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Vietnam DeclassifiedThe CIA and Counterinsurgency$
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Thomas L Ahern

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780813125619

Published to Kentucky Scholarship Online: September 2011

DOI: 10.5810/kentucky/9780813125619.001.0001

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“The Effort Must Be Made”

“The Effort Must Be Made”

(p.7) Chapter 1 “The Effort Must Be Made”
Vietnam Declassified

Thomas L. Ahern

University Press of Kentucky

John Caswell, then chief of Central Intelligence Agency's (CIA) Vietnam desk, later recalled the atmosphere of despair at the CIA Headquarters as Prime Minister Ngo Dinh Diem took office in July 1954. Caswell thought the Viet Minh would be in charge by 1956. Ngo Dinh Nhu was scarcely more hopeful when he told Paul Harwood in late July that despite all the obstacles, Diem refused to give up the fight to consolidate his government. Reporting this to headquarters, Harwood commented bleakly that the task was hopeless, but that the effort must be made. This pessimism reflected more the fragility of the new regime than it did any immediate threat from the communists. The terms of the Geneva Accords, signed in July 1954 just after Diem took office, called for the repatriation of adherents of both sides, and the Viet Minh were busy preparing to evacuate some 90,000 activists to North Vietnam.

Keywords:   John Caswell, CIA, Ngo Dinh Diem, Viet Minh, Ngo Dinh Nhu, Paul Harwood, Geneva Accords, repatriation, North Vietnam

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