285. Telegram From the Commander, Military Assistance Command, Vietnam (Harkins) to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (Taylor)1
MAC 2081. 1. Saigon is quiet and orderly and all evidence indicates revolutionary committee has situation well in hand. Some troops still positioned throughout city and police also in evidence. Martial law continues with curfew hours changed to 1900 to 0500.
2. With ref your JCS 42792 intend to press the new govt for same military improvements which we have been endorsing in the past, specifically:
- Direct chain of command.
- Subordination of prov chief to corps and div comdrs in military matters.
- Emphasis on the trng of units, including hamlet militia (and militia squad leaders).
- Opnl use of gen reserve.
- Opnl use of Special Forces under JGS and corps comdrs (now reported accomplished).
- Better use of military engineers.
- Better use of Navy and Civil Guard boat companies in Delta.
- Lifting of restrictions on aircraft armament.
- Increased tempo of opns with emphasis on those types of opns which augur success of desired objectives.
- Freeing of ARVN elements from static security missions and reduction isolated outposts.
3. All of the above have previously been discussed with military leaders who were responsive to the need for such improvements and I anticipate that they, functioning under the new govt structure, will be inclined to institute desired changes.[Page 550]
4. As concerns the effect of the change in administration on the province chiefs I do not have at this time details on country-wide reaction of these very important individuals. Am in the process of assembling info on this point and will report in detail soonest. As a general response to your query and based on info presently available.
- As a general rule, with some exceptions, we have been satisfied with current line up in so far as their military duties are concerned.
- Do not anticipate any wholesale shakeup of present incumbents.
- Agree that it to our best interests to prevent removal of effective or experienced chiefs, and to experience the minimum of changes.
- Several prov chiefs have to date declared their allegiance to the new govt. Consolidated list being assembled and will be forwarded ASAP.
- Have reed info of temp replacement two (2) prov chiefs in I Corps.
5. Sr adv IV Corps advises that Gen Cao has been replaced as CG IV Corps by Col Nhon who continues to function as CO 21st Div.
- Source: Kennedy Library, National Security Files, Vietnam Country Series, Defense Cables. Secret; Eyes Only. Repeated for information to CINCPAC exclusive for Felt. Sent by Taylor to the White House for Bundy; the Department of State for Rusk, Ball, Harriman, and Hilsman; and to the CIA for McCone and Helms.↩
- Document 276.↩