101. Telegram From the Department of State to the Embassy in Vietnam1

1085. Embtel 1159.2 Initial reports provincial surveys received with interest here at all levels. Obvious program very worthwhile and general consensus opinion here is they should be pushed with all possible speed consistent with requirement for thorough coverage. Consensus also they should include economic and political data and surveys should be focussed on information of direct use to military and coordinated plans.

Following questions raised here:

Since Diem has now accepted Thompson approach should not surveys be realigned explicitly to supply requisite planning data on schedule coordinated with Thompson Plan? You may wish discuss this matter with Gen. Harkins and with Thompson and consider compiling data in some standard format for ready accessibility and comparability.
Questions Emb Despatch 1893 appear fairly comprehensive. In view strategic hamlet approach, however, more specific information may be needed on situation and applicable assets each village, nature communications thereto, and degree VC control or influence. Also in view crucial civic action phase, reliable information on political, economic, and social matters such as the effectiveness of the GVN administration and the attitude and livelihood of the populace on village by village basis and availability of local resources for establishment of defended areas. This appears vital to realistic planning for successful outcome.
Despite Diemʼs express limitation to military and intelligence matters reflected Embtel 756,4 hope you can rely heavily on opening afforded by Thuan mentioned last paragraph Embtel 754.5

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 751K.5/3-962. Secret; Priority. Drafted by Magathan and Cottrell, cleared with Heinz, and approved by Cottrell. Repeated to CINCPAC for Polad and to Baguio for Harriman. Harriman, Nolting, and the other U.S. Ambassadors in the Far East were in Baguio, March 10-11, for the Far East Chiefs of Mission Conference. A complete record of that conference is ibid., Conference Files: Lot 65 D 533, CF 2056.
  2. Telegram 1159, March 9, reported that all agencies represented on the Country Team concurred in the Delta Plan presented to Diem by the British Advisory Mission. (Ibid., Central Files, 751K.5/-962)
  3. Not printed.
  4. See Foreign Relations, 1961-1963, vol. I, Document 305, footnote 4.
  5. Foreign Relations, 1961-1963, vol. I, Document 305.