180. Telegram From the Embassy in Vietnam to the Department of State1

520. We are struck by opportunity afforded by severe flood in Delta to undertake with GVN fast public demonstration of unity of purpose and action. We intend to conduct right away further survey of flooded regions related to following possibilities:

Restoration of four provinces to permanent GVN control, based on improved physical and social conditions and improved security arrangements.
Feasibility of using flood relief operation as means of introducing into SVN US military units for humanitarian purposes, which might be kept if necessary.
Demonstration of US concern and action on behalf of ally in non-military field by using military equipment and personnel (engineer battalions, boats, equipment, etc.) with important ICC and world opinion angle.
Publicity at time when much press attention focused this area.
Joint planning and operation with GVN which may point way to similar closer cooperation in other spheres.

Will submit further recommendations after survey. Purpose this message to give idea our preliminary thinking, in view shortness of time available for follow-through (approx two weeks) in event survey validates idea.

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 851K.49/10-2061. Secret. Also sent to CINCPAC for action and repeated to Phnom Penh.