146. Memorandum From the Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs (Nitze) to the Secretary of the Navy (Connally)1
Washington, October 5, 1961.
- 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:
- 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?
- (Depending upon the answer to the above question) could patrolling at such distance be effective in helping to control infiltration by sea?
- 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. Nitze2