276. Telegram From the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (Taylor) to the Commander, Military Assistance Command, Vietnam (Harkins)1

JCS 4279-63. 1. Out of the present turbulence in Saigon we all hopeful will emerge a strong government able to prosecute the war with improved effectiveness. I am sure that you are thinking of all the changes and improvements which we might desire for the military apparatus. I have in mind such things as the establishment of a clear channel of command and more effective relationships between field commanders and province chiefs. I would appreciate knowing what you have in mind in the way of military improvements to be sought from the new government.

2. Related to the above is my concern over the possible adverse effect of the change in administration on the province chiefs. My impression is that we are generally satisfied with these men, who are now performing a very important military role in the conduct of the war. Do you consider that there is any likelihood of a wholesale replacement of present incumbents based on their prior relationships with Diem government? It is clearly in our interest to prevent removal of effective and experienced chiefs.

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, POL 26 S VIET. Secret; Eyes Only. Also sent to Felt. Repeated for information to Generals LeMay, Wheeler, and Shoup and Admiral McDonald; to the Department of State for Rusk, Ball, Harriman, and Hilsman; to the White House for Bundy; to the JCS for Admiral Riley and Krulak; and to the Department of Defense for McNamara, Gilpatric, and William Bundy.