160. Telegram From the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (Wheeler) to the Commander, Military Assistance Command, Vietnam (Westmoreland) and the Commander in Chief, Pacific (Sharp)1
JCS 3332. 1. As you would expect, there has been a considerable exchange between the Secretary, White House and me concerning MACV’s troop requirements for FY 68 and FY 69. This afternoon, Secretary McNamara asked me to transmit the following message to
To assist in the evaluation of your request for additional troops, please consider whether additional Vietnamese manpower could be recruited for combat or combat support tasks thereby reducing the need for US troops. For example, how many men would be added to South Vietnam’s military forces if: [Page 381]
- The tours of duty for ARVN, regional and popular forces personnel were extended one year;
- The men separated from ARVN, regional and popular forces in 1964, 1965, 1966 and 1967 were returned to service;
- The current draft age was reduced one year.
2. I suggest that you follow this guidance in transmitting your response:
- Send it through the front channel identifying your reply as being answers to questions posed by me, presumably during our conferences here in Washington.
- In addition to answering the questions as posed, please take into account equipment availabilities and other support which would be needed.
- Costs to include any additional equipment required.
- Impact, if any, on the Vietnamese labor force.
- Any other pertinent factors.
3. FYI: The President wants Secretaries McNamara, Katzenbach and me to visit South Vietnam in June. As of now, earlier commitments by McNamara and Katzenbach indicate that the most likely time for a visit by us will be around 15 June. I emphasize that this is not a firm date but merely the best time I can fix on this far in advance. It will help both of you in planning your own activities.
- Source: Johnson Library, Papers of William C. Westmoreland, History File, 1–31 May 67. Secret.↩