192. Telegram From the Central Intelligence Agency to the Ambassador in Vietnam (Lodge)1

74228. Eyes only for the Ambassador. Re CAS Saigon 1448.2

Believe CAP 635603 gives general guidance requested reftel. We have following additional general thoughts which have been discussed with President. While we do not wish to stimulate coup, we also do not wish to leave impression that U.S. would thwart a change of government or deny economic and military assistance to a new regime if it appeared capable of increasing effectiveness of military effort, ensuring popular support to win war and improving working relations with U.S. We would like to be informed on what is being contemplated but we should avoid being drawn into reviewing or advising on operational plans or any other act which might tend to identify U.S. too closely with change in government. We would, however, welcome information which would help us assess character of any alternate leadership.
With reference to specific problem of General Minh you should seriously consider having contact take position that in present state his knowledge he is unable present Minh’s case to responsible policy officials with any degree of seriousness. In order to get responsible officials even to consider Minh’s problem, contact would have to have detailed information clearly indicating that Minh’s plans offer a high prospect of success. At present contact sees no such prospect in the information so far provided.
You should also consider with Acting Station Chief whether it would be desirable in order to preserve security and deniability in this as well as similar approaches to others whether appropriate arrangements could be made for follow-up contacts by individuals brought in especially from outside Vietnam. As we indicated in CAP 63560 we are most concerned about security problem and we are confining knowledge these sensitive matters in Washington to extremely limited group, high officials in White House, State, Defense and CIA with whom this message cleared.
  1. Source: Department of State, Har-Van Files, Coup South Vietnam. Top Secret. Also printed in Pentagon Papers: Gravel Edition, vol. 11, p. 769, where it is incorrectly dated October 6.
  2. Not found. In the Pentagon Papers, this reference is incorrectly cited as CAS 1445.
  3. Document 182.