FOR: The Honorable Walt W. Rostow
Special Assistant to tho President
fro* Ambassador Bunker and the CIA Saigon Station to Your Query of.
The following are the views of Ambassador Bunker and the CIA Saigon Station in response to Mr. Rostow's query concerning the effectiveness of having the Vatican reassure the Catholics in South Vietnaa.
1. The Catholics here arc essentially divided Into three groups: (A) noderates responsive to Archbishop Binh; (B) leftists who, in the event, would probably give less trouble than the others; snd (C) the radically nationalist northern Catholics who are not particularly responsive to guidance from the Archbishop nor, as fsr as we can tell, in close contsct with the Apostolic Delegate here.
2* Certainly advice fro* the Vatican would bo helpful witht would be irrevelant withnd it aught just possiblyood effect, thoughimted one, with the critical group Accordingly, my judgement is that thoro is probably nond possibly sone good, in trying to get the Vatican to spread the word among Catholic leaders here. The only possible risk is that sone northern Catholics Bight resent what they could considor as "interference" by the Vaticanon-religious Batter.
3. The word could be, of course, not only that they should not fear the entrance of the NLF into tho negotiations and that. is not abandoningut also that. has no intention of recogniiing the NLF so that its participation in negotiations would not beseparates is feared here, even though the NLF would hold itself out toeparate entity.