World: Truth by Night

One of the reasons for Diem's election success in the hinterland is a lean exCommunist named Colonel Pham Ngoc Thao, 39. Last year he accosted President Diem, told him that the reason the Communist Viet Cong guerrillas were scoring success after success lay in the shortcomings of Diem's own soldiery. "Our soldiers need social and political education," said Thao. "Their discipline is poor. They have no consideration for the people." Their "bad habits"—stealing rice, pigs and girls —were driving the villagers to the Communist cause.

Election Toll. Diem responded by handing Colonel Thao command of vital, rice-growing Kienhoa province in the Mekong...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now


Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!