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Digital Archive International History Declassified

September 04, 1963

SECRET TELEGRAM FROM MANELI (SAIGON) TO SPASOWSKI (WARSAW) [CIPHERGRAM NO. 11424]

This document was made possible with support from the Leon Levy Foundation

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    Summary of Commissioner Maneli's meeting with Ngo Dinh Nhu. Nhu expresses a desire to establish a ceasefire, but notes his inability to make a concrete statement because of the United States. Maneli writes that Nhu's goal is an independent, neutral country, but that he is hindered by his tense, but still existent relations with the United States.
    "Secret Telegram from Maneli (Saigon) to Spasowski (Warsaw) [Ciphergram No. 11424]," September 04, 1963, History and Public Policy Program Digital Archive, AMSZ, Warsaw; 6/77, w-102, t-625, obtained and translated by Margaret Gnoinska. Published in CWIHP Working Paper No. 45. https://digitalarchive.wilsoncenter.org/document/118971
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Secret

Ciphergram No. 11424

From…Saigon……dispatched on 9.4 at 11:00 hours……..received on 9.5 at 11:39 hours……

Came in to the Decoding Department…9.5.63 at 17:10 hours…………………………………..

Spasowski

FYI: Siedlecki, Trojanowski, Thee, Ludwik, Mikołaj

The conversation with Nhu lasted almost two hours.  The main theses:

1) The current difficulties are a result of the activity of the [Buddhist] monks and students directed by the imperialists. The [South Vietnamese] government will win even this plot. A new phase has taken place in South Vietnam; it is fighting against the guerrillas and imperialism.

2) They are studying Ho Chi Minh’s declaration as to a ceasefire.

Something will take place in the next three months. Officially, he [Nhu] cannot assume a positive position because the government would have to submit itself to brutal pressure and the US would have a legal argument to topple [it].

3) The US hates him for the ability to talk to the communists and for his statements directed at the political and military personnel [which posits] that the US has to withdraw and [that] a period of negotiations with the North is near. He is still of this opinion and he is preparing the political ground most of all by [strengthening] the consciousness of the personnel and the strategic hamlets. He is considering the Geneva Accords in this context. He is paving the way in the same way for trade exchange with the North.

4) The government’s goal is an independent Vietnam, without foreign troops, neutral, and it is not to be a military springboard against communism.

5) He did not assume any position as to de Gaulle’s declaration under the pretext that he did not have the official text. The exposition on the philosophy of the cult of personality and the strategic hamlets took much time. He posed several general questions as to the policy of socialist countries. I replied in a very general manner while emphasizing our attitude toward the Geneva Accords.  He tried to be kind [and] avoided sensitive topics and even terms.

6) My assessment: the purpose of inviting me was to establish contact which would not bind [anyone] to anything for now.  In his defense against the US, [Nhu] turns to us while presenting himself as a statesman able to negotiate with the North.  The non-concreteness of [Nhu’s] statements results from the instability and hope that the bridges with the US have not yet been burned.

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/-/ Maneli

No. 401

Deciphered on 9.5. at 18:55

Deciphered by Górski, checked by Paździer