Battle of the Y- Bridge

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The Battle of the Y-Bridge

The French Representatives in Vietnam had been trying to undermine or remove President Ngo Dinh Diem from office in favor of their candidates since he took over his duties when appointed by the Emperor Bao Dai. In 1955, the French General Ely encouraged his surrogates, particularly the Binh Xuyen (a gang of river pirates who the French installed to run the Police, as well as gambling, drugs and prostitution), and some of the sects whose private armies the French supported, to take a militant stand against Diem. He convinced General Collins that Diem's situation was hopeless. A battle between the sects and the Vietnamese National Army began on April 29, 1955. Collins had gone to Washington to Urge President Eisenhower to withdraw his support from Diem. Randolph Kidder was the Charge at the U.S. Embassy in his absence. Diem was able to convince the Cao Dai and Hoa Hao sect leders to switch sides and join his government in fighting the Binh Xuyen, in which Diem was successful. A complicated ballet took place involving CIA Ed Lansdale, having apparently been banned from using communication gear by Collins, forced a radio transmission at gunpoint to Washington, Kidder sending a similar communication and Kenneth Young making sure the telegram was received by the appropriate authorities. On May 1, the Secretary of State advised Collins that the U.S. would continue to support Diem.

All the above makes an interesting read in FRUS DDE Vol I documents 150ff and in various biographies of Lansdale.

This is a "stump" essay which will be revisited when time permits.

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