339. Memorandum From Secretary of Defense McNamara to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (Taylor)0


  • JCSM-735-631


  • Indian Ocean Carrier Task Force Deployment
[Page 692]

In a letter of October 2, 19632 the Deputy Secretary of Defense, in answer to a query by the Secretary of State, conveyed the views of the Joint Chiefs of Staff that intermittent deployment of a carrier task force to the Indian Ocean is feasible, if politically desirable.

In response, in a letter of October 17, 1963,3 the Secretary of State suggests:

That the Department of Defense develop detailed proposals for the intermittent deployment of a carrier force for not less than two months out of every six.
That State and Defense staffs jointly prepare a paper to identify the problems involved in deployment of a carrier force for about eight months of the year and, also, to examine other actions, including CASF deployment, that would enhance the U.S. military presence in the Indian Ocean area. The resultant paper could then be used as a basis for further State, Defense and JCS discussion.

The political objectives of the carrier force deployment, as noted in the August 173 and October 17 letters of the Secretary of State, are to provide a visible U.S. military presence in the Indian Ocean area in order to help deter potential aggressors, reassure our allies and stabilize certain intra-regional disputes among our friends, e.g., India and Pakistan.

In addition to the foregoing, the Department of State has provided specific political guidance to be used in developing an initial carrier task force deployment schedule:

Unless special circumstances arise which would call for revision, the task force should avoid the East Coast of Africa.
No visits should be scheduled for Burma and Ceylon at this time.
No visits should be scheduled to any of the Indian Ocean island territories of Great Britain or France.
Planned port visits should seek to strike a balance between calls on allied and friendly non-allied countries.
Port calls and other activities during the first deployment should be within the general framework of informal visits and good will missions.

Consistent with the foregoing, I request that the Joint Chiefs of Staff provide, at an early date, a proposed schedule for an initial carrier task deployment in the Indian Ocean for two months out of six. If feasible, the first six months period should begin with December 1963. This proposed schedule will be used as the basis for final political clearances prior to the first deployment.

[Page 693]

The second suggestion of the Secretary of State, to study an eight months per year deployment, will be undertaken in the near future. The Assistant Secretary of Defense (ISA) will coordinate Defense action in this matter.

Robert S. McNamara4
  1. Source: Washington National Records Center, RG 330, OSD Files: FRC 69 A 3131, India 381 (10 July 63), Indian Ocean Task Force 63. Secret. Drafted in OASD/ISA on November 13 by Captain E.L. Schwab.
  2. See footnote 1, Document 320.
  3. See footnote 1, Document 333.
  4. Not found.
  5. Printed from a copy that indicates McNamara signed the original.