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

1876. Task Force VN 6. Reference: Department telegrams 1429 and 1475.2


I have sent letter to British Charge Stewart proposing following fields of possible British assistance to GVN subject of course to mutual GVN-UK agreement and in coordination with appropriate US agencies (full text of letter being pouched3);

Administration-a) Advice and assistance in administrative techniques, particularly re operations Ministry Interior, coordination of activities at local level and training civil servants for work in countryside in close contact with people; b) Studies of methods of government administration in face Communist subversion through Vietnamese visits to Malaya and attendance at British schools, and visits of British personnel to VietNam; c) Support of GVN programs related to Montagnard population in order reduce Viet Cong infiltration in mountain regions.

Police and Security-Training courses in Viet-Nam or elsewhere for members Surete, appropriate judicial elements of Civil Guard and border control and immigration elements of Ministry of Interior, in protection of government leaders and facilities, and techniques of population control, identification, investigation and interrogation.

Information and Propaganda-Advice and training in techniques of information and propaganda, and actual production of such material for dissemination in both South and North VietNam.

Intelligence-Assistance to new central intelligence organization in training of personnel and in developing techniques of centralizing and coordinating results obtained from GVN intelligence activities. Letter emphasizes that at outset CIO operation necessary avoid strengthening certain GVN elements seeking compete with it and importance close coordination between US and British effort to avoid conflicting advice.

Military-Aside from use of such facilities as jungle warfare school in Malaya, letter suggests that military not a field of particular [Page 176] British assistance to GVN at this time and explains that MAAG has drawn on Malayan end other anti-guerrilla experience in developing doctrine for VietNam.

Material and Equipment-Contributions of material and equipment welcome particularly in fields proposed for British assistance, but with detailed prior coordination with US agencies to assure adequate logistical preparations.

Medical and Other Units-Assignment of mobile medical teams to assist in caring for battle casualties and similar teams in fields social services, preventive medicine, etc. This particularly important in view shortage of doctors in SVN.

Pilot Area-Selection of pilot area, e.g. one province, for multipronged projects designed reduce insurgency and strengthen GVN and permitting development and testing of techniques which could later be given wider application.

Advisors or Advisory Group-Increase of present number British advisors working in Viet-Nam and possible establishment of assistance or advisory group working under single supervision and control.

Stewart informed DCM he very pleased with our response as set forth in letter and particularly impressed with suggestions re pilot area and medical and other teams.

We shall push forward with British here on above proposals.4

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 751K.5-MSP/6-1461. Secret. Also sent to CINCPAC for PolAd and repeated to London and Kuala Lumpur.
  2. Dated May 22 and 30, respectively. The former reported that the British were anxious to inquire of Diem what kind of assistance they might provide. (Ibid., 751K.5-MSP/5-1361) The latter stated that the British offered to send to Viet-Nam officers with counterinsurgency experience who were serving in Malaya. (Ibid., 751K.5-MSP/5 2661)
  3. Transmitted as an enclosure to despatch 579 from Saigon, June 16. (Ibid., 641.51K/6-661)
  4. Stewart replied in a preliminary letter of thanks on June 15, and on June 26 wrote further that the British were studying the proposals, but agreed that any effort must be fully coordinated. He added that they hoped to be able to send R.G.K. Thompson, a former Defense Secretary in the Federation of Malaya, to head a small advisory group in Vietnam. (Washington National Records Center, RG 84, Saigon Embassy Files:FRC 66 A 878, 350 GVN-TF)