45. Memorandum of Telephone Conversation Between the Secretary of Defense (McNamara) and the Secretary of State1


Sec. McNamara said he felt it very important that Gen. Harkins be put back in contact with Diem on military matters. McNamara said he had noticed in the messages a statement about dealing through intermediaries [less than 1 1ine not declassified]. The Sec said this was only for a day or so. McNamara said he thought we might wish to get Harkins back in contact with both Diem and Thuan. [1 sentence (2 lines) not declassified] McNamara said he would be inclined to favor dual channels. He said that Nolting’s great contribution to establish this dialogue with Diem over a period of time had influenced and moved the latter as had Harkins with Thuan. The Sec thought that McNamara was basically right but suggested we wait for another 24 hours and see.

  1. Source: Kennedy Library, Hilsman Papers, Country Series-Vietnam, 8/29/63.