Washington, D.C. (JFK+50) Sixty years ago today, August 20, 1954, President Dwight D. Eisenhower approved a National Security Council paper titled "Review of United States Policy in the Far East".
The report supported the view of Secretary of State John Foster Dulles that the government should support President Ngo Dinh Diem of South Vietnam.
The report also recommended giving encouragement to Diem to establish more democratic institutions and to broaden the government of South Vietnam.
Diem was called "the miracle man of Asia" by President Eisenhower.
CABOT LODGE GETS CLASSIFIED INSTRUCTIONS
Washington, D.C. (JFK+50) Fifty-one years ago today, August 20, 1963, newly appointed US Ambassador to South Vietnam, Henry Cabot Lodge, Jr., received classified instructions as he prepared to leave the United States.
Ambassador Lodge was informed the United States government would be willing to support a military coup against President Ngo Dinh Diem.
According to Chris Matthews, JFK had resisted Diem's request for American combat troops and by August 1963 had come to the realization...
"he could no longer support a regime that was fighting the Communist guerrillas and Buddhist monks..."
and, in addition, the Diem government was "hopelessly corrupt."
Why did JFK turn to his Republican opponent of 1952 and 1960 to serve as ambassador to South Vietnam?
Matthews' answer is that Cabot Lodge...
"lacked any sentimental feelings toward Diem....he wanted victory (and he would make) the hellish situation in South Vietnam bipartisan."
After Lodge arrived in Saigon, he received a cable from Washington. It read...
"The United States government cannot tolerate situation in which power lies in Nhu's hands...we cannot...give you detailed instructions as to how (to) proceed, but...we will back you to the hilt."
"Jack Kennedy, Elusive Hero," by Chris Matthews, Simon and Schuster, New York, 2011.
TROTSKY STABBED BY AXE-WIELDING ASSASSIN
Mexico City (JFK+50) Seventy-four years ago today, August 20, 1940, exiled Russian revolutionary Leon Trotsky was attacked in his home here in Mexico City by an axe-wielding assassin.
Trotsky, who was found guilty of treason "in absentia" during the rule of Joseph Stalin, was 60 years old.
Trotsky died the following day. His killer, Ramon Mercader, a Spanish communist and undercover agent, was sentenced to 20 years in prison.