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

899. Recent NSC directive to Departments of State and Defense2 reports Presidentʼs concern that we may be missing opportunity for contribution by military forces to socio-economic development and his hope that civic action projects can be included in MAP and AID programs wherever practicable. Directive requires report to NSC by 31 March regarding programs built into FY 62 aid programs and by September 1 on activities included in FY 63 program.

To spur civic action effort and be in position report resultant progress by 31 March, it is proposed that in immediate future (early February) small DOD-AID teams visit small number selected countries designated for development pilot programs. Teams would work with country team to assist in organization for new or expanded civic action effort. Though scale of activity and expenditures would necessarily be modest for FY 62, any required financing would be additional to presently scheduled assistance.

Civic action defined as use indigenous military forces for projects useful to the populace in such fields as training, public works, agriculture, transportation, communication, health, sanitation and others helpful to economic development. Properly handled, such projects can serve important aim of promoting close friendly relations populace with military so essential to inhibiting or combatting insurgency.

Believe new or expanded civic action effort might make important contribution to achievement our objectives Viet-Nam, that proposed team might provide organizational boost to necessary effort and that undertaking logical follow-up to recent visit Army Civic Action Survey Team. Request Country Team views. No discussion with GVN at this time. Immediate reply necessary to meet deadline for designation pilot countries. Embtel 305 Sept 1 is pertinent.3

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 751K.5/1-2062. Secret. Repeated to CINCPAC for POLAD. Drafted by Peters on January 19; cleared by Cottrell, Peterson and Maechling; and approved by Rice.
  2. Document 26.
  3. Not printed. (Department of State, Central Files, 751K.5-MSP/8-3161)