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September 20, 2019
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September 26, 2019
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Publication Date: 
May 1, 1955
'',Approved for Release: 2019/09/17 C03181203 E../ 0.� //46ffiff TOP SECRET Approved for Release: 2019/09/17 C03181203 1 May 1955 Copy No. CURRENT INTELLIGENCE BULLETIN DOCUMENT NO NO CHANGE N CLASS. DECLASSIFIED CLASS. CHANGED TO: IS S C NEXT REVIEW DATE E 0 AUTH: HR 70-2 DATE. -MAW REVIEWER: Office of Current Intelligence CENTRAL INTELLIGENCE AGENCY 94 3.3(h)(2) 3.5(c) TnP q'FrNIFT Approved for Release: 2019/09/17 C03181203 Noe low SUMMARY GENERAL 1. Comment on India's acceptance of active role in Formosa crisis (page 3). SOVIET UNION 2. Soviet cruisers may leave Baltic (page 3). SOUTHEAST ASIA 3. Cambodia to seek rectification of border with Cochinchina (page 4). WESTERN EUROPE 4. Comment.on the formation of new state government in Lower Saxony (page 5). 5. Adenauer proposes West include Moscow in a security system (page 6). 6. The Situation in Saigon (as of 2000 EDST, 1 May) (page 7). THE FORMOSA STRAITS (Page 13) 1 May 55 CURRENT INTELLIGENCE BULLETIN Page 2 r-ctri. I-, Approved for Release: 2019/09/17 C03181203 I .1 an .01 IF% 11,1 Approved for Release: 2019/09/17 C03181203 'vmso GENERAL 1. Comment on India's acceptance of active role in Formosa crisis: In accepting Chou En-lai's request to send Krishna Menon to Peiping for fur- ther consultations on Formosa, Prime Minister Nehru has again seized an op , portunity to assume an active role in promoting peace in Asia and to recoup some of the prestige he lost at the re- cent Afro-Asian conference. Chou's invitation to India's best-known diplomat, whose anti-American bias is well established, suggests that Peiping is prepared for a protracted period of maneuvering on negotiations over the Formosa issue. In accepting the invitation, Nehru publicly proclaimed India's friendliness and lack of preju- dice toward both sides. Nehru's public proclamation that India and "other parties concerned" had "known for some time that China was willing to enter into direct talks," and his statement that Chou's offer "can lead to an approach toward a peaceful set- tlement," suggest that the Indian premier may be prepared to blame the United States if Menon's mission fails to bring positive results. SOVIET UNION 2. Soviet cruisers may leave Baltic: 1 May 55 CURRENT INTELLIGENCE BULLETIN Page 3 -F0P-SECREi Approved for Release: 2019/09/17 C03181203- Approved for Release: 2019/09/17 C03181203 NeW Comment: Movements of cruisers out of the Baltic in recent years have been preceded bv apparent surveys of the narrow waters leading out of the Baltic.I several cruisers have been active in the southern Baltic area but have not revealed preparations for their departure. The cruisers would probably be trans- ferred to another fleet, as no impending Soviet naval visits have been reported. The present total of 13 cruisers in the Baltic, primary location of Sverdlov-class cruiser construction, is con- sidered more than adequate for requirements there and the re- deployment of units to either the Northern or Pacific Ocean Fleets is expected. The last interfleet cruiser transfer oc- curred in August 1953 when the Sverdlov-class Alexander Nevsky was shifted to the Northern Fleet. There are now four light cruisers in he Northern Fleet and two heavy cruisers in the Pa- cific Fleet. SOUTHEAST ASIA 3. Cambodia to seek rectification of border with Cochinchina: Ambassador McClintock has learned that a major purpose of Prince Sihanouk's trip to Paris next month will be to nego- tiate rectification of Cambodia's boundary with Cochinchina, now the major part of South Vietnam. Accord- ing to Privy Councilor Penn Nouth, the Cambodian government con- siders the regaining of certain territory ceded to Cochinchina by the French an urgent matter in view of the "inevitability" of a Communist election victory in South Vietnam. Penn Nouth empha- sized that Cambodia would look to the United States and Britain for help in securing these border changes. 1 May 55 CURRENT INTELLIGENCE BULLETIN Page 4 Approved for Release: 201'9/09/17 C03181203 .1" Arta r's 11,....^111.1F. Approved for Release: 2019/09/17 C03181203 Norr McClintock comments that obviously a thorny problem is building up. Comment: The Cambodia -Cochinchina frontier was demarcated in the MTh century by the French and early in the 20th century the French made certain minor changes in favor of Cochinchina. The Cambodians have been traditionally resentful of the encroachment of Vietnamese along their south- eastern border. Cambodia and Vietnam do not maintain direct diplomatic relations. WESTERN EUROPE 4. Comment on the formation of new state government in Lower Saxony: �The formation in Lower Saxony on 30 April of a coalition government, con- sisting of the Christian Democratic, the German, the Refugee, and the Free Demo- cratic parties, will assure Chancellor Adenauer's control of the Bundesrat for the passage of constitutional amendments. The new coalition, formed as a result of last week's elections, forces the opposition Social Democrats from power. Adenauer's two-thirds Bundesrat majority, which was jeopardized by last November's state elections in Bavaria, will be necessary whenever the government requests parlia- mentary ratification of those amendments which will facilitate German rearmament. The "surprise" government probably came about as a result of sizable concessions to the Refugee Party, which holds the balance of political power in the state. Prospects are that Heinrich Hellwege, leader of the coalition German Party and a loyal Adenauer supporter, will be minister president. 1 May 55 CURRENT INTELLIGENCE BULLETIN Page 5 TOP SECRET Approved for Release: 2019/09/17 C03181203 Approved for Release: 2019%09/17 C031181203 Nime 5. Adenauer proposes West include Moscow in a security system: Chancellor Adenauer, through a personal envoy, Herbert Blankenhorn, has pro- posed to the Allied four-power conference working group in London that the West o er nc u e e e Union and its Satellites in a new secu- rity system consisting of all the European states, Canada and the United States. The proposal provides for over-all limits on arms, inspection of defense establishments, and a system of nonaggres- sion and mutual assistance arrangements. The German arms build-up under the Paris accords would not be affected nor would NATO force goals, since the arms limits would be set high enough so as not to interfere. Simultaneously, the West should also offer to re-unite Germany under the Eden plan�which called for free all-German elections and freedom of alliance. Blankenhorn feels, however, that the Eden plan will continue to be rejected by the Soviet Union. Nevertheless, he states that German pub- lic opinion expects the West to adopt a more advanced position on East-West problems than that taken at Berlin in February 1954. Such a proposal, he believes, may enable the West to regain the initiative. Comment: While Adenaueris proposal would stand little chance of being accepted by the Soviet Union, he believes these arrangements are the only safe basis for German unity. In his opinion' unity will be possible only following a gen- eral detente between the USSR and the United States. 1 May 55 CURRENT INTELLIGENCE BULLETIN Page 6 Approved for C03181203 Approved for Release: 2019/09/17 C03181203 �1100e Noe 6. The Situation in Saigon (as of 2000 EDST, 1 May): By the evening of 1 May in Saigon the forces loyal to Premier Diem were clearly in the ascendancy. An attempted coup d'etat by General Vy, Bao Dal's des- ignated military plenipotentiary, had failed. A press report from Cannes of 1 May stated that Bao Dal had "reaffirmed" his faith in Premier Diem and had issued a third invitation to the pre- mier to come to France. Bao :Dai had described his last previous invitation as the "second and last." Early in the morning of 1 May, Vy had issued a communiqu�tating that there was no constitutional gov- ernment in Vietnam and that he was the sole legal power. Vy's attempts to win the support of General Ty and other key officers in Saigon failed and Vy reportedly enplaned for Dalat at 1500. Shortly before Vy's flight the French radio in Saigon quoted Gen- eral Ely as urging the population to "give all necessary help to the armed forces of Vietnam." Vy's attempt to overthrow Diem, like that of the Binh Xuyen, had virtually no chance of success unless it had the active backing of the French Expeditionary Corps. De- spite the statements of French government spokesmen in Paris and General Ely that the action "deposing" Bao Dal, taken by a "Revolutionary Council" supporting Diem on 30 April, was "ille- gal," the French command in Saigon apparently made no overt move to intervene. The "Revolutionary Council," which first appeased on 30 April, is a group of extremists supporting the pre- mier. It has Diem's unofficial sanction but its statements go be- yond official government policy. Those sect leaders who have been in Diem's camp during the dispute with the Binh Xuyen--Cao Dal generals Phuong and .The and Hoa Hao general Ngo--have played an important, if not dominant, part in the current revolutionary activity. Corroboration of the strong feeling in the army and� among the population against Bao Dai's attempted elevation of General Vy and his dispatch of General Hinh on a "survey mission" .1. May 55 CURRENT INTELLIGENCE BULLETIN Page 7 � � � � Approved for Release: 2019/09/17 003181203 TrIP 'QV(' Dr"' Approved for Release: 2019/09/17 C03181203 114011f somewhat cool toward Diem. the Cao Dai pope-- long an ally of the Binh Xuyen�and certain lesser Hoa Hao warlords issued anti-l3ao Dai proclamations on the 29th and 30th. At 1500 hours (Saigon time) Binh Xuyen forces were reportedly concentrated approximately 12 miles south of Saigon. Binh Xuyen morale was said to be low; 100 troops had defected during the day. Several days prior to 28 April 26 April 28 April 1215 Hours 28 April 1245 Hours 28 April 1315 Hours 28 April CHRONOLOGY Ba Cut liaison reportedly tells Vietnamese source United Front expects major conflict with National Army within few days, proba- bly 1 May. Diem establishes new National Police headquarters, with Colonel Le as chief, on Blvd. Gillieni. Le tells press that, effective 1430 hours, he will stop movement mobile Binh Xuyen patrols. Mortar shells land in Y Bridge area from unknown point of origin, according to Ely. Embassy notes official French briefing made no mention of this but stated shell- ing began at 1315 with attack on palace. Conflict begins when Binh Xuyen report- edly opens fire on truckload of National Army troops in front of police headquarters on Blvd. Gallieni. Serious battle begins as Binh Xuyen lobs nine mortar hells on or near palace. Diem 1 May 55 CURRENT INTELLIGENCE BULLETIN Page 8 Approved for Release: 2019/09/17 C03181203 Approved for Release: 2019/09/17 C03181203 informs Ely that more shelling will bring VNA retaliation. Attack continues, and Diem orders fire returned. Afternoon, Heavy fighting, largely concentrated in Y Evening Bridge area and along Arroyo Chinois. 28 April Large area between Arroyo Chinois and Blvd.Gallieni in flames. 28 April 28 April Bao Dai cables Diem, appointing General Nguyen Van Vy army commander and order- ing Diem and others to Cannes for talks. Diem told to arrive 3 May for conference beginning 5 May. (Press) Kidder sees Ely; latter holds Diem respon- sible for bloodshed, implies US largely to blame. Morning Cabinet meeting reportedly produces unani- 29 April mous approval of strong cable from Diem to Bao Dai rejecting latter's instructions. Pre- mier's communique says cabinet decided presence of premier indispensable and that Vy's assumption of command would have "baneful consequences" for country. 29 April National Army succeeds in gaining of banks of Arroyo Chinois after most Binh Xuven strongpoints objective overcoming in city. 29 April Dai pope Pham leader Tu Day Cao Cong Tac and Hoa Hao military today issued anti-Bao Dai, anti -French state- ments. 29 April Bao Dai orders General Nguyen leave for Vietnam to "survey" Van Hinh to situation. (Press) 1430 Hours French start deploying heavily armed troops 29 April along principal boundaries of Saigon's European sector. 1 May 55 CURRENT INTELLIGENCE BULLETIN Page 9 ZIELAChins_ el Iry 4-4 irs T-1 Approved for Release: 2019/09/17 C03181203 TVID crr.Drur Approved for Release: 2019/09/17 C03181203 vire 29 April 29 April 29 April 1800 Hours 29 April 29 April 30 April 30 April Ely tells Kidder and British ambassador that Diem's refusal to obey Bao Dai puts him in illegal position. Kidder believes Ely had hoped to get American and British support in demarche to Diem for cease- fire. Colonel Thai Hoang Minh, Binh Xuyen chief of staff, is now suspicious of French intentions, and is negotiating rallying to the government of three Binh Xuyen battalions. VNA has total of 80 French prisoners. VNA reportedly flanks and forces Y Bridge. Binh ,Zuyen falls back to point two miles south of Saigon. VNA attempting envelop- ment. Provisional assembly, called "The Revolu- tionary Democratic Forces of the Nation," "fires" Bao Dai, orders Diem to dissolve cabinet and form a new one. Assembly, � which has cabinet backing, adopts resolu- tion assailing Bao Dai as puppet of French colonialists. Bao Dai portrait on city hall torn down at instigation of sect loyalists, smashed by crowd. (Press) General Vy, after conference with Diem, reads statement under duress, saying he agrees with assembly's action deposing Bao Dal, and adds: "I place myself at disposal of Premier Diem." (Press) 1 May 55 CURRENT INTELLIGENCE BULLETIN Page 10 Approved for Release: 2019/09/17 C03181203 - - - � Approved for Release: 2019/09/17 C03181203 30 April 30 April 30 April 30 April 30 April 0030 Hours 1 May 0900-1000 Hours 1 May 1200 Hours 1 May 1 May Hoa Hao colonel Nhuyen Van Hue issued anti-Bao Dai procla- mation. Cabinet reportedly sends cable to Bao Dai protesting latter's decision to send Hinh on "survey" mission as "serious insult" to government and army. (Press) Some members of imperial family in Saigon said to have decided to urge Bao Dai to re- tain Diem. General Ty given additional star, Colonels Don (AC/S) and Minh (Comdr First Mil Region) raised to generals. VNA reports supply situation satisfactory. Binh Xuyen reported low on ammunition and down to strength of 2,000. Believed tired and ready to quit. Some evidence internal dissension. Binh Xuyen may find means to improve supply situation. General Vy released from palace. Issues statement that he is "sole legal power." (Press) (Vy later told Emb his release followed threat by comdr of a paratroop battalion to attack palace unless Vy freed.) Bloodless struggle between VNA units and Imperial Guard units under Vy for control of national bank, national radio, and PTT (last two in French sector). Army gains control of radio and PTT. People's Revolutionary Council and VNA representatives, including Ty and Don, meet at palace. Adopt resolution of full support for Ty. (Press) Cannes--Bao Dai reportedly "reaffirms" support for Diem and renews order to Diem to proceed to Cannes. (Press) 1 May 55 CURRENT INTELLIGENCE BULLETIN Page 11 � - - � --- Approved for Release: 2019/09/17 C03181203 TrIP Crrin'T Approved for Release: 2019/09/17 C03181203 Nuf 1 May 1400 Hours 1 May 1500 Hours 1 May 1 May 1 May 1 May 1 May 1600 Hours 1 May French military source says Hoa Mao forces allied with Binh Xuyen marching on Saigon. (Press) French radio in Saigon quotes Ely as urging population to support Vietnamese army. Comment: Ely may have made statement un- der impression General Vy in command. General Vy reportedly enplanes for Dalat. His residence, crowded with officers a few hours earlier, now deserted. Diem's decision not to go to Cannes is final. General Hinh will not be permitted to enter Vietnam. People's Revolutionary Council authorizes Diem to form new government which will organize elected assembly and ask complete withdrawal of French troops. Demands full- scale revolution to wipe out colonialist regime. Vietnamese defense minister says referendum will decide issue of monarchy or republic within a few months. Paris radio says all observers agree situa- tion turning in favor of Diem. Binh Xuyen concentrated 12 miles south of Saigon, with French blocking approaches to them. Binh Xuyen morale bad. Over 100 defected during day. Government expects 3 battalrs to rally in near future. 1 May 55 CURRENT INTELLIGENCE BULLETIN Page 12 "%T.% IN Approved for Release: 2019/09/17 C03181203 Approved for Release: 2019%09/17 C03181203 fit Nirrol THE FORMOSA STRAITS Report of the IAC Current Intelligence Group for the Formosa Straits Problem This report is based on information received in Washington up to 1100 hours 1 May 1955. 1. No significant developments have been reported. 1 May 55 CURRENT INTELLIGENCE BULLETIN Page 13 Approved for Release: 2019/09/17 C03181203