109. Memorandum From the Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Far Eastern Affairs (Green) to the Assistant Secretary of State for Far Eastern Affairs (Bundy)1


  • Ambassador Lodge’s plan to Pressure North Viet-Nam2
Lodge’s plan runs counter to realities, such as:
Our estimate of the objectives and tactics of the various Communist groups involved;
Hanoi’s outspoken denunciation of any neutralization of North Viet-Nam;
Hanoi’s repeated denial of support for the Viet Cong who are depicted as an internal liberation force. (Even if, incredibly, Hanoi accepted neutralization, the VC would continue to operate with Hanoi’s support.)
Any US overtures at this time would be regarded by North Viet-Nam as a sign that we were becoming war weary and frustrated, and this would convince Hanoi all the more that its tactics were wearing us down and succeeding.
While neutralization of North Viet-Nam might conceivably have attractions to the USSR, the latter well knows that the ChiComs and the other Asian Communists would never accept this “solution”.

Incidentally, the idea that old man Ho could be bought off with any offers of rice grants is ridiculous.

In turning Lodge down on his suggestion, it might be conceded to him that, when it becomes possible to withdraw US troops, we should, as he suggests, consider means for extracting maximum benefit and concessions from the NVN.

  1. Source: Department of State, Bundy Files, Special Papers. Secret.
  2. See Foreign Relations, 1961–1963, vol. IV, pp. 656–659.