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

35. Task Force VN. Keen interest in Viet-Nam continues at highest levels here, status reports are widely read as well as individual reports from all U.S. agencies in VietNam. At this point we have need and request for a personal general assessment from Ambassador Nolting as to how he views our progress. For example does he believe Diem reforms in military command, intelligence, economic and social fields are taking hold? Or are they mere paper devices to cover Diem’s continued personal detailed management? How successful was the recent Delta sweep? Will it be followed up by further sweeps of same area as means establishing real sterilization? Is this example of improved military coordination planning and strategy or does [it] represent flashy operation without real permanent improvement in area? Is there any effective central planning done by any agency other than Diem himself? Is real progress discernible as result recent U.S. moves or is progress expected or is it business as usual? What is your judgment GVN’s control security situation Saigon in view grenade attempt on you?2 Assessment need not be limited to above subjects but these are the type of questions which are being asked. Reply by the Ambassador will give weight to the answers relayed to highest levels.

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 751K.00/7-1061. Secret; Priority. Drafted by Cottrell and Wood, cleared with McConaughy, initialed by Cottrell for the Secretary, and repeated to CINCPAC.
  2. See Document 86.