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Full text of "Pentagon Papers"

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V.B Justification of the War (11 Vols.) 

Internal Documents (9 Vols.) 

4. The Kennedy Administration: (2 Vols.) 

Book II 



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UNITED STATES - VIETNAM RELATIONS 



VIETNAM 



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wbA* 

U.S. INVOLVEMENT IN THE WAR 
- INTERNAL DOCUMENTS - 

The Kennedy Administration: 

January 196I - November 1963 



BOOK II 






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V.B.l*. 



U.S. INVOLVEMENT IN THE WAR -- INTERNAL DOCUMENTS 



The Kennedy Administration: January I96I - November 1963 



Foreword 



-. 



This volume contains a collection of internal U.S. Government docu- 
ments and position papers regarding U.S. policy toward Vietnam. The 
volume of materials for this period is so large as to preclude the 
inclusion in such a collection of more than a sample of the docu- 
ments in the files. Those classified materials that are included, 
however, were circulated at the highest levels of the Government and 
either bore directly on the process of policy formation or were 
decision -making instruments. The collection is organized chrono- 
logically and devoted exclusively to the Kennedy years. A separate 
volume covers the Johnson Administration, 



BOOK I : January thru December 1961 
BOOK II : January 1962 thru October 1963 



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U.S. INVOLVEMENT IN THE WAR — INTERNAL DOCUMENTS 



The Kennedy Administration: January I961 - November 1963 



Contents and 

♦ 

Chronological List of Documents 

196l . Page 

1. General Lansdale reports on his January visit to Vietnam: 
"The U.S. should recognize that Vietnam is in a critical 
condition and should treat it as a combat area of the cold 
war,,," He recommends strong support for Diem personally 
as the best available South Vietnamese leader, and the 
prompt transfer of Ambassador Durbrow, whose relations with 
Diem axe poor. Memo for Secretary of Defense, 17 January 

1961 . . . 1 

2. Embassy Saigon, is advised that Kennedy has approved Counter- 
Insurgency Plan (prepared by previous Administration) 
calling for increases in U.S. support for Vietnamese armed 
forces, contingent on reforms by Diem. State to Saigon 

f IO5I*. 3 February 1961 Ik 

3. The President requests the SecDef to examine means for j 
placing more emphasis on the development of counter guer.- 
rilla forces. HSAM 2, 3 February 1961 . . 17 

k. The Secretaiy of Defense is instructed to report his views 
on actions in the near future to launch guerrilla opera- 
tions in Viet Minh territory. HSAM 28, 9 March 1961....... 18 

5, The JCS comment on the recommendations of Lt Gen Trapnell. 

In addition to the Trapnell recommendations, the JCS suggest 
that the U.S. provide Defense support funds on the same 
basis for 170,000 forces as for 150,000; that the U.S. pro- 
vide MAP support for the entire 68, 000 -man Civil Guard; and 
that the U.S. exploit these contributions to induce the GVH to 
accept the Counter Insurgency Plan. Memorandum reflects 
conflict of views between MAAG and Hnbassy in Saigon. JCS 
Memorandum for Secretary of Defense, JCSM 228 -6l, 11 April 
1961 . 19 









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6. Unsigned paper , apparently by Lansdale, proposes a Presi- 
dential directive organizing a Task Force to come up with an 
approved plan of action in Vietnam, The goals of U.S. policy 
in Vietnam fall into three interrelated parts: (l) pacifi- 
cation^ (2) stabilization and (3) unification of Vietnam 
under ant i -communist government. Tasks are outlined in this 
memorandum to accomplish these three goals. Paper in Deputy 
Secretary of Defense Task Force file, 19 April 1961.. 22 



7# General Lansdale provides a detailed description of Presi- 
dent Diem and his family apparently intended for Vice ', 
President Johnson's use. Lansdale first met Diem in Saigon 
in 195'+- "Here is our toughest ally... a 60-year old bache- 
lor who gave up romance with his childhood sweetheart- . .to 
devote his life to his country." Lansdale Memorandum for 
Deputy Secretary of Defense, 25 April 1961 "36 

8. In view of the serious military deterioration within South 
Vietnam and in order to accomplish the U.S. objective of 
preventing communist domination of the South, this first 
draft of the Vietnam Task Force report calls for a compre- 
hensive political, economic and military program of U.S. 
support. Among other recommendations are an increase in 
MAAG and MAP and a visit by the Vice President in the near 
future. Task Force Draft "Program of Action," 26 April 
19 6l . . - 



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9 # The effect of a political settlement in Laos would be (l) to 
inhibit U.S. assistance in preventing a communist take-over 
in SVN; and (2) to permit an expansion of the VC effort in 
SVN owing to the greater possibilities for uninhibited in- 
filtration j and (3) give complete control to the North 
Vietnamese of the three passes through the Annamite Moun- 
tains. With an expanded training program in SVTT, however, 
the GVN should be able to defend itself even in the event 
of a Laotian settlement. Second Draft "Laos Annex" to Task 
Force report, 28 April 1961 58 

10. Attorney General Kennedy asks the question "Where would be . =- 
the best place to stand and fight in SEA — where to draw the 
line?" Secretary McNamara thinks the best place to take a 
stand is in Thailand and SVN. General Decker thinks there is 
no good place to fight in SEA. State Department Memorandum 
of Conversation, 29 April I96I 62 

XI. Secretary Rusk decides at this meeting at the State Depart- 
ment that "We should not place combat forces in SVH at this 
time." Colonel Robert M. Levy Memorandum for Record, 5 May 

196l .. 67 



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12, Final Draft of the Task Force Report recommends sending 
U.S. Battle Groups and an Engineer Battalion for train- 
ing purposes; the assignment of coastal patrol missions 
to CDICFACFLT; and the air surveillance and close-support 
role to CIKCPACAF. It also recommends the Vice-Presi- 
dential trip, a letter to Diem from Kennedy, increased 
MAP and other assistance, and a general U.S. commitment to 
support of Diem. Final Draft Task Force Report ,! A Program 

of Action," 6 May 1961 6$ r 

* 

13. OSD requests the JCS to review and study the military 
advisability of possible commitment of U.S. forces to SVN. 
Deputy Secretary of Defense Memorandum for Chairman, JCS, 

8 May 196I. 131 

1^* President Kennedy provides Vice President Johnson with a 

personal letter to present to President Diem, Kennedy sug- 
gests that, in addition to actions in the Counter-Insur- 
, gency Plan, the U.S. is prepared to: (l) augment the 

personnel of MAAG, (2) expand MAAG's duties, (3} provide 
MAP support for the Civil Guard, and (k) provide support 
for the Vietnamese Junk Force. President Kennedy letter 
to President Diem, 8 May 1961 132 

15. The President makes the following decisions: (l) the U.S. 
objective is to prevent communist domination of SVN and to 
create in that country a viable and increasingly democratic 
society, (2) the President directs full examination of the 
size and composition of forces which would be desirable in 
the case of a possible commitment of U.S. forces to Viet- 
nam, (3) finally, the President approves continuation of 
the special Task Force on Vietnam. The decisions of this 
NSAM are based on the report "A Program of Action to Pre- 
vent Communist Domination of SVN." NSAM 52, 11 May 1961. . . 136 

l6 • President Diem asserts that the recent developments in Laos 
emphasize the grave Vietnamese concern for the security of 
their country with its long and vulnerable frontiers. 
President Diem states that "as a small nation we cannot hope 
to meet all of our defense needs alone..." and expresses 
confidence that the Vietnamese needs will be given consider- 
ation in Washington. President Diem letter to President 
Kennedy, 15 May 196I. 155 

17. Lansdale summarizes information on the possible deployment 
* of U.S. combat forces in VN. He refers to a conversation 
between Diem and Vice President Johnson on the subject. 



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21. Lansdale relates a conversation between Vice President Tho 
and Colonel Black, In discussing the Staley Mission, Tho 
concedes that it is impossible for the U.S. to provide .SVH 
with piastres. The GVN feels an increase in piastre return 
per dollar would cause inflation and, in turn, an inevitable 
demand for wage increases, Tho further concedes that the 
basic problem in 'TO is more political than economic. Tho's 
impression of the current situation in SWT is more pessimistic 



Page % 



"Much of the thinking has been on stationing U.S. combat 
forces in the high plateau,.. however, General Williams 
has written a brief memorandum to me recommending such 
U.S. forces to be stationed on the coast..." Lansdale 
Memorandum for Deputy Secretary Gilpatric, 18 May 1961..... 157 

18. The Vice President reports on his mission to SEA. Johnson 
feels, on the basis of his visit, that the situation in Laos 
has created doubt and concern about U.S. intentions through- 
out all of SEA. "No amount of success at Geneva can, of 
itself, erase this." It is Johnson's impression that his 
mission arrested the decline of confidence in the U.S. "We 
didn't buy time — we were given it. If these men I saw 

■ at your request were bankers, I would know -- without 
bothering to ask — that there would be no further exten- 
sions of my note." The fundamental decision required of 
the U.S. is whether we are to attempt a major effort in 
support of the forces of freedom in the area or "throw in 
the towel." Johnson recommends "we proceed with a clear- 
cut and strong program of action." Vice President Johnson jcq 
Memorandum to President Kennedy, 23 May 1961. 

19. President Diem sends the U.S. a study on Vietnamese needs 
to meet the insurgency situation in the South. Diem sug- 
gests that, in light of the current situation, an addi- 
tional 100 y 000 men above the new force level of 170,000 
will be required to counter the threat of communist domi- 
nation. Diem recommends a considerable expansion of the 
U.S. Military Advisory Group in SVH as an essential require- 
ment, and, finally, Diem expresses his mistrust of 
Sihanouk's communist sympathies and antagonism of SVH. 
President Diem letter to President Kennedy, ^ June 1961. . . . x6j 

20. President Kennedy requests that the Secretary of Defense 
estimate requirements and make recommendations with respect 
to the anticipated future U.S. needs in the field of un- 
conventional warfare and paramilitary operations. NSAM 5^, 

!8 June 1961 xjh 



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than that of the Americans, Lansdale Memorandum for 

Deputy Secretary Gilpatrie, 12 July 1961 ••••••#••« 175 

22. Mr. William P. Bundy forwards the joint action program pro- 
posed by the GVN-US. Special Financial Group to the 
Assistant Secretary of Defense. The report prepared by 
Dr. Eugene Staley, Chairman of the Group, has been submit- 
ted to President Ngo Diem and President John P. Kennedy, 
and includes the fiscal and economic implications of in- 
creasing the Vietnamese armed forces to 200,000 strength. 
The military portions, in addition to the requirements 
already planned, would require approximately $42 million, 
during the 18 -month period, July 6l-Deeemhcr 62. Bundy 
Memorandum to Gilpatrie, 25 July 1961, (Stuley Report 

attached) . , , a ^TT 

23. General Lionel C. McGarr, Chief, MAAG-VieUam, reviews the 
military situation and offers recommendations for continued 
improvement of the situation in StfN to President Diem. Among 
the recommendations made by McGarr are : ( 1) that a national 
internal security council be established to prepare and 
execute the Vietnamese National Counter Insurgency Plan; 

(2) that effective border and coastal surveillance capa- 
bilities be initiated; (3) that U.S. advinurs be more 
effectively utilized by accompanying ARVN units on combat 
operations; and (k) finally, that the reorganization of the 
military command structure and establishment of a single 
chain of command be implemented as recommended in the 
Counter Insurgency Plan, Aide -Memo ire for President Diem • 
received Secretary of Defense, 2 August l[)Cl 227 

2*w The JCS do not believe that an alternate force of 270 000 

would be required to enable the RVHAF to conduct counter- * 

insurgency operations and, concurrently, he prepared to h 

meet overt aggression. They recommend that the strategic I 
force objectives for VN remain at the 9 division level 

(200,000) subject to further assessment. JCS Memorandum for ' 

Secretary of Defense, JCSM 5l8-6l, 3 Augur, t 1961 ' 39 

25. The President approves the Staley recommendations and decides 
that the U.S. will provide equipment and training assistance 
for an increased RVHAF from 170,000 to 200,000. It is hoped 
that President Diem will get the maximum mileage in terms of 
internal political support from this new commitment, and 
that he will involve more elements of the non -communist 
political opposition in the civic action program. NSAM 65 
11 August 1961. 0m , ; ' 2 ln 



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26. The situation in Worth and South VN is analyzed and the 
scope of the communist threat to SVH is estimated for 
the following year. The analysis concludes that the 
DRV is in thorough political control in Forth VN and 
"when Ho is no longer active, there will probably be a 
struggle for power between the Moscow-oriented and the 
Peking-oriented elements of the Party." Dissatisfaction 
continues in South VN with DiemVs leadership. The Army 
continues to be a major factor in future political devel- 
opments in the South. The outlook is for a prolonged and 
difficult struggle between the VC insurgents and the GVN. 

HIE ll*. 3/53-61, 15 August 1961 . . ♦ . . 2^5 

27. The President approves the following actions: (l) inten- 
sification of diplomatic efforts to achieve Souvanna's 
agreement to the Paris proposals; (2) authorization to 
undertake conversations with SEATO allies on an enlarge- 
ment of the concept of SEATO Plan 5; and (3) an increase 

in U.S. advisors in Laos. NSAM 80, 29 August 1961 - 2^7 

28. The JCS sends the. Secretary of Defense a draft memorandum 
for the President on military intervention in Laos. The 
JCS suggests that if the President decides that U.S. forces 
should be employed in Laos, that SEATO Plan 5 Is "the 
proper basic vehicle for the contemplated action. The 
political objective of the intervention is to confront the 
Sino -Soviet Bloc with a military force of Asian and West- 
ern powers capable of stopping the communist advance. JCS 
Memorandum for Secretary of Defense, JCSM 66l-6l, 20 Septem- 
ber, 1961 . . 2^9 

29. The Bureau of Intelligence and Research assesses the crisis 

in South VN and analyzes the short term prospects. The , 

study recognizes that communist progress toward its objec- j 

tive of overthrowing President Diem has been substantial. 

Since i960, more than 6,500 civilians, officers, and 

military personnel have been killed or kidnapped. Recent | 

U.S. support has raised Diem's political stature, but there 

has been no conclusive reversal of deteriorating trends. 

The security situation remains unimproved. However, the 

Government's comprehensive CIP, supported by U.S. aid, is 

beginning to show favorable results. Over the next year, 

developments in Laos may have more influence on VN than any 

improvement in the Diem Government. Department of State 

Research Memorandum KFE-1, 29 September 1961. 258 



30. It is estimated that present armed, full-time VG strength 
is about .16, 000, an increase of 12,000 since April of i960, 






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and of ^,000 in the past three months. While only 10-20$ / 
of this strength consists of cadres infiltrated from North 
VN, the remaining 80-90$ includes remnants of the approxi- 
mately 10,000 stay -behind personnel who vent underground 
during the 19.5^- "1955 regroupment and evacuation of Viet- 
namese communist army units following the Indo -China War, 
Though some weapons and equipment have been infiltrated 
into South VN, there has been no positive identification 
of Communist Bloc -manufactured military equipment in South 
VN. SNIE 53-2-61, 5 October 1961 291 

31. The JCS feel the time is now past when actions short of in- 
tervention by outside forces can reverse the rapidly 
worsening situation in Southeast Asia. They consider the 
execution of SEAT0 Plan % or a suitable variation thereof, ■ 
to be the military minimum commensurate with the situation. 
JCS Memorandum for Secretary of Defense, JCSM 704-6l, 5 

October 1961 295 

32. It is the opinion of the JCS that the use of SEAT0 forces 
at the greatest possible number of entry points along the 
whole South VN border, i.e., over several hundred miles, is 
not feasible. Further, the alternative of using SEAT0 
forces to cover solely the 17th parallel is militarily un- 
sound. "What is needed is not the spreading out of our 
forces throughout SEA, but rather a consolidated effort in 
Laos where a firm stand can be taken..." A limited interim 
course of action is provided herewith in the event SEAT0 
Plan 5 i g considered politically unacceptable. JCS Memo- 
randum for Secretary of Defense, JCSM 716-61, 9 October 

1961 297 

33* "For what one man's feel is worth, mine -- based on very 
close touch with Indo -China in the 195^ va ^ and civil war 
afterwards until Diem took hold — is that it is really 
now or never if we are to arrest the gains being made by 
the Vietcong." Bundy suggests that an early, hard-hitting 
operation has a 70$ chance of success. "The 30$ is that we 
would wind up like the French in 195^; white men can't win 
this kind of fight. On a 70-30 basis, I would, myself, ■ 
favor going in." Bundy memorandum for Secretary McNamara, 
10 October 1961. . . 312 

■ 

3^# It is estimated that the Communist Bloc would not commit 
North Vietnamese or Chinese Communist forces to a large- 
scale military attack against South VM or Laos in response 
. to an assumed SEAT0 action to patrol the GVN coast 



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and secure the border involving about 25,000 men. Neutral- 
ist governments in SEA would be most concerned at the 
increased tension and danger of general hostilities. 
Nationalist China would be elated with the SEATO action. 
SNIE 10-3-6, 10 October 1961. . 313 

35. At a meeting with President Kennedy, the following actions 
were agreed upon: (l) the Defense Department is authorized 
to send the Air Force Jungle Jim Squadron to VN; (2) Gen- 
eral Maxwell Taylor will leave for SVN on a Presidential 
mission; and (3) the State Department will pursue specific 
political actions, i.e., protest to the ICC on North VH 
support of the VC; table a White Paper at the UN; and con- 
sult with our SEATO allies regarding support in VN. Gil- 

patric Memorandum for Record, 11 October 1961. . . . 322 

36. "With respect to training the Vietnamese Army for the 'wrong 
war', it seems clear that in recent months the insurgency in 
South Vietnam has developed far beyond the capacity of police 
control. All of the Vietnamese Army successes this past 
summer have met Viet Cong opposition in organized battalion 
strength. . .This change in the situation has not been fully 
understood by many U,S. officials. In this regard, there is 
some concern that the Thompson Mission may try to sell the 
Malayan concept of police control without making a suffi- 
ciently careful evaluation of conditions in South Vietnam. fr 
JCS Memorandum for General Taylor, CM-390-61, 12 October 

1961 . 32^ 

37* The President requests that General Taylor proceed to 

Saigon to appraise the situation in South Vietnam and to 

report his views on the courses of action which the U.S. 

might take to avoid further deterioration in the situation 

and eventually to eliminate the threat to the independence 

of South Vietnam. President Kennedy letter to General 

Taylor, 13 October 1961 32? 

38. The President directs the following actions be taken: (l) 
make preparations for the publication of the White Paper on 
North Vietnamese aggression; (2) develop plans for presen- 

. tation of the VN case in the UN; (3) introduce the Jungle 
Jim Squadron into SVN for the purpose of training Vietnamese 
forces . He indicates that General Taylor should undertake 
a mission to Saigon. NSAM itik, 13 October I961 . . . , 328 

39. It is the conclusion of the BoD General Counselthat the pro- 
posed introduction of U.S. combat and logistic forces into 
VN would constitute violations of Articles 16 and 17 of the 



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Geneva Agreement on the Cessation of Hostilities in VN of 
July 20, 195^ Introduction of U.S. troops even for pur- 
poses of flood control would still constitute a violation 
of the Geneva Accords by the Government of VN. If a deci- 
sion is made to send U.S. troops into W, the U.S. should 
justify it on the ground of collective self-defense. 
"Nothing in the Geneva Accords should be read as abridging 
the inherent right of Vietnam and the United States to 
take actions in collective self-defense." DoD General 
Counsel Memorandum for Mr. Hadyn Williams, 26 October 1961.. 3^9 

k0» General Taylor summarizes the fundamental conclusions of 
his group and his personal recommendations, Taylor con- 
cludes there is a double crisis in confidence: doubt that 
the U.S. is determined to save SEA, and doubt that \ 
Diem's methods can defeat the Communist purposes and 
methods. Taylor recommends that the U.S. Government join 
with the GVH in a massive joint effort as part of a total 
mobilization of GVN resources to cope with both the VC and 
the ravages of the flood* Specifically, the U.S. Govern- 
ment will provide individual administrators, conduct a joint- 
survey of conditions in the provinces, assist the GVN in 
effecting surveillance and control over the coastal waters, 
and finally, offer to introduce into South VN a military 
Task Force to operate under U.S. military control. General 
Taylor telegram (cite EAGI00005) for President Kennedy, 
1 November 1961 331 

41. Taylor presents his reasons for recommending the introduc- 
tion of a U.S. militaiy force into South Vietnam. "I have 
reached the conclusion that this is an essential action if 
we are to reverse the present downward trend of events... 

* * there can be no action so convincing of U.S. seriousness 
of purpose and hence so reassuring to the people and govern - 
. ment of SVN and to our other friends and allies in SEA as 
the introduction of U.S. forces into SVN." Taylor suggests 
that the strategic reserve of U.S. forces is seriously weak 
and that U.S. prestige would be more heavily engaged in 
SVN by this action. However, the size of the U.S. force 
introduced need not be great to provide the military pres- 
ence necessary to produce the desired effect. General 
Taylor telegram (cite BAGI00O06) for President Kennedy, 
1 November 1961 - 337 

42. The JCS and Secretary McNamara do not believe major units 
of U.S. forces should be introduced in SVN unless the U.S. 
is willing to commit itself to the clear objective of pre- 
venting the fall of SVN to communism and to support this 



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commitment by military action and preparation for pos- 
sible later action. They recommend that the U.S commit 
itself to this objective and support the recommendations 
of General Taylor toward its fulfillment. Secretary of 
Defense Memorandum for the President, 8 November 1961... 



43. The head of the British Advisory Mission submits to Diem 
his plan for clearing the VC from the Delta. The central 
idea is the creation of a network of "strategic hamlets" akin 
to those employed successfully hy Thompson in defeating the 
communist guerillas in Malaya. R.G.K. Thompson letter to 
Diem, 11 November 1961 . 

kh m Reversing the November 8 Defense recommendation for a com- 
mitment of substantial U.S. ground forces to South Vietnam 
this November 11 Rusk-McNamara memorandum to the President 
(perhaps prepared at Kennedy *s specific direction) escalates 
the rhetoric regarding U.S. interest in a free South Viet- 
nam, but restricts the military recommendation: (a) employ 
only support forces now; (b) defer any decision to send 
"larger organized units with actual or potential direct mil- 
itary missions," Whether Kennedy fully accepted the high- 
blown statements of U.S. interest and commitment to the 
GVN is not known. State/Defense Memorandum to the President, 
11 November I96I 

45. The Joint Staff submits to the Chairman, JCS, briefs of the 
military actions contained in the draft National Security 
Action Memorandum resulting from the Taylor Mission Report. 
The military actions indexed pertain to the use of signifi- 
cant and/or substantial U.S. forces, provision of increased 
airlift, provision of additional equipment and U.S. per- 
sonnel, provision of training and equipment for the Civil 
Guard and SDC, and finally, overhaul of the GVN militaiy 
establishment and command structure. In connection with the 
draft memorandum, the Joint Staff considers it militarily 
desirable to pre -position forces and equipment and is cur- 
rently considering augmentation of U.S. Army Forces Pacific, 
with one infantry division plus appropriate logistic and 
combat support units. Joint Staff Memorandum for the Chair- 
man of the JCS, lit November 1961 

k6 m Rusk instructs Ambassador Nolting to seek an immediate ap- 
pointment with President Diem to inform him that President 
Kennedy has decided that the Government of the U.S. is pre- 
pared to join the Government of VN in a sharply increased 
joint effort to avoid further deterioration in the situation 
of SVN. The joint effort requires certain undertakings by 



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both governments. On its part, the U.S. would immediately 
support the GVN with increased airlift, additional equip- 
ment^ U.S. personnel, expedited training and equipping of 
the Civil Guard and increased economic aid. The GVN, how- 
ever, would have to initiate the following actions: (l) begin 
prompt legislative and administrative action to put the 
nation on a wartime footing to mobilise its resources; 
(2) give governmental wartime agencies adequate authority 
to perform their functions effectively; and (3) overhaul 
the military establishment and command structure to create 
an effective military organization. "President Kennedy con- 
templates aft immediate strong affirmative reply to satis- 
factory letter along indicated lines from President Diem, 
which will simultaneously be made public." Rusk NIACT 6l9 
to Saigon, 15 November 1961. «...**........,... ...*.*.. 

After three days of talks in Saigon, Ambassador Galbraith 
feels there is scarcely "the slightest practical chance 
that the administrative and political reforms being pressed 
upon Diem will result in real change." Gailbraith sees a 
comparatively well equipped army of a quarter million men 
facing 15 to 18,000 lightly armed men. "...there is no 
solution that does not involve a change of government... 
to say there is no alternative (to Diem) is nonsense." 
Ambassador Gailbraith Memorandum for the President, 20 
November 1961. ........# 

"The key and inescapable point then is the ineffectually 
(abetted debatably by the unpopularity) of the Diem Govern- 
ment. This is the strategic factor. Nor can anyone 
accept the statement of those who have been either too long 
or too little in Asia that it is the inevitable posture of 
the Asian mandarin. For one tiling, it isn't true, but 
were it so, the only possible conclusion would be that there 
is no future for mandarins. The communists don't favor 
them." Gailbraith feels that it is politically naive to 
expect that Diem will reform either administratively or 
politically in any effective way. "However, having 
started on this hopeless game, we have no alternative but 
to play it out for a minimum time... since there is no 
chance of success we must do two things to protect our 
situation. One is to make clear that our commitment is to 
results and not to promises. . .and we can press hardest in 
the area of Army reform where *the needed changes are most 
specific and most urgent." It follows from Gailbraith' s 
reasoning that the only solution must be to drop Diem, and 
we should not be alarmed by the Army as an alternative. 
Gailbraith Hew Delhi 99^-1 for President Kennedy, 21 Novem- 
ber 1961. , . 



400 



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lj-9* The U.S. is prepared to join the VN Government in a sharply- 
increased joint effort to avoid a further deterioration in 
the situation in SVN. This joint effort is contingent 
upon initiation of certain actions on the part of the GVN 
and consists of increased economic and military support by 
the U.S., based on recommendations of the Taylor Report, 
. NSAM ill, 22 November I961 1*19 

50. Bundy comments on the command arrangements for VN and recom- 
mends that General McGarr be elevated to the new position or 
that a replacement be found. He also recommends sending 
Lansdale back as Diem has requested. Bundy Memorandum for 

the Secretary of Defense, 25 November 1961. . 1*22 

51. General Taylor relates a list of questions proposed by 
President Kennedy to be used at a meeting of his key ad- 
visors* Among the questions are: (l) what is the situa- 
tion with regard to Diem as reported by Ambassador Nolting; 

(2) can we delay longer in obtaining an answer from Diem; 

(3) what are the views of the JCS on the military organi- 
sation required to support the new program; (k) what is our 
plan for flood relief; (5) who should the President regard 
as personally responsible for the effectiveness of the 
Washington eud of this operation? General Taylor Memo- 
randum for Secretary McNamara, 27 November 1961. ........... 423 

52. The President approves U.S. participation in a selective and 
carefully controlled Joint program of defoliant operations 
in VN starting with the clearance of key routes and proceed- 
ing thereafter to food denial. NSAM 115, 30 November 

1961 ; 425 

53. McNarnara confirms to Rusk the command arrangements under 
which the senior U.S. military commander in Vietnam will 
have the title "Commander, U.S. Military Assistance Forces - 
Vietnam 1 ' and will have equivalent rank to the Ambassador, 
reporting through CINCPAC to the JCS. Secretary of Defense 
Memorandum for the Secretary of State, l8 December 1961,,,.. k26 

54. Diem is apprehensive about giving control authority to 

Big Minh as &ilitary field commander because of his fear of 
a coup. While U.S. policy is to support Diem and he has 
been so informed by the President, we must find a way to 
reassure him about a coup, "It is the basis for his real 
reluctance to do what the Americans want him to do and this 
basic point needs resolving. ..what realistic assurances 
• can we give Diem that the action he fears won't take place?" 
Lansdale Memorandum for the CJCS, 2J December 1961 * 1|.27 



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56. 



57. 



58. 



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1962 

The Chairman of the JCS summarizes the current situation 
in W, methods of VC operations, routes of infiltration 
and supply, relative strengths, and discusses U.S. mili- 
tary units in place or enroute to VN. "The objectives 
of the Diem Government in SVN include not only survival 
against the communists, but also improvement of the 
national economy, enhancement of SVN's position among 
Southeast Asian nations, creations of an effective armed 
force, and preservation of a pro-Western orientation. 
"Policies directed toward the achievement of these ob- 
jectives suffer from the concentration* of power in the 
hands of the President, Ngo Dinh Diem, and a small 
clique headed by his extremely influential and power- 
ful brother, Ngo Dinh Nhu." Chairman JCS Talking Paper 
for Briefing President Kennedy, 9 January 1962 •* 



The JCS agree that the basic issue of Diem's apprehen- 
sion about a coup needs to be resolved* fr I don't be- 
lieve there is any finite answer to the question you 
pose as to how to convince Diem he must delegate 
authority to subordinates he doesn't fully trust." JCS 
Memorandum for General Lansdale, CM-491-62, 18 January 
19 62 . ....-•.•'.«. 

The President establishes a Special Group (Counter Insur- 
gency), the functions of which are as follows: (l) to 
insure proper recognition throughout the U.S. Government 
that subversive insurgency ("wars of liberation") is a 
major form of politico -military conflict equal in impor- 
tance to conventional warfare; (2) to insure that such 
recognition is reflected in the organization, training, 
equipment and doctrine of the U.S, armed forces and other 
U.S. agencies; (3) to continually review the adequacy of 
U.S. resources to deal with insurgency; and (4) to insure 
the development of adequate programs aimed at preventing 
or defeating insurgency. HSAM 124, l8 January 1962 ....,., 



State Department agrees that an increase in the Vietnamese 
armed forces to the 200,000 man level should be supported 
provided the following factors are considered: (l) that 
U.S. military advisors and the Vietnamese authorities 
continue to set valid tactical and strategic plans; (2) the 
rate of increase should consider the ability of the Army 
to absorb and train the additional men and the manpower 
resources of SKI; (3) that the armed forces should level 
off at 200,000 and further efforts should be devoted to 



1*28 



440 



442 



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strengthening the Civil Guard and Self -Defense Corps; 

and (4) that our training programs for ARYN be based on the 

concept that the Vietnamese Army will start winning when it 

has the confidence of the Vietnamese populace, U. Alexis 

Johnson letter to Mr. Gilpatric, 26 January 1962. ......... . 445 

59. Secretary McNamara forwards a JCS Memorandum to the Presi- 
dent with the comment, 1f I am not prepared to endorse the 
views of the Chiefs until we have had more experience with 
our present program in SVN." The JCS Memorandum recommends 
that if, with DIem f s full cooperation and the effective 
employment of SVH armed forces, the VC is not brought under 
control, then a decision should be made* to deploy suitable 
U.S. military combat forces to SVN sufficient to achieve 
desired objectives. Secretary of Defense Memorandum for 
the President, 27 January 1962 (jCSM-33-62, 13 January I962, 
attached) • . 447 

60 • The President requests that AID review carefully its role in 
the support of local police forces for internal security and 
counter -insurgency purposes, and recommend to him through 
the Special Group (Counter Insurgency) what new or renewed 
emphases are desirable, NSAM 132, 19 February 1962... 455 

61. The President approves training objectives for personnel 
who may have a role to play in counter insurgency programs 
as well as in the entire range of problems involved in the 
modernization of developing countries. The training objec- 
tives include the study of: the historical background of 
counter insurgency, departmental tactics and techniques to 
counter subversive insurgency, instruction in counter 
insurgency program planning, specialized preparations for 
service in underdeveloped areas . Training of foreign 
nationals will also be included in the program. The Presi- 
dent desires that current counter insurgency training be 
examined to ascertain if it meets the above training objec- 
tives. NSAM 131, 13 March 1962 , „ , # 457 

62. The President forwards a memorandum on the subject of W from 
Ambassador Galbraith and requests Department cf Defense com- 
ments. The Gailbraith Memorandum (4 April 62) asserts that 
the U.S. is backing a weal: and ineffectual government In SVN 
and that ''there Is a consequent danger that we shall replace 
the French as the colonial force in the area and bleed as 
the French did." Gailbraith urges that U.S. policy keep 
open the door for political solution, attempt to involve 
other countries and world opinion in a settlement, and 
reduce our commitment tc the present leadership of GVU. In 



* 






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e. 



63. 



6h. 



65. 



66 



* 



67. 



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addition to recommended specific actions, Gailbraith sug- 
gests the U.S. should resist all steps to commit American 
troops to combat action and dissociate itself from pro- 
grams which are directed at the villagers, such as the re- 
settlement programs* "White House Memorandum for Secretary 
of Defense, 7 April I962 (Galbraith Memorandum attached).,. 

The JCS comment on Ambassador Galbraith 1 s Memorandum to 
President Kennedy, The JCS cite the Kennedy letter of 1^ 
December 1961 to President Diem as a public affirmation 
of the intention of the U.S. Government to support Presi- 
dent Diem to whatever extent necessary to eliminate the 
VC threat In sum, it is the JCS opinion that the present 
U.S. policy toward SVR as announced by the President "be 
pursued vigorously to a successful conclusion." JCS Memo- 
randum for the Secretary of Defense, JCSM 282-62, 13 April 
1962..., 



»OO«OOO0G«« 



ooq.co.o 



• ■«.«*ooo 



ISA discusses the circumstances surrounding the Defense reply 
to Galbraith 1 s Memorandum and notes the absence of formal 
staffing by the State Department, In- a penciled note "Secre- 
tary of Defense has talked to Ambassador Galbraith and feels 
no reply needed. Mr. Forrestal informed this date that none 
would be sent." ISA Memorandum to Secretary of Defense, 
Ik April 1962 



0**««*«t«»o*.e#0e*0.»o.«**.**6t>6# 



• * * * • o e 



The President requests contingency planning in the event of 
a breakdown of the cease-fire in Laos for action in two 
major areas: (l) the holding by Thai forces with U.S. back- 
up of that portion of northern Laos west of the Mekong River; 
and (2) the holding and recapture of the panhandle of Laos 
from Thakhek to the southern frontier with Thai, Vietnamese 
or U.S. forces. Kennedy indicates that he contemplates keep- 
ing U.S. forces in Thailand during the period of the nego- 
tiations by the three Princes and the early days of the 
government of national union. KSAM 157, 29 May 1962 ... 

In an evaluation of the first three months of systematic 
counter -insurgency, Hilsman of State's IHR reports some prog- 
ress and reason for modest optimism although acknowledging 
the great amount yet to be done. State Department IHR 
Research Memorandum RKE-27, 18 June 1962 

The President approves assignments of responsibilities in 
the development of U.S. and indigenous police, par amilitary 
and military resources to various agences as recommended by 
the Special Group on Counter Insurgency. Deficiencies 
revealed in the study pursuant to NSAM 56 include; country 



Page 



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internal defense plans, improvement of personnel programs 
of agencies concerned with unconventional warfare, orienta- 
tion of personnel, deployment of counter insurgency person- 
nel, support of covert paramilitary operations, increased 
use of third-country personnel, exploitation of minorities, 
* improvement of indigenous intelligence organizations, and 
research and development for counter insurgency . NSAM l62, 
19 June 1962 Wl 

68. The President approves a national counter insurgency doctrine 
for the use of U.S. departments and. agencies concerned with 
the internal defense of overseas areas threatened by sub- 
versive insurgency. NSAM l82, 2k August I962 ^85 

69* In a year-end summary of the Vietnamese situation and prog- 
nosis, Hilsman (State HIE) concludes that at best the rate 
of deterioration has been decreased. GVN control of the 
countryside, the Strategic Hamlet Program notwithstanding, 
has increased only slightly. State Department IMR Research 
Memorandum RFE-59, 3 December 1961 • . . k8j 

. 1963 

70. A National Intelligence Estimate states that "Communist 
progress has been blunted and that the situation is im- 
proving. Strengthened South Vietnamese capabilities and 
effectiveness, and particularly U.S. involvement, are 
causing the Viet Cong increased difficulty, although there 
are as yet no persuasive indications that the Communists 
have been grievously hurt." The VC will continue to wage a 
war of attrition and there is no threat of overt attack from 
the Worth. On the basis of the last year's progress the VC 
can be contained but it is impossible "to project the 
future course of the war with any confidence. Decisive 
campaigns have yet to be fought and no quick and easy end 

to the war is in sight." FIE 53-63, "Prospects in South 

Vietnam," 17 April 1963 ...... 522 

71. The President approves and directs certain actions outlined 
in the Department of State Memorandum of 17 June I963, rel- 
ative to Laos planning. The President wishes to obtain 
suggestions for actions in Laos in light of the deteriora- 
ting situation and from the British and the French before 
initiating any action under the Memorandum. Kennedy asks 
about additional U.S. actions to be taken in Laos before* 

any action directed against NVN. NSAM 2k$, 25 June I963... " 525 

■ 

72. The President is briefed on developments in Indonesia, Laos 
and W. Specifically, onSVU, discussions cover the possibility 



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75. U.S. policy with respect to a coup is defined in more detail 
for Lodge and Harkins as a result of an NSC meeting with the 
President. "The USG will support a coup which has good chance 
of succeeding but plans no direct involvement of U.S. armed 
forces. Harkins should state (to the generals) that he is 
prepared to establish liaison with the coup planners and to 
review plans, but will not engage directly in joint coup plan- 
ning." Lodge is authorized to suspend aid if he thinks it 
will enhance the chances of a successful coup. State Depart- 
ment Message 272, State to Lodge and Harkins, 29 August 

1963 

76. Rusk raises with Lodge the possibility of a last approach to 
Diem about removing Mhu before going ahead with the coup. 

He notes that General Harkins favors such an attempt. Rusk 



of getting rid of the Nhus (the combined judgment wa* 

that it would not be possible), pressure on Diem to take 

political actions, possible results of a coup, and the 

replacement of Ambassador Nolting with Ambassador Lodge, 

Department of State Memorandum of Conversation, h July 

1963 • 526 

73* A Special National Intelligence Estimate evaluates the 

political crisis in South Vietnam arising from the Buddhist 
protest. It concludes that if Diem does not seek to con- 
ciliate the Buddhists new disorders are likely and there 
will be better than even chances of coup or assassination 
attempts. U.S-GW relations have deteriorated as a func- 
tion of Diem's distrust of U.S. motives in the Buddhist 
affair and he may seek to reduce the U.S. presence in Viet- 
nam. The Communists have thus far not exploited the 
Buddhist crisis and they would not necessarily profit from 
a non -Communist overthrow. A successor regime with con- 
. tinued U.S. support would have good chances of effectively 
pursuing the war* SHIE 53-2-63, "The Situation in South 
Vietnam, " 10 July I963 * 529 

74. In a subsequently controversial cable, State informs Lodge 
that if Diem is unwilling or unable to remove Hhu from the 
government, that the U.S. will have to prepare for alterna- 
tives. Lodge is authorized to inform the Vietnamese generals 
plotting a coup that if Hhu is not removed we will be pre- 
pared to discontinue economic and military aid, to accept a 
change of government and to offer support in any period of ! 
interim breakdown of the central government mechanism. State \ 
Department Message to Saigon 2*1-3, State to Lodge, 2^ August 

1963 



536 



538 



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77. 



78. 



79- 



80. 



feels that if accompanied by the threat of a rpal sanction — 
i.e. j the withdrawal of U.S. support -- such an approach 
could be timed to coincide with the readiness of the generals 
to make their move and mighty therefore , offer some promise 
of getting Diem to act. State Department Message 279, State 
to Lodge, 29 August 19^3 • 

Vice President Johnson presides over a meeting at the State 
Department on the subject of SVT4, The generals 1 plot having 
aborted. Rusk asks what in the situation "lead us to think 
well of a coup." Further, Rusk feels that it is unrealistic 
now "to star t off by saying that Nhu has to go . " McNamara 
approves Rusk's remarks. Hilsman presents four basic factors 
bearing on the current situation: (l) the restive mood of 
the South Vietnamese population; (2) the effect on U.S. pro- 
grams elsewhere in Asia of the current GVN policy against the 
Buddhists; (3) the personality and policies of Nhu; and (h) 
U.S. and world opinion. Vice President has great reserva- 
tions about a coup because he sees no genuine alternative 
to Diem. General Krulak Memorandum for the Record, 31 
August I963 

■ 

Lodge is instructed by the White House that since there is no 
longer any prospect of a coup, pressure must be applied to Diem 
to get him to adopt an extensive list of reforms. In particu- 
lar Lodge is authorized to hold up any aid program if he thinks 
such action will give him useful leverage in dealing with 
Diem. CAP Message 63516, White House to Lodge, 17 September 
1963 • 

The President explains to Lodge his urgent need for the 
McNamara-Taylor assessment of the situation.,. 
The visit is not designed to be a reconciliation with Diem, 
rather he expects McNamara will speak frankly to him about 
the military consequences of the political crisis. State 
Department Message h31, The President to Lodge, l8 September 

1963 

Lodge's reply to the White House CAP Message 63516 indicates 
agreement that a coup is no longer in the offing, but opposes 
both an approach to Diem on reforms or the use of an aid 
suspension as a lever. He regards both as likely to be un- 
productive or worse. Embassy Saigon Message 5^> Lodge to 
State for President Only, 19 September 1963 9 , 



539 



5^0 



51*5 



5^8 



5^9 



81. 



President Kennedy outlines his reasons for sending McNamara 
and Taylor to VII: "I am asking you to go because of my 
desire to have the best possible on-the-spot appraisal of 



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the military and paramilitary effort to defeat the VC." 
While the results from programs developed after Taylor's 
Mission in 19&L were heartening , the serious events in the 
South since May 19&3 have prompted the President to ask 
McNarcara to make a fresh, first-hand appraisal of the situa- 
tion, "In my judgement the question of the progress of the 
contest in SVH is of the first importance ... " President 
Kennedy Memorandum for Secretary of Defense, 21 September 

1963 



551 



82, Pending McNamara's visit and the subsequent review of policy, 
Lodge is given the following interim guidance: "(l) The 
United States intends to continue its efforts to assist the 
Vietnamese people in their struggle against the Viet Cong* 
(2) Recent events have put in question the possibility of 
success in these efforts unless there can be important im- 
provements in the government of South Vietnam* (3) It is 
the policy of the United States to bring about such improve- 
ment." State Department Message ^58, Eyes Only for Lodge 

from Ball, 22 September 1963 553 

83, The Mcilamara-Taylor Mission Report concludes that the mili- 
tary campaign has made great progress, and, while the 

political crisis in Saigon is serious, "there is no solid ' 
evidence of the possibility of a successful coup* . . " The 
Report recommends against promoting a coup and, although it 
is not clear that U.S. pressure will move Diem to the modera- 
tions and reforms we desire, nevertheless, as the only course 
of action with any prospect of producing results, the report \ 
recommends the application of selective economic sanctions, 
including a suspension of funds for the commodity import 
program. The Mission further recommends a shift of military 
emphasis to the Delta and a consolidation of the Strategic j 
Hamlet Program. In addition, it is recommended that a 
training program be established for RVNAF such that the bulk 
of U.S. personnel may be withdrawn by the end of 19&5. In \ 
conjunction with this program, the U.S. should announce plans 1 
to withdraw 1, 000 U.S. military personnel by the end of I963.. 55^ 



84. Lodge is advised that as a result of the policy review just 
completed, the "President today approved recommendation that 
no initiative should now be taken to give any active covert 
encouragement to a coup." Efforts to build and maintain con- 
tacts with "alternative leadership" is authorised, however. 
CAP Message 63560, to Lodge via CAS channel, 5 October 

1963 

85. Contact has been renewed by the generals with a CAS agent who 
has been apprised of the reactivation of plotting. In. the 



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meeting, General Minh states that he must know the U.S. 
position on a coup* He stresses that a coup is urgently 
needed to prevent the loss of the war to the VC. The U.S. 
! contact is noncommital. CAS Saigon Message 1^5 j Lodge 

to State, 5 October I963 575 

86. Washington reaffirms Lodge's guidance that he is not to 
promote a coup. Neither, however, is he to thwart one. He 
should try to "obtain as much information as possible from 
the plotters about their plans on which to base an -American 
judgement about their likelihood of success. CIA Message 

Jk228, 6 October 1963 4 577 

87. The President approves the detailed military recommendations 
; contained in the McNamara-Taylor Report, but directs that no 
' announcement of the implementation of the l,000~man with- 
drawal plan be made. WSAM 263, 11 October 1963 578 

■ 

88. A Department of State Research Memorandum contends that the 
statistical indicators on the war in Vietnam reveal "that 
the military position of the Vietnam Government may have 
reverted to the point it had reached six months to a year 
ago." The analysis angers the JCS and Rusk subsequently 
apologizes to McNamara. Department of State, IMR Research 
Memorandum KFE-90, 22 October I963 579 

89. With the coup plotting now far advanced and the U.S. clearly 
committed to the generals' attempt, Lodge seeks to calm 
Washington's anxieties about the lack of detailed informa- 
tion on the generals' plans. He is at pains to oppose any 
thought of thwarting the coup because he thinks the mili- 
tary will create a government with better potential for 
carrying on the war, and because it would constitute undue 
meddling in Vietnamese affairs. Embassy Saigon Message - . 
196^, Lodge to McGeorge Bundy, 25 October I963 590 

* 

90. While thanking Lodge for his views, the White House indi- 
cates that short of thwarting a coup we should retain the 
prerogative of reviewing the plans and discouraging any 
attempt with poor prospects of success. CAP Message 63590, 

- McGeorge Bundy to Lodge, 25 October I963 592 

91. The White House instructs Lodge to bring General Harkins 
completely up to date on the coup plotting, and asks that' " 
Harkins, Lodge and the CXA Station Chief provide a com- 
bined assessment of the prospects of the plotters. Indi- 
vidual comments are to be sent if desired. With these 
assessments, a decision can be made telling the generals: 



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(a) we vill maintain a hands -off policy, (b) we will posi 
lively encourage the coup, or (c) we vill discourage it. 
More detailed military plans should be sought from Minh. 
CAS Message 79109 > McGeorge Bundy to Lodge , 30 October 
1963 



Page 



593 



92. After complaining about Lodge's failure to keep him In- 
formed about the coup planning, General Harkins opposes the 
proposed coup against Diem, He does not see an alterna- 
tive leadership with Diem f s strength of character, espe- 
cially not among the generals. The war continues to go 

veil. MACV Message 2028, Harkins to Taylor, 30 October 595 

1963 . - 

93, General Harkins takes detailed exception to the interpreta- 
tions of a deteriorating war effort that Lodge has been 
transmitting throughout October, He offers an optimistic 
appraisal of the trend of the war and sees the political 
crisis as having only a marginal effect on troop morale 
and military effectiveness, MACV Message 2033, Harkins 

to Taylor, 30 October I963 . 597 

$h. Lodge argues forcefully for the coup, "it Is theoretically 
possible for us to turn over the information which has been 
given to us in confidence to Diem and this would undoubtedly 
stop, the coup and would make traitors out of us. For practi- 
cal purposes, therefore, I would say that we have very 
little influence on what is essentially a Vietnamese affair." 
In the event the coup fails, he believes we should do what 
we can to help evacuate the generals' dependents. Lodge 
believes the generals are all taking enormous risks for the 
(/ sake of their country and their good faith is not to be 

questioned. "Heartily agree that a miscalculation could ; 
jeopardize position in Southeast Asia. We also run tremen- ! 
dous risks by doing nothing." General Harkins did not I 

concur in the cable. CAS Saigon Message 2063, 30 October 
1963 • ■ 



feo 










95- Taking note of the difference of opinion on the advisa- | 

bility of a coup between Lodge and Harkins, the White House : j 

specifically informs Lodge that he is to discourage the ; 

generals from any attempt that in his judgement has a poor 

prospect of success. Lodgd is given full authority for 

country team actions in the event of a coup; if he has left 

for Washington, Harkins will have charge. In the event of 

a coup, U.S. policy will be: (a) to reject ax/peals for 

direct intervention from either side; (b) if the* contest is 

indecisive, U,S. authorities may perform any actions agreed 



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to by both sides; (c) in the event the coup fails^ asylum 
may be offered to anyone to whom ve have an obligation; but 
(d) once the coup has started, it is in our interests to 
see that it succeeds. CAS Washington Message 79^07, 30 
October 1963, 



66k 












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# ^ "** -*"\ , " / 



Talking Paper for the Chairman j JC3, for aectlns v;ith the' 
President of the United States 9 feauswy 19^2 

* 

. * Subject: Current US Military Actions in South Vietnam (u) 



f /C v. * • 



*•.£' 






" 









B&ekeround - Today Go&sftnist; China end North Vietnam are suffering 



. --, * m , ■ *-*-. 



from the effects of failure cf their ©oirniunes to produce actuate 
amounts' of food to food thair peoples. Recently, lar^e quantitie 
of wheat were purchased by Hod China from Canada and Australia to 



overcome this failure* aouth cist Aaia^ primarily South vietaaat 
and Thailand., is a food surplus area in normal times. Because 

of this and the standard l^arxist-Lonlaist eoncspt of peripheral 

* . 

* 

aggression and pressure, the rain ecssiunlst threat in the Western 
\ " 

Facif ie appears to he directed at Southeast Asia. Of principle 

4 
■• 

cozicern for the purpoco of this brief ins is the situation in i 

j 
South Vietnam, the U3 IIAtional ohjactivao there and the military 

actions that have bee-n implemented since October in support of 

oar objectives. .' 



»- 









-s 



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I 



Stir" 3 . J . .» 



&J 



1 *• 

f 






2Z 



'- 






' 



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






- The current; situation In Soixtli Vietnam 



i> ■ ^*«^- 1 



.- country into tv/o major gsogx*aphical areas * Xntersector V sritii 



t 



headquarters in the high plateau region north and west of Kontua* 
and the flasjbo sector in the south with headquarters northeast of 
Saigon. Each Ea$or area is sxibdivicled into interprovineial com- 
.Bands — four in Interseotor V and throe in !Tambo> with a special 
eons for Saigon. Each inter-provincial area is further organised 



j into provinces v;hich are further subdivided into districts* 



villages j and hamlets 



t * 



I " ' • *~ tl^fetio&s of VC Operation 



• -» 1^. 1 1 - M — ■ r ^ . J .J ■!■ * '.«*i» 



•* 5&e aooOO-tn^n Viet Cons Ktlitat*? eaf^Mishmettt is divided 

L : 

into ti?o operational groups— regular- and re^loasl-locsl fores:;. 



Regular feafcfcaliono sn3 e<^paniea, nisaberlns about 8,500 per- 
sosmel, constitute the offensive element or the "Mfeerafcion 

| 

Amy* and operate throughout their respective interprovineial 






• 



4 



* 



fc\ 



She Viet Cong have heavily infiltrated^ organized and nov; ef- \ 

* 

foctively control the colored areas on this chart* ■ ' : ; *- 
v To achieve their purposes the Viet Cong have divided the 



*r«"'^> 



lui Ot&u 






V 



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



29 



•• 



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sua 



€%> T» f\ t^ r» 

r.: : ' - -' 



-^/«J -_.- 



The 8,000 regional and local forces., vrhieh correspond 
functionally to the Self Defense Forces of SV3, arc essentially 
security troops recruited and organised on district levels fox* 
limited operations End to provide security for eoimnand heact- 






*«its 



A *- 



gra also used to pr-ovlcla seral-trainac! personnel as replacements 

9m 

in regular battalions and as fillers far richly activated units. 



■ 






Under regional unit control guerrilla platoons made up of day- 

+ 

fcims taimsvs sabotage* terror! r,o> ftssa^alnsitdj kidnap j dlss^gslnata 
propaganda* a&d attoinpt to sub vor*fc their neighbors ♦ 

Availability of yecpons. appears to bs a continuing pro^lesa 

- 
for Viet Con^ forces j particularly iii regional units in which 

■ 

less than half of the E3n are arsied. The prlnary source of arsas ■ 
for all VC forces app$S?s to be those c&pti&tod from South * 



• ,* 



Vietnamese security forces. 



Most officers and key iiC^s, as veil as political and DrQpagazida 



• 



specialists, ere forr.ier South vietn.ai.tise uho v;ent north trifch the 
Cci^nunists in 19p5.» or ;;ho have since "been recruited and sent to 

* » 

Ilorth Vietnam. These southerners are given special training c.^& 
£3?3 than Infiltrated feack into South Viet&asi tiireush lacs (ox 1 "by 

■ • 

* 
» * 

Training of r^^ional trocoo and th£ activation of noir x»dgulcr 
■battalions have been stepped up since the first of the year. In .. 






TO? 






ii'30 






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



». 



TOJ 






: 



■ 



several ciajoa? Viet Cons training a-Kc&tSj eaia of uhich had 
barracks cpr-ce Tor noro than a battalion ^ £00 d&ssEBT ri;C3c3 



.^ 



and tons of food. 



j.n COi^miiisfcrcontrolloct strea&j tho .Vlefc Cons have oj^dor-ed 



The • 



Viet Cons ^2?s coll^efciag r;oney frcn tho peasants arid plantation 
ovnisrs to finance the yaa? against the gcvovvrasntj and have in:- 
plesaentetl a rico tax to build up supplies for future epspat&atfsu 



Pitched battlas gps 



avoided v/aepevsr possible* unless they ore 



essential to a ^ivon pla»j oi* the Military advantages ar 






least 'four to one, Tho campaign to a~;sa?.>r;in2te all who try to 



All inQicatSons point to 



bh 



Viet Cons nialntal&ing tha 



current higk level of guerrilla action in the south* and in- 
creasing activity in tbs high plateau area in efforts to build 
the decided semipermanent bases* 



*- .y 




- ■ 



S431 



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



SI 



"?Ars 



' » i 



- Routeo o£ Infiflfc£ti<gft_.ana SuTroly 

. . - Prisoner of war Interrogation recently conducted by the 
-South Vietnamese Intelligence Sorvado has shed additional light 



V 



on the means employed by CosioaaniBt North Vietnaia to assist the 



. . "Viet Cons in the latter f s military and psychological campaign 



e 



*»j 






Korth Vi^tuan ni&intains a training c^np for Special *£reo?) 
in the? eicinity of Vinhj tihero pro-Yicfc Cong South Vietnamese 



receive an 13-nonth Military course interspersed tfith intensive 






Cossaunlsfc political indoctrination, SVo 600-nan battalions 

* 

training in May l>*ol. Personnel are asfiirpod to units within tns 



r 

i 



-*' 



: 



battalion cLccorcUns to their respective regions of origin in 
South Vie train. .. • 

* • 

Upon completion of training* Viet Cons volunteers re- 
enter South Vietnam by taking a circuitous route through 
territory "in neighboring laos controlled by Ccrrauniat Pathet 



■ 



-x/S. *> 






lii addition to lend infiltration, come Viet Cong guorrillas 
and cadres are infiltrated by sea using junks and ar.all craft to 
land at various points on the lon^ South Vietnam coastline. It 



---■• 



is cstinnted that no r.ore than £0;? of the total infiltrees us 






*?r* 






im 



XJi^XJC* 









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












■ 












■* «*-v 









The current Btttaagtb of the Viet Cons is 16,500 with the 
possible infiltration of 1,000 per "rionth. The increase in 



strength by infiltration is offset hy the estimated Vict Con; 






casualttos which avarase cvei* l^CCO a luonth according to South 
Vietnan official figures • A reeenfc refinement in intelligene-3 
reporting indicates that the official estiasate of Viet Cons 
strength may he raised to about 20^000 in fcha near futttrs. 
3?he current actual strength of the South Yietna-nose 



forces era as follows; 

Array 

- 

* tfavy 
• -i • Air Fores 
. Marines 



163 , 696 

- 5>31* 

3,135 



>v 



. - In addition paramilitary forces 
Guard and. 45, COO Self Doxcnzo Corps, 



total 65,000 in the Civil 



The regular Ar:sy forces are organizes and assigned to three 
corns aroao ulth raj or co:n::ancl fcoadouartors and units located as 
shotm on tho chart, ' * ' • 

* - Currant Xi-5 Military Actions 

The President on 22 Rovessfbar 1951 authorised the Ss 

* 

of State* to instruct the US AmosssMor to Yiotnafii to isiforra 
President Diem that the U3 Government was prepared to Join the * 






- 



v 



C7I; in a sharply increased effort to avoid a farther deterlcrs- 

» 

tisn of tho situation in SVII. On its part tho US would isa&adiatelv 



■"^•T* -r>, *"^ 73 






fi Oa 






- r r 



rt 



I? 3 ^ 

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£ 



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















a# Provide increased airlift to the 6VH in the form, of 

* 

helicopters^ light aviation and transport aircraft* 

b. Provide required couip;nent and US pers&insl for aerial 
veocaxoalsostioOj- instruction In axv$ execution of air-around 






• 



i 

c 



Augaant fchs Vietnamese Havy operational ly with d:v^h 



J*** 



crarc* 



d. 



Provide o^peciit^d training and p^oipplng of the Civil 



m 

the rallitsi^-political intelligene© system. . . 

f. Provldo suoft Jao;t tti&gia of feoifeps&oej reorganisation j ang 
additional gt&rsonasl for US sdlltsrsr £ex-ses as are regulfed 



^/V-* A 'A ■** *t** Btik <£ *^/) ^? *^ *"* '1 1 "1 J*!?* *■"' \7 ?* P! "^ "7 CJ V" 1 V* *■» iA 



■ 



Discussion - As a result of the decision to accelerate US support 

or tha CfvII, the following US military units r,v»s in place 62* eni'outs 

as ohc:rn c.i th:ir$ chart: (pvei'lsy $o* l) 

. * a. tfv;o ksm$ Lijght Helicopter Companies are opera tins in 
support o.f the StflfAI? l?ron Tan Son Shut and Qui llhon. The 
third cosspawy is er.routo to Da iizx\z si til an ETA of 3.5 January 
and an operational readiness date of 1 F$tH*uS3?y * This Kill 
- provide one cosgjany of 20 K-Sl and tvro 11-13 in support of 

each of three 39HK? Corps arass* • 

• • b» Tns US Ar-ny has alerted the iSth Flxsci V/ing Aircraft 

■ ■ 

Coiaoany equipped v/ith 16 UlA (Ott-:rr) nir craft to be readj* 

* • 

for deployment by 15 3araagcey« 

*. t* •* i ■ -* * 



f: *3 I 1 



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



c 



tpr~% ~s ^> — ' ri T*"^ 



*■ * * 









f 



e Ths 3ftStt> US23 IVoop Barrier SgisaarorTwith 16 C-123 . 

aircraft has Tour aircraft at Clark end four operating front 
Tan Son ffiiufc« Efee res&inins ei(£it aircraft are in the Pacific 
Eaeafcre e.nrouto to Clark with an HS& of 10 January. S&is unit 
will rotate aircraft into SW front Clark to support; SHU** 

operations as rccaiiroa. . : ' • 



■ • 



. *'._ ' ' d'« Four 1 HP-J01 aircraft and a smll photo processing 
* . : olemsnt operated by the UOiU? are i« placs at DejV Huang Air- 






CV*J 



'. e. She USA? mm£ JIvl unit at Sien Hon with ei£ht ^-23^ 

■ 

Vietnamese Ais» Force in cedbafc air support tactics and 

- 

techniques* She Pacific Air Force iu deploying personnel 
said ceuipraont to SKll to establish a joint iSS/SW Saetical 
, A±^ Control Sydt€&i'(£A£3}» Tbio sysfc&ia Will par-ait positive 
control o? nil air* operations ancl rapid respOASo to requests 



for slr-grouae suppose* 

f ♦ T £ho 3rd Icadio Ksfioimaissaas^ Unit at Ean Son ilhut is 

T% r* * i* *5» f* 1 1 ^ % r ~ jTi y* t £> *'l r » *; "> r* £ fl < "1 1 fa 5 ? GIVfcl r" *? C* r ■ r* 1? ? o^« 1 Ti ^ 1 t- ' \ 1 1 "h P* A ^ 

* ■ 

board I>y 1^ ^a:-uary* . : 



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NND Project Number: NND 63316. By: NWD Date: 201 1 






I V > ^ ^ 



[WE 



gg Six C-123 spray equipped aircraft for support of de- 
foliant operations have received diplomatic clearance to 
enter SW. 

h, US Navy Mine Division 73 with a tender and five mine 
sweepers is operating from Tourane Harbor in conjunction with 
the Vietnamese Navy conducting maritime surveillance patrols 
south of the 17th parallel. 

i. Air surveillance flights 30 miles seaward from the SVN 
coast (l7th parallel) to 50 miles beyond the Paracel Islands 
are conducted every other day by Seventh Fleet patrol aircraft. 

In addition to deployment of organized US military units to 
SVN and increased personnel strength for the MAAG, accelerated 

a 

delivery of MAP equipment has already begun. Nine additional 
L-20 light observation aircraft are enroute to SVN for use by 
the Vietnamese Air Force. Also, 15 T-28C aircraft have been 
delivered to augment the Vietnamese air-ground support 
capability. These were provided on an interim, loan basis 
until 30 T-28B (NOMAD) with a greater ordnance delivery capability 
could complete modification and be delivered to SVN, early in 
March. Department of the Army is also providing an additional 
12 H-3^ helicopters from active Army units to the USAF on a 
reimbursable basis for accelerated MAP delivery to the RVNAF 

■ 

early in March, 



... ^ a- i i U I 1 if 1 



^>M*V>ll»Ufl 



* 



U36 



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



3t 



TUP. StUKtl 

; 0n 1 November 1961 the personnel strength of the military Assistance 
■ Advisory Group in Vietnam was 84l, present strength is 120^1 and pro— 
jected strength as of 30 June I962 is 239^* The total personnel 
strength of US units and elements , other than the MAAG, was lkh2 as 
of 2 January 1962 and projected strength as of 30 June 1962 is 3182. 
The total US personnel in South Vietnam is now 26U6 and projected strength 
as of 30 June 1962 is 5576, 

The MAAG is extending its advisory teams to battalion level within 
the RVNAF MA Military establishment and beginning to participate more 
directly in advising Vietnamese unit commanders in the planning and 
execution of military operations plans. Since delivery of MAP equipment 
has been accelerated and RVNAF military operations are increasing, the 
"MAAG training activities have been expanded. This training includes 
operations, planning, logistics, intelligence, communications and 
electronics as they apr>ly to each service within the RVNAF. They are 
also accelerating the training of the Vietnamese Civil Guard and Self- 
Defense Corps. 

Shown on the chart are the approved and funded construction projects 
in South Vietnam. These include: 

a. Improvement of the Pleiku Airfield. 



b. Improvements at Tan Son Nhut Airfield which include installations 



of: 



(1) Pierced steel planking parking apron. 

(2) POL hydrant system. 

(3) POL pipeline to Nha Be. 

(h) Ammunition storage facility 
(5) Concrete parking apron 
c. An aircraft control and warning site at Tan Son Nhut and one 



at Da Nana: 



^37 



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1 % f r • 



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



3? 















d. linpx'ovonsiit or tha Bien Ilea &i#£iel&« 

■ ■ # ■ 

- Coiirair&Ieafcions and electronics imeroTensonts include the 



rollovjlns: 



a. An Saiprovsd intelligence co'^iuaicntiono nGt;:or3i* Ifefc 

I 

b* An Improved Gats %fay Station communications f?.c:tlit.Lo 









rif 



* *. 114. ^ **- -;i*' »>-!-— ~* 






<-> 



in 









SSfr&ata?c arc apvxrcvod for CspXo'gtsssit. to 371! as directed by 



£ho jFutesre Outlook 



» — T^i. ■ <»» ■». ! ■ . ,V%.-»i ,i J-fc-. 



Ths foraaast national objective toa^y of ths Diem govesn- 
asnt in South Viotn&a is survival &£p££3fc the incursions of 

Vietnam, Secondary, but nonetheless extremely important ob- , ' 
Jeotive-s include: (x) Sjaproveaent of the national economy with 



esnphasis on agrarian r-e:Cor;a; (s) enhancement of South Vietnam? 



3 



economic, cultural, and prestige position aaong Southeast Asian 

» ■ 

nations; (3) Che creation of an ei»m&d force capable of defending 

■ 

■ftha country frorn potential iiwatldrsj (It) an5 the ppeservatioa 



*%^ 

vi* 



. > 



a pro-v^^-Dorn ovicnvCiuion. 









W3 wLa'^/^ltiii 



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l;-33 



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



-. — > -, 



P 



O 



licloo directed toward .tiio aoMevolasnt 






suffer froa the- concentration of pc:-er in the hands of the 



President. M^o Slnh. Plea, and a snail clique headed by his e>:- 



M« 



trolly influential and powerful brother* Kgo Ein ftfcu 
Continued receipt of U3 military, economic anet technical aid, 



application cf Catholic philosophy^, and the repulsion 01 tee 

■ 

Viet Cong gaesrillas are additional c&Jo? policy considerations. 

* 

• Planned courses of action include: (l) the building up of 



the armed forces with U3 aid and assistance; (2) defeat cf tixf 






Viet Certs forcesj and {3) the implementation cf a series of 
reforr.v3 aud &3a&\sr£3 to correct imbalances in the po&ox* hior- 



• . Certainly sose-of the projects v;e are inplc.;;entin~ are 



outright B&3 



efforts such as the defoliation project and "or.r-e 



all the earmarks of gimrdeks that cannot and will not win the 
war. In South Vietnam, However, the constltaent of 03 units to 

> 

advice then in conjunction with increased economic and Ddraiiii- 

I 

strative aid., should riaka it obvious to the Vietnamese and the 

■ 

* - " ^ <* 



Asia. 






not bo 



or SV1I sixrricien^l7 to raDist Co: : iriunIat pi^ODBure and v/in trio v:a^ 









t 

extent en tho futur^o action or lack cf ac&ien o£ one minj 
Proolc^^nt; B^.o:n, and fchs wall of th3 Vlstsaa^se people to fight 



^ a _V* • ilk 



1 « 1 ' » * ^ 



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






f 



- 



i 

* 

i 

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*+* -^ 









THE JOINT CHIEFS OF STAFF 

WASHINGTON 25, D. C. 



4*' 




1 



v.zx> 



CM-491-62 

JAft 1 8 1952 



MEMORANDUM FOR GENERAL LANS DALE 






Subject: Vietnamese Command Problem (C) 



1. As you point out in your memorandum of 27 December 1961, 
it is quite clear that Diem l s apprehension about a coup is the basis 
for his reluctance to authorize his military field commander to imple- 
ment the task force concept that was an important part of the over -all 
plan of operations against the Viet Cong, I fully agree that this basic 
issue needs to be resolved, 

• » 

2, You are well aware that Chief MAAG, Vietnam, in accordance 

with his assigned mission, has operated principally as an adviser and 
trainer rather than as a commander. As such he has suggested and 
counseled, dropping ideas which the Vietnamese could pick up and 
incorporate in their own plans. This method H saved face" for them, 
and has been the accepted method of overcoming simultaneously the 
inexperience and the pride of the Vietnamese officers, Nov/ a strong 
case can be made for increased direct participation by US personnel 
in the planning and supervision of Vietnamese counterinsurgency opera** 
tions. Inherent in such increased direct participation should be some 
assurance of US support for Diem personally. Convincing Diem of this 
personal support remains a principal task of the senior US representatives 
in Vietnam, The increased US military stake in Vietnam should be of 
great assistance in this task. 



** 

f 



V 

V 



3« In my view, however, some of the decisions made during the 
16 December SecDef meeting at CINCPAC Headquarters offer a greater 
.hope for progress in Vietnam, It was agreed that, while we should con- 
tinue to press for acceptance of an over-all plan or concept of operations, 
we must place immediate emphasis on smaller, more specific, and more 
readily-accomplished operations. Such a technique is more likely to be 
acceptable to Diem, At the same time, successful small operations will 
provide the impetus for larger scale offensive operations, ■ * 



• 



> 



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Exc&rcs ?;:c:: .'.r-.w •?<.-* j 

83G2&iin; r??- 112 5200 -10 1 



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REPRODUCTION OF THIS DOCUMENT 
IN WHOLE OR IN PART tS PROHIBITED 
EXCEPT WITH PERMISSION OF THE 



--* — — ■ — •- ■ r. 



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NND Project Number: NND 63316. By: NWD Date: 2011 



I 



4. I don t t believe there is any finite answer to the question 
you pose as to how wc convince Diem he must delegate authority to 
subordinates he docsn t t fully trust* V/e discussed this subject at 
considerable length at Monday's (15 January 1962) conference in 
Honolulu, The Ambassador, General McGarr and other top level 
officers of the Embassy and MAAG recognize the nature of the 
problem and the importance of reaching a satisfactory solution 
thereto. If it was not for the heavy responsibilities you are now 
assigned which would preclude your going to Saigon, 1 believe that 
one of the best ways to deal with this problem would be to implement 
the earlier recommendation to send one Brigadier General Lansdale 
out to Saigon to be personal adviser and conlidant to Diem, 





L. L. LEMNITZER /\ 
Chairman / \ 

Joint Chiefs of Staff I 1 



cc: Secretary McNamara 

Deputy Secretary Gilpatric 
Admiral Heinz 



■ 
■ 



. i 



» ■ 



^-Il-Ih-'-- 






^PRODUCTlOf. OF THIS DOCUMENT 
m WHOLE OR IN PART (S PROHIBITED 



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rm c-rpnr? 



Copy .„,.<- of — J,Q„ Copies 



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SECRET 



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




\_- U* *_ u 



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'«*. . '„ \j- 



■ 



THE WHITE HOUSE 

WASHINGTON 



January 18, 1962 



NATIONAL SECURITY ACTION MEMORANDUM NO. 12^ 



TO: 



SUBJECT 



The Secretary of State 

The Secretary of Defense 

The Attorney General 

The Chairman , Joint Chiefs of Staff 

The Administrator , Agency for International Development 

The Director ? United States Information Agency 

The Military Representative of the President 

Director of Central Intelligence 

Establi slime nt of the Special Group (Counter- Insurgency) 



To assure unity of effort and the use of all available resources with maximum 
effectiveness in preventing and resisting subversive insurgency and related 
forms of indirect aggression in friendly countries, a Special Group (Counter- 
insurgency) is established consisting of the following members: 

■ 
■ 

Military Representatives of the President, Chairman 

The Attorney General 

Deputy Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs ' 

Deputy Secretary of Defense 

Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff 

Director of Central Intelligence 

Special Assistant to the President for National Security 

Affairs ; 

Administrator , Agency for International Development { 
Director, United States Information Agency I 

On invitation: i 

Other department and agency representatives, as deemed 
necessary 

The functions of the Special Group (C.I.) will be as follows: 

a. To insure proper recognition throughout the U, S e Govern- 
ment that subversive insurgency ("wars of liberation") is a major 
form of politico -military conflict equal in importance to con^ -ntional 
warfare . 



1*1*2 






- 



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



H% 



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. 



-- ■ - ! | 3 - . 






-2- 



b. To insure that such recognition is reflected in the 
organization, training, equipment and doctrine of the U.S„ 
Armed Forces and other U.S. agencies abroad and in the 
political, economic, intelligence , military aid and infor- 
mational programs conducted abroad by State, Defense, AID, 
USIA and CIA. Particular attention will be paid the special 
training of personnel prior to assignment to MAAG's and to 
Embassy staffs in countries where counter- insurgency pro- 
blems exist or may arise. 

c. To keep under review the adequacy of U S resources 

to deal with actual or potential situations of insurgency or in- 
direct aggression^ making timely recommendation of measures 
to apply, increase or adjust these resources to meet anticipated 
requirements, 

d. To insure the development of adequate interdepartmental 
programs aimed at preventing or defeating subversive insur- 
gency and indirect aggression in countries and regions 
specifically assigned to the Special Group (C. I.) by the 
President, and to resolve any interdepartmental problems 
which might impede their implementation. 

In performing the above functions, the members of the Special Group (C.I ) 
will act on behalf of their respective departments and agencies, and will 
depend for staff support upon their own staffs, and upon such country or 
regional interdepartmental task forces (normally chaired by a State 
Department Assistant Secretary) as may be established. The Group will 
confine itself to establishing broad lines of counter- insurgency policy, 
subject to my direction and decision as appropriate, insuring a coordi- 
nated and unified approach to regional or country programs, and verifying 
progress in implementation thereof. It will also undertake promptly to 
make decisions on interdepartmental issues arising out of such programs. 

The critical areas initially assigned to the Special Group (C. I a ) pursuant 
to paragraph d of this memorandum are set forth in the attached annex. 



Attachment 



Mtf 



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8 



,. 



o r 

o 



:li\-L 



ANNEX. TO NATIONAL SECURITY ACTION MEMORANDUM NO. 124 

Hereby assign to the cognizance of the Special. Group (Counter-Insurgency) 
the following countries: 

Laos 

South Viet-Wam 

Thailand 



khk 



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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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THE SECRETARY OF STATE 
WASHINGTON 



TOP SECRET January 26 , I962 



Dear Mr. Gilpatric: 

I have received your letter of December 28 to the Secretary 
on the question of an increase in the Vietnamese armed forces to the 
200,000 man level. The matter was discussed with our Task Force 
while Ambassador Nolting was here on consultation. 

In view of the gravity of the situation in Viet-Nam and of the 
importance of not interrupting the accelerated rate of our assistance 
to Viet-Nam, we agree that an increase to about 200,000 should be 
supported provided the following factors are given careful consider- 
ation: 

1. That the U.S. military advisers and the Vietnamese authorities 
continue the joint effort to build up a set of valid tactical and 
strategic plans. We suggest that the locus of this effort should be 

in Viet-Nam in order to obtain fall Vietnamese cooperation and to meet 
the speed requirements of a guerrilla war where a large number of 
incidents are constantly occurring. We would envisage strategic plans 
made in Saigon giving priority to areas to be cleared and held and 
setting forth general methods to be used. We believe these should be 
accomplished by numerous small tactical actions planned and executed 
by American and Vietnamese officers on the spot to meet the local 
situation at the moment. 

2. The rate of increase to approximately 200 .,000 men should take 
into consideration: 

a. The ability of the army to absorb and train these 
men without unduly weakening its fighting ability. 

b. Viet-Nam 



The Honorable 

Ro swell \ Gilpatric a 

Deputy Secretary of Defense. 



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Sec Def Cont. No. 502 

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b. Viet-Kam must husband its rnanoover resources carefully. 
A Eininun number of- trained civilians tnaist be left at their 
posts in order to at least partially satisfy the rising 



expectations of Viet-ITair^s citizens. 



3. That the armed forces night best level off at about 200,000 
with future emphasis to be devoted to strengthening and enlarging the 
Civil Guard and Self Defense Corps. Their job would be to hold ground 
that had been recovered. 



i 



4. That henceforth our training program for AHVIT be based 
primrily on the concept that the Vietnamese ariry will start winning 
on the day when it has obtained the confidence of the Vietnamese 
peasants. As a specific escasiple 1 suggest that we immediately seek 
Vietnamese implementation of a policy of promptly giving a s:.— 11 reward 
in rice, salt or :.;oney (coiEnooiirf.es in which the Viet Cong 
short supply} ~:o every person vho gives indorsation to the ar;y, 
Similarly, villajes which show determination to resist the Viet Con; 
should receive the promptest possible support. 









I would be glad to receive any cos 
to the foregoing* 



seats you ray have with 



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Deputy Under SecsetsLry* ' * * ^* ' ' 
for Political ^fsdrs 

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27 January 1962 



MEMORANDUM FOR THE PRESIDENT 

The Joint Chiefs of Staff have asked 
that the attached memorandum, stating their 
views concerning the strategic importance 
may be required if the situation continues 
to deteriorate, be brought to your attention. 
The memorandum requires no action by you at 
this time. I am not prepared to endorse the 
experience with our present program in 
South Vietnam. 



Robert S. McNamara 



cc: Sec. Rusk 



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SecDef Cont. No. 490 



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NND Project Number: NND 63316. By: NWD Date: 201 1 



W. SECRET 



THE JOINT CHIEFS OF STAFF 

WASHINGTON 25, D.C. 



JCSM- 33-62 

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MEMORANDUM FORTKE SECRETARY OF DEFENSE 



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Subject; 



The Strategic Importance of the Southeast Asia 
Mainland (U) 



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j^ 1. The United States has clearly stated and demonstrated that 
one cf its unalterable objectives is the prevention of South Vietnam 

falling to communist aggression and the subsequent loss of the 
remainder of the Southeast Asian mainland. The military 
objective, therefore, must be to take expeditiously all actions 
necessary to defeat communist aggression in South Vietnam, The 
immediate strategic importance of Southeast Asia lies in the 
political value that can accrue to the Free World through a success- 
ful stand in that area. Of equal importance is the psychological 
impact that a firm position by the United States will have on the 
countries of the world - both free and communist. On the negative 
side, a United States political and/or military withdrawal from the 
Southeast Asian area would have an adverse psychological impact 
of even greater proportion, and one from which recovery would 
be both difficult and costly. * 



t 2 J It must be recognized that the fall cf South Vietnam to 
communist control would mean the eventual communist domination 
of all of the Southeast Asian mainland. There is little doubt that 
the next maior target would be Thailand- Cadres are now being 
established in that country and n land reform" or "capitalist 
dictatorship" ploys may prove fertile exploitation fields for the 
communists. Thailand is bordered by a "pink" Burma, and a . 
vacilLatin^ Cambodia, either of which will easily fall under 
communist pressure. Thailand would almost certainly then seek 
closer accommodation with the Sine -Soviet Bloc, SEATO would 



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probably cease to exist* The only determined opposition to a 
communist drive would then be Malaya and Singapore. While the 
people of Malaya have the will to fight arid might have the backing 
of the United Kingdom, the country- itself would be isolated and 
hard pressed. The communist element .in Singapore is strong. 
Short of direct military intervention by .the United States, it is 
questionable whether Malaya and Si igapore could be prevented from 
eventually coming under communist domination or control. 

i" 3.' Military Considerations, (The Appendix contains a more 
i d. . . — - \ — , * — ^ 

derailed appraisal ot these military considerations.) 

a. Early Eventualities - Loss of the Southeast Asian 

Mainland would, have an adverse impact on our military 
strategy -aac! would markedly reduce our ability. in limited 
war hy denying us air, land and sea bases, by forcing 
greater intelligence effort with lesser results, by compli-' 
eating military lines of communication and by the introduction 
cf more formidable enemy forces in the area. Air access and 
access to 5300 miles of mainland coastline would be lost to 
us,* our Allies and neutral India would be outflanked, the last 
significant United Kingdom military strength in Asia would be 
eliminated with the loss of Singapore and Malaya 2.r±& US 
military influence in that area, short of war, would be 
difficult to exert. * 



k* Possible Even t ualities - Of equal importance to the 
immediate losses are the eventualities which could follow the 
loss of the Southeast Asian mainland. All of the Indonesian 
archipelago could come under the domination and control of 
the USSR and would become a communist base posing a threat 
again 5 1 Australia and New Zealand, The Sino-Soviet 31oc wov 
have control of the eastern access to the Indian Ocean. The 
Philippines and Japan could be pressured to assume at best, 
a neutralist role, thus eliminating two of our major bases ox 
defense in the Western Pacific. Cur lines of defense then 
would be pulled north to Korea, Okinawa and Taiwan resulting 
in the subsequent overtaxing of our lines of communications 
in a limited war. India 1 s ability to remain neutral would be 
jeopardized and, as the Bloc meets success, i$B concurrent 
stepoed-up activities to move into and control Africa can be 
expected. 






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f 4* Politic?.! Considerations J The Joint Chiefs of Sta.fi wish to 

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of South Vietnam to cither communist insurgency or aggression. 
must prevent the communist control or domination of the Southeast 
Asia mainland and must extend its influence in that arei in such a 
manner as to negate the possibility, ox any luture communist 
encrOachirxsiita It is recognized that the military and political 
effort of Communist China in South Vietnam and the political and 
psychological thrust by the USSR ir.io ;he Indonesian archipelago 
are not brushfire tactics nor merely a campaign for control o£ the 
mainland area. More important, it is part of a major campaign 
to extend communist control beyond the periphery of the Sino -Soviet 
Bloc and overseas to both island and continental areas in the Free 
World, through a most natural and comparatively soft outlet, the 
Southeast Asian Peninsula, It is, in fact, a planned phase in the 
communist timetable for world domination. V/hereas, control of 
Cuba has opened for the Siivo-Soviet Bloc more ready access to 
countries of South and Central America, control of Southeast Asia 
will open access to the remainder of Asia and to Africa and 
us tr alia. 



. 



rSmjlrt consideration of the formidable threat to the Free "world 
which is represented i:r the current actions in South Vietnam, the 
need for US and GVN success in that area cannot be overemphasized. 
In this connection, reference is made to the staff level document 
entitled "Summary, of Suggested Courses of Action" prepared for 
General Taylor for reference in his mission to South Vietnam. On 
21 October 19^1/ this document circulated comments and recommen- 
dations on 20 courses of action that could be taken in South Vietnam 
short of the direct utilization of US combat forces » The Joint Chiefs 
of Staff note that, in keeping with the President's decision that we 
must advise and support South Vietnam but not at this time engage 
unilaterally in combat, all of the courses of action recommended 
with few exceptions have either been implemented or authorized 
for implementation. In this connection, it is noted that the 
Vietnamese Government has specifically requested further 
assistance from the United States. 



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f~7 # |a response to President Diem's -request for assistance and 
the^agreeiiient between tlie governments, me:., money, materials 
and advice are beirig provided to South Vietnam, Unfortunately, 
our co&iributions are not being properly employed by the South 
Vietnamese Government and major portions of the agreement have 
either not been carried out or are being delayed by Diem. 



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8, For a combined US/Vietnans effort to be successful, there 
■ must be convbiaed participation in the decision making process. 
To date efforts made on both the military and diplomatic level 
have failed to motivate Diem to agree to act forthrightly on our 
advice and properly utilize the resources placed at his disposal* 
He has been slow to accept the plans and proposals of Admiral Felt 
and General McGarr and he has in many instances disregarded the 
advice of Ambassador Noliiug* The reason for Dieni's negative 
reaction to proposals to save South Vietnam while he maintains a 
positive position that it must be saved may be found in CINCPAC's 
appraisal of his character - an uncompromising inflexibility and his 
doubts concerning the judgment, ability and individual loyalty of 
his military leaders. Recent intelligence reports of coup d'etat 
plotting involving senior Vietnamese military officers and the 
possibility that high Vietnamese officers have approached US 
officials tend to confirm Diem 1 5 doubts concerning the loyalty- of 
some of his military leaders. 

9* £n this regard, should a successful coup overturn Diem, 
v/e might discover that many of Diem's difficult characteristics 
are national rather than personal. The Vietnamese are tough, 
tenacious, agile, proud, and extraordinarily self confident. Their 
recent political tradition is one of the multiplicity of parties and 
?rouns inclining toward conspiratorial and violent methods. The 
disappearance of a strong leader who can dampen and control these 
tendencies could v/eil mean reversion to a condition of politic?.! ch?.o- 
exploitable by the strongly led and well disciplined communists. If 
Diem goes, we can be sure of losing his strengths but v/e cannot be 
sure of remedying his weaknesses. Achievement of US objectives 
could be mere difficult without Diem than with him. Therefore, 
it must be made clear to Diem that the United States is prepared and 



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TOP SECREi 



willing to bolster his regime and discourage internal factious 
which may seek to overthrow hirn. 



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10. In consideration, of the foregoing, the Joint Chiefs of Staff 
believe that there is an immediate requirement for making a strong 

■ 

approach to Dions on a Government- to- Gove rr.ment level. If we 
are to effectively assist South Vietnam, w-e must convince Diem that 

(a) there is no alternative to the establishment of a sound basis upon 
which both he and the United Stages Goveri^p.e.it can work and 

(b) he has an urgent requirement for ad\"ice, as well as assistance, 
in military, political and economic matter 5. " 

11. Accordingly, it is recommended that you propose to the 
President and to the Secretary cf State that: 



a. Upon his return to Saigon, Ambassador Nolting meet 
with President Diem and advise him. that, since the United 
States considers it essential and fundamental that South 
Vietnam not fall to communist forces: 

(1) The United States is prepared and willing to 
bolster his regime and discourage internal factions which 
may seek to overthrow him. 



(2) Suitable military plans have been developed and 
jointly approved. Diem must permit his military 
commanders to implement these approved plans to defeat 



the Viet Cong 



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(3) There must be established an adec^uate basis for 
the reception and utilization of US advice and assistance 
•by all appropriate echelons of the GVN.' 

{4} There must be no further procrastination, 

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(5> Should ii be found impossible to establish s*uch 
a satisfactory basis for cooperation, the United States 
foresees failure of our joint efforts to save Vietnam 
from communist concuest77 




CIZ. Vigorous prosecution ol the cameairm vith present and olamiod 
assets could reverse the current trend. If, with Diem's full 
cooperation ami tae effective employment of South Vietnam armed 



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forces, the Viet Con^ is not brought under control, the Joint Chiefs 

of Staff see no alternative to the introduction of US military combat 

• 
forces along with those oi the free Asian* nations that can. be persua.ded 

to participate. . . 

- • 

13* Three salient factors are of the greatest importance if the 
eventual introduction of US forces is required, 

. a. Any v/ar in the Southeast Asian Mainland will be a 
peninsula and islav.d-type of campaign - a mode of warfare in 
which all elements of the Armed Forces of the United States 
have gained a- wealth of experience and in which we have excelled 
both in World War II and Korea, 









[Wagers 



b. Study of the problem clearly indicates that the communists 

are limited in the force? they can sustain in v/ar in that area 
because of natural logistic and transportation problems, * 

c. Our present world military "posture is such that we now 
have effective forces capable of implementing existing 

■ contingency plans for Southeast Asia without affecting to an 
* unacceptable degree our capability to conduct planned operations 
in Europe relating to Berlin or otherwise* 

» 

14. The Joint Chiefs of Staff "recommend that in any consideration 
of further action which may be required Because of possible 
unacceptable results obtained despite Diem's full cooperation and 
the effective employment of South Vietnam armed forces, you again 
consider the recommendation provided you by JCSM- 320-61, dated 
10 May 19ol that a decision be made to deploy suitable US forces 
to South Vietnam sufficient to accomplish the following: 



, a. Provide a visible deterrent to potential North 
ietaarn ana /or Chinese Communist action; 



b. Release Vietnamese forces from advanced and static 
defense, positions to permit their future commitment to 

" counterin.3ur^ency actions; 

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c. Assist in training the Vietnamese forces; 



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* n d. Provide a nucleus for the support o£ any additional 
-US or SEATO military operations in Southeast Asia; and 

e. Indicate the firmness of our intent to all Asian rations. 

■ 
* * 

V/e are of the opirdon tliat failure to do so under such circumstances 

will merely extend the date when such action must be taken and' will 

i 

make our ultimate task proportionately more difficult. 

For the Joint Chiefs of Staff: 



: Attachment 



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A . A . of^-^4/ 

L. L. LEMKITZSR 

Chairman 

Joint Chiefs of Staff 



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THE WHITE HOUSE 

WASHINGTON 



i ' February 19 , 1962 



SECRET 



NATIONAL SECURITY ACTION MEMORANDUM NO. 132 

TO: The Honorable Fowler Hamilton 

The Administrator 
Agency for International Development 

(SUBJECT: Support of Local Police Forces for Internal Security 

and Counter- Insurgency Purposes) 

As you know j I desire the appropriate agencies of this Govern- 
ment to give utmost attention and emphasis to programe designed 
to counter Communist indirect aggression, which I regard as a 
grave threat during the 1960s. I have already written the Secretary 
of Defense tr to move to a new level of increased activity across the 
hoard" in the counter- insurgency field. 

Police assistance programs, including those under the aegis 
of your agency, are also a crucial element in our response to this 
challenge. I understand that there has been some tendency toward 
de- emphasizing them under the new aid criteria developed by your 
agency. I recognize that such programs may seem marginal in 
terms of focusing our energies on those key sectors which will con- 
tribute most to sustained economic growth. But I regard them as 
justified on a different though related basis, i.e., that of contributing 
to internal security and resisting Communist- supported insurgency, 

I am further aware that police programs, as a relatively minor 
facet of the functions of the aid agency, may have tended to receive little 
emphasis as a result. Therefore, I would like you to consider various 
ways and means of giving the police program greater autonomy within 
AID, if this seems necessary in order to protect it from neglect. 



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I fully rectrpiize that police programs must be looked at on a case- 
by-cace basis ma that in some instances they can indeed bo cut back or 
eliminated, I simply wish to Insure that before dos&jj no we have taken 
fully into account the importance of the counter-insurgency objective as 
1 view it> 



In earn, I should like AID to review carefully it3 role in the support 
of local police forces for hiternal security' and countor-iasurgeacy 
purpose o j &n& to recommend to me through the Special Group {Counter- 
Insurgency} what now or renewed emphases are desirable. 



(signed) JOHN F. KENNEDY 






Information Copy to: 

The Secretary of State 
The Secretary of Defense 
The Attorney General 
Director of Central Intelligence 
Director, Bureau of the Budget 
Director, Peace Corps 
General Maxwell D, Taylor 



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C 
THE WHITE HOUSE 

P 
y WASHINGTON 

CONFIDENTIAL , March 13, 19^2 

NATIONAL SECURITY ACTION MEMORANDUM NO. 131 

TO: The Secretary of State 

The Secretary of Defense 
The Attorney General 
.. The Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff 
The Director of Central Intelligence 

The Administrator, Agency for International Development 
The Director, United States Information Agency 

SUBJECT: Training Objectives for Counter- Insurgency 



1. The President has approved the following training objectives 
for officer grade personnel of the departments and agencies indicated 
above who may have a role to play in counter- insurgency programs as well 
as in the entire range of problems involved in the modernization of 
developing countries, 

a. The Historical Background of Counter-Insurgency 

Personnel of all grades will be required to study the 
history of subversive insurgency movements, past and present, in 
order to familiarize themselves with the nature of the problems 
and characteristics of Communist tactics and techniques as re- 
lated to this particular aspect of Communist operations. This 
kind of background historical study will be offered throughout 
the school systems of the responsible departments and agencies, 
beginning at the junior level of instinct ion and carrying forward 
to the senior level. 

b. Study of Departmental Tactics and Techniques to 
Counter Subversive Insurgency 

Junior and middle grade officers will receive instruc- 
tions in the tactics and techniques of their particular depart- 
ments which have an application in combating subversive insurgency. 
This level of instruction will be found in the schools of the 
Armed Services at the company/ field officer level. In the case 
of the Central Intelligence Agency, this kind of instruction will 
be offered at appropriate training installations. The State 
Department will be responsible for organizing appropriate courses 
in this instructional area for its own officers and for representa- 
tives of the Agency for International Development and the United 



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States Information Agency. Schools of this category will make 
available spaces in agreed numbers for the cross -training of 
other U.S. agencies with a counter -insurgency responsibility. 

c. Instruction in Counter-Insurgency Program Planning 

Middle grade and senior officers will be offered special 
training to prepare them for command 5 staffs country team and de- 
partmental positions involved in the planning and conduct of 
counter- insurgency programs. At this level the students will be 
made aware of the possible contributions of all departments , and 
of the need to combine the departmental assets into effective pro- 
grams. This type of instruction will be given at the Staff College- 
War College level In the Aimed Services. -The State Department will 
organize such courses as may be necessary at the Foreign Service 
Institute for officials of State , Agency for International Devel- 
opment and United States Information Agency. All schools of this 
category will make available spaces in agreed numbers for the 
cross-training of other U.S. agencies with a counter- insurgency 
responsibility. 

d. Specialized Preparations for Service in Underdeveloped 
Areas 

There Is an unfulfilled need to offer instruction on 
the entire range of problems faced by the United States in dealing 
with developing countries 5 including special area counter- 
insurgency problems , to middle and senior grade officers (both 
military and civilian) who are about to occupy important posts in 
underdeveloped countries. A school will accordingly be developed 
at the national level to meet this need, to teach general (including 
counter-insurgency) policy and doctrine with respect to under- 
developed areas , to offer studies on problems of the underdeveloped 
world keyed to areas to which the students are being sent, and to 
engage in research projects designed to improve the U.S. capability 
for guiding underdeveloped countries through the modernization 
barrier and for countering subversive insurgency. In addition, 
this school would undertake to assist other more specialized U.S. 
Government institutions engaged In underdeveloped area problems 
(i.e. 3 those conducted by the Foreign Service Institute, Agency 
for International Development y the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the 
Services, including the Military Assistance Institute and the 
Central Intelligence Agency) to develop curricula on the non- 
technical aspects of their courses of instruction. 

e. Training of Foreign Nationals 



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It is in the interest of the United States to provide 
counter- insurgency training to selected foreign nationals , both 
in the United States and in their own countries. The emphasis 



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choulcl ha placod on those coiui trios with an actual or potential 
ccuivb^r-in^ur^oncy problou. This training vill ho given in the 
following plr.333: 

(l) In facilities operated by the Departr.isnt of Defense 
: and the Central Iniellige&cc Agency v:hich are ayailable to 
i foreigners •, ' 

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\ ' (2) In special facilities operated by tho Bopar fcient ox 

: Defense end tho Agency for International Development in 
" Panama for ths benefit of foreign nationals, 

(3) U.S. riAAGs/iiission^ a&3 USGIb in countries with 

cc^tor-iu^ur^cncy rro^rcis. 

* 

* 

2# It is desired that tho Special Group (Gcimter-Insurgency) 
explore Vf.yz of cr^rd^lng a school of tho typo described 121 paragraph 
1 d above m a natter of urgency aud develop appropriate recc^e^daiioas • 
Tho Special Group (Count sr-In.rorj-sncy) should olco esfeaiiia the possibility 
of setting up interim couraea at the Foreign Service Institute end/or at 
tbo National War College to fill the gap during Consideration of & now 
school* 

3, It is clasired that the addressees egsrafa&e the coaster- 
insur^ncy training which is currently offered in their dopart::?nt3 and 
agsncio.3, a&d to report by June 1 # 1962 upon the adequacy with Which it 
moots tho tratrd:i3 objectives acove*. If any deficiencies are dotor- 
idi&d to e:dst, tho responsible doportbszit or agency will report its 
plan for correcting theru N 



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RECEIVED 



THE WHITE HOUSE 

WA S H I N G T O N 



'562 ItPR 



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SECRET 



April 7, 1962 



°* * CV Of 0£F£«s £ 



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Dear Mr. Secretary; 

The President has asked me to 
transmit to you for your comments the 
enclosed memorandum on the subject 
of Viet-Nam to the President from 
Ambassador J. K. Galbraith dated 

April 4, 1962- 

* 

Sincerely, 






c 



tkxhdM$ i.f-vtAA. 



Michael V. Forrestal 



9 



End: Memo to Pres. from Amb, Galbraith 






¥ %A #. 



t 



The Honorable 



Robert S. McNamara 



Secretary of Defense 



f ct| /3^ v 



; Washington, D. C. 







t. O r\ 



SecQal Centre! Mo. 



- 



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Co 



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Declassified per Executive Order 13526, Section 3.3 
NND Project Number: NND 633 16, By: NWD Date: 201 1 



SECRET 



From J. K. Galbraith 



DEPARTMENT OF STATE 
WASHINGTON 

April 4, 1962 



KiffilORANDUK FOR THE PRESIDENT 



i^ ** * * 



1 



1 ) 












Subject; Viet-Nam 



The following considerations influence our thinking on Viet- 
Nam: 
/♦— — 

1. We have a growing military commitment. This could expand 
step by step into a major, long -drawn out indecisive military 
involvement • 

# 

2# We are backing a weak and, on the record, ineffectual govern- 
ment and a leader who as a politician may be beyond the point of no 
return. 

3. There is consequent danger we shall replace the French as the 
colonial force in the area and bleed as the French did. 

4* The political effects of some of the measures which pacifi- 
cation requires or is believed to require, including the concentration 
of population, relocation of villages, and the burning of old villages, 
may be damaging to those and especially to Westerners associated with 
it. / 

5# We fear that at some point in the involvement there will be 
a major political outburst about the new Korea and the new war into 
which the Democrats as so often before have precipitated us. 

■ 

6. It seems at least possible that the Soviets are not particu- 
larly desirous of trouble in this part of the world and that our 
military reaction with the need to fall back on Chinese protection 
may be causing concern in Hanoi . 



In the 



SECRET 



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Ht>l 



SecDcf Centre! No. SJlXt^L 



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SECRET 



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v_/ 












In the light of the foregoing we urge the following: 

1. That it be our policy to keep open the door for political 
solution. We should welcome as a solution any broadly based non- 
Communist government that is free from external interference. It 
should h^ve the requisites for internal law and order. We should 
not require that it be militarily identified with the United States. 

2. We shall find it useful in achieving this result if we 
seize any good opportunity to involve other countries and world 
opinion in settlement and its guarantee. This is a useful exposure 
and pressure on the Communist bloc countries and a useful antidote 
for the argument that this is a private American military adventure, 

3« We should measurably reduce our commitment to the particular 
present leadership of the government of South Viet-Nam. 

* 
To accomplish the foregoing, \ie recommend the following specific 

steps: 

1. In the next fortnight or so the ICC will present a report 
which we are confidentially advised will accuse North Viet-Nam of 
subversion and the Government of Viet-Nam in conjunction with the 
United States of not notifying the introduction of men and materiel 
as prescribed by the Geneva accords. We should respond by asking 
the co-chairmen to initiate steps to re-establish compliance with 
the Geneva accords. Pending specific recommendations, which might- 
at some stage include a conference of signatories, we should demand 
a suspension of Viet Cong activity and agree to a standstill on an 

introduction of men and materiel, 

■ 

2. Additionally, Governor Harriman should be instructed to 
approach the Russians to express our concern about the increasingly 
dangerous situation that the Viet Cong is forcing in Southeast Asia*. 
They should be told of our determination not to let the Viet Cong 
overthrow the present government while at the same time to look . 
without relish on the dangers that this military build-up is causing 
in the area. The Soviets should be asked to ascertain whether Hanoi' 
can and will call off the Viet Cong activity in return for phased^ 
American withdrawal, liberalisation in the trade relations between 
the two parts of the country and general and non-specific agreement 
to talk about reunification after some period of tranquillity. 






3» Alternatively, 



SECRET . 






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SECRET 



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C 



s. 



3» Alternatively, the Indians should be asked to make such an 
approach to Hanoi under the same terms of reference. 

4, It must be recognized that our long-run position cannot ' 
involve an unconditional commitment to Diem, Our support is to non- 
Communist and progressively democratic government not to individual 
We cannot ourselves replace Diem, But we should be clear in our mind 
that almost any non-Communist change viould probably be beneficial 
and this should be the guiding rule for our diplomatic representation 
in the area. 

* 

In the meantime policy should continue to be guided by the following: 

1, Vfe should resist all steps which commit American troops to 
combat action and impress upon all concerned the importance of keeping 
American forces out of actual combat commitment. 

2. We should disassociate ourselves from action, however necessary, 
which seems to be directed at the villagers, such as the new concen- 
tration program. If the action is one that is peculiarly identified 
with Americans, such as- defoliation, it should not be undertaken in % 
the absence of most compelling reasons. Americans in their various 
roles should be as invisible as the situation permits ♦ 



i 

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SECRET 






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Declassified per Executive Order 13526, Section 3.3 
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63 









- ; 




THE JOINT CHIEFS OF STAFF 
WASHINGTON 25, D.C. 



/t*\ p-n f?& r^ V^ R??i 



G 



PR '3 1/* 33 



OFF SECY OF OFFENSE 



MEMORANDUM FOR THE SECRETARY OF DEFENSE 



JCSM-282-62 



1 3 APR 18S 



Subject: US Policy Toward Vietnam (U) 



u) "'-< .-//•■;; 






1, Reference is made to a memorandum by the Assistant Secretary 
of Defense (ISA) dated 10 April 1962, requesting comments on a memo- 
randum to the President by the Honorable J. K* Galbraith, US Ambassador 
to India, wherein he proposes changes to the present US policy toward 
Vietnam and the government of President Diem, 

2, The burden of Mr, Galbraith 1 s proposals appears to be that present 
US policy toward Vietnam should be revised in order to seek a political 
solution to the problem of communist penetration in the area. The effect 
of these proposals is to put the United States in a position of initiating 
negotiations with the communists to seek disengagement from what is by 
now a well-known commitment to take a forthright stand against Com- 
munism in Southeast Asia, 



3, The President of the United States and the Secretary of Defense 
both have recently and publicly affirmed the intention of the US Govern- 
ment to support the government of President Diem and the people of 
South Vietnam to whatever extent may be necessary to eliminate the 
Viet Cong threat. In his letter of 14 December 1961 to President Diern, 
President Kennedy said: 

■ 

"Your (President Diern's) letter underlines what our own infor- 
mation has convincingly shown «-- that the campaign of force and 
terror now being waged against your people and your Government 
is supported and directed from the outside by the authorities at 
Hanoi. They have thus violated the provisions of the Geneva Accords 
designed to ensure peace in Vietnam and to which they bound them- 
selves in 1954, 



T 



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Copy l^^XZL of ,/L. 



Copies each , 



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. DOWNGRADED AT 12 YEAR 
INTERVALS; NOT AUTOMATICALLY 
DECLASSIFIED. DOD DIR 5200.10 1 



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"At that time, the United States, although not a party to the 
Accords, declared that it would view any renewal of the aggression 
in violation of the agreements with grave concern and as seriously 
threatening international peace and security. We continue to main- 
tain that view, n 

■ 

"In accordance with that declaration, and in response to your 
request, we arc prepared to help the Republic of Vietnam to pro- 
tect its people and to preserve its independence, " 

4, The various measures approved for implementation by the United 
States in. support of our objectives in South Vietnam have not yet been 
underway long enough to demonstrate their full effectiveness. Any 
reversal of US policy could have disastrous effects, not only upon our 
relationship with South Vietnam, but with the rest of our Asian and other 
allies as well. 






5. The problems raised by Mr. Galbraith with regard to our present 
policy have been considered in the coordinated development of that policy. 
The Joint Chiefs of Staff are aware of the- deficiencies of the present 
government of South Vietnam. However, the President's policy of sup- 
porting the Diem regime while applying pressure for reform appears to 
be the only practicable alternative at this time. In this regard, the views 
of the Joint Chiefs of Staff as expressed in JCSM-33-62 are reaffirmed, 

6 # It is the opinion of the Joint Chiefs of Staff that the present US 
policy toward South Vietnam, as announced by the President, should be 
pursued vigorously to a successful conclusion. , r 



For the Joint Chiefs of Staff: 




L. L. JLEMNITZER 

Chairman 
Joint Chiefs of Statff 




l|65 




t 



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



REC$?Sp TANT SECRETARY OF DEFENS: 

V/ASH1NGTON 25, D. C. 



1962 APR 16 09 14 

INTERNATIONAL SECURITY AFFAIRS 

X-l62$kfo2 SHCY CF DEFENSE 



*» 



14 APP1962 



/-V 



• * 



COVERING BRIE? 



TO: 



The Secretary of Defense 






UUJ 



FROM: The Assistant Secretary of Defense (ISA) I signed) ;Vv Eaydja Willie 



3 



x / Y5 



Acting Assistant Secretary 

Problem: To respond to the President's request for your 

comments concerning Ambassador Galbraith ! s memorandum 
on Vietnam. 

Discussion : The President's request for comments did not 
specify that only military aspects should be treated. 
In view of the nature of Ambassador Galbraith's memo, 
. meaningful comment necessarily ranges beyond the 
narrow military implications. However, the proposed 
comments conform with Special Rational Intelligence 
Estimate Ko. 10-62, dated 21 Feb o2. 



Mr/ Cottrell of the Department of State 
advises that Ambassador Galbraith's memorandum has 
.*- not been referred to State for formal staffing and 
comment, Mr. Earrimaa regards it as a private com- 
munication to the President from Ambassador Galbraith. 
However, an initial draft of the attached memorandum 
to the President was reviewed by Mr. Cottrell and his 
comments liave been considered. 

Recommendation: That you sign the enclosed memorandum. 









RlJ 



• Concurrences: ITone required. 

- 







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# * / — 



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EOJJ Dia." 52C-a.lO 



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8 i , 



TOP SECRET 



May 29, 1962 



NATIONAL SECURITY ACTION MEMORANDUM NO. 157 

TO: The Secretary of State 

The Secretary of Defense 

The Director of Central Intelligence 

Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff 

SUBJECT: Presidential Meeting on Laos, May 2k, 1962 



The President has approved the following Record of Actions for 
the subject meetings; 

At the meeting on the situation in Laos held in the Cabinet Room 
at *f:30 p.m. today, the President requested contingency planning 
in the event of a breakdown of the cease fire in Laos for action 
in two major areas: 

(a) the investing and holding by Thai forces with U.S. 
backup of Sayabouri Province (being that portion of 
northern Laos to the west of the Mekong River); and 

(b) the holding and recapture of the panhandle of Laos 
from Thakhek to the southern frontier with Thai, Viet- 
namese or U.S. forces. 

In connection with the above contingency plans, the President 
desired an estimate of the military value of the Mekong River in 
Sayabouri Province as a defensive barrier in relation to the cost 
of taking and holding it. 

The President also asked that the above planning be undertaken 
unilaterally by the United States without discussion at this time 
with the Thais or the Lao. 



1 



TOP SECRET 



SecDef Cont. No. 3320 



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The President also indicated that he contemplated keeping U.S. 
forces in Thailand during the period of the 3-Prince negotiations 
and the early days of the government of national union, i.e. as 
long as they serve a necessary purpose. 

The President observed that a cable would have to go in answer to 
Bangkok's 1844. 



McGeorge Bundy 



TOP SECRET 



468 









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SEGRET/KOFCSN 

ft 

a 

DEPARTMENT OF STATE 

BUSEAU Or INTELLIGENCE AND RESEARCH 



51 






- 4. 



v. 



Research Memorandum 
RFE-27, Juno 18, 1962 



TO 



1 FE - Governor Karriman /\ [, 

FROM s IKa - Roger Hilsman \l^ 




SUBJECTS Progress Report on South Vietnam" 



R AS MaSjla. .;. 

Please do not remove 
from Room 6±9» EA-"£ 



In this report, an expansion of an earlier informal paper, wo 
summarize tho riajor goals and accomplisliments of the present counter - 
insurgency of fort against Communist armed and subversive for cos in tho 
Republic of Vietnam (South Vietnam)* A briof assessment of the general 
situation is also included* It should be emphasized, however, that this 
report" is not a complete appraisal 3 it does not, for example, discuss 
Communist strength, capabilities, a_nd achievements in recent months nor 
compare those with those of tho Viet name so Government It. should also 
be noted that this report does not follow tha usual format of a Research 
Memorandum, 



1 , 



1 . 



I. W&T ARE WE TRYING TO DO? 



a J 1 m a ■ mm 



A* Devise an integrated and systematic lailitary-political-econoialc 
strategic counter insurgency concept and plan to eliminate the Vietnamese 
Communist anaod**subversivo force, th3 Viet Gong, 

B, Orient the Vietnamese Government's military and security forces inerea 
Ingly toward counter-guerrilla or unconventional warfare tactics, 

Co Broaden the effective participation of Vietnamese Government officials 
kti the formulation and execution of government policy 



c*--* 



D Identify the populace with the Vietnamese Government's struggle a^ainat 
the Viet Cong* ._ I 






4 



"1 



% 



inal analysis of the material contained in this report w^suCpn&ftidod 
on June 10, 1962. * 



■* 



i- r» 



v o 3 

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Declassified per Executive Order 13526, Section 3.3 
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SEGRET/N07CRN 



II. PROGRESS: WHERE ARE YE? 





e plan is being B&pl eiaen'ted 
1» 'Progress 



...i, 



a .Delta Pacification Tlz\n 

(l) President Hgo Binh Diem approved a systematic counter- 
insurgency plan oa March 19$ 1962, vhich contains the bulk of the British 
Advisory Kiss ion's (headed by Ifi% R G«K. Thompson) r ©coma en da t Ions and 
those security coscapta developed by the US. Tha coimter insurgency plan 
is to bo implemented in 3,0 provinces around Saigon in the Mekong River 
delta region (tha so-called ^Delta Pacification Plan 1 *)* Col. Eoang Van 
Lac, a former proT&noo chief apparently regarded highly by Diem, is re- 
sponsible for executing the plan, operating under the authority of Nguyen 
Binh Thuan, Seerefery of State for tha Presidency, and Ngo Dinh Khu, Diora ! s 
brother and principal political adviser. 

(2) ^Operation Sunrise 1 * in Binh Duong province Just north of 
Saigon, favored by. Diem, for special tactical purposes, constitutes tha 
initial effort in a systematic, province -hy-provinea pacification campaign. 
"Operation Sunriss* 3 is headed by Brig. Gen. Van Thanh Cao, the administra- 
tor of the Southeastern Provincial Region, Three strategic hamlets have 
been constructed in Binh Doong province as a resvlt.*of thi3 operation and, 
as of mid-Hay 1?62, more than 2, 700 persons had been relocated in these 
hamlets. (Two additional hamlets are in the planning or early construction 
stage.) They are wall defended and supported by Civic Actionl teams 
living with the peasantry arid assisting them in a variety of ways. Reports 
tend to be optinLstic as to the ultimate success of these hamlets. 

b. Otte^ Pacification Programs 



si, 



On Hay 8, 1?62, the second systematic operation to pacify a specific 
srea was started in Rni Ten province in central Vietraau It is known as 
"Operation Sea &rallo*r n and is similar to "Operation Sunrise" in method 
and objectives. 

(1) More than 80 strategic hamlets are to be constructed 
before the end of 1?62| a large number are already in the process of final 
construction. 

(2) As of May 18, 1?62, there vera more than 600 Civic Action 
personnel in Phu Ten province formed into more than 70 teams; another 11 
teams were to be formed within two weeks/ -As in l! 0peration Sunrise", these 
teams assist in tha construction of strategic' hamlets, organize government 
services, and help the peasants in a variety of ways. 

SECRET/K0F0RN 

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SECHET/1K)F0R2I 

-3 - 

c. StrateglcJfUl.^ges and Hamlets 

(1) The strategic village -hamlet concept has taken hold 
within the Vietnamese Government and is now priority national policy, 

(2) President Diem signed a decree on February 3 5 1962 
creating a special "Inter ministerial Committee for Strategic Hamlets" 
to coordinate the program on a countrywide basis. Tha committee is . 
officially chaired by its Secretary General, Secretary of State -for 
Interior Bui Van Luong, but actually operates under Ngo Dinh Nhu. 

(3) Estimates on the number of strategic villages and 
hamlets vary. As of December 1961, the Vietnamese Department of Interior 
reportedly tabulated almost 800 such villages and 'hamlets although in 
February 1962 the 133 Embassy estimated that possibly there were only 
l£0~200 such settlements scattered in more than half of Vietnam's 39 
provinces, principally north of Saigon. In April 1962, the Secretary of 
State for Interior informed a IB Mission inter -agency group, the Province 
Pacification Committee, that there were 1,300 strategic hamlets already 
in place. 



(k) On June 6, 1962, about f>00 officials from all provinces 
completed a special training course on strategic villages and hamlets • 
Training reportedly emphasised the Civic Action aspects of the strategic 
village -hamlet program as well as the responsibilities of the officials 
involved, ... ■ 

d. Civic Action 



•»«■ 



(1) The Vietnamese Department of Civic Action Fas reorganized 
in January 1962, creating (I) a central Civic Action Service in Saigon by 
combining related and heretofore separate services within the Department 
end (ii) an integrated Civic Action office in each province and district. 

(2) As of January 1$&2 3 a Civic Action chief and deputy 

chief reportedly had been assigned to every province in Vietnam. 

■ 

(3) The Civic Action teams working In strategic villages 
and hamlets, particularly in support of ^Operation Sunrise" and w Operation 

Sea Swallow, * are excellently oriented and are doing a good job.. 

■ 

m 

(1|) USGM has established a committee to provide on a 
priority basis direct 133 assistance (and to coordinate such assistance) to 
Civic Action operations through the relevant Vietnamese Government agencies. 

(5) The Vietnamese Department of Defense is also organising 
its own Civic Action program. 

©. Internal Security and Police Services 



(1) The importance of the counterlnsurgancy role of the 
rural internal security services is reflected in the US IJiasion's 
re common da tion that the Civil Guard be increased to 90,000 by JT 1962 and 
the SelT Ibfense Corps to 80,000 by FT 1963. 

SKGffiT/EOFGRtf ~- : L'71 



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(2) As of the end of April 19o2 s 89 Civil Guard companies 
or tfSwttt 12, COO psr^cr^al and 276 Self Dsferisa Corps plateora or about 
10,500 personnel had bean trained „ The goal is reportedly to train a 
total of scsaa k9 5 COO Civil Guard and 60, COO Self Defense Corps personnel 
by tha end of 1$62, 

(3) The 7ietn&rr.££o Government, with the holp of IB Oft, has 
taken stops to extend the pollea system to rural areas in view of tho gap 
created by the parwilitsrl'satdLon of tho & eourity services* AID is soak- 
ing to hire 20 additional polioa advisers for rural area*. (The present 
I50M advisory police eoiag&ement in Vietnam is just over 20 personnel 
moat of yhrm operate principally in urban areas*) 133 aid for tha police 
program for FT 1962 is 03$3*£ uOltan (of which US$2 3 million is for 
eeaaaoditiea), In addition to about U3$U minion In unused aid. 

(It) As of tho end of May 1?62 5 almost 2 C 8 Million of the 
estimated 7 million parsons of tho age of 18 years or ov*r have baen 
Issued Identity earda* As a result cf this effort, over 2,000 military 
deaertera and 52 Viet Cong agents have boen apprehended Sid abottt k,000 
irregt&arliies in tha previous ide&tity card program bars been uncover ad. 

f . Tillage Radio System 






• (1) As of tho end of May 1?62 3 mora than 530 USOM-diatrlbuted 
eoss&ttniostion radios had boon installed in villages and other p3Ltu»9i in tho 
provinces of Gia Binh, An X^en, BInh Duong, Dish Thucng 8 Kien Giang, Kien 
Phong, Tay HSrfh, and Ehuoe Tiy. Sins a the rata of installation 1-3 now about 
300 radios par month, USOM expaots to have mere than 1,000 village radios 
installed by the end of July 1?52. Another 1,000 sets are scheduled to be 
installed soon thereafter, thus equipping mora than 2,000 villages with 
radio ooisaKmloatioa facilities. j 

(2) The public safety role of village radica ms dorccnatrated 
on Kirch 20, 1962, whan a joint tBOM^Yiotnamaaa radio installation tasa vas 
attacked by Viet Cong guerrillas* Tha security eso.ort engaged the Viet 
Cong while tha teaia proceeded to install the village radio and then nc if io.d 
district teadqusrtera and noarby villages* Assiatanoa wag despatched and 
resulted In an as&uah of tha Viet Gong as they vera fleeing toward another 
village which had been alerted. 

g. Utilisation of US A-ssisianoe 

■ 

(1) Effective utilisation and integration of US non-military 
assiafcanoe to Vietnam was strengthened by AID action in March 1962 | 
establishing first, ssoond, and third priorities en tha basis cf tho * 

itt»di&ie bsspact of aid projects on the counter insurgency efforts first 
priority pre-jscta ara those With iiflpact during tha next 12 feontha, includ- 
ing, for example. Rural Development, Prfblic Safety (especially radio sets) 
and Health Servicssj second priority projects are those with impact during 



> 



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' SEGRET/KOFGRN 

S 

the next 1 to 3 years, including, for example, Agricultural Credit and 
Cooperatives and Highway; and Bridge Construction) and third priority 
projects are those Kith long-term economic and social significance. 

■ (2) The US Mission has established a number of inter- 
agency groups, such as the Province Pacification Committee, for the 
purpose of coordinating and expediting assistance to Vietnamese Government 
projects in rural areas, 

(3) In anticipation of future needs, the US Mission is also 
taking measures to stockpile commodities (for example, pharmaceuticals, 
pesticides, barb wire, fence .posts, fertiliser, etc) which would be re- 
leased on short notice for immediate despatch to the countryside • 

2. Critique 

a* Although the bulk of the British Advisory Mission f s recom- 
mendations have been incorporated into the "Dolt a Pacification Plan, H 
the enabling presidential decree omits the Mission's "proposals on "prompt 
payment of compensation for damage to property or loss of life,* 3 on 
"complete coordination of all civil and military action, n on a "clear chain 
of command," and on "direction and coordination of the information services 
and psy-war .units," . 



i b* US and British officials in Vietnam have voiced serious concern 

I over (i) President Diem ! s delay in approving the organizational and 

implementing machinery for the "Delta" plan and (ii) a possible subordina- 
tion of the "Delta" plan to the strategic village -hamlet program. It has 
been very recently reported, however, that President Diem has approved a 
merger of the "Delta 1 * and the strategic village -hamlet organizations! 
machinery and has agreed to give the 10 provinces specified in the "Dolta^ 
j plan first priority, subject to modification as required by developments 

in the security situation, 

- 

- 
c. Although the Vietnamese Government is giving the strategic 
village -hamlet program high priority, there is reliable evidence that the 
program suffers seriously from inadequate direction, coordination, and 
material assistance by the central government and from misunderstanding 
among officials at the provincial and local levels. Province chiefs have 
tended to draw up unrealistically high quotas (generally in order to please 
the authorities in Saigon), and the lack of sufficient resources provided 
by the government at the local level has in. certain instances resulted in 
poorly constructed and poorly defended settlements and in financial levies 
on the peasant. Moreover, the construction of thase settlements has not 
followed any particular pattern or plan based on priorities, In his reported 
recent merger of the "Dalta" plan and the strategic village-hamlet program, 
however, President Diem has . indicated that priorities would be established, 

SEGRET/H0F0RN 



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SECRET/KOFOIN 

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- 6 - 



eL Although the mission of ths Vietnamese Bepartm&nt of 
Civic Action is being oriented increasingly toward supporting strategic 
Villages and, hamlets, it appears that there is still considerable 
emphasis on informational and intelligence activities. This has reduced 
the effectiveness of Civic Action operations and has been sor^vhzb detri- 
mnt&L to the favorable reputation built up in the past by Civic Action 
parsomiGlo Ttie Civic Action B^partmeiffe also suffers from ^aak leadership 
and internal power rivalries, 

e* The principal problem of the Civil Guard and Self . Daf etisa 
Corps pertain to tactical utilisation which is discussed be^ov, under B. 
Ifcwav&r. thsre is also some question as to whether these services are 
being trained and equipped adequately and as rapidly as necessary. 

f 4 Village radios will substantially improve tha defense of the 
countryside and tha reaction capability of the Vietnamese military and 
security forces. However, no effort has yet been made to fjspsrove radio 
communications at the hauls t level where the battle with the Viet Gong 
1m actually joined, 

■ 

g. Two of tha principal weaknesses in the effective utilisa- 
tion of US aid are insufficient a'tJareness on the part of central authorities 
in tha Vietnaiaess Governpiftnt of the need to establish project priorities 
and ths general inability of thase authorities to act quickly to despatch 
aid i>'t support of projects in tha countryside. Tho distribution of US 
aid im&h be approved in most c&ses by President Diem per so nail j 3 frequently 
resulting in delagra and in administrative bottle -necks* Moreover,, Dism 
continues to exhibit considerable sensitivity to atteiapts by US officials 
to distribute aid directly to the countryside without clearance frott the 
central government. Recently, for example, tha Vietnamese Goverrmasnt turned 
doim a U3QH proposal aimed at increasing the impact of US aid at the local 
level by establishing a special fund for direct financing of provincial 
projects. . ! 



B» The Vietnamese armed and security forces are being oriented toward 
ccuiLtor-gucrriLIe or Kneonventional Tsari are tactics . 



!• .Progress 



a. Air Support 

■ a Baal - aaaaa^aaa — a_^a_ • — - a _ a ■_■_ a> ■ 



(1) Halicoptsr operations have decreased the reaction tLia 
and increased the mobility of aanny and security units. 



(2) Luring May \6f&% 1^62 5 fl^tnamsa Air Force and US 
helicopter units flew at least 3u7 sorties -US vers offensive sorties^ 2l6 
sorties lit hod X s fXX troops and 2!^0GD pounds of ccgo of which 12,000 
pounds vore air-droppsd3 # and 85 sorties v#* far air ©vacation, observation 
training, and other mie^lon^^ " [^h 

SSCEEP/NDFrail 



If 



k 









Declassified per Executive Order 13526, Section 3.3 
NND Project Number: NND 633 16. By: NWD Date: 201 1 



SEGRET/NOFCRN f 



b. Tactical Utilisation of Army and Socuri 




* 

(1) Tho Vietnamese Army is getting cut and fighting more 
than over before. During March 20-28, 1962, tho armod forces launched 

J more thsm 23 operations of at least company sizo throughout ths country. 
•' Boring April 12 -May 3, 1962, more than 11 oporations were launched, each 

operation Involving more than a battalionj some of those oporations 

continued beyond May 3* 

(2) Army units are becoming more conscious of tho necessity 
of following through daring attacks In order to prevent the Viet" Gong 

» * jfrora disengaging 

(3) Civil Guard and Self Dsfcnao Corps units apparently 
are being employed Increasingly with army units « During April 12-May 3, 
1962, for example, Civil Guard and Self Defense Corps units were combined 
with vtw units in at least 3 oporations There have also boon reports 
of Civil Guard units receiving helicopter support* 

- 

(k) There are reports of effective utilisation of artillery 
bombardment* In early March 1962, for example, a combined Army ranger, 
Civil Guard, and Self Defense Corps force engaged the Viet Gong in Kien 
Boa province o Artillery was introduced only after tho Viet Cong attempted 
to withdraw, harassing their escape routes and inflicting substantial 
casiialtioSo ,..*.}. 

» 

(5) Army ranger units are being deployed in the highlands 
area, recognising tho equal priority of this area with the Mekong River 
delta region where** the pacification program has been initiated. As of 
February 1962, there was a total of 18 ranger companies in tho I and II 
Amy Corps Areas 



(6) It is estimated that some 3,000-5,000 Hbntagaard tribes 

xsen hive been recruited and are being trained and armed by the Vietnamese 
Amy against the Viet Cong in the highlands area* In addition, there are 
s$me irregular Montagnard units, 

* 

2* Crltiqua 

a Despite the increasing utilization of Civil Guard and Self 
Dafonse Corps units jointly with army forces, the former continue to be ' 
employed excessively on Independent offensive missions. The principal 
stumbling block to the rectification of this problem is the province 
chief under whose authority the security services operate * 

b* Despite the Increasing deployment of ranger units in the 
highlands area^ there is no evidence that these units are being U33d to 
any appreciable degree for patrolling the VietnameseC-Lac frontier. 

SSCRET/N0F0RN 



4(5 



% 



73 






r ■ 



r 



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



3ECHET/K0F0H?J 

- 6 - 



c* The principal deficiency in the utilisation of air support 
is not tactical but rathsr is related to the availability and reliability 
of intolligonco on the Viot Cong. 




BSFoacfanacT" soir^what. 



lo Progress 



.- 



a. Military commanders in tho field cro playing a greater rolo 
than in tho past in tho actual formulation and execution of operational 
plans. For example, Each of tho planning of "Operation Sunrise 1 * and * 
"Operation Soa Shallow" has been carried out by Vietnamese Array, division 
commanders and thoir staff?* . .. a 

- 

t 

b. Col, Lac has boon delegated limited but real authority for 

executing the c Balta Pacification Han 11 and for his recent and concurrent 
responsibilities in tha strategic village -hamlet program. 

m 

c.i There has been limited us© of tho National Internal Security 
Council established in Ita comber 1961, 

d. Th© Director of tho Central Intelligence Organization, 
Colonel Kguyen Van Y s has boan delegated real though limited authority 
both with regard to his intelligence responsibilities and his concurrent 
rolo as head of tho regular police services 5 tho National Sureto and tho 
Municipal Police* 

t 

e. Thsre is evidence that tho authority of certain cabinet 
msmbors has bacn increased^ notably Secretary of State for tha Presidency 



Thuan and Secretary of Stats for Interior luong. 

m 

f * The Vietnamese Government has also taken various measures 
to improve morale among rank-and-file military and security personnel. 
Ih^ January 1962, the family allowance rates for Amy and Civil Guard 
privates, privates first class, and corporals (as wall as the coirbat pay ratas 
for Army personnel in thaso ranks) were increased, and Arny conscripts be- 
came eligible to receive a private's pay after completing four months 
rather than one year in service, 

m 

2. Critioua 



# 



- 



Ineffectiveness In administration at tho nations! lovol, in carry- 
ing out tho control fractions of tho government, and in extending services 
to tho countryside continue to represent tho Tlatanm Government's 
main weakness. In large measure, this is duo to the limited authority 
President Diem delegates to his subordinates. Diem continues to make 

" • SBGRKE/MQFCRU 






»* 



Declassified per Executive Order 13526, Section 3.3 
NND Project Number: NND 633 16. By: NWD Date: 201 1 



SBCHET/NOFCKN 



s 



virtually all major decision? and even many ralnsr ones, to roly largely 
on his Inner circle of official and unofficial advisors rather than on 
his cabinet officers and the formal channels of military and civil coromand 
In formulating and exocuting policy^ and to interfere personally in purely 
end of tea miner o^rational matters # Discontent "within the government 
bureaucracy and the military establishment with these tactics by Diem and 
his lieutenants does not appear to have decreased substantially during th 
past yoar. Tho prospects that Diem may change his method of operation are 
not favorable o . " . •- 



o 





. esc 



*u President Diem*s frequent travels to tho ccunfeyside muy 
have Improved somewhat tho popular image of the central government. During 
July-Docembor 19ol, for example, Diom made 18 known trips outside Saigon 
and visited 19 different provinces (9 in tho central and northern provinces 
and 10 in tho Mekong delta provinces) 

b. There Is evidence that villagers are passing an increasing 
amount of information on the Viet- Cong to government officials Dae 
striking example is the Viet Gong attack en an Army pest In An Eoa In 
Quang Ngai province on April 6, 1962 ? (The Vict Cong used about 300 man, 
wall armed with rocoilless rifles and machine guns.) As a result of an 
earlier warning by villagers of a possible attack, the Army unit was on 
alert and, when the attack came, repulsed the Viet Cong with serious XiHtnar, 

c. It appears that defections from the Viot Cong may be increasing 
It has been estimated that only around l;0O Viet Cong surrendered to govern- 
ment forces during all of 196l Since the first cf 1962, however, BS 
military sources have been reporting statistics en Viet Cong surrenders #n - 
a veekly basis, and it is estimated th*t during February 13-April3.'Q, more 

-than 20? Viot Cong surrendered. (These and other statistics on the Viet 
Gong are derived from various official Vietnamese sources and must b; 
treated with caution since tho Vietnam Government is prone to exaggerate 
thera.) 

r 

d. President Diem signed a decree en lb-comber 18, lj?6l 5 piovid- 
lug for the establishment of provincial councils, ultimately to be elected 
by popular ballot but for the time being to be appointed by the central 
government. (Youth representatives on village councils have boon elected 

v since early I961.) 



I 



e. According to the chiefs cf Kent urn smd H$Iku. province, ec-me 
35,000 Kontag nards have been resettled from Viet Ccng*infe£tod to relatively 
secure areas in these two provinces since January 1962 as a result of 
coordinated measures by Vietnamese military and civilian officials. These 
measures have boon aimed at reducing .the. Viet Cong's access to tribal 
elements for recruits, labor, intelligence, and supplies. 

SECRET/1.W0RN 
- ' * - 



Declassified per Executive Order 13526, Section 3.3 
NND Project Number: NND 633 16, By: NWD Date: 201 1 









SECREtf/NOFORN 



- 10 



2. Cri^iaua • ' ' "; 

■ 
m 

a. Dsspits favorable developments, thorns has boen no major 
break-through In improving tha popular linage of the government^ particu- 
larly in the countryside. In the short run 5 tho success of this effort 
will dopend largely on tha degree of physical security provided the 
' peasant ry, but in tha long run tha key to success will be tha ability cf 
the government to walk tha thin lino of meaningful and sustained assistance 
to the villagers without -£bYious efforts to direct^ regiment 5 or control 
them, 

■ 

bt Thora is growing concern among Vietnamese field personnel in 
KonUiTj PIsIlaL and other proving that tho Vietnamese Government is not 
moving fast enough to provide adequate assistance to tho Hontagnard resettle- 
ment program and^ as a result, that tho Viet Cong may succeed in subverting 
tesettlement efforts, According to one report almost 70' 5 O00 of an estimated 
lOpjOGO Montagnard refugees have not yet boon resettled. 



i . 



> 



his 



SECRET/NOFORN 










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



SECRET/1I0?0RN 



- 11 



c 



111 • smi«g_ asses&ieot 

A. It Is about three months since the current phase of a major systemati 
count or insurgency effort began in Vietnam, and too short a tine to expect 
any substantial wakening of tho Communist position*- Moreover, final 
victory is 3.1kely to take soms years and to ba brought about mors by a 
steady erosion of Communist strength than by dramatic military successes. 

■ 
Bo In the military-security sector, US. materiel, training, and advice, 
supplemented by tactical support by US units, have produced an improve- 
ment in armed operations against the Viet Cong* US military operational 
reports reflect improved tactics, shortened reaction times, and more 
effective use of communications and intelligence* It is too early to Bay 
that tho Viet Cong guerrilla-terrorist onslaught is bsing checked, but it 
can bo said that it is new moating more effective resistance and having to 
cope Kith increased aggressiveness by the Vietnamese military and security 
forces. Nonetheless, the Via!.; Cong continue to increase tho J J? armed 
strength and capability and, on balance, to ero4e government authority in 
the countrywide* " - 

* 
C. There has not been a ccreasponding improvement in other sector s of tho 
total count or insurgency effort. Serious problems remain in the civil and 
military command structures and in the exercise of command responsibility » 
Diem continues to prefer personalised rule through a very small group of 
trusted official and unofficial advisers and traditional methods in 
matters affecting domestic politics?! opposition* Civil government effective- 
mss is a3,so impeded by shortages in experienced personnel, payticular3y 
at louer lovols, and aggravated by confusion and -suspicion at moist levels 
of tho bureaucracy* More effective direction and coordination and realistic 
Implementation are needed, for example, for such crucially irTportant program 
as the "Delta 11 plan, stratogic villages and hamlets* said Civic Action, and 
greater. authority must be delegated to upper echelon civil and military 
officials in or dor to make better use of Vietnamese Government resources* 
* Similarly, while there are encouraging signs cf popular support for %e 
government, there has been no major break-through in identifying tht people 
vith the struggle against the Viet Cong 



'O* 



D* yjo conclude that* 



1 9 thora is no evidence to support certain allegations of substantial 
deterioration in tho political and military situations in Vietnam: 



Q 



2* on tho contrary, th«o is evidence of heartening prepress in 
bolstering the fighting effectiveness cf the military and security forces* 






SEGRET/NOFCRN 



r. - 



';79 



Declassified per Executive Order 13526, Section 33 
NND Project Number: NND 63316. By: NWD Date: 201 1 




' "> 



SECRET/NOFCHN 
- 12 ~ 



3, howover* there is still much to bo dona in strengthening tha 
overall capacity of tha Vietnamese Govornmont to pursua its total counter- 
Insurgency offortj not only In ths military-security sector but particularly 
In the politlcal-adininiStratlvo sactorj 

it* a judgmont on ultimata success In the campaign against tho Communist 
°»ar of national liberation" In Vietnam is pr^aturej but 

$* 170 do think that tho chances aro good 5 provided thcro is continu- 
ing progress by tho Viotnamasa Government along tho linas of its present 
strategy* 









• 






s 



ECRET/JJQFOaW 



- 4 *. 



.'SO 



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









the; white house 

WASH INGTON 



SECRET 



. June 19, 1962 



NATIONAL SECURITY ACTION MEMORANDUM NO. 162 



. 



TO: 



SUBJECT: 



The Secretary of State 
The Secretary of Defease*** 

The Attorney General 

The Director of Central Intelligence 

The Director, United States Information Agency 

DeveloDment of U.S. a,nd Indigenous Police, 
Paramilitary and Military Resources 









The President has approved the following statement and proposed 
assignments of responsibilities to various agencies as recommended 
by the Special Group (Counterinsurgeucy): 

■ 

The study of U.S. and indigenous paramilitary resources pursuant 
to NSAM 56 reflects gratifying progress in the development of an 
adequate U.S. capability to support both the training and active 
operations of indigenous paramilitary forces. Certain deficiencies, 
however, were clearly revealed. Tho deficiencies, to which all 
efforts and shortcomings to date are related, should be-the^ basis 
upon which internal defense requirements are established for eaxh 
country to be assisted. 

m i ■ 

1, Country Internal Defense Plans 

m 

- 

With one or two exceptions, there exis- no outline plans to unify 
and orchestrate U.S. internal defense programs and_3.ctivities 
in friendly countries facing a threat o: subversive insurgency, or 
which provide strategic guidance for assisting such countries to 
maintain internal security. The Department of State has prepared 
%. list identifying the countries facing a threat of subversive in* 
surgency and will direct the formulation of outline plans for 
internal defense (Country Internal Defense Plans) by the Country 
Team in each such country which encompass the total U.S. - 
supported internal defense field. Those plans will include the 



SECRET 



■w 






C 






/i 






K81 



*"* - -. "^ -* £ ffc*..t„_i 



^-7/~>-: 



Declassified per Executive Order 13526, Section 3.3 
NND Project Number: NND 63310. By: NWD Date: 201 1 



& : 






i 



SECRET - 2 - 



i 



- 
* 






military, police, intelligence and psychological measures cemprisin 
a well rounded internal defense plan 3nd w ill be consi stent with the 
military, eco nomic, political and social measures constituting the 
overall country plan. Such plans should be completed and in the 
hands of the Department of State by September 1, 1962, available 
for review by the Special Group (Counter ins urgency). From that 
time on, in accordance v/ith the provisions of NSAM 124, the 
Special Group will keep these country internal defense plans under 
periodic review, and insure prompt resolution of interdepartmental 
problems arising in connection with their implementation. 

2, Improvement of Personnel Programs of Agencies Concerned 
with Unconventional Warfare 



A study will be made by the Armed Forces and appropriate civil 
agencies concerned with unconventional warfare activities of how 
to improve their personnel programs. Particular attention will 

■ * 

be directed to the following: 

a * * * 

* 

(a) Personnel programming for officers and men, in- 
cluding establishment of career programs which protect 
the special skills and professional qualifications of per- 
sonnel assigned to unconventional warfare duties. 

" m * - w 

j • (b) Ability to perform efficiently in foreign area^-in 

conditions of stress and danger for prolonged periods. 

(c) Morale factors such as fa" ill/ housings tours of 
• duty, hardship allowances, hazardous duty pay, special 
recognition such as rewards, 

3. Orientation of Personnel 

• — - , I — ■■» ■ — -^— — ^— ■! ■■ W ll— » 

* 

As oart of the current effort to irain more personnel in the problems 
confronting underdeveloped societies, both civil and military agencies 
of the Government will assign, where feasible and sub jeer to the 
availability of funds and personnel, middle-grade and senior officers 
to temoorary duty for orientation purposes in selected countries ex- * 
periencing internal security problems. 



SECRET 



■» 



hod 




..J 






"N 



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



SECRET . - 3 ■ - 

4.* Deployment of Counterinsurgency Personnel 

In order to Insure a timely deployment of qualified countering urgency 
specialists to impending crisis areas, CIA and AID will take action 
to insure that adequate qualifier personnel with paramilitary skills 
are available. Periodic reports of progress to achieve this objective 
will be submitted to the Special Group (Counterinsurgency) by CIA 
and AID. 



% 



H 



* 

■ 



5. Support 61 Covert Paramilitary Operations * : 

■ 

• 

More Special Forces personnel will be assigned to support CIA- 
covert paramilitary operations where acute insurgency situations 
exist. The Department of Defense has taken steps to expedite 
these assignments. In addition the Department of Defense v/ill 
increase its capability to fund, support, and conduct wholly or 
partly covert paramilitary operations under the criteria of 
NSAM 57 which distinguishes responsibilities of the Department 
of Defense and CIA: , - 

Where such an operation is to b* wholly covert or 
disavcwable, it may be assigned to CIA, provided 
that it is within the normal capabilities of the agency. 
Any large paramilitary operatic n wholly or partly 
covert which reouires significant numbers of 
■militarily trained personnel, amounts of military- — ' 
equipment which exceed normal CIA-controlled 
stocks and/or military experience of a kind and 

■ 

level peculiar to the Armed Se*- /ic^: is properly 
the primary responsibility of the Department of 
Defense with the CIA in a supporting role. 

This cooperation will be intensified and the President Avill be 

given periodic reports on the progress of these efforts. 

■ 

6, Increased Use of Third Country Personnel . " 

■ - ■ — — ■ — ~ ^ ^~^^ _ 

The Department of Defense, in collaboration with the Department 
of State and the Central Intelligence Agency, will undertake a study 
to determine on a selective basis the feasibility of the concept of the 
increased use of third-country personnel in paramilitary operations. 
Particular attention will be given to the following: 



SECRET 






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






SECRET 



. - A 









(a) The whole range of this concept frorfi the current 
limited use of Thai and Filipino technicians in Laos to 
the creation of simply eouipsed regional forces for use 

/ in remote jungle, hill and desert country. Such forces 
would be composed of foreign volunteers supported and 
controlled by the U.S. 

(b) The feasibility of using third-country military or 
paramilitary forces to operate inder their own or other 
national auspices in crisis areas. 

7. Exploita tion of Minorities 

In view of the success which has resulted from CIA/US Army 
Special Forces efforts with tribal groups in Southeast Asia, 
continuing efforts v/ill be made to determine the most feasible 
method of achieving similar results in other critical areas. On 
a selective basis, CIA and the Department of Defense will make 
studies of specific groups where there is reason io believe there 
exists an exploitable minority paramilitary capability. 

8# Improvement of Indigenous Intelligence Organizations 

Recent experience shows that most underdeveloped countries need 
more efficient intelligence coordination and dissemination systems 
to counter subversive insurgency. Therefore, the CIA wilTexpand 
its present training and support efforts to achieve needed improve- 
ments in indigenous intelligence organizations and that other U.S. 
agencies contribute to this CIA coordinated program. 



* 









9. Research and Development for Cou.iterinsurq ency 

The Department of Defense and the Central Intelligence Agency v/ili 
carry in their research and development programs a special section 
devoted to the requirements of countering urgency* The Special 
Group (Counter ins urgency) will follow up on this action and 
receive reoorts from time to lime with regard to Dro^ress in 
developing modern eauiDment suitable to meet the reouirements 
of counterinsurgency. 



McGeorge 3undy 



« • 



SECRET 

If All 



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



3 



■ 



i 



THE WHITE HOUSE 

WAS H I NGTON 



SECRET 



August 24, 196Z 



NATIONAL SECURITY ACTION MEMORANDUM NO. 182 



TO: 



SUBJECT 



The Secretary of State 

The Secretary of Defense ^ 

The Attorney General 

The Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff 

The Director of Central Intelligence 

The Administrator j Agency for International 

Development 
The Director, U.S. Information Agency 
The Military Representative of the President 

Counterinsurgency Doctrine 



The President has approved the document entitled " U.S. Overs eas 
Internal Defense Policy 11 , which sets forth a national counter- 



»- — 



insurgency aocfrine for the use of U.S. departments and agencies 
concerned with the internal defense of overseas areas threatened- 
by subversive insurgency, and has directed its promulgation, to 
serve as basic policy guidance to diplomatic missions, consular 
personnel, and military commands abroad; to government depart- 
ments and agencies at home; and to the government educational 
system. The addressees of this NSA.M will take action to insure 
that the policies set forth in the document are reflected in depart- 
mental and agency operations and in such additional instructions 
and guidance as may be required to assure uniformity of effort* 
They will also initiate the formulation of the internal doctrine, 
tactics, and techniques appropriate to their own department or 
agency, based upon "U.S. Overseas Defense Policy. 1 ' These 
studies when completed will be reviewed by the Special Group (CI). 



SECRET 



S it . \ 



•%• 



* 



\ 



^ 






« 



v. 






I 



.-85 



/ 



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



'= 



■ 



s* 






. 



I 



.— * 



V 



-. 



rr> 



SECR2T 



- 2 - 



■ 



The Department ex State In consultation v/ith' the other addressees 
of this memorandum is assigned the task of keeping the "U. S. 

+ 

Overseas Internal Defense Policy" up to date, making such 
modification as changes in policy or practical experience may 
require, and publishing revised editions as necessary. 



I 



Ify ^ 



McGeorge Bundy 



I 



N 



r 



i 



» 



SECRS 



r\ rs 



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



^ 



/ / // < 



A. '6? 



. - '*>^r.--- ' 



ggCKOT/ttaptft risass dc cot rs.jva/ic r? 
DEPARTMENT OF STATE . . 7</n 

BUREAU OF INTELLIGENCE AND RESEARCH 



Research Memorandum 

1962 



TO : The Secretary 

THROUGH: 'S/'S 

FROM ; INR - Roger Hilcma 



M 



A All^O^ClJ. Kill r^iitUJ.UllUUIU 

r\l$&* f *'^ RFE " 5 ^ J December 3. 196: 
K' 



SUBJECT: The Situation and Short-Term Prospects In South Vietnam* 



■ 

This appraisal covers the Communist insurgency and the internal 
political situation in South Vietnam during the past year and focusses 
particularly on the direction und effectiveness of the Vietnamese -US 
counterinsurgency effort. It was prepared as a contribution to the 
forthcoming KIE 53-62, Prospects in South Vietnam. 

ABSTRACT 
' 

President Ugo Dinh Diem and other leading Vietnamese 
qs veil as many U3 officials in South. Vietnam apparently 
believe that the tide is now turning in the struggle against 
Vietnamese Communist (Viet Cong) insurgency and subveroion ( 
This degree of optimism is premature. At oest, it appears 
that the rate 'of deterioration has decelerated with improve- 
ment, principally in the security sector, reflecting sub- 
stantially increased US assistance and GVN implementation 
of a broad counterinsurgency program, 

> 

r The GVN han givert priority' to Implementing a basic 

strategic concept featuring the strategic hamlet and sys- 
tematic pacification program:;.. It has paid more attention 
to poHtieal, economic, and nocial counterinsiurgency measures 
and their coordination with purely military measures. Vietnamese 
military and security forces -- now enlarged and of higher 
quality -- are significantly more offensive-minded and their 
counterguerrilla tactical co-onbilitier, are greatly improved. 
1 Effective GVN control of the countryside has :been extended 

slightly. In some areas where security has improved peasant 
attitudes toward the government appear alsp to have improved. 



*This report is based on information available through 
November 12, 1<?62. 



SECKGT/KOFOHN 



b P7 



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



S7 






• 



SECRET/NOP0RN 



As a result, the Viet Cong has had to modify its 
tactics and perhaps set back its timetable. But the "national 
liberation .war" has not abated nor has the Viet Cong been 
weakened. On the contrary , the Viet Cong has expanded the 
size and enhanced the capability and organization of its 
guerrilla force — now estimated at about 23/000 in elite 
fighting personnel, plus some* 100,000 irregulars and 
sympathizers* It still controls about 20 percent of the 
villages and about 9 percent of the rural population, and 
has varying degrees of influence among on additional 1*7 
percent of the villages- Vict Cong control and communica- 
tion lines to the peasant have not been seriously ve ?kened 
and the guerrillas have thus been able to maintain good 
intelligence and a high" degree of initiative, mobility, 
and striking power- Viet Cong 'influence has almost certainly 
improved in urban areas not only through subversion and 
terrorism but also because of its propaganda appeal to the 
increasingly frustrated non -Communist anti-Diem elements. 

+ 

The internal political situation is considerably more 
difficult to assess. Diem has strengthened his control 
of the bureaucracy and the military establishment. He has 
delegated a little more authority than in the past, and has 
become increasingly aware of the importance of the peasantry 
to the counter! nsurgency effort. Nevertheless, although 
there are fewer reports of discontent with Diem's leadership 
within official circles and the civilian elite, there are 
still many indications of continuing serious concern, 
particularly with Diem's direction of the counterinsurgency 
effort* There are also reports that important military and 
civil officials continue to participate in coup plots. 
Oppositionists, critics, and dissenters outside the govern- 
went appear to be increasingly susceptible to neutralist, 
pro -Communist, and possibly anti-US sentiments. They are 
apparently placing increased reliance on clandestine 
activities. 

The Viet Cong is obviously prepared for a long struggle 
and can be expected to maintain the present pace and diversity 
of its insurgent-subversive effort. During the next month or so, 
it may step up its military effort in reaction to the growing 
GVM-US response. Hanoi can also be expected to increase its 
efforts to legitimatize its "National Front for the Liberation 
■ " of South Vietnam" (NFLCV) and to prepare further groundwork for 

a "liberation government" in South Vietnam- On present evidence, 
the Communists are not actively moving toward neutralization of 
South Vietnam in the Laos pattern, although they could seek to 
do so later. Elimination, even significant reduction, of the 
Communist insurgency will almost certainly require several years. 
[ 

EECRST/NOFORN 

• ■ t n 
fOC 



\ 









Declassified per Executive Order 13526, Section 3.3 
NND Project Number: NND 633 16, By: NWD Date: 201 1 



SECRET/ KOFORN 



i 



In either case, a considerably greater effort by the GVN, 
as veil as continuing US assistance, is crucial. If there m 
is continuing Improvement in security conditions. Diem should 
be able to alleviate concern and boost morale within the 
1 bureaucracy and the military establishment • But the GVN will 

not be able to consolidate its military successes into 
permanent political gains and to evoke the positive support 
of the peasantry unless it gives more emphasis to non-military 
aspects of the counterinsurgency program, integrates the 
strategic hamlet program with an expanded systematic pacifica- 
tion program, and appreciably modifies military tactics 
(particularly those relating to large -unit actions and tactical 
use of airpover and artillery). Failure to do so might increase 
militant opposition among the peasants and their positive identifi 
cation with the Viet Cong. 

A coup could occur at any *irr.e, but would be mere likely 
if the fight against the Communists goes badly, if the Viet 
Cong launches a series of successful and dramatic military 
operations, or if Vietnamese arrr.y casualties increase appreciably 
over a protracted period. The coup most likely to succeed would 
be one with non-Communist leadership and support, involving middle 
and top echelon military and civilian officials. For a time at 
least, the serious disruption of government leadership resulting 
from a coup would probably halt and possibly reverse the momentum 
of the government's counterinsurgency effort. The role of the 
' US can be extremely important in restoring this momentum and in 
* averting widespread fighting and a serious internal power 
struggle . : 



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TABLE OF CONTENT 



Page 



I # The Nature of the Communist Threat to South Vietnam 



JU Strategy and Objectives 



B. Viet Cong Organisation and Capabilities 



2. Military Strength and Effectiveness 



3, Viet Cong Logistic Support 



a. Local Support 



b. External Support 



lw Political Capabilities 



b. The Urban Sector 



A. Background 2 Gradual Response . 



• « 



a. The Communist Position in the Countryside 



♦ * • 



H« The Vietnam Government's Counter insurgency Effort ,♦♦■.♦ 



««•»••••*#*•#•* 



2 



3 



1. General 3 






6 
6 



8 



10 



10 



B. Formulation and Implementation of Basic Strategic Concept. . 10 

1, Strategic Hamlet Program ........ U 

2. Systematic Military-Political Pacification Operations. , 12 

C, Military Operations and Effectiveness. • • ♦ ♦ 13 

HI« The Political Situation •.••#*##'••-.,.-• ♦»♦♦• lf> 



A. Backgrounds Rapid Deterioration 



B. The Current Situation 



17 
18 



1* Political Attitudes of Diem and His Family \ % 

2. Diem and the Bureaucracy • •**,♦ m m # # « jo 

3. Diem's Position in the Countryside , 20 



ii, Iftem's Position in Urban Centers 



21 



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TABL3 OF COinE MT ( Continued) 



Pago 






IV. Economic Trends • ♦ . ♦ ♦ 



22 



V # Outlook 



2k 



A. Communist Actions 



2U 



B. GVil Count or Insurgency Effort 



26 



C. Tho IB Role 



23 



D. Political Situation 



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I, THE laTPHE OF THS CCfrfMJHIST THREAT TO SOUTH VIETNAM 

The Communist threat to the Republic of Vietnam (South Vietnam) 
consists of three interrelated elements. Within South Vietnam, but under 
the direction cf tha Democratic Republic of Vietnam (IKV), zn expanding 
campaign of guerrilla warfare and terrorism and an intensive political 
psychological subversion effort are carried out by an apparatus commonly 
known as the Viet Cong,* left behind by the IHV after it withdrew most of 
Its military forces to the north in 1$£U and since reinforced by local 
recruitment and infiltration from the EtV* Externally, the IRV holds over 
South Vietnam the tacit threat of invasion by the numerically superior 
North Vietnamese military forces 

In part because the Government of the Republic of Vietnam (GVN) focussed 
its defense efforts too much upon the Implicit external threat and too little 
upon the internal threat, not only was it unable to counter effectively the 
develop Lng Communist movement but also its authority and internal stability 
In the period from late 19$9 until early 1962 ?re increasingly weakened by 
Viet Cong insurgent end subversive activities* Since the early part of 
1962 however $ the rate of deterioration appears to have decelerated as a 
result of substantially increased US assistance to South Vietnam and expand- 
ing GVN implementation of its broad military-political counter insurgency 
program* The apparent inrprovement is principally in the security sector, 
but with some resultant effects on the political situation . Many US 
advisers in South Vietnam, as vrell as President Ngo Dinh Diem and other 
top GVN officials, are more optimistic and believe that the deteriorating 
trends in effect have been checked and that the tide is new being turned 
in favor of the GVN Whether this optimism is justified may well be deter- 
mined by developments during the next few months 



■j 3 a w— — 



"Viet Gong is the popular term used by the South Vietnamese to refer 
to Vietnamese Communists, singularly or collectively* For all practical 
purposes, the Viet Cong apparatus is an extension of the North Vietnamese 
Communist Party, tijMjg *££ Iton* Viet Kam or merely Lao Itong) which also 
operates in Laos, Gain£odia, and other countries witFT^ortant Vietname&a 
minority groups* 



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A. Strategy and Objectives 

In South Vietnam , the Communists are clearly embarked on a "national 
liberation war" of insurgency and subversion from within rather on 
overt aggression. It is probably the Communist view that this strategy 
greatly reduces the risk of direct US military intervention and, at the 
same time, provides good prospects of success at relatively little cost. 
In addition, it permits the Communist Bloc to claim continued adherence 
to the 195^ Geneva Agreements, This strategy was most recently reaffirmed 
by the Third National Congress of the North Vietnamese Communist Party in 
Hanoi in September i960 and the Moscow conference of all Communist parties 
held the following November and December, 

The immediate Communist objectives are to demoralize the South 
Vietnamese public and the military and security forces, weaken and eventually 
supplant government authority in the countryside , and discredit and 
ultimately precipitate the overthrow of President Diem's government. 
Simultaneously, the Communists are attempting to gain broad popular support 
for their effort, including the creation of a "united front" with non- Communist 
elements, and gradually to strengthen and transform their guerrilla forces 
into regular forces capable of undertaking a general offensive. 

The DRV is the implementing agency for Communist activity in South 
Vietnam, It exercises close control over the Viet Cong guerrillas and over 
the"National Front for the Liberation of South Vietnam" (NFLSV), the 
political instrument of the Viet Cong. However , while Hanoi is probably 
allowed considerable freedom .of action, Moscow and Peiping probably would 
have overriding influence over any major decision critically affecting the 
situation in South Vietnam, as for example, international negotiations on 
South Vietnam, cessation of Communist guerrilla operations, and escalation 
to conventional warfare or overt introduction of North Vietnamese army units. 
In any event, important Communist policies for South Vietnam are probably 
coordinated with Moscow and Peiping and the latter scrutinize developments 
in South Vietnam carefully with an eye to their own interests. Both Moscow 
and Peiping also furnish strong propaganda support for the Communist effort 
in South Vietnam and, in addition, the USSR carries on supporting diplomacy, 
largely in its capacity as a Geneva Conference Co- chairman « There is little 
evidence of material support of the Viet Cong guerrillas by Moscow or Peiping. 

There are no apparent major policy differences between Hanoi, Moscow, 
and Peiping regarding South Vietnam. During the first six months of 1962, 
it appeared that Moscow differed somewhat with Peiping f s and Hanoi's propaganda 
for an international conference to settle the South Vietnam situation; t ^s 
difference presumably continues to -exist although little has been said by the 
Bloc on a conference since mid- 1962, There also may be underlying intra-Bloc 
differences on the subject of neutralization of South Vietnam or reunification. 
In any event, even though Moscow might prefer neutralization, all would 
work to communize a neutral South Vietnam if one were established. Moscow 
has also generally exerted a restraining influence over Communist willing- 
ness to take risks. 



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■ * 

The sharp increase of the US military presence in South Vietnam and 
the events of recent months in Laos apparently have not weakened Communist 
resolve to take over South Vietnam, However, these events have clearly 
caused some modification of Viet Cong guerrilla tactics and may have 
caused the Communists to revise their timetable . Nevertheless, the 
Communists probably continue to look primarily to the long run in South 
Vietnam and to remain confident of. eventual victory. 

B « Viet Cong Orggniz^ 

■ 

!• Gsnoral* Available intelligence indicates that two parallel 
structures, military and political, exist at all organisational levels of 
the Vict Cong apparatus in South Vietnam* At the top of tho organization 
©ro two bodies, tho Nairibo Regional Committee (KtC) and the Interzone V 
Regional Cansaitteo (IVHC)j equal in status and each apparently responsible 
directly to Emoi« The NRC directs and is responsible for all operations 
in the southern provinces, or roughly tho former Cochinchina region, while 
the IVRG directs and is responsible for all operations in the centra! and 
northern provinces These committees consist of sevoral staffs responsible 
for military and political activities The organization of the too regional 
committees appears to bo duplicated among intermediate and lower level 
committees responsible for operations at tho interpr ovine ial (i«e., area 
covering more than one province) , provincial., district, and village levels* 
Information is not available on the size of the political component of the 
Viet Cong apparatus, but it must be assumed that the regular and irregular 
guerrilla forces also serve as penotration, espionage, sabotage, propaganda, 
and terrorist agents 

Viet Cong capabilities have increased considerably during the past 
three years* In 195>9 a relatively small but effective military-political 
apparatus operating largely in the Mekong River delta provinces, the Viet 
Cong has since grown into a formidable force operating throughout the 
countrysida and even in many urban centers, including Saigon, the capital e 
In addition to increasing its numerical strength, the Viet Cong has 
significantly improved its military and political organization and its 
tactical, weapons, and subversive capabilities* 

4 

2 « ^i^fy .. .^^^fi,.^, Effectiveness . Communist assets for guerrilla 
action in South Vietnam are considerable. In spite of an apparently increas- 
ing casualty rate, Viet Cong hard-core personnel has grown from ^n estimated 
It, 000 in April I960 to about 23,000 in October 1962, These forces are 
distributed principally in the southern provinces, the former Cochinchina 
region which includes the Mekong River delta area and where most of the 
fighting occurs, Thoy are well-trained and well-armed (utilizing such 
weapons as light machine -guns and icortars and even £7 isu,rocoilloss rifles), 
Tho units into which these forces are organised range up to battalion and 
include ths key personnel infiltrated from Ebrth Vietnam These units in 



BCSET/HOFCRN 



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secret/i;o?cen 



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effect constitute the elite fighting elects of the Viet Cong force and 
operate at tho interprovincial, provincial, and district ****• ^^ e 
h?s Deen no hard evidence that the Viet Cong has yet formed regtoental- 
siL units or that thsy have an antiaircraft capability, other than the 
small arms which they are using vith increasing effectiveness agaxnst 
helicopters . 

In addition to this elite force, the Viet Cong has an auxiliary ' 
emed force roughly eatinated at 100, COO and distributed throughout the 
country. This force operates essentially at the village and hamlet levels 
and consists largely of part-time or full-time armed cadres and sympathizers. 
Its functions are probably varied, but there is considerable evidence that 
it serves as a local defense force, provides logistic support (food ana 
intelligence, for example), and constitutes the reserve from which personnel 
are drawn as replacements for tha elite force or to help activate new units. 
The auxiliaries appear to be partially trained and partially armed, fre- 
quently utilizing nothing mere than spears, scimitars, and a variety of 
small weapons manufactured In home workshops or "arms factories. n However, 
these limited capabilities apparently are partly offset by the ability of 
the auxiliaries, many of whom cannot easily be identified by tho GV1I, to 
pass themselves off as innocent peasants. 

■ 

I3jr relying on small -unit actions and tactics of surprise, constant 
movement ^ concentration for attack^ and dispersal upon withdrawal, tho 
Viet Cong guerrillas have achieved considerable effectiveness. They ambush, 
carry out company-size attacks against army and security units, and have 
tho capability to strike in battalion force against several targets simul- 
taneously* According to official GVN statistics, the Viet Cong sine© I960 
has killed more than 9?£00 and wounded at least 13*300 military and 
security personnel* In addition, the GVN estimates that at least 8,700 w local 
officials and civilians have been assassinated or kidnapped since i960* 

The Viet Cong appears to be well-informed particularly on the plans 
end movements of government forces sent on large counter guerrilla operations c 
Itorale is probably also good and desertions or defections to the GVN forces, 
although reportedly increasing, axe relatively few. In recent months, 
however, shortages .of food and the increased aggressiveness of GVN forces 



#The statistics on Viet Cong and GVN casualties are incomplete and 
not entirely reliable partly because -fee GVN probably understates its 
01m casualties and overstates those of the Viet Ccng* Since the latter 
part of 1961* casualty estimates have improved largely because of tha 
increased US presences in South Vietnam. Despite reservations regarding 
their accuracy, these figures are helpful as one indicator of the magnitude 
of the fighting in South Vietnam* 



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SECRET/NOFGRN 

are believed to have adversely effected the moi-.ule and capability of some 
Viet Cong forces In the central provinces. 

3« Viet Cong Logic tic Support 

a « L2£i^Support. The Viet Cong roi.ios principally on local 
resources to sustain its operations. Both tho character of this support 
and the mop.ns by which it is acquired vary considerably. It is obtained 
voluntarily, by propaganda and promises of mater Lai or political benefit, 
by threats and intimidation, and finally by outrjght force. It includes, 
among other things, personnel, arms, food, fund,-;, ^d intelligence. 

Host of the Viet Cong guerrillas and ago i its are recruited locally, 
vith a large percentage coming from the youth. Host of their weapons are 
either captured or stolon from GVN military and oocurity forces are manu- 
factured in home workshops or "arm factories" 1,, Viet Cong concentration 
areas, or are activatod from stocks cached silica the end of the Indochina 
war. A considerable portion of Viot Cong funds apparently comes from fees 
levied on buses and other means of transportation from taxes on the 
wealthy and on business enterprises (such as ruU,er plantations), and from 
ransoms paid for persons kidnapped. The Viet Co U g is entirely dependent 
upon the local populace and the countryside for food which is obtained 
through purchase, pilferage, capture of stocks, taxation (in the form of 
rice), and oven actual cultivation of crops by Sympathizers and part-time 
guerrillas. Finally, the ability of Viet Cong < :U errillas and agents to 
disperse, regroup, and indeed retain their pre^nce intact, even after 
.GVN military clearing operations have been competed, is considerably- 
enhanced by the concealment afforded them, voluntarily or otherwise by 
the local population, ' 

■ • 

In addition, tho Viet Cong guerrillas and subversive agents rely : 
heavily on the villagers for information and suppled ; r < - . n .,• intelligence 
gained from espionage and from penetration of GVn military and civilian 
services. Intelligence supplied by the villager.-; t s lar K elv of a tactic 
natureand deals, for example, with the location and ^^Vl^TiS 
military and security forces and the defenses of individual army and 
security posts, villages, and hamlets. v 

b. External Sutyoort, The Viet Con^ ir^,™~ *,+ v 
in South TletaaSnrifii^edTTispired ^ orl^l t ^T it ^T^ »w«nent 
support from North Vietnam, howevi, appeals TuTfJS^ ^ * ?«?**** 
evidence indicates that there is no large^ca£ JlfSS *!?' "J ^^^S 
equipment. On the other hand, infilSLn 5l l ££*"?* m "* 
. • sporadic if not continuing basis and aSS^^S^f SZ T e\ ' 
as was probably the case during Kay and June 156.:, ' 

Infiltrators are believed to consist larr^w ~r -»i 4. . 
Military personnel, key political and S^fLSt^tS^f 5 - 

courts) ratter than units. Ho,evar, ta recent ShlSfSSbSn" 4 

'* * . SECFJST/NOFORN 



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segret/koforn 

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« 

two reliable reports confirming the infiltration of two Viet Cong groups 
(203 and ^00 men respectively) from southern Laos, There is considerable 
evidence that infiltrators in general are largely South Vietnamese (Cochin - 
chinese and Aimamites^ regrouped md retrained in Itorth Vietnam since the 
end of the Indochina war and familiar with the people and terrain of South 
Vietnam, They carry in then" own weapons and > in some instances, a limited 
amount of additional small and even large vreapons, technical equipment, 
medical supplies, and funds* The infiltrators apparently are distributed 
among existing Viet Cong units, thus increasing the number of hard-core 
personnel and thereby the capability of these units, or become the nuclei 
of new units. 

Since the latter part of i960, the principal infiltration routes 
have been through the corridor of southern Laos controlled by Laotian and 
Jforth Vietnamese Coramnlst forces. However ^ infiltration continues through 
eastern Cambodia, across the Demilitarized Zone at the 17th parallel, and by 
junk landings along South Vietnam's long coastline. In addition, Viet Cong 
guerrillas are believed to use the border areas of both southern Laos and 
eastern Canibodia to a limited extent for safo haven purposes during their 
hit-and-run attacks or when pursued by GVN forces 



if t, 



k* Political Capabilities 

- 

a * .^°_.0?j°f , "?y s * fesjftjggJP the Countryside There have long 
been major gaps in our knowledge of rural conditions in South Vietnam. In 
view of the overriding importance that the Viet Cong attaches to the country 
side in its strategy, thase gaps have now assumed critical prooortion3. 
Although our knowledge of rural conditions is improving, principally because 
of the substantially increased US presence in South Vietnam, any assessment 
of Communist political strength outside urban areas remains 'questionable 
and at best tentative. 

- 

The Viet Cong appears to have had considerable success in reducing 
or supplanting government authority in the countryside. By the latter part 
of 1961, US officials estimated that probably more than one half of the 

^ f ! ^ r °?v 0n fT* *** soattaraa * °* Saigon, as well as several areas 
just to tas north and in the central and northern provinces, were under 
effective Viet Cong control by night, with the government generally capable 
of maintaining its authority only by day. Hany other area? were uLr vary- 
ing degrees of Viet Cong influence. y 

of n r 1 ir° r f- n %^ ? m °H f e 5 e nt 5nd «PParontly more refined study, US • 
£f,£ \ • tuBated ,^^.1962 that of South Vietnam's some 2^00 villages 
^ich .contain around 85 percent of the total population, 20 percent wore ' 
effectively controlled by the Viet Cong. Although the Viet LlconLoned 
villages were inhabited by an estimated 9 per.enl of the xurS^SS* 

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the t~t<L vez represented by these villages eaooagpassad a much larger 
proportion of the countryside. In contrast, the GVH effectively controlled 
about 1*7 percent of the village population, and 33 percent of the vUlagos, 
largely located, howaver, in the environs of majcr totms and provincial 
eaaitals and in the more heavily populated areas along m,un lines of 
earananlcatton. In the remaining hi percent of the villages and UU percent 
of the villare population, neither tho GVN nor tho Tie* Cong exorcised 
effective control,, even though GV*I influence ssespd greater Sn moat of 
these villages-, 

5he accelerated GVH counterinsnrgency effort, principally the 
strategic 'bsalet program and the increasing aggressiveness of the military 
and security forces, reportedly has enlarged goimrfeat the number of 
villages and peasants under effective GV1J control, Efewrcs?, this improve- 
ment has presmaably oocrsrrsd principally In areas formerly eosite-sted by taq 
GVN and the Viet Gong since the rural area and popa&ase estimated as ifiaJer 
effective Viet Oeng control has been reduced by only 17 villages Pith a 
population of 15*0,000. . 

Partly by tho eheer strength of its presence and partly be c of 
the prolonged absence of strong jfovernmont military and security forces, 
ths Viet Cong has boon able to t: jform sous r aral areas =■» ~suoh as 
portions of the Ca 1-Iau peninsula, the siranray Elaine dsa Jones, and the 
highlands In the north °° into ^na.jcr concentration or bi areas which 
arct danger ou3ly close to b? zoning ^liberated* areas, Eere, the ¥let Cong 
has virtually a free hand In levy5.ng and collecting, taxes, directing the 



cultivation of rice and other farm products, and controlling their distrl- 
butioJij propagandising the populace, conscript! Jig cadres, and even setting 
ig> overt political organizations and provisional local gqverisrtent \mite. 

The political capability and strength of tins Viet Cong in the 
countryside is inextricably associated with and strcstgly dependent rpon 
its military presence and power. The threat ©a? the use of £&$&e $ as 
demonstrated by tho high rate of assassinations and kld&applngs of local 
officials and oven ordinary peasants^ is a continual reminder of the 
penalty of nonoeoporatlon with the local Viet Ge&g* Hsreover^ by success- 
ful military operations against the GVN, tho Flat Cong is able to demonstrate 
its superiority and it3 determination and Ability to mala* Is tiara, the 
political apathy of the peasant — .i.e., his traditicraal and overriding 
sensitivity and attachment to local, village, and ladM family matters 
and his minimal awareness of natlor^l or men regional Iwaaa and develop- 
rents « has mada him prcae to seek an accciracdaticai with whatever force 
seeing for ths laorant capable of exorcising authority, 



The Viet Cong. also usss non-violent, positive, mwm to ^^ea3 to 
the peasantry. Although thair tactics vary and dsfead partly en prevailing 

* 

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local conditions, they have, for example, purchased rather thm seised 
rice and food ©tuffs in many cases, have taxed the wealthy with effective 
publicity * and reportedly even distributed land to landless peasants* 
Even their terrorist acts from tine to tims faaire bsen agalnat harsh, 
disliked, or corrupt officials* Tfrese acts are held cut as proof of the 
Viet Congas ability to improve' the peasant 3 a economic and political lot* 
Sheir appeal is enhanced by fee peasants basic distrust of government 
officials engendered partly by their excessive and harsh i&plomontation 
of government programs and by the average Tiataassasa bureaucrats belief 
that he does ncrfs serve but ir; to be served by the p&u$L%* 

Viet Osng propaganda to the peasant, therefore^ is both j/ositive 
and negative o It extols Viet Cong achievements andpesssr,* credits the 
Dosssmmist forces under Ho chi Minh ifith expelling $7ih French from Vietnam 
and3fi9fijpiag the north free of f *£ore5.gn control, 11 holds cut Moncnlo and 
political, indasejaents, derides? OT2J aqpsfcilltiMj and points to tha exsossivo, - 
oppressive^ and corr\Tpt character of GVH demanda and practice;, s as for ©scaiaple, 
military conscription and forced labor in the creation of strategic hamlets*. 
Viet Gong propaganda also exploits the Vietnamese peaaant 8 a credulity and 
eniralstic beliefs, spreading bisarre stories intended to lir*dt popular 

participation In goverrcaont prcgraroSo 

■ 

Viot Cong penetration efforts have been "dire* ted largely against 
local govespESeat services sad &my. Civil Guard, and Self Bsf ease Corps 
field nnlta. lihilo the extant cf this penetration Is difficult to determine 
accurately, there have bean increasing reports in recent acnths of succeas- 
ful Viet Cong penetration of Self Uefenae Oarps units and strategic hefflleta 
Moreover, the apparent advance knowledge of some GVB all liary onoratlona 
end tha generally high rate of te w desertions is probably pariSy due to 
Viot Gong penetration cf Aragr field posts and training csntera. 

if«rf+~4 i b % S^^aa Sectc*. Qmnmlst activities la urban areas are 
limited largelylo propaganda, penetration, and terrorisa. She S^ediSo 
cbjectavo of these activities Is to encourage dissent and cpSaVtSn to 
Resident Bis* and the BS presence in Sout?Vletaam IrtUto^llrtZ**** 
aentnuents among intellectuale, professionals, SJSuS pohSc^S^ 
government officials, and labor and youth eroina %7+£?. PWlMotaaa and 
Cong h s to created cc^n gronnVSS SS'J^^T?!!* 2" Viot 
opposition elements, legitime it, WgeS5uo^^S^"fT anUt 
egimately precipitate Kern's overthrow. £, i2 aS^^SS"* • 
effort elnce 1961, particularly with the crettXn efU.% J?*"!*,? this 
the Liberation of South 1Utatt« to T * L *f W^"* Front for 

national support for the GoSlst^eTtiS; ""* "** *» g3i * fet «*- " 



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As reflected by Radio Hanoi which ilso relays KPLSV statements, 
the paramount Viet Cong propaganda theme is the dictatorial family rule 
imposed by the Diem government and its subservience to *JS "foreign 
imperialist intervention" which are combining to "oppress" and "murder" 
the South Vietnamese people and block reunification. This Viet Cong 
propaganda campaign, coupled with recent political developments in Laos 
(which some Communist propaganda has implied provides an acceptable model 
for "settlement" of the South Vietnamese conflict) and with Diam's 
persistent reluctance to tolerate any appreciable non-Communist opposition, 
has already contributed to an increase in neutralist sentiment among urban 
circles* Moreover, some oppositionists, including a few leaders- of the 
once-powerful Cap Dai and Hoa Hao religious sects, are reportedly coopera- 
ting with the Vict Cong to the point of being committed to participating 
in an eventual Communist -led anti-Diem coup attempt. 

Viet Cong capabilities for leading a successful coup are limited, 
however. Its own forces, even if combined with any remnant armed bands 
of the Cao Dai and Hoa Kao religious sects, do not appear strong enough 
to overthrow the government by military means. Nor is there any evidence 
that the Viet Cong has any support in the. middle or top levels of the GVIJ 
bureaucracy or its military and security establishments. Although the 
Viet Cong might well be able to exploit the confusion and instability 
resulting from Diem's overthrow, it does not yet have the ties with the 
non-Communist opposition to Diem that would enable it to lead a successful 
coup. 

There is no reliable evidence of Viet Cong penetration of the 
middle or top echelons of the GVN bureaucracy and defense establishment. 
There is believed to be penetration of the lower echelons, and it is clear 
that the GVK security and intelligence services do not now have the 
capability to prevent such penetration, A GVN police interrogation report 
in early 1962 revealed that there was a large Viet Cong subversive 
network in the Saigon post office and that an employee of the post office 
was possibly using the telegraphic system for clandestine communication 
with North Vietnam* ■ : 

The Viet Cong has also progressively improved its terrorist capability 
in Saigon and other urban centers. There have been increasing reports 
that the Viet Cong has enlarged its terrorist corps in Saigon and that the 
principal targets of these attacks are to be Americans, Evidence of this 
capability is the increasing number of grenade bombings in Saigon* For 
example, there were three bombing incidents against Americans in May 1962 
and three bombing incidents in connection with Independence Day celebrations 
on October 26, 1962- 



v 






secret/mofoern 



SCO 






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



• . • * ■ SSCRET/KOFORN 

- 10 - 



tt THE VJSTJIAH GOWRK-ffiMT'S C QggSBgtSTEtGBRCr E flftStT 



A* Backgrounds Gradual^eogonsa 



«MH 



In contrast to the ra^ld acceleration of the CoKsmnist insurgent 
and subversive effort, the GVN response antil this year vas gradual and 
relatively uncoordinated and generally did not reflect the sense of 




peneral kolementat ion began. Moreover, the GVH leadership continued *o 
view the situation as one created and supported largely by external forces 
with Uttlo popular appeal arid saw their problem as essentially a military 
one requiring overriding emphasis on purely military measures. 

■ 

' Even these military J3eama?e8j however, rare weakened principally by 
the GTO leadership^ reluctance .to .abandon static defonso concepts and 
permit mare offensive actions, for which it had suff ioiont forces -« a 
reluctance that reflected both fear of overt ElV aggression and interna! 
political considerations. In addition, the GVN military and security 
■forces themselves, despite their experience in combatting guerrillas 
during the Indochina l*ar and thereafter, wore inadequately trained, equipped, 
and organized to wage a sustained and large-scale counter guerrilla effort. 

"The turning period in the GVN response occurred in late 1961 mid 
early 1962 and resulted largely from substantially Increased US aid, 




persistent up reconaisiaa3i&j.uja», 

missions to South Vietnam* Accordingly the GVN has diversified its 
response by giving increasing emphasis to political counter insurgency 
measures . It has improved the coordination of these raeasures with purely 
militsiy operations, given priority to implementing a basic strategic 
concept for eliminating the insurgents, significantly increased the counter- 
guerrilla tactical capability of its military and security services, ar'3 
departed appreciably frcia static defense concepts, thereby greatly aid: jg 
the development of increasingly offensive-minded and aggressive military 
and security forces. By the early part of 1962, the GVN had begun to act 
upon the recognition that the crisis situation in South Vietnam was an 
internal and political problem, requiring largely political measures tu 
eliminate Consmaist appeal, support, and control among the peasants. 

**• Foraulation and Implementation of Basic Strategic Concept 

JJ5 a result of persistent DS reporEtendations, the GVN has developed 
a basic strategic concept for the inplomentat ion of its diverse canhter- 
insurgoncy measures. The teo principal features of this concept are' the ■ 
strategic harslet program and a closely Integrated and coordinated military- 
political approach directed toward isolating £he Viet Cong and regaining 
control of the countryside on a systematic, area-by-area ffaSis* 



• 



SBCRBT/IXFORN 



Oh '• 









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



If I » ' ' 

^ "" " secret/noforn 



- 11 - 

1, Strategic Hamlet Program , The strategic hamlet program embodies 
principally the recommendations of the British Advisory Mission, headed 
by R.G.K. Thompson, a key figure in the campaign against Communist insur- 
gency in Malaya. It also reflects US innovations and the experience and 
concepts developed by the GVN in similar earlier projects. Briefly, the 
program involves regrouping hamlets into fortified and more readily 
defendable settlements and undertaking in these settlements political, 
social, and economic measures designed to weed out Viet Cong agents and 
sympathizers, reestablish and improve local government administration, 
improve the general popular image of the GVN, and increase the peasantry's 
identification with the government's fight against the Viet Cong. The 
program is initiated in relatively secure areas and is then expanded into 
less secure areas. The majority of the hamlets provide most of their ovm 
resources, although the US is supplying some of the equipment and necessary 
construction materials and it is expected that this aid will increase 
substantially. 

The strategic hamlet program is now priority national policy. 
President Diem has created a special interministerial committee to 
implement and coordinate the program on a countrywide basis. The committee 
is headed by Diem's brother, Ngo Dinh Nhu, and delegates its responsibilities 
to regional committees under each of the army division commanders. Increas- 
ing efforts have been made to regularize the procedure for implementing the 
program, educate the responsible local officials and the peasants on pro- 
cedures and objectives, speed up the distribution of US material assistance, 
and train the necessary specialized personnel. The GVN has reported that, 
as of mid-October 1962, more than 3*000 strategic hamlets had been completed 
and more than another 2,000 were under construction; more than one-half of 
these are in the southern provinces, including the Mekong River delta area. 



The completed strategic hamlets vary widely in the quality of their 
physical defenses, the effectiveness of the defense, internal security, , 
and administrative systems, and the degree to which necessary political, 
social, and economic measures have been implemented. Among the most effec- 
tively organized hamlets are those in areas where integrated and systematic 
military-political pacification operations have been undertaken, such as 
"Operation Sunrise 11 in Binh Duong province and "Operation Sea Swallow" in 
Phu Yen province. In these and other hamlets, fortifications and the 
defense forces are adequate for repulsing guerrilla attacks, radio communica- 
tion has been provided, hamlet administrative officials have been elected or 
selected by the inhabitants rather than appointed by the village or di ;rict 
chiefs, and Civic Action teams have been active in improving the healtn, 
educational, and general living standards of the people. In many other 
hamlets, however, fortifications are extremely inadequate or virtually non- 
existent, defense forces axe greatly under- strength and Inadequately armed, 
there are no radio comrauni cat Ions or Civic Action teams, and hamlet officials 
continue to be appointed. Moreover, despite improving peasant morale in many ham- 
lets, particularly as the benefits of security against Viet .Cong intimidation and 



502 



£ *- "w - — ' *«/ >4 



ilJ v ) J. 1 J • 



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



—r 



SECEKT/N0FORK 



12 - 



taxation becone evidoi^ thorc are continuing reports that GV1J Officials 
have exactod too heavily from local resources and havo not coitpsnsated 
tho peasants for tho mterial end labor required to build tho haialots, 
that tho peasant's ability to earn a living has declined because of tho 
time ha is required to spend on construction, and tliat tho government has 
boon rcora concerned irlth controlling tho h^ilet population than with pro- 
viding services &nd improving living conditions* 

# 

It is still too csrly for accurate o valuation of tho strategic 
hamlet program. On balance, the program appears successful and probably 
has contributed to tho reported slight increase in tho number of persons 
and villages that havo coma tinder effective government control. The fact 
that tho strategic htoalsts have become a major targot for Viet Cong armed 
attacks is in itself an indicator of the importance of tho program to the 
GVJJ's counter insurgoncy effort, if not a measure of its success. Most of 
the . deficiencies of the strategic harlot program appear to be the result 
of implementation and, to some extent, are to bo expected during th3 early 
stages. J&ny province! and district chiofs continue to be rolatively unln- 
formed or confused as to procedure and objectives or are overzoalous in 



their attempt to impress their superior 



1*3 and thus havo established unrealistfe ' 
eluding President Diem and E*o Dinh 



goals, Moreover, soma GVK leaders, including President Diem and Ego Dinh 
Kin, tend to place exaggerated importance on tho program, Viewing it almost 



a* 




continuing defense of tho strategic hamlets doe3 not exist in many of the 
areas *fcej?a they havo boon established. 



ter 
Ion and 



considerable delay: 

VS oxf icials, the GVN has developed the general outlines of an Integra sd 
military-political approach for pacifying tho country on a systematic, gradual 
aid province-by-proviiice basis. The approach involves large-scale and con- 
truing Military operations to dear and hold a given province. As thV 
EJi"? * ST 4 fra^Sio hamlets are established with Civic 40U1 j teams 

for the pacification of 11 pSfSSi *«5STwSf 25 £ 5? i if^S 6 «.♦• 
area and embodying most o/the *JLE2££?S fi kJMS&S'" ^ 

cation. 7 Priority areas for purposes of pacific 



SEGRET/MOFORN 






:■ 



- 












Declassified per Executive Order 13526, Section 3 J 
NND Project Number: NND 63316. By: NWD Date: 201 1 



SECKET/N0FOIN % 

- 

Implementation of the integrated pacification approach boge>n in 
March 1$>62, and since then four operations have boon initiated s "Operation 
Sunrise" in Binh Duong provinca (and portions of surround iiig provinces) 9 
^Operation Saa Swallovr 3 in Phu Yen provixoo^ R 0pGraticn Let's Go*- 3 in 
Binh DLnh .province i and IJ Operation Royal Phoenix 1 * in Qusng Ngai province * 
HLans for another operation in Vixih Long province <, "Operation West VJind'^ 11 
! - are being cbfactai up* In addition to continuing military operation^ over 

160 strategic hamlets^ the great majority in Phu Yen province^ have already- 
been constructed and more than an additional 1 5 000 hamlets are plumed 
for completion by mid-1963 or shortly thereafter* 

The results of tho systematic^ integrated SiSlltsa?y=pt5lttleal pacifica- 
tion approach are encouraging* However ^ its limited apx^lication to relatively 
feir provinces has not yet appreciably altered the balance bet- rasa the govern- 
asnt and the Viet Cong in the countryside Moreover $ thare is evidence that 
the GTO has some doubt as to tho feasibility of this apprc&oh as the princip:!. 
basis of its counter insurgency offer to For ©xaiq>lo, in addition to th s 1 v.:n- y 
reliance on tho strategic hamlet program, thero are reports that President 
Dica fools that his military forces now have sufficient strength and capa- 
bility to make quick, large-scale military strikes si taneouiOy in and 
behind various areas of Viet Cong concentration with tho hope of dispersing 
an3 ultimately isolating tho guorrilla forces into small and easily eliminated 
packets. 



C* MJlttavy Operations and Effect ivoness 

*— — — - fe^ha - - . ■!■ ^mm i ' _— m tma -» — a -a I i i ■— ■ ■ — i — »■ ■ ■ — — — _ ■ — _ - _. . 



■^■f i~tt~itm «~it^«— ^p *mm*t\ ■ mm i^.nni 



Tho GTO military and security forces have significantly stepped up 
thoir offensive operations against the Viet Cong insurgents, particularly 
since the early part of 1962, In large measure, this has been the direct 
rosult of US agreement to support a substantial increase in the s*ze of 
■ ( the GV» military and security establishments. Since the latter part of 

1961, tee GVN has increased its military forces from about 160,000 to 
around 200,000 and its security forces, tec Civil Guard and Self Bjfense 
.Corps from just over 90,000 to almost 155,000, This has enabled th* W 
to satisiy its requirements for defending transportation facilities and what 
. it considers key areas, including tee l?th parallel, vhils it attempts to 
seek out and eliminate the Viet Gong. During the period October %£t 
for example the GVii military and security forces Lunchea 19 lar-^llfenslve 
operations, involving units vith equivalent strengths ranging from 4o 
battalions to several regiments, in addition to Sail-unit off eSiw actions 
and defensive engagements. ^ 1W aoraons 

strategy end plans. In close eooieratlcn wits iR^i-fr ""J 1 ™* 
«*• division colanders and th.li subo^ es^ro U £%£%«'> 0W 
ingly m formating and executing offensive mLSo^gS^ * 



uig mcreas- 
igairat the Viet Co 



SECRET/li0FC?cN 



5C«fi 



* 



Declassified per Executive Order 13^26, Section 3.3 
NND Project Number: NND 63316. By: NWD Date: 201 1 



/ 
r 



• 









secret/noforn 
" - ak - 

However* it appears that Diem«s willingness to delegate this respens ibility 
is due partly to his appointment of division commanders whom he believes 
to be loyal to him snd his family. This reliance essentially en colonels 
to direct the fighting reinforces continuing reports that Diem and Ngo 
Dinh Ehu still mistrust most of the generals and even have doubts as to 
their military competence. In any event, Diem axid Ilhu continue to plsy 
' dominant roles in the development of general military strategy and must 
approve pleas for major operations end frequently Mill initiate or modify 

them. 

As a result o? the substantial increase in U3 military assistance 
and accelerated training programs by US military personnel in South VietaKcn, 
uho now number almost 11,000, the GVIf military and security forces have 




covmter guerrilla vrar-faroc They are now alibus h ing and patrolling mors than 
over before arc engaging tho Viet Cong Increasingly in small unit a^tion'j^ 
and are following through tfoeia? attacks in order to keep the Vict Cong from 
diseiigaging * Probably of greater iiaportance^ hotiavor^ is the considerably 
* improved 1 ical mobility of the GVII forces* - These forces are now able 
"to strike more quickly and in greater strength than ever before during 
defensive^ relief $ or offensive operations * The single most important 
reason for this accelerated tactical mobility is tho increasing utilisation 
cf air p&mr $ principally US helicopter support* Although better intelligence 
and coTraunications, particularly the installation of radios in moat villages, and 
improvements in the tactical organization of the GVN military establishing 
have also contributed significantly* 

* 

The Improvement in GTO tactical intelligence is due partly to admin- 
inisirative and organisational reforms but principally to the success of 
US officials in impressing theSo.Uth Vietnamese with the necessity for more 
effective Interrogation of Vist Cong prisoners and to the apparent inorsssa 
in the willingness of the peasants $ at least In aroa-s >;here security- has 
insxroved^ to Inform on the Viet Cong, On balance ^ however, G¥K intelligence 

^or^el, 

„ _ . 'risibilities 
aaong several agenciea and Interagency rivalries, and the continuing reluc- 
tance of the peasantry to inform on the Viet Cong for fear of reprisal 
particularly in insecure areas or where the GVN wmmv** *«= ***»*<«*«>* J 

terapor ary." 




here the GVH presence is regarded as 



Doapite this improvement in counter guerrilla tactics, GVH mUitafrv 
forces continue to rely more on large operations or clearing s^e^ than or 
MlHttit action*, employ CiviT.Gasrd and Self Ifefenae Corps unS ex£ a ! 
eiveiy xn ^dependent offensive missions, and, during large operation* 
deploy combat units, particularly artillery and airforco, accord^ to' 
convention! Ustieal ssthoda. As a result, the Civil Guard and ifilf 
Jftfense Ce*ps are incurring heavy casualties and Viet Cong guerrillas 



* 



SEGIE?/?, T 0FCRN 



r- r% r- 



t 












Declassified per Executive Order 13526, Section 3.3 
NND Project Number: NND 633 16. By: NWD Date: 201 1 



A* Bscl:<p?ound* Rapid Bat er iorati en 



During I960 and 1961 j -the Inter rial political situation in South 
Vietnam deteriorated rapidly, breaking the 'relative stability and general 
surface calm that had prevailed since President Diem consolidated his 
authority in 195>!>-5>6e Critic lea of Diem increased substantially throughout 
I aH sectors of Vietnamese society but was more urgently articulated within 
; the government and bureaucracy, including the armed forces, A wide range 
of civilian and military officials, including Vice President Nguyen Ngoc • 
Tho and other members of the cabinet, privately questioned Diem ! s handling 
/ of the internal security problem and his ability to rally and lead the 

people against the Viet Cong during what they regarded as the most critical 
period since tho end of the Indochina war. Their concern with tho Commurlst 
threat, however, was almost inseparably entwined with an accumulation of 
grievances principally ever DIem*s failure to delegate responsibility, the 
excessive power exercised by Blem* s family, and the use of secret security 
services and semicovert political. organisations to scrutinise the attltu s 
of the bureaucracy,, 




since 1956, and to a lesser extent among labor and business elements. 
They repeatedly and, on occasion, vociferously demanded that Diem liberalize 
and reform his govcrnmant, lift restrictions on civil liberties, eliminate 
corruption in government, and permit an opposition to operate. These demands 

SEGRST/NOFCRN 



cno 



v U w 









I 

SEGR2T/H0F0RN 

- 1$ - 

generally have advance knowledge of major GVN operations, especially 
then artillery or air power is used to "soften up" tho enemy, and are 
able to disperse or avoid engagement, 

Tne increased US seaport and presence, the greater role played by 
GVN military officials In formulating and directing military operations 
and more accesses, against the Viet Cong .than ever before have -PP^ntly 
taoved morale among members of the middle and upper echelons of the GVN 
military establishment. The state of morale at the lower level, hoover, 
is more difficult to determine. Desert ions, particularly among recruits 
and recalled reservists, appear to be running very high for a vide variety 
of reasons, and some GVN officials continue to claim serious difficulty m 
meetln* conscriotion quotas, During the first seven months of 1962, 
for example, a total of 17,28? personnel were dropped from the rosoers of 
the Army, Navy, Airforce, Civil Guard, and Self Defense Corps as deserters 
or as personnel absent without official leave. On the other hand, some GVN 
officials have recontly claimed that voluntary candidates have for the first 
time oversubscribed tho quota at the army officer's training school at 
Thu Due, 

* 

III, TEE POLITICAL SITUATION 



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



. 






SBGBST/KOFORN 

- X6 - 

were supported, as in the past, by a disparate group of anti-Diem Vietnamese 
expatriates in Paris v?ho have long advocated Diem 1 s removal. 

Unrest also increased among the peasantry principally because of the 
government's inability to assure adequate protection from the Viet Cong 
but partly because of the cumulative react ion to the excessively arbitrary 
and severe behavior of local security and administrative officials. 
Possibly underlying this unrest also was the character of the GVH 1 s economic 
development activities which, however limited, were oriented mora toward 
de% r eloping an urban industrial base than toward improving the economic 
lot of the ppasantt 

Vietnamese confidence in the Diem government was obviously seriously 
shaken and morale within the bureaucracy, particularly the military estab- 
lishment, declined greatly* In Ibvember i960 a small group of middle level 
paratroop officers staged a near-sxiccessful coup in Saigon, Although the 
abortive coup obviously made Diem take serious stock of the prospects for 
political survival, it also strengthened his confidence in the correctness 
of his political views and increased his suspicion of many of his subordi- 
nates and the oppositionists outside tha government. 

During this period also, Diem's view of US policies toward Sowbh 
Vietnam underwent considerable change • For the f irst tine since he consoli- 
dated his position, Diem appeared to question seriously US political support 
of his leadership and US commitments to defond South Vietnam from Communist 
encroachment, His apparent concern, although partly reflecting his disagree- 
ment with US actions in Laos, was duo largely to earlier persistent US rep- 
resentations on "internal issues which he regarded as pressing him unduly ! 
to reform and liberalise his regime. This concern was further aggravated by 
his belief, partly instilled by members of his family, that the US was in 
some way involved in the abortive coup, 

* 

During tha Immediate post-coup period, Diom took a number of measures 
to strengthen his controls over tha bureaucracy. Ho and Wgo Dinh Nhu made 
it publicly and privately clear that future coup attempts or even public I ' 
criticism of the government would be dealt with severely. The Can Lao 
the government's semicovert political control organization, and"~tao~Secr e t 
police were ordered to maintain close surveillance over critics within the 
bureaucracy and the military establishment and over the oppositionists 
outside the government, and officials were apparently instructed tint 
passing information to or even having social relations with Americans would 
ftl\ f J iou V° ns ^nces. As a result, there was a sharp decline in 
the heretofore large number of reports on coup plotting and criticism of 

couo S^l Un * 7 ° S thS 7?**"* m ™ ^te^organSed a^Ser, 

T* P t£ S'-.fr* ""J 5 ^ St l0ySl memb0rs of th9 V™ l^.the bureaucracy 

^nd tte military and security services. Ostensibly tol^ss the IS Sth 

tJ.i'n ^ mSnQ3S ^ r6l ° rra thS *"•"■«*. he later reorganized 'his £b£t 

• * * 

SSCRSiyi-OFOHN 



« 



• 



507 






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







N 



17 



During the last half of 196l 5 'the political situation became some- 
what less disturbed despite the continuing rapid deterioration of security 
conditions o The predominant factor in this development vas external: 
: . \ .strong US public manifestations of support for Dieia, including the visits 
of. Vice President Johnson and General Maxwell Taylor, and the substantial 
Increase in US assistance to South Vietnam* Other contributing factors 
wero the slightly greater participation that Diem now appeared to permit 
his military advisers in the conduct of the fighting, the f avorable 
psychological effect on the middle and lower military echelons of a few 
large offensive operations^ and Diem f s initiation of some modest political 
reforms, However, there vras no conclusive reversal of deteriorating trends as 
was made clearly evident when Diem ? s palace was bombed by two GVd air force 
pilots in February 1962, 

( B« The Current Situation 

r 

• ■ .. • The political situation in South Vietnam is now probably more complex 

and more difficult to analyze than at any time since 19$h. On tho one hand, 
■ the sense that political reform is urgently needed appears to have subsided* 
significantly, at least onr the surface, and indeed a relative calm seems 
again to have descended over the biu'eaucracy,- There has b3en a significant 
decline in reports of serious discontent, and of criticism by GVN officials 
of Diem's leadership and his family. Reports of the concern of officials 
with inefficiency, corruption, and morale in the government have likewise 
declined significantly since the early part of 1?62, as have reports on 
■ °°? P lot ^ S*™ us officials believe that morale within the bureaucracy 
and the military services has improved appreciably, largely because of tho 
improved capabilities of the armed forces and several large successful 
operations against the Viet Ccngj that some heretofore strong oppositionists 
- are now seeking to identify themselves with the government a^d con?ribu?e 
positively zo the war effort} and that peasant loyalty is shifting toward 
^he. government, particularly in areas where the government is making its 
presence increasingly felt, Finally, Diem and his principal lieutenant* 
have very recently shorn considerable confidence and optSism tS the ,' 
tide has been turned against the Viet Cong and have evrn «,t«L?*h T 
general offensive is about to be launched! ^ at a I 



in,t,M?? t tbe ° tJ ? er Jr*' ^ lndicatoi ' s of serious internal political 
instability remain, however diminished in apparent ln*.™ «+£ * JOX ^ iCaJ - 

varied as the indicators of political stabSitv Vw ^ ""l" 6 * S 

officials from various level's of the aaminlsWinn •" f !*»£*■ £r ™ 
Tho and Generals Daong Van Kinh and Le Van kZ III ™ clu6m Z Vice Resident 
toe war- himself or Sough htf Lnner c JcL i? fSfT Contimiss to run 
Within the government ceS^ 8 ^4S%1^^£ that CCr ^ion 
lottery scandal that there is no politic^! lortlt*- T^ mi<m ^ 
jesses against the Viet Cong in the ctun^r>T ll f*5 ° f "*■***? *& 
in the countryside is forc^nTo^To^ttU ^criminate bombing 

Cong, and that coup plottingV^tf aS onlTS SZTZSf ~ 



SECRET/tfOFORN 



ou3 



Declassified per Executive Order 13526, Section 3,3 
NND Project Number: NND 63316. By: NWD Date: 201 1 







SECRKT/lfO?'ORN 

- 18 - 

exploitation and the belief that the US would not tolerate a coup keep it 
from materializing. As recently as late October 1?62, Gen, Ton That Dinh, 
commander of Army Corps II and generally considered one of the most loyal 
although opportunistic of Diem's generals, stated that he was highly 
dissatisfied with the regime, that Diem and Nhu tolerate corruption in 
high places, and that he was planning to precipitate a coup in early 
February 1$>63« 

1, Political Attitudes^ of Dlgff L JH?*1 .J^JLJ^^Xl Dlcm and h3 - s £ ?jn} -ly 
remain firstly convinced of the wisdom of tholr political outlook and of 
their method of governing their country, They are basically impatient 
tath democratic processes • They consider democracy a useful goal but its 
methods thsy regard as wasteful and as dangerous to political stability 
and public safety in a country such as South Vietnam* They contend there- 
fore that the Vietnamese people, with their national survival at stake, 
must submit to a collective discipline until they develop a greater national 
consciousness and a batter sense of civic responsibility. While willing to 
rule within the framework of constitutional and representative government, 
they are firm In their- convictions that government is effective and dynamic 
only when its power is closely held and exercised by a small, highly 
dedicated, and uncompromising element at the very top through a machinery 
founded more on persona], relationships and loyalty than on formal or 
institutional chains of command. Where representative government and 
civil liberties come in conflict with the highly centralized authority, the 
latter generally prevails, Finally, Diem and his family continue to 
believe strongly, almost fanatically, that their leadership is crucial 
if not indispensable to the survival of their country in the present crisis. 



Some slight modifications have slowly appeared in these attitudes 
during the past year, partly because Diem and his family are increasingly 
aware that the Communist threat to South Vietnam is largely internal ° 
and partly because of the magnitude and complexity of the US assistance 

) program and its increasing orientation toward the needs of the countryside. 

>bre than ever before, they have been made aware that government nust not only 
be .served but must also serve, that the peasant and his active particip?- 

J tion rather than his passive obedience may well be crucial for final 

victory over the Viet Cong, and that a little more sharing of pover at 
the top would probably improve administrative efficiency rather than lead 
to their ouster. 

At the same time, however, Diem and especially Nhu have gone to 
great lengths to convince U3 officials that this ha/al^ys been ?he£ 

peasant, Km has repeatedly stated that the strategic hamlet pro-i-m 
for ex^nple, will create a social, economic, and poUtlc^reTOl^^ 

*L l«el, and raise the peasant to a new social status. There is no evidence, 

., , secret/koforn 

- 



Declassified per Executive Order 13526, Section 3 J 
NND Project Number: NND 63316. By: NWD Date: 201 1 






'SECRET/lJOFORH 

■ 

- 19 - 

* 

however , either in recent developments or Id the records of past perform- 
ance, particularly Ilhu's, that such are "their real objectives and ex- 
po o tat Ions o - 

Probably the most significant change is in Diera's attitude toward 
the US* Kb has apparently become substantially persuaded that IS defense 
cosniltments to South Vietnam are firm, despite his continued disagreement 
vrith the IB on the Laotian problem. His earlier suspicions that the OS 
was looking for a successor in South Vietnam and that tho IS was implicated 
in the abortive I960 coup have been considerably relieved. On the other 
hand, Diem has remained firm against any US pressure on matters that ho 
interprets as vital to his oirn raid his government's best interests and is . 
convinced that in the final analysis he can have absolute confidence only 
in himself and in his family. 



2. 2^9^ n ^^t^S^2^^i:SC a ^ cra r ro ^^ly has somewhat strengthened 

his control" of the adiiijustoatfon. For example, ho has reorganised a 
number of his agoncios, has removed a number of critical and potentiality 
disloyal officials and by various means neutralised tho influence of coma 
others, such as V5.ce President Tho and Gen, Duong Van Minh, and has improved 
his means of surveillance of tho bureaucracy through such techniques as the 
creation in the military establishment of a, system of "political commissars" 
known as the Political Welfare Division* He has attempted to roinforco 
further his control of the military establishment by the appointment of 
personally loyal colonels as division commanders, some of whom have Vernon- 
strated from time to time that thoy regard their responsibility as principally 
to Diem rather than to their corps compandors. 

On balance, however, it appears that tho general efficiency of the 
administration has improved slightly, partly because of tha appointment of 
©ore competent officials to several key positions, partly because of soma 
increase in the authority delegated by Diem, and partly because of the 
enlarged IS presence in South Vietnam* For exaa£Le, Secretary of State 
for the Presidency Kguyon Dinh Tfauan appears to be oxcrcio*n* greater 
authority than before, as is Secretary of State for Inter ior°Bui van Luon* 
wio, like xhe head of th* now Central Intelligence Organization, Col. 
Nguyen Van Y, and Secretary of State for Riblic Health Iran Dinh Do is 
among trie nov/ly-appointod and more competent members of Diem's entoira^e 
in Saigon, At Dlem's initiative, the National Assembly recently p*s-ed 

3i22*! , *w J^^-*"***-*"^ W to call v£on **&.*£%*.. 

cabinet to give testimony on pending legislation, 

i 

■are selective in hi? appointment 3 ^^^'SaSirSi^SL " 
•t this level of the goverr^nt, some of these officials havo^so SoT^a 

SECRET/KOFOR?! • . . ' 



• 



{ OJ.0 



I 









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



SECRET/K0FORN 

i 
i 

-20- 

so^Hhat greater vHltngP.3. to ^ -JJ^LTta'SSl'SStaS'- >att»r 

rtta* to throve orr f^Uof Bd ^ i"d™ i.ntciais.nco, and 
planning *d ^^?**J2fS^«n g3.4-.tor consultation and coordina- 
S^a^JSiTSS^™ tne rotation and implantation of 

policies. ■ ■* 

iwarfhnless participation by the cental elements of the adminis- 
Nevertheless g^JJJJJ^^/,^ direction of policies, as well as 
tration In Satgen in the ff^JJJ*' d fr0IP lts mid dlo and lower 

initiativo *»d construe ?^^^ y *~£ ^ his fanU y continue 

echelons •J* l ™ttTSSS^ ^SmSS of personal relationships 
to operate ^ 6^^"* J^g-^ foma channels of comand, They havo 
rather than through th r ^ ! l to teoadw govornmont participation 

^nSlor^^^ ^aferfSd htg£y sensftive to the possibly 
Satthe rolfof U3 advisers in the field or at the middle and lower echelons 
S^radXistration may weaken their authority outside Saigon. 



3 



iottc- 



Dlem's Position in the Countrywide. Diem has never had widespread 
noouiar S "aSH poFt, even during "his period of greatest achievement. 
?2tt-53 An austere and disciplined introvert, he is incapable of demagog, 
uerv ana has never made a great effort — to the extent that Erix§e 
Sihanouk of Cambodia and Ho Chi Hlnh of North Vietnam, for example, ha™ 
done so — to inspire among the South Vietnamese people a national con 
noss centered and moulded around him personally. While he has enacted 
measures that have helped the peasants, he has not attempted to identify 
himself intimately with the peasants. Relatively few peasants havo ever 
seen Diem or heard hm speak, and there are probably many others who are not 
aware that he is head of the government. For the great majority of naasants 
the district chief is probably the highest government official 
thero has been any notable degree of contact. 



ty of peasants, 
with whom 



Diem undoubtedly has become increasingly < re of the serio\JS need 
to improve the public inage of himself, his family, and his government* 
He now travels extensively in the countryside, and his manner of talking 
with the peasant has become more relaxed and sympathetic than bef orej 
during the last half of 1961, for example, Diem made 18 known trips outside 
Saigon and visited 19 provinces, 9 in the central and northern parts of the 
country and 10 in the south. Both Diem and Nhu have from time to time 
attended the inauguration of rolativoly small rural projects. Vlith US 
assistance, the GVN is expanding its information and Civic Action programs 
at the village level and has become more conscious of the need to conduct 
these activities along lines understood and appreciated by the peasant. 
Finally, there are reports that a number of the villages and hamlets 
■which have been given arms have resisted the Viet Cong, instead of sur- 
rendering their weapons as some GVN officials had expected they would do. 

SECRET/130FGRN ■• 



G I 1 

V* •—. -.*, 






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



lit 



SEGRET/NOFOaN . . 

- 21 - 

There soonis to ha some fooling among GVH and US officials operating 
at tho local level that the popular appeal of and support for Blew and his 
govermsent in the coi jsldc is li^prcrring, partictOsrly In areas where 
security haw improved snd the govsrraanVa poorer is imreasing* Ifcwever, 
thoy i7arn against any n&fitie optimism, particularly since they believe social 
and economic advances &re still no 4 ", keeping pace vith military successes^ 
and that the positive identification of tho peasantry with the goveranent 
is stSl3 a long war ofx* While over a 100.000 Montapnard or mountain 
trifcespeople have fled Wet Cong-cont3?o31ed areas aac! are being temporarily 
housed and fed by the G7K, their flight apparently was due principally to 
Viet Cong excesses and tha general intensification of the fighting in the 
highlands rather i&aa to any positive snaasnres taken by the GVB to appeal 
to the trlbespeople. She extensive use' of artillery and aerial bombard™ 
itisnt and other apparently excessive and Indiscriminate ffie&snros by GVN 
military and gscurltgr Itoees in attenuating to eliminate tita Vict Cong 
have tmdaubtedly killed man;/ innaeezat peasants and made many others teore 
irilling than before to cooperate with tho Viet Cong, pgBpticrilaarly in areas 
vhere the gowacment has conducted extensive military operations* but has 
failed to follow up by providing the means .for poriaanent socueilgr* ; 

* 

lj. ffl affig. Pfr affiioa tn Tffban t Center e « "Bitem's legitiraa^r ae South 
Vietnam's S^SS^L leader may be, at best, a vagus and tap arson xl concept 
. in the countryside. It is seriously questioned, hotzever, ^:ong r^j:y 
elements of the urban society, principally gmong professionals, intellectuals 
and formsr politicians in Saigon. \fis in the resent past, this questioning 
largely continues to t tho form of dissent and private criticise rather 
than openly organised exposition* Within this educated s$d politically 
sensitive sector of the Vietnamese society, there in a wi'ds Yarieiy of 
political sentiaents. Including varying degrees of -Vietnar^o nationalise, 
neutralism, coaswnism, pro-IB and anti-US, and^pro«Ffceineh and anti-Ereneh 
5he coition thamea among: these critics and active opponents of Diem continue 
to be related to his sv m and manner of rule. 

Repeats of opes critieisa and opposition to fiiesi among th3 Salgin 
civilian slits, already on ths decline by early 1961, havo decreased 
further during this year, littla has been heard, for exsB§jflLe, of Er. Bisu 
Quang IXmfs Republican Party of Vietnam (Dan himself has been in prisaa 
since the 1<?50 eonp skteaapt), of GVtf-ereated or OT-eontrolled s cpp^s'"^c- a» 
groups, or of the once TOciferous critics of Diem, such ?.a ths 18 int Llee- 
tuals and ex-politicians vho signed a public pretest petition to Bisa in ' 
I960. Tm probable causes for this decline in reports are varieds GV-V 




SECHET/NOFCTiJI 



ET1 O 



Declassified per Executive Order 13526, Section 3,3 
NND Project Number: NND 63316, By: NWD Date: 201 1 



'9 



i< 



SECRET/EOF®*! 



22 



*-■* 



r . 



.rded as an ihaica- 



Pai 

a 



oithor In cooper < 
It also 



This relative surface silence might be rejja 
tor ©* tarmmt In Biem's position with the urban public if it were not 
for the increasing wafcer of reports of clandestine activities by his 
non-Co^utnist critics and opponents. Factional leaders of such olo. and 
once teportaat political groups as the Bai Viets and the Nationalist 
Party of Vietnam (V1-3JDD) reportedly are seeking nays to geo their nepers 
secretly installed in the government. (There is ovidonce of some collxxsion 
between elements of one of these groups and the two pilots who borahad 
Diem's palace in February 1?62 ) Other opposition elements, including^ 
factions of the Cao Bai roligious sect and the tea teo Social Democratic 

arty, are reporEeoly^eparlng plans for a future coup, oit v ~ * 
_tion with other non-Coasmunist groups or with tho Viet Cong, 
appears that expatriate groups in France, such as the Democratic Party of 
Vietnam, exe attempting to expand their covert activities in Saigon. 

j 

Khile it appears that Diem has not improved hie standing among urban 
groups there is no evidence that tho g&tl-Blein IntelioctuaX-olite elements 
in Saigon have boon able to overcome thoir chronic disunity and sectarian* 
isra or°to inorvB.se their very small follo^ings* On the other hand, DIera*s 
persisting disdain of most of these oppositionists and his refusal to bring 
into the govsr nt even some of their least reprehensible members have 
'contributed to a gro>i3 g neutralist sentiment among then and, by forcing 
many of them under cover, have made it extremely difficult to estimate 
tholr real strength and disruptive potential, In addition to tho growing 
appeal of neutralism araong Hiera, thoir pro -US orientation nay also be 
rapidly declining. 



IV. EC0K0HIC TR3HBS 



! 



\ 



There has been little inflationary pressure in Soutie Vietnam as yet. 
Prices have been stable and tho money sitpply has been nearly constant for 
over a year. For example, in August 1962, "total raoney supply, made up of 
demand deposits in the banks and currency in circulation, vzs only fraction- 
ally above vihat it had boon in March 1961* Further, prices havo been 
generally stabl^ and tho cost of living in tho cities has risen only very 
slowly. 

Tho stability in rconay supply and prices that has boon such a marked 
feature of tho Vietnamese economy has baen the diroct result of vary con- 
servative .15711 policies with respect to prices, wages, and fiscal management, 
So long as the immediate problem In, South Vietnam was reconstruction, 
lee., tho restoration of production to pro-World $&r II lovels, it was 
possible to obtain substantial iner oases in output at relatively small 
cost, and conservative price-Sage and fiscal policies Mere not only useful 
but also to some extent necessary • * Although GVH policies have been more 
conservative in nature than was really required (for example, budget 
swpluses from l&k to 1959 amounted to a total of 2.7 billion i>i^sto^s) 
they have kept the spseter of inflation from adding yet another element of 

Instability to the scene.. 

* 

•. , SECAST/1X)?GRN 












• 



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



SECHEi/JX)?a:>r 



trt 



23 



Shice the rscesistruction phase ended In about 1959* Cf7N economic * 
policy hay preserved tha status quo In the eotmtays ida$ including the* 
traditional- disparl% osteon rttP&I sad xnrban living standard^ and has 
pot stiEvulatad oec Lc dtfrdopsuHit, Thero g3?e soma indications, in 
fact^ feat ihore has recently been not disinvestpat hi agriculture, 
' Given tha security situation in tfc* CQ®£facysIdc and tho current depressed 
state of tr&da there- j rovised policies directed tttrsrd increasing rural 
income and production would' be an essential element in p^suadtqg tha 
peasants to cast th$fip lot with tho govor- nt alld &ot with tha Viet Cong. 

Two GSicowagiBg dw&lop kts have occurred in the economic field 
in South Vicing In the last BOTaral JMnthSq Flrstp tha Second Five -Year 
Plan >ras endorsed by- tho Kkticnal /.: :£rn.bly SLa Jbsm Wi approved by 
Resident Diem* Tm Plan calls Tor t&e te ^ 'of U5 billion piasters 
over the period 1962-1966 &ed ©ssphssisas tho d©ysloj5ma»$ of agrienlturo, 
public im I ^.&nd J* ista^Ta On 3 30 ihs Jfeilc 1 Am&ably appropriated 
an irdiiai 1*2 blllloea p tutors to finaiic-a the piaster costs of several 
pro J[dct0$ii3&fi0 of thca in the "hgriociltural sector 






Second^ IVoildcnt Siem, 
Nations 
b 

uiao p. „ — „ „ „„ ^^vwMgsu *-iam i-'iv(u;-j« w*« *'<n*MMiiJLU) x or 

deficit financing by pointing cat that a developing nation normally 
experiences a budgetaary deficit,, tiUm referred to the necessity of raisin* 
the living standards of the rural population] and said that tho present, 
guaranteed minimus wage would be re-examined because of tho rise la tho 
cost of living. £Lti»ugh measures to implement now economic policies 
may not* be 'presented to tho National Assembly until its next regular 
session in April 1?63, Biem'a statements indicate a now awareness that -the 
trend of declining income among tha lowest income groups must he reversed 
This asrareness is enema-aging but, unless the addition*} Lneom* *ererated" 
by deficit financing in largely directed to the countryside end to tha 
lower income urban gwmps, the price rises resulting from deficit financing 
yill marely widen tha income gap which already exists and further alit late 
: tna peasants from the OK. ■ Moreover , the additional Income must be' " 
directed lo taa rural areas in such a way as to encourage agricultural 1 
production. Stable and attractiva prices for farm products are the b< t 
and perhaps only means to accomplish this. 

1 
Wet Cong activities in South Vietnam can b 3 expected to h-vi a 
depressing effect on agricultural production, alt« t 3 r ' 
determinants will continue to be orioe tha 4»*+w \T ■ L 

8H £ ClUdlllS % ™ f teffl=J ' -" -dleeSf ^rS^" 
factors however, are less Important with respect to rubber prod'ei ton 
which provide,- south TLotaa'a largest single a™,rt p- £T«? £f ' 
Eonth.3 enough August 196? rubber erodu«*?™ J, - • ' v J .*? 8 olght 
b/ sorr.o 2 Sco r^+-\c\Z-\ Production on m or plantations dsciined 

7 d,500 metric tons as compared to 196l a a fungus disease effecting 

SECREX/iDFCP.!? 
-*i /I 



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






I 

4 



SECRET/mFORN 
- 2k - 

" tha rubber trees *** partially *££»* g^* SttofcSfoSi and 

impertant additional cause f% cl ^!XaS^e tawing on tho estates ' 
general *^+**££S%Z? S£/£^J58?£«* ^^ 
and extension ^Jfjj^^^^^ivonted it si*co 19&> from making 
needs arising from 2LT25SL to 5»»t of its rubber replanting 
2g2 ^J^SSSSSSSi 5 Restates, there is little prospect 
gr^r^ov^oat in the rubber situation until security improves 
goner ally. 

It can also-ho ejected that Viet Cong harassment will continue 
to totJtor?^ to* transport system, especially tho railroads. Eha 

r,:! "* irrhfc oassengcr operations between Saigon and Hue on 
SS2^#«2£55 JUi on any improvement to security but 
Sept^sDer i> vas ^ ^ "sabotage trains carrying passengers. 

on toe ^f.^.f.t.ie also been due to the fact that additional revenues 
art SS£ ^^JTcFS. 10 Billion P iastor aontaly deficit on 
railway operations. 

If President Diem' s statements on October 1 are followed by the 
necessary measures to stimulate development of the agricunural sector in 
South Vietnam, which accounts for the employment of 80* of tto population, 
important steps will have boon taken not only to provide the peasantry 
' with the motivation to side with the government but also to diroco economic 

, ' development along tha lines most promising for tho economic tuturo of 

Soxxth Vietnam, This will be particularly tho case if the GVN's economic 
devel opmonfc program also emphasizes industries utilizing domestically 

, produced raw materiels, particularly agricultural ones, as well as those 

that provide import substitutes but are based solely on imported raw 
mater iris. 

■ 
* 

In short, the G7N is showing a new arcarenass of tho necessity of 
direcii&g its attention to programs which will directly benefit tho rural 
population. It has not as yet put into effect any concrete measures to 
carry out its prcgrau Its actions in tha next six months to a year will 
indicate how deep its new-found conviction iff. 



V* OUTLOOK 



At foromunist Actions 

■ 
There sean^ littlo prospect that tha Viet Cong will be able to 
achieve a take-over of South Vietnam by armed force during tho next year* 
The Communists ara obviously prepared for a long struggle . Even though 
the strengthened GVH response and increased US assistance have apparently 
necessitated sorao modification of plans, it is not likely that the 
Cormnmists will diminish their diversified campaign of guerrilla warfare, 

f terrorism, and subversion* They can be expected to make every effort to 

maintain, consolidate, and expand .their control of tha coitvtrvaidoj 
increase their overall armed strength, the number of organised fighting 

i . units,* and tha percentage of hard-coro personnel in these units; improve 

their weapons capability particularly against helicopters; 'and increase 



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




. 



SSCRKT/KOfmii 



- 25 - 

their attaofcs against strategic har.ilsts. Acts of terror is% particularly 
against '&r.or leans, and sabotage* par ticuZUrly of trains and li^ortant 
installations, may veil increase to unprecedented proper t ions in an effort 
to tie doim more GW military and seciarity forces and thus relieve the 
pressia:e against the Viet Con; 



C 



Hanoi can also be expected to continue to infiltrate personnel and 
raterial into South Vietnam r.nd has the capability to stop up infiltration, 
as the situation warrants^ vith relatively little danger of detection and 
no great difficulty. The W8*S capability is further enha&cad by the 
nature of the border terrain and the limited border- control capabilities 
of the South Vietnamese, Lao, and Cambodian gG\'ernmenta 4 H^we^er^ because 
of tactics! and strategic military end political considerations s Hanoi 
Kill probably continue to infiltrate elements primarily from the pool of 
regrouped South Vietnamese rather than from the Vietnamese Communist 
forces in Laos aoffi Of vjhom are believed to be North Viettta&3£3 or 
ToDkinese, 

■ 

It is entirely possible that the Viet Cong v?DJ. step up its armed 
operations daring the next month or so with the advent of the dry season, 
in the belief that further military escalation is necessary in order to 
counter the growing response and effectiveness of the GV3J forces and U3 
support. There are a number of indicators that support this ej^asctationj 
noserous earlier intelligence reports of Viet Gong" ragro^jpisant £ con- 
solidation of forces; a slight increase in the ntnaber of armed incidents 
during roughly the last week of October; and two Viet Gong battalion-size 
attacks in the Mekong River delta area in late October and early Hbvemher 
1962, the first since July 1962. Farther military escalation daring the 
next several months night involve the formation of regimental-siae units, 
including the transformation of some guerrilla units into conventional 
units with heavier weapons^ selected and simultaneous large attacks aeainst 
oneor more targets, including military installations and towns; establish- 
ment of "liberated areas" in South Vietnam) the ersailoa of ress-va baZZT 
in Communist-held areas in southern Laos; end UwrtS* l3l5£^ 
particularly if Coamunist forces in southern tS S pl^StdeqSte 
protection along infiltration routes. (It does not ajWlLelv SSt 
inspection by the International Control Commission in ilos JSlLSSLlt 

Politica^aStSindl 5£52**5JK '&*&*?«* ^ ■ 

*VI1 make incr easod^f f or ts to ££*«£ tie St ^^ ?* Vlet *>«* 
^d security units, recoup its psyXJogicS S^FS***? "? *** ' 
«* m general suhvert the GVtfs effort^ l^£^J&*&; 

SECRET/KOFOJtH 



) ± o 







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






i 



tlf 

ssgrst/koforn 

~ 26 - 

* * 

In urban areas, the Viet Cong wiH rely on terrorism, to Serialize the 
Xtilenry^ on increased propaganda end subversion to Umpire anti- 
SeW SnSrations and coup plots, encourage neutralist sentiment end 

oppositionists and youth and labor grougS« 

Outside South Vietnam, Hanoi will probably increr.se its diplomatic 
and propaganda effort, to gain support particularly among neutr^ nations 
for S «|ational Front for the Liberation of South Jftetnaja* (SFXS7). 
It aa7havt sons success in establishing "unofficial" relations between 
the Wm and Laotian and Cambodian leaders, in gaining support for the 
KPLSV amon* Vietnamese minorities in Lacs, Csmbodia, 1 and Thailand, and 
in persuadin" prominent Vietnamese eapatrtatea in France to suppor & a 
change of government in South Vietnam. In addition to advocating the 
reunification of Vietr i sooi and the WLSV can be expected to continue 
nronagaada support for the neutralisation of South Vietnam, Knraver, tne 
extent to which neutralisation is emphasised will depend on the course of 
the war in South Vietnam and the degree to which the concept is found to 
. appeal to the elements in and cuts ids South Vietnam, as well as on develoj • 
Bents in the Bloc itself* 

The pattern of events relating to the creation end devalopmairt of 
* the Wi&V? as wall as tho pattern of CosmBunist political tactiea pad 
strategy in similar situations in other comtrtes in tho par>t^^ indicates 
that Hanoi and tho Viet Cons are preparing the groundwork for tra imtox nation 
of the HB1S7 into a shadow or t? libc-u ?ation govocmonV 3 In South Vietnam* 
However, it is exfee emely difficult to predict when, tihatfcer.j or uadsr ^aat 
conditions this Kill occur* Hanoi might find it politically r.dv^ntjgGous 
to create c shadow government •under any one of the following circi vtr^ieoss 
during a period of internal political crisis in South Vietnam following a 
successful or near-successful, coup atteraptj during a period when there has 
been a series of i:ujor and drastic Viet COMg military scccegsesj during r> 
period of serious military cr diplomatic' reverses for the US in the Par 
Bsstj or at r- t^une >:hen several neutralist countries had given assistances 
of diplomatic recognition of a new "government* 3 in South TTietsam* Oader 
any clrcuisstancss, however, the decision voiud be considerably influenced 
by Moscow sad Fsiping raid their estimate of the general international 
situation* 



B* QV1I Counter insurgency Effort 



The elimination and even ths significant reduction of the ©sasaialst 
insurgency in South Vietnam will almost certainly require several years, 
Bswever, in addition to continuing IS assistance, a considerably greater 
effort by tha G¥B is crucial. Jxi effective strategic military apolitical 
concept for impleaentlng tho GTO counter insurgency plan has been developed 
and is now boing acted upon, and the armed and security forces have been 
enlarged and inprored. GY1J success will in large aeaswe depend on t^a 
manner and speed with which it continues to irroler^at this concept. 



$1- 



XatET/KOFCRN 

c;i 7 



1/7 



;•. 



• 









_ *? 






Declassified per Executive Order 13526, Section 3 J 
NND Project Number: NND 63316. By: NWD Date: 201 1 



- 27 ~ 

Ultimately, ho ^jr 5 t&e effectiveness o? Its iraplcir . it&tion will depend 
on the idllingnees of III era and his family to utilise fully the basic 
resources available to the G7N. Ihe GVN military leaders are anong the 
bpst in Sbs&east JUia sad the rank and file have the spirit &nd villiog^ 
ness to fight; ths 'civilian bureaucratic leadaarsjiip is strongly anti- 
(bnasainistj e^eia though its effectiveness continues to ba iiapeded by 
Inadequate delegation of autfcrltyj there are as yet no serious trends 
toward neutaLi3m or toward a political accomodation vith Hanoij sr-d 
finally, the ITletnaaiese pess&ntSj however politically apathetic and 
discontented tdth tke government, are by no means re^dy to surrender 
thesiselves to the Viet Ocmg, given greater effort by the govarn^nt to 
protect then £rom C nratst Intimidation said ircprovo their economic 
end political status* 

Daring the mx& yo:r- 5 the OW probably mil not be able to halt 
completely the deteriorating security trends , let alone reverse the tide 
against the Viot Cong, unless Saigon significantly accelerates and improve 
its response to the inirorgency. itaong other things, the govern nfc leader- 
ship !•;. give much greater e-uphasis to political, social, end economic 
measures in i, orb of its: military op pitions, make a substantially greater 
offo 



1 



3 




end capabilities, including increased reliance on r... .Il~un5.t actions read 

restriction of 1 t ^tical use of airpcrfer and artillery,, Rjilure to do 

this will seriously- 1 ' : n the -strategic hamlet program* partioularly 

since the Viet Cong eon bo expected to stop up it* effori against the 

program during the next year. Such failure will also greatly restrict 
th 




particularly sssoisg the peasfchts a the needed greater sense of stake Jn &e 
gpvermmt's fortunes. Indeed, the continuation of such taction ae&sures 
as extensive use of airpo»er and crop destruction, however carefully controlled 
Kay veil contribute to ike development of militant opposition a , tfce ' 
peasants end positive identification with the Viet Co: 



o 
-l2. 



Progress egiinst the insurgents will probably remain diff ievi t to 
evaluate accurately. There are many indicators on the br.sis of Weh 
Peeress can be jud^d} the more meaningful would aopear to be t^re"^i- 

Jftrt Gong attacks, and Viet Cbng mapons leasee, shortages of food and 
J»f"ine, and defections. In this respect, a national program by X ' 

CTH to encourage Viet Cong defections, with the promise of fSrLeaLent 
of the defectors is long overdue and could be eaSreaslv °?f~^v?Z 

SrafeJ? 1 2!£*~! -* •-«* Viet c^^i;; 10 ^ t S 



on casualties, while helpful a3 an toSite afSi ^^inl^de of "firfflSi 
should continue to be treated with extreme eauti^ JSES v ^f I1ST: ' oiil g* 

undoubtedly iijclude masv c-nl ,> ^^ V • p U/ boc ^° *^ 
.. supportor/of the Viet Cong': " ^^ P 8 ^^* 8 W «««««« 

* " ■ 



* 



SEG^J^/jVOFOJlir 



K1 P, 









Declassified per Executive Order 13526, Section 3 J 
NND Project Number: NND 63316, By: NWD Date: 201 1 



- 28 - 



C, The U3 Role 






Ths cotffse of US-GYN relations Kill bo an Important element in the 




a- 



end assistance is th-3 controlling factor in Gf?H relations and attitudes 
toward tho U3» Daspit© considerable improvement in relations between 
the IB and the GVH during the past year or so 5 disagreements end frnstr 
tiono can bo expected to continue over a number of issues, including the 
Im*leB»niation of tho counter insurgency plan and GVH relations with Laps 
and Car&odia, 

Blein trill elrcosfc certainly continue to press for increased aid and 
remain adamant against a^y OS pressures upon him to delogato appreciably 
mora authority to his cabinet and military advisors or to expand tho 
political base of his government to any sign If icc.nt c oefcent. Ebroovor, Khlle 
ho has Kalcoroad tho increased VS presence in South Vietnam and generally 
approved of tho activities of IB advisers in tho countryside, MLcra and hi* 
f ciaily Kill continue to maintain & close Kateh over those activities in 
tho interests of protecting their an thor iiy . at tho local level. Diem and. 
particularly Ehu may also reiaain oxtrcrnaly rpluctant to accept possible " 
U3 proposers directed i d further intonation of tho strategic haraiot 
and systematic pacification programs or directed toicvrd substantially 
altering tho present balance between esaphasis on puroly miliary measure; 
to defeat tho Viot Cong and emphasis on political, social, and economic 
measures • 



.s 



■ i - 



Dion probably still has soma lingering suspicion of the extent of 
confidence in and support of his leadership. In -the event of another 
coup atterapt, Dion rould o^pect qnipk and strong manifestations of U3 
support and Kould regard tho absence of SttcJi manifestations as demonstra- 
ting lack of VS confidence. 



lie 



SChere is considerable evidence that tho substantia increase in 
u5 presence in South fietnam has improved morale at all lords of tho G 
administration. Eolations between individual US advisers and tbeir ffis 
coimtcrp^ts especially at the local level have generally boon good and 
ctoGpi.o Vxot Cong propaganda efforts, have not resulted in any neticeab j 

^ong th 8 probable m$ox considerations are tho fact that IS pdotmJ? 
«aite the French Ln tho past, are acting as advisors rather lm a7 ' 
afrr^* P&MU&W of an policy, and tho apparent wUlli-ness 

tomt^parts, assisting i-oro hy example rathw than by persuasion 

sa ^j^xs:^ ^s^st^sl 

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SSCR3T/K0F0RN 



n 



29 



a 



D« Politic*! Situation 






The fit-ability of the go' nmsttt during tka next year will continue 
to dapand principally on Diem* is fa&i&lfig of the internal security 
fiituatioru If Diem can demonstrate a continuing Inprcvamont -In security 
conditions^ ha should ba able to ^Deviate concern and boost rcor^le 
idthiii bis bureaucracy and military es&^lsbss&t, Bomvw, if tba figtyt 
against tho Viet Cong goes badly* if tha Viet Cong launches a scries of 
successful and' dramatic military operational or if South Viobnaaoso ansy 
casualties imr«ssa appreciably over a promoted period^ tha cfcsacas of 
& coup attempt against Biain could ineraasa atfestantially« Moreover, tha 
possibility of a conp attempt at a^y tfoaa cannot bo ©xctwlsda Ifesy 
"officials and oppositionists fool that^ despite tho govern -> & e military 
victor iss and improved military cay Abilities aad ihitiattvaj tha GVIT ia 
not winning tha ttar principally basalt a of Dlom-3 virtiml cir-.: i rula 
and his failure to follow through with tho political and .jsS&aomio m 
nacosssry to gain tha support of tho peasant? 



OS 



l^o 



It is moro difficult now than at zmj tint* sinco tho crisis in South 
Vietnam bagaii in lata X9>9 "to eattaata raXiably tho dopants that wraOLd bo 
Btost likely to praoipitata a co^p atteeot 5 tha prospects for tho auocesa of 
a coup attempt, or tho effects of such an attempt on intomal stability 
and on tha coimtarkisixrgoney effort itself 9 frying tha past year 02 so* 
tho Viet Gong presumably has improved its ability to initiate a ootzp and 
■kigfat attarapt to do so, Bbi*aver s the Viet Goi2g probably i;ould not ba abl3 
to oarsy out £ successful Gotsp 3 £>n& tho odds that it could gain co&teoi 
of a soccassftil coup, although somanfaat bettor than last y©ar s appear to 
ba less than ovon. 



Hid coup most likely to succeed vould be ©na vith non-Ccauiaualet 




tha govaassmaat* 32ha aborfciva coup attempt in Kbveaab&r i960 &v>d tho 






f uuw " "» »«^«aaitv 1 y x«i- oowap praxmmian and broader poa?tieixstloa ' 
tha Silltsry. Any f urburo iKja-CesBEniai^t ec-ap grot® probably would Sot b» 
as deficient to this reqpet and its laadara, uallfca tha leaders o?19& 




coup 



aaans certain,' a major polarization of tha G71J military loadvriifn * M +. 

coup gad anti-coup groups doos not appear likely **"™M» into 

?*? f Dl; T, ol °?* *° ^""a 1 ? weeraiited at tela outsat 

m giv.3 their tacit or active 



coup od anti-coup groups doos not appear likely. Most of ««» ^ald 
apparently did in fcn** lc£o, J vouWtS"* ** "^ "^ ^ *** 




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. 



SSCRET/KOFORN 



30 



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Dlora's removal — i&&thar by a military coup^ assassination, or 
death tram ^ecidsntal or natural esusos -- vould probably considerably 
strengthen tho potto? of tho military* Tho odds apponr about evan bctueon 
a govcrrjn&nt loci by a military jEata or by Vico President Tho, with tho 
erffijr^ in tho latter cassij playing a major If not tho predominant rolo 
behind tho scenzs* On tho o:io hand, tfaa military might conciiido that a 
milita3*3r-l©d government vonld bo bettor abla to laalntaln national unity 
and iatfearaal political cohesion &n& s more importantly, to conduct a 
doterminod and effective campaign against the Viot Cong* On tho other 
hand^ they night eoncl\ui? thnt 23io, i^ho apparently has boon on good 
terms with soma of ths present top military loaders, K>nld not disagree 
with their vio^s on tho maimer of conducting tho fight against tho 
CoTfLr^nists and that his constitutional succssaioaa iroDld legalize the 
change in goveriBaant and possibly avert a sorious povror struggle, 
(Although Biota 1 s brothors^ Em and Can 5 viould probably also bo removed 
by a coup > If Blsm loft tho scone for other reasons his brothers Bight 
attempt to retain roal politic?! power*) In any ovont, a govornmsnt led 
by tha military, by Tho, or by any* other civilian approved by tho military 
■•Jould probably maintain South Viotna^s pro-CS orientation* 

■ 

If there is a sorious disruption of govor;: iaant leadership as a 
result of a military coup or as a result of Dicm's death, aiy ncaiantiOB 




fail 



IXndsr most of tho foreseeable circumstances involving a coup tho 
rolo of tho 05 would bo extremely torpor t ant. Although this"is by no 
means certain, US military raid intelligence officials might well have 
advance notice of an kapeading coup and might bo able to restrain tha eovo 
plotters from precipitous action. Evon if unable to restrain .such action 
hoover, tB officials night have greater success in averting widespread 

*rt£S 21!, * i0 2 ET* f^TS* l hiCh wuld lo * d to ^ccssivo blood- 
shea and weaken the front, against tho Viet Cong. She US could -l^n h* 

helpful to achieving agreement aaong the coup loader's as to ^olLu^d h^d 



* 



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NND Project Number: NND 63316. By: NWD Date: 201 1 



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■ 



■ RECEIVED 



■ SECRET 

CONTROLLED DISSEM 



N1E 53-63 
17 April 1963 



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1964 FEB 15 11 07 



CFf SECY OF DEFENSE 



NATIONAL INTELLIGENCE ESTIMATE 

NUMBER 53-63 
■ • • (Supersedes NIE 14.3/53-61) 












HO 



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Kz^iy u tit! 




l&mGm 






Submitted by the 

DIRECTOR OF CENTRAL INTELLIGENCE 

Concurred in by the 

UNITED STATES INTELLIGENCE BOARD 

■ 

As indicated over /a of 

17 APRIL 1963 



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PROSPECTS IN 
SOUTH VIETNAM 



THE PROBLEM ' ' * * ' 

To assess the situation and prospects in South Vietnam, with 
special emphasis upon the military and political factors most 
likely to affect the count erinsurgency effort. 

CONCLUSIONS ' " ' 

A. We believe that Communist progress has been blunted and 
that the situation is improving. Strengthened South Vietnamese 
capabilities axid effectiveness, and particularly US involvement, 
are causing the Viet Cong increased difficulty, although there 
are as yet no persuasive indications that the Communists have 
been grievously hurt. (Paras. 27-28) 

B. We believe the Communists will continue to wage a war of 
attrition, hoping for some break in the situation which will lead 
to victory. They evidently hope that a combination of military 
pressure and political deterioration will in time create favorable 
circumstances either* for delivering a coup de grace or for a po- 
litical settlement which will enable them to continue the struggle 
on more favorable terms. We believe it unlikely, especially in 
view of the open US commitment, that the North Vietnamese 
regime will either resort to overt military attack or introduce 
acknowledged North Vietnamese military units into the south 
in an effort to win a quick victory. (Paras. 29-31) 

C. Assuming no great increase in external support to the Viet 
Cong, changes and improvements which have occurred during 
the past year now indicate that the Viet Cong can be contained 
militarily and that further progress can be made in expanding 
the area of government control and in creating greater security 
in the countryside. However, we do not believe that it is pos- 

* • 

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• 

sible at this time to project the future course of the war with 
any confidence. Decisive campaigns have yet to be fought and 
no quick and easy end to the war is in sight. Despite South 
Vietnamese progress, the situation remains fragile. (Para. 32) 

D. Developments during the last year or two also show some 
promise of resolving the political weaknesses, particularly _that 
i of insecurity hi the. countryside, upon which tlie^iiisurgency 
has_fed. However, the government's capacity to embark upon 
the broader measures required to translate military success into 
lasting political stability is questionable. (Paras. 33-35) 



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• 



TO? 



THE. WHITE HOUSE 

WASHINGTON 



SECRET • ' ' June 25, 1963 



NATIONAL SECURITY ACTION MEMORANDUM NO." 249 

j- :. -\ f . ' 

•TO:! " The Secretary of State M . • ".'*-;* ■' ■ ' 

. The Secretary of Defense*^ • / •' • 

y "• " The Director, Central Intelligence Agency " . . ". ■ . ^> 

\* . The Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff # - ^ 

SUBJECT: Laos Planning ' • ' « V ' -fV. 



• i 



1. At a meeting on June 19, 1963 the President considered the 
Memorandum addressed to him from the Department of State dated 
June 17, 1963 ("Memorandum"). ' •-.-:•-, 

2. The President approved Phase 1 of the plan outlined in the Memo- 
randurn and authorized that the steps outlined therein might be taken 
at such time and in such manner as the appropriate officials concerned 
might direct. 



* 

l \^ J ■ 3- The President directed the Department of State to consult with the 
L/ . 4 French and British before initiating any action under the Memorandum. 

- He wished to obtain their suggestions for action in Laos in light of the 
deteriorating situation there. 

■ 
* 

, 4. The President approved Phase 2 of the Memorandum for planning 
purposes, but directed that none of the steps outlined in Phase 2 be 
",\ ' put into final execution until after further consultation with him. 



* • 






■5. The President directed that the steps described in Phase 3 of the 
Memorandum be further refined and reviewed; and he asked that the 
question be explored whether additional U. S. actions should be taken 
in Laos before any actior^be directed against North Vietnam", 



. 



,* 



Carl Kays en 



; Copies furnished: Governor Karriman 

' General McKee 
. *•' " Mr. Colby 

General Clay- 



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*: .*;Hilsman:mk 

S3 & S 07 jo 



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DEPARTMENT OF STATE Spft (T!"?3 i ; 



C" S£:y Cr ffiF0JSg 



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SU3JZCT: 



/Aemorcsnd'jm of Conversation 
FOR THE RECORD 



Q 



Situation in South Viet- Nam 



3 

. July 4, IS}/ 
TIME : 11 : uO to 11 : 50 a. ra, 
. PLACE: The White House 












PARTICIPANTS: 



COPIES TO: 



The President 

Mr, BaU 

Mr. Earriman 

Mr. MeGeorge Bandy 

Mr. Hilsmaa . 

Mr, Forres tal 



I 1 

. ■ i 

— - • - ■ — 

k 

The President was briefed on developments in Indonesia, Laos and ^ 

Viet- Nam. The portion en Viet- Nam follows: 

■ 

A joint agreement was signed on June 18 in which the Government nut 
the Buddhists 4 five demands. The Buddhists and the Government then worked 
together on the funeral arrangements for the bonze who burned himself to death 
so that incidents could be avoided. The funeral came off without trouble. 

> 

Since then there have been rumors circulating in Saigon that the Govern- 
ment does not intend to live uj to the agreement. These rumors were given 
credence by an article appearing in the English language "Times' 1 of Viet-K&m, 
which is dominated by the JEflxoa. The article contained a veiled attack on the 
US and on the Buddhists. There v/as a suggestion that file Monk who burned 
himself, to death was dragged and a provocative challenge to the Buddhists that, 
if no further demonstrations occurred on July 2, this would amount to an 
admission oj the Buddhists that they were satisfied with the Governments - 
action, {The President injected questions on the possibility of drugging, to which ^H 
Mr. Hilsman replied that religious fervor v/as an adequate explanation. ) 

At this point there was a discussion of the possibility of retting rid of ^ 
the Nhus in which the combined judgment v/as that it would not be possible, A /A* ■ 



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127 






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- 



- 









Continuing the briefing, Mr. Hilsman said that the Buddhists contained 
an activist element which undoubtedly favored increasing demands as v/oll as 
charging the Government with dragging its feet. There was thus an element of 
truth In Diera's view that the Buddhists might push their demands so far as to 
make his fall inevitable. 

During these events the US had put extremely heavy pressure on Diem 
to take political actions. Most recently we had' urged Diem to make a speech 
which w-^uld include announcements that he intended to meet with Buddhist 
leaders, permit Buddhist chaplains In the army and so on. If Diem did not make 
such a speech and there were further demonstrations, the US could be compelled 
publicly to disassociate itself from the GVIVs Buddhist policy. Mr. Hilsman 
reported that Diem had received this approach with what seemed to be 
excessive politeness but had said he would consider maldno such a speech. 

■ 
* 

Dor estimate was that no matter what Diem did there will be coup 
attempts over the next four months. Whether or not any of these attempts will 
be successful Is impossible to say. 

* 

Mr. Hilsman said that everyone agreed that the chances of chaos in 
the wake of a coup are considerably less than they were a year ago. An 
encouraging sign, relative to this point is that the war between the Vietnamese 
forces and the Viet Cong has been pursued throughout the Buddhist crisis 
without noticeable let-up. 

At this point lar, Forrestal reported on General Krulak's views that, - 
even if there were chaos in Saigon, the military units in the field would continue- 
to confront the Communists, 



Mr. Hilsman went on to say that Ambassador Inciting believes that foe 
most likely result of a coup attempt that succeeded in killing Diem was civil war. 
Mr. Hilsman disagreed with tills view slightly in that he thought civil war wag 
not the most likely result but that it was certainly a possible result. 



The timing of Ambassador Kolting's return and Ambassador Lodge's 
assumption of duty was then discussed. The Presidents initial view was that .. 
Ambassador Bolting should return immediately and that Ambassador Lccre 
should assume his duties as soon thereafter as possible. The President 
volunteered that Ambassador Molting had done an outstanding job, that it was 
almost miraculous the way he had succeeded in turning the war around from the 



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:■•"•. • -s- .* . ;.... 

disastrously lovr point la relations between Diem and ourselves that existed 
v/hen Ambassador Kolting took: over, Mr, Hilsmaii pointed out the personal 
sacrifices that Ambassador Halting had been forced to make during this 
period, and the President said that he hoped a way could be found to commend 
Ambassador Halting publicly so as to snake clear the fine job he had done and 
that he hoped an appropriate position could be found for him in Washington 
so that he could gStre his children a suitable home in the years immediately 
ahead. ~ 



:• 



The President's decision was to delegate the authority to decide on 
the timing of Ambassador Koltin-j's return to the Assistant Secretary for Far 
Eastern Affairs; that Ambassador Ledge should report to Washington no later 
, than July 15 so that he could take the Coimterinsurgency Course simultaneously 
with the normal briefings for an ambassador; and that Ambassador Lcclce 
should arrive in Saigon as soon as possible following completion of the CI Course 
on August 14. Arrangements v/ere made for Ambassador Holting to see the 
President at 4:00 p.m. on I.loaday, July 8. • ' ••' 



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CASE FILE' COPY 



niAQT-l 



RETURN TO DIAbC-l 



SNIE 53-2-63 
10 July 1963 






. 



SPECIAL 



NATIONAL INTELLIGENCE ESTIMATE 



NUMBER 53-2-63 



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Submitted by fho 

DIRECTOR OF CENTRAL INTELLIGENCE 

Concurred in by fhe 

UNITED STATES INTELLIGENCE BOARD 

As indicated overloof 

10 JULY 1963 



CONTROLLED DISSEM 



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THE SITUATION 

IN, SOUTH VIETNAM 



.- 



SCOPE NOTE 

NIE 53-63, "Prospects in South Vietnam," dated 17 April 1933 
was particularly concerned with the progress of the counterin- 
surgency effort, and with the military and political factors most 
likely to affect that effort. The primary purpose of the present 
SNIE is to examine the implications of recent developments in 
South Vietnam for the stability of the country, the viability of the 
Diem regime, and its relationship with the US. 

CONCLUSIONS 

A. The Buddhist crisis in South Vietnam has highlighted and 
intensified a widespread and longstanding dissatisfaction with 
the Diem regime and its style of government. If — as is likely — 
Diem fails to carry out truly and promptly the commitments he 
has made to the Buddhists, disorders will probably flare again 
and the chances of a coup or assassination attempts against him 
will become better than even. (Pci7*as. 4, 14) 

B. The Diem regime's underlying uneasiness about the extent 
of the US involvement in South Vietnam has been sharpened 
by the Buddhist affair and the firm line taken by the US. This 
attitude will almost certainly persist and further pressure to 
reduce the US presence in the country is likely. (Paras. 10-12). 

* C, Thus far, the Buddhist issue has not been effectively ex- 
ploited by the Communists, nor does it appear to have had any 
appreciable effect on the counterinsurgency effort. We do not 
think Diem is likely to be overthrown by a Communist coup. 
Nor do we think the Communists would necessarily profit if he 
were overthrown by some combination of his non-Communist 
opponents. A non-Communist successor regime might be ini- 
tially less effective against the Viet Cong, but, given continued 
support from the US, could provide reasonably effective leader- 
ship for the government and the war effort. (Paras. 7, 15-17) 

- i ■ SECRET ' 



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DISCUSSION 












(. 












L 



I. INTRODUCTION 

• -* " * * 

- 1. The two chief problems which have faced the Government of South 
Vietnam (GVN) since its birth in 1954 have been: (a) to forge the 
institutions and loyalties necessary to Vietnam's survival as an inde- 
pendent nation, and (b) to counter the menace of Hanoi's subversive 
Grid aggressive designs — pursued since 1960 by & campaign of wide- 
spread guerrilla warfare. In attempting to cope with these problems, 
the GVN has been hampered by its lack of confidence in and its inability 
to engage the understanding and support of a considerable portion of 
the Vietnamese people — including large segments of the educated 
classes and the peasantry. In recent weeks these inadequacies and 
tensions in the South Vietnamese body politic have been further revealed 
and intensified. . .. ; 

II. THE BUDDHIST AFFAIR 

2. President Diem, his family, and a large proportion of the top 

leaders of the regime are Roman Catholics, in a population that is 70 

■to 80 percent Buddhist. The regime has clearly accorded preferential 

treatment to Catholics in its employment practices and has favored the 
Catholic Church. But there have been no legal restrictions on religious 
freedom and, until recently, most Buddhists appeared passive in their 
response to the privileged institutional position occupied by the Catholic 
Church. There have, however, been various administrative discrimi- 
nations against the Buddhists, though these may have resulted as much 
from thoughtlessness or misplaced zeal on the part of minor officials 
as from conscious GVN policy. These have obviously created an under- 
current of resentment, as is evidenced by the extent and intensity of the 
recent outbreaks. 

3. In April 1963, the GVN ordered its provincial officials to enforce 
a longstanding but generally ignored edict regulating the public display 
of religious flags. As it happened, this order was issued just prior to 
Buddha's birthday (8 May), a major Buddhist festival, and just after 
Papal flags had been prominently flown during a series of officially 
encouraged celebrations commemorating the 25th anniversary of the 
ordination of Ngo dinh Thuc, Diem's brother, the Archbishop of Hue. 
A protest demonstration developed in Hue on 3 May, which was dis- 
persed by fire from a Civil Guard unit. In the ensuing melee 
several persons were killed, including some children. The GVN has 
blamed the deaths on Viet Cong terrorists despite evidence to the 
contrary, and its subsequent stiff-necked handling of this incident 
and its aftermath has sparked a national crisis. The Buddhists, hith- 









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erto disorganized and nonprotesting, have shown considerable cohesion 
and force — enough to elicit a set of "compromise" agreements from 
President Diem on 16 June. Moreover, the fact that' the Buddhist 
leaders have been able to challenge the government openly without 
evoking serious government retaliation has presumably given them 
considerable" confidence. • i 

- 4* For the moment, the Buddhist movement remains under the effec- 
tive control of moderate bonzes who have refused to accept 
support from or countenance cooperation with any of Diem's political 
opponents, Communist or non-Communist, and appear to be trying to 
insure that the Buddhists live up to their part of the bargain. This 
leadership gave the GVN a period of grace (which expired about the end 
of June) in which to show that it was moving in good faith to carry 
out its undertakings, failing which protests would resume. So far. 
there have been no further demonstrations, but the Buddhist leadership 
is clearly restive. 

5. Despite Buddhist restraint in the political exploitation of the affair, 
it has obvious political overtones. It has apparently aroused wide- 
spread popular indignation and could well become a focal point of 
general disaffection with the Diem government. It provides an issue" 
on which most of Diem's non-Communist opponents (even including 

- some Catholics) can .find common ground of agreement. There is con- 
siderable evidence that the issue itself and, even more, the Diem family's 
handling of it to date has occasioned restiveness at virtually all levels 
of the GVN's military and civil establishments, both of whose lower 
and middle echelons are largely staffed by Buddhists. In some cases, 
civil servants seem to have ignored or tempered GVN instructions, 
superiors have on occasion evade'd their assigned task "of propounding 
the official GVN line to their subordinates, and information on impend- 
ing government actions has obviously leaked to Buddhist leaders. In 
any case, recent developments are causing many GVN oificials to re- 
examine their relations with and the limits of their loyalty to the Diem 

. regime; there is accumulating evidence of serious disaffection and coup 
plotting in high military and civilian circles. 

6. The Buddhist affair appears to have given considerable heart to 
the various non-Communist political opposition splinter groups in and 

'out of South Vietnam. There also appears to be a growing feeling 
amono- former supporters of the regime that Diem's position may have 
been permanently and dangerously impaired. Thus far, however, we 
have no evidence that the diverse opposition groups have been able 
to form hew or effective alliances with one another. • . . 

7.. The Buddhist issue would appear to be an obvious windfall for 
the Communists, but so far there is no evidence that they have been 

- * 'SECRET 



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able to exploit it effectively. They" may have penetrated the Buddhist 
clergy to some extent, but are not presently exerting any discernible 
influence, despite the suggestions to the contrary in GVN pronounce- 
ments. To date the Buddhist crisis docs not appear to have had any 
appreciable effect on the continuing counterinsurgency effort, though 
the morale and efficiency of the GVN's military and civil forces are 
likely to be impaired if the issue is prolonged, 

- 8, The Buddhist crisis has also hurt the GVN internationally, with 
potentially important effects upon the future success of US policy 
towards southeast Asia. Protests are growing in other predominantly 
Buddhist countries, with the implication that US action could help 
resolve the crisis. Cambodia and Ceylon have made representations 
to the UN and more may "be forthcoming. In other countries, includ- 
ing the US, the crisis has given new stimulus to criticism of US policy 
on the grounds that the US is supporting an oppressive and unrepre- 
sentative regime. 

9. The future course of the Buddhist affair will be largely determined 
by the GVN's actions in the near term. It is likely that the issues 
recently raised can be resolved if the GVN executes its portion of the 
negotiated bargain. However, politically .sophisticated segments of 
South Vietnamese society, Buddhists included, are mindful of Diem's 
past practice of often using negotiations as a stall for time and of 
making promises in order to weather an immediate crisis. The real 
danger in the present situation is that Diem may be tempted to employ 
such tactics which have served him well in the past but could prove 
disastrous if essayed this time. If demonstrations should be resumed, 
they would probably assume an increasingly political cast, and less- 
moderate Buddhist leadership would be likely to come to the fore. 
Public order would be threatened. In particular, we cannot be sure 
how various army or police units would react if ordered to fire on demon- 
strations headed by Buddhist bonzes. 

III. THE EFFECT OF RECENT DEVELOPMENTS ON US-GVN RELATIONS 

10. The GVN has always shown some concern over the implications 
of US involvement in South Vietnamese affairs and from time to. time 
has felt moved to restrict US activities and presence in South Vietnam. 
This attitude springs partly from legitimate, if hypersensitive, concern 
for the appearance as well as the fact of Vietnam's recently acquired 
sovereignty. To a considerable degree, however, it springs from the 
Diem government's suspicion of US intentions toward it, and from its 
belief that the extensive US presence is setting in motion political 
forces which could eventually threaten Dicm's political primacy. 

11. The Buddhist affairs erupted at one of these periods of GVN sensi- 
tivity, and the strain lias been aggravated by subsequent events. The 









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GVJNTs initial handling of the issue gave the US ground for serious em- 
barrassment and concern which, in turn, produced a succession of force- 
ful US demarches. The Diem family has bitterly resented these US 
actions and may well feel that the Buddhist protests were at least in- 
directly due to the US presence. Under the circumstances, further pres- 
sure to reduce that presence is likely. 

I 

12. A key role in this regard will be played by Diem's brother, Ngo 

dinli Nhu. He has always been Diem's chief political lieutenant, but 
the years since 1954 have witnessed a steady accretion of Nhu's personal 
power and authority — an accretion due partly to circumstance and 
primarily to deliberate effort on Nhu's part. Nhu has political ambitions 
of his own and almost certainly envisages himself as his brother's suc- 
cessor. For a variety of reasons, Nhu has long privately viewed the 
-US with some hostility and suspicion. American criticism of the GVN 
has especially irritated Nhu, for he is aware that he and his wife are 
often its primary targets. Above all, Nhu almost certainly doubts 
whether the support which the US has given to his brother would be 
transferred to him. 

13. In the negotiations with the Buddhists, Nhu urged his brother 
to take a firm line and is, by his own statement, wholly out of sympathy 
with the concessions made. On the basis of past performance, \vc think 
it unlikely that he will help to implement the settlement; his influence 
on- Diem will be rather in the direction of delaying and hedging on 
commitments, a tendency to which Diem himself is already disposed. 
This will be the more likely since not only the Nhus and Diem, but 
also his brothers Archbishop Thuc and Ngo dinh Can, the political boss 
of the central provinces, obviously continue to doubt the legitimacy of 
Buddhist complaints and to underestimate the intensity of the crisis. 

IV. THE OUTLOOK 

14. If the Diem government moves effectively to fulfil its 16 June 
commitments, much of the resentment aroused by the Buddhist con- 
troversy could be allayed. However, even if relations between the GVN 
and the Buddhists are smoothed over, the general discontent with the 
Diem regime which the crisis has exacerbated and brought to the fore 
is likely to persist. Further, if — as is probable — the regime is dilatory, 
inept, and insincere in handling Buddhist matters, there will probably 
be renewed demonstrations, and South Vietnam will probably remain 
in a state of domestic political tension. Under these circumstances, 
the chances of a non-Communist assassination or coup attempt against 
Diem will be better than even. We cannot exclude the possibility of 
an attempted Communist coup, but a Communist attempt will have 
appreciably less likelihood of success so long as the majority of the 

'government's opponents and critics remain— as they are now — alert 
to the Communist peril. 



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15. The chances of a non-Communist coup — and of its success — would 
become greater in the event renewed GVN/Buddhist confrontation should 
lead to large-scale demonstrations in Saigon. More or less prolonged 
riot and general disorder would probably result— -v.ith the security forces 
confused over which side to support. Under such circumstances, a 
small group, particularly one with prior contingency plans for such an 
eventuality, might prove able to topple the government. Conversely, 
a continued or resumed truce between the GVN and the Buddhists 
would serve to reduce the likelihood of such an overthrow. 



• 



16. Any attempt to remove Diem will almost certainly be directed 
against Nhu as well, but should Nhu survive Diem, we are virtually 
certain that he would attempt to gain power — in the first instance prob- 
ably by manipulating the constitutional machinery. We do not believe 
that Nhu's bid would succeed, despite the personal political base he has 
sought to build through the Republican Youth (of which he is the. overt, 
uniformed head), the strategic hamlet program (whose directing Inter- 
ministerial Committee he chairs), and in the army. He and his wife 
have become too much the living symbols of all that is disliked in the 
present regime for Nhu's personal political power to long outlive his 
brother. There might be a struggle with no little violence, but enough 
of the army would almost certainly move to take charge of the situation, 
either rallying behind the constitutional successor to install Vice Presi- 
dent Tho or backing another non-Communist civil leader or a military 
junta. 

17. A non-Communist successor regime might prove no more effective 
than Diem in fighting the Viet Cong; indeed at least initially it might 
well prove considerably less effective, and the counterinsurgency effort 
would probably be temporarily disrupted. However, there is a reason- 
ably large pool of under-utilized but experienced and trained manpower 
not only within the military and civilian sectors of the present govern- 
ment but also, to some extent, outside. These elements, given continued 
support from the US, could provide reasonably effective leadership for 
the government and the war effort. 



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STATE 2^3 



STATE TO LODGE 



BEF: CAS 265 - TAB E 

State 316, 320 & 329 TAB B 



It is now clear that whether military proposed martial law or whether 
Nhu tricked them into it, Nhu took advantage of its imposition to smash 
pagodas with police and Tung's Special Forces loyal to him, thus placing 
onus on military in eyes of world and Vietnamese people. Also clear that 
Nhu has maneuvered himself into commanding position. 

US Government cannot tolerate situation in "which power lies in Nhu T s 
hands. Diem must be given chance to rid himself of Nhu and his coterie and 
replace them with best military and political personalities available* 

If, in spite of all of your efforts, Diem remains obdurate and refuses, 
then we must face the possibility that Diem himself cannot be preserved. 

We now believe immediate action must be taken to prevent Nhu from 
consolidating his position further. Therefore, unless you in consultation 
with Harkins perceive overriding objections you are authorized to proceed 
along following lines: 

(1) First, we must press on appropriate levels of GVN following line: 

(a) USG cannot accept actions against Buddhists taken by Nhu and 
his collaborators under cover martial law. 

(b) Prompt dramatic actions redress situation must be taken, 
including repeal of decree 10, release of arrested monks, 
nuns , etc . 

(2) We must at same time also tell key military leaders that US would 
find it impossible to continue support GVN militarily and economically unless 
above steps are taken immediately which we recognize requires removal of Nhus 
from the scene. We wish give Diem reasonable opportunity to remove Nhus, but 
if he remains obdurate, then we are prepared to accept the obvious implication 
that we can no longer support Diem. You may also tell appropriate military 
commanders we will give them direct support in any interim period of breakdown 
central government mechanism. 

(3) We recognize the necessity of removing taint on military for pagoda 
raids and placing blame squarely on _Nhu. You are authorized to have such 
statements made in Saigon as you consider desirable to achieve this objective. 
We are prepared to take same line here and to have Voice of America make 
statement along lines contained in next numbered telegram whenever you give 
the word, preferably as soon as possible. 

Concurrently j with above, Ambassador and country team should urgently 
examine all possible alternative leadership and make detailed plans as to how 
we might bring about Diem's replacement if this should become necessary. 

■ 

Assume you will consult with General Harkins re any precautions necessary 
protect American personnel during crisis period. 

You will understand that we cannot from Washington give you detailed 
instructions as to how this operation should proceed, but you will also know 
we will back you to the hilt on actions you take to achieve our objectives. 



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Needless to say we have held knowledge of this telegram to minimum 
essential people and assume you will take similar precautions to prevent 
premature leaks. 



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STATE 272 (EEF: Saigon 375 - TAB B) 
STATE TO LODGE AND HARKINS 

1. Highest level meeting noon today reviewed your 375 and reaffirmed basic 
course. Specific decisions follow: 

2. In response to your recommendation. General Harkins is hereby authorized 
to repeat to such Generals as you indicate the messages previously transmitted 
by CAS officers. He should stress that the USG supports the movement to 
eliminate the Nhus from the government, but that before arriving at specific 
understandings with the Generals, General Harkins must know who are involved, 
resources available to them and overall plan for coup. The USG will support 
a coup which has good chance of succeeding but plans no direct involvement 
of U.S. armed forces. Harkins should state that he is prepared to establish 
liaison with the coup planners and to review plans, but will not engage 
directly in joint coup planning. 

3. Question of last approach to Diem remains undecided and separate personal 
message from Secretary to you develops our concern and asks your comment. 

k. On movement of U.S. forces, we do not expect to make any announcement or 
leak at present and believe that any later decision to publicize such movements 
should be closely connected to developing events on your side. We cannot of 
course prevent unauthorized disclosures or speculation, but we will in any 
event knock down any reports of evacuation. 

5. You are hereby authorized to announce suspension of aid through Diem 
government at a time and under conditions of your choice. In deciding upon 
the use of this authority, you should consider importance of timing and 
managing announcement so as to minimize appearance of collusion with Generals 
and also to minimize danger of unpredictable and disruptive reaction by existing 
government. We also assume that you will not in fact use this authority unless 
you think it essential, and we see it as possible that Harkins' approach and 
increasing process of cooperation may provide assurance Generals desire. Our 
own view is that it will be best to hold this authority for use in close 
conjunction with coup, and not for present encouragement of Generals, but 
decision is yours. 



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STATE 279 



STATE TO LODGE 



I J v 
(EEF: Saigon 375 - TAB B) 



29 Aug I963 



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Deeply appreciate your 375 which was a most helpful clarification. We 
fully understand enormous stakes at issue and the heavy responsibilities which 
you and Harkins will be carrying in the days ahead and we want to do everything 
possible from our end to help* 

Purpose of this message is to explore further question of possible attempt 
to separate Diem and the Nhus. In your telegram you appear to treat Diem and 
the Nhus as a single package whereas we had indicated earlier to the Generals 
that if the Nhus were removed the question of retaining Diem would be up to 
them. My own personal assessment is (and this is not an instruction) that 
the Nhus are by all odds the greater part of the problem in Vietnam, internally, 
internationally and for American public opinion. Perhaps it is inconceivable 
that the Nhus could be removed without taking Diem with them or without Diem's 
abandoning his post. In any event, I would appreciate your comment on whether 
any distinction can or should be drawn as between Diem and Counsellor and 
Madame Nhu. 

The only point on which you and General Harkins have different views is 
whether an attempt should be made with Diem to eliminate the Nhus and presumably 
take other steps to consolidate the country behind a winning effort against 
the Viet Cong. My own hunch, based in part on the report of Kattenburg ! s 
conversations with Diem is that such an approach could not succeed if it were 
cast purely in terms of persuasion. Unless such a talk included a real sanction, 
such as a threatened withdrawal of our support, it is unlikely that it would 
be taken completely seriously by a man who may feel that we are inescapably 
committed to an ant i- Communist Vietnam. But if a sanction were used in such 
a conversation, there would be a high risk that this would be taken by Diem 
as a sign that action against him and the Nhus was imminent and he might as 
a minimum move against the Generals or even take some quite fantastic action 
such as calling on North Vietnam for assistance in expelling the Americans. 

It occurs to me, therefore, that if such an approach were to be made it 
might properly await the time when others were ready to move immediately to 
constitute a new government. If this be so, the question then arises as to 
whether an approach to insist upon the expulsion of the Nhus should come from 
Americans rather than from the Generals themselves. This might be the means 
by which the Generals could indicate that they were prepared to dist: iguish 
between Diem and the Nhus. In any event, were the Generals to take tnis 
action it would tend to protect succeeding Vietnam administrations from the 
charge of being wholly American puppets subjected to whatever anti-American 
sentiment is inherent in so complex a situation. 

I would be glad to have your further thoughts on these points as well as 
your views on whether further talks with Diem are contemplated to continue 
your opening discussions with him. You will have received formal instructions 
on other matters through other messages. Good luck. 



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tmiotm cHicrs of staff 

OFFICE OF THi; 3PKC1AL ASSISTANT FOX 
COUNTL.UW.i'Ji;j (NCY /KD SPECIAL. r*CXIYlTIi:S 




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MBMOliAHOXIM.FOS THE HECOJ.D 



Subject: }<{G£iin£ at fch£ State Department, 1100, 

3i /usust l$6i; dubject: Vietnam 



• 



Present: 



The Vice President 
Secretary £t»i$k 
Secretary McNamara 
Mr. Gilpatric 
Mr. Bundy 
General Taylor 
M*r. Marrow 



G^riorkl Carter 
Mr« Holm 3 
Mr, Colby 
-Ambassador HoUin.j 
Mr. Hilomar* 
Mr. KaUcnhur^ 
General ECrul&k 



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1. Secretary Husk stated that, in his judgement, \to were back 
to whore we? were about ^'edn&sdMy of luttt \v«ck| and this c;*uccu him 
to go back to the original problem and ask what in th© situation t«td %is 
to think well of a coup. Ruling out h&tred ci" the Nhus, he c&id # thgr* 
would appear to be three things: 

ct. The things thSsx the Nhus hr.cl done or supported f which 
tended to upset the GYM intarnslly, 

. b. The things th^t thoy had dono which h:id an sdverco ex* 

- 

ternsi effect. 

C The grotit pros auraa of U # S^ public opinion. 

* 

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2. Mr. t<u3k thvn siikod if we shoal d not pick vp / r/ibr;€?sador 

, Lodge* g suggestion In hie mess^e of today (Saigon 391) r.nd ccter- 
cnine what uhepM are required to r«-gtrd solidarity in Sot^lh Vic^tc^cn 
- £uch aw linprov^Dient In condition a concerning otudento aad liud- 
dhitit* and ihc possible departure ^f Madame Nhu. Vu? cr.id that wo 
should determine whtit additional tne?iRuros are needed to improve 



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the international situation - such as problems affecting Cambodia - 
and to improve the Vietnamese position wherein U.S. public opinion 
is concerned. He then said that he is reluctant to start off by saying 
now that Khu has to go; that it is unrealistic. 

• 

3* Mr. McNamara stated that he favored the above proposals of 
, the Secretary of State, with one additional step - that is to establish 
quickly and firmly our line of communication between Lodge, Harkins 
and the GVU. He pointed out that at the moment our channels of 
communication are essentially broken and that they should be reinsti- 
tuted at all costs . 

k. Mr. Rusk added that we must do our best not to permit Diem 
to decapitate his military command in light of its obviously adverse 
effect on the prosecution of the war. At this point he asked if anyone 
present had any doubt in his mind but that the coup was off. 

5. Mr. Kattehburg said that he had some remaining doubt; that 
we have not yet sent the generals a strong enough message; that the 
BOA statement regarding the withdrawal of aid was most important, 

but that we repudiated it too soon. He stated further that the group 
should take note of the fact that General Harkins did not carry out 
his instructions with respect to communication with the generals. 
Mr. Rusk interrupted Kattenburg to state that, to the contrary, he 
believed Harkins' conduct was exactly correct in light of the initial 
response which he received from General Kheim (they were refer- 
ring to Harkins 1 report in MACV 1583). 

6. Mr. Hilsman commented that, in his view, the generals are 
not now going to move unless they are pressed by a revolt from 
below. In this connection Ambassador Wolting warned that in the 
uncoordinated Vietnamese structure anything can happen, and that 
while an organized successful coup is out, there might be small 
flurries by irresponsible dissidents at any time. 

?• Mr. Hilsman undertook to present four basic factors which 
bear directly on the problem confronting the U.S. now. They are, 
in his view: 

a. The mood of the people, particularly the middle level 
officers, non-commissioned officers and middle level bureaucrats, 
who are most restive. Mr. McNamara interrupted to 



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state that he had seen no evidence of this and General Taylor 
commented that he had seen none either , but would like to see 
such evidence as Hilsman could produce, Mr, Kattehburg 
commented that the middle level officers and bureaucrats are 
uniformly critical of the government , to which Mr. McNaraara 
commented that if this is indeed the fact we should know about 
it, 

b. The second basic factor, as outlined by Hilsman, was 
what effect will be felt on our programs elsewhere in Asia if 
we acquiesce to a strong Nhu- dominated government. In this 
connection, he reported that there is a Korean study now under- 
way on just how much repression the United States will tolerate 
before pulling out her aid. Mr. McNamara stated that he had 
not seen this study and would be anxious to have it. 

c« The third basic factor is Mr. Nhu, his personality and 
his policy. Hilsman recalled that Nhu has once already launched 
an effort aimed at withdrawal of our province advisors and 
stated that he is sure he is in conversation with the French, 
He gave, as supporting evidence, the content of an intercepted 
message, which Mr. Bundy asked to see. Ambassador Nolting 
expressed the opinion that Nhu will not make a deal with Ho Chi 
Minh on Ho r s terms . 

d. The fourth point is the matter of U«S. and world opinion, 
Hilsman stated that this problem was moving to a political and 
diplomatic plane. Part of the problem, he said, is the press, 
which concludes incorrectly that we have the ability to change 
the things in Vietnam of which they are critical. To this 
Mr. Murrow added that this problem of press condemnation 

is now worldwide. ! 

i 

8. Mr. Kattenburg stated that as recently as last Thursday it I 
was the belief of Ambassador Lodge that, if we undertake to live 
with this repressive regime, with its bayonets at every street corner: 
and its transparent negotiations with puppet bonzes, we are going to 
be thrown out of the country in six months. He stated that at this 
juncture it would be better for us to make the decision to get out 
honorably. He went on to say that, having been acquainted with Diem 
for ten years, he was deeply disappointed in him, saying that he will 
not separate from his brother. It was Kattenburg f s view that Diem 
will get very little support from the military and, as time goes on, 
he will get less and less support and the country will go steadily down 
hill. 



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9. General Taylor asked what Kattenburg meant when he said that 
we would be forced out of Vietnam within six months. Kattenburg re- 
plied that in from six months to a year, as the people see we are losing 
the war, they will gradually go to the other side and we will be obliged 
to leave. Ambassador Nolting expressed general disagreement with 

Mr. Kattenburg* He said that the unfavorable activity which motivated 
Kattenburg r s remarks was confined to the city and, while city support 
of Diem is doubtless less now, it is not greatly so. He said that it is 
improper to overlook the fact that we have done a tremendous job 
toward winning the Vietnam war, working with this same imperfect, 
annoying government. 

10. Mr. Kattenburg added that there is one new factor - the popula- 
tion, which was in high hopes of expelling the Nhus after the VOA 
announcement regarding cessation of aid; now, under the heel of Nhu's 
military repression, they would quickly lose heart. 

11. Secretary Rusk commented that Kattenburg 1 s recital was largely 
speculative; that it would be far better for us to start on the firm basis 
of two things - that we will not pull out of Vietnam until the war is won, 
and that we will not run a coup. Mr. McHamara expressed agreement 

with this view. 

12; Mr. Rusk then said that we should present questions to Lodge 
which fall within these parameters. He added that he believes we have 
good proof that we have been winning the war, particularly the contrast 
between the first six months of 1962 and the first six months of 1963. 
He then asked the Vice President if he had any contribution to make. 

13. The Vice President stated that he agreed with Secretary Rusk's 
conclusions completely; that he had great reservations himself with 
respect to a coup, particularly so because he had never really seen a* 
genuine alternative to Diem. He stated that from both a practical and 
a political viewpoint, it would be a disaster to pull out; that we should 
stop playing cops and robbers and get back to talking straight to the 
GVN, and that we should once again go about winning the war. He I 
stated that after our communications with them are genuinely reestab 
lished, it may be necessary for someone to talk rough to them - 
perhaps General Taylor. He said further that he had been greatly • 
impressed with Ambassador Nolting's views and agreed with Mr. 
McNamara's conclusions. 



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14. General Taylor raised the question of whether we should 
change the disposition of the forces which had been set in motion as 
a result of the crisis. It was agreed that there should be no change 
in the existing disposition for the time being. 



V. H. KRULAK 

Major General, USMC 



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CAP 63516 (EEF: Saigon 523 - TAB B) 



• 



• MUTE HOUSE TO LODGE 17 September 1963 

n 

1. Highest level meeting today has approved broad outline of an action proposals 
program designed to obtain from GVN, if possible , reforms and changes in 
personnel necessary to maintain support of Vietnamese and US opinion in war 

1 against Viet Cong. This cable reports this program and our thinking for 
I your comment before a final decision. Your comment requested soonest, 

2. We see no good opportunity for action to remove present government in 
immediate future; therefore fl as your most recent messages suggest, we must 



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for the present apply such pressures as are available to secure whatever 
modest improvements on the scene may be possible. We think it likely that 
such improvements can make a difference, at least in the short run. Such a 
course* moreover, is consistent with more drastic effort as and when means 
become available, and we will be in touch on other channels on this problem. 

3* We share view in your 5^3 that best available reinforcement to your 
bargaining position in this interim period is clear evidence that all U.S. 
assistance is granted only on your say-so. Separate telegram discusses 
details of this problem, but in this message we specifically authorize you 
to apply any controls you think helpful for this purpose. You are authorized 
to delay any delivery of supplies or transfer of funds by any agency until 
you are satisfied that delivery is in U.S. interest, bearing in mind that it 
is not our current policy to cut off aid, entirely. In other words, we share 
your view that it will be helpful for GVN to understand that your personal 
approval is a necessary part of ail U.S. assistance. We think it may be 
particularly desirable for you to use this authority in limiting or rerouting 
any and all forms of assistance and support which now go to or through Whu 
or individuals like Tung who are associated with him. This authorization 
specifically includes aid actions currently held in abeyance and you are 
authorized to set those in train or hold them up further in your discretion. 
We leave entirely in your hands decisions on the degree of privacy or publicity 
you wish to give to this process. 

k. Subject to your comment and amendment our own list of possible helpful 
action by government runs as follows in approximate order of importance: 

A. Clear the air — Diem should get everyone back to work and get them 

to focus on winning the war. He should be broadminded and compassionate 
in his attitude toward those who have, for understandable reasons , 
found it difficult under recent circumstances fully to support him. 
A real spirit of reconciliation could work wonders on the people he 
leads; a punitive, harsh or autocratic attitude could only lead to 
further resistance. 

B. Buddhists and students — Let them out and leave them unmolested. 
This more than anything else would demonstrate the return of a better 
day and the refocusing on the main job at hand, the war. 

C. Press; The press should be allowed full latitude of expression. 
Diem will be criticized, but leniency and cooperation with the 

i domestic and foreign press at this time would bring praise for his 

leadership in due course- While tendentious reporting is irritating, 
suppression of news leads to much more serious trouble. 

D. Secret and combat police — Confine its role to operations against the 
VC and abandon operations against non-Communist opposition groups 
thereby indicating clearly that a period of reconciliation and political 
stability has returned. 

E. Cabinet changes to inject new untainted blood, remove targets of popular 
discontent. 

F. Elections — These should be held, should be free, and should be widely 
observed. 

G. Assembly — Assembly should be convoked soon after the elections. The 
government should submit its policies to it and should receive its 
confidence. An assembly resolution would be most useful for external 
image purposes. 

H. Party — Can Lao party should not be covert or semi- covert but a broad 
association of supporters engaged in a common, winning cause. 



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This could perhaps be best accomplished by disbanding the party and 

starting afresh. 

Repeal or suitable amendment Decree 10. 

Rehabilitation by ARVN of pagodas. 

Establishment of Ministry of Religious Affairs. 

Liberation of passport issuances and currency restrictions enabling 

all to leave who wish to. 

Acceptance of Buddhist Inquiry Mission from World Federation to report 

true facts of situation to world. 
You may wish to add or subtract from the above list, but need to set 
, psychological tone and image is paramount. Diem has taken positive actions 
in past of greater or less scope than those listed, but they have had little 
practical political effect since they were carried out in such a way as to 
make them hollow or, even if real, unbelievable (e.g., martial law already 
nominally lifted, Assembly elections scheduled, and puppet bonzes established). 

6. Specific "re forms" are apt to have little impact without dramatic, symbolic 
move which convinces Vietnamese that reforms are real. As practical matter we 
share your view that this can best be achieved by some visible reduction in 
influence of Nhus, who are symbol to disaffected of all that they dislike in 
GVN. This we think would require Nhus departure from Saigon and preferably 
Vietnam at least for extended vacation. We recognize the strong possibility 
that these and other pressures may not produce this result, but we are convinced 
that it is necessary to try. 

7» In Washington, in this phase, we would plan to maintain a posture of 
disapproval of recent GTO actions, but we would not expect to make public 
our specific requests of Diem. Your comment on public aspects of this phase 
is particularly needed, 

8.. We note your reluctance to continue dialogue with Diem until you have more 
to say, but we continue to believe that discussions with him are at a minimum 
an important source of intelligence and may conceivably be a means of exerting 
some persuasive effect even in his present state of mind. If you believe that 
full control of U.S. assistance provides you with means of resuming dialogue, 
we hope you will do so. We ourselves can see much virtue in effort to reason 
even with an unreasonable man when he is on a collision course. We repeat, 
however, that this is a matter for your judgment. 

9. Meanwhile, there is increasing concern here with strictly military aspects 
of the problem, both in terms of actual progress of operations and of need to 
make effective case with Congress for continued prosecution of the effort. To 
meet these needs, President has decided to send Secretary of Defense and 
General Taylor to Vietnam, arriving early next week. It will be emphasized 
here that it is a military mission and that all political decisions are being 
handled through you as President's Senior Representative. 

10. We repeat that political program outlined above awaits your continent before 
final decision. President particularly emphasizes that it is fully open to 
your criticism and amendment. It is obviously an interim plan and further 
decisions may become necessary very soon. 



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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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STATE U31 



18 September I963 



FROM THE PRESIDENT TO LODGE 



I appreciate your prompt comment and I quite understand the problem you 
see in visit of McNamara and Taylor. At the same time my need for this visit 
is very great indeed, and I believe we can work out an arrangement which takes 
care of your basic concerns. Will you let me have your comment on the following 
as soon as possible: 

1. We can make it clear here, and McNamara and Taylor can make it clear in 
Saigon to the GVN, that this visit is not designed to bring comfort to Diem. 

My own thought is "that in any visit McNamara makes to Diem he will want to speak 
some home truths on the military consequences of the current difficulties , and 
also to make it clear that the United States Government is not open to oriental 
divisive tactics. 

2. We can readily set up this visit as one which you and I have decided on 
together, or even one which is sent in response to your own concern about 
winning the war in the current situation. For example , we could announce 

that the purpose of the mission is to consider with you the practical ways 
and means of carrying out my announced policy that we will support activities 
which will further the war effort in South Vietnam and avoid supporting activities 
which do not. The whole cast of the visit will be that of military consultation 
with you on the execution of the policy which you and I have determined. 

3. As our last message said, my own central concern in sending this mission 
is to make sure that my senior military advisors are equipped with a solid on- 
the-spot understanding of the situation, as a basis both for their participation 
in our councils here, and for the Administrations accounting to the Congress 

on this critically important contest with the Communists. Having grown up in 
an Ambassador's house, I am well trained in the importance of protecting the 
effectiveness of the man on-the-spot, and I want to handle this particular 
visit in a way which contributes to and does not detract from your own 
responsibilities. But in the tough weeks which I see ahead, I just do not see 
any substitute for the ammunition I will- get from an on-the-spot and authoritative 
military appraisal. 

k m I do not think I can delay announcement of the McNamara mission beyond 
Saturday, and I will be grateful for a further prompt comment on this message 
so that we can be firmly together on the best possible handling of the announce- 
ment and of the mission itself. 



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(Ref White House Msg CAP 63516 
atchd at Wash Guidance TAB) 

FROM LODGE TO STATl FOH PRESIDENT 0'!LY 



1 qsfp 1963 



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1. Agre«2 that no good opportunity for' action to remove present 
government in irurediate future is apparent and that we should, therefore, 



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do whatever we can aj an interim measure pending, such an eventuality. 



2 






, Virtually all the topics under paragraph 4, letters A to M t have T " * •" 
ken up with Diem and' Nhu at one time or another, most of them by me *\V^ 
lly. They think that most of them would either involve destroying 



been-ta 

persona 

the political structure on which they rest or loss of face or both. We, 

therefore, could not realistically hope for more than lip service, Frankly, 

I see no opportunity at all for substantive changes. Detailed comments on 

items A to M are contained in separate telegram* 

3, There are signs that Diem-Hhu are somewhat bothered by my silence. 
According to one well placed source, they are guessing and off-balance and 
''desperately anxious" to know what U*5, posture is to be* They may be pre- 
paring seme kind of a public relations package, possibly to be opened after 
the elections. I believe that for me to press Diem onthings which are not 
in the cards and to repeat what we have said several times already would be 
a little shrill and would make us look weak, particularly in view of my talk 
with Mhu last night at a dinner where I had a golden opportunity to make the 
main points of your CAP 63bl6 as reported in 541 t 

4, Also, I doubt that a public relations package will meet needs of 
situation which seems particularly grave to me, notably in the light of 
General Dig Minh's opinion expressed very privately yesterday that the Viet 
Cong are steadily gaining in strength; have more of the population on their 
side than has the GVU; that arrests are continuing and that the prisons are 
full; that more and more students are going over to the Viet Cong; that there 
is great graft and corruption in the Vietnamese administration of our aid; 
and that the "Heart of the Amy is not in the war". All this by Vietnamese 
Wo, 1 General is now echoed by Secretary of Defense Thuan (See my 542), who 
wants to leave the country. 

5, As regards your paragraph 3 on withholding of aid, I still hope 
that I may be in formed of methods, as requested in my 478, September 11, 
which will enable vis to apply sanctions in a way which will really affect 
Diem and IJhu without precipitating an economic collapse and without impeding 
the war effort, VJe are studying this here and have not yet found a solution, 
If a way to do this were to be found, it would be one of the greatest dis- 
coveries since the enactment of the Marshall Plan in 1947 because, so far as 
I know, the C T ,S. hod never yet been able to control any of the very unsatis- 
factory governments through which we have had to work in our many very success- 
ful attempts to make these countries strong enough to stand alone, 

6, I also believe that whatever sanctions we may discover should be 
directly tied to a promising coup d'etat and should not be applied without 
such a coup being in prospect, In this connection, I believe that we should 
pursue contact with Big Hinh and ur^e him along if he looks like acting, 

I particularly think thdt the idea of supporting a Vietnamese Army independent 
of the government should be energetically studied. 






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Ik-classified per Executive Order 13526. Section 3,3 
NND Project Number: NND 63316. By: NWD Date: 201 1 



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7, I will, of c cur- jo, give instructions that programs which one can 
be effectively held up should be held up and not released without ny approval 
provided that this can be done without serious harmful effect to the people 
and to the war effort. Technical assistance and (omission) support to 
communications support programs nay be one way* This would be a fly-speck 
in the present situation rind would have no immediate effect, but I hope that 
U.S. (omission) may get Vietnamese officials into the habit of asking me to 
release items which are held up and that, over a long period of time, it 
might create opportunities for us to get little things done, 

" 8, But it is not even within the realm of possibility that such a 
technique could lead then to do anything which causes loss of face or 
weakening of their political organization. In fact, to threaten them with 
suppression of aid might well defeat our purposes and might make a bad situation 
very much wcrse. 

9. There should in any event be no publicity whatever about this pro- 
cedure, If it is possible (omission) a prcsjram, I intend to (omission). 

10. As regards your paragraph 6 and "dramatic symbolic moves", I 
really do not think they could understand this even if Thao wanted to f al- 
though I have talked about it to Diem f and to Nhu last night (See my 541), 
They have scant comprehension of what it is to appeal to public opinion 

as they have really no Interest in any other opinion than their own. I have 
repeatedly brought up the question of Nhu's" departure and have stressed that 
if he would just stay away until after Christmas! it mi^ht help get the 
Appropriation Bill through. This seems like a small thing to us but to 
them it seems tremendous as they are quite sure that the Army would take 
over if he even stepped out of the country i 

11. Your paragraph 8, ' I have, of course, no objection to seeing 
Diem at any time that it would be helpful. But I would rather let him sweat 
for awhile and not go to see him unless I have something really new to bring 
up, I would much prefer to wait until I find some part of the AID program to 
hold up in which he is interested and then have him ask me to come and see 
him. For example, last night's dinner which I suspect Nhu of stimulating is 
infinitely better than for me to take the Initiative for an appointment 

and to call at the office. Perhaps ny silence had something to do with it, 



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THE WHITE HOUSE 

WASHINGTON' 

■ * September 21, 



1963 



'MEMORANDUM FOR THE SECRETARY OF DEFENSE 



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It may be useful to put on paper our under standing of the 
purpose of your visit to South Vietnam, I am asking you to 
go. because of my desire to have the best -oossible en -the- 
spot appraisal of the military and paramilitary effort to 
defeat the Vie.t Cong. The program developed alter 
General Taylor's mission and carried forward under 
your close supervision has brought heartening re suit s a 
at least until recently. The events in South Vietnam 
since May have now raised serious questions both about 
the present r>ro streets for success against the Viet Cone; 
jLnd still jnore about the future effectiveness of this si£QX% 

todies S thsre can be iAvpo^ilaht 'policial improvement in 
the country. It is in this context £ha* I now need your 
atroraisal of the situation. If the oro^nosis in your 
judgment is not hopeful, I would like your views on what 
action must be taken by the South Vietnamese Government 
and what stet>s our Government should take to lead the 
Vietnamese* to that action. 

Ambassador Lod^e has joined heartily in sua^wrting this 
mission and I will rely on you both for the closest exchange 
* of views. It is obvious that the overall political situation 



J 43 



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an«i me military ana paramilitary enor: are ciosery inter- 
connected in all sorts cf ways, and in executing your 
responsibility £03? appraisal of the military and paramilitary 
problem I expect" that you will consult fully with Ambassador 
Lod^e en related political and social Questions* I will also 
expect you to examine with Ambassador Lodge ways and 
means of fashioning all forms of our assistance to South 
Vietnam so that it will support our foreign policy objectives 
more precisely. * 

I am providing you separately with a letter from me to 
President Diem which Ambassador Lodge and you should 
discuss and which the Ambassador should deliver on the 
occasion of a call on President Diem if after discussion and 
reference to me I conclude that such a letter is desi'rabie. 



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THE WMITlv IlOUSii 



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In my judgment the question of the progress of the contest 
in South Vietnam is of the first importance and in executing 
1 this mission you should take as much time as is necessary 
for a thorough examination both in Saigon and in the field. 



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John F. Kennedy 



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STATE fcjS, 22 September I963 



2Y23 OKLY FC3 AM;I\G3AD0R D3D02 *7£M BALL 



Understand dec ire for caudancc expressed your 577- Pending further 

ituation by President ;:hich ir5.ll follor your consultation 



reviev oi s 



vlth KcSemara and TayJLor vc vioh to 31 vc you following interim guidance: 



1. The United States intends to continue its efforts to assist the 



Vietnamese people in their struggle against the Viet Cone* 






2. Recent events have put in question the possibility of success in 
these efforts unless there en be important improvements in the 
government of South Vietnam. 



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3- It is the policy of the United States to bring about such improve- 
ments - Further specific Guidance on your meeting frith Diem being dcvclped 
here and will be subject further consultation with you. In any event 
the President believes object of this meeting should be to increase your 
authority and leverage with Diem goverjiment. In meantime CAP 63516 
still represents Washington's current thinking on specifics- A possible 
Presidential letter to Diem is in preparation and will be forwarded 
for your comments before a decision on delivery. 



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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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THE SECRETARY OF DEFENSE 
WASHINGTON 

2 October I963 



MEMORANDUM FOR THE PRESIDENT 

Subject: Report of McNamara-Taylor Mission to South Vietnam 

Your memorandum of 21 September 19&3 directed that General Taylor 
and Secretary McNamara proceed to South Vietnam to appraise the military 
and para-military effort to defeat the Viet Cong and to consider , in 
consultation with Ambassador Lodge, related political and social questions. 
You further directed that, if the prognosis in our judgment was not hope- 
ful , we should present our views of what action must be taken by the 
South Vietnam Government and what steps our Government should take to 
lead the Vietnamese to that action, , 

Accompanied by representatives of the State Department, CIA, and 
your Staff, we have conducted an intensive program of visits to key 
operational areas, supplemented by discussions with U.S. officials in 
all major U.S. Agencies as well as officials of the GVN and third 
countries. 

We have also discussed our findings in detail with Ambassador Lodge, 
and with General Harkins and Admiral Felt. 



The following report is concurred in by the Staff Members of the 
mission as individuals, subject to the exceptions noted. 

I. CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS 

A. Conclusions. 

1. The military campaign has made great progress and continues to 
progress. 

2. There are serious political tensions in Saigon(and perhaps 
elsewhere in South Vietnam) where the Diem-Nhu government is becoming 
increasingly unpopular. 

3» There is no solid evidence of the possibility of a successful 
coup, although assassination of Diem or Nhu is always a possibility. 

U. Although some, and perhaps an increasing number, of GVN military 
officers are becoming hostile to the government, they are more hostile 
to the Viet Cong than to the government and at least for the near future 
they will continue to perform their military duties. 

5. Further repressive actions by Diem and Nhu could change the 
present favorable military trends. On the other hand, a return to more 
moderate methods of control and administration, unlikely though it may 
be, would substantially mitigate the political crisis. 



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6- It is 'not clear that pressures exerted by the U.S. will move 
Diem and Nhu toward moderation. Indeed, pressures may increase their 
obduracy. But unless such pressures are exerted, they are almost 
certain to continue past patterns of behavior. 

B. Recommendations . 

We recommend that: 

1. General Harkins review with Diem the military changes necessary 
to complete the military campaign in the Northern and Central areas 
(I, II, and III Corps) by the end of 195^ and in the Delta (IV Corps) 
by the end of 1965 . This review would consider the need for such 
changes as; 

a. A further shift of military emphasis and strength to the 
Delta (IV Corps). 

b. An increase in the military tempo in all corps areas, so 
that all combat troops are in the Field an average of 20 days out 
of 3Q an -d static missions are ended. 

c. Emphasis on "clear and hold operations" instead of terrain 
sweeps which have little permanent value* 

d* The expansion of personnel in combat units to full authorized 
strength . 

e. The training and arming of hamlet militia at an accelerated 
rate, especially in the Delta. 

f . A consolidation of the strategic hamlet program, especially 
in the Delta, and action to insure that future strategic hamlets 
are not built until they can be protected, and until civic action 
programs can be introduced. 

2. A program be established to train Vietnamese so that Essential 
functions now performed by U.S. military personnel can be carried out by 
Vietnamese by the end of 1965- It should be possible to withdraw the 
bulk of U.S. personnel by that time. 

3- In accordance with the program to train progressively Vietnamese 
to take over military functions, the Defense Department should announce 
in the very near future presently prepared plans to withdraw 1000 U.S. 
military personnel by the end of 1Q63- This action should be explained 
in low key as an initial step in a long-term program to replace U.S. 
personnel with trained Vietnamese without impairment of the war effort 

h. The following actions be taken to impress upon Diem our disapproval 
of his political program. 

a. Continue to withhold commitment of funds in the commoc .cy 
import program, but avoid a formal announcement. The potential 
significance of the withholding of commitments for the 1964 military 
budget should be brought home to the top military officers in 
working level contacts between US0M and MACV and the Joint General 
Staff j up to now we have stated $95 million may *be used by the 
Vietnamese as a planning level for the commodity import program 
for 1964. Henceforth we could make clear that this is uncertain 
both because of lack of final appropriation action by the Congress 

and because of executive policy. 

I 

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b. Suspend approval of the pending AID loans for the Saigon- 
Cholon Waterworks and Saigon Electric Power Project. We should 
state clearly that we are doing so as a matter of policy. 

c. Advise Diem that MAP and CIA support for designated units, 
now under Colonel Tung's control (mostly held in or near the Saigon 
area for political reasons) will be cut off unless these units are 
promptly assigned to the full authority of the Joint General Staff 
and transferred to the field, 

d- Maintain the present purely "correct" relations with the 
top GVN, and specifically between the Ambassador and Diem. Contact 
between General Harkins and Diem and Defense Secretary Thuan on 
military matters should not, however, be suspended, as this remains 
an important channel of advice. USOM and USIA should also seek to 
maintain contacts where these are needed to push forward programs 
in support of the effort in the field, while taking care not to 
cut across the basic picture of U.S* disapproval and uncertainty of 
U.S. aid intentions. We should work with the Diem government but 
not support it.* 

As we pursue these courses of action, the situation must be closely watched 
to see what steps Diem is taking to reduce repressive practices and to 
improve the effectiveness of the military effort. We should set no fixed 
criteria, but recognize that we would have to decide in 2 - k months 
whether to move to more drastic action or try to carry on with Diem even 
if he had not taken significant steps. 

5. At this time, no initiative should be taken to encourage actively a 
change in government. Our policy should be to seek urgently to identify 

and build contacts with an alternative leadership if and when it appears. 

6. The following statement be approved as current U.S. policy toward 
South Vietnam and constitute the substance of the government position to 

be presented both in Congressional testimony and in public statements. 

a. The security of South Vietnam remains vital to United States 
security. For this reason, we adhere to the overriding objective 

of denying this country to Communism and of suppressing the Viet 
Cong insurgency as promptly as possible. (By suppressing the 
insurgency we mean reducing it to proportions manageable by the 
national security forces of the GVN, unassisted by the presence 
of U.S. military forces.) We believe the U.S. part of the task ! 
can be completed by the end of 1965* ^ he terminal date which we 
are taking as the time objective of our counterinsurgency programs, 

b. The military program in Vietnam has made progress and is 
sound in principle. 

c. The political situation in Vietnam remains deeply seri .-us. 
It has not yet significantly affected the military effort, but could 
do so at some time in the future. If the result is a GVN ineffective 
in the conduct of the war, the U.S. will review its attitude toward 

1 



*Mr. Colby believes that the official 'correct" relationship should be 
supplemented by selected and restricted unofficial and personal relation- 
ships with individuals in the GVN, approved by the Ambassador, where 
persuasion could be fruitful without derogation of the official U.S, 
posture . 

556 



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support for the government. Although we are deeply concerned by 
repressive practices, effective performance in the conduct of the 
war should be the determining factor in our relations with the GVN. 

d. The U.S. has expressed its disapproval of certain actions of 
the Diem-Nhu regime and will do so again if required. Our policy is 
to seek to bring about the abandonment of repression because of its 
effect on the popular will to resist. Our means consist of expres- 
sions of disapproval and the withholding of support from GVN activities 
that are not clearly contributing to the war effort. We will use 
these means as required to assure an effective military program. 



II. MILITARY SITUATION AND TRENDS 

A. The Standards of Measure. 

m 

The test of the military situation is whether the GVN is succeeding 
in widening its area of effective control of the population and the country- 
side. This is difficult to measure, and cannot be stated simply in terms 
of the number of stragetic hamlets built or the number of roads that can 
now be travelled without escort. Nor can the overall situation be gauged 
solely In terms of the extent of GVN offensive action, relative weapon 
losses and defections, VC strength figures, or other measures of military 
performance. All of these factors are important and must be taken into 
account; however, a great deal of judgment is required in their inter- 
pretation. 

We have looked at these factors carefully, but we have also given 
great weight to the evidence of the men on the spot — the U.S. military 
advisors and the USOM field representatives — as to whether government 
control is in fact extending and becoming more accepted and solid in the 
various areas. We have been greatly impressed with the variation of the 
situation from area to area and from province to province; there is a 
different war in each area and province, and an example can be found 
somewhere to support any attitude toward the state of the counterinsurgency 
campaign. Our task has "been to observe the situation as broadly as possible 
to avoid giving exaggerated importance to any single angle of observation. 

B. Overall Progress. 

With allowance for all uncertainties, it is our firm conclusion that 
the GVN military program has made great progress In the last year and a 
half, and that this progress has continued at a fairly steady rate in the 
past six months even through the period of greatest political unrest in 
Saigon. The tactics and techniques employed by the Vietnamese under U.S. 
monitor ship are sound and give promise of ultimate victory. 

Specifically, progress is most clear in the northern areas (l and II 
Corps); especially noteworthy work has been done in key coastal provinces 
where VC strength once threatened to cut the country in half but has now 
been substantially reduced. In the central area and the highlands (ill 
Corps), progress has been steady though slower, and the situation remains 
difficult in the provinces to the west and north of Saigon itself. 



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Throughout the northern two-thirds of the country the strategic hamlet 
program has matured effectively and freedom of rural movement has grown 
steadily. 

The Delta remains the toughest area of all, and now requires top 
priority in both GVN and U.S. efforts* Approximately hO'fo of the people 
live there; the area is rich and has traditionally resisted central 
authority ; it is the center of Viet Cong strength — over one- third of 
the "hard core" are found there; and the maritime nature of the terrain 
renders it much the most difficult region to pacify. 

A first step has just been taken by the move of a third division to 
the Delta, but further major actions are needed. They include priority 
decisions by the GVN in the use of its resources, the consolidation 
rather than further spread of strategic hamlets in many areas, the 
elimination of many fixed outposts, better hamlet defenses and more trained 
hamlet militia. Regular army units should be reserved for use in mobile 
actions and for clear and hold operations in support of the strategic 
hamlet program. Though there are unresolved problems in several key 
provinces close to Saigon, as well as in the southernmost parts where the 
VC are strongly established, it is clear that the Delta situation has 
generally improved over the past year, even* with the limited resources 
allocated to it. Despite recent evidences of greater VC effort and better 
weapons, the Delta campaign can continue to go forward if the essential 
priority is assigned to Delta requirements, < 

C. Military Indicators. 

From a more strictly military standpoint, it should be noted that 
this overall progress is being achieved against a Viet Cong effort that 
has not yet been seriously reduced in the aggregate, and that is putting 
up a formidable fight notably in the Delta and key provinces near Saigon. 
The military indicators are mixed, reflecting greater and more effective 
GVN effort but also the continued toughness of the fight. 



558 



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O . 



si iivjr 



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



7^4 



.4 






■■'IHDHCAT.OBS " " * ' U 



No. of government 
Initiated: 



June July August 



September Mo. Ave. 
(estimated) Year ago 



Small operations 
Large operations 
Viet Cong Killed 



GVN Killed 



GVN Weapons Lost 

VC Weapons Captured 

Viet Cong Military 
Defectors 



851 


781 


733 


906 


1+90 


125 


163 


166 


l4l 


71 


1896 


1918 


1685 


2034 


2000 


413 


521 


410 


525 


431 


590 


780 


720 


802 


390 


390 


375 


430 


1+00 


450 



420 



Viet Cong Initiated 

Incidents of all Typesl310 



Viet Cong Attacks 

Estimated Viet Cong 
Strength 

Hard Core 

Irregular 



410 



310 

1380 

Uio 



220 



1375 
385 



519 

1675 

467 



21000 21000 21000 



85OOO 82000 76000 



21000 



70000 



90 

1660 
410 



22000 



98000 



I 



Recent days have been characterized by reports of greater Viet Cong 
activity, countrywide, coupled with evidence of improved weaponry in their 
hands. Some U.S. advisors, as well as some Vietnamese, view this increased 
activity as a logical reaction to the steadily growing strategic hamlet - ' 
program, which they believe is progressively separating the Viet Cong from 
the rural population and from their sources of food and reinforcements. 
Others view it as a delayed effort to capitalize upon the political trouble 
All agree that it reflects a continuing capability for offensive actio". 



D. The Strategic Hamlet Program. 



I 



In this generally favorable military picture ? two main factors h~ve 
been the strategic hamlet program and the effectiveness of the U.S. 
advisory and support effort. 

We found unanimous agreement that the strategic hamlet program is 
sound in concept, and generally effective in execution although it has 
been overextended in some areas of the Delta. The. teamwork of U.S. military 
men and civilians is generally excellent , and on the GVN side a number of 
the province chiefs who handled the program poorly in its initial phases 
have been replaced by men who appear t9 have a better grasp of the central 



559 






1 * *; 



f 



<U 



• 1 



' i 



c 



^4« . M , 



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... 



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



l& 



TV 



*:* 



: a 



1 



• 



■ • - , 



purpose of the program — to bring people under clear GVN control, in a 
way that really solidifies their support of their government and opposition 
to the VC. The economic and civic action element of the program (schools 
medicine, fertilizer, etc.) has been carried forward on the U.S. side with 
considerable effectiveness, but has necessarily lagged behind the physical 
completion of hamlets and in insecure areas has made little progress. 
Without this element, coupled with effective hamlet defense measures, what 
are called "strategic hamlets" may be only nominally under GVN control. 
We were particularly struck by some evidence that a hamlet's readiness 
to defend itself often bears a direct relation to whether the Province 
Chief, with U.S. help, has managed to make a convincing start in civic 
action, 

E. The U.S. Military Advisory and Support Effort. 

We may all be proud of the effectiveness of the U.S. military advisory 
and support effort • With few exceptions, U.S. advisors report excellent 
relations with their Vietnamese counterparts, whom they characterize as 
proud and willing soldiers. The stiffening and exemplary effect of U.S. 
behavior and attitudes has had an impact which is not confined to the war 
effort, but which extends deeply into the whole Vietnamese way of doing 
things . 

The U.S. advisory effort, however, cannot assure ultimate success. 
This is a Vietnamese war and the country and the war must, in the end, be 
run solely by the Vietnamese. It will impair their independence and the 
development of their initiative if we leave our advisors in place beyond 
the time they are really needed. In some areas reductions in the U.S. 
effort and transfer of U.S. responsibilities to the Vietnamese can now 
be carried out without material impairment of the total war effort. As 
a start, we believe that a reduction of about 1000 U.S. personnel (for 
which plans have been In preparation since the spring) can be carried out 
before the end of 1963- No further reductions should be made until the 
requirements of the 196*+ campaign become firm. 

■ 

F. Conclusion. 



Acknowledging the progress achieved to date, there still remains the 
question of when the final military victory can be attained. If, by 
victory, we mean the reduction of the insurgency to something little more 
than sporadic banditry In outlying districts, it is the view of the vast 
majority of military commanders consulted that success may be achieved 
in the I, II and III Corps area by the end of CY 196^. Victory in the 
IV Corps will take longer — at least well into 1965- These estimates 
necessarily assume that the political situation does not significantly 
impede the effort. 

III. EC0N0MCC SITUATION AND TRENDS 



The current economic situation in South Vietnam is, in the main 



i 



satisfactory. The internal price level is reasonably stable. Commercial 
inventories are high and national bank reserves of foreign exchange stand 
at approximately $160 million which equals approximately U to 12 months. 
Imports at current rate ($2^0 million imports .less $75 to $80 million 
exports). The effective rate of exchange* of the piastre to the dollar 
is within the range of reasonable economic value. 



•^ 



.< 



•- 



■ -. 



* 



3 if i 



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






fu i ur Kb rat i 

Trends are difficult to discuss but the business community was 
; optimistic before the present crises. Rice exports for the current 

calendar year are projected at approximately $80 million against $8.75 
j million last year. Total exports are anticipated at $70 million as 
against $55 million last year. Banking circles point to one bearish 
factor in the export picture. Rubber, which represents more than half 
in value of all exports, faces a situation of declining world market 
prices and some plantations may curtail operations in the next year. 



On the domestic side South Vietnam is almost self-sufficient in 
cotton testiles and is on its way to satisfying its own fertilizer and 
cement requirements by 1966. At the beginning of the current year 
banking circles noted a healthy increase in local investments in small 
enterprises which reflects, in their judgment an increase of confidence 
in the future that is unusual for recent years. The prospects for next 
year, under normal circumstances, appear reasonably good. If the Govern- 
ment encourages diversification in agriculture, exports of such products 
together with the increasing availability of rice should offset the 
decline in foreign exchange earnings from rubber. 

The projected GVN budget for CY 196^ totals B27 billion: tax revenues 
are estimated at Pll billion, leaving an internal budget deficit of Pl6 
billion. External resources (resulting from U.S. operations but requiring 
also use of foreign exchange reserves) are estimated to generate an addi- 
tional P9-5 billion, leaving a P6.5 billion estimated deficit. This 
deficit might be somewhat reduced by additional tax revenues. To meet 
the remaining deficit, borrowings from the National Bank would still be 
required with a resulting increase in the money supply. 

The money supply has been increasing rather sharply in the last nine 
months, although the inflationary effect has been dampened by the recent 
arrival of large shipments under US0M f s commodity import program. This 
has been accompanied by an increase in import licensing brought about 
principally by the GVN f s adoption at the beginning of this year of an 
open general licensing system for certain manufactured goods such as 
trucks, automobiles, fabricated steel and some industrial raw materials. 
The banks estimate that the open general licensing system will result in 
a $10 million increase in GVN-finance& imports in CY 1963. 

In short j while the general economic situation is good, the prospects 
for holding the line on inflation and the balance of payments do not appear 
bright for CY l$6k unless the GVN can be persuaded to impose severe restraints. 

Effect of the Political Crisis on the Economic Situation. 

• At the present time the current political problems have not had a 
significant effect on the internal economic situation, French banking 
sources report a slight increase in the rate of withdrawals from private 
Vietnamese bank deposits over the last two months; but this increase has 
only been on the order of 1 to 2 percent. 

Commercial inventory stocks seem to be increasing, but this can be 
explained by the recent increase in arrivals of foreign goods. In any 
case prices have remained stable with exception of a slight increase 
in the cost of cement, automobiles and certain industrial equipment. 



561 



IIS dLbkil 



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



jit 




_. SEGELI 

i The value of the piastre fias fallen 10$ on the Hong Kong market 

in the last month. Virtually no abnormal flight of capital has yet "been 
j observed In banking circles. 

The most apparent effect of the crisis of the past several weeks 
is a slowdown in investment decisions, both in industry and In the 
limited capital market. Inventors and industrialists are worried about 
a reduction in U.S. aid. They are aware of the suspension in the 
issuances of procurement authorizations and are therefore concerned 
about the availability of imported raw materials and spare parts. 

Since the Saigon business community has lived through some violent 
times before this, they have not reacted to events with as much panic 
as might have been expected. If the U.S. should long suspend import 
commitments, however, it should be apparent that the private sector of the 
economy will react in an Inflationary manner* 



rap WifF 



562 



I IP ■*■ 



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



«- 



■ 

- -- -. „ . - - . 3 U 



^^i 103 f j y i 



IV. POLITICAL SITUATION AND TRENDS 

Although our observations of the political situation were 
necessarily less extensive than of the military picture, they were 
ample to confirm that tiie existing situation is one of high tension. 
We reviewed the situation carefully with the relevant U.S. officials 
and were also impressed by frank Interviews with GVN officials and 
with third country representatives. 

In essence , discontent with the Diem/Nhu regime, which had been 
widespread just below tfre surface during recent years, has now become 
a seething problem. The Buddhist and student crises have precipitated 
these discontents and given them specific issues. But the problem 
goes deeply into the personalties, objectives, and methods of operation 
of Diem and Nhu over a long period. 

The evidence appears overwhelming that Diem and Nhu operate in 
close collaboration, and that each needs the other. They undoubtedly 
regard themselves as carrying out a social and political revolution 
for the good of their country, using all means — including the stra- 
tegic hamlet program — to build up a secure base of political strength 
In the rural areas. 

At the same time, the positive and educative sides of their . 
actions, aimed primarily at the countryside, but with extensive country- 
wide educational efforts as well, have been increasingly matched by 
negative and repressive measures of control against the urban popula- 
tion. The urban elite or "Establishment" — which includes intellectuals, 
civilian officials at all levels, and a high proportion of military 
officers — has never been trusted by Diem and Nhu. Always sensitive 
to signs of opposition — with some justification from events in 195^-55 
and the attempted coups of I960 and 1962 -- the regime has turned in- j 
creasingly to police methods, particularly secret arrests, that have 
almost all the bad effects of outright totalitarianism even though a 

good deal of freedom to criticize still remains. J 

I 

Concurrently, the palace has always manipulated and controlled the 



government structure to ensure its own control. The degree to which 
centralized control and intervention have been carried, and the often 
quixotic nature of its use, have had a steadily growing adverse effect 
on efficiency and morale* 

Both of these adverse characteristics of the regime, and the 
resentment of them, focus more and more on Nhu. Not merely is he 
the hatchet man, but hts statements on "personal! sm" and his building 
up with Madame Nhu of a wide personal apparatus have smacked more and 
more of outright totalitarianism. A further distrubing feature of Nhu 
is his flirtation with the idea of negotiating with North Vietnam, 



I 



1 



. : 



563 

- 






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






M - -* - . — ; ;.. - a ioi. Qi£iw..v 



* 

A 



\ 






* who thcr or not" he 13 serious -in this at present, ■ Th* is deeply dis- 
turbs responsible Vietnamese and f more basically, suggests a possible 
basic incompatibility with y,S. objectives. , 

■ 

Khu's role and scope of action have increased > and he ray well * 
\ have the designs imputed to him of succeeding his brother in due 
course. Diem is still quite a long way from being* a figurehead > and * 
'his personal prestige in the country has survived remarkably well. 

* But Diem does depend heavily on Nhu, their central ideas are very 
i close if not identical^ and it would be remarkable, if Diem dropped, 
I Khu from a commanding position. 

Until the Buddhist and stud gat crises > it was probably true that 
the alienation -between Diem and the elite Was more a matter of basically 
divergent views of the right social structure and of Diem and Hhu v s 
handling of individuals in the government than it was a matter of reac- 
f tion to repressions. However* the crises have now brought the repressions 
"jso directly into the lives of -many of the elite that more orderly methods, 
] . [which might previously have kept the loyalty of the needed amount of 

'il3.XCRt g now probably cannot do no without a convincing degree of resto- 
ration of personal security , Yet both. more orderly methods and a 
. . restoration of personal* security cut diametrically across the grain 

of Diem's and especially Nhu's view of what is necessary to maintain 
their power and move toward -their idea of social revolution, 

* . • 

Thus, the discontent of the elite' — reflected chiefly in the 

I progressive loss of responsible men — • has now reached the point where- 

--•>■ jit is uncertain that Diem can keep or enlist enough talent to run the 

[ . * - ;war. The loss of such men as Kau and Tuycn', and the deeply disturbed 

'attitude of such-S-^c^ucial-f-igureas Thuan. are the strongest evidences 

* of the seriousness of the situation. 



- 1 

» 



-. 



V 



This is not to discount groups other than the elite. However, 
the Buddhists and students cannot in themselves cither threaten the 
-regime or do more than focus issues — although of course they seriously 
"damage the regime's standing in the U.S. and elsewhere* with uninhibited 
, i press reactions that contribute further to the persecution complex 
"that drives Diem and Nhu into repression. .The business community is 
a passive factor only. Urban labor is simply trying to hold its posi- 
tion, being anti-regime but not to the point of being an independent" ■ 
source of trouble. The rural peasantry appear little affected even 
by the Buddhist issue, If these groups can be kept 'even in an acquies- 
cent state the war could go forward, .. .;■• 



1 



> 



As matters stand, political tension in the, urban centers is so 
high that it could boil over at any time into another cycle of riots *■ ., 
repressions j and resignations. This tension would disappear in a very 
short time if Khu wqre removed. Whether it could be reduced to accept- 



* . 




r » 



* 



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



icsr 












/ 

but it is clear that such measures would havo to include both more 
moderate control methods and a better government climate particularly 
for civilian officials. ■ . \ 

effect or political tension • 



r • 



■ 
I 



.♦■*' 



• . 



I 

* 



: 



* 



>• • 






■ ■ 






tA. On Military Operations.. 

So far this has not significantly affected countryside operations 
in any area* U.S» personnel in the field testified that a few officer 
r or civilian counterparts showed concern over the Buddhist and student 
-issues, but not tQ the extent, as yet, of materially affecting their 
doing their jobs. The rural population has. been almost untouched, 
.The pace of GVK operations v/ss sharply cut for a short period at the 
end of August by transfers of units and general uncertainty, but has 
now largely renewed .its previous intensity. The Delta particularly 
has been so Concerned with the war that it has been virtually unaffected. 




*■ 



•* 



# >■ 






v*-. 



•"* SftJ. 






: - 



■ f 



Kt 



Basically, ■ the unifying factors embodied in the hatred of the mili- 
tary for Communism remain very sharp. -This hatred is real and pervasive. 
It transcends domestic policies in the minds of most officers. 

However, there, are disturbing elements that could change this 
picture greatly unless the political tension can be reduced. Certain 
high officers have been heavily preoccupied with coup possibilities* 
Those who have had relatives directly involved in the regime's repressions 
. are deeply disturbed though not necessarily ready to act against Diem."**' 

Presentment of Hhu exists in top military circles and probably to some - 
-extent at middle levels. The fact that the great bulk of military 
'officers — and" Province Chiefs — come from*- urban areas (simply be- 
up 



- ■ 

» 



'cause of educational requirements in 'many cases) clearly does open u 

.-the possibility of , progressive loss of morale and effectiveness, as 

well as*, coup participation, if 'the regime does not cease its oppression 

^against 3uddhists, students, and real or supposed opposition individual 



s 
s. 



_. ■ r - 



- -a 



3 * On -Ci vrlian'Orf ic iais '• 

* * 

On the civilian 6fficial side, which. is also relevant to, the war 
1 effort t the reaction to .the regime's actions has been sharper,. The 



# ' 



t: 



i ■ 



♦ v 



»* 



~A specific example of this is the Commandant of, the Marine Corps in 
Saigon. His brother, along with many other relatives of military 
officers and cabinet' members , was picked up in the student roundups 
of early September. Some were tortured, and — as in the case of the ". 
Commandant's brother — released enly after intercession. However, the 
Commandant shows no inclination to take action against the Diem. govern- 



- » 



K 



ment . 







* 



I 



{L 






. 



'* 



* 



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



* ■ ■ 






Embassy and USOM report unanimously that their normal counterparts 
have become afraid of associating too closely with Americans, and 
that there is a general atmosphere of watch-and-wait , just going 
through the motions of the job but failing to exert what limited 
initiative and imagination they had previously been ready to exert ■ 
in face of the constant and power-directed interventions of Su, 
The decline in the contribution of these officials is less serious 
than any similar decline among the military- and province chiefs, but 
is nonetheless a potentially significant and growing factor if tension 
persists because these officials play a substantial role in the 
strategic hamlet program* ';■'•/ 

In summary >* the political tension has not yet significantly 
affected progress in the field ^ nor does it seer* likely to have 
major effects in the near future. Beyond that, however t the prog- 
nosis- must -be considered uncertain if political tension persists or 
mounts , 



• \ 



; 












/- 



VI, OVERALL EVALUATION 

■ 
* 

From the above analysis it is clear that the situation requires 
a constant effort by the U.S. ~o obtain a reduction, of .political tensions 
and improved performance by the Vietnamese Government, We cannot say 
with assurance whether the effort against the Viet Cong will ultimately 
fail in the absence of major political improvements. However 9 it does 
seem clear that after another period of repressive action progress may, 
be reduced and indeed reversed. Although the present momentum /.light . ; 
conceivably continue to carry the effort forward even if Diem remains 
in power and political tensions continue t any significant ©lowing in . 

J. the rate of progress would surely have a serious effect on U.S. popu-. 

[lar support for the U.S. effort,/ 



VII. U.S. LEVERAGES TO 03 TAIN DESIRED CHANGES IN THE DIEM REGIME... 



».«..« ■ M— W « 



- 



A, Conduct of U.S, Representatives , - *, f 

- 
U.S. personnel, in Saigon might adopt an attitude of coolness toward 

their Vietnamese counterparts, maintaining only those contacts ann 

communications which are necessary for the actual conduct of ope; :tions 

in the field. To some extent this is the attitude already adopted by the 

Ambassador himself 9 but it could be extended to the civilian and mili- 

"*" tary agencies located in Saigon, The effect of such action would be 

largely psychological. , * .,; 



*% 



3. Economic Leverage. 

Together, USOM's Commodity Import Program (CI?) and" the PL K&Q 

program account for between 60 and 70 percent of imports into Vietnam. 

.The commitment of funds under "the CI? has already been. suspended, CI? 



.V* 






■a^ 






.* ' 




• » 






-. .= . ;■/-■•*>"••; 



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



ICI 



■ 



• Tp9 KHVM 



* ♦ 



. • 



'A 

■ 



deliveries -result £h the generation of piastres, most of which f,o 
'to the support of the defense budget. It is- estimated that'CI?' ' 




* . 



■ 

r i 



f - 

ft 

V, 

* t. 



';:"•' *.**• forced ;o craw down its. foreign- exchange r^sorvos or curtail its mill- *"\ *1 

*■•,** ,•••,■*. # . . ., ■ 

» • .• * * T*\***\r ►* v-s •*■» "A r 1 i t** *¥*£» <: * , • •* # » 

* . wo* y lajlwuj, t,ui ^<o i ' * i :..••♦.- * • 

* ■ ■* ■* ■ * ♦ . . . v * : 

».-■■*•»• . ■ * ■ *.*►-• 



> 
• * 



Within the domestic economy the existing large pipelines would 
wear, .what there would be no material reason for "inflation to berin 
4 ?f - "'in the short terra period , However 9 " .the psychological effect of growing, 
fu . j realization that the* CI?, program has been suspended migjvt: be substantial 
, - 'f .; : _in 2-^ siotiths. Saigon has a large number. of speculative traders, and 
'-. ♦*'.""- although there is considerable police effort to control prices, this 
; : ;■; might "not be able to contain a general trend of speculation and hoard- 
*'./. ■ ing. Once inflation did develop., it could have a 'serious effect on the . 
:>'.'■'/] GVtf budget and the conduce of the war. . . | ■• . . 






f 



■ : . ;V. Apart item CI? fc two rr.ajor AID projects are up for final approval - 
.' ". ' the Saigon -Choi on Waterworks (09 Tni.ll ion) and the Saigon Electric Power, 
Project C$ l t million) • Suspension of these projects would be a : r possible 
A- , means of demonstrating to Congress and the v;orld that we disapprove of. 
"; ■'■;. GVN policies and are not providing additional" aid not directly essential 
• 1 '7 " ; to the war effort, . ' • • • .- - i J 



' ;-C. Paramilitary and Other Assistance: 



** • 



.:**. : 



• i 



• « • 



i\ ■ "* (1) USOM assistance to the Combat Police and 0SOK and USIS 
*-;. : ; "assistance to the- Director General of Information and the ARV:; Psyttar.j . I 
:_-.- : -Program could be suspended.- These projects involve a relatively sralt ; 
- . amount of local currency but their 1 suspension a particularly in the case 
.- of .USIS ;* might adversely affect programs which' the^U.S.^isnes to see. 1 . 
/ .V : progress. '' .. * 



• 

. • *• 

■ ■ - 



* m * 






(2) However > there would be merit in a gesture aimed at Colonel y 
the Special Forces Corrm'ar.cer s < whose forces in or near 'Saigon 
; played a conspicuous "part in the pagoda affair and are a continuing 
'' support for Diem- Colonel Tung commands a- mixed complex of forces, 
**' sOftT.e of which are "sunDorted by KA? and others presently through CIA,: 

■ —'.BAM -Ob % 




>:'■ could 'inform Diem thafwe would cut off MA? and CIA support unless tney • # • 
r were placed directly under Joint General Staff and were ccrnrutted to «■-.'■" 
. . >J£ field, operations. - '-■' -* . »'• * J :.; \ 

s - , V '• "/. ! ' "The practical effect of the 'cut-off : would probably bo srall, 

/.\ The ecuiprrint cannot be .taken our of the hands of the units, and the ; " 







. •• 



.» 






-'■' 






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



. . - tea e;.v,';;?.J 













of the U.S.', and would.. probably also be welcomed ' by the high military 
. ofricers t- £a,Victnaa > _atidLjecrtainly--by the disaffected groups in Sairon," 



* 

At the same tiwOj support should continue, but through General. 

Karkins rather than CIA, for border surveillance and other similar 
•field operations that are contributing io the war effort. 



• • . 









' 



We have weighed this cut-off action carefully. It runs a 
risk that Colonel Tung would refuse to carry out external operations* .- ♦- •' 

"■* against the Lao corridor and North Vietnam, Ix night also limit CIA's' .' <* 
access to the military • "However^ U.S, liaison with high military 
'officers could probably be fully maintained through the U.S. military 
advisors. On balance,, we conclude that these possible disadvantages * ".* .. ■ 

■ /".are outweighed by the gains imollcit in this action.,- i • * 

• * *• 

(3) Consideration has been given both by USCK and the military * w 

(principally the JCS. in hashing ton) to the possibility of redirecting • ■ 
*. ; economic and military assistance in such a fashion as to bypass the 

central government in Saigon.. Military studies have shewn the technical ** 
„■_ feasibility v though with' great difficulty and cost a of supplying the 
war effort in the countryside over lines of ccrrnunications which do not 
involve Saigon > and it is assumed that the. same conclusions would £pply 
to USOM deliveries to the field under the rural strategic hamlet propraa 1 - - ' 
y However a there 'is a consensus among U.S. agencies in S^ gen that such 
an effort Is not Dractical In the fc.ee of determined ODoosition by the 



• » 



'* 



GVK unless a of course a a situation hac developed where the central 



V 






government was no longer in control of some areas of the country. Kor 



Is It at all clear that "such diversion would operate to build up the 
position of -the military or to cut down Nhu's position** * 



# • • 






D. Propaganda. 



♦ ■ 



7 - 



■ ■ * 



*. : 



Although -the capability of USIS to support the United States cam- 
paign of pressure against the regir.>e would be sntalXj the Ambassador 
believes consideration must. ie given to the content and timing of the 
United States pronouncements outside the country. Ke has already 
-suggested the' use of the Voice of America In stimulating^ in its broad- 
casts. to Vietnamese % discussions of democratic political philosophies. 
'.This mediura could, be used to exploit a wide range of ascending politica 
pressure. In addition., a phased program of United -States official' _:.- 
pronouncements could* be developed for use in conjunction' with ^he other 
leverages as they are. applied. We must recognize .the possibility that ' 



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NND Project Number; NND 63316. By: NWD Date: 201 1 



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: - or toe insurgency,. • 

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. < : F* Conclusions, 










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axresGy cs.usxno concern to 
..•7 Diem. Howe.ves* t the effect of pressures *hat can be carried cut ever 
; i,an extended period without detriment to the war effort is Probably 
( - ■ ^limited with respect/.to the possibility of Diem mqkinc necessary 



7 






o 



. We have r.ot analyzed with care what the effect night be of 
-* more intensive level of pressure such as cessation, of MA?- deliveries 
f J ,% or long continued suspension of the commodity import 'program,-' If the 
*'\ Diem government should* fail to make major improvements % serious ccr.~ ' 
sideration would have zc be given to this possible course of /action. 
but we believe its effect on the war effort would Se so serious - in 
. .;osycholo2ical if not in immediate material- terms - that it should not " 
-. be undertaken at the present time. 



>*•' 



' VIII / "'COU? POSSIBILITIES 






» * 



1 



.;,A, Prospects -of a Spontaneous Coup. 



*• 



* . 



.* • f 



'-,../ The prospects of ' an early, spontaneous replacement of the Diem 
" ■'• Ke?ime are not high* The. two Drinciaal sources of such an attempt. 

' L.»*C b»l.-U. Mil J . tCl V C-- -L XvLi O C..*~ v...«w i ww^i-,-. Li> . ..CvO JUl..j JLt.i xCUL* QIXmCU 

/■by a combination of their* own inability and the regime's effective 

countenneasures of. control, ' The student organizations have been emas-./ '♦ 
-\ . culatec,- _ The students themselves have displayed" more emotion than .-."■ 
• determination and they are apparently being handled with sufficient . 
police sophistication to avoid an explosion < • ■ . . .. ..■•■ 



* 



The cenerals aooear to have little -stomach for the difficult job 
of secretly arranging the necessary coalescence of force to upset the 
Regime, '. f . 



V • 1 
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Diem/}**hu are keenly aware of the capability of the generals to 
.take over the country, .utilising the tremendous 1 power now vested in 



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:ithe unity of the Array and the Establishment itself. 



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Despite these unfavorable prospects for action in the short tons' 
jnevj factors could quickly arise, such as the death of Diem or en 
unpredictable and even irrational attack launched by a junior officer 




j " -whom arrangements could be developed for 'a more permanent replacement 

after a transitional ocricd. 

• * 



3, 



Prospects for improvement uncer an Aj.tema.tive Government. 



• ■ 



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The prospects that a reolaeen&nt regime would be an improvement 
: appear to be about 50-50 .* .Initially 7 only a strongly authoritarian ' 
regime would be able to pull the gqverns&n? together and maintain order. 
In- view of the pre-eminent role c:" the military in Vietnam today, it * 
> is probable that this role would be filled by a military officer s per- 
haps taking power after the selective process of a junta dispute • Such - 
• . an authoritarian military regime., perhaps after an initial perici of 

euphoria at the departure of Eiem/Nhu, would be aot to entail a resump- 
: :;tion of the regression at' least of Diem, the' corruDtion of the Vietnamese 

% Establishment before Diem 3 and an emphasis on' conventional military 
^"".rather than social > economic ar£ political, considerations > with at u * ' 

* 'least an ecuivaient degree 'of xenophobic nationalism. 

■- 

■ 
> 

* 

These' features must be weighed ,- however s against- the possible 
\ results of growing dominance or succession by Khu a which" would con- 
tinue and even magnify "the present dissension^ unhappiness and_jjnrest. 



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C, Possible U.S. Actions. 



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Obviously., clear and explicit U*S« support could make a gre. 
\ ' difference to the chances Cf a coup;- However, at the present time we 
lack a clear picture of what acceptable individuals might be brought to 



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e point of action, or what kind of government mirint emerne. We- there- 



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fore need an intensive clandestine effort , under the Ambassador's 



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*KTi Sullivan (State) believes that a replacement regime which does 
not suffer from the. overriding 'danger' of tfnu T s -ambition .to establish a 
totalitarian state -(the control of which he might easily lose to the 
Ccmmunistsfin the course of his* flirtations) would.be inevitably better;., 
than the current regime even if the former did have the., deficiencies : 
described « • • 



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NND Project Number: NND 63316. By: NWD Date: 201 1 



111 



i 

direction, to establish, necessary contacts to allow U.S. to con- 
tinuously appraise coup pi-ospects. 

If and when we have a better picture, the choice will still remain 
difficult whether we would prefer to take our chances on a spontaneous 
coup (assuming some action by Diem and Nhu would trigger it) or to 
risk U.S. prestige and having the U.S. hand show with a coup group 
which appeared likely to be a better alternative government. Any 
regime that was identified from the outset as a U.S. "puppet" would 
have disadvantages both within South Vietnam and in significant areas 
of the world, including other underdeveloped nations where the U.S. 
has a major role. 

In any case, whether or not it proves to be wise to promote a 
coup at a later time, we maist be ready for the possibility of a spon- 
taneous coup, and this too requires clandestine contacts on an intensive 
basis. 

IX. ANALYSIS OF ALTERNATIVE POLICIES 

Broadly speaking, we believe there are three alternative policies 
the U.S. could pursue to achieve its political and military objectives: 

1. Return to avowed support of the Diem regime and attempt to 
obtain the necessary improvements through persuasion from a posture 
of "reconciliation." This would not mean any expression of approval 
of the repressive actions of the regime, but simply that we would go 
back in practice to business as usual. 

2. Follow a policy of selective pressures: "purely correct" 
relationships at the top official level, continuing to withhold further ! 
actions in the commodity import program, and making clear our disapproval 
of the regime. A further element in this policy is letting the present 
impression stand that the U.S. would not be averse to a change of Govern- 
ment -- although we would not take any immediate actions to initiate a ■ 
coup, 

3„ Start immediately to promote a coup by high ranking military 
officers. This policy mig^rt involve more extended suspensions of aid 
and sharp denouncxations of the regime's actions so timed as to fit with 
coup prospects and planning - 



Our analysis of these alternatives is as follows: 
1. Reconciliation. 

We believe that this course of action would be ineffective 
from the standpoint of events in South Vietnam alone, and would also 
greatly increase our difficulties in justifying the present U.S. support 
effort both to the Congress and generally to significant third nations. 
We are most unlikely, after recent events, to get Diem to make the 
necessary changes; on the contrary, he would almost certainly regard 



571 






n\fr 

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







i 



our reconciliation as an evidence that the U.S. would sit still for 
just about anything he did- The result would probably be not only 
a continuation of the destructive elements in the Regime's policies 
but a return to larger scale repressions as and when Diem and Nhu 
thought they were necessary. The result would probably be sharp 
deterioration in the military situation in a fairly short period. 

2. Selective Pressures. 

We have examined numerous possibilities of applying 
pressures to Diem in order to incline him to the direction of our 
policies. The most powerful instrument at our disposal is the con- 
trol of military and economic aid but any consideration of its use 
reveals the double-edged nature of its effects. Any long term reduc- 
tion of aid cannot but have an eventual adverse effect on the military 
campaign since both the military and the economic programs have been 
consciously designed and justified in terms of their contribution to 
the war effort. Hence, immediate reductions must be selected carefully 
and be left in effect only for short periods. 

We believe that the present level of pressures is causing, 
and will cause , Diem some concern, while at the same time not signifi- 
cantly impairing the military effort. We are not hopeful that this 
level (or indeed any level) of pressure will actually induce Diem to 
remove Nhu from the picture completely. However, there is a better 
chance that Diem will at least be deterred from resuming large scale 

oppressions, 

■ 

At the same time, there are various factors that set a 
time limit to pursuing this course of action in its present form. 
Within 2-h months we have to make critical decisions with the GW about 
its 196^4 budget and our economic support level. In addition, there is 
a significant and growing possibility that even the present limited 
actions in the economic field -- more for psychological than for eco- 
nomic reasons -- would start a wave of speculation and inflation that 
would be difficult to control or bring back into proper shape. As to 
when we would reverse our present course, the resumption of the full 
program of ecoi jmic and military aid should be tied to the actions of 
the Diem government. 

, As a foundation for the development of our long-term 
economic and military aid programs, we believe it may be possible to 
develop specific military objectives to be achieved on an agreed schedule. 
The extent to which such objectives are met, in conjunction with an 
evaluation of the regime's political performance, would determine the 
level of aid for the following period. 

.3- Organizing a Coup. 

For the reasons stated earlier, we believe this course 



572 ■ 



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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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of action . should not be undertaken at the present tine. 



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action to iidoot at this ~cir.ie is an application .of selective chert- . 

- ' - ccr - pressures v principally economic ^ &ud the conditioning of long-- 
.tcr"i aid ca the satisfactory performance by the.uierr. government in 
rr.eetir*£ military and political objectives which in the ssfSPCgate 
eeuate to the recuirer;\ents of final victory," The specific actions 
record ended in Section. I of this resort are consistent with this 






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In conjunction Trith decisions and rocc ^eii&atiorj* in separate 
E333SL. President today approved reaa&aienda&lG!! that no initiative should 
ttSOT be taker* to give any active covert eiiccaxresest&nt to a coup, Euspo 
should,, towareEj be -ardent covert effort with closest sec^ity.ml&er 
broad guidance of MbassaSor to identify c.i i "build extracts vith possible 
alternative leadership as anc 3 . -*rhen it appears* Sssantial th?„t this effdTfc 
be totally secure and fully deniable and sefoars&ed entirely fr&* nciu.al 
political analysis and reporting and other activities of pcurti^ ?SS3U 
We repeat that this effort is not repeat not to be a&ied at active 
promotion of coup but only at survei" l^uce and readiness. In order to 
provide plausibility to denial surest you end no one else in Sribassy 
issue these instructions orally to Acting Station Chief and held Mas 
responsible to you alone for making appropriate contacts and reporting 
to you alone 



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All report; s to WasMngfcQaj on this stibject should be on this channel* 



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■ ■ i — s 



SAIGON (CAS JM5), 5 October 1963 
TO STATE FROM LODGE 



1. lit. Col. Conein met with Gen Duong Van Minh at Gen. Minh's Headquarters 
on Le Van Duyet for one hour and ten minutes morning of 5 Oct 63 • This 
meeting was at the initiative of Gen Minh and has been specifically cleared 
in advance by Ambassador Lodge. No other persons were present. The con- 
versation was conducted in French. 

- 

2. Gen* Minh stated that he must know American Government's position with 
respect to a change in the Government of Vietnam within the very near future. 
Gen. Minh added the Generals were aware of the situation is deteriorating 
rapidly and that action to change the Government must be taken or the war 
will be lost to the Viet Cong because the Government no longer has the 
support of the people. Gen. Minh identified among the other Generals 
participating with him in this plan: 

Maj . Gen . Tran Van Don 
Brig. Gen. Tran Thien Khiem 
Maj. Gen. Tran Van Kim 

3. Gen. Minh made it clear that he did not expect any specific American 
support for an effort on the part of himself and his colleagues to change 
the Government but he stated he does need American assurances that the USG 
will not rpt not attempt to thwart this plan. 

h* Gen. Minh also stated that he himself has no political ambitions nor 
do any of the other General Officers except perhaps, he said laughingly, Gen. 
Ton That Dinh. Gen. Minh insisted that his only purpose is to win the war. 
He added emphatically that to do this continuation of American Military and 
Economic Aid at the present level (He said one and one half million dollars 
per day) is necessary. 

5. Gen. Minh outlined three possible plans for the accomplishment of the 
change of Government: 

a. Assassination of Ngo Dinh Nhu and Ngo Dinh Can keeping President 
Diem in Office Gen. Minh said this was the easiest plan to accomplish. 

b. The encirclement of Saigon by various military units particularly 

the unit at Ben Cat. (Comment: Fifth Division elements commanded by Gen. Dinh). 

c. Direct confrontation between military units involved in the coup and 
loyalist military units in Saigon. In effect 5 dividing the city of Saigon 
into sectors and cleaning it out pocket by pocket. Gen. Minh claims under 
the circumstances Diem and Nhu could count on the loyalty of 5,500 troops 
within the city of Saigon. 

6- Conein replied to Gen. Minh that he could not answer specific questions 
as to USG non-interference nor could he give any advice with respect to 
tactical planning. He added that he could not advise concerning the best of 
the three plans . 



575 

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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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ves formerly a Comaunist end still has Co.v~unist sympathies, f&ss Col. 

iad considered Col. Sun. - ? ^s cr.^ of the r^ore dangerous 



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individuals, Ce?.+ J&ksSx sts 
vill be on hi 3 hnees before zrte« 



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S. Gen. Minh also stated that he T .ns worried as to ths role" of C-^:i. Sran 



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Thien Khien since Xhlez: ray have played, a double role in August, Gen. Mi: 
rested that copies of the documents previously passed to G<hi. Khieis (plan of Ccrp 
Ior-2 Thanh and munitions inventory at that camp) he passed to G^n. Minh 
personally for comparison raith papers passed by Xhieia to Kj,ah purportedly frcn 






9. Minh further stated that one of the reasons they are having to act 
euiekiy vas the fact that rmy re^ir.ental, battalion and corpany cosassiSsrs 
are working on coup plans of their ovn i/hich could be abortive and a 
"catastrophe". * . _ .- - 



1 

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10. Kinh appeared to understand Conein 's position of hein^ unable to ccrar.snt 
at the present rrtsxnant but aslced that Conein a^ain neet \rith Gen- Minh to 
discuss the specific plan of operations Tmich Gen, Minh hopes to put into 
action. IIo specific date vs& given for this next neetin^. Conein ;ras asain- 

i.ji>^o.i-uibui jl*i hj.s rep— j* c^^i. i^xx^ji u-iv-c* »— ^*-*j-h j — • — lv-i-.^j^ i2^.^> u^ £.e~ s* vaxi.L j, 

ani stated that he. ^ro\:ld arranae to contact Conein in the near future end 
hoped that Conein vould be able to sset ifith hisa and giva the assurance 
outlined above * ■ ' . 



1 ^?~. 



SAIGOS CAS 3U025, ^ October l?o3 



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TO STAGS JSOM L0DG2 



3Y23 OSLY 70^ S2CR52AS2T BUSK FROM L0DS 



(RS?: CA5. SAIGOrl 1^5) 






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Reference Bis Minh-Conein neetins (Cas Saigon l-r-^5). -riiile neither General 
Esx&ins nor I have great faith J.n Bis Minh^ ve need instructions on his 
approach. Ky recoxmendation^ in which General Harhins concurs^, is that 
Conain vhen next approached by Icinh should: - - 

1- Assure hin that US will not attempt to. thwart his plans. 

. -2. Offer to review his plans } other than assassination plans. 

3. Assure Minh that U3 aid^.riil be continued to Vietnesa under Goverra:-3nt 
vhich gives promise of -ainins suppor-o of' people and winning ths war against 



the Corziunists. Point cut that tz is ova: vie:r that this is nest lihely %o ce 






J. 



&ne case if Government includes ^ood proportion of *, r ell. cualified civilian 
leaders in hey positions. ( Conein should press Minh for "details hi 
He composition future Government) . 1 surest the above be discussed vith 
Seorettiry Keicmnra and General Saylor ::ho contacted Minh in recent visit. 



s fchiskin'* 



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NND Project Number: NND 63316. By: NWD Date: 201 1 



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\~ . .-♦ . - . . 



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6 Oct 1963 



FROM: 
TO : 
7^228 
Re CAS IUU5 



CIA 
Lodge 



1. Believe CAP 63560 gives general guidance requested REFILL. 

We have following additional general thoughts which have been discussed 
with President. While we do not wish to stimulate coup, we also do not 
wish to leave impression that U.S. would thwart a change of government 
or deny economic and military assistance to a new regime if it appeared 
capable of increasing effectiveness of military effort, ensuring popular 
support to win war and improving working relations with U.S. We would 
like to be informed on what is being contemplated but we should avoid 
being drawn into reviewing or advising on operational plans or any other 
act which might tend to identify U.S. too closely with change in govern- 
ment. We would, however, welcome information which would help us assess 
character of any alternate leadership. 

2. With reference to specific problem of General Minh you should 
seriously consider having contact take position that in present state 
his knowledge he is unable present Minh T s case to responsible policy 
officials with any degree of seriousness. In order to get responsible 
officials even to consider Minh f s problem, contact would have to have 
detailed information clearly indicating that Minh ! s plans offer a high 
prospect of success. At present contact sees no such prospect in the 
information so far provided. 

3. You should also consider with Acting Station Chief whether it 
would be desirable in order to preserve security and deniability in this 
as well as similar approaches to others whether appropriate arrangements 
could be made for follow-up contacts by individuals brought in especially 
from outside Vietnam. As we indicated in CAP 6356O we are most concerned 
about security problem and we are confining knowledge these sensitive 
matters in Washington to extremely limited group, high officials in 
White House, State, Defense and CIA with whom this message cleared. 



577 



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NND Project Number: NND 63316. By: NWD Date: 201 1 






7HZ WHITE KOUSS 



WASHINGTON 



TO? S2C3 



- hyss ONLY 



.October 11, 19=3 



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NATIONAL S2CURITY ACTION 2/2MORAXDUM NO. 253 



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TO: 



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Secretary cf Stat., 

Secretary cf Defense «/ - 

Chairman of zhe Joint Chiefs of Staff 



SUBJECT: South. Vietnam 






meeting or. October 5, 19o3, zhe President considered th© 
"•recommendations contained in the report of Secretary McNamara 
and General Taylor on their mission to South Vietnam. 



T'n^ President approved the military recommendations contained- 

* 

in Section I S (X~3) of the report, ■ but directed that no formal 
announcement be made of the implementation of nlans to with- ■■;*• 
draw 1, 000 U, S. milzitary personnel by the end of 1963. 

After discussion of the remaining recommendations of the report, 
the President approved an instruction to Ambassador Lodge which 
~is set forth, in State Deoartment telegram. No. 534 to Saigon. 

* 



**. 






■ 



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•. McC-eorce Bur.cv 



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. Copy furnished: * 

- Director of Central Intelligence 
•■ * Administrator, Agency for International Develct 






• • 



TOP SSCS.3T - 2Y25 ONLY 






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









SECRET/KG F0PJ5I0K DiSSE'M 






Sr - £ 



Research l&sorand^! 
SPE-90, October 22- l^c3 






TO : 

TKROUC-I-I: 
FROM : 



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Thi Secretary 

s / s ' - l U**>J kML 

IEJ - Items L. Hughes ...,-.„> W lXm n **F 
^ v 

SIBJ3SCT: Statist ic;s on tb» Uar IKTort in Sou!:: Vietr^i: Show C^-Yocteb-I-? 



Trends 



4 

This* report " reviews the more significant statistics on the Communist 
insurgency in South Vietnam as indicators of trends in the military 

situation since July 19o3- 

* 

ABSTRACT 

■ 

* 

Statistics on the insurgency in South Vietnsr^ although 
neither thoroughly trustworthy nor entirely satisfactory as 
criteria ., indicate sn unf&iror&ble shift in the military "balance. 
Since July 19^3; the trend in Viet Cong casualties } weapons 
losses / and defections fess been downward while the nur-iber of 
"Viet Cong arsed attacks and other incidents has been upward. 
Cornparison with earlier periods suggests that the military 
position of the government of Vietna-rt may have been set back 
to the point it occupied six sionths to a year ago. These 
trends coincide in time with the shttrp deterioration of the 
political situation. At the saiae time, even without the Buddhist 
issue and the attending government crisis., it is. possible tftat - 
the Di^vr. regime would have been unable to rjiintain the favorable 
trends of previous periods in the face of the accelerated Viet 
Cong effort. * .'***- 

■ 
Statis tics as Indicators . 

■ 

mm* ■ 

* - * 

Statistics j in general, are only partial and not entirely satisfactory 
ir.&icators of progress in the total counter ins urgency effort in South Vietnas.* 
Fir it j some statistics are incomplete 3 as for example ; those relating to Viet 
Cong attacks against strategic harvilets and desertions within the South 
Vietnamese military and security services. Second, all statistics are ■ 
acquired largely if not entirely from official South Vietnamese sources. &s 
such, their validity castj to sozss degree at leastj rerrain questionable^ 
even though the efforts of the United States military and civilise advisers * 
have improved the quality of this data during the past year or . * 



* r ■ * 



wrne st 



atiSwics \i*±d in tilts paper trere cc;:;jiloa by the Defense I-itelVi" Kice 



Agency (D_A; and by the Office of the Special Assistant for Co\ir.terinsi:r^*Bcy 



i» 



GSOS? S 



_ Dovmsraded at 12 year 

. x 3^Jj intervals! noz 

SECfGT/T^O ?GS3jm DiSSEM automatically declassified 



n 



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



* 






i * . 



secret/mo foreign dissem 



- 2 



Third, there are several other important indicators which are extremely 
difficult, if not impossible, to handle statistically. These include: 
morale and efficiency within the bureaucracy and the armed services, the 
degree of locally acquired or volunteered intelligence , popular attitudes 
toward the Viet Cong and the government, and the status and impact of the 
government's political, social, and economic activities in support of the 
strategic hamlet program. Nonetheless, statistics touch on some significant 
aspects of the military situation and provide a guide at least to trends in 
the fighting. 

Viet Cong Incidents 

Statistics show that the Viet Cong have accelerated their military 
and subversive effort since July 1963- From January 1962 until July 1963, 
the total number of Viet Cong armed attacks, as well as all other incidents 
(sabotage, terrorism, and propaganda) , dropped consistently. However, 
since July of this year, total incidents and armed attacks have increased 
appreciably. If the present trend continues through the end of this year, 
total incidents will exceed by more than 10$ the level for the period 
July-December 1962. Large Viet Cong attacks (company-size or larger) 
have also increased appreciably since July of this year, and, if the 
trend continues, could exceed by almost 30$ the level for July-December 
1962 . 

In addition, the Viet Cong during the last half of I963 have shown 
increased daring, planning, and coordination in their attacks. This has 
been evidenced by an attack against a United States helicopter base, and 
by simultaneous actions against two or more strategic hamlets and even against 
two district capitals* Until this period, towns had not been attached 
since September 1961, when the capital of Phuoc Thanh province was raided 
by a large Viet Cong force. 



Casualties 

Although the Viet Cong have incurred relatively heavy losses during 
some of their more daring recent attacks, their overall casualties since 
July of this year have not been correspondingly high. If the accelerated 
Viet Cong effort and losses suffered are maintained at present levels during 
the rest of this year, casualties will remain about 10$ below the level in 
July-Dec ember 1962, the peak period in Viet Cong casualties last year. 

In contrast, casualties among the South Vietnamese military and 
security forces since July of this year are increasing and, at the present 
rate, could exceed by about 20$ the level for the preceding six-month 
period. This would raise the total casualties for 1963 by some 30$ above the 

1961 and 1962 levels. Indeed, the ratio of Viet Cong to South Vietnamese 
forces killed and captured dropped from five-to-one for the last half of 

1962 to three-to-one for the period July-September 18, 1963. This ratio 
would be still less favorable to the government if casualties among such 

secret/no FOREIGN DISSEM 



580 






_' «. 






*- \j 



ih>i 



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



- 

secret/wo foreign dissem 

- 3 - 

paramilitary groups as the Tillage militia and Montagnard scouts were 
taken into account- Casualty statistics on these groups are not complete 
and are not shown in this report* During the period August-September 18, 
1963 , however , their casualties exceeded 500 as compared with the combined 
total of more than 2,300 casualties among the Army, Civil Guard, and Self 
Defense Corps for the same period. 

Weapons Losses 

During 1962, weapons losses among both the Viet Cong and government 
forces increased progressively, although government losses were somewhat 
greater than those of the Viet Cong- The increase continued during 
January-April 1963? but losses on both sides were about even- However, 
during May-August, Viet Cong weapons losses dropped by more than 10%, 
while losses among government forces increased by about 15%. If the trend 
noted during the last three weeks of September should continue throughout 
the year, the Viet Cong will lose almost 70% fewer weapons than the govern- 
ment- Moreover, a large number of the Viet Cong weapons lost are of the 
home-made variety while the great bulk of government weapons losses are of 

standard or modern-type pieces. 

■ 

Defections and Desertions 



Viet Cong military defections increased progressively during 1963 until 
June, dropping from a high of 4l^ in May to a low of 107 for about the first 
I three weeks of September. (These Viet Cong are usually members of the 

insurgent armed forces, although only a small percentage are believed to be 
hard-core cadres. They generally defect to South Vietnamese military forces 
who interrogate and screen them and determine their disposition.) 



In addition to the military defectors, some 13,700 persons "rallied" 
to the government from April through August 1963 under a national surrender 
and amnesty campaign. This campaign, known as "Chieu Hoi," was officially 
inaugurated on April 19* The South Vietnamese government regards the bulk 
of these as Viet Cong. United States officials, who do not screen these 
statistics, believe the vast majority to be refugees and persons who, for 
one reason or another, have left areas controlled or formerly controll i 
by the Viet Cong- Many of them, however, may well have assisted the V^et 
Cong in some way voluntarily or under duress- The number of "Chieu Hoi" 
returnees increased progressively from April 19 to June 1963, when a high 
of about 3,200 was reached. By August, returnees dropped to a low of >out 
1,600- Complete statistics are not yet available for September- 

Until June 1963, statistics on South Vietnamese desertions included 
all military and security personnel who had been absent from duty without 
official leave for any reason or for any length of time. Moreover, there 
was apparently no attempt to adjust these all-inclusive statistics to 
account for persons who had returned to duty. Including "awols," the I962 
monthly average of deserters was .7% of the combined strength of the military 



secret/no FOREIGN DISSEM 

581 



Declassified per Executive Order 13526, Section 3 J 
NND Project Number: NND 63316. By: NWD Date: 201 1 



[ • 



■ . 



SKcr^T/i-ro for^xg:-; dissem 

a 
- 

- lv - 



[ 

[ 



and security services. On this, oasis } there vas no charge in the ir.or:t?iIy 
average during the first five month.- of 19o3* 3e£innin£ in June, hovraver^ 
statistics on deserters excluded ^rcls" altttdugh thsy vera, still not 
adjusted to cover returnees. Even so ; on the rev basis 3 the monthly average 
of * deserters increased from .c-i in June ISoS to .8$ in August I963 . 
Comolete statistics are not yet available £or September. 



»■ * * 



Conclusion 

* ■ ■ — ■ ...,•■- 

On the basis of available statistical treads, there appear to have 
been a number of significant and unfavorable changes in the military 
situation in South Vietnam since July of this year. Indeed, virtually all 
of the indicators noted in this report suggest that the military position 
of the Vietnam Government E£y have reverted to the point it had reached 

s to a year ago. While it is difficult to relate precisely cause 



six iuGiv<;n 



and effect for adverse changes in the military situation in SouVn Vietnam 
their occurrence at a tirne when the political situation has deteriorated 
must be considered as r.jre than coincidental.- At the sar_e tlT.e^ even vithcv.t 
the Buddhist crisis and the more serious political difficulties following in 
its vakej it is possible that the Diem government \rould have been unable to 
maintain the favorable trends of preceding periods in the face of the 
accelerated Viet Cong effort since July I9S3. 



* ■ 

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£KC^t/::o ? 



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— 




TV** 




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■ 


* 









I. STATISTICAL TRENDS, 1962-1963 



Jan . 1- 
June 30, 
1962 



1. Viet Cong Incidents 

(total) 10,481 



July 1- 
Dec. 30, 
1962 (and % 
of change) 



8,595 (-18*) 



Jan . 1- 
June 30, 
1963, (and $ 
of change) 



6,81+7 (-20*) 



July 1- 


$ of 


Sept. 18, 


previous 


I963* 


period 



3,777 



55$ 



2. Viet Cong armed 

Attacks (total) 



3,024 2,44l (-19$) 



l,94l (-20$) 



1,067 



'0 



OD 



CO 

w 
o 



Si 

o 

3 



03 



3. 



k. 



Company- s i ze and 
larger 
Viet Cong Casualties 
(total) 

GVW Casualties 
(total) 



Viet Cong Weapons 
Losses 



156 



Jan,- 
April 
1962 



1,202 



GVK Weapons Losses 1,777 



63 (-U0*) 



13,755 17,338 (+26%) 



6,036 6,846 (+13$) 



May 

Aug. 

1962 



Sept 
Dec. 
1962 



72 (+11$) 
13,9^ (-20*) 



8,056 (+18$) 



Jan.- 
April 

1963 



3^ 
6,425 



4,220 



May - 
Aug^ 1963 
(and $ of 
change ) 



*+7$ 



■■> 



52$ 



Thru Sept. 18, 
1963 (and $ of 
previous period) 



1,526 1,806 

1,88U 1^53)1 



6. Viet Cong Defections** 1962 Total: 1,956 



1,917 
1,97^ 
1,178 



1,703 (-11$) 335 (20$) 
2,260 (+15$) 644 (28$) 
1,307 (+10$) 107 (8$) 



*A1 though only 42$ of this period has elapsed, the statistics in this column are already 46$-55$ 
of the total figures for the previous six-month period, as shown in the last column. 
** This exclude- s lf Chieu Hoi 11 returnees which have totalled 13,664 through August 1963 but which 
have declined sharply since July 1963- 



CO 

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O 



HI 



CO 
CO 



- 2. 

— — > 

f ft 
5* « 

O - 

1 <* 

a 3 



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3 






Declassified per Executive Order 13526, Section 3.3 
NND Project Number: NND 633 16. By: NWD Date: 201 1 



■ 



• 6 - 



/f. 



II. CONDENSED FIGURES Oil MILITARY ACTIVITY FROM JAHUAKY 1, 19&2 

1. Viet Cong -Initiated Incidents 



i 


















Large -Scale 
Attacks 





Total 


(Company-Gize 






■ 


Total 


1952* 


Attacks 


and larger) 


Terrorism 


Sabotage 


Prop 


Incidents 


Jan, 


• *- . ■ 

• 21 .. 


839 


180 


257 


1,825 


Feb. 


500 


• 20 


613 


137 


210 


1,1160 


Mar. 


588 


27 


660 


* 290 


423 


l,96l 


Apr, 


497 


27 


1,024 


220 


192 


1,933 


May . 


528 


38 


892 


154 


251 


1,8?5 


June 


362 


23 


736 


. 157 • 


222 


• 1,477 


July 


448 


• 12 

4 


735 


' 158 


223 


1,564 


Aug. 


378 


10 


• 885 


146 


233 


1,642 


'Sept. 


391 


10 


624 


178 


182 


1,375 


Oct. 


1*19 


l^ 


583 


189 


166 


1,357 


Mov, 


421 


8 

■ 


61 4 


144 


• 132 . 


1,311 


Dec, 


384 


9 


670 


107 


I85 


1,346 ■ 



Total' " 5,465 



219 



... _ 8,875 



2,0o0 



2,676 



19, 076 



*These figures closely parallel year-end figures furnished by C0MI3SMACV. 



1963 



' 


Jan. 


252 




Feb. 


195 




Jfetr . 


344 




Apr. 


383 


• 


Fay 


357 




June 


4l0 




July 


407 




Aug. 


319 


• 


Sep. 18 


341 



10 
14 

11 
12 

13 
12 

9 

12 
13 



447 
433 
653 

688 
608 
652 
695 
569 
613 



49 

69 

131 
105 

93 

107 

80 

93 
115 



Total ' 3,003 



10S 



5,36"! 



2. Casualties** 



179 


927 


91 


. 738 


154 


1,282 


155 


1,331 


' 150 


1,203 


142 


1,311 


183 


1,368 


186 


. 1,167 


173 


1,242 



842 



1 , 413 



10,624 



Jan. 19o2 



KK" 



GVN 

T?M Cap/Miss 



Total 



KET 



Viet Cong 

Tor - Cap. Total 



ARVK - Army of 

Vietnam ll6 
CG - Civil Guard 76 
SDC - Self-Defense 

Corps. 107 

299 



221 
103 

146 
V?5 



8 
43 

65 
116 



890 



1,294 212 390 



1^9o" 



*«C0M0SMCV has reported the following statistics for 1962 on Viet C 
casualties: Killed - 20,919; wounded - 4,235; captured - 5,518;' 
total 30,673. ' * ' ' 

TO fi 



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. 



■ 






; 



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



/CO 



i 









* p 



- 7 - 



V 



2. Casualties (continued) 

— - ■ - 



February 1962 



GVN 



Viet Cong 



KIA 



ARVN" - Army of Vietnam 72 
CG - Civil Guard -68 
'SDC - Self -Defense 

Corps 1<* 



Total s 



Totals 

May 1962 

* ii ■■ 1 ■■■> ■ ■ ■ 

■ 

ARVN 

CG 

SDC 

Totals 

June 1962 

ARVN 
CG. ' 
SDC 

■ • .. 

t • * 

m 

Totals 

July 1962 
ARVN 

CG 

SDC 

v m 

Totals 



V/IA 

118 
76 



106 



■■^ 



b2 
131 

197 



1^0 

215 



3'90 509 



Cap/Miss. Total KIA WIA -'Cap. 



7 

k2 



75 



2hh 300 12^ 



torch 1962 


* * 
- 


■ 




Ar^n 

CG 
SDC 

ft 

* 


97 
160 

t 266 


219 
223 

.295 

1 


28 
27 
65 


■ 

Total 


523 


737 


1^0 


. April '1962 


■p- 




1 


; ARVN 

CG. 

• SDC •' *'• ' 


• 

9b. 
108 

' "105 


Ibh 

222 


* 

1 

66 
fcfc 



- - 






2 

2*1 

68 



9 1 " 



eh 
91 

150 


133 

186 

291 


13 

19 
^5 


230 

296 
U89 




325 


613 


77 . 


1,015 


1,666 


86 

62 

236. 


165 

. 1U9 

372 


13 ' 
153 


2bk 

257 
76l 





36k 686 212 



SECRHT/lIO FOREIGN DISS3M 






Tota 



668 ; 1,205 316 353 1,87^ 



W m 

:.i,i»oo 1^56 551 523 '2,530 



'3B7 532 151 : 1,070 1,596* 292 U15 i?,303 



993 1,756* 352 52^ 2,632 



lH3 4Ui • 2,520 



■\ 



1,282 1,5^ I12U 542 2,510 



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



Wo . • 






' 






\ 



■ 

r 



I 



! 



1 
■I 



- • ... - 






Total 



Oct. 1962 



if* 



Nov. 19&2 



Total 



Dec. 1962 



SECRET/HO FOREIGN DISSEM 

• * 

- 8 - 

2, Ca sualt ies (continued) 
GVN 



Viet Cong 



KIA 



w in 



ARVN 


• 


67 


* 

149 


. 2 


CG ' 




103 


170 


15 


SDC 


1 


207 


307 


h6 


• Total 


■ 

> * 


377 "' 


626 


63 

ft 


* 

Sept. 


1962 








. • . ARVN 




.125 . 


231 . 


2 

• 


CG 


I 


k6 


101 


3 


SDC 




2lt8 


31 J i 


5* 



Cap/Miss. Total 



218 



KIA WIA Cap . 



288 



560 



1(19 



6h6 



59 



► 

I 

i 

* 

i 


ARVN 
CG 


77 
63 


■ 

238 

11*2 


#■ 

2 

3 


• 

317 
208 


* 


! 


SDC 


225 


239 


59- 


523 


• 


1 
1 


Total 


365 


619 


64 . 


i,c48 


1,967 286 



ARVN 


66 


233 


15 ' 


314 


CG 


72 


156 


6 


23^ 


SDC 


272 


Mi 5 


71 


. 788 



1*10 



831* 



92 



ARVN 


ft 

50 


232 


• 1 


283 


CG ' 


• ' 50 


118 ' • 


r 


175 


SDC 


194 


268 


70 


532 



Total 



29^ 



6l8 



78 



Totals, ^19o2 4,1(17 7,195 ' '1,270 



Jan. 1963 

ARVN . 
CG 

SDC 

+ 

Total 



153 

83 

217 



1*53 



lt32 
152 

324 

1 

9Q3 



10 
12 
80 



595 

21(7 

621 



102 



* • * 



SECRET/NO FOREIGN .DISS3M 



v»OC 



* 



Total 



1,066 2,271 367 669 3,307 



. 358 
150 
6l6 



l,l2l( . 2,218 365 hh6 . 3,029 



373 2,626 



1,336 1,982 368 561 2,913 



990 2,203 289 1(63 " 2,95! 
12,882 21,158 U,235 5,700 ' 31, C9." 



1,^63 . 1,754 318 379 2,45 



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



/$7 



Feb. JL9b3 







• k 




ARVi 


ff 




CG 






SDC 


M 




4 


Total 


i\ 


RVN 
CG 


♦ 

l-ferch 1963 








SDC 






• 


Total 




• 


April 19o3 




ftHVH 




CG 






SDC 


■ 




* 
> 


Total 

1 



KXA 

82 

87 
210 

379 

* 

75 
161 

Ilk 



4J.U 

* 

192 

91 
223 

Tor 



-■ 9 - 

Casualties (continued) 
GVn' 



225 

139 

293 
oT6~ 

* . 

306 

259 
286 

851 

•352 
136 
390 



WXAi Cap/M iss. Total KIA 



6 

10 

66 
"62" 

11 

51 
"55 

15 
13 

68 
9*6* 



312 
236 

_569 
l,llf 

385 

U31 

511 

l,32f 

559 

25 
681 

l,58o 



Total 



55: 




viet Cong 



WJA 



Cap. 



Total 



. 



l708)| 303 ' 292 l7oT9 



1,553 3o8 205 2,016 



1,6*60 25B" ' 388 2,30't 



iT^TS" 



ii§95 2~9T *6~95 *2 , 85$ . 



'£, 



June 19&3 



* n VH 



SDC 



Total 



July 1963 



ARVN 

CG 

SDC 



Total 



August 1963 



ARVN 
• CG 

: SDC .. 

Total 



Sept. 18, 1963 



ARVN 

CG 

SDC 






Total 

;als. 1963* 



99 

89 
201 

389 



m. r . 



178 
103 

258 



92 

6Q 
150 
310 



83 

101 
3,756 



256 
158 
358 
772 



1*76 
198 
397 



529 1,071 



313 

105 

218 

65 



2 

6 
82 
•90" 



23 

51 
232 

3C5 



1U 

151 
179 



. 357 

■ 253 
_65l 

1,251 



677 
352 

877 



•1,906 



* *». - 



■186 

__519 
1,125" 



251 2 336 

221 8fc 5 Co 

211 JS6_ _U8_ 

T83 172 1,190 

EEI CT57 12 ; 27o» 



57862 310 537 .2,609 



* B. 



1,918 372 3"87 2,6Tf 



, 



275$7 *"2Co' 5T6~" 2,069 



I72F9 101 329 

2,529 '3,523" 



iii^a 



2C.3fe9 



*These figures do not induce G V I'l casit&lties for other paramilitary forces, --.'hich 
• are Incomplete but which in August and September 19o3 totalled 571. 



SECRKT/NO EORKIQN MESSEM 

•~i P, 7" 



VfiS 



• 



1. 
t 



;{ 



l 



* 

* 









i » 



Declassified per Executive Order 13526, Section 33 
NND Project Number: NND 63316. By: NWD Date: 201 1 



.~ , 



19&- 



Total 



Vict Cone; 

2,753 ' 



"1962 


• 


Jan. - Apr. 


1,202 


May - Aug, 


1,526 


Sept, - Dec. 


1,806 


Total 


• M3 1 ? 


1963 


■m 


January 


683 


February 


399 


torch 


367 


April 


■ A68 


Kay 


5& 


June 


39^ 


July 


37 1 * 


August 


371 


Sept. l8 


335 



3,955 



secrht/no foreign dissem 



- 10 - 



3-. WEAPOK LOSSES* 



GVN 



5,982 



■ » 



1,777 


1,88>+ 


Jj£$ 


5,195 


*157 


253 


h6l 


191 


k63 


■ 580 


■ 663 


y 55U 


6UU 



It, 878 



■ 

*Kany VC weapons lost are of the homerra&e variety. 



.1 



/ 



• 
■ 



• 



1*. VXBT CONG DEFECTIONS** 



- 
i 

i 



1 



- 



. 



1962 


1,956 


1963 


* 


January 


• 168 


February 


2*15 


l&rch 


39^ 


April 


371 


May 




June 


39H 


July 


303 


August 


191 


Sept. 18 


107 



Total 



2,592 



" 



It 



II 



**This do-^s not include "defectors coming* in under the "Chieu Hoi" or 
amnesty progr&ni* .. , * 



■ • * 



SECR5t/':0 FOPETQI-: pispem 



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



SECIST/iTO FOREIGN DISSEM 



- 11 - 



III* DSSERTIOKS IK TIE SOUTH VIESEM-ESE MILITARY AED SECURITY SERVICES* 



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■ 



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■ 

I 



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c 



VI 






! 

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J 



: 






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' 



! 



Date 



19o2 



January 
February 
Karch 
April 

tear 

June 

July 

August 

September 

October 

Koveiober 

December 

Total 

1963* 
■ ■ ■ ■ 

. January 
February 
terch 
April 
Kay 
June 
July 
Augus 



4. 



J'otal 



RVfiAF** 



933 
If83 

.1,168 

1,273 

1,3^ 
1,160 

855 
867 
629 

767 

8^7 

§77 

11,203 



865 

723 
656 

853 

999 

877 
686 

830 



Civil Guard 
and Sc-lf 
Defense Corp 






• 



6,^89 



1,553 
1,032 

2,110 

1,057 
1,638 

1,997 
2,105 

1,269 
1,505 

1,7H 
1,270 

1 ^ ■ 1 ■■■■ - i\ \ m 

* 

18,721 



l,8lU 

1,389 
2,260 

2,018 
2,165 

2,289 
2,501 

m hi ■* ■ - - * 

15,877 



- Total 



■ . 2, If 86 

1,565 
3,278 

2,697 

2, If 01 

2,793 
2,852 

2,972 
1,898 
2,272. 

2,558 

29, 92^ 



2,679 

2,122 

2,916 
2,871 

3,l6H 
2,318 

2,975 
3,331 

22,376 



Percent of Combined 
' Strength of KVflAF, 
Civil Guard , Self 

Defense Corps*-** 



.8 • 

.5 

1.0 

.8 

.7 " 
.8 

.8 • 
.8 . 

:I 

.7 

. .6 

Average : . 7 



.7 

.5 

■ .7 

.7 
.8 

.6 

.7 

.8 j 

Average:. ,7 






I 



: 






* *From January 19^2 through lay 19o3> the above statistics include, in addition, 
- : - to. deserters all other persons vho have been absent without official *ave * 
( ,: avol") for any length of tirre or for any reason. The statistics have not 
been adjusted to take into account those persons vho returned to duty. 
From June through August 19o3> the statistics consist entirely of do sorters 
'and exclude tr avols, n but still have not been adjusted to account for returnees 1 
**Army, Kavy, R&xdtaes* and Airforce. , [ 

**-*Fro;a January through December 19o2, the combined strength of these services 
increased front 315, ^ to 390,220. From January through Au-ust 19S3, the 
increase was from 392^60 to kCh, r (§9. * , ' ^ - , 

SECFST/KO FOSEIGSf DISSEM • • ■ 

* * . 

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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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SAIGON 196U, 25 Oct. 63 



FROM LODGE TO McG. BUKDY 



1, I appreciate the concern expressed by you in ref. a relative 
to the Gen. Don/ Conein relationship , and also the present lack of firm 
intelligence on the details of the general's plot. I hope that ref. b will 
assist in clearing up some of the doubts relative to general's plans, 

and I am hopeful that the detailed plans promised for two days before 
the coup attempt will clear up any remaining doubts. 

2. CAS has been punctilious in carrying out my instructions. I 
have personally approved each meeting between Gen. Don and Conein 

v/ho has carried out my orders in each instance explicitly. While I 
share your concern about the continued involvement of Conein in this 
matter, a suitable substitute for Conein as the principal contact is not 
presently available. Conein, as you know, is a friend of some eighteen 
years' standing with Gen. Don, and General Don has expressed extreme 
reluctance to deal with anyone else. I do not believe the involvement of 
another American in close contact with the generals would be productive. 
We are, however, considering the feasibility of a plan for the introduction 
of an additional officer as a cut-out between Conein and a designee of 
Gen. Don for communication ptirposes only. This officer is completely 
unwitting of any details of past or present coup activities and will remain 
so, 

3» With reference to Gen. Harkins ' comment to Gen. Don which 
Don reports to have referred to a presidential directive and the proposal 
for a meeting with me, this may have served the useful purpose of 
allaying the General's fears as to our interest. If this were a provocation 
the GVN could have assumed and manufactured any variations of the 
same theme. As a precautionary measure, however, I of course refused 
to see Gen. Don. As to the lack of information as to General Don's real 
backing, and the lack of evidence that any real capabilities for action 
have been developed, ref. b provides only part of the answer. I feel 
sure that the reluctance of the generals to provide the U.S. with full 
details of their plans at this time, is a reflection of their own sense of 
security and a lack of confidence that in the large American community 
present in Saijon their plans will not be prematurely revealed. 

if. The best evidence available to the Embassy, which I grant you 
is not as complete as we would like it, is that Gen. Don and the other 
generals involved with him are seriously attempting to effect a change 
in the government. I do not believe that this is a provocation by 
Ngo Dinh Hhu, although we shall continue to assess the planning as well 
as possible. In the event that the coup aborts, or in the event that Khu 
has mastermined a provocation, I believe that our involvement to date 
through Conein is still within the realm of plausible denial. CAS is 



590 



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



19/ 



SAIGON 1964 (Coii't) Page 2 



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oerfectly prepared to have me disavow Conein at any time it may servo 
the national interest. 

5. I welcome your reaffirming instructions contained in CAS 
Washington 7422S. It is viral thzt we neither thwart a co-oo nor that \yq 
are even in a position where we do not know what is going on. 

6. "We should not thwart a coup for two reasons. First, it s&cms 
at least an even bet that the next government would not bangle and 
stumble as much as the present one has. Secondly, it is extremely 
unwise in th<^ long range tor us to pour cold water on attempts at a 
coup, particularly when they are just in their beginning stages. 

\V\ .should remember that this is the only way in which the people in 
Vietne.m can possibly get a change of government. Whenever we thv. ur: 
attempts at a coup, as we have done in the past, we are incurring very 
Ion** lasting resentments, we are assuming an undue responsibility for 
keeping the incumbents in office, and in general are setting ourselves 
in judgment over the affairs of Vietnam, Merely to keep in touch with 
this situation, and a policy merely limited to "not thwarting" are courses 
both of which entail some risZcs but these are lesser risks than either 
thwarting ail coups while they are stillborn or our not being informed cl 
what is happening. All the above is totally distinct from not wanting , 
U.S. military advisors to be distracted by matters which are not in 
their domain, with which! heartily a.gree'. But obviously this does net 
conflict with a policy of not thwarting. In judging propose:, coups, we 
must consider the' effect on the war effort* Certainly a succession of 
fights for control of the Government of Vietnam, .would interfere with the 
war effort. It must also be said that the war effort ha. s been interfered 
with already by the incompetence of the present government and the 
uproar which this has caused. . ;-, 

7. Gen. Don's intention to have no religious discrimination in a 

■ 

future government is commendable and I applaud his desire not to be 
"a vassal" of the U.S. Hut I do not think his promise of a democratic 
election is realistic. This country simply is not ready for that procedure. 
I would ^.dd two other requirements. First, that there be no wholesale 
curves of personnel in the government. Individuals who were particularly 
reprehensible could be dealt with later by the regular legal process. Then 
I would be impractical, but I am. thinking of a government which might 
include Tri Quang and which certainly should include- men of the stature * 
of Mr. 3uu, the labor leader.. , ■ ' 

• Copy to Gen. Harkins. / * . • 



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Declassified per Executive Order 13526, Section 3-3 
NND Project Number: NND 63316. By: NWD Date: 20 1 I 



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KcGeorge Buftdy to Lou& 



25 Oct 63 






£"~. 



A? 63590 



Your 1964 mcrri helpful. 



* 



* - 



We vill continue to "be grateful for all additions! Information 
Sivins Increaaed clarity to 1 prospects of action "by Bon or others, and 
ve look forward to discussing T .ri th 3^ou the irhole question of control ex& cut 
out on your return 3 always assuirdns that one of thece D-Days doe.?> not turn 
out to be Veal- we are particularly concerned about hazard that &*&. 
unsuccessful coup, however carefully we avoid direct en^ajerr.e-nt/ v.dll he 
laid at our door by public opinion almost everywhere . 'therefore, while 
sharing your view that ve should not be In position of thwartir.g coup, 
v vould like to have option of judging and warning on any. plan, with poor 
pre ;pocts of success. He recognize that this is a large order ; but 
President wants you to knew of our concern. 



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Declassified per Executive Order 13526, Section 3.3 
NND Project Number: NND 633 16. By: NWD Date: 201 1 






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s ( 30 Oct 1963 












■ 



1 1 • 



» 



PROM: JfdSSGRGS HJNDY 
TO : L03GS 
CAS 79109 



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* * 



S 






"l. Your 2023, 2C&0, 20^1 and 20*1 3 examined with care at highest 
levels here. You should promptly discuss this reply and associated 
messages with Berlins whose responsibilities toward any coup arc very 
heavy especially after you leave (see para* 7 below). They give much 
clearer picture group's alleged plans and also indicate chances of 
action with or without our approval new so significant that we should 
urgently consider our attitude and contingency plans. We note parti- 
cularly Don's curiosity your departure and his Insistence Conein he 
available from Wednesday night on, which suggests -date might he as early 

as Thursday. " 

2. Believe our attitude to coup group" can still have decisive 
effect on its decisions, We believe that 'what we say to coup group car! 
produce delay of coup and that betrayal of coup plans to Diem is not 
repeat not our only way of stopping coup. We therefore need urgently 
your combined assessment with Harkins and CAS (including their separate 
coznents if they desire). We concerned that our line-up of forces in 
Saigon (being cabled in ne:cb message) indicates appro:-: Ii:ately equal 
balance of forces, with substantial possibility serious and prolonged 
fighting or even defeat. Either of these "could be serious or even 
disastrous -for u.S« interests, so that we nust have assurance balance of 
forces clearly .favorable. 1 

3. With your assessment in hand/ we nighty feel that we should con- 
vey message to Bon # whether or not he gives k or k& hours notice that woul 
(A) continue escplicit hands-eff policy, (3) positively entourage coup, or 

(c) discourage. - ■• 

lv. In any case, believe Conein should find earliest opportunity 
express to Son that we do not find presently revealed plans give clear 
prospect of cuick results. This conversation should call- attention 
iiraortant Saigon units sti 11. apparently Idyal to Diem and raise serious 
issue as to what neans coup group has to deal with then. . 

5, From operational standpoint, we also deeply, concerned Don only 
s"ookesr;.an for group and possibility cannot be discounted he Stay not be in 
good faith. We badly need some corroborative evidence whether Mifeh and 
others directly and completely Involved. In view Don's claim he doesn't 
handle ''military planning" could not. Conein tell Don that we need better 
military picture &rA that Big Minh cculd boT^unicate this most naturally 
and easily to Srillwell? ^We -recognize desirability involving ¥ACV to 
minimum, but believe Stillwell far hiore. desirable this purpose than using 
Conein both ways. • . ' :""*■** 



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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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* * 






x 



6. Complexity above actions raises question "hither you should 
ire to present Thursday schedule- Colour you c.:~d other U.S. elements 
should take no action that could indicate 11*3. awareness coup possi- 
bility, Eo T /rever ; DOD is sending berth- equipped military aircraft th&t 
will arrive Saigon Thursday and could tskd you out thereafter az l&tcj _ 
Saturday afternoon in time to ir.eet your presently proposed arrival 
Washington Sunday.. You could explain this being done as convenience 
and that your Washington arrival is se/.ie. A further advantage such air- 
craft is that it would permit your prcirvpt return. from any poinu en" rouvc 
it necessary* To reduce time in transit; you sho\u.d use this plane, out 
we recognize delaying your departure may involve greater risk that you 
XJersonally would appear involved if any action -tool: place. Kowevar, 
advantages vour having extra two days in Saigon may outweigh this and we 



leave timing of flight to your juagnieni:, . • x 

7, Whether you leave Thursday or later, believe it essential that 
prior your departure there "be fullest consultation Harkins and CAS and thsrc 
there "be clear arrangements for handling (A), normal activity, (3) continued 
coup contacts, (c) action 'in event a coup starts. ¥e assusie you will vish 
•I'ruehart as charge to be head of country tean in nor.r.al situation, "but 
highest authority desires it clearly understood thau after your departure 
Earkins should participate in supervision- of all coup contacts and that 
in event a coup begins^ he. become head of country team and direct repre- 
sentative, of President, with Truehart in effect acting as PGLAD. On coup 
contacts we will maintain continuous guidance and will expect equally con- 
tinuous reporting with prcr:rot account of any important divergences in 
assessments of Barkins and Snith. - ' . .. . 

8- If coup should start, question of protecting U*S* nationals at 
once arises* We can move Marine Battalion into Saigon hy air from 

Okinawa within 2^ hours if available. We are sending 

instructions to C1KCPAC to arrange orderly novenenu of seaborne Marine 
Battalion to waters adjacent to South Vietnasie in position .to close Saigcn 
Within a-o-oro:-: irately 2k hours, \ . \ ■ 

9* 5?3 are now examining post-coup contingencies here^and request 
your imnediate recc^rieridations on position to be 'adopted after coup 
begins, especially with respect to requests for assistance of .different 
sorts fron one side or the other also request you forward contingency 
recommendations for action if coup (A) succeeds, (3) fails, (c) is 

indecisive. 

10. We reiterate burden of proof must be on coup group to show a 
substantial possibility of quick success; otherwise, we should discourage 
them, from proceeding since a miscalculation could result in jeopardizing 
U„S„ position in Southeast Asia* 



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Declassified per Executive Order 13526, Section 3.3 
NND Project Number: NMD 633 16, By: NWD Date: 201 1 



Hb 



TOP SZCRET 



30 OctOC :* 1953 



FROM: KarkinSj Saigon 

To: " Taylor, Washington, D. 

NR 202S 



C 












Your JCS 4183-63 arrived as I was in the process of drafting one for you a: or. 3 

the same lines. I share your concern, I have not as yet seen SAIGON* 768, I s. . 

to the Embassy for a copy at 0S30 this morning - as of now 1100 - the Embassy has 

not released it. Also CINCPAC 0-300040Z infor JCS came: as a surprise to me as I 

am unaware of any .change in local situation which indicates necessity for ac.lo.as 

directed. v Perhaps I f ll find the answer in SAIGON 76S. Or perhaps actions directed 

£n CINCPAC 300040 Z are precautionary in light of Gen. Don's statement report cl in 

CAS 1925 that a coup .would take place in any case.net later than 2 November. It rnigi 

be noted Don also is supposed to have said CAS SAIGON- 1956 - that though, the cc, 

committee would not release the details, the Ambassador would receive the complete 

plan for study two days prior to the scheduled times for the coup. 

I have not been informed by the Ambassador that; he has received any such plait**, 

I talked to hirn yesterday on my return from 3angkok and he offered no additional infc 

mation. Ke has agreed to keep me completely informed-.if anything new turns up. . 

Incidentally he leaves for Washington tomorrow (31st) afternoon. If the coup is 
to happen before the second he's hardly going to get two days notice. 

One thine I have found out, Don is eithe_r'Tyi^g -or playing both ends againsi the 
middle. What he told me is diametrically opposed to what he told Col. Coneim Hi :.-■ 
Conein the couo will be before November 2nd. He told me he \vas not planning a :c . p., 
I sat with Don and Big'Minh for 2 hours during the parade last Saturday. No one rr.er.- 

.tioned coups. To go on: * ' " _- - . * ■ . 

Both CAS SAIGON 1896 and "1925 were sent first and "delivered to me after cfispa^ 
Mv 1991 was discussed with the Ambassador prior to disp&tciu My 1993 was not, 
basically because I had not seem CAS SAIGON 1925 before dispacch and I just wante-r 
ze'C the record straight from my side'and where my name was involved. * \ 

The Ambassador and I are certainly in to'ueh.with each other but whether the gc: . 
tications between us are effective is something else.' I will say Cabot T s methods cf 
operations are entirely different from Amb Noltings as 'far as reporting in the military 

is concerned. ,* ■ 

' Fritz would always clear messages concerning the military with me or my star: 
prior to dispatch* So would John Richardson if MACV was concerned. This is not tix 
today. Cite CAS 1896 and 1925 for examples. Also you will recall I was not the 1 

recipient of several messages you held when you were here. 1 

CINCPAC brought this matter up again when I saw him in Bangkok* this past wee 
end. He is going to make a check, when he returns to see if he holds messages I have 
not received. Have just received SAI.GON 7oS* I will have to report you are correct 



w» 






in believing that she Ambassador is forwarding military reports and evaluations wiihou 
consulting me. For his weekly, report to the President, at his request, I furnish hint 
a short military statement. For preparation of 7oS I made no mention of the Delta* 
I will answer 76S separately today.* 



TOP.SEGR2T 



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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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TOP SECRET 

- 

There is a basic difference apparently between the Ambassadors 

* 

thinking and mine on the interpretation of the guidance contained in 
CAP 63560 dated 6 October and the additional thoughts, I repeat, 
thoughts expressed in CAS Washington 74228 dated J) October. I interpret 
CAP 63560 as our basic guidance and that CAS 74228 being additional 
thoughts did not change the, basic 'guidance in that no initiative should now 
be taken to give any active covert encouragement "to a coup. The 
Ambassador feels that 74228 does change 63560 and that a change of 
government is desired and feels as stated in CAS SAIGON 1964 that the 
only way to bring about such a change is by a coup. 

I'm not opposed to a change in government, no indeed, but I'm 
inclined to feel that at this time the change should be in methods of 
governing rather than complete change of personnel. I ha,ve seen no 
battin^ order proposed by any ox the coup groups, I think We should take 
a hard look at any proposed list before we make any decisions. In my 
contacts here I have seen no one with the- strength of character of Diem 3 
at least in fighting communists. Certainly there are no Generals qualifi* 
to take over in my opinion, 

I am not a Diem man per se. I certainly see the faults in his 
character. I am here to back 14$ million SVN people in their fight again, 
communism and it just happens that Diem is their leader at this time.- 
Most of the Generals I have talked to agree they can go along with Diem, 
all say its the Nhu family they are opposed to. 

Perhaps the pressures we have begun to apply will cause Die in and 
Nhu to change their ways- This is apparently not" evident as yet. I'm 
sure the pressures we have begun to apply if continued will affect the 1 war 
effort. To' date they have not. I am watching this closely and will report 

when I think they have. •■/...■ l' m ' 

I do not a^ree with the Ambassadors assessment in 768 thai: we are 
just holding our own. The GVN is a way ahead in the I, II and parts of 
the III corns -and making progress in the Delta. Nothing has happened in 
October to change the assessment you and Secretary McNamara made 
after your visit here. ' ^ . — ^ ~ -; \. 

I would suggest we hot try to change horses too quickly. Tha we 
continue to take persuasive actions that will make the horses change their 
course and methods of action. That we win the military effort as quickly 
as possible, then let them make any and all the changes they want. 

After all, rightly or wrongly, we have backed Diem for eight - 
lon<* hard years. To me it'seems incongruous now to get him down, kick 
him around and <*et rid of him. - The US has been his mother superior and 
father confessor since he's been in office and he has leaned on us heavily. 

Leaders of other under-developed countries will take a dim view 
of our assistance "if "they too were led to believe the same, fate lies in store 

for them.. .: - _ - - 






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NND Project Number: NND 63316. By: NWD Date: 201 1 











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. • ■ 3G1030Z October 1962 

FROM: General. Harkins, Saigon ",' 

TO: General Taylor, Washington ■ ..- 
NR: MAC 2033 

1. Admiral Felt not addee this message but will be provided copy upon 
his arrival Saigon tomorrow. ' ', 

'-V 2. I now hold copy of SAIGON 763 and this amplifies my MAC 2 ; 
which initially responded to your JCS 4183-63. 

3. SAIGON" 76S was Ambassador Lodge personal report to President 
in response to DEPTEL 576 which is possible explanation why I had not sesn. 






76S until one week after dispatch and only then when I requested a copy 
I might intelligently respond to your JCS 4188-63 which referred to 768. 

4. Upon receipt of DEPTEL 576 Ambassador Lodge requested that I 
/ provide him brief suggested inputs for responses to questions 1 and 2 (a) I 

of DEPTEL 576 in that they were principally military in nature. I have done 
this on weekly basis but have had no knowledge as to whether my suggested 
/ brief inputs were utilized in his persona,! report since as indicated afeot these 

were not opened to me. .' ■ 

5. My suggested brief inputs for para 1 which were provided Hie 
Ambassador for use as he saw fit in drafting his personal evaluations for 

\ . the past three weeks follow: ' . , • 

'16 OCT: On balance we are gaining in the contest with the VC. There 
will continue to be minor up s and downs but the general trend has been and 
t continues upward. ' . : j 

23 OCT: V/hile significant changes are, and will be, difficult to 
identify on a day to day or even weekly comparative basis as regards the 
contest with the Viet Cong, the general trend continues to be favorable. 
The tempo of RVN - initiated operations is increasing and recently £13 
tempo of VC - initiated activity has fallen off, 

30 OCT: No change from that previously reported. National day z:":VLrs 
this past week tended to bring about a slight reduction in the tempo p£ RVN 
initiated actions, however VC initiated actions also waned and on b lance 
the trend continues to be "favorable, . •- . . , 

6. My suggested brief inputs for paragraph. 2(a) which were provided 
the Ambassador for use as he saw fit in drafting his personal evaluations 
for the oast three weeks follow: - .... 

16 OCT: The government has responded at many points when we have 
cited need for improvement in the campaign against the VC (shift of 
boundaries; placement of VNSF activities in corps areas under OPCON ci 
corps comdr; reallocation of forces). Additionally .Gen Don a*td Gen' 
Stilwell ray G-3 have spent the last week in the conduct of a Corps by 
Corps assessment of the present situation with a view to s further desirable 
reallocation of forces. Based on their recommendations I will make further 
recommendations to Pres. Diem, (for inclusion in ANS to para 2(a) 
Ambassador was advised that US/GVN military relations remain good). 









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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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23 OCT: Resoonse received from the government iiv reaction to 
military areas where we have cited needed improvement has been favorabl/e 
in some areas, while in other areas no indication^! response has been 
received to date. In no case have they flatly resisted recommended 
improvements. Favorable indications are the commitment of nearly half 
of the general reserve to operations, plans for possible further redistribu- 
tion of forces, and a recognition of the requirement to effect consolidation 
in the strategic hamlet program. t ,., v - j ; 

■ » 

v 

30 OCT: No specific responses have been received from the govern- 
ment this past week in reaction to military areas where we have cited 
need for improvement. This is believed due in great part to their pre- 
occupation" with National* day affairs. - '.;:.' 

7 # Comparison of my 23 October suggested brief inputs quoted above 
with SAIGON 768 indicates Ambassador Lodge did not see fit to utilise my 
suggestions to any significant degree. It also apparent that upon further 
reflection Ambassador determined that more detailed response was 
required than he initially felt necessary when he requested brief inputs on 
principally military items. : 

8. I believe certain portions SAIGON 7^8 require specific comment. 

These follow: .. - — - '" ■" " 

Para F of answer to question 1 - View of Vice Pres The that there 
are onlv 15 to 20 all-around hamlets in the area south of Saigon which 
are really good is ridiculous and indicates need for him to gat cut of 
Saigon and visit countryside so as to really^know of -progress which Lj 
bein<* made In past two weeks I have visited nine Delta provinces, { 
Ninh, Binh Duong, Hau.Nghia, Long An, Kien Phong, Kien Hoa, An C 



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Phon^ Dinh, Chuong Thien) eight .ofjvvhich are south of Saigon, and I do not 
find the zrrovince chiefs or sector advisors J;o hold the same views as Vice 

Pres Tho. ". . > J 

Para H of answer to question 1 - I am unable to concur in statement 

that quote one cannot drive "as much around the country as one could two 

years a^o end of quote. I believe it will be some time before, if we ever 

do, experience mass surrenders of the VC." I am unable to concur in 

statement that VC is quote in fact, reckoned at a higher figure than iz v.-£,s 

two years ago end quote. I havfc not observed the signs thai hatred of the 

Government has tended to diminish the Army's vigor, enthusiasm and 

enterprise. I find it difficult to believe the few rumors one hears regarding 

Generals bein^ paid off with money and flashy cars". Most cars I see in 

use by Generals are same they have been using for past two years and few 

if any Qualify as flashy to my mind. I do not concur with the evaluation*. 

at the 14 October report of the Delta Subcommittee of the Committee >n 

Province Rehabilitation which states that the VC are gaining. Moreover I 



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take exception to the implication that the report represents official 
country team agency views and is consequently authoritative in the 
views it presents. Agency representatives on this sub-committee 
served as individuals in reporting to the COPROR Committee, inci- 
dentally there were wide divergencies even among sub- committee 
members. COPROR Committee received but did not place its stamp 
of approval or concurrence on report of its Sub- Committee. CO PRO R 
"Committee returned the report to its Sub-Committee for rework. Con- 
sequently this report has not as yet been submitted to country team 
nor has it been referred to individual country team agencies for review 
and /or comment. Any views quoted from this Sub- Committee report 
therefore have no rpt no validity as expressions of country team or 
individual agency views, ." . \ 

Para J of answer to question 1 - With regard *to the quote existing 
political control over troop movements, which prevents optimum use of • 
the Army ^nd quote, I do not deny that political influences enter into 
this picture however I feel we have made and ai*e making significant strides 
in this area and do not concur that time is not working for us - so long as 
political controls remain as at present. ^ y ' 

Para J of anser to question- 1 - As indicated in paras 5 and 6 above 
and in other reports I have filed my evaluation is that from the military 
point of view the tread is definitely in RVN favor consequently I cannot 
concur that quote we at present are not doing much more than holding 
our own end quote. \ 

Answer under (a) to question 2-1 am correctly quoted here bui 
para 6 above gives fall context of my suggested input. 

Answer under (c) to question 2 - As indicated para 6 above 
Ambassador was advised that US'/GVN* military relations remain good. 



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eo.^/s success and -this estimate elu§o color ou 

not" think we have the power to delay or discourage a coup. Dor; has 
made it clear many times that this is a Vietnamese affair. It is 
theoretically possible for us to turn ever the information which has 
been given to us in confidence to Dien and this would undoubtedly stop 
the coup and would asafte traitors out of us. For practical purposes 
therefore I would say that we have very little influence on what is 
essentially a Vietnamese affair. In addition, this would place the 
heads of the Generals, their civilian supporters, and lower military 
officers on the spot, thereby sacrificing .a significant portion of the 
civilian and military leadership needed to carry the war against the 
VC to its successful conclusion After our efforts not to discouraga 
a coup and this change of heart, we would, foreclose any possibility 
of change of the C-VIJ for the better. Dieaa/Khu have displayed no 
intentions to date of a desire to change the traditional Methods of control 
through police action or take any repeat any actions which would uK&0?:v"-iTte 
the power position or solidarity of the Kjgo family, This, despite our 
heavy "pressures directed DEPIEL 53^ ■ If our &tte:.vot to thwart this c ._> 
were successful, which we doubt, it is our fir^i estimate "that ycunger 
officers 3 small groups of military, would then engage in* an abortive action 
creating chaos ideally suited to VC objectives. , ! 

2. While we will attempt a combined assessment in a following message,- 
time has not yet perasitted substantive examination of this matter with 
General Earkins. 2fy general view is that the U.S, is trying to bring this 
medieval country into the 20th Century and that we have made considerable 
progress in military and economic ways but to gain victory we must also 
bring then into the 20th Centu?.y politically and that can only be done oy 
either a thoroughgoing change in the behavior of the present government 

or by another government. The Viet Cong -problem is partly military :uu it 
is also partly psychological and political. 

3. .With respect to paragraph 3 Hef., I believe' that we should 
continue our present position of keeping hands off but continue to monitor 
and press for more detailed information. CAS has seen analyzing po .r.tlal 
couo forces for some time and it is their estimate that the Generals have 
probably figured their chances pretty closely and probably also expect 
that once they begin to- move, not only planned units, but other units will 



join them. We believe that Vietnam's best Generals are involved in 






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direct ing this effort. If they can't pull it off- it is doubtful 
other military leadership could do so successfully* It is understand- 
able that the Generals would "be reticent to reveal full details of th 
plan for fear of leaks to the GVDI. ^ ■ • 

km ' Be para- k, Ref*, we expect thst-Conein will meet Don on the 
night of 30 Oct or early morning 31 Oct- We "agree *rith Para. k } Kef., 
that we snould continue to press for details and question Don as to hi, 
estimate of the relative strengths of opposing forces. We do not 
believe, however, that we \ should show zrrr si^nc of attempting to direct 
this affair our selves or of giving the impression of second, thoughts on 
this Vietnamese initiation. In the meantime, we will respond speci- 
fically to CAS Washington 79126. Please note that CAS Sr-igon 2059 
corrects CAS Saigon 2023 and tab regiments of the 7th Division are in- 
cluded in the coup forces. 

• 5. Apparently Para. 5, Hef ., overlooks CAS 1^5* 5 Oct 1903 
which gave an account of the face to face meeting of General rr B: 
and Conein at Minh's instigation and through the specific arranger fient of 
Gen Don. Xinh specifically identified Gen Don as participating in a plan 
to change the government. Please note that Minh : s rem* trks parallel in 
every way the later statements of Gen. Don. ffes believe that the limita- 
tion of contact to Don and Cein is an appropriate security measure 
consonant with our urging that the smallest number of persons be aware 
of these details, . 

6. tfe do not believe it vise to ark that "Big Mir.h" pass his pi 2 
to Gen. Stilvell* The Vietnamese believe that there are naaabeJPS of th3 
U*S. military who leak to the Government of Vietnam. I do not doubt thav 
this 'is an unjust suspicion but it is a fact that this suspicion exists 
and there is no use in pretending that it does not. 

J. I much appreciate your furnishing the berth- equipped military 

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aircraft which I trust is a jet. I intend to tell Pan American tha 
jet has been diverted for my use and therefore I "will no longer need 
their services, this will undoubtedly leak to the newspapers and the 
GVN may study this move with some - suspicion. I will answer any inquiries 
on this score to the effect that I -am most pleased by this attention end 
that this is obviously done as a* measure to insure my comfort and save my 
time. .Do allay suspicions further 7 I will offer space on the aircraft 
to MACV for emergency leave cases, etcV, and handle this in as routine 
fashion as possible. I wish to reserve comment as to my actual time of 
departure until I have some additional information, hopefully tomorrow. 






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8, Your para, 7- scsaettfrai pcrpj 3 ne* It does not s-em sensibi 
to have the military in charge of a m 2r which Is so profoundly r>; 
tical as a change of government. In fact, I would say to do this "/.: 
probably be the end of any hope for a change of government here. Thi..-. 
is said impersonally as a general proposition, since Con* Earkins i. u 
splendid General and ari o],d friend of mine to who&"2 would gladly en- 
trust anything I have. I assume that the Embassy and KACV are tijio - 
handle normal activities under A, that CAS can continue coup con:, a:- ts 
under 3, and as regards C, we nust simply do the very best ve can xn the 
light of events after the coup has started. j 

9- We appreciate the steps taken as outlined in para. 8. "cv;evjr ; 
we should remember that the CPTK is not totally inept in its foreign 
soundings and that these moves should be as discreet and security con- 
scious as possible. I would, of course, call for these forces only in 
case of extreme necessity since my hope coincides "frith the Generals that 
this will be an all- Vietnamese affair* " -- 

10. We anticipate that at the. out set of the coup, unless it ncv::; 
with lightning shrift ness, the GYN will request me or Gfen. Karkins to use 
our influence to call it off. I believe our responsibilities should be 

■ that our influence certainly could not be superior to that of the 
President who is Commander- in- Chief and that if he is unable to call it 
off , we would certainly be unable to do so and would merely be risking 
American lives attempting to interfere in this Vietnamese problem, She 
Government might request aircraft. Helicopters., :Tor the evacuation of 
key personalities that would have to be studied closely,, but we would 
certainly not commit our planes and pilots between the battle lines of 
the opposing forces. We should, rather, state that we would "be willing 
to act in this fashion during a truce in which both sides agree to t!*b 
removal of key personalities. 1 believe that th-re would be tomsdij 
political problems in attempting to take these personalities to snot;: _-.■ 
neighboring country and probably we would be best served in deposit:, v.; 
them in Saip-an where the absence of press, cossm^ications, etc., wovi.. 

• allow us some leeway to make a further decision as to their ultimate! 
disposition. If senior Vietnamese personalities and their families sre- 
guested asylum in the Embassy or other American installations, ve ve ; " 

■ probably have to grant it in light of our previous action with resp -\ 
to Tri Quang. This will undoubtedly present latei; problems but hop^fvlly 
the new government might feel disposed to help us solve this problem". 
Naturally, asylum would be granted on the same basis as the Buddhists, 
i.e., ph.ysi.cal presence at the Embassy or other location. 



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11- As to requests from the Cenersls, they raay well have need ' . 
of funds at the last moment with which to ovy off potential opposition. 
To the extent that these funds can be passed discreetly , I "believe We 
should furnish thesij provided we* are convinced that the rjroposed coup 
is sufficiently Well organised to have a good chance of success* If 'they 
are successful, they will undoubtedly ask for prompt recognition and 
some assurance that military and economic aid wil l continue at cor&ai 
level- We should be prepared to make these statements if the issue is 
clear-cut predicating our position on the President's stated desi 
continue the War against the VC to final victory, VOA might be an 



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important means of disseminating this message. Should th 
we will have to pick up the pieces as best we can at that t2ae» We have 
a ccesmitment to the Generals from the August* episode to attempt to help 
■in the evacuation of their dependents- We should try to live up to this 
if conditions will permit. American complicity wiH undoubtedly be 
charged and there might be some acts taken against specific personalities 
which we should anticipate and siake provision against as best we can. 
Should the coup prove indecisive and "a protracted struggle is in progress, 
we should probably offer our good offices to help resolve the issue in -;ke 
interest of the war against the VC* This might hold some benefit in 
terms of concessions by Stflf* We will naturally incur some opprobrium 
from both sides in our role as mediator- - However } this opprobrium WG&1& 
■probably be less distasteful than a deadlock which would open the door, 
to the VC. We consider such a deadlock as the least likely possibility 

of the three- , * 

12. As regards your para- 10, I do net know what acre proof can be 

offered than the fact these men are obviously prepared to risk their 
lives and that they want nothing for themselves* If I am any Judge of 
human nature, Don's face expressed of sincerity and determination ori *;k: 
rn.orr.ino" that I spoke to him. Heartily agree that a miscalculation could 
jewirdize position in Southeast Asia* We also run tremendous riks 'h'j 

doing nothing. 

If we were convinced that the coup was going to fail, we would, cf 
course, do everything we could to stop it. 

13. Gen. Harkins has read this and does not concur. 



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FROM BUNBY TO LODGE 



1. Our reading your thoughtful 2063 leads us to believe a significant 
difference of shading may exist on one crucial point (see next para.) and on 
one or two lesser matters easily clarified. 

2. We do not accept as a basis for U.S. policy that we have no power 
to delay or discourage a coup. In your paragraph 12 you say that if you were 
convinced that the coup was going to fail you would of course do everything 
you could to stop it. We believe that on this same basis you should take 
action to persuade coup leaders to stop or delay any operation which, in your 
best judgment , does not clearly give high prospect of success. We have not 
considered any betrayal of generals to Diem, and our 79109 explicitly reject 
that course. We recognize the danger of appearing hostile to generals, but 
we believe that our own position should be on as firm ground as possible, 
hence we cannot limit ourselves to proposition implied in your message that 
only conviction of certain failure justifies intervention. We believe that 
your standard for intervention should be that stated above. 

3. Therefore, if you should conclude that there is not clearly a high 
propsect of success, you should communicate this doubt to generals in a way 
calculated to persuade them to desist at least until chances are better. In 
such a communication you should use the weight of U.S. best advice and 
explicity reject any implication that we oppose the effort of the generals 
because of preference for present regime. We recognize need to bear in mind 
general's interpretation of U.S. role in i960 coup attempt, and your agent 
should maintain clear distinction between strong and honest advice given as a 
friend and any opposition to their objectives. t 

k. We continue to be deeply interested in up-to-the-minute assesment of 
prospects and are sending this before reply to our CAS 79126. We want con- 
tinuous exchange latest assessments on this topic. 

5. To clarify our intent, paragraph 7 of our 79109 is rescinded and we 
restate our desires as follows: 

a. While you are in Saigon you will be Chief of Country Team in all. 
circumstances and our only instruction is that we are sure it will help to 
have Harkins fully informed at all stages and to use advice from both him and 
Smith in framing guidance for coup contacts and assessment. We contir: s to 

be concerned that neither Conein nor any other reporting source is getting the 
clarity we would like with respect to alienment of forces and level of determi- 
nation among generals. 

b. When you leave Saigon and before there is a coup, Trueha j will 
be Chief of the Country Team. Our only modification of existing procedures 

is that in this circumstance we wish all instruction to Conein to be conducted 
in immediate consultation with Harkins and Smith so that all three kndw what is 
sold in Conein. Any disagreement among the three on such instruction should 
be reported to Washington and held for our resolution, * when time permits. 

c. If you have left and a coup occurs, we believe that emergency 
situation requires, pending your return, that direction of country team be 
vested in most senior officer with experience of military decisions, and the 
officer in our view is Harkins- We do 'not intend that this switch in final 
responsibility should be publicized in any way, and Harkins will of course 
be guided in basic posture by our instructions, which follow in paragraph 6. 



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we do not believe that this switch will have the effect suggested in your 

paragraph 8. * 

6- This paragraph contains our present standing instructions for U.S. 

posture in the event of a coup. 

a. U.S. authorities will reject appeals foi^ direct intervention 
from either side, and U.S. -controlled aircraft and other resources will not 
be committed between the battle lines or in support of either side, without 
authorization from Washington. 

b. In event of indecisive contest, U.S. authorities may in their 
discretion agree to perform any acts agreeable to both sides, such as removal 
of key personalties or relay of information. In such actions, however, U.S. 
authorities will strenuously avoid appearance of pressure on either side. It 
is not in the interest of USG to be or appear to be either instrument of exist- 
ing government or instrument of coup. 

c. In the event of imminent or actual failure of coup, U.S. authori- 
ties may afford asylum in their discretion to those to whom there is any 
express or implied obligation of this sort. We believe however that in such 

a case it would be in our interest and probably in interest of those seeking 
asylum that they seek protection of other Embassies in addition to our own. 
This point should be made strongly if need arises. 

d. But once a coup under responsible leadership has begun, and 
within these restrictions, it is in the interest of the U.S. Government that 

it should succeed. 

7. We have your message about return to Washington and we suggest that 
all public comment be kept as low-key and quiet as possible, and we also 
urge that if possible you keep open the exact time of your departure. We 
are strongly sensitive to great disadvantage of having you out of Saigon if 
this should turn out to be a week of decision, and if it can be avoided we 
would prefer not to see you pinned to a fixed hour of departure now. 



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