267. Memorandum From the Acting Secretary of State to the Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs (Harriman)1

I think that the first telegram which our new Ambassador to Saigon receives should not display the pomposity and verbosity of the Department of State at its worst.

Moreover, I think we ought to go slow on advising Cabot to “eliminate the Nhus” as one of his first acts. After all, we ought to offer him a chance to look the situation over and give us a fresh reading.

I think that Cabot will resent being told the obvious and that we will get off on a very bad foot in creating effective working relations between Washington and Saigon. I feel that everything useful contained in the long draft telegram2 can be said in a relatively few words, as per the attached.3

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, POL 1 S VIET. Secret. Drafted by Ball. An attached note from Ball to Harriman reads as follows: “Averell: I am really worried about how we will establish an effective relationship between Washington and Saigon, now that Cabot is on the spot. I would like very much to talk with you about this and would appreciate it if you would call me when you have read the attached. George” No record of a Ball-Harriman conversation on this matter has been found.
  2. Not found.
  3. Apparent reference to a draft of telegram 235, Document 268.