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

1536. Ref: Saigon 1475.2

I had a talk with Prime Minister Ky late in the afternoon of July 20 and we went over some of the same ground that I had covered in my morning talk with General Thieu (reftel).
Ky gave me essentially the same explanation about the vote in the Assembly Special Committee that Thieu had given me (para 3 reftel). Ky then described the early morning meetings with corps commanders on July 18 along the lines described earlier by Bui Diem (Saigon 1381).3 Ky acknowledged that some of the Generals had given credence to the rumor that the Americans had been involved in the Special Committee action. He said he had told them this was ridiculous and they had calmed down in the course of the meeting. During that morning, according to Ky, checks with their people in the Assembly reassured them that the vote would be satisfactory. (Comment: This confirms Bui Diem’s statement to me at our second meeting that same morning.)
I mentioned to Ky that we had heard that Loan felt the Americans were out to get him. I said that we, of course, had nothing against Loan himself although as I had myself said to Ky we felt that he had been overzealous early in the game and that this had not helped the situation either for the government or Ky Ky said he had entirely agreed and had therefore pulled Loan back at that time.
We then got on to the matter of working arrangement between him and Thieu. Ky felt that this was moving in an encouraging way and said that he was in fact at the moment meeting with the entire Directorate to consider broad policy questions relating to reorganization of the RVNAF, pacification, formation of a Cabinet, and broad policy relating to negotiations for a settlement. He said these discussions were going well and that when they had reached a more definite state he would want to discuss them with me and also talk about the general division of work envisaged. He said that a statement regarding these policy matters would be issued August 3rd, the opening day of the campaign. Presumably it will constitute a Thieu-Ky platform.4
  1. Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1967–69, POL 15–1 VIET S. Secret; Priority. Received at 11:06 p.m. and repeated to CINCPAC for POLAD.
  2. In telegram 1475 from Saigon, July 20, Bunker reported Thieu’s explanation that the Special Committee of the National Assembly voted against the Thieu-Ky candidacy in order to “show its independence of the military.” (Ibid.)
  3. see Document 246.
  4. The telegram has no signature.