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

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

(16 Vols.) 

9. U.S.-GVN Relations (2 Vols.) 

a. Volume 1: December 1963 - June 1965 

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



1945 - 1967 






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

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U3/GYH RelatiCDo: 1963-1967 

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- ■ ^^-H-l -- ■HK-WSTH'"'-"-'*"* * 




IV. C. 9- (-) 


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

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US-GVK REMTIONS: 196^ - JURE 196^ 


In 196^1 the U.S. tried to make GVN strong, effective, and stable, 
and it failed. When the U.S. offered more "aid, GVN accepted it without 
improving; they promised to mobilize, but failed to speed up the slow 
buildup of their forces, wlien the U.S. offered a firmer comrfdtm.ent to 
encoura'^e them, rncluding possible later bombing of Worth Vietnam, the 
g'vW tried to pressure us to do it sooner. Wien the U.S. endorsed Khanh, 
he overplayed his hand, provoked mob violence, and h-ad to back down to 
a weaker posnion than before. When Taylor 3.ectured them and threatened 
them the' ruling generals of G¥W defied him, and allied themselves with 
the street rioters. After several changes of government in Vietna.m, the 
u's could set no higher goal than GvM stability. During this peraod, 
t,he"uSG was already starting to think about doing the job ourselves if 
our Vietnamese ally did not perform. 

At first the U S. thought that the power of the Vietnam.ese generals 
would make GVN strong and effective. In fact, the U.S. preference at this 
time, was for mili-tary leadership in the GVN. However, the generals proved 
to be less than perfectly united. They found they had to bow oo the power 
of student and Buddhist street m.obs, and they .lacked the will and the 
ability to compel the civil govermient to perform. Yet, the U.S. saw no 
alternative but to back them ^- to put up with Vietr.amese hjrper sensitivity, 
their easy compliance combined with non-performance, and their occasional 
defiance. ■ Moreover, MOV was even less ready to pressure the generals 
than was the Embassy and the Emhassy less willing than Washington. M/VCV 
controlled the resources that mattered most to the South Vietnam^ese. 

Pacification lagged, and the military picture steadily worsened. 
T^aanning of pressures against the North became more urgern;, and the pros-^ 
vect of increasing U.S. inputs to all phases of the war loomed larger. ■ 
The U.S. was more and m.ore abandoning the hope that the Vietnamese could 
win the war by themselves. At the same time, the U.S. was preparing itseli 
internally (NSAM 288 with the objective of an "independent non-commun: st 
Vietnam") and readying the American people (the Tonkin Gulf Resolution) 
for deeper conirriitmeiits . 

-The period saw six major changes of government. At the end of January, 
IQGh Khanh seized power from the Minh government, in August, after his 
atteV to formali^; military control, mob violence forced him to give way 
and to ioiu a Triumvirate. It presided over formation of the civilian high 
National Council, which wrote a Constitution and elected the civilian 
President Suu and Prime Minister Huong to replace the Triuinvirate . In 
Deceml^er the milita.ry dissolved the High National Council, and m January 
1965 they dismissed Huong, replacing him by Khanh as caretaker. . In February, 

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Declassified per Executive Order 13526, Section 3.3 
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they appointed a new civilian goverment, with Suu still President and 
with Quat as Prime Minister. In June, Ky took over. Besides all this, 
coup groups seized Saigon twice before being faced down each time. 

Durino- the first few m-onths of this period the U.S. abandoned the ■ 
plan for the phased withdrawal of most of our military assistance personnel, 
and' stopped believing that the main- force war would come to a successful 
end by the close of I965 • With the start of planning pressures against 
the North, the U.S. first hoped that repeated preliminary signals to Hanoi 
would bring a response before bombing began; and we hoped that the promise 
of U S force commitments would strengthen Vietnamese unity and resolve. 
Both'hopes p-r-oved vain, and we started bombing North Vietnam systematically 
without getting anything from either Hanoi or GVN. Then the bombing itself ^ 
failed to stop Hanoi's intervention. Seeing no other choice, the U.S. 
poured troops into the country. 

Throughout 1964, the U.S. pursued the objective of a strong, effective 
GVN like the Holy Grail. Increasingly, we felt we had to reassure our 
Saipon any about the U.S. resolve, and hoped that a firm U.S. com-mitment 
through extending advisors and -through bombing would im.prove GVN performance. 
Recurrently, we looked to the military as the one coherent, antl-conmiuiiist 
force in the country. We leaned on them and on their strong-man, who for 
most of the period was Khanh, at first hoping that he or Minh would play the 
role that Magsaysay did in the Philippines. We were interested m legiti- 
macy and dem.ocratic forms only as a long-run deferra,ble proposition; although 
more and more we recognized the need for broad .political support -- especially 
after the Buddhist crisis in August, 196^!-, had proved its importance. 

As early as the Honolulu Conference in June, 1964, we worried about the 
possible emergence of a hostile government or anarchy; and the South Viet- 
namese pla,yed effectively on our fears. We lectured them repeatedly on _ 
the im-DOrtance of national unity, both in periods of political calm ana in 
crises', men the mobs in the streets faced down the generals, we then clung i 
to the position that no one should rock the boat. 

Yet well beyond our control. General Khanh was a central figure in 
most of these changes. He took over in a coup in January, 1964, and ple.yed 
one role after another, for over twelve turbulent m.onths . Then when a coup 
attempt failed against a newly installed government in February, 1965, T,he 
generals turned on KhanJi and exiled him. Only the final coup, in which Ky 
took over, saw KhanJi absent from the scene. 

Withall, the military improved their hold on GVN machinery. The high • 
turnover of district and province officials around the time of the Khanh 
coup put ARW officers everywhere; and the corps commanders gradually con- 
sdlidated their power throughout 1964. This tendency reached a climax 
and received a tem'oorary setback in the rebellion that followed the August 
constitution. As a result of the successful Buddhist opposition, cabinet 
changes and the charter of the govermaent in Saigon reauired Buddhist 


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These problems were aggravated by the clear and growing lack of 
leg-ltimacy of GVK. The generals 3.ed by Minh, who overthrew Diem, gained 
an aura of respectability by this act because Diem had so completely 
alienated the people . Whatever their "respectability" may have been 
worth went down the drain, however, when Khanh seized power and then 
later maneuvered Minh out of the country. Khanh ' s position as a brash 
usurper gave him little room for maneuver among Saigon's complex political 
currents, although for a time the U.S. counted on his "raw power." With 
snbseauent shifts in the form and coiiiposition of governraent, the expedi- 
ency and lack of legitimacy of GViAT grew more conspicuous and more debilitating 



U.S. attempts to strengthen the GYN's will to govern and to pacify 
the countryside failed. Moreover, the attempts, conceived in haste, often 
backfired. In contrast to the steady discussion of alternatives aiBong . 
Washington agencies, the Embassy, and MACV on the subject of pressures on 
the North, the idea of pressures on GVN seldom surfaced. VJhen it did sur- 
face, it was either brushed aside or rushed into. Leverage planning failed 
to receive even that quality aiid quantity of attention that pressures against 
Korth Vietnam, planning did. 

As a general rule, Washington was more interested in putting pressure 
on GW than was the Embassy, with the notable exception of Taylor's initi- 
atives in December, and MACV was the least interested of all. But these 
differences were less notable than was the almost universal consensus (most 
of the time) that the Vietnamese were too sensitive for such pressures to 
work, and that we had to accept the GVN's non-performance as the best avail- 

Starting with Rusk's conversation with Hianh at the end of May, 196k, 
and ending with Taylor's initiative in early December, the U.S. tried to 
use the prospect of U.S. force comraitment as an inducement to the Vietnam.eser 
t,o do better. However, Taylor said that if this inducement were to fail, _ 
the U.S. should go ahead with its pressures against the Worth anytmy. Taking 
this position meant that the attempted inducement was bluff. There is every 
sign, both in their non-performance and in their Deceraber -January defiance, 
that the GVN sized it up that way and called the bluff. 

Our attempted leverage included both inducements and threats at one 
time and another; and neither worked out well. Rusk's May, 196)4, conversa- 
tion with Klianh, the intensJ.fication of pressures planning following the 
Honolulu Conference in June, and the shift of the Chairmian, JCS to the 
■DOst of Ambassador to SVN, all showed U.S. coimflitment . We hoped these 
measures' a-nd talks would directly contribute to GVW m.orale and effectiveness. 
H6wever, they were followed by the July press leaks and by direct pressure 
to bomb Uorth immediately. The July public endorsement of IQianh was intended 
to reassure all concerned of our support, and so to strengthen GVN. Then, 

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the Gulf of Tonkin incidents were followed promptly by Khanh's Constitution, 
which backfired against hira and against us, weakening rather than strength- 
ening GVK. 

Taylor's bill- of particulars against GVN in December was followed 
iimriediately by attacks on GVN by the Buddhists, and then shortly by the 
military, bringing down the goverrment . Taylor's stern lecture to the 
young Turks at this tme met only with their defiance. They agreed to 
a compromise solution to the crisis when Taylor held up the GVN Defense 
Budget, and then reversed themselves after he released it. The first 
Flaming Dart raids, opening the deliberate U.S. bombing campaign against 
the North, were followed shortly by another coup attempt. 

There was no disagreement among Washington, the Embassy, and MCV 
that U.S. comirdtments should be used to improve GVN's morale and performance. 
In contrast, however, they often disagreed about putting pressure on GVN. 
In January 196^, State showed far more interest than did Lodge in using the 

■ AID negotiations to press GVN for more effort; in the upshot we gave them 
an AID increase with no strings attached. This disagreement con cinued for 
several months. McNamara leaned consistently toward giving GVN whatever 
it needed; only later did he begin to mention increasing our influence. 
But McNamara and JCS did prod Lodge into asking GVN why they were not 
progressing well. In May, 196^4, Sullivan proposed direct entry of U.S. 

( ^ personnel into the Vietnamese chain of corronand; his idea was watered down 

considerably in the State Department, B,nd disappeared at the Honolulu Con- 
ference because of opposition by Lodge and We stm.or eland. Other proposals 
agreed to at the conference, relating to new actions and improved program.s 
by GVN, interested State far more than they did the Embassy and MACV, as 
revealed in the follow-up. . ^ 

By and large the same contrasts prevailed when Taylor was the Ambassador, 

■ although in December he was . far more willing to press GVN than ^oage ever 

was. Even then, at the peak of the crisis, Taylor expressly re, ec.ed sanctions 
MACV generally rejected sanctions also, and seemed less ^^^Ij^-^ ^^ ^^^^J. ^^ 
leverage in day-to-day m_atters than were U.S. civilians m the field. MACV 
stuSefon'cVN ineffectiveness usually proposed more studies and never pro- 

posed pressure on GVN. 

If U S force commitments and the record of GVN non -performance reflect 
the failu;e' of leverage, what does the record tell us about how leverage 
could be made to work? Regrettably, the record tells us ^°f "^& ^f "■^, f t^' 
it merely shows that everything we tried went wrong. As noted, attempts at 
leverage or pressure on GVN were seldom thoughL through and studied carexuUy. 
One sea-.ches in vain for studies, memoranda, or widespread discussion of 
alternative techniciues for leverage and of what our experience shows abouo 
how thev mi^ht work. Pressures against the North, whose results have dis- 
appointed u^, were a model of planning, foresight, and detailed consideration, 
^ ^om^ar^d tothe subject of pressures on GVN. Yet GVN's failio^e was the 

heart of our policy problem throughout the period, as many feel it .oill is. 

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- The Elmbassy^s Lack of Political Cont act 

The shifts of political loyalties, coups, rehellions, and major 
changes of public figures often caught the Embassy by surprise. It had 
no effective system, either through overt or covert contacts, for finding 
out what was going on. CAS people talked to a few official contacts, vAo 
told them things the Vietnamese wanted the U.S. to believe; but CAS had 
and has no mandate or mission to perform systematic intelligence and 
espionage in friendly countries, and so lacks the resources to gather and 
eva].uate the large am.oujits of information rectuired on political forces, 
corruption, connections, and so on. Moreover, there is no sign that the 
Embassy understood events after the fact, or saw the connection between 
what we did and what the Vietnam.ese did next. It appears that the U.S. 
had few people experienced at maneuvering and manipulating among oriental ■ 
politicians . 

In the following cases the Embassy was in the dark. (l) We had no 
inform.ation on the degree of truth of Khanli^s charges against the four 
"pro-neutralist" generals plus Minh, and we knew about his coup a day in 
advance only because he sounded us out on it. (2) During the m_onths of 
maneuvering between lOianh and Minii after the coup, we had no way to evalu- 
ate the coup rujnors that aD.ways went around, and that peaked around mxoments 
of crisis like the trial of the four genera],s in May. (3) Khanh^s complaints 
of Vietnam^ese war-weariness starting in late May, in retrospect a transparent 
tactic to pressure the U.S. to bornh North, took in the USG completely: we ^^ 
eagerly went ahead and planned to bomb "to improve their unity and resolve. 
■^ . (k) lO^anh^s defiant leaks on cross-border operations in July surprised and 

perplexed the Embassy; Taylor described them as an attempt to iraprove his 
own people's morale, not as an attempt to stampede us. ^ (5) When Khanh asked 
for our public endorsement and then talked about "reorganization," we failed 
to see the connection. Iften he tried to reorganize Minh out of the govern- _ 
ment, Taylor made no move to save Minh until after street rioting had broken 
up the whole plan. (6) The September 13 coup attempt surprised everybody. 
(7) The HNC decision to make Suu President and Huong Trlm.e Minister surprised 
and angered us. (8) Taylor's December plan to strengthen GVN by lecturing to 
it about its failures provoked a completely unexpected reaction; both Buddhists 
and the military turned against the GVN. Taylor's subsequent stern lecture 
to the Young Turks likewise produced the opposite of the desired result. 

1(9) The generals' January, I965? moves to renege on the agreed crisis settle- 
ment and to dismiss Huong surprised us. (lO) The February 19 coup attempt 
surprised everybody. (ll) We did not know v/hat to think of the alleged coup 
attempt in May, I965. 

In some noteworthy cases we did better. (l) Taylor correctly foresaw 
that Khanh' s August' constitution would cause trouble. (?-) Westm.oreland 
I ■ detected Ky's budding coup attempt in November and, with Embassy authority, 

squelched it. (3) Te^ylor foresaw (and tacitly accepted) the Ky coup. 

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The ^MCV Role 

The MA.CV organization played an important ^ mostly hidden, role in 
US/GVN relations. At every level from Saigon to the districts, the 
advisory structure was the most pervasive instrument of intergovern- 
mental contact. ARW officers were accustomed to being spoon-fed military 
advice; so when military dominance of GVN brought these same officers to 
high positions in governraent, the advisor relationship conferred a latent 
diplomatic role upon MACV. Advisors were used as chanjiels of communications 
on political matters and became the most reliable sources of inform.ation on 
irapending coups. (On occasions such as the Rhade uprising and Ky's first 
attempt at a coup, senior MCV officers openly became diplomatic emissaries.) 

We have less record than we would like of COfflSMACV's influence. He - 
reported regularly to his military seniors only on strictly military matters: 
Detailed reports of his routine, daily dealings counterparts were not 
required of MACV as they were of the Embassy. 

From time to time COi'.:iISKA.CV revealed his own independent objectives. 
He sought protection of the ARW officer corps from political machinations, 
and from unfavorable press stories in order to preserve their solidarity 
and morale; he pressed zealously for early introduction of U.S. ground 
forces and for their rapid build-up; he opposed encadrement and combined 
command with ARVN; he resisted exclusion of the military from pacification; 
he rejected sanctions against ARVN; he objected to the initial constraints 
on the use, of Am^erican forces and wanted to be free to operate independently 
of ARVN. 

General Westmoreland's strong position usually assured that his view 
prevailed. Extension of advisors, increased MP resources, and the intro- 
duction of U.S. groimd forces enhanced Ms relative position. His freedom _ 
from detailed reporting of daily contacts was itself an element of strength. 
When he received unwanted advice and directives, he set up studies (as in 
the Civic Action Frogra.m) to stall for time; when he lacked authority to 
operate freely, he planned ahead with the Vietnamese (as in the use of U.S. 
forces for independent offensive operations) and then presented the matter 
to Washington as a virtual fait accompli . 

Vie t nam_es e Non-Perfo rmance and Sensit ivity 

Throughout this period the GVN failed to perform in alt'/iost every 
constructive respect.' Pacification lagged, when not visibly retreating, 
I ■ even though the .GVN was always willing to issue decrees, set up organiza- . 
I tions we suggesbed, and so on. Khanh's promise to m^obilize cam.e to nothing. 

The VC defeated A,RVN in bigger and bigger battles, until the military 
■ assessment of the situation permitted Westmoreland to call for over 200,000 
U.S. troops. 

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Moreover, on issues purportedly relating to sovereignty or "face," 
the Vietnamese were and are quite sensitive, and the U.S. was consistently 
afraid to infla,me this sensitivity. Both sides avoided many delicate 
topics. A prime example is the matter of the lack of a bilateral treaty. 
The U.S. operated, and still operates, -umder a Pentalateral protocol signed 
by the French and Bao Dai under the U.S. military assistance program to 
France before 195^* It gave U.S. advisers and officials virtual diplo- 
■ matic status, which was reasonable back v/hen there were less than two hundred 
of them in all Indochina. But it now applies to all U.S. personnel^ and no 
one has wanted to stir things up. - _ 

The sensitivity problem cropped up often. ' For a tme early in 1964, 
the GVN backed off from, an agreement to extend U.S. advisors to district 
level, and when G-VW did approve, they insisted that the advice be strictly 
military and that . the advisors be labelled "subsector." In like manner, 
the III Marine Expeditionary Force becajae the III Marine Amphibious Force, 
because the French had called their Indochina force "expeditionary." But 
the GVN, and especially the military, agreed readily to new U.S. troop com- 

The Vietnamese would often greet a U.S. representative, in moments of 
tension, vrith false or exaggerated stories of U.S. dealings, such as a 
complaint in January, 1964, about U.S. training and CIA contacts with the 
Cao Dai and Hoa Hao. In contrast, on cabinet appointm.ents they often asked 
I ^^ the Ambassador's opinion, and he customarily leaned over backward to avoid 
(^ giving specific recommendations. Shared sensitivity, closely related to 

the lack of a treaty governing status of U.S. forces, prevented any move 
toward joint command and U.S. control of all m.i:]ltary operations in Vietnamj 
both Westmoreland and the Vietnamese preferred to operate separately. The 
Embassy looked the other way from repressive police measures and political 
arrests unless these led to embarrassing jjTess stories. "When the Ambassador ■ 
' would raise this tj/pe of issue with the GVN, it proved always to be touchy. 

■ Vietnamese sensitivity sometmes led to open displays of anti-Americanism. 
These happened on three main occasions: (l) when Khanh grum_bled about being 
a puppet after the go-North leaks in July, 1964; (?.) in the open rupture 
between Khanh and Taylor in December -January; and (3) in the January riots 
when rioters overran USIS buildings in Saigon and Hue. ^ 

Vi etnamese Compliance Mo re in F orm Than in Sub stance 

The Vietnamese nevertheless showed a ready willingness throughout the 
period to declare new policies, sign decrees, and engage in joint studies 
at our request. But as noted above, that did not mean we got the substance 
of what we wanted on such m.atters. The most mportant case of this kind 
was iai.anh's ready agreement in March to "m.obilize" South Vietnam. He promjjtly 
■ made a token: announcement; and while students and other potential draft- 
eligibles v.^aited anxiously to learn what he m,eant (as did we), he delayed 

c .' 

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several v^eeks before any f\irther aiinouncement . Starting in May, he began 
announcing specifics and signing decrees, and kept the idea live for 
several months. Hov/ever, strength of the RVKAF rose less in 196^ than it 
did in 1963"^"? and the talk of non-military mobilization came to nothing. 

The military and the more militant civilians, on whom the U.S. counted 
most heavily and regularly supported, turned out to have far more enthusiasm 
for going North Qjn.d for other external adventures than they did for getting 
on -with the Job of effective government and pacification. They promised 
much on this latter score, but could not or would not deliver. Knowing 
that we had no one else to tvxn to^ they continued their old habits and 
often openly did what they pleased about important matters. The go-North 
problem was particularly troublesome because the militants rejected the 
permanent division of Vietnam at the 17th parallel, upheld in practice by - 
the U.S. 

The following are interesting instances, among many^ of their super- 
ficial compliance. They agreed readily to use U.S. advisers at the minis- 
terial level (the brain trust), although there is no sign that the brain- 
trusters accomplished anything. Indeed, on all ten suggestions that 
accompanied President Johnson's I96U New Year's Message to Minh, only the 
one on amnesty foujid them hesitant to express their full agreement. They 
regularly agreed on budgetary limits to keep inflation from getting out of 
hand, but never satisfied us on specifics through 1964 or the first half of 
1965. They repeatedly agreed to relieve ineffective^ corrupt comjnanders 
and officials, but delayed endlessly on doing it and generally promoted 
those whom, they relieved. At VJestmoreland's request, Kiianh created the 
Hop Tac plan for pacification around Saigon; but it foundered, and eventually 
the Vietnamese killed it. VJhen Lodge left Vietnam in June, 196^-J, he sealed 
his tour v/ith a genera..l agreement with Khanh on concept, scope, and organiza- 
tion of the pacification efforts; obtaining such agreements preseiited abso- 
lutely no problem. In December, 1964, the JGS issued a directive containing 
every MA.CV suggestion on how RVMF should help pacif j.cation. 

■X- The end-year figures as follows: 

South Vi etnaiTi 1962 I963 1964 

Infantry-type Battalions IO7 123 I33 

RVNAP Strength ('OOO) 397 514 571 

Total Armed Strength ('OOO) 

(incliided CIDG, police, etc.) 526 6l2 692 

SOURCE: OSD SUA Statistical Summary, Tables 1 and 2 

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In July 196^, Khanh created a National Security Council similar 
to ours, and/ it met regularly with the top group of Embassy people to 
talk agreeably about pacification and manpower problems. MACV set up 
•oint inspection teams and joint studies with JGS people several tames 
a tear '^ The only thing of this class that had any visible follow -through 
wal th; joint plan:oing group on bombing North and on other cross-border 
operations. Q^o battalions specifically declared meffectxve by M/ICV 
suffered no penalty or improvement. 

The m.ilitants' predilection for external adventures began to show 
in Mav 196)1, after the Embassy started pressing Khanh about hris March 
apreements with "McNamara. Khanh responded within, a few days by saying he 
wSted to declare war, bom.b the North with U.S. participation, brxng 10 000 
U S Army Special Forces troops into South Vietnam, get rid of the poli- 
ticians,^ and put Saigon strictly on a war footing. Lodge ;;;-.f f°^-°\^^ 
him off. but Khanh brought up a less extreme version again with Rusk at tne 
end of "the month, saying that his government could not win without action 
outside South Vietnam. When Lodge returned from the Honolulu Conference 
in early June, Khanh responded to discussions of ARVN strength by trying 
to dra;fLodge'out on actions against the North. Then, when we ^-^^^l^^l^ 
fast enough to suit him and Ky, they started a press campaign on ^^^^f .^2'' 
and pressed Taylor more insistently. Finally, in Deceniber, when laylor told 
GVN all the many ways they should improve to justi.fy further U.S. I'^jol]^" 
Tent, their imi>iediate reply included the comment tliat the U.S. program said 
nothing about Viet Cong use of Cambodia. 

The press leaks about going North were the first major instance of their 
defiantly going ahead as they pleased against our wishes. Khanh s August 
constitution was a less flagrant case, because Taylor's words of caution • 
Terf comiSatlvely diffident (Moreover, in the following August-September 
turbulence, Khanh let himself becom_e clearly dependent on the Embassy when 
he tak d to the Buddhist leaders.) In the ^-^-^-^'■'^';^^l^^^ 
defied Taylor at every turn following their dissolution oi the HNC and after 
a temporary agreement in January double-crossed Taylor, dismissed Huong and 
took «)ntrol of the formation of a new government. They guessed correctly 
that we saw no choice but to go along. . 

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.1 -ij 

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EVEirr OE 


1 Jan 6h 


10 Jail 6^!- 

30 Jan 6^ 

' 13 Feb 6k 

21 Feb 6^1- 

21 Feb 6^ 

8 Mar 6k 

20 Mar 6k 

k Apr 6k 

10 Apr 6^1- 

29 Apr 6k 

30 Apr 6h- 

State to Saigon 
1000 30 Pec 63 

Lodge to State 
1287 10 Jan 

Saigon to State 
1^33 30 Jan 

Memorandxim to 
Secretary of 

25IOJ-S-Z Feb. 6^ 

Saigon to AID 
233^ 21 Feb 

SD PM 16 Mar 
Sec. Ill;, and 

Memorandwn of 
at JGS Hqtrs. 
12 Mar 

17 Mar 6k NSAIvl 288 

White House 
Press Release 

State to Saigon 
1602 k Apr 

Saigon to State 
I96U 11 Apr 

Saigon to State 
2089 30 Apr 

Saigon to State 
2091 30 Apr 

President's Nev/ Year'-'s message to Minb con- 
tains reassiirance; advice also rendered- 
Brain trust approved. 

Lodge and Miinh discuss President's advice 
agree they're doing fine except on anrnesty. 
GW backs away from previously agreed ex- 
tension of advisors to districts. 

Khanh seizes pov/er^) arrests four top generals 
of MRCj but lets Minh continue as President 
at USG urging. 

Rostov recommends enforcing NVN complisxice 
with 1962 Geneva agreenent. 

GVN accepts advisors in 13 districts of 
the Delta» 

GVN asks USG for rice standby commitmient^j 
for the first tim-e. 

Secretary McNamara arrives in Saigon for 
several days of taikSj including talks with 
GWe Goes away pessimistic ^ recommends 
more AID and larger RWAF^ plus uacru.alified 
backing for Khanh. Khanh promises mobili- 
zation « 

President approves Secretary of Defense 
recommendations 5 directs their execution. 

Vniite House annoujices Khanl'i's mobilization 

Mobilization decree^ dissolution of Council 
of Notables 5 promise of eventual Constituent 
Assembly and civil goveriiment . 

Beginning of AID and related economic 
negotiations for fiscal I965. 

KliaBh renews request for brain trust: 
Lodge euphoric, 

USOM and GVN badger each other on pacif 
tion and economic delays. . 


TOP SECRET ™ Sensitive 

Declassified per Executive Order 13526, Section 3.3 
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TOP SECRET " ..Sensij^ive 

h May 6^ Saigon to State 

2108 k May 

13 May 6h Saigon to State 

2203 '^-^ May 

Saigon to State 
DTG 271200Z May 

Memorandum to 

13-27 May. oh 

25 May 6h 

Khanli W8Jit>s to bomb NYN^ have 10,000 
US troops, and set up all -military govern- 
ment in SVN. Lodge says no^ no, yes, 

McNamara sees Kb.anh in Saigon; they reach 
agreement on desirability of progress. 

ForrestaJ. of t^ite House staff "negotiates" 

AID -with GVN, gives GYN All) increases. 

McGeorge Bundy recoiranends force against 
]\n/¥ as the only path to success. 

27 May 6h 


28-^ May 64 

30 May 64 

2-3 Jvji 6h 

29 J VII 


30 Jvn 64 

State to Saigon 
1251 18 Feb. 

Saigon to State 
2332 and 2338 

28 May 

CINCPAC to State 
37 2 Juji 

Mem,o for the 
Record, Special 
Meeting on SE 
000211 DTG 8 J-un 
and Memo for 
Secretary (State) 
"Highlights of 
HonoluJ-U Confer- 
ence" from ¥„ P. 
Bimdy DTG 3 J-uii 

4 Jvxi 64 Saigon to State 

2405 4 Jun 

mand History 
1964, p. 69. 


8 Jul 64 Saigon to State 

56 8 Jul 

SuJLlivan distributes proposal for semd- 
encadrement of GVN as a necessary step 
for progress. 

MRC censLU'es four "neutralist Plot" genereJ.s 
that had been arrested in Khanh coup. 
Keeps Mnh, as urged by Lodge. ■ 

Rusk sees Khanh, leaves nothing to the 
imagination on possible US aj-l^-the-way 
commitment, stresses need for GVl^ unity. 

Honolu-lu. Conference. Conferees (include 
Rusk, McNaniara, Lodge, Taylor ajid 
Westmoreland) agree on increased advisory 
effort, agree to refine plans for pressures 
on KVl^I. 

Lodge hints to Khanh that USG will prepare 
US public opinion for actions against W^fN. 

AID sets up sector adviser fund, with 
troika signoff to bypass GVN-Saigon. 

US and GW agree to joint plsmning for 
cross-border operations Jn Laos. 

Ambassador Taylor presents his credentials 
to Khanh. 


TOP SECRET - Sensitive 

f-iirf.^ — t-***— '-"-' 

-.^^wmj.. -fc^TTWi,-. cv-:.?r»^-1w««^--. 

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

TOP SECRET " Sensitive 

9 Jul 6U 

17 Jul 6h 

19 Jul 6U 

23 Jul 6h 

2k Jul 6^ 

25 Jul 6h 

2 A Aug 6^1- 

7 Aug 6U 

8 Aug 6U 

12 Aug 6U 

l6 Aug 6' 

l8 Aug 6h 

21-27 Aug 64 

Saigon to State 

65 9 Jul- 

Saigon to State 
124 17 J-ul 

Saigon to State 
185 23 Jv^ 

Saigon to State 
185 23 J-uJ_ 

Saigon to State 
203 2k Jvl 

Saigon to State 
232 27 Ju-1 

Shaplen^ ]->o^ 
Revolution ;) 
p, 269 

Shaplen, Lost 
Re volu tion ; 
p." 270 

080715^ Aug 

Saigon to State 
393 12 Aug 

Saigon to State 


415 15 Aug 

Shaplen^, Lost 
Revolution ;, 
pp. "270 -71 

Shaplen^j Lost 
Revo luti on^ 
pp." 272-75^. 

Arnbassador Taylor hears the complaints 
of civilian cabinet memhers. 

USOM starts periodic meetings with GW^s 
IMational Secujrity Council. 

Khanh and Ky lo"b"by publicly for cross -border 
operations and air strikes into Laos and 


Khanh presses Taylor for action^ keeps up 
the lobbying. 

Khanh asks Taylor if he (Khanh) shovld re- 
sign; Taylor says no. Khanh asks for 
publicly stated US backing and gets it. 

Khanh promises to quit lobbying, reacts 
favorably to proposed Joint planning for 
air strikes on NVN^ and says he plans GW 

GnJ.f of Tonkin incidents^ US retaliation. 

Kh.anh proclaims state of emergency, with 
press c ens or ship . 

Westy and Khanh discuss Joint planning, 
agree not to discuss combined comjnand. 

Khanh 's "reorganization" is a new constitu- 
tion with military openly on top, and with 
Khanh President. Taylor sceptical, counsels 

Khanh gets MRC approval of constitution 
after hurried USOM drafting assistance. 

Ambassador Taylor firmly recommends plazis for 
gradual press'U-res North to start 1 January 
contingent on improved GVN performance, or 
not contingent if things get bad enough. 
Suggests the package include Marines at 

Student dem^onstrations followed by general 



TOP SEGRE'T - Sensitive 

Declassified per Executive Order 13526, Section 3.3 
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TOP SECRET " Sensitive 

2.h Aug 6^ 

25 Aug 6^ 

29 Aug 6^ 

.6 Sep 6h 

Saigon to State 
5^2 2k Aug 

Shaplen^ Lost 
Revolu tion; 
pp. 27^^-75 

27 Aug 6U Shaplen, Lost 

Revolution 5 

•<l»J-p*'-»^i^ - 

pp. 275-78 

State to Saigon 
555 29 Aug 

Saigon to State 
785 8 Sep 

Taylor advises Khanh to move fast on new^ 

One o'clock A.M. Taylor advises Khanh to 
make sorae concessions but keep constitution 
Khanh does 8.nd riots continue. Khanh 
"resigns." Rjots continue. 

MRC revokes constitution, keeps Khanh now 
as meirlber of temporary triumvirate (in- 
cluding Minh and Khiem. ) New PMC to be 

Paratroopers with bayonets restore order 
in Saigon. ■ 

Taylor takes off on a trip to Washington. 
Recomjiiends pressures on FVN to begin 
1 December. 

10 Sep 6^ 

13 Sep 6U 

20 Sep 6^t- 

2k Sep 6k 

30 Sep 6k 

27 Oct 6^ 

NSAM 31^ 
10 Sep 

Shaplen^ Lost 
pp; 287-290; 
Saigon to State 
836 13 Sep; 
Saigon to State 
878 16 Sep 

Shaplen, Lost 
Revolujfcion, p.290; 
Saigon to State 
923 22 Sep; 
936 23 Sep 
937. 952, and 95^- 
2k Sep; 985 
29 Sep; and 10^6 
7 Oct. COIviaSMCV 
O3II37Z Oct 

Saigon to State 
938 2^1- Sep 


Says strengthen GW 

Abortive coup attempt temporarily captures 
Saigon. ' Ky and Thieu back Khanh ^ defeat 
coun forces. 

Saigon to State 
1292 27 Oct; 
~ State to Saigon 
9!]!^ 29 Oct. Shaplen 
Lost Revolixtion, 

pp. 290-9- 

Rhade tribesmen in k CIDG caraps rebel 
against GYE. 

The new HNC begins deliberations to write 
a constitution. 

W. Bvindy predicts publicly that bombing KVN 
woul-d cut down the threat to G-TO in a matter 
of months. 

hTMC finishes on tim^e, surprises by naming 
Suu President 5 not Minh. 


TOP S]K-RET_::;_Sj2i^^^^ 


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TOP SECRET - Sensitive 

30 Oct 0\ 

11 Nov 6^ 

26 Nov 6^ 

7 Dec Gh 

8-20 Dec Gh 

(^ 20 Dec Gh 

21 Dec Gh 

23 Dec 


2I4- Dec Gh 

25 Dec o 


Shaplerij Lost 
E^TOlut iori_5^ P • 293 ; 
State to Saigon 
978 1 Nov; 
DTG 020^-1-OOZ Nov; 
Saigon to State 
1382 2 Nov 

Saigon to State 
1^1-52 and ^hGO 
10 Nov 

C01^^^SM_ACV to 


DTG 02609^5^ Nov 

Embassy to State 
AirgraiJi A-^68 
15 Dec 

Shaplen, Lost 
Revo lution 3 

pp, 29^r-.95 

Saigon to State 
1869, 1870, an.d 
187U 20 Dec; 

rec'd Nice 2008l6Z 




Saigon to State 
1881 21 Dec 

Saigon to State 
I91U 23 Dec; 
1929 and 1930 
?A Dec 

Shaplen, Logt 
Revolution 5 

ip^ 29^-97. 

mand Ki story 
1965, p. 229. 

Mortar attack on Bien Hoa airbase. State. 
rejects Taylor ^s recommendation of iiximediate 
reprisal raid on NYN'. 

MRC publishes military reorganization 
without MACV review; MACV protests and MRC 
withdraws it for changes. 

Westmoreland slaps Ky down just before 
apparent coup attempt, Taylor is in 

Taylor, just back from Washington with fresh 
guidance, presents GVN with a candid state- 
ment of its failures and couples deman.ds 
for progress in stated areas to promises of 
US escalation. ' . . 

Student and Buddhist demonstrations against 
Huong government and growing crisis. 

Khanh and Generals disregard Taylor's pro- 
tests, dissolve HNC and arrest opposition; 
"Young Turcks" (Ky, Thieu, Thi and Gang) 
condolidate their dominance by creating a 
small Armed Forces Council (APC) as the top 
governing body. Taylor reads them the 
riot act . 

Taylor asks.Klianh to resign and leave the 

Young Turks attack Taylor publicly, an.d 
privately seek his recall. 

Taylor tells press that Kianh has outstayed 
his usefulness. 

Vietnam.ese JGS issues Directive A-B 139? 
at mCV request, on how RVNAF should be 
employed to improve pacification program 


TOP SECRET - Sensitive 


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TOP SECRET " Sensitive 

^^ 7 Jan 65 

9 Jail 65 

11 Jan 65 

12 Jan 65 

' \k Jan 65 

18 Jan 65 

19 Ja.n 65 


19-2^ Jan 65 

27 Jan 65 

3„I[. Feb 65 

Saigon to State 
2081 7 Jan 
2089 8 Jan 
2102 9 Jan 

Shaplen, Lost 
Revo lutio n, 
pp. 297-:" 

Saigon to State 
2112 and 2120 
11 Jan 

Sb.ap3-en^ Il£?t 
pp. 298-99 

Saigon to State 
2155 1^ Jan 

Saigon to State 
2176 18 Jan 


1912352 Jan 

Shaplen, Lost 
Revol ution, 
pp. 298-99 

25 Jan 65 Saigon to State 

2276 and 2283 
25 Jan 

Shaplen, Lost 
pp 7 299-302; 
Saigon to State 
2322 27 Jan; 
State to Saigon 
15^2 27 Jan and 
1565 29 Jan 

Saigon to State 
2399 h Feb 

i\FC GenereJ-S decide to give way by restoring 
civilian government under a nev7 name (i.e. 
■without HI^C) leaving Suu-Huong combination in 

With Taylor's reluctant concurrence, the 
AFC announces the 7 January decision. 

US and GVN publicly patch up relations. 
Young Turks will enter cabinet. 

Nev/ demonstrations begin, demajiding Huong's 

Khanh shows Taylor a new cabinet list; 
Taylor tries to slow him down. 

Khanh gives Taylor completed cabinet list 
an,d schedules installation for the next day. 

Khanh tries to reasstire Westmoreland on 
military repercussions of tying up som-e 
genera3.s in the cabinet; then Khanh suddenly 
"postpones" cabinet installation. 

Buddhist demonstrations build up, including 
sacking of USIS buildings in Saigon and Hue. 
Buddhist merchants respond to campaign to 
boycott Americans. Buddhists demand 
military taJke-over. 

Khanh tells Deputy Ambassador Alex Johnson 
that Huong and Suu v/ant to resign and let 
the military talie over. Johnson says no. 

AFC topples Suu-Huong government, openly- 
puts Khanh back in charge. JCS approves' 
COMUSIMCV request to use US jet aircraft 
in a strike role in-country in emergencies, 
subject to i'lrnbassy approval in each instance 

McGeorge Bundy visits Saigon, has tea 
with Klianh and the generals.. 


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TOP SECRET " Sensitive 

(3 7-12 Feb 65 

7 Feb 65 

Shapleiij Lost 
Revolutio n, 
pp. 305-6 
State to Saigon 
1^38 6 Eeb; 
Saigon to State 
2^1-26 7 Fe"b 
2^-95 11 Feb 

Memorand-uiri to 
the l^esident 

Flaming Dart boriibings in North Vietnem. 
All US dependents ordered to leave 

McGeorge Bujidy sa.ys the military are the 
backbone of the country, tha.t the Buddhists 
should be constructive, and that Vietnaxa 
needs a social revolution. 

16 Feb 65 

18 Feb 65 

20 Feb 65 

2k Feb 65 

Saigon to State 
2617 16 Feb 

Shaplen, l£st 
Revolut ion, 
pp. 306-7 

19 Feb 65 Sha.plenj Lost 

Re voluti on, 
pp. 307 -T2 

Shaplen, Ij ost 
R^voliit i on , 
pp. 307-12 

Saigon to State 
2685 20 Feb; 
2698 22 Feb; 
2720 23 Feb; 
2731 2U Feb; and 
COMaSMiiCV to 
2^l600Z Feb 

After two false starts, AFC selects Quat 
to form a new cabinet. 

Quat cabinet installed; Buddhists a.cquiesce 

New coup groups seizes Saigon^ then bows 
to superior AFC force. 

AFC votes I^anh out. 

Khanh goes abroad; Rolling Thujider rolls. 


27 Feb 65 

Saigon to State 
2787 27 Feb . 

USOM resumes action level meetings with GM; 
voth sides agreed to prepare proposals 
for accelerating pacification and to go 
forward top:ether with effective execution. 


28 Feb 65 

Saigon to Sta.te 
2800 1 Mai' 

State issues V^Jhite Paper on Vietnam, 


6 Mar 6^ 


8 ViBX 65 

COMaSlylACV Com- 
mand History ;, 
1965, p. 132 

Saigon to State 
2991 8 Mar 

MACV gives budget guidelines to RVN 
Ministry of Defense. 

Quat discusses sensitive co]i^bined-cornmand 
isstie with Taylor. 


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TOP SECRET - Sensitive 


8-9 Mar 65 

26 Mar 65 

1-2 Apr 65 

15 Apr 65 

17 Apr 65 

19-20 Apr 65 

5 May 65 

20-21 May 65 

22 May-12 Jvn 65 

27 May 65 

12 Jun 65 

Saigon to State 

2908 1 Mar 

2^ ¥i8X 65 Saigon to State 

2065 2k Mar 

mander ' s Estimate 
of the Situation 
26 Mar 

NSA14 328 
6 Apr 

15 Apr 65 Saigon to State 

3^a9 17 Apr 

DOD 916^4- 
15 Apr 


Saigon to State 
3^421, 3^22 and 
3U23 17 Apr 

ASD McNaughton's 
Minutes of 
Hono3.u]_u Meeting 
23 Apr 

Saigon to State 
3097 and 3100 

26 Mar; and 
21^0 31 Mar 

Saigon to State 
3878 25 May 

Shaplen^ Lost 

ppT" 3^42 -^115 

Joint State/ 
Defense 80^66 

27 May 


J"3, 19912 to 


I20828Z Jun 

Two "battalions of Marines land at Danang. 

Ambassador Taylor formu3.ates a ^-1 -point 
program for stability and pa.cification. 

Westmoreland issues Commander *s Estimate 
of the Situation^ -which treads lightly 
on combined- command issue. 

Taylor (in Washington) talks to President 
and NSC 5 who approve Taylor's Ul-point 
program and General Johnson's 21 recom- 

Taylor objects to proposed Peers mission. 

The 7"Point message from State/Defense tells 
Saigon to encadre RWAF/GVN and to expect 
additional US forces ;, with ne"w missions. 

Taylor objects to 7-point message, and " 
Westmoreland objects to eucadrement. 

HonoluIl.u Conference meets to resolve dis- 
agreements on 7-point message. Conferees 
agree on force increase and medcap, scuttle 
encadrement, and agree on studies of 

combined command. 

AFC dissolves itself. 

Abortive coup attempt alleged by QYR^ 
though not finriy confirmed by US observers. 

Suu-Quat disagreement on cabinet changes. 

State/Defense message agrees to defer 
approaching GVN on combined corumand. 

Westmoreland presses for commitment of US 
forces to offensive operations ^ has already 
plaiined it hand-in-hand with our Vietnamese 
ally . 



TOP SECrrET " Sensitive 


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TOP SECKET - Sensitive 

12 Jun 65 

Shaplen, Lost 


pp. 3^-^5"^6. 

Saigon to Sta.te 

1^065 ^1- Jun, ^119 
9 Jun 4156 11 Jun 5 
I4I9O l^l- Jun, U312 
21 Jun. 


Generals fire Suu and Quat, 
National Leadership Council of ten 
Generals chaired by Ihieu, and make 
Ky 'Prime Minister. Taylor reluctantly 
acquiesces to Ky*s appointment. 


TOP SECRET - Sensitive 

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Declassified per Executive Order 13526, Section 3.3 
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rnp Ki-'i >*■ ■■ 

US-GVN REIATIOES, 19^1:^^^- J^± 



AFTERMATH OF THE DIEM COUP, First Half _of_196^ 





The Inheritance from I963 

The First Kinh Government Goes Down 

The USG accepts Khanh and opens the 

Bidding Against the North 

McWamara's March Trip and NS.AM 288 

Opening bids on advice, leverage, and 

AID, April-May 

The political climate and prevailing views 

of the wax. May 

The Honolulu Conference and Its Follow-iip, 

June, 196'4 






For '""Bornb'¥orth"""Araid Turbul ence j^nj^jie_ South 

1. Taylor's Initiation, July, 196'+ 

2. The Tonkin Incidents and the policy 
prognoses, August ■ 

3. .The and Fall of Khanh 's Constitution 
i+, GVN acquires a civilian flavor, and the 

USG reviews priorities 

5. The KMC goes to work amid further turbulence 

6. The HWC installs civilian leadership, 

7. A quiet November 

8. A Lecture and A Program for GW 

9. The Government's support vanishes, and 
Taylor confronts the generals 

10. Ongoing programs, Second Half 196U 

11. January, I965: Prelude to the Bombing 







Til THE US ENrERS_TI^J^ffir_J;"'lamijigJ)8£;^^ 

" ■■ '■ " " Infiujf of US Forces, June I965 





"Phase II" "begins and coups continue , 

February. 19^5 

The cop.tlniurg civilian interregnum and 
first US ground forces^ Meirch-May 
First moves on coimnand and control, 

March "April 

The rise and decline of encadrernentj April 
The Honoliau Conference ^ April 19-20, 19^5; 
encadrenent and coKibined corni-iiand fade out 
The Ky coupj June 19^5 





'JL^ixr-K-. i 


Declassified per Executive Order 13526, Section 3.3 
NND Project Number: NND 63316. By: NWD Date: 2011 

TOP SECRET - Sensitive 

First Half of 196k 

1. The Inherit ance From I963 - ■ 

Tli-e top ruling body of the Government of Vietnam at the end of 
1963 was a Military Revolutionary Council of twelve generals, mider^^the^^ 
chairraan,sb.1p of the affs-ble and popular but seak General Van "Big" 
M3nh. The Council governed through an all-civilian cabinet headed by Premier 
Tho, having forbade all military officers to engage in polj.tics . A Council 
of Notables served as a pseudo-parliament, with a purely advisory role; 
it included well-knov/n Vietnamese politicia,ns , but could not claim support 
of a broad popular base or the main political forces' in Vietnam. While 
Premier Tho's previous conn.ection with the Diem government was now a politi- 
cal liabj.lity, there was a shortage of national figures who were not tarred 
with this brush one way or another, l/ 

^^ ' On the U.S. side, General Harkins, COMUSimCV, who had long been 

known to be pro-Diem, was clearly on his way out, although his de-parture 
was to be delayed until the middle of 196^4. Ambassador Lodge had replaced 
Kolting just before the Diem coup, and was held in that cautious respect 
appropriate to the widespread belief among Vietnam^ese that he had engineered 


In the last weeks of I963, the U.S. government reassessed the 
progress of the counterinsurgency effort and the policy options. Plans 
for pha.sed withdrawal of 1,000 U.S. advisers by end-1963 went through the 
motions by concentrating rotations hom,e in December and letting strength 
rebound in the subsequent two months. A realistic appraisal by Secretary 
McWamara showed that the VC were continuing to gain steadily, especially 
in the Delta. 2/ U.S.. policy continued to be to provide U.S. resources 
and personnel to the extent necessary. 3/ 

The tone of USG internal documents and of its dealings with GVN 
was that of a benevolent big brother anxious to see little brother make 
good on his own -- but with the benefit of extensive advice. U.S. pres- 
sure induced the GVH to break up the palace guard and to move coup-protection 
Ranger units out into the countryside, though j,t turned out that other units 
stayed near Saigon for this purpose. A proposal to put all arrmiunition stocks 
jn Vietnam under U.S. control surfaced in November, only to sink without 
8 trace, k/ There was gentle pressare to persuade the GVN to allow USOM 
e-oiiomics staffs to share the offices of . their counterparts^ and to let 
r ^hem get involved extensively in qvN budgeting. 5/ The USlS and Ambassador 

1 TOP SECRET - Seiisitiv:e 

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TOP SECRET - Sensi tive ^^„^^^/....; ^f 

LdFe trJed to persuade General Minh to travel aroimd the countryside to 
build a followJng and convince the people that the government cared about 
them but with little success. 6/ The overall USG appraisal was that the 
GW was weak and drifting at the^-top level, to set firm national 
policies and to issue detailed instructions, and that at lower levels it 
was' in complete taxrmoil because of the turnover of personnel following 
' the coup and because of the lack of firm national leadership. 7/ 


Vfeether to push the GVN harder was a subject of disagreement be- 
tween State and Ambassador Lodge. The St,ate view was that the GVN must 
prove its resolution to adopt economic, social and political measures to 
suiport the effort against the VC, and must move tox-rard self-support. 
Moreover, State said: 

"We will obscure the actual need for GVN adjustments 
if we yield too easily at this stage to GVN pressure for . 
more commercial iHiport aid." 8/ 

In contrast. Lodge said it was essential 

"to provide some increase in overall level of 
economic aid. . .Tt is in my view politically unacceptable 
and psychologically impossible to tell Big Mini that he 
is going to get less than Diem." 9/ 

Besides wanting to go easy on the GVN on aid [Leverage, he opposed p.ressure 
( ' for early elections. Lodge's position li.s clear from the Honolulu Conference 

(November I963) Report, which stated; 

"The Ambassador. . .considers it essential that the U.S. 
not press the new goverm-nent \induly. He stated that they are 
in a "most delicate state, and are not ready for a system 
which repl-aces goA/'ernm.ents by elective process rather than 
by violence; that this is beyond their horizon at this time 
and we should not seek to recreate in Vietnam our image of 
the democratic ideal." 

Early in January, 1964, Lodge restated this view in a cable: 


^'It is obvious that /tlie Vietnamese generals/ are^all 
we have got and that we must try as hard to make them^inbo 
successful politicians as we are trying to m^ake them Into 
successful military men/' 10/ 

Behind these differences within the UHG a.-nd hetween the USG and 
the GVN lay a certain nack of confidence in fXiture hehavior. Some in the 
U S wer-e concerned that the GVN mAght drift towo.rd a "neutralism like 
that of" Laos, i-l/ At the same time, the GVI feared the U.S. would nego- 
tjate behind its back or force it to accept an unfavorable settlement. 12/ 
■ These concerns made it appropriate for the President to issue his New 
Yearns greeting tc the GVN: 

2 TOP SECRET - 'Sensitive 

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TOP SECRET " Sens itive 

"As \7e enter the New Year of 196^[-5 I want to v/ish you, 
your revolutionary government, 8.nd your people full success 
in the long and arduous war vrtiich you are waging so tena.ciously 
and bra.vely against the Viet Cong forces directed and supported 
"by the Coirniiunist regime in Hanoi,.. Qui* aims are. 1 know/ identi- 
cal v/ith yours: to enable your governiuent to protect its people 
from the acts of terror perpetrated "by Coiriinunist insurgents 
from the North. As the forces of your government become in- 
creasingly capa.ble of dealing vrlth this aggression, Americs^n 
military personnel in South "Viet-Nam ce.n be progressively with- 

"The United States Goveriiment sha^res the view of your 
govermnent that * neutralization' of South Viet-Nam is unaccepta- 
ble. As long as the Corrmiunist regime in North Viet-Nam persists 
in its aggressive policy, neutralization of South Viet-Nam v^ould 
only be another na.m.e for a Communist Peace will re- 
turn to your country just as soon a^s the" authorities in Ha.noi 
cease and desist from, their terrorist Svggression. " 

In keeping with the a/ctitude of concern but not. alarm about the 
GVN's conduct of the war, SecSta/te's ca.ble tra.nsmitting the President's j 
message directed Lodge to offer the following eleven points of confidential 
advice on behalf of the President: , 


"1. It is vita.lly Imiporta^nfc to a.ct now to reverse the 
trend of the war as rapidly as possible. 

2. We trust that personnel changes are now virtually 
complete and that both malitary commanders and province chiefs 
can now get dowa to the job at hand. 

3. We hope that General Mlnh ca.n designate a Chief of 
the Joint General Staff and a. comjinander of the III Corps who 
will no other responsibilities and can devote them,selves 
exclusively to these ma^minoth tasks. 

k. We assum.e that, a.s Genera.1 Don promised Secreta.ry 

McNamara, . the GVN will make available sufficient troops in 
the six key provinces ixi the III Corpus to give its forces the 
necessary numerical superiority. 

5- We have been glad to learn of the stress which General 
Minn places on auctions, particularly in the Mekong 
Delta. We hope that eq,ual stress vrlD-l be placed on night 
actions, both for ambushing Viet Cong a.nd for relieving villa.ges 
under attack. To win the support of the popule/clon it needs 
to be emphatically dem-onstra.ted that the Viet Cong are being 
bea^ten precisely at their own game. 

6. We consider it extremely mportant that the necessary 
civll-m.llitary coordinating machinery for clear-and-hold operation 

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followed Iry an effective program to give the villages protection 
and secujrity tie established in Saigon. 

7. It is llkev7ise extremely important that program 
directives" be issued at an early stage by the central govern- 
ment to lovrer echelons for proper implementation of all aspects 
of the program for giving villagers protection. 

8. We also urge early revitalization of the amnesty 

9. We are encouraged by the exploratory talks which 
the Vietnamese Government has held with Cambodian Govern- 
ment officials for improving relations between the two couji- ■ 
trJes. We hope that both Governroents can proceed to actual 
negotiations for the settlement of their bilateral problems. 

10. We accept with pleasure General Minli's Invitation 
to set up an American brain-trust to work with his government 
and we are prepared to furnish any personnel needed for this J 
purpose. ■ . ■ ■ 

11. Genera.]. MinJi can also be sure' that he has the com- 
plete support of the United States Government as th^ leader 
of Vnet-Wam. We believe he can magnetically rally the Viet- 
namese people if he will really try to do so. He should be 
told leadership is an essential political ingredient of _ 
victory such as was the case with Magsaysay in the Philipp-ines . i^ 

In thas overall context the U.S. had already moved discreetly 
toward greater invo.lvement in Vietnamese adm.inistration at lower levels. 
Tate in 1963, the USG and GVN agreed on a "Decentra-lization ol Action 
mcha.-e. Using AID de facto control of AID comiodities to the province 
level" (even though they" passed to Vietnamese ownership at the doc.^j, U.b 
advisers could assure that no AID comodities came out to the province with- 
:'! their consent. Ihey could_and did extend ^Ms control to cover releases 
of these commodities from province warehouses. U.S. officials controliea 
the distribution of AID commodities because they controlled all Saigon 
warehouses set aside for these commodities, even though the warehouses, 
like the comm.odities, belonged to the Vietnamese. '\}\] 

Among the many problems that were to keep recurring was that of 
freedom of the press. FoLlowing an ini.tial honeymoon period after the 
coup! trouble broke out between GVN and the U.S. press corps. This reached ^ 
a cfimax with the temporary barring of the We^. 121^. J line s from Vietnamese 
aistr^bution channels when it ran a story reporting dissension among the 
VletSmese Generals. 15/ In general, Lodge sided with GVN on this issue, 
Isshown m his reported views at the November, 1963, Honolulu Conference: 

"The U.S. press should be induced to leave the new 
government alone. They have exerted great influence on 

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events in Vietne^m in the past^ and ca,n be expected to do so 
again. Extensive press criticism^, at this Juncture^ could 
be disastrous." 

On January 1^ I96U5 there vrere 15591^ U.S. military pers-onnel 
in South Vietnam. Fever than 2,000 of these were advisors to RVME, but 
the advisor structure extended down to ARVN line battalions, and advisors 
accompanied conibat units on operations. YjJ The MA.P budget for South 
Vietnam in FY I96U v/as $3-75 million, although it was expected that an 
additional $12.5 million would be required before the end of the year. 18/ 

In s^ummary, the USG-^s decisions near the end of 1963 started 
modest changes in our Vietnam programs. Program levels held even, and 
earlier hopes of immediate phasedown faded. The USG moved toward more 
involvement in Vietnamese day-to-day administration^ particularly at the 
province level. The move v;as gentle, and stopped far short of a takeover; 
nothing of the sort was contemplated at that time. The USG was sceptical 
of GVN^s leadership and administration at all levels, and continued to 
offer extensive and detailed advice, but had no drastic policy changes 
in mind . 

2 • The First Mirjli GovGrnjnent Go es Down , January ,___196'i 

The year began with increasing Vietnamese criticism of the Minh 
government. It had done little to gain popularity in the country, and 
felt the sting of accusations of discrimination from both Buddhists and 
Catholics. Buddhists attacked Prme Minister Tho, v/ho was Vice President 
under Diem. Catholics accused the GVN of hamng gone too far to placate 
the Buddhists in reaction to repressions under Diem, There were also 
accusations of secret negotiations with the French to neutralize South 
Vietnam. I9/ 

A spate of news stories about U.S. advisor disgust over ARVN^s 
timid attitude towa^rd combat provoked a cable from State to Saigon asking 
the Ambassador to prevent such stories in the future. (This standard 
phrase meant to tell the advisors to stop talking to the press.) Thus 
the Department aligned itself with Lodgers vievr of bad press stories, 
which emphasized news silence rather than corrective emotion. 20/ 

The Lodge idea of making politicians out of the members of the 
Military Revolutionary Council translated into a. plan for them to send 
out carefully watched political action teams, (He also suggested ways 
for the gene};als to improve their speech-making style.) For example, he 
proposed there should be three tea^ms of eight men each in each district 
of Long An Province. He pressed the MRC to produce a program along these 
lines with priority attentioji to security. "The workers would be tech- 
nically government employees, but most of the work they will do would be 
what we would call political work/' On the U.S. role, he said, "U.S. 
personnel should inspect, without ].ooking as though they were doing it, 
and see to it that a very high standard is set." 21/ 

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When discussing general objectives ^ Lodge and Ms tea.m got on 
smoothly with GVN. In a meeting with a-11 the top members of General 
jyfinh's government early in January to discuss the eleven points transmitted 
with President Johnson's New Year's greeting^ they persudaded Lodge that 
they were moving effectively on all points except n-omber 8, relating to 
amnesty. This one evoked little enthusiasm, bnt they said they had it 
binder study. 22/ The USOM team, that discussed economic policy matters 
with GVN economists with the objective of limiting the GVN budget deficit 
and drawing down its dollar balances found them willing to talk frankly 
and- to exaxaine alternatives freely. GVN was also willing to set up joint . 
working coimnittees to analyze the budget, the import progra,m, and agri- 
ciatural policy. However, the U,S. team found that getting jointly agreed 
bench mark da,ta and a clear line of authority for policy actions "may yet 
prove difficult/' 23/ 

Moreover, a snag developed on the previously agreed plan to ex- 
tend U.S. advisors to district level. In a one hour meeting January 10 
between Ambassador Lodge and General Minh and other top Vietnamese officers 
and officials. General Kim stressed the extreme undesirability of Ameri- 
cans going into districts and villages. It would play into the hands 
of the VC and make the Vietnamese officia]„s look like lackeys. There 
would be a colonial flavor to the whole pacificatJ^on effort. Minh added 
that even in the worst and clumsiest days of the French they never went 
into the villages or districts. Others present went on to add that they 
thought the USIS should carry out its work strictly hand™ in-hand with the 
province chief. Wien Lodge pointed out that most of the USIS teams were 
Vietnamese, Minla said, "Yes, but they are considered the same as Vietnamese 
-— who worked for the Japanese and the sam.e as the Vietnam^-se who drive for 

Americans 'and break traffic laws." General Minh went on to comp3-ain about 
the U.S. hand in the training of Cao Dai and Hoa Hao. This was bad because 
they then became Aj:iierican t;^T)e soldiers, not Vietna/mese soldiers. Letter 
in the discussion, General Minh compjlained that the ICA had made direct 
contacts with the above groups. "We simply cannot govern this country 
if this kind of conduct coxitinues," he said. 2[[/ 

In reply to the report of this meeting, the Joint Chiefs of Staff 
. cabled CINCPAC on January 1^-: 

"SecDef seriously concerned regarding. . .General Don's 
earlier agreement on district level advisors as well as 
Minh's assertion that no advisors are desired beyond the 
regimental level. The Secretary considers, and JOS agree, 
that this would be an unacceptable rearward step. State 
is preparing a response. . .in which SecDef and JCS will have 
a hand." ?.5y 

Tlie State guidance to Lodge on January 17 said: 

"...We deem it essential to retain advisors dovai to 
sector and battalion level as we now have them, and con- 
sider establishment of subsector advisors as highly de- 
r~^ sirable improvem.ent from ou:r viewpoint. Such advisors 

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are best assurance that the U.S. material we supply is used _ 
i to full advantage. Beyond this, we cannot give adequate justi- 

fication for our great involvement in Vietnam... if we are to 
be denied access to the facts . " 

However, State indicated a willingness to limit subsector advisors to an 
expermenta] program in a few districts, as suggested by Col. Thang, with 
a review of the question to follow a few weeks later. State suggested 
that General Mich's erroneous statement regarding U.S. training of Cao Dax 
and Hoa Hao"deserved prompt refutation. "It is suggested Harkins accompany 
you to meetings where military matters may come up. 26/ 

In contrast to their reticence about extending U.S. advisors to 
lower levels, Minh's government had vo.lunteered the idea in December of a 
group of high-level U.S. advisors to work with the top levels of tlie G\ri\T. 
The State Department replied enthusiastically: 

"In elalioration of the brain trust concept suggested 
by General Minh and accepted by President Johnson (DepTel 1000), 
our view is that high-level advisors may be essential key 
to ingredient most sorely lacking in GVN: Efficiency and 
urgency of action. Minii's invitation to brain trust , 
and readiness to accept U.S. advice and cooperate ... should 
be seir.ed upon. . .We have in mind advisors working directly 
with VN officials on day-to-day implementation of agreed 
policy lines. They would of course be completely responsi- 
ble to you for policy and would in no sense supplant . 
■ your policy role with top GW offici.als nor would they in- 
fringe direct and comprehensive military advisory role of 
I I ■ COMLTSMA,CV. . .We recognize such advisors miist operate behind 

the scenes and that their persistent prodding must be done 
with great tact .... 

The guidance continued that the department had in 
mind the assignment of three experienced M.l-time advisors (and senior 
assistants) to work with top levels of GVN. One seni.or FSO would work 
with Minh and Tho on broad program implem.entation, one ranking AID official 
would be with GVN counterins-axgency and econom-ic offici.als, one high-ranking 
min'itary would work with the Minister of Defense and JGS. Both advisors _ 
and' assi.stants would have of f i ce space in a GVN building close to the of x ice 
they would advise. Authority was given to discuss this with GVN Lodge 
was told to ask them whom they would for these positions. 2?/ 

Meanwhile, "political tension i.ncreased. Then on January 28, General 
mmrev Mianh told hi.s U.S. advisor and friend, Col. Jasper Wilson, that ■ 
a eroup of generals, including Minh and Don, were plotting with the French 
to stagp a pro-neutralist "coup" by January 31- He asked whether the U.S. 
would support him in a counter-coup which would assure a stepped- 
UD GVN effort against the Viet There i.s no record of an official 
US reply before Hianh resolved to act. 2By The evening of January 29, 
Bianh told Wilson he would take over the GVN at k a.m. the next morning. 
Lodge inforraed State, which directed him to keep a hands-off attitude and 


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.^<^»^''^'^'^^"''^^' (X 

to make it clear that the USG had nothing to do vith the coup. 'It also 
directed Lodge to try to keep "Big Minh" in the government , at least as 
a figurehead? 29/) The next morning^ right on schedule, Khahli took over. 

^. The USG Accepts Khanli and Oioensthe__ Bidding A^aAnst the Iforth, 

Keeping Minh i/as to prove difficult. Idrianh wanted to try four 
arrested generals for conspiring with the French to neutralise SVN; and not 
only were these officers Mirf'i's close friends , but Khanh said Minh was a 
party to the plot also. 30/ The affair was to drag on into September, 
adding to the" political uncertainties and thus to the paralysis of govern- . 

ment. _3l/ 

To improve goveriiment stability, Khanh broadened his governjiient to 
make the cabinet more representative of all the political and religious 
groups, and expanded the ^/KC to include 1? generals and 3^ other officers. 
(By the end of March the MRC had 53 members.) Partly at USOM urging, General 
Minh travelled around the country and reportedly gained popularity. The . 
Council of Notables continued in its advisory role. 32/ 

Following the coup, the USG reopened the c[uestion of extending U.S. 
advisors into the districts. On February 7. 1964, the State Department 
told Saigon: . ' 

"inasmuch as recently displaced government evidently 
took no definitive position on e^xte/asion U.S. advisory struc- 
ture to subsector level. . .we believe /the/ Ambasseidor and 
General Plarkins should raise this subject at early date with 
General K^ianh. It might be useful to point out to Khanh 
that in addition reasons cited in our IO72, proposed exten- 
sion U.S, advisory structure would represent expansion U. S. 
commitment to support GW in war against VC." 

■ State anticipated that Kliani might object but believed the possible harm 
would be m.ore than conxt-terbalanced by improved effectiveness of GVN opera- 
tions in countryside: 

". . .if ■Kh.anh will not accept subsector advisors on scale 
originally envisaged he should be urged to agree at least 
to their establisliment on experimental basis in few districts 
in order to lay basis for determining whether there is any 
substantial ill effect in politica,l sense from their presence." 33/ weeks later COMUSRACV reported Vietnamese acceptance of district ad-' 
visors in 13 districts of central Delta provinces. MACV J-3 tiad casually 
arranged it General Khiem, apparently without any new top-level U.S,/ 
GVW discussion. 3V 

Klianh's government vms as receptive B.t first to top-le-vel. U.S. 
advice as it was to advisors at lower levels, although the "brain trust" 


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?omte specific reco-.enaa,ti«is for particular positiMis. 35/ 

HoweTcr there was still no sign of effective GVl action, witli 
-t„„„tTr avice. in BrLd-February JCS recomenaed a concentrated 
or Without U.S. advice. X province to restore GVN control 

"'^^"if SS'Xt I mSri: oSei^c?itlcll provinces. 36/ Deputy Ambassa- 
"r-fes in Mge's absence, objected stroogly; for he said such a proposal 
was based on the false assujnptions that: 

"(l) Indigenous Communist insurgency with fu.ll external 
■ support could he defeated hy an -offensive' of finite dura- 

(2) GVN had adequate political cohesion, leadership, 
etc., to launch an offensive. 

(3) The U.S. Mission had sufficient influence and con- _ 
trol over GVW to persuade it to do so." 37/ f' 

nn .,. r>-.+ f-K^nm POMITSMACV te] Is of Continuing delay on pacification 
A ^-'^"^'Tl^ll^l^lJ^Tj'Zit^^^^ to be revalidatea by the new govern- 
Sr^A^nL^pSnTs'pr^^ente^ to General ,a,anh on the 17th and was to be 

called Chien Thang ( " struggle for victory } . 30/ 

On February.21, 1961,-,' Aiahassador' Lodge, Aa:mirval Felt and General 
■Harkins saw Khanh wit^n a proposal for creating a corps °f . J -^f. .^^f ":^^^^';^t 
Srs to take over the villages and ha.n.lets as soon as P^^^^J^^f -°\^^^ ,^.^^° '^ 
Sete. lOiani replied that he was just about to put xnoo f^f^jj' \^ ^^f - 
S the seven key provinces around Saigon would provxde the hel.p 
doctors, teachers, and goverment advisors from Saigon. 39/ 

„, hecausf :oSiSr?^S"S S ^IL S ^^--^Sniionftrtr 
J?;; Wa...n.ton request. 


th- situation and develop Domt U.S./GVW act .on to_mee^ i^i budeet 
fttion ^40/ Saigon replied that their analysis mdicatea (1) the budget 
^^'nts i^^ld probably be smaller than originally expected, ana (2) the_ 
' nomic constoSences' were extremely difficult to predict. Economic Minis- 
f o"nh sSunned any ^iPmediate "complex study" of the economic outlook 
ter Oanh shunnea o.iy n y series of important planning exer- 

''^Sr fof t^e^o™? : S: : d'o^'fit'tS potential'cost of the pay raise 
(700 million pfalters in'l9610 could be absorbed within the present expendr- 

ture levels, kl/ • " ' 

Ihe Sobassy reported being informed on February 21 by the Minister 
of mtionS ESnomy'of a threatened Baigon rice shortage. He reauested that 

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the U S. stand ready to provide ^0,000 tons under title II PL i+80 for 
distribution to the Armed Forces. Wo U.S. coiiunitments were made. Talks 
were exploratory. ^42/ 

Although the USG recognized the weaknesses of GVN, as noted at the 
end of Section 2, these merely aroused concern at the highest levels, not. 
alarm An extreme example of the enrphasis of this period is found in ¥.W. 
Rostow's xaemorandum to the Secretary of State dated February 13, 1964. _ 
In a context emphasizing the importance of success in Vietnam to U.S. in- 
terests every-^/here, Rostow wrote only about the role of Rortn Vietnam m 
the insurgency, relegating South Vietnam's governmental problems (ana those 
of Laos) to a vague clause in one sentence: 

"South Vietnam is in danger. The internal position in 
South Vietnam created by the system.atic operations conducted 
from North Vietnsja is precarious. . .although difficult tasks 
would still be faced in South Vietnam and Laos if iJorth 
Vietnamese compliance with the 1962 agreement was enforced, 
we see no possibility of achieving short-run or ] 
stability in the area until it is enforced. 

In a cable to the President, Lodge expressed the same view. In addition, ■ 
he compared the sanctions used against Diem with the sanctions being con- 
sidered against the North, and thus by mplication treated the fall of 
Diem as the end of the problem of good government in the South, flo/ Rig-holy 
or wrongly, the USG viewed North Vietnamese support and direction of Ghe 
insurgency as the overriding problem, not merely in its public posture 
(as represented by R-esident Johnson's new year's greeting to General feinh, 
quoted on page 3, above, and by the State Vtoite Paper, Aggression From 
the North," issued February 2?), but also in its internal policy discus- 
sions. Rostow's statement says that there is no way to achieve short -run 
or lonP-run stability in Southeast Asia without putting a stop to tins 
support and direction, and gives short shrift to GVN reform. To the ex- 
tent that this view was accepted, it tended to set the face of U.S. policy 
looking outward across South Vietnam's borders, putting South Vietnamese 
weaknesses in the background, m.alnly to be dealt with the 1962 Agree- 
ment is enforced. , ■ 

\-Jhen the issue cam.e up of the GVN's internal military and politi- 
cal failures, all agreed that these were serious, but there was seldom _ 
any action. Occasional references (e.g., Honolulu, I.96)-!.), and conversations 
with some 'of the principals, m.ake it clear that the explanation f?^ this 
lapk of action was the fear that the GVI^ was a house of cards, which would 
rollaT,se if we pushed too hard. This fear of GVN weakness proved to be 
a consistent source of strength to GVN in its negotiations with the Fmbassy 
and with the USG. ^ ■ ■ 

k. McNajnara's March Trip and NSAJ-l 288 

For several days beginning on March 8, 196^1-, Secretary McNamara 
conferred with GVN leaders and with U.S. officials j.n Saigon. The trip 

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II r^ 

reinforced his pessimistic views of the previous December. In his trip 
report to the President ^ he said: 

"C. The situation has unquestionably been growing worse , 
at least since September: 

1. In terms of governm_ent control of the country- 
side^ about ^lO^ of the territory is under Viet Cong control 
or predominant influence.... 

2. Large groups of the population are now showing 
signs of apathy and indifference;, and there are some signs 
of frustration within the U.S. contingent: 

a. The ARVN and paramilitary desertion ra^tes^ 
and particularly the latter, are high and increasing. 

b. Draft dodging is high vT'hile the Viet Cong recruiting energetically and effectively. 

c. The morale of the hamJ-et militia and of 
the Self Defense Corps ; on which the security of the hamlets 
depends, is poor and falling. 

3- In the last 90 days the weakening of the govern- 
ment's position h8.s been particularly noticeable. . . . 

) k. The political control structure extending from 

Saigon down into the ham3..ets disappeared following the Novem- 
ber coup. Of the ^1- incumbent province chiefs on November 1, 
35 have been replaced (nine provinces had three province chiefs 
in three months; one province had four')* Scores of lesser 
officials were replaced. Almost all major mdlitary commands 
have changed hands twice since the November coup. The fa^ith 
of the peasants has been shaken by the disruptions in experi- 
enced leadership and the loss of physical security. In many 
areas, power vacuums have developed causing confXision among 
the people, and b. rising rs.te of rural disorders.^' 

^'D. The greatest v/eakness in the present situation is 
the uncertain viability of the Khanh government .. .After two 
coups, as was mentioned above, there has been a sharp drop 
■ in morale and organization, and Khanh has not yet been ehle' 
to build these up satisfactorily. There is a constant threat 
of assassination or of another coup, which would drop morale 
and organization nearly to zero. Whether or not French na- 
tionals are actively encouraging such a coup, de Gaulle's 
position and the continuing pessimism and anti-Amiericanism 
of the French coiranunity in South Vietnam, provide constant 
fu.el to neutralist sentiment and the coup possibility. If 
a coup is set underway, the odds of our detecting and pre- 
venting it in the tactical sense are not high. 

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"E. On the positive side, we have found many reasons 
' : for encouragement in the performance of the IQianh government 

"^ - to date. Although its top layer is thin, J.t is highly re- 

sponsive to U.S. advice, and with a good grasp of the basic 
elements of rooting out the Viet Cong. Opposition groups are 
fragmentary, and IQaanh has brought in at least token representa- 
tion from m.any key groups hitherto left out. He is keenly 
aware of the danger of assassination or coup and is taking 
resourceful steps to minimize these risks. All told, these 
evidences of energy, comprehension, and decision add up to 
a sufficiently strong chance of Khanh's really taking hold 
in the next few months for us to devote all possible energy 
and resources to his support." kk/ 

A memorandum of the conversation held at Joint General Staff (JGS) 
headauarters between Secretary McWamara and General Klianh, the Rrime Minister, 
■ on Merch 1?, shows that the U.S. pressed for a national service act. General 
Khsnh agreeably assured the Secretary that the GVN was prepared to embark 
on a prograja of national mobilization. The principal question raised by 
the Vietncmese was the desirability of raising the Civil Guard to the same 
re-lative status as ARVN on such matter as salary, pensions, and survivor 
benefits at a total additional cost of 1 billion piasters. Mr. McWamara s 
reply that he thought this highly desirable was obviously interpreted by 
the Vietnamese as an agreement to underwrite much of the bill. h3/ 

After considering various options in his reports, McNamara recom- . 
r~^. mended the following basic U.S. posture: 

"1. The U.S. at all levels must continue to make it em- 
■ ' ' phatically clear that we are prepared to furnish assistance 

and support for as long as it takes to bring the insurgency " . 
^ under control. 

"2. The U.S. at all levels should continue to make it 
c].ear that we fully support the IQianh government and are totally 
opposed to any further coups. The ambassador should instruct 
all elements, the military advisors, to report in- 
telligence information of possible coups promptly, with the 
decision to be made by the ambassador whether to report such 
information to Klianh. ... • ^ 

"3. We should support fu-lly the Pacification Plan now 
• announced by Khanli. . .This so-called "oil spot" theory is 
excellent, and its acceptance is a major step forward. How- 
ever, it is necessary to push hard to get specific instruc- 
tions out to the provinces, so that taere is real unity of 
effort at all levels .... 

Many of the actions described in succeeding para- 
graphs frfc right into the framework of the Plan as announced 
by Khanh. vmerever possible, we should tie our urging of such 
-— N actions to IQianh' s own formulation of them, so that he will 

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be carrying out a Vietnamese plan and not one imposed by the 

"^. To put the whole nation on a -we/r footing. . .a new 
National Mobi-lization Plan (to include a National Service Law) 
should be urgently developed by the Co^mtry Team in collabora- 
tion with the Khanh Government, ... 

"5. The strength of the Armed Forces (regular plus para- 
military) must be increased by at least 50^000 men 

"6. A Civil Administrative Corps is urgently rea^uired 
to work in the provincial capAtals^ the district towns 5 the 
villages ; and the hamlets .. .The U,S. should work with the ' 1 
GVN urgently to devise the necessary recruiting plans, train- 
ing facilities 5 financing methods 5 and organizatione^l arrange- 
ments 5 and should furnish training personnel at once, under 
the auspices of the AID Mission. . . . 

"7. The paramilita>ry forces are now ujiderstrength and 
lacking in effectiveness. They must be improved and reorgan- 

d. Additional U.S. personnel should be assigned. to 
the training of all these paramilitary forces. 

"A e. The National Police reciuire special consideration. 

Their strength in the provinces should be substantially increased 
and consideration should be given to including them as part of 
an overall * Popular Defense Force* .... 

"8. An offensive guerrilla force created to 
operate along the border and in areas where VC control is 
dominant. . . . '^ ^6. 

He 'recoifflnended more military equipment for ARVN^ which along with 
the expansion recomm.ende(.tions above^ added up to a total cost to the U.S. 
of somie $50-60 million in the first year and $30-^0 million thereafter. 
He reasoned: 

"There were a,nd are sound reasons for the Imits imposed 
by present policy -- the South Vietnamese must win their 
own fight; U.S. intervention on a larger scale, and/or GVN 
actions against the North, would disturb key allies and other 
nations; etc. In any case, it is vital that we continue to 
take every reasonable moasure to assure success in South 
Vietnam. The policy choice is not an 'either/or' between this 
course of action and possible pressures against the North; 
I the form^er is essential without regard to our decision with 

respect to the latter. The latter can, at best, only reinforce 
the former. 


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"The foia owing are the actions we believe can he taken 
in ord-r to imrjrove the situation both in the immediate future 
and over a longer term period. To emphasize that a new phase 
has begun, the measures to be taken by the Khanh government 
should be described by some term such as 'South Vietnam s 
Program for National Mobilization.'" V// 

Tvro courses of action that Secretary McHamara considered and 
re-iected were destined to come up time and again. With respect to the 
suggestion that the U.S. furnish an American combat unit to secure Siagon, 
thrsecretary reported "it is the universal opinion of our senior people 
in Saigon, with which we concur, that this action would now have^^serious 
adverse psychological consequences and should not be undertaken. 

On U.S. assumption of command, he said: 

"...the judgments of all senior people in Saigon, with 
which we concuT, is that the possible military advantages 
of such action would be far outweighted by i.ts adverse psy- 
chological i-mpact. It would cut across the whole basic pic- . 
tui'e of the \m running thei.r own war and lay us wide open to 
hostile propaganda both within SVN and outside. _Moreover 
the present responsiveness of the GVN to our advice -■ although 
it has not yet reduced military reaction time -- makes it less 
urgent. At the time MkCY is steadily taking actio5is to 
bring U.S. and GVN operating staff closer together at all ^ 
levels, joint operating rooms at key comiaand levels. 

The Pi-esident met with the National Secm-ity Council on _ March 1? 
and approved McWam.ara's recoirimendations; NSft.M 288 of that date directed 
all a-encies to execute the parts applying to them. To underline one 
point°further, State cabled USOM Saigon on March l8 to make sure oo report 
all "rumors of coups heard by any U.S. personnel to th,e Aarl^assador at once, 
and it gave the Ambassador full reaction authority. 49/ Then the w-esi- 
dent simmarized his view of the main tiirust of the new policy, m a cable 
to Lodge on March 20: 

"As we agreed in our previous messages to each other, 
judgment is reserved for the present on overt military action 
in view of the consensus from Saigon conversations oi McNamara 
. mission "with General Khanh and you on judgment that movement 
against the North at the present would be premiatuxe. We here 
share General IQianli's judgment that the immediate and essen- 
tial task is to strengthen the southern base. For this rea- 
son our plan-rring for action against the North is. on a contingency 
basis at present, and iiraaediate problem in this area is to 
develop the strongest possible military and political base 
for possible later action." 50/ 


Anticipating great things, the \m.te House announced Khanh 's 
"mobilization plan" on March I7, and implied USG support for him: ^ 

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"To meet the situation, General Khanh and his government 
are acting vigorously and effectively. They have produced 
a sound cexatral plan. , .To carry out this plan. . .General laianj.! 
has informed us that he proposes in the near fu.ture to put 
into effect a National Mobilization Plan 

"The policy should continue of withdrawing United States 
personnel where^ their roles can be assumed by South Vietnam-ese 
and of sending additional men if they are needed. It will 
remain the policy of the United States to furnish assistance 
and support to South Vietnam for as long as it is required 

"Secretary McWamara and Genera]. Taylor reported their 
overall conclusion that with continued vigorous leadership 
from General Khanh and his government, and the carrying out 
of these steps, the situation can be significantly improved 
in the coming months . " 5i/ 

In a speech in Washington on March 26, Secretary McNamara more 
explicitly supported the Khanh government, and gave the accepted prioriiiies 
of U.S. policy: 

"...In early I963, President Kennedy v/as able to report 
to the nation that 'the spearpoint of aggression has been 
. blunted in South Vietnam.' It was evident that the Govern- 
ment had seized the initiative in most areas from the insur- 
gents. But this progress was interrupted in I963 hy the 
political crises arising from troubles between the Government 
and the Buddhists, students, and other non-Comaunist opposi- 
tionists. .President Diem lost the confidence and loyalty of 
his people; there were accusations of maladministration and 
injustice. There were two changes of goverrmient within three 
m-onths. The fabric of government was torn. The political 
control structure extending from Saigon down into the haroH-ets 
virtually disappeared. Of the kl incumbent province chiefs 
on November 1 of last year, 35 were replaced. Nine provinces 
had three chiefs in three m.onths; one province had four. 
Scores of lesser officials were replaced. Alm.ost all ma.ior 
military coroinands changed hands twice. The confidence of the 
peasants was inevitably shaken by the disruptions m leader- 
ship and the loss of physical seciurity. . -Much therefore depends , 
- on the new govermnent under General Khanh, for which we have ■ 
high hopes . ■ - 

" "To'd8,y the government of General Khanh is vigorously re- 
building the machinery of administration and reshaping plans 
to carry the war to the Viet Cong. He is an able and energetic 
leader. He has demonstrated his grasp of the basic elements — 
political , economic and psychological, as well as military -- 
reauired to defeat the Viet. Cong. He is plan^aing a program 
of"econom-ic and social advances for the welfare of his people. 

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^ He has iDrought into support of the government representatives 

of key groups previously excluded. He and his colleagues have 
developed plans for systematic liberation of areas ^now siA- 
missive to Viet Cong duress and for mobilization oi all avail- 
able' Vietnaraese resources in the defense of the homeland. • 

"At the san^e time, Genera]. Khanh has understood the need 
to improve South Vietnam' s relations ^zith its neighbors ... 
In short, he has demonstrated the energy, comprehension, and 
decision required by the difficult circumstances that he 

"The third option before the B:esident /Ifter withdrawal 
and neutralization, both rejectee^ was initiation of military 
actions outside South Vietnam, particularly against North . , 
Vietnam, in order to suppleraent the counterinsurgency program 
in South Vietnam. 

, "This course of action -- its impl-ications and wa;ys of 
carrying it out -- has been carefully studied. , ^.■ 

"mat ever ultimate course of action may be forced upon _ 
us by the other side, it is clear that actions under this option 
■ ■ would be only a supplement to, not a substitute for, progress 
within South Vietnam's own borders. 

^ ■ ■ "The fourth course of action was to concentrate on help- 

ing the South Vietn8,mese win the battle in their own country. 
This, all agree, is essential no matter what else is done.... 

"We have reaffirmed U.S. support for South Vietnam's _ 
Governm^ent and pledged economic assistance and military train- 
ing and logistical support for as long as it takes to bring 
the insurgency under control. 

"We will support the Government of South Vietnam in 
carrying out its" Anti-Insurgency Plan " ^ 

The next day McNamara formally ended the hope of phased withdrawal, 
■H .+n-,Toinr the lower-echelon joint planning activities that had aimed at 
^ - SptacfS U.S eie nt^- in Vietnam by Vietna,B.ese. Although the Vietnamese 

^,S that the "withdra;.al" of 1000 men in December 1963 had been - P-^ten e 
Ss action now removed any remaining doubt about our intentions. The message 
was brief: 


'Model Plan projection for phasedown of U.S. forces 
and GVi^ forces is superseded. Policy is as announced by 
mn-te House on 1? March 64." ^3/ 

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5. Opening Bids onAdvice^.j;£verM.^^^ 

Armed with our declaration of support and with the promised further 
materml assistance, General Khanh signed a mobilization decree on April 4; 
at the time the decree satisfied the USG as meeting Mclfemara's recomxaenda- , 
tion on the subject. 5^ However, Khanh delayed signing implementing 
flpcrees for the mobilization decree indefinitely; and it has never become 
clear what it would have meant, if implemented. In May, Khan]i purportedly 
broadened the draft to include older and younger men, and announced fo™a- 
tion of a new "Civil Defense Corps"; but neither came to anything. On April k, 
Khanh also abolished the Council of Notables. This latter step_he did on 
his own. without prior discussion with Lodge.- As noted in section 1, Lodge, 
who aWs believed in the need and importance of constitutional government 
in SVW felt no urgency for creating a democratic form of govermaent , al- 
thouFh'many in State may have wanted to object to Khanh' s actions. 5|/ ' , 
Such ections without prior consultation were to become a sore point later 
on with both State and the Erabassy. Thus, what the USG actually got for 
the recognition and material support it gave Khanh in March was the disso- 
lution of the Council of Notables. 56/ 

^ — ' 

During April , Lodge and State continued to debate how hard to 
•Dush GVN using AID leverage. Lodge agreed with the general principle that 
the Con-miercial Import Program (CIP) should not be increased until increased 
GVN expenditures quickened the economy and drove imports up. However, 
he noted that GVN had been given to understand that they could expect 
at least the $95 million CIP in 196^- that Diem had in I963, and that 
McNamara had said in Saj.gon an-d Washington that U.S. assistance to Vietnam 
would increase by about $50 million. These assurances had spui'red Oanh, 
Minnster of National Economy, to ask for specific increases m CIP. Lodge 
thouP-ht the time unpropitious for detailed joint planning and for austerity 
measures as conditions for the last increment of 196I1 CIP. Oanh receivea .. 
credit for being too busy with pacification planning and other matters 
to discuss such matters. Therefore, Lodge proposed to use the planning 
of the CY 1965 program as the right place to apply leverage. 57/ 

State reacted sharply,' questioning whether the USG should let 
rvN off the hook on its March commitments that easily. Nevertheless, _ 
State acknowledged that "formal negotiations may not be desirable at this 
time" and settled instead for "constant dialogue to keep GVN aware of 
ns adherence to the new approach and of firm desire to see it implemented. 
T^he" desired GVN actions' included drawdown of foreign exchange reserves, 
promotion of exports, iirrport austerity, and an anti-inflationary domestic 
policy. 58/ 

USOM th°n talked to Oanh about the conimitments on the two sides. 
TTqOM fe3t that Oanh understood that GVN was to m-ove first and be backed _ 
^^bv the USG as needed, but thought that some seg^nents of GVN were dragging 
lleir heels to avoid living up to their commitments. USOM estimated a 
I15..3O mi-llion drawdown of GVN foreign exchange reserves m 196^+. 59/ 

In the last week of April, General IQianh asked Lodge for one 
ABierican expert each in the fields of Finance-Economics, Foreign Affairs, 

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-x ^ •^v.o +0 -ho pq^iP-ned to him 'personally and to have offices 
'^^'Z::^£r:^^^^^^^--^ ^^e Americans to be responsi- 
^■?e eiHr^^fnlt merely as advisors." TMs -.uest revived the bra.n ^ 
, J\j^ r-oncent discussed with the Minh governrflent around the first ol tne 
"f ■ CommeniiS Lodge noted that he had opposed pushing Americans into 
rWbecavTrof C?lon?a!.ist overtones; they world cause resentment and 
^m because ot Lo placing the blaiue on the U.S. There- 

foir he hid avoided raising the'idea with Khanh. However «-t ICbanh 
hiSkf nofproposed it removed that objection, and_Lodge felt that the 
u'.S. should respond because it was an urgent necessity. 

Late in the same meeting,- Lodge told Khanh of a State Department 
proposal for civil administrators on a crash basis in partially pacified 
areas . His auick reply, "Yes ... if you will accept losses . , , 

■nnssiblv Forrestal, to come out for a conference. 60/ Ordinarily, it: ■ 
^ f,ld be suiirfsing that Lodge would make such a big issue of Khanh' s re- 
^iva? of In fdea that GYN hat already advanced through Lodge and _ that the 
SSident himself had approved. However, his effusive reaction in t is 
Zse merely underlines his oft-repeated reluctance to push GVN. Lodge 
presented the first three advisors to Hmnh on May 6. oiy 

■ On April 30, Lodge, Westmoreland, and USOM Director Brent met ' 
with several top members of'oVN to discuss QVN's failure to disburse operat- 
ing fu-nds to the provinces, sectors and divisions and to correct the man 
poSer shortage in ARVN and the paramilitary units. Lodge ^^^f^^f^'J^l^ . . 
Samara program was failing, not because U.S. support lagged, ^^^J^^^^^' 
the necessary piaster support was missing. Moreover, he saia there was 
!n shortaee of piasters available to GVN. In reply, Oanh of the GVN said 
Se? had fniwi^ed a bad system from the French and that ^e was now trying 

to Implement new procedures. Kb.anh replied on ^^^^^-JJf ^^^^.J^^,^'"^, 
fn ra^se the strength would require an ultimate to the Corps Coramanaers, 
^ t ;hS he also slid that remedial moves were underway ^^^^^ 
Sicv. Kh.anh cou:atered the budgetary argument by sayixig ^^J^^^^, f ^ "^_ "' 
not -received money from the U.S. to support increased pa^/ for the para 
mflitl- "Lodge riplied that if he went ahead with the ---- "/^^ ''" 
T q would m4t the bill. Overall, the meeting was one of thrust and 
";r;;'rather than of consultation. 62/ This meeting followed prodding - 
from McNamara and JCS in a cable sent April 29- 637 

Cn M8.y h, KhanJi told Lodge he wanted to declare war, bomb Koi'th 
Vietnam with uls. bombers, put the country on a war footing, mcluamg 
"iSrin^ rid of ke so-called politicians and having... a government of 
.^t ^Han' " and bring in 10,000 U.S. Army special forces to "cover the 
'^SrS^dian-LaoSan frontier." Lodge was non-co.mnittal on U. S. forces, 
T,hole ^'^^■^^^^ . ^ ^ ^l,^t democra,tic forms could wait. 6hj^ 

^^' S^iytubircircal ed for an election by October of a Constitutional 
5:::iS;.^^iJ^ Roister his public support; he had his share of 
rumors and political infighting. 65/ " . • ■ ■ 

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TOP SECRET " Sensitive ..^ ^^ 

On May IS, during a trip to Saigon to review progress on the 
u .h dec?sioS McNa.rr...a\et with Khanh to express his concern over GVN 
niotion McSamra ■ t main complaints were that RVMF was failing to reach 
J^ oi?td strength leveJs a. d that budget delays were holding up pacifxca- 
J on He felt i"S? GW should announce that failure to disburse funds 
tion. He ^^^•:hj^'t.n PXT,resspd concern about the replacement of incompe- 
Zl ™;rs" su'ra S:c:m.^^ins General, of the AWN Fifth Division, 
ihe meeting w^nt agreeably, and produced the following consensus: 

(1) All present exi^ressed satisfaction at Khanh's having 
accepted the importance of speeding up disbursements. 

(2) The case of the comander of the Fifth Division "pre- 
sented something of an internal problem, but it would 
be"arra-np-ed." (This was the second time around for 
the Fifth Division case. As the result of a personal 
request from General Harkins, lOianh had agreed on ^_ 
April 25 to change this same officer "inmiediately. 66/) 

(3) Khanh hoped to spend m.ore time on military and pacifi- 

■ ^^^ cation matters i? only "this political stomach trouble . _ 
that took so m-uch of his time could be quieced. 6// 

MA.CV presented McWamara with a proposal to give '^^'^^ "^ 
^ „ i-n-h^l of *978 000 in petty cash and "seed money, to be used soiexy 
:r?b S sidv or;' discretion. ^This initial x.-opoBal suggested putting 
tie money under control of the psychological °P--^f-/-°-™^^^J;i,,^"^,,.. 
■ idea received mixed reactions, and went on the agenda of Honolulu Con 

f erence in June . 68/ 

«. Forrestal of the Vtoite House Staf f eame « th HcNa^arP , a;j^^ 1«^ 

about it s"own budget; the talks ended with an agreement to aisagree. 69/ 
r ^.,^ ^„-,.+..oi mnr.,.vl-.P and Prevailing Views of the WarsJ^aj^,^^ 

Kbanh's "-DoDit-Jcal stomach trouble" was merely a fresh case of a 
. • ^nS^rLe^eCobiem. His troubles with General Minh over the four • 
chronic ^^^^^^f ^-^^Jt^^^^''-,,^^ ,,,,,, ^miors abounded. On May 21, Lodge told 
?'':' ^ST^fur f?: s Tsu^h^umors, and suggested he talQ. tough with 
^•'' "^h^net Sen their conversation turned to General Minh, H.anh insisted 
S^t M rc;.ld be proied to have conspired with the others and with the 
f:' b S maS Vietnam neutral. la.anh and the MO planned to try the fovir 

CSt.": " :S: % Sif position to. Khanh on May 28, asserting tbe 

3.9 TOP_SECRET_^iJiir).sitive 

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s-oecial need for miity in yior of possible cross-border problems with Laos, 
^ ^anh accepted the point and agreed to soften the blow on the generals . _ 

' S fleSiSediately to Dalat, and the next day announced to Lodge an amica- 
Mp setti ement of the problem, with lenient treatment of the generals and 
new- foirid complete uni^y among the m.embers of the ruling MRC. State and 
Lodge were gratified, and agreed that the thing to do was to press for 
unSy in support of getting on with the war. 70/ However, it was soon 
comonknowSdge that the "settlement," a,mounting to censure of the accused 
officers, satisfied no one; and the problem festered on. Jl-J 

In May the first sign appeared of varying emphasis at the highest 
levels on particular necessary steps for success against the VC. In a 
DPM dated May 25, 196U, McGeorge Bundy restated the theme of the Rostow 
memorandum to SecState of February 13: " 

"It is recomraended that you make a Presidential decision 
that the U.S. will use selected and carefully graduated mili- 
tary force against North Vietnam... on these premises: 

(1) That the U.S. cannot tolerate the loss of Southeast 
Asia to Comraimism; . . 

(2) That without a decision to resort to military action 
if necessary, the present prospect is not hopeful, m South 
Vietnam or in Laos . " 

'^ Of course, Bundy knew of the'GVl's weaknesses and on other occasions asserted 

the need to reform GVK; but here he focussed exclusively on using force 
against WN. 

In contrast. Chairman Sullivan of the newly- created inter-agency 
■ Vietnam Committee 1?./ said in a proposed memorandum for the President _ 
(M8.y; 196 '4, undated): 

"The Vietnamese Government is not operating efficiently 
- enough to reverse the adverse trend in the war with the Viet 

Cong. The Klianh Governji^.ent has good intentions; it has announced 
■ good general plans and broad programs; but these plans are not_ 
V • Ijeing trans] 8t.ed into effective action against the Viet Cong 

. on either the military or the civil side. It has, therefore, 
become ujrgently necessary to find a means to infuse the elli- 
ciency into the governmental system that it now lacks. 

To remedy the GVW s lack of efficiency, Sullivan proposed that 
Americans a.ssume de facto command of GVN' s machinery. 

1 "American person-nel, who have hitherto served only as 

' advisors, should be integrated into the Vietnamese chain of 

command. "both military and civil. They should become direct 
operational components of the Vietnamese Governmental struc- 
ture. For cosmetic purposes American personnel would not 
■; "^ assume titles which would sliow conmand functions, but would 

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rather "be listed as ^assistants' to the Vietnamese principals 
at the various levels of government... 

"Americans should he integrated to all levels of the 
Vietnamese G-overnjiient . . .Ajnericans would be integrated into 
the Central Government to insure that decj.sions are taken^ 
orders are issued and funds, supplies and personnel are made for their implementation, and execution actually 
takes place. At the regional level Americans, both military 
and civilian; v/ould also be introduced. . .Americans would 
likewise be brought into the government machinery at province 
and district level to insure that the counterinsurgency pro- 
grams are actuallLy executed at the level at which the people 
live . ■ - ■ 

"Aside from the command aspect which Americans would assume, 
the principal other new element in this concept would be the 
introduction of American civilians a,t the district level. 
Their pujt^pose would be to insure that programs are put into 
effect at the village and ha.mlet level to gain the support 
of the people . » . ■ ■ • 

"Personnel at the district level would' confront a maximu:m 
risk and casualties are certain. Since the U.S. 
should take any feasible measure to assure their security, 
it is i.mpoi'tant that Vietnamese units of the Civil Guard 
and Self "Defense Corps, which operate at this level, be en- 
cadred with an adequate number of i^jiierican military personnel 
to insure that they will operate effectively." 

This DPM a].so proposed extensive reshuffling of the lines of authority in 
the GVN itself, including the elimination of divisions from the Vietnamese 
military structure a,nd placing all authority for pacification, malitary 
and civilian, in the hp.nds of the province chiefs under the corps comBian- 
ders. T3j 

The Vietnam Comjiiittee watered down this proposal imiriediately, how- 
ever. On May 2?, it went to four high-level addressees as a talking paper, 
with the second sentence of the above recommendation altered to say, "They 
should becom.e m.ore than advisors, but should not become an integral part 
of the chain of comm.and." (Eraphasi s added. ) Recognizing Vietnamese 
sensitivities and the GVN^s political vulnerability, the revised pamper ■ ; 
recommended a gradual, phased approach. But even the watered-down version . 
was termed "radical" in the cable putting it on the agenda for the upcoming , 
Honolulu Conference, jh/ 

In the new advisory program already underway, MACV reported a 
bJ^- Lmpr-ovement by late May in the experimental districts with U.S. advisors. 
People rather than messages moved back and forth. Economic and social bonds 
were' rex;orted improved. Further extension of advisors to districts was put 

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on the agenda. 75/ In pre]-iminary communications. General Taylor, Chairman 
of the JCS, assumed that their mission would be to supervise unit training/ 
operational performance, and operational planning of para-military units 
in the districts; hut he also suggested discussion of other v/ays in vrhich 
military personnel could he used to advantage in forwarding the 
tion program, 76/ . ' 

The month ended with a Rusk-Khanh mieeting that re-emphasi%ed the 
accepted priorities of U.S. policy, and unciuestionah3,y confirmed to the 
Vietnam_ese how far we were of going. First, Rusk emphasized to 
Khanh the effect of Vietnam.ese quarreling on the U.S. and on other poten- 
tial allies in the struggle. Second, they discussed immediate extensions 
of the vrar, such as attacking the Laotian corridor, and the various further 
extensions that might follow. Third, Khanh pushed hard on the idea, which 
as noted above had already been discussed in VJashington, that he could 
not win without extending the war. Finally, Khanh pledged to keep all these 
.matters secret until the U.S. agreed to overt statement or action. . , 


The language of the cable reporting this meeting is candid and 

"1. Solidarity Within South Vietnam 


". . .Secretary /Rusk/ stated one of m.ain problem 
President faces in justi.fying to American people whatever 
course of action may be necessary or indicated as m.atter 
of j.nternal solidarity of SVN. Secretary noted that if 
struggle escalates, only U.S. will have the forces to cope 
with it. 

"This basic reality means President has heavy 
responsibility of making vita]., decisions and leading /unerican 
public opinion to accept them. Difficu-lt to do this if SVN 
appears hopelessly divided and rent by internal quarrels. 

- ' "...Secretary said he was not thinking in terms of 

displaying solidarity so as to convince Paris that struggle 
could be won, but rather was thinking in terms of sustain- 
ing the faith in the possibilities of ultimate success of 
our VietnaiP-ese effort among those nations we hoped S^rould 
be in the foxholes with us' if escalation became necessary 
and if enemy forces reacted in strength. For example, UK,' 
Australia, New Zealand. Solidarity and unit of purpose in 
j|, SVN was keystone of whole effort. Was General Khanh doing 

1 1 all he could to bring about such national unity? 

, ■ ^ "Khanh replied affirmatively, saying he fully aware of 

importance of unity. His recent handling of the case of the 
H arrested Generals showed this. His clem,ency showed he v/as 

ij primarily interested in protecting unity of A"rmy. But there 

* ■ ^.-^ were many problem-S . Underlying structuxe and heritage of coun- 

try was such that only Army could lead Nation in unity. Only 

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Army had the req.uisite organization;, cadres , discipline, and 
sense of pm^pose. The intellectuals vould never "be ahle 
to adopt a cornraon point of vie\v unless it was imposed by a 
dictatorship -- hy a party as the Coramimists did, or a * family 
dictatorship* such as Diem's. This situation was made worse 
because of "disproportion between measure of political, and 
civil liberties granted in wartime situation on one hand 
and lack of background and sense of responsibility of re- 
cipients on /the/ other... He was aware he had perhaps given 
more freedom than really prudent handling of situation would 
have dictated, but he had to be mindful oft-proclaimed demo- 
cratic goals of the Vietnamese revolution. All in all, this 
disunity would not be fatal because Arrn^' itself was united, 
and no potentially disruptive force could hope to oppose 
Army and overthrow GVN. (N.B. No reference to religious 
problem.s, sects, or labor ujider this heading.) 

"2. Need for Action Outside South "Vietnam, 

"...Khanh dwelt at length on this, laying out some 
fairly precise ideas about the kind of action that might 

be taken. 

"Basically, he said that despite the pacification 
plan and some individual successes he and his govermnent 
were 'on the defensive' against the Viet Cong. He said 
pretty flatly that they could not win unless action was 
taken outside South Vietnam, and that this needed a firm 
U.S. decision for such action. 

"...He /Khanh/ then said that the 'imm.ediate' re- 
sponse should be to clean out the Conmrnists in Eastern Laos, 
who were the same kind of threat to him, and that we should 
not get bogged down in negotiations but act. 

"...Secretary t?ien noted we could never predict 
enemy reaction with certainty. How would SVN people react 
if IWN and China responded by attacking SVN? Khanh replied 
this would have even more favorable effect on SVN national 
unity and faith in victory, a.nd would mobilize usual patri- 
otic reactions in face of more clearcut external threat. 

"3. Timing of Action Against the North and Necessary 
Erior Action Within South Vietnam. 

"Khanh asked if Secretary azid i^jubassador believed ■ ■ 
he should proclaim, state of vmr existed dvxlng next few days 
and now that Generals' case was settled. Both advised him 
to vrait at least until after Honolulu Conference and in 
no case ever to take action on such matter vrithout consult- 
ing. He agreed, and remarked that if he proclaimed state 

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of war, wm would know this was preparatory to some form 
of escalation and he would never act unilaterally and thereby 
run risk of tipping America's hand. Although the matter 
was not specifically mentioned, Khanh appeared to accept 
as entirely natural that he would not necessari3-y know in 
advance if U.S. decided to strike outside W. 

"...Some question as to how enemy c8,mp will react. 
At var-ious points in conversation Khanh was obviously seeking 
some more definite stateraent of specific American intentions 
in immediate future. Secretary told him he could say nothing 
on this because he simply did not know. The Honolulu meeting 
would produce some firm recormnendations to the President and 
some plans, but ultimately only B:esident could decide. His 
decision would be influenced by consideration of all impli- 
cations of escalation: On our forces, on our allies, and 
perhaps even on mankind itself if nuclear warfare should 
result. Only U.S. had the means to cope 'with problems esca- 
lation would pose, and only President could make the ultimate 

"Nevertheless, Secretary said he wished to empha- 
size the following: 

A. Since 19^5 U.S. had taken 165,000 casualties 
in defense of free world against Communist encroachments, 
and most of these casualties were in Asia. 

B. US. would never again get involved in a land 
W8.r in Asia limited to conventional forces. Our population 
was 190,000,000. Mainland China had at least 700,000,UUU. 
We would not allow ourselves to be bled white fighting them 
with conventional weapons . ■ / / .<• 




C. Tlris meant that if escalation brought about 
major Chinese attack, it would also involve use of nuclear 
arms. Many free world leaders would oppose this. Chiang 
Kai-Shek had told him fervently he did, and so did U Thant. 
Many Asians seemed to see an element of racial discrimina- 
tion in use of nuclear arms; something we would do to Asians 
but not to Westerners. Khanlj replied he certain.iy had no_ _ 
quarreJ with American use of nuclear anas, noted that decisive 
use of Atomic bombs on Japan had in ending war saved not 
only American but also Japanese lives. One must use the 
force oDe had; if Chinese used masses of Humanity, we would 
use superior fire power. 

D. Eegardless wJriat decisions were reached at 
Honolulu, their implementation would require positioning of 
our forces. This would take time. Khanh maist remember 
we had other responsibilities in Asia and must be able re- 
act anj'where we had forces or comnitments . Not by chance 


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was tviis' Conference "being held at Honolulu; the combined 
headauarters of all Ajnerican forces in I^.ciflc was there. 

■ " , . . 6 , Cormnent 

"As can be seen, the Secretary let Khanh develop 
his ideas fairly fully and do most of the talking.* ■ Khanh 
talked firmly and effectively, and responded well to the -^— - 
Secretary's several points. He showed clearly that he was ! 
aware of the gravity of the decisions (tho he did seem a 
touch cavalier about the political problem.s of hitting eastern 
Laos at once), and did not seem to want a firm U.S. answer 
the day after tomorrow. But it seemed clear that he did 
want it pretty soon, and was now convinced he could not 
wrn in South Vietnam without hitting other areas including 
the North. He was careful to point out that the pacifica- 
tion cam-paign was making gains and would continue do so. 
Still, it was essentially defensive. 

"On the timing; the Secretary said that any 
action wouJ.d be preceded in' any event by some period of time 
for force deployments. (He did not refer to diplomatic 
steps re Laos, the UF side, the U.S. Congressional problem, 
or other types of factors). lOianh understood this, and 
also accepted the Secretary's point that we would need to 
consult very closely with Khanh himself, try to bring the 
British and Australians aboard (the Secretary referred only 
to these two possible active pa.rticipants) , and generally 
synchronize and work out the whole plan with great care, lij 

Thus although the USG had pressed GVH on many details of economic 
•nolicy, administration, and pacification, contacts at the highest level 
told GVN that if the Vietnamiese leaders would only stick" together to prose- 
cute the war, and if we compelled the North Vietne.mese to cease and Resist, 
everything would be ali right. Provided the GVN didn't embarrass the USG ■ 
too much, there was no limit to how far we would go to support them; and 
amrt from "unity" and a reasonable show of effort, there was no onus on 
them to deliver the goods. lOianh's claim that he could not win without 
extending the war, and that the Vietnamese were tired of the long dreary ■ 
grind of pacification, met no U.S. objection. 

7 • The Honolu lu Conf erence and Its Fol low2UEj_iuriB^,_196Ji 

The Honolulu Conference met on short notice with an air of urgency; 
^rincvnals included McNamara, Rusk, Lodge, Taylor, and Westmoreland. 
Sesentations of the current situation preceded consideration of additional' 
SasLes to be taken. Lodge briefed those, present on the political status. 
Hesaid the situation could "jog along," but he thought that some external 
abflou would be a big lift to South Vietnam.ese morale. Lodge s prediction 
was' more optimistic than lator events, in August, proved justified; he said 
•■tf we bombed Tchepone or attacked the [mi\ torpedo/ boats and the Vietnam^ese 
^PO-Dle knew about it, this would. . .unify their efforts and reduce /their/ 
quarreling." In reply to a question by Rusk, he opposed the idea of a more 

1^SiiS^rrnre';?irt^^ ^e seen; the Secretary spoke freely. 

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•pnvm-il ioiPt USG/GVN organization at the top; McNamara hoped that a more 
for^i orgfn:l^:ation wo.ld evolve. Lodge felt that the USG/gVN relationshxp 
washarmonious, and that GVN was responsive to advice. He like the present 
Methods of dealing -with them. Westmoreland called the _ military picture 
"tenuous but not hopeless" and added that a few victories were ^haaly needed. 
Both were more optimistic than was the prevailing Washington view. 7»/ 

All present agreed that the emergence of a hostile government 
or anarchy would be a major threat to the U.S position. J9/ The fear of 
this threat undoubtedly helps explain the USG's persisteno hesitancy to 
apply leverage to GVN. 

Westmoreland circulated a working paper calling for moderate _ in- 
creases in U.S. personnel, both civilian and military, for eight critical 
■nrovJnces. He reported that the GVN had recentlLy responded to massive 
advisory by increasing the tempo of their military operations. 
He felt they would similarly respond to a continuing advisory program . 
oriented toward pacification. Both Lodge and Westmoreland rejected, as 
both unwise and unacceptable to GVN, any major plan for inter-la,rding 
or "encadrement" which would move U.S. personnel directly into deca.sion- 
making roles. Their opposition ended conference consideration ox the 
proposals advanced by the Sullivan memorandum. • ,. • 

In a long draft m.emorand™,, dated June 13, 196^1-, Sullivan added 
some further insight into US/gVN relations and into the views of \o,\z^^^^_ 
Westmoreland about national priorities, beyond wnat is shown m the CiNCPAC 
record of the Conference. 

"In attempting to accomplish many of these progreans, 
we have encountered resistance both from the Vietnamese and 
from our own U.S. Mission. Ambassador Lodge. . .fears that the 
increased introduction of Americans would give a colonial 
coloration to our presence there and would cause the Vietncmese 
to depend more and more on our execution of their programs. 
The Vietnamese... have some fear of appearing to be Ajnerican 
puppets... Finally, there is some indication that they are _ 
reluctant to associate themselves too closely with the Ameri- 
cans until they feel more confident of ultimate Axaerican 

"At the cuj-rent moment, there is great doubt and confusion 
in Vietnam about U.S. determination. . .As a leading Saigon 
newspaper said on June 12: 'We must be vigilant and we must 
•. be ready to meet any eventuality so as to avoid the possible ■ , 
shameful sacrifice and dishonor to our country as m the 


"Given this sort of atmosphere in South Vi.etnam, it is 
very d-^'fficult to persuade the Vietnam.ese to coimriit themselves 
to sharp military confrontations with the communists if they 
suspect that something i.n the way of a negotiated deal is being 

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concocted behind their backs . Conseq.uently, many of the 
actions which we are pressing on the South Vietnamese are 
flagging because of this uncertainty... 

"Both Ajfibassador Lodge and General Westmoreland, at^ 
the Honolulu Conference expressed the opinion that the situa- 
tion in South Vietnam would 'jog along' at the current stale- 
mated pace unless som.e dramatic 'victory' could be introduced 
to put new steel and confidence into the Vietnamese leader- 
ship. General Westmoreland defined 'victory' as a determina- 
tion to take some new vigorous military commitment, such as 
air strikes against Viet Cong installations in the Laos corri- 
dor. Ambassador Lodge defined 'victory' as a willingness to 
make punitive air strikes against North Vietnam. The signifi- 
cant fact about both. . .suggestions was that they looked toward 
some American decision to undertake a commitment which the 
Vietnamese wou-ld interpret as a willingness to raise the^ 
military ante and eschew negotiations beguii from a position 
of weakness . 

"Wliile it is aMost impossible to establish measurements 
of Vietnamese morale, we are able to say that there is not 
at the current moment a single galvanized national purpose, 
expressed in the government leadership and energizing all ^_ 
elements of the country with a sim.ple sense of confidence. bO/ 

^ ' The selective Westm.oreland p^.an offered hope and was sufficiently 

\ ■ . general to avoj.d specific opposition. The conference agreed that Saigon 

should complete the plan and work urgently on its implementation. 

Several more minor decisions were made on unilateral matters . 
'Czar' powers for infonrntion were put in the hands of Zorthian. It was 
agreed that the DCM should be strengthened with a "truly executive _man, 
and there was to be a clearing-of-decks on the military side in Saigon 
■ through reductions in social activities and cut-downs in dependents. 
None of these measures was expected to affect the dubious prognosis for 
the next 3-6 months. The best that could be hoped for was a slight gam 
by the end of the year. 

There was serious discussion of military plans and intelligence 
estimates regarding wider actions outside South Vietnam. Subjects included, 
the conduct of military operations in Laos, a major build-up of forces, 

■ and- planning of possible air strikes against North Vietnam. The conclu- 
sion reached was that the som,ewhat less pessimistic estimate of the pres- " , 
ent situation afforded the opportunity to f\;.rther refine these plans. 

i The conference concluded that the crucial actions for the DJiimedi- 

? ' ' ate future were (l) to prosecute an urgent j.nformation effort in the United 

States toward dispelling the basic doubts of the value of Southeast Asia 
which were besetting key meml)erB of Congress and the public in the budding 

■ "preat debate," and (2) to start diplomatic efforts the Thais, Aus- 
tralians, New Zealanders, Philippines, and the French on matters within 

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their cognizance vbicli inipinged on our effort in South Vietnam. 

Upon his return to Washington, the Secretary of State cabled 
Saigon a specific listing of the Washington understanding of the ten 
actions that were to be taken to expand U.S. and Vietnamese activities 
in the super-critical provinces. The gist of the actions is as follows: . 

(l) Move in additional VN troops to ass-ore numerical 
superiority over VC. 

■ (2) Assign control of all troops in province to province 

(3) Develop and execute detailed h3,mlet by ''oil 
I spot" and "clear and hold" operations plans for each of the 

approximate ^0 districts. 

(k) Introduce a system of population coxitrol (curfews, 
ID papers, intelligence network). 

(5) Increase the province police force. . 

(6) Expand the information program. j'- - 

(7) Develop a special economic aid prograjn for each 
province . 

(8) Add additional U.S. personnel (initially from 
within SVN). 

320 military province azid district advisors 
"- ■ • ■ UO USOM province and district advisors 

7U battalion advisors (2 from each of 
37 battalions) 

(9) Transfer military personnel to fill and 
ftiture USOM shortages. 

(10) Establish joint US/gVN to monitor the program 
at both national and provincial level. J • 

The message concluded by asking Saigon. to forward specific proposals to 
effect these decisions and a time schedule, earliest. 81/ The plan , 
£%;-3ve province advisors a petty cash fund (above, p. 19^ received bo little 
support that there is no m.ention of it in either the CINCPAC or the State 
Co;aference Record. 

Upon his return to Saigon on June k, Ambassador Lodge went straight 
■Prom' the airport to call on General Khai)h. Vfliile Lodge raentlons in h3.s 
_ report that the subject of low ARYN strength was raised as a matter to be 

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improved upon^ the main thrust of his talk vfith Khanh vj-as to hint that the 
USG would in the immediate future be preparing U.S. public opinion for ac- 
tions against North Vietnam. Khanh v?as reported to be eager to learn. more 
about the details . 

On June 13, Saigon replied to the State request for specific pro- 
posals. A MAGV study had been completed on point 1 and the RVMF would 
be approached. On point 2^ it was noted that RP and ¥F were already ujider 
the province chiefs j ARVN wouH.d be approached on province command of regu- 
lars, A wordy description of "concept" spoke to the remainder of State's 
ten points. 83/ It provoked a long series of specific questions from 
Washington about the 8 provinces , asking in shorty "Plow soon can action 
be initiated?" 8^ 

On June 2^^ COI^SMACV sent his request to JCS for an increase of 
UjSOO U.S. personnel to implement this expanded advisory effort. He viewed 
these as efforts to "influence the successful planning axid execution of 
the National Pacification Plan." Subsector advisors were to be "a general 
reinforcement of the pacification effort at district level." 85/ Conse- 
quently ^ the mCV terms of reference for subsector advisors were developed 
to provide that teams would extend the capabilities of USOM and USIS. 
Guidance was intentionally not specific. 

The sdMe day General Westm^oreland reported that 5 with the Ambassa- 
dor's concurrence;, he had called on Genercal Khanh to discuss three military 
matters: (l) Augmentation of advisors a,t battalion level and extension 
of larger advisory teaans to most districts; (2) The urgent need to coordi-- 
nate pa.cification efforts in the provinces surroun..ding Saigon; and (3) The 
necessity of moving a regiment to Long An (the pacification show-case) as 
soon as possible. General Khanh' s reply was very receptive and agreeable 
on all matters. 

On June 26^ Lodge sent his last message as Ambassador reporting 
■that he and General Westmoreland had that day met with General Hianh and had 
reached "general agreement" on the concept, scope^ and organization set 
"forth in the Saigon reply of June I3 (referred to a,bove), 87/ 

Meanv/hile the proposal for a province advisors' fmid reappeared 
in a new foz-m^ and won quick approval. USOM agreed that AID should spend 
$200^000 from its contingency fimds for direct piurchase of piasters, to 
allocate to sector advisors for small expenditures (usua^lly less than $25 
at a trlme). The funds vrere to buy local ma-teria].s and services for projects 
using AID commiodities; and their use was to be coordinated with the Viet- 
namese Province Chief. 88/ ■ By subsequent US/gVN agreement, all uses of 
these funds and commodities, and requisitions of the commodities from. Saigon 
warehouses, required unanimious approval of a three-m^an ("troika") Provin- 
cial Coordinating Committee consisting of the Province Chief, the U.S. AID 
Provincial Representative and the MACV Sector AdvJsor. The troika sign- 
off had already applied to the commodities, as the means to the U.S. veto 
■ on their ijse mentioned above in Section 1. Except for a high-level agree- 
.<--x m.ent each year on the size and overall allocation of these reso-orces, 

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Saigon allowed the Provinces full freedom of action in their use. The 
intent of this arrangement was to permit prompt action on urgent projects , 
unaffected, by the delays in the GVN administration that plagued regular 
GVN operations. It also interfered with corrupt misuse of the AID commiodi 
ties and of purchase piasters. 




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Planning; for " Bomb Nort h" Am id Turbulence in the South 

1. Amb assador Tayl or's Initiatj,on^Juj^y^_Ij£!: 

Ambassador Taylor arrived in Saigon ejuid the start of planning 
to extend the war outside the borders of South Vietnam. Rusk had dis- 
cussed the options with Khanh on June 1, and the participants of the 
Honolulu Conference had mulled them over further. Although there was 
no formal decision to recommend new operations in Laos or North Vietnam, 
there was an atmosphere of expectation. A joint State-Defense message 
on June 2? authorized joint planning with the Vietn8,m.ese Joint General 
Staff for cross border operations in Laos; on June 30, Westmoreland dis- 
cussed it with General Khiem, who a,greed to initiate joint planning. 1/ 

Taylor came with a letter of support from the President .that 
cleared up any previous doubt about the Ambassador's control over MACV: 

"I want you to have this formal expression not 
only of my confidence but of my desire that you have 
and exercise full responsibility for the effort of 
the United States in South Vietnaja. . .1 wish it clearly 
understood that this overall responsibility includes 
the whole military effort in South Vietnam and author- 
izes the degree of command and control that you' consider 
8.ppropriate • " 2/ 

Either the letter was intended to prevent confusion of authority such as ' 
existed among Lodge, Felt, and Harkins, or the expectation of greater ^ 
■ militarization of the war made it appropriate to appoint Taylor Ambassaaor 
and to give him unchallenged authority. 

Taylor met lOianh and presented his credentia]:s on July 8. I<hanh 
promised hjm "the frank cooperation of a soldier." He said the U.S. should 
not merely advise, but should participate in making and implementing 
•nlans- in this he still held the view he had expressed to Taylor when he, 
Hianh, was still a Corps Coirma.nder . (By referring to Zorthian's contacts 
with the Minister of InformatJ-on, Haanh made it clear he had the brain 
trust idea in mind.) However, he noted that this degree of involvement 
should be kept secret, because of the criticism it would attract if known. 
Tiiev discussed Minh's trips around the country, and agreed these were use- 
ful and constructive. Finally, Taylor stressed the importance of Vietnamese 
unity and resolve. 3/ 

The next day Taylor called on the three Vice Premiers, Hoan, 
DO Kau, and Oanh, and received the civilian point of view. Hoan did most 

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of the talking, saying that civilian politicians like hmself wanted 
*\ ^ ' the Amy to be supported by the people, but that Khanh and the MRC 

were difficult to work with: The ruling generals control everything. 
He saJd the II Corps Commander lived like a playboy, and that the 
people were outraged; "ever since we carae to power we have been telling 
population we are soon going to have change, but it never comes. The 
people are becoming impatient." Moreover, he said, something must be 
done to raise the standard of behavior of the armed forces toward the 
population. Taylor received these views diplomatically. _4_/ 

For a while there was a serious effort to go through with 
close meshing of USOM and GVN planning. On July 17 USOM met with Khanh, 
Hoan, Oanh and others as a group, which Khanh designated the National 
Security Council. They discussed joint planning and further meshing 
of US/gVN organizations, putting the stamp of approval on the arrange- 
ment in the Ministry of Information. On July 23 Taylor met Khanh and 
discussed a second meeting of the NSC Khanh said the Vietnamese had- 
some difficulty in adjusting their ministerial organization to the 
requirements of rneshing with the U.S. mission subdivisions. Taylor 
responded that reciprocal adjustments were possible. _5_/ Planning ^ ' y 
and discussion of cross-border operations continued actively. Offensive " 
guerrilla operations in laos were a major idea; small operations had 
already begun into North Vietnam, under OPLAN 3^A. In the meeting on 
July 23, Khanh told Taylor he wanted to Intensify the operations under 
3)4A and to start air strikes against North Vietnam. 'He said again, 
^^ . as he had to Rusk on June 1, that he didn't like to look forward to 

the long; indecisive puJ.l of the in-country pacification program, and 
doubted that the Array and the people would carry on indefinitely. _6/ 

■ The events of July 19-23 made it clear that GVK was straining 
at the leash; it started public lobbying for cross-border operations. 
On July 19 Air Marshal Ky spilled the beans to reporters on plans for 
operations into Laos. Khanh coiBmitted a similar indiscretion at a 
"Unification Rally" on the 19th, and these were followed by GVM press 
releases and editorials in the Saigon press urging a "march to the 
North." All these leaks directly violated Khanh" s promises to Rusk 
on June 1 (above, p. 2^) . Taylor spoke to Khanh sharply about theiii, 
and pointed out that they could be Interpreted as a campaign to force 
the USG's hand. Khanh insisted that such a campaign was tne furthest 
thinr- from his wind; and then confirmed that it vras exactly what he had m 
mindT Following a long, eloquent repetition of his remarks of other 
occasions on Vietnamese war-weariness, he asked: Why does not the USG 

" recognize that the appearance of North Vietnamese draftees among the ■ 
prisoners taken in the I Corps meant that the war had entered a new phase ■ 
and the USG and GVN must respond with new measures? He said Vietnaraese 
spirits had been raised by President Johnson's firm statements earlier 

'in the year (specifically, Los Angeles, January 2l), but that following 
them nothing had happened.' The effect was wearing off, and the com- 
munists would conclude they were only words. Then Khanh took the offen- 
sive and complained to Taylor that U.S. officials were contradicting him 

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in public statements. For example, RACV had denied that there was 
an invasion of I Corps by DRV units, as Khanh had claimed in a speech - 
at Danang. Zorthian soothed him by saying that MACV merely corrected ■ 
a miscLuotation of one of MACV's own officials; Taylor said no U.S. _ ■ 
official would knowingly contradict Khanh. J7_/ 

Tayl_or took all this patiently; as he did an intelligence report 
that said Khanh was trying to incite the USG to action against North 
Vietnam. (The report also said that Ky was saying privately that the 
GVN should go it alone, because the USG was stalling on account of the 
U.S. election.) USOM conjectured that Goldwater's nomination had preci- 
pitated the "go North" movement. Moreover, within two hours after Khanh' s 
long meeting with Taylor, the Ministry of Defense let fly another press 
release in the teeth of USOM disapproval, when Khanh ordered the Ministry to 
reject Zorthian 's suggested changes. The only explanation offered was that 
GVN was extremely sensitive about appearing to be a U.S. puppet. _8_/ ^ 

In an analysis of these events, Taylor argued for tolerance and 
patience with GVN, and showed no hint of a desire to get tough. He noted 
that political sniping and maneuvering pressed Khanh to do something J 
dramatic to bolster his support. Taylor feared the GVN mdght get tired 
and want to negotiate if they could not get the" U.S. more involved. He ■ 
proposed joint contingency planning for bombing North Vietnam as a means 
to cool GVN off and to reopen comraimications with them. _9j 

In a long conversation on July 2.k Khanh discussed his po].itical 
problems with Taylor and asked him point blank if he should resign, 
Taylor flatly said no, that the USG still supported him and definitely 
wanted no further change in GVN. Khanh then asked for a declaration of 
support and for pressure on the generals to continue to support him; 
Tay]or agreed. (Coxrment: Much of Khanh^s political problem still revolved 
around Minh, who had long had good relations with Taylor. This relation- 
ship may have worried Khanh, and led him to approach Taylor in this^way. ■ _ 
However, it may have merely been a way to keep up the pressure on USG 
on the matter of bombing North. A couple of days later Khanh was again 
grumbling publicly about being a U.S. puppet.) !£/ 

In response to Taylor ^s discussion of GVN motives and of ways to 
make them happy, State authorized him to tell Khanh the USG had considered 
attacks on North Vietnam that might begin, for example, if the pressure 
from dissident South Vietnamese factions became too great. He must keep -■ 
■ this confidential. It said to tell him that the "USG position had not 
changed, and that it never excluded the possibility of wider action. When 
Taylor brought this matter to Khanh for discussion, they first agreed^ on 
a OW announcem.ent of an increase in U.S. personnel and discussed the^ press 
.leaks on going North. Khanh then took the offensive, complaining to 
' I'aylor about press stories, suggesting the USG was negotiating with the 
-Chinese through the Pakistani Government, behind the back of GVN. Taylor 
soothed him by saying that the USG was merely letting China know how firm 
our policy was. When Taylor asked Khanh his views of U.S. policy, Khanh 


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-^^ said he wa/nted pressuxe on the North, meaning a bombing ca^mpaign. Taylor 
'w replied with the position that State had authorized on joint planning. _ ^ 

Khanh acted pleased and surprised, promised to think it over, and prornisea „ 
to ho]d it tightly. He also said he wanted to reorganize GVN to strengthen 
his own position; Taylor asked for specifics, and urged him not to do 
anything drastic that would stir up trouble. 11/ 

2 • The Tonkin l ncidepts_andJAe_Poljx^ 

Within a week, North Vietnamese PT boats attacked the U.S. destroyer 
Maddox. in admitted retaliation for an attack by South Vietnamese boats 
on two^North Vietnamese islands. Then a disputed further attack of Norch 
Vietnamese ¥Y boats on the Maddox and the Turner Joy on August h provoked 
a U S retaliatory raid on the main North Vietnamese PT boat base and its 
support facilities. The raids lifted GVN' s spirits, as expected, and 
encouraged Hianh to clamp down internally. On August 7, he proclaimed 
a -tate of emergency, the idea he had been discussing for some time with 
both Lodr^e and Taylor. He reimposed censorship and restricted movement; ^ 
but he left politicians and potential coup-p]-otters alone. 12/ Also on 
August 7, the U.S. Congress in joint session passed the Giilf of Tonkin ■ 
Resolution. . . ' ■ ' 

On August 8, Westmoreland discussed overall joint planning with 
Khanh; the question of combined command came up, and Westmoreland mentioned 
the example of Korea. Both agreed to postpone this issue. 13/ , ' 

'^ ' On August Ih, State directed Saigon to avoid actions that could 

be called provocative, like the DESOTO patrols (which the Maddox and the^ 
Turner Jov'had been doing when attacked) and 3^A operations. State noted 
that the U.S. retaliatory raid's effect on GVN's morale would be temporary, 
and took a pessimistic view of the USOM reports: 

"Mission's montly report (Saigon 377) expresses hope ^ 
of significant gains by end of year. But also says Khanh^s 
chances of staying in power are only 50-50, that leadership... ^ 
has symptoms defeatism and hates prospect of slugging it 
out within country, that there will be mounting pressures 
for wider action 'which, if resisted, will create frictions 
and irritations which could lead local politicians to serious 
consideration negotiated solution or local soldiers to mili- 
tarv adventur-e without U.S. consent '.. .Our actions of last 
week lifted... morale temporarily, but also aroused expecta- 
tions, and morale could easily sag back again if VC have 
successes and we do nothing fu.rther." ' • 

The cable went on to state that an essential element of U.S. policy was, 
in devise the best possible means of action - minimum risks for maximnm 
^Lults in terms of SVN morale and pressure on DRV. In the context of 
a possible new Geneva conference on laos, its prognosis was that pressure 
on the' North vrould be the m.ain vehicle for success: 


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"Basically soli:itio:a in "both South Vietnam and Laos will 
reCLuire combination military pressure and some form of communi- 
cation under which Hanoi (and Peiping) eventually accept idea - 
of getting out. Negotiation without continued military action 
will not achieve our objectives in foreseeable future. . .After, 
but only after, we have established clear pattern pressure _ - ■ 
hurtine DRV and leaving no doubts in South Vietnam of our 
resolve, we coiad even accept conference broadened to include 
Vietnam issue." (Underlining in original.) 

On the touchy aspect of US/GVN relations, it simply said: ' - 

"Joint US/aVN planning, already covers possible actions 
against DRV and the Panhandle. It can be used in Itself to 
maintain morale of GVN leadership, as^well as to control 
and inhibit any unilateral GVN moves." lA/ 

The Taylor reply to the above message differed only in emphasis. 

"...Underlying our analysis is the apparent assum.ption 
of DepTel ^1-39 (which we believe is correct) that the present 
in- country pacification plan is not enough in itself to main- 
tain National m„orale or to offer reasonable hope of eventual -^ 
success. Something must be added in the coming months. 

"Statement of the problem - A. The course which U.S. 
policy in South Vietnam should take during the coming m^onths : 
can be expressed in terms of fovir objectives. The first and 
- most iraportant objective is to gain time for the Rianh ^ govern- 
■ ment to develop a certain stability and to give some firm 
evidence of viability. SJ.nce any of the courses, of action^ 
considered in this cable carry a considerable m^easure of risk 
to the U.S., we should be slow to get too deeply involved 
in them u:atil we have a better feel of the quality of our 
ally. In particular, if we can avoid it, we should not get 
involved militarily with North Vietnam and possibly with 
Red China if our base in South Vietnam is insecure and Kbianh's 
Army is tied down every^-rhere by the VC insurgency. Hence, 
it is to our interest to gain sufficient time not only^to allow 
Khanh to prove that he can govern, but also to free Saigon 
from the VC threat which presently rings it and- assure that 
sufficient GVN ground forces will be available to provide a 
reasonable measure of defense against any DRV ground reaction 
which may develop in the execution of our program and thus ■ . 
avoid tha possible req,uirement for a major U.S. ground force ^ '■ ■ 
commitment . . ^ 

■ "A second objective in this period is the maintenance 
of morale in South Vietnam, particularly within the Khanh govern- 
ment. This should not be difficult in the case of the govern- 
ment if we can give Khanh assurance of our readiness to bring 
added pressure on Hanoi if he provides evidence of a.bility 

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— . ' — '"■"■"" ' 

to do his part. Thirdly, while gaining time for_Khanh, we ' _ 

must he ahle to hold the DRV in check and restrain a further 

buildup of Viet Cong strength byway of infiltration from 

the North. Finally, throughout this period, we should be ■ _ 

developing a posture of maximum readiness for a deliberate 

escalate- on of press-ore against North Vietnam, using January 1, . 

1965, as a target D-Day. We must always recognize, _ however, 

that events, may ^ force us to advance D-Day to a considerably 

earlier date. . ." ■ ■ 

"In approaching the Khanh Government, we should express 
our willingness to Khanh to engage in planning and eventually 
to exert intense pressure on North Vietnam, providing certain 
conditions are met in advance. In the first place before we 
would agree to go all out against the DRV, he must stabilize 
his Government and make some progress in cleaning up his 
operational backyard^ Specifically, he must execute the 
initial phases of the Hop Tac Plan successfully to^the ex- 
tent of pushing the Viet Cong from the doors of Saigon. 
The overall pacification prograan, including Hop Tac should 
progress sufficiently to allow earm.arking at least three ■ 
division equivalents for the Defense in I Corps if the DRV . ^ 
step up military operations in that area. 

"Final] y, we should reach some fundamental understandings 
with Khanh and his Government concerning war aims . We must 
make clear that we will engage in action against Noroh_Viet- 
nam only for the puirpose of assuring the security and inae- 
pendence of South Vietnam within the territory assigned by 
the 195^ aweements; that we will not repeat not join m a 
crusade to unify the North and South; that we_will not re- . 
. peat not even seek to overthrow the Hanoi Regime Wovx&ed , , 
the latter will cease its efforts to take over the South by 
subversive vrarfare. 

"With these understandings reached, we would be ready 
to set in m-otion the following: 

(1) Resume at once 3^A (with emphasis on Marine opera- 
^tions) and Desoto patrols. These could start without await- 
ing outcome of discussions with Khanh. 

(2) Resume U-2 overflights over all WN. 

(■^) Initiate air and ground strikes in Laos against . ^ 
infiltration targets as soon as joint plans now being worked- 
out with the Khanh Government are ready.. . 

"Before proceeding beyond this point, we should raise 
the aevel of precautionary military readiness (if_ not already 
done) by taking such visible measures as introducing U.S. 
hawk units to Danang and Saigon, landing a Marine force ■ 

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at Danang for defense of the airfield and beefing up MCV's 
support base. By this time (assumed to be late fall) we . 
should have some reading on Khanh's performance. 

"Assuming that his performance has been satisfactory 
and that Hanoi has failed to respond favorably^ it will be 
tme to embark on the final phase of couj:se of action A^ 
a carefully orchestrated bombing attack on IWM, directed 
priniarily at infiltration and other military, targets, . . 

"Eros and cons of course of action --A. If successful^ 
course of action A will accomplish the objectives set forth 
at the outset as essential to the support of U.S. policy 
in South Vietnam. I will press the Khanh Government into 
doing its homev^ork in pacj.fication and will limit the di- 
version of interest to the out -of- country ventures... 
It gives adeq.uate time for careful preparation estimated 
at several months, while doing sufficient at once to main- 
tain internal morale. It also provides ample warning to . 
Hanoi and Peking to allow them to adjust their conduct ") 
before becoming over-committed, 

"On the other hand, couj?se' of action A relies heavily 
upon the durability of the Fvhanh Government. It assumes 
that there is little danger of j.ts collapse without notice 
or of its possible replacement by a weaker or more unre- 
liable successor ...Also, because of the drawn-out nature 
of the program, it is exposed to the danger of international 
political pressure to enter into negotiations befoi'e NVN 
is really hurting from the pressure directed against it. 

"Statement of the Problem -- B. It may well be that the 
problem of U.S. policy in SVN is more urgent than that de- 
picted in the foregoing statement. It is far from clear at 
the present moment that the Klrj.a,nh Government can last until 
January 1, I965, although the application of course of action 
A should have the effect of strengthening the Government inter- 
nally and of silencing domestic squabbling. If we assume, 
however, that we do not have the time available which is 
implicit in course of action A (several months), we would 
have to restate the problem in the following terms. Our 
objective avoid the possible conseq.nences of a collapse 
of National morale. To accomplish these purposes, we would 
have to open the campaign against the DRV without delay, 
seeking to force Hanoi as rapidly as possible to desist from 
aiding the VC and to convince the DRV that it must cooperate 
in calling off the VC insurgency. 

"Coarse of action -~ B- To meet this statement of the 
problem, we need an accelerated course of action, seeking to 

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obtain results faster than under course of action A. Such 
an accelerated program would inc3-ude the following actions: 

"Again we must inform Khanh of our intent j.ons, this 
time expressing a willingness to begin military pressures 
against Hanoi at once providing that he will undertake to 
perform as in coujrse of action A. HoweA^-er, U.S. action 
would not await evidence of performance. 

"Again we ma^r wish to communicate directly on this 
subject with Hanoi or awaiting effect of our military 
actions. Tlrie scenario of the ensuing events would be 
essentially the same as under Course A but the execution 
would await only the readiness of plans to expedite, re- 
lying almost exclusively on U.S. military means. 

"Pros and cons of Course of Action B. This covirse of - 
action asks virtually nothing from the Kh.a:ah Government, 
primarily because it is assumed that little can be expected 
from it. It avoids the consequence of the sudden collapse 
of the Khanh Governmient and gets" underway with mini.mum delay 
the punitive actions against Hanoi. Thus, it lessens the 
chance of an interruption of the program by an international 
demand for negotiations by presenting a fait accompli to 
international critics. However, it increases the likeli- 
hood of U.S. involvement in ground action, since Khanh will 
have almost no available ground forces which can be released 
from pacification emplo'yment to mobile resistance of DRV 
a.ttacks . 

"Conclusion: It is concluded that Course of Action A 
offers the greater promised achievement of U.S. policy ob- 
jectives in SVN during the coming months. However, we shovLld ■ 
always bear in mind the fragility of the Khanh Government and 
be prepared to shift q.uickly to Course of Action B if the 
situation requires. In either case, we must be militarily 
ready for any response which may be initiated by WN or by 

"Miscellaneous: As indicated above, we believe that^ 
3l^A operations should resvane at once at maximum tem.po, still • 
'on a covert basis ^ sijiiilarily, Desoto patrols should begin 
advance operating outside 12 -mile limit. We concur that a 
nujnber of VE^F pilots should be trained on B-57's between 
now and first of year. There shou].d be no change now with 
regard to policy on evacuation of U.S. dependents. 

"Recommendations: It is recommended that USG adopt Course 
of Action A while m.aintaining readiness to shift to Course 
of Action B." 15. 

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3, The Eise and Fall of,Hian3T/£ Constitution 

In a state of euphoria after the U.S. reprisals, Khanh broached , 
the subject of a new constitution with Taylor on August 12; presumably 
this was what he had in mind on July 2? when he mentioned reorganization 
(above p 3'+ )• He proposed three branches of government beneath the 
MEC The Assernbly wouid have 90 appointed members and 60 elected; Hianh 
would be the Pr-esident (and Minh' wouldn't). Taylor urged Kh.anh to go slowly, 
and to handle the matter gently. Taylor feared renewed political insta- ■ 
bilitv if sweep-ing government chan.ges were announced; but IQianh said that 
the country could not progress under the existing government. TayD.or ex- 
pressed his scepticism, but objected no further than to caution Khanh on 
the need to explain these changes adequately in advance. 16/ 

On August li+, after an KSC joint planning session, Khanh showed 
Taylor a rough English translation of his proposed new constitution. Taylor 
expressed reservations: 

"We found it brusque in language and suggested to Khanh 
that in present form it could raise criticism in U.S. and 
world press. We stressed to him that internal problems of 
acceptance in Vietnam were his ovm affair, and we could 
only" offer observations on the objective issue of interna- 
tional reactions . " 

Khanh allowed Sullivan and Manful to work briefly with his drafting comittee, 
( ■ the same day, but they worked in such haste that they had little influence. 

Taylor comjnented: 

'* '■ "We conclude that IQianh and his military colleagues ,have 

decided that this sort of change is indispensable. It is of 
course still not determined what General Minh's view will 
be. We have considered possibility of seeking legal aid 
from Washington to review this charter, but feel this would 
not repeat not be useful because this document departs so ' •■ 
widely from U.S. experience and because time is so short, 
we have decided that our best efforts would be devoted to 
(]) making wording of docviment less bruS'q.ue and r.iore 
abTe both'in YN and sJbroad, and (2) assisting in proclamation 
and other sources of public relations nature explaining neces- 
sity for this sort of change. Wiether we like it or not, 
this is the constitutional form which the MRC repeat MRC _ - 
' fully intends to impose, and we see no repeat no alternative 

but to m^ake the best of it." YjJ 

Wlien lOianh secured MC approval of the final draft on August I6, they also 
elected him President, displacing Minh. Khanh had earlier complained to ' _ 
Tavlor that he had kept Minh, a big source of trouble to him, only at Lodge's 
urFin- as indeed he had. 18/ Inasmuch as Kianh had seized power using 
■ ' charges aP-ainst four generals and using unproved allegations against Minh, 

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and raasmuch as Minh was still a popular figure Kha-nh was bomcl to regard' 
Minli as a threat to his personal prospects. -U/ . 

For severe! days following the announcement of the new constitution, 
a heaI°of^:Sa.a-hu^t up a^ong students and Buddhists J^-e .s^o s ga^ 

that the J]r.lmssy did anything to ^f ^^^Pf ^/^^^^;^.,°JJ,f ^^X df sregarded. 
other than the previously mentioned words °J^ f ^^^^'^^^^^^^ ™ J^ i/the 
On August 21, student demonstrations broke ouo. Violence^ DU3 J ^ up x 
s?rteS, organized and orchestrated by the Buddhxsts and the VC. 20/ 

Taylor called o^ Khanh on August 2U in his Dalat retreat to tell him 
how seriously the Embassy viewed the demonstrations. The discussion revolved 
around "public info-cmation" and completion of arrangexaents for the new 

complaints and to try to enlist tneir ui.j.jj. ^. .^^, "^^^ . ,^, pnfoT-op the 
student demands, to crack down on the demonstrations, and to enfoice tne 

old m.obilization decrees plus new ones. 

State responded to these events with a public announcement of support 
for lOianh in more direct language than any previously used. - . . 

"The IJpited States governm.ent fully recognizes the need 
fo. national unity in South Vietnam and is, therefore support- 
ir^ the Khanh governm.ent as the best means of building such 
uSty at Sfslme time that the war effort is being prosecuted, 
Obviously anything of a divisive nature is neither in^_the 
interest of the Vietnamese goverment nor its people. 21/ 

Th^ evening^anh^et three^op Bud^^^^ ■. 

r iSS:?e':bSg::irS-t^S.S.'l6 charter and the holding of ^ee , 
elections by Woveir^er 1, 1965- I*-anh made the m.istake of telling ttiem _ 
he would have to consult the Ajnericans. 

Taylor and others met Khanh at 1:00 a.m. August 25. ^^rSfereSed 
. • \^...v.n ni-.r Tnvlor sa-id his tentative personal views as an mterestea 
?Sra Sri; S; tSf KhaS; .Suld not toucke under to a Mnority group 
on ,°chtn imoirtant i.sue as the August l6 daarter, ^^P^^^'^^g,"^^""^,;. 

concerns of the Buddhists and students. 22/ • . 

ICV.onh's -nroclamation promised to revise the constitution, diminish 
censoSS, -ct5^^"l-al Ibuses of government and permit ^^^J^ 
^tr-^tions The Buddhists and students were not satisfied, they formed 
stictions. ine ^ briefly without further con- . 

l^^:- "^ ?au:a to «,per.e -.-^-f^SSyfl^llSalSt ' 

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withdrawn^ and that the MEC wonJ.d meet the next day to choose a new Chief 
of State and v/ould then dissolve itself. 23/ 

Taylor had made it clear to Minh^ IQiiem, Lam and Khanh that the 
U,S. favored retaining Khanh as head of the GVN. Both Tri Quang and Tarn 
Chau^ fearing a Dai Viet takeover ^ supported Khanh. Aligned against Khanh 
v/ere elements of the military angered hy Kh.anh's "down with military dic- 
tatorship" statem_ent made from a truck top and the Dai Viet (including 
Khiem.;, Hoan and Minh) angered "by his appeasemjant of the Buddhists, 2|4/ 

On August 26 and 27, the MRC met, while violence erupted in the 
streets of Saigon. The evening of the 27th they announced that a triuia- 
virate consisting of Generals Klianh, Minh, and Khiem would ru].e as an 
interim, government vrhile they tried to form a new one- Hrianh withdrew to 
Dalat, and Vice-Premier Oanh became acting Prme Minister. Violence con- 
tinued, and coup rumors becam.e especially active. 2^5/ 

On August 29, a State Departmient official briefed the press, 
interpreting events. He said Buddhists and students interpreted the August 
16 charter as a return to Diemismi and repression; in meeting their demands 
the MRC had worried some Catholics, but balanced things out by creating . 
the tri\mvirate with all views represented. He said the charter had not 
been the USG^s idea, but that we had been consulted and had urged delay.. 
The demonstrations did not contain appreciable anti-Americanism, he said,. 
nor did they arise from, differences between the "go North" feelings of 
the military and refugee Catholics, on the one hand, and neutralist senti- 
ments of students and Buddhists, on the other. However, the cable report- 
ing the press conference to the Erabassy showed concern on both these latter 
points . 26/ > ' 

\ . GVN Acquire s a Civilian Flavor ,__and__the^_US^^ 

On August 29th, Vietnamese paratroopers armed with bayonets restored 
order in Saigon. Khanli rested in Dalat; Taylor called on hira on the 31st- 
to try to persuade him to return to Saigon quickly to prove he was in charge. 
Westmoreland went to see Khanh the next day to urge him to keep ARVH on 
the offensive and to press on with Hop Tac and other pacification; in ex- 
change for reassurances, Westmoreland revised a previous position 27/ and 
promised that U.S. advisors through MiACV would alert Khanh to unusual, troop 
movements. Westmoreland also obtained reassurances from General Khiem, 
Rusk suggested a letter from I^esident Johnson in?ging Khanh to return td 
Saigon, and then cabled the text of such a letter. A Dai Viet coup attempt 
was blocked by the junior members of the l^C, who had now become powerful. 
Several Generals went to Dalat to persuade Khanh to return as Prrime Minister, 
which he promised to do in a few days. Khanh did return to Saj.gon on Septem- 
ber h, 28/ Minh was to be chairman of the trium^virate, and would ajDpoint 
a, new High Nationa]. Council to represent all elements in the population. 
The Council was to prepare a, new constitution and return the government to 
civilian leadership within a month or so. Klianh was taking the line that 
he wanted to get the Army out of politics. Vfiaen Taylor cautioned Khanh, 
just before the latter* s return to Saigon, that an a].l-civilia.n government 

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-,^1. +-00 -TPPlc snd would tend toward neutralism, Khanh replied that 
'' IZIZ ZAte ^i :lIaS! Ta.lor again advised Khanh to la. the ground- 
^-!/hPtter before any more changes in governjnent structure. VJhen the 
T°iLv iate an .ouSced'^the creation of the WiC, they also ended the state 
of mIrSncy and press censorship, which they had declared on September 6. 29, 

On the morning of September 6, as he was leaving for Washington, 
TBvlor sent Rusk a f^ill review of the crisis and of its effects on the 
Sbassv-State military and political appraisal of mid-August. He san.d that 
?he SsG now had to give up on the idea of using a plan for press.^es on 
the North L leverage to get the GVN to press. on with pacxfxcatxon and 
should go ahead with these presstxres in the hope that they would raxse 
Vietnamese morale enough to keep up their war effort: 

"...miile we must be disappointed by the political tur- 
moil of recent days, we cannot consider it totally unexpected. 
The very nature of the social, political and ethnic confu-Sion 
in this country makes goverimental turbulence of this type 
a factor which we will always have with us. •■ 

"What has emerged from these recent events is a defini- 
I I . tion within fairly broad limits of the degree to which per- 

fectability in goverxim.ent can be pushed. It should be remembered 
that the recent fracas started when KhanJri sought to make his 
broad and cumbersome government m.ore tractable and more effec- 
tive. His motives were of the best even though his methods • 
"^ ■ were clumsy. But now, after this recent experience at govern- 

ment improvement we must accept the fact that an effective 
government, much beyond the capacity of that which has existed 
over the past several months, is unlikely to survive. We 
now have a better feel for the quality of our ally and for 
what we can ex^iect from hm in terms of ability to_govern. 
Only the emergence of an exceptional leader could mprove the 
situation and no George Washington is in sight. 

"Conseq.uently, we can and anticipate for the fiiture 
an instrument of government which will have definite limits of 
■nerf orm.ance . At the very worst, it will continue to seek a 
broadened consensus involving and attem_pting to encompass _ all. 
or most of tlie minority of popular front. This amalgam, if 
it takes form, m_ay be expected in due course to become sus- 
ce-Dtible to an accommodation with the liberation front, which 
' might eventually lead to a collapse of all political energy , 
behind the pacification effort. 

"At best, the emerging governmental structure m.ight be 
ca-oable of maintaining a holding operation against the Viet 
Cong.' This level of effort could, with good luck ana strenu- 
ous American efforts, be expanded to produce certain limited 
pacification successes, for example, in the territory covered 
C the Hop Tac plan. But the willingness and ability of such 
^ a goverrLment to exert itself or to to execute an all-out 


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r National pacification plan would be marginal. It would 

probably be incaps^le of galvanizing the people to the 
heightened level of unity and sacrifice necessary to carry . 
forward the counter -insurgency program to final success. 
Instead, U would look increasingly to the United States 
to take the major responsibility for prying the Viet Cong and 
the North Vietnamese off the backs of the South Vietnamese 
population. Kie politicians in Saigon, and Hue feel today 
that the po].3.tical hassle is their appropriate arena: The 
conflict with the VC belongs to the Americans . 

"We may, therefore, expect to find ourselves faced with 
a choice of (a) passively watching the development of a popu- 
lar front, knowing that this may in due course rectuire the 
U.S. to leave Vietnam in failure; or (b) actively assuming 
increased responsibility for the outcome following a tme- 
schedule consistent with our estimate of the limited via- 
bility of any South Vietnamese government. 

"An examination of our total world responsibilities and ' 
the significance of Vietnam in relationship to them clearly 
rules out the option of accepting course (a). If we leave 
■ Vietnam with our tail between our legs, the consequences 
of this defeat in the rest of Asia, Africa and Latin America 
would be disastrous. We therefore would seem to have little 
choice left except to accept course (b). 

"Our previous views on the right couj-se of action to 
follow in South Vietnam are set forth in EMBTEL )465. The 
discussion- in this present cable amounts to a recognition 
that course of action A repeat A of EMBTEL U65 no longer 
corresponds with the realities of the situation. Recent 
events have revealed the weakjiess of our ally and have con- 
vinced us of the improbability of attaining the level of 
governm.ental perform.ance desired under course A before em- 
barking on a campaign of pressure against the DRV. VJe are 
forced back on course of action B with certain revised views 
on timing." 

He went on to recommend that escalating pressures on the DRV begin around^ 
December 1. 30/ . . -- . ' 

Taylor brought with him General Westmoreland's assessment of the ■ 
military situatiqn; it included a look at the political situation from a 
completely different viewpoint from Taylor's: 

"...1. In preparation for your trip to Washington, 
I thought it might 'be useful to give you my assessment of the. 
military situation. In subsequent paragraphs I outline in 
some detail the rather substantial progress which we have 

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already made andj more importantly, the great potential for 
__ additional progress. 1 also describe military problem, areas . 

These, as you know, are m.any; but all are susceptible to 
solution assuming that political stability can be achieved, 
and that armed forces, particularly the Army, remiains intact 
and unified in its purpose. Under the present circumstances, 
however, the continued solidarity of the arm.ed forces is in 
doubt. As all else depends on holding the armed forces 
together, I e.ddress this matter first. 

" The Key Military Issue . 

"2. It seems to m^e there are certsAn conditions which 
must be met in order to preserve the structui-e and effec- 
tiveness of the RVKAF: 

A. The officers of the RVME must be protected 
against purge, solely by reason of religious or political 
affiliation. The Commander in Chief, the officers of the 
Joint General Staff and commanders down the line, must be 
given some assurance the^t their careers a-nd reputations will 
not be sacrificed, for political expediency to the ambitions 
or interests of politica.l or religious blocs. 

B. The Officers* Corps, must be assured that its 
members v/ill not be punished or expelled from the armed forces 

( if they faithfully execute the orders of constituted authority 

in connection with the ma.intexvance of law and order. They 
must be assured the>t their superiors will not a^ccede to the 
arbitra^ry demands of pressure groups whose interest it is 
to destroy the discipline of the armed forces and to render 
P ineffective the forces of law and order. 

"3- If I interpret correctly the events of the past 
two weeks, neither of these miniraum conditions have been 
met. To the contrary, auctions best calculated to destroy 
the miorale, the unity, the pride a.nd confidence of the 
armed forces have transpired in a. manner whidi leads me to 
believe that a relative free hand has been given to those 
\iho aim to destroy the armed forces. The demands of the 
Buddhists for the resignation of the Commander in Chief, 
the Chief of Staff, Commander of II Corps, the Prefect of 
Saigon aaid the Director of Na.tional Police, to na,me a few, 
appear to be b3_ows directed at the heart of the security 
forces vjhich stand between the Viet Cong and victory. 
I cannot believe that it is in the interests of the Illation 
to accede to these dem.ands . To the contrary, I am persuaded 
that acceptance is a formula for political and military 
disaster. Wliile aware that the insurgency cannot be over- 
come by mllitaz-^y m.eans alone, I a,m equally av/are that with- 
out a strong military foundation no prograia will ever achieve 

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victory. I am concerned tha,t th-c Government of Vietnam has 
already moved some distance dovm the wrong road in dealing 
with its Amred Forces. I do not knov/ v/hether the Armed 
Forces will collapse or whether , finding the present course 
intolerable 5 they will make a desperate move to regain pov/er- 
Neither course of action is compatible with, the objective 
we seek.-" 3l/ 

In Washington^ Taylor , Rusk, McNamara and Wneeler reached a consen- 
sus 'that (l) Khanh and GVN were too exhausted to be thinking about moves 
against the North, (2) GVN needs reassurance, and (3) Klianh is likely to 
stay in control, but not to get much done on the pacification progra^m. 3^/ 
There followed NSAM 31U, whose main point was that "first order of business 
at present is to take actions which will help strengthen the fabric of 
the GVN." 33/ 

5 • The HNC Goes to Wo rk Amid Fu.rther Turb ulence 

Helping strengthen the fabric of GVN proved to be easier said than 
done . 

Another coup attempt on September 13 failed v/hen Ky and Thi, along 
with other young officers, supported the existing government. The USG 
opposed the coup, and also opposed overt violence to suppress it; in particu- 
lar, USG opposed VNAF bombing of Saigon, which v/as threatened at one point 
when the coiip general.s gained control of m.uch of the city. 3V Wlien Khanh 
and Ky asked for U.S. Marines,- the USG refused; State authorized a strong 
line in favor of the Triumvirate, and e.gainst internecine W8.r: 

"(a) It is imperative that there not be internecine war 

withi.n VN Arm.ed Forces. ■ . ■ 

(b) The picture of petty bickering among VN leaders has 
created an appalling impression abroad. . - 

(c) The U.S. has not provided Liassive assistance to SVN, 

in military eq,uipra.ent, economdc resources and personnel, 
in order to subsidize continuing c].uarrels among SVN 
leaders ... , . 

(g) Emphasize that VN leaders must not take the U.S. for 

granted . _ . ■ 

"2. In line with above you should make it emphatically clear 
whenever useful, that we do not belie^^^e a Phat/Duc government 
can effectively govern the country or command the necessary 
popular support to carry forward the effort against the VC. 
U.S. support for the GVN is based on the triumvirate and its 
efforts to bring about a b3?oa,dly based and effective govern- 
ment satisfactorily reflecting the interests and concerns 
'. of a].l groups . " 35/ . - "' 

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After the coup failed, the Embassy pressed Khanh to exile the 
coup leaders q.uietly; and in the upshot they were acquitted of the charges 
against thern, 36/ 

A fresh problem blew up on September 20 when Rhade tribesm.en in 
four CIDG camps advised by U.S. Special Forces revolted against Saigon* s 
authority. It arose from a long-festering mistrust and contempt between 
the Montagnards, encouraged by the VC, and the lowland Vietna.mese. This 
problem also vexed US/gVT^" relations, because the U.S. Special Forces ad-^ 
visors generally got along well with the tribesmen, and some may have 
s^nnpathlzed with them; and in particular, it added to Khanli's suspicions 
of U.S. Jn.tentions. l\io or three Rhades had become officers in ARW, and 
Westmoreland suggested using .them as interm.ediarles with the rebelling units; 
but 1-Cb.anh turned the Idea down flat. He also declined to m.ake concessions 
to Montagnard discontent. Then Taylor sent General DePay as his inter- 
mediary to tell the Rhades they were off the payroll until they submitted _ 
to GY'N authority. This move produced a temporary settlement, but trouble 
continued to boil up for another two or three weeks . 37/ 

The High National Council began its deliberations on September 2k i 
Taylor took the occasion to comment that Khanh conceded too much to organ- 
ized pressure groups. Noting that GVN effectiveness and morale had virtu- 
ally collapsed, he disliked the purely civilian makeup of the Councl.!, 
and hoped that it would take its time about v/rlting a permanent constitu- 
tion. GVN set a deadline of October 27 for this exercise. 38/ Watching 
on the sidelines, here as at other times, Taylor opp)Osed unsettling change, 
and opposed excessive civilian influence because of their presiun.ed factional- 
ism and lack of fervor in prosecuting the wa.r. 

6 ' The HN C Ingtalls Civilian Leadei-ship^_October , 196^- 

The view that bombing the North was the key to success received , 
a fresh airing, this time in a public revelation of what USG v/as thinking. 
Assistant Secretary of State William Bundy said in a speech delivered in 
Tokyo on September 3O that such bombing would cut down the threat to GVN 
in a m^atter of months . 

Early in October, Khanh succeeded In exiling General Khiem., a 
meniber of the triuirivirate, whom he had suspected of instigating the Septem.- 
ber 13 coup attempt; Khiem became Ainbassador to the U.S. 39/ 

As the PINC deliberated. State sent Taylor its guidance on the ' 
USG position during the formation of the new government-to-be: 

' "!.' We concur that we must. . .avoid any public 
espousal of charter or people, although we v/ill un- 
doubtedly be charged in any event with considerable 
responsibility for the selection of the form and per- 
sonnel of any new government .. .We cannot privately " . . 
dlsclalmi any preference for individuals or form of 
goveriment because of our Intense interest in seeing 
a nevj government having^ sound organization, able m.em- 
bers, and broad basis of popular support. We also 

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/ ■■■■ 

want to avoid any private irapression that we are dumping 
Khanh and that as far as we are concerned everything is 
up for grabs ... 

"2. As seen from here;, evolving political situation 
in Saigon contains at least two major problems for U.S. 
EmbTel 105^ strongly suggests HNC is leaning toward parlia- 
mentary form of government with all the weaknesses which 
were so apparent in the French ^th Republic. The second 
problem, highlighted in EmbTel 983. is to avoid a sharp 
spl'it between the only real powers in the country, the 
military, and the civilian HNC, This split could occur 
over form of government or its personnel. U.S. must try 
to bring stable government of persons acceptable to both 
military and civilian." 

Then there followed three suggestions on form of governiaent and 
a paragraph on people. 

"7. Finally, there is a delicate problem, during this 
transition period, in our relations with General Khanh and 
his military supporters. The present truth is they hold 
such power as exists in SVN. Their acceptance is prereaui- 
. ' site to any successful constitution of a new government. 
Our problem is that we must not abandon one horse before 
there is another horse which can run the course. I would 
suggest: That you have full and frank discussion with 
General Khanh about how he sees the development of the . , 
situation so that what we ourselves do is in consonance ^ 
with the consensus among military and civilian leadership 
which it is now our highest purpose to build... The im- 
portcant thing is that during thi.s period we not find 
ourselves in a position where there is no one with whom 

we can work. " 40 


Meanwhile, Minh allied himself with the High National Council 
to put provisions for civilian control in the new constitution opposed 
bv Khanh and the now powerful junior membership of the MEC, Taylor tried 
to persuade them to resolve their differences q.u.ietly, and to make sui^e 
a widely acceptable document was cleared all around before publication. 
Thinldnp that things were more likely to get worse rather than better, 
Secretary Rusk suggested that the USG should prefer IQian_h. and the Young 
Turks" to Mihh and the HNC: ■ 

■■ "Bob McNamara and I have following reaction to political 
moves you reported during last week. 

"A struggle seems to be developing between Minh and HNC 
on one hand and Khanh and Young Turk military on the other. 
Between these two groups it seems to us our best interests 
are served if Hianh comes out on top. . .Problem is to get 

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government with Klianh in a leading role, ideally as chief 
executive unless some strong civilian shows up who is not 
now apparent- At least Khanh should remain as leader of 
Army v/ith co-eq.ual position to civilians in a government, 
whose mandate will run for at least l8 months,. .We believe 
it shouli be made clear that U.S. does not repeat not 
support Minh as powerful chief executive. 

"This is consensus here and we would much appreicate 
your coicmente" ^£1/ 

Once again the policy was to limit change and to limit civilian inf].uence. 
Taylor replied: 

"The views which you and Bob MclX^ajuara express .. .are very 
much the conclusions we have reached and acted upon ,. 
here." U2, 

. Minh expected to be the new Chief of State and to name the Primie 
Mini.ster. Taylor talked to him_ about the selection problem, saying that 
he wished to be consulted. Minh asked Taylor's view of Saigon's Mayor 
Huong and of Minister of the Interior Vien. Tayloi' diplomatically gave 
his very high opinion of Vien. ij^/ State urged Taylor to use his influ- 
ence freely while he could still influence the shape of the new govern- 
ment, kh/ 

The High Katlonal Council finished on schedule on October 27, 
and surprised the Embassy by electing its chairman, Phan Kliac Suu, an- 
elderly and respected politician, to be the new Chief of State. Religious 
group leaders pressured the HNC into this decision at the J.ast minute. 
Taylor had hoped and expected Minh would be elected^ although the action. 
met IQ-ianh's promise in August that the military wonJ,d get out of politics. 
lOianh and his ca,binet resigned and went into caretaker status. The HNC 
stayed on as the legislative body. Ta,ylor tried to make the best of it, 
but protested to Suu about the failure of the imc to consult him about 
Suu's election^ Suu responded by discussing the composition of the new 
cabinet with hm, naming Huong as Prime Minister. Taylor also gave Suu 
the usual polite lecture about the need for strong government. State 
went along reluctantly with the new government; IQmnh and the Young Turks 
also went along. h^J 

7- A Qu iet H ovember, 1 96^ 

At the end of October, the VC staged a mortar attack on the Bien 
Hoa air base, de;.troying several U.S. aircraft and killing four Ainericans. 
• Taylor urged a reprisal bombing like the one in August following the Tonkin 
Gulf incidents, but Washington declined to approve. Huong told Taylor 
he hoped the U.S. would respond, in a meeting to consult on Huong's pend- 
ing cabinet appointments, but the issue was already decided and Taylor 
had to discourage the idea. hSj 

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The new cabinet froze out Minhj no to improve the 
palatability of the ne\i government to the dominant group in the imC. 
Minh then packed up and went abroad on a good will tours Taylor found the 
cash cost to the U.S. running high, but recommended paying it. k^J In 
his overall assessm.ent of the balance of power in the new government, 
Taylor thought that the MRC had allowed civilians to get power (as promised 
in August) because .the FiRC feared mob violence, and thought it expedient 
to let the civilians make a mess of it so that military rule would again 
become acceptable. That is, he hoped and expected that a military retur-n 
to power would become widely acceptable. Taylor thought the overall politi- 
cal'prospects were "faintly encouraging." Commenting in reply, State once 
again emphasized the accepted links between U.S. commitment and GVN morale 
and efforts ; , ^ . ' ■ 

"a key element in either the immediate program or the 
long-range coui'se of action will be the nature of our dis- 
cussions with the GVN. Sullivan has impressed on us the 
seriousness of SM doubts a.s to U.S. intentions .. .More 
basically, we believe no course of action can succeed un- 
less we are able to stiffen GVN to set its house in order 
and take every possible measure for political stability 
and to push forward -the pacification program.." ^8/ 

These links received a full airing between Taylor and State and between 
Taylor and Huong. To State, Taylor said: 

."We have had a great deal of discussion here as to the 
minimum level of government required to justify mounting 
military pressure against the North. I would describe 
that minimum governiaent as one capable of maintaining law 
and order in the urban areas, of secuj:*ing vital military 
bases from VC attaclis, and giving its efforts with those 
of USG. As Reference B indicates we do not expect such 
a government for 3^ to h months .. .perhaps not then if the 
current attem_pts to chip away at the Huong go\/-ernment con- 
tinue However, if the government falters and gives good 

reason to believe that it will never attain the desired 
. level of performance, 1 would favor going against the North 
anyv/ay. The purpose of such an attack v/ould be to give pul- 
motor treatment for a government in oxtreffii£ and to make 
■ sui-e that the DRV does not get off "unscathed in any final 
settlement." Ug/ ' . • ' ■ 

In his conversation with Huong, the latter req.uested: 

"That I obtain a reaffirmation of U = S. policy toward 
VN. Pluong referred to U.S. action in Gulf of Tonkin and 
the lift in m.orale W had received at this display of 
determination by the U.S. to strike against the North., however, U.S. had appeared to em.phasize 
aMost excliisivel-y necessity considering war within SVN 

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itself. I responded that reciprocal responsibilities were ^ 
involved. On the OVN side it was essential that a stable 
government be established capable of directing affairs of 
the Nation and particularly of directing the national paci- ■ 
fi cation effort. . .Should his government demonstrate it was 
capable of achieving satisfactory degree of government sta- 
bility and effectiveness a wider range of possibilities 
would u-ndoubtedly be open for discussion. . .Huong indicated 
his complete understanding of the situation." _50/ 

At this time another case of non- consultation blew up. RV.mF 
reorganization plans had passed back and forth between the MRC and M&CV 
since July. Then, on November 10, the ffiC produced a plan that differed 
materially from the last one mcv had seen, Huong signed it, and it was ■ 
published on November 11 before MA.CV could review it. Westmoreland and 
Taylor both protested to their respective contacts in the strongest terms; 
the decrees were withdrawn, changed to mCV's satisfaction, and reissued. ^ 

On November 26, Westmoreland squelched an apparent coup planned 
by Ky. He heard of unusual activity at VNA,F headq.uarters and asked Ky to 
. his office. Ky bluntly stated a case for a change of leadership. Westmoreland 

said : 

"After pa^tiently listening to the foregoing, I informed 
Ky in no uncertain terms that the U.S. government would not 
support a change of command by other than orderly and legal 
process. (This statement was cleared in advance with Ambassa- ^ 
dor Johnson.) Ky was obviously impressed by my statement 
and said that he would not take action for three months, 
but if the situation continued to deteriorate he would be 
constraineJ to act in national interest." 52/ 

This episode was the first sign of Young Turk action against the new govern- 
ment, and the first recorded sign of Ky's own ambitions. The U.S. reaction • 
underlined the USG's opposition to sudden change without broad supporo, 
even though it was expected that the military would return to power eventu- 

8 . A Lecture And a Program For G VN 

NSAM 31^1, September 10, which had called for actions to strengthen 
cm had set wheels in motion toward spelling out a U.S. program within 
SVl'to complement the contemplated actions against the North. Taylor re- 
turned to Washington for consultations at the end of November. In the 
NSC he argued that a strong message to GA^N about its problems would most 
likel\r produce the optimum response. He said a threat by the U.S. to 
withdraw unless they improve would be too much of a gamble. There was 
no discussion of intermiediate leverage or sanctions between this extreme 
H threat and none at all. The discussion also highlighted the fear that 

' yjj ^^^Yit coUa-Dse or be replaced by neutralists who would ask the U.S. 

" to withdraw; all agreed that neutralism could not be accepted, and that 

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O tbe U.S. should mnimize this risk hy full hacking of the existing GVN. 53/ 

Taylor returned to Saigon with an approved ^^^'■■-^'^^l\^llir 
for GVN tha,t embodied his principal recormnendatxons . I^^/f.l^^^3^.^f^,^:.^t3 
fas an across the hoa,.rd increase in the approved ^^l^^^^:^ 

v?Ss at the highest levels that had developed in the f.rsb half of the 
year. As presented to GVN, it said: 

"It was the clear conclusion of the recent review in _ 
Wash-lngton of the situation in South Vietnam that the unsatis- 
factory progress heing made in the Pacification Program was 
the reL?t of two primary causes from which m.any seconaary 
causes stem. The primary cause has heen the gover-nmexital ■ • 
inst°hil5ty in Saigon, and the second the continued rem- 
fo -ci-ei; Ld direction of the Viet Cong by the government of 

■ North Vietnam. It was recognized tha. to ^^^ft^f^l'^T^^elY 
ward trend of events, it will be necessary go deal adequately 

with both of these factors. 

"however it was the clear view that these factors are ■ 
not of eciual'im.portance. First and above all, there m.ust 
be a stable, effective Vietnamese Govermaent able ^o con- 
^ duct a successful campaign against the Viet Cong even if the 

aid from North Vietnam for the Viet Cong should end. It 
was the view that, while the elim.ination of North Vietnam 
intervention would raise m.orale on our side and make it 
M ■ easier for the Government of Vietnam to ftmction, i. would 

not in itself bring an end to Viet Cong insurgency. It 
would rather be an important contributory factor ^° J;^^ 
creation of conditions favoring a successful campaign agam.t 
the Viet Cong within South Vietnam. 

"Thus, since action against Worth Vietnam would only 
be contributory and not central to winning the ^^f'^^ 

the Viet Cong, it wo^ad not be P^^^^^'^^^^ ^!^?!^^f ^^^f t>,ere 
which are inherent in an expansion of hostilities until there 
^erf a g^vern^nent in Saigon capable of handling the serious 
problems inevitably involved in such an expansion and capa 
lie of promptly and fully exploiting the favorable effects 
■ • Sich may be anticipated if we are successful in terminating 
Se support and direction of the Viet Cong by North Vietnam. 

Then it went to the poi.nt: 

" In the view of the United States, there is a certain 
minimum ;ondition to be brought about in South Vietnam before 
nw measures against North Vietnam would be either justified 
or practicable. At the minlmura, the Government m Saigon 


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,-''""^ should be able to speak for and to its people who will need 

special guidance and leadership throughout the coming criti- 
cal period- The Government should be capable of maintaining 
law and order in the principal centers of population, assuring 
their effective execution by military, and police forces com- 
pletely responsive to its authority. The Government must 
have at its disposa.l m^ea^ns to cope promptly and effectively 
with enemy reactions which be expected to result from 
any change in the pattern of our operations. 

"To bring about this condition will require a demonstra- 
tion of f8.r greater national unity against the Communist enemy 
at this critical time than exists at present. It is a matter 
of greatest difficulty for the United States Government to 
req.uire great sa.crifices by American citizens on behalf of 
South Vietnam when reports from Saigon repeatedly give evi- 
dence of heedless- self-interest and shortsightedness 8.mong 
so many major political groups. 

As a c[uid pro q^uo, it said: 

"...While the Government of Vietnam is making progress 
toward achieving the goals set forth above, the United States 
Govermient would be willing to strike harder at infiltration 
routes in Laos and at sea. V/ith respect to Laos, the Un3.ted 
States Government is prepared, in conjunction with the Royal 
La.os Government, to add United States air power as needed to 
restrict the use of Laotian territory as a route of infiltra- 
tion into South Vietnam. With respect to the sea, the United 
States Governraent would favor an intensification of those 
covert maritime operations which have proved their useful- 
ness in harassing the enemy. Tlie United States would regard 
the combination of these opex-a^tions in La^os and at sea as 
constituting Phase I of a measured increase of military pres- 
sures directed toward reducing infiltra.tion and warning the 
Government of North Vietnam of the risks it is running. 

"...If the Government of Vietnam is able to demonstra.te 
its effectiveness and capability of achieving the 
conditions set forth above, the United States Government is 
prepa^red to consider a program of direct military pressure 
on IVorth Vietnam as Phase II,. , . , . - 

"As contemplated 1>y the United States Govermnent, Phase II 
would, in general terms, constitute a series of air a.ttacks 
on North Vietnajn progressively mounting in scope and intensity 
for the purpose of convincing the leaders of North Vietnam 
that it is to their interest to aid to the Viet Cong 
and respect the independence and security of South Vietnam..." ^h, 

_.^ In short, the USG offered to add some of its aircraft immediately to the 
^ "^ Vietnam.ese ones already bombing the Laotian corridor, in exchange for a 

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Ml ■[■II ■ ■llH^-ll IN i»»* '*■*"■*■* - ' '-■ . ■ I I ■"■" I ' ' ' 

GVN proiiiise of a shift to more energy and effectiveness; tlien when such 
energy and effectiveness actually became visible, the USG promised, the 
USG would "begin bombing North Vietnam- 

The program included the following areas in progress would 
aid pacification and would measure the GVN^s effectiveness: 

1. and 2/ Increasing RVKAJ, paramilitary, and police to and 

above existing authorised strengths. 

3. Better performance by civilian and military officials. 

II k. Speeding up budgetary procedures and spending in the 


5. Strengthening the province chiefs. 

6. Strengthening police powers. 

I I 

7. More vigor in Hop Tac. ^ - . 

8. After a delay, "review cases of political prisoners 
from previous regimes." 55/ 

To leave no doubt about what it wanted, the program said: 

^.y . . "Better performance in the prosecution of the war against 

the Viet Cong needs to be accompanied by actions to convince 
the people of the interest of their government in their well- . 
being. Better perform.ance in itself is perhaps the most con- 
vincing evidence but can be supplemented by such actions as 
frequent visits by officj.als and ranking military officers 
to the provinces for personal orientation and "trouble shoot- 
ing." The avails.ble information media offer a channel of 
coimuuriication with the people which could be strengthened 
and more efficiently employed. The physical appearance of 
the cities, particularly of Saigon, shows a let-down :i.n civic .- 
pride which, if corrected, would convey a message of govern- 
mental effectiveness to their inliabitants. Similarly, in 
the country an expanded rural development program could 
carry the government's presence into every reasonably secure 
village 8.nd 

"If governraental performance and popular appeal are^ 
signifitantly Improved, there will be little difficulty^ in 
establishing confidence in the government. However, this 
confidence should be expressed, not merely implied. It. is 
particularly important that the military leaders continue 
to express public confidence in the governiflent and the firm 
intention to uphold it. VJhile not giving an impression of ' - 
submitting to pressure, the government might explore honorable 

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vays of conciliating its most important opponents among the 
minority groups. The United Stcates Government is prepared 
to help by oral statements of support and by further assis- . 
tance to show our faith in the future of South Vietnam," 56/ 

Taylor, Westmoreland;, and Johnson met Huong, Deputy Premier Vien, 
and Ivhanh on December 7 to present them with the new U.S. program. The 
Vietnamese group politely suggested that they did not know what the USG 
meant by a stable effective government able to campaign successfully against 
the Viet Cong, and able to speak for and to its people. Moreover, they 
noted that the U.S. program said nothing about Viet Cong use of^^Cambodia. 
At the next meeting, on December 9, Taylor gave them the paper "Actions 
Designed to Strengthen the Government of Vietnam," Governing the eight 
areas of desired progress and measures of GVN effectiveness listed above.- 
The I^ime Minister replied that the issue of political prisoners from 
previous regimes was a very delicate mattery Khanli said there was no 
problem about military support of the existing government. Taylor cabled 
President Johnson that the USG propos8j.s: 

"have been received with an understanding reasonable- 
ness in the light of the current situation but without great 
enthusiasm since they necessarily omit some of the more 
dramatic actions which the Vietnamese desire." 

The only decisons reached were for joint study and consultation, ^jj 
This was the last time the USG tried to set GVl performance preconditions 
for U.S. force use and deploym.ents. Its effect, if ■ any, was the opposite 
of that intended. 

9 • The Govern iTient ' s Support Vanishes^_^a/oj[J^ 

A new threat of crisis boiled up immediately; first, the leading 
Buddhists declared their opposition to the government and went on a forty- 
eight hour hunger strike. Huong stood fast, buf then the Young Turks 
picked a fight through a sudden demand that the HNG dismiss nine generals ^^ 
and thirty other officers. (These included some, like Minh and the "Dalat 
generals expelled by Kh.anh, who no longer had jobs but still held their 
rank and received Army pay,) Taylor backed Huong and the HNC against all 
comers, and tried to get Buddhists and others to support them. The HNC 
refused to retire the 39 officers. But the Youiag Turks, playing for Buddhist 
support, would not be denied,. In the early morning hours of Sunday, Decem- 
ber 20, they arrested twenty- two or more officials and politicians, includ- 
11 ing several members of the HNC, and made dozens of other political arrests. 

■ ■ They^also created an "Armed Forces Council" over or replacing the MRC, 

, ■' to consolidate their power. 58/ 

Through Huong and indirect contacts, Taylor found out about the 
dissolution of the HNC several hours before Khanh announced it at a press 
^! " conference; and one, hour before the conference ICbanh spoke to Taylor about 

" it. Taylor protested in the strongest terms, but without effect; Khanh 
jl _. ^,e^t ahead with the announcement. Taylor and Johnson also met with the 

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Yoiin^ TOTk leaders, Ky, Thieu, Thi, and Gang, and .gave them a stern lecture, 
speaking, as he later put it, "as one soldier to another," As recorded 
just aftervrard by the U.S. participants, the meeting went as follows: 

"-..AMBASSADOR TAYLOR: Do all of you understand English? 
(Vietnamese officers indicated they did, although the under- 
standing of General Thi was known to he weak.) I told you 
all clearly at General Westmoreland's dinner we Americans 
were tired" of coups. Apparently I wasted my words. Maybe 
this is because som.ething is wrong with my French because 
you evidently didnH understand. 1 made it clear that all 
the military plans which I know you would like to carry out 
are dependent on governmental stability. 'No^^ you have made 
a real mess. \Je cannot carry you forever if you do things 
like this. "Who speaks for this group? Do you have a spokes- 

"GEKERAL KY: I am not the spokesman for the group but 
I do speak English. 1 will explain why the Armed Forces 
took this action last night. 

"We understand English very well. We are aware of our 
responsibilities, we are aware of the sacrifices of our people 
over twenty years. We know you want stability, but you can- 
not have stability until you have unity. . -But stilly there 
are rumors of coups and doubts among groups. We think these 
"^ - rumors come from the HNC, not as an organization but from 

some of Its m.embers. Both military and civilian leaders 
regard the presence of these people in the HNC as divisive 
of the Amred Forces due to their influence. 

"Recently the Prime Minister showed us a letter he 
■ had received from the Chairm-an of the HNC. Tliis letter 
■ told the Prime Minister to beware of the military, and saxd 
that maybe the military would want to come back to power. 
Also the HNC illegally sought to block the retirement of 
the generals that the Armed Forces Council imanimously 
recommended be retired in order to improve unity in the 
Armed Forces. 

"GEI\7!]RAL THIEU: The HNC cannot be bosses because of the 
Constitution. Its members must prove that they want to fight. 

"GENERAL KY: It looks as though the HNC does not want 
unity. "It does not want to fight the Communists. 

"It has been rumored that our action of last night 
was an Intrigue of Kh.anh against Minh, who must be retired. 
,1 Why do we seek to retire these generals? Because they had 

' ■ " their chance a-nd did badly... 


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"Yesterday we met, twenty of us, from 1^30 to 203O. 
We reached agreement that we must take some action. We de- 
cided to arrest the bad members of the MC^ bad politicians ,_ 
bad student leaders, and the leaders of the Committee of 
National Salvation, which is a Communist organization. 
We m„ust put the trouble-making organi^.ations out of action 
■ and ask the Prime Minister and the Chief of State to stay 
^ , in office. 

"After we explain to the people why v/e did this at a 
press conference, x^e would like to return to our fighting 
units. We have no political ambitions. We seek strong, 
unified, and stable Armed Forces to support the struggle and 
a stable goveriiment. Chief of State Suu agrees with us. 
General Khanh saw Huong who also agreed. 

"We did what- we thought was good for this country; 
we tried to have a civilian governm^ent clean house. If v/e 
have achieved it, fine. V/e are now ready to go back to 
our units, 

"AMMSSADOR TAYLOR: I respect the sincerity of you 
gentlem-en. Now 1 would like to talk to you about the conse- 
quences of what you have done. But first, would any of the 
other officers wish to speak? 

"ADMIRAL CANG: It seems that we are being treated as 
though we were guilty. What we did v/as good and we did it . 
only for the good of the country. 

"AMBASSADOR TAYLOR: Now let me tell you how I feel 
about it, what I think the consequences are: first of all, 
this is a military coup that has destroyed the government- 
making process that, to the admiration of the vrhole vrorld, 
was set up last fall largely through the statesman- like 
acts of the Armed Eorces. 

"You cannot go back to your units, General Ky. You 
military are now back in power. You are up to your necks 
in politics. . ' 

"Your' statement makes it clear that you have consti- 
tuted yourselves again substantially as a Military Revolutionary 
Committee. The dissolution of the PINC was totally illegal. 
Your decree recognized the Chief of State and the Huong 
\\ ' Governm.ent but this recognition is something that you could 

withdraw. This will be interpreted as a return of the mili- 
tary to power ... 

"AMBASSADOR TAYLOR: Who commands the Armed Forces? 
General Ktianh? 

\\\ "GEM'^RAIi KY: Yes, sir... 

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^'-- "GEMRA.L THIEU: In spite of what you say, it should 

be noted that the Vietnamese Conxmander-in-Chief is in a special 
situation. He therefore needs advisors. ¥e do not want to 

force General Khanh; we advise him. We will do what he orders... 


- " '^iLMBASSADOR TAYLOR: Would your officers "be willing to 
come into a government if called upon to do so by Huong? 
I have been im.pressed by the high q_uality of many Vietnamese 
officers. I am sure that m.any of the most able men in this 
country are in uniform. Last fall when the HNC and Huong 
GoverufTient was being formed, I suggested to General Khanh 'there 
should be some military participation, but my suggestions were 
not accepted. It would therefore be natural for some of them _ 
now to be called upon to serve in the government. Would you 
be willing to do so? . . . 

"GENERAL KX: Nonetheless, I v/ould object to the idea' 
of the military going back into the governoient right away. 
People will say it is a militcary coup. 

People will say it anyvmy. ... 

i - 

"AJffiASSADOR TAYLOR: You have destroyed the Charter. 
The Chief of State will still have to prepare for elections. 
^, Nobody believes that the Chief of State has either the power 

or the ability to do this without the HNC or some other ad- 
visory body. If I were the Prime Minister, I would simply 
overlook the destruction of the HNC. But we are preserving 
the HNC itself. You need a legislative branch and you need 
this particular step in the formation of a government with ' - 
National Assemb^.y. . - 

- " "AMBASSADOR TAYLOR: It should be noted that Prime Minister 

Huong has not accepted the dissolution of the HNC... 

' • "GENERAL THIEU: kind of concession does Huong want 
I I ■ from us? 

' (' "Ambassador Taylor again noted the need for the HNC 

1 function. 

"GEI^ML KY: Perhaps it is better if we now let General 
Hrianh and Pr-ime Minister Huong talk- 

"GE'NERAL THIEU: After all, we did not arrest all the ■ 
members of the ?INC. Of nine members we detained only five. 
These people are not under arrest. They are simply under 
controlled residence. . . 

"AI^IBASSADOR TAYLOR: Our problem now, gentlemen, is to 
^"^ organize our work for the rest of the day. For one thing, 

the governiTient will have to issue a commamiq.ue . 

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"GEJ\1ERA,L TlilEU: We v/ill still a press conference 
■ this afternoon but only to say why \^e acted as we did. 

''AMBASSADOE TAYLOR: I have real troubles on the US 
side. I don't know v/hether we will continue to support you 
after this, Wry don't you tell your friends before you act? 
I regret the need for my blunt talk today but we have lots 
at stake . - . . 

"AMBASSADOR TAYLOR: And was it really all that necessary 
to carry out the arrests that very night? Couldn't this have 
been put off a day or two?. . . 

"In taking a friendly leave, Anibassador Taylor said: 
You people have broken a lot of dishes and now we have to 
see. how we can straighten out this mess." 5.9/ 

Amid the hustle and bustle of meetings between MCV officers, Embassy offi- 
cials, and their Vietnamese counterpeirts, Khanh and the Young Turks, stood 
fast. 60/ 

On the next day, December 21, Taylor suggested to Khanli that he 
resign and leave the country. This meeting brought to a head the Khanh- 
Taylor personal feud which' then became public and continued for the balance 
of lamnh's tenure. Taylor's report of the meeting said his suggestion that 
Khanh leave the country came in response to Khanh' s asking whether 
he should leave. But Khanh told a different story- to the AFC, who were 
still smarting from the sharp interchange that Ky, Thieu, Thi and Cang 
had had with Taylor. Imjaediately they accused Taylor of interfering in 
GVN affairs. Comm^enting afterward, he said: 

"If the military get 8;way with this irresponsible inter- 
vention in governxaent and with flaunting proclaimed U.S.^^ 
policy, there will be no living with them in the future." ' 

State supported Taylor in taking a strong to bring the situation 
under control. It approved a Westm.oreland proposal, sent by military 
channels to State, that Huong get the credit for dismissing Khanh and that 
mCV should bargain with the Arm,ed Forces Council to offer a quid pro quo 
for reinstating the HRC. State spelled out the quid pro quo in detail: 

"In support of your efforts persuade military to at 
least partially undo damage /Sunday's/ actions, we have also 
been considering possible leverage we might apply in event 
you conclude it was necess3.ry. 

"If dispute continues unresolved, most obvious action 
might be withholding approval any pending U.S. assistance 
actions and letting this become kjiown. You are in best posi- 
tion to evaluate whether these would impress generals or 

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conversely hurt Huong's position. In addition, following 
steps aimed more specifically at military have occurred to 


1. Suspend operation Barrel Roll — not certain it 
would affect generals -- might have wrong impact on Hanoi — 
obviously generals couldn't he told because that would imply 
commitment to resume if they behave. 

2. Instruct all or selected Corps or division advisors 
make known our dissatisfaction, perhaps suspending for time 
being further contacts with counterparts. ■ 

' . ' 3. Stand domi FARiMGATE. 

k. Suspend logistical airlift where critical supply 
shortages do not exist. 

"On balance, we inclined believe none except possibly 
1st and 2nd steps would produce desired results. Obviously 
any would hamper over-all war effort, especially if continued 
■ for very long . _ • - 

"We have also considered and rejected possibility of^ 
cutting essentials POL and direct military supplies. Simi- 
larly we do not favor suspension or interruption CIP, since 
^ " ■ it would primarily affect civilian confidence in Huong govern- 
ment." 61/ 

Although Kl:anh talked to Taylor about travel arrangements for _ 
himself and several other generals on the 22nd, the Young Turks haa their 
backs up (or were convinced they could do what they pleased), and all stood 
fast. Klianh having rallied the military behind him, attacked Taylor for 
his undiplomatic actions. He spoke to the nation attacking _ communism and 
colonialism, the latter an inference to the domineering position of Taylor. 
In a message to the President on the 22nd, Taylor commented: 

"Generals acting greatly offended by my di.sapproval 
of their recent actions privately expressed to four of their 
nuiaber and resent our efforts to strengthen Pluong govern- 
ment against their pressures . One unfortunate effect has 
been to drive them closer to Kharli who has sensed the 
opportunity to solidify his position." 62/ 

• He feared KlianJi would air the ciuarrel publicly. Rusk cabled support: _ 

"I wish to compliment you on the vigor with which you 
have pursued this issue of unity since your return from 
Washington." 63/ 

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But Taylor backed off from the sanctions idea. Possibly still hoping 
'^ that Khanh would go, he said there was no need for action but that the 

option should be kept open. In particular, he saw no value in suspend- 
ing the bombing of Laos. Q\] 

Also on the 22nd, while talking to Taylor of leaving, Khanh met 
with the Youjig Turks and agreed to break openly with Taylor by seeking 
his recall. State continued to back a tough line with them, and rejected 
Taylor's suggestion of a diversion in the form of a reprisal bombing on 
North Vietnam for the Brinks BOQ bombing early in the week. 

"Hanoi would hardly read into it any strong or continu- 
ing signal in view overall confusion in Saigon. . .There might 
be suspici.on, at least internationally, that BOQ bombing 
was not in fact done by VC." ^ ^ . 

■ Taylor urged Huong to insist on restoration of the HNC and declare the 
generals insubordinate if they refused. Khanh and the generals attacked 
Taylor publicly on December 23, as Taylor had feared, charging him with 
insulting them and abusing his power. Then on December 2h, Tarylor responded 
in kind, telling the press his version of the December 20 confrontation, 
and suggesting that Khanh had outstayed his usefulness. 

Khanh then threatened privately to declare Taylor 2ersona_nDii_grata; 
the Embassy replied that asking Taylor to leave was equivalent to asking 
the U S to leave. The implied threat of U.S. withdrawal was enough to 
,'^ ■ stop the Klmnh move, if he was ever serious about it. Taylor then suggested 

that Alex Johnson and the generals should form an ad hoc joint arbitration 
committee to resolve the differences between Khanh and Taylor. The idea_ 
was evidently novel enought to distract Khanh and the generals or to satis- 
fy their dignity; it disconnected the buttons that had been pushed when 
Khauh and Taylor each said he wanted the other to leave the country. 
The ad hoc committee never met, but the proposal generated caM discussion 
between the Embassy and the generals for several days and allowed xhem to 
cool off gracefully. 65/ 

However, the basic issue of the future of the HNC and of civilian 
governjiient remained unresolved. Huong consulted with Taylor continuously, 
and followed some of his advice, but stopped short of taking the strong 
public stance he urged. On December 31, Taylor said to Washington that 
the USG might have to accept a military government in Saigon, though he 
said that Khanh must not head it.' He said that plans for _ Phase II (^omb- 
ing the North) should take into account various possibilities withm GVN. fob, 
Although Taylor had earlier favored the military's return to power, he 
objected to the means and to the timing of their present action. 

10. Ongoing Progra m-s, Second Half 196^4- - 

Wiile the political crises of Ambassador Taylor's first six 
months in Saigon built up to comic opera proportions, MCV and the couaatry 
team struggled valiantly to conduct business as usual. 

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In March, MA.CV J-1 had completed a comprehensive review of ARVN 
personnel policies, the Murday Report, and forwarded it to JGS for actxon 
A tally at the end of the year indicated progress on only l6 of_28 specific 
recommendationB . One that received no response was the suggestion that the 
of facer appointment base be expanded. 6?/ In May, the Secretary of Defense 
had 'ordered COWSM/iCV to develop, jointly with GVN, procedu-res for program- 
ming pacification operations with time-phased i e^uirements for manpower and _ 
money. A joint, com.bined (MA,CV-USOM-GVS) committee was established. It 
had completed a programing document in June. After approval by RVMF 
and MCV, joint US-GVN teams visited each Corps to acquaint selected per- 
sonnel W3th the docujnents. As of August 31, fewer than half the provinces 
, had submitted pacification -plans j so the teams again visited each province 

to reinstruct province chiefs and sector advisors. All province reports 
were finally received by October. 68/ In July, the first Senior Advisors, 
Monthly Report (SAiffi) was submitted: These put MCV in a better _ position 
to advise, and in October it sent a detailed letter of deficiencies to 

A joint combat effectiveness inspection team started its work, 
and at year's end the ARVN IG faced the question whether the refresher 
course at the National Training Center was needed for two battalions de- . 
Glared ineffective by COMUSMCV. In October, U.S. advisors to RVKAF units 
submitted the first semi-ammal report of their personal observations of ■ 
the treatment and use of MAP equipment. Deficiencies were noted m a lett^er 
to JGS In one instance it was found that ordnance vans were being converued 
into rolling auarters fSr generals. After a threat to withdraw the vans, 
the fault was corrected and the vans were returned to their authori^.ed 

On October 5, COffiJSMA.CV forwarded to the Embassy the report of 
' a month-long study instigated by the Ambassador on how to revitalize the 
entire civil action program. It recommended that a USOM-USIS-MCV stuay 
■^ group develop a joint, integrated mechanism to and coordinate civic _ 
action." The groups' recomm.endations were to provide a basis for discussions 
with the Vietnamese on how best to channel and revitalize the combined 
civic action effort. 

On the subject of command relationships, JCS looked ahead to 
the possible deployment of U.S. ground forces and anticipated operational 
control of RVN forces in combined operations. However, that idea would 
be dropped la,ter. §9/ ■ ■ • 

Following a Taylor-Khanh agreement to launch "Hop Tac on Octo- 
ber 1, USOM and the Vi.etnamese NSC met on Septemher 25 to discuss paclfica' 
tion, after which Ta.ylor commented: 

"In general, I consi.der the meeting was satisfactory 
continuation of our bi.lateral effort and that top priority 
. is at last being given to Hop Tac operati.on. Also that 
general result of meeting focused attention on priority 
.problems. The pay-off will be quality of follow-up." 70/ 


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State suggested decentralization of pacification control to Corps and 
Province ; to bypass tlie central government; USOM disagreed. MCV con- 
tacted all senior EVNAF officers and found them taking a responsible atti^ 
tude tov/ard continuing the war effort; however ^ M^ICV noted that the coup 
leaders had talked the same way just before the September 13 coup attempt 
Therefore MCV was candidly sceptical, 7l/ 

In response^ a COMUSMA.CV memorandum of November 1^ entitled 
"Assumption by US of Operational Control of the Pacification Program in 
SW-/' states his position on the US role and is indicative of his later 
views on combined command/ He recognized that any plan to encourage GVN 
in its efforts should include measures for developing US approved plans ^ 
as well as m.eans for controlling money and people during execution of plans , 
and he envisaged s.n arrs/ngement whereby GVN 8.gencies would be provided 
complete planning guidance. Pie saw a danger of exerting influence over 
GVN which might be interpreted as excessive and which mi^ght boomerang 
on US interests. Instead;, he suggested/'as a less drastic alternative^ 
the Hop Tac idea might be extended to each of the other three tactical 

zones ." 


As discussed more fully in Re-emphasis on Pacification 196^-67^ 
Hop Tac (working together) was formally proposed at a high level in the 
US government by Ambass3.dor "Lodge on his v/ay inome in July I96U. Ambassador 
Taylor and General Westmioreland mplem.ented the idea. It tied together 
the pacification plans of the seven provinces around Saigon to insuj^e 
security and extend governmient control. A headiuarters for US Hop Tac 
'elements was established in Saigon. The Vietneaiiese set up a parallel 
organization primarily to satisfy the US;, for their group had no authority 
or influence. ' 

Meanwhile 5 the US/gVN study and planning activity continued and 
gave the impression of accom-plishm_ent. A US/gVN Survey Teami reviewed 
PVNA.F structure req.uirements for supporting the GVN National Pacification 
Plan. After visits to each corps headq^uarters^ it proposed two alterna-- 
tive force increases-^ one to achieve progress in priority one Plop Tac • 
areas, the other to attain more overall progress. On November 2^, COMLFSMACV 
formally requested approval of the first alternative from CINCPAC v/hile 
■at tPie same time the US Embassy recommended approval to the State Depart- 
ment. 72/ Meetings of USOM/p^SC mentioned above (pp. 32 and 39) continued 
till December 5, after which the crisis of the Am_bassador's return and its 
sequel stopped all pretense of joint pacification planning for several 
weeks. 73/ . ' . ■ 

But the Joint General Staff accepted all MACV suggestions on how . 
RVPIA.F should be employed to improve the pacification program and issued 
its implemienting Directive A-B 3-39 as a Christmas present on December 25, 
1964 5 in mid" crisis. tV 

The USM\CV staff reviewed the RVN Defense Budget for I965 and 
US Mission approval was received iii late 1964. However, on order of the 
" ' -Ambassador, due to the political crisis, MACV v/ithheld the budget from 
"^ GVN until January 13 > 1965- 75/ ' . ' 

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11. January 1965: Prelude to theJBoHfeing 

The first week of January was filled with comings and goings 
with the issue of the HWC's dissolution still unresolved. The Embassy 
supported Huong publicly and privately, but stopped short of threatening 
U S withdrawal and admitted indirectly to Huong that the U.S. might be 
fo>'ced to accept military govermiient. Then on January 7, the generals backed 
off slightly and reached a compromise solution, which they announced Janu- 
ary 9 ajuid rumors of a military takeover. The Armed Forces Council _ and 
Khanh agreed to release -the HHC prisoners and to continue backing civilian 
govermnent, referring to their August promises; the civilian GVF would 
convene a new civilian group to legislate and write a new constitution, 
preparatory to Assembly elections. Taylor saw the statement before its 
release, and accepted it as the best available compromise. It was 
followpd by a statem_ent agreed on January 11 to patch up US/GW relations, 
at which tim.e Khanh agreed also to put several of the Young Turks m the 
cabinet. The crisis seemed to be over. 


However, the end was not yet in sight. The Buddhists started ' 
demonstrating and dem.anding that Huong resign. On January 14, Taylor 
reacted to Khanh' s proposals on the new cabinet by suggesting that he was 
moving with unseemly haste. Taylor received a complete cabinet list on , 
Jenuary l8, and Khanh conferred with Westmoreland on the effects of cabi- 
net roles for the generals on the 19th. Cabinet installation was scheduled 
for the 19th. However, at aliaost the last minute Khanh asked for Postpone- 
ment of the cabinet installation, saying afterward that Huong had defaulted 
on promises to change some of the civilian ministers. Leading Buddhists 
went on another hunger strike, and a new crisis built up; m Hue the Ubib 
building was sacked and burned, and the USIS building in Saigon was sacked. ^ 
On the 2Hh, they demanded that all Vietnamese businessmen, nigh g clubs, 
etc., refuse to sell to Americans, and a majority a.pparently complied. 
On the 25th, Khanh, having allied himself with the Buddhists, _ told deputy 
Ambassador Johnson that Huong and Rresldent Suu wanted to resign and let the 
mUltary take over, as demanded by the Buddhists. Johnson replied that 
the Buddhists must not be allowed to veto the government, and that tne 
military roust not take over. 77/ 

Then on January 27, the AFC voted no confidence in the Suu-Huong 
fi-overnm.ent and directed KlianJi to take charge and resolve the crisis. 
Taylor's comments to State made it clear that events were entirely out 
of hjs control; again he objected to the means and to the timing of the 
milTtary return to power. When he r'aised the possibility of non-recognition, 
State authorized him to use his own judgment but advised him "co play along . 
with Kha-nh for the time being, while scouting around for fresh options, • 
Although 'suu was technically ousted, he stayed on at Khanh' s request; and ^ _ 
Oarjh again became acting Prime Minister. 78/ ' 

In the midst of the crisis Westmoreland obtained his first 
«nthorUv to use U.S. forces for combat within South Vietnam. Arguing 
that the VC might go for a spectacular victory during the disorders, he 
fsked for and received authority to use U.S. jet aircraft in a strike role 

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/^ in emergencies 5 subject to Embassy approval in each instance. This move 

finessed all previous ideas of using potential U.S. force commitments as 
leverage to bring the GVN into line; but these ideas had no doubt been 
abandoned anyhow. 7 

/ ' 

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__Flaming Dart to the Stead y Influx. oOJ_^._j:or£e£^jJune^^ 

1. "Phase II" Befiins and CouE S_Conti nue , February, I965 

' mile the Embassy stood by doing what little it could to undercut 

Khanh's personal position, VC attacks on the American advisors' barracks 
at Pleiku, and on three other installations, provided the pretext for 
US/vimF bombing attacks on infiltration staging areas in the southern- 
most province of North Vietnam, February 7~8. Acting Prime Minister Oanli 

! I spoke "for GVH during the coordination of the attacks and announcements. 

j I (The raids were called reprisals, as was the subseauent raid on February 12 

following the attacks on the American barracks at Quihon.) U.S. dependents 

1 , were ordered to leave SVN. 1/ 

McGeorge Bundy was in town, and in keeping with the going tactics, 
' ■ stayed at arms length from IQianh, though meeting him and the generals socially 

As an aside at this point, Taylor gave one last bow to the idea that cutting 
off the flow of help from the North would turn the tide of the war against 
the VC: He remarked that perhaps the smell of victory within six months , 
would now lead Klaanh to ta,ke over again. 

On his return to Washington, McGeorge Bundy wrote a Memorandum 
to the R.-esident, dated February 7, 1965- In evaluating the U.S. team 
^ and policy, he stated, "U.S. mission is composed of outstanding men and 
U S policy within Vietnam is mainly right and well directed. However, 
he proceeded to point out two important differences between his current 
assessment and that of the mission. Taylor had concluded that: (1) the 
Khanh goverimient was impossible to work with, and (2) the Buddhists (lOianh s 
ally -in the recent struggle) must be confronted and faced down, using force 
if necessary. Bandy disagreed on both points, stating that Kh.anh. was still 
the best hope in sight in terms of pursuing the fight against the communists 
and that the Buddhists should be accommodated and incorporated rather than 


With respect to the scheduled reprisal actions, he stated, "For 
immediate purposes, and especially for the initiation of reprisal policy, 
we believe the govermnent need be no stronger than it is today with General 
Khanh as the focus of raw power, while a weak caretaker government goes 
■ throuo-h the motions. Such a government can execute military decisions 
and it can give formal political support to joint US-GVN policy. That is 
^- about all it can do." He further stated that reprisal actions themselves 

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should produce a favorable reaction which would provide an o-pportunity 
for increased U.S. influence in pressing for a more effective government. 

He acknowledged the latent anti-Aiaerican sentiments in the coujitry 
and their potential explosiveness^ as had been evidenced in Hue the pre- 
ceding week- He noted that these feelings limited the pressuj?e that the. 
U.S. could bring to bear on ambitious forces like Khanh and the Buddhists. 

On February 9^ Taylor again firmly recommiended that the program 
of continuous graduated attacks on North Vietnam should begin. 
but political turmoil had followed his early-December attempt to induce 
the GVN to do better by promising these attacks as a q.uid pro q.uo. Now he 
disregarded this idea^ and spoke only of the hope that the attacks would 
convince North Vietnam to abide by the Geneva Accords of 195^^ and 1962 ^ 
and would unify and encourage the South Vietnamese. On February 13 5 State 
cabled authority to begin the plan of graduated strikes with Vietnam^ese 
participation. It directed Taylor to get GVN approval and to get their 
agreem_ent to appear at the UN if that should prove necessary; the condition 
of stopping the bombing would be the halting of aid by North Vietnam to 
the VC. 

Sta-te's guidance to Taylor on political matters was that the U.S. 
hand should not be too obvious in the governmient- shuffling outcome and that 
the povrer of the Buddhists and of the military must be reflected in the 
new government being formed. After two political hopefuls failed to roiond 
up enough support^ Quat formed a cabinet starting February I6. The AFC 
chose to keep Suu as Chief of State and appointed a National Legislative 
Council of twenty members balanced to represent all interests including 
the m.ilitary. The Buddhists' quietly acquiesced in the new government, 
installed just in time to be greeted by a coup attempt. 2/ 

On February 19 ;j a new coup group (consisting of Thao and Phat other neo-Diem proponents) seized most of Saigon, Tan Son Nnut 
airfield, and the radio station. In this instance, as in September, 196^1-, 
MACV had to intervene to stop Ky's threat of W3AF bom_bing; this time it 
would have been the airfield, with several thousand Americans in the area. 
By midnight the leading members of the A5'C had rallied forces and faced 
down the coup group; and the next day they voted Klianh out. On February 2U, 
Khanh left the country: the Embassy and Saigon settled back in relief. 
The bom]3ing phase of graduated pressures on the North (Rolling Thunder) 
began, and the decision to land Marines at Danang v.'as in the works. Taylor now 
opposed the introduction of U.S. combat forces in SVN — except for base 
security. His acquiescence in the Marine deplojniient to Danang was in large 
part due to VJestmoreland\s strong recormriendaticn to do so. 3/ . 

2 • Tlie^ _Continuin^ Civilian Interre gnuj'ii and First U.S. Groun.d Forces, 

Marcl i-May, 196$ 

For several weeks an unaccustomed calin settled over US/cVN rela- 
tions . The USG white paper on Vietna^m issued February 28 without prior 
clearance with GVN caused no vJ.slble upset. The proposal to land the 
first two BLT^s of Marines received prompt approval in an atmos- 
phere .in the first few days of March, and the III I^'ffiF became the III MAF 

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without fanfare. An abortive Buddhist "peace" movement died away^ and re- 
ligious groups generally laid low. hj 

Eollowing a State message expressing renev/ed concern, the USOM 
resumed meetings with the Vietna^mese Internal Security Council (an en3.arge- 
ment of its old NSC) on February 27 to discuss pacification. 

"It- vras agreed that both sides would prepare joint pro- 
posals for accelerating pacification and for solving manpower 
problems and go forward together in program for effective 
"execution of agreed programs." 

At a March 13 meeting, General Thang gave a "pessimistic but realistic" 
account of Binh Dinh Province, and Quat said measui-es would be te.ken to 
prevent the situation from spreading. Tlie USG and GVN reverted to the 
pattern of a year earlier of urging and advice politely received. 5/ 

Throughout early' I965, it was evident that Pacification plans 
were failing. Even Hop Tac v^as at a standstill, vmen a stop gap alloca- 
tion of 3 million piasters per province was made, pending release of regii- 
lar funds, province chiefs were reluctant to spend the funds. They v/anted 
specific authority and direction from higher authorities. ■ , 

■ Plazming continued unabated between MACV an,d GVN. Development 
of a revised budget began on March 6, 1965^ when guidelines for budget 
preparation were firrnished the RVN Ministry of Defense. The proposed 
revision was duly received from RVN. 6/ 

On March 2ky Ambassador Taylor formulated a 1^-1-point program for 
stability and pacification in preparation for a trip to Washington. This 
program, v/ithout any hJ.nt of leverage on GVN, in fact put pacification 
on the back bujr^ner, v^hile main attention focused on bombing and deploy- 
ments. 7/ 

In April I965, General "Little" Minh, Minister of Armied Forces, 
directed I, II, and IV Corps comm^anders to devel.op Hop Tac plans for their 
areas. Tlae delay between the COWSMACV memorandum of the previous Decem- 
ber that recommiended the extension and the order itself is not explained, 
but in May the Vietnam.ese indicated to the U.S. Ambassador their dissatis- 
faction with the Hop Tac program. The Vietnamese wanted to m.ake Region A 
of the Hop Tac area part of the Capital Military Region and the remaining 
regions part of the III Corps Commander ^s area of responsibility. COiWS- 
MACV told the mission council that the Hop Tac organisation should be 
retained for the foreseeabH.e future because Hop Tac had been unique in 
providing a forum for military and civil authorities to address common 
problemiS ... 

'Quiet consu2.tation continued on the evaluation of Vietnamese 
counterparts in the provinces, on Third Country Forces, on military and 
paramilitary pay^ and so on. Following Taylor *s return from Washington 
early in April, he presented his pacj.fication ideas (now having the stamip 
of President Johnson's approva,l), and discreetly got approval for the 

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deployment of the third of the Marine BLT^s. Quat discussed the military 
leadership frankly with Taylor and Westmoreland ^ and around the middle of ^ 
April started considering a move to clip their wings. On May 5, the AFC 
obligingly dissolved itself^ and seemed to give Quat a free hand. 8/ 

The Plonolulu Conference of April 20 ^ v/hich rebuffed the idea of 
encadrement and U.S. takeover (discussed later ), approved additional de- 
ployraents and U.S. force to about 80^000 men and to introduce Korean and 
Australian troops. After several days of hesitation, Quat approved the 
increases. Pacification, under the new name "Rural Construction/' still 
gave no cause for rejoicing; and GVN resisted Taylor's proposal to install 
some civilians as province chiefs. 9/ 

Analysis by members of the U.S. mission council of a RVMF J-3 
paper, "The Organization and Operations of the Pacification System," re- 
vealed considerable variance between U.S. and GVN views on: 

(1) The role of the corps commander in pacification. 

(2) The relationship of provinces with, a proposed Bureau 
for Pacification Affairs. 

(3)' The position of Minister of Interior in pacification. 

MACV forwarded reauirements to increase the number of subsector advisory 
teams to l80, of which 33 in particularly remote locations would be filled 
initially by Special Forces teams. It was envisioned that in case of 
escalation by the VC, these teams would perform appropriate civil affairs 
functions, provide intelligence, and support allied forces in many ways. 
Should the VC refrain from extensive overt action, the teams would push 
vigorous rural construction. 

In the last half of May, fresh trouble blew up. After an alleged 
abortive coup attempt on May 20-21, and disorders in the streets, Quat 
tried to reshuffle his cabinet, without first clearing it with Suu. Suu 
objected, and the two disagreed on who had the right to decide; such a 
mismiderstanding was understandable, in view of the lack of any recognized 
constitution and in view of the chaos of the preceding months. The crisis 
siirmered past the end of Ma,y, and Taylor correctly predicted the end of 
civilian goverroiaent , with evident relief. 10/ 

3'. First Moves on Comm and and Contro l, March and April, 196^ 

When the Marines arrived in March, the control measure devised 
for the employment was the TAOR. Under the overall suzerainty of the 
Vn' Corps Commander, the Marines were given a well defined geographical 
area in which U.S. 'forces exercised command authority over military forces 
and for which the U.S. accepted defensive responsibility." 11/ 

On March 3, Ambassador Taylor cabled his fears that GVN would 
"shuck off greater responsibility on the USG," 12/ and the same day, 
in a-nother message, he said he had no idea what the GVN attitude to- a 
Marine Landing Force might be. 137 

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,.~^ The first battalion of Marines splashed ashore at Danang ahout 

^ ' ; 0900, March 8. The next day a second battalion came in by air. 

The trip of Array Chief of Staff Johnson to Saigon in mid-March, 
1965, signalled the beginning of consideration and planjiing for the intro- 
duction of significant numbers of gromid combat forces . General Johnson 
observed j.n closing his report: 

"In order for the USG to evaluate his (COMUSMACV s) 
request properly when sifomitted, a policy determination must 
be made in the very near future that will answer the question, 
what should the VK be expected to do for themselves and how 
much more the U.S. must contribute directly to the security 
of VN." iV ^ ■ 

Secretary McNamara answered on the margin of his copy of the report, "Policy 
is: Anything that will strengthen the position of the GVN will be sent. 15/ 

On Marcb 8, Taylor talked with Erime Minister Quat about his con- 
ce-Dt of ioint command, a m-atter which had been raised with General Johnson . 
on the 'occasion of his visit March 6 (EmbTel 2877)- Taylor found Quat s , 
ideas very hazy, but: 

"his purpose was very clear. He hopes by some joint 
command device to bring his maverick generals under the 
steadying influence of General Westmoreland. Taylor told 
■"~ . him he sympathized with motive but had never hit upon a 

command relationship which offered much hope of accomplish-, ■ 
ing this end. Although Quat's ideas hard to disentangle, 
he seems to have in mind a mixed US/ARVN staff element re- 
porting to General Westm.oreland and a VN c/staff . He visualizes 
the staff element as a clearing house for joint studies which 
would pass recommendations on to the two senior officers. 
By implication General Westmoreland would have the power of 
ultimate decision based upon an unofficial understanding 
which Quat hopes generals would accept. Quat concedes their 
acceptance far from certain." ILf 

Washinx^ton was looking toward combined command arrangements that 
would recognize"that the U.S. was no longer limited to the role of advisors 
to RVMF. When asked for his input COMUSMiACV replied that gradual transition 
would be more palatable to GM and suggested onJ.y cooperati.on m the initial 
Bhase followed by establishment of a small combined coordinating staff 
headed jointly by himself and CINCRVHAF. The staff's powers would be limited 
solely to coord-i'.nating combined operations. 17/ 

These comments were sketchy, but indicative, for in Saigon COi«S- 
MACV and his staff were putting together the Commander's Estimate of the 
SituatiOT^ a standard document i.n the military planning process. Started , 
nn March 13 the day after General Johnson left Saigon and issued on 
March 26, it more clearly revealed the MACV concept of command. VJhile 

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M.., p^ ■■■ J I . -Li.-i fra il ■» ■ r ■■ [ ■■ < ■■■»■ > i ' — — - ■ ■ .. — . - i ^ ^^— «>■ j.hph^ .^ , 

recognizing that there was no longer an effective ARVN chain of eonmand 
because of the irresponsible game of musical chairs among the top leadershri.p, ' 
the estimate cautioned that the Vietnamese generals would accept integrated 
command only to the extent that the United States contributed troops; and 
it advised against U.S, commitment to any rigid arrangement hecau£e_CTN 
and RVPOi§i^-J^2l,-M^^ievM_l]ifTici^ 

mcv"omltted for ther "discussion of the fimction or authority of such inte- 
grated staffs. When command arrangements were covered in the detailed 
description of the most likely course of action, the intent was clear. 
U S commanders would control American troops except in, certain clearly 
defined zones within which they would also be responsible for "controLlmg 
and coordinating" operations of both U.S. and RVW forces. A collateral 
function envisioned for each U.S. division command was that of Deputy Command 
Support to the ARW Corps Commander. 18/ 

k. The Rise and De cline of Encadrem.ent, April.2^J;96Ji 

Ambassador Taylor returned to Washington in late March and was 
present at the April 1-2 NSC meeting at which General Johnson's 21 recom- 
mendations and Taylor's J+1 points were appro\'ed. . 19/ Albaost as soon as 
Taylor returned to Saigon wide differences of opinion developed on what 
should happen next. 

The State/Defense "7 point message" of April 15 to Ajnbassador Ta-ylor 
and General Westmoreland set the pot boiling, following Westm_oreland s urgent 
request via military channels for more forces. The message directed: 

(1) Experimental encadrement of U.S. troops into RVNAF, 


(2) The introduction of a brigade force into Bien Hoa/vung Tau 
for security and later counterinsurgency. 

(3) The introduction of several additional U,S. battalions 
into coastal enclaves. _ ' 

{k) Expansion of Vietnamese recruiting^ using proven U.S.- 

techniq.ues. .:■- 

(5) Expansion of the MEDCAP program using mobile dispensaries. 

(6) Experimentation in 2 or 3 provinces with a team of U.S. 
civil 8.f fairs personnel. 

(7) Supplement of low RVMF pay through provision of a food 
ration. 20/ 

Taylor objected to the new forces , to encadrement , and to the 
whole tone^of the 7 point message. He sent two principal messages with 
these objections 5 one setting out a reasoned comment on the message and 
I ' a second', personal to McGeorge Bundy, saying how he really felt about it: 

"I am greatly troubled by DOD 152339Z April 15- First, 
it shows no consideration for the fact that, as a result of 

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decisions ta-ken in Washington during my visits this mission 
is charged \jlth securing implementation by the t\jo month old 
Quat government of a 21 point military program., a ^1 point 
non-milit8.ry program, a l6 point Rowan USIS progra^a and a 
12 point CIA progrs.m. Now this nev; cable opens up new vistas 
of further points as if we can win here somehow on a point 
score. We going to staU the machine of government if 
we do not decla^re a moratoriujn on new progx*ams for at least 
six months . 

"Next, it shovrs a far greater willingness to get into the 
ground war than I had discerned in Washington durin_g my recent 
trip. Although some additional U.S. forces should probably 
be introduced after we see how the Marines do in counter- 
insurgency operations, my own attitude is reflected in Einb- 
Tel 3384, v/hich I hope was called to the attention of the 

"l^dy greatest concern arises over para 6 reftel which 
frankly bewilders me. \' do the authors of this cable 
think mission has been doing over the months and years? 
We have presumably the best (iu8.1ified personnel the Washington 
agencies (State, AID, DOD, USIA and CIA) can find working in 
the provinces seven days e. vreek at precisely the ta^sks des- 
cribed in para 6. It is proposed to withdra.w these people 
and replace them by Army civil affairs t^^es operating on 
the pattern of military occupation? If this is the thought, " 
I- would regard such a change in policy which will gain wide . 
publicity, as disastrous in its ].ikely effects upon paci- 
fication in general a,nd on US/gVN relations in pai^ticular . 

"Mac, can't we be better protected from oui' friends? 
I know that everyone wants to help, but there's such a thing 
as killing v/ith kindness. In particular, we want to stay 
alive here beca,use we think we're winning -- and will con- 
tinue to win unless helped to death." 21/ 

Another State/Defense message told the Aiabassador to discuss with 
Quat several possible uses of U.S. combat forces beyond the NSC decisions 
of April 2. He replied, "l cannot raise these matters with Quat without 
further guidance...! need a clarification of our puj:pose for the large 
. , scale introduction of foreign troops unless the need is clear and expli- 
cit." 22/ 

^ The plaintive v/ords did not sound convincing to the JCS, for 
they told SecDef, almost cavalierly, in JCSM 281/65? "JCS is confideuG the 
Ambassador \j±11 be able to accom^plish such measures as are required for 
an appropriate acceptance of these deployments as approved by the highest 

As directed in the 7 point message, study commenced in Saigon on 
f^ ■ the m^/tter of combined coimriand. The message suggested tv^o approaches: 

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Integration of substantial nuiabers of U.S. combat personnel (e,g.^ 5^) 
into each of several ARW battalions (e.g., lO); or combined operations of 
three additional U.S. battalions with three or more ARVN battalions. 
General Westmoreland asked his Deputy to give detailed study to three 
methods: ' . -. 

(1) Assu-mption of officer and senior NCO command positions 
■within the ARYN battalion by U.S. personnel. 

■ (2) Assigimient of U.S. personnel as staff officers, and 
in technical and specialists positions , within the ARVN battalion. 

(3) Employment of U.S. troops as fire support elements 
within the ARVN battalion. 

These approaches were studied in relation to: Language , secu-rity, 
support, mutual US/gVN acceptance, conditions and capabilities within ARVN 
units. Problems common to all three were the language barrier, increased 
exposure of U.S. personnel, difficulty of U.S. personnel adapting to ARVN 
living conditions, and the greatly expanded support requirement that would 
be generated. The following conclusions were reached: _ -; - 

Method (l) vras not feasible nor desirable owing to the language 
barrier, as well as to probable non-acceptance by GVN, 

Method (2) would not materially iraprove ARVN capabilities. 

Method (3), therefore, was the only concept that would 
benefit ARVN and not detract from GVN morale. A fire support element of ^ 
six U.S. officers and k9 enlisted men was suggested for each ARVN battalion. 

Because of the difficulties of supply and service support, m.edical 
support, leadership in ARVN battalions, and anticipated miorale problems 
amongst those U.S. personnel assigned to ARVN battalions. Deputy COMUSMCV 
opposed the adoption of the principle of encadrement. He recommended that 
COMUSMACV not support it and that if it were directed, it be initially 
applied to only one battalion. 23/ 

At the same time, as a result of the Wa.rrenton conference of 
mid-January, serious consideration v/as being given in Washington to the 
use of military governm-ent by means of Army civil affairs procedures. A 
straw in the wind v/hich indicated what the Saigon reaction was to be at 
the forthcoming Honolulu conference was the response by Ambassador Taylor 
on April 15 to notification that General Peers was coming to Saigon, "if . 
GVN gets word of these plans to impose U.S. military government frejtiework 
on their country... it will have a very serious impact on our relations. 
We are rocking the boat at a time when we have it almost on an even keel." 2h/ 

■ 5 • Honolulu Conference', April 19"gQ, 196^; Encadrement and Combined 

At Honolulu General Westmoreland had his way with respect to 
military encadrem.ent . Notes of the meetings reveal: 


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"General Westmoreland states that individual 
encadrement of ARVN units neither required nor feasible." 

Instead the plan was to "brigade" U.S. forces with ARVW_troops. 
Consideration of the issue was ended with the understanding that General 
Westmoreland "will submit a written statement describing the command re- - 
lationships which will prevail when U.S. forces are engaged in offensive 
combat actions, alone or with Vietnamese or other forces." 

The introduction of U.S. Army Civil Affairs tearas into the pro- . 
vincial governjiient structure was also considered at Honolulu. It was 
decided to experiment in three provinces with U.S. teams designed to pro- 
vide ample civil as well as military Initiative and advice. At least one 
of the three teams was to be headed by a civilian. Ambassador Taylor 
was instructed to seek the concurrence of GVW, "recognizing that a large 
number of questions must be worked out subsequently." 25/ 

Early in May, General Westmoreland submitted his detailed command 
concept. It traced the evolution of the relationship between U.S. and 
ARVN armed forces. Initially, U.S. forces were strictly advisory. In the 
period from I960 to I.962 the U.S. had in addition provided military capa- 
bilities such as helicopters and tactical air support. The advisory effor 
was extended to ARVf^ battalions, and advisors accompanied units into com-: 
bat. With the large scale commitment of U.S. ground forces m Vietnam, 
a logical extension of this evolution was the suggested command concept 
of coordination and cooperation. Operational control of each^nation' s 
forces v/as normally to be exercised by commanders of that nation. 

COICfSMACV envisioned that the initial mission of U.S. forces 
would be security of base areas, a function to be coordinated through 
senior ARVN commanders. Subseq.uent deep patrolling and offensive opera- 
tions by U.S. forces wouI.d occux within specified Tactica,l Areas of Re- - 
sponsibility (TAOR's) with ARVN in separate and clearly defined areas. 
Eventually, on search and destroy operations, U.S. forces would provide 
combat support at the request of the senior RVMF comj-QSJider . The U.S. 
commander would move to the RVMF command post to agree on details, but 
close and intricate maneuver of units of the two nations' forces was to be 
avoided. 26/ 

This Saigon proposal did not settle the matter. SecDef urged 
formation of a joint cormnand with GVN and the creation of a "small com- 
bined coordinating staff to be Jointly headed by COMJSM/ICV and CINCRVEAF 
as a useful device at this stage of developm.ent of the U.S. force struc- 
ture. 27/ . 

There were continuing indications from USG representatives in 
SPipon of a sensitivity to South Vietnamese criticism that the United 
States acted as though we were fighting all by ourselves. On May 17, 
Ambassador Taylor felt it wise to relay to Washington a Saigon Post 
colmmi to that effect. 28/ 

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On May 2k, both the Ambassador and'cOMJSMACV sent lengthy messages 
to their senTors discussing the matter of combined min.itary command. 
Ambassador Taylor referenced both the JCS and MACV proposals and said, 
"I must say we are far from ready to propose to GVN anything like a plan 
for a more formal combined command authority. . .If U,SG intends to take 
the position that U.S. conmand of G-VN forces is a prerequisite to the 
introduction of more U.S. combat troops, that fact would constitute an 
additional strong reason for recommending against bringing in the re- 
inforcements," 29/ 

COMUSmCV also voiced strong opposition to the Washington proposal 
for coFibined command. He recalled recent discussion of the subject with 
General Mini who seemed agreeable at first but then moved perceptibly away 
from anything suggestive of a combined headquarters. Press reports of the 
views of General Thieu and Air Marshall Ky, as well as the recent Saigon 
Post coliuim, were referenced to substantiate that there was no prospect 
of such a combined staff evolving. Instead, a U.S. Army brigadier general 
staff. "The positioning and accrediting of Brig. General Collins is as 
far as we can go." 30/ 

There appears to have been no strong objection by the Joint Chiefs 
of Staff. In JCSM 516-65 they reviewed the course of events and recommended 
augmentation of MCV by seven' bil3.ets (l Brigadier General, 3 officers, 
and 3 enlisted) to provide "the requisite staff assistance on comhined and 
operational planning matters associated with the coordinated operations 
of U.S., RVI\T, and third country forces in Vietnam." 

A Joint State/Defense message to Saigon on May 2? deferred any 
approach to GVN on combined command until it was politically feasible 
and directed that no planning discussion be undertaken with R-VIM,F without 
A-mbassador Taylor's approval, 31/ 

There were two major battles in late May and early June, Ba Gia 
and Dong Zoal. Although U.S. troops were available to assist in both 
instances they were not committed and in both cases RVm.F were defeated. 

General Westmoreland continued to press Washington for greater 
freedom of discretion in the use of U.S. ground forces with RVNAF. A 
June 12 message recalled the three stages envisioned in his May 8 discussion 
of combined command. So far, in view of statements in Washington 
by the Secretary of State and by the mite House, movement from stage 2 130 
3 had been deferred, but it 'sounded as though some measure of Joint planning 
was in progress. 

"The fact is we ha\'e moved some distance down the 
road toward active commiitment of U.S. combat forces and 
have done so hand--in-hand with our Vietnsmiese ally. They 
and we recognize that the time has come when such support 
is essential to the survival of any governm.ent of South 
Vietnam and the integrity of RVME." 32/ 

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^e message concluded with a reduest for modification of the letters of 

instructions on use of U.S. troops, 

A riunor note, not unrelated to combined coinmand, was raised in 

by the li) year oxa x ^.-..tarv forces an Vietnam were enjoying V3.rtual 

SS:2tifS^;y;"o-the M?7sfnS: judge advocate --loped^-^^ " 
^^demonstrate that raising f ^ issue^as not .nj.e .n er t^^ 
goverr^-ent. They were i«.ssed to U.euW source ot t ^^^^^ ^^^^ 
use at ministerial m.eetxngs on the subject. ineiL. xt. 
GW formally discussed status-of-forces with the Embassy. _33/ ■ 

After extended negotiations between Quat, Suu, and other leaders 
failed toinrtS: gover^me^.t crisis that started ^^^^^^^^ 
n,..f a^kpd the general s to mediate the dispute. Iney did. On dvuie x- 

rrSe -a1eS;:airra1.:%B0TeU ?rra L ..^.e ... to accept 

the new government, Tcaylor cabled State: 

"..,It will serve our best interests to strengthen, 
support and endorse this governtumt . " 3^ 

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1. Shaplen, Los t Revolution , pp. 213-218, 223 

2. Secretary of Defense Memoranda to the President, 6 and 21 Decem-ber I963 

3^ Secretary of Defense Pi^esidential Memorandmi, 21 December I963, paragraph 8 

'k. Report of the Honolulu Conference of 20 November I963, Military Section, 
pp. 10 and 13 
5. rbid^' Brent Suimary, p. 5; Message, Lodge to State 975, 8 November I963 

' 6 USOM Quarterly Report to State for October-December, I963; Secretary of 
Defense Presidential Memorandum, 6 December 19o3 

7. I]^^:-' October-December, I963; ' Secretary of Defense Presidential Memorandxm, 
21 December 19^3 

8. Message, State to Saigon 803, 15 November 1963 
^ 9. Message, Lodge to State 975, 8 November I963 

10. Message, Lodge to State 1257, 6 January 196^^ 

11. Secretary of Defense Presidential Memorandum, 21 December 19o3 

HP Message, State to Saigon 78I, 13 November I963, end 922, 9 December I963; 
LoS to State 11^2, 11 December; State to Saigon 931, 12 December 19o3 

13. Message, State to Saigon 1000, 30 December I963 

nk Vincent T>ar1tano memoranduia to James P. Grant (both were officials in Vietnam 
"- qectSn of'AID), Moing Provincial. Sign-Off Authority," wxth attachment, 

g sSe^oer I965 ; additional information obtained in conversation wrth 

Puritano, February, I968 

35- OPj-^i.^--' October-December, I963 

16. Honolvilu Report, Op;^_cit^, P- 5 " . 

17. JCS, SACSA m.emorandu.m to Secretary of Defense Military Aide, 20 February 196^ 
"3_8. pjeseutation by M. G. Timmes,' MAi^.G, at Honolulu Conference, 20 November I963 
19. Shaplen, Op^^i^^ PP- 220-232 

00 Message, State to Saigon 1025, 6 January 196^ 


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1. Shaplen, O^^^U , pp. 305-306; Message, State to Saigon 1^38, 6 February; 
Saigon to State 2^26, 7 FelDruary and 25-1-95 5 11 February I965 

2. Message, State to Saigon 1601, 3 February and 1677^ 10 February; Saigon to 
State 2399, h February; 2^4-09, 6 February; 2583, 1^ February and 2617, 

16 February, Shaplen, Op. cit., pp. 302-303, 306-307. SNIE 53-65, "Short- 
Term Prospects in SYN^^T February I965 

3. Shaplen, Op. cit_^, pp. 307-312; Message, MACV telecon to MCC, I9 February; 
CAS^FVS 113"5^ 19 February; Saigon to State 2685, 20 February; 2698, 22 
February; 2720, 23 February, 2731, 2U February, 27^^7, 25 February and 2789, 
28 February; COMUSMACV to CINCPAC 2^l600Z February 

\. Shaplen, Op. cit., pp. 318-322; Message, Saigon to State 2800, 1 March; 
2810, 2 March; 2822, 3 March and 29085 11 March I965 

5, Message, State to Saigon 1820, 25 Fe"br-aa:fy ; Saigon to State 2787, 27 
February; 2953, 13 March; and 30^16, 22 March 1965 

6. COlvIUSMACV Command History I965 , p. 132 

O 7. Message, Saigon to State 2065, 2U March I965 

8. Message, Saigon to State 3097 and 3100, 26 March; 21^10, 31 March I965 

9. Message, Saigon to State 3559, 28 April, 3599 and 36o6,.l May; and 3681 
7 May 1965 

10. Shaplen, Op. cit., pp. 3^2-3^5; Message, Saigon to State 3878, 25 May and 
3989, 1 Ju-ne; State to Saigon 2752, 29 May I965 

11. Edwin H. Simmons Monograph, "The Marine Corps Response to Vietnam," Santa 
Domingo, 15 May 1965, pp. '+i+-^^5 

12. Message, ElfflTEL 3112, 3 March I965 

13. Message, EI'-'IBTEL 201^, 3 March I965 

ill. General Harold K. Johnson, "Report on. Trip to Vietnam," \h March I965 

15. Secretary of Defense margin notes on copy of Johnson Trip Report in Task 
■ :^orce File 38I ' ■ ' 

16. Message, Saigon to State 299I, 8 March I965 

17. Message, COI^raSMACV 1^463, 17 March and I566, 21 March 1965 

18. Message, COMUSMACV MAC J-3 971^-, 27 Mar-ch I965 

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o'4 : 

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19. NSAM 328, 6 April I965 

20. Message^ Department of Defense 916^5 15 April; State to Saigon 2332, 
15 April 1965 

21. Message^ Taylor (Saigon) to McGeorge Bundy 3^21^ 17 April I965 

22. Message, Saigon to State 3^^23, 17 April I965; Saigon to State 3373, 337^, 
and 338^^, ih April, and 3^19, 3^22, and 3^32, 17 April I965 

2S. COMJSMACV Corniaand History I965, p. 8I; Message, COMUSMACV 21^5 I90635Z 

■2^. Message, Saigon to State 3^19, 17 April I965 

25. Assistant Secretary of Defense McNaughton^s Minutes of Honolulu Meeting, 
23 April 1965 

■' 26. Message, COMUSMACV O807OOZ May 

27. Message, JCS 2159 20l8o6z May 

28. Message, Saigon to State 3622, 3 May 1965 

29. Message, Saigon to State 3855, 2h May 1965 

30. Message, COMUSMACV JOO 17292, 2^0603Z May 

31. Message, Joint State/Defense Message 80U66, 27 May 1965 

32. Message, COMUSMCV MC J-3 to CINCPAC 19912 120828Z June 

33. Message, Saigon to State ^^05, 8 June 1965 

3I4. Shaplen, Op. c it,, pp. 3^5-3^-6; Message, Saigon to State ^065, h June; 
hll9, 9 June; ^056, 11 June, ^190, l4 June; and ^312, 21 June 1965 




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