219. Telegram From the Department of State to the Embassy in Vietnam 1

82577. Subject: E & E. For the Ambassador from the Secretary. Ref: Saigon 4527.2

I greatly appreciate the contingency planning transmitted reftel, particularly as I realize the complexity of the problem and the forced draft that you and your staff are working under. We will be studying your plans carefully in order to give you the best and most expeditious support possible.
In light of renewed fighting in MR 3 and MR 4, and intelligence reports that the North Vietnamese may be planning an attack in the Saigon area in the near future, I believe it is most urgent that we reduce the American presence in South Viet-Nam to the minimum personnel resources required to carry on the essential program. You should therefore as ‘expeditiously as possible, and with appropriate regard for what you have described as the interrelationship of the political and military realities on the ground, proceed to reduce the American community to the approximately 1,250 you mentioned in para 1 (A) (B).
Concurrently, with your efforts to reduce official personnel, you should encourage the non-official American community to reduce their numbers by sending out dependents and less essential personnel.
Finally, we will in the meantime be working urgently on the massive and complex problem of evacuation of Vietnamese based on your study, with a view to coming promptly to the decisions which will have to be made here to support your effort.
  1. Source: Ford Library, National Security Adviser, Presidential Country Files for East Asia and the Pacific, Box 21, Vietnam, State Department Telegrams, From SECSTATE, Nodis (2). Secret; Immediate; Nodis.
  2. The Embassy provided the Department with a detailed evacuation plan in telegram 4527 from Saigon, April 9. (Ibid., To SECSTATE, Nodis, 3)