67. Editorial Note

At the end of the 10:30 meeting on September 6, 1963 (see Document 66), the President made the following additional remarks (see footnote 6, Document 66):

“The discussion then turned to the instructions to Lodge.

“The President asked if it was realistic to demand that brother Nhu should go out. We certainly should insist on Madame Nhu shutting up, if only for the public relations problem here in this country.

“As to brother Nhu, the President asked Mr. Nolting if he would be for his going if we could get him to go. Ambassador Nolting said that as far as the problem here in the US is concerned he was sure that it would be better to have brother Nhu leave. Internally within Viet-Nam he was not at all sure that it would be good to have him go.

“The President said that this should be one of the major purposes of the reassessment that we are undertaking. The President asked what sanctions we should give Lodge in connection with aid. Mr. Hilsman resorted on his appearance before the Senate and the use that Lodge had made of this in Saigon (Deptel 335 and Saigon’s 431).

“Ambassador Nolting said that if we want to come out with our marbles we must not present Diem an ultimatum. Even the strongest sanctions would not work. It was OK, however, to talk of American public opinion, Congress, etc.

“The Secretary of State said that Nolting’s position was all right for the first stage but, if we do pull out, we must tell Diem in advance saying that we would still wish him well. The point was that a pull-off might well make a military coup probable.” (Memorandum of discussion by Hilsman, September 6; Kennedy Library, Hilsman Papers, Country Series-Vietnam, White House Meetings, State Memcons)