293. Telegram From the Commander, Military Assistance Command, Vietnam (Harkins) to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (Taylor)1
Saigon , November 4, 1963—6:17 p.m.
MAC J01 8605. Personal for Gen Taylor info Adm Felt from Harkins.
- Situation in Saigon remains quiet and orderly. Curfew hours have been relaxed-now from 2400 to 0500.
- No indication of any counter-coup activity, however, understand Revolutionary Committee fully appreciates possibility such may develop and are alert to this contingency.
- A word received today that BGen Co (formerly Col Co Deputy CG III Corps) now CG IV Corps. No info as to future utilization of Gen Cao former IV Corps comdr. BGen Thieu (former CO 5th Div) now CG III Corps designate.
- At brief meeting this am of Big Minh and M Gen Timmes Minh expressed regret that it had been necessary to resort to a coup, however, it had been apparent that rectification of the situation by pacific means would not be possible. Stated that daylight coup had been decided upon in belief that fewer casualties would result. Nov 1st selected due that day a holiday and children would not be in school which would also tend to minimize casualties. He stated that Revolutionary Committee had not anticipated overthrow of the govt would be particularly difficult but that major concern was how VC might react. Feels that coup was carried out with such dispatch that VC did not have time to react and that now situation permits troop availability to counter any VC reaction which may now develop.
- Best line-up on province chiefs as of now follows:
- Fourteen (14) old prov chiefs have pledged their support to the coup and retain their prov chief assignments.
- Three (3) old province chiefs have been reported as retaining their assignments, however, not indicated that they have pledged their support to the coup.
- Two (2) prov chiefs in I Corps have been replaced.
- Six (6) prov chiefs in II Corps have been relieved and their security responsibilities have been assumed by ARVN comdrs in their areas.
- No info at this time on remaining sixteen (16) prov chiefs.
- Numerous promotions, some of which have been previously reported, have been made. Consolidated details later as available.
- Source: Department of State, Central Files, POL 26 S VIET. Secret; Eyes Only. Passed by the JCS to the White House exclusive for Bundy; to the Department of State exclusive for Rusk, Harriman, Hilsman, and Ball; and to the CIA exclusive for Helms. Repeated for information to CINCPAC for Felt and to the Embassy in Saigon. The source text is the Department of State copy.↩