180. Notes on Telephone Conversation1


Gov. said was hoping get some decisions today; asked if C.[lifford] had decided whom he wanted to have go with H.

C. said the main man would be military since there were so many military aspects to the matter. He had suggested name to the President. However, no decision yet since Pres. had gone to NY and would be back this afternoon; the Pres. had indicated he probably would want to talk to Westmoreland over the weekend when he sees him in Honolulu.

Gov. said he had heard rumors as to whom they had in mind; had known him for years; had been appointed Gov’s liaison when Gov. was Chairman of the Three Wise Men in Paris.2

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C. said yes; that he is really topflight fellow; whether decision would be made to release him for this kind of thing or whether they have some other place where he is needed, he did not know.

Gov. asked if he was head of the school now, to which C. replied affirmatively; that they had in mind taking him out and putting him on a much more important job. C. asked if Gov. had any idea when mission would take off. Gov. said Monday would be meeting, which would mean Sunday morning take-off, but we of course had not heard from the other side. C agreed probably would not hear yet.

Gov. continued that lined up somebody from the WH and somebody from the Department—he always travels light—and that it is terribly important to have someone from Defense whom C and the Chiefs trust. C. asked how Gov. would react if he able to come up with an able civilian to go along with the military. Gov. said this is going to be rather long, tough discussion; that in the long run they would need somebody from the civilian side; Gov. would be glad to take him along to break him in.

C. said he had an awfully able fellow—Paul Warnke; that he’s really top-flight, but will have to think about it; that he (Warnke) carrying a big load and would be hard to replace. Gov. said he knows him quite well, having dealt with him on negotiations as well as on PW’s, and thinks he is good fellow, if you can spare him. C. said he’ll look into it.

H. said that if C. can settle “that military fellow” and Paul, he would be elated. That he would like terribly strong team in whom C. and the Chiefs would have full confidence.3

  1. Source: Library of Congress, Manuscript Division, Harriman Papers, Special Files, Public Service, Kennedy-Johnson, Chron./Schedule—April 1968. Confidential; Personal. Prepared by Davidson.
  2. Reference is to General Andrew Goodpaster.
  3. According to notes of a telephone conversation that same day, Harriman discussed Goodpaster’s possible detail to any potential negotiation team. Rostow also mentioned that Jorden would be the White House’s addition to the team, a move that Harriman lauded. (Library of Congress, Manuscript Division, Harriman Papers, Special Files, Public Service, Kennedy-Johnson, Chron./Schedule—April 1968)