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Full text of "Pentagon Papers"

Declassified per Executive Order 13526, Section 3.3 
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IV.C Evolution of the War (26 Vols.) 
Direct Action: The Johnson Commitments, 1964-1968 

(16 Vols.) 
6. U.S. Ground Strategy and Force Deployments: 1965-1967 

(3 Vols.) 
c. Volume III: Program 6 




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UNITED STATES - VIETNAM RELATIONS 



1945 



1967 




VIETNAM TASK FORCE 




OFFICE OF THE SECRETARY OF DEFENSE 



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iV.C.6, (c) 

U«S, GROmiD STRATEGY 
/CMD i^ORCx-r Dxi;PLOYidlSMTc> 

— 1907 



VOLUIaE III 



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VOLUI'IE III 
U.S. GROUriD STRATEGY AI© FORCE DSPLOYI'/IEI^lTS , I965--I967 



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TABLE OF COOTEl^nS and OUTLI]\JE 



V. PROGRAI^-I 6 



Page 



1. Emergency Augmentation • 1 



2. The Troop Request 



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3* "a to Z" Reassessment I6 

h. Drafting a Memorandui^ • . 33 



5. Recommendation to the President 5I 



6. The Climate of Opinion 



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7- The President Ponders 71 



8. The President Decides 



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9. The Decision is Announced 78 



10. "I Shall Not Seekj and I Will Not Accept*' 



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11. Epilogue 



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FOOTNOTES 9^ 



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V. FROGM>[ 6 



1^ Emergency Augmentation 

Thus 5 the year ended with the combat elements of Program 5 either 
closing in Vietnam or on their v.^ay to Vietnam on an accelerated schedule. 
The Joint Chiefs of Staff, however, could only promise that, even with 
- these deployments 5 the rate of progress in Vietnajn would continue to be 
slow in light of the continuing restrictions imposed on the conduct of 
military operations. 

In his year-end assessment of the military situation, however, 
COMUSMACV had a somewhat more optimistic outlook. He indicated that 
the Program 5 deploym.ents had "provided us with an increased force 
structure and logistics base for offensive operations". The past year^ 
he indicated, had been m.arked by steady free world progress, a notice- 
able deterioration of the enem.y's com.bat effectiveness, and his loss of 
control over large areas and population. 

"During 1967^ the enemy lost control of large sectors of 
the population. He faces significant problems in the areas 
of indigenous recruiting, morale, health and resources control. 
Voids in VC ranks are being filled by reg^alar WA. Sea infiltra- 
tion through the Market Time area has diminished to near-insignifica- 
tion proportions. Interdiction of the enemy's logistics train 
in Laos and wm by our indispensable air efforts has imposed 
significant difficulties on him. In many areas the enemy has 
been driven away from the population centers; in others he has 
been compelled to disperse and evade contact, thus nullifvin^* 
much of his potential. The year ended with the enemy increasingly ' 
resorting to desperation tactics in attempting to achieve military/ 
psychological victory; and he has experienced only failure in 
these attempts. Enemy bases, with sparse exception, are no 
longer safe havens and he has necessarily becom.e increasingly 
reliant on Cambodian and Laotian sanctuaries, ., " 

"The friendly picture gives rise to optimism for increased 

I successes in I968. In 1967, our logistics base and force 

structure permitted us to assume a fully offensive posture.,. 
A greatly improved intelligence system frequently enabled us 
I to concentrate our superior military assets in preempting enemy 

military initiatives leading us to decisive accom.plishments in 
conventional engagements. Materiel and tactical innovations 
have been fiarther developed and employed: Long range recon- 
naissance patrols, aerial reconnaissa.nce sensors, nevf 0-2A 
observation aircraft, Rome plows,. ^7 (Spooky) gunships, air- 
mobile operations and the Mobile Riverine Force (mrf) , to nam.e 

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a few. The MEF has been significantly successful in depriving 
the enemy of freedom and initiative in the population and 
resources rich Delta areas. The helico-pter has established 
itself as perhaps the single most important tool in our 
arsenal — and we will welcome more. To air support in both 
RW and WN (Army, Navy, Marine and Air Force) goes much of 
the credit for our accomplishnients." l/ 

The enemy's TET offensive, which began with the attack on the U.S. 
Embassy in Saigon on 31 January I968, although it had been predicted, 2/ 
took the U.S. command and the U.S. public by surprise, and its strength, 
length, and intensity prolonged this shock. As the attacks continued, 
the Secretary of Defense, on 9 February, requested the Joint Chiefs of 
Staff to furnish plans which would provide for em.ergency reinforcement 
of C0mSI4ACV. 

After extensive backchannel communication with General Westmoreland, 
the JCS forvrarded these plans on 12 February, 3/ The Joint Chiefs' 
assessment of the current Vietnam situation differed m.arkedly from 
COj^/JUSMACV ^ s year-end assessment submitted only 17 days earlier: 

"a. The VC/KVA forces have launched large-scale offensive 

operations throughout South Vietnam. 

"b. As of 11 February I968, Headquarters, M-ACV, reports that 
attacks have taken place on 3^ provincial tovms, 64 district 
tovms, and all of the autonomous cities. 

'^c. The enemy has expressed his intention to continue offensive 
operations and to destroy the Government of Vietnam and its Armed 
Forces. 

"d. The first phase of his offensive has failed in that he 
does not have a^dequate control over any population center to 
install his Revolutionary Comjnittees which he hoped to form 
into a coalition with the 1-ILF. 

"e. He has lost between 30 and kO thousand killed and captured, 
and we have seized over seven thousand weapons. 

"f. Reports indicate that he has comm.itted the bulk of his 
VC main force and local force elements down to platoon level 
throughout the country, with the exception of six to eight 
battalions in the general area of Saigon. 

"g. Thus- far, he has comjnitted only 2v0 to 25 percent of his 
North Vietnamese forces. These were employed as gap fillers 
where- VC strength, was apparently not adequate to carry out his 
initial thrust on the cities and towns. Since November, he has 

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increased his WA battalions by about 25. The bulk of 

these and the bulk of the uncoininitted If^A forces are in the 

I Corps area. ■ . ' 

"h. It is not cle^tr v^hether the eneiry will be able to 
recycle his attacks in a second phase. He has indicated his 
intention to do so during the period from 10 to 15 February. 

"i. South Vietnamese forces have suffered nearly two 
thousand killed, over seven thousand wounded ^ and an unknown 
number of absences. MACV suspects the desertion rate may be 
high. The average present for duty strength of RVII infantry 
battalions is 50 percent and Ranger Battalions, ^3 percent. 
Five of nine airborne battalions are Judged by MCV to be 
combat ineffective at this time." 

Based on this assessment, CO^ILJSI-IACV voiced to the Joint Chiefs three 
major concerns: 

"a. The ability of the weakened RWIAF to cope with additional 
sustained enemy offensive operations. 

"b. Logistic support north of Danang, because of v^eather 
/- ^ and sea conditions in the Northern I Corps area, enemiy inter- 

diction of Route 1, and the probability of intensified combat 
in that area. 

"c. The forces available to him are not adequate at the 
moment to permit him to pursue his own cainpaign plans and to 
resume offensive operations against a weakened enemy, consider- 
ing the competing requirements of reacting to enemy initiatives, 
assisting in defending Government centers, and reinforcing weakened 
RTOAF units when necessary." 

The three plans for emergency reinforcement examined by the Joint 
Chiefs of Staff were: 

"a. Plan One, which is based upon prompt deployment of the 
82nd Airborne Division and 6/9 Marine division/wing team, callup 
of som.e 120,000 Army and Marine Corps Reserves, and appropriate 
legislative action to permit extension of termis of service of 
active duty personnel and the recall of individual Reservists. 

"b. Flan Two , which woiild deploy as miany Marine Corps 
battalions as are now available in COIfuS, less one battalion 
in the Caribbean, the battalion in the Mediterranean, and the 
Guantanajno Defense Force. This plan would not be based upon 
a callup of Reservists or legislative action. 



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^'c. Plan Three 3 which would deploy the 82nd Airborne 
Division but would leave Marine Corps battalions in COIJUS. 
This plan would likewise envisage no Reserve callup and no 
legislative action." 

Under Plan One, elements of one brigade of the 82nd Airborne 
Division could commence movement within 2k hours and the division itself 
36-48 hours later. 6/9ths of a Marine Corps Division/wing team could be 
ready for deplo\anent to Vietnam in one week without \;tilizing Vietnain 
replacement drafts. Dependent upon the availability of aircraft and 
the degree of drawdown on the current level of Southeast Asia airlift 
support 5 the deployment could be completed within three to four weeks. 

Under Plan Tv/o, elemtents of two COICiS Marine Divisions ^ consisting 
of 12 battalions could be air transported to Vietnam, although two weeks 
preparation would be req_uired. This deployment, however, would deplete 
Marine Corps assets except for three battalions -- one afloat in the 
Mediterranean, one afloat in the Caribbean, and one ashore at Guantanajno 
. Bay, Cuba. 

Under Plan Three, as under Plan One, elements of one brigade of the 
82nd Airborne Division could commence movement in 2k hours, the division 
itself 36-U8 hours later. 

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All of these plans, however, would require drawdovms on previously 
protected COIJUS stocks during procurement lead-time for new production 
and would further aggravate the shortage of long procurement lead time 
items currently short, such as helicopters, tracked combat vehicles, 
and ammunition. 

An examination was also made of the feasibility of an increased 
acceleration in the deploj^Tnent of the four infantry battalions scheduled 
to deploy in March-April under Program 5- It was concluded that these 
units could not be deployed earlier "except under the most critical 
circumstances . " 

In examining the capacity to meet the possibility of widespread 
civil disorder in the United States, the Joint Chiefs of Staff concluded 
'that "whether or not deployments under any of the plans were directed, 
it appeared that sufficient forces would still be available for civil 
disorder control. 

However, the Joint Chiefs of Staff cautioned that the residual COrlUS 
based active combat-ready ground forces that would result fromi the exten- 
I - . sion of each of the plans examined would b' 



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I ■■ ^ "a. Plan One - 6/9 Marine Division/Wing Team. 

''^ b Plan Tvjo - One Airborne Division. 



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c. 



Plan Three - One and 3/9 Marine Divisipn/Wing Team." 



Moreover, these forces were at various levels of readiness and a high 
percentage of thei'r personnel were Vietnajn returnees or close to the 
end of the obligated active service. The capability of these uncom- 
mitted general purpose forces was further constrained, the Joint Chiefs 
pointed out, by shortages of critical skilled specialists and shortages 
in mission essential items of equipment and materiel. Thus, the Joint 
Chiefs emphasized, our posture of readily available combat forces was 
seriously strained. Any decision to deploy emergency augm.entation 
forces should be accompanied by the recall of at least an equivalent 
number, or more prudently, additional Reserve component forces and 
an extension of terms of service .for active duty personnel. Indeed, 
the Chiefs, warned, 

"It is not clear at this tim,e whether the enemy will be able 
to mount and sustain a second series of major attacks throughout 
the country. It is equally unclear as to how well the Vietnamese 
Armed Forces would be able to stand up against such a series of 
attacks if they were to occur. In the face of these uncertainties, 
a more precise assessment of USMACV's additional force requirements, 
if any, must await further developments. The Joint Chiefs of 
Staff . do not exclude the possibility that additional develop- 
ments could make f-arther deplo^-Tfients necessary." 

Based on this assessment of the situation, the Joint Chiefs of 
Staff concluded and recommended that; 

"a. A decision to deploy reinforcem.ents to Vietnajn be 
deferred at this time. 

"b. Measures be taken now to prepare the 82nd Airborne 
Division and 6/9 Marine Division/VJing team for possible deploy- 
, ment to Vietnam. 

"c. As a matter of prudence, call certain additional 
Reserve units to active duty nov;-. Deployment of emergency 
reinforcements to Vietnam should not be made without concomitant 
callup of Reserves sufficient at least to replace those deployed 
and provide for the increased sustaining base requirements of all 
Services. In addition, bring selected Reserve force units to 
full strength and an increased state of com.bat readiness, 

"d. Legislation be sought now to (l) provide authority to 
call individual Reservists to active duty; (2) extend past 
"^,0 June 1968 the existing authority to call Reserve units to 
ctive duty; and (3) extend terms of service for active duty 



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"e. Procurement and other supply actions be taken now to 
'' ■ ■ overcome shortages existing in certain critical items of m.ateriel 

and equipment such as munitions, helicopters, and other combat 
aircra±t. 

Thus, for perhaps the first time in the history of American involve- 
ment in Vietnam, the Joint Chiefs of Staff recommiended against deploying 
the additional forces requested by the field commander, in the absence 
of other steps to reconstitute the strategic reserve. At long last, the 
resources were beginning to be dra"^vTi too thin, the assets becaine unavail- 
able, the support base too small. 

Notwithsta-nding the recommendation of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the 
Secretary of Defense aHjnost immediately approved the deployment of one 
brigade of the 82nd Airborne Division and one Marine regimental landing 
team to South Vietnam, A total strength of almost 10,500 was assumed 
and publicly announced. ■ These deployments were directed by the JCS on 
13 February. Airlift of the brigade from the 82nd Airborne Division, at 
a strength of approximately four thousand, was to begin on 1^ February 
and the brigade was to close in- country not later than 26 February I968. J4/ 
After coordination with CINCSTRIKE and USCOKARC, the strength of this 
unit was fixed at 3,702. 5/ 

The Marine Corps Regiment was to close in SVN not later than 26 
'^' February also. The Regiment (reinforced) less one battalion, was to be 

deployed by air from California at a strength of about 3,600. One bat- 
talion (reinforced) which was then embarked, was to be deployed by surface 
at a strength of about 1,600. 6/ 

In vievj" of the wide variation of strength associated with a Marine 
Corps Regim.ent (reinforced), CINCPAC was directed to advise all concerned 
of the identity, composition and strength of the force selected for 
deployment. 7/ CINCPAC nominated the 27th Marine Regiment, which included 
52^7 Marine and 327 Navy personnel. Additionally, he included the deploy- 
ment of a logistic support element of 389 personnel from, Okinawa to reduce 
the impact on the already heavily committed logistic units in I CTZ. In 
addition, CINCPAC took the precautionary step of identifying, for follow- 
on deployment, a sea-tail of reinforcing units totalling 1,400 personnel. 
This elem.ent, scheduled to follov^ in April 1968, would provide the regiment 
the necessary self-sustaining coirnbat power in the event early replacement 
was not provided. 8/ Thus, the total number of troops deployed or alerted 
for the follow-on sea-tall numbered 11 ,065. 9/ 

The Joint Chiefs of Staff reacted almost immediately to the national 
decision to deploy these forces without a concomitant reserve callup. 
On 13 February I968 they forwarded to the Secretary of Defense their 
recomiraendations for actions -which should be taken relative to callup of 
reserves obtaining legislation and instituting procurement actions to 
provide support for these forces and to sustain their deplo^naient . 10/ 

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( 

A miniminn callup of Reserve units to replace deploying forces and 
to sustain and support them was justified, the Joint Chiefs stated, by 
the following situation: 

"S" Army. The 82nd Airborne Division represents the only 
readily deployable Army division in the COMJS-based active 
strategic reserve. The impending reduction of this division by 
one-third to meet approved deployments establishes an iramediate 
requirement for its prompt reconstitution which is possible only 
by the callup of Reserve units. In order to replace the forces 
deployed from the strategic reserve, to provide support units 
to meet anticipation requirements in I CTZ and to provide a 
wider rotation base of requisite ranks and skills, it will be 
necessary for the Army to call up two infantry brigade forces 
of the Reserve components. This callup will total approximately 
32,000 personnel. These two brigades shoiild attain a combat- 
ready and deployable status in 12 weeks following callup. 

"b. Marine Corps , 

"(l) The Marine Corps cannot sustain additional deployinents 
to Southeast Asia under current personnel policies. Thus, the 
r force authorized for deploj^nnent miust be replaced with a comparable 

Reserve unit as soon as possible. The Reserve force required for 
this purpose will consist of one Marine regiment, reinforcing 
combat support and com.bat service support units, and one composite 
Marine Air Group vrith one WA, one Yl^tP, and two mediiom helicopter 
squadrons (HI-IM) . 

"(2) The Reserve force will consist of approximately 
12,000 personnel. It will provide the capability to deploy a 
balanced, self-sustaining air/ground combat force in relief of 
the lightly structured 27th Marines (Rein) azid permit return 
of the 27th Marine Regiment (Rein) to the training/rotation base 
in COTOS/liawaii. This exchange would commence as soon as the 
Reserve unit becomes combat-ready (approximately 60 days after 
callup) and must be completed not. later than 120 days after 
deployment of RLT-27. 

^'(3) It is envisioned that the" Reserve forces will be. 
redeployed to COi^TUS without replacement after 13 months in South 
Vietnajn. However, if this does not occ^ir, it will be best to 
deploy a relief brigade from the Uth Marine Division/wing team. 
Alternately, an adequate rotation base in COMS to sustain the 
continued deploym,ent" can be created but to do so requires 
extensions of terms of service and other personnel policy changes. 

^^ "(^0 Ii^ addition, it must be recognized that the anticipated 

(^; proportionate- increase in personnel losses v/ill require an increase 

in the end strength of the active forces to sustain these losses. 

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"c. 'Rav}/. Support of the newly authorized deployments will 

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I require the callup of two Navy mobile construction battalions 

(NMCB) totalling 1,700 personnel and 600 individual medical/ 

t dental/chaplain Reservists. These callups vrill provide for 

bringing recalled Marine units up to strength, sustaining the 
Navy personnel organic to the deployed RLT, and adding medical 
staffing -required by the increased level of activity in South- 
east Asia to forv/ard hospital facilities including Guam. 

"d. Air Force , The Air Force plans to support this approved 
deployment operation v.dthout recall of individuals or units. 
Reserve airlift augirientation needed to supplement the deployment 
airlift can be accomplished by Reservists on a voluntary basis." 

In addition, the Joint Chiefs indicated that it would be both prudent 
and advisable to reach a readiness level that could be responsive to 
further COMUSMACV force requirements, if the remainder of the 82nd Airborne 
Division and one more RLT were required. COIVIUSMAC^/ had already indicated 
the potential need for these units at an early date. To reach such a 
readiness level, the Joint Chiefs indicated that the following Reserve 
forces vrould have to be activated: 

^ "a. Army . Should the additional deplo^onents be m.ade, it would 

be necessary for the Army to recall (in addition to the two brigade 
forces previously discussed) one infantry division force and one 
infantry brigade force of the Army Reserve components, totalling 
■ 58,000 men. These forces will be needed to reconstitute the 
strategic reserve and to broaden the source of critical ranks 
and skills to be applied against the increased rotation base 
requirements. The Reserve units should be recalled at this time 
to bring them closer to a combat-ready status prior to the probable 
deplo^nnent of the balance of the 82nd Airborne Division. The 
Reserve division force should attain a combat- capable status in 
15 weeks after recall and the brigade force should require 12 weeks. 

"b. Marine Corps . 

(1) The most desirable Reserve callup consists of the 
entire ^th Marine Expeditionary Force (MEF), plus other units 
and selected individual Reserves. This totals about 51,000, 
Mobilization and subsequent deploym.ent of the Reserve forces 
shovild be accomplished incrementally. This callup permits the 
early and orderly replacement of the 5th Marine Division (-) 
in South Vietnam, and the subsequent redeployment of the 5th 
Marine Division (-) to COLRJS, or, alternatively, the Hh Division/ 
Wing Team can meet the additional requirements..,. 

"c. Navy. Support of these additional deployments, would 
) require the^allup of an additional three NMCB (total of five) 

^^^ totalling ^;150 personnel and an additional ^00 (for a total 

of 1 O'OO'J medical/dental/chaplain Reservists. These callups 

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would provide for lU MCB in RVTT for direct construction support 
and an adequate rotation base to maintain these deployments. 
The additional nedical/dental/chaplain personnel vill provide 
for bringing recalled Marine units up to strength, sustaining 
the Navy personnel in the additional deploying RLT, and adding 
some medical staffing to forward hospital facilities. Recall 
of an additional 2,3800 personnel would be required to augment 
the logistic operations in Vietnam.. The increased requirement 
for naval gunfire support for the larger deploj^anents would 
necessitate the activation of tv/o heavy cruisers to fill CINCPAC^s 
requirements for additional shore bombardment capability to 
maintain two large calibre gun ships on station in the SEA 
DRAGO:v" area and off RTOT. Additionally, I5 destroyers should 
be activated from the mothball fleet to replace I5 Naval Reserve 
Training destroyers to be called to active' duty. This v7ould 
fill CINCPAC^s requirement for an additional five destroyers 
on station off Vietnam and provide the rotation base to support 
them. The recall of 6,000 Naval Reserve personnel would provide 
the additional m.anpower and skills base to man these reactivated 
ships. 

"d. Air Force. The deployment of the rem.ainder of the 82nd 
Airborne Division to Southeast Asia will require the support of 
three tactical fighter squadrons, a tactical reconnaissance 
squadron, necessary elements of the Tactical Air Control System., 
one PRIME BEEF unit, and one security squadron. In order to 
provide support of the deployment and the broadening of the 
training and rotation base 8.nd to retain a minimum acceptable 
number of combat-ready deployable squadrons in the C0]}3US, these 
Air Force organizations will have to be replaced by activation 
of the following Air Reserve Forces: eight tactical fighter 
squadrons, five tactical reconnaissance squadrons, one Tactical 
Control Group, two military airlift groups, and one tactical 
airlift wing, totalling 22,^97 spaces. Activation of these Air 
National Giiard/Re serve units include organizations not currently 
manned under COLffiAT BEEF standards (lOO percent)." 

The Joint Chiefs reiterated their recommendation that legislation 
be sought to: "(l) provide authority to call selected individual 
Reservists to active duty; (2) extend beyond 30 June I968 the existing 
authority to call Reserve units to active duty; and (3) extend terms 
of service for active duty personnel," The provisions of such legisla- 
tion would, the Joint Chiefs indicated, impact on the Services in the 
followin,^: manner: 



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(1) Extension of terms of Service. Provides 'an imrrxediate 
impact on readiness worldwide in that critical skill specialists 
in short supply are retained on active duty. It is estimated that 



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between 30,000 and hOyOOO additional trained personnel will be 
. retained in the Army for each month of extension. For example, 
during the first six-month period of extension of terms of 
service, the Arm.y would gain in excess of 500 helicopter pilots, 
of which there is a critical shortage. Other critical skill 
shortages would be similarly affected. 

"(2) Selective callup of individual Reservists. The 
Army Immediate Ready Reserve contains ^90,000 personnel, of 
v^hich more than 90 percent are in grades of E-4 and E-5. A 
selective callup of individual Reservists, coupled with an 
extension of terms of service, will alleviate virtually all of 
the Army's current critical skill shortages. 

"b. Marine Corps , 

(1) Involuntary extension of enlistments of all 
enlisted personnel would produce an average of 5?766 enlisted 
men per month throiigh June. Within this gain, an average of 
1,728 experienced IICOs per month would be gained. 

"(2) Selective recall of individual Reservists would 
^--. be necessary in order to bring mobilized units up, to provide 

the essential rank and skills not contained in the organized 
Reserve. Within the Marine Corps Reserve, but outside of the 
organized units, there is an invaluable pool of key personnel: 
noncomjTiissioned officers, officers (particularly pilots), and 
Marines possessing long lead time "hajrd skill" Military Occupa- 
tional Specialties. 

"c. Navy . In the deploying ships of the Navy, there is a 
shortfall of 32,500 in officers and the top six enlisted pay 
grades. 

(1) Involuntary extension of Reserve Officers and 
selected recall of Reserves would fulfill officer manning 
requirements in one to three months. 

"(2) Cancellation of early releases and selective 
I involuntary extensions, recall of Fleet Reserves, deferral of 

transfers to Fleet Reserve, and recall of Ready Reserves would 
achieve 100 percent enlisted requirements by rate/rating in 
one to three months. 

* "d. Air Force. If extension of tenns of service were granted 
the Air Foz^oe could, on a selective basis, hold approximately 
20 000 skilled personnel out of a possible 70,000 that would 
be discharged over a six-month period. Retaining these critical 
skills wo\ild sustain the force at an acceptable level. Should 

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additional forces be deployed to meet possible future MACV 
requirements 5 legislation would be necessary in order that 
active un^'ts can be replaced by activat:i,on of corresponding 
Air National Guard units after 30 June I968," 

Based on all the foregoing, the Joint Chiefs of Staff recommended 

that: 

"a. The following Reserve component units be called to 
active duty immediately: 

(1) Two infantry brigade forces. 

(2) One Marine regiment, plus the support forces 
indicated in paragraph 3^(l)- 

(3) Two WACBs. 

"b. The following Reserve component units be brought to a 
high state of readiness for probable call to active duty on 
short notice: 

(1) One infantry division force and one infantry 
brigade force, in addition to the tvro brigade forces indicated 
above . 

(2)^ The remainder of the ^i-th Marine Expeditionary Force, 

(3) Three MCBs, in addition to the two indicated above. 
Also, de-mothball work and long lead time procurement should begin 
on two heavy cruisers and 15 destroyers. Fifteen Naval Reserve 
Training destroyers should be placed on active duty and comanence 
immediate installation of modern communications/electronics 
equipment. 

"(^) Eight TPS, five TPS, one TACS, five APvS, one 
PRIME BEEF unit, and one security squadron. 

* 

"c. Measures be taken immediately to obtain the legislation 
to (1) provide authority to call selected individual Reservists 
to active duty; (2) extend beyond 30 June I968 the existing 
authority 'to call Reserve units to active duty; and (3) extend 
terms of service for active duty personnel. 

"d. A supplemental appropriation be requested to cover the 
unpro^rammed cost of the approved and probable future deploymients." 

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In addition^ the Joint Chiefs of Staff indicated that an updated 
assessment of U.S. military posture v/orldvade pertaining to additional 
problems for U.S. military capabilities ^ to include specific recommenda- 
tions for req,uired improvement , v/ould be reported in the near future. 

This req.uest was overtaken, as \ie shall see, by subseq.uent req.uire- 
ments submitted by COMUSIvIACV. 

2. The Troop Request 

Although the nev7 Secretary of Defense, Clark Clifford, was formally 
sworn into office by the President on 1 March, his work had begun many days 
before. 

In order to ascertain the situation in SVN and to determine subseq.uent 
■ MA.CV force requirements. General Earle VJheeler, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs 
of Staff, had been sent by the President to Saigon on 23 February. His report 
was presented to the President on 27 February i968.ll/ On the basis of this 
report, and the recorarnendatiohs it contained, the President ordered the initi- 
ation of a complete and searching reassessment of the entire U.S. strategy 
and commitment in South Vietnam.. The Secretary of Defense-designate, Mr. 
Clifford, was directed to conduct this review, aided by other members of the 

Cabinet . 
■ 

In his report, General VJlneeler summarized the situation in Vietnam 
I as f ollov;s : 

" The enemy failed to achieve his initial objective but 
is continuing his effort. Although many of his units were 
badly hurt, the judgment is that he has the v?ill and the 
capability to continue. 

- Enemy losses have been heavy; he has failed to achieve 
his prime objectives of mass uprisings and capture of a large 
number of the capital cities and tov;ns. Morale in enem.y units 
which were badly m.auled or where the m.en were oversold the idea 
of a decisive victory at TET probably has suffered severely. 
However, with replacements, his indoctrination system would 
seem capable of maintaining morale at a generally adequate level. 
Plis determination appears to be unshaken. 

- The enemy is operating v/ith relative freedom, in the 
countryside, probably recruiting heavily and no doubt infil- 
trating WA units a,nd personnel. His recovery is likely to be 
rapid; his supplies are adequate; and he is trying to maintain 
the momentum of his winter-spring offensive. 

- The structure of the GVN held up but its effectiveness 

) ■ has suffered. 



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- The RWAP held up against the initial assaiilt with 
gratifying, and in a way, surprising strength and fortitude. 
However, AWN is now in a defensive posture around towns 
and cities and there is concern about hov; well they will 
bear up under sustained pressure. 

- The initial attack nearly succeeded in a dozen places, 
and defeat in those places was only averted by the timely 
reaction of US forces. In short, it was a very near thing. 

- There is no doubt that the RD Program has suffered 
a severe set back. 

- RV1MA.F was not badly hurt physically -- they should 
recover strength and ec^uipment rather quickly (equipment 
in 2 - 3 months -- strength in 3 - 6 months). Their prob- 
lems are m.ore psychological than physical. 

- US forces have lost none of their pre-TET capability. 

- MCV has three principal problems. First, logistic 
support north of Danang is marginal owing to v/eather, enemy 

^r--^ interdiction and harassment and the massj.ve deployment of 

' US forces into the DMZ/Hue area. Opening Route 1 will 

alleviate this problem but takes a substantial troop com- 
mitment. Second; the defensive posture of AWN is permitting 
the VC to make rapid inroads in the form.erly pacified country- 
side. AR\/"N, "in its own v^ords, is in a dilemma as it cannot 
afford another enemy thrust into the cities and towns and yet 
if it remains in a defensive posture against this contingency, 
the countryside goes by default. IVEVCV is forced to devote 
m.uch of its troop strength to this problem. Third, MA.CV 
has been forced to deploy 50^ of all US maneuver battalions 
into I Corps, to meet the threat there, vjhile enemy syn- 
chronizes an attack against I\]ne Sanh/lIue-Quang Tri vzith an 
offensive in the Highlands and around Saigon while keeping the 
pressure on throughout the remainder of the country, MA.CV 
will be hard pressed to meet adequately all threats. Under 
these circujnstances, we must be prepared to accept some 
reverses. 12/ 

A.B to the future. General VJheeler saw the enemy pursuing a strategy of 
j l' ^ reinforced offensive in order to enlarge his control throughout the 

countryside and keep pressure on the goverrmient and the allies. The enemy 
is likely, the Chairman indicated: 

To m.aintain strong threats in the DMZ. area, at Khe Sanh, 
in the highlands, and at Saigon, and to attack in force v/hen 
^ • . conditions seem favorable. He is likely to try to gain 



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control of the country's northern provinces. He v/ill con- 
tinue efforts to encircle cities and province capitals to 
isolate and disrupt normal activities, and infiltrate them 
to create chaos. He will seek maximum attrition of RVI^TAF 
elements. Against US forces, he v/ill emphasize attacks by 
fire on airfields and installations, using assaults and 
amtushes selectively. His central objective continues to 
be the destruction of the Government of SVN and its armed 
forces. As a minimum he hopes to seize sufficient territory 
and gain control of enough people to support establishment 
of the groups and committees he proposes for participation 
in an M.F dominated government. Ij/ 

General T^Jheeler stated that MACV believed the central thrust of U.S. 
strategy must be to defeat the enemy offensive. If this were done well, 
the situation overa,ll would be greatly improved over the pre-TET condition 

V/hile accepting the fact that its first priority must be the security 
of the GVN in Saigon and in provincial capitals, MACV described its objec- 
tives as: 

--First, to coimter the enemy offensive and to destroy 
or eject the NVA invasion force in the north. 

-- Second, to restore security in the cities and towns. 

-- Third, to restore security in the heavily popu- 
lated areas of the coiintryside. 

-" Fourth, to regain the initiative through offensive 
operations. Ik/ 

In discussing how General Westmoreland would accomplish these objec- 
tives, General VJheeler indicated the following tasks: 

(-^) Securit y of Cities and Governjnent . I4ACV recog- 
nizes that US forces will be req.uired to reinforce and 
support RMAF in the security of cities, towns and govern- 
mient structure. At this time, 10 US battalions are operating 
in the environs of Saigon. It is clear that this task will 
absorb a substantial portion of US forces. 

(2) Sec urity in the Cou nt ryside . To a large extent 
the VC now control the country-side. Most of the 5^ bat- 
talions formerly providing security for pacification are 
now defeziding district or province towias . MACV estimates 
that US forces will be reaixired in a nujiiber of places to 
assist and encourage the Vietnamese Army to leave the cities 
and towns and reenter the country. This is especially true 

in the Delta. ' ■ 

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(3) Def ense o f the borders ;, the DMZ and the northern 
provinces" 'mACV considers that it must meet the enemy 
threat in I Corps Tactical Zone and has already deployed 
there slightly over 50^ oi" s.11 US maneuver battalions. 
US forces have been thinned out in the highlands, notwith- 
standing an expected enemy offensive in the early future. 

(U) Offensive O p erations . Coupling the increased 
requirement for the defense of the cities and subseq.uent 
reentry into the rural areas, and the heavy req.uirem.ent 
for defense of the I Corps Zone, MA.CV does not have adequate 
forces at this tim.e to resume the offensive in the remainder 
of the country, nor does it have adequate reserves against 
I the contingency of simultaneous large-scale enemy offensive 

action throughout the country. 1^/ 

The conclusion v;as obvious: 

Forces currently assigned to MA.CV, plus the residual 
Prograjn Five forces yet to be delivered, are inadequate 
in numbers and balance to carry cut the strategy and to 
accomplish the tasks described above in the proper priority. 

•^ Hovzever, it was the extent and magnitude of General Vlheeler's request 

that stimulated the initiation of a thorough review of the direction of 
U.S. policy in SVN. To contend with, and defeat, the new enemy threat, 
MACV indicated a total requirement of 206,756 spaces over the 525,000 
ceiling imposed by Program Five, or a new proposed ceiling of 731,756. 
All of these forces, which included three Division equivalents, 15 tactical 
fighter squadrons, and augmentation for current Navy programs, were to be 
deployed into country by the end of CY 68. These additional forces were 
to be delivered in three packages as follows: 

(1) Immediate I ncrement, Priorit y One : To be deployed 
by 1 May 68." Maj or "elem,ents include one brigade of the 5th 
Mechanised Division with a mix of one infantry, one armored 
and one m-echanized battalion; the Fifth Marine Division (less 

■RLT-26); one armored cavalry regiment; eight tactical fighter 
squadrons; and a groupm^ent of Navy units to augment on going 
programs . • ■ . 

(2) Immediate Increm-e nt, Pi-^iorit y Two: To be deployed 
as scon aT'possible but prior to 1 SepbS. Major elem.ents 
include the remainder of the 5th Mechanized Division, and four 
tactical fighter squadrons. It is desirable that the ROK 

Light Division be deployed within this tim.e frame - 

■ (3) Foll oW"On Increment : To be deployed by the end of 
^. — .. CY 68. 1-iaJor elements include one infantry division, three 

' tactical fughter squadrons, and units to further . augment 

Navy Programs. 16/ 

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A fork in the road had been reached. Now the alternatives stood 
out in stark reality. To accept and meet Genera^l VJheeler's reCLuest for 
troops would mean a total U.S. military commitment to SVN — an Americaniza- 
tion of the war, a callup of reserve forces, vastly increased expenditures. 
To deny the req.uest for troops, or to attempt to again cut it to a size which ■ 
could he sustained by the thinly stretched active forces, w^ould just as surely 
signify that an upper limit to the U.S. military commitment in SVN had been 
reached. 

3' "a to _Z"^ Reassessment 

These thoughts were very m^uch on Secretary Clifford's mind during 
his first meeting on 29 February with the people who were to conduct the 
reassessment of U.S. strategy. Present, in addition to Clifford, were McNamara, 
General Taylor, Nitze, Fowler, Katzenbach, Rostow, Heljns, Bundy, V/arnke, and 
Plabib. 17/ Mr. Clifford outlined the task as he had received it from the 
President. He indicated to the group that he fe3_t that the real problem to 
be addressed was not whether v/e should send 200,000 additional troops to Viet- 
nam. The real questions were: Should we follovz the present course in SVN; 
could it ever prove successful even if vastly more than 200,000 troops were 
sent? The answers to these questions, the formulation of alternative courses 
open to the U.S., was to be the initial focus of the review^. To that end, 
general assignments were m-ade concerning papers to be written. These papers 
were to be prepared for discussion am.ong the Group on Saturday, March 2. 
The general division of labor and outline of subjects assigned was indicated 
by Mr. Bundy in a memoranduja the subsequent day, as follows: 

1. What alternative courses of action are available to 
the US? 

Assignment: Defense - General Taylor - State (Secretary) 

2. V/hat alternative courses are open to the enemy? 
Assigrmient - Defense and CIA 

3. Analysis of implications of V/estmoreland's request for 
additional troops. 

Series of papers on the following. 

Military imi^lications - JCS 

Political implications - State 

(Political implications in their broadest 
domestic and international sense to include 
internal Vietnamese problem). 

Budget£iry results -- Defense 

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Economic implications - Treasury 

Congressional iraplications - Defense 

Implications for public opinion - domestic and 
international - State. 

k. Negotiation Alternatives 

Assignraent - State 18/ 

In addition. Secretary Clifford indicated that certain military options 
■were to be examined in this review. These options were: 

Option I: Add approximately I965OOO troops to the present 

total authorized force level, i.e. Program 5 
(525,000) plus the six additional battalions 
already deployed (10,500), Restrictions cur- 
rently imposed on air and ground operations in 
Cambodia, Laos, and North Vietnam are relaxed 
to permit destruction of the ports, raining of 
the waterways, attack of complete target systems 
in WTN and offensive operations against VC/n\^A 
Army forces in Laos and Cam-bodia. 

Option lA: No change from. Option I except that current 

restrictions on ground and air operations in 
Cambodia, Laos, and NVN are maintained. 

Option II: No change to total authorized force level 

(525,000 plus 10,500 augmentation) except to 
deploy 3 fighter squadrons authorized within 
the ceiling but not deployed. 

Option HI: Add 50,000 troops above those cui^rently authorized. 

Option IV: Add 100,000 troops above those currently authorized. I9/ 

The main work in preparing a paper for Secretary Clifford to present 
to the President was to be done in the Defense Departm.ent by a group of 
sta.ff action officers v?orking intensively under the direction of I^Ir. Leslie 
Gelb. These sta.ff officers worked as a drafting committee while a group 
consisting of Mr. Warnke, Mr. Enthoven, Mr. Halperin and Mr. Steadraan 
acted as a policy rcviev/ board. Of the v/ork done outside the Pentagon, 
only the papers on negotiations and SVN domestic policies prepared by 
Mr. Bundy and Mr. Habib at State and General Taylor's paper on alternative 
strategies v^ent to the VJhite House. The other materials contributed by 
CIA State, Treasury, and the Joint Staff were fed into the deliberative 
process at the Pentagon but were not included as such in the final product. 
Thus^ the dominant voice in the considersttion of alternatives as the reassess 
ment ^progressed was that of the OSD. 

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These agency views were^ however, read and assessed by the working 
group and^ although they were not furnished to the President , they were 
part of the background of the deliberative process. It would be mis- 
leading, therefore, to say that they were not considered or had no influ- 
ence on the decisions taken. In any case, they provided some sense of 
the ideas and alternatives being considered and debated during these few 
frantic days of late February - early March, I968. 

The CIA furnished three papers which v/ere considered in the reassess- 
ment. The first, dated 26 February I968, was prepared for the Director of 
Central Intelligence prior to the formation of the Task Group. Entitled 
"The Outlook in Vietnam," this paper stated the following conclusion: 

We believe that the Comjnunists will sustain a high level 
of military activity for at least the next tv/o or three 
months. It is difficuJLt to forecast the situation which v;ill 
then obtain, given the nujnber of unknowable factors which 
will figure- Our best estimate is as follows: 

a. The least likely outcome of the present phase 

is that the Comjuunist side will expend its resources to such 
an extent as to be incapable thereafter of preventing steady 
advances by the US/gW. 

b. Also unlikely, though considerably less so, is 
that the GVN/aRVN will be so critically weakened that it can 
play no further significant part in the military and political 
prosecution of the struggle. 

c. More likely than either of the above is that the 
present push will be generally contained, but with severe 
losses to both the GW and Communist forces, and that a 
period vail set in during which neither will be capable of 
registering decisive gains. 20/ 

The second CIA paper, dated 29 February, was entitled "Communist 
Alternatives in Vietna^m." T\'/o main military a.lternatives were identified, 
as follows: 

a, maintain widespread military pressure in Vietnam 
at least for the next several months; 

b. increase the level of military pressures by one 
or m-ore of the following measures: 

(1) commuting all of their reserves from NVN, 
tejitam-ount to an all-out invasion, to gain decisive results 
as cLuickly as possible; 

(2) committing two or three additional divisions; 

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(3) seeking one major battle which promised significant 
political gains. 

(h) expanding current efforts in Laos. 2l/ 

Based on this analysis j Communist intentions were assessed as follows: 

The Communists probably intend to maintain widespread mili- 
tary pressures in Vietnam for at least the next several months. 
A special effort will be made to harass urban areas and keep 
them under threat. They will probably calculate that the 
US/CtVN V7ill be forced to defend the towns and the countryside 
will be left more vulnerable to Communist domination. At 
some time J new Communist attacks will probably be launched 
to seize and hold certain cities and towns. Where condi- 
tions appear favorable they will engage US forces, seeking 
some significant local success which would have a major 
political return. The total result of their campaign, they 
hope, wil3- be to so strain the resources of the US and the 
GW/aRW, that the Saigon government will lose control of 
much of the country and the US will have little choice but 
to settle the war on Comiaunist terms. 22/ 

The third CIA paper, submitted on 1 March 1968, attempted to answer 
specific questions posed by the Secretary of Defense in his initial m.eeting 
v/ith his senior working group on 2$ February. Pertinent qviestions and the 
CIA a.ssessmient are listed below: 

Q. "What is the likely course of events in South Vietnam 
over the next 10 months, assuming no change in U.S. policy 
or force levels? 

A. In the assumed circiimstances a total military victory 
by the Allies or the Communists is highly unlikely in the next 
10 raonths. It is manifestly imx)Ossible for the Ccnmiuj:iists to 
drive U.S. forces out of the country. It is equally out of 
the question for US/gVI^ forces to clear South Vietnam of 
Comiaunist forces. It is possible, hovrever, that the over- 
all situatiozi in this period will take a decisive turn. 

We think it unlikely that this turn could be in the 
US/gW favor.... We see no evidence yet that the GVN/aPVN 
will be inspired to seise the initiative, go over to the 
attack, exploit the Coimnunist vulnerabilities, and quickly 
regain the rural areas.. We doubt they have the v/ill and 
capability to make the effort. 

Far more likely is an erosion of the ARVlT's morale 
and effectiveness. We do not believe that the GVK will 
collapse, or that the ARVN vjill tptally disintegrate. But 

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' there is a fairly good chance that Coimnunist presssures 

I ! • will result in a serious v?eakening of the GW/ARVE" apparatus 

and an end to its effective functioning in parts of the 
country. In these circumstances, virtually the entire 
burden of the war would fall on US forces. 

^ ^ -^ 

In sum, there is a high risk that both the ARVDJ 
and GVN will be seriously weakened in the next months , 
and perhaps decisively so. Our best estimate is that 
in the assumed circumstances the overall situation 10 
months hence v/ill be no better than a standoff. 

Q. What is the likely Communist reaction to a change 
in US strategy tovrard greater control over population 
centers, v/ith or v/ithout increased forces? 

A. In general the Communists would view this move 
as a success for their strategy. Their tactical response 
in such circumstances would depend mainly on the nature 
of US enclaves. If these v;"ere fairly large and embraced 
much of the outlyiiig countryside, the Communists v/ould 
believe them to be porous enough to infiltrate and harass, 
much as they are doing now.- If the defensive perimeters 
were fairly solid, however, the Communists would not try 
to overrun them in frontal assaults. Instead, they 
would concentrate for a time on consolidating the country- 
side and isolating the various defended enclaves, in 
particular interdicting supply lines and forcing the US 
to undertake expensive supply movements from out of 
country. A Communist-controlled regime with a "coalition" 
facade wo-old be set up in "liberated" areas and attempts 
at terrorist activity inside the enclaves would be under- 
taken. Hanoi would hope that a combination of military and 
political pressiure, together with the dim prospect for 
achievement of the original US aims in the Vietnam struggle, 
would eventually persuade the US to extricate itself through 
negotiations. 

Q. VJhat is the likely WA/vC strategy over the next 
10 months if US forces are increased by 50,000, by 100,000, 
or by 200,000? ■ . 

A. We vfould expect the Communists to continue the war. 
They still have resources available in North Vietnam and 
v/ithin South Vietnam to increase their troop strength. Their 



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strong logistical effort and their ability to orga,nise and 
exploit the people under their control in the South enable them 
to counter US increases by smaller increases of their own. 
Over a ten-month period the Communists would probably be able 
to introduce sufficient new units into the South to offset 
the US maneuver battalion increments of the various force 
levels given above. 23/ 

These CIA assessments, then, painted very bleak alternatives for 
U.S. policynakers. If U.S. policy and force levels did not change, there 
was a high risk that ARVN and the GYN would be seriously weakened, perhaps 
decisively so. The US would assume the m.ajor burden of the v:ar, and the 
situation w^ould be no better than a standoff. If U.S. forces were increased 
by as much as 100,000, the Communists would probably be able to introduce 
sufficient new units in the South to offset this increase. If the U.S. 
changed its strategy toward greater control over population centers, with 
or without increased forces, the Communists would adjust their strategy 
so as to preclude the achievement of U.S. aim.s. 

In his various papers for the Working Group, Assistant Secretary of 
State William Bimdy attempted a deliberate approach. He furnished one 
paper which outlined alternative courses of action which he considered 
■ deserved serious consideration. 2k/ Another paper outlined a checklist 

"to serve as a rough guide to the papers that need preparation under a 
* ' systematic code." 25/ 

The alternative courses listed by Mr. Bundy were: 

a. Accept the V/heeler/vfestmoreland recommendation aimed 
at sending roughly 100,000 men by 1 May and another 100,000 
men by the end of I968. 

b. Change our military strategy, reducing the areas and 
places we seek to control and concentrating far more heavily 
on the protection of populated areas. ■ 

c. Adopt option b above in the south, but extend our 
bombing and other m.ilitary actions against the North to try 
to strangle the v/ar there and put greater pressure on Hanoi 
in this area. 

d. Accept imiuediately those elements of the vn:ieeler/ 
Westm.oreland proposals that could hope to affect the situ- 
ation favorably oYer the next four months or so, but do not 
go beyond that in terms of force plans and related actions. 

e. "Cut and shave" the VTheeler/Westmoreland proposals 
and their action implications, but carry on basically in 
accordance with present strategy. 

f. "A-ll-out option." 'Announce that we were prepared 
to hold in Vietnam no matter what developed." 26/ 

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The Department of State also prepared papers on the following 
subjects : _ • 

a. Introductory Paper on Key Elements in the Situation 27/ 

b. Probable Soviet^ Chinese, Western European Reactions 28/ 

c. Ambassador Thom-pson's Cable on Soviet Reactions to 
Possible U.S. Government Courses of Action 29 / 

d. European and Other Non-Asian Reactions to Major Force 
Increases 30/ 

e. Asian Reaction to a Major U.S. Force Increase 31/ 

f . Options on our Negotiating Posture 32/ 

These papers were presented to the Clifford Group a.t the meeting on 
3 March I968. However, as will be seen, they were CLuickly overtaken by 
the rapidly moving situation and, with the exception of the paper on nego- 
tiating options, did not figure in the final memorandum which was forvmrded 
to the President on ^l- March. 

General Max^^ell Taylor's paper on alternative courses of action is 
of greater interest in that it was furnished both to the Clifford Working 
Group and to the t^Jhite House directly through General Taylor's capacity 
as Military Advisor to the President. Although it is not known what weight 
was given to this paper, it was received by the President even prior to the 
Memorandum from the Clifford Group, and thereby could have gained som.e 
special v/eight in the deliberations of the President. 

After a brief listing of the U.S. objectives in SVN, General Taylor 
concluded that, since there v/as no serious consideration being given at the 
moment to adding to or subtracting from our present objective, the discussion 
should be limited to considerations of alternative strategies and programs 
to attain that objective. 33/ 

General Taylor concluded that, basically, our government had only two 
choices: 

a. We can tell General Westmoreland that he must make do 
with'"his present forces in Viet-Nam and ask him to report to 
us V7hat he is capable of accom.plishing therev/ith. This would 
be an invitation to him to cut back sharply upon the military 
objectives he has defined in his latest Combined Campaign- 
Plan (1968). Alternatively, while making this decision to 
provide no further forces, we could give new strategic 
guidance to General Westmoreland which would assist him in 
establishing the priorities for his efforts necessary to 
bring his mission within capabilities of the forces allotted 

him. 



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"b- The other "broad alternative is to increase his present 
force's by. some amount varying from less than his figure of 
205,000 and ranging up to the full amount. Also in this case, 
we might well consider giving h±m. revised strategic guidance 
in the light of what we have learned from the Tet offensive 
and its sequel- 

General Taylor thus indicated that in the reassessment of our strategy, 
the government would be req.uired to answer the follov/ing q.uestions: 

(1) Do v;e decide at this time to send any additional 
reinforcements to General Westmoreland? 

(2) If the answer is affinnative, should vie agree to 
send all or part of the 205,000 requested by General 
Westmoreland? 

(3) Whether the response is affirmative or negative, should 
we send General Westmoreland nevz strategic guidance, hoping to 
limit further demands on U.S. military manpower? 

(k) VJhat Strategic Reserve should be retained in the U.S. 
in the foregoing situations? 

General Taylor then listed some of the political considerations of the 
military course of action decided upon. He listed the follov/ing political 
actions as worth considering in connection vjith any decision on reinforce- 
ment : 

(1) A renev/ed offer of negotiation, possibly x^ith a private 
comjnunication that we v/o"ald suspend the bombing for a fixed period 
v;ithout making the tim.e limitation public if we V7ere assured that 
productive negotiations would start before the end of the period. 

(2) A public announcement that we would adjust the bombing 
of the North to the level of intensity of enemy ground action 
in the South. 

(3) As a prelude to sharply increased bombing levels, possibly 
to include the closing of Haiphong, a statement of our intentions 
made necessary by the enemy offensive against the cities and 
across the frontiers. 

(if) Announcement of the withdrawal of the. San Antonio 
foiTnuJLa in viev/ of the heightened level of aggression conducted 
by North Viet-Nam.. 

(5) Keep silent. 



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In choosing among these alternatives. General Taylor argued that the 
present military situation in South Vietnam argued strongly against a new 
negotiation effort or any thought of reducing the bombing of the North. 
He further argued that, in any case^ v/e would appear well-advised to 
withdraw from the San Antonio formula. 

Thus 5 he concluded, there seemed to be at least three program- 
packages worth serious consideration. They were: 

Package A 

a. No increase of General Westmoreland's forces in South Viet -Nam.. 

b. New strategic guidance. 

c. Build-up of Strategic Reserve. 

d. No negotiation initiative- 

e. Withdrawal of San Antonio formula. 

f. Pressure on GVN to do better. 

Package B 

a. Partial acceptance of General Westmoreland's recommendation. 

b. New strategic guidance. 

c. Build-up of Strategic Reserve: 

d. No negotiation initiative. 

e. Withdrawal of San Antonio formula. 

f. Pressure on GYE to do better. 

Package C 
a.. Approval of General Westmoreland's full request. 
b- New strevtegic guidance. 

c. Build-up of Strategic Reserve. 

d. No negotiation initiative. 

e. Withdrawal of San Antonio formula and announcement of 
"" intention to close Haiphong. 

f. Pressure on GVN to do better. 

g. Major effort to rally the homefront. 

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The working group within ISA had access to all of these documents. 
In addition^ and at the request of the vzorking group, other papers were 
prepared within the Department of Defense by the Assistant Secretary 
(Systems Analysis) and the Assistant Secretary (Pu-hlic Affairs). 

Initially, Systems Analysis undertook a capability study in order 
to- determine if the MACV requirement could indeed be met. They concluded 
that, with the exception of Army aviation units, the MACV manpovj^er request 
could be filled essentially as desired. This could even be done, the 
analysis concluded, without changing the one-year tour policy, without 
drawing down on Europe, and without widespread second tours with less than 
24 months in COKUS. This assumed a reserve recall, added funds, and the 
required strength increases. 

Our maximum capability would be to provide 6 maneuver 
battalions in May, 9 itiore in June, 9 in July and as many as 
6 more in August — faster than the MACV request. These 
units v/ould have the necessary artillery, transportation 
and engineer support. Added tactical air units could deploy 
on a matching schedule. 

The only significant shortfall irould be in Army Aviation. 
^ Even v/ith a reserve recall, present deployment schedules cannot 

,_ be significantly accelerated. Production limitations are such 

that at least one year \'70uld be required to increase the out- 
put of UIi-l/AF-1 helicopters. Thus, it would be mid-1969 
before any added aviation units could deploy and mid-1971 
before the total MACV requirement could be met- 3^/ 

This SA paper also considered several other deployment options^ as 
follows: cut 50,000 from present authorization; no increase in current 
authorization; increase by 50,000; increase by 100,000; increase by 200,000. 
The imits required under all these options, it was concluded, could deploy 
to Vietnejn in a m^atter of months. The 50,000 man package could arrive in 
May and Jtine; the 100,000 man package by August; and the full 200,000 (with 
minor exceptions) by December, The principal exceptions under all options 
would continue to be A.rm.y aviation units. A sumjnary of the various options 
considered is shown below: 

Optional Deployments 

A B £ . 2 1 
Cut Current Add Add Add 
50,000 Plan 50,000 100,000 200 , 000 

Total U.S. personnel ^185, 000 535,000 585,000 635,000 631,000 

U,S. Maneuver Bns IO3 112 II8 124 133 

Artillery Bns 68 72 77 83 92 

^^ Tac Air Sqds ^1+ ^5 51 56 60 

( ■ Annual cost $23 Bil. $25' Bil. $28 Bil. $30 Bil. $35 Bil. 

Reserve Recall " ." 65,000 200,000 250,000 35/ 

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other papers prepared by Systems Analysis during this period were 
furnished to the ISA working group upon their req.uest. Indeed , the subject 
matter and thrust of these papers indicated fairly early the bias of the 
people preparing them as well as the direction in v^hich the reassessment of 
U.S. strategy v/as moving, at least within the working group in ISA. 

Papers were also furnished concerning pacification^ costs and probable 
results of alternative U.S. strategies in South Vietnam, the status of 
RWAF, problems of inflation, and data for analysis of strategies. Tlie 
main thrust of most of these papers was that "more of the same" in South 
Vietnam would not achieve decisive results and, indeed, would not be satis- 
factory. The paper on pacification indicated that: 

Hamlet Evaluation System (HES) reports for CY I967 indicate 
that pacification progressed slowly during the first half of 
1967, and lost ground in the second half. Most (60%) of the 
1967 gain results from accounting type changes to the HSS 
system, not from pacifi caption progress; hamlet additions and 
deletions, and revised population estimates accounted for 
half of the January-June increase and all of the June-Decem.ber 
increase- In the area that really counts --VC-D-E hamlets 
rising to A-B-C ratings--we actually suffered a net loss of 
10,100 people between June and December I967. 36 / 

Based on General Wheeler's statement in his report to the President, 
that "to a large extent the VC now control the countryside," the paper con- 
cluded that "the enemy's current offensive appears to have killed the program 
once and for all."' 37/ 

In analyzing the status of RVM.F, the Systems Analysis paper concluded: 

Highest priority must be given to getting RVKAF moving. In 
the short run re-equipping the Vietnamese and helping them 
regain their combat power insures that we can prevent unnecessary 
loss should the enemy attack the cities or put pressure there 
while hitting Khe SanJh. Further, present US force coinmitments 
mean that only a recizperated RVMF will permit release of US 
units for other missions and accomplish any objectives in 
pacification. Finally, restoration of security in the cities 
in conjunction with the National Police is a major new mission 
I for R\nSAF which requires forces. 

w 

VJhat can we do? There are many indications that the man- 
power situation is worse than reported. Every effort must be 
made to determine hov; many deserters there are and to approach 
them. Rounding up trained manpower delinquent in returning 
from Tet w^ill help. US advisors ca^n pressure the JGS to up- 
grade selected RF/PF into ARVM in addition to measures already 

initiated by RWI/iF. 

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COMUSmcV must identify weak EVMF -units. Ill Corps 
need special study and preparation of revised contingency 
plans. Priority on reinanning, re-eq.uipping and retraining 
must be given to the RVimF elite units (V]>MG) vrhich con- 
stitute the general reserve. COMUSI-l^CV must plan for the 
use of thj.s reserve and earmarked US units to defect VC 
attack of weak RVIMF units during the interim period. 

RVLIAF modernization should take precedence over equip- 
ping all US forces except those deploying to the combat 
zone. The remaining 82^000 Ml6 rifles must be delivered 
ASAP. It is also in the US interest to equip the RF/PF 
with Ml6s before equipping the US training base, which is 
already programraed. 

Lastly, COJCFSMCV must m.ake decisions about what 
missions RVMF need not accomplish now. RVRAF is stretched 
too thin given its past and expected missions. It alone 
cannot protect the cities and hold the countryside where 
it is still deployed. Decision is needed to permit the 
build-up of v/eak units and better integrated use of US 
and RVMF against whatever enemy scenario develops. 38/ 

The paper entitled "Alternate Strategies" painted a bleak picture of 
American failure in Vietnaja: 

We lost our offensive stance because we never achieved 
the momentujn essential for military victory. Search and 
Destroy operations can^t build this kind of momentum and 
the RVMF was not pushed hard enough. We becajne mesmerized 
by statistics of known doubtful validity ;, choosing to place 
our faith only in the ones that showed progress. We judged 
' the enemy's intentions rather than his capabilities because 

we trusted captured documents too much. We were not alert 
to the perils of tim.e lag and spoofing. In short 5 our set- 
backs were due to wishful thinking com.pounded by a massive 
intelligeiice collection and/or evaluation failure. 

Indeed., in examining U.S. objectives in SYN, the picture of failure was 
- ma.nifest: 

Since the original conmiitm-ent of large US forces in 1965? 
our stated objectives have been to: 

■ 
(1) Make it as difficult and costly as possible for 
WN to continue effective support of the VC and cause IJW to 
cease its direction of the VC insurgency. 

f^ (\'Jhile we have raised the price to KVN of aggression a-nd . 



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support of the VC, it shovrs no lack of capability or will 
to match each new US escalation. Our strategy of "attrition" 
has not worked. Adding 206,000 more US men to a force of 
525,000, gaining only 27 additional maneuver battalions and 
270 tactical fighters at an added cost to the US of $10 bil- 
lion per year raises the q.uestion of who is making it costly 
from whom- ) 

(2) Extend GVN dominion, direction and control over 
SVN. 

(This objective can only be achieved by the GVN through 
its political and economic processes and with the indispensable 
support of an effective RWAF. The TET offensive demonstrated 
not only that the US had not provided an effective shield, it 
also demonstrated that the GVN and RVTTAF had not made real 
progress in pacification — the essential first step along the 
road of extending GVi^F dominion^ direction and control.) 

(3) Defeat the VC and MA forces in SW and force 
their v/ithdrawal. (The TET offensive proves we were further 
from this goal than we thought. How much further remains 

to be seen. ) 

(k) Deter the Chinese Communists from direct inter- 
vention in SEA.. (This we have done successfully so fa.r; 
however, greatly increased U.S. forces may becom.e coimter- 
productive.) 

We know that despite a massive influx of 500,000 US troops, 
1.2 million tons of bom.bs a year, ^00,000 attack sorties per year, 
200,000 enemy KTA in three years, 20,000 US KIA, etc., our control 
of the countryside and the defense of the urba.n areas is now 
essentially at pre-August I965 levels. We have achieved stale- 
m.ate at a high comjaitment. A nev? strategy must be sought. 39 / 

Several alternative strategies were briefly discussed and all but one 
were q.uickly dismissed as being unlikely to bring success: 

(1) No cha nge b ut increase the resources . 

This strategy alternative is implicit in the recominenda- 

tions of mCV and CJCS In brief, the MCV and CJCS recomjnenda- 

tions are for additional forces to regair this ground lost since 
January, 1968. Nothing is said as to whether still more US 
• forces will be req.uired to finish the job. Another payment on 
an open-ended conmiitment is req.uested. 



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(2) Widen the War > 

Adoption of tliis alternative would re-q.uire more forces 
than are now teing considered and it runs farther risks of 
involving China and the USSR. The course of events already 
set in motion could lead to adoption of this alternative; 
increasing US forces in SVN would undoubtedly increase 'the 
possibilities of it. And the option is open fcr North '^ 
Korea or other aggressive countries to test our will else- 
where. ' 

I ■ ■• i • ■ 

(3) Opt Out of the v7ar . 

The price of q.uitting now would include the under- 
mining of our other commitments world-wide^ bitter dissension 
at home, and a probable resurgence of active Chinese-USSR 
territorial aggrandizements. 

Before TET we could have done this with less risk than 
j now. 

I W Resuscitate GVN and RVKAF . 

This option is to return to the concept of a GVN 
war with US assistance instead of the present situation of 
a US war with dubious GVN assistance. 

Adoption of this alternative requires: 

(sl) a solid commitment to a US force ceiling. 

■ This'^coimnitment must be communicated to the highest levels 

. of GVM/RVMF and our own military leaders. 

(b) A skillful conditioning of US and world 
opinion to the limited US commitment to the South Vietnamese 
war and to our right of withdrawal if GVU/rVKAF determina- 
tion or perfozmance wavers. 

(c) A statement that the US objective in SVN is 
to develop the GVN capability to defeat the VC and NVA 
forces in SVN and force their withdrawal, ko/ 

The remaining Systems Analysis paper cited statistics to show that, 
in the past, the North Vietnamese had been able to match the U.S. buildup 
j J in SVN wit±L their own buildup. Also statistics were used to project the 

cost to the U.S. in casualties resulting from various deployment options 
and various strategies on the ground. These projections showed that a 
I fc"" shift to a population control strategy which was unchallenged by the enemy 
' ' ■ would stabilize casualty rates, as some \mits would be underemployed. Ul/ 



/ 



» 



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The paper prepared by the Assista.nt Secretary of Defense (Pablic 
Affairs) was entitled "Possible Pablic Reaction to Various Alternatives." 
Five alternative options were examined: 

1. Increased mobilization and deployment. This includes 
sending General Westmoreland 50^000 to 200,000 more troops 
and the additional moves this would require at home -- calling 
reserves 5 extending enlistments , extra expenditures, bigger 
tax bill; etc. 



2. Increased mobilization/deploym.ent plus expanded bombin 

of North Vietnam. 



cr 
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3. Increased mobilization/deployment plus' a bom^bing pause. 

h. Denial of the Westmoreland requests and continuation of 
the war "as is" — as it was being fought prior to the Tet 

offensive and Khe Sanh. 



5- Denial of the Westmoreland requests and a change in 
war-fighting policy vrith greater concentration on defending 
populated areas and less on search-and-destroy in unpopulated 
areas. This would include an announced prograjn to begin 
) troop withdrawal eX a fixed date. k2./ 

The Assistant Secretary, Mr. Goulding, emphasized that all options 
were being examined from a public reaction standpoint only. He also 
emphasized that no action would unite the country. The question to be 
■ attacked was which option will most coalesce supporters and most Isolate 
the opposition. 

In analyzing the various options above, Mr. Moulding divided the 
public into havzks, doves, and middle-of-the-roaders. Under Option 1, 
he argued, increased m.obilization and deployment m_oves, vrithout other 
nev; actions: 

...will make the doves unhappy because we become more 

and more eiimeshed in the v/ar. They will m.ake the hawks 
unhappy beca^use we still vzill be withholding our military 
strength, particularly in the North. And the middle-of- 

I I the-roaders who basically support the President out of 

conviction 'or patriotism will be unhappy because they will 

* ' see the ante going up in so many v/ays and stil3. will not 

be given a victory date, a progress report they can believe 
or an argument they can accept that a,ll of this i.s in the 
national interest. (Further, they will read in the dissezit 
columns and 'editorials that l8 months from now, when the 
Worth Vietnamese have added 30,000 more troops, we will be 

j ^ '^ right back v/here we started.) 



t- 



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^" ThuSj public reaction to this option would be extremely negative, and 

vrould become increasingly so as the deployment numbers , the financial 
costs^ and the life-disrujjting actions increase. 

The next two options, Mr. Goulding indicated, should be considered 
together since, from a public affairs standpoint, the decision to deploy 
additional troops of any significant number must be accompanied by some 
"new" move. The two options discussed were deplo;yT:nent plus expanded 
bombing of the North, and increased mobilization plus a bombing pause. 

The first course, Goulding concluded, would elicit more support in 
I t the country than does the present course. 

This course would clearly bring aboard more hav;ks and 
further isolate the doves. It would also make the v/ar much ' 
easier to accept by the middle-of-the-roaders. It v/ould 
help \mite the country. Some fence sitters, hovzever, would 
be added to those who already view the war as an unforgiveable 
sin. I think the campus and "liberal" reaction would sur- 
pa.ss anything we have seen. 

The other option envisioned continuing to fight as we are in the 
I south, strengthening General Westmoreland with part or all of his request, 

and coupling these moves with a visible "peace" campaign based upon a 
J cessation of the bombing in the Horth. This course, Go^olding concluded: 

.♦.would alienate those who take the hardest line. 

We would be adding much to our cost, both by the extra 
I deployment and the military price paid for the pause, 

. without receiving any immediate or concrete results. If 

the Communists took advantage of the bomi.bing halt, the ■ • 

hav/ks and many of the military would react strongly.... 

The doves, of course, would enthusiastically endorse the 

pause and V70uld immediately begin pleading and praying 

that it be continued long enough to explore every possible 

and conceivable corridor. .. .Additionally, the doves V70uld 

deplore the e>ctra deployments. They would complain that 

the pause v/as not unlimited or unconditional- They would 

argue that the deployments plus the failure to be "uncon- ' 

ditional" detracted from, the effort. This two-pronged 

approach -- strengthen but seek negotiation -- would give 

new confidence to the m-iddle-of-the-roaders. They would 

applaud thfe goverriment for doing "something" different, 

for seeking a way O'ut of the quagmire. They would be 

more i^atient than the hawks to give the pause a chance, 

and less disturbed than the doves at the m^obilization. 

For them, it could be a way out -•- and even a "could be"- 

is better than the frustration they now feel.... The deploy/ 
^ • pause option would be more favorably received by the nation 
1 than the deploy/escale^^te Worth, since it would, in the public . ' 

mind, offer more hope of a'n eventual solution to the war. • j 

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The fourth option ;, denial of" the Westmoreland rec[uest and continue 
the vzar "as is/' wouJ.d please no one^ according to Mr. Goulding. The 
hawks (and the military) would protest vehemently. They would b'e less 
satisfied, and the doves v/ould be no more satisfied by this failure to 
take nev7 initiatives tovrard peace. However , Mr. Goulding concluded, 
since fevzer people would be affected by this course than by Option One, 
and therefore it would be preferable to that Option. 

The advantages of Option Five - denial of General Westmoreland's 
requests and a change in strategy in South Vietnam -- from a public affairs 
standpoint were oven-;helming, the paper concluded. 

....The pain of additional deployments, Reserve callups, 
increased draft calls, increased casualties, extended toiors 
would be eliminated. The hazards of bombing escalation 
would be eliminated. The dangers of a bombing pause would 
be eliminated. The frustration of more-and-more-and-more 
into the endless pit would be eliminated. l*Jhat the people 
want most of all is some sign that we are m.aking progress, 
that there is, somev/here, an end. VJliile this does not 
necessarily show progress, it does show change. It does 
show the search for new approaches ... .It would prevent the 
middle-of-the-roaders from joining the doves. While the 
doves want a pause, I would think they would prefer this 
to deplo;y7rLent-m-obilization plus pause. VJhile the hawks 
want to escalate in the North, most of them, (not all) also 
want an end to increased ground strength in the South. 
■I believe that we would be successfal in getting members 
of Congress to make speeches in support of this. 

In summary, then, and strictly from a public reaction standpoint, 
Mr. Goulding noted the options as follows: 

Acceptable: Only #5 -- Denial of requests and a 
change in policy in the South. 

Most acceptable of the others: #3 — Deploy and 
pause. 

Next most acceptable: #2 -- Deploy and expand Air 

■ War North. 

Next m.ost acceptable: ffk -- Deny Westmoreland and 
continue as is. 

Most objectionable; #1 -- Deploy and continue as is, 
north and south. U3/ 



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If. Drafting a Kemorandujn 

There is, of course, no way of knowing hov; much consideration 
and weight vzere given to each of these papers by the small group of action 
officers in the Pentagon who were, in the last analysis, charged V7ith 
digesting all of these factors, considerations, and views and actually 
drafting the reassessment of U.S. strategy required by the President of 
his new Secretary of Defense. The predilections of these drafters, per- 
haps were hinted at by the subject matter of the backup papers prepared at 
their specific req.uest and summarized above. 

By 29 February, this group had produced an initial draft of a memoran- 
dum for the President which examined the situation in SVN *'in light of U.S. 
political objectives and General Westmoreland's request for additional 
troops, as stated in General Tarheeler's report." kk/ 

This draft was slightly revised by senior officers in ISA and apparently 
was discussed within the Defense Establishiment on 1 March, k^ / 

This paper began with an assessment of the current situation in South 
Viet Nam and a discussion of the prospects over the next 10 months. Quoting 
Genera.1 VJheeler's report, the draft m^emorandum indicated that the most im_por- 
tant VC goal in the winter-spring offensive was the takeover of the country- 
side. In many parts of the country, it V7as stated, they may have already 
^ succeeded in achieving this goal. 

The 'main event' thus is still to come, not in a one-night 
offensive but in a week-by-week expulsion of GW presence and 
influence from the rural areas, showing up on the pacification 
maps as a 'red tide' flowing up to the edges of the province 
and district tov/ns, and over some of them. hG / 

Although kWE held up well under initial assaults, the ISA memorandum 
concluded that they would not soon move out of their defensive posture 
around the cities and towns. They would, in the future, challenge the VC 
offensively much less than before. 

In the new, more dangerous envirorxaent to come about in 
the countryside, and as currently led, motivated, and influ- 
enced at the top, AEW is even less likely than before to 
■ buckle dov/n to the crucial offensive job of chasing district 
companies and (with U.S. help) provincial battalions. In that 
environment, informers will claia up, or be killed; the VC will 
ffet m-ore information and cooperation, the GVN less; officials 
and police will be much less willing to act on information or 
VC suspects and activities. 4?/ 

The memorandum w^as even more pessmistic concerning the future direction 
"- ■ and abilities of the South Vietnam.ese Govermaent, and read rriore into the TET 

offensive than had been noted there by other observers. 



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It is unlikely that the GVN will rise to the challenge. 
It will not move toward a Government of National Union. 
Current arrests of oppositionists further isolate and dis- 
credit it, and possibly foreshadov; the emasculation of the 
Assembly and the undoing of all promising political develop- 
ments of the past year. Fu-rthenaore, it is possible that 
the recent offensive was facilitated by a newly friendly 
or apathetic urban environment ^ and a broad low -level 
cooperative organization tha,t had not existed on the same 
scale before. If, in fact, the attacks reflect new VC 
opportunities and capability in the cities, then the impact 
of the attacks themselves, the overall military response, 
and the ineffective G"^/TI political response may still further 
im-prove the VC cause in the cities, as v/ell as in the country- 
side. Even if the political makeup of the GYN should change 
for the better, it may well be that VC penetration in the 
cities has now gone or will soon go too far for real non- 
communist political mobilisation to develop. J48/ 

Based upon this bleak assessmient of the future of the Govermnent and 
Army of South Vietnam, the ISA draft memorandutn undertook to exaraine 
alternative military strategies. Two such strategies v/ere to be com.pared, 
the current one and an alternative vrhich emphasized population secujrity. 
(Actually, only one was analyzed in detail*) The two strategies were' to be 
compared at current force levels and with added increments of 50,000, 
150,000 and 200,000. 

In analyzing ou-r cvirrent strategy, the memorandum undertook a review 
of how our strategy in Vietnam evolved. At the time U.S. forces were first 
committed in South Vietnam in early 19^5; the draft Presidential memorandum 
indicated, the political situation was a desperate one. There wa,s imminent 
danger of a North Vietnamese-controlled seizure of power in SVN and the 
imposition of a communist regime by force. Thus, the imj:nediate objective 
of the U.S. was a military one--to arrest this trend and to deny to the 
NTA/VC the seizure of political control by force. 

Once U.S. forces were committed in increasingly large numbers, however, 
the military and political situation began to improve significa,ntly. By 
the end of I966, our initial military objective had been achieved- -no longer 
was it 'possible for MN to impose its will upon SVIM by force. By this time, 
however our military objectives had been expanded at the expense of our 
political objectives. 

In the absence of political directives limiting the goals to be 
attained by U.S. military force, our objectives became: 

a. To m.ake it as difficult and costly as possible for 
I^TVN to continue effective support of the VC and to cause NVN 
to cease direction of the insurgency. 



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b. To defeat the VC and NVA forces in SVW and force the 
v/ithdrawal of IWM forces 

c. To extend GW control over all of SW. 

Indeed^ in asking for increased forces. General l\Tieeler and General 

Westmoreland described their current tasks as follows: 

a. Security of Cities and Government. 
b- Secujrity in the Countryside. 

c. Defense of the Borders^ the DMZj and the Northern 
Province - 

d. Offensive Operations. Ug/ 

The question to be answered, then, suggested the memorandum, was what 
we could hope to accomplish with these increased force levels in pursuit of 
our current strategy. The answer was not encouraging. 

With current force levels we cannot continue to pursue all 
of the objectives listed by General I-Jheeler, Can vje do so with 
increased forces? 

MA.CV does not clearly specify how he would use the addi- 
tional forces he requests, except to indicate that they 
would provide him with a theater reserve and an offensive 
capability. Even with the 200,000 additional troops requested 
by MCV, we will not be in a position to drive the enemy from 
SW or to destroy his forces. MA.CV*s description of his key 
problems makes clear that the additional forces would be used 
to open Route 1, north of Danang; support ARVN units, particu- 
larly in the Delta; and to maintain a reserve against enemy 
offensives. VJith lesser increases of 50,000 or 100,000, 
MA.CV would be in an even less favorable position to go on the 
offensive. Moreover, even before the TET offensive the 
enemy was initiating about two-thirds of the clashes and 
could, in response to oujt buildup, adopt a casualty limiting 
posture. 

The more likely enem_y response, however, is that with 
which he has responded to previous increases in our force 
levels, viz., a matching increase on his part. Hanoi has 
maintained a constant ratio of one maneuver battalion to 
1.5 U.S. maneuver battalions from his reserve in FM of 
from ^5-70 maneuver batta.lions (comprising 40, 000-60,000 
men in 5-8 divisions). 



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Even if the enemy stands and fights as he did before 
TET;, the results can only be disappointing in terns of 
attriting his capability. 

Over the past year the United States has been killing 
between 70 and 100 VC/WA per month per U.S. combat bat- 
talion in theater. The return per combat battalion deployed 
has been falling off^ but even assuming that additional 
deploym.ents will double the number of combat battalions, 
and assum.ing that the kill-ratios will remain constant, we 
could expect enemy deaths, at best, on the order of magni- 
tude of 20,000 per month, but the infiltration system from 
North Viet Nam alone coirLd supply 13,000-16,000 per month, 
regardless of our bombing pattern, leaving the remainder — 
ii,000 -- to be recruited in South Viet Nam' — a demonstrably 
manageable undertaking for the VC. 

The current strategy thus can promise no early end to 
the conflict, nor any success in attriting the ^n^-^:^ or 
eroding Hanoi's will to fight. Moreover, it would entail 
siibstantial costs in South Viet Ne-m, in the United States, 
and in the rest of the world, ^o / 

These substantial costs, the paper indicated, would indeed preclude 
the attainm.ent of U.So objectives. In South Vietnam, 

...the presence of more than 700,000 UoS. military can 
mean nothing but the total Americanization of the war. 
There is no sign that ARVN effectiveness will increase, 
and there will be no pressure from_ the U.S. or the GVIM for 
ARVN to shape up if the U.So appears willing to increase 
its force levels as necessary to maintain a stalem_ate in 
the country. 

The effect on the GVN would be even more unfortunate. 
The Saigon leadership shov/s no signs of a willingness — let 
alone an ability--to attract the necessary loyalty or sup- 
port of the people. It is true that the GVN did not totally 
collapse during TST, but there is not yet anything like an 

■ urgent sense of national tmity and purpose, k large influx 

■ of additional U.S. forces will intensify the belief of the 
ruling elite that the U.S. will continue to fight its vzar 
while it engages in backroom politics and permits wide- 
spread corruption. Tne proposed actions will also generate 
increased inflation, thereby reducing the effectiveness of 
the GVN and making corruption harder to control. Refoi-^ 
of the GVN will come only when and if they come to believe 
that our continued presence in South Viet Nam depends on 
what the GVN does. Certainly, a U.S. commitm.ent to a sub- 
stantial troop increase before the GVN commits itself to 
reform.' and action can only be counterproductive. VJliatever 



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our success on the battlefield;, our chances of leaving behind 
e.n effective functioning na.tiona.l government v^hen we at last 
withdraw will be sharply diminished. 

In the United States, the effects would be equally unfortunate. 

We will have to m-obilize reserves, increase our budget 
by billions^ and see U.S. casualties climb to lj300-lj^00 
per month. Our balance of payments will be worsened con- 
siderably, and we will need a larger tax increase--justified 
as a war tax, or wage and price controls.... 

It will be diffic^xLt to convince critics that we are not 
simply destroying South Viet Nam in order to "save" it and 
that we genuinely wazit peace talks. This growing disaffection 
accompanied, as it certainly will be, by increased defiance 
of the draft and growing unrest in the cities because of the 
belief that we are neglecting domestic problems, runs great 
risks of provoking a dom.estic crisis of unprecedented pro- 
portions. 51/ 

Thus, if our cuj?rent strategy, even with increased troops, could not 
promise an early end to the conflict, v/hat alternatives V7ere available 
to the United States? No U.S. ground strategy and no level of U.S. forces, 
alone, could by themselves accomplish our objective in South Viet Nam, 
the draft memorandum stated. 

We can obtain our objective only if the GVN begins to 
take the steps necessary to gain the confidence of the people 
and to provide effective leadership for the diverse groups 
in the population. ARVW must also be turned into an effective 
fighting force. If we fail in these objectives, a military 
victory over the NVN/vC main forces, follov/ed by a U.S. with- 
drawal, would on_ly pave the way for s.n NLF takeover. 

Our military presence in South Viet Nam should be designed 
toUiy the tim,e during which ARVN and the GVN can develop effec- 
tive capability. In order to do this, we must deny the enem;^^ 
access to the populated areas of the country and prevent him ■ 
from achieving his objectives of controlling the population and 
destroying the GVN. 

The memorandum concluded that I^IACV should be told that his mission 
was to provide security to populated areas and to deny the enemy access to 
the population; that he should not attempt to attrite the enemy or to 
drive him out of the country. MCV should be asked to recommend an appro- 
priate strategy and to determine his force requirexments to carry out this 
objective with the rfdnim^um possible casualties. 



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However^ in the next section of the Presidential draft memorandum, 
the Working Group relieved MCV of this responsibility by sketching one 
possible strategy (obviously the preferred one) which should be able to 
be pursued "without substantially increasing our level of forces in South 
Viet Nam, thus avoiding the adverse domestic and foreign conseq.uences 
sketched above." 52/ 

* 

The strategy outlined in the m.emorand-um was designed to attain the 
initiative along the "demographic frontier." It consisted of the following: 

Those forces currently in or near the heavily populated 
areas along the coast should remain in place. Those forces 
currently bordering on the demographic frontier"^ should con- 
tinue to operate from those positions, not on long search-and- 
destroy missions, but in support of the frontier. Eight to 
10 battalions from the DMZ areas would be redeployed and become 
strategic research in I Corps; six battalions from the interior 
of II Corps vrould be redeployed to Dien Binh province as a 
strategic reserve for defense of provincial capitals in the 
highlands. As security is restored in the previously neglected 
popu-lated areas of coastal Viet Nam, additional U.S. battalions 
wouJ-d move forward to the demographic frontier.... 

Based just beyond the populated areas, the forces on the 
demographic frontiers would conduct spoiling raids, long- 
range reconnaissance patrols and, when appropriate ta.rgets 
are located, search-and-destroy operatiozis into the enemy's 
zone of movement in the unpopulated areas between the demo- 
graphic and the political frontiers. They would be available 
as a quick reaction force to support RVMF when it was attacked 
within the populated areas. Ifliere RVI\[A.F patrolling in the 
populated areas is inadequate, U.S. forces would be in a posi- 
tion to assist. 53/ 

The advantages of the "demographic strategy of population security" 
were listed as follows: 

1. It V70uld become possible to keep the VC/nvA off 

balance in their present zone of movem.ent. This area is 
no\J largely available to them for maneuver and massing, no 
more than a day's march from any of the miajor cities north 
of Saigon. 

2. It V70uld lengthen enemy LOC's from their sanctu- 
aries in Laos and Ca^.bodia.. Base areas and LOC's vzithin 
SVN would be the subject of attack and disruption^ without 
extending the war to neighboring countries. 

^r7chis"frontier' runs along the eastern foothills of the Annajnite chain, 
from Quang-Tri Province to Pban Thiet in Binh Thuan, cuts across SVl^I 
along the northern edge of the Delta from Phuc Tuy to the Cambodian 
Border in Tay Ninh. Garrisons wouJ-d be established as at Bong Son 

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3. RVKAJFj linov/ing the availability of support from 
U.S. reaction forces^ would perform more aggressively. 

h. This would permit the patrolling and securing of 
populated areas to be accomplished primarily by Vietnamese 
forces. \ - 

5. U.S. forces would keep active in v^hat is now the 
enemy's zone of movement^ no longer presenting static posi- 
tions against which the enemy can mass 9.nd attack. This^ 
plus his increased logistical problems, would reduce U.S. 
casualties while increasing his. In effect, we would force 
him to come to us, fight on terrain of our choosing. 

6. The increased patrolling of the populated areas by 
RVMF combined with U.S. actions in the zone of m-ovement 
woixld make it harder for the enemy to mass against and 
attack targets within the populated areas. This would 
reduce civilian casualties and refugee generation. 

7. G-arrisoning U.S. forces closer to EVW.F would facili- 
tate joint operations at the m^aneuver level (battalion, 
company), again increasing ETRkF aggressiveness. 

8. With RVMF thus supported by U.S. forces, it can be 
expected to remain in unifoim and engage in operations as- 
long 'as it is paid and fed. ^h/ 

No disadvantages of this strategy were noted, or listed in the memoran- 



dum. 



^ 



Details of this strategy, by Corps area, vzere examined in an appendix 
In I Corps, our present precarious position could be relieved. 

¥ere MA.CV to be provided guidance to forego position 
defense in areas rem.ote from population centers and concen- 
trate upon m.obile offensive operations in and contiguous 
to the coastal plain, one division eq.uivalent - eight to 
10 U.S. m-aneuver battalions - could eventually be relieved 
from operations in, or related to defense of Khe Sanh. 
Undoubtedly, however, these eight to 10 battalions would 
be required to restore tactical flexibility to and insure 
logistical sufficiency for the forces presently disposed in 
the Quang-xri-Hue-Danang area. MA.CV presently is planning 
operations in the Aeschau /sic/ Valley after April I968; 
the new guidance would preclude these. 

Guidance to MACV.in II Corps 

"...should counsel continued economy of force and should 
specifically exclude determined defense of all but province 



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■capitals in the highlands • Permission to withdraw from 
Special Porces camps (e.g.^ Dak To)^ and other exposed 
positions remote from the coastal plain should be included. 
Under this guidance, six U.S. battalions could be with- 
drawn from border defense operations in the highlands for 
use as a mobile reserve or for operations on the coastal plain. 

In III Corps, no redeployment from present positions, with U.S. 
forces concentrated in the immediate environs of Saigon were envisaged. j 

The guidance to MA.CV should be to concentrate on offensive | 

operations in and around the densely pop-ulated portions of 
III CTZ- MACV should m^aintain a mobile strike force for 
defense of remote province capitals, but he should otherwise 
forego long range or regional search-and-destroy operations. 
Withdrawals from Special Forces camps should be authorized. 

Fourth Corps - the Mekong Delta region - is the only region of SVN in 
which the burden of the war was still borne, chiefly by RVMF. U.S. 
strategy should avoid Americanizing the conflict there. Instead, our 
jl • efforts should be aimed at catalyzing increased RVMA.F efforts there. 



Guidance provided to MACV should be geared to galvanizing 
RVKAF by a strategy of: 

i. Defending province capitals, major towns, principal 
com-munication centers, and commiercially important routes. 

2. Extending GTO control into the coijintryside, consis- 
tent with PVNAF capability to defend RD teams and other 
public administration there. 

3. Stimulating RVKAF operations by providing U.S. forces 
on an occasional basis for combined operations age^inst 
particu-larly promising targets, or in conjunction with key 
defensive operations. U.S. forces in the Delta for this 
effort should draw on the existing Dong Tam and Saigon bases. 

\. Providing limited assistance to RVMF with sophisti- 
cated engineer eq,uipment and reconnaissance apparatus v;here 
such V70uld improve their ability to perform the missions 
sketched above. 

5. Bringing serious pressure to bear on RVN leaders in 
Saigon and within IV CTZ to m,ount active, sustained, offensive 
operations consistent with the foregoing m-issions. Considera- 
tion should be given to: 

Providing additional RVTtfi^ battalions to IV CTZ on 
a temporary basis from III CTZ- -conceptually, battalions or 
regim.ents from, the 5th or l8th ARVN Divisions would be deployed 
to IV CTZ minus dependents, for periods of one month or more 
of active operations, ^ll 

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In another appendix^ the memorandurn analyzed the effects of this 
strategy on those interior provinces outside the "demographic frontier." 
It voiild be desirable to maintain all interior Province capitals^ the 
appendix concluded, because "the political conseq.uences of v;ithdrawal from 
•whole Provinces would be to recreate the atmosphere of 195^ or 19^5? 9,xid 
while the situation may be that grim, w^e should at least strive to make 
it appear otherv7ise-"56/ 

The Province capitals would be garrisoned v/ith ARVIM units of the 22nd 
and 23rd Divisions and, initially, some American units. These units wouJ-d 
have as their mission the holding of the Province town for a minimum of 
fo'or days, giving time for the arrival of a relief strike force. 

Having secured the Province capitals, however, this strategy envisaged 
evacuating other installations in the interior Provinces, 

...such as the frontier series running from Bu Dop to 
Dak To and the interior but vull.nerable points as Vo Dat 
and Vinh Thanh, Although these points are not held by 
allied main force units, they do tie down othei- assets, 
such as Special Forces, CIDG, PP, and RF. Furthermore, 
their combined existence represents a potential strain for 
the limited reaction ability currently available since we 
>' must respond, as we did at Dak To, when the enemy m^vssed 

for an attack. If a presence is required in some of these areas, 
it should be in the form of a mobile striking unit, and not a 
garrison. 

:^sed upon this "analysis" of our current strategy and a strategy of 
protecting the demographic frontier, the draft memorandum recommended the 
follov/ing actions to the President: 

1. Approve a NSAI^^I, stating that our political objective 
is a peace which will leave the people of South Viet Nam 
free to fashion their own political institutions ... .The NSAI^ 
should state that the primary role of U.S. military forces is 
to provide security in the populated areas of South Viet Nam 
rather than to destroy the VC/nvA or drive them out of the 
country. We should plan on maintaining the posture necess6.ry 
to accomplish this objective for a considerable period. 

2. Approve the imjaediate dispatch of an additional 
' 10,500 mi3.itary personnel to South Viet Nam. 

3. Approve an accelerated and expanded program of 

'' * increased fire power and mobility for ARW and other ele- 

I ments of the GVN Armed Forces.- 

.^-^ If. Send General Taylor to Saigon to explain the NSAM 

to MOV and the GVL"^, and to request General ^-lestmor eland to 
develop a strategy and force requirements to implement the 
milita'ry objectives stated in the NSAM. 



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5. Dispatch one or two high-level civilians to Saigon 
with General Taylor to warn the GTO that it must broaden 
their base of political support^ end its internal bickering, 
purge corrupt officers and officials, and move to develop 
efficient administration and effective forces. They should 
also begin a discussion of negotiations while informing the 
GVN of the increased support to be provided for AK^IN* 

6. Deliver a Presidential address to the American public, 
explaining our new strategy in light of the enemy's new 
tactics. ^7 / 

In short, then, this initial reassessment of our strategy in SVIT 
indicated to the President that no ground strategy and no level of addi- 
tional U.S. forces alone could achieve an early end to the war. That 
coul-d be done only if the GVE took the steps necessary to provide effec- 
tive military and political leadership to its population. In order to 
speed up this process, the U.S. should limit its objectives in SVN and 
adopt a strategy of population security. This would give the GVN time to 
organize and develop democratic institutions, a.nd would give RVMF time to 
grow in effectiveness while our forces provided a protective screen for 
the populated a.reas at minimum cost in resources and casualties. 

..^^ This paper was discussed within the military community at a meeting 

in the Secretary of Defense ^s office on 1 March. General VJheeler, the 
Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, was appalled at the apparent repudi- 
ation of American military policy in South Viet Nam contained in the ISA 
Draft Memorandum. He detected two "fatal flaws" in the population security 
strategy. 

1. The proposed strategy would mean increased fighting in or close 
to population centers and, hence, would result in increa.sed civilian casualties 

2. By adopting a posture of static defense, we would allow the enemy 
an increased capability of massing near population centers, especially north 

I of Saigon. 

In addition. General Wheeler xms equally appalled at the statement in 
the ISA Draft Presidential Memorandum to the effect that "MACV does not 
clearly specify how he v/ould use the additional forces he requests, except 
to indicate that they would provide him with a theater reserve and an 
offensive capability." MACV had indeed clearly and specifically indicated 
to CINCPAC on 27 February, concurrent with General VJheeler's original memoran- 
dum to the President, the locations and missions of the requested a^dd-on 
units. These had been transmitted through the Joint Staff to each of the 
Services, vjho indeed were engaged in studying and staffing these proposals. 58/ 
Apparently, this inform^ation had not specifically been furnished to the 
Office of the Secretary of Defense. 



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The debate v/ithin the Defense Establishment continued into the fol- 
lowing day. In a memorandum for the Secretary of Defense, dated 2 Max-ch, 
Assistant Secretary of Defense Warnke gave his ansv/er to General Itoeeler's 
"two fatal flaws" of the population control strategy, 

1. Increasing Fighting in the Cities. General VJheeler 
is concerned that the proposed strategy will mean increased 
fighting in or close to population centers and, hence, will 
result in increased civilian casualties. This argument over- 
looks, I believe, the fact that the enemy demonstrated during 
the TET offensive his willingness and ability to a.ttack 
popu-lated centers regardless of our strategy. He is demon- 
strating that capability again right now in the Quang Tri-Hue 
area and may soon do so in the Delta* If the enemy continues 
to choose to fight in the cities, we will have no choice 
but to engage him in those a,reas at the cost of civilian 
casualties. The proposed strategy may actually reduce civilian 
casualties if we can succeed in attacking enemy concentrations 
before he can attack the cities. Moreover, in attacking the 
cities, the enemy will face Am.erican as v/ell as ARVN forces 
engaged in offensive patrolling operations around the cities. 

.-- This should result in fevrer casualties than have come from the 

liberation of cities in. the post-TET period. By freeing 
forces now engaged along the DMZ and in lightly populated high- 
j i lands for active offensive operations near population centers, 

vze should make the enemy effort against cities less effective. 

2 . Enemy Ability to Mass Near Population Centers . General 
"Wheeler's concern that under the proposed strategy the enemy 
will be more capable of m.assing near population centers north 
of Saigon is difficult to understand. In fact, prior to TET, 
because we v/ere operating primarily along the coast ^ along the 
DMZ;, and in the highlands, we were permitting the enemy to 
mass along the demographic frontier as he did prior to the TET 
offensive. In fact, one of the advantages of the new strategy 
is that we will be able to keep the enemy off-balance in this 
area. General \{heeleT may believe we advocate a posture of 
static defense. This is not true. In the strategy sketched in 
the paper, one of the primary missions of U.S. forces would be 
to operate in this area, remain highly m-obile and carry out 
attacks against suspected enem-y base camps. 59/ 



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General I^Jheeler fought back with argiimients contained in two docu- 
ments. The first was a backchannel message from COMUSMA.CV5 dated 
2 Marchj which answered specific q,uestions concerning the planned use 
of additional forces. These q.uestions had "been asked by General "^/[heeler 
in a backchannel message the previous day* The first question concerned 
the military "and other" objectives additional forces were designed to 
advance. General VJestmoreland was ambitious , indeed ;, and stated that 
these objectives were to: 

(1) Defeat and evict from SW the new IWA units now 
present in VJestern Quang Tri and Central Thua Trien provinces, 
to include the Ashau Valley and base areas I3I and llU. 

(2) Maintain positive governmenta.1 and military control 
over Quang Tri and Thua Thien provinces ^ particularly the 
populous areas of the coastal lowlands and the DMZ area. Be 
prepared to block or interdict the infiltration/invasion routes 
from WN through Laos. 

(3) Destroy VC/nVA main force units and base areas in the 
remainder of I Corps and in the northeastern coastal and north- 
western Laos border areas of II Corps. 

(k) Reduce the "calculated risk" currently entailed in cur 
economy of force posture in II and III Corps by providing the 
added flexibility and "pimch" of an armored cavalry regiment- 

(5) Conduct aggressive and continuing offensive campaigns 
th-TOughout the coastal areas of II Corps and into traditional 
enemy base areas and sanctuaries in III Corps along the 
Cambodian border^ especially in v/ar zones "C" and "d". Restore 
the offensive combat and pacifica^tion momentum lost in III Corps 
as a result of the enemy's TET offensive and the requirement 

to transfer the 101st Airborne Division (-) to I Corps to stem the 
]WA incursion into Quang Tri. 

(6) Be prepared for contingency operations if required. 
The second question asked by General VJheeler was: 

Question B: "What specific dangers are their dispatch to 
SVN designed to avoid; and what specific goals would the 
increment of force aim to achieve - 



In the next 6 months? 



Over the next year? 



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In bis answer^ General Westmoreland was eq.ually optimistic 

..•additive forces would serve to forestall the danger 
of local defeats due to the tactical degeneration or temporary 
disorganization of some ARM units in the event of another 
general eneny offensive coupled with a ma.ssive invasion across 
the DMZ. The need to be prepared to support or reinforce 
ARVN units that are surprised by the nature and intensity of 
VC/nVA attacks became manifest during the enemy's TET drive 
and must be recognized in US troop requirement and deployment 
plans for the foreseeable futirre. By providing a tv/o division 
mobile "swing force" which could be positioned and employed as 
required 5 the need to draw down on forces directly engaged in 
territorial security tasks probably would be reduced. Thus 
the danger of losing popular confidence in and support for 
GW/US capabilities 5 policies and aspirations as a result of 
temporary military or psychological setbacks would also be 
diminished. 

(2) Provision of the immediately rec^uired additional 
forces also vrould make it possible to apply continuous pressure 

./"^ to some degree in all corps areas and thus reduce the danger 

of allowing the enemy the opportunity to solicit support from 
the population and to reorganize , refit and recoup so that he . 
could soon field rejuvenated units ^ despite heavy losses suffered 
during the TET offensive. This is particularly important in 
view of the enemy capability to move additional divisions south 
through the panhandle or DMZ without any clear intelligence 
indicators of such action. (This matter is of particular concern 
to m-e) these forces will also make it possible to retain that 
degree of flexibility and rapid responsiveness necessary to 
cope with an apparent new enemy tactic of searching for thin 
spots in our force structure or deployment in order to laimch 
his concentra.ted mass attacks. 

(3) I*^" "t^-^ next six months the presence of the armored 
cavalry regim.ent in U or III Corps would reduce the degree of 
calcula,ted risk inherent in the economy of force posture in 
those areas 5 provide added territorial seciu^ity and further the 
goal of providing added combat flexibility- Addition of another 
Marine re.^iment and its division headq.uarters in 1 Corps would 
thicken troop density in critical I CTZ, add to combat flexi- 
bility and improve com-mand and control capabilities in that critical 

area. 

(k) Over the next year the increm^ent of force would make 
/"^^^ it possible to: 

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A. Move progressively from north to south with a continuing 
series of hard hitting offensive campaigns to invade base areas ^ 
interdict and disrupt infiltration routes, and eliminate or 
evict VC/kvA forces from SVN. 

B. At the sam.G time, the highly mobile exploitation force 
(two divisions) would be available to covmter enemy aggression 
or to exploit opportunities for tactical success any^-zhere in 
SVN without reducing the minimal essential force necessary to 
guarantee maintenance of security in those areas where success- 
ful military campaigns have already been waged. 

C. Addition of the new division in III Corps during this 
time frame v/ould re-establish the capability for conducting 
constant operations in and around war zones "C" and "d" and make 
possible the constant use of a division size force in the 

IV CTZ which capability was removed v/ith transfer of the 101st 
Airborne Division (-) to I Corps. In addition, combat operations 
conducted by this division would provide added security for 
LOC and the vital seat of government and economic center of 
Saigon. 

D. VJith the toteJ additive combat forces requested it will 
be possible to deal v;ith the invader from the north, and to face 
with a. greater degree of confidence the potential tank, rocket and 
tactical air threat as w^ell as the ever present possibility that 

. he may reinforce with additional elements of his home army- 6o/ 

The second docuinent available to General VJheeler vzas an a,nalysis of 
the military implications in South Vietnam of the deployment of various 
increm.ents of U.S. forces. This analysis v^as done by the Short Range 
Branch, Plans and Policy Directorate, Joint Staff. It was an informal 
staff document which had not been addressed by the Joint Chiefs of 
Staff or any of the m.ilitary services separately. 6l/ The five 
options addressed were those indicated by the Secretary of Defense in 
his m.eeting of 29 February (see pages 7-8). This paper documented the 
large enem.y buildup in South Vietnam: 

1, The enem.y, since November, has increased his forces 
in South Viet Nam by at least ^!-l m.aneuver battalions, some armored 
elem.ents, a large number of rockets, and additional artillery. 
There are indications he is preparing for the use of limited air 
support, including logistical air drops and bombing missions. ■ 

The Joint Staff paper took exception to COMJSMCV*s stated first 
priority of insuring "the security of the GVN in Saigon and in the 
provincial capitals." 



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The basic strategy which must be followed by MA.CV in any 
circumstances is to defeat the current enemy offensive both 
in Northern I Corps Tactical Zone v/here it is the most formidable , 
j_j^ -tVie Highlands where it is highly dangerous^ and throughout 
South Vietnam in defense of the government and the cities and 
towns. .. •Allied forces are not conducting offensive operations 
of any great magnitude or frequency and therefore they are not 
wresting control of the coimtryside from the enemy.,.. 

If the enemy offensive can be broken with sustained heavy 
casualties 5 then, and only then, will the cities be secure and 
the countryside reentered. Even v^ith the largest force 
contemplated (Option l) it will not be possible to perform 
adequately all of the tasks unless the cui'^rent enemy offensive 
is decisively defeated. This, therefore, is the first and most 
important task upon which all else depends.... 

If the forces now in Vietnam or the forces under any of the 
options prove to be inadequate to break the enemy offensive, or if, 
conversely, the enemy sustained offensive breaks the Vietnamese 
armed forces (even short of destroying the GVN), then our objectives 
in South Vietna.m and the ta^sks associated with them v/ill be un- 
obtainable. Specifically, we would be unable to regain the 
initiative, that is, we would not be able to conduct offensive 
operations a.t the scope and pace required either to prevent further 
enemy buildup or to reenter the countryside. This would force US 
and allied forces into a defensive posture around the major 
population centers .... 

Therefore, immediate action to break the enemy's current 
offensive is not only the first but the decisive requirement. 

In specifically addressing each of the options, the Joint Staff reach' 
ed the following conclusions: 






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OPTIONS 
I 

Add approximately I965OOO 
to the present MCV Pro- 
gram 5 authorized level 
(525,000) plus 6 addi- 
tional bns already de- 
ployed (10,500). Relax- 
ation of restrictions on 
operations in Cambodia/ 
Laos/]\IVN. 
TOTAL - 133 maneuver bns 



I-A 

Same additive forces as 
Option !• 

No relaxation of restric 
tions on operations. 



CONCLUSIONS 
(To Defeat the VC/nvA in SVN) 

This Option would: 

a. Assuming no additional deployments 
break enemy offensive and permit 
early and sustained operations 
against the enemy. 

b . Permit s imultaneous operations 
against enemy main force, base 
areas, and border sanctuaries. 

c. Permit resumption of progreim to 
develop effectiveness of RVNAF. 

d. Permit greater employm.ent of air as- 
sets in conducting an expanded air 
campaign against NVN, Laos, Cambodia. 

Essentially the same as Option I except: 

a. The rate of conducting operations 
would be reduced by higher military risk. 

b. The enemy would enjoy sanctuary 
across the Cambodian/l^otian/NVN borders. 

c. The rebuilding of the RVliAF would be 
at a slower pace. 



II 



( 

^ 



No change to present 
MA.CY Program 5 author- 
ized level (525,000) 
plus 6 additional bns 
already deployed (10,500). 
TOTAL - 112 maneuver bns 



US objectives in SVN cannot be achieved 
as allied forces must remain in defensive 
posture. 

At present levels, allied forces can 
expect increasingly grave threats to 
their security with high casualty rates. 



Ill 

Add 50,000 US troops to the 
approximately 535? 000 in 
Option II. 
TOTAL - 118 maneuver bns 



This option could probably secure the 
cities but would be insufficient to 
counter the current enemy offensive or 
to restore security in the countryside. 



IV 

Add 100,000 to the ap- 
proximately 535,000 in 

Option II. 

TOTAL - 12i+ m^aneuver bns 



The results of this Option are essentie.lly 
the sarae as Option I, except: 

a. The rate of progress would be slower. 

b. The enemy would retain the initiative 
in the border areas . 



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The paper^ then^ concluded that the larger forces of Option I and 
lA wouJ-d ^^greatly reduce risks to Free World forces in SVN and will ac- 
complish U.S. cbjectives nore rapidly than the forces of the other 
options 5 '^ and recommended that immediate action be taken to provide the 
forces of Option I. 

Read another way^ however^ the Joint Staff analysis could be taken 
to indicate that the United States couJ_d successfully pursue a strategy 
of "population security" by adopting Option III^ adding 50,000 troops 
to the current level in SVN. 

At the 2 March meeting of the senior m.embers of the Secretary of 
Defense's Working Group conducting the reassessment , no consensus was 
reached on a new U.S. strategy. Apparently , Mr. Warnke and Mr. Goulding 
were given the task of drafting a new memorandiom for the President which 
would be less controversial than the initial ISA document. 

The draft memorandiun for the President, dated 3 March 1968^ which 
was prepared by these two individuals, differed markedly in tone from- the 
initial memorandum presented to the Clifford Group on 2 March. Gone was 
any discussion of grand sti^ategy. This memorandum recommended simply: 

1. Meeting General VJestmoreland's request by deploying as 
close to May 1 as practical 20,000 additional troops (approximately 
1/2 of which would be combat). 

, 2. Approval of a Reserve call-up and an increased end 
strength adeq.uate to meet the balance of the req,uest and to 
restore a strategic reserve in the United States, adecLuate for 
possible contingencies . 

3. Reservation of the decision to deploy the balance of 
General Westmoreland's nev7 req,uest. While we would be in a 
position to ma-ke these a.dditional deployments, the future 
decision to do so vrould be contingent upon: 

a. Continuous reexamination of the desirability of 
further deployments on a week-by-week basis as the situation 
develops ; 

b. Improved political performance by the GVR and 
increased contribution in effective military action by the 

■ ARVN; 

c. The results of a study in depth, to be initiated im- 
mediately, of a possible new strategic guidance for the conduct 

of US m.ilit£iry operatipns in South Vietnam. 



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T\'^o appendices to this paper addressed the "basis for these recom- 
mendations and the context in which additional troop cominitments to Vietnam 
shovJ-d be examined. 

In explaining the basis for the recomraendation to deploy 20^000 
troops^ the memorandum indicated that the first increment of forces re- 
quested by General Westmoreland should be provided as an emergency 
measure to meet the prospect of continued abnormal levels of enemy 
activity- "This would^ by May Ist, furnish him with an additional 20,000 
troops, 10,500 of v/hom would be for combat purposes. Because of the 
possibility that the North Vietnamese leaders m.ay decide to launch a 
larger scale invasion by m_ain force units, we should put ourselves in a 
position to provide the other 185^000 ground, sea, and air forces in- 
volved in General Westmoreland's req.uest." 63/ 

Additionevl forces, however, should not be dispatched imtil the 
situation in Vietnam developed. 

A continuing and intensive review should focus not only on 
future enemy activity but also on the demonstrated ability of the 
GVN and the ARVI^ to pull themselves together, to get back into 
business, and to demonstrate significant iinprovements both in 
their ability to win popular support and their vallingness to 
fight aggressively for their own security. Unless these qualities 
are evidenced, there can be no real hope for the accomplishment 
of oui- political aims. 

Finally, we believe that the striking change in the enemy's 
tactics, the willingness to coimnit at least two additional divisions 
to the fighting in the South over the past few weeks, the obvious 
and not v^holly anticipated strength of the Viet Cong infrastructure, 
there can be no prospect of a quick military solution to the 
aggression in South Vietnam. Under these circumstances, we should 
give intensive study to the development of a new strategic guidance 
to General Westmoreland. This guidance should make clear the 
fact that he cannot be expected either to destroy the enem_y forces 
or to rout them completely from South Vietnam. The kind of 
American commitanent that would be required to achieve these 
military objectives cannot even be estimated. There is no reason 
to believe that it could be done by an additional 200,000 American 
troops or double or triple that quantity.... 

The exact nature of the strategic guidance vzhich should be 
adopted cannot now be predicted. It should be the subject of a 
detailed inter-agency study over the next several v/eeks. During 
the progress of the study, discussions of the appropriate strategic 
guidance and its nature and implications for the extent of our 
military conimitm-ent in South Vietnam should be undertaken vrith both 
General Westmorelazid and Ambassador Bunker. 6^/ 

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In placing these additional troop commitments in a larger context^ 
an additional appendix concluded: 

No matter what the result in South Vietnam itself, we will 
have failed in our purposes if: 

a. The war in Vietnam spreads to the point where it is 
a major conflict leading to direct military confrontation 
with the USSR and/or China; 

b. The war in Vietnam spreads to the point where we 
are so committed in resources that our other v/orld-wide 

comJiiitments -- especially NATO — are no longer credible; 

c. The attitudes of the American people tov/ards "more 
Vietnams" are such that our other commitments are brought 
into q,uestion as a matter of US will; 

d. Other countries no longer wish the US commitment 
for fear, of the conseqiuences to themselves as a battlefield 
between the East and the West." 

Under these circumstances , we recommend that under the leader- 
ship of the State Department;, with the assistance of the Office of 
the Secretary of Defense, the JCS, and the Treasury, a review of 
our Vietnamese policy in the context of our global politico-military 
strategy be undertaken with a due date of May I5. 65/ 

Thus, the net result of this period of frantic preparation, consul- 
ta.tion, writing, and reassessing was similar to all previous requests 
for reinforcement in Vietnam. The litany was familiar: "We will furnish 
what we can presently furnish without disrupting the normal political and 
economic life of the nation, while v/e study the situation as it develops." 
No startling reassessment of strategy was indicated, although for the 
first tiBie it was recognized that such a reassessm^ent was needed, that a 
limit to U.S. involvem.ent in SVN had to be determined, and that any 
number of U.So troops could not achieve ovx objectives without- significa.nt 
improvement in the ability of the GY'N to win popular support and to 
fight aggressively for their own security. 

5 • Recom.me ndation to the President 

This draft m-emorandum was discussed again within the Defense 
Department on 3 March, and several changes vrere m-ade. The h March draft 
mem.oranduin for the President was apparently approved by the Secretai^ 
of Defense and for\farded to the President. The paper which was fcrv/arded 
to the President bore a great resemblance to the 3 Me^rch draft, although 
the Systems Analysis influence on the k March paper was evidenced by its 
greater detail, especially concerning actions to be required of the GVN. 

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I 



The memcrandijmi recapitulated General Westmoreland's req.uest for 
personnel and indicated that General ^Jheeler believed that v/e should 
meet this request, and should act to increase and improve our strategic 
reserve in the United States. To achieve both these goals, the paper 
stated^ staff examination indicated that the following actions would be 
required: 

a.- A call-up of reserve units and individuals totaling 
approximately 262,000 (l9l]-,000 in units, 68,000 as individuals). 

b. Increased draft calls. " 

c. Extension of terms of service. These actions would produce 
a total increase in end strength in the Armed Forces of approxi- 
mately 511,000 by June 30, 1969* (The staff examination referred 
to above included spaces to add 31^500 troops in South Korea and 

a US naval proposal to add two cruisers and fifteen destroyers to 
the naval forces in Southeast Asia,. If these proposals are 
disapproved in their entirety, the figures above will be decreased 
to approximately 2^2,000 and if5^,000 respectively. 

The Secretary of Defense then recommended: 

1. An iirmiediate decision to deploy to Vietnam an estimated 
total of 22,000 additional personnel (approximately 60^^ of which 
would be combat). An irmnediate decision to deploy the three 
tactical fighter squadrons deferred from Program 5 (about 1,000 
men). This would be over and above the four battalions (about 3700 
men) already planned for deployment in April which in themselves 
would bring us slightly above the 525,000 authorized level.... 

2. Either through Ambassador Bunker or through an early 
visit by Secretary Clifford, a highly forceful approach to the GVN 
(Thieu and Ky) to get certain key commitments for improvement, 
tied to our own increased effort and to increased US support for 

the ARW . . 

3. Early approval of a Reserve call-up and an increased end 
strength adequate to meet the balance of the Westmoreland request 
and to restore a strategic reserve in the United States, adequate 
for possible contingencies world-wide.... 

k. Reservation of the decision to meet the Westmoreland request 
• in full. VJhile we v/ould be putting ourselves in a position to make 
these additional deployments, the future decision to do so would 

be contingent upon: 



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a. Reexamination on a week-by-week basis of the desir- 
ability of further deployments as the situation develojjs; 

b. Improved political performance by the GVN and 
increased contribution in effective military action by the 

arvn; 

c. The results of a study in depth, to be initiated 
immediately, of possible new political and strategic guidance 
for the conduct of US operations in South Vietnam, and of our 
Vietnamese policy in the context of o-or world-vride politico- 
military strategy. 



• * 



5. No new peace initiative on Vietnam. Re -statement of our terms 
for peace and certain limited diplom.atic actions to dramatize Laos 
and to focus attention on the total threat to Southeast Asia.... 

6. A general decision on bom.bing policy, not excluding future 
change, but adeq.uate to form a basis for discussion with the Congress 
on this key aspect. Here your advisers are divided: 

a. General Wheeler and others would advocate a substantial 
extension of targets and aiithority in and near Hanoi and Haiphong, 

' ' mining of Haiphong, and naval gunfire up to a Chinese Buffer 

Zone J 

b. Others would advocate a seasonal step-up through the 
spring, but without these added elements. 66 / 

In proposing this course of action, the Secretary of Defense indicated 
that he recognized that there were m^any negative factors and certain 
difficulties. Nevertheless, he indicated the belief that this course of" 
action, at least in its essential outline, was urgently required to meet 
the immediate situation in Vietnam, as well as wider possible contingencies 
there and elsewhere. 

Eight tabs to the draft memorandum elaborated upon the reasoning 
which led to the recommendations contained therein. TAB A reviewed the 
justification for imm^ediately sending additional forces to Vietnam. 
■ The situation in SVN v/as analyzed as follows: 

j i ■ Hanoi has m-ade a basic change in its strategy and scale of 

operations. Perhaps because they thougho they were losing as the 
war and pacification- were going, Hanoi is pressing hard for 

I . * decisive results over the next few months. They are committing 

a high proportion of their assets, although it appears likely that 

-|^;t-^ey vould retain both the capability and will to keep up the 

pressure next year if this effort does not succeed. There is hope 

that if this year's effort could be thwarted, Hanoi and Viet Cong 

morale would be sufficiently affected to open up possibilities of 

peace, *but this cannot be assessed as likely. 

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Within South Vietnam^ there are key variables that could 
move the situation sharply, one way or the other^ in the 
coming months. Specifically: 

a. The degree to which Hanoi and the VC are 
able to keep pressing, and how effectively they are 

countered in the military sphere. 

b. The degree to which the VC are able to extend 
their control in the countryside a,nd recoup their losses — 
or whether conversely the South Vietnamese can take the 
initiative and either neutralize such recoupment or set in 
motion a new favorable trend. 

c. The degree to which the GVI^ improves its per- 
formance and galvanizes potentially greater popular support 
than it can now have. 

Thus, there was created an urgent need, both practical and psycho- 
logical, to send such forces as could be effective within the next four 
or five months. 

The following additional forces of about 22,000 men could 
be deployed by June 15 in accordance with the schedule set 
forth below: 

Six Tactical Fighter Squadrons - 3? 000 men 

2 Squadrons by - 1 April 

3 Squadrons by - 1 May 
1 Squadron by - 1 June 

4th Marine Expeditionary Force (minus) - 18,100 men 

by - 15 June 

Naval Mobile Construction Battalion - 7OO men 

by " 1 May 

In addition, it was reiterated that an urgent effort was required to 
■ improve and modernize the equipment of the SVN Armed Forces. 

Tab B elaborated on wha.t shouJ.d be done to increase the effectiveness 
of Vietnamese efforts in conjunction with the U.S. troop increase. Tv70 
possible GWI reactions were foreseen to the deployment of additional U.S. 
forces. The rea,ffirm-ation of the U.S. coimnitment would be welcomed, wou3-d 
add to the feeling of confidence, and might stiffen the GVN's will at a 
timiC *'when the tasks it faces are rather monixmental." On the other hand, 
there was always the danger that the Vietnamese would be tem.pted to relax 
beh-ind the refuge of Axaerican power, and the sense of anxiety and urgency 
which had resulted from the TET offensive could suffer. The memorandum 
indicated however, that the CrVN had the capacity to take those civil and 
military actions which would m.aterially improve the political and security 

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climate of South Vietnam^ as well as the image of the GYN in the United 
States. This involved, the memorandum indicated, a readiness for the 
U.S. to make specific demands upon the GVI1 in order to get it to take a 
wide range of decisions and actions. Among those things considered essential 
and feasible, the following actions were listed: 

1. Mobilization - The Vietnamese Armed Forces should be 
increased to the maximum. As a first step, present plans to 
increase Vietnamese forces by 65^000 men should be amended to 
provide for an additiona^l 3^,000 men under arms by the end of 
1968. The draft of I8 and I9 year olds should proceed as 
presently scheduled. This should be consistent with the ability 
to train and supply the forces, but avoid undercutting the 
need for key civilians in other governmental functions by 
diversion of skilled persomiel. 

2' The Thieu-I<y Relationship and Unity of Leadership - 
The failure of Thieu and Ky to cooperate fully and apply 
their individual ta^lents to the needs of the situation has 
continued to plague the effective management of the Vietnamese 
effort. In turn this has had ramifications down the line in 
both the military and civilian chain of cormiiand. It has also 
complicated the chances of rallying the various elements in 
the society, as the rivalry translates itself into interference 
with attempts at forming a national anti-cornraunist front. 

Thieu and Ky and their follov/ers, as well as other 
elements in the society not associated directly with them, 
must be brought to realize that we are no longer prepared to 
put up with anything but the maxim_um effort on their part. 
A clear and precise role for Ky should be defined. Thieu 
and Ky must bring their followers into line. The government 
should be prepared to engage the services of people with 
administrative and executive talent who are nov/ not participating 
in the common task. Our expectations in this regard have to 
be made crystal clear to each and every Vietnamese leader in 
and out of Goverimient. Without this fundam_ental change in 
the attitude and dedication of the leadership, the necessary 
reforms and the necessary inspiration of the Vietnamese people 
will not be forthcoming q.uickly or sufficiently. 

3. Gettin g the G o vernraent Back into the Countryside - 
Vfe must wTrTThe race to the countryside, go on the offensive, 
re-establish security in the rural areas, and restore the 
goverrjnent ' s presence in the villages. The ARVIi and other 
security forces must deploy aggressively, the ED cadre must 
return to- their tasks, and governmental services reach out 
from the province capitals. 



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In the final analysis rural security, the sine qua non 
of popular identification with the GVN, must be provided by 
the Vietnamese themselves. The two keys here are (l) the 
calibre and role of the 4^ province chiefs (and their sup- 
porting staffs) and (2) a properly offensive sense of mission 
on the part of ARVN units - and their commanders - assigned 
to rural security support missions. In every area (village, 
district, province, DTZ and corps) the RVMF unit commanders 
responsible for security in that area must be graded (i.e. 
promoted, corm-aended or sacked) prim.arily on their ability 
to find, fix and eradicate the VC Force indigenous to that 
area. They must also be graded (with commensurate effect 
on their careers) with respect to the behavior of their 
troops vis-a-vis the populace in that area. 

4. Drive on the Viet Cong Inf ra structure - In our con- 
cern over the behavior of ovjc allies, we must not neglect our 
enemies and the present opportunity to compound and exacerbate 
comjnun.ist problem-S. Operation Phoenix which is targetted 
against the Viet Cong must be pursued more vigorously in closer 
liaison with the US. Vietnamese armed forces should be devoted 
to anti-infrastructure activities on a priority basis. The 
Tet offensive surfaced a good deal of the infrastructua?e and 
the opportunity to damage it has never been better. This 
would force the VC on the defensive and head off the estab- 
lishment of local VC administrative organizations and VC 
attempts to set up provisional govermnental conmiittees. 

5. US-ARVN Command Relationshi ps - l^ile we accept the 
Mission's reluctance to create a joint coimiiand, we believe 
that alternative arrangem.ents which give the US a greater 
role in ARVN employment are necessary- This can be done at 
the Corps level and below. It would involve US participation 
in the planning and control of ARWI operations. It might 
even call for the prior approval by US advisors of ARVN 
operational plans — this now exists in certain cases 
depending upon individual advisor relationships. We 

should request MACV to study the m.atter and come up with 
a specific plan to meet the requirement. 

6- Governjnent Ref orm, and Anti - Corruption Cam.paig n - 
The beginning steps at adm-inistrative reform v/hich President 
Thieu has t.nnounced must be accelerated. This should be 
directly associated vrith a new deal on corruption, v^hich must 
be dealt v/ith by relief of a specified list of corrupt offi- 
cials now and the promise of severe action in the future. 
A capable Inspectorate should be established. Incompetent 
ARVN officers must be removed, beginning with a specific 
list that should be m.ade available, by MACV. Incompetent 
province chiefs vrho have plagued our efforts in the past 
must be removed. The removal of incompetent com:rianders 



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and officials is now more feasible in the light of per- 
formance during the Tet offensive. We shoiild not hesitate 
to make our desires known and back them, up by refusing to 
provide support for the incompetent. For key comjnanders, 
we should require the right of prior approval on a secret 
and discreet basis. The precise tools of leverage to be 
applied in this regard should be left to the US Mission, 
but could include v^ithholding advice and assistance at 
local levels in extremie cases « 

7" The Prime Minister - We should solicit Axabassador 
Bunker's views on the desirability of replacing the Prime 
Minister. If he is to be repla^ced we should agree on his 
successor beforehand, in consultation vath Tliieu and Ky. 

8. The United Front - A nationalist spirit of coopera- 
tion and xmity came to the fore in the immediate v/ake of 
the Tet offensive. It is being m^anifested incom.pletely in 
attempts to organize groups in support of the national task. 
Despite the personal misgivings of old antagonists there has 
been some success. This is now threatened by personal rival- 
ries, and most significantly by differences between Thieu and 
Ky. We need to find a formula for joint efforts. Ambassador 
Bunker suggests that the optimum, result would be a "super front*' 
of the anti--comimunist groups. Although not directly tied to 
the government, such a front could serve to rally the people 
broadly and em.otionally against the Viet Cong. To succeed it 
must be backed by the leadership of the govermnent - both 
Thieu and Ky - but not appear to com.pete v/ith the National 
Assembly. It should encom.pass all elements in the society, 

but not be the vehicle for any one power group. 

9. Economic Measures - There will be increased inflation 
in Vietnam this year, and additional US troops will make it 
more severe. Steps need to be taken now to counter the 
threat of inflation, if we are not to be faced w^ith a severe 
crisis next fall a.nd winter. The GVN needs to move on tax 
increases, and U.S, and GVN expenditures for non-essential 
progra,ms in Vietnam should be restrained. On the other hand, 
wage increases for civil and military personnel in the GVN 

are needed if inflation is not to v?eaken their v/ill and support. 

Additionally, v?e must demand of the GVN som.e m.easure of 
action on their part to compensate for the effect of addi- 
tional US troops on the US balance of pa;yTients. This can 
be done by having the QVN provide to the US at no cost the 
additional piaster costs incurred by our troop increase. We 
should also insist that GVN reserves be reduced to $250 mil- 
lion from the present maximum reserve level of $300 m.illion 
and that a significant portion of the reserve be invested in 
medium and long term US securities'. The details of these 

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economic measures cannot be discussed in this paper, but 
a comprehensive economic package should be prepared and 
presented to the GVN - to include what the US is prepared 
to do in the way of increased financing of commercial iraports . 

10. Resource Allocation - Non-essential use of resources 
should be eliminated. Present government programs to 
elirainate new luxury construction, must be tightened and con- 
tinued. Bars and night clubs should rem.ain closed. Austerity 
should be fostered. 68 / 

The Appendix recommended that a high-level mission, probably headed 
by the Secretary of Defense, should go to Saigon to emphasize to the GVN 
that we consider improved GVN performance essential; that any further U.S. 
support must be m^atched by GVN actions; and that the above recommendations 
would be used as a checklist for judging Vietnamese performance. In addi- 
tion, this Appendix emphasized that we should do what was necessary to 
improve the capability of RWAF. Although no details vrere given, the state- 
ment was m-ade that: "On the basis of cujrrent planning estimates, this 
would involve additional expenditure of about $^75 million over a period 
of l8 months." 

Tab C of the Memorandujn for the President consisted of a brief justif- 
ication for increasing the stra^tegic reserve. The basic argument wa.s that 
v/e woTj-ld then be prepared to provide the additional ground, sea, and air 
forces involved in General Westm,oreland^s request if the military situation 
required. In addition, the paper indicated: 

If these additional forces are not deployed to Vietnam, 
our action in thus reconstituting the strategic reserve would 
nevertheless be fully warranted. Our strategic reserve has 
been appreciably depleted because of Vietnam dem.ands. At 
present, the active division forces in the Continental United 
States, Hawaii and Okinawa, and including the Marine units 
in the Caribbean and Mediterranean, consist of ^-2/3 Army 
divisions and l-l/S Marine divisions. This compares with 
the 9 Army divisions and 3 Marine divisions in our strategic 
reserve on 30 June I965. A call-up of 2^-1-5,000, with no 
deployments to South Vietnam in excess of the 20-30,000 
now recommiended, would yield a strategic reserve of 7 Army 
divisions and 2 Marine divisions. The unsettled situations 
in many parts of the world m.ake this build-up a prudent 
action entirely apart from possible Vietnam contingencies. 69/ 

Relegated to Tab D of the Memorand'om. for the President was what had 
begun as the m.ajor task of the Working Group--the necessity for in-depth 
study of Vietnam policy and strategic guidance. 

General Westmoreland *s request, this Appendix pointed out, does not 
•purport to provide any really satisfactory answer to the problem, in Vietnam. 

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There can be no assurance that this very substantial 
additional deployiiient would leave us a year frora today in 
any more- favorable military position. All that can be said 
is that the additional troops would enable us to kill more 
of the enemy and would provide more security if the enemy does 
not offset them by lesser reinforcements of his ov/n. There 
is no indication that they v/ould bring about a q_uick solution 
in Vietnam and^ in the absence of better performance by the 
GVN and the ARVN, the increased destruction and increased 
Americanization of the war could, in fact, be coimter- 
productive. 70/ 

There were many other reasons for conducting a study of our Vietnamese 
policy in the context of the U.S. v/orldwide political/military strategy. 
No matter what the result in Vietnam itself, we will have failed in our 
purpose, the memorandum stated, if: 

a. The war in Vietna^n spreads to the point where it is 
a major conflict leading to direct military confrontation 
with the USSR and/or China; 

b. The war in Vietnam spreads to the point where we 
are so committed in resources that our other world-wide 
commitments — especially MTO -- are no longer credible; 

c. The attitudes of the American people towards "more 
Vietnsjns" are such that our other commitments are brought 
into q_uestion as a m^atter of US will; 

d. Other countries no longer wish the US coim-nitm-ent for 
fear of the conseq.uences to themselves as a battlefield between 
the East and the West. 7l/ 

In addition, any intensive review should focus on the ability of the 
GVN and the ARVN to demonstrate significant improvement, both in their 
©ability to win popular support and their willingness to fight aggressively 
for their own security. 

Finally, the m.emorandum stated: 

' ...the striking change in the enem-y's tactics, his 

willingness to commit at least two a.dditional divisions 
to the firhting in the South over the past few weeks 

^ and the obvious and not v/holly anticipated strength of 

the Viet Cong infrastructure, shows that there can be 
no prospect of a quick military solution to the aggression 

j in South Vietnam. Under these circumstances, we should give 

1 intensive study to the development of nev; strategic guidance 

to General Westmoreland. This study may show that he should 
not be expected either to destroy the enemy forces or to 
rout them com-pletely from South Vietnam. The kind of Araerican 
commitment that m-ight be required to achieve these malitary 

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objectives cannot even be estimated. There is no reason 
to believe that it could be done by an additional 200^000 
American troops or double or triple that Quantity.... 

The exact nature of the strategic guidance v/hich should 
be adopted cannot nov/ be predicted. It should be the subject 
of a detailed interagency study over the next several weeks. 
During the progress of the study ^ discussions of the appro- 
priate strategic guidance and its nature and implications 
for the extent of our military commitment in South Vietnam 
shonJ_d be undertaken with both General Westmoreland and 
Arabassador Bunker. _72/ 

Thus^ the "A to Z reassessment" of U.S. strategy req.uested by the 
President was relegated by the Working Group to a future date. 

Tab E remained intact from the original 29 February draft memorandiim. 
Prepared by the State Department, it discussed negotiating options and 
possible diplom^atic actions in connection with a buildup of U.S. forces. 
Concerning our negotiating posture, three broad options were listed: 

1. Stand pat on the San Antonio formula and on our basic 
position toward the terms of a negotiated settlement -- the 
Geneva Accords plus free choice in the South, rejecting a 
coalition or any special position for the WLF. 

2. Take some new initiative, either privately or publicly, 
that might involve a change in our position on the San Antonio 
formula a.nd/or a change in our position on the elements of a 
settlement. • 

3. No change in our position for the present, but pitching 
our course of action toward a strong move for negotiations when 
and if we have countered Hanoi's offensive — i.e., in a m.atter 
of four months or so perhaps. 73/ 

The crucial q.uestion, the paper indicated, was really to examine 
what we could conceivably do by way of a new initiative under Option 2. 
After examining the situation, however, the conclusion was reached that: 

. . .any change in our position on the terms of a peaceful 
settlement would be extremely unwise at the present time. We 
may well v/'ish to work on opening up channels to the NLF, but 
this must be done in the utiaost secrecy and in full consulta- 
tion v/ith the GVIT. We dO' not know v/hat the possibilities 
may be in this direction, but any public stress on this avenue 
would feed the fires of a VC propaganda line that has already 
had significant disturbing effect in South Vietnam. 



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As to oiir conditions for stopping the "bombing and 
entering into talks , we continue to believe that the San 
Antonio formula is "rock bottom." The South Vietnamese 
are in fact talking about much stiff er -londitions, such 
as stopping the infiltration entirely. Any move by us to 
modify the San Antonio formula dovmward would be extremely 
disturbing in South Vietnam^ and would have no significant 
offsetting gains in US public opinion or in key third countries...- 

This being said, we believe that it would strengthen our 
over-all posture, and involve no significant risks in Vietnam, 
if we vrere to reiterate our basic position on oujt terms of 
settlement in South Vietnejn. A systematic restatement of our 
position on the Geneva Accords and free choice in the South 
could be a vital part of selling our whole course of action 
to the public, to Congress, and the world. Although we have 
stated all the elements at different times, we have not pulled 
them together for a long time and we could get a considerable n 
impression of freshness, even novelty, and certainly reasonable- 
ness by identifying more precisely the elements of the Geneva 
Accords; our position on free choice, and perhaps adding 
something on external guarantees, which have always been a ■ 
generalized part of our position and that of the South Viet- 
nam.ese. tV 

Further diplomatic actions, the Appendix indicated, v/ould be designed 
to dramatize the Comjnunist threats to Laos, Thailand, and Cam^bodia. Among 
the actions suggested were the following: 

First, that the restatement of our position on South Viet- 
nam include substantial emphasis on restora.tion of the La.os 
Accords of 1962 and on the presei'*vation of the neutrality and 
territorial integrity of Cambodia under the 195^ Accords. 

Indeed, we could go still further and take the occasion 
to talk in terms of an over-all settlement for Southeast Asia 
that would specifically provide that each nation v;as free to 
assume vzhatever neutral or other interna-tional posture it 
wished to take. We could explicitly state that we v;ere pre- 
pared to accept a Southeast Asia that was "neutral" in the 
sense of not adhering to any power bloc or forming a part 
of any alliance directed s,t others. 

We could say a favorable vjord about regional arrange- 
ments in Southeast Asia consistent with the concept, and " 
could indicate cur willingness to join with other outside 
nations to consider what kind of general assurances of sup- 
port could be given to such a Southeast Asia.... 

Second there are strong diplomatic steps that could be 



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taken to dramatize the situation in Laos. We could encourage 
Souvanna to take the case to the UN where Laos and Souvanna 
have strong appeal. Concurrently, but -we believe less effec- 
tive in practice, Souvanna could press the British and Soviets 
to take action or even to reconvene the Geneva Conference of I962. 

• 

Third, we could attempt similar action for Cambodia. This 

^ ii pi <■■ I I ii" 

might be through the Australians, to get Sihanouk to take his 
case also to the UN. Even if he made some accusations against 
us in the process, he would be likely at the present time to 
highlight his internal Chinese-backed threat, and the net result 
could be useful. 

A further possibility v;ould be to seek to enlist India more 
deeply in the Cambodian situation. This is v;orth trying, but 
the Indians are a weak reed for action or for effective diplo- 
matic dram^atization. 

Fourth, we could consider getting the Thai to dramatize 
their situation more than they have done. This takes carefuJL 
thought, since they do not wish to alarm their own people. 75/ 

Other possibilities discussed were the enlisting and engaging of other 
Asian nations in the search for peace in Vietnam and the Soviet Union in an 
effort to find peace in Southeast Asia. 

In Tab F appeared a discu-ssion of military action against North Viet- 
nam. This tab contained two contrary views concerning the bom.bing camj^aign 
against NVN, and is discussed in detail in another Task Force paper. This 
is the first place that any written discussion of the bom.bing campaign 
against the North appears in any of the papers of the VJorking Group. It is 
interesting to note, in the light of subseq.uent developments, that neither 
the Chaii^.an of the Joint Chiefs of Staff nor the Secretary of Defense made 
mention of e. -oartial or complete bombing suspension of the North at this 
time. They differed only on the extent to v/hich the bombing campaign 
ao-ainst North Viet Nam should be intensified. 76/ 

Tabs G and H, the final Tabs, considered the public affairs problems 
in dealinp- with increased U.S. troop commitments to SVN and to the calling 
up of reserve forces. In dealing vrith public opinion and with Congress, 
these Appendices concluded that from a public affairs viewpoint: 

Beyond the basic points of establishing that the war is in 
the national interest, that there is a plan to end it satis - 
factoT^ily and that \je can identify the resources needed to 
carry out that plan, we must prove: 

1. That General Vie stm-or eland needs the additional troops 
being sent him. 

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2. That he does not need further additional troops at 
this time. 

3. That the Strategic Reserve does need reconstitution 
at this time- 

4. That the possible need of General Westmoreland for 
possible future reinforcement is sufficiently important 

to merit the callup. 

5« That there is not a bottomless pit. 

6. That the nation still has the resources for the ghetto 
fight. 77/ 

Thus 5 the mem-orandum forwarded to the President by the Secretary of 
Defense in response to the Presidential req.uest for an "A to Z reassessment"- 
of our Vietnam policy again represented a com.promise. In this case^ it 
was a compromise brought about by differences between the Assistant Secre- 
tary of Defense for International Security Affairs and his staffs and the 
Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and his officers. Initially^ ISA had 
prepared a draft Presidential memorandum which had indeed reassessed U.S. 
strategy in SVN, found it faulty, and recommended a nev/ strategy of protecting 
the "demographic frontier" with basically the U.S. forces presently in- 
country. The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff fomid "fatal flaws " in 
this strategy, could not accept the implied criticism of past strategy in 
the ISA proposal, did not think that the Defense Department civilians should 
be involved in issuing specific guidance to the military field commander, 
and supported this field commander in his req^uest for the forces required 
to allow him to "regain the initiative." The compromise reached, of course, 
was that a decision on new strategic guidance should be deferred pending a 
complete political/military reassessment of the U.S. strategy and objectives 
in Vietnam in the context of our worldwide commitments. 

The recommendation for additional forces was also a compromise and 
was based, as had past decisions of this nature, on what cou-ld be done by 
the forces in-being without disrupting the nation. However, there were addi- 
tional reasons adduced for not meeting all of COMUSM^CV's req.uirements for 
forces. The situation in SVI\^ was not clear. The ability of the Government 
and of the Army of South Vietnam to survive and to improve v/ere in serious 
q_uestion- The ability of the U.S. to attain its objectives in SVK by mili- 
tary force of whatever size was not clear. Weighing heavily upon the minds 
of the senior officials who prepared and approved the h M3,rch memora^ndum to 
the President v^as, indeed, v/hat difference in the war, what progress toward 
.victory such a buildup as req.uested by MCV would make. These leaders were, 
finally, prepared to go a long way down the road in meeting COMUSMCV's 
request. They recomjnended to the President that the first increm-ent of 
this request be met. They also recommended a partial m.obilization so as 
to be prepared to meet additional req.uirem_ents if and V7hen it vjas demon- 
strated that these forces were necessary and would make a strategic difference. 



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More importantly, hwever, these officials finally came to the realization 
that no military strategy could be successful unless a South Vietnamese 
political and military entity was capable of vinning the support of its 
people* Thus, for the first tijne, U.S. efforts v:ere to be made contingent 
upon specific reform measures undertaken by the GVN, and U.S. leverage was 
to be used to elicit these reforms. South Vietnam was to be put on notice 
that the limit of U.S. patience and commitm^ent had been approached. 

Concerning negotiations and the bombing of the North, the Memorandum 
for the President was conventional. No changes in our negotiating position 
v/ere recommended and no really new diplomatic initiatives were suggested. 
Concerning the bombing of the North, the only issue indicated concerned 
the degree of intensification. There v/as no mention made of a partial reduc' 
tion or cessation. 

Thus, faced with a fork in the road of our Vietnam policy, the Working 
Group failed to seise the opportunity to change directions. Indeed, they 
seemed to recommend that we continue rather haltingly dovm the same road, 
meanwhile consulting the map more frec[uently and in greater detail to insure 
that we were still on the right road. 

6 . The Clim-a.te of Opinion 

This memorandum was presented to the President on Monday evening, 
h March, and at his req.uest, the recommenda^tions x^^ere passed to General 
Westm-oreland for his comments. These comments were received by the Chairman 
of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and passed to the Secretary of Defense on 
8 March I968. General Westmoreland welcomed the additional airpower which 
"would greatly enhance the tactical air support available to groujid units." 
The chairman indicated, however, that there had been no change in General 
Westmoreland's req.uirem-ents as originally proposed and, indeed, additional 
combat service-support forces had been req,uested. 

General Westmoreland states that although imj:nediate 
authorisation for deploynent of 22,000 additional personnel 
would provide much needed combat and combat support forces, 
the combat service support forces now in Vietnam are insuffi- 
cient to support our present force structure. This is especi- 
ally critical in view of the recent deploym.ent of the 3rd 
Brigade of the 82d Airborne Division and RLT 27 to the I Corps 
tactical zone without the appropriate slice of corn-bat support. 
He emphasizes the absolute req.uirement to provide the support 
forces identified with the increased deployments prior to or 
at the sam.e time the tactical forces are deployed. In this 
regard General Westmoreland has this date forwarded his 
specific streng'fch recommendations for the immiediate essential 
comJbat sevrice support forces to provide adeq.uate support for 
combat units in I CTZ, including the 3rd Brigade of the 82d 
Airborne Division, RLT 27 and Army un.its which have been 
redeployed to Northern I Corps tactical zone. This req,uest 



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has not yet "been validated by CINCPACj but is currently under 
consideration here by the Joint Staff in anticipation of early 
action by Admiral Sharp's headq.uarters. 

Finally, General V7estmor eland recognizes that the forces 
V7hich were contained in the Coimulttee's recommendations were 
* apparently based upon the capabilities of the Services to 
produce troops for deployment. He states that there has been 
no change in his appraisal of the situation since my visit to 
Vietnam and thus there has been no change in his req.uirements 
I as originally proposed- 78/ 

I ! From the Hh of March until the final Presidential decision was announced 

to the country^ the v/ritten record becomes sparse. The debate vzithin the 
Administration was argued and carried forward on a personal basis by the 
officia.ls involved, priifxarily, the Secretary of Defense and the Secretary 
of State. 

The decision, however, had been placed sq.uarely on the shoulders of 
the President. The recommendations of the ^f- March memorandum had left him 
a profound political/military dilemma- The memorandum had recommended "a 
little bit more of the same" to stabilize the military situation, plus a 
level of mobilization in order to be prepared to meet any fu.rther deteriori- 
ation in the ground situation. Any new strategic guidance, any new direction 
in policy, however, were to be left to a subsequent study. 

But many political events in the first few vzeeks of March 1968 ga,ve 
strong indications that the coimtry was becom.ing increasingly divided over 
and disenchanted with the current Vietnam strategy, and V70uld no longer 
settle for "more of the satne" with no indication of an eventual end to the 
conflict. That the President was aware of these external political pres- 
sures and that they influenced his decision is evident. 

Focus to this political debate and sense of dissatisfaction vzas given 
by a startlingly accurate account, published in The Nev? York Times on 
10 March, of General Westmoreland^ s request and of the strategic reassess- 
ment which V7as being conducted v/ithin the executive branch of the governmient. 
It also indicated the growing doubt and unease in the nation concerning this 
policy review. 

Written by Neil Sheehan and Hedrick Smith, the article stated: 

General William C. Westmoreland has asked for 206,000 

more American troops for Vietnam., but the req.uest has touched 

off a divisive internal debate within high levels of the 
Johnson Administration. 

^ number of sub-Cabinet civilian officia.ls in the Defense 

^^ Department, supported by some senior officials in the State 

Department' have argued against General Westmoreland's plea 



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for a ho per cent increase in Ms forces *to regain the 
initiative' from the enemy* 

....Many of the civilian officials are arguing that 
there should "be no increase beyond -the movement of troops 
now under v^ay. ... 

The contention of these high ranking officials is that 
an American increase will bring a matching increase by 
North Vietnam, thereby raising the level of violence with- 
out giving the allies the upper hand. 

Senior Pentagon civilians have put forx^/ard a written 
counter-proposal to President Johnson^ calling for a 
shift in American strateg^^ to a concept of close-in 
defense of popvilated areas with more limited offensive 
thrusts than at present. Much of the military hierarchy 
is reported to oppose this approach,. ,. 

The President has not yet decided on the question of 
substantial increases in American forces in Vietnam.... 

Nonetheless J the scope and depth of the internal debate 
within the Government reflect the vrrenching uncertainty 
and doubt in this capital, about every facet of the war left 
by the enemy's dram-atic wave of attacks at Tet, the Asian 
-New Year holiday, six weeks ago. More than ever this has 
left a sense of weariness and irritation over the war. 

Officials them.selves comment in private about wide- 
spread and deep changes in attitudes, a sense that a W8.ter- 
shed has been reached and that its meaning is Just now 
beginning to be understood. •• . 

But at every level of Govern}"ri.ent there is a sense that 
the conflict, if expanded further, can no longer be called 
'a lim-ited war.' Officials acknowledge that any further 
American involvement carries serious implications for the 
civilian life of the nation- -not only the call-up of mili- 
tary reserves and enactm-ent of a tax increase but problems 
with the budget, the economy and the balance of payments. 

In Congress, uneasy and divided, as the Senate debate 
on Thursday showed, there is a rising demand that Capitol Hill 
be consulted. before any critical new step is taken. Even 
supporters of Administration policy, such as Seziator Richa.rd 
B. RiTssell, Democrat of Georgia, who is chairman of the 
Senate Armed Services Cc)m:mittee, are openly critical of 
American corn-bat strategy. Mr. Russell has suggested that the 



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United States has lost the battlefield initiative not only through 
the enemy's bold tactics but by what he calls its own defensive, 
gradualist psychology.*,. 

General V/estmor eland *s rec^uest for another 206,000 troops , 
beyond the present authorized 5255 000-man level to be reached by 
next fall, v/as brought from Saigon last month by Gen. Earle G. 
VJheeler, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.,.. 

General VJheeler presented the req.uest to President Johnson at 
the Vvliite House on Feb. 28, vzhen he delivered a report on his three- 
day survey of the war situation in South Vietnam. The request was 
also forv/arded to the President by the Joint Chiefs as a body 
'with our approval'.... 

Military leaders also contend that only a massive infusion of 
troops will restore the allied initiative. They say it would also 
permit the allied forces to resume the pacification of the country- 
side and the war of attrition against the Vietcong that they contend 
was being successfully waged before the Tet offensive. 

The main lines of the case against General Westmoreland's 
request are contained in a position paper prepared over the last 
weekend by senior civilian officials in the Defense Depa.rtm-ent, 
including assistant secretaries. Most of these officials were 
brought into the Government by former Secretary of Defense Robert S. 
McNamara . 

The argviment goes like this: 

Since the United States military build-up began in I965, Hanoi 
has gradually increased its forces in South Vietnam and m.aintained 
a reasonable ratio to the fighting strength of the American Forces. 
There is every reason to believe, these officials contend, that 
Hanoi is able and willing to continue to do so if more American 
troops are sent to Vietnam vzithin the next year. 

The reinforcements that General Westmoreland wants would thus 
not restore the initiative. They would simply raise the level of 
violence. The United States would spend billions more on the war 
effort and would suffer appreciably higher casualties. 

North Vietnam would likewise endure su.bstantially greater losses. 
But the experience of the Tet offensive shows, according to this 
line of reasoning, that American Military commanders have gravely 
underestimated the capacity of the enem_y to absorb such punishment 
and to be still able to launch bold offensive operations. 

V ) I go there would just be a lot more killing,' one analyst said. 



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The Wiite House is also reported to have received an analysis 
from the Central Intelligence Agency that support this view of 
Eorth Vietn.fLm*£ manpower resources and its will to resist. 

'Essentially^ ' said one official, 'we are fighting Vietnam's 
birth rate. * 

The Defense Department's paper was verbally endorsed by Deputy 

Secretary of Defense Paul T. Nitze and for^-/arded by him to Clark 

M. Clifford, the new Defense Secretary, for transmittal to the 
President on Monday. 

Mr. Clifford was impressed with the caliber of the analysis, 
informants said, but it is not known whether he endorsed the 
document personally. 

The thrust of the argument in the Penta^gon paper is reported 
to have gained the sympathetic support of a number of senior State 
Department officials, including Under Secretary Nicholas deB. 
Katzenbach, William P. Bundy, Assistant Secretary for East Asian 
and Pacific Affairs, and others close to Vietnam policy. 

1 1 "^ 'I can tell you that all of us in this building are against a 

troop increase, ' one State Departm^ent official said. However^ 
Secretary Rusk's position on the matter v/as unknown. 

The defense position pa-per concludes by proposing a change in 
American strategy in South Vietnam. This would entail withdrawing 
from exposed positions like Khesanh in the sparsely populated 
frontier regions and concentrating on a m^obile defense of the 
cities and populated areas nearer the sea. 

But soiae military officials contend this is not a realistic 
option. ^ ' 

'Each tov/n will becom^e a Khesanh, ' they assert, and civilian 
casualties will soar. 

Although most civilian officials declined to use the term 
'enclave' to describe their proposed strategy, some conceded that 
it does amount to a m^odifi cation of the theory advanced by Lieut. 
Gen. James M. Gavin, retired. He has for months urged that the 
allies pull back to defensive positions around cities and other 
important enclaves along the coast. 

The Pentagon document suggests that on the political side the 
United States encouraged the Saigon regime to broaden itself by 
including non-Comjuunist opposition elements such as the followers of 
the militant Buddhist leader Tri Quang. A broader base vrould help 
the regime establish a better relationship with its population and 
make its army more effective, the paper asserts. 

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In their discussion of the American predicament in Vietnam, 
some civilian officials go significantly further and suggest 

that the Administration should concede that 'you cannot completely 

defeat the enemy.' The United States, they say, should instead 
'buy time' with its present forces while the non-Communist South 

Vietnamese can strengthen themselves to the point where they 
'believe in their ability to survive against the Communists 

after some sort of internal compromise. ' 

Officials are vague about the ingredients of this compromise, 
but they acknowledge that it would probably involve negotiations 
between the Vietcong and the non-Conuriiinists in the South. 

Although it clearly entails abandonm^ent of the military 
solution that is implicit in current Administration policy, they 
argue that such a compromise would not violate any public 
American conmiitment to South Vietnam. 

While avoiding any decision so far. President Johnson has 
gained time by putting pressuj^e on General Westmoreland to obtain 
maximum use of the troops he nov; has. The President has instructed 
the general to justify in detail his req.uest for reinforcements. 

Mr. Johnson has also set in motion extensive staff studies of 
the full politica^l, economic and military ramifications of giving 
General Westmoreland more troops. Included among these may be an 
examination of the possibility of acq.uiring additiona.l forces 
from vrashington's allies in South Vietnam- -Australia, South Korea, 
Thailand and the Philippines. 

The thrust of the President's concern, however, has been v/ith 
the consequences of troop increases. There is no indication at this 
time that Mr. Johnson and his closest advisers, I-lr. Rusk, Mr. 
Clifford and Mr. Rostow are seriously interested in extending the 
war to Cambodia and Laos or in changing to a strategy of close-in 
defense of populated areas. 

They reject e> political compromise with the Vietcong at this 
point. Some senior civilian officials, in fact, believe ^ir. 
Johnson is 'still intensely committed to a military solution.' 

I I These officials consider General VJestmoreland' s req.uest for 

an additional 206,000 men 'unrealistic,' however, and do not believe 
the Pi^esident will grant it. 79/ 



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Even prior to this article, there had been a great deal of speculation 
in the press concerning the need for additional troops in SVN, and the 
general conclusion seemed to be that some additions would be required. 
Members of Congress had already demanded that Congress be consulted 
before any decision was made to increase troop strength in Vietnam 
significantly. A number of prominent senators had interrupted debate 
on civil rights on 7 March to make this demand because of "disturbing 
inform^ation that a Presidential Decision was immiinent," 8o/ 

The Sheehan article appeared one day before Secretary of State Dean 
Rusk appeared to testify before the Senate Foreign Relations Comm-ittee. 
His 2-day grilling indicated a considerable growth in open dissent 
within the Committee concerning U.S. policy in South Vietnam. Rusk even 
came under criticism from one of the few Administration supporters on 
the Committee;, Senator Karl E. Mundt (R-SD), who warned him^ "You are 
as aware as we are that the shift of opinion in this country is in 
the v/rong direction" - meaning away from support of U.S. policy in Viet- 
nam. "Som.ething m-ore convincing," said Miondt, "has to come from the 
Administration as to w^hat this is all about 'to match' the sacrifices 
.we are marking." Rusk sidestepped all attempts by Senators Fulbright, 
Gore, and other questioners to pin him down on a possible increase in 
troops or other element of future Vietnam strategy. It would "not be 
right for me to speculate about numbers of possibilities," said Rusk, 
"v7hile the President is consulting his advisors." 8l / 

Later, on 12 March, both friends and foes of the President's policy 
in Vietnam served notice that the present course must be reassessed 
before more troops were sent to Vietnam. 

"Senator Fulbright (D-Ark), Foreign Relations Committee chairman, 
warned against an escalation that could lead to 'all-out war, ' and 
insisted dviring a televised hearing with Dean Rusk, Secretary of Sta.te, 
that Congress be consulted before crucial new decisions are m.ade." 

But Senator Russell (D-Ga), Armed Services Comraittee chairman, took 
a different tack, contending that air and sea power should be used to 
the fullest extent before ground-force levels are increased. 

"if we are not willing to take this calculated risk," Russell told 
a Veterans of Foreign Wars dinner, "we should not still be increasing 
the half -million m.en in Vietnam who are exposed to danger daily from 
weapons that mdght have been kept from the hands of our enemies." 82/ 

These commients from two powerful comjnittee chairmen demonstrated 
the cross-currents of opinion swirling around the President as he con- 
templated General Westmoreland's request and the recoimnendations of his 
advisors. 



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Adding fuel to this controversy was the unexpected triiomph in the 
Nevj- Hampshire Presidential Primary on 12 March of the Democratic "peace" 
candidate. Senator Eugene McCarthy. This tri-iomph was widely heralded 
as a repudiation by the voters of the present Administration and its 
Vietnam policies , and it encouraged another critic of these policies , 
Senator Robert Kennedy, to announce on l6 March his intention to seek 
the Democratic Presidential nomination. 



7* The President Ponders 

At a meeting at the VJhite House on 13 March, the President 
decided to deploy 30^000 troops to South Vietnam in addition to the 10,500 
emergency augmentation already made. This would substantially meet 
General Westmoreland's initial package req.uest. Army forces v/ould 
replace those Marine Corps forces requested, as the Marine Corps could 
not sustain the requested deployments. Also an additional Army brigade 
(7^363 personnel) would be deployed to replace Marine RLT 27, and its 
associated support. RLT 27 sould begin to return to CONUS on I5 July. 
The forces to be deployed v/ere as follov/s: 

Deployment Date 



A. 



US ARMY 








Inf Bde (3 Inf Bns) 


l+,500 


15-30 June 


Mech Bde (l 


Inf Bn, 1 Inf 






Bn (Mech). 


1 Tk Bn) 


5,oiii 


12 July 


Avn Co, Sep 


Bde 


238 


15 Ju3-y 


Armd Cav Sqdn 


1,030 


15-30 June 


MP Bn 




955 


15-30 June 


Cbt Svc Spt 


. 


3,316 


15-30 June 


Cbt and Cbt 


Svc Spt 


9,120 


15-30 June 


SUB -TOTAL 




2^,200 


15-30 June 


7th AF 








k TFS 




' 2,16U 


5 April 


fac/tacp 




191 


1 June 


Airlift 




7U 


1 June 


Support 




929 


1 June 


SUB-TOTAL 




i|,025 








C. USN 

WSA Da rfeng Support 
SUB-TOTAL 

D. TOTAL MCV 



71 



1,775 
1,775 

30,000 



1 June 



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There would be two reserve callups to meet and sustain these deploy- 
ments, one in March and one in May. The callup in March would support 
the 3O3COO deployment. The one in May would reconstitute the strategic 
reserve at seven active divisions. Other ground rules decided upon were: 
(1) those Reservists to be called in May -would not now be notified; (2) 
there would be no extensions of terms of service for personnel presently 
on active duty; (3) no individuals would be recalled, only units. 83 / 

This decision was formalized by the Deputy Secretary of Defense in a 
memorandum to the Chairraan of the Joint Chiefs of Staff on ik March I968. 
Mr. Nitze asked the chairman to inform. General Westmoreland of these pro- 
posals, and to ask him whether he considered the substitutions satisfactory. 8k / 

On 1^ March, the Secretary of the Arm.y for-vrarded to the Secretary of 
Defense his recomm-endations concerning these Program Six deployments, and 
the Reserve callup necessary to sustain them and to reconstitute the 
strategic reserve. Secretary Resor pointed out, however, that an addi- 
tional 13,500 m.en would have to be added to the figure of 30,000 to be 
deployed, "if the 3d Brigade of the 82nd Airborne is to be left in-country 
permanently and if the Arm.y is to replace the RLT with an infantry brigade 
on a perm.anent basis then units with TO&E strength of 13,500 must be 
included in the March I5 call-up and deployed. ., .In addition, the MACV 
ceiling will have to be increased from 565^000 to 578,500, unless MCV can 
provide trade-off spaces for all or part of this add-on." 




The strength of units to be called up in March would be ^4-5, 000, as 
follows : 

a. Units to provide for the additional deploym.ents - 31,563- 

b. Units to provide the sustaining troops for 82d Airborne 
and RLT 2? replacem.ent - 13^.^37- 

The May 15 callup v/ould comprise the following: 

1 division plus 1 ISI 32,000 

1 brigade ^,000 
Post, camp and station com,ple- 

ment to open 1 additional station 5,000 

Total 157000 

I This would reconstitute the STRAF at the following levels: 



Division 6 
ISI 6 



SSI 



1-1/3 86/ 



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In addition, the Secretary indicated that the Chief of Staff of the 

Army reconnnended: 

« 

,..that one division, its ISI and the station comple- 
ment, a total of 37 5 000 TOE strength, be alerted 15 March 
and called up 15 April instead of 15 May in order to provide 
an earlier ca,pability to react to the unpredicted, a stronger 
STRAF in light of growing uncertainties in Southeast and 
Northeast Asia and to assure an earlier improvement of the 
sustaining base to support the increased deployments and to 
avoid drawdown on Europe. 87/ 

The approval of an additional 13,500 deployment to support the em^er- 
gency augmentation was apparently approved very q.uickly. 

In a memorandum for the record on 16 March, the latest tentative plan 
for Vietnam Deployments and reserve call-ups were listed as follows by the 
Assistant Secretary of Defense (Systems Analysis): 

-^' Deployment 

Program #5 525,000 

Emergency Augmentation 10,500 

Support for 10,500 13^500 

• Additional Deployment 3 0^000 

Total 579.000 

2. The Mar ch r eserve call, to be annoimced around 20 March 
will be: 

Support deployment . 36,621 

Support persomael for the 10,500 I3 , ^37 

Total 50,05^ 

The March call will waive the 30 days notice, so troops 
will report around March 27. 

3, Around a week or 10 days later, "after a study" there vzill 
be a second call of ^8,393- •• -These reservists will be given 

30 days, therefore reporting around 1 May. 88/ 

Still, the "President was troubled. In public he continued to indicate 
firmness and resoluteness, but press leaks and continued public criticism 
continued to compound his problem. On March I7, the New York Times , again 
amazingly accurate, forecast that the President would approve dispatch 
of an additional 33^000 to 50,000 m.en to Vietnam over the next six months.. 89; 
On March I8 nearly one-third of the House of Representatives, a total 
of 139 m-em-bers, - 98 Republicans and ^1 Deiriocrats - joined in sponsoring a 
resolution calling for an immediate Congressional review of the United 
States policy in Southeast AsiS.. 90/ 

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On that same day, l8 March^ Mr. Johnson answered these critics, as 
he charged in a speech before the National Farmers' Union Convention in 
Minneapolis, that Hanoi is seeking "to win in Washington v;hat it cannot 
win in Hue or Khe Sanh. Your President welcomes suggestions from com- 
missions, from congressm.en, from, private individuals or groups," he 
continued, "or anyone who has a plan or program which can stand inspection ^ 
and open a hope of reaching our goal of peace in the world/' 91/ 

At this time, the President sought the advice of a group of his friends 
and confidants outside of government. These men came to Washington on 
18 March at the request of the President to receive briefings on the latest 
developments in the vrar and to advise the President on the hard decision 
he faced. Present were: former Undersecretary of State George Ball; 
Arthur Dean, a Republican New York lawyer who was a Korean Vfar negotiator 
during the Eisenhower Administration; Dean Acheson, form.er President 
Truman's Secretary of State: Gen. Matthev; B. Ridgevray, the retired com- 
mander of United Nations troops in Korea; Gen. Max^fell Taylor, former 
Chairraan of the Joint Chiefs of Staff; Cyrus Vance, former Deputy Defense 
Secretary and a key troubleshooter for the Johnson Administration; McGeorge 
Bundy, Ford Foundation President who had been special assistant for National 
Security Affairs to Mr. Johnson and former President Kennedy; form^er Treasiiiy 
Secretary C. Douglas Dillon and Gen. Omar Bradley. 

The only published account of this consultation, which is considered 
reliable, was written by Stuart H. Loory and appeared in the Los Angeles 
Times late in May. According to this report, the group m-et over dinner 
"with"Secretary of State Dean Rusk; Defense Secretary Clark M. Clifford; 
Ambassador W. Averell Harriman; Walt W. Rostow, the President's special 
assistant for National security affairs; General Earle G. VJhee2.er, Chairman 
of the Joint Chiefs of Staff; Richard Helms, Director of the Central 
Intelligence Agency; Paul Nitze, Deputy Defense Secretary; Nicholas 
Katzenbach, Under Secretary of State; and William P. Bundy, Assistant 
Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs. 

The outsiders questioned the government officia.ls carefully 
on the vrar, the pa.cifi cation program and the condition of the 
South Vietnamese government after the Tet offensive. They in- 
cluded in their deliberations the effect of the war on the 
United States. 

After dinner the government officials left and the group 
received three briefings. 

Philip C. Habib, a deputy to William Bundy and now a membier 
of the American negotiating team in Paris, delivered an unusua,lly 
frank briefing on the conditions in Vietnam after the Tet offensive. 
He covered such m^atters. as corruption in South Vietnam and the 
growing refugee problem. ■ _, 

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Habibj according to reliable sources ^ told the group that 
the Saigon government was generally weaker than had been realized 
as a result of the Tet offensive. He related the situation, some 
said, with greater frankness than the group had previously heard. 

In addition to Habib, Ma j • Gen. William E. DePuy, special 
assistant to the Joint Chiefs for counterinsurgency and special 
activities, briefed the group on the military situation, and 
George Carver, a CIA analyst, gave his agency's estimates of con- 
ditions in the v/ar zone- 

The briefings by DePuy and Carver reflected what many understood 
as a dispute over enemy strength between the Defense Department 
and the CIA which has been previously reported. Discrepancies in 
the figures resulted from the fact that DePuy's estimates of enemy 
strength covered only identifiable militaiy units, while Carver's 
included all knov/n military, paramilitary and parttime enemy strength 
available * 

* 

The morning of March 19, the advisory group assembled in the 
VJhite House to discuss what they had heard the previous evening 
and arrived at their verdict. It was a striking turnabout in 
attitude for all but Ball. 

After their meeting, the group met the President for lionch. 
It was a social affair. I^o business was transacted. The meal 
finished, the advisers delivered their verdict to the President. 

Their deliberations produced this verdict for the chief 
executive: 

Continued' escalation of the war — intensified bombing of North 
Vietnam, and increased American troop strength in the South — would 
do no good. Forget about seeking a battlefield solution to the 
problem, and instead intensify efforts to seek a political solution 
at the negotiating table. 

He v/as repoi^tedly greatly surprised at their conclusions, 
VJhen he asked them where they had obtained the facts on which the 
conclusions v?ere based, the group told him of the briefings by 
Habib, DePuy and Carver. 

Mr. Johnson knew that the three men had also briefed his 
governmental advisers, but he had not received the sarae picture of 
the war as Rostow presented the reports to him. 

As a result of the discrepancy, the President ordered his own 
direct briefings. At least Habib and DePuy--and alm.ost certainly 
Carver--had evening sessions with the President. 



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Ha"bib was reportedly as frank with the President as he had 
been with the advisory group. The President asked tough q.uestions. 
'Habib stuck to his guns, * one source reported, 

VJhatever impext this group's recommendations and the direct briefings 
he received had on the President was not immediately apparent in any 
decision which affected the deployment of forces. Even as the President 
announced, on 22 March, that General William C. Westm-oreland would be 
recalled from Vietnam to become the Army Chief of Staff, 93/ the Defense 
Department continued to plan for the deployment of ^3,500 additional 
troops. In a m.emorandujn to the Secretary of Defense on 23 March I968, 
the Assistant Secretary (Systems Analysis) forwarded his Prograra #6 
Summary Table based on 579^000 men in South Vietnam, 5^,000 over the 
approved Program #5 ceiling. This 5^,000 was made up of the 10,500 
emergency reinforcement package, the 13,500 support forces for it, and 
the 30,000 additional package. The Assistant Secretary added, that upon 
notification of approval and desire to announce the nev; plan, the tables 
would be published, 9V 

Hovjever, these particular tables were not to be published. The 
President sought further advice as he wrestled v/ith the problem which 
had plagued his Administration. On March 26, Genera.1 Creighton Abra-ms, 
Deputy COMUSMCV, arrived suddenly and without prior announcement, and 
was closeted with the President and his senior officials. These 
■conferences were conducted in the utmost secrecy amid press speculation 
that Abrams would be named to succeed General Westmoreland. Further 
press speculation vzas that the conferences dealt primarily with 
expansion and modernization of the South Vietnamese armed forces and 
that this tended to buttress earlier predictions that any increase in 
Am_erican forces in South Vietnam would be modest. 95 / 

S* The President Decides 

'Apparently the Presidential decision on deployment of additional 
U.S. forces to Vietnam was m^de on 28 March and concurred in by General 
Abram.s* In an undated memorandum (probably written on 27 or 28 March) 
for the Chief of Staff, U.S. Army, the Deputy Chief of Staff for 
Military Operations, Lt General Lemley, indicated that the Joint Staff' 
'had inform-ed him of : • 

...tentative decisions arising from the recent conference 
between the" President, the Chairman, and General Abrams, as 
well as telecons between the Chairman and General VJestm.oreland. 
It is believed that a Pi-esidential decision m-ay be m^ade by 
Friday (29 March) morning. 



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T^ew ceiling in WE: 5^9,500 

a. Program 5: 525^000- 

b. Emergency deplo^mient of 82d Abn, 27th RLT: 11,000.-^ 

c. Support and sustain emergency deployment: 13^500,-^- 

d. Total: 5^9.500. 

•^Includes estimated 1^44^ Air Force and Navy. 

1st Bde, 5t>a Inf Div (Mech) will replace 27th RLT. 
Reserve call-up of approximately 62,000. 

a. Army 53,957 

(13,301 - Support of 3/82d Abn Biv & l/5th Inf Div) 
(40 5 656 - Reconstitute STRA.F) 

b. Navy 1,453 

c. Air Force 6,590 



d. Total 



62,000 96/ 



A Joint Staff paper entitled "MACV Troop List of Program 6 Add-on," 
dated 28 March, sujiiinarized service capability to satisfy "MACV's 28 March 
1968 req.uest for U.S. forces" as follows: 



Tv-70 Eriga.de Increment (Combat For 

STRENGTPI 



USARV 



7th AF 

Total 
Support 



- Inf Bde, Sep 

- Mech Bde, Sep 

- Armored Cav Sq.dn 

- 2 TFS (F-lOO) (469 ea) 
Brigade Increment 
Increment (Combat Support 



"57S39^. 

4,882 

1,049 
994 
11,564 
and Combat Service 



ces) 

corns AVAIL D ATE-^- 
In-Country as 3d Bde/82d 

Div 
Jul 68 
Aug 68 
Jun/jul 68 



Support Forces) 



USARV - 2 FA Bn (l55mjn) 

- Engr Bn (Cbt) 

- Other Support Units 



NAVFORV 
7th AF 

III MF 
Total 



Support Increment 



STRENGTH 
1,132 
812 

169 
2,752 

2,219 

1,411 
900 

1,775 

895 

707 

496 

13,268 



CONUS AVAIL DATE^ 
Aui/Sep 6'8~' 
Aug 68 
Jun/jul 68 
Aug 68 
Sep 68 
Oct 68 

Unknown/May 69 
Jun 68 
Jun/jul 68 
Unknov/n 
Apr/Sep 68 



TOTAL DEPLOYIVIEIW 



24,832 



(Excess over 24,500 can be 
taken from existing credit/ 
debit account) 



"^ CONUS availability date based on deci-sion to call up reserve elements. 97/ 



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9- The Decision is Annoujicecl 

On Sunday^ 31 March, it was announced that the President would 
address the nation that evening concerning the war in Vietnam. The 
night before, Saturday, 30 March, a cable was dispatched to the U.S. 
Ambassadors in Australia, New Zealand, Thailand, Laos, the Philippines, 
and South Korea. This cable, slugged "Literally Eyes Only for 
Ambassador or Charge", instructed the addressees to see their 
respective heads of government and inform them of the following major 
elements of the President's planned policy annoLincement on Sunday 
night: 98/ 

a. Major stress on importance of GVN and ARVK increased 
effectiveness, with our equipment and other . support as first 
priority in our own actions. 

b. 13,500 support forces to be called up at once in order 
. to round out the 10,500 combat units sent in February. 

c. Replenishment of strategic 'reserve by calling up 
^8,500 additional reserves, stating that these would be 
(designed to strategic reserve. 

d. Related tax increases and budget cuts already largely 
needed for non-Vietnam reasons. 

3. In addition, after similar consultation and concurrence. 
President proposes to announce that bombing will be 
restricted to targets most directly engaged in the battle- 
field area and that this meant that there would be no 
bombing north of 20th parallel. Announcement v/ould leave 
open how Hanoi might respond, and vrould be open-ended as to 
time. However, it v?ould indicate that Hanoi's response 
could be helpful in determining whether \je were justified in 
assuinption that Hanoi v?ould not take advantage if v/e 
stopping (sic) bombing altogether. Thus, it would to 
this extent foreshadow possibility of full bombing stoppage 
at a later point. 

This cable offered the Ambassadors some additional rationale for this 
new policy for their discretionary use in conversations V7ith their 
respective head^ of govern-ment. This rationale represents the only 
available statement by the Adm.inistration of some of its underlying 
reasons and p'orposes for and expectations from this policy decision. 

a. you should call attention to force increases that would 
be announced at the same time and wou3.d m.ake clear our continued 
resolve. Also our top priority to re-equipping ARVI>[ forces. 

■ 

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b. You should make clear that Hanoi is most likely to 
denounce the project and thus free our hand after a short period. 
Nonetheless 5 we might wish to continue the limitation even after 
a formal den^onciation, in order to reinforce its sincerity and 
put the monkey firmly on Planoi's back for v/hatever follows. Of 
course J any major military change coiild compel full-scale 
resumption at any time. 

c. With or without denunciation, Hanoi might well feel 
limited in conducting any major offensives at least in the northern 
areas. If they did so^ this could ease the pressure where it is 
most potentially serious. If they did not, then this would give 
us a clear field for vzhatever actions were then req.uired. 

d. In view of weather limitations, bombing north of the 20th 
parallel will in any event be limited at least for the next four 
weeks or so — which we tentatively envisage as a maximum test- 
ing period in any event. Hence, we are not giving up anything 
really serious in this time frame. Moreover, air power now used 
north of 20th can probably be used in Laos (where no policy change 
planned) and in SVN. 

I ■— , e. Insofar as our announcement foreshadows any possibility 

of a complete bombing stoppage, in the event Hanoi really exercises 
reciprocal restraints, we regard this as unlikely. But in any . 
case, the period of dem.onstrated restraint would probably have to 
continue for a period of several weeks, and V7e would have time to 
appraise the situation and to consult carefully with them before 
we undertook any such action. 

Thus, in reassuring our allies of our "continued resolve", the cable 
clearly indicated that not very much was expected of this change in policy 
It could possibly reinforce our sincerity and "put the mionkey on Hanoi's 
back for vzha^tever follcv/s." It was not expected that Hanoi would react 
positively although they might "feel limited in conducting any major 
offensives at least in the northern areas", admittedly a highly dubious 
likelihood. _ 

VJhat, then^ was the purpose of this change in policy? If it was not 
expected that Hanoi would respond positively, or that any other major 
military benefits would accrue, what then v?as expected? The answer to 
these question?'^ of course^ could only be speculation at the time^ ____ 
'although mar-y of the answers were to be contained in the R-esident's 
speech on 31 March. 



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10. I Shall Not Seek, "and I Will Not Accept.., 

The President's speech to the nation on 31 March began with a 
summary of his efforts to achieve peace in Vietnam over the years. 99/ 

. . Good evening, my fellow Americans. 

Tonight I want to speak to you of peace in Vietnam and 
Southeast Asia. 

No other question so preoccupies our people. No other 
dream so absorbs the 250 million human beings who live in that 
' part of the world. No other goal motivates American policy in 

Southeast Asia. 

For years J representatives of our government and others 
have travelled the world -- seeking to find a basis for peace 
talks. 

Since last September, they have carried the offer that I 
made public at San Antonio. 

That offer was this: 

That the United States would stop its bombardment of North 
Vietnam when that would lead promptly to productive discussions — 
and that we would assiiune that North Vietnam would not take 
military advantage of our restraint. 

Hanoi denounced this offer, both privately and publicly. 
Even while the search for peace was going on. North Vietnam rush- 
ed their prepara-tions for a savage assault on the people, the 
government, and the allies of South Vietnam. 

This s>ttack during the TET holidays, the President indicated, failed 
to achieve its principal objectives: 

It did not collapse the elected goverr-ment of South Vietnam 
or shatter its army — as the Communists had hoped. 

It did not produce a 'general uprising' among the people 
of the cities as they had predicted. 

The Commimists were unable to maintain control of any of 
|j * the more than 30 cities that they attacked. And they took very 

heavy casualties. 



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But they did compel the South Vietnamese and their allies 
to move certain forces from the countryside ^ into the citieS. 

* 

They caused v/idespread disruption and suffering. Their 
attacks, and the battles that followed, made refugees of 
half a million human beings. 

The Communists may renew their attack any day. 

They are, it appears, trying to make I968 the year of 
decision in South Vietnam — the year that brings, if not final 
victory or defeat, at least a turning point in the struggle. 

This much is clear: 

If they do mount another round of heavy attacks, they vrill 
not succeed in destroying the fighting power of South Vietnam 
and its allies. 

But tragically, this is also clear:' many men -- on both 
sides of the struggle -- will be lost. A nation that has 
alres.dy suffered 20 years of v/arfare v/ill suffer once again. 
Armies on both sides will take new casualties. And the war will 
go on. 

There is no need for this to be so. 

In dram.atically announcing the partial suspension of the bombing of 
North Vietnam as a new initiative designed to lead to peace talks. 
President Johnson did not voice any of the doubts of the State Department 
cable of the previous night that this initiative was not expected to 
be fruitful. Indeed, the central theme of this portion of the speech 
was that our unilateral action V7a.s designed to lea.d to early talks. 
The President even designated the United States representatives for 
such talks. 

There is no need to delay the talks that could bring an end 
to this long and this bloody war. 

Tonight, I renev/ the offer T m-ade last August -- to stop 
the bomba^rdment of North Vietnam. We ask that talks begin 
promptly, that they be serious talks on the substance of peace. 
We assume that during those talks Hanoi will not take 
advantage of ovx restraint. 

We are prepared to move immediately toward peace through 
negotiations. 



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So J tonight, in the hope that this action will lead to 
early talks, I am taking the first step to de-escalate the 
conflict. ?7e are reducing — substantially reducing -- the 
present level of hostilities. 

And vre are doing so unilaterally, and at once. 

Tonight, I have ordered our aircra.ft and our naval vessels 
to make no attacks on North Vietnam, except in the area north 
of the DeMilitarized Zone where the continuing enemy build-up 
directly threa^tens allied forward positions and where the 
movements of their troops and supplies are clearly related to 
that threat. 

The area in which v;e are stopping our attacks includes 
almost 90 percent of North Vietnam's population, and most of 
its territory. Thus there will be no attacks around the 
principal popu],ated areas, or in the food-producing areas of 
North Vietnam, 

Even this very limited bombing of the North could come to 
an early end -- if our restraint is matched by restraint in 
Hanoi. But I ca^nnot in good conscience stop all bombing so 
long as to do so vrould immediately and directly endanger the 
lives of our men and our allies. IVhether a complete bombing 
halt becomes possible in the future will be determined by 
events. 

Our purpose in this action is to bring about a reduction in 
the level of violence that now exists. 

It is to save the lives of brave m.en — and to save the lives 
of innocent wom-en and children. It is to permit the contending 
forces to move closer to a political settlement. 

And tonight, I call upon the United Kingdom and I call upon 
the Soviet Union -- as co-chairm-en of the Geneva Conferences, and 
as perm.anent m.embers of the United Nations Seciu^ity Council -- 
to do all they can to move from the unilateral act of de- 
escalation that I have just announced tovza^rd genuine peace in 
Southeast Asia. 

Now, as in the past, the United States is ready to send 
its representatives to any forum, at any time, to discuss the 
means of bringing this ugly war to an end. 



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r I am designating one of our most distinguished Ameri- 

cans ^ Ambassador Averell Harriman, as my personal repre- 
sentative for such talks. In addition^ I have asked 
Ambassador Llewellyn Thompson, who retiirned from Moscow 
for consultation, to be available to join Ambassador 
Harriman at Geneva or any other suitable place — just 
as soon as Hanoi agrees to a conference. 

I call upon President Ho Chi Minh to respond posi- 
tively, and favorably, to this new step toward, peace. 

i I If peace did not come through negotiations, ha-zever, the President 

indicated tha,t our comjnon resolve was unshakable and our common strength 
invincible. As evidence of this, he listed the achievements of the South 
Vietna.m-ese nation. 

Tonight, v^e and the other allied nations are con- 
tributing 600,000 fighting men to assist 700,000 South 
Vietnamese troops in defending their little country. 

Our presence there has always rested on this basic 
belief: the main burden of preserving their freedom 
^-^ must be carried out by them — by the South Vietnamese 

J themselves. 

We and our allies can only help to provide a shield — 
behind which the people of South Vietnam can survive and 
can grow and develop. On their efforts — on their 
determinations and resourcefulness — the outcome vzill 
ultimately depend. 

That small, beleaguered nation has suffered terrible 
punishment for more than twenty years. 

i I pay tribute once again tonight to the great courage 

and endurance of its people. South Vietnam supports armed 
forces tonight of almost 700,000 men — and I call your 
! I attention to the fact that that is the equivalent of m.ore 

than 10 million in ourovzn population. Its people maintain 
■ their firm, determination to be free of domination by the 
North . ^ . _ . 

There has been substantial progress, I think, in 
building a durable government during these, last three 
vears. The South Vietnam of I965 could not have survived 
the enemy's Tet offensive of I968. The elected govern- 
m.ent of South Vietnam survived that attack — and is 
rapidly repairing the devastation that it wrought. 



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The South Vietnamese know that further efforts are 
going to be required: 

— to expand their own armed forces ^ 

-- to move back into the countryside as quickly as 
possible, 

-- to increase their taxes , 

-- to select the very best men that they have for 
civilian and military responsibility, 

— to achieve a new unity within their constitutional 
government, 

— and to include in the national effort all of those 
groups who wish to preserve South Vietnam's control over 
its o\ra destiny. 

Last week President Thieu ordered the mobilization of 
135,000 additional South Vietnamese. He plans to reach — 
as soon as possible -- a total military strength of more 
than 800,000 men. 

To achieve this, the government of South Vietnam 
started the drafting of 19-year-olds on March 1st, On 
May 1st, the Government will begin the drafting of 18-year- 
olds. 

Last month, 10^000 men volunteered for military service -■ 
that wa.s two and a half tim_es the number of volunteers during 
the same month last year. Since the middle of January, m.ore 
than i|8,000 South Vietnamese have joined the armed forces — 
and nearly half of them volunteered to do so. 

All men in the South Vietnamese armed forces have had 
their toiurs of duty extended for the duration of the war, 
and reserves are now being called up for imjriediate active 
duty . 

President Thieu told his people last week: 

"We must make greater efforts and accept more sacrifices 
because, as I have said m.any times, this is our country. 
The existence of our nation is at stake, and this is mainly 
a Vietnamese responsibility." 

He warned his people that a m.ajor national effort is 
required to root out corruption and incompetence at all 



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levels of government. 

We applaud this evidence of deterraination on the part 
of South Vietnam. Our first priority will be to support 
their effort. 

We shall accelerate the re-eq.uipment of South Vietnajn's 
armed forces — in order to meet the enemy's increased fire- 
power. This will enable them progressively to undertake 
a larger share of combat operations against the Comm.unists 
invaders. 

The token increase in U.S. troop deployments to South Vietnam which 
presaged for the first time a limit to our commitment and pointed to a 
change in ground strategy^ an issue which had caused such great specula- 
tion in the press and controversy in Congress and within the Administration, 
received short mention in the speech. It seemed almost a footnote to the 
dramatic sta.tements which had preceded it. 

On many occasions I have told the American people that 
we would send to Vietnsja those forces that are req.uired to 
accomplish our mission there. So^ \vith that as our guide, 
we have previously authorized a force level of approximately 
, 525,000. 

■ 

Some weeks ago — to help meet the enemy's new offensive 
-" we sent to Vietnam about 11,000 additional Marine and 
airborne troops. They vrere deployed by air in ^8 hours, on 
an emergency basis. But the artillery, tank, aircraft, and 
other units that were needed to work with and support these 
infantry troops in combat could not accompany them on that 
short notice. 

In order that these forces may reach maximimi combat 
effectiveness, the Joint Chiefs of Staff have recommended to 
me that we should prepared to send -- during the next five 
months — support troops totalling approximately 13,5^0 men. 

A portion of these men will be made available from our 
a.ctive forces. The balance will come from Reserve Component 
units which will be called up for service. 

The n::xt portion of the President's speech detailed the cost of 
the Vietnam War and made a plea for Congressional action to reduce the 
deficit by passing the surtax which had been requested almost a year 

before. 

In summary, the President reiterated the UcS, objectives in South 
Vietnam and gave his appraisal of what the U.S. in pursuit of those 
objectives, hoped to accomplish in Southeast Asia. 

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I cannot promise that the initiative that I have announced 
tonight will be completely successful in achieving peace any 
more than the 30 others that we have -undertaken and agreed to 
in recent years. 

But it is our fervent hope that North Vietnam^ after 
years of fighting that has left the issue unresoJ-ved, will 
now cease its efforts to achieve a military victory and will 
join with us in moving toward the peace table. 

And there m.ay come a time when South Vietnam --on 
both sides -- are able to work out a way to settle their 
own differences by free political choice rather than by 
war. 

As Planoi considers its course ^ it should be in no doubt 
of our intentions. It must not miscalculate the pressures 
within our democracy in this election year. 

We have no intention of widening this war. 

But the United States will never accept a fake solution 
to this long and arduous struggle and cs.ll it peace. 

No one can foretell the precise terms of an eventual 
settlement. 

Our objective in South Vietnam has never been the 
annihilation of the enemy. It has been to bring about a 
recognition in Ha^noi that its objective --■ taking over the 
South by force -- could not be achieved. 

Y!e think that peace can be based on the Geneva Accords 
of 195^ — under political conditions that permit the South 
Vietnamese — all the South Vietnamese — to chart their 
course free of any outside domination or interference, from 
us or from, anyone else. 

So tonight I reaffirm the pledge that we made at Manila — 
that we are prepared to withdraw our forces from South Viet- 
nam as the other side withdraws its forces to the North, stops 
the infiltration, and the level of violence thus subsides. 

Our goal of peace and self-determination in Vietnam 
is directly related to the future of all of Southeast Asia — 



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where much has happened to inspire confidence during the past 
10 years. We have done a,ll that we knew how to do to contri- 
bute and to help build that confidence .... 

Over time, a wider, frajtiev7ork of peace and security in 
Southeast Asia m-ay become possible. The new cooperation of 
the nations in the area could be a foundation-stone. Cer- 
tainly friendship vath the nations of such a Southeast Asia 
is what the United States seeks -- and that is all that the 
United States seeks. 

One day, my fellov/ citizens^ there will be peace in South' 
east Asia. 

It will com.e because the people of Southeast Asia want 
it -- those whose armies are at war tonight, and those who, 
though threatened, have thus far been spared. 

Peace will com-e because Asians were willing to work for 
it -- and to sacrifice for it -- and to die by the thousands 
for it. 

But let it never be forgotten: peace will come also 
) because America sent her sons to help secure it. 

It has not been easy — far from it. During the past 
tovoc and a half years, it has been my fate and my responsi- 
bility to be cornmander-in-chief . I have lived -- daily and 
nightly -- v^ith the cost of this V7ar. I knovj the pain that 
it has inflicted. I know perhaps better than anyone the 
misgivings that it has aroused. 

Throughout this entire, long period, I have been sus- 
tained by a single principle: 

-- that V7hat v^e are doing now, in Vietna^m, is vital 
not only to the security of Southeast Asia, but it is 
vital to the security of every American. 

Surely we have treaties which we must respect. 
Surely vre have cornmitm.ents that we are going to keep. 
Resolutions of the Congress testify to the need to 
resist aggression in the world and in Southeast Asia. 

But the heart of our involvement in South Vietnam — 
Uiider three Presidents,' three separate Administrations — 
has always been America's own security. 



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And the larger pur-pose of our involvement has alvzays 
"been to help the nations of Southeast Asia become inde- 
pendent and stand alone ^ self-sustaining as members of a 
great world communitsy. 

-- At peace with themselves ^ and at peace with all 
others. 

With such an Asia^ our country -- and the world — 
will be far more secure than it is tonight. 

I believe that a peacefuJL Asia is far nearer to 
reality^ because of what America has done in Vietnam. 
I believe tha.t the men v/ho endure the dangers of battle 
-" fighting there for us tonight — are helping the 
entire world avoid far greater conflicts ^ far wider wars^ 
far more destruction^ than this one. 

I pray that it \j±ll not be rejected by the leaders 
of North Vietnam. 1 pray that they vrill accept it as a 
means by which the sa^crifices of their ovm people may be 
ended. And I ask your help and your support ^ my fello>7 
citizens 5 for this effort to reach across the battlefield 
toward an early peace. 



Finally^ the President s^ddressed himself in a highly personal m-anner 
to the issue that had seemed uppermost in his mind throughout the preceding 
month of delibere-tion^ reassessment and reappraisal of our Vietnam policy — 
the issue of domestic unity. 

Yet 5 I believe that we must always be mindful of this one 
things whatever the trials and the tests ahead. The ultimate 
strength of our country and our cause will lie not in pov/erful 
weapons or infinite resources or boundless wealth, but will 
lie in the maity of oivc people. 

This 5 I be3-ieve very deeply. 

Throughout my entire public career I he^ve followed the 
personal philosophy that I am a free man., an American, a public 
servant and a member of my Party, in that order always and only. 

For 37 years in the service of our nation, first as a 
Congressman, as a Senator and as Vice President 8,nd now as 
your President, I have put the unity of the people first. 
I have put it ahead of any devisive partisanship. 



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And in these times as in times before^ it is true that 
a house divided against itself by the spirit of faction^ of 
party 5 of region^ of religion, of race, is a house that can- 
not stand. 

There is division in the American house now. There 
is devisiveness among us all tonight. And holding the trust 
that is mine, as President of all the people, I cannot dis- 
regard the peril to the progress of the American people and 
the hope and the prospect of peace for all peoples. 

So, I would ask all Americans, whatever their personal 
interests or concern, to guard against devisiveness and all 
its ugly conseq.uences. 

Fifty-two m-onths and ten days ago, in a moment of tragedy 
and trauma, the duties of this office fell upon me. I asked 
then for your help and God^s, that we might continue Am.erica 
on its course, binding up our v/ounds, healing our history, 
moving forward in new unity, to clear the American agenda and 
to keep the American coimnitment for all of our people. 

United vze have kept that commitment. United v/e have 
enlarged that commitment. 

■ 

Through all time to com.e, 1 think America will be a 
stronger nation, a more just society, and a land of greater 
opportunity and fulfilment because of wha.t we have all done 
together in these years of unparalleled achievement. 

Our reward v/ill come in the life of freedom, peace, and 
hope that our children will enjoy through ages s.head. 

>?hat we won vjhen all of our people united just m-ust not 
now be lost in suspicion, distrust, selfishness, and politics 
araong any of our people. 

Having eloquently stated the need for unity in a nation divided, the 
President then made the dramatic arj20uncem.ent which shocked and electrified 
the nation and the world, an announcement intended to restore unity to the 
divided nation: 

Believing this as I do, I have concluded that I should not 
permJ-t the Presidency to become involved in the partisan ■ 
divisions that are developing in this political year. 

With America's sons in the fields far away, with America's 
future ujider challenge right here at home, with our hopes 



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and the world's hopes for peace in the balance every day^ 
I do not believe that I should devote an hour or a day 
of my time to any personal partisan causes or to any duties 
other than the awesome duties of this office — the Presi- 
dency of your country. 

Accordingly J I shall not seek, and I will not accept, the 
nomination of my Party for another term as your President. ■ 

But let men everywhere know, however, that a strong, a 
confident, and a vigilant America stands ready tonight to 
seek an honorable peace -- and stand ready tonight to defend 
an honored cause -- whatever the price, v/hatever the burden, 
whatever the sacrifices that duty may req.uire. 

Thank you for listening. 

Good night and God bless all of you. 

11 . E pilogue 

On April 4, 1968, the Deputy Secretary of Defense, in a memorandum 
for the Secretaries of the Military Departments and the Chairman of the 
Joint Chiefs of Staff established Southeast Asia Deployment Program #6. 
This progrejn added 2^,500 persomiel to the approved Program #5, and placed 
' a new ceiling of 5^9^500 on U.S. forces in South Vietnam, lOO/ None of 

the some 200,000 troops req.uested by General Westmoreland on 27 February 
were to be deployed. 

La.te in the afternoon of April 3, 1968, the "White House released the 
following statement by President Johnson: 

Today the Government of North Vietnam made a statement 
which included the following paragraph, and I q.uote: 

"However, for its part, the Government of the Demo- 
cratic Republic of Vietnam declares its readiness to ' . 
appoint its representatives to contact the United States 
representative v/ith a view to determining with the 
American side the unconditional cessation of the United 
States bombing raids and all other acts of war against 
the Democratic Republic of Vietnam so that talks m.ay 
start." 

Last Sunday night I expressed the position of the 
United States with respect to peace in Vietna^n and South- 
east Asia as follows: 

"Now, as in the past, the United States is ready to 
send its representatives to any forum, at any time, to 
discuss the means of bringing this war to an end." 

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Accordingly^ we will establish contact with the repre- 
sentatives of North Vietnam, Consultations with the 
Governiuent of South Vietnam and our other allies are now 
taking place- lOl/ 

The first step on what would undoubtedly be a long and tortuous road 
to peace apparently had been taken. In one dramatic action^ President 
Johnson had for a time removed the issue of Vietnam from domestic political 
contention. In an unexpectedly prompt and responsive reply to his initi- 
ative ;, Hanoi had moved the struggle for South Vietnam into a nev/ path. 

As has been indicated^ little had been expected to result from the 
partial bombing halt and the limitation upon U.S. troop comm.itments to 
South Vietnam. Why, then^ were these steps taken? 

In March of I9685 the President and his principal advisers vrere again 
confronted with a dilemm-a which t^iey had faced before, but which they had 
postponed resolving. Although seldom specifically stated, the choice had 
a3-v/ays been either to increase U.S. forces in South Vietnam as necessary 
to achieve military victory or to limit the U.S. commitment in order to 
prevent the defeat of our South Vietnamese allies while they put their 
political-military house in order. In the past, the choice had not been . 
so clear-cut. Progress tov/ard military victory had been promised with 
sm-all increases in force levels vzhich did not req.uire large reserve call- 
ups or economic dislocations-. Military victory would then assure a viable 
South Vietnamese political body capable of protecting and gaining the 
suppoi^t of its people. 

In March of I968, the choice had become clear-cut. The price for 
military victory had increased vastly, and there was no assurance that 
it v/o\ild not grov/ again in the future. There were also strong indica- 
tions that large and growing elements of the America.n public had begun 
to believe the cost had already reached unacceptable levels and would 
strongly protest a large increase in that cost. 

The political reality v/hich faced President Johnson vzas tha.t "more 
of the sam-e" in South Vietnam, with an increased comjnitment of American 
lives and money and its consequent im.pact on the country, accompanied by 
no guarantee of military victory in the near future, had becom-e unaccept- 
able to these elem-ents of the American public. The optimistic military 
reports of progress in the war no longer rang true after the shock of 
the TET offensive. 

Thus, the President's decision to seek a new strategy and a new road 
to peace was based upon two m.ajor considerations: 

(1) The convictions of his principal civilian advisers, particularly 
Secretary of Defense Clifford, that the troops requested by General 
Westmoreland would not make a military _ victory any more likely; and 



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(2) A deeply-felt conviction of the need to restore unity to the 
Americavn nation. 

For a polic^r from which so little was expected , a great deal v/as 
initiated. The North Vietnamese and the Americans sat dcvm at the 
conference table in Paris to begin to travel the long road to peace; the 
issue of Vietnam largely was removed from Araerican political discord; 
a limit to the comjnitment of U.S. forces was established; and the South 
Vietnam.ese were put on notice that, with ovx help, they would be expected 
to do more in their ovm defense - 

The "A to Z" reassessment of U.S. strategy in South Vietnam in the 
wake of the TET offensive did not result in the announcement of a new 
ground strategy for South Vietnara. But in placing General Westmoreland's 
request for forces squarely in the context of the achievement of U.S. 
political-military objectives in South Vietnam, "the limited political 
nature of those objectives was for the first time affii*med. A new ground 
strategy, based on tlBse limited objectives and upon the ceiling on U.S. 
troops became a corollary for the new U.S. conmiander. 

American forces initially were deployed to Vietna^m in order to prevent 
the South Vietnamese from losing the war, to insure that aggression from 
the north would not succeed. Having deployed enough troops to insure that 
KVN aggression v/ould not succeed, it had been almost a reflex action to 
start planning on hov7 much it would take to "win" the war. Lip service 
was given to the need for developing South Vietnamese political institu- 
tions, but no one at high levels seem^ed to question the assumption that 
U.S. political objectives in South Vietnam could be attained through mili- 
tary victory- 

« 

However, it was quickly apparent that there was an em.barrassing lack 
of knowledge as to how much it would take to win the war. This steiraned 
from, uncertainty in two areas: (l) how much effort the North Vietnam.ese 
were willing to expend in terms of men and m-ateriel; and (2) how effective 
the South Vietnam-ese armed forces would be in establishing security in the 
couj-itryside. As the war progressed, it appeared tliat our estim.ates of the 
form-er were too low and of the latter too high. However, committed to a 
military victory and having little information as to what was needed mdli- 
tarily, the civilian decision makers seemed willing to accept the field 
commander's estimate of what was needed. Steady progress was promised 
and was apparently being accomplished, although the commitment of forces 
steadily increased. 

The TET offensive showed that this progress in m.any ways had been 
illusory. The possibility of military victory had seemdngly become remote 

P'and the cost had becom.e too high both in political and economic terms. 
Only then were our uJ-tim,ate objectives brought out and re-examined. Only 
t then was it realized that a clear-cut military victory was probably not 

possible or necessary, and that the road to peace would be at least a-s 



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dependent upon South Vietnamese political development as it would be on 
Ajaerican arms. This realization^ then^ made it possible to limit the 
American military commitm.ent to South Vietnam to achieve the objectives 
for which this force had originally been deployed. Ajnerican forces would 
remain in South Vietnam to prevent defeat of the Governraent by Comiaunist 
forces e.nd to provide a shield behind which that Government could rally;, 
become effective^ and win the support of its people. 



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FOOTI^JOaES 



1. COMUSMAC^ 6iT'i-2^ 260T55 Jan 68^ Sia'bject: "Annual Assessment." 

2. "U.S, Aides Predict All-Out Red Drive as Prelude to Talks/' by 
George R. Packard^ Philadelphia Bulletin ^ 11 Jan 68^ p. 1. 

3. JCS-1 91-68, 12 Feb 68, Subject: "Emergency Reinforcement of COMUSviACV." 

h. JCS Msg 9926, I30218Z Feb 68, Subject: "Deployment of Brigade Task 
Force of 82nd Airborne Division to SVTJ (S)o" 

5. Ibid . 

6. JCS Msg 9929, 1303^12 Feb 6Q, Subject: "Deployment of Marine Corps 
Regiment (Reinforced) to SVW (S)." 

7. Ibid. 

8. CIWCPAC Msg to JCS/CINCSiraKS, I50125Z Feb 68, Subject: "Deployment 
of Marine Regiment (u)" JCS in 12316. 

9. DJSM 259-68, Memorandum for the Secretary of Defense, Subject: 
"Marine Deployments to Vietnam (u)," dated 6 Mar 68. 

10. JCSf'I 95-68, 13 Feb 68, Subject: "Emergency Reinforcement of COMUSf/iACV ( C ) . " 

11. Report of Chairman, JCS on Sj.tuation in Vietnam and MACV Force 
Requirements, 2? Feb 1968 (TS). 

12. Ibid ., pp. 1-2. 

13. Ibid., p. 12. 
ill-. Ibid,, pp. 12-13. 

15. Ibid., p. 13= 

16. Ibid., p. iJ^. 

17 Handwritten notes by Morton Halperin from conversation with 
Paul' War nke, 29 Feb I968 (TS-EYES OHLY) . 

18. Memorandum from V/illiam Bundy to General Taylor and Mr. Warnke, 
29 Feb'1968 (TS-EODIS). 



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19. Halperin notes, op* clt. 

20. Office of National Estimates^ Central Intelligence Agency^ 
Memorandujn for the Director^ Subject: The Outlook in Vietnam_, 
dated 26 Feb I968 (s). 

21. Central Intelligence Agency^ Memorandujn^j Subject: Coranrunist 
"Alternatives in Vietnam^ dated 29 Feb I968 (S) 

22. Ibid.; p. 1 ' . ' 

23. Central Intelligence Agency^ Memorandum^ Subject: Questions Concerning 
the Situation in Vietnam^ dated 1 March I968 (s). 

2^1-. W. P. B-undy^ Draft Memorandum for the Group^ Subject: Alternative 
Courses -of Action^ dated 29 Feb I968 (TS). 

25. Department of State j Memorandum for the Group^ Subject: Checklist of 
Factors Affecting Alternative Courses of Action^ dated 29 Feb 1968^ 
initialed by Nicholas deB. Katzenbach (TS-NODIS)o 

26. ¥0 P. Bujidy^ Draft Memorandiijn for the Group _, op. cit .^ 29 Feb 68. 

( ■. 27. W. P. Bundy^ Draft Memorandum for the Group^ Subject: Intro5.uctory 

^ ' Paper on Key Elements in the Situation^ dated 29 Feb I968 (TS). 

28. Department of State ^ ^'Possible Soviet Responses to Various US Actions 
in Indochina — Vietnam^ Laos and Cambodia;*' ^'Probable Chinese 
Responses to Certain US Courses of Action in Indochina- -Vietnam^ 
Laos and Cambodia;" "Probable Western European Reaction to Various 
US Coirrses of Action in Indochina — Vietnam^ Laos^ Cambodia," vm- ■ 
dated papers (TS). 

29. Cable; MOSCOW 2983, OII5I5Z March I968, TS-LIIERAILY EYES 0I\rLY for 
Under Secretary from Ambassador. 

30. V^- P« Bundy; Draft Memorandum^ Subject: Eiuropean and Other Non- 
Asian Reactions to a Major US Force Increase, dated 1 Mar 19'o8 (TS) . 

31. Wo P. Bimdy, Draft Memorandum^ Subject: Asian Reaction to a Major 
U.S. Force Increase, dated 1 Mar 68 (TS) . 

32o W. P. Bundy; First Draft; Subject: Options on Our Negotiating 
Posture, dated 29 Feb 68 (TS). 



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33. 



Undated Memorandum^ Subject: Viet-Kam Alternatives^ signed M.D.T.^ 
General Taylor took^ as the U.S. objective^ the statenient of Pres. 
Johnson in his speech at Johns Hopkins University in April 19^5: 
"Our ohjective is the independence of South Viet-Najn and its freedom 
from attack. We vant nothing for ourselves^ only that the people 
of South Viet-Nam be allowed to guide their country in their own 



way. 



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34. OASD/SA^ Draft Memorand-um_j Subject: Deploionents - A Discussion of 
Alternatives^ undated (s). 

35. Ibid. 

36. OASD/SA^ Draft Memorandum^ Subject: Pacification Slowdovm^ undated (C) 

37. Ibid . J p. 2 

38. OASD/SAj Draft Memorandujn^ Subject: The Status of RVNAF^ xmdated (TS). 



39, 0ASD/SA_, Draft Memorand-ujn^ Subject 
29 Feb 1968; pp. 1-2 (TS). 

^0. Ibid., pp, 2-i]-. 



Alternative Strategies, dated 



Ij-1. OASD/SA, Draft Memorandtijn, Subject: Data for Analysis of Strategies, 
undated (TS). 

li-2. Phil G. Go-ud-ding, Draft Memorandum, Subject: Possible Public Reaction 
to Various Alternatives, undated (TS). 

^3. I^id c, p. 5 

l^l[-. Mem.orandum for the President, Subject: Alternative Strategies in 
SVW, 1st Draft, 29 Peb I968 (TS-SSLJS) 

1^.5. Ibid., 3rd Draft, 1 Mar I968 (TS-SENS) 
46. Ibid., p. 3 
Ij-T. - Ibid ., pp 5-^- 
48. Ibid., pp. 6-T. 

^p lip ipp« , I »■ p* 

^9- l^-^ PP- ^"^°' " ■ 

50. Ibid*. Annex II, Alternative Couxses of Military Action, pp. 8-10» 



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51. I"bid,j pp. 12-13. . ^ 

52- Iljid ,^ AnnexZI^ Population Security^ P* 15- 

53. Ibid ,^ p. 16. 

54. IMd.^ pp. 16-17. 

55. rbid.^ Appendix^ Strategy "by Corps Tactical Zon e^ pp. A-3 - A-8. 

56. I'bid,;, Appendix^ Effects of Strategy on Interior Province S j pp. A-l - A-3 

57. rbid.^ p. 2. 

58. Brig. Gen. Harris W. HoUis^ Director of Operations^ ODCSOPS^ DA; 
Memorandimi for LTC Lemley^ SulDject: CIITCPAC Force RecLUD-rements^ 
dated 27 Feb 1963 (s); Lt Col Spiller^ ODCSOPS^ DA^ Suppleraental 
Information^ Subject: 14ACV Requirements and Major Ground Forces 
Deployment by Option^ 1 Mar 1968 (s). 

59. Assistant Secretary of Defense^ ISA^ Memorandum for the Secretary 
of Defense _, Subject: General Wheeler's View of the T\-7o Fatal 

Flaws in the Popiilation Control Strategy^ dated 2 Mar, I968 (TS-SEHS). 

60. MAC 02951^ 0209^72^; from General VJestmoreland to General Wheeler, 
(TS-LD^E)IS,EYES OKLY)o 

61. Organization of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Plans and Policy Directorate, 
Short Range Branch, J-5, Su.bject: Ana.lysis of COl^SJ-lA-CV Force 
Requirements and Altermtives, dated 1 Mar I96S (TS-SEIIS) . 

62. Memorandum for the President, 3 Mar Draft (Goulding -Warlike) (TS-SENS). 

63. Jbido, p. 8. 

6*4. Ibid., pp. 8-10. 

65. Ibid .^ pp. 5-6. 

GS> Draft Memorandum for the President, ij-. Mar 1968 (TS-SENS), pp. 1-2. 

67. Ibid.; Tab A, The Justification for Ixomediate Additional Forces 
in South Vietnam, pp. 1-2. 



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68. Ibid. J Tab B^ Increasing the Effectiveness of Vietnamese Efforts 
Tn"Gon junction with a U.S. Troop Increase^ pp. 1-7. 

69. Ibido^ Tab C^ Justification for Increasing the Strategic Reserve^ 
PP- 1-2. 

70. Ibid. J Tab D^ Necessity for In-Lepth Study of Vietnam Policy and 
Strategic Guidance^ po 1. 

71. Ibid . J pp. 1-2. 

72. Ibid., pp. 2-3- 

73. Ibid.; Tab E_, Negotiating Posture Options_, and Possible Diplomatic 
Actions, p. 1. 

7I4-. Ibid .; pp. h-6, 

76. Ibid., Tab F, Military Action Against North VietnaiUo 

^, Y7. Ibid., Tab G, Difficulties and Negative Factors in the Course of 

Action; Tab H, Problems We Can Anticipate in U.S. Public Opinion, p. k. 

78. CM-3098-68, Memorandum for the Secretary of Defense, Subject: 
COLiU^'IACV Force Req.uirements, dated 8 Mar 68 (TS-SSHS). 

79. Neil Sheehan and Hedrick Smith, "Westmoreland Req^uests 206,000 More 
Men, Stirring Debate in Adiainistration, New York Times 3 10 Mar 19^8, 
pp. 1,11- 

80. Joseph R.L. Sterne, "War Critics Denounce Any Troop Rises," 
Baltirnor e Sun , March 8, I968, p^ 1; John W. Finney, "Criticism of 
War~\'jTdens in Senate on Build-Up Issue," N ew York Times ^ 8 Mar 68, p. 1. 

Joseph R.L. Sterne, "For Different Aims, Rnssell, Fulbrlght Ask 
Viet Restudy, " Baltimore Sun , 13 March I968, p. 1. 

82. Ibid. " " "■ 



8So Handv/ritten notes by Alain Enthoven from meeting with Secretary 
• Clifford l-'Ir. Vfarnke, Mr. Resor, General V/heeler,, I3 Mar. I968. (s) 



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8k. Deputy Secretary of Defense^ Memorandum for Chairm?on of the Joint 
Chiefs of Staffs Subject: Southeast Asia Deployments^ dated 
Ik Mar 1968. (TS) • 

85- Secretary of the Army^ Memorandum for the Secretary of Defense _, 
Ik Mar 1968 (S). 

86. Ibid. 

87- Chief of Staff ^ USA^ Memorandum for the Secretary of the Army^ 
Subject: Call -Up of Reserves and Program 6 Deployoaent^ dated 
Ik Mar 1968. 

88. Alain Enthoven^ Memorandujn for the Record^ 16 Mar 1968, 

89. Robert H. Phelps^ "More U.S. Troops Going to Vietnam/' New Y ork T im.es ^ 
17 1/Iar. 1968^ p. 1. 

90. John W. Finney^ "Third of House Wants Review of War Policy_j " 
■ ^ York Times , I9 Mar. 1968^ po 32. 

91. Muriel Dubbin, ^^War Foes Censored by Johnson," Baltiiaore Sun , 
19 Mar. 1968, p, lo 

92. StLxart H. Loory, 

93 o Charles W. Corddry, 'Vestmoreland Attains Ho. 1 Goal," Baltimore Sun , 
23 l^r. 1968, pp. 1, 25. 

9li-. ' Assistant Secretary of Defense (Systems Analysis), Memorandum for 

Secretary of Defense, Subject: Prog-ram 7^6 Sujnmary Table (Tentative) 
(U), dated 23 Mar. I968, (TS). ■ 

95 o Miirray l-lardes, "General Abrams, LBJ Confer on Vietnam," W ashington 
Post, 27 Mar. I968, p. 1; Neil Sheehan, "Gen. Abrams in Capitol, Sees 
President and Aides," New York Times , March 27, I968, p. 2, 

96. Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff for Military Operations, Memorandum 
for Chief of Staff, U,S. Army, Subject: MA.CV Requirements, undated, (S) 

97. Joint Staff, Pacific Division, J-3, Subject: mCV Troop List, Program 
6 Add-On, dated 28 March I968. Corrected 5 April I968. 

98 ' D^p^rtment of State Message 139^31, 30 March I968 (TS-NODIS LITEMLLY 
I I . E^S ONLY, FOR AIvIEASSADOR- OR CHARGE). 

Qo. Remarks of the President to the Nation, March 3I, 1968. 



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100. Deputy Secretary of Defense, Memorandum for Secretaries of the 
Military Departments, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, 
Assistant Tecretaries of Defense, Subject: Southeast Asia 
Deployment Program #6(11), dated k April 1968(s). 

it 101. White House Press Release, 3 April 1968- 



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