88. Telegram From the Embassy in Vietnam to the Department of State1

1109. Embtel 1099.2

As of late afternoon Feb. 27 calm continued prevail in Saigon, and morningʼs attack on Presidential palace appears have been unsuccessful attempt assassinate Diem and Nhus rather than element in coup dʼetat.
Except for two aircraft involved in attack, GVN military establishment remained loyal to President and government. All services including air force, responded with alacrity and efficiency to attack. Before 35-minute assault had ended, armor and supporting units had arrived at palace, air force had pursuing AD-6ʼs in air, and navy putting up heavy anti-aircraft barrage.
One attacking aircraft apparently forced down by ground fire and pilot captured. Second plane crash landed Phnom Penh.

President told Ambassador only palace casualty was injured maid. Small number troops on or around palace grounds were wounded. Madame Nhu also suffered slight wound on arm.

No American casualties, though one American died as result fall through roof of building while watching attack.

Ambassador and members diplomatic corps saw President at end of morning. He said not discouraged and determined continue his fight for country.
Service of Thanksgiving in Saigon cathedral in afternoon was crowded.
No incidents reported in provinces, and government appears have situation firmly in control.
  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 751K.00/2-2762. Confidential; Priority. Repeated priority to Paris, London, Bangkok, Phnom Penh, Vientiane, CINCPAC for Polad, Manila, Geneva for FECON, Hue, Ottawa, Kuala Lumpur, New Delhi, Moscow, Singapore, Djakarta, Tokyo, Seoul, Hong Kong, Taipei and Rangoon. Received at 4:10 p.m.
  2. Received in the Department of State at 6:51 a.m., February 27, it provided essentially the same information, in sketchier form, as telegram 1109. (Ibid.)