Jump to content
The Education Forum

Continuation of discussion on Vietnam


Recommended Posts

Continued from http://educationforum.ipbhost.com/index.ph...9824&st=180

1962:

July '62 - The Declaration on the Neutrality of Laos signed in Geneva by the U.S. and 13 other nations, prohibits U.S. invasion of portions of the Ho Chi Minh trail inside eastern Laos.

August '62 - President Kennedy signs the Foreign Assistance Act of 1962 which provides "...military assistance to countries which are on the rim of the Communist world and under direct attack."

- A U.S. Special Forces camp is set up at Khe Sanh to monitor North Vietnamese Army (NVA) infiltration down the Ho Chi Minh trail.

The stage is being set for the carpet bombing to destroy the trail which is going in the coming years become the primary route for the VietMinh.

1963:

August - The new U.S. ambassador Henry Cabot Lodge arrives in South Vietnam.

- A U.S. State Department message sent to Ambassador Lodge is interpreted by Lodge to indicate he should encourage the military coup against President Diem.

- Ambassador Lodge meets President Diem for the first time. Under instructions from President Kennedy, Lodge tells Diem to fire his brother, the much-hated Nhu, and to reform his government. But Diem arrogantly refuses even to discuss such matters with Lodge.

- President Kennedy and top aides begin three days of heated discussions over whether the U.S. should in fact support the military coup against Diem.

- Lodge sends a message to Washington stating "...there is no possibility, in my view, that the war can be won under a Diem administration." President Kennedy then gives Lodge a free hand to manage the unfolding events in Saigon. However, the coup against Diem fizzles due to mistrust and suspicion within the ranks of the military conspirators.

September- During a TV news interview with Walter Cronkite, President Kennedy describes Diem as "out of touch with the people" and adds that South Vietnam's government might regain popular support "with changes in policy and perhaps in personnel." Also during the interview, Kennedy comments on America's commitment to Vietnam "If we withdrew from Vietnam, the Communists would control Vietnam. Pretty soon, Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, Malaya, would go..."

October - President Kennedy sends Ambassador Lodge a mixed messaged that "no initiative should now be taken to give any encouragement to a coup" but that Lodge should "identify and build contacts with possible leadership as and when it appears."

- Lodge informs President Kennedy that the coup against Diem appears to be on again. The rebel generals, led by Duong Van "Big" Minh, first ask for assurances that U.S. aid to South Vietnam will continue after Diem's removal and that the U.S. will not interfere with the actual coup. This scenario suits the White House well, in that the generals will appear to acting on their own without any direct U.S. involvement. President Kennedy gives his approval. The CIA in Saigon then signals the conspirators that the United States will not interfere with the overthrow of President Diem.

- Prompted by concerns over public relations fallout if the coup fails, a worried White House seeks reassurances from Ambassador Lodge that the coup will succeed.

- Ambassador Lodge reports a coup is "imminent."

- An increasingly nervous White House now instructs Lodge to postpone the coup. Lodge responds it can only be stopped by betraying the conspirators to Diem.

November - 2 - Lodge has a routine meeting with Diem from 10 a.m. until noon at the presidential palace, then departs. At 1:30 p.m., during the traditional siesta time, the coup begins as mutinous troops roar into Saigon, surround the presidential palace, and also seize police headquarters. Diem and his brother Nhu are trapped inside the palace and reject all appeals to surrender. Diem telephones the rebel generals and attempts, but fails, to talk them out of the coup. Diem then calls Lodge and asks "...what is the attitude of the United States?" Lodge responds "...it is four thirty a.m. in Washington, and the U.S. government cannot possibly have a view." Lodge then expresses concern for Diem's safety, to which Diem responds "I am trying to restore order."

-At 8 p.m., Diem and Nhu slip out of the presidential palace unnoticed and go to a safe house in the suburbs that belongs to a wealthy Chinese merchant.

- At 3 a.m., one of Diem's aides betrays his location to the generals. The hunt for Diem and Nhu now begins. At 6 a.m., Diem telephones the generals. Realizing the situation is hopeless, Diem and Nhu offer to surrender from inside a Catholic church. Diem and Nhu are then taken into custody by rebel officers and placed in the back of an armored personnel carrier. While traveling to Saigon, the vehicle stops and Diem and Nhu are assassinated.

-At the White House, a meeting is interrupted with the news of Diem's death. According to witnesses, President Kennedy's face turns a ghostly shade of white and he immediately leaves the room. Later, the President records in his private diary, "I feel that we must bear a good deal of responsibility for it."

...

Ok, this keeps happening.

Fletcher Prouty's versions of events are very different from what I read elsewhere, and his account of Diem and Nhu's murders

is one example. I do consider Prouty credible so I tend to take what he says seriously.

Anyway, according to Prouty in "JFK: The CIA, Vietnam and the Plot to Assassinate John F. Kennedy," the Kennedy administration had decided to get Diem and Nhu out of the picture by flying them out of the country, then overtaking the palace. Prouty says the brothers believed they were flying to some conference (I don't have the book in front of me so can't quote exactly), and were actually on the airplane when they inexplicably bolted off the plane, reentered their limo, and returned to the palace. The palace was, by then, deserted because the staff knew of the coup and fled, so the brothers were alone and defenseless. They then tried to escape via the route previously described. And from there the versions are basically in sync.

Has anyone seen Prouty's version collaborated by a different source?

John, if you could please share the source(s) for your information it would help.

Edited by Myra Bronstein
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Please sign in to comment

You will be able to leave a comment after signing in



Sign In Now
 Share

×
×
  • Create New...