205. Telegram From the Commander, Military Assistance Command, Vietnam (Westmoreland) to the Commander in Chief, Pacific (Sharp)1

MAC 6814. Subject: 66–67 force requirements (U). Ref: Emrickʼs message, DTG 032207Z Aug 66.2

Continuous study of the situation indicates that past and current developments reinforce my appraisal of the war on which the CY 66–67 force requirements were based. There are no indications that the enemy has reduced his resolve. He has increased his rate of infiltration, formed division size units, introduced new weapons into his ranks, maintained lines of communications leading into South Vietnam, increased his use of Cambodia as a safe haven, and recently moved a combat division through the DMZ. These and other facts support earlier predictions and suggest that the enemy intends to continue a protracted war of attrition. We must not underestimate the enemy nor his determination.
The war can continue to escalate. Infiltration of enemy troops and supplies from NVN can increase and there is no assurance that this will not occur.
If, contrary to current indications, Hanoi decides not to escalate further, some modification of the forces which I have requested probably could be made. Under such circumstances, I conceive of a carefully balanced force that is designed to fight a long war of attrition and sustainable without national mobilization.
I recognize the possibility that the enemy may not continue to follow the pattern of infiltration as projected. Accordingly, my staff is currently conducting a number of studies with the objective of placing this command and the RVN in a posture that will permit us to retain the initiative regardless of the course the enemy chooses to pursue. These include:
A study which considers possible courses of action by the enemy on our force posture and counteractions to maintain our superiority.
An analysis of our requirement to determine a balanced US force that can be employed and sustained fully and effectively in combat on an indefinite basis without national mobilization.
A study to determine the evolutionary steps to be taken in designing an ultimate GVN security structure.
A study to determine the optimum RVNAF force structure which can be attained and supported in consideration of recent experience and our estimate of the manpower pool.
If a briefing officer or team is required as suggested by reference message, the briefing would only convey the philosophy reflected above and reiterate the forces requested and justified in CINCPAC CY 66 adjusted requirements and CY 67 force requirements, SER: 000255, 18 June 1966.3 Moreover, it would emphasize the requirement for a well balanced, sustainable force in SVN for an indefinite period even if Hanoi elected to stop the escalation.
At this point in time I cannot justify a reduction in requirements submitted.
  1. Source: Center of Military History, Westmoreland Papers, COMUSMACV Message Files. Top Secret; Eyes Only. Repeated to General Wheeler.
  2. In his August 3 telegram, Emrick indicated that CINCPACʼs 1966–1967 force requirement package was in trouble in Washington and that the JCS were loathe to recommend approval without additional rationale, which would probably mean presenting a special briefing. (Ibid.) In a memorandum to McNamara, JCSM–506–66, August 5, the JCS indicated that they had some reservations particularly with respect to CINCPACʼs added requirements for “air defense, security units, attack sorties, and the force requirements derived therefrom.” (Washington National Records Center, RG 330, OASD/ISA Files: FRC 70 A 6648, 320.2 Vietnam)
  3. Not found.