310. Telegram From the Embassy in Vietnam to the Department of State1

387. Am disappointed to note from JCS 7828 to CINCPAC2 that proposal for further patrol in Gulf of Tonkin not approved at this time. As noted Embtel 364,3 we feel that it is important to continue these patrols at frequent intervals.

Although we know in past such patrols have only been on widely spaced periodic basis, are concerned that both DRV/ChiCom as well as GVN will interpret present action as retreat in face deployment of MIGs to DRV. From standpoint Communists, this may encourage them to resume attacks when patrols begin again at later date. From standpoint GVN and public attitudes here, it will tend to hasten and accentuate drop in morale which received major lift from August 5 action.

Insofar as “normal requirements” are concerned, it seems to us presence of MIGs in DRV has raised previously existing requirements for patrols, including necessity closely following by [less than 1 line of source text not declassified] development of GCI capabilities in DRV.

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, POL 27 VIET S. Top Secret; Exdis. Repeated to CINCPAC, the White House, CIA, and the Department of Defense. According to another copy, this telegram was drafted and initialed for Taylor by Johnson. (Ibid., Saigon Embassy Files: Lot 68 F 8)
  2. Telegram JCS 7828 is presumably an incorrect reference. Telegram JCS 7827, August 10, informed Sharp that a DeSoto patrol into the Gulf of Tonkin August 12–17 was not approved, but would be considered at a later date. (National Archives and Records Administration, RG 218, JCS Files)
  3. Telegram 364, August 9, reported that OPLAN 34A actions would be suspended until further notice, but that the destroyer patrols would be continued. (Department of State, Central Files, POL 27 VIET S)