71. Telegram From the Department of State to the Embassy in Vietnam 1

349. Eyes only. Re para. 5 Deptel 348.2

1.
It has been decided to make an intensive effort to obtain at first hand information on attitudes toward GVN held by wide spectrum of populace. It is desired to determine trends in opinion since May 8 and what feelings are now. Maj. Gen. Krulak, USMC, and FSO-2 Joseph A. Mendenhall departing today, Sept. 6, to participate in this effort to poll opinion in as short a time as possible. Proposed questions to elicit information required septel.3 Krulak will coordinate his efforts with MACV and Mendenhall will with Embassy. It is not intended that Mendenhall’s effort impinge or supplant Embassy’s efforts in this field, particularly provincial reporting section.
2.
Mendenhall plans spend one day Saigon and one day Hue and provinces. Please arrange transportation and notify Helble, including purpose of trip. Mendenhall also should talk with provincial reporters. (Mendenhall holds Diplomatic Passport 18608, issued June 4, 1959 and valid for travel Viet-Nam, but no entry visa. Request Embassy obtain entry visa Saigon and provide Mendenhall travel advance and any other assistance needed.)
3.
To supplement these efforts and cover as wide range of opinion as possible it is desired that Mecklin and Phillips USOM utilize USIS and USOM field facilities and personnel respectively to parallel effort of Krulak and Mendenhall. It is possible that Mecklin and perhaps Phillips will be asked to return with Krulak and Mendenhall for a personal report.
4.
In addition to above, Harkins should see Thuan to determine if his views have changed since last conversation, and Lodge may desire see Vice President Tho.
Rusk
  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, POL 15 VIET-US. Secret; Immediate. Drafted by Koren and Hilsman.
  2. Document 70.
  3. Document 73.