On the night of June 10, 1963, Malcolm W. Browne, an American correspondent for the Associated Press stationed in Saigon, received a phone call from a Buddhist monk named Thich Duc Nghiep, who advised him to attend an important event the following morning. Browne had lived in Vietnam for two years and knew well the background to the invitation. In his memoir he describes how he had observed the gradual erosion of the popular support for South Vietnam’s fi rst President, Ngo Dinh Diem, who many Vietnamese held responsible for the escalating American presence in the early 1960s. 1 Diem and his family were Catholics, and his presidency was widely believed to favor Catholics for jobs in higher offi ce, in spite of the fact that the population was overwhelmingly Buddhist. A month earlier, a demonstration in Hue on the ceremonial birthday of the Buddha (May 8, 1963) had been brutally brought to a stop when eight demonstrators had been killed and dozens injured. Browne understood that the members of the foreign press were summoned on June 10 to report internationally on the Diem regime, and that an event was being staged for this very purpose.