29. Memorandum From Robert Manning of the Office of the Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs to Acting Secretary of State Ball1

In view of the possibility that Couve de Murville will upset the apple cart at the SEATO meeting with a strong public or semi-public push for neutralization, I think it most important that we carefully coordinate any public reaction between the Department and Manila while the Secretary and the SEATO delegation are there (or between the Department and Taipei if the news breaks after we have left from Manila).2

There is always the possibility that Couve de Murville’s actual utterances might be relatively harmless, but that background briefing by the French could produce distortions that present us with problems of U.S. governmental response. I am sure you will want to make sure that FE and the Vietnamese specialists here do not try to tackle such a problem [Page 50] without first allowing you to coordinate with the Secretary and Bill Bundy.

  1. Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1964-66, POL 15-1 FR. Secret; Personal.
  2. The SEATO meeting was held April 13-15. For text of Rusk’s statement and the conference communiqué, see American Foreign Policy: Current Documents, 1964, pp. 835-839.