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  • Cited by 1
  • Print publication year: 2008
  • Online publication date: June 2012

4 - Surviving the Crises: Southern Vietnam, 1958–1960


In January 1958, Michigan State University Vietnam Advisory Group (MSUG) police advisors George Kimball and Carl Rumf left Saigon on a routine field trip to Da Nang and Hué. They met with the chiefs of police in both cities. Both men asked for further assistance from the MSUG in the form of training and films. Phan Dinh Ly, the chief of police in Da Nang, was well liked and affable, according to American opinion. Le Xuan Nhuan, chief of police at Hué, was a former student in the Participant Program the previous year and seemed eager to carry out his training. Once the MSUG located the needed equipment, a team scheduled another trip to check on its delivery and installation and to perhaps oversee a demonstration. They submitted the necessary forms and forwarded the necessary requests for such a visit to forewarn the Vietnamese officials in Hué and Da Nang. On the trip in early March, the MSUG team found conditions had changed. Chief Ly had an “entirely different attitude” and was “cold and to the point” with the advisors. He told them he had no prior knowledge of the trip. When they phoned the Sûreté officials in Hué, they, too, claimed no prior knowledge of the visit and “could not understand what our mission was and what we had made the trip for.” After an “unofficial” and face-saving patrol around the city, the team made arrangements for their prompt return to Saigon, having accomplished little on the trip.

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