295. Telegram From the Commander, Military Assistance Command, Vietnam (Harkins) to the Joint Chiefs of Staff1

MAC J-3 8607. Summary Evaluation South Vietnam.

Refs: A. JCS DTG 011418Z Nov.2 B. My DTG 031705Z Nov.3 C My DTG 041817Z Nov.4

A. through E.—No substantial change to ref B and C.

F. Effect of coup on RVNAF and their operations against VC.

There has been no significant change in Saigon troop dispositions since coup. VNAF support missions and small unit actions continue at nearly normal pace while bn and larger operations remain in a slump as the senior ARVN commanders remain preoccupied with political reorganization, and ARVN continues police chores. Expect by weekend CMD units should replace majority of III Corps units in Saigon.
Surge of cooperativeness toward US personnel continues, although too early to judge extent of its staying power. AOC and JOC personnel report improved responsiveness in counterparts. I Corps sr advisor today reports increased spontaneity of information from ARVN.
Decision to maintain VN special forces, to delimit functions, to subordinate command to JGS and to place deployed elms under full command of Corps Cmdrs. This will be boon to unity of effort and decentralization of control. Details to be reported separately.
CG 2 ADIV reported today that VNAF restrictions on aircraft armaments lifted.
New leaders can be expected to support strat hamlet operations as pillar of strategy; and Big Minh repeats his awareness of their socioeconomic importance.
Top commanders stress desire to get on with war at full throttle as soon as govt formed and launched. No plans for increased tempo for opns yet forthcoming.

G. Steps Being Taken To Form New Government.

Nothing definitive since last report. Committee still in throes of organization; negotiations with top civilian leadership are reportedly advancing slowly.
From this point forward, Embassy will probably have fuller info on organizational steps and progress.
Reshuffling of personnel at provinces and district level continues.
  1. Source: Kennedy Library, National Security Files, Vietnam Country Series, Defense Cables. Secret. Repeated for information to CINCPAC; the Deputy Commander, Military Assistance Command, Thailand; and the Embassy in Saigon. Received at the JCS at 7:40 p.m., November 4, and passed to the Department of State, CIA, and White House.
  2. See footnote 2, Document 272.
  3. Printed as Document 287.
  4. Not found.