decline in Ky' prestige and the personnel shifts by Thieu a sign of the latter' growing confidence. American seem impressed by Thieu's sue cessful effort to mobili/e the country at a level comparabl to an 18-million-man force in le United States, and pleased y his boll moves against cor* ruption. Thieu told me proudly that he as stripped the military corps ommanders of their age-old ight to appoint province chiefs. "There ate no more 'war lords' In Vietnam," he said, referring to a title given the corps commanders because of the way they exacted graft and corruption and lorded over the pleasants. Thieu said he had ousted more than 20 province chiefs in wo mor.'lhs. "And fll continue to change the bad ones," he said. "No more corruption. 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