Lê Xuân Nhuận

 (Memoir of the June Season) MIC OF THE I CORPS AND THE I MILITARY REGION by LE XUAN NHUAN)

HEADQUARTERS –MILITARY REGION I AND MILITARY REGION I

SINCE the abolition of the Regional Government Representative Courts (an administrative organization under the “First Republic” of President Ngo Dinh Diem, replacing the Prime Minister’s Offices) /General of the Part/State level under the “Vietnamese Nation” of State Chief Bao-Dai), the “Region Generals” (Commanders of Corps and Tactical Regions) have obviously become The Prime Minister or Representative of the Government in his/her Region.

After abolishing the position of Administrative Assistant next to the Commander of the Tactical Region, the “Region Generals (now Military Region)” have even more authority over agencies. Regional (Regional) level civil service whose tasks are considered the main efforts of the Pacification & Development Program, through the Standing Center of the Regional Council for Pacification & Development, belongs to the Military Region Command, whose staff are all military personnel, under the command of the Deputy Commander of the Military Region.

As for the Police Force, it operates closer to the Military Force, so the Commander of the Regional/Area Police Force, as Head of an Agency under the Military Region, directly receives instructions. from the Military Region Commander.

In general, it is the Police Force, but in reality, only the Special Police have the majority of responsibilities related to the Military Forces, through the two branches of Military Intelligence (Second Department) and Military Security (Second Department). Military Security). In addition, the Special Scene is also responsible for implementing one of the main goals of the Binh Dinh & Development Program: rural security.

According to the Government Decree reforming the Special Police into a Special Branch in 1970, one year before the reform of the Special Police, my position was classified as a The Director of a Department has many Departments, and is responsible for directly reporting the situation to the Military Region Commander, which means I am also a Military Region-level Agency Head.

After the seminar that I organized at the National Police Command of Region I, and after my inspections in each Province+Town and District in the Region, I realized that the Special Landscape of Region I has a great potential. – has great potential and needs to be exploited to the fullest.

However, in the context of war and with the military’s obvious superiority, I first need to gain the affection and trust of the military.

In that spirit, to start the Sector’s foreign affairs activities, I must soon come and introduce myself to the leaders and executives of the Military Region here.

Lieutenant-General Ngo Quang Truong

In Military Region I, I rarely met Lieutenant General Ngo Quang Truong , compared to Lieutenant Generals Vinh Loc , Lu Lan , Ngo Du, and Nguyen Van Toan, like when I was still working. in Military Region II. General Truong spent most of his time on outside inspections, rarely in the office.

However, in my mind I feel that I meet and get close to him often. That lieutenant general, as I heard many people praise in Saigon as well as in Region II, is truly an ideal physical figure of contemporary society. The status of a soldier has been raised to the top of the four worlds  Military, Public, Officer, Government  and that soldier is at the pinnacle of his position (“Regional General” is “leader of the Region”. -lord” of the Region). He was promoted to a higher position at the Central Government but he refused and volunteered to stay and guard this dangerous area of ​​the Homeland; who devoted all his mind, effort and time to the anti-Communist work right at the front, rarely enjoying himself in the city; who was invited by the Southeast Asia Inter-Occupation Organization (SEATO= South East Asia Treaty Organization) to come to Thailand every month to give presentations on Vietnam’s efforts and battlefield experiences; He has no political ambitions, so he is trusted and loved by President Nguyen Van Thieu, assured that he will never break away from the Central Committee as planned by former Lieutenant General Nguyen Chanh Thi in the past. …

One day, while waiting to gather documents and bring them to the first meeting with the I Corps at the office of Colonel Hoang Manh Dang, Chief of Staff of the Corps and Military Region, some A high-ranking officer happened to mention to me about Lieutenant General Truong: that he had severely punished a General of the Division Commander for being jointly responsible for the case of a single-command. who is in charge of driving the people’s cows; that he punished a colonel Head of the Agency for corruption in the Rural Development budget; He used helicopters to fly throughout the Military Region, personally controlling the situation in all aspects and places, including supervising the disciplinary behavior of soldiers along the way as well as at stations. remote camps, on the most unexpected days and hours; What’s more, he only wore a battle uniform with armor and helmet, ready to go into battle at any time… Public opinion also rumored that he once slapped the ear of a proud Minister at the airport. -school…

General Truong’s countless exemplary deeds were recounted to me with words and attitudes full of admiration, causing a strong emotion and deep impression in me, so much so that later, when I Halfway up the stairs leading to his office and that of Colonel Dang, I suddenly saw him coming down and I suddenly stopped. Standing tall before me was the great image of a “hero” wearing armor and a helmet, realistic yet as mythical as in ancient legends. He asked me what I came for. I was speechless, causing Colonel Le Quang Nhon, Chief of Department I of Military Security, who was accompanying me, to answer for me.

So I have a trustworthy anti-Communist leader for this entire boiling War Zone .


Major-General Hoang Van Lac

Lieutenant General Ngo Quang Truong has agreed to let us  as Commander of National Police Region I, Head of Division 2 of Army Corps I & Military Region I, Chief of Department I of Military Security – The team, and I, the Director of Special Sector I, and my ” Allied Friend ” MEET weekly at the office of Colonel Hoang Manh Dang, his Chief of Staff.

That is an effort to coordinate intelligence and operations.

As for territorial security/internal affairs, we met at the office of Major General Hoang Van Lac, Deputy Commander of the Military Region.

Attending here were the Assistant Commander/National Police of Region I in charge of Phung Hoang, that is, the Assistant General Secretary of the Standing Center of the ” Phung Hoang ” Committee of Military Region I, but there is no “Ally”.

Right in the meeting that included me for the first time, General Lac emphasized the general security situation, especially in and around Da Nang Town, where Army Corps I and Military Region I were headquartered. -headquarters, where is now the capital of the Central region.

Typical issues raised:

The largest gas depot of Military Region I in Lien-Chieu, next to the foot of Hai-Van Pass, was attacked several times by the Viet Cong; Other important gasoline reserve tanks in the inner city of Da Nang were also half-cut by Viet Cong special forces with barbed wire fences (last year, bombs were set to destroy a large amount of gasoline); Trains from Hue, entering the Hai-Van Pass tunnel, were mined regularly by the Viet Cong; Especially in the south of Ngu Hanh Son Mountain, Lieutenant General Ngo Quang Truong ‘s helicopters were often shot by snipers from the Viet Cong, so he had to avoid that area by flying away…

I don’t need to wonder why the Commands of Army Corps I & Military Region I and the National Police Command of Region I are located there, but the agencies/units of the Army and Police Department are located there. – because these chronic ulcers have not been eliminated.

I immediately volunteered to take on the responsibility of restoring and ensuring long-term security for the above mentioned places.

I also propose that the Police Force in general and the Special Branch in particular, with me personally participating, take on the leading role in both covert and surface operations to eliminate communists. -produce and maintain territorial security, in any land where civilians reside and live, starting from towns and district capitals, throughout the Military Region.

I only ask for a signature from the Commander of the Army Corps and the Military Region, to notify this to all military agencies and units throughout the Region for compliance.

Lieutenant General Ngo Quang Truong , Commander of Army Corps I and Military Region I, approved my proposal.

Second Department and Military Security

In general, military people do not like police people; In particular, in the field of intelligence, there is disagreement, if not a struggle for influence, between Military Intelligence, Military Security, and the National Police [Special Forces]. -Scene]. Although in later times, there were a large number of military personnel at all levels seconded to the Police Force, and hybrid military officers held the majority of command positions in the French Army, so the Communication between the two sides at high levels and on the surface has improved quite a lot; But in daily interactions, even in work coordination, the inferior part is often reserved for the human side.

Everyone knows that in the field of military intelligence, military experts are naturally more proficient; What’s more, in wartime, Military Intelligence is equipped with state-of-the-art machinery, tools and techniques through military aid which is the main budget of the United States; supported by the sky; given priority in exploiting documents captured on the battlefield; Priority is given to interrogate all sources of information, including police officers, criminals and prisoners of war captured by the Special Police. The Special Police’s weakness is that it also collects military information, but lacks confirmation circumstances and is wary of being blamed, so any information it receives is forwarded to the Second Division. ; In the end, there are many reports from high levels that have only low value, or even no value at all. (The Special Police leaders at the Central level hardly pay attention to this.)

For me, the issue is more clear-cut. It’s even better if the Special Canh is also knowledgeable about the military. For example, to achieve that, for many years, I have fasted every day without breakfast to attend early morning presentations at II Corps Command, when I was still stationed in Pleiku. , and the Military Region II Command, moved to Nha Trang, to closely follow the situation and grasp military issues throughout the Region, mingling with the commanders of the regions. In the military world, when involved in an incident, one is respected and therefore public affairs are sincerely coordinated.

However, each agency has its own function and each part has its own responsibility. Security and intelligence are not just limited to the military, even though the country is in a state of war.

Communism is not just military units or armed forces that ambush or attack. If there are no regular forces to create storms, the enemy’s political and civil organizations will still be hidden nests and cradles for termites and pests. the power to hollow out, erode, and collapse the foundation of the Nation.

That is the People’s Revolutionary Party (Labour Party in disguise); National Liberation Front; Provisional Government of the Southern Republic; people’s associations such as Trade Unions, Agricultural Associations, Women’s, Youth, Students, and Pupils; with Party Committees, Front Committees, state agencies, association branches, from the central government down to communes and villages; espionage, special operations, propaganda, enemy operations, intelligence operations, religious operations, finance, supply, communications…

All are objects of Special Scenes; but they are enemies that transcend borders and are omnipresent.

Agreeing with that perception of mine, Colonel Pham Van Pho, Head of Division 2, Army Corps I and Military Region I, agreed to inform and transfer to me all the information. and any documents related to the politics and civil affairs of the Viet Cong that the Military Newspaper has.

As for me, I only provide the Second Department with information and documents that I have personally selected, verified, and are of high value.

Up to now, all intelligence agencies as well as military units across the country have relied on the document ” The Viet Cong Battle ” drafted by the Second Division, as a set of documents. – a comprehensive dictionary of the enemy’s organization and personnel, to search for, detect, and determine the background and position of each communist element found before or during hand.

However, realizing that on the political and civil side, my Special Police Branch has more complete data, so I proposed that the Command of Army Corps I and Military Region I approved, from now on, the ” Viet Cong Battle ” is divided into two parts: the Second Department only sets up the Military Battle, and the Political Battle, I am responsible for the Special Police Department of the Department. I implemented, were circulated and used throughout the Military Region, as well as disseminated to the Central Committee (General Staff, Central Intelligence Special Committee Office, Ministry of Intelligence). Hoi, National Police Command, etc.) and into Military Region II which is border territory, so that all agencies and units can refer to it for all things related to Vietnam. -Communist in the Central region.

During the time of Major General Nguyen Cao Ky as Chairman of the Central Law Enforcement Committee, Colonel (later Major General) Nguyen Ngoc Loan , Director of Military Security, was appointed concurrently. The Director General of the National Police has ordered the Police to provide all information and documents to the Military Security. From then on, it became a routine…

But I refuse to limit the coordination between the two branches to such a simple level as above. For example, for a long time, the Military Police only needed to rely on the results of the Police’s archive collection to approve the political activities of Vietnamese candidates. Apply to work at US offices, military bases, and private companies. I have noticed that in the Police Archives (Sac-Fitness) departments, there are always quite a few personal files on communist activities stagnant, not yet tabulated and classified for inclusion. storage system for use in retrieval. In addition, there are soldiers seconded to administrative agencies; soldiers elected to elected positions; and even soldiers who are not always in barracks: they enjoy military status, outside the jurisdiction of the Police, but at the same time they are beyond the reach of control. by Quan-An.

I raised the issue with Colonel Le Quang Nhon, Chief of Department I of Military Security, and he agreed with my opinion and submitted his favorable opinion to the Superiors, so that the two branches could coordinate. with each other more closely and widely, both in terms of supervision and monitoring, as well as in investigation and handling, including detention and interrogation, especially is in terms of counter-intelligence, against the enemy’s in-line elements and hidden bases in the military ranks…

Binh-Dinh Standing Center and Military Development Zone I

If a Government has to do both jobs at once, preserving the country and building the country, then the Council for Pacification and Development is the organization that builds the country.

Although the Program has a goal of “neutralizing the Viet Cong’s infrastructure and restoring security to rural Hamlets”, that task has been contracted out. , in name, for the Royal Service Commission, and in reality, for the Armed Forces and the National Police, whose means of operation were originally supplied from abroad. It’s Central. There are other remaining goals, such as helping farmers increase rice production, fighting illiteracy and improving the education level of rural people, examining and treating diseases and protecting people. health for the people, building bridges and roads to meet transportation needs, expanding the information network to disseminate current and official news infrastructure. The Government’s rules and regulations, etc. are accompanied by a budget to buy fertilizers, build more schools, clinics, bridges, roads, information stations, etc., so they are attractive to investors. contractors and attract officials at all levels to call for tenders and bid more.

The first time I came to the Binh Dinh Standing and Development Center of Military Region I, I met the Ministry of Trade and Industry and the Command of Military Region I to consider a problem. A number of overseas Chinese merchants applied to exploit cinnamon in Que Son District (Quang Tin Province) which is a semi-secure area.

Cinnamon is a great source of profit, the Viet Cong also took it.

Before that, Major-General (later Lieutenant-General) Nguyen Van Toan “took advantage” in such a way that the press dubbed him “Que Tuong Cong”. I stand on the security, intelligence, political, economic and civil aspects, and give my opinions to the Center, because we are afraid that military leaders are having to deal with the minds of the people. tycoon of the wealthy business class. I propose that Colonel Nguyen Xuan Loc, Commander of the Police Region I, join the Military Region delegation to study the site thoroughly.

Suddenly there was an order banning Colonel Loc from entering Quang Tin Province.

I persuaded Loc, and he listened to me: just go, because it is your right; I go about my business. I’m going with you.

I once discovered that the Center for Binh-Dinh and Military Development of Region I used two policemen, a captain and a sergeant, who were distinguished by the Region I Police Command. -sent to “coordinate work”, to boil water for tea, and serve the officers and non-commissioned officers serving at this Center!

I reported this matter to Colonel Loc and he withdrew the other staff members.

Coordination of Activities Between

Security & Political & Military Counter-Intelligence in the Central Region

Some time later, after establishing closeness, trust and mutual respect between the National Police (Special Branch), Second Division, and Military Security agencies -The team, at the Military Region/Region level, I have gone further, proposed, and received approval from Lieutenant General Ngo Quang Truong, for the Military Region I Command to organize a meeting between the Commanders of the National Police and the Heads of Military Security Departments/Departments of the Provinces/Towns and with the Heads of the Second Departments of Sub/Special Zones throughout the Central Region, to formalize and concretize the coordination of work between the three branches of security, intelligence, counter-intelligence and the military mentioned above, at the provincial/municipal level.

That special meeting took place at the meeting hall of the Command of Army Corps I & Military Region I, under the chairmanship of Major General Hoang Van Lac, Deputy Commander of Military Region I, General -representing Lieutenant General Ngo Quang Truong, Commander of the Army Corps & Military Region.

Because the Headquarters of the I Corps Command & I Military Region strictly control entry/exit, I personally guided the convoy of the National Police Commanders. Province/Town in Zone I from the Regional Police Command to the Camp gate, all the way to the Military Zone’s synagogue.

Just like in other cases, I both initiated, organized, and acted as a commander and executive officer.

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In addition, Lieutenant General Ngo Quang Truong also approved for me to use a Special Police officer, even if only a non-commissioned officer, to play the role of Army captain to join the Army Detachment. -The work of the Republic of Vietnam, in the 4-Party Joint Military Commission (later there were only 2 Parties), to carry out espionage work targeting the two communist groups of Poland and Hungary. Gia-Loi , planning to hide as secretary of Lieutenant Colonel Vinh, Deputy Head of the Delegation of the Republic of Vietnam in Military Region I  that is, Region II according to the 1973 Paris Agreement.

(The installation of Special Police officers in the Military Delegation of the Republic of Vietnam was proposed by me when I was still in control of the Special Police Branch in Region II, typically with the case of Major Tran Van Tha, Chief of the Special Police Department of Binh Thuan Province [with the support of Provincial Governor and Sub-Region Chief Ngo Tan Nghia], brought in a Special Police sergeant to pretend to be a colonel. Lieutenant of the Army of the Republic of Vietnam to approach a target as a member of the “Provisional Revolutionary Government of South Vietnam” in the “Four-Party Joint Military Commission” stationed in Phan -Thiet.)

Department I of Military Security has also permanently seconded a major to lead 5 officers and non-commissioned officers to work with the ” Thach Ma ” Team (supervisor & follow-up). following the members of the Polish and Hungarian Communist Delegations in the above-mentioned International Committee) of my Special Sector I.

The Second Division of Army Corps I also permanently seconded a lieutenant, to accompany my local police officer to operate day/night in Quang Nghia Province, next to the Sub-Region Command. , the Regiment Commands, the Branch Commands, the Chieu Hoi Department, the Social Department, the Health Department, etc. so that the Military Region level can coordinate with localities in time. -time to exploit news & access all sources of information on the spot (VCs were killed, captured, returned to justice; civilians in distress, refugees, liberated by us; etc. .), for the purpose of recruiting, building and using as intelligence agents to infiltrate, or within-line, within the enemy’s ranks  because Quang-Nghia is where there are the most opportunities to search for these clues…

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These initiatives and efforts of mine, aimed at tightening the relationship and coordination of activities between the above-mentioned agencies, have created a more favorable atmosphere and circumstances for work of the National Police/Special Police levels throughout Region/ Military Region I from then on.

LE XUAN NHUAN