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

523. Eyes only for the Secretary from Lodge. The following should be added to the items proposed for study in paragraphs 10, 11, and 12 of my 478 dated September 11:2

In connection with the studies now being made of how to put pressure on the GVN, I hope the fact will be borne in mind that not once since I have been here have I been asked for anything by the GVN. When you consider that the US is spending $1-1/2 million a day in this country, and that I am the personal representative of the President, it does seem that they ought to be in some doubt at least about a few major items and that they ought to want to curry a a little favor with me in order to get these items. The explanation for this curious state of affairs is that they are absolutely sure of our aid and know that it comes along automatically no matter what they do and that I am really not needed.
I do not believe that any amount of financial pressure will compel Nhu to leave the country even for so short a time as between now and Christmas. Nor do I think we can use our aid in order to strike a bargain that will cause Madame Nhu to stop talking. But it seems to me a healthy thing for people to feel that they must see the personal representative of the President of the US to get some of the largesse which they hope to get out of the US Government. If they got into the habit of coming to me with requests for favors, it ought to be possible, in the not too distant future, to get them to do at least a few of the things we want them to do.
We know that ordinary methods of conversational persuasion have no effect whatever and that even if one makes an impression on Diem at the time, he is immediately brainwashed by his brother later. Presenting him with some unfavorable facts which he can only change by performing an act of some kind is therefore certainly worth trying.

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, POL 1 S VIET-US. Top Secret; Immediate. Received at 6:19 a.m. and passed to the White House, Office of the Secretary of Defense, and CIA.
  2. Document 86.