184. Telegram From the Department of State to the Embassy in Canada1

13905. 1. Intelligence gathered over recent months points to greatly increased use by DRV of demilitarized zone (DMZ) as infiltration route for DRV regular units coming into SVN. MACV and GVN have in fact confirmed publicly from prisoner interrogation and photo reconnaissance presence of DRV 324th Division in SVN just south of 17th parallel and that Division infiltrated into SVN through DMZ. GVN on July 21 energetically protested to ICC against DRVʼs infiltration of troops through DMZ and informed ICC that it (GVN) would be obliged to take appropriate measures to protect SVN population. GVN note2 said that infiltration was dangerous threat to peace in SVN and made “urgent appeal” to ICC to take adequate measures to halt it.

2. To counter what is now large scale DRV use of DMZ as infiltration route in clear violation of Geneva Accords, USG has authorized air action in DMZ on both sides of demarcation line and artillery fire (land and naval) into that portion of DMZ south of demarcation line, only against clearly defined military activity. Before taking decision on what additional limited-defensive action on ground south of demarcation line circumstances may require, USG desires establish public and diplomatic case for such defensive actions. By separate tel of lower classification, action addressees are instructed to make demarche to ICC governments as major step in this effort.3

3. Embassy Ottawa should inform GOC in strict confidence of authority granted for use of air and artillery action in DMZ as described above.

4. Embassy London should inform HMG at appropriately high level of authority granted for air and artillery action in DMZ as described above and of USG demarches to ICC powers.

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, POL 27 VIET S. Top Secret; Priority; Exdis. Drafted by Miller, cleared by William Bundy and McNaughton, and approved by U. Alexis Johnson. Also sent to New Delhi, Warsaw, and London, and repeated to Saigon, Moscow, Vientiane, Bangkok, Paris, CINCPAC for POLAD, and COMUSMACV.
  2. Not found.
  3. Telegram 13895, July 22. (Department of State, Central Files, POL 27 VIET S) Joint State/Defense telegram 18807 to Saigon and the JCS, July 30, transmitted newly-approved instructions authorizing ground operations by US/FWMAF forces in the DMZ “south of the demarcation line while in contact with VC/NVA forces or when such engagement is imminent.” (Ibid.)