338. Telegram From the Embassy in Vietnam to the Department of State1

13122. 1. Following is current status Mission and GVN efforts on national reconciliation campaign:

2. Preliminary papers have been developed by Chieu Hoi Director Lt. Col. Pham Anh with assistance and cooperation Mission representatives. These include basic concept paper transmitted to Washington as Saigon 119582 and suggestions on basic themes for inclusion in national proclamation. We have also prepared list of necessary administrative actions which we are now reviewing and will present to Colonel Anh during coming week.

3. General Tri, MinInfo, has been in Taipei for most of this week but is planning review of proposals over weekend in anticipation presentation entire project to Cabinet on December 15th. Anhʼs plans will be presented in form of national reconciliation action plan.

4. December 15th meeting is critical meeting in progress on these proposals. As of now, only top-level GVN leadership and Col. Anh have done any real thinking about reconciliation effort. Presentation to Cabinet will represent first exposure of detailed proposals to other ministers. Until Cabinet endorsement is obtained, national reconciliation remains a concept in minds of Thieu and Ky and Tri rather than a GVN Government program. We will make every effort, therefore, to obtain strong endorsement these proposals by Cabinet.

5. SecState discussed subject with both General Thieu and Prime Minister Ky during course of calls Saturday and found both still committed to idea, although expressing some reservations about problems raised by such concepts as guarantees for employment at appropriate levels in Vietnamese society and restoration full political rights. We intend continue to work on these points with Thieu, Ky and Tri in order to ensure firm presentation to Cabinet next week.

6. On US side, our own preparatory planning continues and various elements of Mission have proceeded about as far as possible without actual endorsement of plan by GVN. When this endorsement obtained, we will urge GVN to inform corps and province officials promptly and we in turn will brief our own field personnel.

7. Col. Anh proposals to Cabinet recommend national proclamation by Chief of State on January 7 and all-media speech by Prime Minister Ky [Page 930] promptly thereafter. We believe this is earliest date on which we can expect public announcement in view continuation some sentiment to delay entire project until “Constitution Day,” presumably in March. Basic themes we are suggesting to GVN for inclusion in national proclamation, which we expect to be included in Cabinet presentation next week, transmitted by septel.3

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, POL 27 VIET S. Confidential; Limdis. Received at 8:56 p.m. on December 11.
  2. Dated November 29. (Ibid.)
  3. Telegram 13123, December 11. (Ibid.) In telegram 14681, December 31, Porter reported that he had been advised by South Vietnamese officials that National Reconciliation would not come before the Cabinet until the first week of January and thus “some brief slippage in timing of proclamation will be inevitable.” (Ibid.)