235. Note From the Assistant Secretary of State for Far Eastern Affairs (Bundy) to the Assistant Secretary of State for Congressional Relations (MacArthur)1
I spoke to the Secretary Friday night2 about the question of Senate concern on our sending 300,000 men, or 3–4 divisions, to South Viet-Nam under the Congressional Resolution. He tried to reach Bill Fulbright and Cliff Case without success, and finally got through only to Frank Church.3 He told Church that no such operation was at all in contemplation [Page 525]and that we would naturally consult with appropriate Senate leaders before we seriously considered any such step.
“Sec said he was a little concerned that the Committee this morning got into with Taylor as an Ambassador questions of constitutional problems that the President and Sec should handle. Sec said if there was concern re fear of lack of prior consultation with Congress by President, he would be glad to talk to them about it. C said he was not concerned; it was the Chairman who raised it. Sec and C agreed it was not a question for that witness. Sec said there was no point of issue between the two ends of Pennsylvania Avenue on that point; there would be the fullest consultation with Congress. C said he appreciated the Sec’s call.” (Department of State, Rusk Files: Lot 72 D 192, Telephone Calls)
Since Church is a pretty weak reed, I think you should follow this up Monday either by asking George Ball to call Fulbright and others or by yourself calling them to convey an authoritative message to this effect, perhaps referring to the Secretary’s personal attention to it.
- Source: Department of State, Bundy Files: Lot 85 D 240, WPB Chron. Confidential. Drafted by William Bundy. Copies were sent to Unger and Green.↩
- April 2.↩
- Rusk called Senator Church at 6:52 p.m. on April 2. According to a memorandum of the conversation prepared by Rusk’s Personal Assistant, Carolyn J. Proctor:↩
- Printed from a copy that bears this typed signature.↩