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

1111. Re press policy. Primary purpose this message is to recapitulate our basic approach and policy on press relations Viet-Nam.

In line with policy laid down at outset increase US assistance effort, first principle press relations Viet-Nam must continue be to provide fullest possible cooperation to press in order make available to newsmen complete picture complicated Viet-Nam situation and US role. US public must have accurate story our Viet-Nam program if we are to justify our large human and material investment there. Assistance to press thus commands very high priority.

We aware mission has made extraordinary efforts assist press and encourage GVN adopt liberal and generally helpful press policy. Believe however that wherever possible we should take reporters further into our confidence in order to be certain their background understanding of situation is more complete.

We also have in mind more frequent pre-operations briefings. While considerations of military security must naturally come first, believe it might be possible to do more such briefings without endangering war effort.

You should also continue your efforts persuade GVN cooperate more fully with US press. Primary responsibility for access to news is theirs and hence primary effort get Viet-Nam story fully told should be Vietnamese also.

We understand difficulties your situation and fully appreciate your efforts. Department also confident press accounts Viet-Nam situation are bound to reflect overall improvement situation as progress against VC becomes more evident. Foregoing intended only to reiterate standing policy and suggest what may be done to further implement that policy.

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, PR 11 Saigon. Confidential; Routine. Drafted by Heavner and cleared by Manell, Hilsman, Manning, and with Defense and USIA. Repeated to CINCPAC for POLAD.