330. Telegram From the Department of State to the Embassy in Laos1

1582. State–DOD message. CINCPAC’s 282200Z January.2

We have been considering what role Army might most usefully play in forthcoming elections. Following is our tentative thinking on which we would like your comments: a) Army’s efforts could best be directed toward creating an environment of security permitting holding free and peaceful elections and of goodwill among people toward RLG. b) In so doing Army would be well advised stay aloof from becoming directly involved in elections and above all abstain from strong-arm tactics and similar activities. Such would be start toward long-term security objective and might give FAL officers goal and purpose in line their real missions.
CINCPAC comments as expressed reftel on six-man teams fully concurred in. Feel CINCPAC thoughts on six-man teams should apply equally to P&I unit operations. In this connection persistent rumors received here since September indicate beneficial effects of six-man teams and P&I operations may in some areas be largely offset by high-handed [Page 741] conduct on part Army. Therefore feel extended effort need be made to indoctrinate Army personnel in necessity and means of maintaining proper relations with civilian communities.
We are wondering therefore whether short, simple, and intense program could not be undertaken possibly using six-man rural security teams and P&I company personnel to indoctrinate volunteer battalions which are understood to be deployed in all Muongs and are primarily responsible for internal security their area. Type training indoctrination visualized is basic and simple and would consist demonstrations, skits and talks requiring minimum equipment and talent. Lansdale’s memorandum on operations Viet-Nam contains information which may be applicable present situation.3 Copy this memorandum previously furnished CINCPAC and USARPAC. Two copies airmailed PEO Feb 15.
Would appreciate ideas Country Team and CINCPAC and, if you believe above has merit, your recommendations re additional measures if any that should be taken to support Army for these purposes.
Question of availability and source of financing for such additional activities as may be recommended and approved cannot be considered until detailed recommendations received indicating type and scope of program, number and types of personnel required, and cost estimates including cost of material. As visualized here supplementary effort if any required from US would be relatively small.
  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 751J.00/2–1760. Confidential. Drafted by Chapman and Bingham of the Department of Defense; cleared with O’Donnell of Defense, SEA, U/MSC, and Steeves; and approved by Parsons. Also sent to CINCPAC.
  2. Not found.
  3. Apparent reference to a memorandum by Lansdale, February 12, 1960; Foreign Relations, 1958–1960, vol. i, pp. 279281.