Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Diary Entry 100: Saigon, At Work, Monday, 12 December 1965

                                                                   At Work, Monday, 12 December 1965

Well, I just got Mr. Niederman put on a Pan American jet to go back to the US and finish up the contract. He’ll be back in Washington in 30 hours. After we got him processed through customs etc. at the airport he all but promised that he would call me back to assist in the negotiations. He doesn’t know when that will be, as the company has up to 6 months before they have to sign a final contract. However, it was his opinion that the company would want to clear it up fast and they would be banging on his door very soon to request immediate negotiation as it is in the company’s interest to get a firm contract price laid out.

Mr. Niederman is not sure whether the negotiations will take place in Seattle (home office of the company) or in Washington (headquarters of Military Sea Transport Service) or in San Francisco (West Coast procurement office for the Department of Defense). At any rate, I sure am anxious about getting back to the States for a while and taking a little leave to come see my family. Oh, I would be so disappointed if this thing falls through!

I am still tired. We have been working on this thing anywhere from 18 to 20 hours a day steadily since Mr. McNamara was here. During his visit I didn’t get a sleep for about 72 hours straight, and when he pushed the project from Washington and got the lawyer out here, we had to submit daily reports of progress. There was really a lot of pressure on the thing.

Other than what I did on the contract, I have absolutely no news. At the risk of being called a name-dropper, I am going to run through the list of people I’ve had to brief and persuade that this requirement is an absolute necessity in Vietnam:

Mr. McNamara and General Wheeler (Chairman JCS); Admiral Sharp, CINCPAC; General White, J-4 CINCPAC; Admiral Presse, Deputy Chief of Staff of CINCPAC; Mr. Niederman, Deputy Counsel for MSTS; Admiral Donoho, Commander of MSTS; [Rear] Admiral [William Davis] Irvin, Commander MSTS Pacific; Mr. Bob Carl, Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Shipping; Mr. Baird, Assistant Secretaryof the Navy for Logistic Matters; and Mr. Baldwin, Under Secretary of the Navy and soon to nominated by LBJ as Secretary of the Navy; and [Rear] Admiral [W.M.] Heaman, Officer in Charge of Construction for Southeast Asia.

It isn’t as easy as teaching a class at Leavenworth. These guys ask a lot of questions and if you don’t have the answers they are not hesitant to tell you that you don’t know what you are talking about. They have done their homework and they expect you to do yours. I guess my performance was pretty fair as no one threw me out, and we got the contract approved.

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