Major General Ðỗ Mậu (1 January 1917 – 11 April 2002) was an officer in the Army of the Republic of Vietnam (ARVN) best known for his roles as a recruiting strategist in both the 1963 coup that toppled President Ngô Đình Diệm and the 1964 coup led by General Nguyễn Khánh that deposed the junta of General Dương Văn Minh. He was born in Quảng Bình Province.
Having abandoned the Communist-led Việt Minh resistance to join the Vietnamese National Army, the predecessor of the ARVN, Mau rose to be head of military security under Diệm. At that time a colonel with no troops to command, Mậu was nevertheless an important member of the conspiracy due to his liaisons with a wide number of officers, which allowed him to recruit widely for coup participants. He initially tried to organize a coup group himself with Colonel Phạm Ngọc Thảo, an undetected communist agent bent on maximising infighting, and disillusioned intelligence director Trần Kim Tuyến mainly consisting of mid-level officers. Later this group was integrated into the main plot led by a group of generals; Mậu had helped to liaise between some of these generals. He also concocted false data to convince Diệm to send the ARVN Special Forces—mainly used to defend Diệm and his family from coups in Saigon—into the countryside to battle a non-existent large-scale communist attack. The coup was successful and Diệm was captured and executed.
After the coup, Mậu was promoted to major general and made one of 12 members of the ruling junta. Fearing his political skills, the leading generals tried to sideline him and placed him in the non-influential post of Information Minister, where he censored newspapers. Mậu responded by plotting his own coup, joining forces with Nguyễn Khánh, Dương Văn Đức and Trần Thiện Khiêm, Nguyễn Chánh Thi and Dương Ngọc Lắm. Three months after Diệm was deposed, the next coup was successful without needing a battle. Mậu was then made one of three deputy prime ministers, overseeing social and cultural affairs. Disillusioned with Khánh's tendency toward military dictatorship, and isolated by the young generals, Mậu retired from the military for good in 1964.
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... The most important link in Mậu's plan was Colonel Nguyễn Chánh Thi, the former paratroop commander who had fled to Cambodia in the wake of the failed 1960 coup attempt against Diệm ... Mậu persuaded the junta to install Thi as Khánh's deputy in I Corps ...