48. Telegram From the Delegation to the Southeast Asia Treaty Organization Council Meeting to the Department of State1

Secto 26. For Acting Secretary from Secretary. Restricted session today found Couve immovable on even going so far as to express outright support of effort in South Vietnam despite his clearly stated belief it will not succeed. In view of this, now seems highly likely we face real [Page 120] crusher on communiqué, which now strongly worded not only to condemn North Vietnamese aggression but to express satisfaction with Khanh program and confidence it will succeed.

Would therefore like to have teletype discussion with you plus Johnson and Tyler at 11 (eleven) pm tonight Manila time (ten am your time).2 You may wish discuss issues with President prior to conversation or set up concurrent telephone link with him.

Alternatives appear to be as follows:

communiqué under SEATO label but in which any differing country speaks own view.3 I think French would reject this.
communiqué under SEATO label with best wording obtainable from French. In light Couve reaction and firm front of others, with possible exception of Pakistan, I believe others would not accept this course even if we did and that it might itself break up SEATO.
No communiqué with SEATO label but statements by members in whatever groupings appear. Believe we could get at least six and possibly Pakistan as well, leaving French isolated.

My preliminary view is that we should try Alternative A first but if French refuse to accept should turn to Alternative C. Despite lack of SEATO label, statement of six or seven countries would still have great force and perhaps gain because we refused to weaken in order to get unanimity.

A possible fourth alternative would be putting it bluntly to French they should withdraw. However, I think this is undesirable and that any initiative on their withdrawal should come from them. Alternative C might itself trigger such withdrawal, although this seems unlikely.

Above written without having results afternoon session on communique. These may provide further indications and will be available before teletype.

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, POL 27 VIET S. Secret; Flash; Nodis.
  2. Not found.
  3. For text of the communiqué, in which the French Council memberʼs dissent is noted, see American Foreign Policy: Current Documents, 1964, pp. 834–839.