OFMCE Of THE DIRECTOR
LBj LIBRARY Mandatory Review Case.
MEMORANDUM FOR; The Honorable Walt W. Rostow
Special Assistant to the President
Transmittal ol Working Notes
yourave transcribed theI took at thearch joint US-Vietnamese session
and thearch US-only session of the Guam Conference. Since you asked for as complete an accountould re- ave fleshed these notes out somewhat from nemory, but onlym positive my memory Is accurate.
Helmsgreed prior toould jot down notes on matters ofindirect Agency interest so we would be in aguide Agency programs to support theor follow up on any topics on whichontribution. It was never our intenta transcript and in making theseadof eodeavoring to use them in an attempt tothe full proceedings of the two sessions Thus,id of course try to be accurate,
I made no effort to be comprehensive. Consequently, though
to the best of my belief the attached resumes are
neither one pretends to be complete.
the interests of speed and legibility, Icorrected version of theictated put
on mats. Only three copies were made, however, and|
mats were then all destroyed. Thus there are only three
copies of this document now in existence. Ono Is the attached copy for you. The second, at your request, ls being sent to Mr. Readopy of this covering nemorandum. The third ls In oy personal safe to be soon by no one save me and Mr. Reims.
Copy Only to: Mr. Benjamin Read
Executive Secretary Department of State
Notes on First Day's Session
Room, COMNAV/Marianas Headquarters Building
See attached lists
THE PRESIDENT opened the session by welcoming the
"Vietnamese delegation and noting that one of the main objectives of the conference was to provide him with the opportunity to introduce to the Vietnamese representatives the new American team which would soon be taking over In Vietnam. He then introduced Ambassador Bunker, Ambassador Locke, and Mr. Robert Komer. During the course of these introductory remarks, THE PRESIDENThigh praise for Ambassador Lodge and tho work he had done in Vietnam. TILE PRESIDENT then stressed the importance of the constitutional process now in train in Vietnam and the drafting work of the Constituent Assembly. He alsothe importance of the task of preparing for and holding elections which would giveruly democratic governmentopular base. This stress on the constitutional and electoral process of nation-building set the tone and theme for the entire session.
General Thieu (Chairman of the National Leadership
Council and South Vietnam's present Chief of State) opened the Vietnamese presentation. He thanked President Johnson warmly for the latter's initial remarks and his support for tho cause ofindependence. General Thieu added that the trend of the war was now running in our favor. The enemy, frustrated in the military field, was shifting his emphasis to the political front. Con. Thieu felt that In the military area stronger pressure ought to bo put on North Vietnam in order to persuade the Hanoi regime to cease itsIn South Vlotnam. Gen. Thieu theo turnod .to
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tho substantial results and progress that had been achieved ln Vietnam since the Honolulu conference, noting that his remarks would be general and that Prime Minister Ky wouldamplifying details. He called attention to the Constituent Assembly elections held in6 and to the work of that assembly as tangible proof of the kind of progress that had been made. He said the drafting of the constitution had been completed and thewould be promulgatedew weeks. He noted that elections for vlllago and hamlet councils would be held next monthromised that SVN wouldopularly elected government by the fall and that "by the end of this year" would be well on the-road to constitutional democracy. Gen. Tbleu then asked his prime minister, Air Vice Marshal Nguyen Cao Ky, toetailed report on the present situation and progress in South Vietnam.
Genora 1 Ky also expressed his personal nd Hiai of his government at the opportunity to confer with the President of the United Statos and tho President's advisers on tho situation in Vietnam. The full text of Ky's remarks is separately available and hence those romarks will not be recapitulated in detail here. Ky spoke of national reconciliation, ofDevelopment and constitutional progress, proudlyopy of the final draft of the new constitution handedew hours before he boarded the plane for Guam. He said that document was "now as good as the law of the land." The theme and principal thrust of Ky's presentation is summarized in his statement, "We are going to do everything possible to make our nation whole again. We are striving toan atmosphere in which all our citizens can have respect for himself, his fellow citizen, and his government and- its institutions." Taken In context, his comments about the Front (no coalition) and the need to keep pressure on Hanoi containedotential Vietnamese presidential candidate would not have had to say. They didthe press inaccuratelyarring note out of harmony withvlows. Ky concluded by paying tribute to
the American soldier and by welcoming Ambassador Bunker, Ambassador Locke, and Mr. Komer to
THE PRESIDENT thanked Chairman Thieu and Prime Min-
ister Ry for their fine presentation of theIn Vietnam and the progress being made there. He welcomed the Vietnamese achievements both In the military field and, particularly, in the field of nation-building. He stressed strongly the US Government's desire to see the pacification effort intensified. THE PRESIDENT also stressed the need for close military and civilianUS andin thispacification effort.
General Cao Van VIen (GVN Minister of National Defense) Hfenriefing on the military situation lo South Vietnam. He noted that the Communistsunder increased pressure and were sufferingdefeats. The Viet Cong, he observed, were trying desperately to regain staturo by localsuch as the attack make onebruary In Quang Ngai Province . The Viet Cong were also steadily increasing their use of rockets, mortars, and rccoilless rifles in an effort to inflict psychologically Impressive damage on Vietnamese and allied forces. General Vlen observed that over the ensuing weeks and months the Viet Cong (VC) will probablyhree-fold strategy involving:
Increased attacks on Vietnamese and allied base camps and installations in order to increase GVN and allied commitments of troops to static defense duties.
Increased attacks on Revolutionaryteams because the Communists feel it essential to thwart these teams' effectiveness.
Increased attacks on district and provincial headquarters in order to terrorize local Vietnamese leaders, generate politicaland thwart South Vietnamese political.
General Vlen thenetailed view of current Republic of Vietnam and Free World armed forces' actions.
Following this. General Vlen discussed theArmy's wholehearted commitment to theof the Revolutionary Development (RD)emphasizing that the GVN's military leaders completely understood thin essential task. Vlen observed that tho increasing level of attacks on RD teams proved that the RD effort was hurting the Communist cause and driving the VC to desperate measures.
General Vlen stated that the primary mission of the Vietnamese and allied armed forces was
defeat the enemy's military force
To surge ahead ln Revolutionary
To halt infiltration and tho movement of men and supplies from North Vietnam to South
General Vlen concluded his remarks with some specific comments on the infiltration problem, observing that the Communists could never beso long as they were able to bring aflow of supplies and manpower into the South. He noted that South Vietnamile border with Cambodia andorder that was ill-defined and impossible to make secure against Infiltration. In order to stop thisthe GVNpecific proposal they wished to offer for American consideration, namely, that of placing forces along theofrom the Vietnamese border to the Mekong River. Tho GVN was notaglnot Line, but,eries ofstrong points created by an aggressive deployment of ground troops. The GVN recognized the political difficulties involved ln thisand the problem It would create in regard to2 Geneva agreement ln Laos. Nevertheless
the GVN felt that Itractical plan and noted that the Communists' use of LaotianItselfomplete violation of2 agreements, and hence, an act of naked aggression which the Communists' opponents were perfectly Justified in countering.*
THE PRESIDENT thanked General Vien for his revlow of the military situation and asked Generalif the latter had any additionalto make,**
General Westmoreland added that the Communist enemy unquestionaDly had increasing problems. There was no evidence that the enemy's strategy was changing but his tactics' were modified from time to time. His losses had doubled during the course of the preceding year. The enemy now hadaneuver battalions but only half of these were fully combat effective. Vietnamese and allied progress was obvious and was supported by much tangible evidence. For example, ercent more of SVN's road net was now open to daily traffic. Out of the entire ARVN, US advisers rate only seven battalions as not being fully combatat this time, and General Westmoreland was assured that this number would be reduced to zero Id the near future. Thereteady and noticeable Improvement in South Vietnamese combat leadorship and performance. General Westmoreland also observed that thereteady Improvement
press comment indicated that General Vien was talking in termsive-division force, but my notes make no reference to specific numbers of troops and to the best of my recollection no mention ofwas actually made In this context at thearch Joint Session.
FTBoTh" my notes and my memory indicate thatroposal was not mentioned or discussed by any American speaker at thearch Joint Session.
sensJtive top secret
in the pacification situation, particularly In the area immediately around Saigon. There was, in short, much to be encouraged about. What was most needed now was still better positive work on our side coupled with even moreon the enemy.
THE PRESIDENT took up the theme of national recon-"cillatlon and the Vietnamese Government'sln this all-important sphere. He expressed his gratification at the fact that ourallies manifestly felt the same urgency on this matter as did we.
THE PRESIDENT congratulated Chairman Thieu and Prime Minister Ky on Vietnam's constitution and its successful completion. He expressed hisappreciation at the sense of urgencyfelt by Chairman Thieu and Prime Minister Ky with regard to constitutional development.
THE PRESIDENT also welcomed the account of South Vietnam's progress toward elections. Therean exchange of comments during which Ky again promised to move forward on elections with all possible speed, saying that he hoped the presidential and senatorial elections could be held by mid-August. THE PRESIDENT noted that his birthday was on Augustnd said he could ask for no finer birthday present than an elected president and senate in Vietnam.
THE PRESIDENT, again referring by name to the members of his new team, assured the Vietnamese delegation that the best men available in our country would be sent to help the Vietnamese people in their task ofree nation. He also assured the Vietnamese that Generalwould be given whatever he needed, wanted, and could use ln the task of defeating theenemy. Tho very best men who wore thoof the United States would be sent to Vietnam to help the Vietnamese defend their freedom.
THE PRESIDENT noted how fine it was toemocracy being built and how anxious tbe United States was to assist ln this exciting task. THE PRESIDENT stressed the need for stability,
complimenting the present Vietnamese leaders on the amount of stability they had brought to Vietnam during their period of trusteeship. He observed jovially that "you seem to beetter job of maintaining unitynd used this well-received jesteans forthe paramount Importance of themilitary establishment's remaining unified.
THE PRESIDENT then again praised the work of Ambassador Lodge in helping the Vietnamese along their road to political democracy. He commented that he was going to ask Ambassador Lodge tohis ambassador-at-large so that thecould explain to the American people the fine things the Vietnamese were doing and so that his counsel would continue to be available.
THE PRESIDENT then turned to the subject oferm planning, noting that since victory was on the way despite present difficulties, it was urgently important to begin now to makehe future. He invited Dr. Llllenthal to speak on what was being done in the post-war planning field.
Dr. Lilienthal stressed the importance- of the task. He briefly reviewed the ideas andiplans he has blocked out in concert with his Vietnameseparticularly his counterpart Dr. Vu Quoc Thuc (The GVN's Director of Post-War.
Vu Quoc Thuc replied to Dr. Lilienthal's remarks on
TJehalf of tho Vietnamese delegation. Ho praised Dr. Lilienthal highly and, on behalf of thepeople and government, thanked Thofor making Dr. Llllenthal's assistance He noted that he and Dr. Lilienthal had very similar views, which made workingleasure. Dr. Thuc. explained it was difficult to do post-war planning when one did not know for sure whether to plan in terms of an Isolated South Vietnam sealed off from the North or In terms of atimited amount of trade and commerce with South Vietnam's northern neighbor. Hethe President tbat the Vietnamese were working hard to dovelop responsible programs capable of meeting the needs of the post-war future
THE I IDENT then took up the subject of Inflation the critical need for land reform.
alled attention to the economic agreements -ently concluded with the GVN, which would lp in the anti-Inflation field.
ui (Governor of the. National Bankttecently .imed Minister of Economy* r. Komer's remarks and assured th# President t: the GVN's continued cooperation Inall-important field.*
Pr 1st Minister Ky assured the President that the GVN was well aware of the Importance of land reform and of pressing further In this area as rapidly as possible. He noted that thereumber of complicated administrative problems,the fact that Vietnamese law requiredsurveys before titles could be Issued and ln many areas security considerations precluded making the kind of survey the law requires. He said he had decided to cut through the red tape in this sphere and accept certification by ham-lot and village councils that peasants owned given plots of land.
Chairman Thieu closed the session by reassuring the President and his colleagues, iocludlng General Westmoreland, that tbe Vietnamese wouldon both the military and the civilian side of the conflict and had every confidence incontinued progress. In these closingChairman Thieu referred once more to theroposal.
Cautionary Comment: The above resume of thearch joint bessioo was based on rough notes Iwhile the session was in progress, amplified by memoryas cortaln my memory was accurate. These notes were made solely for my use and that of Mr. Helms in refreshing our memories on the topics covered so we could see how tbe Agency could best deploy Its resources in order to support the President's programs. Though the above resume' Is accurate to the best of my recollection and belief, it ls not complete. In taking theseever intended for them to be used lo an attempt to reconstruct tbeproceedings.
George A. Carver, Jr. Special Assistant for Vietnamese Affairs
.VOINT conference SESSION monday. marchmerican participants
GOVERNOR I! AR RIM AN
Others to be available on
. MR. CALHOUN
MR.. MR.' MR. MCPHERSON
LT COLONEL MOXTATX
JGSKT CONFERENCE SESSION
MONDAY, MARCH ZO VJUTNAMESE PARTICIPANTS
I MAJOR GENERAL NCUl'EN VAN THIEU. CHAIRMAN, NATCOUNCIL
VICE MARSHAL NGUYEN CAO KY. CHAIRMAN. CENT.tALE
ENERAL CAO VAN VJtN, MINISTER OF NATIONAL DZFBKSE
. TRAN VAN DO, MINISTER OF FOREIGN
BRJG GENERAL NGUYEN DAO TRI, MINISTER OF INFORMATION AND rT-'EKj
- 6. BRIG GENERALUG THANG,F/ DEVELOPncXNT
7. NGUYEN HUU HANH, MINISTER OF ECONOMY ANONCt-3. AMBASSADOR BUI DIEM
9. MR. VU QUOC THUC, DIRECTOR OF POST-WAR MR NGUYEN NGOC LINK. GENERAL DIRECTOR.RESS
In thewo members of the Constituent AscetnblyIncluded inparty.replace Thuc and Linh at the table. nd Tfcuthea be seated In the chaira behind the
BKHTrO THE TAB!.^
QUANG GlAN, CHIEF OF CABINET. MU.'ISTiCR OF FORSXGW AFFA/RS
MAJOR NGUYEN QUOC, JOINT GENERAL. STAFF
LT COL PHAN VAN MINH. CHIEF, CABINET. PRIME MINISTER'S OFFaC!-:
KC-OYEN PHU DUC. DIS*ECTOR OF PROTOCOL. LEADERSHIP COMMITTEE
LE NGOC DAD, GENERAL THIEU'S AIDE
NGHIEM XUAH LAMB, PREMIERE KY'SLAIN DUY HAU, GENERAL TRI'S AIDE
QUACH TINH CAN. VLEN'S AIDE
( t> TOP SflCRET ( &
MEMORANDUM FOR THE RECORD
Working Notes on US Delegation Session
of Guam Conference
Conference Room, COMNAV/Marlanas
PARTICIPANTS: US Delegation only. All US officials
attending the joint session were there, plus some others whoseid not record.
THE PRESIDENT opened the meeting byrief
resume of thearch joint session. he observed, we had beard the Vietnamese report on their efforts and progress. e would take stock of our own efforts. THE PRESIDENT then asked General Westmoreland toeport on the US military effort.
General Westmoreland opened by noting thatercent
of South Vietnam was covered by jungle or by Eighty percent of the South Vietnamese people lived onercent of the country'sandercent of the country's territory was virtually unpopulated. All of this meant the guerrilla enemy had many places to hide and was able to operateerrain environmentto him.
General Westmoreland also noted that the eastern part of Laos, particularly the eastern part of the so-calledas de facto North Vietnamese territory through which Hanoi could move troops and supplies at will. By land through Laos and across the so-called demilitarized zone, which was no longer demilitarized, and by son along the coast, Hanoi was infiltrating men into the Southate ofonth.
The Vietnamese-Cambodian border, undefended and ill-defined in many places, provided the Communists with other advantages, including ready availability of socure santuary from which they could sally forth to harass our forces.
Hanoi, despite the Communists' mounting problems, is still confident of victory, still confident that the Communists can wear down the Free World's will to continue the fight.
General Westmoreland then sketched the CommunlBts' over-all command structure, noting that operational control of Communist military activity in South Vietnam's two northernmost provinces (Quang Tri and Thua Thien) was exercised directly from North Vietnam's Military Region IV headquarters In Vinh, North Vietnam.*
General Westmoreland reviewed the many problems facing Free World forces including that ofsecurity. He noted that the enemy hasSouth Vietnamese ranks on both theand civilian side to such an extent that It is difficult to keep the Communists unaware of any operational planning or information passed to our Vietnamese allies.
General Westmoreland stressed that the onemy'B target was not terrain but people, and that he had tbe bulk of his forces concentrated in South Vietnam's populated areas.
General Westmoreland then reviewed the enemy's order of battle and present troop deposition, and tbe deposition of allied forces made to eounter various Communist threats. He noted that tho enemy presently had an eleven division force and estimated that tho Communists were striving towolve division fotfee structure.**
Westmoreland actually said Military Region HI, but thislip of the tongue.
Wheeler (withode back from Guam)oth feel that the eleven division figure was another unintentional slip of the tongue. Both MACV and tbe Washington Intelligence community presently credit the- Communists with nine headquartersin or near South Vietnam capable of controlling division-sized operations.
In his review of Communist troop depositions, General Westmoreland noted that the Communists had seventy-seven base areas in South Vietnam, three in Cambodia, and seven in Laos. The Laotian bases are marginally accessible by groundand could be struck by air. Thebases are not accessible because ofconsiderations. Several times during his presentation. General Westmoreland directedto the fact that two Communist divisions are presently located in Cambodia in secure sanctuary from which they could sally forth and from where theyonstant threat against which we have to deploy.
General Westmoreland explained the Importance of these base areas in Communist strategy and the success Free World forceB have had in base clearing operations. He also pointed out the complexity and difficulty of such operations, notingmastery of camouflage and concealment practices, and the extensive use the Communists made of well-bidden tunnel complexes. By way of illustration, he noted that In Operation JUNCTION CITY (which Is presently in train) we have run across what was obviouslyajor COSVN propaganda unit locatedunnel. This particular tunnel complex Included rooms at least half the size of that in which the Guam conference was being held. In one such room, US forces had recentlyomplete underground broadcasting station-
General Westmoreland thenorps by corps review of the current situation. He stated we were making progress in the Mekong delta. There areistricts in the deltan IVe were making progresstanding stillnd losing ground in four (one district in Klen Hoa Province, ooe in Vinh Blnh and two in Sa Dec). There were throe South Vietnamese Army divisions in the delta, two oft and the 7th) were very goodVietnameseled.
The III Corps region is the heartland of South Vietnam and is consequently the area where General Westmoreland had placed the greatest concentration
of US troops. There were serious problems in III Corps, an area in which the enemy had also concentrated great efforts. The three South Vietnamese divisions located in that corps were the poorest in the South Vietnamese Army. To bolster Vietnamese efforts, General Westmoreland was deploying US troops in Gla Dinh and Long An provinces to protect Saigon and to improvein the immediate vicinity of the capital. General Westmoreland said he was also placing US troops (elements of the 9th Division) in Dinh Tuong Province, where their initial efforts had been both good and effective.*
To meet the Communist threat, new tactics were constantly being devised.' Tor example, General Westmoreland planned tofloating brigade" in the Communist stronghold of War Zone C. This brigade would be supplied by parachutes andand would keep constantly on the move to harass the Communists and deny them the use of this key base area.
General Westmoreland then reviewed XI Corps and his problems in keeping an adequate screen to protect against Incursions by the Communist forces presently -located in Cambodia.
General Westmoreland used Chiang NgAi Provinceoncrete illustration of the problemsorps. He cited an example of the damage caused by four Communist regiments located in that area, and explained how it couldull allied division operating in that areaear to clean it out.
After his detailed review of the situation,Westmoreland summarized the over-all picture, noting progress and achievement but making the point that unless military pressure causes the
Tuong is actually in IV Corps, but General Westmoreland discussed it in the context of his III Corps operations intended to protect the southern approaches to Saigon.
Viet Cong to crumble and Hanoi to atop its support of southern insurgency, the war in Vietnam could go on indefinitely.
THE PRESIDENT asked General Westmoreland whether he
thought the Communists accurately reported their own defeats and losses and hence whether Hanoirue picture of&the situation in South Vietnam. -
General Westmoreland replied that in their reports up
ETfe chain ol command, the Communists greatlytbelr successes and the casualties they inflicted on allied forces.*
Returning to the subject of Infiltration, General Westmoreland called attention again to theof Communist movement through Laos andthe outlineslan that would Involve recruiting and training tribal elements native to that area (Kiwis) as forces that could operate in the area and Interdict Communist infiltrators.
THE PRESIDENT thenrief discussion of
bombing pauses and asked General Westmoreland's opinion about their consequences. General Westmoreland wholeheartedly supported thewisdom of the pauses ordered to date, but explained the advantage the Communists took of any suspension in tho allied aerial interdiction campaign. After some gentle, skillful questioning by the President, General Westmoreland did admit that ho hoped those pauses would notabit.
THE PRESIDENT thanked General Westmoreland for his fine survey and asked Admiral Sharp toeport on the aerial campaign against North Viet-
Aa I Sharp made a brief summary review during which ne noted his belief that our bombing campaign had been successful in light of its limited objectives. It had not stopped Infiltration, but no one had ever thought it would. It had made Communist infiltration immensely more difficult and costly for the Communists and alsoonstant pressure on tho North Vietnamese regime.
Admiral Sharp then asked two of his aides (Marine Corps Brigadier General Hutchinsonavy commander whoseid not catch) to present detailed briefings on CINCPAC operationalwith rospect to aerial bombardment and mining operations.
General Hutchlnsqp outlined an extension of the ROLLING THUNDER, operation involving six target systems in North Vietnam:
petroleum storage and distribution facilities
war supporting industries
port complexes at Haiphong, Hon Gay, and Cam Pha
(Because of the sensitivity of the subjectpecifically did not take detailed notes on the projected targets. /The JCS can almost certainly provide copTes of the briefing folders handed the President, Secretary McNamara, and Secrotaryo recall that the total proposal was presented in the contoxt of an7 time frame, involved seven target packages,otal ofargets. It was estimated that the execution of this program wouldivilianIn the DRV and the loss ofS aiccraft.)
General Hutchinson then outlined the MIG threat ln North Vietnam, the general problems caused by North Vietnamese air defense capabilities and a
proposal to cope with these throats. (Again, because of the sensitivity of the subject and its lack of relevance to CIApecifically did not take detailed notes.)
The Navy Commander then reviewed mining operations
which have already been executed andlan for mining the harbors of Haiphong, Hon Gay and Cam Pha. (Oncepecifically avoided taking detailed notes on this sensitive topic whichmatters outside of CIA's concern.)
THE PRESIDENT then turned to Ambassador Lodge for a
report on civil activities in Vietnam, particularly in the field of nation-building and pacification.
Ambassador Lodge observed that because of the lateness oi the hour he would discuss only the topic of elections and then ask two of his colleagues (Nr. MacDonald and General Humphreys) for short briefings on the important topics of land reform and civilian casualties.
Ambassador Lodge briefly reviewed the fourcoming up in the near future: the village and hamlet councils to be elocted in early May, tho presidential election tentatively scheduledeptember, the upper legislative house (Senate) election scheduled foreptember, and the lower legislative house (Assembly) scheduled for one month after that.
THE PRESIDENT noted that this was not the same schedule that Prime Minister Ky had presented the previous day.
Ambassador Lodge acknowledged this and pointed out that Ky may havo been over-optimistic. The schedule just outlined (according to US Embassy's best information) was the one presently being planned. Ambassador Lodge emphasized the Importance of this electoral process and the course of constitutional development presently In train. He explained the role and Influence of Vietnam's militaryin present South Vietnamese politics .
estimated that if the military could agreedingle candidate, most likely Ky or Thieu, that candidate would probably "in. Herank assessment of both Ky and Thieu, andby expressing his belief that the US Government could live and work with either one and should not interfere in the contest nowbeing waged for the support of theestablishment. Ambassador Lodge pointed out that the constitution drafting process could never have gone so smoothly or been completed so quickly had Ky and Thieu not both genuinely supported the process. Ky's ability to wave the "coonskin constitution" at Guamealfor Vietnam's present leadershiprofoundly significant indicator of progress.
THE PRESIDENT asked if there were no civilians capable of- being serious contenders for the presidency in Vietnam.
Ambassador Lodge explained that tho course of recent
Vietnamese history hadreed oftrained in the techniques of plot andbut Ill-suited by background or experience to provide positive political leadership. Lodge noted that Tran Van Huong and Pham Khac Suu weTtf-probably the two leading civilian figures, but'explained" that neither was likely ,foationalnd that neither, wbuldarticularly good president,Smr. " -
Goneral Taylor endorsed Ambassador Lodgo's assessment ol Suu.am not sure Who,hink Secretarywhether the Constituent Assembly had brought forth any new leadership.)
Ambassador Lodge replied that it had produced some
potentially promising figures but no one presently capable of winning the-office of president.
Secretary Ruskhink) asked about Dr. Phan Quang Don. '
Ambassador Lodge replied that Danertain measure of political skill and some following, and had performed quite credibly in recent months, but was not really presidential timber.
Ambassador Lodge then summarized the course of tho olectoral and constitutional process, stressed its importance, and the significance of tbe progress the GVN was making in this vital area. He then asked Mr. HacDonald torief summary of current activity in the field of land reform.
Secretary Rusk interrupted to call everyone's attention to the great sensitivity of the just-completed discussion about possible Vietnamese presidential candidates and the names that had been brought up. The Secretary underlined the Importance ofthe secrecy of the fact thatis- cussion was held by the American delegation. Mr. MacDonald (USAID Director) thenhortof current progress and problems in the field of land reform.
THE PRESIDENT expressed his belief in the great impor-tance of this issue, noting the universal appeal of land ownorship and the deep emotions it arouses. THE PRESIDENT asked if more use could not be made of photographs obtained from aerial reconnaissance, photographs which could be given to individual farmers with the borders of their land outlined on the picture. THE PRESIDENT cited examples from his own experience in the early days of the New Deal which showed the Impact such photographs could have.
Mr. Koner noted that the technical resources for providinghotographic service existed and volunteered General Momyer's assots. (General Momyer smiled but did not comment.)
General Humphreys (USAID Medical Director)hort presentation on the topic of civilian casualties, outlining what was bciag done to minimize the hardship of war on tho civilian population but
he difficulty ln acquiring valid statistics H .llod attention to the factpress c snt and resulting public impressions to the i of tho suffering in Vietnam, in-lng burns, was not war-caused or necessarily
his final presentation, the PRESIDENT made am concluding remarks pulling the conference ether and laying renewed stress on the central ortance of making progress in the political,
:ion-bulldlng sphere as well as ln the military
Cau*. nary Comment: The aboveof thearch sos. as reconstructederies of quite sketchy note.. These notes wero taken for the private anduse of Mr. Helms and myself to assist us in guiciog Agency programsanner that would support the President's objectives and policies. The notes were never intended to serveasisomplete reconstruction of the proceedings. These notes wore incomplete and hence the above resume is also incomplete, though to the best of my knowledgo and belief it reflects accurately what was said on the points covered.
George A. Carver, Jr. Special Assistant for Vietnamese Affairs
top secretOriginal document.