327. Summary Notes of the 541st Meeting of the National Security Council1

[Here follows discussion of Cyprus.]

William Bundy: As to South Vietnam, Prime Minister Khanh has suspended the constitution and the Buddhists have made their demands on the government. The Military Council will meet tonight to elect a new President. A new National Assembly is to be called. President Khanh has told Ambassador Taylor that he expects to be reelected. These developments are the result of some kind of a bargain between President Khanh and the Buddhists. Two major uncertainties are apparent:

Will the Buddhists carry out their part of the bargain and come out against the Communists?
Does President Khanh have sufficient military support to be reelected? The generals may not sit still for a downgrading of the Military Council.

Some very tough decisions will have to be made soon, but none right now. After the election of the new Assembly, we will have to support whoever comes out on top. It is a messed up situation.

Secretary Rusk: We should not call off Ambassador Taylor’s planned trip to Washington. We have a strong team in the field and we don’t know when would be a better time for him to come.

Bromley Smith
  1. Source: Johnson Library, National Security File, NSC Meetings, Vol. 3, Tab 23 Top Secret; Sensitive; For the President Only. Drafted by Bromley Smith.