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

336. From the Secretary to the Ambassador. Ref Embtel 282.2 We have been very sensitive here to the considerations you raise reftel. We would hope that part of the problem has been met by President’s public statement today,3 which you have already received. We have asked JCS to insure that you receive copies of the implementing orders to the appropriate commanders through military channels.

Suggestions made in b, c and d reftel are currently being considered in context OPLAN 34A. Significant additions have been made to list of targets for marine operations and these will be transmitted to you shortly.

We believe that present OPLAN 34A activities are beginning to rattle Hanoi, and Maddox incident is directly related to their effort to resist these activities. We have no intention yielding to pressure.

In your discretion you may pass these thoughts along to Gen. Khanh. You may also reiterate to him, but only if you believe it appropriate, our concern that actions against the North be limited for the present to the OPLAN 34A type. We do not believe that SVN is yet in a position to mount larger actions so long as the security situation in the near vicinity of Saigon remains precarious. We are impressed with the fact that a battalion-sized attack could have occurred within 4 miles of Saigon without any advance warning.

[Page 604]

We would welcome your further comments on Saigon reaction to today’s announcement, as well as your continuing assessment of the political temperature there.

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, POL 33–6 US–VIET N. Top Secret; Immediate; Nodis. Drafted by Forrestal and initialed by Rusk.
  2. Document 262.
  3. See Document 265.