28. Memorandum From the President’s Special Assistant (Rostow) to President Johnson1

Mr. President:

Westy’s command guidance for 1967 will interest you.2

It is clear:

  • —we have the initiative;
  • —we will have sufficient forces for steady offensive pressure on base areas, pacification, opening roads, etc.

The unsolved problems are:

  • —the detailed planning of pacification, province by province;
  • —galvanizing the ARVN for pacification;
  • —getting the right allocation of U.S. forces between pacification and base area attacks;
  • —getting the right coordination from Saigon down to the provinces between military and civil elements and between U.S. and Vietnamese efforts.

But we’re moving; and Westy’s vision of 1967 is basically cheering.

  1. Source: Johnson Library, National Security File, Country File, Vietnam, Vol. LXIV, Memos (B). Secret.
  2. Attached but not printed is telegram DOD 63890 from Westmoreland to the President, January 24, the conclusion of which reads: “In summary, we have two equally important tasks to accomplish simultaneously—maintain relentless pressure on enemy combat forces and support systems and provide expanding security to the population. Our progress will be measured in terms of Viet Cong bases eliminated, of territory cleared of enemy influence, of population secured, of land and water lines of communication which provide uninterrupted flow of goods to market, and of enemy forces destroyed. The number and nature of our tasks require a combination of deliberate planning and flexible execution. Imagination in the use of our assets, understanding of the political and economic effect of actions, appreciation of our role in support of the people of South Vietnam, and anticipation of the future leadership needs of South Vietnam will contribute to our success and to attainment of U.S. objectives. The majority of the people will gravitate toward the side which manifests greater strength. We must demonstrate throughout the country that the Government of South Vietnam is the stronger.”