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New Kennedy Tapes on Assassination of Ngo Dinh Diem

November 10, 2009

The United States’ role in the Saigon coup d’etat that resulted in the assassination of South Vietnamese leader Ngo Dinh Diem has long been among the most controversial episodes of John F. Kennedy’s presidency. Archive Senior Fellow John Prados has been pushing for the declassification of key documents and tape recordings on these events since the 1980s.

Many of the paper records pertinent to the Diem coup were originally declassified on the basis of requests Prados filed. Recently the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library released tape recordings of the August 1963 White House meetings at which President Kennedy first considered appeals from South Vietnamese generals for support to a coup, tapes that Prados had asked for nine years ago.

The Archive’s 2003 Electronic Briefing Book on the Diem Coup showed that US officials, including JFK, vastly overestimated their ability to control the South Vietnamese generals who ran the coup. Evidence from the newly released tapes shows both Kennedy’s reluctance to be drawn into this kind of political manipulation, along with his ambivalence, as well as the US government’s determination to effect a change in South Vietnam.

Later this month we will issue a new electronic briefing book reflecting upon the new evidence. Prados will be available for comment and interviews during a lecture tour of the northwestern states.

  1. muzz permalink
    November 10, 2009 7:34 pm


    “Audio files of these discussions are available to the media in .wma and .mp3 format on request.”

    any chance of getting these historical audio documents into the public domain and not keeping them reserved for corporate media and the academic realm?

    share the wealth!

    anyway, looking forward to the new electronic briefing book and would greatly appreciate any audio/video of John Prados’ lecture tour that was made available

    congratulations to your tenacity paying off

    • November 11, 2009 7:51 pm

      See below for the official press release and selected material available online:

      White House Recordings of President Kennedy Debating Vietnam Coup Released by JFK Presidential Library
      – John F. Kennedy Presidential Library & Museum

  2. Mark permalink
    November 11, 2009 4:02 am

    Also recommended is the 2008 book

    JFK and the Unspeakable: Why He Died and Why it Matters
    by James Douglass

    Douglass argues that the coup against Diem was done against Kennedy’s wishes. It also happened around the time of the assassination attempt against JFK in Chicago, which would have had both coups happen almost simultaneously. In the Chicago effort, there was a “lone gunman” set up to be the patsy in that case. A short comment on this blog cannot possibly do justice to Douglass’s scholarship about this.

  3. January 13, 2010 11:32 pm

    The American justice has declared, “All men are creative equal”. However, the Vietnamese people have their own sovereignty and the American people are too and that’s why? the American government has invaded to Vietnam? When eating the holy cake, drinking together holy war, and adoring one Jesus, the President Ngo Dinh Diem would not want the American military invades to Vietnam, so the president Kennedy has given an order to massacre Ngo Dinh Diem. We, the Vietnamese people, ask the American people where is the Jesus staying? and where is the American justice showing?
    On April 30, 1975, the United States of America cuts and runs off Vietnam. so I, Bright Quang would think that the American history cannot clean out the dirty invader of the United States of America. This is very ashamed of the super emperor of US.
    The American invader does not need any victory
    Because it has needed to consume its oldest weapons
    And therefore, it has needing the wars for consuming its weapons
    Because, the American people and government do not need any humanism

  4. The person who lost the country permalink
    January 13, 2011 1:55 am

    The America fabricated the Buddhism in central Vietnam to kill President Ngo Dinh Diem, advisor Nhu and Can who loved their country to avoid the US controlled VN. It was very sad days for South VietNam’s people. US was happily as well as Communist of VN. US supported Mr. Diem as well as killed him like anyone in Chile, in Panama, in Iraq. Now in Afganistan. Who say the history is not happened again?
    The mastermind JFK, Henry Cabot Loge Jr., Lucien Emile Conein, and George Ball, Averell Harriman, N-Michael Forrestal, and Rogers Hilsman. Including the “thugs” of generals of South VN Army who involved to killed the president, the advisors for $42,000.00 . These people directed responsible to the suffering of South VietNam people. They all war criminals. The US use “democracy” as propaganda under great country on earth to did a dirty jobs. Also Henry Kissinger is the one who sold South Vietnam to the Communist as the plan to protect the Israel in Middle East. Kissinger one time was ran away under Nazi as a victim, but did not learn from that to be humble person, he turn out to be an evil. Their acts were not much differences than Judas who sold the Jesus Christ. They read their own bible, they had been saying “GOD BLESS AMERICA” but the created wars, killed people around the world under their name of GOD. America is a rich country it can be like “the fish eats the ants, but some days the ants eat the fish” as balance law, it has been with humans. How many EMPIRES went down and disappeared on earth by themselves? Roman, Greek, Old Chinese, UK, etc… America is not an exception to avoid the its collapse. Beside the winning in WWII America has not been a good winner since then. When America runs out the resources it will collapse. I hope some days the US has a decency to say sorry to what it did kill the South Viet Nam president and his brothers. I don’t it can happen, because The US’s egos do not allow US to do so.

  5. November 13, 2012 8:51 pm

    We’re Happy
    American strategists have been happy for the Vietnamese present after their play has done musician chairs game of the Vietnam War on April 30th 1975. Rare the American people and the human beings of world that they are understood about the Vietnam War surely because the American history, the American press and the American broadcast have been poured the worst things on the head of former leaders of Republic of Vietnam form November 1st in 1963 to April 30th 1975.
    In fact, few of American leaders and strategists have been gotten so many American taxes in order to wander the Vietnam War when they have shown up their super Americanism. They’ve never considered to other freedom, democracy and justice that there was the same as the Vietnamese people. Moreover, we’re former Vietnamese officers since the American invasion has came to Vietnam because we’ve believed to the American strategies of the Vietnam War because Americanism does not only be super empire of modern age but also be rich more than other countries of the world. Finally, we’re magic with super Americanism because Americanism is always regardful with its super motto is American freedom, democracy and justice than others one.
    However, it is arrogant to abridge Vietnamese rights through its strategy is of Vietnam War.
    First of all, the American strategists have abridged of the Vietnamese Rights through their strategy was the Vietnam War. The Vietnamese people have own their sovereignty since they’ve ever terrorized to the American Rights, but the American strategists have played a game of musician chairs in the Vietnam War. For example, former President Ngo Dinh Diem was the catholic cheep and former President Kennedy was too. They’re together adored to one God, eaten Holy Cake and drunken Holy Water, but the American strategists have never considered to In God We truth. They’ve assassinated a Vietnamese President since the American Government and Congress were solemn to take an oath that we are faithful to help you to fight against to communism when it is violating to our freedom, democracy and justice. Obviously, former President Ngo Dinh Diem has never oppressed to any Vietnamese religions, but the Vietnamese Buddhist, the monks did not only go to a monastery of three Buddhist laws but also take an oath to faithful with the party of Vietnamese communist.
    They’ve based on the southern freedom when they’re secretly operated to overthrow the South Government. Then Central Intelligence Agency of the United States of America has taken advantage of the Vietnamese monks when the superior monks were active for duplicity’s spies in order to destroy the Diem policy. If we’d combine both Vietnamese policies, we’ve realized to religious oppression of Vietnamese communist and South Government. We must understand that Communist government is super barbarous great than the Southern Government, but today the American strategists have escaping where? Because former President Ngo Dinh Diem did not need the American soldiers, they invaded to operate to Vietnam battlefields. Former President Ngo Dinh Diem has worried about the Vietnam Justice when the foreign soldiers are come to Vietnam, but the American strategists did not give ear to President Ngo Dinh Diem because the American government was storage of so much oldest weapon after the World II has done and since it is created so many modern weapons. The American strategists do need the Vietnamese battlefield than colonial policy.

    Second, the Vietnamese leaders were believed in Americanism than oneself. Meantime, the American July Fourth is of the 187 days, American Ambassador Henry Cabot Lodge, Jr., has invited few of Vietnamese Generals in order to welcome to American Independence Day. The Vietnamese generals were glad to enjoy an interesting whiskey wine, so the Central Intelligence Agency could promise to award few of dollars to Southern Generals in order to overthrow their leader’s Ngo Dinh Diem, the Southern generals quickly gave ear to the American strategists. Ironically, almost of Southern Generals has come from the French colonial when they did not graduate any elementary or high school. Because the French colonial has deleted an old Vietnamese language, it was exchanged to a new Vietnamese language by the alphabet in order to brainwashing Vietnamese people that they must forget the Super Chinese of Empire because super Chinese has been invaded Vietnam for one thousands of year. Therefore, the Vietnamese Generals of Vietnamese regimes were the same as a thing. However, International Communism is faithful with its alliance than Americanism is because international Communism does need colonialist than the American strategists do need the battlefields.

    Third, the American strategists have sold out their alliances when they’ve been exchanging their strategies for the worldwide. As we legalize to the American modern weapons, they’ve created more modern weapons in order to apply with different environments. For example, the American weapons of the electric are super one, but these are not applying with environment zone. So the American weapons do need more environment zones, they should be testing with the Torrid Zone, the Temperate Zone and the Frigid Zone. Otherwise, the Vietnamese people and Soldiers have seemed won the Northern soldiers since the American strategists have ever wished any win of the Vietnam War. To prove, after the treaty of peace in Paris, the Southern Soldiers have to push the struggle for self-defense, but the American strategists have never wished any won cases of the American Wars. The American strategists should open the green light in order to welcome Super Chinese of Empire because they’ll have a new strategy in the future in Vietnam.
    In conclusion, the American Strategists have dropped the Vietnam War why? Because the they wish to test their modern weapons to others zones, they couldn’t compensate one billion dollars to North Vietnam, not rebuild the South of Vietnam and not need the Asian battlefields because they do need the relationship with Super Chinese than South of Vietnam. In fact, the American weapons of the electric have tested done in the Vietnam battlefields when they are successful to bomb to the North Vietnam. As we know that they’re alliance of South Vietnam, the American strategists could not help for their South Vietnam when super Chinese was invading to the Vietnamese Islands. Because they’ve gulped down the treaty of Peace in Paris and their promise had taken an oath with weak country of Vietnam, Lao and Kampuchea, but the American strategists are proud of one, they’ve any ashamed face. In case, after more than thirty years cut and run of out the Asian battlefield, they’ve left behind many sufferings, deaths and jails, so they did not compensate any pennies for the American war’s invasion.
    They are happy to seen the Vietnamese people that they have been oppressing for the long run by the Vietnamese Communist leaders. However, the American strategists are appreciating to the Vietnamese communist leaders than the Southern leaders in the past. Because the Vietnamese communist leaders have ceded the Vietnam boundary and Islands to Super Chinese, the American strategists are to take advantage of Super Chinese is invading to the Asians and then, they’ll consume so much modern weapons again. They have never considered to the Vietnamese people that they are oppressing for the long run by the barbarous leaders of Vietnamese communist regime. Last, we should be comparing to former President Ngo Dinh Diem and Vietnamese communist leaders when they’ve been oppressing the religions and abridging human rights, freedom, democracy and justice to the Vietnamese people for more years of Communist Leaders, but the American strategists are still standing outside of the Vietnamese people since they’d been helped for the American strategists are happy because the Kissinger has declared Vietnam failures we did to ourselves. Perhaps, Americanism is on the go stepping down.

  6. December 16, 2013 12:51 am

    ~ Bright Quang said:
    The great hope of America society is individual character.
    Therefore, my life is not to be a brick, which lies under dirty mud.
    Instead, I see my life as a brick, which supports the building of the
    American democracy.

  7. January 1, 2014 10:08 pm

    How Good Should I Dream
    Bright Quang

    “Human knowledge is limited, but human life is limitless of ambition.”

    A Vietnamese-American creator, Bright Quang opens new way to his life’s happiness, source of life, and sorrow in order to bury the hatchet.

    In his book, How Good Should I Dream, he has made up the five rights in order to control one’s self and his five rights are of the right thoughtfulness, the right love, the right forgiveness, the right struggle and the right independence.

    These paths will carry to realize the true value of being human, peacefully and without hate and animosity in the world. He believes that people reap what they have sown.

    This was imparted to him at a very young age when he thought that his mother has given birth to him in very a hard time. He learned the true meaning of sacrifice and hardship.

    The author lived a tough life, clouded with misery and suffering, but he shares his vivid view of the world… a world full of a promise of tomorrow.

    Come and join him in this inspiring journey.

  8. January 2, 2014 1:17 am

    I Seek Me, the book of short stories of Bright Quang, is recalling for the American ethics reform because he is honest, best and innocent of an American citizen, he is been discriminated for the long run by the American Courts in California State. Significantly, he thinks of his life is not the same a a rock that lies under the stream when the water runs on it. His ideology self struggle is glorious great than the wealth sine one is abased one’s self. He has said, the value of nation, in the long run, and along-beside of value, is character composing it, so he is owned place in the earth, and is as important as few admiration, even if he’d choose to be so or not. Therefore, seen young wild grass rises up to the sun, so his human dignity is not trampled down by the power.

  9. January 29, 2014 1:42 am

    Dear Sir:
    I’d like to submit my books that are I Seek Me and The Gift to you because I have been giving ear to you and our American Congress and American President that our nation is very equal more than other nations in the world. However, I was awarded by the American Court since it awarded me to be good Vietnamese-American citizen, but the Court in San Mateo and the Court of the state of California did not judge for my case because Department of vehicle Motor of San Francisco in California that did not only destroyed my name but also trampled down my age since it insulted me have mental case from 2008 to the present. So I had requested to Inspector Department of the United States for reviewing my case, it had sent its letter for me since it made sure me had a best of Vietnamese American citizen and the United States of Justice had order me send all of my statements; and therefore, I had sent all of my books over fourteen books in order to prove that I am not having mental case. I am hopeful to the United States of Justice will give me enjoy a little of American Justice. By the way, I would like to submit my original manuscripts of my books are “I Seek Me and the Gift that’s meaning for dedicate to the American people and human beings should understand about my life and the justice of the United States of America offering for an honest man as like me.
    And here are:
    1. I Seek Me
    2. the Gift
    If you want to review my human dignity, you may tell me submit all of the fourteen books within the English language. I would like to thank of your consideration to a bad man of Vietnamese American paid sold of the United States of America when I did not only gotten any Imprisoned Benefit Insurance, and I was left on the battlefield of the Vietnam War to follow International Laws of War but also trampled down to destroy my name and age that I have been building up all of my life.
    Sincerely yours
    Bright Quang

  10. January 31, 2014 9:53 am

    Dear Sir,
    Happy New year to you.
    Life of Bright Quang is a paid soldier of the United States of America without American benefits, so I have become a Vietnamese American citizen and I do wish enjoy a little of American Justice before my life will be passing in the future because I am an oldest of a Paid soldier of the United States of America. However, the main of my mother country American that has been destroying my name and age since I have been building my life for the over sixty five years and coming to the United States of America that my mother country has been awarding a mental case, so my life does not only hurt but also be ashamed life of a paid soldiers.
    Therefore, I do wish enjoy a little of American Justice before I will be dead, so my heart, soul, and brain will not be shamed when my soul will be met all of my American Presidents who are Washington or Abraham Lincoln in order to beg a little of American Justice and so on.
    Sincerely yours
    Bright Quang

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