287. Voice of America Broadcast1

In South Vietnam, the new American Ambassador, Henry Cabot Lodge, meets President Ngo Dinh Diem today to deliver a special message from President Kennedy.

The meeting comes immediately after Vietnam police arrested a reported one thousand students demonstrating against the government.

In Washington, officials said it was Vietnam’s secret police—not the Army—which made the raids against Buddhist pagodas last week. Thousands of Buddhists were reported arrested, and at least four killed.

American officials said that based on latest reports from Vietnam, the army agreed to the plan to put the nation under military law-but it did not know about the police plans to attack the Buddhists. These Washington officials say the raids were made by police under the control of President Diem’s brother, Ngo Dinh Nhu. They say America may cut its aid to Vietnam if President Diem does not get rid of the, police officials responsible.

  1. Source: Library of Congress, Harriman Papers, Vietnam Policy. A note on the source text indicates that this was a copy of “VOA 2-One Thirty AM Breakfast Show.” Apparently this is the text of the relevant portion of a prerecording of the 8 a.m. broadcast in Saigon on August 26. In To Move a Nation, p. 489, Hilsman explained that the broadcaster did not check the broadcast against the press guidance (telegram 244 to Saigon; see footnote 7, Document 281), and therefore made the “flat statement” in the last paragraph that the United States might reduce its aid to Vietnam.