50. Telegram From the Chief of the Military Assistance Advisory Group in Viet-Nam (McGarr) to the Commander in Chief, Pacific (Felt)1

MAGCH-SA 685. References: a. JCS 995295;2 b. CINCPAC 051737Z;3 C. MAGCH-LO 670, DTG 061049Z.4

Recent trip to Washington discussed with General Barnes in Hawaii and discussions here with General Lemnitzer reported to you in my ref c, emphasize strong determination on part US Government to stop present deterioration US prestige in world’s eyes brought about by Cuba and Laos setbacks. Both President Kennedy and General Lemnitzer have repeatedly stated Viet-Nam is not to go behind Bamboo Curtain under any circumstances, and we must do all that is necessary to prevent this from happening. They both state this is primarily military problem and in seeking a solution we must [Page 130] not be overly restricted by such considerations as limitations imposed by Geneva accords, budgetary strictures, or necessity for detailed time consuming justification requirements and programming in classic MAP pattern. Moreover General Lemnitzer stressed importance of including sufficient means to get the job done. MAAG has been operating on a short leash for some time; and in view of the current real concern of the Vietnamese over the serious situation in SEA, a firm and determined move is essential not only to cope with the demands of the present situation but to shore-up the morale of the Vietnamese. Nevertheless, in spite urgency every attempt being made to evaluate situation and develop requirements on objective basis.
With this in mind two separate but related studies are under way here. One study being made to determine required RVNAF force structure assuming Laos goes Communist or Communist inclined. The second study which bears directly on refs a and b is to determine what MAAG augmentation necessary to increase effectiveness of MAAG effort and insure effective implementation those military courses of action approved by President. This message relates only to second study. Assumptions on which this latter study based as follows:
MAAG to intensify and broaden advisory and training effort.
GVN will accept expanded concept MAAG effort and cooperate accordingly.
US and GVN will no longer be bound by limitations in Geneva Accords on introduction of military personnel and war material.
MAAG effort to be reinforced by attachment US military support units as required.
The first step necessary to improve the effectiveness of the MAAG effort is to remove at once the self imposed 685 ceiling this MAAG. The next requirement as envisioned in the Gilpatric Task Force study5 and in ref a is immediate authority to requisition personnel against the Joint Table of Distribution sent to your Hq for approval 3 May 61;6 expedited action on all personnel requisitions is essential.
The study on MAAG augmentation referred to in pare 2 indicates a requirement for MAAG strength increase as follows: immediate increase of 156 with a further increase of 272 phased over a 3 month period. Subsequent additional personnel requirements are envisioned but not prepared at this time to submit specific needs.
[Page 131]

[Here follow paragraphs 5-9 which discussed the officers and cadre needed, the hardware essential to the increase, and the costs involved.]

  1. Source: Washington National Records Center, RG 84, Saigon Embassy Files: FRC 68 A 5159, SGN(61)19-GVN. Top Secret.
  2. Not found.
  3. This telegram discussed various aspects of the staffing and training of the MAAG in Vietnam. (Washington National Records Center, RG 319, HQDA Message Center, Reel 10248)
  4. Document 41.
  5. Document 42.
  6. Not found.