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

771. Embtels 644,2 686.3 After weighing all factors concerned and taking into account your views and those DOD, it is Department’s view that we should not commit ourselves at this time to turn over jets (RT-33 and T-33) to GVN.

Recognize need for increased reconnaissance capability and desirability of having GVN embark on this task as part of overall long-term policy giving GVN increasing responsibility for its own defense. However, due to overriding political considerations, involving escalation [Page 103] from US-controlled to GVN-controlled jets as this might affect NVN, Laos situation and Cambodia, we cannot afford take unnecessary international risks now.

You should, therefore, inform Thuan in terms you think appropriate that we are not prepared to turn over jets at this time. FYI. We are prepared to review this question periodically and propose to do so next in March. End FYI.

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, DEF 19-3 US-S VIET Secret. Drafted by Heavner, cleared by Wood and Rice and in the Department of Defense in draft by Bundy. Repeated to CINCPAC for POLAD.
  2. Not printed.
  3. See footnote 2, Document 13.