19. Memorandum From the President’s Military Aide (Clifton) to the President’s Special Assistant for National Security Affairs (Bundy)1

The President asked when our new Ambassador would arrive in Viet-Nam.2 I explained to him that the man is staying in Paris to help General Gavin,3 that we expect him here the first week in May, and he will probably get to Viet-Nam about the first of June.

The President directed that we see what we can do to speed this up. He feels that the man must help General Gavin “for two or three weeks.” But he asked why the man couldn’t go directly from Paris to Viet-Nam and get started.

I offered that the man had to stop in Washington for his debriefing on the situation in France, and a re-briefing for the situation [Page 47] in VietNam, including a trip which Mr. Rostow plans for him to the Special Warfare Center at Fort Bragg for one day. The President said: “Well, I guess this has to be done, but let’s see what we can do to speed up the operation so that it isn’t the first of June before he is in charge out there.”4

C.V. Clifton5
  1. Source: Kennedy Library, National Security Files, Vietnam Country Series. Confidential. No drafting or clearance information is given on the source text.
  2. President Kennedy sent the nomination of Frederick E. Nolting, Jr., Deputy Permanent Representative to NATO, to the Senate on February 17. The Senate confirmed Nolting on March 15.
  3. General James M. Gavin, Ambassador in France.
  4. In a memorandum to Lucius D. Battle, the Secretary’s Special Assistant, March 21, Deputy Under Secretary of State for Administration Jones stated that Nolting would leave Paris on April 15 rather than May 1 and after 2 weeks of consultations in Washington would fly directly to Saigon arriving early in May. (Kennedy Library, National Security Files, Vietnam Country Series)
  5. Printed from a copy that bears this typed signature.