338. Diary Entry by the Ambassador to Vietnam (Taylor)1

The two principal topics discussed during this visit to Washington were further U.S. troop deployments to South Viet-Nam and the so-called Acheson political track.

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With regard to the first subject, when I left Washington following the NSC meeting on Friday, June 11,2 President Johnson was to take three proposals for weekend reading to the Ranch. The first was General Westmoreland’s recommendation3 which called for a total U.S. strength in South Viet-Nam of about 140,000, the CINCPAC/JCS recommendation4 which was the same as General Westmoreland’s with the exception that no U.S. division would be deployed to the high plateau. Instead, it would be retained on the coast for reaction employment elsewhere within the country. The third proposal was Secretary McNamara’s5 which would add to the present approved deployments a total of five battalions, two of which were Marine battalions to complete the division at Danang and the remainder was a brigade of three Army battalions to be located on the coast for reaction employment. I was authorized to inform the Senate Committees of the impending deployment or four additional battalions (already approved) totalling 18,000 men, thus raising our overall strength to about 70,000. The four battalions were assumed to be a brigade of three to Qui Nhon and a fourth battalion to the Saigon area to raise the strength of the Army troops there from two to three battalions.

I had two discussions of the Acheson political track,6 one with Acheson himself, and the other at a meeting with George Ball, McGeorge Bundy, Bill Bundy, and Acheson.7 One important point established was that the plan was applicable only to a situation where the DRV/VC had become convinced that they could not win by their present tactics. It was agreed to prepare a paper8 which would represent the GVN’s declaration of an appealing political and economic program which would induce good behavior in the VC and a willingness to participate in the government’s program. It would feature an offer of full citizenship to repentant VC and offer them the opportunity of full political and economic participation in the benefits offered by the Saigon Government.

Related somewhat to the Acheson plan was the Department feeling that the GVN should produce a statement of war aims to offset those promulgated by the DRV. On both matters, Department representatives undertook to prepare papers8 for transmission to Saigon.

For my detailed schedule and memoranda of record of important meetings, see enclosures.9

  1. Source: National Defense University, Taylor Papers, T-272–64, Box 52. Secret.
  2. See Document 347.
  3. Document 337.
  4. Document 346.
  5. Apparently a reference to the proposal made by McNamara at a White House meeting on June 10; see Document 343 and footnote 2 thereto.
  6. See Document 287 regarding the Acheson political track.
  7. No record of either discussion has been found.
  8. Not further identified.
  9. Not further identified.
  10. Not printed.