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Pressure exerted by Prime Minister and Chief of State on opposition leader to cooperate with Directorate in drafting constitution
Date of Creation:
February 18, 1967
Date of Declassification:
April 1, 1993
Type of Document:
Intelligence information cable
Level of Classification:
Status of Copy:
Pagination, Illustration:
8 p.
In early February 1967 Nguyen Van Ngai, a leader of the Revolutionary Dai Viet Party (RDVP) and the Greater People's Bloc in the Constituent Assembly (CA), engaged in separate, confidential discussions with Prime Minister Nguyen Cao Ky and Chief of State Nguyen Van Thieu about the different viewpoints of the Directorate and the opposition on the provisions that should and should not be included in the constitution. Both Ky and Thieu pressed Ngai to show a more "cooperative" attitude in adopting the Directorate's recommendations. Ky was chiefly concerned with the 40-year minimum age provision for the presidential candidate that Ngai and his party had been pushing for in the CA. The 36-year-old Ky professed that he was tired of politics, and he would run only if petitioned by the people, but he did not like to be defeated in the first round. He succeeded in extracting a promise from Ngai that he would not, personally, advocate imposition of the 40-year minimum age on the floor of the CA. Thieu was chiefly concerned in killing the measure which would allow direct election of province chiefs, and inserting one which would allow the creation of an Armed Forces Advisory Board. Ngai, who said the RDVP central committee, because of opposition from the Directorate, has revised its policy to consider the Armed Forces as having a political role in any future government, maintained, however, that the RDVP would continue to oppose a strictly military political party. Although he expected to honor the agreement with Ky to refrain from taking an active role in pressing for the 40-year minimum age, Ngai said he intended to see that his party colleagues did so. Having learned that the Military Security Service had been ordered in early January to investigate RDVP members in the armed services throughout the nation, Ngai said RDVP leaders were uneasy, not knowing whether the investigation was intended as a means of measuring RDVP strength, or portened more drastic measures.
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