224. Telegram From the Central Intelligence Agency to the Station in Saigon 1

CIA 0685. For Mr. Hart only. The Department of State has requested that we pass the following message from Mr. Katzenbach, the Acting Secretary, to Ambassador Bunker through our channels. Will you please hand it personally to Ambassador Bunker and cable us confirmation of his receipt of this message.

Begin Text: To Ambassador Bunker from Acting Secretary:

We have your message of June 262 and have studied it carefully.
We approve continuous consultation with Ky within the framework of advising him on ways to keep the election honest and giving him advice on acceptable uses of his present position. We would like to know immediately about all the contacts that take place under this arrangement, including particularly what is said on the US side. Please use a special reporting series with an appropriate code name.
We likewise concur in the use of covert Vietnamese assets as part of this channel. Obviously, every precaution should be used to insure security and to keep the record clear in case there should be any compromise.
We note that according to [less than 1 line of source text not declassified]3 Ky has removed Loan as head of the MSS and has convened a meeting of all province and district chiefs. [less than 1 line of source text not declassified]4 also reported Ky as preparing to convene all candidates, after July 5, to offer them facilities and guarantees of equal campaigning, and we understand that he has already announced his intention to hold this meeting. We believe that an immediate contact is needed to be sure that Ky is following up on the meeting of province and district chiefs and the meeting with the candidates and to confirm that Loan is indeed being kept under control.
We continue to be seriously concerned with the security aspects of any covert financial help to Ky. Pending further exchanges, no encouragement should be given in this direction.5

  1. Source: Johnson Library, National Security File, Intelligence File, Vietnamese (South) Elections 1967. Secret; Immediate; Most Sensitive. Released by Carver who confirmed the transmittal at Bundy’s request in an attached memorandum to Read, June 29.
  2. Document 218.
  3. Not further identified.
  4. Not further identified.
  5. A June 29 memorandum from INR’s Deputy Director of Coordination William Trueheart, to Hughes detailed a discussion among representatives of EA, INR, and the CIA which occurred on June 22. The section of the memorandum on Vietnam reads: “Mr. Colby said that his people had been doing considerable thinking both here and in the field about the upcoming elections in South Vietnam. While the Station had some covert capabilities, he was not actually recommending that anything be done. [3 lines of source text not declassified] Mr. Bundy said that he hoped that we could keep hands off in this election. Mr. Habib was vehement in his disclaimer of any interest whatsoever in trying to influence the outcome of the election in this manner. He argued that so far it did not appear that it would be necessary for us to take any action; even if we took action we might wish, instead of putting money in the elections, to put pressure on the various candidates and particularly Ky to conduct an honest election.” (Department of State, INR/IL Historical Files, East Asia and Pacific General File, East Asia, FE Weekly Meetings, 1967)