August 16

This Day in History

Vietnam War

Aug 16, 1964:

General Khanh ousts General Minh as chief of state

General Nguyen Khanh, elected president by the Military Council, ousts Duong Van Minh as South Vietnamese chief of state and installs a new constitution, which the U.S. Embassy had helped to draft.

Khanh said that he was not becoming a military dictator, but it was clear that he was now the chief power in the Saigon government. Within the week, student demonstrations against Khanh and the military government quickly turned into riots. Meanwhile, Henry Cabot Lodge, former ambassador to South Vietnam, went to Western Europe as a personal emissary of President Johnson to explain U.S. policy in Vietnam and to obtain more support from allies. Lodge returned with pledges from West Germany, Holland, Belgium, Great Britain, and Spain to provide nonmilitary technical aid to South Vietnam, but none agreed to provide military support.

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