22. Memorandum From the Deputy Director of the Vietnam Working Group (Heavner) to the Assistant Secretary of State for Far Eastern Affairs (Harriman)1


  • Contacts with Vietnamese Opposition Parties

During your discussions with Mr. Forrestal and Mr. Hilsman following their return from Viet-Nam, the question of adequate contact with Vietnamese oppositionists was raised. As I recall, Mr. Forrestal indicated his feeling that we are not sufficiently aware of opposition activities. I said that State Department personnel are not permitted to maintain contacts with known oppositionists, [2 lines not declassified].

[1 paragraph (4 lines) not declassified]

I am not sure that the policy of no contact with lower level State Department officers is necessarily the right policy. However, this has been the policy for the last five years to my knowledge. A change now would almost certainly be interpreted by Diem as an effort to undermine his regime.

  1. Source: Department of State, Vietnam Working Group Files: Lot 67 D 54, Pol 13 Non-Party Blocs. Secret.