65. Memorandum From John D. Negroponte of the National Security Council Staff to the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger)1


  • Ambassador Sullivan’s Paper on Influencing Thieu

At Tab A is Bill Sullivan’s paper on ways of influencing Thieu.2

The paper discusses, but then discards, the possibility of using such levers as the threat to cut off military and economic support. Such threats have usually had the reverse impact in Vietnam, such as when we cut the Commodity Import Program in September of 1963 against Diem.

Sullivan’s essential conclusions are contained in the last two paragraphs of his paper on pages 4 and 5 and they are that the levers and the persons that we could effectively use in an effort to influence Thieu are very limited and for the most part of questionable capability to achieve the ends we have in view.

Sullivan concludes, therefore, that the best available course is one of persuasion through direct, open discussion with Thieu by Ambassador Bunker and with Thieu’s loyal officials by others such as Whitehouse, Porter and himself.

At Tab B is a rather lengthy State Department Airgram3 which discusses Thieu and men around him in considerable detail.

  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 1135, Jon Howe Trip Files, Negroponte Negotiations File. Top Secret; Eyes Only. Urgent; Sent for information. Kissinger and Haig initialed this memorandum.
  2. Sullivan’s memorandum, also dated October 24, is attached but not printed. His main finding reads: “The primary problem of bringing influence to bear upon Thieu is the fact that he is a loner, to whom very few persons have direct access and who owes very few obligations to others.”
  3. Airgram A–155 from Saigon, August 31, is attached but not printed.