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

27739. Ref State 207351.2

We too have been concerned in recent weeks over possible inadvertent US involvement in partisan political trips or other activities of candidates. Mission election committee has examined the matter carefully and has now completed guidelines this general subject for distribution throughout Mission and to field. These were approved by Mission Council June 5 and full distribution should be completed by end of this week.3
These guidelines include basic statement US policy of impartiality and intent assist GVN to assure honest and fair elections, and two detailed instructions on transportation and equal access to information media. Copies are being pouched Department.
Although we can do much to assist GVN through making available our resources, success of all our efforts depends, in last analysis, on willingness GVN to apply its efforts and its own resources to assuring honest and fair elections and equal facilities for all qualifying candidates. This in turn depends directly upon Ky and those around him and, to a less clear degree on Thieu.
I intend to see Ky in the near future and to go over this whole subject with him carefully and plainly. In addition to clarifying our policy with respect to assistance, I plan to discuss with him the damaging effects of his censorship policy and other aspects of his apparent exploitation his official position. I shall also review with him ways in which we can assist the GVN to equalize opportunities all candidates and assure fair and honest elections.
I plan to await the outcome of my talk with Ky before deciding when and how to raise the subject with Thieu. In the light of these conversations we will be better able to judge what additional measures might have to be taken on the U.S. side.
  1. Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1967–69, POL 14 VIET S. Secret; Exdis. Received at 9:52 a.m.
  2. In telegram 207351 to Saigon, June 2, the Department instructed the Mission to develop guidelines for the use of U.S. aircraft to avoid partisan political usage by South Vietnamese leaders. (Ibid.)
  3. Not found.