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Praise for Hitler by Viet Nam Premier Explained by Spokesman

An official spokesman for Premier Nguyen Gao Ky confirmed today that the South Viet Namese leader had praised certain of Adolf Hitler’s qualities. The British Ambassador to Viet Nam, Gordon Etherington-Smith, had raised a question with Gen. Ky because of British indignation over the reported assertions in which Gen. Ky lauded Hitler as his personal “hero.”

Gen. Ky’s spokesman said the Premier had intended only to voice admiration for Hitler’s qualities of leadership and that he did not intend to praise the Nazi leader in all respects. The spokesman noted that “nobody can forget the inhuman methods he (Hitler) used during the Second World War.”

The original statement of Gen. Ky said that “I admire Hitler because he pulled his country together when it was in a terrible state in the early 1930’s. But the situation here is so desperate that one man would not be enough. We need four or five Hitlers in Viet Nam.” (Officials in Washington have sought to explain that the American-backed Viet Namese Premier admires Hitler as his ideal of a dynamic nationalist leader and anti-Communist fighter but does not necessarily identify with Hitler’s anti-Jewish policies.)

The British Ambassador in Saigon confirmed that Gen. Ky expressed the “idea that Viet Nam needed above all a sense of discipline in order to face the criminal aggression of the Communists.” It was in this connection that Gen. Ky saw merit in Hitler and the Nazi philosophy.

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