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

911. Embtel 852.2 We most concerned by report GVN apparently drawing back from commitment to continue successful rural CI social economic programs which we view as heart of effort to win support of VN people and isolate VC. If our figures correct, funds remaining for these programs will be exhausted in about one month. Firm GVN commitment therefore appears most urgent matter. In negotiating with Nhu and Diem you therefore authorized at your discretion stress great importance we attach to these programs and state Washington also views their continuation as test of mutual confidence. If GVN unwilling trust us to extent of continuing successful and vital CI programs under proven machinery, difficulties of working together for common goals will be greatly increased.

You are also authorized tell Nhu and Diem that you instructed assure them US policy remains full support of Diem’s government in its efforts defend VN against VC attack and bring better life to VN people. Mansfield report does not mean change in US policy of support for GVN against Communist threat. This connection you may wish quote President Kennedy’s March 6 press conference remarks on Mansfield report.3

“I don’t see how we are going to be able, unless we are going to pull out of Southeast Asia and turn it over to the Communists, how we are going to be able to reduce very much our economic programs and military programs in South Viet-Nam in Cambodia, in Thailand.

“I think that unless you want to withdraw from the field and decide that it is in the national interest to permit that area to collapse, I would think that it would be impossible to substantially change it particularly, as we are in a very intensive struggle in those areas.” (Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States: John F. Kennedy, 1963, pp. 243-244)

With regard Warren Unna visit you may wish tell Nhu that Thompson had long talk with Unna last night and Unna appeared impressed by Thompson’s positive views VN situation.

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, AID(US) S VIET Secret; Limit Distribution; Operational Immediate. Drafted by Heavner and cleared by Koren, Rice, and Hilsman. Repeated to CINCPAC for POLAD.
  2. Document 68.
  3. During his press conference on March 6, President Kennedy was asked to comment on the recommendation by the Mansfield committee for “a thorough security reassessment in the Far East and a clamp down, if not a reduction in our aid to that part of the world.” Kennedy replied: