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Ngo Dinh Diem history - lịch sử Việt Nam Ngô Đình Diệm Ngô Đình Nhu

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Coup Generals

Incident of Buddhist flag - US involvement - Coup Generals (8) 

Coup d'etat

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According to Commander Nguyen Van Y (Nguye^~n Va<n Y), former director of Police and Security, informed that there is abnormal military mobilization he tells it to Mr Nhu, but the latter answers, "That is our plan".

Later, people know that Mr Nhu deploys two plans called Bravo 1 and Bravo 2. In Bravo 1, some loyal troups will organize a faked coup d'etat to trick rebellious generals to appear; then Messrs. Diem-Nhu will go to Vung Tau to hide away. Knowing who are betrayers, they will come back to re-establish order. Mr Nhu assigns General Ton That Dinh to to be in charge, not knowing that Dinh is also a betrayer. When Mr Nhu phones Dinh many times without an answer, he knows that Dinh has taken the other side. At that moment, it is too late.

According to General Tran Van Don, Mr Nhu appoints Dinh to execute Bravo 1 against the coup d'etat with a force of 3,000 soldiers, 40 armored cars and six special regiments with Dinh as head, Le Quang Tung and Nguyen Ngoc Khoi as vice-heads. On 31/11/1963, General Dinh meets Tung and Khoi to discuss about the job .

At mid-day of 1/11/1963, Tran Thien Khiem invites all high-ranked military loyal and disloyal to the General Staff Headquarter for a lunch. When they are all at place, General Duong Van Minh stands up and yells :"Coup d'etat". Next, the military police with submachine guns enter and encircle them.

The officers loyal to Mr Diem's government like Air Force Commander, Marines Commander were arrested by lower-ranked soldiers . Colonel Ho Tan Quyen (Ho^` Ta^'n Quye^`n), Navy Commander, has been tricked by his rebellious officers who invited him for a meal and killed him in a rubber plantation. Colonel Le Quang Tung, head of the Special Force, and his younger brother, lieutenant-colonel Khoi are forced before guns to let Mr Diem know that all important areas are usurped so that Messrs. Diem-Nhu should surrender. After that, they are led by escorts of General Duong Van Minh to the backyard of the General Staff Headquarter, shot to death and buried in two previously dug holes.

The coup instigators have two battalions of Marines with red scarves transported by armored cars from Bien Hoa to cease Tan Son Nhat airport, Navy Headquarter and its workshop, Defense ministry, General Office of Police and Security, Post-office, but when coming to the Radio Station they are stopped by strong resistance. Until 3h30, they cease the station. The fight is fierce at the fort Cong Hoa (tha`nh Co^.ng Ho`a) where there is a group to protect the presidential palace.

General Tran Van Don writes in his diary about Mr Do Mau, the man self-claiming as decisive plotter as follows :

"After I let Do Mau know the time of the operation by saying :"The decisive time is coming; you must stay next to me. Because you specialize in politics, I want you to help two generals Le Van Kim and Nguyen Van Chieu at the operating office." I suggest to bring Mau to Kim's office, but Mau wants to use his jeep. When I arrive, Mau is not there. Captain S. has to force Mau to come back when he see Mau use the back door of the General Staff Headquarter; this gives me some suspicion. I will talk later about this matter. I hand Mau to Kim and Chieu. From then onwards, Mau never leaves us."

Is that Mr Do Mau wakes up and doesn't want to participate in the coup ? Mr Do Mau never talks about this matter.

The coup generals call for Mr Diem to surrender, but he declines to do so. At 4 pm, Mr Nguyen Tran hear Mr Duong Van Minh talk on the radio :"Compatriots. Please listen to the president's words." But next is silence. After the coup, I know that Mr Diem goes to the corridor of the presidential palace to announce his resignation, but Mr Nhu stops him and says :"Your doing that will kill my wife and me." Hearing that, Mr Diem steps back to his palace.

Mr Diem calls Mr Tran Thien Khiem by phone, but the answer :"President, it's time for the army to meet the wish of the people."

Mr Diem taxes generals with not displaying their ideas clearly, but using violence. He invites them to the palace to have a straight talk. Afraid of a trick, Tran Van Don backs it down.

Duong Van Minh calls for Mr Diem's surrender for a second time; if Mr Diem rejects, he will flatten the Gia-Long Palace. However, Mr Diem hangs the phone. This makes Duong Van Minh shameful before other generals.

U.S. News and Reports writes that there are no generals and officers to step forward to attack the palace; this shows that Mr Diem is "still a man of prestige so great that no one would like to bear a disgrace to assault directly Mr Diem." At last, the coup generals assigned Colonel Nguyen Van Thieu, commander of the 5th Infantry, a Catholic and as seen "loyal" to Mr Diem during the Buddhist crisis, as the first man to attack Mr Diem. They want to watch a Catholic attack a Catholic president.

Last minutes between Mr Diem and Cabot Lodge

On 1/11/1963, Tran Van Don makes up another trick by insisting Pacific Commander Admiral Harry D. Felt going with Lodge to visit Mr Diem so that Don can hold Mr Diem back in Saigon instead of going to Dalat. Don also persuades Lodge not to return to Washington on 31/10/1963 because he is afraid that the Gia-Long Palace will have some suspicion.

Ton That Thien, press secretary of Mr Diem, cites that every time Admiral Felt wants to stand up and leave, Lodge puts many questions so that Mr Diem must talk to him. Until 12 pm, Felt leaves, but Lodge and his assistant Flott stay with Mr Diem. The secret file from the White House records Mr Diem's words clearly that :"Please tell President Kennedy that I am a good and frank ally, that I would rather be frank and settle questions now than talk about them later when we lose everything. Tell President Kennedy that I take all the suggestions very seriously and wish to carry them out, but it is a question of timing."

Recognizing that is a progress, Lodge telegraphs to Washington :"If U.S. wants to resolve the matter thoroughly, we can do it now. Please see Diem's announcement of releasing all Buddhists and students."

Two days before, 29/10/1963, Mr Diem recalled cultural advisor at the Vietnamese embassy in Washington Tran Van Dinh (Tra^`n Va<n DDi~nh). He told Dinh to go back to Washington to hold a press conference on 1/11/1963 with the announcement : In few days, there will be an agreement between the Vietnamese government and ambassador Cabot Lodge about a better method to suppress the insurgency of communists. These measures will aim at using more effectively the military and economic aid, creating an administrative structure at the central and provincial level. In brief, it's a change in policy and personnel."

After the suggested press conference, Dinh would go to New Delhi to meet high-ranked officials from Hanoi. Written about this, doctor Hammer says that it may be Hanoi wants to do trading with the South and stop intrusion because Hanoi was caught in between in the dispute of China and USSR. It is sure that Dinh wouldn't organize the press conference because of the difference of 12-hour timing between Washington and Saigon.

Mr Diem's words to Lodge are very important and can change totally the situation, including the ending of the war and release of Buddhist demonstrators. Mr Diem's suggestion of a change in policy and personnel is to meet totally demands of Kennedy and it's is an utmost yielding which is rarely seen in a man like Mr Diem. However, Lodge's telegram is just of second priority not an urgent one like the time when Lodge informs about the coup d'etat to Washington. When the words from Mr Diem come to Washington, the news about the coup d'etat has been known for many hours. Kennedy and Lodge are at fault not to stop the coup d'etat and let the political and military situation in Vietnam decline and that has been warned by some advisors of Kennedy.

Mr Diem's words to Lodge is 1h30 before the coup d'etat occurs and the plot can be stopped in time to wait for the order from Washington because Lodge's duty is to organize the coup d'etat when Mr Diem doesn't accept the demands of Washington.

According to Lodge's report to Washington, at 4h30 pm (the coup d'etat is at 1h30 pm) of 1/11/1963, after refusing twice to surrender, Mr Diem phones Lodge to ask about Washington's attitude towards the coup d'etat in response to what he has said to Lodge. Lodge says that he hears the gunshots, but he doesn't know what happens.

"You should have a general idea about my responses. I am head of a country. I did try to do my duty and I believe in that more than anybody else."

Lodge : "I am sure that president did your duty as I said this morning. I admire your courage and what you have done to your country. Now, I just concern about your life. I have been told that the plotters suggest to let you and your brother leave the country safely if you resign. Do you hear something like that ?"

Mr Diem : No...Do you have my phone number ?

Lodge : If thinking what I can do for you about your safety, phone me.

After that Lodge phones Father De Jaegher, Mr Diem's close friend, to have him persuaded Mr Diem to resign but he refuses to do so.

Lodge also phones bishop Astar, papal nuncio of the Vatican to have him advised Mr Diem to take refuge in the U.S. embassy, but there is no answer.

According to Michael Maclear in "The Ten Thousand Day War : 1945-1975", Mr Diem phones General Tran Van Don. Don says : Mr President. I am sorry for what has happened but what I ask you now is to be wise and understand the situation and a special plane is ready if you surrender without any conditions to carry you and your family out of Vietnam."

Tran Van Don puts many sins on Mr Diem before the coup d'etat to explain for his betrayal. To make the image of Mr Diem worse, he says that Mr Diem lost popular support, particularly among the peasantry which comprised 85% of the population, and Diem "began to be oppressive in his ambition. He would like to be King of Vietnam. He believed too much that God had ordered him to SVN with a mystic mission". These words are contrary to what Duong Van Minh admits when Minh is exiled to Bangkok.

According to Do Tho, around mid-afternoon of 1/11/1963, Colonel Lam Son brought officer cadres to protect the Gia-Long palace. The army of the 3rd Military Corps and Security at the camp Le Van Duyet arrive and encircle the General Staff Headquarter. They request Mr Diem to attack and this would make plot generals shake. But Mr Diem backs it down because he doesn't want a bloodbath. Do Tho also says that Messrs. Diem-Nhu leave the palace not "by a secret exit to escape from the palace" like written in many books (including Halberstam's one), but walk to the street Le Thanh Ton and use a car driven by Cao Xuan Vy, director of Thanh Nien Cong Hoa (Republic Youth), to Ma Tuyen's house, Mr Diem's friend, in Cholon, the Chinese quarter; Ma Tuyen is also a cadre of Thanh Nien Cong Hoa. They are well welcomed here. Both discuss to move to the church "Father Tam". There, they talk to Father Jean and attend the mass. Mr Nhu wants each to go to different place. Mr Diem will go to the West to see General Huynh Van Cao and Mr Nhu will go to the Central Highlands to be with General Nguyen Khanh. If one is arrested, plotters won't dare killing him because the other is still alive. Father Jean tells them to stay but they think that Father Jean will be in trouble.

(continued)

knguyen@emr.ca

A Death in November
Incident of Buddhist flag - US involvement - Coup Generals (5)

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Mr Diem disagrees with Mr Nhu's suggestion by saying : you are hated by them and they will kill you. Stay with me and I will protect you. We have lived with each other for many years. It's the critical time; we should not separate each other. Then, Mr Diem phones general Tran Van Khiem to tell him to get him home and phones all protecting force to stop resistance. Next, he tells Do Tho to let Tran Van Don know his whereabout. However, Duong Van Minh doesn't let Don and Khiem go to get Mr Diem, but orders general Mai Huu Xuan (who still hates Mr Diem because the latter has destroyed Binh Xuyen gang which Xuan had some connection; Mr Diem did not only remember about that connection but uses and promotes Xuan to the rank of general), Colonel Nguyen Van Quan, Colonel Duong Ngoc Lam, lieutenant-colonel Duong Hieu Nghia and captain Nguyen Van Nhung to organize a convoy to get Messrs. Diem-Nhu.

Do Tho is regretful that he didn't tell both to leave Saigon-Cho Lon because he believes that Do Mau, Tran Van Don and Tran Thien Khiem will protect the men. However, Mr Diem says to Do Tho that,"I don't know whether or not I will die and I don't care. Please tell Nguyen Khanh that I love him very much and request him to revenge for me."

Duong Ngoc Lam says that when the group go to the church "Father Tam" around 7 pm, Messrs. Diem-Nhu were already there. Mai Huu Xuan approaches them and say hello (some sources say that it's Nghia to do that while Xuan stands behind); thinking that he will be sent abroad, Mr Diem asks Xuan to drop by the palace to get clothing. Xuan answers that is impossible because he must bring Mr Diem to the General Headquarter. Mr Nhu asks : Get a president by this car (they are brought into an armored car) ? Xuan says it's because of security. Mr Diem steps in the armored car without saying a word. There is only one driver in the amored car. There are 4 cars before theirs. When the convoy runs for a while, young officers ask to shot Mr Nhu, but Duong Ngoc Lam says :"Nobody shots anybody; we must go to the general headquarter." The convoy stops at many places, especially at the railway crossing on Hong Thap Tu street. Arriving at the General Headquarter, Duong Ngoc Lam comes to the armored car M113 finding that the corpses of Messrs. Diem-Nhu lied on the ground : Their hands are tied to their backs; Mr Diem was shot from behind his head; Mr Nhu was stabbed many times on breast, back and shot on the head.

Later, Tran Van Don meets Duong Van Minh at the corridor of Tran Thien Khiem's office and asks why the two must die. Minh answers disdainfully :"Does that matter to me ? They were dead." Right at that moment, Mai Huu Xuan comes to say to Minh that "Mission Accomplie". Don concludes that Duong Van Minh ordered Mai Huu Xuan to kill them and that's only Minh to decide it alone."

Nguyen Van Quang is later promoted to the rank of general and before his death, says to Tran Van Don : "Diem-Nhu were killed at the railway gate on Hong Thap Tu street (Co^?ng xe lu+?a ddu+o+`ng Ho^`ng Tha^.p Tu+.) by two persons : Duong Hieu Nghia shot both men from the turret of the armored car M113 with an automatic pistol (pistolet mitrailleur); Nhung, in the car, used pistol and bayonet to finish the task..."

According to details Mai Huu Xuan lets Don know, Duong Van Minh orders Xuan to welcome Messrs. Diem-Nhu. They are in the car with Duong Hieu Nghia and Nhung. Xuan is in the car of Quan and Lam. The first and last civilian strongman and his advisor die on the road to the General Headquarter.

Tran Van Don says that Nguyen Van Nhung has been known a cruel man and loved to kill. Ba Cut (Ba Cu.t) has been beheaded by Duong Van Minh, but Minh still ordered to let Nhung dig his corps and cut it into many pieces. Every time to kill somebody, Nhung makes a mark on his pistol.

In a readjustment coup (cuo^.c chi?nh ly') of Nguyen Khanh (Nguyen^~n Kha'nh), general Duong Van Duc (Du+o+ng Va<n DDu+'c), in the night of 30/1/1964, arrests Nhung right before Duong Van Minh and Nguyen Ngoc Tho, but Minh dares not to protect Nhung. Nhung is handed to the paratrooper army of Nguyen Chanh Thi, tortured to death and declared he hangs himself.

(In "Government and Revolution in Vietnam" by Dennis J. Ducanson, Oxford University Press, 1968, p. 340 :

Death of the president - If things had not turned out quite as General Tran Tu Oai's tape recording had been repeating over the air the previous afternoon, Ngo Dinh Diem did nevertheless surrender by telephone to Joint General Staff Headquarter during the morning of 2/11/1963. He and his brother were collected by the commandant of the Civil Guard - oaths of personal loyalty, even Can Lao ones, were forgotten in this moment - and he consigned them to a Captain Nguyen Van Nhung with an armoured car. Later in the morning, the Captain delivered their corpses to the Generals, battered and shot. General Oai announced that they had committed suicide "inside the church"; the Captain was arrested shortly afterwards on a charge of corruption, and soon General Oai's staff were putting it about that he too had committed suicide, after confessing to the regicide.

In "Assassin in our time " by Sandy Lesberg, Peebles International, London, 1976, p. 142 :

The general in charge of bringing back the prisoners rode in one of the carriers and the prisoners in the other. A major who had a grudge against Nhu for having ordered the execution of one of his close friend accompanied the prisoners. An eyewitness report described the assassination which the generals at first called suicide then "accidental suicide".

Diem and Nhu sat with hands tied behind their backs. While Diem remained silent, the major lunged at Nhu with his bayonet and stabbed him 15 or 20 times. Then he took out his revolver and shot Diem in the back of his head; seeing Nhu's body still twitching on the floor, the major administered the coup of grace by putting a bullet through Nhu's head also.)

Washington's shaking

The assassination of Messrs. Diem-Nhu unmans strongly American generals favoring the coup and U.S. public.

Mr Do Mau, self-claiming as main plotter, writes that he cries when seeing them killed. General Ton That Dinh also cries and punches onto his desk in frustration. Not knowing how to explain, general Tran Tu Oai (Tra^`n Tu+? Oai) of the Information General Office, announces :"The death of Messrs. Diem-Nhu is an "accidental suicide". A stupid announcement from a general makes people laugh at an excuse for an illegal act of coup generals.

In the morning of 2/11/1963, when Conein goes to take a shower, he receives a phone call from Cabot Lodge that Kennedy wants to know the whereabout of Messrs. Diem-Nhu. Upon arriving at the General Headquarter he sees them dead.

In Washington, the National Security Council convenes for a discussion about the situation after knowing there was a coup d'etat. An official telegram is delivered and put on the table; all are silent. Reading it, Kennedy with a faded face stands up, goes out for a while, comes back and says :"Mr Diem has fought against communists for 9 years; he should have something in return."

Michael Forrestal, one of the men favoring the coup d'etat and co-drafting the official message 243 to Cabot Lodge on 24/8/1963 requests a resignation, but Kennedy says that he should stay.

Secretary of State Dean Rusk who has been called "a man of no image" due to always repeating after Kennedy sends a message to Cabot Lodge : "I want to show my adoration to your managing the complicated event with perfection." Then, another message is :"Reports about the death of Diem-Nhu (shot with details of blood all over) on the first pages of newspapers cause high emotion. We think that is unexpected from the coup d'etat."

The truth is that it is an unavoidable consequence because in the secret file of the White House, there is no item as the prime condition to keep safe Messrs. Diem-Nhu when Kennedy directed Cabot Lodge to support coup generals.

General Maxwell Taylor who opposes the coup d'etat and replaces Cabot Lodge says :"Mr Diem's soul haunts each one of us who knew the coup. Due to our complicity, the Americans must take responsibility upon the tragedy the South Vietnamese must bear and the consequent political chaos which is the pretext of our withdrawal; by doing our role, we bring them into suffered situations and this stops people to have any suggestions..."

Forrestal, talking about Kennedy, says :"The death in Saigon makes him shocked morally and religiously, and this undermines his belief in any suggestions related to Vietnam."

Doctor Hammer criticizes touchingly :"Now, a first Catholic head of state is dead, assassinated due to the consequence of a policy of the first Catholic American president who permits the plan."

To condone Kenedy, a friend says :"Anyhow, Diem and Nhu were tyrants." Kennedy answers : "No, they were in difficult position. They did the best they could for their country" ("A death in November, p. 301).

This is too late historical contradicting statement, restoration of honor for Messrs. Diem-Nhu, rejection of propagandas related to the coup d'etat, a condemnation of coup generals who followed the inducements of the Americans by betraying their president and treason. Doctor Hammer writes :"Kennedy's statement is an offering before the graves of Messrs. Diem-Nhu."

Although I have opposed Messrs. Diem-Nhu's policies in 1958, I acknowledge that Messrs. Diem-Nhu's statement written down by Lodge in a message on 1/11/1963 is their effort of perfect compromise for the sake of the self-governed interest of VN and that is praiseworthy. It is regretful that their fate and SVN to confront a "colonialist and self-conceited" behavior of a young Kennedy and a "governor-general" Cabot Lodge; this causes their death.

When seeing Tran Van Don on 2/1/1963 at the U.S. embassy, Cabot Lodge says :"President Kennedy and American public are shocked. I say to them that I can't believe there are such deaths and are very sad".

Sadness and regret may disturb the mind of Lodge, Kennedy and other responsible people, but that is unavoidable as general Maxwell Taylor has critized them that, "They unconsciously play with fire encouraging the coup d'etat. In the first message to Lodge on 24/8/1963, a message signaling a coup d'etat. It's Kennedy who did verify that "we must cope with a such situation that Diem's life is not guaranteed."

Around 10 am of 2/11/1963, Flott, assistant of Cabot Lodge, visits me and makes excuse about his dirty suit because he did come to the Gia-Long palace to look for Messrs. Nhu and some documents. Flott boasts that he was the last man to shake hand with Mr Diem yesterday. Through an introduction of a friend, I have came to know Flott. I did draft a letter and a report and sent them to Kennedy dissuading him not to set up a coup d'etat and should not send the U.S. army to Vietnam; that is my last advice to him. Flot has come to see me many times , but I found way to avoid seeing him because we hadn't the same political viewpoint.

The death certificate for Mr Diem says that he is a small mandarin of Binh Thuan, and for Mr Nhu, a librarian (qua?n thu? thu+ vie^.n). It's ironic that Messrs. Duong Van Minh, Tran Van Don,...have had titles promoted by not a small mandarin in Binh Thuan, but by a president.

On 3/11/1963, I arrive at Tran Trung Dung's house on Doan Thi Diem street for infos. Dung confirms that Messrs, have been killed. Dung and a priest make shrouding their corpses according to Catholic ceremony. Their corpses are then buried in the backyard of the General Headquarter. However, through many coups d'etat after, generals still feel unsafe and rebury them at the cemetery Mac Dinh Chi. I drop by to visit them seeing that their graves have no tombstones.

Tran Trung Dung's wife is Hoang Anh, niece of Messrs. Diem-Nhu. Sobing, she asks the Council of Generals to verify that the two were killed not suicided because suicide is a disgrace to the family. Dung laments to me :"She is too naive."

As Marguerite Higgins writes, when exiled in Bangkok, Duong Van Minh admits to an American that he orders to kill Messrs. Nhu because "I couldn't do differently". He couldn't let Mr Diem alive because "he got sympathy from simple and rustic people in the rural areas, especially Catholics and refugees." About Mr Nhu, Minh says, "Nhu was afraid of by many people and did set up many organizations."

Mr Tran Van Huong, prime minister from 10/1964 to 1/1965, speaks to a British diplomat : "They, generals, decided to kill Messrs. Diem-Nhu because they were too afraid of them. They knew that they had no talent (ba^'t ta`i), morality (dda.o ddu+'c va` lua^n ly'), and no support from the vast majority of the Viets. They could not stop Messrs. Diem-Nhu taking back the power if these men were alive."

Informed that Messrs. Diem-Nhu were assassinated, Mrs. Nhu who is staying at the hotel Beverly Whilshire utters efficacious words :"This blood will flow to Washington." It's true that 20 days after the death of Messrs. Diem-Nhu, Kennedy is assassinated by Oswald in Dallas, Texas. Then, Robert Kennedy, his younger brother, who once said to Kennedy that "why don't we eradicate that painful prickle ?" had the same fate not long after.

Mrs. Nhu and her 3 kids are transported by an American airplane to anywhere she wants.

Rewards ?

In an official message dated 30/10/1963 of the State Department to Cabot Lodge, George Bundy notes that coup generals may need a hefty sum of money at the last minutes to bribe the resistant group (Conein later says that that money would be used for coup general to escape if the coup failed); he also says that generals can keep that money if the coup d'etat is well-organized and successful; the use of money should be done secretly. This order is executed by Lucien Conein. However, Conein does it openly by bringing that money to the Joint General Staff Headquarter on 1/11/1963. Lucien gives 3 million dollars to Tran Van Don and Ton That Dinh. The sharing of money creates a bad reputation; due to this, in 1971, general Tran Van Don orders major Dang Van Hoa (DDa<.ng Va<n Hoa) to conduct a search for receipts. Major Hoa makes a report dated 14/8/1971 with details as follow :

- Tran Thien Khiem : VN $500,000

- Ton That Dinh : $600,000

- Le Nguyen Khang : $100,000

- Nguyen Van Thieu : $50,000

- Tran Ngoc Huye^n (Tra^`n Ngo.c Huye^'n) : $100,000

- Phan Hoa Hiep (Phan Ho`a Hie^.p) : $100,000

- Dao Ngoc Diep (DDa`o Ngo.c Die^.p) : $100,000

Total : $1,550,000

Another 1,450,000 dollars (dong ?) has been delivered to Duong Van Minh, Le Van Kim (Le^ Va<n Kim), Ton That Dinh, Nguyen Huu Co (Nguye^~n Hu+~u Co'), Tran Ngoc Tam (Tra^`n Ngo.c Ta'm), Nguyen Khanh (Nguye^~n Kha'nh) and Do Cao Tri (DDo^~ Cao Tri'). Furthermore, Mr Duong Van Minh gets another 6,000 dollars found in a suitcase of Mr Diem.

White House's top secret documents about news on Nhu negotiating with Hanoi

Two persons who have taken the important roles in the coup d'etat of 1/11/1963 are Tran Van Don and Do Mau. They all write memoirs emphasizing the reasons for their opposition to Mr Diem are : (1) oppression of Buddhists and (2) Mr Nhu's secret negotiation with communists.

To the matter (1), one can know that the oppression is just a make-up story in order to label the man Buddhists did not like and then progress their ambition; the years to come explained the unrest created by religious people abusing their rights and prestige. The Buddhist "incident" has been blown out of proportion basing on ambiguous accusation by An Quang Buddhist sect and others. At last, the 3 forces -- this Buddhist sect, U.S. and Viet generals who thought that their interest and plans would be gone if U.S. cut aid -- cooperate with or just take advantage of one another to bring down Mr Diem. Each side has its own perfect pretexts for a criminal act. McNamara's words about the failure reflected this big mistake.

About (2), as one may know, Mrs. Hammer, a Ph.D. graduate in International Relation at the university of Columbia and author of "The struggle for Indochina", has spent more than 30 years following events in Vietnam, especially the period from 1956-1966, the time span of her stay in Vietnam.

In her book "A Death in November", searching for secret files of the White House under free access act, she has found out that the news of Nhu secretly negotiating with communists is totally false. Mrs. Hammer mentions about (1) the memorandum of Roger Hilsman and Hilsman & George Bundy's telegram to Cabot Lodge in order to teach Viet generals how to spread out rumors, (2) Through the mediums of Mieczyslaw Maneli of Poland and Goburdhum of India the International Commission for Supervision and Control or ICC (U?y Ban Kie^?m soa't DDi`nh Chie^ 'n), it's Ho Chi Minh to suggest a trade with the South so that the North can get SVN's rice for a starved NVN while SVN is still independent under the presidency of Mr Diem.

Here are details :

 (1) Roger Hilsman's memorandum and Hilsman & Bundy's message to Lodge : In his memorandum of 16/9/1963, Roger Hilsman records that Mr Nhu's minimal goal is to reduce abundantly the number of American advisors at essential spots having political significance like the Strategic Hamlets. His maximal goal is to negotiate with the North, withdraw the Americans out of Vietnam and keep Vietnam as separate but neutral state. Basing on these easons and calling it an adventure, Hilsman drops the moderate stand to convince Mr Diem and chooses using strong measures against Mr Diem's regime.

According to these two goals mentioned above, the majority of the Americans must withdraw. It's clear that Mr Nhu doesn't want to see too many Amricans in Vietnam and keeps SVN separate and not united with communists.

However, upon contacting ambassador Buu Hoi (Bu+?u Ho^.i), Hilsman, with a scornful behavior, detests rumors about Mr Nhu's negotiation with communists and says that he doesn't believe in any words of those, giving that Mr Nhu just lies and U.S. is never threatened by that.

Cabot Lodge did meet Mr Nhu and was let known that there has been a contact with communists with the aim at "opening arm" (chie^u ho^`i). If a treaty can't be reached, Mr Nhu will resign. He also says that he has intention to take a rest in Dalat after lifting the martial law and when the Americans are gone. It's also the reason that Cabot Lodge opposes strongly Messrs. Diem-Nhu because Lodge comes here to organize a coup d'etat.

About Hilsman & Bundy's message to Lodge in order to teach Viet generals how to prepare pretext for their action, it is as follows :

"If the coup d'etat is successful, the sympathy and recognition of the reason for it will be enhanced if generals and civilians cooperate tightly with each other by publicly developing the conclusion that Mr Nhu negotiates with communists and betrays anti-communist ideal. This must be emphasized to the public as soon as possible."

 (2) Mieczyslaw Maneli and Goburdhum in the the International Commission for Supervision and Control (ICC) :

According to Mrs. Hammer's "A Death in November" :

 - Maneli : In a reception at the Foreign Ministry, Maneli meets Mr Nhu and the latter says to him that he wants peace and just only peace. The ICC must play an important role in restoring peace in Vietnam. Maneli answers that he will be ready to receive an active and constructive role available for the ICC to re-establish peace and reunification for Vietnam. Nhu answers that the government of Vietnam wishes that will be done within the spirit of Geneva Accord.

In 7/1963, when Maneli goes to Hanoi for discussion, Hanoi agrees NVN will let Mr Diem to be head of SVN. This contradicts with Hanoi's Stalinist behavior and violent temper. Ho Chi Minh appeals for cease-fire and wants the Americans not to interfere in his negotiation with Mr Diem (this happens at the time the Americans are planning the coup d'etat). Maneli cites that Pham Van Dong asks him how to contact Mr Nhu. With this plan, the Americans must go so that a cease-fire can be reached, peace will be restored and reunification will be worked out basing on basic realities.

According to Maneli, the reason NVN wants peace is from 1954, NVN was in regular droughts and crop failures. The water level in rivers was so low that water couldn't be bailed up to paddy fields and as a result, seawater reached to the mainland. NVN would be starved if there was no aid of rice from the South; due to this, NVN must need rice from the Soviets and Chinese and always thinks about how to self-defend. However, the Soviets and Chinese were opposing each other and this made NVN bear the conflict, and at the same time it must stand the pressure from the Chinese. Maneli lets only the Soviets and Poles know about this, not the Chinese.

Maneli also says that in the 7/1963 trip to Hanoi, he has heard about a North- South contact; Cabot Lodge got the same rumor. According to Mrs. Hammer, the negotiation is not in detail and related to reduction of rebel and military actvities. Late in 8/1963, communists reduce relatively their activities.

 - Goburdhum : Goburdhum says that when he goes to Hanoi he is informed that Hanoi wants to have trade with the South, but not in the atmosphere of war. Ho Chi Minh says :"Mr Diem is a patriot in his way. With his independent character, he will have some difficulty in his relation with the Americans because U.S. wants to control all affairs. If you see Mr Diem, make a connection for me."

Goburdhum recognizes that Ho Chi Minh, as an Asian and a citizen of a country of the Third World, sympathizes with the Saigon regime's eagerness of trying to detach from American screwing. Ho also praises Ngo Dinh Nhu to be wise enough to get out of political frame of the past. Goburdhum thinks that is a openness in diplomacy to help North and South sympathize each other in restoring peace. At that time, Vietnam can follow the way of India and other neutral countries.

- Meanwhile, general De Gaulle talks about an invitation of both North and South Vietnam to participate in a national effort towards independence, peace and reunification. He emphasizes that he doesn't want to interfere in Vietnam's affair. French Foreign Minister Maurice Couve de Murville explaines that declaration is for a long-term policy. De Gaulle will cooperate if Vietam wants so. Mrs. Hammer acknowledges that De Gaulle's words are important, pragmatic and invaluable because Pham Van Dong also admits that despite the wars with the French in the past the French-Viet friendship is still strong due to its democratic and social tradition.

However, that is also the time the Americans are striving for the coup d'etat to continue the war and searching for new men who are "more docile". Knowing about this, L'Alouette says that Vietnam will lose the opportunity to get peace because Mr Diem is the only man of determination to keep independence and peace.

Maneli telegraphs to Poland and at the same time sends "news" to Hanoi and the Soviet embassy in Hanoi.

Wish of negotiation of Ho Chi Minh

5 days after De Gaulle's suggestion, on 2/9/1963, Mr Nhu says to Maneli that he doesn't oppose a negotiation and cooperation with the North :"The Viets never forget who they are and who foreigners are even in fierce wartime. If we can talk face to face we can reach a sympathy...But in the near future, I see nothing leading to a face to face talk. However, we can wait for a clear revelation."

According to "A death in November", Mr Diem agrees to exchange letters with the North and South Vietnam's rice to North Vietnam's coal. Until 7/1963, Hanoi agrees to let Mr Diem lead South Vietnam and the South follow the Western democracy, and Ho Chi Minh no longer asks for reunification.

Mr Diem answers that he doesn't expect a neutrality for South Vietnam because that will break the tie with American ally.

Asked about his reaction to De Gaulle's announcement,Mr Nhu says :"Who doesn't participate in this war has no right to interfere. Our loyalty to the Americans doesn't permit us to scrutinize their announcements. The Americans are just the only ones on this planet who has helped South Vietnam. Due to this, I have no comment."

Declarations of Messrs. Diem-Nhu emphasize that they take side to the Americans although they don't totally accept American policies.

According to an Italian ambassador, Mr Nhu lets him know that there is a go- between to contact communists for a talk. Communists suggest peace not because the success of the Strategic Hamlets but Hanoi is under heavy pressure from the Chinese, and the trade will benefit both. The North doesn't request a neutral South Vietnam because after the war ends, the presence of the Americans are not necessary.

French ambassador L'Alouette tries to convince Cabot Lodge to let Mr Diem hold the power and says to Lodge that Pham Van Dong is ready to negotiate for a trade as he has said to Goburdhum. However, whatever he tries L'Alouette knows that Lodge's mission is to overthrow Mr Diem. On 10/9/1963, L'Alouette meets Cabot Lodge about the matter; Lodge answers :"U.S. decides not to withdraw and wants decisively that Saigon must shuffle the personel and policy. We must negotiate in a strong position."

The New York Times writes that ambassador L'Alouette tries to rally Western diplomats to convince Lodge to reconcile with Mr Diem, and France will support Mr Nhu in the task to reunite Vietnam. However, Quai d'Orsay denies the news and says that France doesn't support anybody. After this, L'Alouette is recalled to France and never returns. French embassy in Vietnam has now only officials to carry on normal business and none to be go-between in this affair.

Late in 10/1963, De Gaulle comes to Viet embassy at Rambouillet street, informs about latest news from Saigon and suggests help. De Gaulle wants to warn Saigon that may be a coup d'etat. However, there is no answer from Messrs. Diem-Nhu.

Nobody knows whether or not Mr Nhu wants to trick the Americans and has shown some behavior which seems to replace Mr Diem.

About the rumor that Mr Nhu may negotiate with communists, Chester Cooper of CIA reports to CIA Director Mc Cone that the validity of the rumors is below 50%. However, Cooper met Mr Nhu for 3 hrs in 3/1963 and recognized that Mr Nhu knew very well about communists' scheme. CIA ananlyzes that American pressure can make Messrs. Diem-Nhu mad. Cooper can not predict what one of them will decide to do.

In brief, the mentioned above details shows one that the wish of negotiation has been suggested, but that is only struck up through the medium of Maneli and Goburdhum. Furthermore, that suggestion is not from Mr Nhu but Pham Van Dong and Ho Chi Minh who may want to get out of the pressure and domination of the Chinese and Soviets and trade rice with the South.

There is no matter of reunification because Ho Chi Minh agrees to let SVN to follow Western democracy and be led by Mr Diem. It means there is no such thing as Messrs. Diem-Nhu sell the South to communists as accused by generals Tran Van Don and Do Mau in concordance with directives from Hilsman & Bundy's message to Cabot Lodge. 
 

This is also proved by Mr Diem's words to Cabot Lodge by having him sent to Kenndy at 12h15 of 1/1/1963 as follows : "Please tell President Kennedy that I am a good and frank ally, that I would rather be frank and settle questions now than talk about them later when we lose everything. Tell President Kennedy that I take all the suggestions very seriously and wish to carry them out, but it is a question of timing."


It's these last words from Mr Diem to verify that Mr Diem shows his utmost compromise due to national interest to show his allying to the Americans.

(As one see later that the play card of "Buddhist incident" is dropped by the Americans and media. They never see any "Buddhist struggle" as genuine anymore)

http://ngothelinh.tripod.com/_Coup_Generals.html 

 

 

 
 
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