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

533. Eyes only for Ambassador Lodge. From Bundy, White House. As he approved next following detailed cable of instructions,2 the President asked me to send you this personal message from him.

He thinks it of the greatest importance that, to the very limit of our abilities, we should not open this next stage in the press. The decisions and instructions in following telegram are being held most tightly here, and we are making every possible effort to limit public knowledge and to let the Vietnamese Government itself learn from what we do and not what the papers say, so that your negotiations with Diem may be run on your terms. Nothing could be more dangerous than an impression now that a set of major actions is being kicked off and a set of requirements imposed on GVN by U.S. This is of particular importance since some officials and reporters honorably believe in just such a public posture of disapproval and pressure. President therefore believes you should personally control knowledge of individual actions and of tactics, and accept, as we will try to, necessary dissatisfaction of determined reporters with cryptic posture.

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, POL 26 S VIEI Top Secret; Immediate. The text of this message was sent to the Department of State from the White House for transmission.
  2. Document 181.