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

807. Embtel 749.2 Agree that reporters cannot be prevented from observing Farmgate operations but Embassy and MACV should insure that Farmgate cover maintained to extent that there are no stories or publicity on Farmgate given out by US sources. We concerned by news reports US air combat role because (1) this is clear violation Geneva Accords; (2) we have stated repeatedly in public that no US combat forces as such in Viet Nam and these stories give lie to all high officials who have made statement; (3) these stories also give substance to Commie charge this is US war on VN people; (4) combat role US forces may raise demand for Congressional action, since we have repeatedly stated their role limited to advisory logistic.

We also concerned by stories on US jets doing photo reconnaissance work. We note Feb 7 AP story quotes General Anthis directly on this subject. Policy on jets remains that we will not accuse ourselves of violating Geneva Accords nor give Commies any excuse for overt escalation by admitting that we have introduced jets into Viet Nam.

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, DEF 19 S VIET. Secret. Drafted by Heavner and cleared in FE by Wood, Abram E. Manell, and Harriman, and in P by Robert J. McCloskey. Admiral Heinz in DOD/ISA was informed about the contents of the telegram. Repeated to CINCPAC for POLAD.
  2. See footnote 7, Document 30.