222. Telegram From the Embassy in Vietnam to the Department of State1

2567. Herewith my comment on Seaborn’s first report.2

It seems to me that it is very mildly encouraging. Pham Van Dong’s non-polemic tone, the way in which he read Pearson’s letter and welcomed the opening up of the Channel, and the tone of obvious concern are in contrast with the kind of rough stuff of which Communists are capable.
Seaborn’s report did not mention the fact that Pham Van Dong brought up the matter of a commando raid over the frontier from Laos. Dong made it clear that it not like this at all.
I would like to see Seaborn go back before the middle of August.
If we can give them a very neat bloody nose by knocking out a machine tool factory or a bridge or something of the kind without killing non-combatants, it might be worth doing. If so, it should be keyed to some Viet Cong outrage here.
  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, POL 27 VIET S. Secret; Nodis.
  2. The report [8 pages of source text] was not declassified. (Johnson Library, National Security File, Vietnam Country File)