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

PRESENT

  • Mr. Johnson, The Attorney General, Mr. Bell, Mr. Murrow, Mr. Forrestal, Mr. Bundy vice Mr. Gilpatric, General Krulak vice General Taylor, Mr. Colby vice Mr. McCone
  • Mr. Wood was present for Items 1 and 2

1. Report by General Krulak 2 on the Situation in South Viet-Nam

General Krulak prefixed [prefaced?] his remarks with the comment that he believes real progress has been made in the struggle against the Viet Cong since the occasion of his last visit during the summer of 1962. There has been a continuous improvement in intelligence activities and apparent modest gains in the economic area. Vietnamese military operations are moving in the right direction, although more urging is required by U.S. advisors to maintain this momentum.

On the negative side, General Krulak stated that the MAAG and the Assistance Command could be drawn closer together. Coordination of air operations should be improved. Reaction time for air support must be reduced, greater rapport must be established with the Vietnamese in order to obtain advance information on planned operations. Rules of engagement should be modified to permit U.S. armed helicopters to fire upon the Viet Cong without having to wait to be fired upon.

[Page 104]

Relative to these rules, the Attorney General suggested that an early decision should be sought as to whether or not this would be desirable. General Krulak will follow through on this. General Krulak continued by stating that Vietnamese morale is good, and suggested that Viet Cong morale is deteriorating. The latter judgment was based on increased defections, the difficulty in retaining personnel, and their demonstrated need to capture supplies, especially medicines.

General Krulak emphasized the need to relieve our logistical system from supporting any effort not essential to the struggle. As an example, he pointed out that in the field of research and development a number of test projects are being carried out which could be conducted elsewhere. JCS will take action to resolve this problem. Infiltration of personnel and equipment by the Viet Cong continues both by land and sea. Captured Chinese weapons are tangible evidence of the infiltration of supplies from outside South Viet-Nam. The members agreed with an observation by the Chairman that it is especially important to develop some hard evidence of this infiltration of personnel and supplies in order that it may be presented to Moscow with another version for release to the press. Mr. William Jorden of the Department of State is scheduled to depart for South Viet-Nam for the express purpose of developing such a substantiated report.

2. Paramilitary Training in South Viet-Nam

The members expressed their desire that in the transfer of responsibility for certain Montagnard training programs to DOD we do not lose the long-term assets [less than 1 line not declassified]. In particular, the members expressed concern at the prospect of Special Forces personnel handling these projects with only a six-months tour in South Viet-Nam. The members agree that while it might not be necessary for personnel conducting normal instruction to stay longer than this period, certain key personnel should be assigned for longer periods.

Mr. Bundy explained the current funding problem for DOD is how to handle the Montagnard training program, as well as other paramilitary programs within normal military accounting procedures. However, arrangements are currently being worked out [less than 1 line not declassified] within Defense to resolve this problem. It was noted that it might be necessary to revise NSAM 57,3 which is the basis for this transfer of responsibility to DOD.

Mr. Colby explained that the difficulty of presenting a clear organizational chart for the diverse paramilitary groups in South Viet-Nam resulted from the fact that these groups were developed wherever a [Page 105] potential existed rather than based on a preconceived plan. However, understanding of missions and coordination of operations does exist at the district and provincial level.

The members expressed concern over the prospect of the creation. Of approximately a 50,000 man police program for South Viet-Nam prior to the development of adequate coordination mechanisms for existing paramilitary forces.

Miscellaneous

A. The Chairman called the attention of the members to Embassy Saigon Telegram No. 726,4 which provides an analysis of the press problem.

[Here follows a reference to a scheduled visit of the Interdepartmental Team to Africa.]

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.
  2. General Krulak was a member of the investigative mission headed by General Wheeler sent to Vietnam by the JCS in January. For the report of that mission, see Document 26.
  3. Not printed.
  4. Document 30.