46. Memorandum for the Record1


  • Debrief of NSC meeting, 5 May 612

[Here follow 7 pages of discussion unrelated to Vietnam.]


The next subject was troops in South VietNam. Mr. Rusk stated that if the United States troops were put in South Viet-Nam it could complicate the forthcoming conference.3 It was agreed that there should be some sort of SEATO Standing Force in Thailand. That possibility has been raised in SEATO circles. I had never heard about this particular SEATO Standing Force before.
It was then asked if we were giving assurances to Sarit and Diem. The answer was yes.
They came back to the question of troops in South VietNam. It was said that if the conference once gets going and then trouble starts, we can put troops in, but we shouldn’t do it before the conference starts.
The questions of beefing up training groups and increasing the MAAG and other United States forces were discussed. It was finally decided that Mr. Gilpatric will discuss this with State to see what troops would go into South VietNam, and when. I asked to have a military man from the Joint Staff present.4

[Here follow two paragraphs on Thailand and space.]

  1. Source: Naval Historical Center, Burke Papers. Top Secret; Hold Closely. Presumably drafted by Burke.
  2. The meeting took place at 10 a.m. (Johnson Library, Rusk Appointment Books)
  3. The 14-nation conference on Laos which opened May 15 at Geneva.
  4. Gilpatric met with Rusk and others on May 5 to discuss this question. According to the memorandum by the JCS representative, Rusk decided that combat forces should not be placed in South Viet-Nam at this time, but that the United States should augment the MAAG in small increments with up to 100 additional military personnel and not discuss this with the United Kingdom or the ICC. (Text in United States-Vietnam Relations, 1945-1967, Book 11, pp. 67-68)