101. Memorandum From the Director, Far East Region, Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs (Blouin) to the Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs (McNaughton)1



  • Status of Actions Approved in NSAM No. 2882

This is a summary of actions taken to implement the approved recommendations of the McNamara report.3


To make it clear that we are prepared to furnish assistance and support to South Vietnam for as long as it takes to bring the insurgency under control.

The White House statement of 17 March 644 included the statement that “It will remain the policy of the United States to furnish assistance and support to South Vietnam for as long as it is required to bring Communist aggression and terrorism under control.” Same point was made in Secretary McNamara’s 26 Mar 64 speech.5


To make it clear that we fully support the Khanh government and are opposed to any further coupe.

All Saigon agencies advised 18 Mar 64 that procedures should be established to bring coup plotting to the attention of the Ambassador for his evaluation and decision as to action (Deptel 1463).6 [7–1/2 lines of source text not declassified]


To support a Program for National Mobilization (including a national service law) to put South Vietnam on a war footing.

Embassy, Saigon was requested 20 Mar 64 (Deptel 1490)7 to report the current status of GVN plans and CT views with regard to adoption of a National Service Act. Embassy reported 25 Mar 64 (Embtel 1829)8 that as of that time GVN seems to favor institution of a civil defense organization to supplement present regular and paramilitary forces, rather than implementation of a national mobilization plan. An interagency committee, chaired by J–1, MACV, will continue [Page 203] to study the problem. The GVN has been notified that the US wishes to have an opportunity to comment on any proposed plan at an early stage of development.


To assist the Vietnamese to increase the armed forces (regular plus paramilitary) by at least 50,000 men.

Embassy advised 23 Mar 64 (Deptel 1505)9 among other things that General Khanh’s concept for employment of forces must be refined before any firm determination is made as to the breakdown of the “at least 50,000 men” increase; that it is essential that an early determination be made as to the responsibility of the military and paramilitary (including police); that it is essential that RVNAF carry the war to the guerrillas in their base areas. Embassy was advised to refine the concept for implementing recommendations 4, 6, and 7 and to submit requirements for forces (including US personnel), MAP, and AID funding.

General Harkins reported 25 Mar 6410 that MACV, in conjunction with all other interested agencies in Saigon, was progressing well with required planning. Mission approval for the program is to be sought soon and presentation to the GVN made as soon thereafter as possible. Mr. Brent is exploring financial aspects with Vice Prime Minister Oanh.


To assist the Vietnamese to create a greatly enlarged Civil Administrative Corps for work at province, district and hamlet levels.

On 21 Mar 64 (Embtel [Deptel] 1492)11 the Embassy was requested to submit estimates of US and GVN personnel requirements; cost; and training schedules. Embassy was asked whether Michigan State or third country personnel would be useful.

There has been no response from Saigon and no further action generated in Washington.12


To assist the Vietnamese to improve and reorganize the paramilitary forces and to increase their compensation.

See summary under Recommendation #4 above.


To assist the Vietnamese to create an offensive guerrilla force.

See summary under Recommendation #4 above.


To provide the Vietnamese Air Force 25 A–1H aircraft in exchange for the present T–28s.

On 22 March 64, CINCPAC advised the JCS that he has approved a plan for delivery of 16 A–1H’s (from units in the Pacific) in Vietnam [Page 204] on or about 1 May and 9 from the USS Midway by 15 May.13 These aircraft constituting the third VNAF squadron will be located at Bien Hoa. A Navy unit of 4 support officers, 8 instructor pilots, and 150 men will arrive on or about 1 May. Its mission is to train the VN pilots and maintenance people until they can assume full responsibility (estimated three-six months). ODMA is handling funding.


To provide the Vietnamese Army additional M–113 armored personnel carriers (withdrawing the M–114s there), additional river boats, and approximately $5–10 million of other additional material.

COMUSMACV has requested shipment of 63 M–113’s in three increments with the first increment to arrive in Vietnam on or about 15 Apr 64 and the last before 1 June 64.14 This schedule was approved by the Department of the Army on 26 Mar 64. The disposition of the M–114’s that are being withdrawn is being worked out by the Department of the Army. ODMA will determine the price and funding data for the exchange as soon as the final disposition is decided. There is no resultant delay.

On 22 March 1964, CINCPAC listed his additional FY 64 requirements for Vietnam.15 They are 30 M–113’s, 84 cupolas for M–113’s, TACS, 54 AN/ARC–55 and 93 AN/ARC–45 radios, 17 loudspeaker systems, 5 30-ton cranes, transportation for CG, conversion of an LSM to a hospital ship and 500 backpack sprays. Total cost of this list is $2.65 million. CINCPAC was advised by ODMA on 25 March 1964 that these additional requirements were approved for funding and was requested to provide programming data. CINCPAC also proposed additional items that would increase the FY 65 MAP from $150.8 to $174.6 million. ODMA will respond to this request later.


To announce publicly the Fertilizer Program and to expand it with a view within two years to trebling the amount of fertilizer made available.

The Embassy was requested 25 Mar 64 (Deptel 1523)16 to draft a public announcement for the Ambassador’s and GVN concurrence, after which appropriate announcement is to be made in Saigon. Embassy was advised that the release should probably be deferred until week of 30 Mar to permit resolution of fertilizer procurement problems. USOM has advised AID that commercial suppliers in Vietnam can meet the requirement.


To authorize continued high-level U.S. overflights of South Vietnam’s borders and to authorize “hot pursuit” and South Vietnamese ground operations over the Laotian line for the purpose of border control. [Page 205] More ambitious operations into Laos involving units beyond battalion size should be authorized only with the approval of Souvanna Phouma. Operations across the Cambodian border should depend on the state of relations with Cambodia.

A draft telegram of guidelines to Saigon was considered by DOD 30 March 64. Its main provisions are to authorize the following:

Establishment of covert five-man GVN military liaison team with Laotian forces at Savannakhet.
Authorization of hot pursuit.
Authorization of intelligence collection operations and commando and sabotage raids by VN forces in the region south of Tchepone.
Operations of not to exceed battalion size for relief and support of friendly Lao forces in border regions.
Limited covert encadrement of FAR units in territory adjacent Lao Vol Bn 33.
Resupply opns. (See Vientiane #1067)17


To prepare immediately to be in a position on 72 hours notice to initiate the full range of Laotian and Cambodian “Border Control” actions (beyond those authorized in paragraph 11 above) and the “Retaliatory Actions” against North Vietnam, and to be in a position on 30 days’ notice to initiate the program of “Graduated Overt Military Pressure” against North Vietnam.

The JCS recommended 30 Mar 64 (JCSM–272–64)18 that authority be granted to deploy 48 B–57’s and 1081 personnel from Japan to Clark Air Force Base, beginning 1 Apr 64 and at the rate of 4 aircraft every three days. If necessary, movement can be completed in 4 days.

On 30 Mar 64 the JCS approved dispatch of planning guidance to CINCPAC that requests submission of an outline plan to the JCS by 8 May emphasizing the application of air and naval power against the DRV and Communist China. The objective of the operations would be to cause cessation of any large scale aggression undertaken by the CHICOM’s, possibly assisted by the DRV, in response to US/GVN military pressures against the DRV. A series of other planning messages have been sent by the JCS to CINCPAC. The JCS were requested on 25 Mar to brief selected representatives of the Department of State as early as possible on the concepts of our plans for phased actions.

[Page 206]

On 26 March Mr. Forrestal sent Mr. Rowen a memorandum entitled, “Political Scenario in support of pressures on the North.”19 Mr. Rowen has added material to this memorandum and prepared a new script on 28 March.20 Copies have been sent to Mr. Sullivan and Mr. Forrestal.

F. J. Blouin
Rear Admiral, USN
  1. Source: Washington National Records Center, RG 330, OASD/ISA Files: FRC 68 A 4023, 092 Vietnam. Top Secret.
  2. Document 87.
  3. Document 84.
  4. See footnote 4, Document 79.
  5. See Document 95.
  6. Not printed. (Department of State, Central Files, POL 7 US/McNamara)
  7. Not printed. (Ibid., POL 23 VIET S)
  8. Not printed. (Ibid., POL 7 US/McNamara)
  9. Not printed. (Ibid.)
  10. Not further identified.
  11. Not printed. (Department of State, Central Files, POL 23 VIET S)
  12. First session of special civil administration training course for district chiefs from four provinces began 30 Mar 64. The course will be repeated once a month until all of the 237 district chiefs have a chance to attend. [Footnote in the source text.]
  13. CINCPAC telegram 220026Z, March 22. Johnson Library, National Security File, Vietnam Country File, Vol. VI)
  14. Not further identified.
  15. CINCPAC telegram 22002Z, March 22. (Johnson Library, National Security File, Vietnam Country File, Vol. VI)
  16. Not printed. (Department of State, Central Files, AID (US) VIET S)
  17. Paragraph (6) was handwritten. In telegram 1067, March 30, the Embassy in Vientiane recommended against approaching Souvanna Phouma on the question of resupply of covert South Vietnamese troops in Laos because of his fundamental opposition to Laos becoming involved in “someone else’s war.” (Ibid., POL 27 VIET S)
  18. Not printed. (Washington National Records Center, RG 330, OASD/ISA Files: FRC 69 A 926, 452.1 Vietnam)
  19. Apparent reference to the first draft of Document 102.
  20. See footnote 2, Document 102.