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

1210. The following message has been handed directly to Canadian Embassy here for transmittal to Seaborn through fastest channel. This is for your information only.

“Canadians are asked to have Seaborn take following position during his next visit to Hanoi which, we understand, is currently scheduled for December 7th or 10th (Embtel 1618).2

The United States has nothing to add to the points made by Seaborn on his last visit to Hanoi in August.3 All the recent indications from Washington, however, point to a continued and increasing determination on the part of the US to assist the South Vietnamese in their struggle. Although he has no specific message on this trip, Seaborn has noted from its public statements increased US concern at DRV role in direct support of Viet Cong, and this together with reported high-level meetings Washington makes him feel that time is ripe for any new message Hanoi may wish to convey.

[Page 979]

Seaborn should convey attitude of real personal concern over the growing possibility of direct confrontation between GVN and DRV.”

FYI: Purpose of this approach is to probe for any new DRV reactions.

  1. Source: Department of State, Vietnam Negotiating Files: Lot 69 D 412, Seaborn. Top Secret; Immediate; Exdis. Drafted by Forrestal and cleared with William Bundy and McNaughton. Also sent to Ottawa. Also printed in George C. Herring, ed., The Secret Diplomacy of the Vietnam War: The Negotiating Volumes of the Pentagon Papers (Austin: University of Texas Press, 1983), p. 37.
  2. On November 9, Seaborn informed Johnson that he planned to go to Hanoi on November 23. (Telegram 1438 from Saigon, November 9; ibid., Central Files, POL 27 VIET S) Eight days later, the Department asked if Seaborn could postpone his trip until at least December 7. (Telegram 1112 to Saigon, November 17; ibid., POL 27–14 VIET S) Seaborn agreed and suggested that he deliver no message, but ask if North Vietnam had any message for him to deliver to the United States. (Telegram 1618, November 24; ibid., Saigon Embassy Files: Lot 68 F 8)
  3. See Document 304.