277. Telegram From the Embassy in Vietnam to the Department of State1

704. I learned yesterday of the establishment in Saigon of 2nd ADVON. As explained to me by its commander, Brigadier General AnthisUSAF, this headquarters will have operational control over all USAF operational (i.e., non-training) units in Vietnam, including Jungle Jim, AC&W unit, planes due to arrive for spraying operations, etc. It will also have operational control over certain USAF units in Thailand. It is my further understanding that, while General Anthis will concurrently be head of Air Force section of MAAG, as Commander 2nd ADVON he will have separate staff and will report directly to 13 Air Force and thence through PACAF to CINCPAC. Finally, General Anthis tells me that he expects 2nd ADVON has begun operations with skeleton staff established at GVN’s Tan-Son-Nhu Air Base.

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I have high regard for General Anthis and in what follows I am not expressing a view regarding military command relationships, and specifically not objecting to establishing this headquarters.

I nevertheless find it incomprehensible that new US military headquarters would be established in this country without consultation with me or with Government of Vietnam. As new headquarters will immediately become known to Vietnamese Government and probably very quickly to press, I have asked General Anthis not to expand activation 2nd ADVON in Viet-Nam until following has been accomplished:

I have been informed that the Department has concurred in establishment of USAF operational headquarters in Viet-Nam with jurisdiction also over USAF units in Thailand (and possibly eventually elsewhere in SEA).
I have received instructions as to relationship of this headquarters to myself, Chief MAAG, and GVN, and as to what may be said publicly about its functions and command relationships. With regard to relationship 2nd ADVON to me, I would in particular wish precise understanding that any combat or quasi-combat operations in Viet-Nam carried out by elements of this command will be cleared in advance with me.
GVN has been consulted and has concurred in establishment of headquarters in Vietnam.

Please instruct urgently.

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 751K.56311/11-2561. Top Secret; Niact; Limit Distribution. Repeated to Bangkok and to CINCPAC for PolAd.