424. Memorandum for the Record1


  • Minutes of the Meeting of the 303 Committee, 1 December 1967


  • Mr. Rostow, Mr. Kohler, Mr. Nitze, and Mr. Helms.
  • Mr. William Colby was present for Item 1.
  • [Here follows a list of the persons present for non-Vietnam items.]

1. South Vietnam—Proposal for Political Party Development

In regard to the South Vietnam proposal for political party development,2 Mr. Nitze raised an issue of principle: The requested slush fund would appear to run counter to the anti-corruption crusade, particularly if accomplished by individual handouts.
Mr. Kohler stated that he had examined the matter carefully and recalled that the committee had turned down handout-type funds at the time of the election and that the policy intent this time was clearly understood to be for institution-building purposes only. Ambassador Bunker, himself, had described the funds as seed money.
Mr. Rostow asked if there was a specific plan for the expenditures. Mr. Colby replied that there was not, but the thinking had been in terms of recent favorable developments in the Assembly, in the coalescing of “think-alikes,” in regional beginnings, identifying leaders and local talent, organizing cadres, and in the use of media.
Mr. Rostow warned against taking a long-range, the-election-is-still-four-years-off point of view and urged getting to work right away determining which groups in the society might coalesce, what indigenous money sources existed, and planning party organization. He insisted that a professional plan was needed and asked for regular reporting on developments.

[Here follows discussion of unrelated matters.]

Peter Jessup
  1. Source: National Security Council, 303 Committee Minutes, 1967. Secret; Eyes Only. The portion of the memorandum dealing with South Vietnam was excerpted and transmitted to Bundy in a December 4 memorandum from Trueheart. (Department of State, INR/IL Historical Files, East Asia Country File, Vietnam, 1967)
  2. See Document 417.