World Food Prize Ambassador Quinn
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THE ARCHIVE OF AMBASSADOR KENNETH M. QUINN
FROM THE MISSISSIPPI TO THE MEKONG
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On the Ground with the Weyand Mission

20/3/75

Amb. Quinn details a conversation with a South Vietnamese cabinet member who, because they were related by marriage, reveals to him that president Thiu was “frozen with fear” and thus unable to issue orders. Other conversations with both American and Vietnamese contacts reinforce his perception of the increasingly desperate situation and widespread fear. This distress is compounded by a report that one of his brothers in law and ARVN Ranger had just been killed in battle while defending Saigon, and with a second missing in action in the chaotic retreat by South Vietnamese forces. With the South Vietnamese government rounding up any young men it can put in uniform which could affect a third brother in law, he has to tell his wife back in Washington that most of her male siblings could be wiped out. A visit with the U.S. military analysts allows him to see the North Vietnamese “order-of-battle” which displayed on a huge map the location of all of Hanoi's forces deployed to the South. It is at that moment that Amb. Quinn says that he realized the total hopelessness of the badly outnumbered South Vietnamese forces and how the end of the war depended only on when the North Vietnamese leadership decided to launch its final all-out attack. He privately shares this deeply pessimistic view with General Weyand with whom he had previously worked at MAC-V Headquarters three years earlier, but then has to try to convince a skeptical Amb. Martin about the hopelessness of the situation.

© 2020 World Food Prize Ambassador Quinn. All rights reserved.