Paul Kattenburg


Born in Austria in 1922, Paul Kattenburg immigrated to the United States in 1940 and earned degrees at the University of North Carolina (B.S.), Georgetown University (M.A.), and Yale (Ph.D.). Between 1952 and 1956 he served in the State Department as an Indochina research analyst and between 1963 and 1964 as Vietnam desk officer. At a meeting of the National Security Council on August 31, 1963, Paul Kattenburg became the first known American official to propose withdrawal from Vietnam. He had traveled to South Vietnam many times on State Department business in the 1950s and early 1960s, and he became convinced that the regime of Ngo Dinh Diem would never survive and that the Vietcong would ultimately prevail. His recommendation was summarily rejected by Dean Rusk and Robert McNamara, and Kattenburg was promptly cut off from the advisory-decision-making process on Vietnam. After he left public service, Kattenburg became the Charles L. Jacobsen Professor of Public Affairs at the University of South Carolina.


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