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Jim DIEugenio at VMI on 9/2
#1
This is a transcript of a talk I did via Skype at VMI on September 2nd. I was between Bill Davy and John Newman.

Its a condensation of what I have been talking about for the last four years: How JFK's foreign policy led to his murder, and also probably Dag Hammarksjold's. At the end I explain one of the reasons I think Allen Dulles was involved.

https://kennedysandking.com/john-f-kenne...mi-seminar
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#2
Jim DiEugenio Wrote:This is a transcript of a talk I did via Skype at VMI on September 2nd. I was between Bill Davy and John Newman.

Its a condensation of what I have been talking about for the last four years: How JFK's foreign policy led to his murder, and also probably Dag Hammarksjold's. At the end I explain one of the reasons I think Allen Dulles was involved.

https://kennedysandking.com/john-f-kenne...mi-seminar

Excellent, not least your continuing insistence upon the continuity of Kennedy's foreign policy from Senate to White House.

One minor, but recurring quibble - you keep characterising Arthur Krock's column, The Intra-Administration War in South Vietnam, as an attack on the Agency. Nothing could be further from the truth: It was, instead, very obviously an extended attack on Starnes and his sources - among them, though unstated by Krock, members of the US press corps who had been present for the thwarted CIA putsch against Diem in late August '63 - which concluded with a call for an end to such leaks and the "disorderly" (read "constitutional") government they allegedly engendered.

DCI McCone was so outraged by the Starnes prophecy (of an imminent domestic CIA coup) that he summoned Scripps-Howards' editor-in-chief, Walker Stone, to a meeting in a Washington hotel, where he demanded Starnes' dismissal. Krock, by contrast, likely got an exclusive, an outsize cigar and a decent meal from Langley as a reward for his rejoinder. Failing to distinguish between the two is a poor reward for Starnes' courage and Stone's splendid reply to McCone: "All you're telling me, John, is that Dick got it right."
"There are three sorts of conspiracy: by the people who complain, by the people who write, by the people who take action. There is nothing to fear from the first group, the two others are more dangerous; but the police have to be part of all three,"

Joseph Fouche
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#3
Can you post both articles?
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#4
Jim DiEugenio Wrote:Can you post both articles?

Starnes:

Quote:The Washington Daily News, Wednesday, October 2, 1963, p.3

'SPOOKS' MAKE LIFE MISERABLE FOR AMBASSADOR LODGE

'Arrogant' CIA Disobeys Orders in Viet Nam

SAIGON, Oct.2 - The story of the Central Intelligence Agency's role in South Viet Nam is a dismal chronicle of bureaucratic arrogance, obstinate disregard of orders, and unrestrained thirst for power.

Twice the CIA flatly refused to carry out instructions from Ambassador Henry Cabot Lodge, according to a high United States source here.

In one of these instances the CIA frustrated a plan of action Mr. Lodge brought with him from Washington because the agency disagreed with it.

This led to a dramatic confrontation between Mr. Lodge and John Richardson, chief of the huge CIA apparatus here. Mr. Lodge failed to move Mr. Richardson, and the dispute was bucked back to Washington. Secretary of State Dean Rusk and CIA Chief John A. McCone were unable to resolve the conflict, and the matter is now reported to be awaiting settlement by President Kennedy.

It is one of the developments expected to be covered in Defense Secretary Robert McNamara's report to Mr. Kennedy.

Others Critical, Too

Other American agencies here are incredibly bitter about the CIA.

"If the United States ever experiences a 'Seven Days in May' it will come from the CIA, and not from the Pentagon," one U.S. official commented caustically.

("Seven Days in May" is a fictional account of an attempted military coup to take over the U.S. Government.)

CIA "spooks" (a universal term for secret agents here) have penetrated every branch of the American community in Saigon, until non-spook Americans here almost seem to be suffering a CIA psychosis.

An American field officer with a distinguished combat career speaks angrily about "that man at headquarters in Saigon wearing a colonel's uniform." He means the man is a CIA agent, and he can't understand what he is doing at U.S. military headquarters here, unless it is spying on other Americans.

Another American officer, talking about the CIA, acidly commented: "You'd think they'd have learned something from Cuba but apparently they didn't."

Few Know CIA Strength

Few people other than Mr. Richardson and his close aides know the actual CIA strength here, but a widely used figure is 600. Many are clandestine agents known only to a few of their fellow spooks.

Even Mr. Richardson is a man about whom it is difficult to learn much in Saigon. He is said to be a former OSS officer, and to have served with distinction in the CIA in the Philippines.

A surprising number of the spooks are known to be involved in their ghostly trade and some make no secret of it.

"There are a number of spooks in the U.S. Information Service, in the U.S. Operations mission, in every aspect of American official and commercial life here, " one official - presumably a non-spook - said.

"They represent a tremendous power and total unaccountability to anyone," he added.

Coupled with the ubiquitous secret police of Ngo Dinh Nhu, a surfeit of spooks has given Saigon an oppressive police state atmosphere.

The Nhu-Richardson relationship is a subject of lively speculation. The CIA continues to pay the special forces which conducted brutal raids on Buddhist temples last Aug. 21, altho in fairness it should be pointed out that the CIA is paying these goons for the war against communist guerillas, not Buddhist bonzes (priests).

Hand Over Millions

Nevertheless, on the first of every month, the CIA dutifully hands over a quarter million American dollars to pay these special forces.

Whatever else it buys, it doesn't buy any solid information on what the special forces are up to. The Aug. 21 raids caught top U.S. officials here and in Washington flat-footed.

Nhu ordered the special forces to crush the Buddhist priests, but the CIA wasn't let in on the secret. (Some CIA button men now say they warned their superiors what was coming up, but in any event the warning of harsh repression was never passed to top officials here or in Washington.)

Consequently, Washington reacted unsurely to the crisis. Top officials here and at home were outraged at the news the CIA was paying the temple raiders, but the CIA continued the payments.

It may not be a direct subsidy for a religious war against the country's Buddhist majority, but it comes close to that.

And for every State Department aide here who will tell you, "Dammit, the CIA is supposed to gather information, not make policy, but policy-making is what they're doing here," there are military officers who scream over the way the spooks dabble in military operations.

A Typical Example

For example, highly trained trail watchers are an important part of the effort to end Viet Cong infiltration from across the Laos and Cambodia borders. But if the trailer watchers spot incoming Viet Congs, they report it to the CIA in Saigon, and in the fullness of time, the spooks may tell the military.

One very high American official here, a man who has spent much of his life in the service of democracy, likened the CIA's growth to a malignancy, and added he was not sure even the White House could control it any longer.

Unquestionably Mr. McNamara and Gen. Maxwell Taylor both got an earful from people who are beginning to fear the CIA is becoming a Third Force co-equal with President Diem's regime and the U.S. Government - and answerable to neither.

There is naturally the highest interest here as to whether Mr. McNamara will persuade Mr. Kennedy something ought to be done about it.

(See editorial on page 32.)

Quote:The Washington Daily News, 2nd October 1963, p.32

Editorial: What's Wrong in South Viet Nam?

It is a brutally messed up state of affairs that our man, Richard Starnes, reports from South Viet Nam in his article on Page 3 today.

And the mess he has found isn't Viet Namese. It is American, involving bitter strife among U.S. agencies which may help explain the vast cost and lack of satisfactory progress in this operation to contain communist aggression.

The whole situation, as described by Mr. Starnes, must be shocking to Americans who believe we are engaged in a selfless crusade to protect democracy in this far-off land.

He has been told that:

The U.S. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) has flatly refused to carry out instructions from Ambassador Henry Cabot Lodge, frustrating a plan of action he took from Washington.

Secret agents, or "spooks," from CIA "have penetrated every branch of the American community in Saigon." Who are we fighting there anyhow? The communists, or our own people?

The CIA agents represent a tremendous power and are totally unaccountable to anyone. They dabble and interfere in military operations, to the frustration of our military officials.

The bitterness of other American agencies in Saigon toward the CIA, Starnes found, is "almost unbelievable."

On the basis of this last statement alone, there is something terribly wrong with our system out there.

Defense Secretary McNamara, just back from an inspection trip to Viet Nam, gave the President a preliminary report on his findings at the White House this morning. Mr. McNamara is a tough man of decisive action. It may be assumed he now is in a position to assess the blame for this quarreling and back-biting inside the American family whether it falls on the CIA or other agencies which accuse the CIA.

One way or the other, some official heads should roll.

The CIA's response pages of the NYT, October 3-8, 1963. Krock served up two defences of the Agency in the space of a week:

Quote:New York Times, 3 October 1963, p.34

Intra-Administration War in Vietnam

By Arthur Krock

The Central Intelligence Agency is getting a very bad press in dispatches from Vietnam to American newspapers and in articles originating in Washington. Like the Supreme Court when under fire, the C.I.A. cannot defend itself in public retorts to criticisms of its activities as they occur. But, unlike the Supreme Court, the C.I.A. has no open record of its activities on which the public can base a judgment of the validity of the criticisms. Also, the agency is precluded from using the indirect defensive tactic which is constantly employed by all other government units under critical fire.

This tactic is to give information to the press, under a seal of confidence, that challenges or refutes the critics. But the C.I.A. cannot father such inspired articles, because to do so would require some disclosure of its activities. And not only does the effectiveness of the agency depend on the secrecy of its operations. Every President since the C.I.A. was created has protected this secrecy from claimants Congress or the public through the press, for examples of the right to share any part of it.

This Presidential policy has not, however, always restrained other executive units from going confidentially to the press with attacks on C.I.A. operations in their common field of responsibility. And usually it has been possible to deduce these operational details from the nature of the attacks. But the peak of the practice has recently been reached in Vietnam and in Washington. This is revealed almost every day now in dispatches from reporters in close touch with intra-Administration critics of the C.I.A. with excellent reputations for reliability.

One reporter in this category is Richard Starnes of the Scripps-Howard newspapers. Today, under a Saigon deadline, he related that, "according to a high United States source here, twice the C.I.A. flatly refused to carry out instructions from Ambassador Henry Cabot Lodge …[and] in one instance frustrated a plan of action Mr. Lodge brought from Washington because the agency disagreed with it." Among the views attributed to United States officials on the scene, including one described as a "very high American official…who has spent much of his life in the service of democracy…are the following:

The C.I.A.'s growth was "likened to a malignancy" which the "very high official was not sure even the White House could control…any longer." "If the United States ever experiences [an attempt at a coup to overthrow the Government] it will come from the C.I.A. and not the Pentagon." The agency "represents a tremendous power and total unaccountability to anyone."

Whatever these passages disclose, they most certainly establish that representatives of other Executive branches have expanded their war against the C.I.A. from the inner councils to the American people via the press. And published simultaneously are details of the agency's operations in Vietnam that can only come from the same critical official sources. This is disorderly government. And the longer the President tolerates it the period is already considerable the greater will grow its potentials of hampering the real war against the Vietcong and the impression of a very indecisive Administration in Washington.

The C.I.A. may be guilty as charged. Since it cannot, or at any rate will not, openly defend its record in Vietnam, or defend it by the same confidential press "briefings" employed by its critics, the public is not in a position to judge. Nor is this department, which sought and failed to get even the outlines of the agency's case in rebuttal. But Mr. Kennedy will have to make a judgment if the spectacle of war within the Executive branch is to be ended and the effective functioning of the C.I.A. preserved. And when he make this judgment, hopefully he also will make it public, as well as the appraisal of fault on which it is based.


Doubtless recommendations as to what his judgment should be were made to him today by Secretary of Defense McNamara and General Taylor on their return from their fact-finding expedition into the embattled official jungle in Saigon.

Quote:New York Times, Friday, 4 October 1963, pp.1 & 4

Lodge And C.I.A. Differ on Policy

Ambassador and Agency's Chief in Saigon Clash on Conduct of the War

By David Halberstam

Saigon, South Vietnam, Oct. 3 Ambassador Henry Cabot Lodge and the head of Central Intelligence Agency operations in Saigon do not agree on United States policy for Vietnam.

The Ambassador would be happier with a new C.I.A. chief. [The present C.I.A. chief in Saigon is believed to be John Richardson.]

This is not a problem of personalities. What is involved is in part the traditional relationship, sometimes of rivalry, between the State Department and the C.I.A. In part it involves the problem of whether the C.I.A. should be primarily a straight intelligence network, or have operative functions; whether there should be separate chiefs for intelligence and operations.

It is believed here that Mr. Lodge feels that when a man is assigned to an important and, in this case, difficult operative function, the requirements of that post conflict with the objectivity and disinterest required of an intelligence chief.

There is no evidence that the C.I.A. chief has directly countermanded any orders by the Ambassador. Assertions that he has are denied in all quarters here.

Rather, even amid the current controversy, it is acknowledged that the C.I.A. chief, for more than a year, has carried out the extremely difficult and taxing job of working closely with Ngo Dinh Nhu. In this aspect of his duties he has done a superior job, say the other members of the mission. It is the basic contradiction between this role and that of an intelligence chief that is at stake.

Informants here say Mr. Lodge has told Washington he wants a new chief, and that the C.I.A. is fighting back hard. The matter is believed now resting with the White House.

It is believed here that Mr. Lodge and the C.I.A. chief see this war effort in somewhat different lights. Likewise, they see the proper function of a C.I.A. chief in different lights.

It is also true that in recent weeks in Saigon, as a major re-evaluation of United States policy has been taking place, the American mission here has tended to become the theater, on a small scale, of the traditional conflict in Washington of the Pentagon, the State Department and the C.I.A.

Part of the present struggle over the C.I.A. chief is believed to have a parallel in a struggle by Mr. Lodge against Maj. General Paul D. Harkins to establish himself as the real as well as the nominal head of the American mission here.

At the moment, some sources say, there is a growing effort to make the C.I.A. the scapegoat for the unhappy events of the last six weeks. When Government forces raided Buddhist pagodas on Aug. 21 the C.I.A. seemed confused about what was going on. There followed the demand by Washington that Ngo Dinh Nhu and his wife be pushed out of the Government, defiance of that demand by Ngo Dinh Diem, and Washington's decision to go along with the regime.

Some persistent enemies of the intelligence agency are accused of using recent events as an opportunity to voice their bitterness against the agency.

Many persons in Saigon contend that in general intelligence operatives here are at the highest caliber, and say they have played vital roles in some of the most successful programs of the complicated counter-insurgency machinery.

Quote:New York Times, Saturday, 5 October 1963, pp. 1 & 2

C.I.A. Saigon Aide Reported Called To See President

Consultations' Are Given as Reason Official May Not Return to Vietnam

Move Sought By Lodge

McNamara Said to Support Request by Envoy That Replacement Be Sent

By Max Frankel

Washington, Oct. 4 President Kennedy was reported today to have recalled "for consultations" the head of Central Intelligence Agency operations in South Vietnam, presumably to end his policy dispute with Ambassador Henry Cabot Lodge.

Persons familiar with State Department operations in Saigon confirmed reports from there that Ambassador Lodge had requested the replacement of the C.I.A. chief, John H. Richardson. They expressed doubt that Mr. Richardson would be sent back to Saigon.

Mr. Lodge's appeal for a new intelligence agent with new instructions was said to have been conveyed to the President by Secretary of Defense Robert S. McNamara. The Secretary, who visited Vietnam with Gen. Maxwell D. Taylor, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, is believed to have endorsed the request.

Lodge Proposes New Role

The Ambassador apparently complained that his own position as head of the American mission in Vietnam was inconsistent with the separate operations of the intelligence chief. He was said to feel that a new man should be appointed and instructed to the gathering and analysis of intelligence information.

Mr. Richardson, according to reports from Saigon, not only gathered information but worked closely on operational matters with Ngo Dinh Nhu, the brother and most influential adviser of President Ngo Dinh Diem.

Mr. Lodge's objections were said to center on Mr. Richardson's conception of his job, not on his performance as such. Reports of a clash of personalities or insubordination have been denied here.

To some extent the policy differences are part of a larger dispute among different American agencies and officials here and in Vietnam. Broadly, these differences have arisen from different views about the attitudes that should be displayed toward repressive measures by the Saigon regime.

Some argue that nothing must be done to undermine the war against Communist-led guerillas; others believe the war cannot be won unless Ngo Dinh Diem and his family are forced into political reforms.

The intelligence agency has tended to believe in the closest possible cooperation with the Saigon Government. Ambassador Lodge and many officials in the State Department have at times favored a tougher stance toward Saigon's policies.

Because of these policy differences, different factions have tended to send back different estimates of the military situation. After hearing a report from Mr. McNamara and General Taylor, President Kennedy this week said the serious political situation in South Vietnam had not yet significantly affected the military effort, but could do so in the future.

Mr. Lodge is said to have warned of these future effects. Other officials at the scene, including Gen. Paul D. Harkins, military commander of American forces in Vietnam, continue to insist that the war was going reasonably well.

Sources here have refused to give any information about the John Richardson who has been identified in news dispatches from Saigon as chief of the intelligence unit.

Richardson a First Secretary

The Government's biographic register of officials serving overseas lists a John Hammond Richardson as First Secretary and special assistant to the American Ambassador in the United States Embassy in Saigon. That Mr. Richardson was born to American parents in Rangoon, Burma, in 1913, and holds a bachelor's degree from the University of California at Berkeley.

His record lists service overseas with the Army in World War II and as a political officer in the War Department after the war. Other reports have said he really served with the Office of Strategic Services, predecessor of the C.I.A.

Since the war, the Mr. Richardson listed in the register had held various diplomatic and consular positions in Vienna, with the Department of Defense in Washington, in Athens and Manila. He has been in Saigon since April 1962.

Quote:New York Times, Sunday, 6 October 1963, p.E8

Washington: How to Make Things Worse Than They Really Are

By James Reston

Washington, Oct. 5 John McCone, the head man at the Central Intelligence Agency, is discovering in Vietnam, as his predecessor, Allen Dulles, did in Cuba, that running a secret service for a big, gabby country is a very dicy business.

He is now accused publicly of differing with his Government's policy in Saigon, which he denies, and he takes the whole controversy so seriously that he has convinced himself that there is a conspiracy inside the Government and in the press to destroy his agency.

This is a serious thing, if true, for the cold war is in part a war of insurgency and counter-insurgency, and in such a war an effective secret service is increasingly important. But so far as can be determined here, there is no evidence of any conspiracy, either by or against the C.I.A. in Vietnam.

An Old Dispute

There is a jurisdictional dispute between the C.I.A. and the State and Defense Departments. There always has been. State has always been afraid C.I.A. would not restrict itself to the gathering of intelligence but would go beyond that to interpret their intelligence in such a way as to influence or make policy.

Similarly, the Defense Department has always been afraid the C.I.A. would get into the field of actual operations as it did in Cuba. Thus State and Defense, jealous of their policy and operations functions, respectively, have always been suspicious of C.I.A. and prone to complain to the press whenever they think they see evidence of encroachment.

These feelings were savagely pressed in the first Cuban crisis. They have been heard again about Vietnam, but the analogy with Cuba is misleading.

No doubt McCone and his head man in Saigon, John H. Richardson, who has been called home, have strong views about both policy and operations in Vietnam. It would be surprising if they didn't.

The C.I.A. was deeply involved in Vietnam long before the 14,000 U.S. troops were sent there. The C.I.A. helped train the Vietnamese army. And they were already close to President Diem and his brother, Ngo Dinh Nhu, before President Kennedy made his decision that a major counter-insurgency operation should be launched in Vietnam.

Thus, by the time the Buddhist temples were raided, starting the present crisis, the C.I.A., State and Defense officials were not only operating in Saigon but were deeply involved emotionally and had different views about how the U.S. should react to the raids.

The differing views, however, did not always follow the party line of the three government agencies. Some men in State thought a major effort should be made to force changes in the policies and personnel of the Diem Government. Others thought that while such changes were desirable, they could not be forced without weakening the war effort. But these conflicting views existed within all three agencies, including the C.I.A. in Saigon, and President Kennedy himself first supported the first line and then the second.

This was not, then, an Alfred Hitchcock spectacular involving the C.I.A. vs. the Rest. It was an honest difference over whether a purge of the Diem Government was possible and whether such a purge would or would not help the war effort.

McCone's Sensitivity

The State Department, for example, against the judgment of some of its own people but with the support of most of its top officials, issued a private directive in support of trying to force a change in the Diem Government.

It did not check this out with C.I.A. to see whether C.I.A.'s intelligence would show that such a purge could be forced. Nor did it tell the Defense Department about the directive. So C.I.A. and Defense, which in general were not for trying the purge, were not amused.

What is surprising about all this is that McCone should be so surprised and tender about the criticism and the belated efforts of the White House to tidy things up.

This country is always going to be suspicious of any government secret service agency, especially after Cuba, and it is likely to get all the more suspicious when the spooks see a great conspiracy in the reporting of their activities.

Quote:New York Times, Sunday, 6 October 1963, p.E8

State Within a State?

Is the Central Intelligence Agency a state within a state?

President Kennedy's recall of the head of C.I.A. operations in South Vietnam, coming after persistent reports of discord between him and Ambassador Lodge, appears to provide substantive corroboration to the long-voiced charges that our intelligence organization too often tends to "make" policy.

The C.I.A. is a large and, on the whole, well-organized intelligence apparatus, which knows and employs all the tricks of the trade. But it not only gathers intelligence; it "operates" saboteurs, guerillas and other paramilitary forces. And its operations particularly if they are not carefully programmed, controlled and directed tend willy nilly to influence policy, if not to make it.

The agency has many extremely able men. But it operates behind the cloak of anonymity and secrecy and secrecy adds to power. When the same organization collects intelligence and evaluates it, and, at the same time, conducts clandestine operations and when that organization is as powerful and as well financed as the C.I.A. there is an inevitable tendency for some of its personnel to assume the functions of king-makers.

Communist imperialism and the exigencies of the nuclear age have brought us eons away whether we like it or not from the era of 1929, when Secretary of State Stimson closed the nation's only code-breaking organization with the remark that "gentlemen do not read each other's mail." Today we must read the other fellow's mail if we want to survive.

But the C.I.A., like the F.B.I., has gone too long without adequate Congressional accountability. A Joint Congressional Committee on Intelligence, so long urged but so often frustrated by Congressional pride of place and petty jealousies, should be established to monitor our intelligence services, to safeguard their security and to reduce the dangers secret espionage and covert operations present to a free society.

Quote:New York Times, Sunday, 6 October 1963, p.E9

Kennedy Ups and Downs

Advances and Setbacks of the Last Two Weeks Are Examined

By Arthur Krock

Intra-Government War

The intra-Government war concurrent with the military actions to rout the Communist forces from Vietnam was one of the subjects of the survey, in that area that the President assigned to Secretary of Defense McNamara and General Maxwell Taylor, chairman of the Chiefs of Staff. What measures they recommended to Mr. Kennedy for ending the civilian battle have not been disclosed. But, since it was clear in Washington and Saigon dispatches written by reporters in good professional standing that the target was the Central Intelligence Agency and the attackers were members of other Executive units, McNamara and Taylor had no need of thus informing the avid newspaper reader in the White House. However, it must be assumed they were able to give to Mr. Kennedy the names of the C.I. A. critics who have permitted themselves to be identified only as "officials" or "authoritative sources." And, because the C.I.A. is restricted by function from counter-attacking these critics by their own undercover methods or open retaliation it is obvious that the firing is coming from the ambush of Washington and Saigon units of the State Department, the United States Information Agency, etc.

Whether the President has ordered an end to the sniping at the C.I.A. from these quarters that he should have ended weeks ago will soon be apparent in the dispatches. The secrecy which invests C.I.A. activities and personnel makes it much less likely that his judgment of the validity of the critics' dubious charge that the C.I.A. in Vietnam was making and/or resisting policy, and the concurrent disciplines he imposes, if any, will be publicly revealed as soon.

Quote:New York Times, Tuesday, 8 October 1963, p.21

U.S. Intelligence Role Is Diverse in South Vietnam

By Malcolm W. Brown

The following dispatch was written by Malcolm W. Brown, chief correspondent for the Associated Press in South Vietnam for the last two years, who is now on vacation in Tokyo.

Tokyo, Oct. 7 When John Richardson began his assignment as chief of the United States Intelligence Agency unit in South Vietnam, he had to use Buddhist monks to exorcise the ghosts in his villa.

The specter of a different kind of Buddhist ghost has been a major factor in Mr. Richardson's recall to Washington.

In fact, all the American spooks (intelligence men) in South Vietnam have come under close and critical scrutiny not only from the Saigon Government but from State Department officials as well. A new man with a new mission may soon occupy the small office on the second floor of the embassy where Mr. Richardson worked.

Mr. Richardson's recall is believed to be partly a result of a disagreement over tactics with Ambassador Henry Cabot Lodge, who came to Saigon in August.

President Ngo Dinh Diem and his family have charged that the C.I.A. actually plotted a coup to overthrow his Government last month. The United States Embassy called the charge nonsense.

Behind endless charges and countercharges, how much of a role have American intelligence had in developments in Vietnam?

Under the former Ambassador, Frederick E. Nolting Jr., Mr. Richardson and his men had a key role. As special assistant to the Ambassador, he was a close friend of most of the Saigon Government's top officials, including those in the secret police.

Mr. Richardson and the 200 or so agents under his command were in on the grand strategy in the battle against Communist guerillas. Saigon politics were sidelined.

The United States Special Forces in South Vietnam were actually a military arm of the C.I.A. Later, the Special Forces were transferred to the Military Assistance Command headed by Gen. Paul D. Harkins, and became a regular unit.

The Special Forces had a vital part in securing Vietnam's jungle-covered highlands. Six-man teams in some areas administered entire villages of thousands of tribesmen. The Special Forces suffered heavy casualties.

At another level, Mr. Richardson worked closely with Ngo Dinh Nhu, the President's brother and chief adviser. Ngo Dinh Nhu and Mr. Richardson planned American aid for the strategic hamlet program.

In a recent interview, Ngo Dinh Nhu pointedly recalled that his forces that raided Buddhist Aug. 21 had been created by the United States.

Mr. Richardson is bald, wears glasses with heavy horn rims and dresses smartly and conservatively. He looks and acts every inch the diplomat. He is a specialist in counter-insurgency, having fought Communist guerillas for his agency in Greece and the Philippines. Both campaigns were ultimately successful.

Mr. Richardson and his wife, when they got to Saigon last year, were assigned to a villa with a reputation of being haunted.

Servants refused to work in the villa at first, saying the ghosts of victims would cause trouble. Mr. Richardson solved the problem by hiring a team of Buddhist monks who were experts in exorcism.

Things were going well for Mr. Richardson until Aug. 21 when the smouldering Buddhist crisis exploded into violence and martial law. The United States denounced Saigon's actions, and a favorite question became "What will the C.I.A. do about it?"

The finger of suspicion was immediately pointed at Mr. Richardson and all American intelligence groups, even though there was no evidence the C.I.A. planned to do anything at all.

The C.I.A. is not the only American agency involved in intelligence in Vietnam. Some of the other groups are the 704th Military Intelligence Detachment, the embassy's security office, and the aid mission's Rural Affairs Section, headed by Rufus Phillips, a former C.I.A. agent with experience in the Philippines.

Theoretically, all these agencies work together. In practice, all generally assign their own men to key jobs. Sometimes agents have been infuriated by a lack of exchange of information.

Some agents in Saigon were in almost open revolt against United States policies at the height of the Buddhist crisis.

Mr. Richardson said he opposed any action that would weaken the Saigon Government's war against Communism, but called the Buddhist problem "a grave and dangerous situation."

But in the early hours of Aug. 21, after the bloody raids of the night, he told this correspondent he believed his one-time close associate, Ngo Dinh Nhu, was probably behind the whole thing.

Government suspicion of all Americans deepened immediately.
"There are three sorts of conspiracy: by the people who complain, by the people who write, by the people who take action. There is nothing to fear from the first group, the two others are more dangerous; but the police have to be part of all three,"

Joseph Fouche
Reply
#5
I see what you mean about the difference between the two articles by Starnes and Krock.

Krock was essentially repeating what Starnes said about the Seven Day in May scenario and commenting on it in a negative light.
Reply
#6
Jim DiEugenio Wrote:I see what you mean about the difference between the two articles by Starnes and Krock.

Krock was essentially repeating what Starnes said about the Seven Day in May scenario and commenting on it in a negative light.

Got it.
"There are three sorts of conspiracy: by the people who complain, by the people who write, by the people who take action. There is nothing to fear from the first group, the two others are more dangerous; but the police have to be part of all three,"

Joseph Fouche
Reply
#7
Paul:

Do you still have those links to Halberstam and his writings about JFK's Congo policy?

I would like to see them again in looking at the Burns/Novick pastiche.

BTW, was Sheehan there also? He is a talking head on this one.
Reply
#8
Jim DiEugenio Wrote:Paul:

Do you still have those links to Halberstam and his writings about JFK's Congo policy?

I would like to see them again in looking at the Burns/Novick pastiche.

BTW, was Sheehan there also? He is a talking head on this one.

Yes & yes. At work, will post when I get home.
"There are three sorts of conspiracy: by the people who complain, by the people who write, by the people who take action. There is nothing to fear from the first group, the two others are more dangerous; but the police have to be part of all three,"

Joseph Fouche
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#9
Good, thanks so much.

Cannot believe they made Sheehan the main talking head in the Kennedy segment.
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#10
Henry Cabot Lodge had first cabled Washington demanding the removal of the John H. Richardson, the CIA's Saigon station chief, on 13 September 1963. In a UPI despatch published the following day by, among many others, the Washington Post, Saigon bureau chief Neil Sheehan had sought to portray the unnamed CIA station chief in Saigon as "the only civilian official still strongly in favor of going along with the Ngo family" and who was "opposed by most of the working level and staff of the CIA members here." This was devious - if Kennedy sacked Richardson, as Lodge demanded, the President could thus be portrayed as removing a major impediment to Diem's overthrow: Should he fail to, he could then be castigated as a President who betrayed his Ambassador but hardly sustainable or, in the event, sustained, despite the heroic endeavours of David Halberstam in his 1965 The Making of a Quagmire, where all the old CIA alibis for Richardson were trotted out by rote. The reality was, of course, the reverse, even by Richardson's own unreliable account of his relationship with Nhu, as reported by Malcolm Brown in the NYT on 8 October 1963. Here, Richardson was quoted as blaming Nhu for the August 23 move against the Buddhist temple armouries, with the unmistakable inference that the CIA station chief disapproved, and broke with Nhu as a consequence.

At least one American journalist, present in Saigon throughout the period in question, and quoted in Richardson's New York Times obituary, more or less concurred with this interpretation. After reprising the standard Agency guff concerning Richardson's initial alleged closeness to Nhu, the journalist conceded that Richardson "changed his mind" and "decided that the regime" was "impossible" prior to the August arrival of Lodge. The latter thus "forced Richardson to leave" a curious formulation not because he was an impediment to the coup, "but because Richardson was a kind of symbol of American support for Nhu." From lone American pillar of the regime to "a kind of symbol"? The name of the journalist contributor to Richardson's 1998 obituary sheds interesting light on the September 1963 claim that the CIA station chief was "the only civilian official strongly in favor of going along with the Ngo family": The very same Neil Sheehan.

The revised line on Richardson was hardly original to Sheehan. As with so much else in his work, it had its origins elsewhere, in this case, in the work of Halberstam, the Agency's Vietnam propaganda point-man. In his 1973 book, The Best and the Brightest, a work memorably characterised by Warren Hinckle as "one of the great bullshit books of all-time," Halberstam parenthetically claimed that "Richardson had been sent home at Lodge's request because he was too much of a symbol of the direct US relationship with Nhu." Earlier in the same work, Halberstam had reverted to the Malcolm Brown line of 8 October 1963. Richardson had cast off that alleged closeness to Nhu in the immediate aftermath of the pagoda raids, to become "a surprising advocate of a coup, and a prophet that the coup would come and come quickly." Richardson's son, in the course of a lengthy and emotional piece for Esquire, first denied that his father was at any time pro-coup, then admitted that his father had indeed changed his mind, but only "briefly in a moment of great pressure that he spent the rest of his life regretting." Who or what was responsible for this pressure was left unspecified.

The internal documentary record is not kind to Richardson fils' interpretation. On 26 August 1963, in the approach to the planned coup against Diem of 28/29 August, the station chief cabled Langley:

Quote:"Situation here has reached point of no return. Saigon is armed camp. Current indications are that Ngo family have dug in for last ditch battle. It is our considered estimate that General officers…understand that they have no alternative but to go forward…

Situation has changed drastically since 21 August. If the Ngo family wins now, they and Vietnam will stagger on to final defeat at the hands of their own people and the VC. Should a generals' revolt occur and be put down, GVN will sharply reduce American presence in SVN…

It is obviously preferable that the generals conduct this effort without apparent American assistance. Otherwise, for a long time in the future, they will be vulnerable to charges of being American puppets, which they are not in any sense…"

In short, when Lodge first demanded Richardson's dismissal in mid-September 1963, the latter was unquestionably pro-coup.

Not that Halberstam's 1973 depiction of Richardson was entirely consistent with his 1965 one, as contained in his much-hyped volume of that year on the Vietnam war, The Making of a Quagmire: "Nor is it true, at least during the time that I was in Saigon, that the CIA was in conflict with other parts of the mission, that it was foiling the plans of more honorable and better-behaved agencies. Indeed, just the opposite is true, and that was precisely the trouble: there was no conflict between the various elements of the mission at all." For the dutiful servant of totalitarian power, no somersault is too obvious or spectacular to induce embarrassment.

In fact, as Sheehan and Halberstam doubtless well knew, the Diem government had named Richardson as the leader of the abortive coup of 28/29 August 1963 in the early editions of the Times of Vietnam on 2 September 1963, an offence that saw the paper disappear from the streets within hours. Undeterred, the paper reprinted 6,000 copies of the 2 September edition a week later, on the ninth, whereupon its printing presses were smashed. (The paper's offices were again attacked in the immediate aftermath of the CIA's successful coup on 1-2 November.) Madam Nhu, in conversation with a German correspondent in the same period, had placed the station-chief's name at the top of the list of coup conspirators.
"There are three sorts of conspiracy: by the people who complain, by the people who write, by the people who take action. There is nothing to fear from the first group, the two others are more dangerous; but the police have to be part of all three,"

Joseph Fouche
Reply


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