336. Memorandum From President Johnson to the Secretary of State 1

In our conversation this morning,2 we did not have time to get to South Vietnam. I continue to think that it is a matter of the highest importance that we should get an absolutely first-class Deputy Chief of Mission for Ambassador Lodge. I count on having your recommendation before the end of the week, and just as an example of the standard I am hoping to set, let me say to you privately that I have heard very good things of William H. Sullivan and Norbert L. Anschuetz, who is now in Paris.

I note in Lodge’s 10933 that Big Minh talks about the creation of a U.S. team to work as a brain trust. If it can be done quietly, this seems to me a very good idea, and I think we ought to ask Lodge promptly for his recommendations on the size, structure and composition of such a team. Then if he responds, we ought to get the right people to him just as fast as we can.

I am planning to have a meeting on this whole Vietnam matter next week, and I am asking Bundy to get out the necessary interdepartmental guidance, but I send this memorandum because I feel that you and I must be closely in touch and right on top of this situation all the way.

Lyndon B. Johnson
  1. Source: Department of State, S/S-NSC Files: Lot 72 D 316, NSAMs. Secret.
  2. Rusk met the President at the White House at noon. (Johnson Library, Dean Rusk Appointment Book) No other record of the conversation has been found.
  3. Document 334.