~ Le ViÍt Nam, aujourd'hui. ~
The Vietnam News

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Nguyen Ton Hoan, former South Vietnam deputy premier, 84

Nguyen Ton Hoan, a Vietnamese leader who opposed communism and French rule, and briefly served as deputy premier of South Vietnam, died Saturday in Mountain View. He was 84. Mr. Nguyen founded the Dai Viet, or Greater Vietnam Party in 1939 and worked to establish a democratic Vietnam. He served under head of state Bao Dai, who was appointed by the French in 1949, before he left and eventually settled in Paris. He returned to Saigon in 1964 to serve as prime minister after pro Dai Viet officers overthrew Maj. Gen. Duong Van Minh. But when Mr. Nguyen arrived, Maj. Gen. Nguyen Khanh had assumed the role of premier with the backing of the United States. Instead, Mr. Nguyen became the first deputy premier overseeing pacification efforts in the countryside.

But Mr. Nguyen, who had attempted to establish land reform, free elections and anti-corruption programs, quickly butted heads with the new government. He resigned eight months later and left for France. A year later, Mr. Nguyen disagreed with President Charles De Gaulle over France's Vietnam policies and moved to the United States. He went on to lecture at military complexes, open a Vietnamese restaurant and continued to push for a democratic Vietnam.

Born in Tay Ninh in South Vietnam in 1917, Mr. Nguyen studied medicine at the University of Hanoi. He is credited with introducing table tennis to Vietnam while serving as minister of youth and sports under Bao Dai. Mr. Nguyen is survived by wife, two sons and two daughters.

By Ryan Kim - The San Francisco Chronicles - September 27, 2001.