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

800. CINCPAC for POLAD. Dept pass Defense and AID. Aidto 1658.2 Control of movement of goods and people is indeed complex subject which enters into every phase of counterinsurgency. Necessary reemphasize this because tendency exists consider it separate field of action. PROHAB Committee studying means supplement the principal measures for control of movement and denial of support to VC, which are Strategic Hamlet program and military action against VC. Recognizing this, and the necessity to ensure that additional measures are worth the cost in terms of financial and personnel resources and in possible adverse popular reaction, committee is still engaged in seeking to evaluate possible additions to, or possible expansion or improvement of activities currently in progress.

To this end, committee has instituted province-by-province survey to determine (a) what controls are presently in existence; (b) who is carrying them out; (c) how effective are they; (d) present critical VC commodities; (e) present VC source supply (f) present VC methods of movement of commodities. In addition two pilot projects (in Binh Duong and Quang Ngai) using existing military and paramilitary forces especially trained this work by National Police and USOM PSD are expected provide essential practical experience.

At this point, committee’s views on specific points raised reftel are as follows:

Point is ambiguous. Committee does not favor establishment of new force with primary mission control of movement goods and people. Nor does it believe that latter should be primary mission any existing force, civil or military. Movement control should be a complementary effort and one of the tasks accomplished by forces already engaged in security missions. In any given area, however, responsibility for this (and other) functions should of course be clearly defined.
Concur in use local personnel for majority control functions except insofar as carried out by ARVN. Also must be recognized that activities of a specialized nature (administration, communication, and investigation) may require use of other than local personnel.
This is essential.
This is true of all U.S. military and civilian effort in RVN. U.S. personnel expected to act in normal advisory role in movement control operations. Though U.S. not identified with operation it must not be onerous or will conflict with essential objective cited para 5.
We have little or no basis for cost estimate at this time. if program conducted along lines cited paras 1-7 above, any additional U.S. cost should be modest.

Above replies based on situation which now exists in RVN. National Police organization functions as the primary security force in major urban areas while military forces have this role in rural areas. Military forces, as part of their mission to secure rural areas, engage in movement and population control measures; as areas are cleared of insurgents and the military begins to relinquish control, civil law and order must be established. At this time National Police should be phased into rural area control function, and plans must be developed to accomplish this. It is visualized that members of paramilitary units being demobilized would provide a recruiting base for local police. It is also recognized that necessity for movement and population controls will be greatly reduced when civil law and order replace military controls. In this regard the final disposition or status of the Civil Guard must be determined.

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, AID(US) S VIET. Confidential. Repeated to CINCPAC.
  2. Document 47.