238. Telegram From the Department of State to the Embassy in Vietnam1

192. For the Ambassador from the Secretary. Realize you fully aware importance keeping General Khanh as far as possible on same track as ourselves regarding possible action against North. Khanh’s speech of yesterday plus editorial in Bui Diem’s paper suggests to us that GVN may be attempting stimulate pressure for U.S. involvement in such action.2

You may wish to reiterate to Khanh importance of maintaining parallel position. Talk of this sort tends to distract GVN from first job of getting on with pacification. It also confuses our signals to the North and the rest of the world. If it should become necessary to take such action in response to significant escalation by Hanoi, we would want to be in position of responding to new aggression rather than appear to be carrying out previously planned and publicized offensive.

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, POL 27 VIET S. Secret; Exdis. Drafted by Forrestal, cleared by William Bundy, and initialed and approved by Rusk. Also published in Declassified Documents, 1979, 91A.
  2. Telegram 201 from Saigon, July 24, summarized Khanh’s speech of July 19 as a call for liberation of North Vietnam. This telegram also included a summary of press coverage of Khanh’s “Day of Shame” rally marking the tenth anniversary of the 1954 Geneva Accords and calling for a “March to the North.” (Department of State, Central Files, POL 1 VIET N–VIET S)