SAIGON, June 16.
DRESIDENT NGO DINH IDIEM of Vietnam this week assured all Vietnamese that Buddhist rights were supported by the Constitution and therefore by himself. His statement, in one of his rare radio broadcasts, followed an incident in which a Buddhist monk committed suicide by burning himself alive in protest against alleged discrimination.
The suicide took place in a crowded street little more than a mile from the cathedral, where a Requiem Mass for Pope John was being celebrated.
"I solemnly declare." the President stated. "that Buddhism in this country has the constitution behind it and that means myself."
The Presidentiblamed "extremist propaganda" for hindering a settlement between his committee of three Cabinet ministers, which includes two Buddhists and one Catholic. The President himself is a Catholic.
The suicide was the latest in a series of demonstrations being organised by the "General Buddhist Association" and aimed at having five particular requests granted.
Two of these demands are definite, and relate to permission to fly the Buddhist flag from private houses and without the national flag on Buddhist festivals, and punishment for whoever was responsible for the deaths of eight persons in an earlier incident. The other three complaints alien discrimination in general terms.