Document Type: 
Document Number (FOIA) /ESDN (CREST): 
Release Decision: 
Original Classification: 
Document Page Count: 
Document Creation Date: 
November 16, 2016
Document Release Date: 
April 24, 2000
Sequence Number: 
Case Number: 
Publication Date: 
April 1, 1972
Content Type: 
PDF icon CIA-RDP75-00001R000100010049-3.pdf155.39 KB
Or Rele1s r _ tin, ion to early R f S faUg pecial Committee on Indoc ina held ctober [1954] including items about CPYRGHT IN THE MIDST OF WARS: An American's Mission to Southeast Asia by Edward Geary Lansdale Harper & Row, 386 pp., $12.50 Reviewed by Jonathan Mirsky CPYRG "rD" 9 April 11972 CPYRGHT L". With the exception of the Pentagon Papers, Edward Geary Lansdale's memoir could have been the most valu- able eyewitness account of the inter- r,ationalizing of the Indochinese war. Lansdale, a "legendary figure" even in his own book, furnished the model for the Ugly American who, from 1950 through 1953, "helped" Magsaysay put down the Iluk revolution in the Philip- pines. He then proceeded to Vietnam where, between 1951 and 1956, he stuck close to Ngo Dinh Diem during Diem's first shaky years when Washington couldn't make up its mind whom to tap as the American alternative to I-io Chi A1inh. Lansdale's support insured Diem as the final choice for Our Man in Saigon. While the book's time span is, therefore, relatively brief, the period it covers in the Philippines and Viet. nam is genuinely important. There is only one difficulty with In the Midst of Wars: from the cover to the final page it is permeated with lies. That Harper & Row finds it Possible to foist such a package of untruths on the public-and for $12.501-several months after the emergence of the Pentagon Papers, and years after the Publication of other authoritative studies, exhibits contempt for a public trying to understand the realities of our engagement in Vietnam. The lie on the jacket describes Lans- dale merely as an OSS veteran who spent the years after World War 11 as a "career officer in the U.S. Air Force." In the text Lansdale never offers any explicit evidence to the contrary. In- deed, on page 378-the last of the text- he states that at the very time Diem was being murdered in Saigon, "I had been retired from the Air Force." For all I know Lansdale drew his pay from the Air Force and, as the photo. graphs in his book attest, he certainly Wore its uniform. This is irrelevant. Lansdale was for years a senior opera- tive of the Central Intelligence Agency; on Page 244 of the Department of De- fense edition of the Pentagon Papers, Lansdale, two other men, and Allen Dulles are identified a epre n n Approved for I e`ie ., Why is this important? B cause it ay holiday of workers upon takeover. there is one word Lansdale uses re- The day following the distribution of peatedly it is "help"-ancl 1 uses it hese leaflets, refugee registration personally, simulating a Lon Ranger- ripled." like urge to offer spoutaueo is assist- ance. Thus, the first clay he ever saw lie refugees-Catholics, many of Diem, ". . . the thought oc urred to whorl had collaborated with the me that perhaps he needed 1 lp.... I rench-were settled in the South, in voiced this to Ambassador) Bath.... onunutlities that, according to Lans- Heath told me to go ahead. ' The in- ale, were designed to "sandwich" ormal atmosphere contin s when Iortherners and Southerners "in a _ansdale, upon actually meet ng Diem, ultural melting Pot that hopefully immortalizes him as "the lert and could give each equal opportunity." eldest of the seven dwarfs deciding Robert Scigliano, who at this time what to do about Snow Whi e." as advising the CIA-infiltrated Michi- Further desires to serve inf rnl Lans. an State University team on how to tale's concern for the "masses of ' help" Diem, saw more than a melting eople. living in North Viet am who 1 ot: would want to ... move out cfore the ommunists took over." Thes unfortu- ites, too, required "help." Splitting is "small team" of Americas s in two, ansdale saw to it that "()no hal cfugee work in the North." "Major" Lucien Conein, w11o was to lay the major role the CIA h d in the lurder of Dieni in 1963, is ide tilled in he secret CIA report include by the sines and Beacon editions of the entagon Papers (see SR, Jan 1, 1972) s an agent "assigned to MA G [Mili- iry Assistance Advisory Gr up] for over purposes." The secre report efers to Concin's refugee " elp" as ortherners, practically all of whom are i fugces, [have] preempted many of the ioice posts in the Diem government.... [ lie] Diem regime has assumed the as- t ?ct of a carpet bag government in its sproportion of Northerners and Ccn- alists ... and in its Catholicism.... The uthern people do not seem to share the a iticonununist vehemence of their Nortlt. c -n and Central compatriots, by wvhorn t icy are sometimes referred to as un. m liable in the communist struggle, [ Vliilej priests in the refugee villages hold n formal government posts they are c ally the real rulers of their villages and s rve as contacts with district and pro, v ncial officials. nc of his "cover duties." His cat job: raham Greene, a devout Catholic, responsibility for developin a Para- served in 1955 after a visit to Viet. ilitary organization in the orth, to rn, "It is Catholicism which has e in position when the Vietnl nh took h Iped to ruin the government of Mr. over . . . the group was to b trained iem, for his genuine piety has been lid supported by the U.S. as atriotic e ?ploited by his American advisers ietnamese." Conein's "helpfu " teams u til the Church is in danger of sharing Iso attempted to sabotage Hanoi's t e unpopularity of the United States." 1 rgcst printing establishm nt and Wherever one turns in Lansdale the 'reek the local bus company. At the a counts are likely to be lies. Ile re- eginning of 1955, still in H noi, the p its ]low Filipinos, old comrades IA's Conein infiltrated mor agents f om the anti-Huk wars, decided to i to the North. They "becam normal ., clp" the struggling Free South. The itizens, carrying out everyc ay civil s ontancity of this pan-Asian gesture ursuits, on the surface." Ag ression v rms the heart-until one learns from ottt the North, anyone? L nsdale's own secret report to Presi- Lansdale expresses particul r pleas- d nt Kennedy that here, too, the CIA re with the refugee move ent to h d stage-managed the whole business. le South. These people "oug it to be T le Eastern Construction Company rovided with a way of rnakin a fresh tt rns out to be a CIA-controlled art in the free South.... [ ietnam] " echanism to permit the deployment was going to need the vigor us par- o Filipino personnel in other Asian cipation of every citizen to make a c untries for unconventional opera- ccess of the noncommunist part of ti ns.... Philippine Armed Forces and e new nation before the f roposed o her governmental personnel were lebiscite was held in 1956." ansdale 's eep-dipped' and sent abroad." odestly claims that he "passe along" Elsewhere Lansdale makes much of i leas on how to wage psycl ological D em's success against the various warfare to "some nationalis s." Thes ts, Cao Dai, Ifoa Hao, and Binh entagon Papers, however, re eal that X tyen. (At every step Diem was ad- tic CIA "engineered a black psywar vi ed by Lansdale who, at one pathetic strike in Hanoi: leaflets signe by the m ment, even holds the weeping Chief g o0pjt t-` 1 a 4tRdMI ?#'PO&}4q=gin de Approved For Release 2000/05/23 : CIA-RDP75-00001 R000100010049-3 MISSING PAGE ORIGINAL DOCUMENT MISSING PAGE(S): Approved For Release 2000/05/23 : CIA-RDP75-00001 R000100010049-3