Tran Van Huong

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Tran Van Huong was a South Vietnamese civilian politician, a Catholic, who held a variety of offices. Soon after Ngo Dinh Diem became President in 1954, Huong became Mayor of Saigon, but later resigned over differences with Diem. Clearly not a Diem loyalist, he still said "the top generals that who decided to murder President Diem and his brother were scared to death...[the generals]...having no talent, nor moral virtues, and no popular support whatsoever, they could not present a spectacular comeback of the President and Mr. Nhu if they were alive."[1]

The theme of morality recurs in Huong's comments. Returning to the mayoralty in 1964, he was unenthused about significant opposition, saying "there must be public order and must be public discipline."[2]

Nguyen Khanh, while holding no official position, still had effective control of the High Legislative Council, which named Huong as Prime Minister, along with Phan Khac Suu as President, in October 1964. In response to Buddhist protests in December, he declared martial law. Buddhists objected to his role, on the grounds that his government, containing a large number of civil servants, was "not revolutionary" and had "vestiges of the Diem regime."[3] Huong refused, explaining: "They all want my job. If I had satisfied all their demands, my Cabinet would have numbered over a hundred."

Taylor, also in January 1965, observed "We can probably compromise the current governmental crisis in a way which will salvage Huong but will leave him pretty much under military domination. If Huong goes, he will probably be followed by some kind of military government..." [4]The Nguyen Van Thieu-Nguyen Cao Ky group, shut down the High Legislative Council. Nevertheless, they eventually formed the Armed Forces Council, kept him in office until January 1965, when they forced him out and gave control back to Khanh. [5]

When he ran for President in 1967, he finished fourth, but gained status. He said he would be willing to sit down and negotiate with the NLF if he were certain that it would assure "genuine peace and freedom", a position not appealing to Thieu and Ky. [6] He was Prime Minister again, from May–August 1969. He also served as vice president under President Nguyen Van Thieu.

During the preliminary discussions of the Paris Peace Talks, Le Duc Tho repeatedly demanded the "Thieu-Ky-Huong" group be replaced as part of non-negotiable preconditions for negotiations. [7]

Almost at the end of the war, President Nguyen Van Thieu resigned and Huong became president, who himself resigned a week later, making Duong Van Minh the final president.


  1. Moyar, Mark (2006), Triumph Forsaken, Cambridge University Press, p. 273
  2. Moyar, pp. 333-334
  3. "Reprise from the Pagodas", Time, December 4, 1964
  4. Taylor, Maxwell (January 6, 1965), Telegram From the Embassy in Vietnam to the Department of State/1/, vol. Foreign Relations of the United States, 1964-1968 Volume II, Vietnam January-June 1965, FRUS9
  5. Karnow, Stanley (1983), Vietnam, a History, Viking Press,pp. 381-384
  6. "New Premier", Time, May 24, 1968
  7. Henry Kissinger (1973), Ending the Vietnam War: A history of America's Involvement in and Extrication from the Vietanam War, Simon & Schuster, p. 89