238. Telegram From the Ambassador in Vietnam (Lodge) to the Department of State1

On 28 October 1963 Tran Quoc Buu stated to a CAS officer that the CVTC and the Vietnamese people as a whole would willingly support a military government brought about by force of arms. They would support an even tougher government than the present regime, as long as it proved itself honest and capable of pursuing a sound policy. The various opposition groups would accept such a government also, particularly since such groups lacked organization and numbers. The CVTC would not ask for representation in the government but would carry weight nonetheless, since it was the only independent organization, with the possible exception of the Buddhist groups, which had a large and disciplined membership.
Buu added that the key to any change of government at this time is the military. Probably nothing will happen until the military acts; then all elements of the population will immediately rally to the cause, and the present regime would fall in short order.
  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, POL 15 S VIET. Top Secret; Immediate. The source text is CIA Station telegram 2060 from Saigon sent to the Department of State eyes only for Rusk, Harriman, Ball, Hilsman, and Hughes. Also sent to the Office of the Secretary of Defense eyes only for McNamara, Gilpatric, Taylor, Krulak, and William Bundy and to the White House eyes only for McGeorge Bundy. Repeated to Honolulu eyes only for Felt and to CIA eyes only for McCone, Carter, and Helms. Received at the Department of State at 12:15 a.m.