236. Telegram From the Embassy in Vietnam to the Department of State1
- In separate messages COMUSMACV is recommending force increases of about 2,000 personnel. Added to earlier recommendations still pending approval of CINCPAC and/or JCS and shortages not yet filled, the total increase over current strength on board would rise by approximately 4,200 military personnel over the next nine months bringing the total in country to nearly 22,000.
- I have reviewed these increases, both pending and recommended, in the light of plans to intensify pacification in certain priority areas and to improve operations throughout the country.
- Without being able or wishing to comment on line items, I give
general over-all support to General Westmoreland’s recommendations for the following
- A substantial improvement in effectiveness of reaction is required at BN level because of an increasing requirement for quicker response in counterambush operations and because the quality and aggressiveness of the VC seem to be rising.
- In order to improve and accelerate the pacification program a major extension of advisory effort at district level is essential. It is proposed to position advisory teams at all districts in the priority provinces and in the most important districts in other provinces.
- In addition to the administrative increases which automatically follow the deployment of another 900 advisors to widely dispersed field positions there is a corresponding need for increased airlift and helicopters.
- Conversion of the Special Forces command to Special Forces group on PCS at full strength minus certain aviation and Q elements, will improve and reinforce operations on the border, in the highlands, against the war zones and support special operations. It should be possible to carry on an effective offensive counterguerrilla program—something we have done only to a limited degree in the past.
- In the absence of presently unforeseen contingencies, the increases presently being sought added to those in process of approval should meet the US military personnel requirement for pacification operations for approximately the next twelve months. I urge prompt processing and action on these recommendations.4
- Source: Department of State, Central Files, DEF 19 US–VIET S. Secret; Priority. Repeated to CINCPAC, the White House, Department of Defense, and JCS.↩
- Document 233.↩
- Dated July 16. (Washington National Records Center, RG 319, HQDA Message Center. Reel 11854)↩
The Department of State, in telegram 205 to Saigon, July 21, replied as follows:
“Highest Authority has approved in principle, subject to further review of details, the requested increase in authorized military strength to approximately 22,000. It has not yet been decided whether or how this augmentation should be announced. Steps should be taken to insure that there is no intentional or accidental release of information on this subject from Saigon until authorized.” (Department of State, Central Files, POL 27 VIET S)↩