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

1118. Have just been informed of following GVN request, on which urgent reply requested:

1. In view grounding GVN Air Force fighter bombers AD-6 pending investigation incident Feb 27 (bombing of palace) GVN has officially requested through Deputy Chief of Staff Khanh that Farmgate aircraft, with combined US-GVN crew, be used on combat training operations in close support of ARVN operations planned to begin March 1 and continuing several days.

General Harkins, Mr. Bundy2 and I believe it highly important that momentum of ARVN operations be continued despite setback of bombing incident and that Farmgate air support is justified and necessary [Page 187]under present circumstances. Since this operation does not fall closely within existing instructions, request immediate consideration and advice. Upon receipt Washington clearance, we would make clear to GVN that this is temporary measure pending completion investigation GVN Air Force and resumption usual procedures.3

Nolting
  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 751K.5/3-162. Secret; Niact; Limit Distribution. Repeated to CINCPAC and passed to the Department of Defense.
  2. William Bundy was in Vietnam for consultations.
  3. Telegram 1118 was received at 4:54 a.m. in Washington. At 7:31 p.m. the Department of State approved the South Vietnamese request. (Telegram 1046 to Saigon; Department of State, Central Files, 751K.5/3-162)