95. Editorial Note

In his weekly telegram to President Johnson, dated March 16, 1966, Ambassador Lodge reported on the events that followed in the wake of the March 10 decision of the Directorate to relieve General Thi of his duties:

“Unfortunately, many of the subordinate officials and commanders in I Corps are Thi appointees and when they heard that their commander had been relieved, they began to fear for their own futures. When certain political elements began to organize demonstrations in support of Thi in I Corps, these officials gave tacit approval and support. So far the demonstrations have consisted of mass meetings and general strikes centered in Danang, the largest city of I Corps and second largest in the country. But there have also been smaller meetings elsewhere in such cities as Hue and Hoi An.

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“Now a new and more significant element has been added. The political Buddhists and other elements who have their main strength in I Corps have now begun to agitate against the government using the Thi removal as pretext and take-off point. These elements have been quiescent for some time. They have had no great affection for the Ky government; but neither did they dislike it to the point where they openly opposed it. It has not, however, been a government subservient to their commands. They obviously read the new political situation in I Corps as an opportunity to bring pressure on the government hoping either to transform it into a creature subject to their will or to replace it with a government to their liking.” (Department of State, Central Files, POL 27 VIET S)