35. Telegram From the Department of State to the Embassy in Vietnam1

1535. For the Ambassador from the Secretary. Embtel 2252.2

We agree that it is important that any evacuation, if and when it takes place, should give correct impression of clearing decks rather than withdrawal.
There is strong desire here to avoid increasing number of US personnel in South Vietnam above present authorized strengths.
According to our records, you have requests in the pipeline for more than 6000 additional military personnel. This figure includes 2400 engineers, 2100 logistic personnel, 502 for airfield security, 446 advisors to complement the GVN force level increase approved 23 January, 422 Marines with the Hawk Battalion (minus), 419 MPs for Saigon, 96 for 39th Signal Battalion, 35 for the 10th TASS, and 18 for SOG. Your Embtel 2252 refers specifically only to the Hawk Battalion and MPs.
Balancing all considerations, we are prepared to authorize some additional US military personnel, on the theory suggested in your Embtel 2252, if you believe it necessary in order to achieve evacuation of the 1800 or so US dependents without serious negative psychological impact. We believe that announcement of deployment of the Hawk Battalion (minus) involving 422 men would serve the purpose. Such deployment is hereby authorized and, subject to affirmative decision being made to proceed with evacuation, you are authorized to time the announcement pursuant to your proposal in Embtel 2252.
We wonder whether deployment of 419 additional MPs in Saigon will give us the best combination of military utility and psychological impact. However if you believe that announcement of something more, such as the MPs or the 446 additional advisors is required to give the clearing of decks flavor to the evacuation of dependents, let us know.
  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, POL 27 VIET S. Top Secret; Immediate; Nodis;LOR. Drafted by McNaughton and Unger, cleared by Cooper, and approved by William Bundy and Rusk.
  2. In telegram 2252, January 23, Taylor recommended that the Presidential statement announcing the evacuation of dependents also include announcement of military reinforcements in order to attenuate the impact of the evacuation. (Ibid.)