89. Telegram From the Embassy in Vietnam to the Department of State1

909. For Hilsman. For your information Harkins, Brent and I have declined on grounds press of work previously accepted invitation from Madame Ngo Dinh Nhu to spend several days next week at GVN villa in Dalat. Real reasons for this action, which I shall pass to President Diem orally at first opportunity, stem from recent directive from Madame Nhu to Women’s Solidarity Movement urging members not to show gratitude for foreign (i.e. American) aid (UPI has filed story on directive this week and Time correspondent has cabled translation much of text). Directive seriously impugns motives of givers of aid, charging that some of latter believe their position gives them right to destroy “our customs and habits and healthy laws” and that they are using their position “to make lackeys of Vietnamese and to seduce Vietnamese women into decadent paths”. Notwithstanding likelihood adverse but unpredictable reaction from Madame Nhu, do not believe that we can afford to let this directive go unnoticed. Nor do I and my colleagues feel that senior [Page 226] members of mission should be in position of publicly accepting rather lavish hospitality from Madame Nhu immediately following this outburst.

I hope that leaks on this matter do not occur but, if they do, felt you should know background.

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, POL 15-1 S VIET. Confidential; Limit Distribution.