Anupong Paochinda also ordered the anti-government demonstrators at Bangkok's international airport to withdraw after they forced its closure, leaving thousands of tourists stranded.
At a news conference, he repeated his view that a military coup would not resolve the deepening political turmoil in Thailand.
"We are not pressuring the government," Anupong said. "The government should give the public a chance to decide in a fresh election.
"If a coup could end all the troubles, I would do it. It is not going to resolve anything," he said.
There has been speculation that the government might sack Anupong for proposing that the prime minister, Somchai Wongsawat, should quit. The government and the protesters, led by the People's Alliance for Democracy, are yet to respond to the compromise plan.
Somchai is due to have an audience with King Bhumibol Adulyadej later today and it is unlikely his administration is unlikely to take any decision before that meeting.
Reuters reported that sources within a pro-government protest group had said if Somchai quit they would regard it as a coup and immediately launch anti-military demonstrations.
"There will be war for sure," one senior member of the Democratic Alliance Against Dictatorship told the news agency.
Thousands of overseas passengers, including many Britons, were stranded at Bangkok's Suvarnabhumi airport today after all flights were halted because of an invasion by the protesters, who have been campaigning for six months to remove the government.
The clashes turned violent again early today when a grenade was thrown at PAD protesters manning a checkpoint on the road to the airport. Two other grenades were tossed at protesters guarding roads to Bangkok's second airport, injuring three people.
At one point, about 50 masked demonstrators demanded access to Suvarnabhumi's control tower to check the flight schedule in the belief that Somchai, who was due to return from an Apec summit in Peru, might consider landing there. No air traffic control staff were in the building to give them the information.
The PAD vanguard - brandishing iron bars, and wearing goggles and hard-hats - last night pushed through lines of riot police who were ordered not to use violence after two protesters were killed by faulty teargas canisters in clashes last month.
They stormed into the airport and swirled around the sprawling concourse, first forcing the cancellation of outbound flights and then incoming services as well. Thai Airways rerouted 16 inbound flights to the old airport at Don Muang, while many other airlines cancelled services.
The airport, an important regional hub, handles around 700 flights each day and almost 40 million passengers a year. Serirat Prasutanont, the airport director, said: "This incident has damaged Thailand's reputation and its economy beyond repair."
Some of the stranded passengers were being put on coaches today, destined for hotels in Bangkok or the resort town of Pattaya. Thousands of demonstrators, mostly sporting yellow shirts or armbands in allegiance to the revered king, settled in on the departure area or milled about the check-in desks as barricades blockaded the roads to and from the airport.
Around 3,000 stranded and bemused passengers were given food handouts by the demonstrators, who apologised for the inconvenience and attempted to explain the motivation for the disruption.
Many were angry and some scared, fearing a confrontation, particularly after a phalanx of riot police came to the outside of the terminal building at around 5am.
For most, the source of their outrage was their various airlines' inability to tell them what was happening or when their flights might depart, leaving them in limbo and fearful of going to a hotel in case they missed their plane.source: Thai military chief calls for dissolution of parliament and new ...