Bob Lansdale's visit in January 1961...I talked to him about the problems and so forth and I'd seen the report. I think that he felt that maybe I'd gone a little too rough on Diem.
I mentioned earlier that talks in September 1960 and in December and October as well, two or three times, I've forgotten the exact dates.
And ah, we hadn't really stepped up our military build up to help them then so Diem I'm sure in talking to Lansdale said that they tell me to do this, tell me to do that but the Viet Minh are getting stronger and stronger every day and they haven't helped me out. Well, Diem knew we were working on the CIP, the counter intelligence plan. We'd told him that.
But he wasn't sure. He'd have trouble getting even those helicopters I mentioned earlier about a year before, and he was feeling that he was being let down on the real threat he had which was stepped up Viet Minh operations in his country, in battalion level and that sort of thing.
So he wasn't feeling too happy about me I guess. One thing I would defend myself on, not that it makes any difference, but I guess it was Halberstam said that the last six months I was there I didn't see Diem, I never saw him, he wouldn't speak to me or receive me.
Where he got that I don't know. But I saw him every time I wanted to, sometimes twice a week. When I left he did me the honor, maybe because I by that time I'd been there so long I was the Ancient Mariner or something, but I was the dean of the corps by just longevity. That's how you get to be the dean of the corps and he gave me two farewell dinners. Maybe he wanted to get rid of me, make sure...gave me two of them. But he gave me a very fancy one with the chief of staff and the Nhus and two or three others like the foreign minister, my wife, then a big one. And then the foreign minister gave me a big splash with the diplomatic corps.
And I saw him...see, his election took place on the 2nd of May and my departure was timed to where...to stay til after that was over and I left on the 3rd. Cause I was assigned...I had home leave coming up. But this idea that he didn't see me, he didn't like some of the things I said to him but I saw him all the time in the last six months I was there.