22. Memorandum for the Record by Colonel Robert F. Evans, Assistant to the Director, Far East Region, Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs1



  • Aircraft to Replace Vietnamese F8Fs2

Reference is made to telegram, Def 944295, dated 032122Z Jul 58,3 which states that Navy would investigate availability of ADs for substitution for F8Fs. Captain Weinel reported this date there would be plenty of ADs available, both aircraft and spares, for at least the next five years. He pointed out that the AD is still in production, that the AD4 is now surplus but that the AD 5, 6, & 7 would be “coming up”.

During the discussion Captain Weinel, who is a Naval aviator and has had much experience with the AD, pointed out that [in?] a comparison with the T–33, the AD is far more appropriate for the Vietnamese mission. A much slower plane, cruising at about 280, it has a greater fuel capacity and is capable of staying in the air for ten hours. It has a great deal more maneuverability, can carry all types of weapons, including a small atomic bomb, has minimum maintenance, and requires little more field length than does the current F8F. Compared with the F8F, which is no longer available, it has a slightly greater initial cost, about the same speed, a greater fuel capacity, somewhat less maneuverability, but much greater weaponry. It has less maintenance than the F8F and a great deal more versatility.

It is appropriate to note that as a support weapon against a possible invasion of the Vietnamese from the north, the AD would be superior to both the F8F and the T–33 in that it would be able to stay in the air, find targets, and give close ground support to the Vietnamese ground forces. It is a good observation plane and can be, used as a photographic plane.

It would appear to the undersigned that the similarity with characteristics of the F8F, which is no longer available, would make it permissible to substitute it for the F8F without violating the spirit of the Geneva Accords. These Accords provide for the substitution of like weapons of similar characteristics when current weapons are no [Page 64] longer available. The same cannot be said for the substitution of the T–33 for the F8F. Discussion with Mr. Mendenhall of State indicates that State would not consider the substitution of jets for prop planes as conforming with the Geneva Accords. Mr. Mendenhall stated that he would query the U.S. Ambassador to Viet-Nam on this matter.4

Robert F. Evans
  1. Source: Department of State, Vietnam Working Group Files: Lot 66 D 193, Jet Aircraft. Secret.
  2. In telegram 020311Z July 58, CINCPAC to OSD/ISA, July 2, CINCPAC proposed that Vietnam’s F/RF8F prop aircraft be replaced by 25 T/RT–33 jet aircraft. (Ibid.)
  3. Not printed. (Ibid.)
  4. See Document 25.