120.1551G/11–154: Telegram

The Secretary of State to the Embassy in Vietnam1

top secret

1807. Eyes only. Personal from Secretary for Heath. You will learn from following telegram2 of the President’s decision to send General J. Lawton Collins to Saigon on a special emergency mission. I want you to know that we have been concerned to find an effective way to bridge the gap between your departure and Harrington’s3 arrival, and at the same time inaugurate our crash program of aid to Vietnam as auspiciously as the circumstances permit. Since the military aspect of this crash program is so important not only to the security of Free Vietnam, but also to a solution of the HinhDiem controversy which must be resolved if we are to move ahead in that country, we believe Gen. Collins’ presence there will be particularly useful at this time.

As you are preparing to leave Saigon after more than four years as Chief of Mission I want to express to you my very sincere gratitude for your unselfish and effective dedication to the immensely difficult task that has confronted you and, on behalf of the Government, to thank you for a hard job well done.

  1. Drafted by Young of PSA.
  2. Infra.
  3. Julian F. Harrington, Minister at Hong Kong, had been slated to succeed Heath as Ambassador in Vietnam.