217. Telegram From the President’s Special Assistant for National Security Affairs (Bundy) to the Ambassador in Vietnam (Lodge)1

CAP 63590. Your 19642 most helpful. We will continue to be grateful for all additional information giving increased clarity to prospects of action by Don or others, and we look forward to discussing with you the whole question of control and cut-out on your return, always assuming that one of these D-days does not turn out to be real. We are particularly concerned about hazard that an unsuccessful coup, however carefully we avoid direct engagement, will be laid at our door by public opinion almost everywhere. Therefore, while sharing your view that we should not be in position of thwarting coup, we would like to have option of judging and warning on any plan with poor prospects of success. We recognize that this is a large order, but President wants you to know of our concern.

  1. Source: Kennedy Library, National Security Files, Vietnam Country Series, CIA Reports. Also addressed to Harkins. Sent via CIA channels to Saigon. Also printed in United States-Vietnam Relations, 1945-1967, Book 12, p. 592.
  2. Document 216.