THE SITUATION IN SOUTH VIETNAM

Created: 9/16/1963

OCR scan of the original document, errors are possible

CENTRAL INTELLIGENCE AGENCY

APPROVED fOR RELEASE DATE:

SITUATION IN SOUTH VIETNAM

(Information aa of iooo EDT)ept 63

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Tim document contains classified infotntation affectie nalional security of the United Stales within the meaning, ol the espionageS Cade Title Ifl..he law ptohlhils its 'lansmiiwien or the revelation ol its eontents in any minntr to an unauthctired pri wife, as well as it* use in any nwiwi piejudieial tosafely o: interest of the United States or lor the bmefil ol any foreignhe detriment of the United Slates.

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THE SITUATION IN SOUTH VIETNAM (Information as of 0 EDT)

SUMMARY

The lifting of martial law and other regime moves to demonstrate that the crisis is over have given an appearance of reduced tension to South Vietnam, but in fact there has been littleof security measures. Censorship of newsfrom Saigon appears to have been baited.

The Diem regime apparently intends to retain some military units in Saigon indefinitely onassignments. Diem reportedly agreed only reluctantly to the recommendation of Southgenerals that martial law be terminated.

Neither our field station nor the South namese Central Intelligence Organization is to cite any hard evidence of significant Viet control or penetration of the Buddhist or Both consider eome Viet Conghowever. ^

monk Irl

lang, now in asylum in tbe US Embassy, aand extremist, with devious politicalgoing beyond the overthrow of the Diem regime.

There has been no significant militaryover the weekend. Reportsalibre" artillery has been captured from the Viet Cong probably referram. recollless rifle. The Viet Cong recently havo been making Increased use of recoilless rifles and heavy mortars in engagements north and south of Saigon, andnumbers of weapons of Bloc origin have been captured.

North Vietnamese has stepped up its propaganda effort to focus attention on the Buddhist problem in South Vietnam, and Pravda in Moscow hasupporting editorial": TEe editorial accuses DS forces of waging war against the Vietnamese people.

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GENERAL

The Diem regime is attempting to demonstrate that tbs political crisis is over by lifting martial law and rescheduling the postponed elections for the National Assembly, but there bas in fact been little relaxation of security precautions.

A CBS correspondent today described hisas "uncensored." overnment announcement said censorship had been lifted.

Security troops were still much in evidence in Saigon following the termination of martial Law at noon today. Paratroopers were still mounting heavy guard near Saigon's central market, according to press reports, and marines were still stationed around high schools in the suburbs. General Khiem, chief of staff of the Joint General Staff, reportedly has stated that some military units will remain on security duty at Saigon schools.

II. THE REGIME

South Vietnamese Secretary of the Presidency Thusn reports that tbe Vietnamese generals recommended the lifting of martial law, and that Diem agreed with some reluctance.

Tbe decree settingeptember as the new date for national electionsrovision that if elections cannot be held on this date In anydistrict because of "an lnsurmountsblebe local authorities will hold elections as soon as possible thereafter. (Comment: This suggests that elections will not be attempted in some areas.)

The Diem government Is reshuffling Itspolice organization, known as SEPES, which has recently been criticized in the world press. SKPRS has been undergoing changes for many months. Reports on the latest changes vary, but it appears that the organization bss been placed under the command of Colonel Pham Thu Duong, chief of military cabinet to Ngo Dinh Nbu. (Tbe former SEPES director. Dr. Tran Kim Tuyen, was anothor Nhu orotege, but fell Intoand has been ordered to Cairo as consul general.)

Colonel Duong reportedly intends sweeping reforms to improve the poor performance record of

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SEPES. Tho organization apparently will become awith responsibility only for internal political activity. Extornnl operations, including those jointly run with the Chinese Nationalists, reportedly are to be transferred to the Central Intelligence Organization, which has hitherto concentrated on viot Cong natters.

4. Professor Buu Hoi, Southumber of African countries, is to head the Vietnamese UN delegation. He has asked to be heard if the General Assembly, convening Tuesday, decides to debate the treatment of Buddhists in South Vietnam. Buu Hoi Isuddhist; his motheruddhist nun and reportedly wan considering burning herself to death in the series of self-immolations earlier this summer.

III. OPPOSTTION

1. The CIA station in Saigon says there is no hard evidence of significant Viet Cong penetration or control of Buddhist or student movements in South

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station, however, believes it probableew Buddhist and student leaders may be Viet Cong, are accepting guidance or support from the Viet Cong, or are at least Viet Cong- or Hanoi-oriented. There are reports that the Viet Cong have been trying to exploit Buddhist and student unrest, and the station considers it likely that some opportunistic opposition leaders would accept any help obtainable.

August report to Diem

jnoted that ^connscai rntion the role of the Viet Cong as instigator of any occurrences, but spoke only of their plans to take advantage of any opportunity when events caused by the OS or opposition might occur."

Oneptember

admittedtation officer tnat ne still nao" noevidenceiet Cong hand in the disturbances, but commented defensively: "What is evidence? We know these people."

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suaamst critic oi 'the Diem regime,in asylum in the US Embassy, is neutralist-oriented and probably pro-Communist. The sourceconvinced in the course of many talks with Tri Quang and other Buddhist leaders that Tri Qunng van completely political in his purpose and was theleader of extremist elements. The source considers Tri Quang's political objectives devious and not limited simply to overthrow of the Diem regime.

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Vietnam is trying to exploit theworld outcry over the situation of the Buddhists in South Vietnam. Oneptember, itetter from South Vietnam's LiberationViet Cong politicalthe UN General Assembly,the Front's demands that the US withdraw from South Vietnam, and that the parties concerned in South Vietnam stop the war, settle their differences among themselves, and seteutral, coalition government. The same theme was containedote sent by North Vietnam to the fourteen countries sponsoring discussion of the South Vietnam question In the UN.

TASS, oneptember, broadcast in English toravda editorial strongly associating the USSR with "the" struggle of the South Vietnamese people against the repressive Diem regime." The articlethe armed forces of the US of conducting active military operations against the South Vietnamese people. It also mentions the Liberation Front's demand for an immediate end to "foreign military aggression" in South Vietnam as prerequisiteeaceful solution of the Vietnamese problem.

The Pravda editorial states that the Soviet people "cannot look with indifference upon theof the peace-loving peoples of Southnd quotes Ho Chi Minn on the inevitability of victory for the liberation movement in South Vietnam.

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IV. MILITARY SITUATION

' Nomilitary developments have been reported since the previous VietnameseReport0 Saturday.

-^kx^rsc?nt "B'Se-ents Just north and to iSL - 5 Saigon, government forces have noted

jar* ririfles and They have also captured increased quantities of equipment of Bloc origin in this area, including

rinted' (One Chinose Communist periodical found last weekdated)

n,or, rh.?eCKet*tyeek told Ambassador Lodge that thecallbre artillery piece "

apparently introduced b, raft fro- North Vie?nas?'

&aa Just been found in tbe delta. This is not con-

mchtedMrecoilles.*of Chinese

huan's stress on the serious situation

if sosth vjr;nrhich he conBidere*ey to control sito reflect his recentllll^JZ't ut th" in the delta there fl- Tbuan stated that

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delta, and that it was unlikely that it could.

V. OTHER DEVELOPMENTS

lonat the UN claims that souti tlonsdebate on the

ress

treatment during general debate in Plenary and will oppose allocation totevenson comments that allocation to and perhaps less contentious.

gency,eportsppeal by the Association of Viet-

VSCa-bodl.'srepression of Bud-

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