This episode is from the WNYC archives. It may contain language which is no longer politically or socially appropriate.
From card catalog: Tran Van Chuong, Ambassador of South Vietnam, and his wife, discuss the tragedy of Vietnam. They talk about the political crises, Buddhists, the war, American misinterpretations, and misuse of American aide. He warns the United States that the current Diem government is to blame. Questions and answers.
Host introduces the head table. The Ambassador says the situation in Saigon is darker than people realize. Buddhist crisis. Michigan State University's work with Vietnam. The situation in Vietnam is more serious now than 10 years ago. References a news report by David Halberstam.
Q&A: Present itinerary? Resignation? His daughter (Madame Ngo Dinh Nhu)? Buddhist monks, torture. Are there people to step in to power if the government steps down? A mysterious letter? Why have the [Buddhist monks'] suicides not been stopped by the authorities when they were known about beforehand? Why did the Foreign Minister of the Vietnamese government resign; was he a hoodlum or Communist inspired? New president of Vietnam? Why did he not resign months ago? How is American aid being misused? Is South Vietnam mostly Buddhist?
Audio courtesy of the NYC Municipal Archives WNYC Collection
WNYC archives id: 70498
Municipal archives id: T605
This is a machine-generated transcript. Text is unformatted and may contain errors.
It's a very very very poignant for me as president of your press corps to present. To visit a. Matter that Ambassador Ryan Ryan. Who are here to. Just with them for your. Partner. Who are here to discuss with us the right to be here you have cameras they are living very personally had their own life before coming to the president looking back at her like would produce but terribly friends and yet now I'm. Joined now with the program chairman of the Overseas Press Club for the rainfall the meeting before. And we were sure and also a very old and dear member second of director of the Research Institute of America is another you know. With no other. Friend you would like to him as president trying to get John to share with us his own. Profoundly felt point of view on the tragic problem there. Ladies and gentlemen I hope that you will hear my voice it is the really bad today and. I thank you for your hospitality. And your attendance because I realize how much you are already saturated with. And comments coming about yet now. I feel limited to myself. Clarified. In which is some doubt. Let me reassure you. About. All the American and western music men stationed in say. In Vietnam. It has been hinted at. In the. News men. Who are the men who have been obscured by anger and first place. In. The picture of him say he's much darker than they're going to realize. Is by the fact that the most serious warnings about the political situation. Go. Crisis by people in the United States who know more about Vietnam. Problems than this little man spirit. For instance the American Friends of Vietnam. The star. Of Michigan is the state university you are probably know that Senator spirit. Is the member of Congress who has been going to see the. End here. As the. Holy. Spirit. Of him now. He sounded. Over a year ago in nineteen sixty two and he sound that I live. In Michigan State University probably you know that the Michigan State University has the same hundreds of professors and teachers to help Vietnam. The world will get ministration Vietnam grocery for years that. They have not been in get now for two or three weeks no they will the. Administration will get. An order so they knew what was wrong with the administration of Vietnam. War very badly. Or let me go and get American friends of Viet Nam. OK which where here next to give Chairman there have been most exposed in the four point. Zero Room of the government of Vietnam each year they. Presented yet she went on to claim that cheap lens of the government of Vietnam. For years and yet about two years ago I had as Ambassador I had to warn them a government that. Most members of Big think would be the Committee of the American Friends of Viet Nam. That it was a matter of conscience for them no longer. To support new policy of the many of the government of Vietnam I am I said last year after a visit to Vietnam in favor of the nine hundred sixty two I use was so much. But I did it by the political situation in Vietnam cut in July one hundred sixty two I wrote to pray to the new D.C.M. that there was no. Possibility of victory over the coming days unless he. Thought the chains of both the government and the really. I think that no ambassador. Has ambassadors have. Made such a proposal to his state that these two say. That down at least not as head of state but stepped down himself as head of government and poor. A complete change all over the government and of the regime and I was not brave in my personal ambition because when I'm a team mate to him there for both of them I said you. Could insert the wisest men in the country and after that appoint a prime minister who not me neither one of your brothers nor myself because I am your I love. My daughter has married your brother. I. Mean your head of the government because the concrete No no go one of the regime and therefore it would be much better if it don't change of the regime of the government this is the only to give you an idea of the. Seriousness Oh that situation or any year ago more than a year before Secretary McNamara and Jennifer Delgado said that the political situation in Vietnam eat the remains to be pretty serious and. This is this leads me to. Say that the Buddhist the crisis in Vietnam is only an effect reserved. Of that exceptionally bad place see. If you see it east note the beginning oh but you know it was only an effect I know. That the government of Sago. It touched being. Good didn't dawn or robbers in Vietnam have been. Inspired Where do you know that not the one of the bodies the monks. Made of themselves living. Just. To better the world or how much they are a place you know that not one of them has. Anything coming he's. Coming to inspire them have a look. Unification with no. I have not asked for peace for existence you have not asked. Nudism and therefore. It is completely untrue. That those of brown that they are mad to suicides have been inspired by. By the communists I. Would if I had time to do so I would. Give all I would read to you except from a letter. Written by. A Vietnamese professor in a way to an American professor here I mean you're going to get that but I shall not read it. Because of lack of time and because I do not want this speech to be too much emotional My wife and I in deep. We could not prevent us from coming. But I hope that you will find time an interest in reading. The pages of a diary. And then do we understand. More. Boards of the. Dirty board not only that. But. The only great. Of the country can write. All. Of the universe. The government has said. The killing the people in a way was a plastic bombs Well I have here a copy. Of the legal medical report. Photographs. To me by. My plane. Of the American Friends of Vietnam the. Medical report. That. Children. Had been. One of the. Last he said. And the one for. Display of the one. The. German national. Who is nuts. That you came here to. Say what he has See he had seen in way and therefore. The reward the manifestations the demonstrations in Vietnam have really inspired me to eat not so much by Buddhists. But it's that have been inspired by indignation nation and it is a deep revolt against injustice and guarantee of a stupid government I am I am afraid that I must stop but. Here. Is also the. Statement made up the government. Has stated that the photographs are from horrible photographs of these bodies. Has been taken by him and it is the bodies of children that hard mean the one to really kill my government takes in way he witnessed it and the government was so on unscrupulous that the government said no it was the communists and those horrible warnings mean goals the buy in common use the bomb blast it bomb unfortunately no one witness in the way has ever seen anyone. Pro any bomb into the crowd instead Dr Eric Woodruff who is not a Vietnamese who is not a British High seen and high speed boat that not. This stupid giving was the part of the thing gardens of the Vietnam era of the Vietnamese government I do not want to take more of your time but just the one tool was you who said that the situation in Vietnam is indeed even more serious now that it was ten years ago when the friends had every reason to believe every technical reason to believe that there were winning the war but. Only because they did not have the support of the Vietnamese people are now I want you to know that the people of Vietnam is not only certain as they were. In one thousand fifty three they are very bold to that have enough of the regime of this regime of fake independence of this regime which China has misused American a. Force to fight everything in Vietnam. To put they put itself in power now the best the way to drive the Vietnamese people. Into the arms of the communists would be to give the Vietnamese people the impression that there is no dollar for them to praise no a dollar T.V. for them. The present regime in Vietnam. Because it would be enough to drive them into the arms of the communists this very morning it's very morning you have played in The New York Times it dispatched Harbor star on. The one hundred students. Reported to have faked it. Coming this is something much must be stopped and stop dark right away. And I am sorry not to have more time but now I am ready to answer your questions. Please. Please. Please. Please. Please. Before we start our question and answer period. I would like to congratulate the ambassador on it a very interesting position here taken during a brief chat we had here during your lunch and just now I have asked the ambassador how he felt about some of the criticism to which the directors of the Overseas Press Club had been exposed by members of the State Department and members of Parliament as a result of your patronage we had extended to his daughter because of your speed. And I was delighted to hear him answer say. That he felt that it was perfectly correct and proper that we should have given his daughter and anyone else who is a party to a dispute national or international to express his or her going to be quite free. I think that's a magnificent position and one which might be very well recommended to those members of the State Department to those members of the Overseas Press Club and any others who have expressed themselves as they had I guess the invitation which we had extended to his daughter. Mary I had some saying of course every one of her. That I have that. I have been. Discriminated against. But. I. Buy ourselves. In that connection and this will I think perhaps to this little aside. The ambassador who saw that the person. Who had profited by the greater exposure of the greater number of platforms which had been offered to her that person did not necessarily gain by the additional publicity perhaps you might be right. With that we're ready to take questions starting first as we always do with the press here what is your present artillery Where will you be going in speaking country in Europe next few weeks. I am afraid it will take too much time on my short time to say this but I am afraid I am going to be quite busy. In the months ahead. Of her personal torment you know. Being in a position where he was criticized. On the contrary I. May do to. Express your opinion. The feeling of my people in Vietnam. In Vietnam. Or the one is done by making of themselves living. All by a risking life and. Detention as the students and the monks have experience and it is therefore might. Be for them it is precisely for that purpose that I have resigned because I won't keep. Saying that the peace may be guilty to speak for my people. No longer. Which which does not represent my people. How do you explain that. None of the press have been able to pin down the order in the alleged misrepresentation. Statements positions quite contrary to leave the explanations which you have given here. And in the second part of the question is do you believe to literally live. Right here. I have refrained from commenting everything madam you has said I do not want to enter. It can probably see with her but would you please recall what the question was Well how do you explain that none of the correspondents. At the various places where she has spoken and gone have been able to pin her down on these. Misrepresentations which she appears to have made I'm on the very point. Of this is it is a question of communism question no I mean. Yes but I I cannot explain for them not to have the have done so I have given the end said the end series that it has not been coming just inspiring when a man or a girl or woman is a lady's willing to get he's off her life. Broke lame something for a cause he all know he or she always. Always say. They had been coming as I have just told you they would have said we want to communism for Vietnam all we want to peaceful coexistence all we want to reunification with not been I'm distaff not therefore it does look true that there have been Communist inspired this is what I I can tell you what I do not know why. The. I don't know I shall look command. I I I know not only met him. But. Completely cut off. That they don't have to touch with the reality and that is why I. Am himself said. The monks who have. Themselves know they have not killed themselves they have been molded. That they have been murdered and actually show up when he came here he even added not only they have have they been. There have been beaten which Hamba and the people here from outside you see I cannot explain simply how I look to see and. The whole wall know most. Of those at the moment still praying and the flames and those people have not to say that they have been broken that they have been molded. With the could. Not even all ways on the T.V. television. Are there people in the position to step into the government if the government steps down and they're certainly not one not told our hundreds of them. And I may even say that when I had to resign members of my staff have resigned and some of them among them a company I know moaned them there were people people who are totally be abandoned or they're happy enough people him and who have been who were willing to abandon safety for their families. And the owner of the job just because their parent that they could no longer go along with the government which they said to me was worse than a communist and therefore I think that we have not to go. Too far in Africa only friends. In Asia I know the box of are not going to be. There leave our job or Vietnamese have been forced into exile to look for someone more qualified than. The president the leaders of Vietnam to take over their government and to lead the Vietnamese people do we don't any here in the United States that in Washington among the members of my stuff they are older I know myself but them in the former minister counselor who resigned and accepted to be separated from his wife who. How has being forced to separate from Him I don't accept your job of teaching yet let me say there are such men. A political block around the. Intellectualism Marley and politically mock qualified done the prison leaders of Vietnam to take over. And to lead the Vietnamese people to victory because I believed there would be they would not suppress the Vietnamese people at least they would not misuse the American misuse American aid to spy for that people and they would understand that the president was obviously very difficult walk because the communists I supposed to but the communist the world they have the same jury this is a difficult walk which can only lead be worn by the Vietnamese themselves and only if they know all that only that they have to be united. That they have to use all available anticommunist talents