70. Memorandum From the President's Special Assistant for National Security Affairs (Bundy) to President Johnson1


  • Your 11:30 meeting
The main business of the general 11:30 meeting will be McNamara's report.2 From 10:30 on the rest of us will be in the Cabinet Room, and my guess is that we will be ready for you earlier if you want to join us.
The people present will be those you checked last night,3 with the exception of Goodpaster and Yarmolinsky. I removed them because Bob McNamara expressed very strong feeling that there would be resentment among the JCS if junior officers were brought over while they were not. This does no immediate damage. I understand that Goodpaster has very interesting views of his own, and I will try to have a private talk with him in the next 24 hours.
The military recommendations, as usual, are in pretty good order. On the political side, we have hard problems, also as usual. Lodge and McNamara have a disagreement on how far we should have a “peace offensive.” This difference may turn out to be more apparent than real.
There is also a major political problem of U.S. leadership in Saigon below the level of the Ambassador. My own view is that the solution is to get not one but two outstanding deputies—Bill Sullivan and Frank Meloy. Meloy can run the ordinary Embassy work, and I think Sullivan can coordinate the pacification activities in a way in which no one else in government can. Lodge is no administrator—a fact which both McNamara and Chet Cooper report as fully confirmed from this trip.

To give him two deputies is abnormal—but Vietnam is not normal. A little heat from you on the State Department would help, although my brother Bill is already sympathetic.

Lodge's confirmation hearing has been put over until Tuesday. Both McNamara and I think it would be wise to keep him out of the immediate [Page 189]argumentation on your program, and Lodge himself wants a last few days of rest.

I will know more after the 10:30 meeting.

  1. Source: Johnson Library, National Security File, Memos to the President, McGeorge Bundy, Vol. XII. No classification marking.
  2. Document 67.
  3. On July 20, McGeorge Bundy sent a memorandum to the President asking him to select from a list of possible participants those whom he wanted to attend the meeting scheduled for 11:30 a.m. on July 21 to discuss Vietnam. Johnson selected McGeorge Bundy, Moyers, Valenti, Cooper, Rusk, Ball, William Bundy, Unger, Lodge, McNamara, Vance, Wheeler, McNaughton, Raborn, Helms, Rowan, and Marks. (Johnson Library, National Security File, Memos to the President, McGeorge Bundy, Vol. XII)