NOTE: A lot of nonsense is written about all the North Vietnamese
who moved to the South between 1954 and 1956. Here is the
well-researched background evidence from Peter Brush, a Vietnam Vet
and excellent researcher on the Vietnam War. -- Grover Furr


Facts *don't* speak for itself.

The number of people going North was held to a small total by
order of the Viet Minh, who wanted its sympathizers to remain
in the south to prepare for the elections that had been promised.

The bulk of those going South fell into two groups -- dependents
of the colonial native arny (200,000) and Catholics (670,000).

Catholic communities in the north had a special status under the
French. They raised militia units that fought beside the French
and against the Viet Minh. With the collaspe of French rule, these
Catholic communities feared reprisals under the Viet Minh.

The US paid Diem $89 each for each Catholic refugee. At that time,
the per capita income in SVN was $85. The US 7th Fleet assisted
the French navy in hauling them from north to south.

Whole villages were moved, with their leadership generally intact.
For the first two years of the resettlement program most of these
Catholics were supported by US relief programs. The whole thing
was a welfare program tailored to meet the needs of a minority
group by a minority leader and it grated on the non-Catholic

The whole affair provided the US with a good public relations tool.
Dr. Dooley called the 17th parallel "the rim of Hell" with "Demons
of Communism stalking outside and now holding the upper half of
the country in their strangling grip." Dooley's heroes were the
Vietnamese who fought on the side of the colonialists against the
majority of their countrymen.

One month after Geneva, the CIA concluded: "If the scheduled
national elections are held in July 1956, and if the Viet Minh
does not prejudice its political prospects, the Viet Minh will
almost certainly win."

The Viet Minh would then take power in the south by peaceful
and legal means. The US and GVN therefore refused to hold the
promised elections.

Catholics were trustworthy opponents of the Viet Minh. But by
embracing them, Diem planted the seeds for the anti-Catholic
demonstrations that led to the fall of his government. Diem
gave the Catholics preferential treatment in land distribution,
relief and assistance, commercial and export-import licenses,
government employment, and other government generosity financed
by the US. They came to fill almost all important civilian and military
positions. The 80% of SVN's population who were either practicing
or nominal Buddhists created a smoldering resentment.

Peter Brush