Was it murder or martyrdom?

SAN FRANCISCO – Monday, the Feast of All Souls, is the anniversary of the assassination of Ngo Dinh Diem, the first president of the Republic of Vietnam, who possessed the Confucian “Mandate of Heaven,” a moral and political authority that was widely recognized by all Vietnamese. What is not commonly known is that Diem was a devout Roman Catholic — in fact, he was a third-order Benedictine and daily communicant. Diem was taken down by a military coup sponsored by the U.S. government and ultimately betrayed by the administration of the first Catholic President, which resulted in his brutal murder on Nov. 2, 1963.

Ignatius Press has announced it will publish what is likely to become the definitive work on this subject titled THE LOST MANDATE OF HEAVEN: The American Betrayal of Ngo Dinh Diem, President of Vietnam on December 1, 2015. Detailing significant revelations and exposés, military historian and counter insurgency expert Dr. Geoffrey DT Shaw disputes the commonly held notion that Diem was a tyrant who had lost the loyalty of his people, and who ultimately the Kennedy administration had to assassinate to further American progress during the Vietnam War. In fact, what he discovered buried in the annals of American History and revealed in the eyewitness accounts of military, intelligence and diplomatic sources is that Diem was a gentle, faithful and beloved leader —a man with rare integrity, a patriot who strove to free his country from Western colonialism while protecting it from Communism.

Admiral John M Poindexter describes THE LOST MANDATE OF HEAVEN as “a remarkable book that finally sets the record straight with copious documentation on the assassination of Diem, which was ultimately responsible for our loss of the war. A must read.”

Shaw claims that President John F. Kennedy’s decision to order the coup that killed Diem was fueled by anti-religious bigotry, caused a public relations disaster for his administration and led to the United States losing the Vietnam War, a war it wouldn’t have lost had it continued to support Diem.

“Did I find a veritable Conradian ‘Heart of Darkness?’” questions Shaw. “Yes, I did, but it was not in the quarter to which all popular American sources were pointing their accusatory fingers; in other words, not in Saigon but, paradoxically, within the Department of State back in Washington, D.C., and within President Kennedy’s closest White House advisory circle. The actions of these men led to Diem’s murder. And with his death, nine and a half years of careful work and partnership between the United States and South Vietnam was undone.”

Former Georgetown professor, James V. Schall, S.J., calls Shaw’s account, “Particularly agonizing for Americans” and states unequivocally, “the final Vietnam defeat was not really on battle grounds, but on political and moral grounds.”


Since Monday is the anniversary of Diem’s death, Dr. Geoffrey DT Shaw will make himself available for some limited interviews in advance of the book’s release in December. To schedule an interview with Shaw: