Foreign News: The Showdown

The showdown began at siesta time on a warm, summery day. Premier Ngo Dinh Diem was sitting down to a late lunch at Freedom Palace when nine 81-mm. mortar shells thumped down around the grounds, killing a civilian and wounding a couple of soldiers. The Premier rushed to the phone. "The palace is being shelled," he told French Commissioner-General Paul Ely, his voice disrupted on the line by adjacent explosions.

"I can't understand you," said the Frenchman. "The palace is being shelled," Diem repeated. "If it happens again, I shall order the National...

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