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October 23, 1966 - Image 3

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1966-10-23

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Six Nations
To Gather at
'Viet Parley
Johnson Flies To
Philippines from
Tour of Australia
Associated Press special Correspondent













Roa tolanila:Historyof Vietlnvolvement

EDITOR'S NOTE - The Manila
conference convenes tomorrow to
survey the situation in Viet Nam
and the prospects for peace in a
war that is really two wars. Be-
sides the tactical problems the sev-
en nations' leaders must consider
the dilemmas that lie beyond mili-
tary victory--the way to insure real

MANILA (P)--Public excitement peace in a program centerinh
heightened in this hot and humid the process called pacification. V
are the factors this meetingr
capital today on the eve of the consider? 'What is allied strat
Manila summit conference on Viet Where are the gains and failu
Nam which President Johnson, answ athee ths cothereabout
flying in from a triumphal tour of on the eve of Manila, the Asso
Australia, will attend. ed Press called upon a dozen
Johnson meets tomorrow with Npeiand crespondentsitrace
the heads of six other nations war's background, to show ho
fighting the Communists in Viet is going today, and to discuss
Nam in deliberations affecting the
future of peace in Southeast Asia
futreofperacte i SueastAsiaA llied
world. Johnson had no public ap-
pearances on his schedule afterI
the welcoming ceremonies for his
midafternoon arrival.
Public Excitement MANILA OP)-What is th

g on
; To
ow it

outlook. Their report is based on your government can serve to as-
the best available information, in- Viet Nam in its present hour
cluding front-line observation and ss
reports from hundreds of official of trial."
and unofficial sources. A handful of American military
By The Associated Press men proceeded to Saigon as mem-
One October day in 1954 Pres- bers of the training mission to
ident Dwight D. Eisenhower wrote help the new country's army get
tfb the little-known and little- into fighting trim.
understood premier of an equally They were the first American
little-known and little-understood advisers sent to a land smaller in
country: area than Missouri, but entangled
"I am, accordingly, instructing in political, military and economic
the American ambassador to Viet chaos that grew and grew until
Nam to examine with you in your it shook the world.
capacity as chief of government, Those first steps, taken at a
how an intelligent program of time when America was caught up
American aid given directly to in an off-year election and con-

cern over the cold war, aroused
little attention.
It is doubtful that any of the
drama's future stars-Commu-
nist and non-Communist alike-
could foresee that in 12 years a
motley collection of rice paddies,'
jungle, mangrove swamps and
mountains would be regarded as
the gravest danger of touching off
World War III.
Government planners hardly
could foresee that the few million
dollars authorized by Eisenhower
would grow to a cost of $12-24 bil-
lion a year.

Eisenhower's letter was to a
coldly intellectual product of
Asia's ancient and vanishhig Man-
darin background - Ngo Dinh
Diem, a Catholic in a predom-
inantly Buddhist country, rose to
power almost by default in the
months that followed the French
defeat at Lien Bien Phu and the
Geneva convention that was sup-
posed to bring peace to Indochina.
Dien originally won American
backing simply because he was
considered the only pro-Western,
anti-Communist strong man on
the scene.

North Viet Nam, above the 17th
Parallel cease-fire line set down
at Geneva, was under the grip of
Ho Chi Minh, Communist chief
of the revolt which crushed
French colonialism in Asia.
As U.S. officials saw it, an un-
aided South Viet Nam could not
survive as a free, non-Communist
By 1961, the threat of Commu-
nist insurgency in the country-
side was mounting rapidly. Diem's
army lacked expertise or heart to
crush or even blunt the maraud-
ing bands of Viet Cong.
President John F. Kennedy or-

out- In Viet Nam, each side seems to


dered "100 of America's toughest
jungle fighters" to Viet Nam as
advisers. They were to accompany
ce: te wardPea e9OVietnamese units into the field
e: StepTowardPeacerather than simply offer advice
at headquarters.
More combat advisers followed
The optimists argument goes optimists say, the Communist They feel that the results of and then obsolete fighters and
is way: cause will toboggan to oblivion. the U.S. election Nov. 8 will shock bombers were added. Helicopter
As the allied offensive builds The chances for peace, the op- Hanoi into a reassessment of its units were sent to give the Viet-
P, forcing the enemy troops ever ti mists believe, are good as soon stand. This in turn might clear namese army mobility. Nothing
eeper into the jungle mountains as Hanoi becomes convinced that away the Soviet opposition and worked and the insurgency swell-
nd swamps, the military threat the United States, unlike France, open up the way for a new Geneva ed.
ay siniple fade away as it did has the determination and power peace conference. By mid-1963, there were 14,000,
afore British arms in Malaya. to get its way. Pessimists Believe Americans in Viet Nam, but

Much of the public excitement
seems to stem from a feeling of
pride that the Philippines had
been chosen for such important
Officials eased the perils of Ma-
nila's traffic-clogged streets for
conference participants. Traffic,
including the thousands of multi-
colored "jeepney" buses, fashioned
from World War II vintage vehi-
cles, as being routed away from
main roads used by the visiting
Advance teams of diplomats of
the seven nations labored at pre-
liminary spadework for the offi-
cial opening of the conference in
an atmosphere of agreement on
fundamentals. But there were
pints of misgivings on the part
of some and shades of difference
in the approach to peace in Viet
Conference of High Power
It was shaping up as a confer-
ence of high power and low ex-
One high-ranking delegate after
another went out of his way to
emphasize that this was a confer-
ence concerning peace but also
to caution that no miracles should
be expected.of the meeting.
But the conference also will be
14 the starting point of a new and
determined U.S. peace drive, back-
ed by the allies participating at
Manila--South Viet Nam, South
Korea, Thailand, Australia, New
Zealand and the Philippines.
Immediately after the confer-
ence, U.S. Ambassador at Large
W. Averell Harriman and William
P. Bundy, assistant secretary of
state for Far Eastern affairs, will
take off on journeys to at least
nine Asian and European nations.
They will report to those countries
on the sessions here and listened
to their views on what might be
done next to bring peace and
security to this part of the world.
U.S. spokesman, from Secretary
of State Dean Rusk down, vow
that the aim .of the conference is
to find some way out of the Viet
Nam conflict. But they keep to a
rather minor key, stressing that
it takes two sides to make peace
and that there has been little
response from the Communist side
to peace approaches.
This stress on "some way" to
peace appears to have engendered
vague misgivings on the part of
some of the participants. They ap-
pear to wonder whether President
Johnson is so eager for peace that
he might accept a settlement on
terms short of clear-cut victory.
There are hints of this attitude
from the delegations of Thailand,
South Viet Nam and South Korea.
Peace of Escalation
South Korean Foreign Minister
Tom Won Lee told reporters North
Viet Nam must choose between
negotiations toward peace or es-
calation of the war. Something
similar came from the South Viet-
Tai Foreign Minister Thanat
Khoman said the conference
should be dedicated to a just and
equitable peace but one which
would ensure the freedom of Asian
people and insure the rights of
South Viet Nam and other states
who feel menaced by Communist
aggression or subversion.
To the readers and admirers of
Atlas Shrugged & The Fountainhead
Nathaniel Branden's
recorded lectures on
the philosophy of
and its application to psycholo.
Begin Mon., Oct. 24, 8 P.M.
14 Ann Arbor Federal

look, and what are the chances believe that it is fighting a war'th
for peace? Obviously no answer to of attrition that will force the
that can be as simple as the ques enemy to quit. Iu
tion The conference to open here;de
tomorrow may be the telling fac- Realism probably lies some- an
tor. where between the views of those m
Aside from the moral suasion who, for want of a better descrip- be
that Secretary-General U Thant tion, may be called "optimists"
has tried to offer, the United Na- and pessimists."er
tions has shown no effective and Optimists on the allied side 'at
sure route to the peace table. The both in Saigon and Washington pe
United Nations is supposed to help believe North Viet Nam must real- te
insure world security, but it is ize it has no hope of victory an
not powerful enough to act in a against American firepower and '
situation that lines up two major troops. The belief is that Ho Chi vi
powers-the United States and Minh dare not see his best unitsan
the Soviet; Union-on opposite continue to be destroyed by bomb, thi
sides. bullet, disease and low morale. be

With an apparently stable gov-"
'nment in Saigon moving toward
least limited popular rule, the
easants will realize their in-
rests will be served best by the
nti-Communist side.
The enemy must realize that
ctory in the field is impossible
nd that American troops are
ere to stay. Once the allied side
gins gathe.ring momentum, the

They argue that as China in-
creasingly isolates itself from the
outside world, including the Com-
munist bloc, a U.S. peace offensive
will bear fruit.
Their argument also includes
the view that Hanoi has grossly
misread student and other war
protest movements in the United
States as representing the na-
tion's mood.

WietNam Wary of PerpetualWr

SAIGON (P1)-If the war is going
better from the allied viewpoint,+
what is the mood of South Viet
Nam itself?
The single overwhelming emo-
tion among South Vietnamese is{
one of wariness with fighting'
which has washed across the na-
tion nearly without letup since
World War II. As far as can be'
judged, much of the population-
possibly a majority-is indiffer-
ent to who holds Saigon if only.
the fighting, the bombing, the ar-
tillery would stop.
About 80 per cent of Viet Nam's
population are villagers. For two
decades they have seen their sons
and fathers lured or forced into
uniform by one side or the other.-
Both sides have lied to them,
gone back on promises and levied
heavy taxes. Neither appears will-
ing to let them raise rice and
babies undisturbed.
An American political expert,
once said-only half in jest-that,
in unregulated, honest electionsa
the Viet Cong would win in the
government areas and the govern-,
Ment in Communist-held sectors.
But elections, democracy, com-
munism and other such terms are
Vietnamese, ruled by emperors,
practically indefinable to most
Vietnamese, ruled by emperors,j
French colonial regimes, the Jap-;
anese, and then civil and military,
dictators. South Vietnamese have
no heritage in either of the two
major conflicting ideologies vy-
ing in their country.,
The Sept. 11 elections, hailed as
a government victory in both Sai-;
gon and Washington, brought to-
gether 117 politicians to form a
Constituent Assembly. Their job
is to draw up a constitution and
open the way for more elections1
to form a democratic government.
So far the assembly has madeS
little progress. The election was;
not a clearcut test of democracy
vs. communism.1

Traditionally monolithic, the
Communist movement can more
or less speak with one voice, But
on the other side, what little con-
cept of democracy that was lef
over from the French among the
educated elite has brought out di-
visiveness of the sort that plagued
French governments before De-
Whatever the outcome of moves
toward a popular government,
powerful currents growing out of
ancient pressures and prejudices
flow through the land.
There are sharp antagonisms be-
tween South, Central and North
Vietnamese who live in South Viet
Nam. More than 600,000 Northern-
ers came to the South following
the Geneva convention and many,
such as Premier Nguyen Cao Ky,
have risen to authority.
The Buddhist movement is deep-
ly divided within itself except on
one issue-fear and animosity to-
ward Roman Catholics. One mil-
lion mountain tribesmen - the
Montagnards-are cadlled "moi"
or savages by the lowland Viet-
namese, and discrimination is
Since the Diem dictatorship fell
it has become evident that no re-
gime can survive without support
from key niilitary factions, them-
selves often engaged in political
warfare at the expense of the war
against the Communists.
Premier Ky, who runs the air
force, appears stronger than at
any time in his 15-month rule. He
put down dissidents in the army
and faced down Buddhist leaders
who kept the government in tur-
moil for nearly a year and a half.
Runaway inflation has been
stemmed, American sources say,
but perhaps - temporarily.
The government has yet to show
itself capable of dealing with black
marketing, war profiteering, cor-
ruption within its own ranks and
bottlenecks that have kept many

Vietnamese who might support the
government from enjoying a share
of $600 million worth of American
aid now being spent annually.
Until President Johnson met
with Premier Ky at Honolulu in
February, critics of the war said
too much emphasis was being laid
on the shooting war and too little
in the vital sector of pacification,
the struggle for loyalty in the
Johnson and Ky agreed that
this area required more attention
urgently. But willingness and cash
so far have not meant much pro-
An axiom of the Viet Nam con-
flict is that it is largely a politi-
cal war. Even with a military vic-
tory, the struggle could go to the
Communists unless a viable gov-
ernment reaches out into the
countryside to win over the people.
The program has gone through
several evolutions, but basic stra-
tegy remains the same.
Regular troops launch opera-
tions to clear a given area and se-
cure it long enough for militia-
men to take over. The government
meanwhile sends in propaganda
teams, police, administrators, tea-
chers and medics to live with the
The regular troops then sweep
another area and the process is
repeated, slowly expanding the
safe perimeter. Ideally, the Viet
Cong would shrivel and die as
their support withers, denying
them new recruits, food, infor-
mation and hiding places.
The most important area to be
pacified is the lush delta. The pro-
gram there so far has been a
failure. Vietnamese clearing oper-

ations are carried out half-heart-
edly, and political action teams
sent by the government soon move
back to district or province towns
for safety after the regulars leave.
The Viet Cong reinfiltrate.
Two or more divisions of Ameri-
can troops may be sent to the
delta soon to provide the muscle
needed for effective clearing op-
erations. Unless Vietnamese troops
and government cadres follow up
effectively, there is scant chance
of success. Government action in
pacification projects involving the
U.S. Marines around Da Nang
gives little ground for encourage-
Tens of thousands of local gov-
ernment officials, police and tea-
chers have been assassinated by
the Viet Cong. Finding 2nen and
women with enough courage and
dedication to replace them is not
Even if they can be found, the
pool, of trained teachers, propa-
gandists, local police and medical
personnel is far too small for the
massive job ahead, U.S. aid per-
sonnel report. Knowledgeable U.S.
sources also say indifference and
corruption by province and dis-
trict officials severely hamper the
U.S. troops have won many
friends by staffing civilian clinic
stations with U.S. medics, by help-
ing with drainage and sanitation
projects and the traditional gifts
of candy and chewing gum that
have made the American GI fa-
But U.S. heavy artillery and
bombers have made many enemies
in villages where troops encounter

On the other hand, the pes-
simists believe the United States
is being drawn into an ever-en-
larging war that probably will end
ih direct confrontation with Red
China. Peking has staked its. in-
ternational prestige on wars of
national liberation as the true
road of communism.
The Chinese, the pessimists say,
cannot afford to see North Viet
Nam and the Viet Cong defeated
because this could, mean perma-
nent U.S. bases on the Asian
The pessimists also argue that
Hanoi's repeated rejection of U.S.
peace overtures made directly and
through other governments, shows
it is convinced time is on its side
and that a peace conference
should be held only to accept the
enemy's surrender.
Even if the Communist side
does enter into peace negotiations
that halt the fighting in South
Viet Nam, this view holds, the
South will have to deal with a
Communist political force that is
the largest organized bloc in the
Shaky Government
Since peace talks would pre-
sumably include removal of both
American and North Vietnamese
forces from the South, this could
leave a shaky government and in-
effective military 'to deal with a
situation they have so far proved.
incapable of handling.
Those looking on the dark side
think Hanoi will see it as a blow
to Johnson's policies if his party
loses a sizable block of congres-
sional seats Nov. 8-even though
such losses are a pattern in off-
year elections.
Another major theme among
the pessimists is that even if there
is no direct Chinese intervention
in the war, and even if 750,000
American troops are committed,
the job will take five- years to ac-
complish. The optimists, including
Premier Ky-at least publicly-
say that the major -fighting and
problems may be over next year.

neither Waslington nor South
Viet Nam was watching the war,
Militant Buddhists, charging the
Catholic-dominated government
was discriminating against their
faith, launched massive protest
demonstrations that rocked the
regime. When thin, shaven-head-
ed monks began turning them-
selves into human torches, they
also burned away the last of of-
ficial American support for the
Diem government.
Coup Topples Regime
A coup by dissident generals
toppled the regime. Diem and his
brother Ngo Dinh Nhu were killed.
But the ruling clique of generals
hardly had time to assume their
new powers before they in turn
were toppled by another coup.
Political chaos became the order
of the day.
As the military wove its intri-
cate plots and counterplots, North
Viet Nam saw what it believed to
be the decisive moment. Hanoi
flooded the Ho Chi Minh TFrail
with troops and ordered the of-
fensive that was to have ended the
By early 1965, the Communists'
gamble was almost won. The U.S.

mission in Saigon warned Wash-
ington that only a massive com-
mitment of U.S. troops could see
Saigon safely into the summer.
President Johnson order bri-
gades and then entire divisions to
Viet Nam to put out the fire. By
this month the United States
found itself with more regular
troops committed to ,the fighting
than Southt Viet Nam has-and
deep in an Asian land war whose
end was nowhere in sight.
Caught Off Balance
The commitment of American
troops obviously caught the Com-
munist high command of Gen.
Vo Nguyen Giap off. balance. His
divisions continued to slash out
at the Saigon government troops
while avoiding the big U.S. units
Months later there was a series
of small ambushes and short but
sharp clashes with American GIs.
Then Giap's 325th Division be-
gan its elaborate and bloody trap
in the highlands west of Pleiku
around the U.S. Special Forces
camp at Plei Me. In furious fight-
ing with government troops the
Communists lost more than 500
men but were rewarded with see-
ing troops of the untried U.S.
1st Cavalry Airmobile Division,
thrown into the contest. The key
to the Communist plan was to
smash a sizable American unit.
Maneuvering ends
Days of maneuvering ended last
fall in the Ia Drang Valley, an
uninhabited jungle area where the
first major U.S.-Communist show-
down of the war was staged. The
toll, 240 Americans killed in one
week, still stands as a high for the
The U.S. command estimated
that up to 2,000 North Vietnamese
were killed in the most ferocious
display of American firepower
seen in combat since Korean days.
Hundreds of tons of shells and
bombsdropped by jets spelled the
Learned from the Ia Drang
One lesson was that more and
better intelligence had to be gath-
ered and acted on more quickly.
The North Vietnamese divisions
had to be hit while they were as-
sembling-before they could throw
the first punch.
See REPORT, Page 6

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