Michigan State University Advisory Group (MSUAG)



Headed by Wesley Fishel, the Michigan State University Advisory Group (MSUAG) contracted with the South Vietnamese government to train civil servants, civil guards, and police, reforming the National Administration Institute along American lines, reorganizing Ngo Dinh Diem's administration, studying social problems, and issuing reports and recommendations to South Vietnamese and American policymakers. The MSUAG operated between 1954 and 1961. Fishel was a formidable supporter of Ngo Dinh Diem. Given to social science lingo, Fishel extracted democratic principles from practically all of Diem's oppressive and authoritarian actions and claimed that the internal Communist threat left Diem no choice. Limitations in South Vietnam's exercise of democracy were explained away with such assertions as the "people of Southeast Asia are not, generally speaking, sufficiently sophisticated to understand what we mean by democracy." According to Fishel, South Vietnam needed tough leadership, not democracy. He defended corruption on the grounds that all Asian governments were corrupt. Early in the 1960s, the program was dissolved when Michigan State University refused to control returning scholars who openly criticized the South Vietnamese government.


VietnamWar.net

VietnamWar.net
http://www.vietnamwar.net