VIET NAM: Offer from Ike

"I have been following with great interest the course of developments in Viet Nam," wrote President Eisenhower to Premier Ngo Dinh Diem of South Viet Nam. Acknowledging the difficulties of presiding over a country "weakened by a long and exhausting war," Eisenhower nonetheless urged Diem to undertake "needed reforms." In return, he held out the prospect of U.S. aid "given directly to your government"— in other words, aid that did not first pass through French hands. It was a friendly, mild-seeming note, yet behind it lay a gathering quarrel between the U.S. and France.


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