SNIE 63-6-54/CURRENT TRENDS IN SOUTH VIETNAM

Created: 9/15/1954

OCR scan of the original document, errors are possible

AITKCVKD ECR RELEASE DATE: S

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special

national intelligence estimate

current trends in south vietnam

Submitted by the

director op central intelligence

The following intelligence organization! participated tn the preparation of thit estimate: The Central Intelligence Agency and the Intelligence organisations of the Departments of State, the Army, the Navy, the Air Force, and The Joint Staff.

Concurred tn by the intelligence advisory committee on ISoncurring were the Special Assistant Intelligence, Department of State; the Assistant Chief of, Department of the Army; the Director of Naval Intelligence; the Director of Intelligence, VSAF; the Deputy Director for Intelligence, The Joint Staff. Tht Atomic Energy Commission Representative to the IAC and the Assistant to the Director, Federal Bureau of Investigation, abstained, the tubfect being outside of their jurisdiction.

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DIRECTOR ONE

DISSEMINATION NOTICE

CENTRAL INTELLIGENCE AGENCYhis estimate was disseminated by the Central Intelligence Agency. This copy Is for the Information and use of the recipient Indicated on the front cover and ofunder his Jurisdictioneed to know basis. Additional essential dissemination may be authorized by the following officials within their respective departments:

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Chief of, for the Department of theDirector of Naval Intelligence, for the Department of the Navy

of Intelligence, USAP, for the Department of the Air Force

Director for Intelligence, Joint Staff, for the Joint Staff

of Intelligence, AEC, for the Atomic Energy Commission

to the Director, FBI, for the Federal Bureau of Investigation

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be retained, or destroyed by burning in accordance withsecurityto the Central Intelligence Agency bywith the Office of Colh^crtow^aiid^TJlssemlnatlon, CIA.

hen an estimate Is disseminatedrecipients may retain iteriod not in excess of one year. At the endofTJT&rjeiiDdjthe estimate should either be destroyed, returned to the forwarding agency, or perrms?lrm-*hjjuld beof the forwarding agency to retain It In accordance with '

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current trends in south vietnam

estimate

assuming office Premier Diem has been confronted with the usual problems of ^efficiency, disunity, and corruption in Vlet-namese politics and with tho extraordinary problemsass evacuation of the Northern population and the hostility of many French officials. Despite his qualities of honesty and zeal, he has not yet demonstrated theability to deal with practical problems of politics and administration. Lacking anpolitical machine and finding control of the Army in the hands of an uncooperative chief of staff, Diem's freedom of action has been severely circumscribed.

The French Government appears too definite policy toward Southhile the French Government has not openly opposed the Diem Government, Franco has failed to support Diem and there Is nothat the French are prepared to carryolicy based on unreserved support for Vietnamese independence and nationalism. Accordingly, close cooperation between the French and Vietnamese governments,for the survival of South Vietnam, has been lacking and French motives have become more suspect.

lthough little real progress has been made under Diem's administration in dealing with pressing political, military, and socialhe still retains considerable unorganized popular support, particularly among Catholic elements of South Vietnam. He has also made some progress In reaching agreement with the powerful Cochin China sects.

t the moment the Diem Government Is threatened by the Insubordination of General Hinh, the politically ambitious Chief of Staff whom Diem has discharged. It does not now appear that the present struggle between Diem and Hinh will degenerate into civil strife. In fact Diem now appears to besome headway in his efforts to control or exile Hinh, either of which would enhance bis prestige and remove an obstacle to the strengthening of his government.

Bao Dai has remained in France and apparently Is refraining from directIn political affairs in South Vietnam. His prestige among Vietnamese nationalists has been considerably lessened by his apathy toward the fate of his country. We believe that if Bao Dai were now to return tohe would almost certainlyenter of political intrigue and would further complicate an already complex and confused situation and weaken rather than strengthen the ability of South Vietnam to achievestability.

Trends in South Vietnam since the end of the Geneva Conference have enhanced the prospects of an eventual extension ofcontrol over the area by means short of large-scale military attacks. Although Diem's government will probably survive tho present crisis of Hlnh's insubordination, and may achieve greater strength and popular support, it will continue to be threatened by Vietminh activity, and hampered by French indecision. Diem' appears to be the onlynow on the political scene behind whom genuine nationalist support can be mobilized. However, his ability toovernment that could reverse the current trend In South Vietnam dependsinimum on an early and convincing demonstration by the French of their wholehearted support.

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