Kennedy appoints Lodge as ambassador - HISTORY
Year
1963

Kennedy appoints Lodge as ambassador

President John F. Kennedy appoints Henry Cabot Lodge, his former Republican political opponent, to succeed Frederick E. Nolting as ambassador to Vietnam. The appointing of Lodge and the recall of Nolting signaled a change in U.S. policy in South Vietnam. Lodge was a firm believer in the “domino theory,” and when he became convinced that the United States could not defeat the communists in Vietnam with President Ngo Dinh Diem in office, he became very critical of Diem’s regime in his dispatches back to Washington. Diem was ultimately removed from office and assassinated during a coup by opposition South Vietnamese generals that began on November 1, 1963. On orders from the Kennedy administration, Lodge had conveyed to the coup plotters that the United States would not thwart any proposed coup. Lodge served in Saigon until June 1964, when he resigned his ambassadorial post to pursue the Republican presidential nomination. Ultimately, Senator Barry Goldwater of Arizona secured the nomination and was defeated by Johnson in the general election. Lodge returned to Saigon in 1965 for another two-year stint as ambassador.

ALSO ON THIS DAY

Smithson’s curious bequest

In Genoa, Italy, English scientist James Smithson dies after a long illness, leaving behind a will with a peculiar footnote. In the event that his only nephew died without any heirs, Smithson decreed that the whole of his estate would go to “the United States of America, to found ...read more

Mormon leader killed by mob

Joseph Smith, the founder and leader of the Mormon religion, is murdered along with his brother Hyrum when an anti-Mormon mob breaks into a jail where they are being held in Carthage, Illinois.Born in Vermont in 1805, Smith claimed in 1823 that he had been visited by a Christian ...read more

Truman orders U.S. forces to Korea

On June 27, 1950, President Harry S. Truman announces that he is ordering U.S. air and naval forces to South Korea to aid the democratic nation in repulsing an invasion by communist North Korea. The United States was undertaking the major military operation, he explained, to ...read more

U.S. troops liberate Cherbourg, France

On this day in 1944, the Allies capture the fortified town and port of Cherbourg, in northwest France, freeing it from German occupation. Hitler had for all intents and purposes anticipated his own defeat when, in contrast with the analysis of his advisers, he accurately ...read more

Germans get Enigma

On this day in 1940, the Germans set up two-way radio communication in their newly occupied French territory, employing their most sophisticated coding machine, Enigma, to transmit information.The Germans set up radio stations in Brest and the port town of Cherbourg. Signals ...read more

U.S. forces begin to evacuate Khe Sanh

The U.S. command in Saigon confirms that U.S. forces have begun to evacuate the military base at Khe Sanh, 14 miles below the Demilitarized Zone and six miles from the Laotian border. The command statement attributed the pullback to a change in the military situation. To cope ...read more

Tyson knocks out Spinks

On June 27, 1988, heavyweight champion Mike Tyson knocks out challenger Michael Spinks 91 seconds into the first round. The decisive victory left the boxing world wondering if anyone could beat “Iron Mike” Tyson.Mike Tyson was born on June 30, 1966, in Brooklyn, New York. He had ...read more

JFK visits Ireland

John F. Kennedy, an Irish-American and the first Catholic to become president of the United States, arrives in Ireland for a visit on this day in 1963.Kennedy was proud of his Irish roots and made a special visit to his ancestral home in Dunganstown, County Wexford, while in the ...read more

Alice McDermott’s birthday

National Book Award winner Alice McDermott is born this day in Brooklyn to first-generation Irish-Catholic parents in 1953.McDermott’s Irish-Catholic upbringing on Long Island became the subject of much of her writing. She went to college at the State University of New York at ...read more

“Frankly, My Dear…”

On this day in 1939, one of the most famous scenes in movie history is filmed–Rhett Butler and Scarlett O’Hara parting in Gone with the Wind. Director Victor Fleming also shot the scene using the alternate line, “Frankly, my dear, I just don’t care,” in case the film censors ...read more

Ebola breaks out in Sudan

A factory storekeeper in the Nzara township of Sudan becomes ill on this day in 1976. Five days later, he dies, and the world’s first recorded Ebola virus epidemic begins making its way through the area. By the time the epidemic is over, 284 cases are reported, with about half ...read more

Four-time thief escapes Baumes law

Marcley pleads guilty to attempted larceny of a motorcycle in New York. Since this was his first offense, he received a suspended sentence, which, after the establishment of Baumes law five years later, saved him from later serving a life sentence.In 1922, Marcley stole a couple ...read more