292. Telegram From the Ambassador in Vietnam (Reinhardt) to the Department of State1
Saigon, January 25, 1956—7 p.m.
2995. Re: Deptel 2503.2
- Following are Embassy comments, from political viewpoint, on
possibilities suggested by Department. This message has not been
coordinated with MAAG.
- Civilian personnel. No objection introduction additional US civilian personnel. However if such personnel subject military law ICC would presumably consider their entry in same terms as entry military personnel. ICC position on this point taken August 25 (Deptel 18803) but we believe it might be subject revision and suggest Department may wish sound out Canadians and UK on possibility. Pertinent to note that entry into North Vietnam of Chinese and satellite civilian technicians and advisors (of which ICC is of course aware) has not become an issue.
- Military in civilian status would be obviously less desirable than civilians since there would always be possibility their military connection would become known and subject of complaint.
- Contracts with business firms for MDAP redistribution assistance would present no apparent problems. However, we believe US should continue to insist French furnish adequate elements to meet their commitments toward US with respect MDAP turnovers.
- FEC elements attached to MAAG. Considered probable Vietnamese and US military would be reluctant to go along with such procedure. French would probably also be reluctant unless this part of arrangement for French military mission.
- Attaching additional French to TRIM would not be politically desirable in view of Vietnamese distrust of French and distaste of Vietnamese troops for French instructors. Trend is in opposite direction and we understand Chief MAAG favors further reduction, specifically with respect to French TRIM field advisors.
- Theoretical excess of MAAG ceiling. Current MAAG personnel practices allow for such excess which we consider reasonable and doubt ICC would view as violation Geneva Agreement.
- We now have no suggestions other than methods considered above.