227. Telegram From the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (Taylor) to the Commander, Military Assistance Command, Vietnam (Harkins)1

JCS 4188-63. 1. In a discussion of the Vietnam situation at the JCS meeting with the Secretary of Defense on 28 October,2 concern was expressed over what appears to us a continued lack of effective communication between you and Ambassador Lodge. For example, one receives the impression from CAS Saigon 19864 and [document number not declassified]5 that there was a lack of common understanding of the Washington coup guidance. It appears that CAS Saigon 1896 and [document number not declassified]6 which quoted you on a sensitive subject were transmitted first and shown to you later. The issue reported in MAC 19937 contains a disagreement on facts which might have been resolved in Saigon by direct discussion between principals prior to messages being sent to Washington. These examples tend to form a picture of a relationship which lacks the depth and continuity required by the complex circumstances in Saigon.

2. Related to the foregoing is the divergent reporting on the military situation arriving through the MACV and Ambassadorial channels. Saigon 7688 contains statements on the progress of the campaign at variance with those which we have received from you and with the [Page 456] impressions which Secretary McNamara and I received in Saigon. Are we correct in believing that the Ambassador is forwarding military reports and evaluations without consulting you?

3. In preparing to meet with Ambassador Lodge upon his return, it would be most helpful to receive your comments on the foregoing matters. If our impressions are correct, I would welcome any suggestions as to how we may help at this end to bring about a closer rapport between you and Ambassador Lodge.

  1. Source: Kennedy Library, National Security Files, Vietnam Country Series, Top Secret Cables, October 1963 (B). Top Secret; Eyes Only. The telegram is a compilation of documents prepared for the White House; there is no time of transmission on the source text.
  2. No record of this meeting has been found.
  3. Reference is to the first CIA telegram described in Document 209.
  4. Reference is to the first CIA telegram described in Document 209.
  5. Reference is to the second CIA telegram described in Document 209.
  6. Document 214.
  7. Document 207.