151. Memorandum of a Meeting1
- Ambassador Lodge
- General Harkins
- Mr. Nes
- Lt. General Westmoreland
- Mr. Manfull
- Mr. Brent
- Mr. De Silva
- Mr. Dunn
- Secretary McNamara
- General Taylor
- Mr. Sylvester
- Mr. McNaughton
- Mr. Sullivan
- Mr. Forrestal
- Lt. Col. Berry
Appraisal of Khanh’s progress or lack thereof in strengthening government:
- Central Government: Administrative mechanism of government has not [been] and is not functioning smoothly. Greatest psychological weakness in SVN is attitude of “every man for himself”. Khanh centralizes authority in himself to detriment of efficiency of government operation. Lodge is encouraged by Khanh’s request for American advisors to assist his government. Given time, inter-governmental relationships may work out, but prospects are not good.
- Provincial Government: Remains weak. Uncertainty as to Corps Commanders’ responsibility handicaps administration. Khanh’s 23 new province chiefs and 80 new district chiefs on the whole have improved quality of administration.
- Central Pacification Committee: Lacks number and quality inspection personnel to be effective.
It is of major importance to seize one place (Long An, for instance), conduct intensive economic-political campaign, and publicize success.
Khanh’s support by various groups, particularly Buddhists.
Buddhists are fragmented. Tri Quang is “nearest thing to a political animal” Lodge has seen in RVN. He is ambitious, anti-Christian, full of hatreds, and agitating against Khanh. Because of Buddhist agitation, particularly that led by Tri Quang, Catholics are about to withdraw from Army all Catholic chaplains. Country Team does maintain close contact with Tri Quang. Some communist infiltration of Buddhists exists. Labor unions have, in general, avoided communist infiltration. Students generally support Khanh. Intellectuals oppose Khanh, as they have opposed everything else.
- Extent to which increased U.S. aid can strengthen GVN counterinsurgency program.
- Existing U.S. program “is about right size”. Skill, energy, leadership is what is needed.
- Lodge is anxious to have a civil advisor added to each Corps Area. Qualifications: fluent in French, about 45 years old, 2–4 year tour, bring family, live in capital of Corps Area, have assigned air and ground transportation, be under Ambassador.
- U.S. should not increase number of American families in RVN.
- Creation of Administrative Civil Corps.
- GVN is underdeveloped government. Much progress has been made. USOM fears putting too much pressure on government or it might shatter.
- USOM is short 25% of authorized strength (about 1/2 for expanding rural affairs staff).
- Mr. McNamara was greatly disturbed over this shortage and suggested consideration of use of active duty military personnel, Foreign Service officers or Peace Corps people to fill this shortage. Sec/Def requested Mr. Forrestal to look into this problem, collect facts, and make recommendations upon his return to Washington.
- National Institute of Administration is short of faculty members for two reasons: (1) Seven instructors are assigned elsewhere in government; and (2) an inadequate budget.
- Current plans call for training of 7,000 hamlet cadre personnel for three weeks and 235 district officers by end of 1964.
- USOM stated that the most important thing to do is to develop a plan for organization and operation of GVN.
- Sec/Def directed Mr. Forrestal to follow this item and to check on usefulness of Michigan State work bearing on this.
- Source: Washington National Records Center, RG 330, OASD/ISA Files: FRC 69 A 926, Vietnam 333. Top Secret; Sensitive. The source text Enclosure D to an undated memorandum from McNamara to the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the Director of DIA.↩