1964, October, “Military Revolutionary Government”

Telegram 1

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23180 prorosenfeld sundayer one anatomyve revolution saigon dash aye year ago next week vietnam witnessed birthve military revolutionary government etdeathvengodinhdiem regime stoppara

tanks paratroopers marines exploded on steetsve saigon dash aye phenomena that was to become aye pasttime in months to come stoppara

deathve diem inc ended aye dictatorship dash perhaps more accurately aye demidictatorship stop and it ended aye decade stoppara

diem toppled in onve most controversial coup detatsve all time with worldwide repercussions stop for vietnam viewed as aye ladderve many conflicts stop on highest round is freeworld versus communist semicolon specially unistates versus novietnam etchina stop in miniature within vietnam tis americanbacked saigongovernment versus communistled national liberation front semicolon in warweary delta this american gggiii etvietnamese trooper versus vietcong guerrilla moredeepe.


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23181 prorosenfeld sundayer two weaknessve diem wasnot that he failed in anything in particular but halfsucceeded in everything dash but norptnot government since him has halftried stop programs he implemented dash poorly undash since been only halfimplemented or forgotten stop his obsession was his country would be divided by communists in northern provinces dash now that obsession aye semireality stop his approach was to quote beat the communists by being better communists tactically unquote unquotestop he failed stop but norptnot government since had total policyve beating communists atall stoppara

first alternative to diem was a committee governmentve military junta stop expectation was talented military officers would quote win supportve people unqote while vigorously prosecuting war stop but vietcong incidents reached alltime high stop important strategic hamlet program crashed bringing down with it the statistical illusion that the war was being won stoppara

predictions were first junta would last ninety days stop lasted eightynine stoppara moredeepe


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23183 prorosenfeld sundayer three second alternative diem was another strongman stop when general nguyen khanh became premier january thirty washingtonattempted give him magical prestige stop mcnamara came one month semicolon rusk next stop midaugust khanh legalised his strongman position with infamous constitution stop had succeeded if students been studing etbuddhist priests praying their pagodas stop but they werenotrptnot stop etsomewhere quote invisible hands unquote communist subversives appeared stop after bloody demonstrations etreligious rioting khanh vowed downstop october twentyseven stop during past two months khanh plicy simply oneve survival semicolon unistates policy simpley quote back every status quo in night comaunquote according western diplomat moredeepe


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23184 prorosenfeld sundayer four oneyear following diem death vietnam travelled fullcircle ettortured oneyearve time stop newlyannounced provisional constitution provides single strongman like khanh and diems dash but that strongman can be neighter diem nor khanh etprobably notrptnot strongman atall stoppara

crucial deterioration within past year is that this idahosised republic fragmented politically from two vietnams into three vietnams stoppara

under diem there were two political an dmilitary vietnams dash his and communists. stoppara since diem two military vietnams but three plitical vietnams dash theres aye state within aye state within a state dash aye government within aye government within aye government stop third political government is buddhist movement htat sparked diem coup against diem etthe demicoup against khanh stoppara moredeepe


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23185 prorosenfeld sundayer five through past three years military war escalated ineternally as both communists etsaigon increased their dominations over quote contested areas unquote stop military war polarised semicolon countryside inreasingly become either black or white stop military stalemate was predicted stoppara

politically however a giant grey mass emerged between black political statve communists etwhite plitical stateve prowestern camp stop this grey mass revolves predominantly a round buddhists stoppara

tis considered now buddhist movemment is political movement surviving only by being a movementve protest stop steadve declaring war on communists however buddhists have said their immediate enemies are catholics comma americans etsaigon government stop by being as oppositionist to anticommunist forces ema buddhist policies in effect are aiding communists stoppara

saigon government therefore consider buddhists as quote second enemy stopunquote etduring past year saigon made substantial concessions to them stop hencesaigon government making concession to quote second enemy unquote on the political battlefront while fighting its communist first enemy on military front stop by making concessions to buddhists dash who are neither ally nor neutral undash saigion government has reliquished its u jurisdiction to buddhists stop its state grown smaller while buddhist state has grown moredeepe


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23190 prorosenfeld sundayer six increasing political dominance buddhists dash of which many leaders now considered procommunist undash has exploded aye popular myth about anticommunist war stoppara

myth is that americanbacked governments dash from diem to khanh undash notrptnot solved problemsve guerrilla warfare stop fact is notrptnot solved problemsve countering communist ideology etsubversion stop anticommunist war here is notrptnot fight against guerrillas stop it never was though american policymakers thought so for years stop once upon aye time it may have been half the war stop but two months ago it became less than falf the war as students buddhists workers comma presumably influenced by communists comma continually undermined khanh government stop until past two months ago american policymakers hadnot drawn distinction between military guerrilla et the political revolutionary or subversive stop now american officials believe communist tactics shifted from military to political stop but longtime observers believe political subversion consistently been predominant emathough invisible stop the real change appea rs to be that political subversion shifted from rural areas to the urban areas in central vietnam etsaigon moredeepe.


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23191 prorosenfeld sundayer seven quotw eve always paid lipservice to fact this is political wells military war cmaquote one american official explained stopquote but we never have done anything about it stop even now we are adding fivethousand more men but theyre helicopter pilots etnotrpnot intelligence officers stop we still have notrptnot corrected mistakeve underestimating the political problems stopunquote

the new saigon government that will be born next week faces almost seven yearsve unchecked communist political subversion plus increased military strength stoppara

the fundamental misjudgementve american policy appears to have been fighting the guerrillas while forgetting the subversive stop it may well be too late to reverse it in vietnam stop the challenge is to correct it in the vietnam of the tomorrows dash in south america etafrice etafrica stoppara

tomorrow colon the warve shadows ettermites enditdeepe.

Telegram 2 “Mister America in Vietnam”


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30180 prorosenfeld sundayer one mister america in vietnam stop saigondash aye year ago military coup detat brought down regimeve stubby catholic predisent nho dinh diem stoppara

themesong for vietnamese generals toppling him during eighteen hour coup was quote the longest day stopunquote afterwards saigonese presented garlands to paratroopers and tankdrivers and danced in the streets with joy stop dancehalls were flooded for allnight twisting sessions comma which diem regime had banned stoppara moredeepe

30181 prorosenfeld sundayer two dancing for joy did notrptnot last long for oneve diems predictions to began to true stoppara

only months earlier during flaming buddhist crisis which sparked his overthrow diem predicted quote apres moi le deluge unquoteparen after me the deluge unparen stoppara

now aye year later the deluge has descended stop both the military and the political war against the communists is in the process of being lost stop it was being lost under diem too but as one western diplomat explained sweek quote we are now losing it more efficiently than ever before stopunquote while observers here view this as sad but notrptnot tragic stop tragedy is that the war can still be won but probably notrptnot be moredeepe


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30190 prorosenfeld sundayer three several months ago leading saigon fortunetellers made another prediction colon that in ninth monthve lunar calendar the trendsve future would become clearer and vietname quote little war would become bigger stopunquotepara tis unknow if fortunetellers before their incense altars specifically foresaw chicom atomic device exploion comma downfallve khrushchew comma labor victory in britain but tis interpreted as significant here that ninth lunar month ends on november third stoppara

saigonese etwestern observers here openly hoping that american policy on vietnam does become clearer stop they view that in past months american policy been to quote back every status quo in sight unquote and to quote hold the lid on vietnam until after elections stopunquote moredeepe


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30192 prorosenfeld sundayer four observers view these days as the crucial turningpoint in th emilitary and political anticommunist war for quote to ocntinue to drift is only to lose cmaunquote according one western diplomat stop quote this is the point of notprnot return stopunquote para pessimists say tis already too late reverse trends stop

as the saigon fortuneteller predicted the first clues of americas postelection vietnam policy have already appeared stop vietnam quote little war unquote now appear bigger not only becauseve flareupve border incidents but also continuous flowve highranking asian military delegations to saigon interpreted as evidenceve possible commitmentve asian combat troops stop chinese nationalists government recent appointmentve general to serve as ambassador here also considered significant moredeepe


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20193 prorosenfeld sundayer five during past weekve suspense during formationve new vietnamese government dash which saigon newspapers called a la hitchcock undash other clues about future american policy also appeared colon first there will notrptnot be negotiations but will make last ditch attempt prosecute war second american will again attempt to back aye strongman ruler dash who will be general nguyen khanh comma former premier etnow commanderin chief dash ettthat civilianheaded govnerment will be restricted in authority if it survives atall moredeepe

31010 prorosenfeld sundayer six based on talks with american officials etwestern experts on counterinsurgency etcommunism in asia this is rundown on basic problems etpossible solutions facing the ong my repeat ong my dash mister america undash as children in ricepaddy villages call quote white man with big nose unquote in vietnam colon

one stop basic american mistake was to expect that vietnam would be another korea dash to expect invasion stedve guerrilla warfare etsubversion stopquote communists won souvietnam in soukorea cmaunquote according western observer quote there was aye korean type conventional war atmosphere here unitl american buildup in nineteen sixtytwo stopunquote moredeepe.


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31011 prorosenfeld sundayer seven after that america committed twentythousand military advisors but only in past four months have USIS etembassy increased their staffs to upkeep with political subversion psychological warfare problems stoppara

however by mid1956 communists in vietnam shifted from legal to illegal or subversive political struggle as their cells in villages an dcities went underground dash etthey since been organizing eteffecting subversion with helpve thousandsve party cadre who infiltrated from novietnam moredeepe


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31012 prorosenfeld sundayer eight while communists conducted this invisible but everpresent subversion comma assissinating local leaders etweakening government comma america largely ignored strengthening etreinforcing government administrative apparatus but looked largely to fighting the armed guerrillas stoppara

the newlyformed civilian government headed by phan khac suu hence has weak apparatus to fight communist political organization already eight years aheadve it in stability etdirection stop communist subversion now becoming blatant stop aye communist school to train englishspeaking quote dates unquote for american gggiiis reportedly operates in saigon chinese twincityve cholon stop in provinces immediately around saigon communists collect taxes from government civil servants top subversion recently became more evident when buddhist movement which sparked coup against diem last year et demicoup against khanh two months ago considered to be penetrated by communists stop other communist influenced organizations surfaced stoppara

muchdiscussed solution to problemsve subversion is airstrikes in communist infested southern laos or airraids on novietnam as aye means to smother the significanceve internal developments stop observers here view these suggestions as aye delaying action to postpone defeat etto attain better bargaining position for negotiations stop instead they suggest aye quote political raid unquote against communist agents dash wehther they be buddhist monks student leaders or catholic prists more.


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31080 prorosenfeld sundayer nine two stop american approach was to quote be liked rathern respected stop but you know communists do notrptnot care if they are loved in asia cmaunquote according western observer stop even vietnamese generals say american should interfere more in vietnamese affairs ut quote you do notrptnot have courage to do that stop you are faraid of being called aye colonialst but you will be called that anyway stop you should force the government to be honest stopunquote result was america acted neither with firmness nor with diplomacy semicolon vietnamese leaders forced to read minds etmore important only guess how programs would be implemented morededpe


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31082 prorosenfeld sundayer ten example was that shortly after becoming premier khanh appointed own brotherinlaw as consulate general in hongkong comma important post not only for intelligence but also for financial dealings stop amembassy wrote snickering cable to washington saying unfortunate appointment would only remind saigonese nepotismve diem regime stop it did stop but amembassy did notrpnot even suggest to khanh appointment was unwise stoppara

observers believe at the highest level there should be initially have been formalized arrangement between the two governments–dash similar to an alliance undash with specific areasve responsibility authority each nation stop vietnamese generals etcabinet ministers et american team should then meet regularly etformally to make joint decisions and oversee implimentation stop since arrival maxwell ddd taylor as ambassador such committee vietnamese etamerican committee has met in emergencies stop but neither announcements nor any joint communique issued which perpetuates communist propaganda that americans taking over command stedve advising their countrymen moredeepe


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31085 prorosenfeld sundayer eleven observers believe that unless these toplevel saigon meetings are regularized strategists are only in position to react to emergencies failures and crisis stop vietnamese intellectuals accuse americave having norptnot policy but instead appears that this policy notrptnot systematically coordinated between all agencies on vietnamese etamerican side stop throughout past three years washington policy applied in vietnam only by ambassador calling on president semicolon american military commander seeing ministerve defense or commanderinchief with result that decisions were makeshift unplanned and uncoordinated between agencies moredeepe


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31084 prorosenfeld sundayer twelve three stop as corollaryve this attitude america gave everything paren except nuclear weapons unparen to help vietnamese materialwise but mistake was to demand nothing in return stop especially under diem the original conditionsve military advisors etaid eteconimic aid should have been demands for real reform in the saigon provincial etvillage governments etadministration stop instead economic etsocial reforms and administrative changes were postponed until after guerrilla war had been won semicolon although lackve these reforms only fueled the war in countryside stoppara

since end of french indochina war in nineteen fiftyfour america gave three billion dollars in military aid ettwo bbbillion economic aid dash totalve five bbbillion or moren threehundred unistates dollars per capita paren aye years salary for lowest paid vietnamese unparen stop obviously muchve this went into military equipment etdefense budget stop but norptnot economic porgram sudcessful without wellfunctioning government machinery to pass through which americans didnotrpnot demand semicolon american agencies were also uncoordinated among themselves sop tis norptnot secret in saigon that oneve diems ministers would go to usaid for unauthorized supplies comma such as radios for provincial cadre comma dash etwould go to several divisions in usaid stop if didnotrpnot get them there would go to ccciiiaaa or army special forces this stop this scattered unplanned distribution system gives impression that american aid only into mercedes benz class rathern pockets rice paddy farmer.


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31100 prorosenfeld sundayer thirteen this lackve demands for responsibility from the vietnamese has created the impression among saigon intellectuals that americans were attempting to quote buy victory stopunquote in countryside peasants open to communist propaganda thought ammericans were attempting to quote buy the country stopunquote one peasant woman explained she would notrpnot take any american aid because in five years americans would want all the money back stop vietnamese would notrptnot be able to return the money dash so the americans would take the country moreddeepe


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31101 prorosenfeld sundayer fourteen while political climate within past year turned antiamerican clearly americans must diplomatically insist that administrative etgovernment reform be instituded even if condition is as one western diplomat explained quote the sinking ship paren america unparen must desert the sinking rats stopunquote para

four stop in many instances america took the easy way out in vietnam it made aye half committment ettreated it as aye halfwar stop vietnam appears to be aye total committment dash of money etmen etthe bloodve moren twohundred gggiiis killed in combat stop but in many instances americans themselves never took the final systematic steps needed to insure successful implementationve aye program stop for months american leaders here toyed with idea having american advisors to vietnamese commanders in provinces stay for moren oneyear tour stop but the painful decision dash unpopular with the gggiiis and nothers undash was never made stop consequently even expert vietnamese speaking field advisors effectively advise for maximum eight months and then etthen are shipped home stop tis aye symbol of the halfwar moredeepe


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31102 prorosenfeld sundayer fifteen at beginningve important strategic hamlet program to fortify villages highest ranking american general here was told insteadve producing economic etsocial revolution in villages the program was considered by peasants to be economic disaster stop for villagers forced to build strategic hamlets insteadve working on cash cropve tobacco etwere forced to make fences from their bamboo trees which was their cushion crop stop but the policy had been set etwas easier notprtnot to change it stop etwas never changed stop consequently for two years americas multimillion dollar strategic hamlet program rolled along to disaster until finally failed after fallve diem moredeepe


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31103 prorosenfeld sundayer sixteen fact that strategic hamlet concept is valid seen because communist guerrillas etpolitical cadre swiped entire idea comma have expertly set up their own combat hamlets complete with antihelicopter poles and trenches in houses for defense comma and own hamlet militia program as the government concept called for stop but their implementation succeeded semicolon american one did notrptnot stop in kien hoa province alone communists have eighteen thousand trained local village militia for their combat hamlets semicolon government militia numbers only in hundreds stoppara

even now american military command pushing much propagandized program to pacify provinces on outskirtsve saigon stop vietnamese in charge is majgen tran ngoc tam who was appointed when he was commanderve all troop sin area stop since then hes been assigned to totally unrelated post dash without any troops or command in provinces undash but he still remains responsible for aye longerm program he has notrptnot authority to implement

observers believe unity in american mission improved considerably under taylor but more steps needed moredeepe


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31104 prorosenfeld sundayer seventeen possibly fundamental mistakeve americans and the vietnamese government is the same one made by the french during their anticommunist struggle colon simply to make the same mistake over etover again stop clearly this must be changed dash if it is notrptnot too late to be changed atall stop

clearly victory in vietnam must be earned etnotrptnot bought stop it must be earned with backbreaking painstaking effortsve working side by side with vietnamese stop it means vietnamese troops must be held in aye province until area is pacified semicolon government administrators must systematically interview each family to root out communist agents etthis must be enforced with determination etjustice and insist by americans stop now in infamous long an province only ten miles from saigon theres been four separate pacification programs but american advisors praying they would be given chance to implement just oneve them moredeepe


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31105 prorosenfeld sundayer eighteen if painful decision is ignored now the result will be years of drifting toward eye neutralist solution eteventual communist takeover stop history may well say that american swere defeated by communist expansionsists but in fact appears they were defeated by own mistakes stoppara

at the philosophical level comma vietnam is often viewed as aye testing ground between american democracy etasian communism stop some observers say that american has notrptnot made its revolutionary appeals relevant to asia dash especially its economic view of private enterprise is seen as increasing wealth of the wealthy class without aiding the poor stop other observers however say that america has notrptnot demonstrated her democracy to vietnam stoppquote tis notrptnot aye problemve philosophy butve performance cmaunquote said western diplomat quote etour performance been bad stop communists preach our own philosophy of honest effecient just government to villagers dash etthey implement it stop we do notrptnot stopunquote moredeepe


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31104 prorosenfeld sundayer nineteen key lesson from vietnam is that as one western diplomat explained quote the only good counterinsurgency is the one that is never fought because it is never allowed to start stopunquote observers here openly suggesting that after election america sets up quote small elite taskforce unquote of career civilian etmilitary officers from all agencies etall branchesve service todeal with this quote predictable type of war in the future stopunquote

in short testve america is to win the counterguerrilla etcounterrevolutionary war in vietnam at this quote crucial pointve norptno return unquote etto win the same typeve war in south america ets etafrica before it need to be fought enditdeepe


 

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