181. Letter From the Assistant Secretary of State for Far Eastern Affairs (McConaughy) to the Ambassador in Viet-Nam (Nolting)1
Dear Fritz: In view of the recent rumors about changes at the Palace … I thought it might be useful to bring up to date the memo entitled “Suggested Contingency Plan” which John Steeves sent to Durby under cover of his letter of April 13, 1961.2
The present memorandum is intended to replace the earlier one so that you will only have one file for easy (and possibly urgent) reference. Naturally the suggestions which follow are subject to your comment which we would very much value.
I would like to take this opportunity to tell you how pleased we are by the sensible, steady and conscientious embassy which you are carrying on in Saigon under the most difficult circumstances. I think the quality of steadiness is particularly important in our relations with the Vietnamese at this time.
Please convey my greetings to your staff and their families. I am very proud of them all. If there are any personal or professional problems on which we can be of assistance please be sure to let us know.
PS—Some of the statements in the enclosed memorandum will be obvious to you, but will provide clarification to high level persons in Washington who may wish to read it.
- Source: Washington National Records center, RG 84, Saigon Embassy Files ERC 68 A 5159, New Command Arrangements 1962. Top Secret; Official-Informal. A handwritten note in the top margin reads: “Rec’d 11/2/61.”↩
- Neither Steeves’ letter nor the memorandum has been found.↩
- Top Secret; Limit Distribution. No drafting or clearance information is given on the source text.↩
- Several marginal notes, apparently in Mendenhall’s hand, are on the source text. Alongside this sentence is written a question mark.↩
- Alongside this sentence is written “Buu Hoi?”↩
- Alongside this paragraph are written two question marks.↩
- Document 178.↩
- Written in the margin next to this sentence are the following comments: “without political support & has made too many enemies.”↩
- Written in the margin alongside this sentence are the following comments: “Or under Kim. Might also be preferable to any of foregoing choices.”↩
- Written in the margin alongside this sentence are the following comments: “Why not consider possibilities of Tran qui Buu, or Lt. Col. Thao, or perhaps even Maitre Dzu?”↩