chapter  13
35 Pages

A Tale of Two Republics

WithBernard B. Fall

The exact nature and extent of American-French relations in those hectic days of spring 1955 in Saigon has thus far remained, on both sides, clad in official secrecy. In addition to the American-type Presidential veto, the South Vietnamese President had the further weapon of being able to call referenda "with the consent of the Assembly". All American suggestions for decentralization of top control were bluntly refused or blandly disregarded—in some instances because they deviated too far from Vietnamese realities. On July 7, 1955—the anniversary of the first year of Ngo Dinh Diem's leadership, the Vietnamese Government proclaimed that a nationwide referendum would be held on October 23 on the issue of monarchy vs. republic. American scholars, including those working for the Vietnamese Government within Michigan State University advisory group, have warned the Vietnamese both officially and privately of the negative effects their colonization plans were having on the inhabitants of the Southern Mountain Plateau.