28. Memorandum From the Deputy Assistant Director, Pacific and Far East Division, United States Information Agency (Moore) to the Deputy Director (Wilson)1


  • Press Relations in Viet-Nam

Governor Harriman said in his staff meeting this morning that General Wheeler would make a very strong report on the sad condition of GVN relations with the press. Governor Harriman has urged the Secretary to make a public statement deploring GVN treatment of press. (At his press conference this morning the Secretary said: “But let me say quite frankly that we have not been satisfied with the opportunities given to the press in Viet-Nam for full and candid coverage of this situation there, and we are discussing this matter from time to time and most urgently with the Government of Viet-Nam.”2 The Governor continued in substance that we must start calling some of the tunes and Diem must take our advice. This issue good one for test of wills.


Although a public statement here could make John Mecklin’s idea of unattributed U.S. press briefings a matter of direct confrontation with GVN; depending on how it played in Saigon, such a statement could serve only to strengthen Embassy’s hand and put GVN on notice to acquiesce quietly to our projected press program.

The Governor stressed that statement necessary for U.S. consumption.

  1. Source: Washington National Records Center, RG 306, USIA/IOPIR Files: FRC 68 A 1415, Vietnam-General & Personnel. Confidential.
  2. For text of the Secretary’s statement concerning the situation in Vietnam, see Department of State Bulletin, February 18, 1963, p. 238.