146. Memorandum From the Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs (Nitze) to the Secretary of the Navy (Connally)1

I-16, 883/61

SUBJECT

  • Naval Patrol of South Vietnamese Coastal Waters

It is requested that you furnish answers to the following questions as soon as possible-preferably by noon Saturday, 7 October:

1.
If the U.S. (presumably pursuant to a request from the government of South Vietnam) were to assist in patrolling the coastal waters of South Viet-Nam to help control Viet Cong infiltration by sea, at what distance from the shore could such patrolling be accomplished and be consistent with established precedents, i.e., avoiding creating a precedent which might operate to our disadvantage in the future?
2.
(Depending upon the answer to the above question) could patrolling at such distance be effective in helping to control infiltration by sea?
3.
Could a patrol action of this type be undertaken by U.S. naval forces presently deployed in the Pacific without unduly degrading [Page 326] their capability to perform other currently assigned missions?

Paul H. Nitze 2
  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 751K.5411/10-961. Secret.
  2. Printed from a copy that bears this stamped signature.