113. Minutes of a Meeting of the Special Group for Counterinsurgency1

PRESENT

  • Governor Harriman, Mr. Gilpatric, Mr. Bell, General Taylor, Mr. Forrestal, Mr. Wilson vice Mr. Murrow, Mr. Helms vice Mr. McCone, Mr. Nolan vice The Attorney General
  • Mr. Koren, General Krulak, Mr. Colby and Mr. Jantzen were present for Item No. 1
  • Mr. Willman was present for Item No. 2
  • Mr. Maechling was present for the meeting

Item 1. Southeast Asia

[Here follows discussion of part a, “Southeast Asia Status Report,” which included a brief discussion of the proposed agreement with the Diem government on the joint counterinsurgency fund. Koren noted that the agreement in significantly reduce U.S. control over the funds, and Bell observed that AID personnel in the field were concerned that the Vietnamese would not push counterinsurgency programs with sufficient vigor.]

b. Report on the Honolulu Conference

General Krulak presented a summary review of the Secretary of Defense’s recent Honolulu Conference bringing out the following points: General Harkins cited indicators that identify favorable trends in the situation in Viet-Nam. Ambassador Nolting stated that the Vietnamese confidence in the U.S. is not as good as it was some months ago, but recent speeches by senior Government officials have somewhat restored lost ground.

Other items mentioned by General Krulak included: The USOM effort is now geared to counterinsurgency; revised rules for border operations should assist in actions against the Viet-Cong; border patrol operations are moving forward but will not seal off the border; planning is going forward on a contingency basis for future MAP and force structure adjustments; air interdiction is being applied under stringent rules and is achieving good results.

At the request of the Chairman, Mr. Colby agreed to look into recent developments in the Laos/South Viet-Nam border area.

The Group discussed the problem of reconciling differences of opinion on the situation in Viet-Nam as between officials on the scene and the U.S. press. Mr. Wilson commented that our military in Viet-Nam [Page 280]should take the press more into their confidence. Mr. Bell suggested that we should explore sending opinion leaders other than the press out to Viet-Nam.

The Group agreed that Mr. Bell should make a recommendation as to when it would be advisable to have General Harkins return for appearances before various Congressional committees. General Taylor indicated that he sees no problem in having General Harkins return for this purpose.

[Here follow part c, “Man-Pack Jungle Radio;” item 2, “Venezuela;” and a general discussion of developments in the Middle East.]

James W. Dingeman
Executive Secretary
  1. Source: Department of State, Special Group Counterinsurgency Files: Lot 68 D 451, Special Group (CI). Secret. Drafted by Dingeman who is not listed among the participants.