"Spellman and Kennedy also helped form a pro-Diem lobby in Washington. The rallying cries were anti-Communism and [Roman] Catholicism. Through their connections, they soon had a high-powered committee, which was a lumpy blend of intellectuals and conservatives.

Two men of national prominence, the former O.S.S. chief "Wild Bill" Donovan and General "Iron Mike" O'Daniel, were co-chairmen.

The membership included Senators [John F.] Kennedy and Richard Neuberger; Representatives Emmanuel Celler and Edna Kelly; and Angier Biddle Duke, Arthur Schlesinger, Jr., Max Lerner, socialist leader Norman Thomas, and conservative Utah Governor Bracken"

[ page 242 ]



The Cardinal's message was clear. The fall of Vietnam brought the day closer when Communists would dominate the United States. "We shall risk bartering our liberties for lunacies, betraying the sacred trust of our forefathers, becoming serfs and slaves to the Red ruler's godless goons," he swore.

The other speakers needed no introduction: Madame Chiang Kaishek and Admiral Arthur W. Radford, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, who was a familiar figure at the Powerhouse. Both speakers were friends of the Cardinal and shared his conservative views. Madame Chiang lamented that the Soviets had corrupted the "minds and souls of those who became its puppets--the Chinese Communists." Radford asserted that the United States should be ready to police the world. The audience wildly applauded each speaker, but it was Spellman who brought them to their feet in a thunderous ovation. At the conclusion of the meeting, the Cardinal asked the legionnaires to pray for God's intervention. If Eisenhower wouldn't listen to Spellman, perhaps he would heed the Almighty. "Be with us, Blessed Lord," the Cardinal intoned, "lest we forget and surrender to those who have attacked us without cause, those who repaid us with evil for good and hatred for love."

The day after the convention the impact of Spellman's address was noted in the press. New York Daily News columnist John O'Donnell, for example, reported: "From a political viewpoint-- global, national and New York State--the speech delivered by Cardinal Spellman was by far the most significant and important heard here at the convention....''

Spellman's attack on Ho Chi Minh's revolution was the first sign of his involvement in the politics of Vietnam. Though few people knew this, the Cardinal played a prominent role in creating the political career of a former seminary resident in New York who had just become Premier of South Vietnam, Ngo Dinh Diem. In Diem, Spellman had seen the qualities he desired in any leader: ardent [Roman] Catholicism and rabid anti-Communism.

Cardinal Spellman had met Diem in New York in 1950, when the Vietnamese had been at the Maryknoll Seminary in Ossining, New York. A staunch [Roman] Catholic from a patrician family, Diem was at the seminary at the intercession of his brother, Ngo Din Thuc, a Roman Catholic bishop. A lay celibate and deeply religious, Diem had cut himself off from the world, especially his war-shredded nation, and had been known only to a small, politically active circle in the United States. In his homeland his name had hardly evoked enthusiasm. On an official level in the United States, Diem was an unknown quantity, a situation Spellman helped rectify. Diem's background meant that he inevitably came to the attention of Spellman.

The man responsible for bringing them together was Father Fred McGuire, the anti-McCarthy Vincentian who worked for the Propagation of the Faith. A former missionary to Asia, McGuire's intimate knowledge of the Far East was well known at the State Department. One day the priest was asked by Dean Rusk, then head of the Asian section, to see that Bishop Thuc, who was coming to the United States, met with State Department officials, McGuire recalled. Rusk also expressed an interest in meeting Diem."35



McGuire contacted his old friend Bishop Griffiths, who was still Spellman's foreign affairs expert. He asked that Thuc be properly received by the Cardinal, which he was. For the occasion Diem came to the Cardinal's residence from the seminary. The meeting between Spellman and Diem may well have been a historic one. Joseph Buttinger, a prominent worker with refugees in Vietnam, believed the Cardinal was the first American to consider that Diem might go home as the leader of South Vietnam."

In October 1950 the Vietnamese brothers met in Washington at the Mayflower Hotel with State Department officials, including Rusk. Diem and Thuc were accompanied by McGuire as well as by three political churchmen who were working to stop Communism: Father Emmanuel Jacque, Bishop Howard Carroll, and Georgetown's Edmund Walsh. The purpose of the meeting was to ask the brothers about their country and determine their political beliefs. It soon became clear that both Diem and Thuc believed that Diem was destined to rule his nation. The fact that Vietnam's population was only ten percent Catholic mattered little as far as the brothers were concerned." Such a step seemed unlikely. Before World War II Diem had been a civil servant connected loosely with nationalists. Later, he repeatedly refused to accept government offices under Emperor Bao Dai; the job he wanted was Prime Minister, but that had been denied him.

As Diem spoke during the dinner, his two most strongly held positions were readily apparent. He believed in the power of the [Roman] Catholic Church and he was virulently anti-Communist. The State Department officials must have been impressed. Concerned about Vietnam since Truman first made a financial commitment to helping the French there, they were always on the lookout for strong, anti-Communist leaders as the French faded.

After Dienbienphu, Eisenhower wanted to support a broader-based government than that of Emperor Bao Dai, who enjoyed little popular support and had long been considered a puppet of the French and the Americans. Thus U.S. officials wanted a nationalist in high office in South Vietnam to blunt some of Ho Chi Minh's appeal. The result was that Bao Dai offered Diem the job he had always wanted-Prime Minister. Diem's self-proclaimed prophecy was coming true. He returned to Saigon on June 26, 1954, or several weeks after the arrival of Edward Lansdale, the chief of the C.I.A.'s Saigon Military Mission, who was in charge of unconventional warfare. U.S. involvement entered a new stage.



Spellman's Vietnam stance was in accordance with the wishes of the Pope. Malachi Martin, a former Jesuit who worked at the Vatican during the years of the escalating U.S. commitment to Vietnam, said the Pope wanted the United States to back Diem because the Pope had been influenced by Diem's brother, Archbishop Thuc.

Thus Spellman embarked on a carefully orchestrated campaign to prop up the Diem regime. Through the press and a Washington lobby, the problems of confronting anti-Communism in Indochina became widely known in America. One of the men Spellman aided in promoting the Diem cause was Buttinger, a former Austrian Socialist who headed the international Rescue Committee, an organization that had helped refugees flee Communism after World War II and now helped people fleeing North Vietnam.

The Geneva Accords provided that people moving between the north and south should have three hundred days in which to do so. The refugee problems were enormous. When he visited New York, Buttinger met with Spellman and explained the situation. The Cardinal placed him in touch with Joe Kennedy, who arranged meetings for Buttinger with the editorial boards of major publications such as Time and the Herald Tribune. Editorials sympathetic to the plight of refugees fleeing Ho Chi Minh's Vietnam began appearing in the American press.

Spellman and Kennedy also helped form a pro-Diem lobby in Washington. The rallying cries were anti-Communism and [Roman] Catholicism. Through their connections, they soon had a high-powered committee, which was a lumpy blend of intellectuals and conservatives.

Two men of national prominence, the former O.S.S. chief "Wild Bill" Donovan and General "Iron Mike" O'Daniel, were co-chairmen.

The membership included Senators [John F.] Kennedy and Richard Neuberger; Representatives Emmanuel Celler and Edna Kelly; and Angier Biddle Duke, Arthur Schlesinger, Jr., Max Lerner, socialist leader Norman Thomas, and conservative Utah Governor Bracken Lee.

Spellman's man on the board was Monsignor Harnett, who headed the Cardinal's Catholic Near East Welfare Association and now served as the Vietnam lobby's chief link with the Catholic Relief Services.

To a large extent, many Americans came to believe that Vietnam was a preponderantly [Roman] Catholic nation. This misimpression resulted partly from Diem's emergence as ruler. With the help of C.I.A.- rigged elections in 1955, Diem abolished the monarchy and Bao Dai was forced to live in exile. The heavily [Roman] Catholic hue to the Vietnam lobby also accounted for much of the widespread belief. Still another factor was [Cardinal] Spellman's identification with the cause.



Then there was the role of a winsome young [Roman] Catholic doctor working in Vietnam named Tom Dooley. A navy lieutenant who operated out of Haiphong, Dooley worked with refugees. At one point Dooley, a favorite of Spellman, even organized thirty-five thousand Vietnamese Catholics to demand evacuation from the north. Dooley's efforts were perhaps even more successful in the United States than in Vietnam. He churned out newspaper and magazine articles as well as three bestselling books that propagandized both the [Roman] Catholic and anti-Communist nature of his beliefs.

He fabricated stories about the suffering of Catholics at the hands of perverted Communists who beat naked priests on the testicles with clubs, deafened children with chopsticks to prevent them from hearing about God, and disemboweled pregnant women. A graduate of Notre Dame in Indiana, Dooley toured the United States promoting his books and anti-Communism before he died, in 1964, at age thirtyfour. One of the last people to visit his sickbed was Cardinal Spellman, who held up the young physician as an inspiration for all - another martyr. Dooley's reputation remained untarnished until a Roman Catholic sainthood investigation in 1979 uncovered his C.I.A. ties."

Dooley had helped the C.I.A. destabilize North Vietnam through his refugee programs. The Catholics who poured into South Vietnam provided Diem with a larger political constituency and were promised U.S.-supported assistance in relocating. The American public largely believed that most Vietnamese were terrified of the cruel and bloodthirsty Viet Minh and looked to the God-fearing Diem for salvation. Many refugees simply feared retaliation because they had supported the French.

Within his first year in office, however, Diem became so closely identified with the United States that American officials grew worried about his effectiveness. This became apparent when Spellman had Harnett arrange travel plans for him to Vietnam. The monsignor contacted General L. Collins, head of U.S. military operations in Vietnam. When he heard of Spellman's proposed visit, the general became concerned. He cabled Foster Dulles that the Cardinal's presence would encourage propaganda within Vietnam that Diem was "an American puppet....... The fact that both Diem and the Cardinal are Catholic would give opportunity for false propaganda charges that the U.S. is exerting undue influence on Diem." The general noted, however, that if Spellman came he could serve a useful purpose, "dramatizing once more the great exodus of refugees from the North, the greater part of whom are Catholics." He concluded, though, "I think it would be wiser if he did not come."40

Spellman wasn't about to be put off. The Pope had asked him to intervene and he wanted to see the situation firsthand. His physical presence in Saigon, he knew, would place him and the Church firmly in Diem's camp in the public mind. When Spellman arrived at the Saigon airport, he was greeted by a wildly cheering crowd of about five thousand. The sixty-seven-year-old prelate was once again dressed in the army khaki attire that he loved to wear in military zones.



Spellman's propagandizing of the [Roman] Catholic nature of Diem's regime reinforced a negative image of the [Roman Catholic] Church's position in Vietnam. The sectarian nature of Diem's government and the problems of that government were noted by the writer Graham Greene, himself a Catholic, in a dispatch from Saigon printed in the London Sunday Times on April 24, 1955:

During his visit Spellman presented a check for $100,000 to the [Roman] Catholic Relief Services, which was active in the refugee-relocation program and later administered a great deal of the U.S. aid program, which closely bound the CRS to the U.S. war effort and later led to the suspicion that the CRS had C.I.A. ties. Turning to the [Roman Catholic] Church to perform such a function was done in Latin America, among other places, but in Vietnam it eventually seemed to bear out Graham Greene's warnings that the [Roman Catholic] Church and the United States were being tied to a cause unpopular among Vietnamese.

The potential for corruption in Vietnam was tremendous and also harmed the CRS's reputation. Drew Pearson estimated that in 1955 alone, the Eisenhower administration pumped more than $20 million in aid into Vietnam for the [Roman] Catholic refugees. Though it did a great deal of good, the CRS eventually encountered a great deal of resentment. Unavoidably, there was much graft and corruption involved in getting food, medical supplies, and other goods from ships to villages. By 1976 the National Catholic Reporter, a hard-nosed weekly newspaper, reported apparent CRS abuses in articles such as one entitled



The abuses cited included using supplies as a means of proselytizing; giving only Catholics aid meant for everyone; being identified with the military; and giving CRS goods to American and Vietnamese soldiers rather than to the civilians for whom the goods were meant.41

Moreover, there was much speculation that the CRS leadership in Vietnam had C.I.A. links, although this was never proved.

Long before the National Catholic Reporter began its investigations, both the U.S. government and Spellman backed away from the increasingly arrogant and difficult Diem, who, by the early 1960s, lost support among his people almost daily. Buddhists held massive protest marches against the government and clashed in the streets on occasion with Catholics. Finally, on November 2, 1963, Diem was assassinated during a C.I.A.-inspired coup d'etat.

Two years after the assassination, Spellman told of his knowledge of Kennedy's involvement to Dorothy Schiff, the Post publisher, who again visited him at the chancery. According to her notes:

The publisher was amazed by the revelation, but there was nothing she could do with the information. Once again, she had promised not to reveal what she heard at the Powerhouse. Shortly before the coup Spellman disassociated himself from Diem. When Bishop Thuc [ Diem's brother .... JP ] visited New York, Spellman refused to see him, and he personally asked Bishop Fulton Sheen not to receive Thuc as well. Spellman and Sheen were feuding. Sheen disregarded Spellman's request and had Thuc to lunch while Spellman simmered.

Though Spellman backed away from Diem, he didn't turn his back on Vietnam any more than the U.S. government did. The Cardinal became one of the most hawkish, arguably the most hawkish, leaders in the United States. By 1965 he clashed with the Pope, who desperately tried to bring peace in Vietnam as Spellman pounded the drums of war.

[papacy plays the role of "peacemaker" after getting USA into the war in Vietnam on the side of the Roman Catholic ruling class .... JP]




SPELLMAN EXPECTED DEFERENTIAL TREATMENT NOT ONLY from legions of politicians and millions of laymen but also from members of the hierarchy. Indisputably, he did more for the Church than all the rest of the American hierarchy combined.

His cleverness, contacts, and persistence enabled the Vatican to play a forceful international role, after centuries of limited political power. Spellman was the indispensable source of riches and favors for churchmen in both Rome and America. The Pope depended on Spellman and the Cardinal could get whatever he wanted. At times it seemed impossible to tell where the power of the one left off and that of the other began. It was clear that in America Spellman was the Church's kingmaker. He bestowed the title "monsignor" with the regularity of a commander making battlefield promotions, and he made many bishops in his busy, modern court. If anything, Spellman's power increased after Pius became ill.

The health of a pope is always taken seriously. When it appeared in December 1954 that Pius was dying, Spellman was continually on the telephone to Rome. He had visited the Pope months earlier when Pius was first suffering from violent bouts of hiccuping that left him exhausted and unable to hold food down. Spellman sat by his old friend's side in the Pope's bedroom, with its two windows overlooking St. Peter's Square and its simple furnishings--a brass bed, a chest of

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