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Sunday, November 12, 2006

November 12, 1960: President Eisenhower Following Events in Southeast Asia

"President Eisenhower and his foreign policy aides followed closely today the reports of ferment in South Vietnam and Laos," the New York Times reported on this day in 1960. "Reports of a military coup in Saigon directed at the government of President Ngo Dinh Diem caused deep concern. It was feared that the military action might pave the way to a Communist-sponsored move to take over non-Communist South Vietnam. ...

"There was no immediate comment from the State Department on late reports from Saigon that the revolt against President Ngo Dinh Diem had apparently been crushed. Earlier today, however, the department had issued a statement that said 'it appears clear that the present action 'against the President 'is not Communist-inspired.' ...

"Guerrilla units believed to be loyal to the Ho Chi Minh Government in North Vietnam have become increasingly active in the south. ... There was concern here [Washington] about reports from Laos, where army forces loyal to strongly anti-Communist elements have seized control of the city of Luang Prabgng, the royal capital.

"This action was taken as evidence of growing discontent among royal Laotian Army units against the neutralist policy of Prince Souvana Phouma, the Premier. The Premier has been trying to negotiate a true with the Communist-oriented Pathet Lao movement which as demanded participation in the Government."

In a separate story in today's edition, headlined "Upheavals in Vietnam and Laos Have Roots in Indochina War; Conflict that Freed Nations From France Also Bred Opposition Forces," a news story with no byline explains the background to the current outbreak of fighting.

Today the coup attempt against President Diem ended.

The United States Air Fforce today put the Discoverer XVII military satellite into a polar orbit about the Earth. It was circling the planet once every 96 minutes.

The House Democratic leadership may remove a Mississippi representative from the Rules Committee to "to break a potentially troublesome bottleneck for President-elect John F. Kennedy's legislative program," according to a story prepared for publication tomorrow in the Times.

In New Orleans a state official cancelled school for Monday to prevent desegregation.

It was "a miracle" that Sen. John F. Kennedy was elected president, one of his chief strategists said today. The Democratic victory was due to serious mistakes by Vice President Nixon, including not concentrating on the industrial Northern states.

"George W. Milias, California vice chairman of the Nixon Lodge Campaign Committee, contended ... that the results of the national election were still 'inconclusive,'" according to a Times story prepared for publication tomorrow.