President Kennedy was inaugurated on 20 January 1961, and Vietnam was discussed at his first White House meeting eight days later, with attention given to the Counterinsurgency Plan, the firmer handling of Diem and the appointment of Frederick Nolting as ambassador in place of Eldridge Durbrow. This preceded Kennedy’s sending of Vice President Johnson on an official visit to Saigon to conduct high level discussions with Diem. Diem’s re-election as President occurred at this time, which, unsurprisingly, Diem and his Vice President won on their dual-slate, reaching over 86 percent of the vote against two other slates of dual candidates. Voter turn-out was 75 percent of eligible voters, but the number of voters that proportion represented was not disclosed.1 The first three months of Kennedy’s office were occupied in discussing the possible invasion of Laos by the DRV in mid-April 1961, which would be countered by the US Joint Chiefs of Staff authorizing an invasion of Laos by 10,000 US troops. These arrangements coincided with that ill-starred invasion of the Bay of Pigs in Cuba. Kennedy was furious with the JCS for this disaster and cancelled the Laos venture for being equally as ruinous. ‘Thank God the Bay of Pigs happened when it did’, he said, ‘otherwise we’d be in Laos by now-and that would be a hundred times worse’.2 This collective Laotian-Cuban fiasco persuaded Kennedy against uncritically accepting the advice of officials wishing to commit US troops to South Vietnam. He opted more for sending military material, including squadrons of aircraft and river craft, along with US advisors and instructors to assist in operating that equipment and maintaining it.