276. Telegram From the Department of State to the Embassy in Vietnam1

678. We are naturally concerned over Nhu’s distortions your negotiations with Diem over increased assistance reported Embtel 702.2 Unfortunately, today’s Washington Evening Star carries story by Earl Voss that USG has urged Diem “to broaden participation in his Government and has offered him every aid short of combat troops if he does” and “until Diem takes into his Government qualified administrators instead of relying almost exclusively on members of [Page 665]his own family and circle of close friends, US officials say they cannot be sure increased US aid would be effective in stopping Communist advances”. However, story closes with statement that American officials recognize will be difficult for Diem to broaden administration because of shortage of well-trained civil servants.

We realize foregoing story, as well as Washington Post interview this morning with Vu Van Thai critical of Diem, will complicate your negotiations. If you feel it necessary, you can assure Diem that no one in USG inspired these stories and we regret their appearance. We certainly have no desire to humiliate Diem. Hope you will be able impress on Diem that we are simply seeking to arrive at broad understanding with him which will permit establishment of effective partnership between us. As you well stated to Thuan, we are interested in substance rather than form and hope Diem will be able quickly to get down to discussion with you of practical details.

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 751K.00/11-2461. Confidential; Priority. Drafted by U. Alexis Johnson, cleared with McConaughy, and initialed by Johnson for the Secretary. Repeated information to CINCPAC for PolAd.
  2. Dated November 24, telegram 702 reported that an editorial in the Saigon newspaper Thoi Bao, apparently reflecting the views of Ngo Dinh Nhu, had castigated Nolting’s démarche to Diem as an infringement of Vietnamese sovereignty. (Ibid., 611.51K/11-2461)