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September 03, 1967 - Image 3

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The Michigan Daily, 1967-09-03

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Member of U.S. Group Notes
Election's Promise, Problems

Fir st Elective Government

Thieu Victory Likely;
Deny Rumors of Coup

SAIGON (P) -South Vietnam's
voters,capping a campaign mark-
ed by political controversy, Red
terrorist attacks and finally dis-
counted rumors of a coup attempt,
elect a new government today to
supplant their military regime.
Chief of State Nguyen Van
Thieu, a lieutenant general who
1 is considered the front-runner
among 11-candidates for president,
said the election "will be the
crowning achievement of this
arduous process of democracy
About 80 per cent of the na-
tion's 5.85 million eligible voters-
peasants, villagers and city dwell-
ers-were expected to turn out to
choose the president, vice presi-
dent and ,60-member senate.
Must Be Sure of Results
Thieu told newsmen that if he
wins under a cloud of fraud
charges and the National Assem-
bly finds there are proven irregu-
larities, "I will give up the office."
"The people and the country
are most important," he said.
Speculation about a possible
coup attempt arose from the ar-
rest yesterday of three military
'stations of South Vietnam are
to be open from 7 a.m. to 4
p.m. Saigon time today for the
election of a presidential slate
and a 60-member senate. First
returns are expected about
three hours after the polls
close. That would be about 7
a.m. EDT today.
officers, including Col. Pham Van
Lieu, a former head of the na-
tional police, Intelligence sources
said Lieu was picked up on a
charge of working for the election
of a civilian presidential candi-
date, Assembly Speaker Phan
Khac Suu.
The chief of state denied there
were any political implications.
Thieu told newsmen the officers
M had left their posts and come to
Saigon and "were arrested for dis-
ciplinary, not political reasons."
"Now, with the quiet of night
upon us, I hope that the people
will elect a good leader with
enough courage to bring victory
to our beautiful homeland."
Communist guerrillas staged a
series of election-eve attacks.
Five terrorists, one carrying 20
pounds of TNT, were shot dead
in a raid in which 14 homes were
destroyed at 'am Ky, a provin-
cial capital 320 miles northeast of
* U.S. sources said 190 civilians
were killed by terrorists in the
past week. They listed 426 civil-
ians wounded and 237 kidnaped

in the Red ,campaign to intimi-
date the voters.
A grenade exploded late last
night outside the Saigon residence
of two American generals, the
second time in 24 hours that a
grenade had been tossed at the
same house.
First Free Election
The blast occurred outside the
quarters of Brig. Gen. Winant
Sidle, chief of the public infor-
mation division in Gen. West-
moreland's command. Sidle shares
the residence with Brig. Gen.
Franklin Davis, chief of personnel.
' The voting was regarded as the
first free election of national gov-
ernment officers, in South Viet-
nam's history, a step that could
help bring more stability to the
war-torn nation. Observers from
at least 24 countries, including 22
Americans sent by President
Johnson, and 600 newsmen were
on hand to see how fair it was.
Previously Rule by Decree .
Thieu, 44, and Ky, 36, have
ruled by decree since June 1965.
Their civilian opponents accused
them in a bitter, month-long
campaign of subverting and rig-
ging the election to legitimize
their regime. Thieu and Ky de-
nied it.'
The outcome of the election
may have an impact on the course
of the war. All but one of the
presidential candidates,mP h a m
Huy Co, called for attempts to
meet with Hanoi to end the war.
Thieu promised that if elected
he would ask the United States
to stop bombing North Vietnam
for a week or longer in an at-
tempt to get North Vietnam to
negotiate, but only if there was a
sign that Hanoi might respond.
He also promised a purge of the
armedforces to weed out corrupt
and incompetent officers.
Possible Bombing Pause
Saigon and Washington views
may differ about another pause in
the bombing campaign over the
President Johnson, asked at a
news conference Friday about re-
ports that there might be some
kind of a new peace move about
the time of the Vietnam election,
said they "are off the top of
someone's head."
"I know nothing about them,"
he said. "We look forward every
day for every possibility that
would lead toward peace, as I
said yesterday. But I think that
we do ourselves a great disservice
when, out of the clear air, we
conjure up something that has
no basis in fact."
To U.S, officials, the election
was another major step toward
a constitutional government which
could represent more of South

Thomas McCall of Oregon is a
member of the special team sent
by President Johnson to observe
South Vietnam's national elec-
tion. The governor, a long-time
newsman, here sums up his im-
Written for The Associated Press
SAIGON - This election would
bring a frown of concentration to
the brow of even the most prac-
ticed and informed American
Millions of unsophisticated Viet-
namese will have three or four
minutes in the polling booth to-
day to choose between hundreds
of candidates on 11 presidential
and 48 senatorial tickets. For-
tunately, they are not required to
place an X before each favored
name-but just picking the lists
and tucking them into an en-
velope entails both mental and
manual dexterity.
Few voters will recognize most
of the names. Some will be guided
by symbols and pictures. Many
will find the lists almost totally
unfamiliar. Much 'of the voting,
then, will be done in the dark.
Sham Election?
As is true in every election
everywhere, the so-called incum-
bents in Vietnam have the ad-
vantage of superior public expo-
sure. It is also true that the mili-
tary or the state police here have
a big say over the placement of
election personnel and this, of
course, has a potential for fraudu-,
lent manipulation of honestly cast
All these disadvantages having
been cited, does it necessarily
follow that Sunday's election will
tbe a sham?
I can't speak for more than
one of the 22 U.S. election ob-
servers, but it is my impression
that few, if any, in our group are
ready to write it off as a sterile
exercise. And this is not a stacked
contingent, loaded by President
Johnson to produce a non-ques-
tioning accolade to the election.
Reaches Every Elector
The members, diverse in
background and independent of
thought and expression, have
spent three: days patrolling the
countryside, cities, villages and
hamlets. They have talked with
leaders at all levels of government
but, more important, have visited
with peasants, villagers and ur-
All have inspected some of the
8,808 polling places to which a
major part of the nation's 5,853,-
251 voters will troop.
The number of such places is
striking since it can be regarded
as evidence of the determination
of authorities to establish ballot-
ing stations within reach of every
elector in this war-torn country.
Predict 80% Turnout
Even more impressive are con-
sistent predictions of an 80 per
cent turnout.
Interestingly, the democracy of
this election is less exclusionary
than that accorded American citi-
zens today. In Vietnam both men

and women 18 years of age and
over can qualify for the fran-
For decades our reformers have
sought without success to finance
individual election expenses with
tax dollars levied by the federal
government. The government of
Vietnam is providing such sub-
sidy for the presidential and sen-
atorial candidates in this election.
Airtight System
The actual polling system here
is probably as airtight as in any
nation anywhere. As a former
state elections officer, I have gone
over it with national province
and village officials both on
paper and in the polling stations
themselves and have failed to find
any loopholes for the cheater.
This isn't to say it is impossible
to "throw" the election. It is to
claim that the checks are present
to enable the zealously fair to
expose a deliberate miscarriage of
election procedures.
Might Question Results
Regardless of the outcome of
the voting, it is widely expected
that a storm of accusation and
protest will be blown up by some
of the losers. The law allows three
weeks after the election for filing
and documenting complaints.
Thus any firm assessment by
the U.S. observers of the honesty
of the election could run the risk
of reversal. This, of course, ren-
ders any such appraisal by us of
doubtful value and probably would
preclude our attempting to make
i t.
What we can do, however, and
are trying to do in hundreds of

miles of travel from the delta to
the highlands, is to detect a wisp,
a flavor, a spark, a thread that
might offer some insight into in-
dividual and perhaps national at-
titudes toward the election.
The late Vietnamese expert,
Bernard B. Fall, wrote of the peo-
ple's "admirable qualities of fru-
gality, incredible endurance, pa-
tience in the face of unavoidable
adversity, and deep love for their
war-torn homeland."
Less than a week in Vietnam is
a paucity of time for reaching
hard conclusions. But the sense
I have gotten from the country-
side is that the Vietnamese are
that kind of a people. They seem
to possess serenity and humor.
On the election itself, their pat-
tern of thinking appears to be one
of certainty and hope-certainty
that it will be a fair election and
hope that it will stabilize their
nation, guarantee basic freedoms
and somehow be instrumental in
ending the war.
Valuable Experience
As far as identifying and choos-
ing candidates are concerned, the
odds are against it being too
meaningful an election.
But it will establish the first
of two freely elected legislative
chambers to counter authoratar-
ianism at the top.
And, most significant to me, the
people will be choosing between
voting and staying at home. That
choice in the face of baffling pro-
cedures and the menace of ter-
rorism does a lot to commend the
election as an exercise of high
purpose and courage.

-Associated Press
A SCATTERED CROWD, estimated at about 3,000 persons, listened to one of South Vietnam's ten
civilian presidential candidates speak from rostrum (left-center) at a final joint campaign rally
in Saigon's main downtown traffic circle yesterday. Neither Chief of State Nguyen Van Thieu,
the leading presidential candidate, nor his running mate, Premier Nguyen Cao Ky, showed up for the
rally. Thieu and Ky, some political analysts estimate, will receive 35-45 per cent of the votes in
today's election. The largely illiterate and apathetic electorate has been further discouraged from
participating in the election after a series of terrorist attacks.

Mansfield Seeks Occasion
For New. Peace Attempts

Vietnam's 17 million people than
the present regime. It generally
was conceded that the military
government enjoyed only limited
support among the population.
A constitutional assembly was
elected last September. It drafted
a constitution and then wrote the
laws for the presidential and Sen-
ate election and the election of
a 137-man House of Representa-
tives coming up Oct. 22.
Voters today are being present-
ed a total of 59 ballots; 11 presi-
dential and 48 10-man Senate
tickets. They choose one presi-
dential ballot and up to six Senate
Vote by Symbol
Each ballot had on it the sym-
bol of the presidential or senate
slate. Much of the campaigning
of the candidates has consisted
of teaching the largely illiterate
voters which symbols to look for.
Truong Dinh Dzu, 46, an out-
spoken lawyer who has been most
critical of the Thieu-Ky ticket,
has charged them with everything
from fraud to buying five Saigon
newspapers to promote their can-
He has gotten good audience
reaction on most of his campaign
appearances, but still is consider-
ed an also-ran.
Other candidates are Pham Huy
.Co, a pediatrician and the only
"hawk" in the campaign; Tran
Van Ly, a former governor of
Central Vietnam; Nguyen Hoa
Hiep, a member of the Vietnam
assembly; Vu Hong Khanh, a
northern politician; Hoang Co
Binh; a dentist, and Nguyen Dinh
Quat, an industrialist.
The government financed the
campaign, paying for campaign
and transportation expenses as
well as printing the candidates'
posters and leaflets. All candi-
dates received an equal portion of
a 60 million piaster ($5,050,000)
campaign fund and an equal num-
ber of posters and leaflets, all of
standard size, design and color.
Populace Apathetic
Despite the expected turnout of
about 4.7 million voters, the reac-
tion of the population was gen-
erally apathetic. Relatively few
citizens knew the candidates, and
the issues were even less well
The civilian candidates. in 11

joint campaign appearances' out-
side Saigon, spoke before a total
of about 70,000 persons.
Sixty per cent of the people
live in the countryside, where
there are few radios and almost
no television sets and where news-
papers seldom are seen.
Thieu and Ky, going their sep-
arate ways on numerous "non-
political" trips outside Saigon,
have seen many more people and
are more widely known than any
of the civilian candidates.
The fact that they are incum-
bents, in control of the armed
forces and the government admin-
istrative machinery that reaches
down to the lowest levels of Viet-
namese life, helped their chances..
The civilian candidates charged
that many government officials
campaigned illegally for Thieu
and Ky and in some cases applied
pressure on voters and harassed
representatives of other candi-
Fair by Asian Standards
Their charges are unproved, al-
though some newsmen have found
indications that there were pres-
sures for the Thieu-Ky ticket.
Other observers compare the pres-
sure to a U.S. President leaning
SUNDAY, September 3
7:30 P.M.
The Film
"America, On Edge
of Abundance"
r Singing
Fun & Games
All students are invited.
Presbyterian Campus Center
1432 Washtenaw

on local politicians to get out the
vote for his re-election.
Men familiar with Asian politics
say that by Asian standards the
election probably is fair and free.
Representatives of the candi-
dates, as well as the foreign ob-
servers and newsmen will scrutin-
ize the counting of ballots.
Results To Be Studied
In addition, a committee of the'
National Assembly will study any
claims of fraud and will examine
the voting records to determine
the veracity of the.vote. They can
declare the election void and call
for another if they find too many
cases of irregularity.
Thieu and Ky have said that if
they win they will appoint a civil-
ian as premier and that most of
their cabinet ministers will be
Political analysts guessed last
night that Thieu and Ky would
get between 35 and 45 per cent of
the vote. Huong was expected to
run second and Assembly Chair-
man Phan Khac Suu, 62, a close

Democratic Leader Mike Mansfield
hopes today's presidential election
in South Vietnam will be followed
by new peace explorations-possi-
bly including a pause in U.S.
bombing of the Communist North.
"I would hope that no means
which could shorten this war, save
American lives and bring about
an honorable settlement would be
overlooked," Mansfield said, "and
I'm certain that is the view of the
administration as well."
The Montana Democrat said in
an interview he has no indication
that there will be a post-election
suspension of U.S. air raids on
North Vietnam. But Mansfield
said he hopes such a move has
not been ruled out of consideration
within the administration.
Johnson Avoids Comment
President Johnson, questioned
Friday about speculation on a
bombing pause, replied: "We do
ourselves a great disservice if we
conjure up something out of clear
"I would hope that once the
elections are over," Mansfield said,
"that they would serve as a bench-

mark for the exploration of furth-
er ideas seelping to bring the Viet-
namese war to an honorable con-
But Sen. Clifford P. Case (R-
NJ), accused Johnson of putting
too much emphasis on the elec-
tion. "I think it has been oversold
by our administration here as a
kind of be-all-end-al, which in
turn has led to disappointment
and therefore, criticism," Case
.Election Oversold
Case said the Vietnamese bal-
loting is-"a useful step in a long
process but not anything imme-
diate" to produce a cease-fire or
peace negotiations.
Case said the Johnson admin-
istration must 'persuade South
Vietnam to undertake social and
political reform - making clear
that the United States will not
continue the fight "unless they do
the things that must be done."
"If we are going to fail anyway
we had better stop right now be-
fore we kill any more American
boys," he said.
Case gave his views in an inter-
view recorded for New Jersey and
New York television stations.



f 2 0'





Miss J revels in the natural
look of her imported Belgian jacket
Seeming sorcery gives the look of
leather to cotton suede cloth. Stitched
to encourage acti on . .ined with
warm acrylic pile. Sizes 6:14.
A. Long jacket; camel, navy. 28.00
""' 'meB. Short style in
brown, camel or green. 25.00

-Associated Press
MAYOR JOSEPH BARR of Pittsburgh, wearing military fatigues,
is shown speaking to Werner Gullander, president of the National
Association of Manufacturers as he stepped from a triplex voting
booth in a Da Nang polling place yesterday. Both men were in
a group of five U.S. election observers on an inspection of prepara-
tions in Da Nang and Hue for today's national election in South
Vietnam. The observation group is examining the election proce-
dures as well as the actual balloting.

... ::


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