143. Telegram From the Embassy in Vietnam to the Department of State 1

427. Task Force VN. Deptel 337.2 Task Force Saigon appreciates reftel and offer of assistance in obtaining and expediting delivery R and D equipment as well as personnel within next thirty days. We share your sense of urgency. Principal cause present stage development [Page 318] situation here is significant build up VC strength inside South Viet-Nam by infiltration, terrorism and some conversion as well as greatly added enemy capability to increase presently stepped up rate infiltration due to build-up for Laos which has resulted in Communist control and occupation Lao territory along Lao-South Viet-Nam border.

Tactics, techniques and conventional as well as special types equipment are highly important to struggle here. However, basic fact is that for some time to come, SVN, in spite recent approval for additional troop strength, does not and will not have sufficient trained military forces to counter Communist build up guerrilla strength within its borders and currently across its borders in Laos. This due to lead time for training newly inducted men. Suggestions in Deptel 337 have been under consideration and in many cases action towards implementation has been taken.

Task Force in conjunction with GVN will continue actions designed preclude formation Communist political and logistical base in SVN. It will also continue assist GVN with strength available to slow down increasing infiltration from across its borders. May have further calls in line with spirit of reftel. Meanwhile, here is where we stand on items mentioned:

  • A1. In Aug 1961 MAAG prepared master training plan3 which included training concept for CG and SDC units. Summary on plan forwarded to RVNAF for comment. We are pressing for reply from RVNAF and expect it soon. Needled Thuan again Sept 29. Anticipate result these efforts will be early implementation of sound program for training CG and SDC personnel and units as expeditiously as possible consistent with operational duties of ARVN, CG and SDC units. Request for part of necessary MAAG augmentation in support this training plan has already been forwarded CINCPAC. Request for balance will be submitted shortly.
  • A2. There are adequate quantities of flares, illuminating shells and ground signaling devices in country. MAAG has plans for testing sniperscope and image viewer in jungles and swamps of SVN. Necessary items for test being requested through R and D channels.
  • A3. Tests already conducted indicate that trained dogs will be of value in SVN. Additional dogs and handlers desired and being requested through R and D channels. Total 60 each will be used for large scale field testing. MAAG considers their greatest potential as sentries at static security sites.
  • A4. Only portable communication device for patrol use known to MAAG is radio. All radios presently authorized ARVN, CG and [Page 319] SDC programmed. Expedite supply action has been requested and approved by CINCPAC and DCSLOG. Delivery has begun. In order increase effectiveness of patrolling recommend authorization and expedited delivery of following AN/PRC-10 radios over and above those presently programmed:
    • 1 each per ARVN rifle company, total—251
    • 4 per Ranger company, total—344
    • 3 per Civil Guard company, total—1113
    • Grand total—-1708.
  • A5. Action to obtain self-sterilizing mines for test under local conditions is under way.
  • A6. Sufficient mines for protection of outposts are on hand and programmed. MAAG continues place emphasis on their use.
  • A7. No shortage barbed wire and no need at present for expedited supply action.
  • A8. No shortage small arms in country, expedited supply action not indicated. Armalite looks promising in tests to date. For expanded testing under field and combat conditions action is being taken equip entire airborne brigade soonest.
  • B1. Several additional Caribou can be used good effect if contract crew and maintenance personnel provided also. Regarding defoliant initial tests have been successful and plans are already under way for use defoliant in Zone D and along Cambodian and Laotian borders and around static jungle outposts. This project being handled by CD and TC. Project is of such magnitude that request for spray planes from out-of-country is being formulated. Expedited supply action has already been requested on all bulldozers that can be effectively employed by the skilled manpower presently available in RVNAF. Additional bulldozers could be used start border clearing operations if operators, maintenance personnel and control organization provided also. However clearing any significant portion border would be mammoth undertaking.
  • B2. If tetrahedron available for issue or test request MAAG be informed of characteristics and availability.
  • B3. No requirement here for delayed napalm.
  • B4. No requirement for contract personnel to fly or maintain present H-34s or those programmed for CY 62 unless delivery latter can be and is expedited. Any additional increase over helicopters now programmed will require out-of-country resources for both piloting and maintenance. Main difficulty with use H-34s is in obtaining spare parts from CONUS in spite repeated requisitionings. (Same problem beginning to develop on AD-6 parts.)
  • D. Added Items.
  • D1. Terminal Guidance Beacon. Although this is R and D item, recent MAAG study of item indicates it can be used in its present form for target location and marking DZ’s for paratroop and resupply operations. Separate action under way through R and D channels to obtain required beacons for airborne brigade and each corps and division.
  • D2. VT Fuses. MAAG believes VT fuses would be useful in many operations in SVN, including some along border, and therefore recommends that fuses proximity M513 and M514 be provided for operations use as soon as possible and initially in quantities of 3,000 and 1,000 respectively.
  • D3. Recent RVNAF requests for immediate air photo coverage of SVN as well as longer range photo requirements for TF Saigon will require greatly increased photo interpretation capability in country. Upwards 600,000 prints involved not counting long range requirements. Missions have already started and present limited RVNAF PI capability will be completely swamped as soon as first batch of photos arrive. Recent study here indicates only feasible solution is deployment to Saigon of U.S. Mobile Photo Interpretation Center. Recommend such unit be made available soonest.4

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 751K.00/10-261. Secret; Priority; Limit Distribution. Repeated to CINCPAC for PolAd.
  2. Document 136.
  3. Not further identified.
  4. A copy of this telegram was sent to Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs Paul Nitze under cover of a letter, dated October 10, from Assistant Secretary of State for Far Eastern Affairs Walter McConaughy. In that letter McConaughy wrote: “While I realize that providing these items may require some high level decisions in the Pentagon, I urge that these decisions be taken promptly in view of the very immediate dangers in Viet Nam.” McConaughy also enclosed a copy of a memorandum, dated October 10, giving the Department of State’s “understanding. of the items desired, why they are needed and the problems involved.” (National Defense University, Taylor Papers, T-015-69)