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

1185. Deptel 1085; Embtel 1155.2 I discussed provincial surveys with Thuan March 13 stressing importance getting further surveys under way. As it was my understanding that GVN desires proceed next with remaining seven provinces covered by Delta (Thompson) plan,3 suggested desirability survey teams using that plan as framework for their investigations, seeking develop information which would be useful in its implementation. I thought that in order to accomplish this, it might be necessary to extend period devoted to [Page 236]surveys to about one week per province. Thuan agreed with these suggestions but was not at that time prepared to set date for start-up of next surveys or to name GVN representatives. It was clear from his remarks that he expects to have trouble finding qualified people who can be spared full time for this work. He did say that he had already discussed recommendations of first surveys with President Diem and planned to have further discussion next day with him with view to getting recommendations implemented.

We will continue to press GVN to get further surveys under way. It is our hope that Thuanʼs informal agreement to key surveys to Delta Plan will permit expansion into political, economic and social areas, without risks of rejection or at least delay which would be involved in proposing explicitly that terms of reference of surveys be changed with reference points raised Deptel 1085:

Every effort will be made to gear surveys to needs Delta Plan. MACV has developed new checklist and we will seek to have surveys concentrate on those provinces slated for early clearing and holding operations. Results of surveys will also be combined with large slides specific information being developed through MAAG and CAS channels.
Effort will be made to reach village level in surveys. Do not believe practicable, however, have surveys proceed on village-by-village basis. This would not only involve proposing change in terms of reference (with risks indicated above) but would, we estimate, require extension of time spent in each province to two or three weeks, with resulting heavy drain scarce GVN manpower, maximum disruption normal provincial administration, and increased security risks. Moreover, much detailed information for planning purposes can be and is being developed in other ways, for example, through CAS/CIO surveys of provincial NPSS units already in progress
Believe important value first set surveys was catalogue intelligence and military shortcomings that could be immediately corrected, plus on-the-spot remedial action by officials concerned. Wish continue stress this approach, while at same time using surveys to generate information for implementation outline plan for counterinsurgency. Believe surveys should fill out and provide check on information obtained from GVN for planning purposes, but do not believe we should make them sole instrument for developing such information.

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 751K.5/3-1662. Secret. Repeated to CINCPAC for Polad.
  2. Documents 101 and 100, respectively.
  3. See Document 51.