POSSIBLE DEVELOPMENTS IN SOUTH VIETNAM

Created: 4/26/1955

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POSSIBLE DEVELOPMENTS IN SOUTH VIETNAM

'i

THE

To assess the cuariBequenoet ol certain poartblen Souththeir probable eflecti upon the fltrength and stability ol that

THE ESTIMATE

PRESENT SITUATIONmpasse exists in Saigon where the legally constituted government ofDtem it Being challengedenal

temporarily allied with soma elemenU of tha rcUgtouihe presence0 French troops In tho Saigon area plus the eounsfl ol Ban Dal and French and U8 ofn-claU have deterred the goveninwnt from exerting its authority over this group by armed force. The French, who have until recently provldad arms_for tbs, BjnJiX-yen.

at Brnh Xuyen are

Frenchpenly cornmlttad to thanf Dtom at the earliest opportunity. The French feel he is incompetentremier who would be more amenable to the preservation of Frenchand influence in South Vletriara. The head of state in absentia. Ban Dal. also favors Dletn's removal, and is endeavor!nf to obtain French and U8 ajreemsnt as to tht manner In which this could be effocted.

'Ths Asiutani ChMf ot. Dapertmcnttho Army. Mlievei thatDtnht lean wmeaririiy nlUod with msjor armed eit-of the Mr* Haosad has tha ijm-fnlhy ot other pollUcal riitatnu in flmlh Vwt-

onsiderable extent Dlem's difficulties item from hii ownis serious limitations as an administrator and hishave alienated members of hismeet of whom have reelgned or stated their mtentloni to resign Uany Hiding ncn-govemmsnt figure, are cposnly CflUcal of Dlem's uncompremising aUitude toward -he Blnh Xuyen and the religious secU and are opposed to the use of force to settle theHe has refused to accept specifle US and French recommrmdaUons for broadening the base of his rrovernmcnl, and such efforu as he has made to secure the services ofWeuwnese have proved ineffectualof (a) their reluctance to accept the unsaiisfactory conditions incident to working with Diem and toegime whose political outlook is uncertain, and <b> their tear of Blnh Xuyen or other terrorism, Diem'sU also being weakened by persurtentthat US support, to data nil strongest prop, is about to be withdrawn.

S. The mass of the pcpuUUon In Southis not now ocgirdied to play an eflrctlrt role in the faU of the present sovemrnent Among ths politically acUve iiunortty. Diem, despite his apparent Insbiilty to esUblish effective rule, stilleputation for ln-tegtlly and he probably has more nationalist appeal than any other prospective leader. The other principal source* of Diem* present rapport are: US backing, certain key element*

ot the Violnameiw National Army (VKA) and of tho Cao Dal forces, many othe Central Annam provinces,mall hord core of loyal political supporters In 8algon,J

he present crisis has not materially changed the actual military balance of forces: the VWA remains stronger than Its armed opposition In the Saigon-Cttolonnd could almost certainly drive the Blnh Xuyen out of Saigon, although probably not without serious bloodshed and destruction andcontinuing Insurrection. There is seme doubt that tho armyhole in ita present poor state of morale and training would be effective, or loyal to Diem, should there develop, for any reason, protracted and serious fighting with the sects. Thai would tic particularly so If ban Dal should fall to support Diem in such fighting. The French have clearly stated that the FrenchCorps would not become involved in thin fighting except as necessary to protect foreign Uvea and property.

he Vitt Minh have not had an identifiable role in the development of the present crisis. They have attempted to exploit the situation In statements by Radio Hanoi and their oeo-trollcd press calling for Dlem'f removal. They will continue such propaganda efforts and through subversion will attempt to exploit any opportunity In this situation to advance their ends. However, they will aimoitnot now intervene overtly or Inanner as patently to violate the provisions of tho Geneva Accords.

AMiUnt Chief of fluff, CM, Department ot the Army, would prater that this paragraph read

at follows;

"The mart of tho population la flouUi Vietnamt appear lo have un aoUve Inwrart la th* fate of the proncnt eovornmant. Anions tho politically aeUve minority, Diem, despite histo establish QffooUM rule, rUUeputauon for integrity and Krong nationalisto still drataitrengtfi from anumber of loyal supporters in Balion and the Central Anna in provlnim, and from tho oon-tinuinfi fiiouflh uncnthuslaitlo support of certain (foments of the Virtnumow National Armyo*ult of aonlinulni Ufl support."

ii. probable results of certain alternative developments

fl. Current discussion* for resolving thecrisis in Saigon have envisaged two bioad alternative approaches:

continuation or Diem In office, atthe time being, under conditions ofand more representative

removal ofy Baothe approval ot the US and France,replacementoalition government.

continuation of diem in office

We believe It Is possible that continued French-US efforts to restrain Diem and the Blnh Xuyen will prevent an outbreak of larfjevoale hostilities. However, if Diem should believe that ho was about to behe might attempt to prevent suchby armed action against tho Blnh Xuyen.

We believe that the resolution of theimpasse ond tho Implementation of the Diem solution wouldritical degreeupon firm and substantial UB and French support*

Full French cooperation in any Dlcmwould almost certainly be unattainable, although the French might be persuaded to acquiesce in the continuation of Diem in office and to assist In lhe removal of police powers

ho Bajgon-Cholnn area then* are stoutVNApposed areBlnh Xuyen forces There areunicipal police, prcwnUy underof the rpwnunent. their loyalties inof iantc-soato hesuiitlea areHao and Can Dot troop* ore ool prewnUyfactor In tlie- miction ot control ofIxpediiionory

Forces In this iwen total

'The Assistant Chief of, Department ot the Army, bollem that the resolution of the present impasse and the Implementation otDlom aoluUon would Be inleaUble: til la tht absence ot Increased Ua commitment* toand full Branch .upport:a the aa-senc* of all-out ua ahart-rance andsupport and rrench acqiiliyxcnee to the pro-trams and action* related to such UB support,

from the Blnh Xuyen, However, In thll event the French would almost certainly try tothemselves from the Diem government and would blame any failures on the US.

US support and Frenchand having won prestige by histhe Bmh Xuyen, Diem would be inposition than before to proceedprograms for strengtheningAlthough he would continue topoor administrator, he might be moreand abio to attract capable men toThe chances for Increasedof Diem would be enhanced if hepublicly pledged to leaveuture government to aassembly.*

lmmadicte Removal of Diem

' Tho Assistant Chief of, Department ol thn Army, ana the Uppeim Assistant, mWlUienoe, Department ol B'.ute, believe that In thostances outlined In paragraph ft, It would DadifficulteconciliationDiem and thoithout full French support, Diem almost certainly would be unable lo proccid with proposal protrtmi for etwnsth. en! rig south Vietnam,

Wo believe Diem would obey orders from Bao Dal to resign, particularly if Diem were aware of his loss of US support However, Diem and his followers would probably be extremely bitter and would probably denounce Franco, tho US, and the new government, Diem has some capability for developing Op-positionuccessor government and might embarkourse of active resistance.

emoval by Bao Dal wouldtrong adverse reaction among Vlstnamesaegardless of how the removal wen handled, the Vietnamese would feel that Bao Dai had acted at the behest of the French and the sects and with US approval.we believe that the bulk of theNational Army would transfer Itsto tho now government.

uccessor government, Baothe sects would have greata government wouldetterchance of Implementing programsSouth Vietnam, only tf:government Itself were heoded by anationalist and did not Includeof Bao Dai's entourage orpoliticians; (b) therelinquished control of thePolice; (c) all sects at theto subordinate their armed forcesto national supervision andand (d) the US gave firm andsupport to the new government, anddid not obstruct the development otnationalist government

III, GENERAL OUTLOOK

if the present impasse werebelieve that it would be extremelybeat,ietnamese government,Of Ua composition, totrong, stablegovernment capable of resolvingsocial, economic, and politico!Vietnam, the special problems arisingGeneva agreement and capable ofthe lnng-rango challenge of theThe functioning ot anybe complicated by probablereluctance to support thea truly nationalist government In

'The Assistant Chief of, Department of the Army, believes that Dlem'n removal by Bau Dal would rottronu adverse resell on anions Vietnamesend wouldrteleisi* sentence

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