207. Telegram From the Station in Saigon to the Central Intelligence Agency 1

3852. Ref: Headquarters 4548.2 Mr. Colby from COS.

1.
Agree one hundred percent with your views in ref.
2.
It has of course been constant Station and Embassy policy to make explicitly clear to all concerned that the United States and the Central Intelligence Agency in particular will not support any coup or other unconstitutional act against the Government of the Republic of Vietnam. We have also stated specifically to several potential coup planners, including Nguyen Cao Ky, that any attempt to remove Thieu along the lines of the 1963 experience would be just about the surest way to guarantee a complete and immediate end to American support and that a coup would result in military dissension and chaos as well as fatal weakening of any prospects of effective resistance against the Communists.
3.
Actually, Nguyen Cao Ky for example has been making all the right noises. He has stated publicly and privately that he has no intention of mounting or participating in any coup. While he has held meetings (reported by Station) where legal moves to push Thieu from office were considered, he has informed the Prime Minister, the Chairman of the Joint General Staff and others of his activities. We sense a consensus in the higher levels of the Army against any coup attempts, and while there is a continuing and growing momentum in favor of new leadership there also seems to be general agreement that the change should be accomplished within the constitutional framework.
  1. Source: Central Intelligence Agency, Executive Registry Subject Files, Job 80–M01066A. Secret; Priority; Restricted Handling.
  2. Telegram 4548 from Headquarters, April 14, stated that “psychological pressures and even chaos could result in violence against President Thieu. With Diem precedent and current allegations against our agency, it would be both institutional and national disaster if there was any remote connection between us and such an event.” (Ibid.)