January 7

This Day in History

Vietnam War

Jan 7, 1965:

Civilian government is restored in Saigon

Gen. Nguyen Khanh and the newly formed Armed Forces Council--the generals who had participated in a coup on December 19, 1964--restore civilian control of the South Vietnamese governmennt. Tran Van Huong was made the new premier.

A bloodless coup had occurred when Gen. Khanh and a group of generals led by Air Commodore Nguyen Cao Ky and Army Maj. Gen. Nguyen Van Thieu arrested three dozen high officers and civilian officials and took control of the government. The coup was part of the continuing political instability that erupted after the November 1963 coup that resulted in the murder of President Ngo Dinh Diem.

Tran Van Huong proved unable to put together a viable government, though, and the Armed Forces Council ousted him on January 27, installing General Khanh to power. Khanh was ousted by yet another coup on February 18, led by Ky and Thieu. Khanh moved to the United States and settled in Palm Beach, Florida. A short-lived civilian government under Dr. Phan Huy Quat was installed, but it lasted only until June 12, 1965. At that time, Thieu and Ky formed a new government with Thieu as the chief of state and Ky as the prime minister. Thieu and Ky were made president and vice-president in general elections held in 1967. They served together until 1971, when Thieu was re-elected president.

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