Learn about the beta

I. The Khanh Coup, January 1–31


1. Message From the Ambassador in Vietnam (Lodge) to the President

Source: Johnson Library, National Security File, Heads of State Correspondence, General Minh Corres. Secret; Eyes Only. Sent over CIA channels from Saigon. The source text bears neither a telegram number nor time of transmission. Relayed to the President at his ranch in Texas on receipt at the White House. McGeorge Bundy sent copies to Rusk and McNamara.


2. Memorandum From Senator Mike Mansfield to the President

Source: Johnson Library, National Security File, Vietnam Country File, Vol. 11, Memos and Misc. No classification marking. Attached to the source text is a note from McGeorge Bundy to Rusk and McNamara, January 6, which reads as follows:

“The President received the enclosed papers this morning from Senator Mansfield, and asks if each of you would write a personal memorandum of refutation which he can review and then use with Senator Mansfield if he wishes, not later than Wednesday morning.”


3. Telegram From the President to the Ambassador in Vietnam (Lodge)

Source: Johnson Library, National Security File, Vietnam Country File, Vol. I, Pres./Rusk/Lodge Messages. Top Secret; Eyes Only. Sent to Saigon over CIA channels.


4. Memorandum From the President’s Special Assistant for National Security Affairs (Bundy) to the President

Source: Johnson Library, National Security file, Memos to the President, Vol. I, McGeorge Bundy. Top Secret; Sensitive. A note on the source text in Bundy’s hand reads: “Read by the P[resident] Jan. 13.”


5. Letter From the Director of Central Intelligence (McCone) to the Secretary of State

Source: Department of State, Central Files, POL 27 VIET S. Secret. A copy was sent to McGeorge Bundy. Rusk’s initials appear on the source text.


6. Message From the President to the Ambassador in Vietnam (Lodge)

Source: Department of State, Central Files, POL 23 VIET S. Secret; Priority; Exdis. This message was sent by the White House to the Department of State for transmission. It was cleared by Ball and sent as telegram 1031 to Saigon, which is the source text.


7. Memorandum From Michael V. Forrestal of the National Security Council Staff to the President’s Special Assistant for National Security Affairs (Bundy)

Source: Johnson Library, National Security File, Vietnam Country File, Vol. II, Memos and Misc. Secret.


8. Memorandum From the President’s Special Assistant for National Security Affairs (Bundy) to the President

Source: Johnson Library, National Security File, Vietnam Country File, Vol. II, Memos and Misc. Confidential.


9. Memorandum From the Chairman of the Policy Planning Council (Rostow) to the Secretary of State

Source: Department of State, S/P Files: Lot 70 D 199, Southeast Asia. Secret. Copies were also sent to Ball, Harriman, and U. Alexis Johnson. Rusk’s initials appear on the source text. Also published in Declassified Documents, 1977, 147C.


10. Telegram From the Embassy in Vietnam to the Department of State

Source: Department of State, Central Files, POL 23 VIET. Secret; Limdis. A note on another copy of this telegram reads as follows: “MAC: This is worth your looking at. Lodge may be a little fuzzy, but there is at least a sense of give and take. Mike Forrestal.” (Johnson Library, National Security File, Vietnam Country File, Vol. II, Cables)


11. Telegram From the Department of State to the Embassy in Vietnam

Source: Department of State, Central Files, POL 27 VIET S. Secret; Priority. Drafted by Mendenhall; cleared by McGeorge Bundy, Hilsman, Poats (in draft and substance), William Bundy, and Krulak (both in draft); and approved by Harriman. Repeated to CINCPAC.


12. Memorandum for the Record of the Meeting of the Special Group for Counterinsurgency, Washington, January 16, 1964, 2 p.m.

Source: Department of State, Special Group Counterinsurgency Files: Lot 68 D 451, Minutes of Meetings. Secret. Drafted by James W. Dingeman who is not listed among the participants.


13. Telegram From the Central Intelligence Agency Station in Saigon to the Agency

Source: Department of State, Central Files, POL 27 VIET S. Secret; Priority; Exdis. Sent by the CIA to the Department of State Exclusive for Hilsman, to the Pentagon Exclusive for Krulak, and to the White House for McGeorge Bundy. Rusk’s initials appear on the source text. No time of transmission is on the source text.


14. Telegram From the Ambassador in Vietnam (Lodge) to the Secretary of State

Source: Department of State, Vietnam Working Group Files: Lot 72 D 219, TIGER Basic File. Top Secret. Repeated to JCS and CINCPAC for POLAD. Sent over CIA channels.


15. Telegram From the Embassy in Vietnam to the Department of State

Source: Department of State, Central Files, POL 27 VIET S. Secret; Exdis.


16. Telegram From the Central Intelligence Agency to the Station in Saigon

Source: Department of State, Central Files, POL 27 VIET S. Top Secret. Also sent to the Department of State Eyes Only for Hilsman, to the Office of the Secretary of Defense Eyes Only for McNamara, to the JCS Eyes Only for Krulak, and to the White House Eyes Only for McGeorge Bundy. Repeated to Honolulu Eyes Only for Felt. Rusk initialed the source text.


18. Telegram From the Central Intelligence Agency Station in Saigon to the Agency

Source: Department of State, HarVan Files, Vietnam Coup Two, January 30,1964 Secret. The source text, which bears no time of transmission from Saigon, is a copy sent by the CIA to the Department of State for Hilsman. Also sent to JCS for Krulak and to the Assistant Chief of Staff for Intelligence for the Defense Intelligence Agency. A later White House copy is published in part in Declassified Documents, 1975, 58C.


19. Telegram From the Embassy in Vietnam to the Department of State

Source: Department of State, HarVan Files, Vietnam Coup Two, January 30, 1964. Secret: Nodis. Received at 8:03 a.m.


20. Memorandum From the Deputy Director of the Bureau of Intelligence and Research (Denney) to the Acting Secretary of State

Source: Johnson Library, National Security File, Vietnam Country File, Vol. II, Memos and Misc. Secret; Noforn. Rusk was en route from Japan. (Ibid., Rusk Appointment Book)


21. Telegram From the Department of State to the Embassy in Vietnam

Source: Department of State, Central Files, POL 27 VIET S. Secret; Flash; Limdis. Drafted by Marshall Green; cleared by Forrestal, Mendenhall, and Rusk, who resumed to the Department of State at 6:25 p.m.; and approved by Harriman.


22. Memorandum From Michael V. Forrestal of the National Security Council Staff to the President

Source: Johnson Library, National Security File, Vietnam Country File, Vol. III, Memos. Secret. A handwritten “L" on the source text indicates that the President saw this memorandum.


23. Memorandum From the Acting Assistant Secretary of State for Far Eastern Affairs (Green) to the Secretary of State

Source: Library of Congress, Harriman Papers, Vietnam 1964. Secret. Drafted by Mendenhall. Copies were sent to Forrestal, Ball, and Harriman. Hilsman was in Australia.


24. Telegram From the Embassy in Vietnam to the Department of State

Source: Department of State, Central Files, POL 27 VIET S. Secret; Limdis. Repeated to CINCPAC. Received at 2:07 p.m. and passed to the White House, Office of the Secretary of Defense, CIA, and JCS. The White House copy is published in Declassified Documents, 1975, 214E.


25. Telegram From the Secretary of State and the Secretary of Defense (McNamara) to the Ambassador in Vietnam (Lodge) and the Commander, Military Assistance Command, Vietnam (Harkins)

Source: Department of State, Central Files, POL 27 VIET S. Secret. Sent over CIA channels. The source text is a copy the CIA sent the Department of State Exclusive for Rusk. Also sent to the Office of the Secretary of Defense Exclusive for McNamara. In an undated memorandum which bears a handwritten note indicating that it was taken from the President’s bedroom on February 1, Moyers made the following recommendations to the President:

  • “(1) After the last coup in Vietnam, the Communists waited about ten days before launching an aggressive attack which caught Vietnamese and Americans off-guard.”
  • “(2) They will probably try it again now.”
  • “(3) Therefore, Rusk and McNamara should be instructed to inform Lodge and Harkins to take the initiative now—to get the Vietnamese moving against the Viet Cong—to launch an offensive before the Communists launch one.”
  • “(4) This could then be leaked, if desirable, in an effort to show that you are determined to push the war at a faster pace.” (Johnson Library, White House Central Files, Confidential File, CO 312 Vietnam)

At 9:59 a.m., January 31, McNamara telephoned Rusk concerning the need for such initiative in Saigon. The transcript of the call reads as follows:

“M said re South Vietnam, President asked what to do. M said his only suggestion was to step up South Vietnamese operations; if that seemed good, he would have a cable developed on it and would get his people to work with Sec’s people. Sec said it was a very good idea. M will get the cable drafted and get it over for clearance.” (Department of State, Rusk Files: Lot 72 D 192, Telephone Conversations)


26. Telegram From the Ambassador in Vietnam (Lodge) to the Secretary of State

Source: Department of State, Vietnam Working Group Files; Lot 72 D 219, TIGER Basic File. Secret, Nodis. Sent over CIA channels. The source text, which bears no time of transmission from Saigon, is a copy sent by the CIA at 3:25 p.m. to the Department of State for Hilsman. Also sent to the JCS for Krulak and the White House for McGeorge Bundy.