212. Memorandum of Telephone Conversation Between the Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs (Harriman) and Michael V. Forrestal of the National Security Council Staff1

Governor called Mr. Forrestal re Zablocki.2 He said Zablocki was not told what our policy was. Mr. Forrestal said our policy became public a day after it was made. Govemor said he didn’t know anything about withholding of aid from units. Mr. Forrestal said that only happened day before yesterday. Governor said it was only in the press day before yesterday but policy agreed to a long time ago.3 Governor said he was not complaining about the earlier orders but he has to have a green light to tell him exactly …4 Mr. Forrestal said he thinks he should be brought up to date now that he is here in Washington. Governor referred to the report which Z will bring out.5 Mr. Forrestal said he hopes he will write about the way the war is going. The other most delicate situation. Trying to improve the policies and personnel of that government. Hope he won’t say anything in his report that would make it more difficult for us to accomplish this. One thing that would make it difficult would be to have a whitewash of the regime. Mr. Forrestal said it could be gently pointed out to Z that the suspension of aid was something that was done back in August-stopped commodity import program; this became public knowledge no later than first of September; Mr. Forrestal thought Z knew this before he went out. On the troops, Mr. F said, this is a somewhat different thing. Governor said Z was very much concerned that cutting aid off from troops might affect war effort. Governor said he didn’t know whether he could talk to Z today; has luncheon and war games in afternoon and leaving city in the morning. Mr. Forrestal asked whether someone else might do it. Governor said perhaps Roger could and he said he would talk to Roger about it.

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Governor said he is concerned about Harkins’ action. He would like to talk to Forrestal and Bundy about it next week. Forrestal said trying to get two messages out this morning. Governor said we should try to get our ducks in row before Lodge arrives.

  1. Source: Library of Congress, Harriman Papers, Telephone Conversations. Transcribed by Mildred Leatherman of Harriman’s staff.
  2. See footnote 8, Document 181.
  3. On October 22, Robert J. McCloskey, Deputy Director, Office of News, read the following statement to the press:

    “The U.S. Government has informed the Government of Viet-Nam that U.S. support will no longer be provided to those elements of the special forces which are not committed to field operations or engaged in related training programs. This action is in line with President Kennedy’s statement on September 12 that ‘What helps to win the war we support. What interferes with the war effort we oppose.’” (American Foreign Policy: Current Documents, 1963, p. 877)

    The reference to the President’s September 12 statement is to a reply to a question at a news conference. For complete text of the answer, see ibid., pp. 873-874.

  4. Ellipsis in the source text.
  5. H. Rept. 893, 88th Cong., 1st Sess., November 7, 1963.