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Declassified per Executive Order 13526, Section 3.3 
NND Project Number: NND 63316. By: NWD Date: 201 1 

IV.C Fvolution of the War (26 Vols.) 
Direct Action: The Johnson Commitments, 1964-1968 

(16 Vols.) 
8. Re-emphasis on Pacification: 1965-1967 

Declassified per Executive Order 13526, Section 3.3 
NND Project Number: NND 63316. By: NWD Date: 201 1 








Sec (I 

Declassified per Executive Order 13526, Section 3.3 
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!■ M"iv.'c7 8.;- 


1965 - 1967 


Sec Def Cont ELr. X- 


Declassified per Executive Order 13526, Section 3.3 
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Declassified per Executive Order 13526, Section 3.3 
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IV. Co 11. 

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The United States Re-Eisphasizes Pacification - 196^ to Present 

An Examination of a Major Trend in our Effort 

' By the suimer of 1967, pacification had become a major ingredient 
of American strategy in Vietnam^ growing steadily in importance and the 
amount of resources devoted to it. The U.S. Mission in Vietnam had been 
reorganized three times in 15 months and each reorganization had been 
designed primarily to improve the management of the pacification effort 
and raise its priority within our overall effort. 

Pacification -- or as it is sometimes called by Americans, Revolu- 
tionary Development (RD) -- had staged a comeback in priority from the 
days in 196^1- and I965 when it was a program with little emphasis, 
guidance, or support. It has by now almost equalled in priority for the 
Americans the original priority given the Strategic Hamlet program in 
I962-I963, although the Vietnamese have not yet convinced many people 
that they attach the same importance to it as we do. 

This study traces the climb in pacification's importance during the 
last two years, until it reached its present level of importance, with 
further gro-^rth likely. 

This study concentrates on American decisions, American discussions, 
American papers. It will be clear to the reader that, if this version 
of events is accurate, the Vietnamese played a secondary role in the 
move to re-emphasize pacification. It is the contention of this paper 
that this was indeed the case, and that the Americans v^ere the prime 
movers, in the series of events which led to the re-emphasis of pacifica- 
tion. This study does not cover many important events, particularly the 
progress of the field effort, the CIA-backed PAl/Cadre program, and GW 

The process by which the American governjnent came to increase ios 
sup-DOrt for pacification is disorderly and haphazard. Individuals like 
Ambassador Lodge and General Walt and Robert Kcmer, seem in retrospect 
to have played important roles, but to each participant in a story still 
unfolding, the sequence may look different. Therefore, it is quite 
possible that things didn't quite happen the way they are described here, 
and someone else, whose actions are not adequately described in the files 
available for this study, was equally important. 

IJoT was there anything resembling a conspiracy involved. Indeed, 
the proponents of what is called so loosely in this paper "pacification" 
were often in such violent disagreement as to what pacification meant 

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that they quarreled publicly among themselves and overlooked their 
common interests. At other times, people vho disagreed strongly on 
major issues found themselves temporary allies with a coFimon objectxve. 

Moreover, there is the curious problem of the distance between 
rhetoric and reality. Even during the dark days of I96U-I965, most 
Americans paid lip service, particularly in official, on the record 
statements, to the ultimate importance of pacification. But their 
public affirmation of the cliches about "winning the hearts and minds 
of the people" vrere not related to any programs or priorities then in 
existence in Vietnam, and they can mislead the casual observer. 

The resurgence of nacification was dramatically punctuated by 
three Presidential conferences on Pacific islands with the leaders of 
the GVIT -- Honolulu in February, 1966, Manila in October, 1966 (with 
five other Chiefs of State also present), and Guam in March, 1967. 
After each conference the relative importance of pacification took 
another leav upward within the U.S. Government - reflecting a success- 
ful effort within the U.S. Governraent by its American proponents — and 
the U.S. tied the GVM onto Declarations and Communiques which committed 
them to greater effort. 


In addition, each conference was followed by a major re-organiza- 
tion within the U.S. Mission, designed primarily to mprove our m^anage- 
ment of the pacification effort. After Honolulu, Deputy Ambassador 
Porter was given broad new authority to run the civilian agencies. 
After Manila Porter was directed to re-organize the components of USIA, 
CIA and AID internally to create a single Office of Civil Operations 
(OCO) And after Guam, OCO - redesignated as CORDS - was put under 
the control of General Westmoreland, who was given a civilian deputy with 
the personal rank of Ambassador to assist him. 

The low priority of pacification in 1965 vas the understandable 
' result of a situation in which battles of unprecedented size were tak- 
ing place in the highlands and along the coast, the air war was moving 
slowly north towards Hajioi, and the GW was in a continual state of 
j 1 , disarray. 

But a series of events and distinct themes were at work which would 
■ . converge to give pacification a higher priority. They were to meet at 

! the Honolulu conference in February, I966. 


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I. Threads That Met At Honolulu 

A. Hop Tac 

The first was the hold-over program from I96U-I965 -- pacification's 
one priority even then, the Hop Tac program. It had been suggested first 
by Lodge on his way home from his first Ambassadorship , and Taylor and 
Westmoreland had given it recognition as a high priority program. Although 
Westmoreland judged it repeatedly as a partial success , it appears now to 
have been a faultily conceived and clumsily executed program. It was con- 
ceptually unso"and, lacked the support of the Vietnamese, created disagree- 
ments within the U.S. Mission which were never resolved, and then faded 
away. So unsuccessful was it that during its life span the VC were able 
to organize a regiiaent -- I65A -- in the Gia Dinh area surrounding Saigon, 
and thus forced MACV in late I966 to commit three U.S. infantry battalions 
to Operation FAIRFAX to protect the capital. No one analyzed Hop Tac 
before starting FAIPvEAX. With the beginning of FAIRFAX, Hop Tac was buried 
quietly and the United States proceeded to other matters. 

B. Ambassador Lodge and the True Believers 

Henry Cabot Lodge returned as Ambassador in August of 1965^ sjid im- 
mediately began to talk of pacification as "the heart of the matter." In 
telegrams and Mission Council meetings, Lodge told the President, the GVN, 
and the Mission that pacification deserved a higher priority. Because he 
saw himself as an advocate before the President for his beliefs rather 
than as the overall manager of the largest overseas civil-military effort 
in American history, ^ Lodge did not try, as Ambassador Max^-^ell Taylor had 
done, to devise an .integrated and unified strategy that balanced every 
part of our effort. Instead, he declared, in his first month back in Viet- 
nam (September, I965), that "the U.S. military was doing so well now that 
we face a distinct- possibility that VC main force units will be neutralized, 
and VC fortresses destroyed soon," and that therefore we should be ready to 
give pacification a new push. While his involvement was irregular and 
inconsistent. Lodge did nonetheless play a key role in giving pacification 
a boost. His rhetoric, even if vague, encouraged other advocates of paci- 
fication to speak up. The man he brought with him, Edward Lansdale, gave 
by his very presence an implicit boost to pacification. 

C. The III Marine Amphibious Force 

Meanwhile, to their own amazement, the Marines were discovering that 
the toughest war for them was the war in the villages behind them near 
the Da Nang air base, rather than the war against the main force, which 
had retreated to the hills to build up. In the first 12 months of their 
deployment, the Marines virtually reversed their em.phasis, turning away 

* No other American Ambassador has ever had responsibility and authority 
even close to that in Saigon; only military commands have exceeded it 
in size. 

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from the enemy to a grueling and painfully slow effort to pacify the 
villages of the central coast in their three TAORs. It was a job that 
Americans were not equipped for, and the Marine effort raised some basic 
questions about the role of U.S. troops in Vietnam, but nonetheless, the 
Marines began to try to sell the rest of the U.S. Government on the 
success and correctness of their still unproved strategy. The result 
was a major commitment to the pacification strategy by a sei^ice of the 
U.S. Armed Forces, and influence on the other services, particularly the 
Army. . 

D* Washington Grimibles About The Effort 

When Lodge was Ambassador, there was widespread concern about the 
management of the Mission. Lodge was admittedly not a manager. This 
concern led to a major conference at Warrenton in January of I966, dur- 
ing which increased emphasis on pacification and better organization 
within the U.S. Mission were the main topics. Improving the Washington 
organizational structure was raised, but not addressed candidly in the 
final report; Washington seemed far readier to tell Saigon how to reorganize 
than to set their own house in order. But Warrenton symbolizes the growing 
dissatisfaction in Washington with the Mission as it was. 


E. Presidential Emphasis on the "Other War" and Press Reaction 

Finally, there was the need of the President, for compelling domestic 
political reasons, to give greater emphasis to "the other war." With the 
first full years of major troop commitment ending with victory not yet in 
sight, there was a growing need to point out to the American public and to 
the world that the United States was doing a great deal in the midst of 
war to build a new Vietnam. While this eraphasis did not necessarily have 
to also become an emphasis on pacification, it did, and thus the President 
in effect gave pacification his personal support — an act which was 
acutely felt by Americans in Vietnam. 

F. Meanwhile, Back at the War ... 

A summary of the MACV Monthly Evaluations and other reports is con- 
tained here, showing how the U.S. command saw its own progress. The 
simimary suggests that MACV foresaw heavy fighting all through I966, and 
did not apparently agree with Ambassador Lodge's predictions and hopes 
that a major pacification effort could be started, but the issue was not ■ 
analyzed before decisions were made. 

II. Honolulu 

A. The Conference - February 1966 

The details of the working sessions at the Honolulu conference do 
not appear, in retrospect, to be nearly as important on the future 

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emphasis on pacification as the public statements that came out of 
Honolulu, particularly the Declaration itself. The discussions and 
the Declaration are summarized, including the President's final re- 
marks in plenary session. 

B* Public Impact . . . 

The press reaction to the conference is summarized. 

III. Honolulu to Manila 

A. Saigon; Porter in Charge 

The first reorganization now took place , and Deputy Ambassador Porter 
•was put in direct charge of the civilian agencies. His responsibility and 
his ability to carry out his responsibility were not equal from the outset, 
and Porter saw his role in different terms than those in Washington who 
had given him his difficult task. A major problem was the lack of fiill 
support that Porter received from Ambassador Lodge, who had never been 
fully in favor of the reorganization. Another problem was the lack of a 
parallel structure in Washin^on, so that Porter foxind himself caught 
between the Washington agencies and their representatives in Saigon, with 
Komer (see below) as a frequent participant. Nonetheless, Porter accom- 
plished a great deal in the months this arrangement lasted; it just wasn't 
as much as Washington sought. 

B. Wa shin^on; Komer As The Blo-yrborch 

In Washington, the President selected a McGeorge Bundy deputy, 
R. W. Komer, to be his Special Assistant on non-military activities in 
Vietnam. Komer did not have the same kind of authority over the Washing- 
ton agencies that Porter, in theory, had over the Saigon extensions. 
Komer pushed pacification hard, and became the first senior official, 
with apparently ready access to the President, who put forward the pro- 
pacification position consistently in high level meetings. His mandate 
was contained in a loosely worded HSAM, 3^3 ? dated March 28, I966. During 
the simmier of 19^6, Komer applied great pressure to both the Mission and 
the Washington agencies (thus earning from Ambassador Lodge the nickname 
of "Blowtorch"), with a series of cables and visits to Vietnam, often 
using the President's name. 

C. Study Groups and Strategists: Summer I966 

With Porter and Komer in their new^ roles, a series of Task Forces" 
and Study Groups began to produce papers that gave a better rationale 
and strategy to pacification. These included the Army study called PROVN, 
the Priorities Task Force in Saigon, and the Roles and Missions Study 
Groups in Saigon. At the same time, Westmoreland, w;hose year end wrap- 
up message on January 1, I966, had not even mentioned pacification, sent 


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in a new long range strategy which emphasized pacification^ to Lodgers 
pleasui-e. MACV also produced a new position on revamping MYEy and 
briefed the Mission Council on it in August, I966. The Honolulu em- 
phasis vras "beginning to produce tangible results on the U.S. side. 

D. The Single Manager 

Despite the movement described in the above three sections, Wash- 
ington wanted more, and was not satisfied with the rate of progress. 
Komer, therefore, in August of I966 had produced a long paper which 
offered three possible changes in the management structure of the 
Mission. They were: (l) put all pacification responsibility and assets, 
including MACV Advisors, under Porter; (2) reorganize the civilian struc- 
ture to create a single office of operations, and strengthen MACV in- 
ternally, but leave the civilians and the military split; (3) give 
Westmoreland full pacification responsibility. The Mission rejected all 
these ideas, offering in their stead the proposal that Washington leave 
Saigon alone for a while, but the pressiure for results and better manage- 
ment was too great, and the inadequacies of the Mission too obvious, to 
leave it alone. Secretary Md^amara weighed in at this point with a draft 
Presidential memorand-um proposing that Westmoreland be gi^-en responsibility 
for pacification. Komer and JCS concurred in it, but State, USIA, AID, 
and CIA nonconcurred. McNamara, Katzenbach, and Komer then went to Saigon 
to talie a look at the situation* When they returned, Katzenbach, new to 
the State Department and previously uninvolved in the problem, recommended 
that Porter be told to reorganize the civilians along the lines previously 
discussed (similar to Komer ^s Alternative Number 2). The President agreed, 
discussing it with Lodge and Westmoreland at Honolulu. But he added a 
vital warning: he would give the civilians only about 90 to 120 days to 
make the new structure work, and then would reconsider the proposal to 
transfer responsibility for pacification to I^CV- 

E. The Manila Conference 

The decision had not yet been transmitted to Saigon, but it had been 
made. At Manila, with six other heads of state in attendance, the dis- 
cussion turned to other matters. At Manila, in the final Declaration, 
the GVN announced that they would commit half the armed forces to secur- 
ing operations in support of pacification/RD . This had previously been 
discussed, but it was the public commitment that really mattered, and now 
it was on the record. . •' 


A. OCO on Trial: Introduction 

The Office of Civil Operations was formed, creating confusion and 
resentment among the agencies, but also marking an immediate and major 

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step foi-vard. The example of the civilians moving at this pace also 
created pressure and conflict within MACV, which was for the first time 
confronted with a strong civilian structtire. The GM indicated that it 
■understood and approved of the new structure. 

B. OCO on Trial; Too Little Too Late -- Or Not Enough Time? 

• Although it was slower than Washington desired^ OCO did get off to 
a start in December of I966. Wade Lathram, who had been USAID Deputy 
Director, was chosen to head up OCO --a choice that was unfortunate, 
because Lathram, a skilled and cautious bureaucrat, was not the kind of 
driving and dynamic leader that OCO -- in a brink of disaster situation 
from its inception — needed. 

Even worse, Porter was almost immediately diverted from OCO to pay 
more attention to other matters. While the planners had hoped that 
Porter would take OCO in hand and give Lathram direct giaidance, instead 
he left Lathram in control of OCO and was forced to turn his attentions 
to rionning the Mission, during a long vacation (one month) by Lodge. 

The most dramatic action that was taken was the selection of the 
Regional Directors, a move which even attracted newspaper attention. 
They included Henry Koren, formerly Porter's deputy; John Paul Vann, 
the controversial former MACV advisor; and Vince Heymann of the CIA. 

Slowly, the OCO then turned to picking its province representatives. 
All in all, OCO accomplished many things that had never been done before; 
given time it could no doubt have done much more. But it was plagued 
from the outset by lack of support from the agencies and their represen- 
tatives in Saigon, and Washington made higher demands than could be met 
in Saigon. 

C. Time Runs Out 

It is not clear when the President made the decision to scrap OCO. 
He conffiaunicated his decision to his field commanders at Guam, but there 
was a two-month delay before the decision was announced publicly or dis- 
cussed with the GVN. 

D. The CORDS Reorganization , . 

As Bunker took over the Mission, there was a considerable turnover 
in key personnel. Bunker asked Lansdale and Zorthian to stay on, but 
Porter, Habib, Wehrle, all left just as Locke, Kcmer, Calhoun, Cooper, 
and General Abrams all arrived. 

In the new atmosphere, Komer took the lead, making a series of recom- 
mendations which maintained the civilian position within MACV, and 
Westmoreland accepted them. 

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An example of Komer's influence was the question of the role of the 
ARYF divisions in the RD chain of conmiand, and here Westmoreland took 
Komer's suggestion even though it meant a reversal of the previous MACV 

E. The Mission Assessment as GOKDS Begins 

The situation inherited by CORDS vas not very promising. Measure- 
ments of progress had "been irrelevant and misleading, and progress by 
nearly all standards has been slow or nonexistent. At this pointy the 
study of CORDS and pacification becomes current events. 

" " ^ 


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A. Hop Tac 1 

. E. Ambassador Lodge and the "True Believers" 8 

C. Ill Marine Amphibious Force I6 

D. Washington Grumbles About the Effort 20 

E. Presidential Emphasis on "The Other War" and 

Press Reaction <, 28 


E. Meanwhile^ Back at the War 32 

II. HONOLULU o . 36 

A. The Conference - February I966 36 

B. Impact on Public in US, on US !-Iission in Vietnam^ 

and on Vietnamese " k^ 


A. Saigon: Porter in Charge 53 

B. Washington: Komer as the Blo^rtorch 62 

C» Study Groups and Strategists : Summer I966 7^ 

D. The Single Manager 9I 

E. The Manila Conference o II6 


A. OCO on Trial: Introduction ., II9 

B. OCO on Trial: Too Little Too Late --Or Not 

Enough Time? 122 

C. Time Runs Out. 127 

Do The CORDS Reorganization • 132 

E. The Mission Assessment as CORDS Begins 135 

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I. T hreads that Met at Honolulu 
A. Hop Tac 

While pacification received a low emphasis during troubled 196^-1965? 
there was one important exception: the Hop Tac program, designed to put 
"whatever resources are required" into the area stirrounding Saigon to 
pacify it. The area was chosen by Ambassador Lodge in his last weeks as 
11 Ambassador in June, 196^, and Hop Tac deserves study because both its 

failures and limited achievements had many of the characteristics of our 
J ' ]_ater pacification efforts -- and because, like all pacification efforts, 

' there was constant disagreement vrithin the Mission, the press, and the 
Vietnamese as to how well the program was doing. 

' Hop Tac "- an intensive pacification effort in the provinces ringing 

Saigon -- was formally proposed at a high level strategy session in 
Honolulu in July of 196^4 by Lodge, then on his way home from his first 
assi'^nment as Ambassador. In a paper presented to Secretaries Rusk and 
McEamara and incoming /onbassador Taylor at Honolulu (dated June 19, 19o^) , 
Lodge wrote: 

"A combined GVIT-US effort to intensify pacification efforts 
in critical provinces should be made.., The eight critical pro- 
vinces are: Tay Hinh, Binh Duong, Hau Nghia, Long An, Dinh Tuong, 
Go Cong, Vinh Long, end Quang Ngai. Top priority and ma^xiiuvja 
effort should be concentrated initially in the strategically 
imx)ortant provinces nearest to Saigon, i.e.. Long an, Hau Nghia, 
and Binh Duong. Once real progress has been made in these^pro- 
vinces, the same effort should be made in the five others. "i/ 

General Taylor and General Westmoreland began Hop Tac, setting up 
a new and additional headquarters in Saigon which was supposed to tie 
together the overlapping and quarrelsome commands in the Saigon area. 
TheVietnamese set up a parallel, "counterpart" organization, although 
critics of Hop Tac were to point out that the Vietnamese Hop Tac head- 
quarters had virtually no authority or influence, and seemed primarily 
designed to satisfy the /jaericans. (ironically. Hop Tac is the Viet- 
namese word for "cooperation," which tui^ned out to be ^ust what Hop Tac 

Hop Tac had a feature previously missing from pacification plans: 
it sought to tie together the pacification plans of a seven-province 
■ area (expanded f-om Lodge's thjree provinces to include the adjacent pro- 
vinces of Phuoc Tuy, Bien Hoa, Phuoc Thanh, and Gia Dinh, which surroimd" 
Saigon like a doughnut) , into a plan in which each province subordinated 
its own priorities to the concept of building a "giant oil spot" around 
Saigon. In a phrase which eventually became a joke in the Mission, the 
American heading the Hop Tac Secretariat at its inception. Colonel 

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i ^ Jasper Wilson, briefed senior officials on the creation of "rings of 

steel" which would grow outward from Saigon until the area from the 

' Ce^hodian border to the South China Sea was secure. Then, according 

I . ■ to the plan. Hop Tac would move into the Delta and North. Colonel 

' Wilson ordered his staff to produce a phased plan in which the area (Map Ij 

^ to be pacified was divided into four circles around Saigon. Each rxng 

T^fl., to be pacified in four months, according to the original plan, which 
never heA any chance of success. But Wilson, under great pressure from 
his superiors, ordered the plan produced, got his Vietnamese counterparts 
to translate it, and issued it. The kickoff date for Hop Tac was to be 
September 12, I96U : the operation, a sweep into the VG-controlled pine- 
apple groves just west and southwest of the city of Saigon -- the VC 
base nearest to the city, which had not been entered by the GTO since 
the last outpost had been abandoned in I96O. 

The operation began on schedule, with elements of the 51st Regiment 
movinp toward their objective west of Saigon. During the second day of 
the operation, the unit ran into a minefield and took numerous casualoies. 
Shortly thereafter, instead of continuing the operation, , the unit broke 
off contact and, to the amazement of its advisors, turned back towards 
the city of Saigon. When nex^t located it was in the middle of Saigon 
participating in the abortive coup d ' etat of Septejuber 13, 1964. 

From that point on, Hop Tac was a constant soui^ce of dispute within 
the U S. Mission. Almost to a man, the civilian agencies "supporting 
J' „ Tac' felt that the program was unnecessary, repetitive, and doomed. 

Thev claimed that they preferred to work through existing channels, al- 
though these, in MACV's view, were inadequate. This view was not stated 
openly however, since the Ambassador and General Westmoreland had com- 
mitted' all U.S. agencies to full support. On October 6, I96U, for 
example General Taylor sent Washington an EXDIS cable in which he dis- 
cussed Lnd rejected a suggestion to decentralize the pacification effort, 
and instead listed several actions that the Mission would talie. First 
among these was a "unanimous recommendation" that the Mission "give full 
J support to Hop Tac Plan, assuring it the necessary priority to give it 

' _;rv chance to succeed. . .Vlhen Hop Tac priorities permit, concentrate on 

i _ 3g2.ected weak areas." 2/ Thus there was a reluctance to criticize the 

program directly. 

Deadlines slipped continually; phase lines were readjusted; the 
official count of "pacified" hamlets climbed steadily. But a special 
study of the area made in October, 196^1, by representatives of USOM, 
USIS, and MACV concluded: "Generally speaking. Hop Tac, as a program, 
does'not appear to exist as a unified and meaningful operation." 3/ 

• The official view of Hop Tac was that the new coordinating machinery 
was doin^ some good. Thus, during a period in which cables on the general 
situation were rather gloomy. Ambassador Taylor could tell the President 


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EI3 Zone 'A' 
C3 .Zone'B* 

L„J Zone'C 

i ! 

LJ Zone'D' 



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in his -weekly KODIS that -while "pacification progress throughout the 
rest of Vietnam was minimal at best, largely because of the political 
climate. . .Some fovYfaxd movement occiirred. in the Hop Tac effort growing 
out of U.S. Mission discussions with the Prime Minister on September 25. 
The number of operating checkpoints in the Hop Tac area increased 
markedly; command areas were strengthened; available troop strength 
increased." h/ Minor statistical advances^ taken out of context, were 
continually being used in the above manner to prove overall progress. 

The MACV Command History for 196^ reflects the" official view: "At 
the end of I96U5 Hop Tac was one of the few pacification areas that 
showed some success and greater promise." _5/ But subsequent events in 
the area do not beajr out this view. In February of I966 for example -- 
18 m.onths after the birth of Hop Tac -- when the Hop Tac area was desig- 
nated as one of the four "national Priority Areas/' the briefers were 
unable to show Am-bassadors Lodge and Porter any progress in the preced- 
ing year. They could not even produce a plan for the coming year. 
Originally Hop Tac was focused on cleaning out the nearest VG base 
areas 5 but by February of 1966 -- with the GW unable to stop the growing 
VC build-up 5 the emphasis was "placed on lines of communications, with 
I special attention to be given vital installations including Bien Hoa and 

Tan Son Nhut air bases and ammunition and gasoline depots." 6/ The best 
the briefers could do, in the final briefing prior to the Honolulu 
Conference, was to say that they hoped to pacify 72 hamlets in the entire 
seven-province area, and "consolidate" ikk hamlets in Gia Dinh -•- which 
me'ant the hamlets ringing Saigon, including many which were really part 
of the city. Lodge and Porter were told that day "there has been a 
lessening of security in Hau ITghia and Gia Dinh provinces. RF and PF 
units generally are not up to authorized strengths. The new cadre pro- 
gram should be helpful in solving the problem of continued hamlet security 
after pacification. . .The I966 plan is not overly optimistic from a military 
standpoint." 7/ (The memorand-um recording of this meeting, made by a 

(member of General Lansdale's staff, shows as the only Ambassadorial gui- 
dance after this sobering report: "Maps dra^-m to depict progress of 
Rui-al Construction (Pacification) should show as the goal only that area 
to be pacified dxxring the year... The U.S. Mission manpower committee 
should look into the use of refugees in the national labor force.") 8/ 

The Vietnamese were cynical about Hop Tac; it was something, specu- 
lation ran, that General Khanh had to do to keep the 'Americans happy, but 
it was clearly an American show, clearly run by the United States, and 
the Vietnamese were reluctant to give it meaningful support. It was one 
of the first majc r programs with which the United States became publicly 
identified (since Diem had always kept the United States in as much of 
a background role as possible -- and its shortcomings were in part derived 
from this fact. 

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All through i^mbassador Taylor's tenure. Hop Tac was something on 
which he and the Mission Council pinned hope. General VJestmoreland 
thought the program had been reasonably successful, vhen he- told the 
Mission Council about Hop Tac's first year: 

"General Westmoreland said that while Hop Tac could be 
said only to have been about 5afo successful, it had londoubtedly 
averted a VC seige of Saigon." 9/ 

This same view was reflected in McGeorge Bundy's coroments in a memoran- 
dum to the President months earlier in February, 19^5 ^ when he said: 

"The Hop Tac program of pacification in this area has not 
been an unqualified success, but it has not been a failure, and 
it has certainly prevented any strangling seige of Saigon. We 
did not have a chance to form an independent. Judgment on Hop Tac, 
but we did conclude that whatever its precise measure of success, 
it is of great importance that this operation be pursued with full 
vigor. This is the current policy of the Mission." lO/ 


There were others who said that, as a matter of fact, Saigon was almost 
under seige and that the situation was deteriorating. Westmoreland's own 
headquarters, for example, sent to Washington in the June Mont lily Evalua- 
tion from MACV, the following statem^ent which seems to contradict West- 
moreland's optimism: 

"The sealing off of Saigon from surrounding areas, no 
matter how incomplete the sealing may be, has had and will 
continue to have serious economic as well as military effects." ll/ 

Shortly after he arrived in Vietnam for his second tour. Lodge asked for 
a private assessment of Hop Tac from an Embassy officer, who reported to 
htm in early September of 1965: 

"1. Hop Tac did not achieve its original goals primarily 
because they were completely unrealistic and did not 
take into account the difficulty of the task. These 
goals were set quite arbitrarily and with no regard 
for the available resources and the strength of the 

"2. The second reason for the failures of Hop Tac lies in 
its strategic concept. The idea of concentric circles 
outward from Saigon to be pacif:ed in successive waves 
of clearing, securing and developing may be sound in 
macroscopic tenas; when the Hop Tac area is looked at 
carefully, the viability of this strategy breaks down. 
The concentric phase lines around Saigon do not ade- 
quately take into account existing areas of GVN 
streng-th and existing Viet Cong base areas; rather 

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they coirnriit the GW to a continual expansionary effort 
on all sides of Saigon simultaneously, an effort which 
is beyond its capabilities. Above all^ they ignore the 
political structure of the area around Saigon. 

"3. The U.S. Mission has two broad courses of action avail- 
able in regard to Hop Tac, First, the Mission Council 
may feel that the area encompassed by Hop Tac remains 
the first pacification priority of the U.S. and the GW. 
If this is the considered judgment of the Mission Council, 
then we must seek ways of re-emphasizing, re-invigorating 
and reorienting Hop Tac in order to achieve a dramatic 
and sustained success in pacification. 

"i^-. There is an alternative open to the Mission Council. 
Perhaps it would be politically unwise to attempt to 
commit the GVII to re-emphasis of Hop Tac at this time. 
There are several facts which support this view: 

"A. The GVH has never considered Hop Tac its own plan 

and its o^m nimiber one priority. The staff planning 
J for the plan was done almost entirely by the United 

States J and then translated into Vietnamese. It is, 
' in the eyes of many Vietnamese, Hhe plan of the 

^ ' Americans. * 


"B. It is perhaps the most difficult area in the country 
in which to attempt pacification. Since it surrounds 
Saigon (but does not include it), every political 
tremor in the capital is felt in the neighboring 
area... the High Command has created chains of commajid 
in the area vrhich are clearly designed primarily to 
prevent coups, and only secondarily to pacify the 
countryside. Another example: in the last 11 months, 
2^- out of 31 district chiefs and five out of seven 
province chiefs have been changed. 

"C. Prime Minister Ky will never feel that Hop Tac is his 
plan. If he is seeking a major public triimiph, and 
intends to devote his attention to achieving that 

triumph, it is unlikely that he will choose Hop Tac, 
which as mentioned above, is publicly considered an 
American plan. Moreover, to the extent that any Viet' 
namese is publicly connected with Hop Tac, it is 
Nguyen Khanh. For this reason, more than any other, 
the dangers of re-emphasizing Hop Tac outweigh the 
possible gains..." 

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"The situation in the Hop Tac area will not collapse if 
Hop Tac is not revitalized now. With the available forces^ and 
particularly with the impending arrival of the 1st Infantry ' 
Division to take up a position across the southern arc of Zone D^ 
Saigon itself is not going to he threatened any more than it 
presently is. The threat -- which is substantial — comes from 
the enemy within, and the solution does not lie within the re- 
sponsibility of the Hop Tac Council: it is a problem for the 
Saigon police and intelligence commimities. This threat, serious 
as it is, is not directly affected by the presence of the Viet 
Cong's 506th battalion 20 miles away in Hau Nghia, nor by Zone D. 
The two problems can be dealt with separately, and solution of 
the internal security problems of Saigon are not contingent on 
■j the success of clearing Hau llghia and Long An." 12/ 

I . In an effort to reconcile these opposing vievrs about Hop Tac, Lodge 

I told the September 15 Mission Co-uncil that "the original reasons for the 

\ emphasis placed on the area surrounding Saigon. . .were still valid, pri- 

I uiarily because of the heavy density of population. Lodge noted, however, 

! " lack of a clear corra:iitment to Hop Tac on the part of the GVIT, possibly 

' ■ (i^e to the fact that the Vietnamese consider the program an American 

scheme. The view was also expressed that the trouble may also lie in 
US/GVT? differences over some fimdamental concepts in Hop Tac. Finally, 
Ambassador Lodge said it was essential that all interested American 
agencies be agreed on concepts and tactics before an approach to the GVN 
Q^ould be made." 13/ After this meeting, no significant action was taken, 
and the matter lapsed. 

I -- The importance of Hop Tac is still difficult to assess; it is in- 

V eluded here primarily because of its role as the one major pacification 

j program that was tried during the 196^-1965 period when pacification 

i was\ot receiving its present top-level emphasis. Ifhether or not it 

■ averted a seige of Saigon, as General Westmoreland claimed, is a seman- 

tic question: what constitutes a seige in a guerrilla war? Saigon, of 
course, never was under seige in the classic sense of the word, but it 
i : is hard to conceive of it ever being literally cut off as Lien Bien Phu 

or Makefing were -- this would not be a logical objective to the Viet 
r Cong, who wanted to put pressure on the capital but knew they couldn't 

seal it off (nor would have wanted to, since they got supplies from it). 

'What is important is that the failures of Hop Tac were never ade- 
quately reported and analyzed prior to embarking on other pacification 
efforts. Thus, at one point General Westmoreland told each of his Senior 
Corps Advisors to start a Hop Tac in his area -- a strange request since 
Hqp Tac was designed to pull together a m-ultiplicity of commands not 
duplicated in any other area. Each Corps naturally responded by pro- 
ducing plans which concentrated their pacification assets around the 
Corps headquarters --Da Nang, and Can Tho or, in the case of II Corps, 

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il , Q,i Khon. This in turn led natxzxally to the later National Priority Area 

^ program, tut had no other value. 

X^ithMACV reluctant to close do^m its Hop Tac Secretariat with the 
■ • ^^ll^AcTs giving HOT. Tac only verbal support, and wxth the . 

civilian Americj^s g o ^ ^^ ^^^ headquarters, Hop Tac could 

Vietnamese lea/ing ^1^°;^^^^ ^^ ^^^ ^orrml chain of comand, as so 

,.ell h-^^^^^^;^^,;^^S sSJ-five in Vietnam hecause no one wants to a^it 
many outdated f^^^^^^^f "^^^l Westmoreland saw a way to dispose of Hop 
faf^l^anSrr^^ietS ^Hhf s^er of I966, and he too. it. At the 
Mission Council meeting of July 7, 19o6: 

■ • "General Westmoreland then turned to the subject of Hop 

Tac %e suimnarized the p^orpose of the Hop Tac concept which 
': 'implemented two years ago, and said that - while it has 
Inioved only modest success over the past two years --the 
sSuSion in the area surrounding Saigon/Cholon would be com- 
Sratively worse if we had not had the Hop Tac arrangement. . 
Se notid that recent organizational changes have taien place, 
which have resulted in the Capital Military Region becoming 
Se capital Military District (as part of the III Corps Tac- 
tical Zope) with Saigon remaining as an autonomous city. In 
view of thLe changes, there is some question of the veaidity 
of continuing with the original concept. More importantly, 
Til Corns has a Revolutionary Development Council and a Hop 
Tac Cou:kcil which results in some duplication of effort. 
ConseqSntly, the General believes that these two councils 
sSould be merged, with the Revolutionary Development Council 
absorbing the Ho^ Tac Council. General Westmoreland asked 
Se MiSfon council to endorse this proposal for him to carry 
out. After brief discussion, Ambassador Lodge indicated his 
approval." ih / 

Bv this time Hop Tac had long lost the "highest priority" which was 
supposed to justify it, and both the American and the Vietnamese nad 
turned to other matters. 

But HOP Tac was not adequately analyzed before embarking on other 
efforts Z ifs shortcomings were largely forgotten by the time that 
f ^tid^eteriorating situation in Gia Dinh led VACY to commit three 
the ^f ^-^^;'^'°^J3 ^o the inner area surrounding Saigon - the original 
U.S. Ariny battalions to the inn^ Operation Fairfax in November of 

f^e ^n^Mfssfo^n, Sth n^iistitutioLl memory forgot - or never 
ifar^ed -- the lessons that Hop Tac could have offered. 

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B. A mbas_sador Lodge and the "True Believers" 

Many senior Merican officials have paid varying degrees of lip . 
service to the pacification effort since I962 -- a fact \jh±ch malces it 
extremely hard to determine vho really pushed pacification and who 
didn't. But about Ambassador Lodge, there can "be little question. He 
had repeatedly called pacification "the heart of the matter," and his 
unfailing belief in the importance of the effort can be clearly shown 
in his public aJid private statements and his cables. 

His emphasis on pacification resxomed the day he returned to Saigon 
in August 1965, when in his arrival statement he said that the United 
States supported the "true revolution" of the Vietnamese people. His 
continual emphasis on the effort seems to have had a definite impact on 
the mood in Washington and in the Mission, and played a role in the events 
leading up to the Honolulu Conference in February I966 -- where pacifica- 
tion was given (or so it seemed to Americans and Vietnamese alike in 
Vietnam) the President's blessing. 

It is true that Ambassador Taylor also felt that pacification was 
important and that it would deserve high emphasis; his push on Hop Tac 
clearly demonstrates this fact. But because Max\^^ell Taylor saw that it 
was his responsibility as Ambassador to reconcile competing requirements 
for limited resources, and develop a single overall strategy for the 
effort, he never let pacification consume too many resources prematurely. 
Lodge, on the other hand, did not see himself as an administrator or 
manager of the U.S. Mission, but as the President's personal representa- 
tive and advisor in Saigon. Thus, he felt no qualms about advocating a 
certain course of action -- in this case, pacification. There is no 
record of Ambassador Lodge worrying about the way his latest proposals 
would affect the balance of the whole effort. He simply did not see him- 
self as responsible for the actions of the operating agencies which 
represented AID, USIA, and the CIA, let alone DOL, in Vietnam ^ -- not 
even after receiving a strong letter of authority from President Johnson 

in July of 1965: 15/ 

"As you take charge of the American effort in South 
Vietnam, I want you to have this expression of my confidence, 
and a reaffirmation of my desire that as Ambassador you exer- 
cise full responsibility for the work of the United States 

■X- See for example, Lodge's HOBIS to the President, February 1, 19^6, in 
which he said: ."...I have learned of Zorthian's wire to Marks, which, 
of course, he has the right to send, since I hold that Zorthian, like 
U.S. agency chiefs here, has and should have an open channel to his 
agency. It is a statement of Zorthian's opinion which, of course, was 
sent without my approval or direction..." 16/ (The subject was apparently 
a suggestion that Lodge address the United Hations General Assar.bly in 
Hew York, although Lodge's cable cited does not explicitly state what 

Zorthian's cable said.) 


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Government in South Vietnam. In general terms this authority 
r "^ is parallel to that set forth in my letter to Ambassador Taylor 

of July 2, 196)4." ^ 17/ _ 

Given his belief in the fundamental importance of the pacification 
effort, Lodge was ready to push it at any time he could. He did not 
examine the possibility that certain times were more favor?ble than 
others for an effort which needed the full participation of the Viet- 
namese in order to succeed, and, like many in the government, failed 
to' see that at certain tiiaes emphasis on pacification would not only 
not work but would be harmful to GVN/US relations, and would reduce 
the chances for a successful joint effort at some more propitious time. 

Thus, it is not surprising tha.t one of his last major documents at 
the end of his first tour as i\mbassador proposed Hop Tac (see I. A.) -- 
in the face of strong possibilities that the situation was not favorable 
to it -- and that on his return in August 1965 he was advocating more 
I effort in pacification. 

Thus for example, meeting with his senior officers one month after 
he arrived, Lodge "began the meeting by stating that in his opinion the 
United States military was doing so well not that 'we face a distinct 
possibility that VC main force units will be neutralized and that VC 
fortresses will be destroyed soon. We should be ready to handle the VC 
in small units. This gives counter-subversion/terrorism or pacification 
or counterinsurgency — I am not overly concerned with what we call it -- 
a new urgency for all of us here . ' " 18 / 

It is likely that if Lodge had clarified his view of pacification 
and repeated it continually in public and privately, as he did with 
anything he believed in, his view would eventually have taken hold in 
the United States Mission. But the problem of how pacification should 
work was — and is -- a very difficult one. It raises a number of ex- 
tremely difficult questions on which the United States Government has 
never reached a unified position. 

Sensing that Lodge was receptive to ideas which emphasized pacifica- 
tion but that he had no set views on details, many groups and individuals 
besies^ed hici with a resurgence of ideas and philosophies on pacification. 
They were all encouraged by his verbal support or his glowing cables to 
Washington. The whole atmosphere in the Mission became more favorable 
towards pacification and pacifiers; Lansdale, Colonel Serong (the 
Australian who was to organize the Police Field Force with support from 

The letter to Taylor had said, among other points: "I wish it clearly 
understood that this overall responsibility includes the whole mili- 
tary effort in South Vietnam and authorizes the degree of command and 
control that you consider appropriate." 

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Tr^Aa^) Sir Robert Thompson (whose Malayan experiences had led hijn to 
Lodge), Sir KODe ^^^^^^^ Bohannon (who began as a Lansdale deputy, 

^uf^ho^: :• .si S a. different line), the Marines (with their pacifi- 
cation "f^orts and CAP's near. Da Eang) , the CIA (which produced vxth 
?I^tp^s strong svpport, the PAT's-turned RD cadre), USIA and AID (with . 

SeS LalibSt gfowing field P-^^^^) ' .f ^^Se^ul^^Sh'lnfa^t^y 
iu+^ hut elicited from Lodge on visits to the U.S. 25th Intantry 
g?? sion^a^d tSith! ist infantry Division some of his longest and 
most glowing accounts of pacification in action. 19/) 

These grou-os and individuals fought about details, sometimes 

debating minor points like medieval monks but also disagreeing on 

ffZTl^Tc points - such as whether the object was to gam the 

""o^ lit ion's support or to control them by force. (A popular Marine 
population ssuppor ^^^^_ „^^^ ^^_^ ^^^^^^ ^^ ^^^ 

^Slf'aM their hearts aid'minds wi!l follow.") But each group fotmd 
somethinf that a.uealed to Lodge, .and each in turn gained encouragement 
from hl^! The slow chaiage in mood also affected Washington. 

Tn dealing with his role in the re-emphasis of pacification, we 
m..<;t distinguish between Lodge's influence on our overall, or grand, 
stratefff- Sn which he was ultimately to have considerable impact -- 

fhif influence on the operational details of the policy. The latter 
^, not Stere t him on a continuing basis, ^d it is thus easy to under- 
PstiSate his influence. There was, for exaxaple, a tendency in Saigon 
^urSg his Ambassadorship to minimize his importance, since each agency 
^S igiorrhim when he told them to do something and usually get away 

+ h it But "this pomlar view overlooked Lodge's impact in encourag- 
"^t.ll' sorts of people to emerge from parts of the USG with renewed 
i ^. for ^IcJffcafioL It overlooked the impact of his cables a^d state- 

nts which added up to a massive endorsement of pacification. In his 
Sis'wiSlles to the President, for example, pacification receives more 
attention than any other subject. 

Alone, Lodge could have done little, if anything to move the USG 
ground But his influence seems clear, more so in retrospect than at 
Sniiie: at a tiane when frustrations were growing, he was emphasizing 
a different rhetoric and strategy. 

The best way to show his emphasis is simply to quote from the 
.phles ajad memoranda of the period. Each one shows Lodge, either 
directly or indirectly, putting forth his general beliefs - sometimes 
^^"^^^.i^etorv They form an important part of the background to 
Sfolulif w?e;e pacification was to get its biggest push to that date: 

1 Lodge at the end of _hisJlrs t tour in Viet nam, defining 
^^^^Iflcation in his paper pro posing hoP Tac; 

"The first priority after the military have cleared an 
area is to bring about the selection of an able man for that area, 

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vho vill in turn go about creating a basically civilian 
ll counter-terrorist organization on the 'precinct level, or , 

equivalent thereof .. .Its prime purpose mil be, notaoly wxth 
Tiolice help, to create security for the local government and 
free it fro-^ all intimidation by going through the precinct 
with a fine -toothed comb... Once the local government feels . 
i, safer it should move energetically to promote public saJety 

II' - for the people; the people should then rally more to the 

■ sovernraent; and this should create an upward spiral as 
regards security organization. . .USOM and USIA vlll support 
these local 'precinct' organizations, will actually work 
through them, and ^cLll seek to make it attractive to be one_ 
of those who builds such a counter-terrorism precincu orgajiiza- 
tion The military should take special precautions m their 
operations not to injure in any way the non-combatants. It 
must also behave itself so well that the people like the 
Army..." 20/ 

2. L odge ' s Ten Poi n t Program for Succe ss : ~ ■ 

"In each city precinct and each rural hamlet immedi- 
ately adjacent to a thoroughly pacified city (l^, the _ 
smallest unit from a public safety standpoint) the following . 
program should be underta2ien in the follomng order: 

"1 Saturate the minds of the people with some socially 
I i conscious and attractive ideology, which is susceptible of 

' being carried out. 

"2 Organize the people politically with a hamlet chief 
and comikttee whose actions would be backed by the police or 
I -' ■ Se Slitary using police-type tactics. This committee should 

I . have representatives of the political, military, economic and 

social organizations and should have an executive who direcus. 

"3, With the help of the police or military, conduct a 
; census. 

; • "h. Issue identification cards. 

4 1 ii^^ Issue permits for the movement of goods and people. 

f , , "6, When necessary, hold a curfew. 

"7 Thanks to all these methods, go through each ham.let 
mth a fine-tooth comb to apprehend the terrorists. 

"8. At the first quiet moment, bring in agricultural 
experts, school teachers, etc. 

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"9, The hamlet should also "be orgsjiized for its own 
defense against small Viet Cong attacks. 

"10. After all these things have "been accomplished^ hold 
elections for local office." 21/ 

COM-IEl-iT- Lodge began his second tour as Mhassador vhere he had left 
^fTth^'year before. The above paper, which he also transmitted to the 
•President in a KODIS message, again represented no official U.S. 
Dosition After writing it and giving it to everyone in the Mssion, 
he let the matter drop, and thus the paper did not assume any official 
character Since nothing was changed in the procedures of the Mission, 
' and since the old criteria for pacification still applied unchanged, 

Lodge had, in typical fashion, failed to affect the operating Mission. 

3- The Assignment of Lansdale : 

"Handpicked group of about ten experienced counter- 
subversion/counter terrorism workers under direction of 
EdwaT-d G. Lansdale will be going to Saigon to provide 
Ambassador Lodge v/ith special operating staff in field of 
political action both at central level and also in connection 
vith rural programs." 22/ 

"rOMlffilMT- From the beginning, there was misunderstanding over Lansdale 's 
^SlTI^'Lodge's anbassy. The first cable reflects this. The phrase 
'•counter-subversion/counter -terrorism workers," seems to contradict the 
latter part of the sentence, about "political action." From the start 
Lodge wanted him to "get pacification going." Thus, less than a 
month later, Lodge told the President: 

"I appointed Edward Lansdale, \Tifh his complete approval, 
to be chaiman of the U.S. Mission Liaison Group to the newly 
c-eated Vietnamese governiaental body having to do with what we 
call 'pacification,' what they call 'rural construction,' and 
what means to me socially conscious practical politics, the 
by product of which is effective co unter-subversion/ terrorism . 

■ f^:th3IIiht' it was important for all 'concerned for him to have a 
definite allocation where he would have the best chance of 

■ bringing his talents to bear. I trust that the hopes of some 
iournalists that he is here in an adversarial relationship 
with existing US agencies mil be nipped in the bud by making 
him the spokesman for the whole US Mission in this particular 
regard. " (underlining added) 23/ 


Thus another action which served to strengthen the pacification priority, 
although its primaiy reason probably was to get Lajisdale working on 
som.e thing other than Saigon politics. 

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It. Lodj^e on the Use of U.S. Troops in Pacification : 

"The presence of American troops does provide the oppor- 
timity for thorough pacification of the areas in which they are 
stationed and full advantage should tie taken of this oppor- 

{ -tunity It is a very big dividend from our investment of men 

and money. For example, the TMrd Marine .Division has scored 
impressive successes north, south, and west of Da Nang. . .If 
our Anerican troops can emulate this performance (of the proto- 
CAC units) of 60 Americans and I50 Vietnamese, we ought to get 
a tremendous amount of small unit nighttime effective pacifica- 
tion and we would be neglecting sja opportunity not to use 
American troops for this purpose, thereby pacifying the country 
and transforming the ARW, m.aking it into a much more vital and 
effective element of Vietnamese society, able at some not too 
remote date to carry on by themselves mthout outside help... 

i ■ We are already discussing with the Vietnamese the possibility 

of singling out areas that look like good prospects, that are 
potentially pretty much over on our side, and then pacifying 
them so as to get a little smell of across-the-board success in 
the air I am not ready to say, 'VJhat areas would be chosen 
for pacification, when should the plan be started, what objectives 

I . TOuld be best, ' but hope to be able to do so soon. I am now 

encouraging General Ky to concentrate GW efforts and enthusiasm 
on pacification so that this ceji have sustained, wholehearted 
GVW participation. . .Development of popular electoral processes 

* - is" part of all our current planning for counter subversion/ 

terrorism in 'i^iral construction (pacification)'." 24/ 

COmmm: Here, for the first time. Lodge addresses a key point: the 
T^T^ U S. troo-DS on pacification. The whole concept of the use .of 
. 5 S .troops was b^ing worked out during this period (see follomng 
, . 3;ction on Marines), and Lodge now began to weigh m with _ qualified , 

^ support, for the Marine approach, based on an overly optamnstic view of 
I the situation. , 

I; 5, T ^.sdale's Weekly Report, October k, 196^ : 

"Past week devoted to getting GVII into sound start again 
on pacification program. . .U.S. Mission Liaison Group shaping 
i ■ ' ■ up into realistic instrument for working level teamxrork on 
I , . pacification by all U.S. Missions..." 25/ 

* < Commi: Lansdale was responding to" the direction given him by Lodge. 

6. T,ndg e on the GVlM's Attitude Towards Pacification : 

"During my talk with C-eneral Co, the deputy Prime Minister 
in charge of six ministries, I was impressed by the am.ount of 


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sustained analytical thought vhich he, with his colleagues , had 
given to how to orgajiize the government for the great new job 
of pacification which confronts them -- a nd which is clearly 

their g overnment's most important sing le r esponsibility. " 26/ 

COMl-'EET'IT : Lodge had by this time let the GVTI know clearly what tune he 
wanted to hear, ajid with their usual skill the Vietnamese -- even 
General Co, who tiorned out to be worthless on pacification -- were 
playing the right song back. 

7. "When the chance to win over the people was missed some 
years ago, a situation came into being in which it was in- 
dispensable for the VG large units to be defeated before true 
coinmunity building, with its mixtvire of political and security 
measures, would be possible. Otherwise, the VC battalions, 
emerging from imtouchable sanctuaries, would destroy whatever 
community building had painstakingly been achieved. Now it 
looks as though the VC know this and has already begun to act 
on the knowledge, transforming themselves into small units and 
individual terrorists, and into subversive political operators." 27/ 

COlt'lENT: Lodge's sequence of events -- destroy the main force enemy 
■fJTst pacify second — is hard to argue with, but his assessment of 
VC capabilities and intentions falls short of accuracy. 

As a final note to the examination of Lodge's emphasis on 
-pacification, it is worthwhile asking why he has so consistently put 
such a high priority on the effort -- regardless of methodology -- to 
gain control of the villages. The answer may lie in his strong views 
on the way the war will end in Vietnam. Lodge doubted that there 
would ever be meaningful negotiations with the Viet Cong. An old hand 
at negotiating with the communists, Lodge felt that the most likely 
end to the war was for the enemy to "fadeaway" after a prolonged 
period of conflict. In his view, therefore, control of the population 
became the best way to force the fadeaway. Fortheimiore, in the event 
that there was some sort of pro forma discussions with the comm^onists 
at some future date. Lodge felt that there were certain minimum 
conditions of a "satisfactory outcome" which must be met. An examina- 
tion of his definition of a satisfactory outcome shows the overriding 
imnortance of the pacification effort in his mind. The following is 
from a telegram sent "For the President and the Secretary from Lodge" 
on October 21, I965, which Lodge considered one of his most important 

"Vlhat we consider a satisfactory outcom^e to be would, . 
of course, be a very closely kept secret. It v^ould include 
the following, not necessarily in this order: 

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. "1.. The area around Saigon and south, of Saigon (all 
of the Delta) must he pacified. This area includes about 

55 to Goio of the population of Vietnam. 'Pacified* is 
defined as the existence of a state of mind among the people 
that they have a stal^e in the goverm\ent j.s shovm hy the 
holding of local elections. It also means a proper local 
police force. In hrief, a pacified area is economically, 
socially, and politically a part of the RW. 

"2. The thickly populated northeastern strip along the 
coast vhich includes 2.% of the population would be com- 
- pletely pacified. 

"3. The (NE would retain its present control of all 
cities and all provincial capitals. 

'%. All principal roads would be open to the Vietnamese 
military day and night, 

"5. Those areas not pacified would not be safe havens 
for the'vC but would be contested by energetic offensive 
forays to prevent consolidation of a comraunist base. 

"6 The VC disarms; and their weapons and explosives 
-- are removed from their hands. Their main force units broken up. 

"7. North Vietnam stops its infiltration. 

"8. Chieu Hoi rehabilitation would be extended to indiv- 
idual VC who are suitable... 

"9. Hardcore VC to go to North Vietnam. 

"10. GVN to approve. 

r ■ "COMMENT: This means that we would not be insisting on the 

com-Dlete elimination of the VC although no sa:fe haven would be 

( ^ allocated them. It would mean that we and the GVIT would control 

I . 3q ^,o 85/0 of the population oxid. that the VC would be limited 

to the jungle and mountainous areas where they would go on as 
bandits, much as their counterparts in Malaya and Luzon -- and 

. ' ' where the GYE would have the right to pursue them and try to 

I j destroy thera." 28/ 

Lodgers fonuula for a satisfactory outcom^e is based on the absolute 
■ necessity of controlling the villages. In day-to-day terms this meant 
that as Ambassador, Lodge had to push pacification as hard as possible. 
j Thus' he was quite pleased T-rith the emphasis that came out of the 

.^ Honolulu conference in February of I966. - ' 

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' C. Ill Marine Amphibious Force 

To what extent the growing Marine emphasis on pacification was a factor 
during the period before the Honoliau conference is impossible to deter- 
' mineTtt^e timing and, evidence would suggest that the impact of the Marine 
strategy was greatest in the period after Honolulu, as they became more 
sure of the rightness of their approach, and as they garnered more and 
more publicity for it. Nonetheless, in the first eleven months of their 
mission in I Corps, the Marines had. gotten deeply into the pacification 
program. The Marines thus becajne the most vocal advocates within the Armed 
Forces for emphasizing pacification more, and search and destroy less. 

The Marine deployments and mission are covered in earlier decision 
studies in this series and will thus be treated only briefly here. The 
emphasis of this section is not on the influence the Marines had on the 
Honolulu conference, but on the way the Marines gradually moved into their - 
new role, and the difficulties with it. The material here applied, there- 
fore, equally to the pre- and post-Honolulu periods, throughout which the 
Marine successes, as they reported them, had a growing impact on the think- 
ing of civilian and military alike, in Saigon, CINCPAC, and Washington. 

The Marines landed, their first troops -- two Battalion Landing Teams -- 
in Da Nang in March of 1965. Their original mission, "to secure enclaves 
in the northern region of Vietnam containing air and communications in- 
|; . stallations", was simplicity itself." 29/ (From "U.S. Marine Corps Civic 
'""■ Action Efforts in Vietnam, March 1965-March I966, a study done by the USMC 

Historical Branch, SECEET; hereafter referred to as MC History; from un- 
paged draft.) 

By the time of 'the Honolulu conference the Marines -- by now organized 
into the III Marine Amphibious Force -- had changed their mission consider- 
ably, and to a degree then unequalled among other American units was deeply 
engaged in pacification operations. 

A monthly report issued by General Krulak, Commanding General, Fleet 
Marine Force, Pacific, indicates the evolution of Marine thinking on their 
mission. Reviewing the first seven months of their d,eploi'ment in I Corps, 
the Fleet Marine Force, Pacific, wrote in September, I965: 

"The Mission assigned III MAF was initially confined 
to airfield sectirity. Subsequently, a limited offensive 
responsibility was added, which has gradually grown to an 
essentially urxrestrained authority for offensive operations. 
Finally, and.' largely on its own . III MAF has entered the 
pacification program, with the bulk of its pacification 
efforts taking place since June." /Emphasis added/ 32/ 

One month later, after chronicling their successes, the report indicated ^ 
the major shift in strategic thinking which was taking place at General Walt s 
headquarters in Da. Nang, and at General Krulak' s in Hawaii: 

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"V/hile accomplishing all this the Marines were feeling, 
with growing impact, a cardinal counterinsurgency principle: 
that if local forces do not move in promptly behind the 
■ offensive effort, then first line forces must he diverted to 
provide the essential hamlet security, police and stabilization. 
The alternative is to risk the development of vacua, into which 
the VC guerrilla can flow. This condition grew during the 
period. The Popular Forces and police were inadequate in 
numbers and in quality to do their part of the job, as the 
Marines did theirs. This operated to complicate the Marines' 
problem by making the civic action effort more difficult, 
by permitting harassment of our forces, and by making possible 
a suicide attack on the Chu Lao and Marble Mountain areas. 

■ "The end of the period saw the 676 square mile III MAP 
area of influence miore stable, more prosperous, and far more " 
hopeful, but it saw also an urgent need for efficient regional 
or local forces to take up their proper burden, so the Marines 
can maintain the momentum of their search/clear/pacification 
efforts. It is plain that the most efficient way to bring this 
about is to give III MAP substantial authority over the EP or 
PP serving in th-is area, in order that they may be properly 
trained and properly led." 3l/ 

This s-ummaiy, written in the headquarters of the man often regarded as 
the philosopher of the Marine Corps, shovrs the Marines in the process 
of swinging their emphasis around -- turning away from the offensive 
against the enemy waiting in the nearby hills, and towards the people 
and the VC guerrillas among the people inside their TAOR. 

It was a crucial, difficult decision for the men who made it. 
Significantly, the indications are strong that the decision was made 
aOmost entirely inside Marine Corps channels, through a chain of 
command that bypassed COMUSMACV and the civilian leaders of our 
government, and ran from General Greene through General Krulak to 
General Walt. The files do not reveal discussions of the implications, 
feasibility, cost, and desirability of the Marine strategy among high- 
ranking officials in the Embassy, MACV headquarters, the Defense and 
State Departments. Yet in retrospect it seems clear that the strategy 
the Marines proposed to follow, a strategy about which they made no 
secret, was in sharp variance with the strategy of the other U.S. units 
in the country, with far-ranging political implications that could even 
affect the ultimate chances for negotiations. 

It should be clear that the Marine concept of operations has a 
different implicit time requirement than a more enemiy-oriented 
search and destroy effort. It is not mthin the scope of this paper 
to analyze the different requirements, but it does appear that the 
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"wringing out of the VC from the land like you wring water out of a 
sponge _,^' is slow and methodical^ requires vast numbers of troops^ 
runs the risk of turning into an occupation even while being called 
"pacification/civic action^" and involves Americans deeply in the 
politics and traditions of rural Vietnam. The strategy can succeed^ 
perhaps^ but if it is to succeed, it must be undertalcen with full 
awareness by the highest levels of the USG of its potential costs in 
manpower and time_, and the exacting nature of the work. Instead^ the 
documents suggest that the Marines determined their strategy basically 
on their o\my deriving part of it from their ovm traditions in the 
"Banana Republics" and China (where Generals ¥alt^ Krulak^ Nickerson^ 
and others had served in the 1930*s), and partly from an attempt to 
solve problem.s of an unprecedented nature which were cropping up 
inside their TAORs^ even on the ed^e of the great air base at Da Nang-. 

As it was^ the Marine strategy was judged successful_, at least 
by the Marines_, long before it had even had a real test. It was 
applauded by many observers before the VC had begun to react to It^ 
and as such_j encouraged imitators while it was still unproven. 

The Marine dilemma was how to support the pacification effort 
without taking it over. They thought they had succeeded in doing 
this by "self-effacing support for Vietnamese rural construction" 
after August of 19^5^ '^'^'^ there is much contradictory evidence on 
this point. The Marines themselves^ according to the classified 
historical study they recently produced_, understood that their pacifica- 
tion work had "to function through local Vietnamese officials. The 
tendency to produce Marine Corps programs or to work ^democratically' 
through individuals had to be strictly controlled. Only Vietnamese 
programs could be tolerated and support of these programs had to take 
place through Vietnamese governing officials..." 32/ 

But despite their good intentions to work through the existing 
GVN stru.cture_, the Marines found in many cases that the existing 
structure barely existed^ except on paper^ and in other cases that 
the existing structure was too slow and too corrupt for their require- 
ments. And gradually the Marines got more deeply into the politics 
of rural Vietnam than they had intended_, or presum-ably desired. 

Their difficulties were greatest in the area of highest priority _, 
the National Priority Area (as it was to be designated in October I965) 
south of Da Nang. In a nine -village complex ^just south of the air base^ 
the Marines urged upon the GVM successful completion of a special 
pacification program which had been designed by them in close conjunc- 
.tion with the Quang Nam Deputy Province Chief, The nine villages were 
divided into ti-ro groups _, and the first phase _, scheduled for completion 
first in Decem.ber of 19^5^ included only five of the villages^ with 
only 23^000 people living in them. By February^ 1966^ the plan had 
slipped considerably _, and the projected completion -date for the first 

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"^^^ - five villages was pushed "back to April, I966. The GVIM and the Marines 

considered their control to extend to over l6,000 of the 23,000 people 
in the area, but, according to an Emhassy evaluation of the area, only 
682 were young men between the ages of IT and 30. It was clear that 
\ the Marines were trying to pacify an area in which the young men no 

■ longer lived, having either been drafted, joined the VC, or gone to 
Da IMang to work for the i^nericans, "The basic problem posed by this 
II lack of manpower must be solved before the area can be expected to 

■ participate in its own defense," the Embassy report said. "Until it 

is solved, the Marines and the ARVN will remain tied to defensive 
I mission involving them vrL th the population. No one in Quang Nam sees 

I g^y iinmediate solution to this dilemma." The report concluded with a 

description of how over-involved with local politics the Marines were 
becoming, unintentionally, and said: 

"The plan, despite the valiant efforts of the Marines, .'■ 
is in trouble, caused by a confused and fragmented chain of 
command, a lack of skilled cadre, inability to recruit 
locally EE and PF -- and the open opposition of the WQJ)D." 33/ 

The WQJ3D, or Vietnam Q^oc Dan Dang, was the political party 
controlling the provinces of Quang Ngai, Quang Nam, and Quang Tin, 
The Marines knew little about them, although, according to the study, 
all the village chiefs in the area, were WQPD members. The VNQJ)D 
were not supporting the priority area plsji because they had not been 
consulted in its formulation, and for this reason, and others, the 
report predicted the failure of the plan, despite the heavy Marine 
commitment . 

Like Hop Tac,"it was qh unusually difficult situation, but it 
illustrates the problexas that the Marines, and any other U.S. troops 
that got deeply involved in pacification, confronted in Vietnam. 

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D . Wa_sh iJigton_GrH*leLAbou^±^ 

Throughout the -oerlod of the buildup in Vietnam, there was a_ 
. arnw^-ne chorus of discontent in Washington over the management of the 
TT q ""effort in Vietnam, most of it directed at the civiliazi agencies - 
nqxA AID and the CIA. Unhap-piness vrith the way the Mission ran was 
to lead to three major reorgaziizations in the 15-month period from the 
■ Honolulu conference to the arrival of Ambassador Ellsworth Bunker. _The 
first reorganization tooh place immediately after Honolulu, and assigned 
to the Dewty Ambassador, William J. Porter, specific duties and 
responsibilities which had previously been dispersed througnout the 
• Sskon and handled on an ad hoc basis. The second reorganization, _ 
Ihich took place in November-December I966, reorganized the internal 
noi^onents of MD, USIA, and the CIA so that the Deputy Ambassador 
coX control directly a single Office of Civil Operation (OCO), by- 
^pqtine the agency chiefs. The latest reorganization, which was 
^nnoinced in May Wol , transferred responsibility for OCO from the 
Deputylm^assador lo COI.fJSM/^.CV, who in turn was given a civilian Deputy 
Stfthe rank of Am.bassador (R. ¥. Komer). This section outlines events^ 
T^Sn^'p to the first reorganization in March I966, a reorganization which 
iffg^Ti^ritF^rthi-iiHK^tion effort, but left most of_the 
basic problems in the U.S. Mission unsolved. The actual reorganization, 
and its effects, will be covered in Part III. 1. 

--^ Ffforts to reorganize the Saigon Mission are a recurring theme in 

.^,.t history The impetus for reorganization has consistently come 
Som Wash-ingto;, and the Mission has usually resisted Its resistance 
?rnot hard to understand, since almost every reorganization scheme 
ipnded to diminish the authority and autonoiny of senior members of the 
Mission Council such as the JUSPAO Director, the USAID Director, and the 
CIA Station Chief. 

Ske-Dtics have said that whenever things are going poorly, "Americans 
reorganize." But the opponents of various reorganization schemes have 
J!^n miable to defend the existing Mission Council system, which must 
' definSelyVe rated one of Vietnam's casualties. Hot since the beginning . 
of Se "country team" concept in the 1950's ("Mission Council being. 
Mother tern for the same structure) had the concept been tested the _ 

Swas to be tested in Vietnam. The pressure of events, the tension, 
the ^precedented size of the agencies and a host of other factors made 
the ^stem shaky even under the strong manager Maxwell Taylor. Under 
■ Se mS wSo didl't want to manage. Lodge, it began to crumble. _Each 
• «^Pnc7had its own ideas on what had to be done, its o^ communication 
T^^lswith Washington, its own personnel and administrative structure - 
II tHtartSg in l9S-65;each agency began to have its own field personnel 

11 SeratS under separa^^ and parallel chains of command. _ This latter 

^^f i^s ultimately to prove the one x^hich gave reorganization efforts 
:rf for e s^- S begL to become clear- to people in Washington and 
■Saigon aSke that the Americans in the provinces were not always working 

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'_' on the sariie teean, and that they were receiving conflicting or over- 
lapping instructions from a variety of sources in Saigon and Washington. 

Still while General Taylor was Ambassador, reorganization was 
not something to he pushed seriously hy Washington. With Lodge back 
in charge, it was a different story. As a matter of fact, so serious 
were Lodge's managerial deficiencies that even during his first tour, 
when the U.S. Mission was less than 20,000 men, and the entire 
civilian component under 1,000, there was tali of reorganization. In 
a personal raessage to Lodge on May 26, is6k , the President made the 
folloxd-ng prophetic statement: 

' "I have received from /Mike/ Forrestal a direct account 
of your belief that there is need for change and improve- 
ment in the civilian side of the country team. We have 
reached a similar conclusion here, and indeed we believe it 
is essential for you to have a top-ranliing officer who is 
wholly acceiDtable to you as chief of staff for country team 
operations. My oto im.pression is that this should be either 
a newly appointed civilian of vride governmental experience 
and high standing, or General Westmoreland " 3^/ 

This message becam.e irrelevant when Lodge suddenly resigned in June 
of 196)+ to assist Governor Scranton's bid for the Republican nomination, 
but it shows that the President, Lodge, and apparently other people in 
Washington had deep concern with the structure of the Mission at this 
early date. 

By sending Taylor and Alexis Johnson -- then the State Department's 
Mehe St -ranking Foreign Service Officer -- to Saigon in July of 1964, 
the President in effect put off any Washington-initiated reorganiza- 
tions for the length of Taylor's tour, since no one in Washington could 
tell the former Chairman of the JCS how to run a mission. 

Taylor organized the Mission Council -- not a new invention, but a 
formalization of the country team into a body which met once a week, 
vith agendas, minutes, and records of decisions. Taylor was particularly ■ 
Pnncerned that the Mission Council should have a "satisfactory meshing 
with counterpart activities on the GW side." 35/ And while he was 
Ambassador the U.S. made a determined effort to m-ake the system work 
without reorganization. In a letter to Elbridge Rirbrow, who was once 
jtaierican Ambassador in Saigon himself, Alexis Johnson described the 


II "Max and I dropped the title 'Countiy Team' and set up 

''', vhat we called the 'Mission Council' on a fomalized basis. 

In addition to Max and myself, the members were General 
Westmoreland, Barry Zorthian as JUSPAO (Joint United States 
Public Affairs Office -- this covered both MACV and Embassy 


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— info as well as psychological operations in the field and against 

the DRV), the Director of USOM and the CAS Station Chief. ¥e 
established an Executive Secretary who was first Bill Sullivan 
and later Jack Serf urt, who was charged with the preparation of 
agenda, the recording of decisions, and, nost Importantly, 
follo^ri-ng up and monitoring of decisions that were taken. 
¥e met regularly once a week (with occasional special meetings 
as required), with paper circulated beforehand insofar as 
possible. One of the responsibilities of the Executive Secre- 
tary was to see that issues were worked out beforehand at 
staff level insofar as possible and the remaining issues 

cleaT-ly defined It was normally our practice to keep all 

members of the Council fully informed and to discuss all questions, 

regardless of their sensitivity After an informal exchange 

of views, we took xw questions on the agenda, doing our best 
to obtain the consensus of all members. When in rare cases 
this was not achieved, the i^jnbassador of course took the 
decision. We considered the full range of questions, including 
such fundamental ones as when and under what circumstances we 
should boDib the North. . .etc. . .Below the Mission Council level 
we established a series of committees in problem areas involving 
more than one agency of the mission, chaired by the agency of 
primary interest. These committees vrere responsible direct]^ • 

to the Mission Council We persuaded the GW, on its side, 

■ to set up a similar organization that was first called the 
'Pacification Council' and later the 'Rural Construction 
Council.' The GW Council and the Mission Co-uncil met to- 
gether once a week with an agenda prepared beforehand by the 
two Executive Secretaries. . .One of my theories, and to a degree 
I think it was borne out in Saigon, was that the Mission Council 
and the Joint Council were important not so much for what was in 
- fact decided at the meetings but for the fact that their 
existence, and the necessity of reporting to them, acted as a 
spur to the staff people to get things done and to resolve 
issues at their level. Organization stiucture of course does 
not assure brilliant performance, but I do take some satis- 
faction in feeling that, due to the organizational structure 
111 that we established, we established the habit of the Mission 
' elements and the GW and the Mission, working together in a 

more effective way." 3§/ 

'*' ■ Whether or not the system described by Ambassador Johnson above 

really worked the way he says it was supposed to is not the subject of 
+hi s study But it appears that within a few uonths after Lodge 
upturned as Ambassador the people ^^thin the USG advocating reorganiza- 
tion as at least a partial solution to the problems of the Mission were 
once again in full cry. 

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The relationship of the reorganizers to the pacifiers must be 
explained. Those who advocated restructuring the Mission for more 
effective management were not necessarily the same people advocating 
a higher emphasis for pacification. But usually, since the organiza- 
tion of the Mission was so obviously deficient, both groups of people 
vould end up advocating some kind of change -- and even if they dis- 
agreed on the nature of the change, the most important fact was that 
they were generally pushing a similar mood of dissatisfaction with the 
Mission upon the high-ranking officials mth whom they might come m 
contact (It should be kept in mind that they were really not groups 
at all in the nonual sense of the word, but a shifting collection of 
individuals vjith varying degrees of loyalty to either their parent 
agency or their o™ sense of history; and on each individual issue a 
different set of allies and antagonists might well exist.) 

The efforts of those advocating reorganization began to bear 
edible fruit in December I965 and January I966, when a conference was 
held at Warrenton, Va., to which the Mission sent an impressive collec- 
tion of Mission Council members: Deputy Ambassador Porter, USAID 
m-sion Director Mann, JTJSPAO Director Zorthian, Political Counsellor 
Habib General Lansdale, CIA Station Chief Jorgenson, ajid Brigadier 
General Collins, representing Westmorelajid. From Washington came the 
second and third echelons of the bureaucracy: Leonard Unger, Deputy 
Assistant Secretary of State; Rutherford Poats, Assistant Adminis- 
trator of AID; Major General Peers, SACSA; Alvin Friedm.aJi, ISA; 
Willism Colby and Peer da Silva, CIA; Chester Cooper, \«iite House; 
and Sanford Marlowe, USIA. Other participants included: Major General 
Hutchins CINCPAC; Rufus Phillips of Lansdale 's group; Charles Z^-^ick 
and Henr-y Rowen of BOB; George Lodge, the Ambassador's son; Desraond 
Fitzgerald, CIA; and Leon Goure, of RAND. 

The purpose of the meeting was to "bring together senior repre- 
sentatives of the U.S. Mission, Saigon, the Vietnam Coordinating 
Coiffiiiittee Washington, and several other individuals to (a) review ^ 
the 1oint'c-VlI-US pacification/rural construction program and seek xo 
■nromote its more effective operation and (b) address the problem of 
the increasingly serious shortages and bottlenecks in manpower, 

■ materials and transport in Vietnam and to designate priorities and 
machinery' for resources control and allocation." The major unstated 
■nurpose in addition to those mentioned above, was to discuss the 
org^ization of the U.S. Mission in Vietnam. 

Warrenton was to turn out to be a prel.ude to Honolulu, and as such 
■its recommendations never were to become an integral part of the 
Ssslon's plans and strategy. But the direction that was developed at 

■ Warrenton is significant, because it represents the clear and unmis- 
t«>able th-rust that existed at the time in the "working levels of both 
Sat^on and' Washington. Given the nomal time lag before individual 
thoughts can reach the stage of agreed-upon comjaittee -produced papers, 

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Warrenton, we' can assume, reflected the evolution of thinking that had 
been going on, particularly among the civilians, as the first year of 
U.S. combat troop and deplojTnent began to end. Indeed, in its catch-all 
approach to pacification, Warrenton had something for everyone. 

The final recommendations from the Warrenton conference were addressed 
to Secretaries aisk and McHamara, Admiral Raborn, Mr. Bell, Mr. Marks, 
and Mr. McGeorge Bundy, from the meeting's co-chairm.en, Ambassador Unger 
and Ambassador Porter. The conclusions included the following points 
(mth comments as required): 

1, "There was a consensus thaf the designation of 
priority rural construction areas for I966 was importajat 
and that the modest goals set for these areas were 
realistic. However, it was emphasized that the contrast 
■between the massive input of U.S. resources and the 
modest priority area goals made success in those areas 
imperative..." 37/ 

The National Priority Areas did not meet their I966 goals. 

2, "In view of the prime importance to the U.S. of 
success in the four National Priority Areas, there was 
discussion of the need for designating U.S. team chiefs 
to head the U.S. advisory effort in those areas, it was 
agreed that the U.S. Mission Council would consider this 
matter promptly and report its conclusions to the VNCC." 38/ - 

rOM^IENT- The designation of team chiefs for the priority areas did not 
tSi^ace. Here is another example of the Washington effort to 
reorganize Saigon, with Saigon resisting. 

3, "There was widespread recognition of the need 
to provide mthin the U.s". Mission a single focus of 
operational control and management over the full range 
of the pertinent U.S. efforts in order to gear all such 
U S. activities and resources effectively into implementa- 
tion or the rural construction concept. However, some 
concern was expressed that too drastic organizational 
changes vrithin the U.S. Mission would create problems with 

■ the counterpart C-W organization and would not ensure 
success of rural construction programs. No agreement was 
reached on the precise form for organization changes but 
there \j-as general consensus that the focal point of control 
and management had to rest just below the Ambassador ajid 
that there must be a senior Mission official solely concerned 
with this subject. Disagreement was registered as to: . (l) 
vhetVier the Deputy Mbassador, assisted by a staff, should 
serve this function or whether another senior official 

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(perhaps a second Deputy Ambassador) should be appointed; and 
(2) vrhat extent individual agency personnel^ funds _, and opera- 
tions devoted to rural construction could and should be broken 
out of agency organizations and placed under the direction of 
the single focal point..." 39 / 

CO? AiviE'MT : Here vas the compromise wording on the issue vhich concerned 
the participants at ¥arrenton a great deal. Each representative at 
Warrenton brought with him a proposed organization chart for the 
Mission (see below) ^ but no agreement could be reached at that time. 
In the main body of the memorandum to the principals on January 13^, 
1966^ linger and Porter wrote: 

"The optimum organization for the U.S. Mission for 
its support -of the rural construction/pacification 
program --a senior official vrith a supporting staff with 
full-time responsibility in this field was considered 
necessary. (Coordination is also required mth Ambassador ■ 
Lodge and I4r, Bell on this point.) It would also be 
desirable for such an official to have in Washington a 
high-level point of liaison to assure the expeditious 
discharge here of urgent Vietnam business in this field..." ko/ 

When he reported to the Mission Liaison Group on Warrenton 
two weeks later^ on January 27^ 1966/ Porter sharply downplayed the 
move for reorganization which was coming from Washington and changed 
the emphasis. He said: 

"a. Ho decision was reached at Warrenton with 
respect to a U.S. in-country organization for r-ural- con- 
stiruction, although the possibility of a single manager 
was discussed. 

"b . The U.S. Mission will continue to support Rural 
ConstinGt ion with th e same organizational structure it is now 
using ^ placing particular reliance on the Mission Liaison Group. 

"c. Officials in Washington were concerned about teamwork 
among the U.S. agencies in Vietnam but not about ability to do 
the job. Differences of opinion are expected^ and machinery 
exists to resolve them. Differences due to personalities can- 
not be tolerated. 

"d. I- is clearly understood in Washington that military 
. o-oerations alone are not enough^ and that effective Rural 
" » Construction is- imperative . The highest levels in the USG 
are keenly a^-rare of the^ importajice of US/GVH work in Rural 
Construction " kl/ ^-phasis Added/ 

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Although not much raore than a footnote no>r^ the reorganization 
schemes that were presented at Warrenton deserve brief mention. At 
Warrenton^ the participants were still fishing for ways and means-^ 
■ and their proposals reveal to a limited extent the intent of each 
agency when faced^ three months later^ \ri_th a new structure in "both 
Saigon and Washington -- with Porter in charge in Saigon and Komer 
in business in the V/hite House (discussed in III^ 1 Sc 2) . 

--Chester Cooper^^ working for lAcGeorge Bundy in the White 
House ^ proposed a second Deputy Ambassador for Pacifica- 
tion^ with control over CIA, USAID, <I[JSPAO, and partial 
control (not clarified) over MACV^s Rural Construction 
advisors. Cooper also wanted a "Washington representative" 
in Saigon to expedite resource allocation. He was ambiguous 
about Lansdale^s role. Cooper advocated a unified field 
chain of command. 

--Poats and Mann submitted a joint VJashington-Saigon proposal 
on behalf of AID (another clear indication of the fact that 
the real chains of comm^id ran through agency channels_, 
rather than through the Mbassador to Washington). They 
advocated a complicated arrangem.ent in which a Chief of 
Staff for Pacification would head up special task forces 
"dra"\m from operating agencies but staying in their opera- 
tional job in their agencies," AID in effect w-anted no 
major change in the Mission_, and particularly opposed any 
change in the multiplicity of chains of command in the 
provinces. They also advocated a Theater CING_, a resources 
allocation committee chaired by the AID Mission Director_j 
and a MACV advisory structure that is partially under the 
Ambassador and partially separate (not clarified). 

il Zorthian suggested that the Deputy Ambassador coordinate all 

pacification activities but made it clear that he would make 

'' no change in the chains of command. Indeed, he emphasized 

the direct access of each Mission Council member to the 
Ambassador, the separateness of each agency *s field program. 

SACSA proposed a division of MACV into a tactical unit com- 
mand and a Pacification comimand. All civilian elements 
supporting pacification would be under the Deputy for 
. Pacification, who in turn would report to the Ambassador 
and Deputy Ajnbassador. The advisoiy structure would have 
been split down the middle between unit advisors 
and province/district advisors. 

General. Collins suggested no major chajige in the structure 
of the Mission, but advocated the formation of "Task Groups 
to deal vrith specific problems organized on an ad hoc 


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"basis from personnel provided by interested agencies. The 
Deputy Arribassador to "be relieved of routine duties and to 
spend substantially all Ms time on rural construction 
duties. . . ■ 

The State department proposed a "Central Pacification 
Organization" vhich v7ould have been not more than a 
coordinating committee for the existing agencies. 42 / 

What these reorganization proposals seem to suggest^ in light of 
the ultimate direction that the Mission took^ is that vrhen agencies 
are asked to produce suggestions which may reduce or inhibit their 
prerogatives^ they are unlikely to do so in a manner responsive to 
the requirements of their politically-appointed chieftains. The 
prerogatives and privileges of the agencies inevitably come first. 
One does not reorganise voluntarily; the impetus comes from without. 
This is also seen in the different attitude that the reorganizers 
had towards Washington and Saigon. Although the same problem in 
coordination existed (and still exists) in Washington as in Saigon, 
the Washington officials always vrere ready to tell Saigon how to 
clean up its house, but were slow to suggest self -improvements . At 
Warrenton, perhaps prodded by the Saigon representatives, they did 
take note of the matter, although they were reluctant to suggest a 
clear solution: 

"Note was also taken of the inadequacy of present 
U.S. Government machinery to handle Vietnam problems 
quickly and decisively. The need for referral of too 
large a number of problems to the Secretarial level was 
one of the problems mentioned. \Th±le the meeting did not 
have time to come to any firm conclusions, there was a 
view that the WCC because of its coordinating, rather than 
decision-cum-enforcement pov/ers could not perform this task 
except in part. If endowing the WCC or its Chairman with 
larger powers, and with a staff associated with no one agency, 
is not a feasible solution, it was considered that the 
required directing position might have to be set up at a 
higher level, perhaps related to the Rational Security 
Council," ^3/ 

■jn the Warrenton report, then, all the events of the coming year 
were foreshadowed, and, reading between the lines, one can now see 
what was coming.. Unfortunately, and obviously, this was not the 
case at the time- -particularly for the Mission in Saigon. 

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E. Presidential Emphasis on "The Other War" and Press Eeaction 

At the end of 1965, with the bombing of the north in its tenth 
months and our ground forces growing steadily, the Administration was 
making a determined effort to emphasise those American activities in 
Vietnam which did not directly involve guns and fighting. This emphasis 
on what came to be called the "Other War" reached a high point during 
the conference at Honolulu in February of I966. The emphasis on the 
other war did not necessarily have to lead, as it did, to a re-emphasis 
of pacification; that was a by-product, at least in part, of the renewed 
support for pacification which had been coming from Ambassador Lodge, the 
Marines, the CIA (with their cadre), and the advocates of organizational 
reform (all covered in previous sections). But the two themes merged at 
Honolulu, and thus, out of the conference, came the first clear statement 
of Presidential support to pacification. 

The need of the Administration to em,phasize and publicize the non- 
military aspects of the war needs little amplification. Fev;- documents 
show this em-phasis in the pre-Honolulu period, since it was so obvious. 
■ In an exception, a joint State-US lA m.essage dated October U, 1965? 
Washington told the Saigon Mission: 

" There is continuing; concern at the highest le vels 
here regarding need to emphasize our non-military programs 
^ ^ in Vietnain and give them maximum possible public exposure 

I ^■■' both in U.So and abroad.' ./Emphasis Added/ 

"We recognize that the Mission is fully cognizant of 
\ ^ this problem and already has underv^'-ay measures to broaden 

public knowledge and understanding of non-military activities... 
I - We are also conscious of difficulties involved in enlisting 

- greater press interest in these developm-ents when it finds 
military actions more dramatic and newsworthy, nevertheless, 
■ we hope will continue to give non-military programs increasing 
priority. . . " hh/ 

It is useful to recall the situation which existed in February of I966, 
when the President went to Honolulu to meet with Ky and Thieu. On 
January 30, I966, the bombing of the North began again, after a 37"day 
pause. There were 197,000 American servicemen in Vietnam by February 1. 
The Washing:ton Post -- which supported the Administration -- editorial- _ 
ized on February 1: ' . 

"It is to be hoped that a new look is being taken at 
■ the military tactics in the South so that greater emphasis 
i can be put on the safety of civilians, the rehabilitation 

J f-^f the countryside, the furtherance of economic gro-^-rth. . . . 

Efforts behind the lines at economic and social programs 
must be increased." h^ 

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Senator Falbright had laiinched his public hearings on Vietnam, and 
■ on February h had subjected David Bell of MD to a nearly four-hour 
grilling in the coirmiittee. That same day, the conference vas announced. 

The emphasis at Honolulu vras clear from before the conference 
started. In his press conference announcing the meeting, the President 
said that he would take Secretary Freeman and Secretary Gardner, not 
. previously involved in Vietnam, as well as experts from their staffs. 
Freeman would go on to Saigon, the President added "to explore and 
inaugurate certain pacification prograras in the fields of health, 
education, and agriculture." The President then added: 

"We are going to emphasize, in every way \re can, in 
line with the very fine pronouncements that the Prime 
Minister' /K^/ has Biade concerning his desires in the field 
of education and health and agriculture. We want to be 
sure that we have our best planning and our maximum effort 
put into it. But we will, of course, go into the military 
briefing very thoroughly;.." hS/ 

Even before the conference began, there were early reactions from 
the press to this emphasis. The New York Time s editorialized on 
Februarj-' 6: 

"Programs in health, education and agriculture of the 
kind President Johnson evidently has in mind, can make an 
important contribution. To combat the revolutionary idea 
the Communists have set loose in Vietnam, a better idea is 
needed. Vigorous social reform -- and particularly, land 
reform, which has received little more than lip-service so 
far --'could well be made the price of increased economic ^ 
aid, which is now to be doubled. 

"But an effort- to seek political 'victory' in South 
Vietnam is likely to prove as fruitless as the long 
attempt at m.ilitary 'victory. ' A^more limited and 
realistic objective is essential." hj_/ 

The conference itself, and its repercussions both in Washington 
■ and VietnEan, will be discussed in a follo^/ing section, so there is 
,.|; little need to dwell on the pre -Honolulu period. In Saigon, where 

' I • +jie word of the conference barely preceded the departure of the 

I ( T)articip8Ji.ts, the New York Times bureau chief wote a perceptive 

^rticl^ which reflected thiaking of many junior and mid-level 
officials in both the U.S. Mission and the (?/N. The theme it stated 
was not new then, and still has a very familiar ring today: 

"...There are now 230,000 to 250,000 pro-Communist 
' troops 'in South Vietnam, including the Vietcorig guerrillas 

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and about 11 tough regiments of the North Vietnamese Amiy, 
That is at least tv/ice as many enemy troops as there were at 
the start of last year_, despite the major United States 
build-up since then. 

"This does not mean that the American build-up has been 
futile: the build-up was all that saved South Vietnam^ in 
the view of most experts. It does mean that no way has yet 
been found to prevent the enemy from matching an American 
build-up with a build-up of his own. 

"About 200^000 American troops are now in South Vietnam 
along with 550^000 South Vietnamese anaed men^ of whom about 
half are well -trained amiy troops. 

"American and South Vietnamese military officers have 
asked for more Ajnerican troops^ requesting a force of about 
400^000 men by the end of I966. Not all of this strength 
has been promised by President Johnson^ but major reinforce- 
ments are already in the offing... 

"But while I966 mil be en important year militarily^ 
one in which all generals assume that there will be bloodier 
fighting^, it mil also be a year of increased emphasis on 
the subtle political and social aspects of the struggle. 

"The Honolulu conference v/ill in fact concentrate 
largely on economic^ social and political problems^ 
according to informed sources. 

"It is felt in Saigon^ however^ that the Johnson 
Administration cannot^ even with the best of intentions^ 
guarantee the allegiance of the Vietnamese to their Govern- 
ment merely by pumping more money and technical skill into 
South Vietnam to give people the ^better life^ of which 
officials speak. 

"At least 20 to 25 per cent of the country^ s area is 
so firmly in control of the Vietcong guerrillas that no civic 
and political programs are possible there at all. Other 
large areas are so sharply contested that for the time being 
pacification and rural -improvement workers cannot operate. 

"Thus rural -pacification work in 1966 is to be concen- 
trated in one -third or fewer of the rural hamlets that the 
Government already claims to control. The limitation implies 
an admission that after five years of war the allies are 
starting from scratch in this field^ and that progress must 
be slow.. 

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"With American enthusiasm, the United States may msh 
to STDsed the pace of pacification, but there mil be serious 
obstacles. Most of the sadder but wiser veterans of previous 
programs in Vietnam seem convinced that pressure from 
Washington for higher and more seductive statistical goals 
is a major danger. They counsel 'slowly but surely.' 

"As an example, the South Vietnamese Government is 
trying to turn 23,000 rural-affairs workers, most of them 
originally trained only in armed propaganda work, into 
more rounded rural -con struct ion workers. 

"It then plans to recruit and train 19,000 more workers, 
for a total of 42,000. In the opinion of some officials, 
it will be very difficult even to reach this goal, and 
any great expansion carries a risk of substituting numbers 
for real training. 

"The present pacification plan is considered Imagina- 
tive and sound by experts w-ith long experience in Vietnam, 
but it is considered certain that the plan could be improved 
■ at Honolulu. 

"Experience has sho™ that the crucial matter in 
Vietnam is alirays execution rather than planning. The 
scarcest resources in the country are manpower and leader- 
ship . 

"It is generally agreed that it would not be enough, 
I , say for the United States to offer help in improving 

agriculture in the South Vietnamese countryside. The 
i ' Mericans must also consider, it is felt, whether their 

suggested Tjlan is one that the South Vietnamese understand 

and actually -- rather than merely politely -- approve, and 
! whether the badly strained South Vietnamese administration 

can execute the plan. 

"Merican experts in Saigon also assert that the highly 
ideological Vietcong m.ovement cannot be offset merely by 
offers of a 'better life' for the peasants. 

"The Vietcong have a loyal, dedicated and highly dis- 
ci-plined underground political structure that operates in 
the heart of Saigon itself and in thousar.ds of hamlets. 
So far the peasants have shown little inclination to infonii 
on this structure and to help the Government activity. 


• "This is the central problem of the South Vietnamese 
I ^ Charles Mohr 

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F. M eanvhile, Back at the War 

The re-emphasis of pacification was, of course, a far more dis- 
orderly process than any -^vritten review can suggest, and unfortunately 
must overlook many events and recommendations which were not central 
to the re-emphasis of pacification. But it is usefxil and important to 
review briefly what the Mission was reporting to Washington about the 
overall effort during 19^5? since Saigon* s reports should have formed 
an important part of the background for decision. 

This selection should be read not as the "objective" story of what 
was happening in Vietnam -- such an objective study is simply not possible 
at this time, even if we had access to enemy thinliing -- but as a reflec- 
tion of the beliefs of the Americans in Saigon, and as a reflection of 
wha.t the Mission wanted Washington to believe. 

This selection is entirely direct quotations from MACV's Monthly 
Evaluation Report. Each month this report began with a summary of the 
month's events, and the following items represent the running evaluation 
for 1965: _/Emphasis Added/ 

" J anua ry, 196^: Review of military events in January tend to 
induce _a decidedly mor e optimistic vie w than has b een seen in 
recent .months . Despite adverse influence exerted by national 
level political disorders and localized Buddhist/student riot- 
ing, the military experienced the most successful single month 
of the counterinsurgency effort. . . Pacification made little 
progres s this month . Although some gains were made in the 
Hop^Tac area, effort in the remainder of RW was hampered by 
political activity and religious and student disorders. . .If 
the RWAF capability can be underwritten by political sta - 
bilit y and dm-ability, a significant turning point in the war 
could be forthcoming. 

" Februar y , 196^ : ...GW forces continued to make progress in 
III and "iV CTZ, maintained a tenuous balance over the VC in 
I CTZ, and suffered general regression in II CTZ... The indi- 
cators of RMAF operational effort., .all showed a decline. 
However, losses on both sides remained high due to the . ; 

violence of enco-'onters and VC tenacity. . .The long term effect 
of events in February is impossible to foretell. It is ob- 
vious that the complexion of the vxar has changed. The VC 
appear to be mailing a concerted effort to isolate the northern 
portion of RVIT by seizing a salient to the sea in the northern 
part of II CTZ. Here RWIAF has lost the initiatiA^-e,. at least 
temporarily. However, US/gVI^^ strikes against DRV and increased 
us e of U.S. jet aircraft in RW has had a salutary effect on 

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both militsTy and civilian morale which may result in a greater 
national effort and^ h opefully^ reverse the dovmward trend . 

" March J 196^ : Events in March \<fere encoirraging. . .RWAP ground 
operations "v.ere highlighted by renewed operational effort... VC 
activity was considerably below the norm of the preceding six 
months and indications were that the enemy was engaged in the 
re-supply and re-positioning of units possibly in preparation 
for a new offensive^ probably in the II Corps area. . . In summary ^ 
Mar c h has given rise to some cautious optimism. The current 
government appears to be taking control of the situation and ^ 
if the p re s e nt stat e of po pular morale can be susta^ined and 
strengthened^ the GW^ with continued U.S. support^ should be 
able to counter future VC offenses successfully . 

" April^ 196 ^ : Friendly forces retained the initiative duri ng 
April and a review of events reinforces the feeling of o ptim ism 
generated last month. . . In summary, current trends are highly 
encouraging and the GVII may have a c tually t urned the tide at 
long la st. However, there are some disquieting factors which 
indicate a need to avoid overconfidence , A test of these 
trends should be forthcoming in the next few months if the 
VC la.unch their e x pected counter-offensive and the period may 
well be one of the most important of the war. 

" May, 19 6^ : The encouraging trends of the past few m^onths did 
not cany through into May and there were some serious setbacks .' 
However, it is hoped tha.t the high morale eiid improved disci- ■ 
pline and leadership which has developed during that period will 
sustain future GVIT efforts... 

" June, 196^: During June the military situation in the RVIl con - 
tinued to worsen despite a few bright spots occasioned b y RVjMAF 
su ccesses . In general, however, the VC. . -retained the initiative 
having launched several well-coordinated^ savage attacks in 

regimental strength... 

" July, 1963: An overall analysis of the military situation at 
the end of July reveals that (TT^ forces continued to make pro- 
gress in IV Corps, maintained a limited edge in I Corps with the 
increased USMC effort and suffered a general regression in the 
northern portion of III Corps as well as in the central highlands 
of II Corps.. The VC monsoon offensive, which was so effe ctive in 
Ju ne., falter ed during July as VC casualty figures reached a nevr 
high. . . 

"Au gust, 196$: An evaluation of the overall military effo r t in 
-AuSust r eveals several en couraging facts . The m.ost pronounced 
Ts the steady increase in the number of VC casualties and the 

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number of VC "ralliers" to the GVTT...In sijuimary, the general 
increase in offensive operations by GW, U.S. and Third Country ■ 
forces and a correlative increase in enemy casualties have kept 
the VC off balance and prevented his interference with the 
build-up of U.S. forces. The often spoken of VC "monsoon offen- 
sive" has not materialized, and it now appears that the VC have 
relinq uished the initiative in the conduct of the war . 

"September, I965: As the end of the monsoon season approached, 
th^'milit^" situation appears considerably brighter than in 
May when the VC threatened to defeat the RV^IAF. Since May the 
build-up of Free World Military Assistance Forces, coupled with 
aggressive combat operations, has thwarted VC plans and has laid 
the foundation for the eventual defeat of the VC... 

"October , 196^ : increase in magnitude and tempo of engage- 
mentsTs^'the GW/FvJF maintained the initiative. . .In summary, the 
military situation during October continued to favor the Allies 
as the VC experienced heavy casualties from the overwhelming 
Allied fire power... 

"Novem ber, 19 6^ : The increasing temDO of the war was^ reflected 
■ in casualty to ta ls which reached new highs for. VC/PAVN and 
fTii^ nyTorc es. . .While keeping the enemy generally off balance, 
CVf/iWIAF were able to maintain and, to some degree, to increase 
the scope and intensity of friendly-initiated operations. 

"December, 196^: Military activity in December was highlighted 
by an ilicrease- in the number of VC/PAVIn[ attacks on isolated 
outposts, hamlets, and districts, towns, and the avoidance of 
contact with large GWI and Free World Forces. The effective ness 
of this_^r ate.^^ was attested by the hi ghest monthly friendly 
casualty total of the war, by friendly weapons losses in excess 
of weapons captured for the first time since July, and by 30fo 
fewer VC casualties than in November... 

"Januar y, I966 : The Free World peace offensive, coupled with 
TET festivities and the accompanying cease-fire, resulted in a 
period of restricted military activities for both friendly and 
enemy forces. . .Despite this decrease in activity, GWI and Free 
World Forces continued to force inroads into areas long conceded . . - 
as VC territory..." U9/ /Emphasis Added/ 

This is not the place for a detailed ariali'sis of the reporting of 

the war, or of the implications of the above-cited evaluations. But 

several points do seem to emerge: 

1. The reports are far too optimistic from January through April, 
1965, and a big switch seems to com.e in June, 19^5^ ^hen 

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General Westmoreland had already made his U^-"battalicn 
request and y'-arned of disaster if they were not forth- 
coming. May's report begins to shov the change in mood,, 
but its ambiguous evaluation is in sharp contrast to the 
- brief backward look offered in September. 

2. Pacification is mentioned in the January evaluation, but 
fades away to virtually nothing in the months of the build- 

3. The evaluations do not suggest that the main force threat 
is in any way diminishing by the end of 1965- Indeed, they 
accurately predict larger battles in I966. They do not 
suggest, therefore, that the time had come to start em- 
phasizing pacification at the expense of exertin g more 
pre ssure directly on the enemy. The evaluations do not 
address this question directly, of course, but they do 
suggest that if any greater emphasis was to be put on 
pacification, it could be done only if there was not a 
corr e s pending reduction in the attack effort against the 
VCT This, in turn, would imply that if pacification was 
to"receive greater emphasis at the beginning of I966, it 
would require either more Allied troops or else might 

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II. Honolulu 

A. The Conference - Februaj:'y I966 

The details of the closed meetings at Honolulu do not appear, in 
retrospect, to be nearly as important on the future emphasis on pacifi- 
cation as the mere fact that the public statements of all participants 
carried for\-7ard the theme that had been enunciated in the Declaxation. 
This may often be true of conferences; it certainly appears true of 
this one, vhich was convened hastily and took place without any prepara- 
tory staff work on either side of the Pacific. In addition, the political 
upheavals in the spring of I966, v/hich follovj-ed the conference closely, 
contributed to a reduction in the importance of the details of the con- 
ference as it related to pacification- 
Pacification was discussed frequently during the closed sessions. 
The first tiine canie during the plenary session, when i\mbassador Lodge 
delivered his statement to the President. 

Speaking before a large audience which included General Thieu and 
Air Vice Marshal Ky, Lodge made a general statement about vrhat he called 
"the subterranean war," and then discussed the four T^ational Priority 
Areas which. the GW and the U.S. imd established in October 1965: 

"I would like to begin by saying that the successes and 

the sacrifices of the military, both the Vietnaiaese and the 
American military, have created a fresh opportunity to win 
the so-called * subterranean war'... 

"...VJe can beat up North Vietnamese regiments in the high 
plateau for the next twenty years and it will not end the war 
-" unless we and the Vietnamese are able to build sjjnple but 
solid political institutions under which a proper police can 
function and a climate created in which economic and social 
revolution, in freedom, are possible. 

"The GVN has organized itself to do this job and you will 
hear a presentation by General Thang, who is in charge. The 
American contribution consists of training and equipping of 
personnel; advice; and material. . . ■ ■' - ; 

"Four priority areas have been chosen. Three are places 
of great importance and difficulty. The "^ourth is largely 
pacified and is the place where they want to get the economic 
ejrl social development program going. We think the areas are 
well chosen. The three tough ones are close to the Vietnamese 
and American armies which m.eans that the military presence 
helus pacification. And, as pacifica^tion gets going, it im- 
- proves the base for the military. 

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"In the four priority areas are 192 haialets, including 
2385600 people 5 to be secui^ed by the end of I966. But GW 
efforts are not limited to these four priority areas. An 
. effort is underway which aims to raise the percentage of the . 
whole comtry which is pacified by about \h^lo\ i.e., from the 
current figure of about 52fa to about G&jo by the end of the 
year..." -x- l/ 

After the statements of Lodge and VJestmoreland (v/ho discussed only 
military matters), the President said: 

"I hope that out of this conference we will return with 
clear views in our own minds as to how vre can apply more m.ili- 
tary pressure an.d do it better, how we can build democracy in 
Vietnam and what steps must be tal^en to do it better, how we 
can search for peace in the world, honorable and just peace, 
and do it better. 

"If we can do the first, namely, develop better methods 
for defeating the Viet Cong and better methods for developing 
a democracy, I have no doubt but tha.t the third will be much 
easier to do because you can bargain much better from strength 
than you can from weakness." 'i/ ' 

-X- On March U, 1966, Lodge transmitted the text and charts of this brief- 
ing to Secretary McITamara and apparently at the same time to the White 
House, at the request of Jack Valenti. Lodge wrote; 

"Dear Bob: 

"At the request of Jack Valenti, I have put together a 
book containing the text and maps used in my presentation at 
the Honol-olu Conference. It is intended to serve as a current 
indicator of pacification progress being made within the I966 
l^^ational Priority Areas — 

"I think I should call attention to the fact that for /jneri- 
cans, it is natural to set goals and then work to achJ.eve them 
by' a specific date. . ■ ^ 

"This, however, is not the traditional Vietnamese way. 
While they set a goal of I90 hamlets in the four priority 
- areas, lay guess would be that by the end of I966, they may 
, have achieved somewhat more than this, but not necessarily the 

. ones which are listed here. In fact, if they ran into unexpectedly 
heavy opposition in one place and find a particularly good and 
< unexpected opportunity elsewhere, they probably ought to change 

) ' ^- the plan. , ." 2/ ^ 


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^~^ After a short recess, Secretary Rusk then discussed the reasons 

why Hanoi .ms not yet ready to negotiate, and said that if the_GW 
built "the kind of society which is indestructible, then Haxioi would 
^roba.hlY cone to the conference table more rapidly. Anything that 
can move faster rather than raore slowly on our side and your side, 
he said, "anything that can cause them to realize that an epidemic _ . 
of confidence is building in the South and that momentum is gathering 
I could hasten the time when Hanoi will decide to stop this aggression. 4/ 

The President then said: "I hope that every person here from the 
TI S Sid- will bear in mind that before I teJie that plane back, I want 
1 to have the best suggestion obtainable as to how we can bring better 

^inary pressure on Hanoi and from the pacification side how we can 
trin- a better program to the people of South Vietnam and "naily, 
third what other efforts we can mal^.e to secure a gust and honorable 
lice HOW, I want to have w little briefcase filled with those three 
tarp-ets - a better military program, a better pacification program 
that includes everyt.hing, and a better peace program. 5/ 

General Thang then presented the GVH's pacification plans, in a 
briefing later made public.' Thang said: 

"The objective of the whole people of my country is a 
unified democratic and strong Vietnam. . .To reach this ob- 
jective, our National Leadership Committee has promoted 
three main policies: first, military offenses; second, 

rxiral pacification; and third, democracy. 

"...But it' is necessary, Mr. President, to define what 
this means by pacification. In my opinion, that is a failure 
of the past government, not to define exactly what we mean by 
pacification. . . 

"I think that it is necessary to... define pacification 
as an effort to restore the public security first, and carry- 
in^ out a government policy which aims at improving the stan- 
dard of living in this area in every respect — political, 
economic, social. 

• "...the prerequisite is security. .'.So our concept of paci- 
fication is based on four main points: 

Point Ho. 1': The rural pacification operation can only 
l^^JliS^nFthrough the real solidar-ity among the people, 
the armed forces, and the administration... 

Point Ho. 2: O-or government should be very clea'r when 
ir'i'ai^^rTh^ it would like to build a new society for a 
better life in rural areas. That is meaningless to the 
peasant if you don't develop that in a concrete package. 

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/At this point J Thang lamched into a lengthy explana- 
tion of what he ineant by a ne^vr society. In a vague 
discussion^ he described the social, economic , exid . 
political attributes of the ne\J society, all of which 
■were general and idealised statements^// 

Point Ko. 3: The clear and realistic policy of the govern- 
laent contributing to a better life in a new society I Just 
mentioned should be widely knovrn among the population and 
the cadres. . . 

Point ITo. U: Rural pacification operations will open 
TaTtlng'peace if the enemy infrastructure is destroyed 
and permanently followed up, our own infrastructure created 
and supported by the people... All provinces have promised 
to the government that 75 percent of the -following facts 
maybe can be accomplished by the 1st of Jaiiuary I967: 



"Pacification of 963 new hamlets; pacification of 1,C83 
existing hamlets; building of 2251 classrooms; 913 Kilom.eters 
of roads; 128 bridges; 57 dems; and 119 kilometers of canals 
...While we have selected four areas of priority, the pacifi- 
cation operation has been pushed forward as usual, but with 
less efforts. . . 

"Rural pacification will be a long-tena operation. We 
have modest and practical, rather than spectacular, goals for 

1966..." 6/ 

After General Tharg's remarks, the plenary session records show 
reDeated references to the pacification effort, although there is con- 
fusion as to what it means. General Thieu made additional summary 
remarks on pacification, then Minister Ton gave a hriefmg on the econo- 
mic situation, followed by David Bell on the same subject. 

The next day, February 8, the working groups presented their findings 
to the President. First, Secretary Susk and Foreign Minister Do discussed ^ 
the session on negotiations. Then General Thang and Secretary FreemaJi 
r-por-ted on their session on rural construction. The details of the 
working groups session itself are covered below, but in plenary. Thang ■ 
emphasized the following points: 

Our future should be developed mainly in four priority 
areas... Hajidicraft should be introduce! and developed 
in those areas also... Rural electrification should be 
■ , developed and the number of generators increased in 


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Land refoiin efforts should be pushed forward- 

• • 



Vfe ask that construction material and cement be sent to 

Vietnam as soon as possible so our school programs can 

be developed. . . • . 

The training of officials at hamlet and village levels 
is vital. . . 7/ 

Secretary Freeman, who was about to make his first trip to Vietnam, 
summarized for the Americans: 

"Having spent a good deal of tme yesterday listening to 
the very eloquent ^presentations by the Chairman and the Prime 
Minister, as well Is by Minister Ton, this is pretty much what 
we would call a nuts and bolts discussion session. 

"One thing that was decided for United States purposes, for 
purposes of phraseology, was that the word 'pacification' really 
did not have the right tone. The term 'social construction 
might better be used... 

"There was some discussion, considerable, about the selection 
of province chiefs. It was strongly emphasized that it was un- 
portant that the men be of integrity eJid ability, and that they 
be selected and maintained and backed up. 

"The Prime Minister, General Thleu, arid then General Thang 
both said that you /General Thleu/ were personally Interested m 
this, and that- you were going to select them shortly, that they 
would have a duration of at least a year, but would be carefully 
reviewed and would be changed if they didn't do the job, but 
wouldn't be changed for other reasons, which we thought was ex- 
treDiely ixfiportant and we were gratified to find it ouo. 

"You also explained to us, your associates General Ky 8Jid 
Gen-ral Thang, the change of command, saying m the past they 
were confused, and that they were now clear, so that everyone 
Imew exactly what their function would be. 

■ "Then you discussed the training of the cadre... 

'1 want to review the REA question and find out a bit more 
about why tha:b seemed to have some lag. 

"Finally, we discussed the possibility of a joint training 
■nroc^ram for the village and haxolet chiefs who presumably would 
he %3e-ted, but that some background in the philosophy, purpose 
and aims of governjaent, and the techniques of governing and ad- 
ministration, were felt to be needed by those people, b/ 


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The President then responded to the remarks of Thang and Freeiaaji by urg- 
Ip ing "all of you connected with our prograra. . .to give very special atten- . 

tion to refugee ca:rips and the schools in the refugee camps." 9/ He then 
turned to Minister Ton and David Bell for a discussion of the economic 
situation. Then Secretary Garcljier, who had co-chaired a -working group 

Pon health and education -- the distinction betvjeen rural construction and 
the health/ education programs was not clarified -- made his remarks. He 
set out perhaps the m-ost clearly-defined objectives of the session (except 
for the economic negotiations) ^ describing the new contract with the AMA 
for training personnel^ the new goal for provincial medical teams, and the 
plans for a nev medical logistics system. In large part his goals were 
more specific than those of the other working group because the USAID 
Public Health Chief in Saigon, Major General James Humphries, had already 
laid groundwork for an excellent program of health services and assistance, 
and Gardner was able to work from a specific plan. 

Gardner went on to discuss education, where his goals and objectives 
' were less clear, and the President asked several detailed questions, con- 

cluding by asking General Ky to ask the Ambassador to request an educa- 
tional team to go to Saigon after the agricultui-al team headed by Secretary 
Freeman returned. 

The Vietnamese then thanked the Americans for the conference, and in 
turn some of the senior members of the American delegation -- in order, 
Admiral Sharp, Leonard Marks, General VJheeler, Ambassador Lodge, Ambassa- 
dor Eaxriiaan -- made brief statements about the m-eajiing of the conference. 
The President then made his final statement: 

"...Preserve this communique, because it is one we don't 
want to forget." It will be a kind of bible that we are going 
to follow. When we come back here 90 days from now, or six 
months from now, we are going to start out and make reference 
to the announcements that the President, the Chief of State and 

I ■ . ■ the Prime Minister made in aph 1, end vrhat the leaders 

and advisors reviewed in 2... You m.en who are respon-. 
slble for these depe.rtments, you ministers, and the sta.ffs 

I associated with them in both governiiients, bear in mind we are 

going to give you en examination and the finals will be on just 
what you have done. 

' "In para.graph 5; how have you built dem.ocracy in the rural ■ . - 
( areas? Hovf much of it have you built, when and V7here? Give us 

1 dates, times 3 numbers. 

"in paragraph 2; larger outputs, m.ore efficient production 
to improve credit, handicraft, light industry, rural electri- 
fication -'• are those just phrases, high-sounding words, or have 
you coon skins on the wall ... . • 

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"Next is health and education^ Mr. Gardner, We don't want 
to talk ahout it; \re want to do something aloout it. 'The 
President pledges he will dispatch teams of experts.' V^ell, we 
better do something besides dispatching. They should get out 
there. Vie r^„re going to train health personnel. How many? You 
don't want to be like the fellow vrho was playing poker and when 
■ he made a big bet they called him and said 'what have you got?' 
He saidj 'aces' and they asked 'how many' and he said 'one 
aces ' . . . 

"Next i^ refugees. That is just as hot as a pistol in my 

country. You don't want me to raise a white flag and surrender 
so we have to do something about that... 

"Growing military effectiveness: we have not gone in because 
we don't want to overshadow this meeting here with bombs ^ with 
mortars, with hand grenades , with 'Masher' movements. 1 don't 
know who names your operations, but 'Masher. ' I get kind of 
mashed myself. But we haven't gone into the details of growing ■ 
military effectiveness for two or three reasons. One, we want 
to be able to honestly and truthfully say that this has not been 
a military build-up conference of the vrorld here in Honolulu. 
We have been talking about building a society following the out- 
lines" of the Prime Minister's speech yesterday. 

"Second, this is not the place, with 100 people sitting 
around, to build a military effectiveness. 

"Third, I. want to put it off as long as 1 can, having to 
make these crucial decisions. 1 enjoy this agony...! don't 
want to come out of this meeting that we have come up here and 
added on X divisions and Y battalions or Z regiments or D 
dollars, because one good story about how many billions are 
going to be spent can bring us more inflation that we are 
talking about in Vietnam. We want to work those out in the 
quietness of the Cabinet Room after you have made your recom- 
mendations, General VHaeeler^^ Admiral Sharp, when you come to 
us... "10/ ^/Emphasis Added/ 

The President's remarks candidly indicated the type of pressure and 
the expectations that he had for the effort. 

But beyond the high-level interest so clearly demonstrated publicly 
for the first tim.e at Honolulu, wliat was accomplished? As mentioned 
earlier, Honolulu's importance lay in two things: (l) the public support 
sho^v-m for the "other war"; and (2) the sections of the Declaration which 
committed the GVN to the electoral process. If nothing else was accom- 
plished at Honolulu, that made the conference- worthwhile. Thus, it is 
perhaps petty to criticize the details of the conference. But they do 

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ouegest an unfortunate failure to come to grips with any of the basic 
issues concerning pacification, and, moreover, a skillful performai.ce 
bv the GTi^ to please their American hosts. Thang's statement to tne 
President after the working session, for exaiaple, with its emphasis on 
rural e^ectrifica.tion, handicrafts, and the need for "materials and 
cement" -- none of which were major GW concerns at that time — can 
fc Vest be explained, in retrospect, by the Vietnamese desire to emphasize 

those things they felt the Secretary of Agriculture, the co-chairman of 
the -American working group, was most interested in. 

Although the inner workings of. the conference do not seem to have 
had much importance on the development of the pacification effort, a 
record does remain of the "rui^al construction working group, and it 
deserves a brief summary. The meeting is useful to examine not because 
of its ultijoiate importance, which was marginal, but because it provides 
■ us with a record of a type of discussion between Americans and Vietnamese 
which has been replayed constantly since (and before). To some weary 
participants, the very words used have seemed to be unchanged since 19b2. 

A summary cannot, unfortunately, recapture the flavor of confusion 
which surrounds the memorandim for the record (A-225U, February 15, 1956). 
The m-eting began with a discussion of terminology (see footnote on 
"revolutionary development") in which it was decided to use the phrase 
"social construction" in place of pacification in English. Then, accord- 
ing to the memorandum, everyone lapsed back into using the phrase 

The Aiaerican representatives then pressed the issue of the role of 
the province chief, im.plying strongly that they thought the province 
chiefs should have more power and autonomy. The Vietnamese, led by ^ 
General Co, neatly answered this issue, "referring to the establislmienx 
of Rural Construction Councils and Division and Corps levels, _wnere such 
matters as the disposition and use of military forces are arbitrated and 
decided upon." When Leonard Unger, asked if the military commanders would 
be committed to providing the necessary military forces for the pacifica- 
tion eff-ort, "General Co again responded, saying that in the past senior 
com.^and;rs tended to pull troops away from Provincial control for search 
and destroy operations. This is a natui-al desire on the part of these 
Smanders who tend to feel that this is a more important role for such , 
troops. NOW, however, their missions have changed. These senior comman- 
ders are now directly involved in the pacification program, are members . 
of th-^ respective Rural Construction Coimcils...In other words, things chan-ed for the better, /mbassador Unger continued to pursue his 
roint stressing our concern that vestiges of the past may still remain. 
General Thang re-entered the discussion, explaining that the GVl^I now has 
■ f new chain of coB-umr^d, clear and clean from Saigon to the Corps to the 
division to the Province to the District; there is only one chaianel m 
• • the country and it is a military channel., .Still on the same suojeca, 

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Mr Poats raised the question: What is the primary mission of the Division ^^ 
Comander? Is it pacification? General Thang answered in the affirmative. 


The discussion continued along these lines, and the airgrem candidly 
concludes: "Generals Co ar.d Thang were being pressed hy rather pointed 
Questions at this and seemed to be trying to indicate that 
pacification is a primary task, although other military tasks must continue 
to be performed. It was fairly apparent that troops charged with securing 
the pacification area axe liable still to be withdrawn on a temporary basis 
to meet situations which mW senior corrmanders judge to be critical. 

II ■ ' " The meeting then discussed the cadre program; the renewed emphasis on 

village goveriffiient; the role of the province chief (at this point General 
, Co made his statement that the GVM would appoint province chiefs for one 

I year minii>ium period, a decision which was never carried out); the intro- 

duction of t^oo-Ds; the cadre (again); the six areas where the effort needed 
improvement (agriculture, hajidicraft, lajid reform, rural electrification, 
construction materials, and training of local officials); land reform 
(with Minister Tri presenting his fouj: -month old plan again, and Poats 
expressing "concern about the performance to date"); and the general ques- 
tion of pacification goals. 

And then, after reporting back to the President in the meeting de- 
scribed earlier, the participants broke up, returning to Saigon arid 
Washington to give "the other war" a new emphasis; to reorgajiize the Mis- 
sion in Saigon; to appoint a new Special Assistant to the President in 
Washington; to start the quest for coonskins (the phrase was in common use 
in Saigon within a few days); to await the public and press reaction (see 
following section) ; and to walk without warning into a major political 
crisis which almost brought the government down, set back every tim.e- 
sch-duie made at Honolulu, forced a postponement of the next scheduled 
conference from June-July until October, and - through an ironic twist 
of fate — left the Gm stronger than before, following a remarkably 
successful election. 

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B. In£8£t_m^_Pub3i^inJJS,_^^ 

"This week the word 'pacification' was on everyone's lips af the 
Honolulu on? rex c on Vie^n^," .rrote Charles Hohr in the NewYork . 
Honoxuiu con important members of the Johjnson 

ISSistfaSreSkced the idea with all the enthusiasm of a horse 
pj^yer Sth a new hetting system. The main purpose of the Honolulu 
player ^^^' flramatnze this American enthusiasm for the I966 

^Sr;a:?fi::ti n :om:ti;^s caned 'nxral const^ction' - program 
S tie ?^verment of South Vietnam and to pledge more Mer.can 
assistance for the program." 

Mohr's article may have heen slightly --^ri^^^f'JllJ'fl'' ^"" 
te little doubt that the President's pledge on oehalf^of the US 
r-Sverm^nt to the pacification effort began a new period for the US 
Government xo ^\ ^ Honolulu on it was open and unmistakable 

rs'Tlfe/'to sSp?:; pI;rficTiorand the "other war/' a.d those who 
s;w these activitSs as unimportant or secondary had to submerge their 
sentSents under a cloud of rhetoric. Despite this fact, of course, 
sentmenxs una ^^ ^^^ Mission on program 

X/ r Jai :ndTa;:y S^ haJtles remained to be fought. Porter 
Sd Komer would fight them, as viill be sho™ later. 

This was the great impact of Honolulu - on pacification. But 
there were o?her rLifications of the Honolulu conference -1-=^ ^ver- 

shadowld the emphasis on non-m.ilitary -\-i^^f^!,;\Jf ^^^ftl al up- 
followed Because of these events - particularly the political up 
heavSs that rocked Vietnam from March until June - the follow-up 
Conference tentatively .planned for June did not take place and the 
!^oXin pacification'; im.portance was probably set back about six 
Sniis Xle this study does not tr-y to cover the concurrent events 
o? the 'period, it should be emphasized that the most important parts 
o? the Honolulu Declaration were not those dealing with pacification at 
all but rather the sections which connnitted the GVl^f to fomulate a 
Smocratic constitution to the people for discussion and modification; 
to seeS its ratification by secret ballot; to create, on the basis of 
P^ectlons rooted in that constitution, an elected government... 11/ 
Sth these words, the GVl^ was openly committed, under U.S. P-ssure, to 
!Lcess which Ihey probably did not desire or appreciate. In the 

fui elections for a Constitutional Assemoly (September 11, 1966) . 

' The following collection of newspaper items is selected to show 
. ?? i .Zre dffferinP- opinions vrLthin the U.S. Mission and am.cng 
that there were J.^J^^f"J-^^^°^^^^ ^^^ ^^,,^^^, from Honolulu did get 
Vietnamese, but xnat in gener ^ ^^eporter in Saigon had 

SS^S StS: "r S;meS^S t^ Mssio^f ^o^.ere telling hi.a their 

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honest feelings (the Saigon Mission^ it vas once said by Barry^ 
could not keep a secret 2k hours )^ the stories from Saigon do reflect 
what the Mission thought in the days just after Honolulu. The editori- 
als and columnists from Washington indicate to vhat degree the Adminis- 
tration succeeded in convincing the press corps (vrhich is not^ of 
course^ the U.S. puhlic) that the emphasis at Hoxiolulu vas really on 

EDITORIAL: The TTew York Herald Tribune ^ February 8: . ' 

"The meeting presents the prospect of our resuming the 
war in m^ore favorable circumstances. The m.eeting of the 
heads of the American and South Vietnaraese governments is 
a fresh and stronger demonstration of mutual confidence. 
On this basis they can now proceed to miount measures for 
dealing with the equally important militaiy and civilian 
aspects of the war. 

"The two are intimately related. . .the loyalty and sup- 
port of the peasants in the interior are essential. Presi- 
dent Johnson is bidding for them by offering some of the 
benefits of his Great Society program to the South Vietnamese. 
It will not be easy^ in time of war^ . . .but, . .they must be 
pursued ^rith the same vigor as we press the war on the 

EDITORIAL: The Washington Evening Star , February 7: 

"It is particularly significant that the American 
delegation included JIM Secretary Gardner and Orville 
Freeman, Secretary of Agriculture. Their presence cer- 
tain]y mieans that a greater 'pacification^ effort will be 
made as the fighting goes on..." 

COLII^INIST: Marquis Childs, February 9 (from Honolulu) 

"This conference called by President Johnson is a 
large blue chip put on the survival value of the vaiy, 
exuberajit Air Vice Marshal Nguyen Cao Ky, and the generals 
who rule with him. It is expected that Ky mil not only 
survive but that with massive economic help from the U.S. 
the national leadership comimittee will eventually win the 
support of the peasant in the countryside. . .Any sensible 
bookmaker would quote long odds against the bet paying off. 
But after so many false starts this seems to be the right 
direction -- a determined drive to raise the level of living 
in the countryside and close the gap of indifference and 
hostility betvreen the peasant and the sophisticated city 
dweller. . .Over and over we have been' told that only by 
winning the hearts and minds of the Vietnamese people will 

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ve achieve a victory that has meaning beyond the grim choice of _ 
pulverization of Am.erican occupation into the indefinite future 
...This is the reason teams of American specialists in agri- 
culture^ healthy and education are going to Vietnam..." 

■ EDITORIAIi: The l]e\T York Herald Tribune , February 9: 

"Perhaps the most constructive part of the Honolulu 
conference was the emphasis it placed on this_ hitherto 
badly neglected aspect of the Viet Ham war /Pacification/. 
It is unfortunate that Chief of State Thieu diverted attention 
from it by heaping more fuel on the controversy over whether 
the Viet Cong should or should not sit at a peace conference 
table. . . " 

EDITOKEAL: The Nev Yor k Times , February 9 and 13: 

"The Honolulu conference has followed the classic pattern 
of Summit meetings that are hastily called without thorough 
preparation in advance; it has left confusion in its wake, 
with more questions raised than answered. . .The one important 
area of agreement at Honolulu, apart from continuation of 
the military efforts, was on an expanded program of 'rural 
construction.' The prospective doubling of American economic 
aid, however, will be futile unless it is accomipanied by a 
veritable social revolution, including vigorous land reform. 
Premier Ky cast some doubt in his emphasis on moving slowly. 
His mnister of Rural Pacification envisages action in only 
1,900 of South Vietnam's 15,000 haralets this year. 

"Vice President Humphrey evidently has his work cut out 
for him in his follow-up visit to Saigon. Unless some way 
can be found to give more moment^xm to this effort, the new 
l! . economic aid program may go dom the same drain as all previous 

programs of this kind. 

"It would be a cruel deception for Americans to get the 
idea that social reforms carried out by the Ky governmient 
vlt.h American money are going to mal^e any perceptible difference 
in the near future to the Vietnamese people or to the course 
of the war." 


Ted Lewis, New York Daily Hews , February 10 (from 
ViTashington) : 

"Why, all of a sudden, has President Johnson begun to 
come to grips \T±th the ^ other vrar' in South Vietnam?... 
Johnson, ^ his typical oratorical flourishes, has gi 
4-1.^ -ivr,r^rPssion that he lamched something totally new 

the impression 


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Honolulu. . .The fact is that for several years this problem of 
the 'other vrar' has been recognized as vital by the State 
Department^ the Pentagon and even by the White House. But 
nobody did much about it, except in an offhand way, . . 

"Johnson is a master of timing. He has definitely gained 
a political advantage over his Viet policy critics by stressing 
right now the need of winning over the peasants. . ./Senator 
Robert/ Kennedy complained in a Senate speech just ten days ago 
that there were 'many indications that we have not yet even begun 
to develop a program. . .It is absolutely urgent/ the Senator said, 
'that we now act to institute new prograras of education, land 
reform, public health, political participation. ..' ." 

KEI7S MALYSIS: Richard Critchfield in The Washington Eve ning 

Star , February 9 (from Saigon) : 

"President Johnson's historic decision at Honolulu back- 
ing an Aiierican-sponsored brand of social revolution as an 
alternative to communism in South Vietnam was warmly hailed 
today by veteran political observers. The Honolulu declara- 
tion was viewed as ending postwar era of American foreign 
policy aim.ed at stabilizing the status quo in Asia. 

"The key phrase, in the view of many diplomats here, was 
the offer of full American 'support to mieasures of social 
revolution, including land reform based upon the principle 
of building upward from the hopes and purposes of all the 
people of Vietnam. 

" .Johnson's decisions to put political remedies on a par 
with military action are also regarded here as a major personal 
triujnph for Ambassador Heniy Cabot Lodge and his top aide, 
Maior General Edward G. Lansdale, the two main aavocates of 
'social revolution' in South Vietnam. . .The Honolulu declara- 
tion appears to signify a major shift away from the policy of 
primarily military support established by President Kennedy m 
1961 and closely identified with General Maxvfell Taylor, 
Defense Secretary McMamara, and Secretary of State Rusk... The 
Lodge -Lansdale formula was a striking departure. in that it saw 
the eventual solution not so much in Hanoi's capitulation as 
in successful pacification in South Vietncffli. . .The Honolulu 
decla-atlon aurounts to almost a point by point acceptance 
of this fomula and both its phraseology and philosophy bear 
Lansdale ' s urmiistaliable im^print..." 

EDITORI/iL: The Bal timiore Sun , February 10: 

"Unless there was more substazice to the Honolulu Conference 
than meets the eye, it could be summed up as much ado - not 

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much ado about nothing but simply much ado... It was all 
spectacular and diverting but so far as we can see the 
problem of the war is where it was hefore the "burst of 
activity began. . .It is probably worthwhile to have a 
reiteration of the social and economic measures needed in 
South Vietnam. ..It is essential to underscore the political 
nature of the war, along with the continuing military opera- 
tions. But these matters were generally understood before 
the Honolulu meetings. Perhaps^^events to come will maJce the 
purpose of the meeting clearer. 


EDITOKEAL: The Wew York Post , FelDruary 9: 

"The Hawaii meetings vere advertised as the beginning 
of a vast new movement of economic ajad social refonn in 
Vietnam, President Johnson, we were told, went to Honolulu 
to launch the new approach with maximum drama. 

"Instead, the session inadvertently underscored the 
lack of interest of the junta in Saigon in anything hut 
military conquest of the Viet Cong, to be carried out by 
stepped up U.S. armed efforts. .. " 

KEWS STORY: AP, February 10 (from Honolulu): 

"Vice President Humphrey left for Saigon today with 
South Vietnam's top leaders to spur action on programs 
attacking hunger, disease, ajid ignorance in that war -torn 
country. . . 

KEWS MALYSIS: Charles Mohr The Wew York TiJies , February 10 

(from Saigon) : 


'In the atmosphere of Honolulu, there was much emphasis 
on form, so much that in some ways it may have obscured 
substance. The Araericans appeared so delighted with 
Marshal Ky's 'style' -- with his shoT-ring as a politically 
salable young man with the right instincts rather than as 
■ a young warlord -- that there seemed to be almost no 
emphasis on the important differences between the Govern- 
ments. . .iNThat Marshal Ky told President Johnson was something 
he had often said before: South Vietnamese society is still 
riddled with social injustices and political weaknesses; 
there is not one political party worthy of the n8jae...The 
South Vietnamese leaders believe that they could not survive 
a 'peaceful settlement' that left the VC political structure 
in place, even if the VC guerrilla units were disbandea. 
Therefore the South Vietnamese feel that 'n.iral pacifica- 
tion ' of' which m-uch was said at Honolulu, is necessary not 

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only to helTD them achieve military victory hut also to prevent 
a political^ reversal of that victory. . .As the Vietnamese see 
pacification, its core is not merely 'helping the people to^a 
better life/ the aspect on >rhich many American speakers 
dwelled, it is rather the destruction of the clandestine VC 
political structure and the creation of an ironlike system 
of government political control over the population... 

"But the two govemm-ents have never "been closer than 
they are in the aftermath of Honolulu, and the atmosphere 
of good feeling seems genuine..." 

KEWS ANALYSIS: Roscoe DrLimmond, February lU (from Washington) 

"...The decisions taken at Honolulu by President 
Johnson 'and Premier Ky go to the heart of winning. They 
were primarily social, economic, and political decisions. 
They come at a malleable and perhaps decisive turn in the ■ 


war. . . 

KE¥S MALYSIS:' Tom Wicker in The Hew York Times, February 13 

(from Saigon) : 

"Vice President Hiimplirey. . .has left Saigon reverber- 
ating ^-fith what he said was the 'single message' he had 
come to deliver. The message was that the war in Vietnam 
was a war to bring social justice aiid economic and political 
progress to the Vietnamese people ... Humphrey said at a . 
news conference here: 'Social and economic revolution 
does not belong to the VC. Won-coirmmist forces are the 
ones for>ra,rdlng the revolution. ' 

"The emphasis on social refona could also quiet 
critics who contend that Washington has concentrated too 
much on the military problem and not enough on civic 
action to mn the loyalty of the Vietnamese people..." 

KEVJS MALYSIS: Charles Mohr The I-Iew York Times , February 13 

(from Saigon) : 

"By giving enorraous emphasis and publicity to it, 
an impression was left that pacification is something new. 
In a sense, there was some truth in this. The m.en run- 
ning the program, both Vietnamese and Aitierican, are new. 
And the I966 plan itself is a new one in many respects. 

"Pacification is vitally important to success in the 
guerrilla war in South Vietnam. Without it, purely military- 
success becomes empty even if all the battles -are 'won'." 

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HEWS MALYSIS: Joseph Alsop, February 1^ (from Saigon): 

"CART BEFORE HORSE. . .All that really mattered at Honolulu 
was a Presidential decision to provide the forces needed to 
keep the pressure on the enemy here in Vietnam. The odds 
are heavy^that the President, who seems to prefer doing good 
by stealth, actually took this decision behind the electorate 
smokescreen of talk about other matters. The question 
rem-ains whether the needed forces will be provided soon 
enough. One must wait and see. ' . 

"But at the risk of sounding captious, and for the 
sake of honesty and realism, it must be noted that there 
was a big Madison Avenue elem.ent in all the talk about, 
•pacification' during the Hawaii meeting and Vice President 
Humphrey's subseq:aent visit to Vietnam, 

"This does not mean that pacification of the Vietnamese 
count-r-yside is an unimportant and/or seconda-ry problem. On 
the contrary, it will eventually be all-important and primary. 
But one need only glance at the list of priority areas 
marked for pacification now, to see the adman's touch m the 
present commotion. 

"There are: An Giang Province, which belongs to the 
Hoa Hao sect and has been long since pacified by the Hoa 
Hao- the Hop T^ac region near Saigon, where General Harkins 
experimented unhappily with the so-called oil spot technique; 
parts of Binh Dinh Province along the north- south highway; 
and the fringes of the Marine enclave at Da Kang. ■ 

"Each area differs from the others. In the case of the 
nine villages on the fringes of the Marines' Da Hang enclave, 
for instance, pacification is needed to insure airfield 
security from mortar fire. Most of these villages have been 
Viet Cong strongholds for over 20 years, and they could be 
dangerous , 

", . .Pacification by the Marines looks very fine. . .But 
it takes far too many Marines to do the job. 

"Nonetheless, .the real objections to making a big-- 
immediate show of pacification are quite different. The 
Hop Tac experience tells the story. Here a great effort 
was made by the Vietnamese - authorities with the strong 
support of General Plarkins. A good deal was initially 
accomplished. Boasts began to be heard. Whereat the 
enemy sailed forth from the nearest redoubt area, knocked 
do-vm everything that had been built up, murdered all the 

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villagers who had worked with the government, and left things 
much worse than they had been before... An attempt to make a 
big immediate show of pacification needs to be warned against, 
because of the ¥ashington pressure to do .just that. A large 
element of the U.S. Mission, was called home a month or so 
ago. And in effect, these men were commanded to produce a 
plan for mailing a show as soon as possible, 

"Fortunately, they had the courage to point out that 
the cart was being put before the horse once again. For- 
tunately, Ambassador Lodge is well aware of the dangers of 
putting the cart before the horse. The pressure for some- 
thing showy may continue, but it is likely to be resisted. 

"If so the pressure will not be altogether useless. 
The Vietnamese and the Americans here are getting ready 
for pacification on a big scale and in an imaginative way, 
partly because of that pressure. 

"It is vital to have everything in readiness to do the 
job of pacification as soon as favorable circumstances 
arise. But it is also vital to bear in mind that really 
favorable circumstances cannot arise until the enemy's 
backbone of regular tmits is at last very close to the 
brealving point, if not actually beginning to break." 

EDITORIAL: Christian Science Monitor , February 11: 

"If Saigon and Washington fight South Vietnam's economic 
and social war as vigorously as they fight its military war, 
the Coiranunist thrust against tha.t country will fail. Yet 
this is the biggest 'if of the war. Over and over lip- 
service has been paid to the inescapable need of winning 
over the peasantiy. But time and again this has come to 
naught . 

"¥e are cautiously encouraged "by the latest steps 
loeing taken. The strong emphasis laid in the Honolulu 
Declaration on civic reforms is a commitment in the right 
direction. The sending of Vice-President Etmphrey to study 
South Vietnamese reform programs on the spot is an even 
stronger earnest of Americans intention not to let this 
program slip "back into another do-nothing doldrum..." 

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III. Hono lvilu to Manila 

A. Saigo n: Porter in Charge 

"Question. Mr. President, when you were in Los Angeles reporting 
orrthelfonolulu Conference, you listed eleven items which you 
said were discussed, and you said that in all these fields you 
set targets, concrete targets. Would it he possible to get a list 
of these concrete targets? 

"Answer. I don't have any. I think what I had in mind there was 
" sayin^that we hoped to make certain progress in certain fields and 

we expect to have"" another conference after a reasonahle length of 
time, in which we will take the hits, runs, and errors and see what 
we have achieved and everybody would be answerable, so to speak, as 
to the progress they have made and whether or not they are nearing 
their goals... I hoioe to be in Honolulu in the next few months, 
maybe in the middle of the yeax, and see what has been done. I 
thou.<^ht it was good that we could go there and have the Government 
aiid the military leader, General Westmoreland, and the Ambassador 
Slid the Deputy Arabassador, meet with the Vice President, the 
Secretary of Agriculture and technicians, and try to expose to ohe 
world for three days what this country is trying to do to feed the 
hungry, and educate the people, and to improve the life span for 
■' ' people who just live to be 35 now... A lot of our folks think it is 

iust a military effort. We don't think it should be that, and v^e 
don't want it to be that..." l/ 

As the President returned to Washington from Honolulu, the Vice 
President, Secretary Frem^an, and McGeorge Bundy headed up a large list 
of high-ranking officials that went on to Saigon. Bundy, about to leave 
th- goverment^ carried with him authority from the President to give 
the Deputy Arabassador wide authority over all aspects of the rural con- 
struction nroo-rsm. On February 12, I966, the President sent Ambassador 
Lodge a NGDIS^'telegram, which was designed to pave the way for Bundy 's 
reorganization effort: 

"QUOTE. I hope tha.t you share my own satisfaction with the 
Honolulu Conference. The opportunity to talk face to face with 
you, General Westmoreland and the Vietnamese leaders has given 
m.e a much better appreciation of the problems each of you face, 
but perhaps even rsore mportantly the opportunities open to us. 
I was particularly impressed with the apparent determination of 
Thieu, Ky and the other Vietnamese Ministers to carry forward a 
social policy of radical and constructive change. However, I 
full we]! realize the tremendous job that they and we have in 
putting this into practice. I intend to see that our organiza- 
tion back here for supporting this is promptly tightened and 


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strengthened and I know that you will want to do the same at 
your end. I was impressed with Ambassador Porter and it seems 
to me that he prohahly has the necessary qualifications to 
give you the support you will need in thir field. ^-Jhile I 
know that he is already doing so, 1 suggest that your desig- 
nation of hm as "being in total charge , under yo-or supervision^ 
of all aspects of the rural construction program would consti- 
tute a cle£.r and visible sign to the Vietnamese ajid to our o^/n 
people that the Honolulu Conference really ma^ks a new departure 
in this vital field of our effort there. We will of course be 
glad to give prompt support with whatever additional personjiel 
or administrative rearrangement this might require within the 
Mission or Embassy. Please let me know your ovm thoughts on 
this . 

"I hope that in June w^e can have a full report showing real 
progress in our war on social misery in Viet Nam. In the mean- 
while, I know that you will not hesitate to let me know how we 
c8J:a be of help. UITQUOTE 

"The President has instructed that a copy of this message 
be given to McGeorge Bundy." 2/ 

The President also sent General Westmoreland a personal telegram that day, 
which did not mention the matter of civilian organization. To Westmore- 
land he wrote: 

"QUOTE. I want you to know tha.t I greatly enjoyed the oppor- 
tunity of tallying directly with you at Honolul'a and I hope you 
share my own satisfaction on the outcome of the.t conference. 
I was much encouraged by your presentation of the military 
situation and now have even more pride and confidence in what 
you and your men are doing. 1 feel that we are on the right 

track and you can be sure of my continued support. 


"I kJiow that you share ray own views on the equal importance of 
the war on social misery, and hope that what we did at Honolulu 
will help assure that we and the Vietnam.ese move forward with 
equal vigor and determination on that front. As I have told 
j\mbassador Lodge and am' telling Thieu and Ky, I hope that in 
June I can have a report of real progress in that field. With 
continued progress in the military field, we should by that 
time be able to see aliead more clearly the road to victory over 
both aggression and misery. 

"You have my complete confidence and genuine admiration and 
absolute support. I never forget that I have a lot riding on 
you. UI-IQUOl'E . " 3/ ' ■ 

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After the mood at the Warrenton Conference, the push for reorgejii- 
zation should have come as no surprise to the higher ranking members of 
the Mission. Discussions centering around the role of the Deputy Pm- ^ 
bassedor (and earlier, the DCM) as a manager for the mushrooming Civilian 
Mission had been going on for a long time, as Lodge and Porter -11 knew. 
With Bundy in Saigon to ease the issue, lodge answered the President on 
February 15, 1966: 

"I do indeed want to 'tighten and strengthen the organi- 
zation for suTDport of the rural construction program at this 
end ' as you tell me you plan to do at yours. And I applaud 
You^ determination to treat 'rural construction' (for which 
there should be a better name) * as an end in itself and on a 
par with the military. 

"As you say, Ambassador Porter is already putting a great 
dea] of effort into this work. I have never made a formal 
announcement of this fact because it seemed to me that the _ 
arrangement was working pretty well as it was and that public 
announcement was uiinecessary. Also, I felt the U.S. Goverrnnent 

* Lod-e had for some time been troubled by the phrase rural construction 
the literal trar^slation of the Vietnamese Xay_DimgJIong Jhon - which 
he felt suggested bricks and cement, rather than the entire program of 
"revolutionary uplift" which he advocated. Right after the Honolulu 
■ B-eeting, he asked each member of the Mission Council for suggestions on 
how better to translate the Vietnamese phrase. Out of the suggestions 
that he received .(including Westmoreland's recommendation that ^e ought 
to leave the phrase alone, just translating the literal meaning of the 
Vietnamese as accurately as possible), Lodge chose the phrase "Revolu- 
tionary Development." At about the same time, the GVE dropped the word 
"rural" from the name of the Ministry of Riu-al Construction (thus, Xa^ 
Dun- Pon^ Thon was replaced by Xay Dung) . Lodge and Ky then announced 
^^-h^i^^^h the Vietnamese Ministry would be known m Englisn as the ■ 
' Ministry of Revolutionary Development, and the overall program called 
Revolutionary Development (RD) . To this day, the sems^tic gap remains 
abridged: the Vietnamese call it the Ministry of Construction (^oXey 
Zo-) except when they are talking in English to an American; tne 
Sl?icans ckl it the MORD. The same applies to the prograxi: moreover, 
I , ■ tSe confusion is often compounded by the fact that m mo st mf orm-al 

1 , l^^cSssions between Americans and Vietnam^ese, the term most often used 

' * ' Js still "pacification." See, for exam-ple, the Working Group session 

i I 'at Honolulu, February 7, 1966: "it is perhaps significam: that this was 
^ * ■ the oSy tii^e in the co^se of the meeting, i.e., at the outset, that 

the newlv adopted U.S. term was heard. Throughout the remainder ox the 

the newly ^aop_. pacification was used almost exclusively. 

rti co^nLtl:: ^hrsaigon U.S. "representatives present at the meeting 
are inclined to doubt the actual a.ppropriateness of the new term. . .) 


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MSiS getting really enthusiastic work without thought of self 
from both Porter and Lansdale under present conditions, I felt 
public ajmouncements might make Lansdale feel less important • 
without any ^^ain for Porter who does not need or want a sense 
of importance', I believe that ^jnericans are pulling together 
here as never before and that there is a spirit here which is 
worth more than organization charts. 

"But I can see the merit of the idea that a public desig- 
nation of Porter as being in total charge of the i\riericeji 
aspects of the ruxal construction program would 'constitute a 
clear and visible sign to the Vietnamese and to our own people 
that the Honolulu Conference really marks a new departure.' 

"There are pitfalls to be avoided. For example, I assume 
that if Porter's new allocation means that I am so taken up with 
U.S. visitors that I am in effect separated from 'rural con- 
struction, ' then we would take a new look at the whole thing. 
Much of the most time-consimiing job out here is not .rural con- 
struction but is the handling and educating of U.S. visitors. 
Althouf'h it must be done at the expense of the war effort within 
Vietnara, it is vitally important. But it was not until the end 
of January that 1 was free enough of visitors to start holding 
meetings of U.S. 'rural construction' workers to probe and to 
prod and to develop the 'check-up' maps which I showed you at 

"I suggest, therefore that I make the following announce- 
ment- 'I have today designated Deputy Ambassador Vlilliam Porter 
to tke full charge, under my direction, of all aspects of work 
of the United States in support of the programs of community 
building, presently described as rural construction, agreed at 
the Honolulu Conference. This includes overcoming by police 
methods the criminal, as distinct from the military aspect of 
Viet Cong violence; and the training and installation of health, 
education and agricultural workers and of community organizers. 
Ambassador Porter will have the support of a small staff drawn 
from all elem.ents of the U.S. Mission, and he and I will continue 
to have the help of General Edward ^ Lansdale as senior liaison 
officer and adviser. Ambassador Porter will continue to serve 
as my Deputy in the full sense of the word, but he will be re- 
lieved as far as possible of all routine duties not connected 
with the Honolulu program. We are determined that this program 
for peace and progress shall be carried forward with all the 
en-rpy and skill of a fully coordinated U.S. Mission effort, 
always with full recognition that the basic task of nation- . 
building here belongs to' the people of Viet Nam and to their 
goverrment . ' . • 

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f "I know txhat YOU appreciate that this is essentially a 

' Vietnamese program and that what Porter would be supervising 

would be the .A^ierica^ end of it. I recognize the existence of 
the v^ew that we must in effect impose detailed plans and some- . 
how rmi the pacification effort ourselves. But I do not snar-e 
it. Hothing durable cbxi be accomplished that way. 

"As far as 'administrative rearrangement' is concerned, 
I would like Sam Wilson to take the office now occupied by 
Porter, with the rank of Minister, and to serve as Mission _ 
coordinator. I intend to put Habib in the office now occupied 
I "by Chadbom-n with the rank of Minister.... 

"As soon as I receive word from you that this is satis- 
factory, I intend to make the announcement about Porter. The 
other appointments can be announced later. LODGE h/ 

From the beginning, Lodge, who felt that "a public aainoimcement was 
tmnecessary" except as a "clear and visible sign to the Vietnamese and 
to our own people that the Honolulu conference really marks a new de- 
Lrture " k/ was not overly enthusiastic about the public designation 
S hS'cIe-Dutv as being "in total charge" of something. The documen'cation 
±1 virtually" nonexistent on the question of whether Lodge's feelings on 
thil point acted as a constraint on Porter, but it is hard to escape tne 
ctrong iinpression that from the outset. Lodge was going along with the 
;ew authority for Porter only with reluctance - and that Porter had to 
Seep this in mind whenever he considered putting heavy pressure on an 
agency. . . 

Porter also had his reservations about his role. Whether these were 
caused by a feeling that the Ambassador was not going to support him m 
showLms with the agencies, or whether his caution came fro. some more 
basic feelings, there can be no doubt that he did not, n.n the period 
between Honolulu and Manila, perform in his new role as the President 
and his senior advisors had hoped« And thus once again, at Manila, a 
■ Organization was approved - this time a much broader and fax-reaching 


Porter's -intentions were accurately foreshadowed in his first state- 
,,ent to the Mission Coimcil on the subject, February 28, 19o6 He_sought 
then to allay the fears which the announcement had raised m the minds of 
the agency chiefs in Vietnam: 

"jijiibassador Porter described briefly his new responsibili- 
ties as he sees them in the pacification/rural development area. 
' He pointed out that the basic idea is to place total responsi- 
' biiny on one senior individual to pull together all of the civil 

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aspects of revolutionary development. He sees this primarily 
as a coordinating ef fort and does not intend to get i nto__the 
TTi-i rl ri 1 ff "nf in'dividuad^agen ey activities and responsibilities . ^ 
As"he""and'"lais staff perceive ai^eas which require attention and 
action "by a responsible agency, he vill call this to the 
attention of that agency for the purpose of emphasis; he in- 
tends to suggest rather than to criticize. . .i^mbassador Porter 
noted that the non-priority areas are still getting the bulk , 
of the resoui^ces, vrhich means that \re have not yet really con- 
centrated on the priority areas and which also flags the 
necessity to bring the priority areas into higher focus. He 
will have a great interest in the allocation of resources such 
as manpower; yet he recognizes that under wartime conditions 
which prevail in Vietnam there will always be some inequity." 5/ 

It is important to emphasize that the appointment of Porter to his 
new role did indeed improve the organization of the Mission, and that 
Porter did accomplish some of the things that VJashington had hoped he 
would "- but, under the constraints outlined below, he did not get 
enough done fast enough to satisfy'- the growing impatience in Washington 
with the progress of the effort. This impatience was to lead to the 
second reorganization and the formation of the Office of Civil Operations 
(OCO) after the Manila Conference. Although the impatience of Washington 
was justified, the fact is that under the new and limited mandate Porter 
had, he did begin the process of pulling together CIA, USAID, and JUSPAO, 
and forcing them to work more closely together. He also tried to focus 
General Lansdale's liaison efforts with General Thaiig more closely on 
items related to o-or operational objectives. He presented a new and 
vastly improved image of the civiliaji mission to the press, many of whom 
came to regard him as the most competent high official in the Mission. 
To one semi-official observer, Henry Kissinger, who visited Vietna:n first 
in October of I965, and then returned in July, I966, the situation looked 
substantially improved: 

"The organization of the Embassy has been vastly improved 
' since my last visit. The plethora of competing agencies, each 
operating their omi program on the basis of partly conflicting 
and largely uncoordinated criteria, has been replaced by an 
increasingly effective structure under the extremely able 
leadership of Bill Porter. Porter is on top of his job. It 

1 would be idle to pretend that the previous confusion is wholly 

overcome. He has replaced competition by coordination; he is 
well on his way to imposing effective direction on the basis of 
carefully considered criteria. At least the basic structure for 
progress exists. \Jhere eight months ago I hardly knew where to 
begin, the problem now is how to translate structure into per- 
formance -- a difficult but no insuperable task." 6/ 

' Desnite Kissinger's hopeful words, there was a growing tendency in ■ 
---^ Washirlgton -to demand more out of .the Mission that it was then producing. 


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Tn a paper written in August, I966, Robert W. Komer, whose role in the 
re-emphasis of pacification vill be discussed in the next sectxon, wrote: 

"There is a growing consensus that the US/GVN pacifica- 
tion effort needs to be stepped up, that management of our 
pacification assets is not yet producing an acceptable rate 
■of return for our heavy support investments, and that paci- 
■ ficat-ion operations should be brought more abreast of our 
developing military effort against the MA and VC main force. 
The President has expressed this view, and so has ^anbassaaor 
Lodge among others." 7/ ■ 

Why did Porter not live up to the exi^ectations of Washington? \feile 
the docLentation is weak on this point, the following reasons can be 
■ deduced from' the available evidence, including discussions with people 
who worked in both Saigon and Washington: 

\ I !■ The Ambassador was not fully bac}iingjiis_jeputy,_and^^ 

ili^fT^-r^FToTi]II^.ort in Mission Council m_ee tings, 

i^rtil¥?Fi^sTTirdii^'iiI3ns with the agencies. Many senior 

offictiS of'the USG, including the President, had J old Porter 

that he had their full support,' and that they expected him to 

manage the Mission. But on a day-to-day basis, ^^^^^^ J^^ ;° 

. • pet Ilong with the Ambassador, who was still (and legitimately 

To) the boss. The result was a considerable gap between what 
high officials in Washington considered Porter's mandate, _ and 
what Porter felt he would be able to do without antagonizing 
the Ambassador. -^ 

7lZ^[rZ^h^ foreshadowed in a remarkable >.ray in 1963-196^- After 

tration 'This L; of course been stressed to him. both by Dean Rusk 

aid iys^if (and also by John McCone) , and I do not think he is con- 
t^io7slv re ecting our advice; he has just operated as a loner all his 
Tife Ind canS readily char.g^ now. Lodge's --ly- designated deputy 
Davld^V-es, was with us and seems a highly competent team player. I have 
^fr.The situation frankly to him and he has sai'd he would do all he 
SS:f to' o^ tSiSwhat would in effect be a. executive committee opera- 
SS below the level of the Ambassador." It is fairly well established 
thai Ls, whatever his own ability and shortcomings was unable to 
establish an "executive comittee operating below the level of the Am- 
bassador," and that, as a matter of fact his every attempt to move m 
the dire tion indicated by the Secretary further alienated him from 
■ the Sbassador. The presumed lesson in the incident was that it is 
ISftculttnd dangerous to tell one man's deputy that he has to assume 
Scad resp'xsibility and authority if the top man does not want this 
designation made. ■ ^- ■ 

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2.' The agencies invQlved -- A ID, USIA, and CIA — vera hostile 
to the ne^rdesi^ nation from the outset . Since every agency 
^ald lip-service to the new role of the Deputy Aiahassador, 
it is difficult to docuiuent this fact. But it is virtually 
self-evident: since every agency was being told that its 
chief reiDresentative in Saigon now worked for the Deputy 
Amhassador, a career Foreign Service Officer, there was un- 

M ■ ■ happiness with the systen in both, Saigon and Washington. 

Men like the Director of JUSPAO, who had served in Vietnam 

I I since January of 196^, and the CIA Station Chief, who re- 

tained a completely independent conmunications channel to 

j : Washington, were not going to yield any portion of their 

autonomy without some quiet grumbling and invisible foot- 
dragging. To overcome this reluctance was not as easy for 
Porter as Washington had perhaps hoped, particularly in 
light of Lodge's attitude. 

3. The Washington organization did not parallel the Saigon 
\ I "stinlc' tTO-e^iTlTas supposed to sup p ort, and in fact actually 

^^verited__strong and continuous support. With legitimate 
ligaTand traditional responsibilities for programs overseas, 
each agency in Washington was understandably reluctant to 
channel their guidance through the Deputy Ambassador, whose 
authority did not seem to be derived from the normal letter 
of- authority to all Chiefs of Mission sent by President 
Kennedy in I96I. The agencies, moreover, also had a special 
problem with regard to Vietnam: Congress was being far more 
rigorous in its review of the Vietnam program than it was in 
most other areas. The Moss Subcommittee on Overseas Govern- 
mental Operations, for exajnple, was sending investigating 
teams to"" Saigon regularly, and issuing well-publicized reports 
criticizing the AID program across a broad front. The Sena- 
j torial group that reviews CIA programs was showing considerable 

concern with the nature and size of the cadre and counter- 
( ' ' terror programs. And beyond that, there was the normal budge- 

tary process, in which each agency generally handles its own 
requests th-rough an extremely complex and difficult process. 
t ' Each agency was bound to try to commujiicate as directly as 

, , possible with their representatives in Saigon. Thus, while 

I ' some major conflicting policies which had previously existed 

were ironed out through the new system (such as the ro,le of 
j the cadre), many smaller, or second-level matters contained 

to receive the traditional separate agency approach. 

A good example of this was the vital issue of improving village/hamlet 
government. Although consistently identified as a key element in any 
successful nacification program, improving the war-torn village structure 
1 '■ seem-d to escape the Mission organizationally. Responsibility for advice 

ond'assistance to the GVI^ Ministry of Interior (later the Commissariat for 

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Atoinistration) , rested vith the USAID Public Atoinistration Division, 
^SS in turn vL at the third level of the USAID reporting to the 
USAID Director only through an Assistant Director for Technical Ser- 
viS Sthin the Public Administration Division (PAD) itself, to make 
matters vorse, iinr,roving village /hamlet government was only one of a 
laSe number of activities for which PAD was responsible --_and in the 
eye! of many traditionally-minded professional public administrators, 
it did not automatically come first. 

Other issues of obvious importance -- such as budgeting, strengthen- 
ing the Ministry, improving the National Institute of Administration, ■ 
sSdin. officials to the U.S. for participant training - all came withm 
the normal PAD prograra as outlined in the AID Country Assistance Program 
CrAPl for lY 67, and, moreover, they required more resources more Ameri- 
cans more attention at high levels of AID, than the village/hamlet 
g^ernment problem. When Ambassador Porter directed AID, in May of 19o6, 
to begin massive efforts to improve village government, his orders were 
obeyed to the extent they could_bej^rithiri_th^_cont^^ 
comitm-iKt^T-ThiT^i^iFi^ a further stretching of the already taut 
UaAIDTr^^aff , since no previous commitments or programs were cut bacK 
to provide man and/or money for village government. 

At the same time, other sections of the Mission which were expected 
to support the renewed emphasis on local government were not producing 
as requested. JUSPAO, asked to support the effort with psychological 
operations, agreed in principle but found its existing list of priorities 
basically mchanged. The Embassy Political Section, which should have 
supported the effort at least to the extent of urging through_its politi- 
ral contacts that the GW revitalize the village structure, simply had 
vett'r things to do. The CIA was also asked to support the effort; with 
thSr cadre assets, they were in a crucial position on the matter par- 
ScSartf since some of^he critics of the cadre had stated that _ the 
cadre actually undercut village government instead of strengthening it 
faf they claimed) . Again, the CIA gave lip service to the idea, without 
i^ing Ly significai chLnge in their training of the cadre at Vung Tau. 

in this situation, Ambassador Porter tried several times to get 
action each time received enthusiastic, but generalized words oi agree- 
^ent^d support from everyone, a^d finally turned his attention to other 
ZueTs- with the crush of business, there was always a more aimnediate . 


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B. Washington: as the Blovrtorch 

The ¥arrenton conference had discussed not only the reorganization 
of the Mission in Saigon, but -- far more gingerly -- the need for a 
laore centralized management of the effort in Washington. 

After the Honolulu conference the President decided to talkie action 
to Chajige the Washington structm^e on Vietnam, but not in quite the way 
suggested at Warrenton. While many people at Warrenton, particularly the 
'state representative, had hoped that the President would designate one 
- man, with an interagency staff, as the overseer of an integrated political- 
military-dinlomatic-economic policy in Vietnara, the President decided to 
reduce the sco-oe of the job, and give one man responsibility for what was 
coming to be c^alled ^'The Other War." Thus, for the very first time, there 
would be a high-ranking official — a Special Assistant to the President 
^- whose job would be to get the highest possible priority for non-military 
activities. In effect, the President had assured a place at the decision 
councils in Washington for someone with built-in pro-pacification, pro- 
civil side bias. This was Robert W. Komer, whose strenuous efforts in the 
I next few B^onths were to earn him the nicknacie of "The Blowtorch" (given 

to him by Ambassador Lodge, according to Komer). 

How much authority the President intended to give is not clear. 
' It is quite likely that the issue was deliberately left vague, so as to 

i see what authority and what accomplishments Komer could carve out of an 

^biguous YSMA and his ready access to the President. 

On March 23, 1966 -- six weeks after Manila -- Joseph Califano, 
Special Assistant to the President, sent the Secretary of Defense an 
EYES ONLY draft of the NSAI'l setting up Komer *s authority. In the cover- 
in^ note, Califano said, "We would be particularly interested in whatever 
n suggestions you would have to strengthen Komer's authority." 8/ In response, 

the Defense Department (the actual person making suggestion unidentified in 
documents) suggested only one minor change, and approved the ESAM. 

The other departments also suggested minor changes in other parts of 
the NSA^'I, and on March 28, I966, the President issued it as NSAI-l 3^3- It 

"In the Declaration of Honolulu I renewed our pledge of 

common commitment with the Government of the Republic of Viet- 
nam to defense against aggression, to the work of social 
revolution, to the goal of free self-governjaent, to the attack 
on hunger, ignorance and disease, and to the unending quest for 
peace. Before the Honolulu Conference and since, I have stressed 
re-oeatedly that the war on human misery and want is as fundamen- 
tal to the successful resolution of the Vietn&jn conflict, as our 
military operations to ward off aggression... In my view, it is 

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essential to designate a specific focal point for the direction, 
coordination and supervision in Washington of U.S. non-nilitary 
T,rograms relating to Vietnam. I have accordingly designated 
Mr. Eobert ¥. Komer as Special Assistant to me for carrying out 
this responsibility. 

"I have charged hiifl and his deputy, Ambassador William 
Leonhart, to assure that adequate plans are prepared and coordi- 
• nated covering all aspects of such programs, and that they are 
promptly and effectively carried out. The responsibility vill 
include the mobilization of U.S. Hiilitary resoiu-ces in support 
of such programs. He will also assure that the Rural Construe- 
tion/Pacification program and the programs for combat force 
employment and military operations are properly coordinated. 

"His functions 'will be to ensure full and timely support 
of the U.S. in Saigon on matters within his purview... 

"In addition to working closely with the addressee Cabinet 
officers he will have direct access to me at all times. 

"Those CIA activities related solely to intelligence collec- 
tion are not affected by this KSAI'I." 9/ 

Mr. Komer was in business, with a small staff and a mandate as he 
saw' it, to prod people throughout the government in both Washington and 
Saigon combined with a personality that journalists called abrasive, 
his mandate resulted in more press^ore being put on the civili^s associated 
with Vietnam than ever before, and in some understandable frictions. 

Komer 's significance in the re-emphasis of pacification is important, 
and must be dealt with briefly, although this section does not relate his 
story in detail. 

First, there was Komer 's influence on AID. With little difficulty, 
h^ established his ability to guide AID, and began to give them direct 
iistructions on both economic and pacification matters. AID , previously 
iiS iSited influence in the Mission's pacification policy, fomd its 
influence diminished still further. 

Of more sigtiificance was Komer 's emphasis on the ED Cadre program, , 
,„n bv the CIA. Together with Porter, he recomir.ended a premature expan- 
Xp of the program! in an effort to get the progra^a moving faster. On 
Ipril 19,1966, aftir his first trip to Vietnam, Komer told the President: 

"Cadre Exoansion. While the RD prograja has some question- 
^y,le T^^^^^t^TTT^ms the most promising approach yet developed. 
S,eW ministry led by General Thang is better than most, and . 
the VuPF ^au and Montagnard training centers are producing 5500 
trainS men for insertion in 59-man team.s into 93 villages 

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"But Porter sees even this rate as insufficient to keep 
up with 'the groving military capability to sweep the VC out 
of key areas.' He urges rapid expansion via building another 
training center (which he'd like to get Seabees to build). 
The aiia°is x'oughly to double cadre output from 19,000 to 
39,000 trained^personnel per year. He thinks this rate could 
■ be 'reached by end CY 1966. I agree with Porter and will press 
this concept at the Washington end." lO/ 

Plans were approved, and construction began on the second training 
center. But by the end of I966 it was recognized that the atterapt to 
double cadre training would only weaken their quality, which was shaky 
to begin with. The construction of the second center was abruptly halted, 
Komer and Porter had miscalculated badly. 

Komer also sought to influence the military in both Saigon and 
Washington to give more attention to the pacification effort. 

In cables to Saigon -- m^ost of them slugged with his najue, and thus 
known as "Komergrams" — Komer sought to prod the Mission forward on a 
wide variety of programs. One of his most recurring themes was the Chieu 
Hoi prograjn * and in tiiae his urgings did contribute to a more successful 
program, with a high-ranking Americant official in Aiabassador Porter's 
office working on nothing else, in place of the previous ad hoc arrange- . 
ment between JUSAPO and US AID. 

Another recurring theme was refugees, but here he was less success- 
ful, particularly since the U.S. Mission was never able to determine 
whether or not it desired to stimulate more refugees as means of denying 
the VC mam^ower. His cables on this complex issue were characterized by 
an absence' of objective, but at least he was addressing frontally ques- 
tions few other people would raise at all: 

"For Porter from Komer: W^e here deeply concerned by grow- 
ing number of refugees. Latest reports indicate that as of 
Sl^August, a total of 1,361,288 had been processed. . .Of course, 
in some ways, increased flow of refugees is a plus. It helps 

* For exaiaple: "Porter from Komer: Highest authorities interested in 
1 • stepping up defection T^rograms. While recognizing limitations Chieu 

Hoi program and inadequacies GVH administration, program has achieved 
i \ ' impressive results ajid she™ high return in terms modest U.S. support 

costs Greatly concerned by two recent administrative decisions taken 
■' • \)y"gVH..." 11/ Or: "To Porter from Komer: USIA eager help maximize 

success 'botlTchieu Hoi and RD programs, in which highest authorities 

vitally interested..." 12/ Or: "For Mann and Casler from Komer: 
j Would appreciate your following through on coordinated set of action 

woposals to energize lagging Chieu Hoi program. . .We are concerned. 

about drop-off in returnees since Aprn;i. . .Bell and Marks concur. 13/ 

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r^ deprive VC of recruiting potential and rice gro.7ers, and is 

'--^ pStiy indicative of growing peasant desire seek security on 

Gur side. 

"Question arises, however, of whether we and GW ade- 
■ auately set ap to deal with increased refugee flow of this 
maSItude. MD has prograimned i^uch larger refugee program 
ToTwSl] but is it enough7...0nly Mission wold have answers, 
fo intent this cable is merely to pose question, solicit bxds 
?or increased support if needed, and assure you I would do all 
possible generate such support." 14/ 

Si.oJ^:f GenSarSeS^SSL'/a-epTtrin W, he - a.a appa.entl. t.e 

President -- were still unsatisfied. 

EfaarSrto^TrJlfelrication up, ana to constitute a one-.a., 

full-time, nonstop lobby for pacification withm the USG. 

After his first trip to Vietnam, for exaiaple, Komer reported to the 
.t ! +^0+ 'S-h.-lP nrr snlendid military effort is going CLUite well. 
President that while oi,^ splendid ^ ^ necessary results, we must 

^^^sS^es SerSgh rVr^o it*to°(:^d'eSand) certain Ly pacification 
IZTZZ Sreciafly cadres and police - ifj^.c„e^sar,^ai_so^^ 
th^jailJiH:£.effort^'' 15/ 

Komer 's memoranda constitutes only a small proportion of the infor- 
.atiora^rsuggestions, reaching the Pres^ ■ 

''iri:^ S^iS ir^clSriSrsSAhe dlreSlon of O.B strategy 
xn any sen.e ^;^^"" ^^^^ K^^er was the first senior official 

in lltlSTstonlo mak ri o^lffort to put pacification near the top of 
m Vvashing^on X ^ effort, and that he had a particularly aa- 

oui^ combined ""l^ll^ ^^^"2 ^fl^^ ' ge had authorized back-channel com- 
"SSrns^wfthTh: tra:srdor^l;d Deputy Arabassador in Saigon, apparent 
"^essio the President, ar.d the umbrella of the White House. 

His memoraiida to the President over his year in Washington showed 
considerable change in thinking on many issues, but a consistent support ■ 
?or more pacification. A small sample is revealing: 

"Kev aspects of pacification deserve highest priority -- 
. and greater emT^hasis. Unless we and the GTO can sectors and 
. ,!^?d the covmtryside cleared by military operations, we either 
■ face sn ever larger and quasi-permanent military commitment or 
risJ Stting the VC infiltrate again... I personally favor B.ore 


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attention to the Delta (IV Corps) region, vhich contains eight ' 
out of Vietnam ^s 15 million people and is its chief rice bowl 
...Clearly we must dovetail the military's sweep operations 
and civil pacification. My impression is that, since the 
military are moving ahead faster than the civil side we need 
to beef up the latter to get it in phase. There's little 
point in the military clearing areas the civil side can't 
pacify. On the other hand, security is the key to pacifica- 
tion; people won't cooperate and the cadre can't function till 
an area is secure. 

• . 

"Somehow the civil side appears reluctant to call on mili- 
tary resources, which are frequently the best and most readily 
available. I put everyone politely on notice that 1 would 
have no such hesitations -- provided that the case was demon- 
strable -- and that this was the express request of the 
Secretary of Defense." 15/ /Cited Supra./ 

In August of 1966, Komer produced the longest of his papers, and the 
one he considered his most important. Its title was "Giving a Kew Thrust 
to Pacification." In addition' to discussing the substance of pacification, 
the paper some further organizational suggestions, which clearly fore- 
shadowed the second reorganization of the Mission which took place after 
the Ma.nila conference. It is worth quoting in some length (all imderlining 
is part of the original): 

"There is a growing consensus that the US/C-W pacification 
effort needs to be stepped up, that management of our pacifica- 
tion assets is not yet producing an acceptable rate of return 
for our heavy investments, and that pacification opera.tions 
shotild be brought more fibreast of our developing military effort 
' against the IWA and VC main force. The President has expressed 
this view, and so has Ambassador Lodge among others. 

"I. Wha t is pacificati on? In one sense, "pacification" can be 
used to encompass the whole of the military, political, and civil 
effort in Vietnexa. But the term needs to be narrowed down for 
operational purposes, and can be reasonably well separated out 
as a definable problem area. 

"If we divide the US/gW problem into four main components, 
.three of them show encouraging progress. The caonpaign against 
the major VC/WA units is in high gear, the constitutional pro- 
cess seems to be evolving favorably, and we eixpect to contain 
inflation while meeting most needs of the civil economy. But 
there is a fourth problem a.rea, that of securing the country- 
side and getting the peasant involved in the struggle against 
the Viet Cong, where we 'are lagging way behind. It is this 
problem area which I would term pacification... 

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"At the risk of over-siiaplif icationj I see management of 
4^ the pacification problem as involving three main sub-tasks: 

(l) providing local security in the countryside -- essentially 
1^ a inilitary/police/cadre task; (2) breaking the hold of the 

VC over the people; and (3) positive programs to -win the active 
j • support of tne rural population. 

y '"...Few argue that we can assure success in Vietnam without 

I also winning the 'village war.' Chasing the large units around 

the boondocks still leaves intact the VC infrastructure, with 
ij^ its local guerrilla capability plus the weapons of terror and 

I intimidation. . .So winjiing the Village war' which I will loosely 

call pacification, seems an indispensable ingredient of any high- 
confidence strategy and a necessary precaution to close the 
guerrilla option, 

"...Yet another reason for stressing pacification is that 
the U.S. is supporting a lot of assets in being which are at ■ 
the moment poorly employed. Even the bulk of ARW, which in- 
creasingly sits back and watches the U.S. take over the more 
difficult pai^ts of the war against main eneBiy units and bases , 
might be more effectively used for this purpose. . .Thus, even if 
one contends that pacification as I have defined it is not vital 
to a win strategy, stepping up this effort would add little to 
present costs a.nd might produce substantial pay offs. 

"Beyond this, the time is psychologically ripe for greater 
emphasis on pacification. South Vietnamese confidence is grow- 
ing as the U.S. turns the tide. ]\^ew US/F// military forces are 
arriving to reinforce the campaign against the m.ain force; their 
presence will release much needed assets to pacification. The 
GVII5 fresh from success against the Buddhist led struggle and 
■. confidently facing an election process leading toward a consti- 
tution, also has been making the kind of tough decisions --. 
devaluation, turnover of the Saigon port to military management, 
etc. -- that will be needed in pacification, too. 

"In sum, the assets are available, and the time is ripe for 
an increased push to win the 'village war.' 

"III. What is Kolding U p the Pacificatio n E fforts? The long 
history of the Vietnam struggle is replete with efforts to secure 
the countryside. Most of them, like Diem's strategic hamlet 
program, proved abortive. ...Some of the chief difficulties we 
confront are suggested below: . 

"A. We had to g o after the major VC/WA units first ... It 
was a matter of "first things first... 

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"3 , The YC/MA have "been able to select the veakest point 
in any emb ryonic GW pacification effort and destroy it vith _a ■ 
Tig htening attack * , • 

"C . There are inherent difficulties :,n the pacification 
process itself . . . 

"D. Lack of high q uality asset s. Pacification has also had 
to take a"~back seat' in the sense that it generally gets only the 
lowest grade GW assets -- and not enough of these... 

"E . Last but not le ast, neither the U.S. nor the GW have 

3-2 yet develQ-ped an. adequate plan, program, or management 
structure for dealing with pacification. . . 

"1. The JCS and MACV are so preoccupied, however Justi- 
fiably, with operations against the major VC/l^]^/A units that they 
are not able to pay "enough attention to the local security aspects 
of pacification... 

"2. There is no unified civil/military direction within 
the GW... 

"3. A similar divided responsibility prevails on the 
U.S. side. . . 

"U.. Kor does there yet appear to be a well-understood ■ 
chain of coinmand from Porter even to the civilians operating in 
the field. . . ■ 

"5. There is no integrated civil/military plan for 
pacification on either the U.S. or GW side... 

"IV. How do we step up Pacification? ...It demands a multi- 
faceted civil-militaxy response... 

"A. Provide mor e adeq uate, continuous security for the 
locales in which pacification is taking p lace ._ This is the 
iTsential. prerequisite. None of our civil programs in the 
countryside can be expected to be effective lonless the area 
is reasonably secure. Nor, irnless the people are protected, 
and their attitudes likely to change in favor of the GW... 
To provide security requires the assignment on a long term 
ba.sis of env^^ugh assets to defeat these rer>ident VG compajiies 
and battalions, in addition to providing 2U-hour security to 
the people until they are able to assist in providing their 
own protection. This is primarily the task of RE a_nd PF, 
•suT)t)orted by the RD cadres and police. . .Some knowledgeable 

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experts contend that even if we improve the...RF, PF, police, 
and cadre, they are together insufficiently to extend local 
security much beyond existing secured areas. They feel that 
lacking mobility and hea^vy firepower, these forces must be 
thickened wHh a liberal sprinkling of ARTO units 
working in the area outside the immediate area undergoing 
pacification, I do not suggest that MW regulars gainfully 
employed in battle against the enemy main forces be so diverted. 
I do urg e that those ABYN forces not now fully engaged -- a 
lubsta ntial-fYlction of the total be used to co^ribut e directly 
to improving local security . 

"B . We must devote more effort to breaking the hold of the 
VG over the people ... 

"C. Carry out posit ive revolutionary development programs 
to win'actTT Ti^^alar support . The cliche of winning support 
by"5ffi?ing the people a better life through a series of inter- 
related RD°progrsms has great relevance in Vietnam. . . 

"D . Establ ish functioning priorities for pacification. . . 

"E. Bett er Area Priorities ... A greater stress on pacifi- 
cation logically means greater stress on the Delta... 

"F Concent rate additionaj. resources on pacification. . . 
Arguments made in the past thaiTJ^^ill^^on is a delicate sub- . 
iect to be approached only with care and precision have lost 
some of their relevance as the intensity of warfare has increased 

. . .Increase: 

Police. ■ . 

RD Cadre . . ■ 

M^/ Sun-port for Pacification... 

■ The U.S. "Agricultural Effort... 

ChieuHo i. . . 

Villag'eT'Hamlet Administration... 

"G* Set more performance goals . . . 

' . " H . R apidl y extend the security of key roads... 

1 . "I . Systemati ze the flow of refugees... 

I "J. Get b etter control over rice... 

"V .' How can Pacification be Managed More Ef f ectively? 
"A. T^estructuri ng the GVTT... 

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-- Place the RD and PF under the RD Ministry... 

"" Estab lish a single line of coiriiuand to the province 
chiefs ... 

-^ Remove the Division from the pacification chain of 
corffiuajid. . ■ 

-- Stren gthen the authority of the Province Chiefs... 

— Appoint civilian chiefs in selected provinces and 
districts. . . 

"B . Parallel strengthening of the structure i s essential. U.S. 
leadership has often sparked major pacification steps hy the GW. 
The structure for managing pacification advice to the GW, and direct 
U.S. military/civilian support ^ have evolved slowly as the U.S. con- 
tributions heve grown. Once it was possible to coordinate the U.S. 
pacification effort tlirough an interagency committee for strategic 
hamlets. Later the Mission Council concept was used extensively. 
In the wake of the Honolulu Conference, the President appointed Am- 
bassador Porter to take charge of the non-military effort in Vietnam. 
Several highly qualified people now give Porter the nucleus of a 
coordination end operations staff. However .. .the U.S. management 
structure must be strengthened considerably more. 

"There are three basic alternatives, each building on the pre- 
sent ' structure, which could provide the needed result. Two of them- 
are based on the principle of a 'single manager* over both civilian 
and military assets by assigning comxiand responsibility either to 
Porter or Westmoreland. The third accepts a continued division 
between the civil and military sides for nuiuerous practical reasons, 
but calls for strengthening the management structure of both. 

"Alt erna.t ive No. 1 -- Give Porter operational control over all 
ILj_^__'^ci fication activity... 

" Alt er nat i ve No. 2 -- Retain the present separate civil and 
mil itarv com:na,nd_ch5iinels but strengthen the management structure 
^. ]3o W ^iACY"~and the^U.S. Missio n. "^This option, recognizing the 
^^^Htical difficulties of putting U.S. civilian and military 
personnel under a single chief, would be to settle for improved 
coordination at the Saigon level. ^ . , 

"To facilitate improved coordination, however, it would require 
strengthening the organization for pacification within MACV and the 
U S. Mission^ MACV disposes of by far the greater number of Ameri- 
cans working on pacification in the field. It has advisory teams 
spending most of their time on pacification in 200 out of 230 
districts and in all U3 provinces. These teams -- not counting 

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i V y advisors at division, corps and all tactical units dovm to 

battalion -- number about 2000 men compared with about one- 
eighth this number from all other U.S. agencies combined. 

"Hovrevei 5 the senior officer in I'lACV dealing with pacifi- 
cation as his principal function is no^A'- a colonel heading the 
J33 staff division. Moreover, with UOO^OOO U.S. troops soon 
to be committed, General Westmoreland, his subordinate comman- 
ders, and his principal staff officers must spend increasing 
time on military operations associated with defeating the 
VG/NVA main formations. Therefore, management of the tremen- 
I I ■' dou-s advisory resources with MACV inevitably suffers regardless 

of General Vlestmoreland^ s persona,l effort to give balanced 
attention to both. 

"Hence there might be merit in COMUSMACV. having a senior 
deputy to manage pacification within MACV and pacification 
advice to the JOS, as well as throughout the Vietnamese military 
chain of coirmand. Key staff sections, such as J33, Polwar Direc- 
torate, Senior Advisor for RF/PF, could be controlled by a chief 
of staff for pacification responsive to the Deputy. Advisory 
teams at corps and division would receive guidance and orders on 
pacification from the Deputy. Province and district advisors 
v/ould receive all orders, except routine administrative instruc- 
■^^■■. tions, through the pacification channel. 

"To parallel the MACV organisation and provide a single point 
of liaison on the civil side. Ambassador Porter should have his 
own field operations office formed by merging USAID Field Opera- 
tions,- JUSPAO Field Services and CAS Covert Action Branch. Con- 
trol over the people assigned wo-'old be removed, as in Alternative 
I]o. 1, from their parent agency. All civilian field personnel in 
the advisory business would also receive their guidance and orders 
from the Deputy Ambassa.dor. 

"For this dual civilian-military system to operate effectively, 
the closest coordina.tion would be repaired betvreen the offices of , 
the MA.CV Deputy and the Deputy Aiabassador. Since it is difficult 
and dangerous to sepa^rate military and aspects of paci- 
fication at the province level, m-ost policy guidance and instruc- 
tions to the provinces hopefully would be issued jointly and be 
received by the senior military and civilian advisors who would 
then develop their plans together. 

"I would still favor a single civil/military team chief in. the 
province, even though he would have two bosses in Saigon talking 
to him. through different . and parallel chains of comniand. Alterna- 
tively, since I-IACV already has a senior advisor in each province^ 
it would be possible similarly to assign a single civilian as the 

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Vietneiaese province chief ^s point of contact on all non-military 
matters. All other civilians in the province vroiild be under his 

"Alt er n ? tive I'To . ' ^ -- Assign responsibility for pacification 
civilXnir militaxy, to COM^JSmCV . This is not a nev suggestion, 
and harT"lot to recommend it. In 196^5 General Westmoreland pro- 
posed that he be made "executive agent" for pacification. MACV 
at that time had an even greater preponderance of field advisors 
than it does today^ an.d was devoting the bull: of its attention to 
pacification. Since the military still has by far the greatest 
capacity among U.S. agencies in Vietnam for management and the 
military advisors outnumber civilians at least 8 to 1 in the field, 
MACV could readily take on responsibility for all pacification 

"Turning over the entire pacification management task to 
COMUSMACV vould req.uire him to reorganize his staff to hajidle 
simultaneously the very large military operations business involv- 
ing U.S., Free World and Vietnamese forces and the civil/military 
aspects of pacification at the same tLme. The USAID, JUSPAO, and 
CAS Covert Operations staffs >rould come Tinder COMaSIvIAGV * s control 
where they would be used as additional "component commands." In 
this case, _it__migh t be desirable to have a civilian deputy to 
COMSMACV for pacifica tion. 

"Also appropriate under this concept would be a single U.S. 
advisory team, under a team chief, at each subordinate echelon. 
The result wouJLd be a single chain of command to the field and 
coordinated civilian/military pacification planning .and operations 
on the UoS. side. The U.S. Mission would speak to Vietnamese 
corps and division commanders, province chiefs and district chiefs 
with a single voice." 16/ 

In the latter part of this lengthy memorandum, Komer clearly fore- 
shadowed both the formation of OCO after the Manila conference -- his 
Alternative I^o. 2 -- and the merger of OCO and K^CV into l^IACCORDS after 
Guam — his Alternative No. 3. But when he sent the paper to Saigon 
with his deputy in mid-August, the reaction from Lodge, Porter, and 
Westmoreland was uniformly negative: they asked him, in effect, to leave 
them alone since they were satisfied with their present org^ization. . 

But Komer had also distributed his paper around Washington, and was 
lobbying for another change in the structure of the Mission, althoiigh he 
remained, in August, vague as to which of the three alternatives he put 
for-^ard he uersonally favored. IJhen other senior officials of govern- 
meht began to voice feelings that additional org.anizational changes were 
necessary in the Mission in Saigon, the die was cast. 

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Another major attribute of Kcmer -ras his strong public and private 
optimism. He. produced for any journalist willing to hear him out facts 
and figures that suggested strongly that the war was not only winnahle, 
but being won at an accelerating pace. 

To the President he sounded the same theme: 

"After almost a year full-time in Vietnam, and six trips 
there 5 I felt able to learn a good deal more from my 11 days 
in country, 13-23 February. 1 retur n m.ore optimistic th an 
ever before. The cumula.tive change since my first visit last 
April is dramatic, if not yet visibly demonstrable in all re- 
spects. Indeed, 1*11 reaffirm even more vigorously my prognosis 
of last November (which few shared then) that growing momentum 
v^ould be acxhieved in 1967 on almost every front in Vietnam/' 1?/ 

Komer believed in the concept of "sheer mass" -- that in time we 
would just overwhelm the Viet Cong: 

"Wastefully, expensively, but nonetheless indisputably, we 
are winning the war in the South. Few of cur programs -- civil 
or military -- are very efficient, but we axe grinding the 
enemy do^.m by sheer weight and mass. And the cimiulative impact 
of all we have set in motion is beginning to tell. Pacification 
still lags the most, yet even it is moving forward. 

"Indeed, my broad feeling, with due allowance for over- 
simplification, is that our side now has in presently programined 
levels all the men, money and other rescuxces needed to achieve 
success..." 18 / 

In summary, Komer 's 13 months in Washington were spent steadily 
raising the priority of the pacification and other non-military efforts 
in Vietnam. While he never was in a controlling position within the 
Washington bureaucracy, he succeeded in making those who were m.ore 
aware of the "other war" (a term he used continually until Ambassador 
Bunker anno^anced in May of I967 that he did not recognize that there 
was such a thing). VJhile it can be no more than speculation, it would 
also appear that Komer played an Important role in inserting into high- 
level discussions, including Presidential discussions, the pacification 
priority. Thus, when General Westmoreland visited the President at th 
LBJ ranch in August, I966, Komer put before the President a series of 
-oacification-related subjects to be used during the discussions. This 
hanpened again at Manila, where some of the points in final commuxLique 
were similar to things Komer had been pushing r.arlier, as outlined in . 
his August memorandum. 



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C . St udy Groups and Str ategis ts: Suoiaer I966 

In the aftermath of Honolulu, task forces and. study groups were nly 

assembling, prod.ucing papers on priorities, on -S^^f ^^ ^J/^fJ^on ' 
on th- role and mission of various forces. They were all manifestations 
o? the new mood that had come over the Mission and Washington on P^cxfi- 
cftlon ihe advocates of pacification - with their widely differing view- 
TlTs - all saw their chance again to put foi^.ard their own concepts 
?o a newly interested bureaucracy, starting with Komer and. Pori^er. 

The most important of the numerous studies were: 

1 The R-ogram for the Pacification and Long-Term Development of 

■ South Vietnam (Short Title: PROW) -- comraissioned_by the Army 
Chief of Staff in July of 1965, completed and submitted m 
March I966; 

2 The Priorities Task Force - formed in Saigon in April I966 
by Deputy Ambassador Porter, completed, m July 1966; 

3 The Inter -Agency "Roles and Missions" Study Group - form^ed 
by Porter in July 1966, completed in August. 

While the recommendations of these studies were never accepted in_toto, 
.y^.J^llTel iZToles in the development of strategic thinking in Washmg- 
tof and sSjL dLing the latter part of I966, and they continue to be m- 
fluent ial today. 

PROW - As early as the summer of I965, General Johnson saw the need . 
^ —fz . ^uT^erior group of officers, and set them to work on a long- 
T t,^dv o? Se proSem in Vietnam. The study was intended for internal 

llZ . s^a.l wa ?or a while after its completion treated with such d.eli- 

7r th'l Armv Officers were forbidden even to discuss its existence outside 
Tn7 S;L was mJortLate, because in content it was far-ranging and, thought. 
^Z: aS set a precedent for responsible forward, planning and analysis which 
should be duplicated in other fields. 

PFOVN was charged with "developing new sources of action ^ be taken 
in S™ Vietnam by the United States and its allies, which will, in con- 
^" ^° '^ Jth curr-nt actions, modified as necessary, lead m d.ue time 
r ZZ^l accoiplishm^nt of U.S. aims and objectives." With this broad 
^ndet pSw tSf s^en^ eight m-onths c^uestioning returning^ officers from 
■ TieSlS studying the history of the country, drawing parallels with other 
lomtSes analyzing the structure of the U.S. Mission; and recom- 
countries, a -^ ^ q^j ^^^^ decided that there was 'no unified 

SJSiive iatSrn-'trthe then-current efforts in Vietnam, and submitted 
a broad, blueprint for action. Its thesis was simple: 

"The situation in South Vietnam has seriously deteri- 
orated. 1966 may well be the last chance to ensure eventual 

'Victory' can only be achieved through bringing 


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the individual Vietnamese, typically a rural peasant, to 
support willingly the GW. The critical actions are those 
that occur at the village, district, and provincial levels, 
This is where the v/ar must be fought; this is where that 
war and the object which lies beyond it must be won. The 
following are the most important specific actions required 



Concentrate U.S. operations on the provincial level 

to include the delegation of command, authority over 
U.S. operations to the Senior U. S, _ Representative at 
the provincial level. " ■ 

Reaffirm Rural Construction as the foremost US/gW 
combined effort to solidify and, extend. GVN influence. 

Authorize more direct U.S. involvement in GVN affairs 
at those administrative levels adeauate to ensure the 
accomplisliment of critical programs. 

Delegate to the U.S. Ambassad.or unequivocal authority 
as the sole manager of all U.S. activities-, resources , 

and. personnel in-country. 

Direct the Ambassador to develop a single integrated 
plan for achieving U.S. objectives in SW. 

-- Reaffirm to the world at large the precise terms of 

1^ the ultimate U.S. objective as stated in NSA^'l 288: ^^ ■ 

A free and ind,epend,ent non-communist South Vietnam..." 19/ 

I Beyond this frank and direct summary, the study had hundredis of recom- 

mendations, ranging from the specific and. realizable to the vague and 
I hortatory. 

In summary, the PROVN was a major step forward, in thinking. Although . 
es mentioned above, its value was reduced for a long time by the restric- 
tions placed on its dissemination, the candor with which it ad,dressed 
matters was probably possible only because it originated within a single 
service, and thus did not require the concurrences of an mter-agency 


1 po^ exemtjle, the PROM study ad.dressed directly a point of such potential 

I ■: embarrassment to the U.S. Goverrjuent that it is quite likely an inter-agency 

group would not have addressed it except perhaps in oblique terms:. 

"A PROW survey. . .revealed that no tvro agencies of the U.S. Govern- 
ment viewed our objectives in the sam.e manner. Failure to use that 
unequivocal statement of our fund.amental objective --a free and 
' independent, non-communist South Vietnajn -- set forth in IlSi^Jvl 288, 
hinders effective inter-agency coordination and the integrated, appli- 
cation of U.S. support efforts." 20/ 

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^^-^ As for the study's "highest priority" activities^ PROVN recoimended: 

i ' "(l) Combat Oioerations -- the bulk of U,S, and WIAA 

Forces and designated RWAF units should, be directed against 

i enemy base areas and against their lines of communication 

in SWj Laos, and. Cambodia as req.uired.; the remainder of 
Allied, force assets must ensure adequate momentum to activity 
in priority Rural Construction areas . 

"(2) Rural Co nstruction --in general, the geographic 
priorities should. 'be, in order, the Delta, the Coastal 
Lowlands, and the Highlands; currently the highest pri- 
ority areas are the densely populated and rich resource 
Delta provinces of An Giang, Vinh Long, Dinh Tuong, Go 
Cong, and the Plop Tac area surrounding Saigon, 

"(3) Economi c Stability -- current emphasis must be 
directed toward curbing inflation and reducing the e.xcessive 
demands for skilled and semA-skilled labor imposed upon 
an over-strained economy..." 

On the management of the United States effort -- which PROVrl found ex- 
tremeJ^ poor -- the recommendation was to create a single manager system, 
with the Ambassador in charge of all assets in Vietnam and the mission of. 
„ . , producing a single integrated plan. PROW suggested major steps in the 

direction of giving the Ambassador a stronger hold over the military. 

Of greatest importance -~ aside from the reorganizational suggestions -- 
was the PROW conclusion on the supremacy of Rural Construction activities 
over everything else: 

"Ruxal Construction must be designated unequivocally 
as the major US/gW effort. It will require' the commitment 
of a preponderance of RVMF and GW paramilitary forces, 
together with adequate U.S. support and coordination and 
assistance. Without question, village and hamJLet security 
■ must be achieved throughout Vietnam... RC is the principal 
means available to broaden the allied, base, provide secuj:- 
ity^ develop political and mi,litary leadership, and pro- 
vide necessary social reform to the people..." 2l/ 

To this end, PROVII suggested a division of responsibility among the 
forces: . , , 

"The need to sustain security pervades every ramification 
of RC.-The various forces capable of providing this environ- 
ment must be the province level. They must in- 
■clude the ARW as a major component --as many of its battle- 
tested units as can possibly be devoted to this mission. 
/^ These integrated national security forces must be associated 


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and intermingled vrith the people on a long-term basis. 

Their capacity to establish and maintain public order and 

stability must be physically and continuously credible. 

The key to achieving such security lies in the conduct 

of effective area saturation tactics, in end around popu- • 

lated. areas, which deny VC encroachment opportunities." 22/ 

Finally, the study advocated, a far stronger system of leverage for 
American advisors in the field - "mechanisms for exerting U.S. influence 
must be built into the U.S. organization and its methods of operation. 23/ 

The PROW study concluded, with a massive "Blueprint for National Action" 
^ which was never imDlemented. But the influence of the study was substan- 
tial Within the Arny staff, a responsible and select group of officers 
had recommended top priority for pacification. Even if the Army staff 
still rejected parts of the study, they were on notice that a study had 
been produced within the staff which suggested a substantial revision 
of priorities. 

' The mom study had som-e major gaps. Proceeding from the unstated 

assi-imption that our commitment in Vietnam had no implicit time limits, 

, ■ it proposed a strategy which it admitted would take years - perhaps well 

' irto the 1970 's -- to carry out. It did not examine alternative strate- 

gies that might be derived from a shorter time limit on the war. In fact, 

t the report made no mention of one of the most crucial variables m the 

Vietnam equation - U.S. public support for the Administration. 

Further, the report did little to prove that Vietnam was ready for 
mcification. Trds "fact" was taken for granted, it seems -- a fau_lt com- 
mon to most American- produced pacification plans . VJhile PROVN d,id, suggest 
geoo-rai^hic priorities, they were derived not even in part from the area s 
receptivity to pacification but exclusively from the location and strate- 
gic importance of the area. Thus, the same sort of error made m Hop Tac 
was being repeated in PROWs suggestions. 

mCV analyzed the report in May of 1966, calling it "an excellent over- 
all approach in developing organization, concepts and policies .. . In 

a lengthy analysis of PROVN, FACV cabled: 

"As seen here, PROVDI recommends two major initiatives 
essential to achieving U.S. objectives in South Vietnam: 
creation of an organization to integrate total U.S. civil- 
military effort, and exercise of greatly increased direct 
U.S. involvement in GVM activities. 

"MACV has long recognized need for the greatest possi- 
* ble unity of effort to gain U.S. objectives in South Vietnam. 
mCV agrees with PEOVTI concept to achieve f^ll integration 
of effort in attaining U.S. objectives in South Vietnam. 
^ Evolution of U.S. organization in Saigon is hee^ding towards 

^^ -this goal. Deputy Ambassador now has charge of revolutionary 

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and economic development programs and MACV is charged with 
military urograms . In addition, special task force has 
been established by Deputy Ambassador to draft mission- 
wide statement of strategy, objectives, and priorities . In 
effect this task force is engaged in integrated planning 
. which under PROW concept would be performed by supra-agency 
staff • PROVII proposal for designation of a single manager 
with supra-staff is a q.uantum jump to achieve the necessary 
degree of military-civil integration. Ihis final step can- 
not be implemented by evolutions here in Saigon. It would 
have to be directed and supervised from highest level m 
Washington . 

"MACV is in complete agreement with PROW position that 
immediate and substantially increased United States direct 
involvement in GW activities in form of constructive in- 
fluence and m,anit)ulation is essential to achievement of U.S. 
objectives in Vietnam. PROW emphasizes that "leverage 
must orif^inate in term.s of reference established by govern- 
ment a-rlem-ent," and "leverage, in all its implications, 
must be -understood by the Vietnamese if it is to become an 
effective tool." The direct Involvement and leverage en- 
visioned by PROW could range from skillful diplomatic press- 
ure to U.S. unilateral execution of critical programs. 
MACV considers that there is a great danger that the extent 
of involvement envisioned could become too great. A govern- 
ment sensitive to its image as champion of national sov- 
ereignty profoundly affected by the pressiire of militant 
minorities, and unsure of its tenure and legitimacy will 
resent too great involvement by U.S. Excessive U.S. in- 
volvement m.ay defeat objectives of U.S. policy: development 
of free, independent non-communist nation. PROW properly 
recognizes that success can only be attained through support 
of Vietnamese people, with support coming from the grass 
roots up. Insensitive U.S. actions can easily defeat 
effort s\o accomplish this. U.S. m.anipulations coula easily 
become an Am.erican takeover justified by U.S. compulsion 
to "get the job done." Such tendencies must be resisted. 
It must be realized that there are substantial difficulties 
and dangers inherent in implementing this or any similar 
program . 

"Several important aspects of proven concept require 
■ comment, further consideration and. resolution or emphasis. 
Som.e of the more significant are: 

" "Regarding U.S. organization, MACV considers that any 

maior reorganization such as envisioned by PROW mu^t be 
phased and deliberate to avoid confusion and slow-down m 
,.-^. . ongoing programs ... 

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I "There appears to be an overeirxphasis on milita,ry control 

in PROVII which may be undesirable* For instance ;, the study 
states that all senior U.S. representatives (SUSREPs) initi- 
ally will be U.S. military officers. This should not neces- 
sarily be stated policy. Tlie senior U.S. representative, 
particularly at province level, should, be selected on basis 
of major tasks to be performed, program emphasis in a particu- 
lar area and other local considerations. PEOVN also limits 
' U.S. single manager involvem.ent in military activities. If 
single manager concept of a fully integrated civil-military 
effort is to be successful, military matters, such as roles 
and missions, force reCLuirem.ents, and, deployments must be 
d,eveloped in full coordination and be integrated with civil 

"PROW proposal for enlarged U.S. organization for 
revolutionary development, particularly at sector and sub- 
sector levels, will reauire both military and civilian staff 
increases. It will necessitate further civilian recruiting 
and increased military input. Pi^esent shortage of q.uali- 
fied civilian personnel who desire d,uty in Vietnam must 
be considered. It may fall to the military, as it is now 
happening to some degree, to provide personnel not only for 
added military positions, but also for miany of civilian 
. functions as vrell. 

"Regardless of what U.S. might desire, however, our 
efforts to bring about new Vietnamese organizational struc- 
ture must be tempered by continuous evaluation of the press- 
ure such change places on Vietne^mese leaders. Our goals 
cannot be achieved by Vietnam-ese leaders who are identified 
as U.S. puppets. The U.S. will must be asserted, but we 
cannot afford to overwhelm the structure we are attempting 
to develop. 

"Accordingly, 1/IA.CV recommends that PROVII, reduced pri- 
marily to a conceptual document, carrying forward, the main 
thrusts and goals of the study, be presented to National 
Security Coimcil for use in developing concepts, policies, 
and actions to improve effectiveness of the American effort 
in Vietnam. " 2hJ . ' . / ■ 

The "Prior ities Task F orce" -- This group was set up at Ambassador Porter's 
'^i^Pection~in April I966, following Komer's fi"':'st trip to Vietnam, du-ring 
which Komer had strongly urged that the Mission try to establish a set of 
interagency priorities. The actual work of this task force, which had 
full interagency representation, was considered disappointing by almost 
all its "consuirxe-rs," particularly Komer, since it failed to come up with , 
a final list of priorities from which the Mission and Washington could 
■ derive their programs. But it was by f3.r the most ambitious task force 
the Mission had ever set up, and, it provoked considerable thought in the 

» Mission. 

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Its introductory section was a rather gloomy assessment of the 
situation. As such^ it was at variance with the then current assessment 
of the situation ■-- but in retrospect, it is of far greater interest than 
the recommendations themselves I 

P "After some 15 months of rapidly growing U,S, military 

and political commitment to offset a major enemy military 
effort, the RVIT has been m^ade secure against the danger of 
' military conquest, but at the same time it has been subjected 
to a series of stresses which threaten to thwart U.S. policy 
objectives • . • 

"The enemy nov/ has a broad span of capability for 
interfering with progress toward achievement of U.S. 
objectives. He can simultaneously operate offensively 
through em.ployment of guerrilla and organized forces at 
widely separated points throughout the country, thus tying 
down friendly forces, while concentrating rehearsed, sur- 
prise attacks in multi-battalion or even mitLti-regimental 
strength. ...The v/ar will probably increase in intensity 
over the planning period (two years) though decisive mili - 

1 tary victory for either sid e is not like ly. Guerrilla 

activity will ma^ke much of the countryside insecure. More 
of the rural population will be directly affected, and the 

I . num-ber of refugees and civilian casualties on both 

seem bound to rise. . . " . 

I "Reasons for lack of success of the overall pacification 

I program -- including all the stages from clear and secure 

operations to sustaining local government -- were varied. 
First, the primary hindrance to pacification was the low 
level of area security given active Viet Cong opposition. 
Second,, political instability prevented, continuing and 
} j coherent GVTT direction and support of any pacification. 

program. Third, pacification execution has been almost 
vrholly Vietnam.ese and can be supported only indirectly by 
the U.S. This has. made it less susceptible to American 
influence and more subject to political pressiores and the 
weaknesses of Vietnamese administration and motivation. 
Fourth, no pacification concept since the strategic ham3_et 
program has been sufficiently clear in definition to pro- 
vid.e m.eaningful and consistent operational guidance to those 
executing the program. Fifth, given the pressure for success 
and the difficulty of measur'ing progress the execution of 
pacification failed to emphasize the political, social and 
psychological aspects of organizing the people and thus 
eliciting their active cooperation. The material aspects, 
being both visible and less difficult to implement, have 
ij received, too much attention. Sixth, there was an absence 

of agreed, definitely stated pacification roles and missions 
not only within the GVI^I and the U.S. Mission but also between 


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the GW ajid the U.S. Mission. This absence caused prolifera- 
tion of various armed and unarmed elements not clearly related 
to each other. Seventh, a quantitative and qualitative lack 
of trained and motivated manpower to carry out pacification 
existed. In addition, insufficient emphasis has been given 
to training and orientation of local officials associated 
with the pacification progra:n. Eighth, lack of a well de- 
fined organizational structui^e in the U.S. Mission created 
some confusion and conflicting direction of the pacifica- 
tion effort. 

t • 

"During 1965, military plans were developed to support 
revolutionary development; national priority areas were 
selected where special emphasis would be placed on revolu- 
tionary development, and a structure was established by the 
GVN extending an organizational framework for revolutionary 
development from national to district levels. Meanwhile, 
the U.S. Mission has begun action to centralize direction 
for revolutionary development to enstire coordination of 
all Mission activities in support of revolutionary develop- 
ment . 

"A new approach was also taken in I965 to bring coher- 
ence to the use of cadre in the pacification process. Draw- 
ing on a concept of armed political action teams, whose 
relative success locally was at least partly owing to direct 
U S sponsorship and control, a combined cadre team approach 
wis developed. A new orge-nization, the Revolutional Develop- 
ment Cadre, was established, which brougl* together and re- 
placed a number of disparate cadre organizations. The com- 
bined cadre team approach includes armed units and special 
skills of relating to and assisting the people. The combined 
teams form the basis of the present pacification program. 

"While these measures have helped to alleviate some of 
the problem areas which previously frustrated pacification 
efforts, some areas of major concern remain: First area 
security where Revolutionary Development is being initiated 
is not always adequate because of manpower problems; second, 
continued existence of various overlapping security forces 
further reduces effectiveness; third, approved pacification 
concepts, roles, and missions agreed to by the U„S. and the 
GVII are lacking; fourth, the effectiveness of the new RD 
cadxp teams remain to be tested and evaluated; fifth, exten- 
sive training of local and other officials associated with 
ED still must be accomplished; sixth, emphasis on rapid 
expansion and the desire for immediate visible and statisti- 
cal progress would operate against lasting results; and, 
seventh" organizational development and functioning on 
both the GVH and U.S. sides are as yet incomplete. 25/ 







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"The situation described, above suggests that the course of 
events in Vietnam during the next tv;o years will be significantly 
influenced by the follov/ing principal current trends. 

; "The \ra.r can be expected to increase in intensity, but 
decisive military victory should not be expected. It will 
be basically a war of attrition. Troop casualties should 
increase on both sides, and civilian casualties and refugees 
I as we31. The enemy can, if he chooses, increase still further 

\ the rate of his semi-covert invasion and the level of combat. 

"The enemy will continue to build up his forces through 
infiltration from ITVII and recruitment for main force VC units 
in SW to achieve a favorable relationship of forces. 

"At the same time, he will continue to reinforce his capa- 
bilities for political action in the urban areas, to exploit 
anticipated future political disturbances, to increase his 
terrorist acts in the cities, and co isolate the urban popula- 
tion from the countryside. 

"GW control of the countrysid.e is not now being extended 
through pacification to any significant degree and pacification 
in the rural areas cannot be expected to proceed at a rapid 
rate. A new approach to pacification has been developed, but 
it is too early to judge its effectiveness. In ad,dition, ija- 
portant problems req.uiring resolution remain... 

"The Vietnamese will continue to face grave problems in 
creating an effective system of government. Under present 
conditions we cannot realistically expect a strong GVl'I to 
emerc^e over the planning period, nor can we expect political 
unity or a broadening of the base of popular support. O^ie in- 
creased American presence, rising inflation and an image of 
considerable corruption are issues which will be increasingly 
exploited by unfriendly and opportunistic elements. U.S. in- 
fluence on political events continues to be limited while our 
responsibility for Vietnam's futui-e is increasing." 26/ 

The Task Eorce divided all activities in Vietnam into categories of 
im-nortance, and assigned them priorities in groups. Unfortunately, the 
divisions were either too vague to be useful, or else they designated 
^Tiecif-'c activities, such as agriculture, to such a low position that 
Washington foun^' the selection unacceptable. In its first rank of im- 
■ portance the Task Force placed: 

"1. Those activities designed to prepare a sound 

pacification program prim.arily through strengthening 
the human resources element of pacification, and 
thorough coordinated, planning 

* • • 

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"2. Those activities which draw strength away from the 

enemy and add to GW' s strength and image of concern . 
for all its citizens... 

- "3. Tlose psychological activities ihat support the vrar 

"4. Those activities that persuade the people that 

RWIAF is wholly on the side of the people and acting 
in their interests*.. 

down through: 

"l6. Those activities vrhich develop the leadership and 
organization of non-governmental institutions, 
particularly youth groups..." ^7/ 

It was scarcely a list from which one could assemble a coherent pro- 
gram. Moreover, the above list of l6 "highest priority" tasks, was followed 
by a group of ten "high priority" tasks -- including strengthening provin- 
cial governm.ents, autonomous municipa^l governments, better budgetary proce- 
dures, better refugee programs, minority programs, and so on. These, in 
turn, were followed by a nine-point list of "high priority programs." 
Into at least one of the 35 highest, high, or just plain priority activi- 
ties, one could fit every program and project then being pursued in Viet- 
nam. Furthermore, the proposal seemed to confuse inputs and outputs, 

■ placing in' the same category "wishes" like "minimizing the adverse impact 
of and exDloiting the opportunities provided by the American presence" 
(which was only "higli priority") with "programs" like "creating a sound 
base for agricultural development." 

The Priorities Task Force recommendations vrere used, unlike those of 
PROW. In the FY 6? Country Assistance Program^ (CAP), submitted by AID 
to Congress that fall, the Task Force Strategy statement was used as a 
foreword, with Ambassador Lodge's approval. Moreover, the concept of 
p^-iorities outlined in the final paper v/as applied to the AID program in 
Vietnam, with each activity being placed in one of the categories of pri- 
ority. This did not result, however, in the original objective of reducing 
the size of the progra.m and focusing it: instead, the AID program more 
than d.oubled in 1967, and a year later people were still complaining about 
the lack of clear-cut priorities. (As a matter of fact, when Deputy ^Ambassa- 
dor Eugene Locke returned to Washington in September of I967 with a Blue- 
print for Vietna,m," he was told that it lacked any sense of priorities, 
- and was too much of a "shopping list.") 

■ The- "T^olesand_Missi ons" Study G roup -- One of the Priority Task Force 
T^^^^S^iiFdatTons was that the Mission should establish another group to examine 
th- question of the nroDer role of each military and paramilitary ^and police 

^ ' 'and civilian force in the country. This group was set up, mider the chair- 

— manship of Colonel George Jacobson in July of 1966, and submitted its final 


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'"^ re-Dort to the Mission Council on August 2h. The group was once again • 

iJera-ency, and. it produced, a paper of consid,erable value -- indeed, a 
paper which could well have served as a basic policy d.ocument for the 
Mission and Washington. 

I The Study Group niad,e 8l recommendations, of which 66 were acceptable 

\ to all agencies of the Mission. But even these 66 were not immediately 

' adoT^ted as basic doctrine. Because of inertia and weariness, rather than 

1 deliberate sabotage, the recom:mendations were never treated as basic policy, 

i and simply were carried out or not d.epending on the drive and desire of the 

f individ.ual officials associated with each individual recommendation. 

The report began, as aljnost all Vietnam studies seem to, with a defini- 
; tion: 

"Revolutionary Development consists of those military 
and civil efforts designed to liberate the population of 
South Vietnam from conimunist coercion; to restore public 
security; to initiate economic and political development; 
to extend effective GV^I authority throughout SVI^^; and to 
win the willing support of the people to these ends. 2«/ 

From there it d.eveloped, the most logical and coherent approach to re- 
turning an area to GVN control and then gaining its support that had yet 
been produced, by a group in either the Mission or Washington. The report 
was hailed by Porter, by Komer, and by various mid.-level of f icials . _Jacobson 
himself was to be named. Mission Coordinator four months later, a position 
from which he could present his ideas directly to the Ambassadors. 

Vihile, as mentioned above, the recommendations were never issued as 
Mission policy in a group, many of them found their way into the mam 
Sream of the Mission through other means. Some of the more controversial 
ones -- for example: "that Division be removed from the RD Cham of Com- 
mand" - remained as potent ideas to be discussed within the government and 
with the Vietnamese, and to be acted on slowly. 

Since the report foreshadowed several major developments in pacifica- 
tion, and since it still has today an intrinsic value of its own, it is 
worth quoting some of its major points: 

"High hopes are now pinJied on the RD cadre; as the criti- 
cal element of success in RD. Unfortunately, there is a 
real danger it is being regarded as a panacea with curative 
T^owers it does not, of and by itself, possess. The int ro- 
duction of RD Cad_r_^^a nnot alone achieve_success_ir^any_of 
ThTtls^Tdl^^^sed.. above. Even cadre such as may be avail- 
iwJT"sT£li5^ShI77:7annot compensate for the current fail- 
ings and limitations of other fundamental elements bearing 
directly on the RD process. ■ 

■^ '^...RD demands for its success' radical reform within 

the GVi^f ' including its Armed Forces. This refo rm must start 

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at the top. . .These radical changes in the GW and RWAF 
f " seem most unlikely to occur without a strong, focused and 

j . coordinated exertion of U.S. influence at high levels... 

RECOM^M^I) : -- That M^IAF give increased emphasis to improv- 
ing the performance and conduct of GW military forces 
through combined operations... 

-- That as the increase in ¥MK^ strength permits, 
these forces engage vith RTOIAE in clearing operations in 
support of RD with the primary objective of improving the 
associated GTO forces... 

— That in view of the deployment and capabilities 
of YMK^ in Vietnam and recognizing the necessity for increased 
security support to RD, the bulk of ARVJ^I Divisional combat 
battalions be' assigned to Sector corrij^ianders with only those , 
Divisional battalions not so assigned to be under the control 
of Divisions. ... 

-- That the Division be removed from the RD chain 
I _ of comjiiand. . . - 

' ~" -- That Ranger units because of their frequently 

intolerable conduct toward the populace, be disbanded with 
individual Rangers reassigned ^ 


— That KF' and PF become Provincial and District 
Constabulary. . . ■ . 

— That the Constabulary be placed under the 
Ministry of RD.. . 

-" That National Police (Special Branch) assume 
primary responsibility for the destruction of the VC "in- 
frastructure". . . 

-- That Police Field Force be integrated into the 
Constabulary. . . 

— That the Vietnamese Inform^ation Service (VIS) 
terminate its rural information cadre operations and assume 

a supporting role... for RD Cadre, technical cadre, and hamlet 
officials..." 29/ 

^ This was a recommendation which MCV particularly opposed, arguing 
that it "would seriously reduce ARVN combat strength." Westmoreland 
added that he could not countenance the disbanding of units which had 
iust received a Presidential Unit Citation. 

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And so on. VJhat lay behind each reconmendation was an effort to unify the . 
various GVIi agencies and ministries working on pacification, streamline 
their operations, and, at the same time, increase U.S. influence, over those 
operations . 

While many items the Study Group recommended have still not been carried, 
out there has been growing acceptance of the bulk of the recommendations. 
In its initial reaction to the paper, M^CV's Chief of Staff wrote to Ambassa- 
dor Lodge "that many actions have been taken or are being considered by 
KACV which support and complement the overall objectives envisioned by the 
report. There are, however, certain recommendations with which we do not 

agree, ju/ 

The most important reservation that MACV had, concerned, the allocation 
of resources for the RD effort: 

"We are confronted vrith a determined, well-organized force 
operating in regimental and division strength. As long as 
this 'situation exists, it is imperative that the regular 
military forces retain first priority for the available 
power. Once the threat of the enemy's regular forces has 
diminished and the defeat of external aggression is accom- 
plished, then other programs should have the first priority 
for recruiting... 

In addition, MCV opposed the removal of Division from the ED chain 
of command; suggested a^ further task force to examine the Constabulary 
issue' in detail; and OTjposed the suggestion that Special Branch Police — 
which meant on the American side the CIA — take over the ant i- infrastructure 
effort. (On this latter point, the issue was finally resolved, by an in- 
genious compromise structure uiider Westmoreland and Kom-er called ICEX -- 
Intelligence Coordination and Exploitation — in July 1967.) Finally, 
We"stmoreland rejected any internal changes in the I'lACV structure, as 
suggested by the Study Group. Ihese had included: 

" — the establishment at WJZV Division ad.visory level 
of a Deputy Senior Advisor for RD, at Corps a Deputy Senior 
Advisor for RD, and. at COmSLACV level a Deputy COMLJSIvIACV 
for the entire MACV advisory effort and for RD. . . 

" -- changes in the advisory rating system to empha- 
size the quality of the advice and the accuracy of reports, 
rather than the performance of the organization/Vietnamese 
they advise. ,." 3l/ 

USAID reacted favorably to the study. In his memo to Lodge, the Acting 
u'si^ID Director said that the- report "presents an antid.ote to olit having 
be-n too indulgent with the GVN in the past to our peril and theirs." 
i Once a^ain, however, as with l-I/i.CV, USAID ad.ded some- reser^/ations — and 

I .---.. ^Yie reservations all fell in areas in which USAID would, have the action 
i responsibility if something was to be done. USAID feared that the report 

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recommended steps that would give the Ministry of RD too much strength, 
' reflecting the worry of their Riblic Safety Division. The Constahulary 

recoKmendations, which had far-reaching im.plications, were given a 

T)articularly rough going-over. For example, to protect its own embryonic 
■ structure the Police Field Force USAID m.ade the following comment on the 

recommendation that the PFF be integrated as units into the Constabulary: 

"USAID concurs with the reservation that PFF remain a 
separate entity with its essential police powers." 32/ 

The CIA also thought the report was "constructive and helpful," but 
listed a few "disagreements." Once again, these pertained to those items 
in which the ICA had a strong vested interest. They opposed strenuously, 
for example, the suggestion that the M^.CV subsector advisor _^- the only_ 
American at the district level in aljaost every district - be given_pri- 
mary responsibility for monitoring the activities of the cadre. Using 
the argument that everything possible be done to retain the civilian 
nature of the cadre, the CIA refused to let the FACV subsector advisors 
do what they were already doing in many cases. 

11 The CIA and MACV both opposed the suggestion that a single Director 

of Intelligence be appointed to command civilian and military intelligence 
structures! Tae CIA said that _ this was "unwieldly and unworkable because 
"this is not a theater of war." 33/ 

The Political Section of the Eitfoassy also thought the study was 
"valuable," but added that "it appears to neglect a number of political 
considerations." Beyond that, they supported every specific suggestion, 
while noting how hard it would be to carry some of them out. ■ 

■ JUSPAO shared the fears of USAID that the report would concentrate 
more power in the hands of the Ministry of BB than it could usefully 
employ. JUSPAO thought that the Constabulary should ^^ createa, therefore, 
buf placed under the Ministry of Defense. JUSPAO also found the removal 
of the Svision from the RD chain of command "hardly feasible or realistic 
at this juncture" - begging the issue of whether or not the United States 
should seek this as a valuable objecxive. 

When the exercise was over, there were many in the Mission in Saigon 
who felt that the Study Group recommendations should have formed a blue- 

I rnr action throuphout the Mssion. They pointed out that alm.ost all 
?Je reco™daSo.;s ::re concurred in by every agency, and that these could 
he cLried out immediately. The remaining 15 v:hich were still not unani- 
mously accepted could then be discussed and perhaps resolved. 

In Washington, at least one high official, R.W. Komer, felt the same 
W.V and urged the Mission to use the recommendations as policy. But 
!oSwhere between August 2l|, when the paper was submitted, and the end 
o? 1066 the paT^er wL relegated to the useful but distinctly seconaary 
°^^^ l\^^^y,L^".^.u^.r .ro,™." as its nam.e suggests. While everyone, was 

role of another "study group,' as its nam.e 

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complimentary about the paper ;, no machinery was set up in Ambassador 
Porter's office to oversee the implementation of the recommendations. 
V/hile the agencies said that they agreed v/lth m.ost of the recommendations j> 
the all-important decisions as to how fast and how hard to push forward, with 
each recommendation was left to whichever agency "had the action" on it., ■ 
This in effect left some crucial decisions -- the variables in cur' effort -- 
outside the Deputy Ambassador's hands. He had no machinery for checking to 
see what the agencies were doing to carry out the suggestions they said they 
agreed with. He had virtually no staff to observe how the agencies were 
actually handling each problem, although it was obvious that success or 
failure on each item lay to a large extent in the method, it was handled. 
Ind.eed.5 Porter had no good, way to even find out whether the agencies really 
did accept the recommendations. He was reliant on a knovrledgeable but small 
staff which could, only meddle in the internal matters of other agencies 
to a limited degree. 

It was these shortcomings in the new m-andate to Porter that were be- 
coming evident in the late sumjner of 1966, and pressure began to build 
in Washington for another reorganization. 

The pressure and emphasis on pacification was also prod.ucing visible 
results in MCV. On August 8, I9665 the J-3 of FACV, Major Genera,l Tillson, 
briefed, the Mission Council on how RA.CV intended, to "give maximum support 
to RL." The briefing v:as general, simplistic, a,nd. shallow, but it was a 
clear indication that G-eneral Westmioreland and M^CV were beginning to re- 
spond, to the pressure from outside their command, that they should give 
' ' RD more support. As such, it marked, a m-ajor step for MA.CV, Tillson said 

that "military operations must be used to assure the security necessary 
for RD to, begin. All military operations are designed tov/ards this goal,.," 

He then vrent on to trace the degree to which criticism of ARW was justi 
fied, and examine the suggestion that ARW be re -oriented to support RD -- 
something which was to becom^e part of the Manila communique only two months 

"The ARVTI has been at v^ar continuously for a period of 
over ten years.,, The fact that ARVIT today even exists as an 
organized fighting force is a tribute to its stamina and. 
morale . 

"Since its inception, ARVTI has been oriented., trained, 
and led towards the task of offensive operations, ., It is diffi- 
cult, in a short period of tme, to redirect the motivation 
and training of years, and, to offset the long indoctrination 
that o ffensive action against the VC is the reason for the 
existence of the Army... 

"In the 1967 campaign plan, we propose to assign ARVW 
the primary mission of providing direct support. to RD and. 
US/Fr"? Forces the primary mission of destroying VC/lfVA main 
forces and. base areas. Agreement has been reached, between 

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General Westraoreland and General Vien that, in 1, II and III' 
Corps areas 5 AR'/IT will devote at least 3^o of its effort 
directly in support of the RD progra^m. In IV Corps , where , 
there are no U.S. forces, it was agreed that ARVjM might have 
to devote up to 75fo of its effort to offensive operations.,. 

"general Vien has issued a airective that/ flatly states 
that, while some progress has been made, desired results 
are still lacking on RD. It emphasizes that RD efforts 
must be on a par with efforts to destroy the enemy. . .Ihese 
directives of General Vien resulted from his conversations 
with General Westmoreland..." sV ^mphasis Added/ 

This was by far the strongest verbal support that MACV had ever given 
pacification, and it actually contained the kernel which developed into 
the important passage in the Manila communiq.ue that committed the RTil^F 
to support of RD. 

The change in mood in Saigon among the Americans was reflected by 
Ambassador Lodge in his Weekly NOBIS to the R^esident." On August 3I5 1966, 
he began his cable with: 

"The biggest recent American event affecting Vietnam 
was giving pacification the highest priority which it has 
ever had -- making it, in effect, the main purpose of all 
our activities ... 

"The above was brought about in several ways -- by word 
in General Westmoreland* s "Concept of Milita.ry Operations 
in South Vietnam" of August 2k, and by the deeds of .the U.S. 
1st and 25th Divisions and the III MF. There has also been 
the new I^LACV proposal to revamp ARW and turn it into a 
force better suited to pacification. Also at a special 
meeting of the Mission Council a stimulating paper was pre- 
sented,"by the "interagency Roles and Mission Study Group" 
which would take RF and PF, now a part of the Vietnamese 
Armed Forces, make them into a "constabulary" and call it 
-that. Police Field Force would also be included in the 
Constabulary under this concept." 35/ 

A week earlier, Westmoreland had sent forward to CINCPAC and JCS a 
broad strategy statem_ent for the coming year. He saw the time as "appro- 
-priate in light of the fact that "we are on the threshold of a new phase 
in the conflict resulting from recent battlefield successes and from the 
co-^tinuin^ FW7-'IAF buiMuT3." After reviewing the course of battle since 
the introduction of U.S. troops, Westmoreland projected his strategy over 
the period until May 1, I967., as "a general offensive with maximum prac- 
tical support to area and population security in further support of RD. 
He then add.ed: ■ ■ • 

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"The growing strength of US/FW" Forces will provide the 
shield and will permit ARW to shift its weight of effort 
to an extent not heretofore feasible to direct support of 
RD. Also^ I visualize that a significant nimiber of UQ/W 
maneuver battalions will be coimnitted to tactical areas of 
responsibility (TAOR) missions. These missions encompass 
base sectzrity and at the same time support RD by spreading 
security radially from the bases to protect m.ore of the 
population. . . 

"The priority effort of ARWT forces will be in direct 
support of the RD program; in many instances the province 
chief will exercise operational control over these units... 
1 1 This fact notwithstanding;, the ARVN division structure must 

be maintained. . ." 36/ 

This long message, with its "new look" emphasis on pacification, was 
sent apparently not for GlNCPAG's routine consideration, as -would be the 
normal case in the military chain of command, but for the edification of 
high-ranking civilian leaders in Washington.- It ended with a comment 
added by Ambassador Lodge -- an unusual procedure in a military message: 

"I wish to stress my agreement with the attention paid 
^ in this message to the importance of military support for 

RD. After all, the main purpose of defeating the enemy 
through offensive operations against the m.ain forces and 
,, bases must be to provide the opportunity tbjrough RD to get 

' at the heart of the matter, which is the population of SW." 37/ 

The new emphasis on RD/pacif ication was thus coming from many sources 
in the late summer of I966. Porter and Komer, pushing the civilians 
harder than they had ever been pushed before, had not only improved their 
!' performance, but also to create pressures inside IvLA^CV for greater empha- 

sis on RD. Westmoreland, responding to the pressure, and finding the 
VG/nVA increasingly reluctant to give battle, was pla.nning a two-pronged 
strategy for late 1966-early I967: attack and destroy enemy base areas, 
and use more forces to protect and build up and expand the GVN population 

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D. The Single Manager 

.By the late summer of I9665 as has been shown in detail in the preceding 
sections, the flavrs in the structure of the U.S. Mission had, been openly 
criticized, in studies or reports by the U.S. Ariny Staff (in VROYN) , by 
the Priorities Task Force and by the Roles ana Missions Study Group in 
Saigon, by Robert Komer in repeated memoranda, and by various other visitors 
and observers. In addition to the vrritten record, there were undoubtedly 
nimerous private comments being mad.e both in Saigon and Washington, some 
of which \ieTe reaching senior officials of the government. 

The options before the USG were, in broad outline, fourfold. The Mission 
could either remain unchanged, or else it could reorganize along one of 
the three general lines which Komer had outlined in his August 7? 1966 

Alternative On e -- Put Porter in charge of all advisory and 

pacification activities, including the 

Alternat iv e T\^jo -- Unify the civilian agencies into a single 

civilian chain of command, and strengthen 
the military internally -- but leave civilian 
and milita,.ry separate; 

Alternative Three -- Assign, responsibility for pacification to 

Westmoreland, and MACV, and. put the civilians 
in the field under his command. 

The Mission, as usual, argued for leaving the structure the way it was. 
Their argioments in this direction were unfortunate, because in Washington 
the m.ood was certainly in favor of some further changes, and by resisting 
all suggestions uniformly, the Mission was simply causing friction with 
Washington and reducing influence on the ultimate decisions. 

The issue was joined more rapidly than anyone in Saigon had expected, 
beceaise in mid-September, 1966, the Secretary of Defense weighed in on the 
issue in a direct vra.y, producing a Draft Presidential which 
advocated handing over responsibility for pacification to COMUSMCV. 

McNamara's draft said: , . . 

"Now that a Viet Cong victory in South Vietnam seems to 
have been thwarted by our emergency actions taken over the 
past 18 months, renewed attention should be paid to the 
longer-run aspects of achieving an end to the war and build- 
ing a viable nation in South Vietnam. 

"Central to success, both in ending the war and in winning 
the peace, is the pacification program. Past progress in 

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pacification has been negligible. Many factors have contri- 
buted, but one major reason for this lack of progress had 
been the existence of split responsibility for pacifica- 
tion on the U.S. side. For the sake of efficiency — in 
clarifying our concept, focusing our energies, and increas- 
ing the output vre can generate on the part of the Viet- 
namese. -- this split responsibility on the U.S. side must 
be eliminated. 

"We have considered va.rious alternative methods of 
consolidating the U.S. pacification effort. The best 
solution is to place those activities which are primarily 
part of the pacification program, and all persons engaged 
in such activities, under COMQSMCV. . .In essence, the re- 
organization would result in the establishment of a Deputy 
COJ^JSMCV for I^cification who would be in comm^and of all 
pacification staffs in Saigon and of all pacification 
activities in the field. 

"It is recognized that there are many important aspects 
of the pacification problem which are not covered in this 
recommendation, which should be reviewed subsequent to the 
appointment of the Deputy COmsmCV for Pacification to 
determine whether they should be part of his task -- for 
example, the psychological warfare campaign, and the Chieu 

■ Hoi and refugee programs.. Equally important, is the ques- 
tion of how to encourage a similar ma,nagement realignment 

■ of the South Vietnamese sid.e, since pacification is re- 
garded as primarily a Vietnamese task. Also not covered 
by this recormnendatlon are important related national pro- 
grams .. .Finally, there is the question of whether any 
organizational modification in Washington is required by 
the recommended change in Vietnam. 

"I recommend that you approve the reorganization de- 
scribed in this memorandum as a first essential step toward 
giving a new thrust to pacifice.tion. Under Secretary Ball, 
Administrator Gaud, the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Director 
Helms, Director Marks, and Mir. Komer concur in this recom- 
mendation." 38/ 

This memorand.iam was apparently never sent to the President, but it 
was distributed, with a request for comments and concurrence, to Ball 
(Rusk being out of the country), Gaud, the JCS, Helms, Marks, and Komer. 
Only Komer and the JCS concurred, with the others producing alternate 

restions. The entire question v^as handled as an "EYES Oi^ILY" matter. 


The positions that ^^ere taken were: 

State opposed the recommendation. In informal discussions with Komer, 
Alexis Johnson cited the failure of Hop Tac (which seems irrelevant), the 

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"optics" of militarizing the effort, and the need, to check with Lodge as 
reasons against actions. 39/ 

AID agreed that the present program had its faults , but resisted the 
idea"of a MCV takeover- Instead, they proposed a complex system of com- 
mittees and deputies for RD, who would report to a Deputy Ambassador for 
Pacification. W 

The JCS found that the proposal "provides an excellent rationale for 
an approach to the problem of appropriately integrating the civil and 
military effort in the important field of pacification" and concurred 
in the idea of a Deputy cbl^JSMCV for RD. Ul/ 

CIA and USIA both opposed the reorganization, although their written 
comm'ents are not in the files. h2J 

Komer v/eighed in with a lengthy rationale supporting the idea. Although 
he may not have known it at the time, he was talking about the organizational 
structure he was going to fit into later. After agreeing that the need 
to get pacification moving v^as great, and that "the military are much 
better set up to manage a huge pacification effort," he said that 60-7(>)'o 
of "real job of pacification is providing loca.1 security. This can only 
be done by the military../' Komer then raised some additional points: 

1. The Ambassador should remain in overall charge. 

2. MCV should not assume responsibility for everything, only 
the high payoff war-related activities. 

3. Logistic support should remain a multi-agency responsibility. U3/ 

■ As the discussions on the subject continued, Deputy Ambassador Porter 
arrived in the United States for a combined business -personal trip- Waen 
he found out what was being considered, he immediately made strong repre- 
sentations to MciNiamara, Komer, and Rusk. He also sent a personal cable 
back to Lodge, alerting him for the first time to what was afoot in Washing- 

"I>rincipal topic under discussion here is DOD proposal 
to bring both U.S. military and U.S. civilian resources 
needed to advance RD program under direction of Deputy 
CG^IUSM^ICV. This plan will be discussed with you d,uring 
McNamara visit. It would detach all civilian field opera- 
tions from direct control of Saigon civilian agencies and 
would place them under Deputy COMJSM^CV for RD. In addi- 
tion to controlling civilian field resources, latter would 
also manage U.S. military resources with view to increasing 
their effectiveness in furthering RD programs. Deputy 
■ COMJSM^CV would be responsible to Ambassador or Deputy ' ' 
Ambassador through COMUSIvIACV. This a.t least is my urider- 
standing of proposal v/hich is being strongly pushed here. 

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"I have taken position that this proposal and certain 
counter proposals put forward by civilian agencies here 
require carefUl field study. In its existing form, as 
I understand it, it does not take into account the fact, 
that militarization of our approach to this important ^ . ■ 

civilian program runs counter to our aim of de -militarizing 
GW through constitutional electoral process... 

"I have been stressing here that our military are al- 
ready heavily loaded with responsibility for achieving 
military measures required to further civilian BD programs, 
such as evoking adeq.uate cooperation from RVN. . .1 have 
emphasized need for I'lkCY to grapple with problem of VC 
guerrilla activity during night, as distinct from main 
force activity during daytime which we now know can be 
dealt with. These areas would appear to offer great possi- 
bilities for application of military talent and I repeat 
that in my view question of burdening MCV further with 
comT)lex programs (cadre, police, etc.) rea^uires ca.reful 
field study which I would. have done promptly, if you agree, 
by group similar to that which carried out * Roles and Missions' 
study. "'Ml/ . 

This was the background as Secretary McNamara, Under Secretary Katzenbach, 
General VJheeler, and Mr. Komer went to Saigon in October. The issue had 
been deferred, and when the visitors returned, they vrould make recommenda- 
tions to the President. Katzenbach, making his first trip as Under Secretary, 
was requested to look at the problem with a new eye and no prior prejudices. 

When they came back from Saigon, Katzenbach and McNamara both sent the 
President an important memorand^am. Katzenbach argued for a strengthening 
of Ambassador Porter's role, and a deferral of the question of turning 
the RD effort over to MA.CV. McNamara concurred, but with a different em- 
phasis. The memorand,ums were dated October ik and 15 j, 1966, less than two 
weeks before the Manila conference, and the recommendations were accepted 
by the President. Katzenbach* s memorand,um was, for a first effort after 
a short YIP trip, an unusually interesting one. Excerpts: 

"...I believe decisive, effective RD depends on a clear 
and precise common vuiderstanding of the security as we all 
recognize to be the foundation of success in the 'other 

■war . ' 

"To illustrate the divergency of meanings, let me report 
briefly on a conversation I had with a small group of reporters 
in Saigon. It quickly degenera^ted into a debate, not between 
the reporters and me, but between Ward Just of the Washington 
Post and Charles Mohr of the New York Times , 

"Just argued heatedly that RD could not begin to be effec- 
tive unless security were first guaranteed both to the peasants 

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and to RD workers. 'An AID man cannot do his job/ he said^ 
'while being shot at by the VC. ' 

"Molir responded just as heatedly^ that security could 
not come first -- because security froni guerrillas is mean- 
ingless and impossible until the peasant population is moti- 
vated to support the GW and deprive the guerrillas of havens , 
secrecy, and resources. 

"Obviously, the easy answer to this circular chicken-egg 
debate is to say that both are necessary -- military protection 
and public motivation against the VC. And yet even that answer 
is incomplete for it defines security oriLy in the American 

frame of reference... 

"l knovr of no one who believes we have begun effectively 
to achieve the goal of gaining the population's active support, 
despite a series of pacification progra^ms and despite even the 
budding early efforts of Ambassador Porter's new program. 

" The Militar y As-pect. ' Secretary Mcriamara, Mr. Komer, Am- 
bassadors Johnson^ Lodg'e, and Porter, l-lr. Gaud, I, and all others 
who have approached the problem are perfectly agreed that the 
military aspect of RD has been spindly and weak." k^/ 

-K X ^ -Jf -je- -5^ * 

"This probably is the result of the entirely understandable 
preoccupation by MA.CY in recent months with the main force 
military em^ergency. However justifiable this has been, a major 
effect has nonetheless been our failure effectively "to press 
RMAF to even start meeting their crucial RD responsibilities. 

"(l know of no one who believes that these should be met 
principally by American forces -- unless we should wish the 
whole RD effort to colla,pse once we leave.) 

" The Civil As-pect . Similarly, the work of civilian agen- 
cies has fallen short -- largely, but not only because of the 
failure of RVIIAF to provide a military screen behind which to 
work ... 

"Rather than engage in a civil-militaiy debate, I think we 
should devote our efforts toward trying to devise an adminis- 
trative structiare that capitalizes on the assets each agency 
can offer to BD. 

"V/hat should be the elements of an ideal organization? 

"1. It should, have m-axim-um leverage on RVTIkE to engage in 
clear and hold operations in direct support of RDM efforts. 

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"2. It should have a single American "negative," anti-VC 
channel -- that is a single commander for all action against 
communist guerrilla forces. This commander would calibrate and 
choose among the various force alternatives -- depending on 
whether he believed the need to be milita-y, para-military, or 

"This command would include complete responsibility for 
all anti-VC intelligence -- that is, concerning all VC suspects 
either in the infrastructure or in guerrilla units. 

"3, It should have a single, unified channel for all 'posi- 
tive* pro-people aspects of RD^ irrespective of the present 
lines of comm^and within civilian agencies, allowing a single 
commander to calibrate and assign priorities to relevant posi- 
tive programs on behalf of the peasantry. 

"This, too, would include the inmiediate expansion of and 
control over all 'pro-people* intelligence -- that is, detailed 
district -by-district and province -by-province reporting on the 
particular gains most wanted by the populace (land reform, for 
example, in one province; or schools in another; or agricultural 
assistance in another). 

"1+. Sensitivity to political inputs and wise political^ 
guidance of the whole process are needed to ensure that mili- 
tary programs support rather than negate efforts to win public 
support and participation. Failure to assure this -- which 
characterized French efforts in Indochina and Algeria, in con- 
trast to civil-led, successfia, British efforts in Malaya and 
the Filipino campaign against the Huks -- means that the very 
process of gaining security would be weakened and prolonged, 
at increased, cost in Vietnamese and American lives. 

"Thus, overall civilian coimnand of the RD program is needed 
for fundamental practical reasons, by no means for considera- 
tions of international image alone (though on the latter point, 
it must be observed that as soon as we put 'the other war' under- 
obvious military control, it stops being the other war). In 
■ particular, it is important not to block or reverse -- by the 
way we organize our efforts — the current genuinely hopef^al 
Vietnamese trend towa-rd increased civilian influence and parti- 
cipation in government. 

"In short, it is not the precise form of organization or the 
precise choice of flow chart that is important. What is impor- 
tant is: 

"1. An immediate and effective military screen for RD 
efforts; and 

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"2. Authoritative and compelling administration of the 
efforts of civilian agencies* 

1^ "I believe we can institute effective administration of 

J,. • the RD program -- which Ambassador Lodge has aptly described 

' as the heart of the matter -- achieving all of these ideals: 

. ■ ■ "1. Maintain the effect and. the appearance of civilian 

^,: • control by immediately assigning overall supervision of all 

KD activities to Ambassador Porter (and assigning a second 
deputy to Ambassador Lodge to absorb the' substantial other 
|-.' responsibilities now met by Ambassador Porter). 

"2. That the several civilian lines of comjnand within 
agencies be consolidated into one. Thus, USAID, JUSPAO, OSA, 
and. the Embassy personnel assigned to RD all would continue 
under the nominal administrative control of their respective 
agencies but full, unified oi oerational control would rest 
solely vrith Ambassador Porter. 

"3. That Ambassador Porter ^s authority be mad-e clear and 
full to each constituent agency of the RD team, including: 

— relocation of personnel; 

— the establishment of priorities irrespective of 
agency priorities; 

-- and the apportionment of the funds allocated by 
each agency to Viet-Nam^ bounded only by statutory 

liraitations . 


"if. That MACV imm.ediately give highest-level comjnajid focus 
and consolidation to its RD concerns and staff, now that it is 
no longer so completely distracted from RD by the compelling 
req.uirements of main force com.bat. This would be organized 
around the thesis that the central need is the most effective 
persuasive power or leverage on RVIiAF. This thesis is strengthened 
substantia^lly by: 

-- The firm intent, expressed to us in. Saigon last 
week, of Rresident Thleu and Prime Minister Ky 
to shift ARW infantry to revolutionary d,evelop- 
ment vrork starting in January; 

-- The enhanced powers they intend to give to General 
Thang, already an able chief "of RD for GW. 

"5. That the MACY effort embrace at least ad.visory control 
over all levels of force -- starting with ARW but also includ- 
\ ing .RF, PF, CIDG, and the para -military operations of the RB 

, cadre, PFFj and PRV. , . 

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"These steps would greatly strengthen both the military and 
civil lines of command. They vrould contribute significantly 
to the success of RD. But not even these changes v/ould be 
decisive without a strong link between them . 

"The civil side reauires the capacity to influence mili- 
tary movement which no organizational chart can provide. The 
MCV side requires the political and substantive expertise 
which a military organization does not -- and is not expected 
to -- possess - 

"Thus the fundamental recommendation 1 would m^ke is: 

"6, To appoint, as principal deputy and executive officer 
to Ambassador Porter , a general of the highest possible ability 
and stature -- of two^ three or even four-star rank. To do so 
would win the following advantages: 

"a. Compelling indication of the seriousness with 
which the Administration regards ED. 

"b. The rank-, and stature to insure optimum RD per- 
formance from MCV. 

"c. The rank and stature to afford maximiom impact 
on GVII military leaders and capacity to persuade them properly 
to prod RVNAF v/hen necessary. 

"d. Demonstrated comjnand administrative capacities 
with which to assist Ambassador Porter, vrhile bridging the 
inevitable institutional difficulties that might well other- 
wise develop from one arm of MCV's taking orders from a 

"e. A solution to the military control image problem^ 
by which the advantages of close military support would be 
veiled by civilian control. 

"f. The capacity and position to formulate an effec- 
tive qualitative plan encompassing both military and civil 
realities. Previous plans have focused on numbers of provinces, 
volume of RD cadre trained, and so on. They have put an un- 
realistic premium on quantitative, "statistical" success. 
Meaningful criteria, however, must be q.ualitative. I would 
envision such a qualitative plan intended to cover at least 
the next 12 months. 

"There would be an additional prospective advantage as 
well. If it should later be foimd that dual lines of authority -- 
even given this strong link -- are not successful, then we could 
more readily fall back to a unitary, military command structure — 
with the new KD general taking charge. 

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"He would have the benefit, in that situation, of having 
been under civilian control and his relationship to RD would 
already be evident, making the change to military control less 
abrupt and less susceptible to criticism." ^ 

Secretary McNamara's memorandum -- sent the day before Katzenbach's — 
was of greater importance, and stands out as one of the most far-reaching 
and thoughtful documents in the files. V/hile this study concentrates on 
pacification, it is necessary to view McNaraara's remarks about pacifica- 
tion in this memorandum within the context of the entire paper. 

He said that the military situation had gone "somewhat better" than 
he had anticipated a year earlier, and that "we have by and large blunted 
the commLuiist military initiative." But he found little cause for hope _ 
that the overall situation woui.d turn dramatically in our favor withm the__ 
next two years. "l see no reasonable way to bring the war to an end soon, 
he said, and described the enemy strategy as one of "keeping us busy and 
waiting us out (a strategy of attriting our national will). 

"Pacification is a basic disappointment. We have good, 
grounds to be pleased by the recent elections, by Ky's l6 
months in power, and by the faint signs of development of 
. national political institutions and of a legitimate civil 
goverr-ment. But none of this has translated itself into 
political achievements at Province level or ^ below. Paci- 
■ fication has, if anything., gone bacfa-rard. . ." 

Thus, the Secretary found us "no better, and if anyt.hing worse off -- from^_ 
the point of view of the important war (for the complicity of the people J. 

He did not think at that time that major increases in U.S. force levels 
or bombin-- programs would make a big difference in the short run. Rather, 
he suc^':^ested a series of actions designed to emphasize to Hanoi that we 
wer-- setting definite limits on the cost in men and money of the war, while 
settling down for the long haul -- "a posture that makes trying to 'wait 
us out' less attractive." His , strategy was "five -pronged. 

First, he suggested that we stabjaij^eJJ^S,_jPorc^ levels in Vietnam, 
"barring a dramatic change in t he war." The limit he proposed was the 
ITto'OOO" total then under " consideration. (CIKCPAC had requested 570,000 
bv end 1967). This limit would "put us in a position where negotiations 
wovad be more likely to be oroductive, but if they were not we could pur- 
■ sue the all-imoortant pacification task with proper attention and resources 
and without the spectre of apparently endless escalation of U.S. deploy- 

• ments. 

Second, he recommended a barrier near the DMZ and "across the trails 

of laos. 

a gams c 

Tliird he suggested, that we " stabilize the Rolling Thunder pro g r a m 
nst the North." He thus recommended against the increase in the level 

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of bombing and the broader target systems that the JCS was then req.uesting. 
Again, his reason was to "remove the prospect of ever-escalating bombing 
as a factor complicating our political posture and distracting from the 
main job of pacification in South Vietna.m." 

Fourth, he said, we should " pursue a vigorous T)acification program ." 

"The large-unit operations war, which we know best how to 
fight and where we have had our successes, is largely irrele- 
vant to pacification as long as we do not lose it. By and 
large, the people in rural areas believe that the GVN when 
it comes will not stay but that the VC will; that coopera- 
tion with the GW will be punished by the VC; that the GVIT 
is really indifferent to the people's welfare; that the low- 
level GW are tools of the local rich; and that the GW is 
ridden with corruption. 

"Success in pacification depends on the interrelated 
functions of providing physical security, destroying the 
VC apparatus, motivating the people to cooperate, and estab- 
lishing responsive local government. An obviously necessary 
but not sufficient requirement for success of the ED cadre 
and police is vigorously conducted and adequately prolonged 
clearing operations by military troops who will ^stay' in 
the area, v/ho behave themselves decently and who show re- 
spect for the people. 

"This elem^ental requirement of pacification has been 
missing. In almost no contested area designated for paci- 
fication in recent years have AEVN forces actually 'cleared 
and ste.yed' to a point where cadre teams, if available, could 
have stayed overnight in hamlets and sui-vived, let alone 
- accomplish their mission... 

"Now that the threat of a communist main-force mili- 
tary victory has been thwarted by oui- emergency efforts, 
'we must allocate far more attention and a portion of the 
regular military forces (at least half of ARVN and perhaps 
a portion of the U.S. forces) to the task of providing an 
active and permanent security system behind which the RD 
teams and police can operate and behind which the political 
struggle with the VC infrastructure can take place. 

"The U.S. cannot do this pacification security 30b for 
the Vietnamese. All we can do is 'massage the heart.' For 
one reason, it is known that we do not intend to stay; if 
our efforts vrorked at a,ll, it would merely postpone the 
eventua.1 confrontation of the VC ^n^. GVIJ infrastructares. 
The GVN must ^.o the job, and. I am convinced that drastic 
reform is needed if the ^m is going to be able to do it. 


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^ "The first essential reform is in the attitude of GW 

officials. Tliey are generally apathetic, and, there is 
corruption high and lovr. Often appointments, promotions, 
and draft deferments must "be bought; and kickbacks on sala- 
ries are common. Cadce at the bottom can be no better than 
the system above them. ' - 

"Tlae second needed reform is in the attitude and con- 
duct -of the ARW. The im^age of the government cannot imi- 
; prove unless and until the APOTJ improves miarkedly. They 
'do not understand the importance (or respectability) of 
poxification nor the importance to pacification of proper, 
disciplined conduct. Promotions, assignments and award.s 
are often not made on merits but rather on the basis of 
having a diplom^a, friend,s, or relatives, or because of 
bribery. The ARW is -V/eak in dedication, direction and 

"Not enough ARW are devoted to area and population 
security, and, when the ARW does attempt to support paci- 
fication, their actions do not last long enough; their tac- 
tics are bad despite U.S. prodding (no aggressive sm^all-'onit 
satui'ation patrolling, hamlet sea^rches, quick-reaction contact, 
or offensive night ambushes); they do not miakegood use of 
intelligence; and their leadership and- discipline are bad. 

"Furthermore, it is m^^ conviction that a part of the 
problem undoubtedly lies in bad management on the American 
as well as the G'vTI side. Here split responsibility -- or 
*no responsibility* -- has resulted, in too little hard press- 
ure on the GVII to do its 30b and no really solid or realis- 
tic planning with respect to the whole effort. We must 
deal" with this management problem now and deal with it 

"One solution would be to consolidate all U.S. activi- 
ties which are primarily part of the civilie.n pacification 
program and all persons engaged, in such activities, provid- 
ing a clear assignmient of responsibility and a i^nified com- 
mand under a civilian relieved of all other duties. (if 
this task is assigned to Aribassador Porter, another indi- 
vidual must be sent iimnsdiately to Saigon to serve as Am- 
bassador Lodgers deputy.) Under this approach, there 'would 
be a carefully delineated division of responsibility between 
the civilian-in-charge and. an elem^ent of COPIUSMACY under 
a senior officer, vrho would give the subject of planning 
for and providing hamlet security the highest priority in 
attention and resources. Success will d.epend on the 'men 
selected for the jobs on both sides (they must be among 
the highest rank and, m.ost competent adrndnistrators in the 
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elements 5 and on the extent to which the South Vietnamese 
can be shocked, out of their present pattern of behavior. 
The first work of this reorga^nized U.S. pacification organi-^ 
zation should be to produce within 60 days a reali.stic and 
detailed plan for the coming year. 

*'Frcm the political e.-nd, public-relations viewpoint , 
this solution is preferable -- if it works. But we cannot 
tolerate continued failure. If it fails after a fair trial, 
the only alternative in my view is to place the entire paci- 
fication program -- civilian and military -- und,er General 
Westmoreland.. This alternative would result in the estab- 
lishment of a Deputy COMQa-'ACY for Pacification who would 
be in command of all pacification .staffs in Saigon and of 
all pacification staffs and activities in the field; one 
person in each corps , province and district would be re- 
sponsible for the U.S. effort." 

, j • *'(lt should be noted that progress in pacification^ more than 

anything else, \vill persuade the enemy to negotiate -or with- 

Fifth, the Secretary recorQmend.ed a renev^ed effort to get negotiations 
started, by taking steps "to increase our credibility" with Hanoi, by 
.- -, considering a shift in the pattern of our bomibing program considering 

the possibility of cessation of bombing, by trying to "split the VC off, 
from Hanoi," and by "developing a rea-listic pl^.n providing a role for 
the VC in negotiations, postw-ar life, and governm^ent of the nation." 

His suoiimation was somber. VJhile repeating his prediction that the 
next two years would not see a satisfactory conclusion by either large- 
unit action or negotiations, McRamiara advocated pursuing both routes al- 
though "we shou].-d recognize that success from them is a m.ere possibility, 
not a probability." 

"The solution lies in girding, openly, for a longer 
war and, in taking actions iimsiediately vrhich will in 12 to 
3_8 months give clear evidence that the continuing costs and 
risks to the American people are acceptably limited, that 
the formula for success has been found, and that the end of 
the war is merely a matter of time. All of my recommenda- 
tions will contribute to this strategy, but the one most 
difficult to implement is perhaps the m.ost important one -- 
enlivening the pacification program. The odds are less than 
even for this task, if only because we have failed so con- 
sistently since 196I to make a dent in the problem. But, 
* because the 1967 trend of pacification will, I believe, be 
the main talisman of ultimate U.S. success or failure in 
Vietnam, extraordinary imagination and effort should, go 
] ^-^^Q changing the stripes of tha.t problem. 


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The meniorand.uin closed, with a comment on the thoughts of Thieu and 

''They told, me that they do not expect the enemy to nego- 
tiate or to modify his program in less thn.n tvro yearrs. Rather, 
they expect the enemy to continue to expand and, to increase 
his activity. They expressed agreement with us that the key 
to success is pacification and that so far pacification has 
failed. Ihey agree that we need, clarification of GVN and 
U,S. roles and that the bulk of the ARW should be shifted 
to pacification. Ky will, between January and JuJ.y 196? 5 
shift all ARW infantry d.ivisions to that role. And he is 
giving Thang, a good Revolutionary Development director, 
ad.ded powers. Thieu and Ky see this as x^rt of a two-year 
(:i.967~1968) sched.ule5 in vzhich offensive operations against 
enemy main force units are continued., carried on primarily 
by the U.S. and other Free World forces. At the end. of the 
tvro -year period, they believe the enemy may be willing to 
negotiate or to retreat from his current course of action," k7/ 

McNamara's memorand^oia marked, a strong new emphasis on pacification 
by him, and the ripples that this new emphasis set off were inevitably 
to spread tliroughout the USG, changing emxjhasis and officical rhetoric up 
and d,ow-n the line. His first reactions were official: comj:iients on his 
memoranduxi' from George Carver, Helms' Special Assistant for Vietnamese 
Affairs at the CIA; and from the JCS. Carver agreed, with the evaluation 
o-f the situation, but objected to some of the reconmiended actions, po.rticu- 
larly the "press for negotiations" items which he felt would be "counter- 
productive." Carver made the provocative statement that he considered 
the prognosis "too gloomy." If the od.ds for enlivening the pacification 
program are indeed "less than even, present U.S, objectives in Vietnam 
are not likely to be achieved." 

In his mem;oranduTn, Carver took issue with McNamara on pacification. 
Carver felt that "despite the errors and administrative wealmesses of present 
pror/rams, in the concept of RD we have found the right formula, a catalyst 
that is potentially capable -of inspiring the Vietnamese into effective 
action. .^.Serious and systematic effort in this field is really a post- 
Horoaulu Conference development and it would' be unrealistic to expect 
dramatic, readily quantifiable progress in the short span of eight m^onths." 

Carver supported the new stress on pacification, adding that he would 
support "wholeheartedly" a "real reorganizational change under which the 
ci^dlian director would have a joint staff of sufficient scope to ena.ble 
him to"^plan, control, and direct the U.S. effort and have operational con- 
trol over all -- not just civilian -- elements engaged in R_D..." He opposed 
a "carefully d.elineated division between the civilian in charge and an ele- 
ment of COI-raSMCV under a senior officer." 

"A civilian pacification' structure cannot be given a 'fair trial* uriless 
the civilian director has the necessary authority," Carver said. "Also, the 


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^^— — ■ ^1 II III! I^i^^— ^ I I h * — * — " fc l ■ ^^m^ ^W^^^F^l fci Jl I -l^H I i Bl IB ■ i^--^™ ^ 

tri?.l will not be fair if major quantifiable results are anticipated in 
a matter of months.'' 

Carver's vision of pacification rested to a large degree on the idea 
of gaining the active support of the population. He seemed opposed to the 
use of troops to merely protect terrain and the people who lived on itj 
saying, "if an attempt is made to im.pose pacification on an un.enga,ged popu- 
lace by GW or U.S. military forces^ that attem„pt will fail."" 


He concluded^ as he had begun: 

">Ie agree with Secretary McNamara's prognosis that there 
is little hope for a satisfactory conclusion of the war with- 
in the next two years. We do not agree that "the odds are 
less than even" for enl.ivenixig the pacification program. 
If this were true; the U.S. would, be foolish to continue the 
struggle in Vietnam and should seek to disengage as fast as 
possible. We thii-il^ that if we esteJjlish adequate management 
and. control on the U.S. side and. ensure that the Vietnamese 
follovr through on redirecting their military resources as 
promised; there are at least fair prospects for ' substantial 
progress in pacifica^tion over the next two years." kO/ 

The JCS review of McUamara's memorand."am vras far more severe. V/hile 
agreeing that "There is no reason to expect that the war can be brought 
soon to a successful conclusion/' the Chiefs made a strong case, as usual, 
for increased bombing, no predetermined, force ceilings, and, stated, several 
times in differerrc ways that the vj-ar v/as going very well indeed, -- although 
this same point had been made by McNama,ra. The Chiefs also disagreed strongly 
with the FlOvc for negotiations which McNamara had, suggested,. Any bombing 
pause, they said, would be regarded by Hanoi, by the GVH, and by our Allies, 
as "renewed, evidence of lack of U.S. determination to press the v^ar to 
a successful conclusion." 

On pacification, the JCS "adhered, to their conclusion" that "to achieve 
optim;am effectiveness, the pacification program should be transferred to 
COHUS]-i/\.CV. However, if for political reasons a civilian type organiza.tion 
should, be consid,ered mand,atory by the President, they would interpose no 

"Nevertheless, they are not sanguine that 8.n effective 
civilian-type organization can be erected, if at all, except 
at the expense of costly delays. As to the use of a substan- 
tial fraction of ARVU for pacification purposes, the JCS 
concur. However, they desire to flag that ad-option of this 
conce-pt will und.oubtedly elicit che4,rges of a U.S. takeover 
of combat operations at increased cost in American casualties." k^/ 

The JCS requested, that their vievrs be brought to the attention of the 
President. . ' ■ ' 


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!^^ On the record., Secretary McNamara and Secretary Kat^f^enbach had 

been quite frank in telling the American public that they had. found paci- 
fication lagging during their October trip to Vietnam, Katzenbach said 
he v/as "concerned" and, after emerging from the m.eeting with the Fresid.ent, 
told the vmite House press corps that "V;e have to do a good deal more to 
get the 'other \var' moving and 1 think we can." 50/ Even Komer, who remained 
more optimistic than' McNam.ara and Katzenbach, was quoted as "acknowledging" 
■ that pacification was lagging. 

vmile "military progress has exceeded our expectations," the Defense 
Secretary said, progress in pacification has "been very slow indeed." His 
trip also raised fears, for the first time, in Saigon that the military 
would, take over the pacil'ication effort. Thus, at almost the very moment 
that the President was hearing Katzenbach' s recommendation that the civilians 
be reorganir^.ed, s.nd given a last chance (see previous action), Ward Just 
was writing from Saigon: 

"McNamara left behind the impression that his visit to 
South Vietnam, last week marked, the beginning of the end. of 
civilian supremacy in the American effort* •« 

"Sources liere were saying today that McNam.ara, a stickler 
for d.etail, vras unimpressed with civilian d.escriptions of 
progress, or lack of it, in the pacification effort. The 
Axierican V7ho bea^rs most of the authority for that, Deputy 
;'"""^" _ Ambassador William C. Porter, was in the U.S. during the 

McNamara visit, 

"There has alv7s;ys been, as one official here put it, a 
'military component' to pacification. But it is understood 
nov that that component will be increased, and, the military 
will more and more take control of pacification -- the task 
called nation-building . 

"...The other likely outcome of McNajmra's four days in 
Vietnam is that the role of ARVN will change. 

"Informed, sources said that McNamara heard, no complaints 
vrhatsoever from American military sources regarding the per- 
formance of the AEW, but the fact is that he did. It has 
been an open secret in Saigon that the role of the ARVN would 
change next year. Their work would, be in pacification, not 
in striking at m.ain force units... 

" "There is now increased certainty that the war effort 
despite public hom.age to the 'other war' and the 'hearts and 
minds of the people' is more thorough3.y military than ever -- 
and more thoroughly American. 

■"In the end..^ the military is thought to have carried the 
'^'^ day not by force or logic or force of wisdom, although their 


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position here can "be argued platisibly vith "both logic and \r±sdon^ 
but by sheer weight of what one official called the Juggernaut... 

"'Westmoreland says do this, do that^ and something happens^ ^ 
one informed observer said. 'When Lodge says do this, do that, 
sojnetirnes something happens, and sometimes it doesn^t happen.* 

"The men here who wanted to see one ideology beaten by a 
better one, to see the Vietnamese character (not to mention the 
countryside) preserved and not submerged by the war, vrho viewed 
the struggle as an exercise in counterinsurgency, have now cer- 
tainly lost . . . 

"it remains to be seen whether the problems of Vietnam lend 
themselves to military solutions and Vviiether changing conditions 
in this war are better handled by colonels than diplomats." ^l/ 

JustVs article was wrong, of course, since the decision to give MGV 
responsibility for pacification had not been m.ade. Indeed, within a few 
days this fact had also leaked to the press, exid. stories in the Ne w Yo rk 
Traies, datelined Saigon, spoke of the "abortive effort" by MA.CV to take 
over^the effort. But the Importance of the stories was not in their 
accuracy or inaccuracy, but in the fact that they indicated the emotions 
that had been raised by the subject du:cing and after the McHamara- 
Katzenbach-Komer visit. In truth, no one in Saigon, not even Lodge a:ad 
Westmoreland, Imew at this time what the final decision was to be. Bitt 
the subject was up for discussion, and the pressure from Washington had 
been measiu-abry increased. 

With the Mcllaniara and Katzenbach m.emoranda in hand, the President 
apparently indicated tentative agreements to give the civilians a short 
trial period to get pacification moving. Then he left for his Asian tour, 
which vras to clim.aK with the Seven-Nation Conference at Manila. He left 
behind him instructions to prepare a message to Lodge and Porter and 
VJestmoreland, instructing them in his decision. Since the m.essage was 
drafted and sent on to the President in Wellington on October l8, before. 
Manila, but not sent on to Lodge and Porter in Saigon until November U, 
after Manila, there apparently remained some imcertainty as to his decision, 
which was not clarified until most of the principals were united briefly 
in Manila. But this is of marginal importance - The fact was that the- 
President had approved the idea of giving the civilians a final chance. ■ 

The Cable Excha nge: November, I966 

By October I8, McNamara, Katzenbach, and Komer had an agreed-upon 
telegram for the President to send Lodge. It was forwarded to Wellington, 
where the President had begun his Asian tour: 

"State/Defense and Komer recommend your concurrence in 
the general plan recon-imended by both Secretary llcNamara and 




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i ) 

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Under Secretary Katzenbach regarding reorganization on the 
America.n side of the administration of the Revolutionary 
Development (RD) program in Viet-Nam. V/e therefore recom- 
mend that you approve our sending the following State-Defense 
message to Amba.ssador Lodge: 


^'Personal For Lodge. You have described, the RD program 
as" the heart of the matter in SW. We agree. Also, you have 
reported, and V7e agree that progress in the RD program, so far 
has been slight and, unsatisfactory. We all agree that progress 
must be made in this crucial area if the war is to be won in 
the South and if the North is to be persuaded to negotiate. 
It is clear to us that som_e organizational changes are recj,uired 
on the American side to get RD m.oving -- to bring harder press- 
ure on the GWT to do its job and to get solid and realistic 
planning vrith respect to the w^hole effort. 

i i ''We had considered, putting the entire progrsjn un.der COMUSMCV 

to achieve these ends; and this m-ay ultimately prove to be the 
best solution. But recognizing certain objections to thj.s 
approach, we are prepared, to try a solution which lea^ves the 
civilian functions under civilian mana.gement. As we see it, 
- the trial organization would involve the follov/ing changes: 

"l. The several civilian lines of command, within U.S. 
agencies vrould. be consolidated into one* Thus, line responsi- 
bility for all personnel assigned, to BB civilian functions would, 
rest solely vfith one high-ranking civilian. (VJe presume this 
man would be Amibassa^dor Porter, If so, he would have to be 
relieved of all other duties, a.nd you would have to have another 
deputy assigned, to absorb the substantial other responsibili- 
ties novr met by Ai'abassad,or Porter.) The authority of this 
civilian would, be made clear and, full to each constituent agen- 
cy of the civilia^n RD team, including relocation of personnel, 
the establishment of priorities irrespective of agency priori- 
ties, and, the a/pportionmient of the funds allocated for RD by 
each agency to Viet-NajiL (bounded, only by sta.tutory limitations). 

"2. To strengthen Porter administratively, -it might be 
v/ell to assign him a competent Principal Deputy and. Executive 
Officer -- a military officer of two or three-star rank. If 
this officer is desired. General Westmore]and can supply him 
or, if he requests, the officer can be provided from here. 
This officer would, not be to comma^nd U.S. military forces or 
operations or to performi I-IAGV^s functions of ad.vising and, urod- 
ding the ARVN, but w^ould be to provide adm.inistrative strength 
on the clvilia^n side and. to serve as a bridge to I'L;\CV, ensur- 
ing efficient interfa>ce between the .civilian and. military 
structures. ■■ . 


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"3. We understand General VJestnioreland is already considering 
a MACV Special Assistant for Pacification or a Deputy for Paci- 
fication. We presume that the appointment of such a Special 
Assistant or Deputy could be tiraed to coincide with the changes 
on the civilian side, making possible the highest-level cornraand 
focus and consolidation to MACV's RD concerns and staff. 

"1-U Careful definition and delineation of responsibili- 
■■ ties of the U.S. civilian and U.S. military sides v/ould be 
necessary in the whole RD establisliment in South Viet-Nam to 
ensure that nothing falls between the stools and. that the two 
efforts fully mesh. 

"We most anxious, as we know you are, to make progress 
in RD. So this new organiza^tional arrangement would be on 
trial for 90-120 days, at the end of which we would take stock 
of progress and reconsider v/hether to assign all responsibility 
for RD to COIvfJSIlACV." 5l/ 

As mentioned above, this cabli^ was not repeated to Saigon until after 
the Manila Conference. Presumably, in the intervening period, the Pt^esident 
had, had. a chance to talk directly to Lodge and, Westmoreland about the matter, 
since they were both at Manila (Porter v/as not). In addition,' Komer had 

' gone from Manila back to Saigon for a week's stay, and had given Porter a 
clear v^arnlng that the reorganization v/as impending. \Ih.en he left, Komer 
left behind two members of his staff to assist Porter with the planning 
for the reorganization, although Porter and Lodge, for some reason not 

■ clear today, still seemed, doubtful that the reorganization VJashington was 
pressing on them vras really necessary, and really desired by the President. 

The cable "-- unchanged from the text cited above -- arrived in Vietnara 
on November ^f-, 1966- 53/ It vras slugged "Literally Eyes Only for /imbassa-" 
dor from Secretary, SecDef, and Komer," and beca,use Lodge decided to inter- 
pret that slug line literally, the entire process v/as delayed one week -- 
a sorry spectacle and wholly unnecessary on all counts. When Lodge answered 
the cable by requesting permission to discuss it with his assistants, there 
vras an understandable suspicion in V7ashington that he was simply doing so 
to delay action a little while longer. But on the other hand, the cable 
had received, the highest slug normally available to State Department mes- 
sages -•- "Literally Eyes Only" -- and Lodge- could say truthfully that he 
was just following instruction. 

In any event, Lodge s-ent his answer to Washington November 6: 

M ' ' "l agree that progress has been 'slight and unsatisfac- 

tory' and, undoubtedly some organizational changes can be 
helpful-. However 5 before commenting on that I would like 
to set cut some basic consideravtions . 

"Crux of the problem is not defective organization. It 
is secur^ity. Civilian reorganization can affect progress only 

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( * indirectly, because security will remain outside civilian 

purviev/. . . 

"To meet this need ve must make more U.S. troops available 
to help out in pacification operations as we move to concen- 
trate ARW effort in this v/ork. U.S. forces would be the 
catalyst; would lead, by example; and would work with the 
Vietnamese on the 'buddy^ system. They would be the 10 psr- 
■ ■ cent of the total force of men under arms (90 percent of \ihom 
would, be Vietnair.ese) which would get the whole thing m^oving 

"This has been done on a small scale already by elem^ents 
of the U.S. Marines, 1st and 25th U.S. Infantiy Divisions, 
and the Koreans, VJe think it can be m^ade to work and. the 
gains unde^r such a program, whii.e not flashy, would, hopeful_ly 
be solid. Everything depends on v/hether we can change ARVN 
habits. Experiments already made indicate that U.S. casual- 
ties would be few. mile it would take tim.e, it would be 
clear to everyone at home that time was working for us and it 
might create a 'smell of victory.* It would eventually get 
at Viet Cong recruiting -- surely an achievement which would 
fmidam^entally affect the course of the war- 

"I vonder whether the above result could not be achieved 
if the phrase 'offensive -operations* were to be redefined so 
that instead of defining it as m^eaning 'seek out and destroy,' 
which I ^understand i^ now the case, it would be defined as 
'split up the Viet Cong and keep him off balance.' 

"This new definition of the phrase 'offensive operations' 
would mean fewer men for the purely 'military war, fewer U.S. 
casualties and, more pacification. 

"It wouJ.d also hasten the revamping of the ARW, v*ich 
Ky says is now due to have been completed by normal Vietnamese 
bureaucratic methods by July I967 (which seems optimistic to 
me), vmat I propose in this telegram would in effect revamp 
the ARVLM by ' on-the-job -training. ' It is the only way that 
I can think of drastically to accelerate the present pace. 

■X- -X- ^- ^ * 

"The question of tra.nsferring Revolutionary Development 
civilian functions to C0^SJS:4!VCV raises q.-^iestions and. I under- 
stand you recognize certain objections. I doubt whether it 
would solve any existing problems, and it would certainly 
create many new ones. I agree with your second pa.ragraph 
in'whiQh you say civilian functions should be left under 
civilian management. 

' 109 

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-r ^ 

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"I agree that civilian lines of conumand within U.S. 
agencies dealing with Revolutionary Developrxent should be 
consolidated imder Ambassador Porter. He should take unto 
himself the direct opera^tion of the five categories of man- • 
power now in the field. I refer to USAID public safety, 
USAID province reps; JUSPAO; Cm and the civil functions 
performed by the military advisers.. They would all stay 
exactly where they are as fa,r as rationing, housing and 
administration is concerned. Porter would have the opera- 
tional authority and responsibility. 

"I am not clear what another Deputy Ambassador would 
do and advise e^gainst such an umiecessary and unwieldy struc- 
t^ore. AifLbassador Porter does not now absorb ' substs/ntial 
other responsibilities' which distract his attention from 
revolutionary development. Administrative matters involving 
the U.S. Mission as a v^hole are handled by the Mission Co- 
ordinator, and political affairs are handled by me with close 
support fropj. the political counselor. Economic affairs, in 
which Porter as the man responsible for revolutionary d.evelop- 
ment is intimately and necessarily involved,, are well covered 
by AID BMd. the Economic Counselor. Public affairs not con- 
nected with field operations associated with revolutionary 
development are well in hand and do not take Ambassador Porter's 

"The only ' svibstantial other responsibility' which Porter 
carries outside of RD, is to take charge in my absence. I 
see no need, and vrould find it most inappropriate, for this 
to be changed., 

"I think there is great merit in the idea of having a 
high-ranking military man involved, in pacification work. 
He should be in charge of all the milita^ry aspects of paci- 
fication — working with ARW and selecting, expediting, and 
assigning the U.S. troops who would operate as suggested in 
para 3 above. He should be an officer with proper knowledge 
of and talent for the subject and I, of course, think of 
General Weyand,. If the decision is mad.e by all hands to 
put the military into pacification as suggested in para 3, 
the decision as to where to place such a general should not 
be too difficult, _ - , . 

"I agree that caref-al definition anddBlineation of re- 
■ - ' sponsibilities of the U.S. civilian and military sides is 
necessary. We intend that the two efforts fully mesh. 

"Clearly there is very little that can be done economically, 
■ socially, psychologically, and politically for the 'hearts and 
. minds' of men, if these men have knives sticking into their 

^ > . collective bellies. The kjiife must first be removed. It is 

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not the case -- as has so often been saad -- of which came 
firsts the hen or the egg... 

X -x- * * -x- 

"This is obviously not reflected in our present organization which^ nonetheless, much ha.s been accomplished. Vjhen 
Mac Bandy told me in February, after the Vice President's visit, 
• of the decision to relieve Porter of all of his duties as Deputy 
(except that of being Charge d/Affaires in case of my absence) 
so that he could take charge of the civilian aspects of pa,ci- 
fication, 1 did not at first welcome the id.ea. I m-ust, however, 
recognize that Porter a real asset has been built. 

"To sum up, therefore, the first priority is more U.S. 
troops to be allotted to pacification as set forth in paragraph 
3; the second priority is better operation and tightening up 
of the present organiza.tion; thirdly, are organizational changes. 

"Considering that your message was "EYES ONLY," I request 
authority to discuss it and my comments and plans v/ith the 
head.s of the different Mission agencies involved here. V7e 
are all anxious to make progress in RD, and the effort v/ill 
involve all of us. It requires security and time. V/hatever 
the trial period m,ay be, I suggest we maintain a constant 
taking stock of progress and of problems. Lodge." $V 

Ba-ck came Washington's answer on November 12, giving Lodge permission 
to discuss the matter and show the cables to Porter, Westmoreland, and 
"once plans mature, inform members Mission Council." With the civilians 
in Washington already feeling that their trial period, was underway, they 
sought to get the Mission mioving faster to reorganize. Tlie cables becam.e 
a series of hints and threats and detailed guidance. The difficulty in 
communication was quite high. Thus, the November 12 cable, drafted by 
Arabassador Unger and with McNamara, Helms, Gaudj Komer, Marks, 
Katzenbach, a.nd Rusk, and slugged "for Aniloassador from Secreta.ry, SecDef , 
and Komer," laid out for Lodge and Porter a detailed description of how 
the new structure should look -- although everyone knew that the plans 
had already been drawn up and were sitting on Lodge and Porter's desks 
in Saigon -~ and began with this vrarning-hint: 

"Following steps need to be taken promptly if we, in 
the time available, to give adequate test to organization 
which is intended to keep PD civilian functions under civilian 

m.anagement, an objective to which we know you attach consider- 
a.ble important." 55/ 

The cable went on to outline the organization, and discuss the question 
of the use of U.S. troops: 

111 . . 

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"...Vfe under sta,ncl General Westmoreland plans use of limited 
number U.S. forces in buddy system principle to guide and moti- 
vate AWE in RD/p. However, we have serious doubts about any 
further involvement U.S. troops beyond that in straight pacifica- 
tion operations. We fear this would tempt Vietnamese to leave 
this work more and more to us and we believe pacification, with 
its intimate contact with population, more appropriate for Viet- 
namese forces, who m.ust after all as arm of GYN establish con- 
■ structive relations with population. Hence we believe there 
should be no thought of U.S. taking substantial share of paci- 
fication. The urgent need is to begin effectively pressing 
ARW." 56/ 

In Sair.-on, the Mission moved' slowly. Three days later, with still no 
answer from Saigon, the State Department sent out the following very short 
and curt ca-ble: 

"Personal for Lodge and Porter from the Secretary 

"Ref State 83699 

"PvEFlfeh was discussed today at highest levels, who wished to 
emphasize that this represents final and considered decision 
and who expressed hope that indicated, m^easuxes could be put 
into effect just as rapidly as possible." 57/ 

This OToduced,, at last, two long answers from Lodge and Porter, which laid 
out what the new structure was going to look like, and ad.ded, some personal 
comments from Lodge: 




"1. This is in reply to your 83699 as amended, by your 85196 
concerning which General Westmoreland, Porter and I have had 
extensive consultation. 

"2. We will, of course, carry out yoirr instructions just as 
rapidly as possible, and our plamilng is already far ad.vanced. 

"3. It is very gratifying that you feel as we do on the 
urgent need to revamp the ARVl^, on the importance of putting all 
civilians in the field, under Porter and of having single cxvilian 
reSDonsibility in province and corps -- measures which we have 
long ad.vocated.. Doubt whether we can change over night habits 
and organization of ARVS acquired during the last ten years. 
Unless our success against main force d.aytime activity is 
equ-Ued by success against guerrillas during the night, swift 
imwovement cannot be expected, to result simply by reorganiza- 
tion on the U.S.. civilian side. It is our ability to infuse 


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courage and confidence into all the Vietnazaese under arms who 
are involved in pacification - both military and polxce -- 
which is at stcake. 

"1+ As regards your instruction for a military deputy for 
Porter' General Westmoreland, proposes Major General Paul Smith, 
who is acceptahle to Porter. Porter believes General Smitn should, 
be attached to civilian agency (State Department - Emoassy Saigon) 
while on this d.uty, along lines preced.ents already establisned.. 
He couJd wear civilian or military garb as circumstances require. 

* -x- -X- 

"6 General Westmoreland does not wish to have a separate 
de'putv for Revolutionary Development, but has nominated. Brigadier 
Genera] William Knowlton as Special Assistant for Pacification. 

•X- * * 

"8. Concerning paragraph ^(c). Mission d,irective will state 
clearly that Deputy A::ibassad.or Porter will be primarily occupied. 
with'RD and that other Mission business will be handled, by appro- 
•nriate" sections of Mission. There are certain other aspects to 
consid,er, however. Porter has assumed charge when I have been 
absent. Any change in that respect could, only derogate xrom his 
position in eyes of Am^erican community and GW. He believes and 
? concur, that his assuni.ption of charge caimot be_ nominal with- 
out risk of d,owngrad.ins him in local eyes. lonally, _ it is 
essential that there be a point of decision m Mission, ^'l^^^-^f 
eLu^vltY. in- practice, Porter intends to leave routine f-onctions 
of Mission (political, protocol, adm,inistrative, personnel, con- 
sular, visitors, etc.) to sections normally handling them He 
expects, however, to remain closely cognizant of politicaa de- 
velopments and together with political counselor and CAS chief 
lo consult and covirse of action to take or recommend to 
depa,rtment as circumstances dictate. I believe this is reason- 
able approach and, have full confidence in his intention to con- 
centrate on RD. 

* * * 

"10 Your mragraoh 5- I have always believed that Revolu- 
tionary Develo-oment/Pacification must be carried out by Viet.namese 
forces, who,- a's you sa,y, must establish constructive relacions 
with the population. I have never advocaoed U.S. forces taking 
on 'substantial' share of this task. I do believe, however, ■ 
that an American presence in this field amounting to a _ very 
'.nell -nerce-otap-e of the total manpower involved could mauce 
Ami to take tSe proper attitude by 'on the job' training and, 
■could give the^ necessary courage and confidence to the Vieo- 
namese. Lodge" 3§J . ' 


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i I r^ 

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"1 Herewith I transmit our reconmendations carrying out 
your 83699 and 85196. This is the hest we can do in the irmne- 
dlate future and. we think it is a forward, step. But I believe 
that you imy wish to change it as we advance along this untrod, 
path and learn more about circumstances and people. Our propo- 
sal is as follows: 

■ "8 Tlie establishment of an office of operations, 
headed by a Director of Operations. This headquarters office 
of o-oe^ations will include the present staff of: (1) USAID/ 
Field Operations; (2) USAID/Public Safety; (3) USAID/Refixgees; 
(in JUSPAO/Pield. Services (minus North Viet-Kam branch} ; (5) 
CP.s/c&dre Operations Division. The Office of Operations will 
be organized so that the above offices will not necessarily re- 
main intact when they are merged into a single office. For 
example, I intend to disband USAID/ FO ' s cadre office, and put 
** ■ those T)eople now representing AID on cadre affairs directly un- 

der the cadre office. Thus there may be a net saving m man- 
povfer . 

"b. All other divisions of AID and JUSPAO will remain 
under the control of their respective directors -- MacDonald 
and Zorthian - who will be responsible to Porter, as they are 
now, for their operations. (I exempt from this the special 
question of press relations, on which Zorthian will continue 
to revort to me directly.) Thus, for example, MacDonald will 
continue to oversee to Agriculture, Education, Health, Industry, 
etc.. Divisions, as well as continue, along with the economic 
counselor Wehrle, to be responsible for the anti-inflation ef- 
forts, ^he Director of USAID will be freed from responsibilities 
for tbe field, operations, but his job continues to be one of 
vast importance". I think it will now become more manageable. 

•x- * ■)«■ 

"d. At province level we will select a single civilian 
to be in charge of all other U.S. civilians in the province, 
- nn seme way as mcv senior ad.v3£ or is responsible for uhe mili- 
tary involved in the ad.visory effort in the province. This 
senior civilian representative will be the U.S. counterpart 
for civilian affairs to the W province chief and, together with ■ 
the M^\CV seni.or ad.visor (sector) and the province chief, will 
' form the provincial coordinating commiittee. The practice of 
' ' assamt^ng the nrovince chief with a multiplicity of ad.visors, 

onen giving conflicting advice, should cease under this arrange- 
ment The senior civilian representative will write the effi- 
ciency reports of the Aiflerican civilians in the province, 


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regardless of their parent agency^ and those reports will be 
reviev^ed. by Porter ^s office;, which will also control tra^nsfers 
and assignments. 

^ ^ "^ ' 

''f . At the raore complex region/corps level, we will consider 
a similar system, with a senior civilian representative respon- 
sible for the overall U.S. civilian effort in the corps area. 
He will work with the MA.CV senior advisor, and will in effect 
be my agent (and Bill Porter's) at the corps. 1 have long be- 
lieved in the need for a sophisticated politically-minded man 
in chc.rge of our effort with the politically volatile corps 
commanders, and, this is a step in that direction. Porter and 
I will be looking carefully for the best men for these four diffi 
cult jobs ... 

"2. I do not want another deputy Ambassador. 1 intend to 
provide office space for Porter in the new chancery (his present 
office will remain at his disposal even after he moves). There 
is sim-oly no job for s.nother deputy Ambassador, particularly 
since the present political counselor works closely with me, 
reporting directly. 

*'3. There is no doubt that the steps mentioned above are 
major ones. Clearly I cannot predict now how long they will 
take to achieve, or how much disruption they will cause in their 
early stages. For one thing, 1 feel that a physical relocation . 
of certain offices now spread out across the city is vital, and 
we are now studying the details of how to do this. Porter will 
probably need, to establish his offices in a building other than 
the Chancery, in order to give the office of operations a firm 
guiding hand. He will, however, keep an office close to me, 
and he will be kept closely informed of policy developments. 

^ -x- -x- 

"5. I will need yom^ personal support during the period 
which lies ahead. I am svire that all hands here, regardless ■ 
of agency affiliation, will support this effort to unify the 
U.S. teajn. The same must be true of the agencies that must con- 
tinue to backstop us in Washington. Personnel recruitm^ent will 
remain in your hand.s, and, it ultimately determines the caliber 
of our efforts. Porter will send you separate messages on the 
question of personnel, so that new guidan^.e and requiremonts 
can be put into effect as quickly as possible. 

"6. We look forvra^rd through reorganiza^tion to tightening 
and. simxjlifying contacts, advice and coordination with GW 
authorities repsonsible for ED. 5^/ 

115 ■ 

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E. The M3.nila Conference 

President Johnson arrived in Manila on October 23^ I9665 to attend 
the seven-nation conference of troop contributing countries to the Vietnam 
war. "^'aiile the meeting "vj-as hectic and short, it did produce a communiq^ue 
■Vfhich contained some major statements about policy, strategy, and inten- 
tions. The three most important points in the communicLue of October 25 

a. The pledge tha.t "allied forces. .. shaJ_l be withdravm, after close 
consultation^^ as the other side withdraws its forces to the Tlorth^ ceases 
infiltration, and the level of violence thus subsides. Those forces will 
be withdrawn as soon as possible and not later than six months after the 
above conditions have been fulfilled." 

b. The announcement of a new program, which had been thought up in 
Washington, for "National Reconciliation." Since the GVN was not in 
genuine agreem^ent with the idea, but under great pressure from the 
Americans to comjiiit themselves to it, the communiq,ue was quite vague on 
what difference there was, if any, between the new Rational Reconcilia- 
tion program and the old Chieu Hoi program. ->^ 

c. The formalization, in public, of the move towards getting ARVN 
more deeply involved with the RD program: ''The Vietnamese leaders stated 
their intent to train and assign a substantial share of the armed forces 
to clear- and-hold actions in order to provide a shield behind which a 
nevr society can be built." This public confirmation of the tentative 
steps that MACV had been taking was iiriportant. Classified documents 
could not be used as the basis for a far-reaching reform of the ARVN; 
they would never have received wide enough distribution, nor would they 
have been fully accepted as doctrine by the doubters within both the 
RVNAP and MACV. But here was a piece of paper signed by the President 
and by General Thieu which said in simple language that a new direction 
and mission was given to the ARVN. After Manila, MiACV and the JCS began 
in seriousness the formation of the miobile training teeaiis which were de- 
signed to retrain every RVNAP unit so that it was more aware of the 
importance of the population. 

Whose i^jaericans who hoped that National Reconciliation would become a 
major new appeal to VC at middle and higher levels were to be in for a 
disappointment in the year following Manila. The GVN did not agree with 
the philosophy behind total forgiveness to the enezoY:, and continually 
hedged its statemicnts and invitations to the VC so that they resembled 
surrender with amnesty rather than "national reconciliation." In fact, 
the GVN did not malie an internal announcement on the National Reconcilia- 
tion program until Tet, 196?^ almost four months after the Manila 
bonference^ and three m^onths after the GVN had "promised" the U.S. that 
it would make the announcement. Then, 'vfaen the Vietnamese finally did 
make the announcement, they used the phrase "Loan Ket," which is accurately 
translated as "National Solidarity," rather than "National Reconciliation." 
The difference in m^eaning is, of course, significant, just as the earlier 
mlstraj-islation of "Xay Pung" into "Revolutionary Development" reflected 
a divergence of views. 

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The reasoning behind the move to coEnnit more troops to the relatively 
static 'missions involved in pacification had been laid out in documents 
and brief-in-o-s by people as varied as Major G-aneral Tillson, in his August 
briefings of the liission Council (cited in Section III.C?) and Robert 
Komer, in his meTiOrandum to the President. But a key assuraption under- 
lying' the new emphasis on population control was the growing belief, in 
late°1966, that the main force war was coming to a gradual end. No other 
single factor played as great a ro-le in the decision to commit troops to 
pacification as the belief that they were going to be less and less 
needed for offensive missions against main force units. Tlie enemy- 
initiated large unit action statistics showed a sharp drop all through 
1966, with a low point of less than two battalion sized or larger enemy 
initiated actions" per month in the last quarter of I966. There was in- 
creasing talk of the "end of the big battalion war," both in the press 
and in the Ivlission. Moreover, the first big U.S. push into VC base areas 
was gettiijg under way, and it was possible to beli.eve that when operations 
like Junction City and Cedar Falls were completed, the VC would have few 
placed left to hide within the boundaries of South Vietnam. Thus, some 
people were arguing in late I966 and early I967 that the number of troops 
that could be committed to RD was considerably higher than the amount 
that Genera.! Westmoreland was then contemplating; that the "substantial 
number" of the Manila comiaunique could well be over half of all APVIT. 
These ar^-uments were usually made orally and tentatively, rather than in 
formal written papers, since they usually raised the ire of the military. 
When military onnosition to such a large RD comiiiitment stiffened, the 
suggestions of civilians were often hedged or partially withdraw. But 
nonetheless, the fact remains that the undeniable success against the 
main forces in I966 was the major justifying factor for those advocating 
increased corrnuitment of regular units — even some U.S. units -- to 
pacification. At that tim_e, officiad-S were less worried about the possi- 
bility of a inajor resurgence of the enemy than about the possibility of a 
new guerrilla war phase. The fighting in and near the J)¥& during Opera- 
tions Hastings and Prairie (August-December I966) had been the heaviest 
of the war, and had been judged not only as a major defeat for_ the enemy 
but as a possible turning point for the enemy, after which he had begun 
to shift SOT^K of his effort away from conventional, or 'mobile warfare, 
to-a2.-d the more productive (from his standpoint) guerrilla tactics. oO/ 
Th.e Marines considered Hastings and Prairie a foolhardy aberration on the 
enemy's part, although they noted that the region of the DMZ is remote, 
fa-voring him with interior lines and working to our disadvantage through 
extension of our ox'rn supply lines." 61/ ■ . 

me Marines felt that the enemy attacks at the DMiZ had been designed 
nrim-rily to draw dovm resources from the Marine pacification efforts 
near^Da Hang, an interesting example of how important they thought their 
embrvonic pacification effort was. But, the Marines added, whenever the 
Pnemv probed or patrolled, he was "pursued by Marine infantry and pounaed 
bv air, artillery, and naval gunfire. Tlie effort cost him an estimated 
5 000 to' 6,000 IWA troops killed or disabled and ^li^^ weapons lost... and 
meant a severe loss of prestige, and a further erosion of the morale of 
his troops." 62/ . • . 


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Thus, the slowdovm in large eneray actions^ according to the Marine 
estiraate, and signs that the future would see an increase in guerrilla 
activity -- "Major main force and INA formations have been rel.atively 
inactive since September, as far as large unit actions are concerned. 
However, by the end of December, corresponding increases were already 
beginning to appear in rates of guerrilla activity," 63/ 

■ To what extent other mJAitary and civilian leaders accepted the 
Marine assessment of enejay capability and intentions is not clear from 
the documents, but the mood of the time was not far removed from the 
sentiments cited above. The end of the "big war" was coming, and paci- 
fication was the next step. It all fueled the proponents of greater 
pacification efforts by regular troops ^ and now, after Manila, the 
debate was already being conducted on terrain favorable for the first 
time to the pro-pacification advocates. , 

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^ • OCO on Trial: Introductio n 

Vllth the cable exchange conipleted^ except for a few minor matters , 
Ambassador Lodge announced the fonnation of the Office of Civil Opera- 
tions on Koveinber 26, I966 -- one month after the original go~ah,ead 
signal had been given in Washington ^ and three weeks after the cable to 
Lodge telling him that the President wanted rapid action. V/hile delays 
of this kind are common in government and do not norm,ally affect events ^ 
in this case the delay got OCO off to a visibly slow start despite the 
fact that the President had clearly indicated to Lodge and Porter that 
he was putting OCO on trial and would review its accomplishments in a 
fairly short tim.e 


The reasons for the Mission's slow start revealed again just how 
far apart Washington and its representatives in Saigon v^ere in their 
philosophy sxxd. approach to the war. 

Wa sh ing t on o f f i c i al g consistently underestimated the difficulty of 
the actions they wanted the Mission to do, and continually expected move- 
ment at speeds literally beyond the capability of the Mission. They held 
these ambitious expectations and exerted pressure accordingly -- not 
primarily because of the situation in the pacification program in South 
Vietnaxn (which was fairly static)^ but because of growing pressure from 
the publiC) the press, ajid Congress for visible prog ress in the war, 
because of growing American domestic dissatisfaction vrith the course of 
the war. If the American public could not see progress in Vietnajn, the 
support the Administration had for the v/ar would drop steadily. 

In its efforts to show progress som.e members of the Administration 
were continually interpreting statistics and eA^ents in the most favorable 
light possible, aaid its critics -- particularly the press -- w^ere inter- 
preting the same events in the most unfavorable light possible. Since 
events in Vietnam were usually open to at least two different interpreta- 
tions, the gap between the Administration and its critics over the basic 
question of How are We Doing? grew steadily during I966 and I967. But 
beyond the disagreements over facts and statistics, there was a continual 
effort by Washington officials to prod Saigon forward at a faster pace. 
Thus,, if the Mission had Just started a crash program, at the highest speed 
ever achieved by the Mission, Washington officials, particularly Komer, 
acting (he said) in the President's na^ie, would dem.and that the Mission 
redouble its efforts again. Komer, in a reflective moment, called it 
"creative tension.'' 

The Saigon Mission responded to this pressure with resistance and ■ 
hostility towards its Washington "backstops." Mien warned, for exazaple, 
that the President was giving OCO 90 to 120 days to prove itself, Lodge 
and Porter both shot back pointed comments to the effect that this was 
an inadequa.te time period, and at the end of it results would probeibly 


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not yet be visible. They were right ^ of course^ but being right was not 
good enough. They fought the tiine deadline -with too great a vehemence 
and did not do enough to' "prove"' OCO^s worths The result was the decision 
of March I967 to put OCO -under MACV. 

The Mission thought that because they were "on the ground" they had 
a unique understanding of the problems of Vietnam, and that because they 
were on the ground they were the only accurate judges of the rate at 
which events needed to move. Tills point of view did not take into account 
domestic pressures in the United States; or, worse, it deliberately dis- 
regarded them.. Thus, the Mission in Vietnaxn" has generally tended to 
formiulate strategy as though the United States will be fighting a slow war 
in Indochina for decades, while the Washington policymakers and strategists 
have tended to behave as though time runs out in ITovember of 1968. {Tae 
mood of the Mission towards Washington is seen more clearly in press leaks 
than in cables. Thus, for exejnple, the Evans and Novak column, from 
Saigon, on November 30, I966, as OCO was being formed and the trial period 
beginning: "A note of quiet desperation is creeping into the top echelons 
of the U.S. Mission charged with winning the war in Vietnam. It grows 
partly out of frustration with what one top Embassy official describes as 
*the hot blow torch on our rear ends* that comes from Washington, and, 
particularly, from the White House in search of ever-nev/- victory pro- 
posals. . .Much of this frustration and gloom would vanish if attention in 
Washington were centered not on impossible trance tables for ending the 
vmr next m,onth or next year but on a realistic projection of the modest 
gain now being made at great and. painstaking effort." The difference in 
mood is reinforced by the climate of Vietnam., which is sluggish and humid, 
and by the Influence of the Vletnam.ese, who after miany years of war are 
rarely ready to race out and seek Instant im.mortality on the field of 
battle or in the Ministries. 

The one exception to this dangerous generalisation has often been 
the individual American officer, usually military, serving in advisory 
or combat positions. There, with a 12-month tour standard, the /vmerlcans 
have pushed their Vietnamese counterparts hard, and often encountered 
great resistance. Indeed, the Americans in Vietnam often think they are 
already pushing the Vietnamese as hard as is desirable, and tha.t 
Washington- is asking the Impossible when they send out instructions to 
get more out of the Vietnamese. 

Ih-ese were some of the backgromd factors which were playing them- 
selves out in late I966 and early IjS?- T'^ile tension between Washington 
and Saigon had existed before, and is inevitable betv/een headquarters and 
the field, the pressure had by now reached a level higher than ever 
before. (It is Ironic to note that the sam^e tensions that exist between 
Washington and Saigon tend to exist between the Americans in Saigon and 
the Am.erlcans in the fleldo The phrase "Saigon commando" is used continu- 
ally to castigate the uninform.ed officials in Saigon « . There are too few 
T)eo"ole serving in Saigon with previous field experience, an unavoidable by- 
product of the 12-month tour, and this Increases the gap. ) 

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ll ^ 

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So Washington officials talked about the lack of a sense of urgency 
in the Mission in Vietnsua, and the Americans in Saigon talked ahout the 
dream vorld that Washington lived in, and the Americans in the provinces 
tal^-ed ahout the lack of understanding of the Americans in Saigon who had 
never seen the real war. Washington was dissatisfied with the progress 
in Vietnam, and since it could not influence the real obstacle, the 
Vietnamese, except through the Am^erican Mission, it deliberately put extra 
heat on the Mdssion. At least one high official involved in this period 
in Uashinc^ton felt that it was a necessary and deliberate charade, and 
that only°by overdoing its representations to the FJ.ssion could Washington 
assure that some fraction of its desires got through. More than one high- 
ranking official in Saigon felt that the only way to handle Washington 
was to hold out to them promises of progress and generally caLm the home 
front down, or else run the risk of inflaming Washington and bringing 
still more reorganization down upon the Mission's head. 

Rather than try to apportion responsibility for this sorry state of 
affairs, it would be useful to see the situation as the by-product of , 
tensions produced by the Viet Gong strategy of survival a.nd counter- 
punching at GVW weak spots, and the GVW's inability to be as good as we 
dreara they should be. The United States could perhaps live with these 
problems in an age in which communications were not instantaneous, and 
publicity not so unrelenting. 

Beyond this broad philosophical point, however, the fact is that 
the Mission in Vietnam was badly organized to conduct aljiiost any kind 
of large and complex operation, let alone a war. Thus Washington was _ 
right to reorganize the Mission, and Saigon's reaction to eacn reorganiza- 
tion inevitably suggested that still more was needed. 

Beyond that, the Mission in Vietnam' did not have the full confidence 
of the Washington bureaucracy and Porter still lacked Lodge s full 
support . 

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B. OCO on Tri al: Too Little Too Late - -. Or Jfo,t_Enough_Time? 

With the fomiatioii of OCO in late November the civilian mission 
be^an to move at a more rapid pace' than it had in the post-Honolulu 
T^erioa MoBt of this motion, of course, vas internal to the UoS„ 
Mission and could not produce visible results against the VC, an under- 
standable fact vhen one considers the amount of vork that the decision 

First, a Director of Civil Operations had to be chosen. Since ^ 
Washington demanded rapid action, it was decided that the choice had oo 
be someone already in Vietnam and ready to vork, which sharply narrowed 
the Tist of possible men. The final selection was L. Wade Latliram, who 
had been the deputy director of USAID. Lathraia was to prove to be the 
vrong man at the wrong time, a methodical and slow worker with strong 
respect for the very interagency system that he was supposed to super- 
cede In normal bureaucracies, Lathran could, and had, compiled excel- 
lent records, but OCO was demanding extra-ordinary results, and these 
required leadership and dxive which Lathram did not possess. 

It had been anticiDated that Porter, a popular Ambassador and a 
knowledpeable and realistic man, would supply that leadership and drive, 
and that Lathram would sim.ply run the OCO staff below Porter But 
neither Porter nor Lathram saw their roles that way. Once OCO was 
formed, Porter to an unexpected degree stayed away from the day to day 
decisions, leaving them to Lathram. And Lathram simply did not have _ the 
^^sition ior the stature to stand up to the full members of the Mission 
Sur,cil, whose assets he now partially controlled. (l^ere was continued 
confusion over what was the responsibility of OCO and what remained_under 
the control of the USMD, CIA and JUSPAO directors, and this confusion 
was never resolved - and continues today under the CORDS structure.) 

Moreover, Porter, who had not wanted a second Deputy Ambassador to . 
come in 'to relieve him of all non-RD matters, soon found himself tied 
down in the business of the Embassy. Lodge went on a long leave shortly 
a?ter the formation of OCO, taking about one month's vacation m Europe 
and the United States. This left Porter with responsibiliiy lor the full 
™t of Ambassadorial activities, and he unavoidably became less, and 
fSfconcerned wixh the progress of OCO, even though it was m its first 
Critical month. He had been given an office in the new OCO building 
(anpropriated from AID), but he rarely used it, staying in the Embassy 
i^nSher part of Saigon, and showing, in effect by his failure to use 
his OCO office often that he could not devote much time to OCO. 

The failure, therefore, to isolate Porter from all non-ED matters 
and provide Lodge .nlth a full time DCK turned out to be a serious error. 
Samara had clearly foreseen this in his 15 October mem^orandx^n to the 
Presfde^t. In retrospect, we can see that Porter should have been given 
one job o; the other, and the vacancy filled - as Washington had suggested. 


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But Washington had just finished craiiLraing an unpleasant action down the 
mssion's throat, and It vas felt that there were limits to how much 
the Mission should be asked to tal^e, especially since Lodge and Porter 
were so adejnant on the subject, l/ Mso, no one could foresee how 
diverting other matters would become to Porte.-, or how much he would 
delegate to Lathram. 

The second major decision for OCO was the selection of the Regional 
Directors -- men who would be given full control over all American 

' civilians in their respective regions. Here. Porter presented Lathram 

with three nominees (ll Corps was left unfilled until a few weeks later) ■ 
and th- choices appeared to be quite good ones: in I Corps, Porter's former 
As -d slant- Le-Duty Ambassador, Henry Keren; in III' Coits, the former MACV 
Division Senior Advisor, then with AID, John Paul Vann; and in the Delta, 
the CIA's former support chief, Vince Heymann. These were three respected 
men and they csme from three different agencies, which emphasized the 

' interagency nature of OCO. In picking Vann, Porter had made a m.ajor 

decision which involved possibly antagonizing both the CIA and MAC^'', for 
Vann vras without question one of the most controversial Americans in 

' Vietnam He stood for impatience with the American Mission, deep and 

often publicly-voiced disgust with the course of the past five years, 
strong convictions on what needed to be done, driving energy and an 
encyclopedic knowledge of recent events in Vietnam -- and was a burr in 
the siae of the CIA, with which he had frequently tangled, particularly 
over the cadre program, and MACV, with which he had fought ever since 
disagreeing publicly >/ith General Harkins in I963 (a fight which led to 
his resignation from the Army and vras extensively discussed in David 
Halberstam's book, 33T£jlaM£ig_o£_a__^ia^i^ 

1 1 The Importance of the appointments was not lost on the Mission or 

the press. -Vmile Latliram's appointment had stirred the bureaucracy but 
not the press, the regional directors came as a surprise and a major 

i< story In a front-page story in Th^JfeshingtonJost Ward Just described 

V-nn%s "one of the legendary Arnerica^ns in Vietnam, '^ and said that Koren s 
anointment indicated the great irjportance the Mission attached to the 
! iobs Just added that "there were indications that, if OCO did not 

succeed, the military command would take charge of pacification, or 

n 'Revolutionaxy Developmient:" 2/ . . ^ 

' Next came the selection of OCO Province Representatives, to be chosen 

t of the available talent in each province. Here 'the slo^mess of the 
civilians began to tell, and it was not until January that the appoint- 
ments "could be made for every province. Trying to pick men on the basis 
of \heir knowlefge and ability takes time and requires trips to each 
province, consultations with other Mission Council members, etc., and 
the civilians set out to do all this. 

Meanwhile, a huge job which no one in Washington could fully appreciate 
1 ■ . ^a_s uji'derv^ay -- the physical relocation of offices that Lodge had 

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described as necessary in Ms November l6 cable. Even in Washington it 
may be difficult to get furniture and phones moved, except for veiy h-igh- 
renkinP people; in Saigon a major relocation was more difficult to mount 
than a'ririlJ tarjr operation, mile this was going on, Involving literally 
over one thousand people, work in OCO was even more confused ajad sporadic 
than usual. 

None of these minor organizational events would be of any importance 
if jt were not for the fact that they were eating away at the mieager time 
allotted to the civilians to prove that OCO should remain independent of 
MCV. But they did consume time, and this was to prove to be a factor 
in evaluating OCO. 

Th^ documents do not answer the question of whether or not OCO ever 
real]y had a chance to survive, or whether it was just allowed to start 
UT) by people- who had already decided to turn ED over to l-iAC\^ in a few 
months Both possibilities fit the available facts. An educated guess . 
would be that the decision to give Westmoreland control was tentatively 
m.ade by the President in the late fall of I966, but that he decided he 
would gann by alloirlng the civilians to reorgaiiize first. If OCO proved 
to be a major success, he could always continue to defer his decision. 
If OCO fell short of the mark, then it still would be an organization in- 
being ready to be pla.,ced into MCV mthout further internal changes, and 
that in itself would be a major gain. Moreover, if the changes caiae when 
j,oa,ge and Porter were gone, there would be less difficulties. 

If OCO moved too slowly for Washington's satisfaction, it nonetheless 
accomplished m.any things wh.ich had previously been beyond the Mission s 
. ability: ' ■ 

- Uniting personnel from AID, CLA, and JUSPAO into a single Plans 
& Evaluations Section, OCO produced the first integrated plans for ED 
on th- U S side. These plans were ambitious and far-reaching, and 
rec.uired°MACV inmts. The fact that the civilia;ns were asking MACV 
for inputs to thkr ow planning, rather than the reverse, so startled 
1#CV that mCV, in turn, began more intensive discussions or plans. The 
■nipnnin^ effort involved several military officers on loan to OCO, a fact 
Shich furt^^er heightened tension between OCO and MCY. When the plans ^ 
first formulated were presented to General Westmoreland,, he indicated tnau 
he was- not going to be bound by any plans which reduced his flexibility 
«nd ability to respond to military pressure whenever and wherever it 

he was reluctant to conmiit many roilitary assets to 

stated their intent to train and assign a substantial share of the armed 
forces to clear-and-hold actions in order to provide a shield behind which 
HZ society can be built") all were working against C-—-^ T.r..+-,..-.«i ... 
and towards the assignmient of ARW units to i^ mdssion: 

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^ ._„ rjj^o civi3iaiis in the provinces spoke vith a single voice for the 

first time' The province ch3.efs welcomed the change for this reason, 
according to mont observers. Within the /^erlcan team in each province, 
Sere vas now a built-in obligation to consult vith each other, instead 
^^ ^^o previous situation in ^whlch more and mere agencies were 
down to the provinces their oxm men who worked alone on their o^m projects. 

- The very act of physical reloccition of the five major bra,nches 
of OCO into a single building changed attitudes and. behavior patterns m 
th'^ civUican mission. Public Safety and the Special Bra,nch advisors, 
for example now were co-located, and began working together closely, 
PrPviou-.lY 'they had both advised the same people through com.pletely 
^et)« rate channels wMch m^et only at the top; i.e., when the chief of the 
Public Saf-ty branch and the deputy CIA station chief had something 
si^ecific and urgent they had to resolve. On the day-to-day matters, 
there had actually been a deliberate compartmentalization before OCO was 


Th°se exsrn-nies of gains could be repeated across a broad front. 
Thev were first"' steps in a direction which might ultimately have created 
a strong civilian mission, given time, better lea.ders, and more supporc 
from Washington. But even vrlthout these things, OCO was a definite plus. 

The period between Deceirlber and /ipril was a period in which every- 
^ one P'^rld lip service to the Idea of supporting OCO, but in reality it 
■ ' vas sn-iped at a,nd attacked alanost from the outset by the bureaucracies 

in Saigon, Zorthian, ar.d Hart, Directors of JUSPAO and CIA respectively, 
i"de il clear that they wanted to remain vex^' much involved m any decision 
iJf'cting'their respective fields of endeavor. While this was a reasonable 
^oint of view, it meant that CIA and even USIA officers m the fiela oiten 
?efused'to accept any guida,nce from the OCO representative, arid cases 
began to come Z light in which major actions were being initiated by the 
cS vithout any consultation with OCO. (The CIA reasoning and defense 
Sisted on the fact that one of Halt's deputies was ostensibly en assistant 
director of OCO.) 

i In Washington, there was open, skepticism to OCO from almost all 

o-m-;t- TDarticul^lY MB, which found itself footing most of tne Dill. 
T?m and'cS botfSdLated that they would continue to deal directly 
vith ?helr field personnel. In theory, eveiyone in Washington was to 
Sticipate" in the backstopping of the interagency OCO, but in practice, 
^^h.ut a sinole vonce in charge, this meant that no one was helping 
OCO no one was Wng to sell tiem as a going concern in Washington, 
rnmir^s ?ole here was ambiguous; he supported OCO as long as it was m 
oSmtlon, and probably contributed more to Its achievements xhan an,- 
one else in Wariaington, but at the sa..e time he was already on tne 
Record, as favoring a m.llltary takeover, which was the ve,ry thing OCO 
souglit to avoicl. 


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Washington had decreed OCO^ exid had given Porter great responsibility 
Unfortunately^ they had failed to give him authority and stature needed 
to Bialie the a.-gencies work together. 

As pointed out before ^ this might well hove been overcome if time 
had not been so short. The slow methodical way of moving bureaucracies 
may be more effective than sweeping changes^ anyway^ if one has "time. 
But in Vietm-mi no one was being given much tiiue. 

Shortly after OCO was formed^ Komer's deputy^ Ambassador William 
Leonhart^ visited Vietnam^ and when he returned, wrote the following 
penetrating assessment, which was sent to the President, Secretaries 

Rusk and McHamara, and Mr. Gaud and FxT. He Iras: 

"Fnether Porter^ s new Office of Civil Opere.tions (OCO) 
is viewed as a final organizational solution or as an inevit- 
able intermediate step it is achieving a number of useful 
purposes. It establishes, on the civil side for the first 
time, unified interagency direction with a chain of command 
and coirmranication from Saigon to the regions and provinces. 
It centralizes US-GW field coordination of civil matters in 
one US official at each level. It affords a civil-side frsmevrork 
which can work more effectively with US militar;>^- for politico- 
military coordination and more integrated pacification planning. 

"At the time of my visit, OCO's impact had been felt 
mainly in Saigon. Its headquarters organization was largely 
completed. Three of the four Regional Directors had been 
named, all were at work, and one was in full time residence 
in his region. Regional staffs were being assem-bled but not 
yet in place. At province level, teams were being inter- 
viewed for the selection of Provincial Representatives. 
Porter expects them to be designated by January 1. Some 
slippage is possible, and it n:ay be 90 -^-ays or so before the 
new organization is functioning. I participated in the initial 
briefings of the province teaias I visited, passing along and 
emphasising BobKomer's admonitions against over -bureaucratization 
of effort and for fast and hard action. These were well- 
received. Morale was good. All the GW Province Chiefs mth 
whom I talked thought the new stractiu^e a great improvement." 3/ 



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C. Time R-'ons Out 

The decision to turn pacification over to MACV, with an integrated 
civil-military chain of comiiiand, was announced in Saigon on May 11, 1967> 
by Ambassador Ellsworth Bunker. In his announcement, Bunker said that 
the decision was entirely his. 

But Bunker had been in Vietnam as Ambassador for less than two weeks, 
and he was therefore clearly acting under strong guidance, if not orders, 
from Washington. The decision to give MACV ^responsibility had actually 
stemmed from the clear and unmistakable fact that the President now con- 
sidered such a reorganization highly desirable. 

It is not clear when the President decided this in his own mind. 

I The doctmients do not shed any light on this point, and, indeed, they 

simply fail to discuss the pros and cons of the decision in the early 
jnonths of 1967, when the subject was a hot one in Washington and Saigon. 

1 This "all sug,<5;ests that whatever consideration of the issue was going on 

was^ conf ined^^trictly to private sessions between principals, and that 
the stsff work previously done on a highly restricted basis was no longer 
considered necessary by the principals. 

It has been suggested that the President had been strongly in favor 
of the move for months before he finally gave the go-ahead signal, and 
that he was held back by the strong opposition from Lodge and Porter, 
from Katzenbach, from the agencies in Washington ■-- and by the fact that 
it would appear to be a further "militarization" of the effort. This may 
we31 be the case; certainly nothing in the record disproves this possibility 
But since there is no way that this study can answer the question, it must 
be left undecided. 

Whenever the President made his decision in his own mind, he chose 
the Guam meetins; as the place to discuss with a group of concerned 
officials outside his own personal staff. In a private meeting on 
March 20, or 21, 1967, with senior officials from Washington and Saigon, 
the President indicated that he felt the time had come to turn pacifica- 
tion over to M-ACV. The President enjoined those in the room at that 
meeting not to discuss the decision with anyone until it was announced, 
and he did not inform the GVN. 

■ At the end of the Guam meeting, the President ^ent Komer back to 
Saigon with Westmoreland and Lodge, and Komer spent a week there, work- 
ing out preliminary details of the reorganization. By this time Komer 
Icnew that he was to become Deputy to General Westmoreland, although many 
details remained to be ironed out. 

When Komer returned to Washington, with the preliminary plans, a 
■period followed during which no further action on the reorganization was 
taken In all, nearly two months vrent by from the President's statement 

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at Guarfl to the public announcenent , d'oring which only a handful of people 
in Washington and Saigon knew vha,t was going to happen. The delays were 
caused by a combination of factors: Bmiker's understandable desire to 
spend some time on personal business before going to Saigon, the Presi- 
dent's desire to have Bunker make the final anrouncement himself after . 
he' had reached Saigon, the need to work out final details. Since the 
President was the man who had pressed everyone else working on Vietnam 
to greater and greater effort, and sjjice he stood to lose the most from 
loss of time, it is surprising that he was now willing to see two months 
lost, with a tired and leme-duck Mission in Vietnam, waiting for the new 
team' in a highly apprehensive state, and confusion at the higher levels. 
But fo-'- reasons which are not readily apparent, the President did not push 
his new team, and it was not until May 13, 196?, that Bunker made his 
announcement (which had been drafted by Komer) : 

"Since being appointed U.S. Ambassador to Vietnam I have 
been giving a great^deal of thought to how to organize most 
effectively the U.S. Advisory role in support of the Vietnamese 
governm-ent ' s Revolutionary Development effort. Like my prede- 
cessor, I regard PH -- often termed pacification --as close to 
the heart of the matter in Vletnaju. 

"Support of Revolutionary Developm.ent has seemed to me and 
my senior colleagues to be neither exclusively a civilian nor 
exclusively a militaj-y function, but to be essentially civil- 
military in character. It involves both the provision of con- 
tinuous local security in the countryside -- necessarily a 
primarily military task and the constructive programs conducted 
by' the Ministry of Revolutionary Development, largely through ■ 
its 5'9-member RD teams. The government of Vietnam has recog- 
nized the dual civil-military nature of the RD process by 
assigning responsibility for its execution to the Corps/Region 
Commanders and by deciding to assign the bulk of the regular 
ARVIf, as well as the Regional and Popular forces, to provide 
the indispensable security so that RD can proceed in the country- 
side. As senior Aiaerican official in Vietnam, I have concluded 
that the U.S. Advisory and supporting role in Revolutionary 
Development can be made more effective by unifying its civil 
and military aspects under a single management concept. Unified 
management, a single chain of command, and a more closely dove- 
• tailed advisory effort will in my opuiion greatly rmprove U.S. 
support of the vital RD program. Therefore, I am giving 
General Westmoreland the responsibility for the performance of 
our U.S. Mission field programs in fupport of pacification or . 
Revolutionary Development. To assist him in performing this 
function, I am assigning Mr. Robert Komer to his headquarters 
to be designated as a deputy to COMUSMACV- with personal rank of 
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"I have two tasic reasons for giving this responsibility 
to General Westmoreland. In the first place, the indispensable 
first stap-e of pacification is providing continuous local 
security, "a function priiri.arily of EVNAF, in which MACV performs 
i a supporting advisory role. In the second place, the greater 

' . part of the U.S. Advisory and Logistic assets involved in 

support of Revolutionary Development belong to MACV. If uni- 
fied management of U.S. Mission assets in support of the 
Vietnamese program is desirable, COMUSMACV is the logical 
choice . 

"I have directed that a single chain of responsibility for 
advice and support of the Vietnamese Revolutionary Development 
program be instituted from Saigon down to district level. Just 
as Mr. Komer will supervise the U.S. Advisory role at the Saigon 
level' as Deputy To General Westmoreland, so will the present OCO 
regional directors serve as deputies to U.S. field force com- 
manders . 

"At the province level, a senior advisor will be desig- 
^ nated, cither civilian or military, following analysis of the 

local situation. 

"While management will thus be unified, the integrity of 
the Office of Civil Operations will be preserved. It will con- 
tinue to perform the same functions as before, and will continue 
to have direct communication on technical matters with its field 
echelons. The present Revolutionary Development support division 
of MACV will be integrated into OCO, and its chief wil.l serve as 
deputy to the Director of OCO. Such a unified civil/military 
U S advisory effort in the vital field of Revolutionary Develop- 
ment is un-orecedented. But so too is the situation which we 
confront. 'rD is in my view neither civil nor military but a 
uniaue merging of both to meet a unique wartime need. Thus my 
resolution°is to have U.S. civilian and militejry officials work 
tof'-ether as one teejfl in order m-ore effectively to support our 
Vietnamese allies. Many fui'ther details will have to be worked 
out, and various difficulties will doubtless be encountered, 
but'l am confident that this realignment of responsibilities is 
a sound managem.ent step and I count on all U.S. officers and^^ 
officials concerned to malte it work effectively in practice. 4/ 

Bunker outlined to Washington the line he proposed to take during a 
question and ans ver period with the press: 

"Besides the above announcement, I intend to stress the 
fo] lowing basic points in answer to press questions. or in 
backgrou.iding: (a) I made this decision not because I think 

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that U S. civiliexi support of RD has been imsatisf actory - on 
the^o^trary I a.^ pleased with progress to date - but because 
I think it is essential to bring the U.S. railitary more fully 
into the r« advisory effort and to pool oui' civil/ military 
resources to get optimum results: (b) indeed I regard all 
official Americans in Vietnam as part of one team, not as 
r,art of competing civilian and military establishments: (c) 
as senior U.S. official in Vietneum, I intend to keep a close 
eye on all U.S. activities, including pacification ~- I am _ 
not abdicating any of my responsibilities but ratner am having 
the entire U.S. T)acification advisory effort report to me 
throu^^h General Westmoreland rather than through t..o channels 
If in^the past: (d) during 3^^ years in the business world I have 
learned that unified management with clear lines of authority is 
the way to get the most out of lai^ge scale and highly diversified 
progrSs: (f) since continuous local security, which RWAP must 
SSarily provide, is the indispensable first stage of the paci- 
fication process, the mCV chain of coimiiand can obviously be 
helpful to the RViW: and (f) I intend to see that the civilian 
element of the U.S. effort is not buried under the military - 
?n m^y instances soldiers will end up working for civilians as 
iei? as the reverse - in fact Ambassador Komer will be General 
Vrestmoreland's principal assistant for this fmict ion while 
General Knowlton will be deputy to Mr. Lathram of OCO. I _ intend 
to keep fully informed personally about all developments in this 
field and to hold frequent meetings with General Westmoreland 
■ and Ambassador Komer for the purpose of formulating policy. 5/ 

The reaction of the civilians in Vietnam to the announcement of 
Ambassador Bunker was one of dismay. In the first confused days, before 
^tailfof the reorganization could be worked out and announced, the 
Sess was able to write' several articles which probably were accurate 
reflections of the mood of most civilians: 

"Civilian reactions today ranged from the bitter ('We 
don't think they can do their own job - how can they do ours, j 
to the resigned ('I'll be a good soldier and go_along ) to the 
very optimistic ('We've finally got a civilian in_a:aong the 
lenerals'). Almost nowhere was there much enthusiasm for ^ what 
Bimker called 'a unique experiinent in a unique situation. 

"Nor was there jubilation at the American military command. 
Westmoreland, who wanted to take charge of the pacification pro- 
grair. two years ago, is now reported to be deeply skeptical of 
Ihf possibility of producing the kind of quick resulus the Wnite 
House apparently want 

"'1 did not volunteer for the job/ he is reported to have 
said privately this morning, »hut now that rve got it, I 11 do 
lay best with it. ' 

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"...Serious officials -- both civilian and military -- 
rea,lize there axe limitations on hov7 far an officer will go 
in re-oorting 'negative' information^ and how hard a civilian^ 

now his subordinate, will fight for realism. 

"...Officials today sought to mitigate the effect of the 
annoimce:-iient by saying that Komer and his staff, physically 
located in the American Military Com:aiand in Saigon, will be 
in a far better position to influence the course of Pacifica- 
tion then he xrould among 'all the guys with glasses and sack 
suits' in the Office of Civil Operations." 6/ 

The Vietnamese reaction to the -reorganization >ras more difficult to 
gauge. Ward Just, in the same story cited above, said "There v/as surpris- 
ingly little comiaent today from South Vietnaraese, vrho have seen so many 
efforts at pacification and so many efforts to attempt to organize and 
reorgaiiize themselves. One high American who professed to have spoken 
with the South Vietnamese command reported they are 'delighted,'" But 
Komer's talk with General Nguyen Due Thang, the Minister for Construc- 
tion (ED), did not reveal any delight on Thang's part. Indeed, Thang's 
first reaction vras that the GVN should emulate the U.S. and turn pacifi- 
cation over to the Ministry of Defense -- an action which would have run 
directly counter to the U.S. objective of encouraging civilian govern- 
ment in Vietnam, 

There .is no telegraphic record of the first series of talks that 
Komer and Bunker had with Ky, Thieu, Vien, and Thang on the reorgeniza- 
tion. Not until a Komer-Ky talk of May 15 does the cable traffic reflect 
the GW reaction to the reorganization. By this time, it should be noted, 
the GVN Imew that the U.S. did not want the GVN to follow suit, and it 
loiew all our arguments and could play them back to us with ease: 

"Ky said that General Thang had suggested that the RD 
effort be brought under Defense Ministry to conform to the 
U.S. reorganization. Ky and General Vien had demurred on 
grounds that such a reorganization on the GVTT side would be 
far m-ore complex than on U.S. side, would disrupt RD process, 
and would stretch General Vien ajid MOD too thin. Besides it 
would not be politically advisable at the very time when there 
was a hopeful trend toward a m.ore civilianized and representa- 
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D, The C0glg_ Re organization 

With Bu-nlcpr's announcement, the Mission hegan its second massive 
reorganization in five months. This time, the reorganization >;-as 
Lcommnied by one of the periodic turnovers ■ n Mission Council per- 
qnnne] which have characterized the Mission: for some reason, the • 
tours "of many high-ranking officers seem to end at roughly the same 
time and thus, in 196^, I965, and again in the spring of I96T, , 
several key members of the Mission Council all left within a few 
weeks of each other. This time, in addition. to Ambassador Lodge, . 
Pnrter Habib, and Wehrle all left within a short period of cime, and 
nnlv a'hirh-level decision - announced by Bunker at the same time as 
the reorganization - kept Zorthian and Lansdale on for extensions. 
Into the Mission ca^.e Bunker, Locke, Komer, General Abrams, the new 
D-puty COMUSMACV, and Charles Cooper, the new Economic Counselor, and 
Archibald Calhoun, the new Political Counselor. 

DesTDite the turnover, the reorganization seemed to proceed with 
r.nnT,3rative ease. Perhaps the fact that OCO had already been formed 
.°f Sitilal her;, since it meant that instead of MACV dealing with_ 
three'. gencies simultaneously, the first discussions could be restricted 
r^^lm-rilv to mCY and OCO. Moreover, because OCO was already a going 
concern the civilians were better organized than ever before to main- 
tain their own position in dealings with the militaiy. 

But above all it was the decision by Westmoreland and Eunlier to 
let Komer take the lead in the reorganization which was important 
Komer now made major decisions on how the new structure would look 
wSch were usually backed up by Westmoreland. The result looked m-uch 
better than m.any people had dared hope. 

The details of the reorganization are not worth detailed discussion 
here But one point can illustrate the way CORDS could resolve pre- 
viously unresolved issues: the question of the role of the Mm 
Division in the chain of command. 

As noted in an earlier section, study groups had over the years 
^r^vocated removing the ARW Divisions from the chain of comaand on 
?ac?fi cation/I^. But MACV had large advisory team.s .ri-th the Divisions 
^nd these teams controlled both the sector (Province) advisory teams 
Sd p"J-i"ental advisory teams below them. The str-aeture followed nox^^al 
military lines, and m.ade good sense to most of the _off icers m the 
higher levels of MA.CV. 

The counter-argLunent was that Division was a purely military 
ipc^trimient and could not adequately control the integraced civilian- 

lita^^ effort that was needed at the Province level. Thus the Roles 
'"^Mi4^-ons Study Grou-o, for example, had recomniended that "Division 
?f Rlm^v^d from the RD bhain of Cormnand. . .that the role of the Province 


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Chief be uiDgraded. . .that Province Chiefs have operational control (as 
a minimum)" of all military and paramilitary forces assigned to operate 
exclusively in their sector." 8/ The Study Group recognized that 
"the power structure being what it is in the GW, major progress toward 
this goal will not be short range or spectacular." But, they urged, 
the U.S. should begin to push forward on it. 

mCV had nonconcurred in tM.s recomm.endation. General Westmoreland, 
in 'a mem.orandujfl to Lodge on September J, I966, had said that he did not 
agree \r±th the idea, and that, if carried out, "the Corj^s span of control 
would be too large for effective direction." The suggestion, he added, 
was "illogical." 9,/ 

This was still the position of 14ACV when arrived. In his 
attempts to find a workable civilian -military chain of command, he 
received two suggestions on the di.fficult ciuestion of the role of the 
Divjsjon advisory teams. The first, and more routine, was to continue 
the existing MACV system --in which, no m.atter how good or bad the 
G-W chain of cormand may be, the U.S. simply duplicates it on the advisory 
side. This would mean that all American civilians and military at the 
Province level would come under the Division-Corps chain of cor£irnand, 



MACV staff assumied that this would happen. 

John Paul Vann and a few colleagues had a different suggestion. 
Vann mairtained that the evidence suggested that when the Americans 
made their desires kno™ clearly to the Vietnamese, without the vague- 
ness and contradictoriness which so often characterized them, then the 
Vietnamese usually would follow suit after a suitable period of time. 
Thu-, sand Vann, if the Americans remove the Division advisory team 
from' the U.S. chain of comm.and, except for tactical matters and logistical 
support, the GVH may follow, and reduce the power of their politically 
potent Divisions. 

The thesis Vann was putting forv-rard -- that the GW would follow 
a strong U.S. example -- was untested and hotly disputed. Secondly, 
there was the Flatter of MACV's stand against downgrading the role of 
the ARVl^ Divisions. Pew people observing the discussions thought that 
the Vann suggestion had a chance of success.. 

But Komer, persuaded by the argument, did overrule many of his 
staff and make the recomffiiendation to ¥estm_oreland. 'Westmoreland approved 
it and in Jime, I96T, the new chains of command were announced to the 
U S Mission. After years of arguing, during all of which the trend 
hsd'been towardr stronger ARVI^ Divisions, the U.S„ had suddenly reversed 
coun-e on its own, without waiting for the Vietnamese to act. The change 
was so comi3lete that it even extended to that last (and, to career 
off-icers most imroortant) question: who writes the efficiency report. 
Und=r the new MACV guidance, the Senior Province Advisor would be rated 




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ot bv the Division Senior Advisor, but by the Deputy for CORDS and 
the Corps level - thus confirming the new conmand arrangements. 

While it is still too early to tell if the GW will completely 
It TT q iPad the early evidence suggests that the Venn 
f oo^h^s" v* ' CO Sect! and tSt following the U.S. action, the GW 
hypo.hesi. v.-s coi , divisions in ED. There are now 

iSicS onf thS the'Sw is seriously considering a plan in which the 

•onrwould no longer have area responsibility but rather be 
fJ^oeTtolZoTt o? their forward ...its, and operational coxnmand on 
large operations of troops. 

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E, The M ission Assessment as CORDS Beg ins 

The situation that CORDS and Anibassador Kcmer inherited was "not a 
■ very promising one. Despite all the lip service and all the "top 
■nriorities" assigned RD hj the Americans in the preceding 18 months, 
Sro-ress in the field was not only not satisfactory, it was, according 
to many observers, nonexistent. The question of whether ve were inching 
forward star-ding still, or moving haclward always seemed to the Mission 
and Washington to be of great importance, and therefore much effort was 
spent trying to ajialyze our "progress." 

A strong- case can be made for the proposition that we have spent 
' ' too much tme looking for progress in a program in which m.easureraents 

are irrelevant, inaccui-ate, and misleading. But, nonetheless, the 
Mission did try to meas-ore itself, and in May of I967, as OCO tujrned 
into CORDS, produced the following assessment of RD for the first quarter 

of 1967. 

"In truth, there has been little overall progress in RD 
activities, and the same must be said for the painful process 
of building a meaningful dialogue between the government and 
the people. A number of factors have been reported from 
Region III to account for this unhappy situation, but they 
might well apply to the rest of the country: 

"a. The RD program for I967 involved many new and 
different concepts, com.mand arrangements, administrative and 
procedural functions and allocation of resources. Only 
recently have the majority of provincial officials involved 
become aware of the prograsu. 

I "-b. Many Ap Doi Moi (Real New Life Hamlets), through 

guidance from MORD, were located in fringe security sxeas. In 
most of these cases a great deal of military and jxmgle clear- 
ing opera.tions were necessary. These take time, and, as a 
result, the deployment of the RD teaip.s often were delayed. 

"c. The hobbling effect of ineffectual officials 
f . has retarded the program. 

' ■ "d. The people have had to develop new working re- 

i. . lationships with the RD workers,* the ARVIJ, and the RF/PF. 

- During this process, there has been a 'wait and see' attitude. 

^"'■^orkers" was another one~of the special words the U.S. began using 
'instead of accurate translations of the Vietnamese. This one was 
also Lodge's idea, as a m-ore imderstandable word than "cadre" to 
describe the mem-bers of the 59-man teams. 


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"If, however, the picture is sombre, it is not unrelieved. 
The 1967'prograin may look at this point unencoui^aging statisti- ■ 
cally, hut its progress is of a different and more importejit 
so-t.' In critical^' areas, progress has been registered. There 
has evolved an jjnplicit understanding by iiany in the GW that 
RD is a longer-tena progress than hitherto believed, requiring 
a p-reater concentration of resources. In fact, there is in- 
creasing evidence that programming for 1967 has so concentrated 
scarce resources in the 11-point Ap Doi Moi that the GVW 
presence and services are spread very thin indeed m areas of 
lower priority. The fact that in general each ED team will 
remain in each hamlet for six months throughout the year, is 
a fundament 8,1 improvement in the program. 

"As a result of the finer definition of the intent of RD 
and more interest in its possibilities, the I967 program has 
become more vital than its predecessors. This vitality has^ 
produced new ideas, an increasing flexibility, which marks uu- 
portsnt progress in the program. Moreover, what the country 
has been engaged in is the process of laying a base for develop- 
ment; a long drawn out process which sees little initial reward, 
but without which nothing of pemanence will be achieved. In 
other words, the first quarter of the year has not been witness 
to a vital social revolution, but has instead foujid evidence of 
a growing imderstanding of the nature of the revolution to come, 
and in so doing has taken a further step in the painful process 
of building a nation." lO/ 

With the formation of CORDS, this history becomes current events. 
CORDS is charged now with solving what have previously been iinsolvable 
problems - energizing the GW to do things which it is not as interested 
in as we are; winning the hearts and minds of people who do not under- 
stand us or speak our language; working under intense pressure for im- 
mediate results in a field in which success - if possible at all -- may 
reauire years. ¥e have concentrated on the history of the United Stages 
bui^eaucracy in this study because that, in retrospect, seems to have been 
where the push for pacification came from -- not the Vietnamese. ¥e have 
not been able to analyze properly the actual course of the effort m the 
field, where contradictory assessments of progress have plagued the U.S. 
In the final section which follows, we try to draw a few lessons from 
the coui'se of events described in this study. 


When completed, CORDS had produced a structure in which, regardless 
of c 3 vll -military tensions that cannot be wished away, all hands were 
vorkinff together under a single chain of cominand. The structure was 
massive, so massive that the Vietnamese were in danger of being almost 

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for'^otten — aiid for that there can be no excuse. But at least the 
Mi 4ion was better run and better organized than it had ever been 
>.pfore and this fact may in tij^ie lead to a more efficient and success- 
ful effort Vlitnout a unified voice in dealir- vith the Vietnamese, we 
can never hope to influence the GW to do the things ve believe they . 
must do to save their own country. 


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1. Anbassaclor Lodge memorand-'jm to Secretaries Rusk and McHaitiaraj 
and Ambassador Taylor, June 19? 19^^ 

2. Message, SAIGCH 1035 to Washington, October 6, ISGk, EXLIS 
I 3. 14ACV CoBimand History, I96U5 p. 68 

If. Message, SAIGON 1000, October 7? 196^ 

5. IviACV Command History, 196^5 P- 68 

6. Memorandura, February I966 - Report of Meetings on Rural 
Construction, February 1-U, 1966 

7. Idem . 

8. Idem. 

9. Mission Co-oncil Minutes, September 15, 19^5 

10. McGeorge Bundy memorandum for the President, February 7? 19^5 

11. MACV Overall Monthly Evaluation, Jime I965 

12. Private Assessment of Hop Tac to Ambassador Lodge from Embassy 
Personnel, September 10, I965 

13. Mission Coimcil Minutes, September 15, 19^5 
li^. Mission Council Minutes, July 7? 1966 

15. President Johnson's letter to Ambassador Lodge, July I965 

16. Message, SAIGON 276I, February 1, 1966, KODIS to the President 

17. President Johnson letter to General Taylor, July 2, I96U 

18. Ambassador Lodge quoted in memorandum for record, September 27, 
1965; Special Meeting in Embassy Conference Room; p. 1 

19. See. for example, SAIGON U323, August 2h, I966, NODIS to the 


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20. Ambassador Lodge memorandum dated June 19? 19^^ 

21. Message, SAIGON 1100, September 30, 1965> NCDIS to the President 

22. Message, STATE 36?^ August 7y 1965. to Ambassador Lodge 

23. Message, SAIGON 716, September 2, 1965? NODIS to the President 
2h. Message, SMGON 952, September I8, 1965. NODIS to the President 

25. Message, SAIGON 1059. October hy I965, NODIS to the President 

26. Message, SAIGON II90, October 6, 1967> NODIS to the President 

27. Message, SAIGON 1273. October 13. 1965. NODIS to the President 

28. Message, SAIGON 1377. October 21, I965. NODIS to the President 

29. USMC Historical Branch Study: "US Marine Corps Civic Action Efforts 
in Vietnam, March 1965-March I966," (MC History), prepared in early 
1967 (Draft with Unnurabered Pages). 

30. General Krulak, CG of Fleet Marine Force, Pacific, Monthly Report 
on Activities of III l^IAF, September I965. p. ^ 

31. General Krulali^s report on III MAF, October I965. P- 12 

32. MC History (See Footnote 29) 

33. Embassy POL Study of Quang Nam, February 15. I966, p. 5 

3U. Message, STATE 2087. May 26, I96U, Personal from the President 

35. Message, SAIGON O7IOIOZ, JLily 7. 1964, to Secretary of State 

36. Alexis Johnson letter to Ambassador Durbrow, November 26, I965; 

37. Warrenton Conference Study, January 22, 1965. Annex D, par.l 

38. Ibid., Annex D, par. 2 

39. Ibid., Annex D, par. 9 

I4O. ll)i^--? Annex D, p. 4 

ifl. Record of Mission Liaison Group Meeting, prepared by Colonel Sam 
Karrick, SM, January 27. I966 

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k2. Warrenton Conference Report, Annex E, contains all the 
proposals "brought to Warrenton 

Us. Warrenton Conference Report, Annex D, par. ik 

hk. Message, STATE 951. October k, I963, LB©IS 

U5. The Washington Post editorial, February 1, I966 

kS. President Johnson's Press Conference, February U, I966 

U7, The E e^/?- York Times editorial, February 6, I966 


i\8. The Key York Times , Charles Moto, Februsxy 7, 19oo 

49. MACV Monthly Evaluation Report, I965 


I. Ambassador Lodge's briefing to Honolulu Conference, February I966 

" 2. Ambassador Lodge's letter to Secretary McNamara, March 1|, 1966 

3. President Johnson's comments to Honolulu Conference February I966 

k. Secretary Rusk's comments to Honolulu Conference, February I966 

5. President Jolrinson's coiaments to Honolulu Conference, February I966 

6. General Thang briefing to Honolulu Conference, February 7, 1966 

7. Honolulu Conference, Plenary Documents, February 8, I966 

8. Secretary Freeman's comments to Honolulu Conference, February 8, 

9. President Johnson's coimients to Honolulu Conference, February, I966 

10. President Jolinson's final statem^ent to Honolulu Conference, 

■ Plenary Documents, February 9, 1956 

II. Declaration of Honolulu, Part II, February 8, I966 

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1. President Johnson's Press Conference in Saigon, February 11, I966 

2. Message, STATE 2368, February 12, I966, KODIS 

3. Message, SMGON 2365, February 12, I966, NOD IS 
If. Message, SAIGON 2959? February 15, 1966, NOBIS 

5. Mission Council Minutes, February 28, I966 

6. Henry Kissinger letter to Robert VJ. Komer, August 8, 1966, 

7. Robert W. Komer paper, "Giving a New Thrust to Pacification," 
August 7, 1966 

8. Joseph Califano memoranduiu to Secretary of Defense, March 23, 1966 

9. NSAM 3^3 5 March 28, I966 

10. Robert W. Komer memorandum to the President, April 19, I966, p. 3 

11. Message, STATE 321^, April 26, I966 

12. Message, STATE 33^^^> May 7. 1966 

13. Message, STATE 3760, Jme U, I966 

iH. Message, STATE 83089, November 10, I966 

15. Robert W. Komer memorandum to the President, April 19? I966 

16 • Robert V/. Komer paper, "Giving a New Thrust to Pacification," 
August 7 J 1966 

17. Robert W. Komer memorandum to the President, February 28, I967 

18 . Idem . 

19. PROVII Study Team SuTomary Statement, March I966, pp. 1-2 

20. Ibid. , pp. U6-U7 

21. Ibid., p. 67 



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22. Ibid. 

23. Ibid. 

2U. Message, MACJ33 1821^^, May 12, I966 

25. Priorities Task Force Summary, July 1966 ' 

26. Ibid . 

27. Ibid . 

28. Roles and Missions Study Group Report, p. 1 

29. Ibid. 

30. Roles and Missions Study Group memorandusi to Ambassador Lodge 
September 7? 19^6 

31. Roles and Missions Study Group Report, Section V, pp. 2-^, 
August 1966 

32. USAID memorandura to Arnbassador Lodge, September 8, I966 

33. CIA coiiiments on Roles and Missions Study Group Recommendations 

3I1. Major General Tillson (j-3, l^i/^^CV) briefing to Mission Council, 
Augvist 8, 1966 

35. Message, SAIGON ^923, August 31, 1966, KODIS to the President 

36. Message, COMUSMACV to CINCPAC 2£0Zh2Z, August I966 

37. Ibid . . 

38. Draft Presidential memorandum by Secretary of Defense, 
September 15, I966 

39- Ibid ., State Department's opposition 

UO. Ibid., aid's recommendation 

Ul. Ibid., JCS concurrence in idea of a Deputy COMUSMCV for RD 

\\2. Ibid., CIA and USIA opposition 

I13. Robert ¥. Komer memorandum to Secretary McNamaxa, September 22, 


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hh. Message 5 STATE 6125I, OctolDer 6, I966 to Ambassador Lodge 

U5. Mr. Katzenbach's memorandum to the President^ October 15^ I9665 
"Adi:ainistration of Revolutionary Development" 

kG. Ibid . 

hT. Secretary McNamara's memorandum to the President, October 1^, I966 

1+8. Mr. George Carver's memorandum to Richard HeMs (Director of CIA) , 
October 15, 1966, Reference Footnote U?. 

kS. JCSM-572--66, October l^l, 19^6 

50- The Washington Evening Sta r article on President Johnson's 
meeting with White House Press Corps, October 15, I966 

51. Ward Just article. The Washington Post , October 1?, 1966 

52. Message, STATE 68390, October 20, I966, NODIS 

53. Message, STATE 78865, IJovember k, I966 

5U. Message, SAIGOM 1020U, November 6, I966, NOBIS to the President 

55. Message, STATE 83699, November 12, I966, to Ambassador lodge 

56. Ibid . 

57. Message, STATE 85196, November 15, I966 

58. Message, SAIGON 1112U, November 17, I966, NODIS 

59. Message, SAIGON 11125, November 17, I966, NODIS 

60.. Ill MAE Summary of I966 Operations by M'^/Pacific, December I966, 
p. 22 

61. Ibid., p. 21 - ■ . 

62. Ibid. , p. 21 

63. i^ia. , p. 22 


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1. Messages, SklGQS 1112U and 11125, 1966 (See Footnotes 58 and 59, 
of III. , above) 

. 2. The Washing;ton Post article ty Ward Just, December 3, 1966 

3. Wiliain Leonhart memorandum for the President, December 30, 1966 

k. Ambassador Bunker statement in Saigon, May 13, 196? 

5. Ambassador Bunker Press Conference in Saigon, May 13, 196? 

6. Ward Just, The Wash in gton Post, May 12, I967 

7. Message, SAIGON 25839, May I6, I967 

8. Roles and Missions Study Group, Appendix A, August 1966 (Saigon) 

9. General Westmoreland memorandu:a to Ambassador Lodge, September 7, 

10. U.S. Mission Assessment of RD for 1st Quarter of I967 (A-662, 
May 12, I967) 

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