285. Telegram From Michael V. Forrestal of the National Security Council Staff to the President, at Hyannis Port, Massachussets1
CAP 63461. For President’s information following cable received from Lodge2 in answer message of last night.3 Begin text: Believe that chances of Diem ‘s meeting our demands are virtually nil. At same time, by making them we give Nhu chance to forestall or block action by military. Risk, we believe, is not worth taking, with Nhu in control combat forces Saigon. Therefore, propose we go straight to Generals with our demands, without informing Diem . Would tell them we prepared have Diem without Nhus but it is in effect up to them whether to keep him. Would also insist Generals take steps to release[Page 635]
Buddhist leaders and carry out June 16 agreement.4 Request immediate modification instructions. However, do not propose move until we are satisfied with E and E plans. Harkins concurs. I present credentials President Diem tomorrow 11 a.m. Lodge. End text. Ball, Harriman and. Hilsman have answered Department approves modification.
- Source: Kennedy Library, National Security Files, Vietnam Country Series, 8/24/63-8/31/63, State Cables. Top Secret; Eyes Only; Operational Immediate. The substantive portion of this telegram is printed in the Pentagon Papers: Gravel Edition, vol. 11, p. 735.↩
- This cable, August 25, was received via CIA channels as CAS 0292 from Saigon. (Kennedy Library, National Security Files, Vietnam Country Series, 8/24/63-8/31/63, State Cables)↩
- Document 281.↩
- See Document 178.↩