1955

The US helps arrange a national referendum between Vietnamese Prime Minister Ngo Dinh Diệm (who repudiates the 1954 Geneva Accords) and Emperor Bao Dai. Diệm ‘wins’ 98.2 percent of the vote.

February 12 Training Relations and Instruction Mission (TRIM) – a special section within MAAG — assumes responsibility for training Vietnamese forces

February 22 Representatives of the Cao Dai, Hoa Hao, Dan Xa, Lien Minh and Binh Xuyen confessional forces (religious sects) meet at Tây Ninh and agree to form a “United Front” against Prime Minister Diệm. Over the next few months, the Diệm regime begins to consolidate its position and is able to defeat this “United Front.”

March 2 In Cambodia Prince Norodom Sihanouk abdicates his throne as King in favor of his parents. This opens the way for his entry into politics as the national leader of a socialist political party, the Sangkum Reastr Niyum (People’s Socialist Community). For Sihanouk and many political activists in Cambodia this represents a centrist path between the political right of the Democratic Party and Communist controlled Pracheachon to the left. A few months later, he takes the post of Prime Minister, after having obtained an overwhelming victory in the parliamentary elections on September 1955.

April 28 Edward Lansdale, head of the Sài Gòn Military Mission, sends a telegram to Washington arguing that the Diệm government represents a better chance for success than any other it will be possible to form in South Vietnam.

Mid May South Vietnam formally requests U.S. instructors for its army, the Army of the Republic of Vietnam (ARVN).

July 6 Ngô Đình Diệm repudiates the Geneva Agreements and refuses to plan for nationwide elections.

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