VIETNAMESE GOVERNMENT REACTIONS TO IMPENDING PEACE TALKS AND MEASURES BEING CON

Created: 4/5/1968

OCR scan of the original document, errors are possible

LBJ LIBRARY

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PRESIDENT THIEU AND VICE PRESIDENT KY HAVE BEEN MEETING PRIVATELY AND ALSO WITH CABINET MEMBERS TO DISCUSS THE QUESTION OF NEGOTIATIONS. SPECIFIC SUBJECTS CONSIDERED HAVE BEEN FULL MOBILIZATION; THE NEED TO STREAMLINE THE GOVERNMENT INCLUDING THE CREATIONAR CABINET; AND THE NEED TO DEMONSTRATE NATIONAL UNITY AND DISCIFLINE. THIEU AND KY SEEM TO AGREE THAT THE NATIONAL ASSEMBLY

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MUSTOLD IN NO. UNCERTaIn TERMS THAT It'cannOT-'cONT ISUE ITS 'PRESENT ROLE OF "NATIONAL IRRITANT". THE QVN IS UNPREPARED FOR NEGOTIATIONS; THE FOREIGN MINISTRY HAS NOT PREPARED POSITION PAPERS ON THE QUESTION, THE GVN HAS NOT DECIDED WHAT IT WOULD AND WOULD NOT ACCEPT, THERE REAT LACK OF UNDERSTANDING OF WHAT THE NATIONAL LIBERATION FRONT <NFLSV> AND NORTH VIETNAM MIGHT OR MIGHT NOT ACCEPT. HOWEVER, all GVN OFFICIALS AGREEOALITION GOVERNMENT WITH THE NFLSV WOULD BE UNACCEPTABLE. THIEU HAS MAINTAINED HIS COMPOSURE, BUT HE IS RELYING TOO MUCH ON THINGS THAT MIGHT NOT HAPPEN. KY ISORE REALISTIC APPROACH AND IS INSISTING THAT THE GVN SHOULD PREPARE FOR THE POSSIBILITY THAT. MAY BE DETERMINED TO EXTRICATE ITSELF FROM VIETNAM REGARDLESS OF THE PRICE.ESULT OF THE CRISIS, THIEU AND KY ARE WORKING MORE CLOSELY TOGETHER THAN EVER BEFORE, AND KY HAS BEEN TELLING HIS FXLOWERS THAT THEY NEED THIEU AND MUST GIVE THIEU ALL POSSIBLE SUPPORT AND EXCELLENT COUNSEL. ONE DANGER FACING THE GVN IS THAT THE VIET CONG MAY SUCCEED IN CONVINCING THE PEOPLE THAT THEY HAVE WON THE WAR, THUSANDWAGON MENTALITY. IN SUCH EVENT, THE GVN WOULDO FUNCTION. ONE POSITIVE ASPECT IS THAT THERE IS NO EFFORT

BY ANYONE TO HARRASS THE GOVERNMENT. EVEN POLICE CHIEF LOAN HAS

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OFFERED THIEUUTE GUARANTEE THAT HE WILL NOT CREATE TROUBLE FOR THIEU IN THIS TIME OF CRISIS. END SUMMARY.

I. PRESIDENT NGUYEN VAN THIEU AND '/ ICE PRESIDENT NGUYEN KY HAVE HAD SEVERAL PRIVATE; 'VELL AS GENERAL MEETINGS ALSO ATTENDED BY CABINET MEMBERS TO DISCUSS THE QUESTION OF NEGOTIATIONS. THE ONLY POSITIVE DECISION TO EMERGE THUS FAR IS THAT THE GOVERNMENT OF VIETNAM (GVN) SHOULD IMMEDIATELY TAKE STEPS TO SHOW THE PfOPLE OF SOUTH VIETNAM CSVM) AND THE WORLD THAT IT IS DETERMINED TO CONTINUE TO RESIST COMMUNIST AGGRESSION. THE STEP MOST OFTEN DISCUSSED HAS BEEN FULL MOBILIZATION SINCE THIS WOULD INDICATE THAT THE GVX WAS PREPARING TO CARRY ON ALONE IF NEED BE.

2. THERE HAS ALSO BEEN CONS.'DERABLE DISCUSSION OF THE NEED TO STREAMLINE THE GOVERNMENT SOT cah FUNCTION MORE EFFECTIVELY. THE MOST COMMONLY DISCUSSED STEP IN THIS DIRECTION IS THE CREATIONAR CABINET. ONE PROPOSAL IS TO BRIN^ FIVE POWERFUL NEW FIGURES j INTO THE GOVERNMENT TO HEAD FIVE NEW SUPER -MINISTR IE, SECURITY, ECONOMY, POLITICAL WARFARE, AND ONE OTHE3 UNDER WHICH THE PRESENT MINISTRIES WOULD BE GROUPED, AT LEAST IM TERMS OF POLICY DIRECTION.ROPOSAL IS TO KEEP THE .ftESEKT MINISTRIES BUT BRING IN MORE

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that the gvn has not determined its position, that is, what it would be willing to accept iN any negot tat lONSo the only firm position is that none of the present gvn officials will agree to a

coal it iondes at rex front cnflsv). moreover, the gvn knows very little about itsut the NRSV and virtually nothing about north vietnam (drv). it does not lear idea of what the nflsv wants and what it might settle FOR; what the drv might or might not agree to. in addition, there is little or no agreement among senior gvn officials now as to what peace negotiations signify.

5. thieu has not lost his composureesult of the recent developments, whichecided ASSET since loc seems to beat sea. however, thieu iS laboring under several handicaps. for example, he is still saying in the presence of ministers that he thinks johnson's renunciation of renominat ion is a political maneuver and that johnson will eventually run for reelection* thieu also thinks that johnson is a very shrewd man who will GET the better OF the communists, and he is taking solace in the statement APPROVEDFJ|SIaT. has neverar and is not ABOUT to lose

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A LACK OF APfftEC [AT ION OFL IT ICC REALITY BUT BECAUSE IT INDICATES THAI THIEU IS COUNTING HEAVILY OK SOMETHING THAT MAY NOT EVENTUATE. THIEU IS ALSC HAMPERED BY THE FACT THAT HIS STAFF IS NOT UP TO THE NEGOTIATIONC.>

6. KY'S APPROACH TO THE PROBLEM HAS 8ESN SUITE REALISTIC. HETHIEU HE THINKS JOHNSON'S DECISION NOT TO SEEK SEN0MINA1 IONTHAT JOHNSON IS LOOKING TOWARD HIS PLACE IN HISTORYCAN ASSURE BETTER THROUGH LEAVING THE PRESIDENCY THANANOTHER FOUH YEARS, ASSUMING HE COULD WIN REELECT ION. THAT THE GVN MUST FACE UP TO THE POSSIBILITY THAI THEDETERMINED TO EXTRICATE ITSELF FROM VIETNAM REGARDLESS OF THESAID HE WAS NOT SAYING THAT JOHNSON WOULD GET OUT AT ANY PRICETHAT IHE GVN MUST PREPAREOROSSIBILITY. HEHIS BELIEF THAT JOHNSON MIGHT WELL SE REGARDED AS AIF KE GETS. OUT CF VIETNAM. NO MATTER HOW HE DOES IT. CONNECTION, HE REPEATED SOWE COMMENTS BY GVN AMBASSADORBUI OlEM ABOUT THE SIRCKG PRESSUhES INONTINUATION OF THEST WAC MHHtTfiOT THAT IHE GVN DEMONSTRATE TO THE

SVN FEOPLE THAT IT WAS ON TOP OF THE SITUATION AND WORKING CLOSELY

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illHE AMERICANS. IF THE PEOPLE GOT THE IMPRESS ION THAT THE.

WAS GOING IT ALONE, HE CONTINUED. MOST OULD THINK THAT

ANOTHER 4 GENEVA AGREEMENT WAS IMMINENT. KY SUGGESTED THATVN

REPRESENTATIVE GO TO GENEVA if THAT WAS WHERE THE NEGOTIATIONS TOOK

PLACE. HE EXPRESSED CONCERN, HOWEVER, THAT. MIGHT AGREE TO

HOLD THE NEGOTIATIONS AT SOME PLACE WHERE THE VIETNAMESE COULD NOT

SE REPRESENTED. THIS WOULD BE BAD SINCE IT WOULD SUGGEST THAT THE

VIETNAMESE WERE BEING EXCLUDED FROM DECISIONS OVER THE FU1URE OF

THEIR OWN COUNTRY. THIEU SUGGESTED TO KY THAT HE MIGHT SEND 3UI

DIEM TO GENEVA. <| OMMENT : THIEU PROBABLY WOULD LIKE TO ft ID

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HIMSELF OF DIEM'S PRESENCE

8. ONE GOOD THING TO COME OUT OF THE PRESENT DEVELOPMENTS IS THAT ALTHOUGH THIEU AND KY MAY NOT BE UNITED, THEY ARE WORKING MORE CLOSELY TOGETHER THAN EVER BEFORE. KY HAS BEEN EMPHASIZING TO HIS FOLLOWERS THAT "THEY" MUST GIVE HIM AS MUCH PRESTIGE AND EXCELLENT COUNSEL PS THEY CAN. WITHOUT THIEU, ACCORDING TOEAK GVfl HAND WILL BE EVEN WEAKER. THIEU SEEMS TO BE COMING AROUND SOMEWHAT AND LOWERING HIS GUARD, BUT NOT AS MUCH AS HE SHOULD.

EyERY0NE AT THE PALACEPRIL SEEMED TO

AGREE THAT WHAT THE GVNO SAID DURING THE NEXT TEN DAYS wOULD

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BE VERY IMPORTANT. THE VIET CONG (VC3 CAN BE EXPECTED TO TAKE F'JLL ADVANTAGE OF THE SITUATION TO SOW DOUBT AND DISCORD AMONG THEATTER OF CONCERN IS THE FACT THAT IT IS FAIRLY EASY TOAND

^ WAGON MOVEMENT ROLLING AEONG THE VIETNAMESE, AND THE VC WILL BE

TRYING TO DO JUST THAT, O HAKE "HE POINT THAT THE WAR IS OVER, THATGVN HAS LOST AND THAT THE VC WILL SOON BE TAKING OVER. IFEELING SHOULD BECOME WIDESPREAD, IT WILL BECOME VIRTUALLY IMPOSSIBLE FOR THE GVN TO FUNCTION. THE CHIEU HOI (OPENS ARMS) PROGRAM WILL END, THE REVOLUTIONARY DEVELOPMENT PROGRAM WILL GO OUT OF EXISTENCE, THE NASCENT SELF-DEFENSE MOVEMENT WILLHING

OF THE PAST, ETC,

10. TO SUM UP, THIEU AND KY HAVE NOT PANICKED AND

SEEM TO BE VIEWING THE SITUATION AS CALMLY AS CAN BE EXPECTED.

EVEN DIRECTOR GENERAL OF NATIONAL POLICE BRIGADIER GENERAL NGUYEN

NGOC LOAN HAS SAID CAlHLY THAT HE IS WILLING TO DO WHATEVER THIEU

AND KY DECIDE HE SHOULD DO AND THAT HE IS WILLING TO GIVE THIEU AN

j... IRONCLAD GUARANTEE THAT HE WILL NOT CAUSE THIEU ANY PROBLEMS DURING

THESE CRITICAL TIMES, TO DO SO WOULD BE HIGHLY UNPATRIOTIC, AND LOAN

APPROVEDFOIilOfflSIDERS HIMSELF FIRST AND FOREMOST A PATR TOT. HOWEVER,TE ICUIM

LACK OF PANIC AT THE TOP, THERE IS WIDESPREAD CONCERN AND NEAR PANIC

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AT THE^aOT^ff-OF THE GVN HIERARCHY. AMONG THE MASSES, THE OPINION IS RAPIDLY GROWING, PROBABLY FANNED BY THE VC, THAT. IS GETTING READY TO STAB THE SOUTH VIETNAMESE IN THE BACK. ALSO, THAT THE LACK OF PANIC AT THE TOP DOES NOT MEAN THE EXISTENCE THEREOHERENT POLICY. AT PRESENT, THERE IS,OTAL LACK OF PREPAREDNESS FOR NEGOTIATIONS AS WELLEALIZATION THAT THE GVN IS OVERLY CUMBERSOME AND DESPERATELY IN NEED OF STREAMLINING. SOME SORT OF WAR CABINET WILL ALMOST CERTAINLY EMERGE. ON THE POSITIVE SIDE, THERE IS Np.-EFFORT ON THE PART OF ANYONE TO OVERTHROW THE GOVERNMENT AND THE KY FORCES SEEM READY TO GO OUT OF THEIR WAY TO IMPRESS ON THIEU THE NEED FOR CLOSE COOPERATION. EVERYONE AGREESOALITION GOVERNMENT IS TOTALLY UNACCEPTABLE, BUT PEOPLE WACCEPT SOMETHING THAT EXCEEDS THE ONE MAN-one VOTE CONCEPT

II. | ^DISSEM: STATE (AMBASSADOR BUNKER, DEPUTY AMBASSADOR BERGER, POLITICAL COUNSELOR) USMACV (GENERAL WESTMORELAND,R AM S, AMBASSADOR KOMER) 7TH AIR FORCE (GENERAL MOMYER ONLY) CINCPAC PACFLT ARPAC PACAF

REPORT CLASS OCOnCTi'NO ronCICHCGCM

APPROVEORfLEASE BATE: ACT 7IOf

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