How the US Betrayed South Vietnam and Had Its Catholic President Assassinated

Tradition In Action, Allan W. Royce:  In The Lost Mandate of Heaven, Dr. Geoffrey Shaw tells the tragic story of the life and death of Ngo Dinh Diem, president of South Vietnam. It is a history somewhat reminiscent of the life and death of Gabriel Garcia Moreno, President of the Republic of Ecuador. Both men were devout Catholics striving to form stable governments who were assassinated by liberal forces. Full Book Review is here.

  • pete salveinini

    Yes, very much so. BUT President Kennedy was shocked to find out Diem was killed. That came about through Henry Cabot Lodge jr, the Republican Secretary of State, who wanted Diem removed because diem was autocratic and Catholic, and NOT interested in democracy, which was not a Vietnamese
    tradition. Diem was the only leader STRONG ENOUGH to keep the South together to resist with future American help the Communist onslaught. Lodge knew Diem would not cower to him in trying to change S. Vietnam into a democracy. Inexperienced Kennedy went along with the idea of replacing Diem, but naively didn’t realize assassination would be the result. Of course, that was the likely result. with all those military generals around eager to stuff their pockets in taking his place in Asiatic corruption par for the course..
    Kennedy would follow Diem within a month or so.

  • pete salveinini

    Then later, AFTER WE MANAGED TO WIN THE WAR (it would have been another split nation like Korea) Nixon threw away the victory! And the Communist PURGE resulted. over a million killed in the ensuing years.

  • daisy

    God is not mocked. The murder of Diem and the manipulation of Vietnam was punished by Kennedy’s blood and a war that wasted American lives and cause d great pyscological and moral damage to this country.

  • Thank you Mr. Salveinini. I would post a correction if you can send me the source where it attests that Kennedy was “shocked.” I find it hard to believe that Kennedy did not know about the plan of assassination. Whom did they tell Kennedy that they would replace Diem with? I have never read anything testifying to this. Certainly it would be unlikely for the plotters to replace him with one of the quisling generals. They were all corrupt, and the US certainly knew that. Kennedy did not condemn the murder, at least publicly, did he?

  • pete salveinini

    I’ve only read one book on JFK and have it on my book shelf.
    “At the Whit House Jack monitored coup developments throughout the day. By ALL accounts HE WAS CHOCKED SHOCKED AND EPRESSED BY THE NEW OF THE ASSASSINATION. (my emphasis). Michal Forrestal called Kennedy’s reaction “both personal and religious, “observing that Jack was especially sensitive to the implication that a Catholic president had been involved in a plot to assassinate a coreligionist.” { ft note 53} We now know that Jack, lacking confidence in the CIA and Lodge, sent his close friend Torby Macdonald on a secret mission t Vietnam to contact Diem personally and warn him that Minh and his cohorts were attempting assassination. Macdonald told Diem “They’re going to kill you. You’ve got to get out of there. temporarily to seek sanctuary in the American embassy and you must get rid of your sister-in-law and your brother.” But he haughty South Vietnamese ruler refused. {note 54}.
    At one point during the fighting, Jack ordered the CIA to find Diem. Kennedy later told Cardinal Spellman he had known in advance that Diem would probably be killed in the uprising, but that in the end he could not control the situation. It is likely that no American official desired Diem’s death (What about Lodge who did nothing to stop it! –my comment). But Jack had failed to make his acquiescence in the coup plot contingent on sparing the lives of Diem or his brothers.. Schlesinger recalled, “I had not seen him so depressed since the Bay of Pigs. No doubt he realized that Vietnam was his great failure in foreign policy, and that he had never really given it his full attention.” {55}
    Read the next paragraph too (It’s Bobby’s take on the issue including intention to dismiss Henry C. Lodge,
    A Question of Character, Thomas C. Reeves, p 409

  • Thank you for the reference and for postin it Mr. Salveinini.

  • Thank you.

    In the Immaculate Heart of Mary, Brian Kelly