340. Telegram From the Joint Chiefs of Staff to the Commander in Chief, Pacific (Felt)1
Washington, December 2, 1963—4:48 p.m.
JCS 3799. Eyes only for Admiral Felt and General Harkins.
- At a meeting of the JCS and SecDef the following conclusions
were reached from the evidence available here concerning the
military situation in South Vietnam. Your comments are requested:
- The GVN desires to respond to US advice and to improve its operational effectiveness. It has the capability to do so and its plans are basically sound, but it is in a state of orRanizationa1 turmoil.
- The VC are making an intensive effort to increase their hold on the countryside while the new government is shaking down.
- The VC have exhibited a powerful capability for at least a brief period of intensified operations, and their skill in counter-airborne operations is improving.
- There is ground for concern that infiltration of materiel has increased, but little hard proof. This is a prime intelligence deficiency. It affects not only military tactics but our over-all Southeast Asia strategy.
- If these conclusions are valid they generate several questions:
- What specifically is being done to increase the intensity of GVN offensive activity to the 20 day per month level contemplated in the National Campaign Plan? What are the prospects?
- What specific steps are being taken to enhance the quality, effectiveness and number of the paramilitary forces in the critical Delta area? What is the progress?
- Is there reason to be apprehensive that the junta is not able to control General Dinh? One report is that he blocked the proposed corps command shift. Should the junta be urged to take action against him?
- What more can be done—in Vietnam, Washington or elsewhere—to give a clearer and more substantial picture of the infiltration situation?
- Source: Washington National Records Center, RG 330, OSD Files: FRC 71 A 6489, Viet Sensitive. Top Secret. Drafted by Krulak. Repeated for information to Harkins.↩