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

1155. Deptel 1017.2 Embassy has carefully considered suggestions reftel and feels scope of provincial surveys can be broadened on informal basis to include fuller consideration of effectiveness village administration, local development plans, civil-military relationships, economic conditions, and provincial information programs. However, believe we would encounter strong resistance from Diem to explicit broadening of terms of reference of Joint Vietnamese-American Commission beyond military and intelligence matters. Believe American team members—particularly Embassy representative—can in most cases informally cover at least portion additional matters listed above. Believe decision on what additional points to cover in each province beyond military and intelligence matters should be left to American members of commission, who in best position to judge what is feasible under circumstances.

Our comments on other specific suggestions in reftel as follows:

Agreement already reached with GVN to form additional teams. Will attempt to increase length of observation time in each province to approximately one week. However, believe possibility of GVN opposition or VC harassment may make it necessary to limit survey to shorter period. Rate at which surveys made and written up has been limited by heavy commitments of Vietnamese Team members to other duties. Problem here has been to find qualified Vietnamese team members with knowledge at least French (and English if possible), who have enough authority to command cooperation from local officials but are not too occupied with other duties. This is tall order.
Future surveys will contain summary.
Surveys of individual provinces will probably not be suitable vehicle for specific recommendations to be used in making overall policy and for planning and assessing purposes, as perspective from one province only is too limited. However, information accrued through surveys will be used in formulating overall policy and planning for Vietnam and in assessing Vietnamʼs major needs.

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Further details by airgram. Heavner has arrived and has helped draft revised concept survey program which following by airgram.

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 751K.5/3-962. Confidential. Repeated to CINCPAC for Polad.
  2. Dated February 23, it noted that the Department of State considered previous provincial surveys very useful and offered suggestions, as outlined in telegram 1155, for improving the surveys. (Ibid., 751K.5/2-2362)