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John S. McCain POW CIA-Defense Department Documents

 CIA memo on Diem coup in Vietnam as it was taking place Page 2

Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) memo communicating to the White House the events of the anti-Diem coup in Vietnam as the coup was taking place.

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participating generals spoke on the phone. The
prisoners, including Colonel Tung, were forced at
gun point to tell Nhu the situation. Nhu was then
told by General Minh that if he and Diem did not
surrender, the palace would receive massive bombardment.

4. General Minh called President Diem again
at 1715 Saigon time, but Diem hung up without further
comment. Minh at that time was reported to
have given orders to bomb the palace. At about the
same time there were reports that Diem was preparing
to announce imminent surrender, but there has been
no firm development on this point as yet. There
was also a broadcast from the palace suggesting that
Diem was trying to rally support.

5. Coup troops began attacking Gia Long Palace,
and expected to take possession by 1900 hours Saigon
time. At 1915 hours Saigon time, General Minh was
reported to have given Diem one last chance to surrender
or face being ''blasted off the face of the
earth." Commencing at 1900 hours four loud explosions
were heard in the vicinity of the palace within
a ten-minute period.

6. Earlier in the afternoon, Diem called Ambassador
Lodge at 1630 hours Saigon time, asking
what was the position of the US. Lodge took refuge
in the confusion of the situation and expressed concern
for Diem's physical safety. Lodge told Diem
that he had heard that the coup leaders had offered
Diem and Nhu safe conduct out of' the country and he
asked Diem about this. Diem's only comment was that
he was the Chief of State, that he had tried to do
his duty, and that he was trying to reestablish law
and order.

7. General Minh says it is planned to have an
entirely civilian government replace the present one.
Vice President Nguyen Ngoc Tho and Pham Huy Quat,
prominent Dai Viet opposition leader, have so far
been designated for this new cabinet. Minh hoped to
turn over the government to civilian hands in two or
three days. The generals also hope for early recognition
of their new government by the US and the Western

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