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

CAS 0208. Please pass following message to the President from Ambassador Bunker as a CAS supplement to Ambassador’s weekly Presidential report.

In line with guidance received from the Secretary of State on 16 July,2 a CAS officer has established an arrangement for continuing clandestine contact with [1–1/2 lines of source text not declassified]. The case officer [less than 1 line of source text not declassified] has been in contact with Ky in connection with certain CAS operations against the Viet Cong since February this year. The purpose of the new arrangement, however, is to permit us to keep abreast of Ky’s election campaign and to offer advice on how it can be conducted as cleanly as possible.
The contact between [less than 1 line of source text not declassified] and the CAS officer is completely clandestine. Ky instructed [less than 1 line of source text not declassified] to be absolutely frank with the CAS officer in discussing the Thieu/Ky campaign organization and its activities, as well as to listen to American suggestions on the conduct of the campaign. It was made clear [less than 1 line of source text not declassified] at the outset that Ky must work out his relationship with Thieu to their mutual satisfaction and campaign energetically within this framework, and further that the American advisory role is based on Thieu and Ky arriving at this understanding.
The relationship with [less than 1 line of source text not declassified] has already produced a valuable insight into the way in which Thieu and Ky are attempting to put together a campaign organization. Basically, it appears that Ky’s supporters, who are numerous and effective politicians in comparison with the mere handful of Thieu’s advisors, will do most of the work in organizing the campaign while placing Thieu designees in various key positions in the campaign organization which are visible to the public eye.
  1. Source: Johnson Library, National Security File, Intelligence File, Vietnamese (South) Elections 1967. Secret; Most Sensitive. Helms forwarded the telegram to the President on July 19. On his covering memorandum to the President, also July 19, Rostow wrote: “Herewith Amb. Bunker reports how he is proceeding to guide the Ky campaign. No U.S. funds are involved.” (Ibid.) The notation “L” on the covering memorandum indicates that the President saw the telegram.
  2. See Document 242.