5. Telegram From the Department of State to the Embassy in Vietnam 1

1889. For Ambassador and David Bell.

President is most anxious to show in every possible way our concern for peaceful development and progress of SVN and our emphasis on non-military measures. To this end, we would like to be able to announce on Bellʼs return constructive and visible initiatives in economic and welfare areas. One such initiative has been proposed by Secy Freeman in the form of visit of agricultural experts who might dramatize what is being done now in SVN, how VC are striking at the chance for peaceful progress, and what could potentially be done in future if VC menace were removed. This might include demonstration of potential for electric power in local areas and demonstrations of such possibilities as timber development using simple equipment.
This is one example of kind of public visits by experts that would both assist in present task and dramatize our whole peaceful emphasis. Would greatly appreciate it if Ambassador and Bell could consider other possibilities so that Bell could be prepared consider early initiatives that might be announced by President shortly after his return.
We are well aware of great economic burden of current construction and other activity, and are not necessarily considering any immediate dramatic additional action projects. However, technical visits on [Page 15] comparatively small scale might have dramatic impact and show by example what would now be possible but for VC, and what could become possible in future.
  1. Source: Johnson Library, National Security File, Country File, Vietnam, vol. XLV. Secret; Immediate; Exdis. Drafted by William Bundy, cleared by Unger and by McGeorge Bundy in substance, and approved by William Bundy.