THE SITUATION IN SOUTH VIETNAM

Created: 9/16/1963

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SITUATION IN SOUTH VIETNAM

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THE SITUATION IN SOUTH VIETNAM

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SUMMARY

The lifting of martial law and other regime moves to demonstrate that the crisis ls 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 halted.

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

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Nolther our field station nor the SouthCentral Intelligence Organization is able to cite any hard evidence of significant Viet Cong control or penetration of the Buddhist or student movements. Both consider some Viet Cong Influence

munist and 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 refermm. recoilless rifle. The Viet Cong recently have been making increased use of recoilless rifles and heavy mortars ia engagements north and southof 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 ln Moscow has printed

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I* GENERAL

Diem regime is attempting to demonstrate that the political crisis is over by lifting martial law and rescheduling the postponed elections for the National Assembly, but there has 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 Khieo, chief of staff of the Joint General Staff, reportedly has stated that some military units will remain on security duty at Saigon schools.

decree settingeptember as the new date for national electionsrovision that if elections cannot be held on this date in anydistrict because of "an insurmountablehe 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. SEPES has been undergoing changes for many months. Reports on the latest changes vary, but it appears that the organization haa been placed under the command of Colonel Pham Thu Duong, chief of military cabinet to Ngo Dinh Nhu. (The former SEPES director, Dr. Tran Kim Tuyen, was another Nhu orotege, hut 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. The organization apparently will become awith responsibility only for internal political activity. External operations, including those Jointly run with the Chinese Nationalists, reportedly are to be transferred to the Central Intelligence Organization, which haa hitherto concentrated on Viet Cong matters.

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

III. OPPOSITION

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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

The 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 reportjno'

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 US or opposition might occur."

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MILITARY SITUATION

Ho significant Military developments have been reported since the previous VietnameseReport0 Saturday.

In recent engagements Just north and to the south of Saigon, government forces have noted increased enemy use of recoilless rifles and They have also captured Increased quantities of equipment of Bloc origin in this area, including infantry weapons, foodstuffs, and printed matter. (One Chinese Communist periodical found last week was dated)

Secretary Thuan last week told Ambassador Lodge that thecallbre artillerypparently introduced by raft from North Vietnam, has just been found in the delta. This is notby MACV, which instead reported the capture last week of at leastmm. recoilless rifle. MACV has identified thiseapon of Chinese manufacture.

Tbuan's stress on the serious situation in the delta, which be considers tbe key to control of South Vietnam, appears to reflect his recentpessimism. He pointed out that in the delta there is unlimited food and manpower. Thuan stated that the government had made very little progress in the delta, and that it was unlikely that it could.

V. OTHER DEVELOPMENTS

The Ceylon delegate at the UN claims tbat thefro-Asian nations sponsoring debate on tbe South Vietnamese question are determined to press for priority treatment during general debate in plenary, and will oppose allocation to committee. Ambassador Stevenson comments that allocation to plenary might make it easier to keep debate brief and perhaps lees contentious.

The Cambodian Press Agency,eports an appeal by the Association ofBuddhists in the US for Cambodia's assistance against the Saigon Government's repression of

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