PRESIDENT THIEU'S CONERN OVER A POSSIBLE COUP, CONDITIONS IN THE DELTA, AND SUP

Created: 3/18/1968

OCR scan of the original document, errors are possible

CENTRAL INTELLIGENCE AGENCY

| Intelligence Information Cable

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president thieu's concern over aconditions i" the delta, anduse of the national sal vatoalition sovermkemt with

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SUMMARY: LIEUTENANT GENERAL KHANG, III CORPS COMMANDER^ SAID THATiS PRESIDENTOUP^ KHANG REASSURED THIEU THAT IN SPITE OF THE RUMORS, HE ISNVOLVED INCUP. THTEU^BcL^lcVE

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soutkjs-COsczrnedxpressed confidence is the kewly

appointed iv corps commander, major general nguyen duc

thang, dot said thatsusttang. has" iscff.ic ie nt"'troops: "thieu askedere -were- attx^juderce

si ste'b'the vc during the

Zuj^HUNG ASSURED HIMHlEU |

THAT. THEMJ.S. MISSIONTSDIES"-NOT EXPECT.AH.ATTACK ON SAIGON IN THE NEAR. HE TOLD,THIEU Hi QUESTIONS THE WISDOM OF MAKING CONTEMPLATED CHANGES IN THE ADMINISTRATIVE

IN THE PROVINCES AT THIS TIME. END SUMMARY.

I. DURINGENGTHY PRIVATE CONVERSATION ON Ik PVWCH

RESIDENT NGUYEK VAN THIED EXPRESSED CONCERN TO LIEUTENANT GENERAL LE NGUYEN XnANG, III CORPS COMMANDER,

THAT SOME MEMBERS OF THE MILITARY MIGHT TRY TC OVERTHROW

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TKXEU'S KHAHQ TOLD THIEU HZriZRENY RUMORS THATANDD ICR GENERAL NGuYEN NGOC LCAN, DIRECTOR GENERAL OF THE NAT IOTIAL POLICE, AREOUP, BUT THE RUMORS ARE NOT TRUE. KHAHQ DOES NOT KNOW KOV THESE RUMORS GOT STARTED 3UT HE SUSPECTS SOME VC COi'.PLICITY. IN AN EFFORT TO PREVENT SUCH RUffORS, XHAHG SAID HE HAS 3EEH AVOIDING POL IT ZCXAIS BECAUSE HAIY OF THEN ARE PRONE TO TUIST SORE REMARK HE MIGHTUT HIS DISSATISFACTION UITK THE GOVERNMENT INTO ALLEGATIONS OF COUP PLOTTING. RECENTLY KKANG TUIC* REFUSED TO MEET WITH SENATOR DON. KKANG SAID THE PRESIDENT SHOULD NOT INTERPRET HIS OR LOAN'S REMARKS ABOUT THE NEED FOR STRONGER AND EOSE DYNAMIC GOVERNMENT AS MEANING THEY AREOUP. PRESIDENT JOHNSON IS ALSO SUBJECT TO STRONG CRITICISMHOSE IN THE UNITED STATES WHO DISAGREE WITH HIS POLICIES. XHANG SAID THAT HEE PRESENT PHASE

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POST USE TO LEAD THE NSF. THIEU SAID HE IS FOLLOWING THE TACTIC OF PAYING LIP SERVICE TO DON'S RECUESTS FOR SUPPORT FOR THE NSF WHILE TRYING TO COUNTERBALANCE IT WITH POLIICAL EFFORTS OF HIS OWN GENERATED BY NGUYEN VA.'! HUONG, SECRETARY GENERAL OF THE PRESIDENCY, AND THAN VAN AM.

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SAID FORTUNATELY THERE IS EVIDENCE THAT THE NSF DOES KOI HAVE THE UNQUALIFIED SUPPORT OF VICE PRESIDENT NGUYEH CAOOLLOWERS AND CITED LOAN

HAS COMPLAINED THATAS BEEN 'TTACXZNG THE NSF THROUGH THE NEWSPAPEn CONGHIdU ASKED FOR KHANG'S VIEW OF THE NSF. XKANG SAIO HEOT GUESS THE NSF'S TRUE MOTIVES BUT HE SHARED THIZU'S SUSPICIONS OF

KUU XUAH.

9. IN DISCUSSING THE IV.CORPS AREA, THIEU SAID HE IS CONCERNEDE Vttt XOWG CVC) WILL BEONSOL ID ATE THEIR PRESENT CONTROL CF THE COUNTRYSIDE. TKIEU SAID THAT

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HAS BEEN SO.lEWhAT SKEPT 'CAL Or PACIFICAT RESULTS CLAIMED IN THE DZLTA BECAUSE HE FEELS THATF THE EFFORT HAS SEES SUPERFICIAL. HE SAID IT ISUXQUESTICKAoLT TRUEZ SITUATION IN THE# COUNTS'.'SIDE AS WORSENED MARKEDLY SINCE THE ENEMY'S TETHIEU EXPRESSED CONCERN OVER THE NUMBER OF OUTAVE SEEN OVERRUN, AND SAID THE VC ARE EVEN ACTIVE POLITICALLY IX SOME AREAS AND APPARENTLY ARE RECEIVING ZONE POPULAR SUPPORT. HE ASKED IF KHAN3 HAD ANY COMMENT8 OR SUGGEST IONSE IV CORPS SITUATION.

i. XHARQ SAID THAT MAJOR GENERAL IGUYSH DUC THAltQ, NSbLY APPOINTED IV CORS COMKAIDER,ERY DltYlCULT ASSIGNMENT, AND HE CXHAAOJ IS HOT CERTAIN TRATAS SUFFICIENT TROOPS TO DC THE JOB. KHANG FEELSuP THATE TAKE.'; TO LEi-EN THAU'S SECURITY PROBLEM tfUULBELL-PLANNEDD AT ION OF HAMLETS. 'SUCH A - ONSOL !DAT IN WOULD INCREASE THE EFFECTIVENESS CF STATIC EFE.'iSZ AND PCSSI2LY RELEASE FORCES FOR THE ALL -IMPORTANT STRIKES OH ENEMY BASES* EQUALLY'IMPORTT WOULD FACILITATE THE CREATION OF INTERNAL CONTROL MECHANISMS

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IN HET PRESENT, KHAN3HERE'ARE NOT ENOUGH SECURITY FORCES TO FSCTECT THE SCATTERED HAMLETS OR ENOUGH MANPOWER TO SET UP INTERNAL CONTROL MECHANISMS TO CONTROL THE MOVEMENT OF VC AMONG THE MANY HAM.ETS. WHILE THANSERICUS CHALLENGE AND LIKE ALL THE CORPS COMMANDERS, COULD USE MORE TROOPS, KHARS FEELS THAT* THANG WILL BE ABLE TC GAIN THE UPPERL IT AR IL Y. HOWEVER, IT IS IMPORTANT THATO HONEST1 3ROUGHT TO THE DELTA, At-'D THAT THE GOVERNMENT'S MESSAGE GETS THRCUH TO THE PEASANTS. THE GOVERNMENT'S INFORMATION PROGRAM IS VERYHIEU REPLIED THAT HE HAD ASKED. WEST MORE AND TO SUPPORT AN' INCREASEROOPS FOR THE VIETNAMESE ARMY CAPVK) AND THIS ADDITION, IF SUPPORTED BY THE AMESICAtfS, SHOULD GIVE THE CORPS COMMANDERS THE ADDED TROOPS THEY NEED.

HIEU ASKED IF THERE WERE ANY EVIDENCE INTHAT THE AMERICANS HAC ASSISTED THE VC DURINGATTACKS. KHAfiG SAID ON THE CONTRARY THE REACT IONARMORED ELEMENTS IN THE EARLY HOIKS WAS ALLTHE ENEMY FROM OVESRUHWlNt? TAN SON NHU7 ^

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KHANG SAID BOTH BEFORE AND AFTER THE ATTACK HIS. O COOPERATION FROM LIEUTENANT GENERAL WEYAND. CHIEF, II ' FIELD FORCE, LEFT IN .HIS KINO OF THE AMERICAN

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COMMITMENT. KHANG ADDED THAT PR ME MINISTER NGUYEN VAN 0 LOC HAS PRESENT AT KHANG'S HOUSE DURING THE FIRST DAY OF THE ATTACKS AND WAS AWARE OF WEYAND'S COMPLETE COOPERATION THIEU SAID IT IS POSSI3LE THAT. MILITARY IS FULLY OPPOSED TO THE VC BUT THAT CERTAIN OTHER LEMENTS OF. MISSION MAY NOT BE. HE REITERATED HIS OPINION THAT. MISSION IS NOT MONOLITHIC IN ITS VIEWS. XHAIG SAID THAT WHILE THIEU DID NOT SAY HE BELIEVES THE RUMORS. COMPLICITY, IT SI5LE THAT HE FEELS IT IS WITHIN THE -REALM OF THE POSSIBLE. THIEU SEStjSVSRY CONCERNED THAT. GOVERNMENT MIGHT REACH AIJ UNDERSTANDING WITH THE NFLSV WITHOUT CONSULTING HIM. '

-AND THAT THERE MAY BE CERTAIN SECRET CHANNELS TO THE 3 VC OF WHICH THIEU IS -UNAWARE. THUS, DESPITE THIEU'SRZSPE.CT FOR AND DEPENDENCE ON THE AHEflICANS, KE - -

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THIEU ASKED IF KHANGTO ATTEMPT

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TO ATTACKS* THE IMMEDIATE FUTURE. XHAilS REPLIEDTHAT HZ DIDHItTU SAID KHANG UAS ONE OF. THE VERYK XL IT AAY. tin -HO WD,'FHOKTJtf'EARLIEST SAYS OF THE FIRSTE OMECONDi;Si> ASSAULT >AHG SAID HE 3ASED HIS OPINION ON DOCUMENTARY EVL-5ENCE THAT THE EKZHY HAD BEEN HURT BADLY DUSIM THS FIRST ASSAULT ADD BEEPS Ttflfi TC REGROUP. I|

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OPINED THAT.GING POL ITAR FARE ASS HISMETA3LE:;iS ATTUNEDTtYcALHE UrS*.

HANS ADV1SEO THIEC TO MEET MORE FREQUENTLY WITH HTS VICT MAKES MILITARY COMMANDERS. HE SAD MOST OF THE SENIOR GENERALS FEEL THAT THIEU HASOR INC THEM SINCE HE BECAME PRESIDENT. XHABG SAID THAT HE HAD SEER CRITICAL OF THE PRESIDENT AND THE GOVERNMENT BUT HAD SAID NOTHING TO ANYONE THAT HE WOULD ROT SAY TC THIEU, AM) BELIEVES THAT THE SAME IS TRUE OF MOST OTKEa SENIOR GENERALS.

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thieu said he finds his exchange of ideas with kkang helpful and he hopes they will continue toank0 friends. thieu asked if- khang had any otherkhang told thieu he guest ions the wisdom of making sweeping changes in the corps areas at this tike suchhe contemplated changes concerning governmental delegates amd province chiefs. however, if thieu feels he must make these changeshe can depend onupport. thieu said* he realizes there are two sides the contemplated changes asd promised to give the problem more consideration.

is. field dissem: state (am3as3ador bunker, political counselor) usmacv (general westmoreland, ge mr al abrams, atfaassador komer, chief of staff,ir force (general momyes) cincpac pacflt arpac pacaf

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