Through Saigon's streets rolled a float depicting a swinish Emperor Bao Dai swilling cognac with one hand, clutching a nude blonde with the other, while an overbearing French rascal stuffed the royal pockets with gold. The question before the people in South Viet Nam's first free national election was in effect a choice between Premier Ngo Dinh Diem as their head of state or Bao Dai, their absentee playboy sovereign.

So put, there could be little doubt of the answer. Diem's supporters, exuberantly forecasting a 99-to-1 victory for their

Premier, were dismayed at Western observers for suggesting that a less lopsided...

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