United States – Vietnam Relations, 1945–1967: A Study Prepared by the Department of Defense/IV. A. 4. U.S. Training of Vietnamese National Army, 1954–59
|TOP SECRET – SENSITIVE|
UNITED STATES - VIETNAM RELATIONS
1945 - 1967
VIETNAM TASK FORCE
OFFICE OF THE SECRETARY OF DEFENSE
|TOP SECRET – SENSITIVE|
IV. A. 4.
EVOLUTION OF THE WAR
US TRAINING OF THE VIETNAMESE
NATIONAL ARMY, 1954 – 1959
U.S. TRAINING OF THE VIETNAMESE NATIONAL ARMY, 1954–1959
This monograph treats U.S. provisions for the security of Vietnam in the period immediately following the Geneva Conference.
- The following are tabbed:
U.S. TRAINING OF THE VIETNAMESE NATIONAL ARMY, 1954–1959
- "Hanoi was evacuated on 9 October . The [U.S. liaison] team left with the last French troops, disturbed by what they had seen of the grim efficiency of the Viet Minh in their takeover, the contrast between the silent march of the victorious Viet Minh troops in their tennis shoes and the clanking armor of the well-equipped French whose western tactics and equipment had failed against the communist military–political–economic campaign."1
Up to 1960, Vietnam was one of the largest recipients of U.S. economic and military assistance in the world: the third ranking non-NATO recipient of aid, the seventh ranking worldwide. The U.S. Military Assistance Advisory Group, Vietnam (MAAG), was the only military mission commanded by a lieutenant general; the U.S. economic aid mission in Vietnam was the largest anywhere. In the years 1955 through 1960, more than $2 billion in aid flowed into Vietnam, and more than 80% of that assistance went toward providing security for the Government of Vietnam. Nonetheless, in 1960 the Joint Chiefs of Staff determined that the armed forces of the Republic of Vietnam (RVNAF) were inadequately trained and organized, and directed urgent action by MAAG to improve their anti-guerrilla capabilities.2
Thus, despite the massive U.S. investment in aid to Vietnam in the period 1954–1960, very little had been accomplished in the way of fashioning South Vietnamese forces into a suitable instrument for countering the "communist military–political–economic campaign" aimed at overturning the Government of Vietnam.
The principal issue examined here is that of the role and effectiveness of U.S. advice and assistance provided the armed forces of the GVN prior to 1960.
The principal focus is on American assistance to the Vietnamese National Army — subsequently the ARVN — although plans and support for the Civil Guard and Self-Defense Corps are also considered. Subsidiary questions include:
- — Why did the U.S. undertake the training of ARVH?
- — How was this decision taken?
- — What was the threat to South Vietnam?
- — What was the mission of the South Vietnamese army?
- — What was the state of the South Vietnamese army?
- — How did the U.S. go about altering this condition?
- — Did U.S. assistance through 1960 result in creation of South Vietnamese army in the image of the U.S. army?
The principal conclusion is that U.S. efforts in the period 1954–1959 failed to produce an effective Vietnamese counterinsurgent force due to contemporary perceptions of and reactions to the threat, to exaggerated estimates of the value and relevance of American military standards in responding to that threat, to lack of effective bargaining techniques vis-a-vis the Government of Vietnam, and to fragmentation and other inadequacies in the American system of determining and administering the overall program of assistance to Vietnam.
U.S. efforts in the period 1954–1960 to create an effective South Vietnamese military establishment — and particularly an effective National Army — were critically affected by the following considerations:
- — The reasons the U.S. undertook the training of the Vietnamese armed forces had their roots not only in the desire to contain communism and preserve the freedom of South Vietnam, but also in U.S. discontent and frustration with French military policy during the Indochina War. A strong desire to correct French mistakes generated considerable bureaucratic momentum; preoccupation with the perceived inadequacies of French practices led to underestimation of the problems the French had to overcome — including that of internal division and governmental reluctance — in developing an effective Vietnamese army, and to overcorrection of French mistakes by the creation of a conventional military force. That Vietnamese army came to be organized in divisions — as the U.S. had so often and so unsuccessfully urged the French to do — that would have the capability to perform well against the Viet Minh divisions in the Red River Delta in 1954, or presumably against their post–1954 equivalent, communist divisions crossing the 17th parallel. But the French Indochina War was over; circumstances had radically changed.
- — The decision to train the South Vietnamese military was based on a compromise between the Departments of State and Defense in which "political considerations" which had nothing to do with the military objections to an affirmative decision, and did not in any way affect the probability of success of the undertaking, were allowed to govern rather than considerations of limitations in U.S. resources and capabilities, and the basic difficulty of the task at hand. Increasingly a characteristic of U.S. decision making, such compromise maximized the probability of consistently selecting the least desirable course of action.
- — The threat to Vietnam was perceived as constituted of the sects and the Viet Minh residue in the South, and the regular forces of the DRV in the North; although it was consistently estimated that the DRV had the capability to overrun South Vietnam, it was just as consistently estimated that the DRV neither needed nor intended to do so. Nonetheless, U.S. doctrine regarding estimates of capability as opposed to estimates of intention with its characteristic emphasis on Order of Battle data (so small a part of the real intelligence problem in counterinsurgency) led to fixation upon the more massive, but less likely, threat of overt invasion.
- — The dual mission expected of the Vietnamese army of internal and external defense was, given resource and trained manpower limitations, internally inconsistent. Given the state of U.S. strategic thinking in the 1950's, the nature of SEATO, the withdrawal of the FEC, the pressures exerted by Diem, and the background of the U.S. MAAG, rooted in the recent Korean experience, it was virtually certain to lead to a conventional military establishment designed to counter a conventional threat. It did. In fact, given the strength of these influences and the lack of U.S. familiarity with effective counterinsurgent techniques, it is questionable whether assignment of a single mission related exclusively to internal security would have made any difference in the type of military establishment that resulted.
- — The South Vietnamese army was in extremely poor condition in 1954; its prospects were worse, in view of the limited resources, particularly in terms of personnel, the U.S. was able to devote to its reorganization and training. In addition, as the JCS stated, "Unless the Vietnamese themselves show an inclination to make individual and collective sacrifices required to resist Communism, which they have not done to date, no amount of external pressure and assistance can long delay complete Communist victory in South Vietnam." There was no overwhelming change in the willingness to sacrifice during the late 1950's, which added to the already formidable task of creating an effective military establishment.
- — The way in which the U.S. MAAG vent about creating an effective military establishment had four principal characteristics: concentration on the mission of resistance to overt aggression; training from the top down; employment of U.S. standards and techniques; and optimistic assessment of the future capabilities of paramilitary organizations outside the purview of MAAG.
- — The result of U.S. efforts was more a reflection of the U.S. military establishment than of the type of threat or terrain. With regard to the overall effectiveness of U.S. aid, it seems to have had, unfortunately, all the depth the term "mirror image" implies. Furthermore, U.S. performance in creating an effective Vietnamese military establishment was adversely affected by the lack of well-founded bargaining techniques vis-a-vis the Government of Vietnam, and by fragmentation and other inadequacies in the American system of determining and administering the overall program of assistance.
- — The U.S. quickly became so deeply and so overtly committed to the Diem government that any leverage inherent in the assistance program rapidly approached zero, perhaps the best illustration of the lack of leverage concerning the defense establishment is the case of the Civil Guard, in which the principal effects of the U.S. bargaining were negative and most directly affected the very organization the U.S. was trying to improve.
- — The case of the Civil Guard, a primary internal security force, also affords excellent examples of two sorts of fragmentation affecting the U.S. effort: U.S. interagency competition (the CG was ultimately transferred to the MOD on the advice of MAAG, but against not only the prior advice of the MSU advisory team but also against the wishes of the Embassy) and lack of coordination at Embassy level by which the entire military assistance effort could be evaluated and resources more rationally allocated (the Civil Guard was evaluated completely differently by MAAG and by the Embassy).
- — A third variety of fragmentation is revealed in the relations between Washington and its various representatives in the field. Both the GVN and the several U.S. agencies relied heavily on Washington for arbitration of disputes generated in Saigon, Diem carrying his position to the highest levels of the agency of his choice, while U.S. representatives had to seek protagonists at various levels within their own agencies. The implications for U.S. policy in the field are obvious.
PRINCIPAL PERSONALITIES, 1954–1960
|OFFICE||TERM OF OFFICE||NAME|
|President||20 Jan 1953 – 20 Jan 1961||Dwight D. Eisenhower|
|Secretary of State||21 Jan 1953 – 15 Apr 1959||John Foster Dulles|
|"||16 Apr 1959 – 20 Jan 1961||Christian A. Herter|
|Ambassador to GVN 25||Jun 1952 – 20 Apr 1955||Donald R. Heath|
|"||20 Apr 1955 – 14 Mar 1957||G. Frederick Reinhart|
|"||14 Mar 1957 – 14 Mar 1961||Elbridge Durbrow|
|Secretary of Defense||28 Jan 1953 – 8 Oct 1957||Charles E. Wilson|
|"||9 Oct 1957 – 2 Dec 1959||Neil H. McElroy|
|"||3 Dec 1959 – 8 Jan 1961||Thomas S. Gates, Jr.|
|Chairman, JCS||14 Aug 1953 – 15 Aug 1957||Admiral Arthur W. Radford, USN|
|"||15 Aug 1957 – 30 Sep 1960||General Nathan F. Twining, USAF|
|"||1 Oct 1960 – 30 Sep 1962||General Lyman L. Lemnitzer, USA|
|Chief of Staff, Army||15 Aug 1953 – 30 Jun 1965||General Matthew B. Ridgway|
|"||30 Jun 1955 – 30 Jun 1959||General Maxwell D. Taylor|
|"||1 Jul 1959 – 30 Sep 1960||General Lyman L. Lemnitzer|
|"||1 Oct 1960 – 30 Sep 1962||General George H. Decker|
|Chief of Naval Operations||16 Aug 1953 – 17 Aug 1955||Admiral Robert B. Carney|
|"||17 Aug 1955 – 31 Jul 1961||Admiral Arleigh A. Burke|
|Chief of Staff, Air Force||30 Jun 1953 – 30 Jun 1957||General Nathan F. Twining|
|"||1 Jul 1957 – 30 Jun 1961||General Thomas D. White|
|Commandant, Marine Corps||28 Jun 1952 – 31 Dec 1955||General Lemuel C. Shepherd, Jr.|
|"||1 Jan 1956 – 31 Dec 1959||General Randolph McC. Pate|
|"||1 Jan 1960 – 31 Dec 1963||General David M. Shoup|
|Chief, MAAG||21 Oct 1955 – 31 Aug 1960||Lt. Gen. Samuel T. Williams, USA|
|"||1 Sep 1960 – 5 Mar 1962||Lt. Gen. Lionel C. McGarr, USA|
|GOVERNMENT OF VIETNAM|
|Head of State/President||Mar 1949 – 26 Oct 1955||Emperor Bao Dai|
|"||26 Oct 1955 – 1 Nov 1963||Ngo Dinh Diem|
|Prime Minister||12 Jan 195 – 16 Jun 1954||Prince Buu Loc|
|"||7 Jul 1954 – 1 Nov 1963||Ngo Dinh Diem|
|Minister of Foreign Affairs/Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs||17 Dec 1953 – 16 Jun 1954||Nguyen Quoc Dinh|
|5 Jul 1954 – May 1955||Tran Van Do|
|"||Jul 1955 – 1 Nov 1963||Vu Van Mau|
|Minister of Defense/Minister of National Defense||25 Jun 1952 – 1954(?)||Ngiem Van Tri|
|5 Jul 1954 – 1 Nov 1963||Ngo Dinh Diem|
1948—VIETNAMESE NATIONAL ARMY WAS CREATED BY FRANCE. (FALL–RASKIN P. 82.)
010849 THE TERMS OF THE ELYSEE AGREEMENT CONCEDED IN PRINCIPLE THE CREATION OF A VIETNAMESE ARMY.
011049 BAO DAI HOPE FOR U.S. ARMS AID INDICATED.
060249 DAI WAS PROCLAIMED VIETNAMESE EMPEROR.
062149 U.S. BACKED THE BAO DAI REGIME.
101749 JCS SUBMITTED A PLAN FOR USING MDA SECTION 303 FUNDS IN AREAS OTHER THAN CHINA, NAMELY SOUTHEAST ASIA.
011650 PEKING RECOGNIZED THE DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF VIETNAM HEADED BY HO CHI MINH. MOSCOW FOLLOWED SUIT ON JAN 31, 1950. /J.B.
020250 FIRST REPORTS ISSUED OF THE ARRIVAL OF CHINESE EQUIPMENT FOR THE VIETMINH. THEY STARTED A GENERAL OFFENSIVE. /J.B.
020750 U.S. AND GREAT BRITAIN RECOGNIZED VIETNAM, LAOS, AND CAMBODIA AS ASSOCIATED STATES WITHIN THE FRENCH UNION AFTER THE FRENCH RATIFICATION OF THE 1919 ELYSEE AGREEMENT.
021650 FRENCH REQUESTED U.S. MILITARY AND ECONOMIC ASSISTANCE FOR THE INDOCHINA WAR.
021950 U.S. CONSULATE GENERAL IN SAIGON WAS RAISED TO LEGATION, AND A MINISTER WAS ACCREDITED TO VIETNAM, CAMBODIA, AND LAOS. /J.B.
030650 RUSK REQUESTED THAT MILITARY ATTACHES BE ASSIGNED TO SAIGON LEGATION. /1ST 288.
040550 JCS RECOMMENDED TO SEC.DEF. DIRECT MILITARY AID BE PROVIDED TO THE FRENCH IN INDOCHINA. THE RATIONALE WAS BASED ON THE DOMINO THEORY RE THE FALL OF SOUTHEAST ASIA COUNTRIES.
042450 THE U.S. ASKED FRANCE WHAT IT HOPED TO ACHIEVE WITH U.S. MILITARY AID. TWELVE NATIVE BATTALIONS WERE TO BE READY FOR MILITARY SERVICE BY 1951.
050850 AT THE FOREIGN MINISTERS CONFERENCE IN PARIS, MINISTER SCHUMAN ANNOUNCED THAT A VIETNAMESE NATIONAL ARMY WOULD BE ESTABLISHED, AND SEC. OF STATE ACHESON ANNOUNCED THAT THE U.S. WOULD SEND ECONOMIC AND MILITARY AID TO THE ASSOCIATED STATES OF INDOCHINA AND FRANCE.
052550 THE U.S. FORMALLY ANNOUNCED THE INTENT TO ESTABLISH AN ECONOMIC AID MISSION TO THE ASSOCIATED STATES OF INDOCHINA. R. BLUM WAS TO BE MISSION CHIEF.
053050 A U.S. ECONOMIC MISSION ARRIVED IN SAIGON. /J.B.
060650 THE VIETNAMESE GOVERNMENT TRIED TO OFFSET ITS FAILURE TO WIN OVER THE NATIONALISTS BY CRACKING DOWN ON THE GUERRILLAS AND STRESSING THE FORMATION OF A VIETNAMESE ARMY. BAO DAI WAS CRITICIZED FOR NOT ASSUMING ACTIVE MILITARY COMMAND OF THE VIETNAMESE ARMY.
062950 MAJ.GEN. ERSKINE WAS DESIGNATED CHIEF OF THE MILITARY GROUP OF MDAP SURVIVAL MISSION TO VIETNAM.
JUL–AUG 1950 THE KOREAN WAR AND U.S. FEAR OF THE CONSEQUENCES OF A VIETMINH VICTORY FOR SOUTHEAST LED TO A READINESS IN WASHINGTON TO INCREASE AMERICAN AID TO THE FRENCH IN INDOCHINA. U.S. AID HOWEVER, DID NOT CHANGE FRENCH POLICY IN VIETNAM. U.S. OFFICIALS IN SAIGON WHO DISAGREED WITH FRENCH POLICY IN INDOCHINA WERE TRANSFERRED AT THE INSISTENCE OF THE FRENCH. /J.B.
071550 THE U.S. MISSION HEADED BY MAJ. GEN. ERSKINE ARRIVED IN VIETNAM TO PAVE THE WAY FOR MAAG. THIS MISSION WAS TO COMPLETE MAP PLANNING AND CONFER WITH THE FRENCH. NO U.S. COMBAT MEN WERE TO GO TO INDOCHINA, ONLY MILITARY SUPPLIES WOULD BE SENT TO AID THE FRENCH.
073150 FIRST ELEMENTS OF MAAG ARRIVED IN INDOCHINA.
080250 TEN OFFICERS, PERMANENT MEMBERS OF THE U.S. MILITARY ADVISORY GROUP, ARRIVED IN SAIGON. SHORTLY THEREAFTER AN AGREEMENT WAS REACHED WITH THE FRENCH ON OPERATIONS OF THE U.S. MISSION.
080550 THE REPORT OF MAJ. GEN. ERSKINE WAS FILED (NSC 64). IN IT HE SPOKE OF THE FEC STALEMATE, POLITICAL PROBLEM RE FRENCH–VIETNAMESE, LACK OF INTERNAL SECURITY, INCREASED MILITARY ASSISTANCE REQUIREMENT FOR THE U.S., THE COMMUNIST CHINA THREAT. FRANCE'S INABILITY TO COPE WITH VIETMINH THREAT.
080650 THE $100-MILLION WORTH OF U.S. MILITARY SUPPLIES, WHICH ARRIVED BY AUGUST 9, WERE TO BE USED TO EQUIP THE NEW VIETNAM NATIONAL ARMY. THE FRENCH HOPED THAT THIS NATIONAL ARMY WOULD ASSUME A MAJOR PART OF FIGHTING THE VIETMINH. VIETNAM TROOPS AT THAT TIME WERE DISORGANIZED.
081050 THE FIRST SHIPMENT OF MILITARY SUPPLIES ARRIVED IN INDOCHINA FROM THE U.S.
081450 THE FRENCH CABINET DECIDED TO REDUCE THE STRENGTH OF THE EXPEDITIONARY CORPS BY 9,000 MEN. THE REDUCTION, WHICH WAS MADE AGAINST MILITARY ADVICE, WAS DUE TO THE REFUSAL OF THE ASSEMBLY TO CONSIDER THE EMPLOYMENT OF NATIONAL SERVICE RECRUITS IN INDOCHINA.
081550 BILATERAL AGREEMENT BETWEEN U.S.–FRANCE COVERING MDA FOR INDOCHINA WAS SIGNED IN DJAKARTA. /217155.
082450 VIETNAMESE TROOPS WERE REPORTED TO BE SLOWLY RELIEVING FRENCH TROOPS.
082840 THE VIETNAM ARMY'S 2ND ANNIVERSARY WAS OBSERVED IN ANNAM. THE LACK OF OFFICERS AND NON-COMS, THE PRESENCE OF FACTIONS AND HIGH COSTS HINDER THE DEVELOPMENT OF THE VIETNAMESE ARMY.
091450 THE 4TH SESSION TRIPARTITE MEETINGS DISCLOSED 77,000 IN ARMIES OF THE ASSOCIATED STATES, 44,000 NATIONALS IN FEC.
092450 THE FRENCH PROMISED THAN VAN HUU AID TO INCREASE THE VIETNAM ARMY.
1050 MDAP MONTHLY REPORT FROM SAIGON DISCLOSED POOR RELATIONS BETWEEN FRENCH AND MAAG. (GULLION TO SEC.STATE)
100450 BRIG. GEN. BRINK BECAME HEAD OF THE U.S. MILITARY AID GROUP IN VIETNAM.
101050 U.S. ESTABLISHED A MILITARY MISSION IN SAIGON.
101350 THE FRENCH PLANNED TO ENLARGE THE VIETNAM ARMY. GENERAL DE LA TOUR DU MOULIN WAS APPOINTED ITS MILITARY ADVISOR.
102450 DIFFICULTIES WITH RESPECT TO ESTABLISHMENT OF VIET FORCE WERE IN RECRUITMENT, ORGANIZATION OF CADRES, FINANCING, CONSCRIPTION. /SAIGON MSG STATE 1ST NOTES
110550 AN INTER-SERVICE TRAINING COLLEGE WAS OPENED AT DALAT. /LANCASTER.
110750 FRENCH AND VIETNAM LEADERS AGREED ON A RAPID BUILDUP OF THE VIETNAM ARMY.
110850 VIETNAM WAS EXPECTED TO SPEND 35–40 PERCENT OF ITS 1951 BUDGET ON ITS THREE-DIVISION ARMY.
112250 MINISTER LETOURNEAU TOLD THE FRENCH ASSEMBLY THAT BOTH FRENCH AND NATIONAL FORCES IN INDOCHINA WERE TO BE STRENGTHENED.
1250 WITH THE CREATION OF THE MINISTRY FOR THE ASSOCIATED STATES, NINE SEPARATE MINISTRIES WERE DIRECTLY CONCERNED WITH AND RESPONSIBLE FOR SOME ASPECT OF FRENCH ACTIVITIES IN INDOCHINA. /NAVARRE.
120450 IT WAS ANNOUNCED THAT GENERAL DE LATTRE DE TASSIGNY WOULD REPLACE GENERAL CARPENTIER AND HIGH COMMISSIONER PIGNON AS THE SUPERIOR MILITARY AND CIVILIAN COMMANDER. HE TOOK OFFICE TWO DAYS LATER.
120850 AND 122350 COMPLEMENTARY AGREEMENTS TO THE 1949 ELYSEE AGREEMENT PROVIDED FOR THE FORMATION OF FOUR DIVISIONS BY THE END OF 1951. /LANCASTER.
120850 A NATIONAL VIETNAM ARMY WAS FORMALLY SET UP WITH NATIONAL STATUS FOR TROOPS BY ORDER OF BAO DAI.
121550 GENERAL ERSKINE FINISHED HIS MISSION.
122350 THE U.S. SIGNED A MUTUAL DEFENSE ASSISTANCE PENTALATERAL AGREEMENT WITH FRANCE, VIETNAM, CAMBODIA, AND LAOS FOR INDIRECT U.S. MILITARY AID TO FRENCH UNION FORCES IN INDOCHINA. THE AGREEMENT ON DEFENSE AND MUTUAL ASSISTANCE LAID DOWN THE CONDITIONS UNDER WHICH U.S. AID WOULD BE APPORTIONED AND ESTABLISHED THE PRINCIPLE THAT ALL MATERIALS PROVIDED WOULD BE HANDED OVER TO THE FRENCH COMMAND, WHILE DIRECT RELATIONS BETWEEN THE ASSOCIATED 'STATES AND MAAG WERE TO BE EXPRESSLY PRECLUDED. /LANCASTER.
122350 MAAG INDOCHINA WAS AUTHORIZED. /217155.
1951 HO CHI MINH'S ARMY WAS THOUGHT TO CONTAIN 70,000 LIGHTLY ARMED MEN. 2 PERCENT COMMUNISTS AND THE REST WERE STRONG NATIONALISTS. /NYT
1951 THE ARMED FORCES ON THE FRENCH SIDE = 150,000. ABOUT HALF WERE NATIVES OF UNCERTAIN LOYALTY AND EFFECTIVENESS. FLEM-CWO.
JAN–MAR 51 DE LATTRE SUCCEEDED IN HALTING COMMUNIST ADVANCES. THE VIETMINH WAS FORCED TO RETURN TO TACTICS. THE TROOPS AT THE DISPOSAL OF THE FRENCH NOW NUMBERED 391,000.
0151 THE FRENCH AND VIETMINH BOTH REORGANIZED THEIR FORCES INTO DIVISIONS, SINCE THE TYPE OF COMBAT HAD ESCALATED FROM GUERRILLA WARFARE.
010851 MAAG INDOCHINA WAS OFFICIALLY ESTABLISHED WITH A STRENGTH OF 128. /217154–5.
011051 GENERAL DE LATTRE'S LEADERSHIP INCREASED THE MORALE OF BOTH THE FRENCH AND THE VIETNAMESE FORCES.
0351 DE LATTRE LEFT FOR PARIS TO ASK FOR REINFORCEMENTS IN OFFICERS, N.C.O'S AND TECHNICIANS WHOSE SERVICES WOULD BE REQUIRED TO TRAIN THE NATIONAL ARMIES.
042551 THE FRENCH TESTED THE ABILITY OF THE VIETNAMESE POLICE TO MAINTAIN ORDER AND TO CHECK THE VIETMINH INFILTRATION IN THE VINHBAO AREA SOUTH OF HAIPHONG.
0551 THE ADVENT OF THE MONSOON GAVE DE LATTRE THE OPPORTUNITY TO DEVOTE MORE OF HIS TIME AND ATTENTION TO THE FORMATION OF THE NATIONAL ARMIES AND HIS RESPONSIBILITIES AS HIGH COMMISSIONER.
050151 VIETNAMESE ARMY HAD 38,500 MEN.
052651 GENERAL COLLINS STATED THAT $54-MILLION WORTH OF SUPPLIES HAD BEEN SHIPPED SINCE JUNE 1949.
061451 THE CAO DAI SECT MILITARY CHIEF COLONEL TRINH MINH TAY DEFECTED FROM FRENCH–VIETNAMESE FORCES AND LED 2,500 MEN INTO CAMBODIA.
071551 BAO DAI ORDERED TOTAL VIETNAM MOBILIZATION TO MEET A POSSIBLE THREAT BY CHINA IF A KOREA TRUCE WERE REACHED.
0851 THE FRENCH COMMISSIONER FOR SOUTH VIETNAM, GENERAL CHANSON, WAS ASSASSINATED. /LANCASTER..
080751 PROGRESS IN THE FORMATION OF A NATIONAL VIETNAMESE ARMY WAS REPORTED. VIETNAMESE UNITS HAD PERFORMED ADEQUATELY IN ENGAGEMENTS. LACK OF LEADERSHIP, FRENCH–VIETNAMESE QUARRELS, LACK OF EQUIPMENT AND AN APATHETIC POPULACE PLAGUED THE EFFORT. /NIE 35 REPORT.
0951 DE LATTRE WENT TO WASHINGTON TO ALLAY AMERICAN SUSPICIONS CONCERNING FRENCH INTENTIONS IN INDOCHINA AND TO ASK FOR INCREASED MILITARY SUPPLIES FOR THE NATIONAL ARMIES. HE RETURNED TO SAIGON OCT. 19. /LANCASTER.
090251 BRIG. GEN. BRINK REPORTED THAT THE FRENCH–VIETNAMESE FORCES WERE GAINING.
090751 U.S. SIGNED AND AGREEMENT WITH VIETNAM FOR DIRECT ECONOMIC ASSISTANCE. /J.B.
092051 DE LATTRE WENT TO WASHINGTON TO PLEAD FOR MORE AMERICAN AID, IN PARTICULAR FOR NEW PLANES AND OTHER MODERN EQUIPMENT, OF WHICH MORE AND MORE BEGAN TO ARRIVE IN VIETNAM.
092351 THE U.S. PROMISED TO ACCELERATE MILITARY AND ECONOMIC AID TO INDOCHINA.
1051 CAO DAI COLONEL TRINH MINH TAY BUILT A REBEL REGIME. HE DENOUNCED BOTH FRENCH AND VIETMINH.
100151 A SHIPMENT OF RIFLES ENOUGH FOR 4 DIVISIONS ARRIVED IN VIETNAM FROM THE U.S.
101651 60,000 VIETNAM DRAFTEES REPORTED FOR MILITARY TRAINING AS PART OF MOBILIZATION ORDER OF BAO DAI.
110651 PROGRESS REPORT ON NSC 56121 (OCB) CLAIMED THAT PERSONNEL STRENGTH OF CIVIL POLICE BOARD WAS REDUCED BY 20 PERCENT BECAUSE OF MODERNIZATION EQUIPMENT, COMMUNICATIONS, AND TRANSPORTATION. /159–1.
1251 A SPEECH BY THE RADICAL SOCIALIST DEPUTY DALADIER REVEALED A GROWING FRENCH OPPOSITION TO THE INDOCHINA WAR. DALADIER DEMANDED THAT FRANCE SEEK PEACE THROUGH THE UNITED NATIONS.
121851 THE U.S. PROPOSED AN AGREEMENT BE MADE BETWEEN FRANCE AND THE U.S. TO INSURE THE CONTINUATION OF THE ELIGIBILITY OF THE STATE OF VIETNAM AND THE PROGRAMS OF MILITARY AND ECONOMIC ASSISTANCE NOW BEING EXTENDED. AN AGREEMENT WAS RATIFIED IN JANUARY 3, 1952.
1951 PROFITING FROM THE CHANGED CHARACTER OF THE WAR, DE LATTRE WAS ABLE DURING HIS BRIEF PROCONSULATE TO GIVE DECISIVE IMPETUS TO THE TARDY FORMATION OF A VIETNAMESE ARMY, FIRST BY PERSUADING THE VIETNAMESE ACCEPT THE PRINCIPLE OF NATIONAL CONSCRIPTION, AND SECONDLY BY SUCCESSFULLY NEGOTIATING IN WASHINGTON FOR MILITARY AID TO EQUIP THE NATIONAL DIVISIONS THAT IT WAS NOW PROPOSING TO RAISE AND TRAIN. /LANCASTER.
EARLY 1952 A TRAINING SCHOOL FOR AIR FORCE PERSONNEL WAS OPENED AT NHA TRAN
010752 GENERAL DE LATTRE WAS ILL, GENERAL SALAN COMMANDED THE FRENCH FORCES IN HIS ABSENCE.
011152 DE LATTRE DIED. THE COMMUNISTS STARTED A NEW OFFENSIVE. WITH CHINESE EQUIPMENT, INCLUDING ARTILLERY, THEY WERE NOW ABLE TO REDUCE DE LATTRE'S GAINS AND TO ELIMINATE MANY SMALLER POSITIONS BETWEEN THE CITIES HELD BY THE FRENCH.
011152 VIETNAMESE ARMY STRENGTH WAS AT 65,000.
011152 TRIPARTITE CHIEFS OF STAFF CONFERENCE IN WASHINGTON.
012852 BAO DAI PLEDGED TO ESTABLISH A 120,000-MAN VIETNAM ARMY.
020452 MINISTER LETOURNEAU CONFERRED WITH BAO DAI ON THE BUILDUP OF, AND U.S. FOR THE NATIONAL ARMY. LACK OF TOP OFFICERS SLOWED TRAINING. AGREEMENT WAS REACHED ON APPOINTING A VIETNAMESE CHIEF OF STAFF AND FULLTIME DEFENSE MINISTER.
021152 VIETNAMESE PARATROOPERS WERE USED IN AN ATTACK ON THE TONGKIN AREA.
022252 DISSIDENT CAODAIST FORCES CLASHED WITH THE FRENCH. THEIR LEADER, COLONEL TRINH MINH TAY, WAS DENOUNCED AS A TRAITOR.
022352 FRENCH ASKED FOR MORE U.S. AID IN ARMING THE NEW DIVISIONS.
022452 GENERAL SALAN EVACUATED FRENCH AND VIETNAMESE TROOPS FROM HOA BINH AND THE WESTERN END OF THE HOA BINH-HANOI ROAD IN ORDER TO PROVIDE MORE TROOPS FOR THE TONGKIN DELTA OPERATIONS.
030852 BAO DAI APPOINTED GENERAL NGUYEN VAN HINH AS CHIEF OF STAFF.
031852 ACHESON TOLD A SENATE COMMITTEE THAT THE INDOCHINA SITUATION WAS VERY SERIOUS. HE STRESSED THE NEED FOR A LARGE AND EFFECTIVE NATIVE FORCE. LETOURNEAU FELT ACHESON'S ALARM WAS UNJUSTIFIED.
04 THRU END OF 1952 NATIVE FORCES WERE INCREASINGLY USED IN THE FIGHTING.
040152 MINISTER LETOURNEAU WAS NAMED HIGH COMMISSIONER, AND REMAINED IN THE FRENCH CABINET AS THE ASSOCIATED STATES' MINISTER. GENERAL SALAN REMAINED AS THE MILITARY COMMANDER.
040852 THE SECRETARY OF DEFENSE WAS ADVISED BY THE SERVICE SECRETARIES THAT A POSITIVE COURSE OF ACTION IN INDOCHINA WOULD BE TO EXPAND THE MAAG TO TRAIN AND EQUIP THE NATIONAL ARMY TO PROVIDE INTERNAL SECURITY.
041052 LETOURNEAU SAID THAT FRANCE WAS TO MAINTAIN ITS TROOPS UNTIL NATIVE TROOPS WERE READY.
041652 NATIVE OFFICERS UNDER GENERAL NGUYEN VAN HINH TOOK OVER THE VIETNAM ARMY GENERAL STAFF.
041952 GENERAL SALAN PRAISED NATIVE TROOPS IN THE CLEAN UP DRIVE OF THE TONGKIN DELTA.
042752 THE VIETNAMESE ARMY WAS TO FORM A NATIVE REGIMENTAL COMBAT TEAM AS OUTLINED BY ITS CHIEF OF STAFF.
0552 VIETNAMESE GENERAL STAFF CAME INTO EXISTENCE.
051852 EXPANSION OF NATIVE FORCES BROUGHT TOTAL FRENCH AND INDOCHINESE FORCES TO 400,000. 50,000 REGULAR GROUND TROOPS HAD BEEN ADDED SINCE JUNE 19
052452 VIETNAM PLANNED TO CALL 20–28 YEAR OLDS WITH GRADE SCHOOL EDUCATION FOR SERVICE AS OFFICERS. THE GENERAL MOBILIZATION WAS DROPPED.
052852 AT THE TRIPARTITE MEETINGS IN PARIS IT WAS STATED THAT MORE FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE FROM U.S. WAS NEEDED TO PUT 200,000 TROOPS IN ARMIES OF THE ASSOCIATED STATES.
0652 FOUR REGIONAL STAFFS OF THE VIETNAMESE ARMY WERE CREATED.
0652 LETOURNEAU WENT TO WASHINGTON TO DISCUSS INCREASES IN U.S. AID. THESE DISCUSSIONS RESULTED IN AN AGREEMENT THAT U.S. MILITARY AND FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE SHOULD BE INCREASED TO COVER 40 PERCENT OF FRENCH EXPENSES IN INDOCHINA. A FINAL COMMUNIQUE ISSUED ON JUNE 18 STATED THAT THE STRUGGLE IN WHICH THE FORCES OF THE FRENCH UNION AND THE ASSOCIATED STATES WERE ENGAGED, AGAINST THE FORCES OF COMMUNIST AGGRESSION IN INDOCHINA, WAS AN INTEGRAL PART OF WORLD WIDE RESISTANCE BY THE FREE NATIONS TO COMMUNIST ATTEMPTS AT CONQUEST AND SUBVERSION. /DEPT. STATE.
060352 UNDER THE HIGH COMMISSIONER LETOURNEAU, THE FRENCH PROVOKED MODERATE NATIONALISTS BY NAMING NGUYEN VAN TAM AS PREMIER OF THE CENTRAL GOVERNMENT. NGUYEN VAN TAM, FATHER OF NGUYEN VAN HIMH WHO WAS LATER MADE CHIEF OF THE VIETNAMESE ARMY, WAS HATED FOR THE PART HE HAD PLAYED EARLIER IN THE CRUEL SUPPRESSION OF VIETNAMESE RESISTANCE MOVEMENTS.
060752 FRENCH–VIETNAM COMMANDOS RAIDED THE ANNAM COAST.
060952 FRANCE HOPED TO SHIFT THE WAR BURDEN TO THE VIETNAM FORCES.
061552 U.S. MINISTER HEATH AND FRENCH MINISTER LETOURNEAU CONFERRED IN WASHINGTON. LETOURNEAU PRESSED FOR AID TO EXPAND THE NATIVE FORCES AND URGED FOR COMMON U.S.–BRITISH–FRENCH POLICY TO ASSURE VIETNAM OF WESTERN SUPPORT.
062452 IN THE DEBATE OVER NSC 124, THE TRAINING OF LOCAL ARMIES WAS AN ALTERNATIVE, PUT FORTH BY SECRETARY KIMBALL FOR SUCCESSFULLY COUNTERING RUSSIA AT THE LOCAL WAR LEVEL.
062552 NGUYEN VAN TAM TOOK OFFICE AS PREMIER, APPOINTED BY BAO DAI, WHO WAS OF STATE.
0752 U.S. LEGATION IN SAIGON WAS RAISED TO EMBASSY STATUS. U.S. AMBASSADOR PRESENTED CREDENTIALS TO BAO DAI. A VIETNAMESE EMBASSY WAS ESTABLISHED IN WASHINGTON D.C. /J.B.
071252 LETOURNEAU REVEALED THAT THE VIETNAM NATIONAL ARMY TOTALED 68,000 MEN.
073052 FRANCE WARNED THAT SHE MIGHT HAVE TO ABANDON THE WAR IF THE U.S. DID NOT INCREASE FUNDS FOR FRENCH DEFENSE CONTRACTS. AID TO INDOCHINA FOR 1953 WAS SET AT $350-MILLION. FRENCH HINTED FOR U.S. RELIEF FORCES.
080152 VIETNAM'S PREMIER PLEDGED TWO MORE NATIVE DIVISIONS BY THE YEAR'S END. PLANNED A NEW TAX TO RAISE FUNDS FOR THE ARMY.
092152 THE VIETMINH STAGED AN ATTACK NEAR SAIGON.
101252 THE 200TH U.S. SHIP CARRYING MILITARY AID ARRIVED IN SAIGON. /J.B.
53 A NAVAL TRAINING SCHOOL WAS ESTABLISHED AT NHA TRANG.
012053 GENERAL O'DANIEL WENT TO VIETNAM TO REVIEW LETOURNEAU'S OPERATION PLANS.
0253 AD HOC COMMITTEE TO THE ASSISTANT SECRETARY FOR ISA RECOMMENDED AGAINST DIRECT AMERICAN PARTICIPATION IN THE VIETNAMESE TRAINING PROGRAM FOR THE FORESEEABLE FUTURE. /JCS HIST.
020453 MINISTER LETOURNEAU REPORTED ON A NEW PLAN TOUP VIETNAMESE TROOP TRAINING.
021653 EX-PREMIER REYNAUD FELT INCREASING THE VIETNAM ARMY WAS THE ONLY SOLUTION TO THE MILITARY STALEMATE. MARSHALL JUIN CONCURRED.
022253 THE FRENCH–VIETNAMESE HIGH MILITARY COMMISSION CONSIDERED DOUBLING THE VIETNAM ARMY. IT APPEARED THAT THE FRENCH HAD ACCEPTED BAO DAI'S ARMY CHIEF OF STAFF GEN. NGUYEN VAN HINH'S PLAN TO INCREASE THE REGULAR ARMY. FINANCING DIFFICULTIES WERE ANTICIPATED.
022353 TALKS TOOK PLACE AT DALAT, VIETNAM, BETWEEN THE FRENCH AND VIETNAMESE THE HIGH MILITARY COMMAND. THEY DECIDED TO DOUBLE THE PROJECTED SIZE OF THE VNA BY ADDING 60 MORE LIGHT BATTALIONS. MEMBERS PRESENT WERE BAO DAI (CHIEF-OF-STATE), NGUYEN VAN TAM (PREMIER), NGUYEN VAN HINH (CHIEF OF STAFF), LETOURNEAU, AND SALAN. THE DECISION WAS A MOVE TO END THE MILITARY STALEMATE. THE REGULAR ARMY = 160,000. 30.000 WOULD - BE ADDED BY THE END OF 1953 IN 20 BATTALIONS.
022453 C.L.SULZBERGER REPORTED PREMIER MAYER AS SAYING THAT FRANCE COULD NOT FULFILL ANY MORE EUROPEAN COMMITMENTS UNLESS THE NATO ALLIES INCREASED THEIR AID. A COMMITTEE AGREED TO INCREASE VNA BATTALIONS FROM 30 TO THE U.S. OFFERED $42 MILLION IN AID CONDITIONAL ON THE PLACEMENT OF OBSERVERS WITH THE TROOPS. /NYT 022443.
022453 A JOINT FRENCH–VIETNAMESE HIGH MILITARY COMMITTEE DECIDED TO RAISE 71 BATTALIONS.
022553 VIETNAM WAS GIVEN MORE FREEDOM IN DEVELOPING ITS NATIONAL ARMY APART FROM FRENCH CONTROL. 54 BATTALIONS WERE TO BE FORMED IN 1953, TO CONTROL AREAS LESS UNDER REBEL CONTROL.
SPRING 1953 EXPEDITIONARY CORPS = LAND FORCES OF 175,000 REGULAR TROOPS, INCLUDING 54,000 FRENCH, 30,000 NORTH AFRICAN, 18,000 AFRICAN, 20,000 LEGIONARIES, 53,000 LOCALLY RAISED TROOPS, AND 55,000 AUXILIARY TROOPS, A NAVAL CONTINGENT OF 5,000, AIR FORCE CONTINGENT OF 10,000. IN THE ARMIES OF THE ASSOCIATED STATES WERE 150,000 REGULAR AND 50,000 AUXILIARY TROOPS IN VIETNAM, 15,000 IN LAOS, 10,000 IN CAMBODIA. /NAVARRE.
0353 THE FRANCO–VIETNAMESE HIGH MILITARY COUNCIL APPROVED A NEW PROGRAM CALLING FOR AN INCREASE IN VIETNAMESE STRENGTH DURING 1953 OF 40,000 MEN IN 54 "COMMANDO" BATTALIONS.
031453 THE FRENCH CABINET CONSIDERED A PLAN THAT WOULD LESSEN ITS INDOCHINA COMMITMENTS BY TRAINING MORE VIETNAMESE.
032053 ON A VISIT TO INDOCHINA, U.S. GEN. MARK CLARK PRAISED FRENCH TACTICS AND TRAINING METHODS, SAW NO NEED FOR U.S. MILITARY INSTRUCTORS, AND SAID THE U.S. WOULD NOT FOIST ITS METHODS ON THE FRENCH.
032353 GEN. MARK CLARK STRESSED THE NEED TO EXPAND THE VIETNAM ARMY, AND WAS INTERESTED IN DEVELOPING THE LOCAL MILITIA, OFFICER CADRES, AND TROOP MOBILITY.
0325553 H.W.BALDWIN WAS OPTIMISTIC RE FRENCH INVESTMENT AND VIETNAM ARMY STRENGTH.
042253 AT THE BIPARTITE (US–FRANCE) MEETINGS IN WASHINGTON, DULLES WAS VERY ANXIOUS FOR FRENCH TO ADOPT THE SUCCESSFUL U.S.–KOREAN INSTRUCTIONAL METHODS FOR USE IN INDOCHINA. /JCS HIST.
042253 THE PARIS GOVERNMENT DECREED THAT FRANCE WOULD BE REPRESENTED IN INDOCHINA BY A HIGH COMMISSION CONSISTING OF A COMMISSIONER GENERAL IN SAIGON AND HIGH COMMISSIONERS IN EACH OF THE ASSOCIATED STATES.
042653 G.GAUTIER WAS APPOINTED HIGH COMMISSIONER IN VIETNAM.
0553 ALTOGETHER VIETMINH INSURGENTS STRENGTH = 280,000 INCLUDING REGULARS, REGIONAL TROOPS, MILITIAMEN. THE MAIN STRIKING FORCE = 70,000 MEN IN FIVE ELITE DIVISIONS.
050853 GEN. HENRI NAVARRE WAS APPOINTED BY PREMIER MAYER AS COMMANDER IN CHIEF OF THE FRENCH UNION FORCES IN INDOCHINA, SUCCEEDING GEN. SALAN. HE TOOK OFFICE MAY 20.
060453 VNA DEVELOPMENT PROMISED BY FRENCH IN 1949 HAD BEEN RETARDED BY A SHORTAGE OF OFFICERS, BY FRENCH LACK OF FAITH IN THE VIETNAMESE AND FRENCH FISCAL PROBLEMS. /NIE 91
0753 THROUGHOUT THE MONTH NAVARRE WAS IN PARIS ATTENDING MEETINGS CONCERNING FRENCH ACTIVITIES IN INDOCHINA. THE SCALE OF HIS DEMANDS WERE OBJECTED TO BY THE CHIEFS OF STAFF BECAUSE FULFILLING THEM WOULD HAVE AN ADVERSE EFFECT ON THE GENERAL MILITARY SITUATION IN EUROPE AND NORTH AFRICA. IT WAS SUGGESTED TO TRY TO GET AN INTERNATIONAL GUARANTEE OF LAOTIAN TERRITORIAL INTEGRITY TO LESSEN THE FRENCH RESPONSIBILITY FOR SECURITY. /LANCASTER.
070353 FRENCH GOVERNMENT HANDED A NOTE TO THE HIGH COMMISSIONER OF VIETNAM, CAMBODIA IN WHICH IT MADE A SOLEMN DECLARATION OF ITS READINESS TO COMPLETE THE INDEPENDENCE AND SOVEREIGNTY OF THE ASSOCIATED STATES BY TRANSFERRING ALL FUNCTIONS WHICH REMAINED UNDER FRENCH CONTROL, AND INVITED THE GOVERNMENTS TO NEGOTIATE WITH THE FRENCH THE SETTLEMENT OF OUTSTANDING CLAIMS IN THE ECONOMIC, FINANCIAL, JUDICIAL, MILITARY, AMD POLITICAL SPHERES. /LANCASTER.
070353 M.DEJEAN WAS APPOINTED COMMISSIONER GENERAL TO THE ASSOCIATED STATES.
070953 U.S. GEN. O'DANIEL ENDED A 3-WEEK SURVEY. HE FAVORED AN INCREASE IN MILITARY AID AND WAS CONFIDENT OF FRENCH VICTORY ONCE THE VIETNAMESE ARMY WAS FULLY ORGANIZED.
071253 IN FRANCO–U.S. BILATERAL TALKS, THE NAVARRE PLAN WAS DEFINED, AS CALLING FOR A STRUCTURAL REORGANIZATION TO CREATE UNITS BETTER ADAPTED FOR WAR CONDITIONS AND OFFENSIVE OPERATIONS. /1ST NOTES 67.
071653 JAMES RESTON, NYT, LINKED THE LAG IN NATIVE TROOP DEVELOPMENT TO NON-ENTHUSIASM FOR BAO DAI'S REGIME.
072753 AFTER THE KOREAN ARMISTICE, U.S. AID FOR THE FRENCH IN VIETNAM GREW IN VOLUME.
090653 NON-COMMUNIST NATIONALISTS HELD A CONFERENCE IN SAIGON. THEY DENOUNCED FRENCH COLONIALISM NATIONAL ASSEMBLY.
092353 THE FRENCH FORMALLY AGREED TO ALLOWING U.S. PERSONNEL TO EXAMINE THE TO WHICH U.S. AID WAS BEING PUT.
1053 IT WAS HOPED THAT 30,000 MEN WOULD BE MOBILIZED FOR THE VIETNAM ARMY BEFORE DECEMBER.
101453 A VIETNAM NATIONAL CONGRESS OF 200 CONVENED IN SAIGON. RATHER THAN CHOOSE POTENTIAL DELEGATES FOR A MEETING WITH FRANCE THEY PASSED A RESOLUTION DECLARING AN INDEPENDENT VIETNAM WAS NOT TO PARTICIPATE IN THE FRENCH UNION.
101553 GENERAL NAVARRE LAUNCHED THE HEAVIEST OFFENSIVE OPERATION IN TWO YEARS.
1153 GENERALS O'DANIEL AND BONSAL CONDUCTED A SECOND SURVEY IN VIETNAM. /REPORT FILED 12–19–53.
1153 GENERAL O'DANIEL REPORTED ON RECOMMENDATIONS HE MADE TO THE FRENCH WHICH ALL FELL SHORT OF INTRODUCTION OF LARGE AMERICAN INFLUENCE IN PLANNING OF OPERATIONS AND TRAINING OF VIETNAMESE FORCES. /JCS HIST.
1153 BRIG. GEN. PAUL W. CARAWAY REPORTED THAT THERE WAS LITTLE SEMBLANCE OF A NATIONAL ARMY.
111953 THE 2ND REPORT OF GENERAL O'DANIEL STATED THAT THE FRENCH POSSESSED THE MILITARY INITIATIVE. INDIGENOUS ARMY DEVELOPMENT HAD OCCURRED AS PLANNED. VIETNAMESE BATTALIONS SHOULD BE USED ONLY WITH REGULAR FORCES AND NOT IN SEPARATE BATTALIONS. REORGANIZATION OF FRENCH FORCES INTO MOBILE GROUPS AND DIVISONS HAD BEEN SIGNIFICANT. NATIONAL ARMY TRAINING HAD BEEN UNSATISFACTORY. CHIEF MAAG INDOCHINA HAD KEPT ABREAST OF FRENCH PLANS.
112953 HO CHI MINH ISSUED A CALL FOR PEACE NEGOTIATIONS IN A STOCKHOLM NEWSPAPER.
121753 NGUYEN VAN TAM LEFT HIS OFFICE AS PREMIER.
121853 BAO DAI ASKED PRINCE BUU LOC TO TAKE THE PREMIERSHIP OF VIETNAM. HE ENTERED OFFICE JAN. 16, 1954 AND SERVED UNTIL JUNE 16, 1954.
1953 A CONSIDERABLE PORTION OF U.S. AID IN 1953 WAS TO EQUIP THE GROWING VIETNAMESE ARMY, WHICH TOTALED 155,000 AT THE END OF 1952, AND WAS EXPANDED BY 40,000 BY THE END OF 1953, TO REACH A TOTAL STRENGTH OF 300,000 BY THE END OF 1954. FRANCE PLANNED TO INCREASE FEC STRENGTH IN INDOCHINA TO 250,000 BY THE END OF 1953. /AM
54 THERE WERE 25 AMERICANS ATTACHED TO STEM AS ECONOMIC AND TECHNICAL ASSISTANTS IN INDOCHINA. STEM HAD 100 NATIVE EMPLOYEES
0154 FEC IN INDOCHINA = 240,000. VIETNAMESE NATIONAL ARMY = 211,000. LAOTIAN ARMY = 21,000. CAMBODIAN ARMY = 16,000. VIETMINH = 115,000. REGULARS PLUS 185,000 MILITIAMEN + GUERRILLAS.
011654 THE CABINET OF PRINCE BUU LCC WAS INVESTED.
012654 AT THE BIG FOUR CONFERENCE IN BERLIN, BIDAULT SPECIFIED THAT A CONFERENCE ON INDOCHINA BE HELD. THE MAIN RESULT OF THE BERLIN CONFERENCE WAS THE SETTING OF APRIL 26 FOR A MEETING AT GENEVA ON INDOCHINA. /FLEM-CWO.
012954 SEC.DEF. MEMO TO SEC. AF. DIRECTED 200 AIR FORCE PERSONNEL TO INDOCHINA TDY TO JUNE 15, 1954.
012954 MAJOR GENERAL ERSKINE, CHAIRMAN OF THE PRESIDENT'S SPECIAL COMMITTEE ON INDOCHINA, THOUGHT MAAG INDOCHINA SHOULD BE RAISED TO MISSION LEVEL TO HELP WITH TRAINING.
0254 THE NEW FIRST VIETNAMESE DIVISION WHICH HAD BEEN CREATED ACCORDING TO THE NAVARRE PLAN AND LEFT IN A STATIC POSITION, TURNED AGAINST BAO DAI AND THE FRENCH. /FLEM-CWO.
0254 PRESIDENT RHEE OF KOREA OFFERED TO SEND A ROK DIVISION TO INDOCHINA. WERE OPPOSED. /314-1
020154 PRESIDENT EISENHOWER, THE NATIONAL SECURITY COUNCIL, THE JOINT CHIEFS OF STAFF, OTHER AGENCIES OF THE GOVERNMENT AND A SPECIAL COMMITTEE UNDER THE CHAIRMANSHIP OF W. BEDELL SMITH HAD STUDIED THE INDOCHINA SITUATION IN TERMS OF WHAT COURSE THE U.S. SHOULD FOLLOW. THEY HAD CONSIDERED THE USE OF U.S. GROUND AIR AND NAVAL FORCES IN INDOCHINA AND ALSO REVIEWED THE OLD THEORY THAT INDOCHINA WAS THE KEY TO SOUTHEAST ASIA, WEIGHED ALTERNATIVE PLANS LIKE THE STRENGTHENING OF THAILAND. /FLEM-CWO.
020554 GEN. O'DANIEL'S REPORT ON HIS 3RD VISIT TO VIETNAM RECOMMENDED 1) ORGANIZATION OF A SMALL STAFF TO GO QUICKLY TO VIETNAM WITH DETAILED OPERATIONS AND TRAINING PLANS 2) TWO OFFICERS TO BE ATTACHED TO VIETNAMESE GOVERNMENT 3) MORE FUNDS FOR STEM 4) TRAINING COMMAND FOR VIETNAMESE NAVAL AND AIR FORCES.
020954 WAR MINISTER RENE PLEVEN TOURED VIETNAM. /LANCASTER.
MID FEB. 1954 GENERALS FAY AND BLANCK, CHIEFS OF STAFF OF AIR FORCE AND ARMY RESPECTIVELY, AND SECRETARY OF WAR PIERRE DE CHEVIGNE TOURED VIETNAM FOR FRANCE. /LANCASTER.
MAR–APR 54 THE BATTLE OF DIEN BIEN PHU RAGED.
030354 PRINCE BUU LOC ARRIVED IN PARIS WITH A DELEGATE TO NEGOTIATE A SETTLEMENT OF VIETNAM CLAIMS ON THE BASIS OF THE FRENCH GOVERNMENT'S SOLEMN ATION OF JULY 3, 1953- THE FRENCH INSISTED ON A COMMITTEE TO EXAMINE THE TOTAL INDEPENDENCE AND A COMMITTEE TO DEFINE THE NATURE OF VIETNAM'S ASSOCIATION TO FRANCE. THIS EFFECTIVELY TIED UP AND PUT OFF ACTIONS UNTIL THE GENEVA CONFERENCE OPENED. (SEE 042854) /LANCASTER.
032054 ALSOP REPORTED THAT GENERAL ELY SAID IN WASHINGTON THAT FRANCE COULD NOT WIN WITH THE MEANS AT HAND AND MUST THEREFORE SEEK A NEGOTIATED PEACE BUT THE U.S. COULD NOT ACCEPT THIS BECAUSE THERE WAS NO FIGHTING IN INDOCHINA, AS IN KOREA. THE ENEMY WAS EVERYWHERE, SO IF THE FRENCH WITHDREW, ANY NEGOTIATED SETTLEMENT MUST LEAD RAPIDLY TO TOTAL COMMUNIST CONTROL. /FLEM-CWO.
032254 ADMIRAL ARTHUR RADFORD, CHAIRMAN OF JCS, DECLARED THAT THE FRENCH WERE GOING TO WIN THIS WAR. /FLEM-CWO.
032454 THE PRESIDENT OF U.S. PRAISED THE HEROISM OF THE FRENCH FORCES AND DECLARED THAT COMMUNIST AGGRESSION WAS BEING FOUGHT IN INDOCHINA. COMMUNIST AGGRESSION WAS THE STOCK PHRASE USED IN WASHINGTON TO THE INDOCHINA WAR. /FLEM-CWO.
032954 DULLES MADE A SPEECH APPROVED BY THE PRESIDENT IN ADVANCE, DECLARING THAT COMMUNIST DOMINATION OF INDOCHINA AND SOUTH EAST ASIA BY WHATEVER WOULD BE A GRAVE THREAT TO THE FREE COMMUNITY AND SHOULD DOT BE PASSIVELY ACCEPTED. IN THESE WORDS HE RULED OUT EVEN A FREE ELECTION AS A MEANS OF LEGITIMIZING THE COMMUNIST GOVERNMENT OF HO CHI MINH IN INDOCHINA, STRESSING INSTEAD THE RICHES OF THE AREA AND ITS GREAT STRATEGIC IMPORTANCE. REACTION IN SAIGON WAS U.S. UNPOPULAR. /FLEM-CWO CHECK FLEM-CWO PG 689 NOTE 99
0454 GENERAL WAS ASSIGNED PERMANENTLY TO INDOCHINA. /JCS HIST.
040354 IN WASHINGTON A SECRET CONFERENCE WAS HELD IN WHICH DULLES AND RADFORD TRIED TO PERSUADE EIGHT LEADERS OF CONGRESS TO AGREE TO SUPPORT A CONGRESSIONAL RESOLUTION AUTHORIZING OUR ENTRY INTO THE INDOCHINA WAR. THE MEETING WAS CALLED BY AUTHORITY OF THE PRESIDENT. THE LEGISLATORS PRESENT WERE SEN. WILLIAM F. KNOWLAND, SEN. EUGENE MILLIMAN, SEN. LYNDON JOHNSON, SEN. RICHARD B. RUSSELL, SEN. EARL C. CLEMENTS, HOUSE SPEAKER JOSEPH MARTIN, REP. JOHN H. MC CORMACK, AND REP. J. PERCY PRIEST. RADFORD WANTED TO SEND 200 PLANES FROM THE CARRIERS ESSEX AND WHICH HE HAD READY IN THE SOUTH CHINA SEA, PLUS OTHER PLANES FROM THE PHILIPPINES, TO SAVE DIEN BIEN PHU. QUESTIONING BROUGHT OUT THAT NONE OF THE OTHER THREE JOINT CHIEFS OF STAFF APPROVED OF THE IDEA. RADFORD SAID THIS WAS BECAUSE HE HAD SPENT MORE TIME IN THE FAR EAST TITAN ANY OF THEM AND SO HE UNDERSTOOD THE SITUATION BETTER. /FLEM-CWO.
040754 PRES. EISENHOWER USED THE ROW OF DOMINIES THEORY AT A PRESS CONFERENCE. /GETTLEMAN P. 100
041354 IN A MEMO FROM JCS TO SEC. DEF. IT WAS STATED THAT THE ARMY WAS CURRENTLY CAPABLE OF ESTABLISHING AND MAINTAINING INTERNAL SECURITY AGAINST DISSIDENTS AND BANDITS BUT NOT AGAINST VIETMINH ALL OUT AGGRESSION UNDER DRV DIRECTION.
041554 ADMIRAL RADFORD, CHAIRMAN OF JCS SAID IN A SPEECH THAT INDOCHINA'S LOSS WOULD BE THE PRELUDE TO THE LOSS OF ALL SOUTHEAST ASIA AND A THREAT TO A FAR WIDER AREA. /GETTLEMAN P.100
041654 VICE PRESIDENT NIXON IN AN ADDRESS TO THE AMERICAN SOCIETY OF NEWSPAPER EDITORS RULED OUT NEGOTIATIONS WITH THE COMMUNISTS TO DIVIDE THE TERRITORY. HE SAID, "IT IS HOPED THAT THE U.S. WILL NOT HAVE TO SEND TROOPS THERE, BUT IF THE GOVERNMENT CANNOT AVOID IT, THE ADMINISTRATION MUST FACE UP TO THE SITUATION AND DISPATCH FORCES." /GETTLEMEN
042654 PUBLIC REACTION WAS SO ADVERSE TO NIXON'S STATEMENT THAT DULLES SAID THAT THE SENDING OF TROOPS WAS UNLIKELY. /FLEM-CWO.
042854 A JOINT FRANCO–VIETNAMESE DECLARATION STATED THAT VIETNAM, (THE INDEPENDENCE OF WHICH THE FRENCH HAD PROCLAIMED HALF A DOZEN TIMES), WAS FULLY INDEPENDENT.
0554 THE QUAI D'ORSAY AT THE INSISTENCE OF THE U.S. DEPT. OF STATE SENT ITS EMISSARIES TO BAO DAI AT CANNES TO RIG THE APPOINTMENT OF DIEM ARRIVED IN SAIGON 1954. (WID 41-57) EARLY IN MAY DIEM HAD TROUBLE WITH BAO DAI. NEITHER FRENCH NOR BAO DAI HAD ANY LIKING FOR DIEM. DULLES AND CARDINAL SPELLMAN WERE IN FAVOR OF A GOVERNMENT HEADED BY DIEM ALTHOUGH THERE ARE INDICATIONS THAT DULLES WAS NOT OVERENTHUSIASTIC ABOUT DIEM. THE FRENCH GOVERNMENT DID NOT OPPOSE IT. SOME FRENCH LEADERS ENCOURAGED IT — FORMER HIGH COMMISSIONER LETOURNEAU AND FREDERIC-DUPONT, WHO FOR A FEW DAYS BEFORE THE FALL OF THE LANIEL HAD SERVED AS MINISTER FOR THE ASSOCIATED STATES OF INDOCHINA. /J.B.
050354 MAJOR GENERAL THOMAS J.H. TRAFNELL DISAGREED IN NEARLY ALL RESPECTS WITH GENERAL O'DANIEL ON ASSESSMENT OF THE INDOCHINA WAR. HE STRESSED THE POLITICAL NATURE OF THE WAR AND SAID THAT A STRICTLY MILITARY SOLUTION WAS NOT POSSIBLE.
050654 DIEN BIEN PHU FELL.
050754 AFTER DIEN BIEN PHU FELL, SECRETARY DULLES SAID THAT THE PRESENT CONDITIONS IN INDOCHINA DID NOT PROVIDE A SUITABLE BASIS FOR THE U.S. TO PARTICIPATE WITH ITS ARMED FORCES. HE DECLARED HOWEVER, THAT IF AN ARMISTICE OR CEASEFIRE CONCLUDED AT GENEVA PROVIDED A ROAD TO A COMMUNIST TAKEOVER AND FURTHER AGGRESSION, OR IF HOSTILITIES CONTINUED, THEN THE NEED WOULD BE EVEN MORE URGENT TO CREATE THE CONDITIONS FOR UNITED ACTION IN DEFENSE OF THE AREA. THE SECRETARY THEN POINTED OUT THAT PRESIDENT EISENHOWER HAD REPEATEDLY EMPHASIZED THAT U.S. WOULD NOT TAKE MILITARY ACTION IN INDOCHINA WITHOUT THE SUPPORT OF CONGRESS AND THAT HE WOULD NOT SEEK SUCH SUPPORT UNLESS THERE WAS ADEQUATE COLLECTIVE EFFORT BASED ON GENUINE MUTUALITY OF PURPOSE IN DEFENDING VITAL INTERESTS.
050854 GENEVA CONFERENCE ON INDOCHINA. (MAY 8 – JULY 21)
051254 REPORTS OF A PRESS CONFERENCE IN WASHINGTON AT WHICH DULLES WAS REPORTED TO HAVE DECLARED THAT THE RETENTION OF INDOCHINA WAS NOT ESSENTIAL TO THE DEFENSE OF SOUTHEAST ASIA AFFECTED FRENCH MORALE ADVERSELY AT GENEVA.
051554 GEN. ELY AGREED TO ALLOWING U.S. TO TRAIN VIETNAMESE AND TO U.S. ADVISORS IN VIETNAMESE UNITS. HE DID NOT GIVE ASSENT TO FORMATION OF VIETNAM INTO LIGHT DIVISIONS PER GENERAL O'DANIEL'S REQUEST. /JCS HIST.
051854 GENERALS ELY, SALAN, AND PELISSIER ARRIVED IN SAIGON. /LANCASTER.
0518+20 1954 BAO DAI SOUGHT SUPPORT FROM U.S. FOR VNA. THIS WAS VIEWED AS AN ATTEMPT TO ASCERTAIN WILLINGNESS OF U.S. TO REPLACE FRENCH.
052054 JCS WERE CONVINCED THAT U.S. INTERVENTION IN INDOCHINA SHOULD BE PREDICATED ON THE DEVELOPMENT OF EFFECTIVE NATIONAL ARMIES AT THE BEST GUARANTEE OF A MILITARY VICTORY. /JCS HIST.
052454 GENERAL O'DANIEL PRESENTED A PLAN TO SECRETARY OF DEFENSE WILSON TO CREATE 2 VIETNAMESE DIVISIONS IN THE NORTH AND 9 IN THE SOUTH WITH FRENCH COMMAND BUT U.S. COUNTERPART STAFF REPRESENTATION. THE JCS FELT THIS WAS AN UNWORKABLE ARRANGEMENT WITHOUT PRIOR AGREEMENT AT GOVT. LEVEL. /JCS HIST.
052654 MEMO FROM JCS TO SEC. DEF. STATED 2250 U.S. PERSONNEL OVER THE 350 WERE MAAG REQUIRED TO TRAIN THE ASSOCIATED STATES FORCES.
0654 THE VIETNAMESE GOVERNMENT DECIDED TO SET UP A COMMITTEE FOR THE DEFENSE OF THE NORTH WHICH WAS INVESTED WITH THE POWERS HITHERTO EXERCISED BY THE GOVERNOR, AND WAS INSTRUCTED TO PREPARE THE DEFENSE OF HANOI IN THE EVENT OF A FRENCH WITHDRAWAL. THESE ORDERS WERE LATER AMENDED WITH THE RESULT THAT THE COMMITTEE DIRECTED ITS ACTIVITIES TOWARD THE ORGANIZATION OF RECEPTION CENTERS FOR THE REFUGEES WHO WERE LATER TRANSFERRED SOUTH.
JUNE–JULY 1954 THE 11TH AND 14TH FRENCH INFANTRY DIVISIONS WERE MOVED TO TUNISIA WITH MDAP EQUIPMENT WITHOUT U.S. BUT WITH SACEUR APPROVAL.
0654 PRESIDENT RHEE OF KOREA'S OFFER TO SEND A ROK ARMY CORPS TO INDOCHINA WAS KEPT WIDER CONSIDERATION. /314-1.
0654 VIETNAM ARMY WAS AT ITS PEAK STRENGTH OF 219,000. /WID 20-56.
060154 LANDSDALE ARRIVED IN SAIGON TO HEAD SAIGON MILITARY MISSION. /SMM REPT.
060354 ADMIRAL RADFORD SUGGESTED TO GENERAL VALLUY, HEAD OF THE FRENCH MILITARY MISSION, THE USE OF SOUTH KOREAN TROOPS IN INDOCHINA WAR. ACCORDING TO VALLUY THE FRENCH WERE READY TO TURN OVER TO THE U.S. 2 LARGE TRAINING CAMPS.
060354 GENERAL PAUL ELY WAS APPOINTED FRENCH HIGH COMMISSIONER FOR INDOCHINA.
060454 FRANCE INITIALED TREATIES WHICH GAVE THE FRENCH-RECOGNIZED VIETNAMESE GOVERNMENT COMPLETE INDEPENDENCE. VIETNAM AGREED TO A FREE ASSOCIATION WITH FRANCE WITHIN THE FRENCH UNION. /NYT
060454 IN PARIS, FRENCH PREMIER LANIEL AND VIETNAMESE PREMIER BUU LOC INITIALED TWO TREATIES, A TREATY OF INDEPENDENCE OF VIETNAM AND A TREATY OF ASSOCIATION PROVIDING FOR COOPERATION THROUGH A HIGH COUNCIL. (DETAILS ON FUTURE COLLABORATION, ESPECIALLY MILITARY AND ECONOMIC, WERE TO BE WORKED OUT IN SEPARATE CONVENTIONS WHICH WERE NEVER CONCLUDED.)
060554 GEN. PAUL HENRI ELY WAS APPOINTED TO REPLACE DEJEAN AS COMMISSIONER GENERAL FOR THE ASSOCIATED STATES AND REPLACING NAVARRE AS COMMANDER AND CHIEF OF THE FRENCH UNION FORCES IN INDOCHINA.
060654 THE FRENCH AGREED TO THE APPOINTMENT OF NGO DINH DIEM AS PREMIER OF SOUTH VIETNAM.
060854 GENERAL NAVARRE TURNED OVER HIS COMMAND TO GENERAL PAUL ELY.
060954 GENERAL ELY, THRU O'DANIEL, REQUESTED THAT THE U.S. ASSUME ORGANIZATIONAL AND SUPERVISORIAL DUTIES IN TRAINING VIETNAMESE DIVISIONS. /JCS HIST.
0609–26 1954 ELY'S REQUEST GENERATED A CRISIS IN WASHINGTON. SUCH A TRAINING MISSION WAS FELT BY DULLES TO BE CONTRARY TO U.S. INTERESTS SINCE THE WAR WAS DEGENERATING SO QUICKLY. GENERAL O'DANIEL WAS REFUSED PERMISSION TO GO AHEAD WITH THE TRAINING. /JCS HIST.
062554 DOD REQUESTED CHIEF MAAG INDOCHINA TO PROVIDE INFORMATION ON TONNAGE AND TYPES OF EQUIPMENT IN INDOCHINA. REPLY RECEIVED FROM CHIEF MAAG ON JULY 3, AND 7- /309–1
062954 THE FRENCH BEGAN TO EVACUATE THE SOUTHERN PARTS OF THE RED RIVER DELTA.
JUL–DEC 1954 VIETMINH ADDED 5 NEW DIVISIONS TO THEIR FORCES. /JCS HIST.
THE GENEVA CONFERENCE HAD BEEN A DISASTER FOR SECRETARY DULLES. AFTER THE TOO WEEK RECESS IN THE MIDDLE OF IT HE ANNOUNCED NEITHER HE NOR GENERAL WALTER BEDELL SMITH WOULD RETURN. HOWEVER, AFTER AN URGENT CALL FROM MENDES-FRANCE, DULLES FLEW TO PARIS ON JULY 12, AND SMITH RETURNED TO GENEVA. THE INITIATIVE WAS EITHER IN THE HANDS OF THE COMMUNIST POWERS ON THE ONE SIDE AND EDEN AND MENDES-FRANCE ON THE OTHER. AT THE END DULLES ANNOUNCED THAT THE U.S. WOULD NOT SIGN PACTS AND PRESIDENT EISENHOWER SAID ON JULY 21 THAT THE U.S. WOULD NEITHER ACCEPT PRIMARY RESPONSIBILITY FOR THE AGREEMENTS NOR ATTEMPT OVERTURN THEM BY FORCE. THIS WAS DUBBED A POLICY OF INNOCENCE BY DISASSOCIATION. /FLEM-CWO
0754 U.S.AND GREAT BRITAIN MET TO DISCUSS THE COLLECTIVE DEFENSE OF SOUTHEAST ASIA.
0754 GENERAL O'DANIEL RECOMMENDED TO JCS AN EXPANDED MAAG IN INDOCHINA TO PROVIDE AN ORGANIZATION WITH SUFFICIENT PERSONNEL TO PROVIDE A REALISTIC TRAINING PROGRAM. EXPANSION HAD TO TAKE PLACE BEFORE THE AUGUST 11, DEADLINE AS ESTABLISHED IN THE GENEVA AGREEMENT. THE STATE DEPT. CONCURRED. /JCS HIST.
070154 MAJOR LUCIEN CONIEN ARRIVED IN SAIGON AS SECOND MEMBER OF SMM. /SMM RETT.
070354 DOD INFORMED DEPT. OF STATE CONCERNING ACTIONS IT HAD TAKEN TO RECOVER MDAP EQUIPMENT IN INDOCHINA. STATE COUNTERED WITH AN INQUIRY TO BE DIRECTED TO CHIEF MAAG AS TO WHAT FRENCH WERE DOING TO RECOVER MDAP EQUIPMENT. CHIEF MAAG REPLIED ON JULY 3 (AND 7).
070354 AND 070754 CINCPAC ASSIGNED CHIEF MAAG INDOCHINA THE RESPONSIBILITY FOR RECOVERY AND/OR DESTRUCTION OF U.S. MDAP MATERIAL IN INDOCHINA.
070754 NGO DINH DIEM ARRIVED IN VIETNAM. '/SMM REPT.
070754 HEAD OF STATE AND FORMER EMPEROR BAO DAI APPOINTED NGO DINH DIEM PREMIER OF VIETNAM.
070954 DOD REQUESTED STATE TO USE DIPLOMATIC CHANNELS TO ENSURE FRENCH COMPLY WITH CHIEF MAAG REQJEST FOR INFORMATION ON FRENCH INTENTIONS RE MDAP EQUIPMENT. /309–1
071254 CHIEF MAAG INDOCHINA SUBMITTED PROGRESS REPORT ON SAFEGUARDING MDAP EQUIPMENT.SUCCESS WAS DIRECTLY PROPORTIONAL TO AMOUNT OF FRENCH ADVANCE INFORMATION. /309–1
071654 SECRETARY OF STATE SENT MESSAGE TO SMITH AT GENEVA ADVISING HIM TO ATTEMPT TO PROTECT MDAP MATERIAL IN THE TERMS OF THE CEASE-FIRE. /309–1
071754 CHIEF MAAG SUBMITTED 2ND REPORT ON INDOCHINA EQUIPMENT. /309–1
071854 UNDER-SECRETARY OF STATE WALTER BEDELL SMITH TALKED WITH PREMIER MENDES-FRANCE ABOUT MDAP EQUIPMENT WHO PROMISED TO DISCUSS PROBLEM WITH THE APPROPRIATE FRENCH MEN. /309–1.
071954 SEC.DEF. THRU THE ARMY CHIEF OF STAFF REQUESTED CHIEF MAAG TO INFORM ON SPECIFIC FRENCH PLANS FOR SAFEGUARDING MDAP EQUIPMENT IN INDOCHINA. /309–1
072054 CHIEF MAAG INDOCHINA MESSAGE SAID FRENCH PLANS FOR RECOVERY OF MDAP EQUIPMENT WERE ADEQUATE SO NO PROBLEMS.
072054 GENEVA AGREEMENT SIGNED.
072054 PARTITION AT THE 17TH PARALLEL BECAME A FACT. DIEM DISCLAIMED ANY OBLIGATION TO ACKNOWLEDGE THE GENEVA ACCORDS WHICH HIS GOVERNMENT DID NOT SIGN. /WID 41–57.
072154 GENERAL DELTIEL ON BEHALF OF ELY, AND TA QUANG BUU, THE VIETMINH VICE-MINISTER FOR NATIONAL DEFENSE SIGNED THE ARMISTICE AGREEMENTS. /LANCASTER.
072754 CEASE FIRE (INDOCHINA WAR) WENT INTO EFFECT IN NORTH VIETNAM.
0854 MUTUAL SECURITY ACT WAS AMENDED TO PROVIDE FOR DIRECT AID TO THE VIETNAMESE.
0854 THE GOVERNMENT OF PREMIER NGO DINH DIEM DID NOT CONTROL THE ARMY, LACKED A COMPETENT ADMINISTRATION, HAD NO AUTHORITY OVER THE TERRITORIES RULED FOR MANY YEARS BY THE SECTS, AND STRUGGLED DESPERATELY TO HOUSE AND FEED THE GROWING MASSES OF REFUGEES.
0854 ACCORDING TO A DA ACSI REPORT OF JAN-56, AFTER GENEVA 25 PER CENT OF THE VNA DESERTED.
080154 CEASE FIRE WENT INTO EFFECT IN CENTRAL VIETNAM.
080454 THE JCS REPLIED TO CHIEF MAAG'S RECOMMENDATION FOR U.S. TRAINING OF VNA. THIS SHOULD ONLY BE UNDERTAKEN IF THE FOLLOWING PRECONDITIONS MET, 1) STRONG STABLE GOVERNMENT 2) FORMAL REQUEST FROM COUNTRY INVOLVED TO U.S. FOR AID AND TRAINING ASSISTANCE 3) FRENCH SHOULD WITHDRAW FROM, AND GRANT FULL INDEPENDENCE TO ASSOCIATED STATES. DULLES HELD THAT ALTHOUGH CONDITIONS WERE NOT MET BY VIETNAM, IT WAS ESSENTIAL THAT THE U.S. TRAIN TO ENABLE THE COUNTRY TO BECOME STRONG AND STABLE. IN NSC 5427/2 THE ISSUE WAS DECIDED IN FAVOR OF U.S. TRAINING THE VIETNAMESE ARMY. /JCS HIST.
080754 CHIEF MAAG INDOCHINA WAS APPOINTED OVERALL COORDINATOR FOR U.S. PARTICIPATION IN EVACUATION OF NORTH VIETNAM. /217155.
081154 DULLES IN A NOTE TO PREMIER MENDES-FRANCE STATED U.S. WAS PREPARED TO DIRECTLY ASSIST, INCLUDING MILITARY AND BUDGETARY, AND TO CONSIDER TRAINING THE ASSOCIATED STATES.
081154 CEASE FIRE WENT INTO EFFECT IN SOUTH VIETNAM.
081154 DEADLINE IN RESPECT TO TOTAL STRENGTH OF FRENCH AND AMERICAN FORCES IN VIETNAM. /SMM REPT.
081154 THE INTERNATIONAL COMMISSION FOR SUPERVISION AND CONTROL IN VIETNAM (SEE ENTRY FOR JULY 20–21, 1954) WAS ESTABLISHED WITH INDIA AS CHAIRMAN AMD WITH CANADA AND POLAND AS THE OTHER MEMBERS.
082054 EISENHOWER APPROVED A U.S. POLICY STRESSING WORKING WITH THE FRENCH ONLY INSOFAR AS IS NECESSARY. OCMH NSC 5429/2
082654 REPRESENTATIVES OF FRANCE AID ASSOCIATED STATES BEGAN MEETINGS IN PARIS REPLACING PAU AGREEMENTS OF 1950.
0954 MICHIGAN STATE UNIVERSITY SURVEY TEAM WENT TO VIETNAM.
0954 DIEM ASKED FRANCE TO WITHDRAW FRENCH EXPEDITIONARY FORCE BY MAY 1956. /JCS HIST.
0954 OPEN CONFLICT BEGAN WITH THE FRENCH-APPOINTED CHIEF OF THE ARMY, GENERAL NGUYEN VAN HINH, WHOM NGO DINH DIEM SOON DISMISSED. WHEN BAO DAI BECAME AWARE THAT IT MIGHT BE ADVANTAGEOUS FOR HIM TO PLEASE THE U.S., HE ORDERED GENERAL NGUYEN VAN HINH TO GO TO FRANCE.
091054 A DIEM AGENT INFILTRATED THE ARMY GENERAL STAFF MEETING AND DISCOVERED COUP WAS BEING PLANNED BY GENERAL HINH TO DEPOSE DIEM. DIEM REMOVED HINH AS ARMY CHIEF AND ORDERED HIM OUT OF THE COUNTRY. HINH'S ACTIVITIES DISRUPTED PLANNING ACTIVITIES AT THE VIETNAMESE ARMY GENERAL STAFF, AND CREATED AN IRRESPONSIBLE INSUBORDINATE ATTITUDE WITHIN VNA RANKS. /JCS HIST.
090854 EIGHT POWERS SIGNED THE S.E.ASIA COLLECTIVE DEFENSE TREATY, INCLUDING A PROTOCOL WHICH EXTENDED TO SOUTHERN VIETNAM, CAMBODIA, AND LAOS PROTECTION AGAINST AGGRESSION AND ELIGIBILITY FOR ECONOMIC AID.
091754 OFFICE FOR REFUGEES WAS SET UP UNDER A COMMISSIONER GENERAL WHO WAS GIVEN THE RANK OF SEC. OF STATE. /LANCASTER.
092254 IN A MEMO TO SECRETARY OF DEFENSE, JCS STATED THAT THE GENEVA AGREEMENT WOULD HINDER THE U.S. IN TRAINING AND EQUIPPING THE VIETNAMESE. THEY ESTIMATED THAT EQUIPMENT IN VIETNAM WAS SUFFICIENT TO SUPPLY VIETNAM. TRAINING OF THE VIETNAMESE ARMY WOULD TAKE 3–5 YEARS AND SHOULD HAVE LOW PRIORITY TO OTHER U.S. MILITARY PROGRAMS. NOT A GOOD TIME TO FURTHER INDICATE U.S. TRAINING INTENTIONS RE VIETNAMESE FORCES. THEY WANTED TO RETAIN THE FEC. /JCS HIST.
092454 WASHINGTON CONFERENCE BROUGHT TO LIGHT DIFFICULTIES IN TRAINING THE VNA. DULLES VIEWED THE VNA AS A SMALL FORCE DEVELOPED TO INSURE INTERNAL SECURITY. THE JCS VIEW WAS THAT A FORCE TWICE AS LARGE WAS NEEDED TO PROVIDE TROOPS TO DETER OVERT AGGRESSION ACROSS THE DMZ. /JCS HIST.
THE FRENCH DELEGATES (GUY LACHAMBRE, EDGAR FAURE, GENERAL ELY, AND AMBASSADOR HENRI BONNET) AGREED IN PRINCIPLE THAT THE STEPS TO ACHIEVE TOTAL INDEPENDENCE WOULD BE 1) THE CANCELLATION OF THE PAU AGREEMENTS WHICH GAVE FRANCE EFFECTIVE CONTROL OVER THE ECONOMY, COMMERCE AND FINANCES OF VIETNAM, 2) THE TRANSFER OF THE OVERALL COMMAND OF THE NATIONAL ARMY TO THE VIETNAMESE GOVERNMENT, 3) TO PUT THE U.S. MILITARY MISSION IN CHARGE OF TRAINING THE VIETNAMESE ARMY, 4) TO GIVE THE GOVERNMENT OF VIETNAM FULL CONTROL OVER ALL AID FUNDS FROM THE U.S., FINALLY 5) TO WITHDRAW THE EXPEDITIONARY CORPS UPON REQUEST OF THE VIETNAMESE GOVERNMENT. /J.B. DRAGON.
092554 NGO DINH DIEM REORGANIZED HIS CABINET WITH THE AIM OF WINNING THE COOPERATION OF SOME LEADERS OF THE SECTS.
092754 FRENCH EXPEDITIONARY CORPS OF 176,000 WAS SCHEDULED FOR PROGRESSIVE REDUCTION TO 100,000 BY THE END OF 1955. /JCS HIST.
092854 AT A CONFERENCE IN WASHINGTON BETWEEN THE FRENCH AND U.S. THE DISPOSITION OF EQUIPMENT WAS DISCUSSED AND THE BUILD-UP OF THE VIETNAMESE ARMY WITH THE WITHDRAWAL OF FRENCH FORCES.
092954 FRANCO-AMERICAN MINUTE OF UNDERSTANDING ON ASSISTING, DEVELOPING AND STRENGTHENING FREE VIETNAM SIGNED. /STATE MESSAGE 12292.
093054 U.S. WAS CAUTIOUS IN ITS ESTABLISHMENT OF VNA UNTIL DIEM'S POSITION WAS SECURE. /TELG. /JCS HIST.
1054 GEN. J. LAWTON COLLINS WAS DESIGNATED SPECIAL U.S. REPRESENTATIVE IN VIETNAM WITH THE PERSONAL RANK OF AMBASSADOR TO COORDINATE U.S. AID PROGRAMS.
1054 AS VIETMINH WITHDREW FROM THE DELTA AREA, THEY WERE REPLACED BY TROOPS OF THE CAO DAI AND THE HOA ARMIES. /JCS HIST.
1054 SVN GOVERNMENT WAS UNABLE TO ESTABLISH CONTROL IN RURAL AREAS. VIETMINH TOOK OVER LARGE AREAS OF ANNAM AND HOA HAO AND CAO FIGHTING FOR PROVINCES IN THE DELTA. /JSC HIST.
1054 CONTENTION DEVELOPED BETWEEN SOUTH VIETNAMESE GENERAL HINH AND PRES. DIEM.
1054 HINH WAS WARNED BY ELY AND HEATH NOT TO PLOT AGAINST DIEM. /JCS HIST.
100254 GENERAL ELY CONFERRED WITH BAO DAI CONCERNING THE WASHINGTON TALKS AND WARNED BAO DAI AGAINST ANTAGONIZING THE AMERICANS. BECAUSE OF THIS, DAI DISCONTINUED GIVING SUPPORT TO GENERAL HINH AGAINST DIEM. /J.B.
100854 JEAN SAINTENY WAS INSTALLED IN HANOI AS THE POLITICAL CONTACT OF THE FRENCH GOVERNMENT WITH THE HANOI REGIME, TO SAFEGUARD PRIVATE FRENCH BUSINESS INTERESTS AND TO MAINTAIN A MAXIMUM OF ECONOMIC COOPERATION BETWEEN FRANCE AND THE DRV. FRENCH ENTERPRISES WERE NATIONALIZED BEGINNING THE END OF 1955 WHEN COMMUNISTS DECIDED TO ESTABLISH SOCIALISM. /J.B. DRAGON.
THE U.S. WAS TRYING TO SEAL OFF NORTH VIETNAM FROM THE SOUTH TO BOYCOTT THE ECONOMY OF THE NORTH AND WAS THREATENING TO BLACKLIST FRENCH BUSINESSES PURSUING A CONTRARY POLICY. FRENCH POLICY, WAS DIRECTLY OPPOSITE. PARIS HAD SECRETLY CONCLUDED AGREEMENT WITH HO'S GOVT. GRANTING THE EQUIVALENT OF RECOGNITION. JEAN SAINTENY, IN HANOI, WAS WORKING FOR GOOD POLITICAL AND ECONOMIC RELATIONS WITH THE COMMUNIST REGIME, WHICH WOULD SEND A PERMANENT DELEGATION TO PARIS. THE FRENCH WISHED TO KEEP A BIG FOOT IN THE DOOR WHICH WE SOUGHT TO SLAM. THEY BELIEVED THAT THE SOUTH WOULD BE TAKEN OVER BY THE COMMUNISTS IN 1956 BUT THAT THE RUSSIANS AND THE CHINESE COULD NOT SUPPLY MUCH ECONOMIC AID AND A GOOD MARKET FOR FRANCE COULD BE PRESERVED. /OFLEM-CWO NOTE 1.
100954 THE VIETMINH OCCUPIED HANOI. THE FRENCH AND SMM TEAM EVACUATED HANOI. /SMM REFT.
101154 IN MEMO TO SECRETARY OF DEFENSE WILSON, DULLES EXPRESSED IDEA THAT SECRETARY SHOULD CUT DOWN ON THE SIZE OF FORCES REQUIRED IN THE COUNTRIES OF S.E.ASIA SINCE NONE NEED ACT ALONE TO DEFEND THEMSELVES. THE FRENCH REQUEST FOR FUNDS TO SUPPORT THE FEC PLUS A 150,000 MAN ARMY WAS UNFEASIBLE FOR U.S. AT THAT TIME. /JCS HIST.
101154 THE COMMUNIST VIETMINH REGIME FORMALLY TOOK OVER CONTROL OF HANOI AND NORTH VIETNAM.
101554 SENATOR MANSFIELD ISSUED A REPORT ON INDOCHINA. IT SPOKE OUT SHARPLY AGAINST PLANS TO REPLACE DIEM. IF DIEM WAS OVERTHROWN THEN THE U.S. SHOULD CONSIDER AN IMMEDIATE SUSPENSION OF ALL AID TO VIETNAM AND THE FRENCH UNION FORCES THERE, EXCEPT THAT OF A HUMANITARIAN NATURE. MANSFIELD DEFENDED DIEM ON THE GROUNDS THAT HE HAD A REPUTATION THROUGHOUT VIETNAM FOR INTENSE NATIONALISM AND EQUALLY INTENSE INCORRUPTIBILITY HE DENOUNCED THE INCREDIBLE CAMPAIGN OF SUBVERSION BY INTRIGUE AND THE CONSPIRACY OF NON-COOPERATION AND SABOTAGE THAT HAD STOOD IN THE WAY OF DIEM'S FORGING AHEAD WITH HIS PROPOSED CONSTRUCTIVE PROGRAM. /U.S.
101554 THE VIETNAMESE ARMY WAS INCAPABLE OF PERFORMING MINOR POLICE ACTIONS WITHOUT FRENCH STAFF AND LOGISTICS. /JCS HIST.
101854 JCS VIEWED THE POLITICAL NECESSITY OF TRAINING THE VIETNAMESE ARMY WAS WORTH THE RISK. /JCS HIST.
101954 IN MEMO TO SECRETARY OF DEFENSE, JCS ELABORATED ON THE JUSTIFICATION FOR INCREASED VIETNAMESE ARMY. SEATO DID NOT PROVIDE FOR MILITARY COMMITMENTS BY MEMBER COUNTRIES. THE REQUESTED WITHDRAWAL OF FEC WOULD CREATE A SERIOUS VACUUM TO COPE WITH RESIDUAL VIETMINH AGGRESSION. VIETNAM OBJECTIVE WAS THE LIMITED DEFENSE OF THE 17TH PARALLEL TO DETER AGGRESSION AND THE MAINTENANCE OF INTERNAL SECURITY. JCS DID NOT WANT TO TRAIN SOUTH VIETNAMESE WITH ONLY A 342–MAN MAAG. BUT IF TRAINING WAS NECESSARY, THEY FELT THAT FRANCE "HANDS OFF" WAS ESSENTIAL. /JCS HIST.
102254 NATIONAL SECURITY COUNCIL APPROVED THE OPERATIONS CO-ORDINATING BOARD CALLING FOR A LIMITED AND INTERIM TRAINING PROGRAM. A MESSAGE TO AMBASSADOR HEATH IN SAIGON AND GENERAL O'DANIEL INSTRUCTED THEM TO COLLABORATE IN ESTABLISHING A PROGRAM THAT WOULD IMPROVE THE LOYALTY AND EFFECTIVENESS OF THE VNA. THIS SURPRISED THE FRENCH. /JCS HIST.
102254 PRES. EISENHOWER ORDERED A CRASH PROGRAM TO STRENGTHEN THE DIEM GOVERNMENT AND A LONG RANGE PROGRAM TO BUILD UP VIETNAMESE FORCES.
102254 PRES. EISENHOWER SENT A LETTER TO PREMIER DIEM OF SOUTH VIETNAM STATING THAT BEGINNING JAN. 1, 1955, AMERICAN ASSISTANCE WOULD BE GIVEN NO LONGER THROUGH FRENCH AUTHORITIES, BUT DIRECTLY TO THE GOVERNMENT OF SOUTH VIETNAM. THE LETTER ALSO STATED THE U.S. GOVERNMENT HOPED THEY WOULD BE MET BY UNDERTAKING INDISPENSIBLE REFORMS.
102654 GENERAL HINH ATTACKED THE PRESIDENTIAL PALACE.
102654 IN A MEMO FROM SEC.DEF. TO JCS THE VIEWS OF PRESIDENT EISENHOWER WERE EXPRESSED RE VIETNAMESE ARMY TRAINING. IT SHOULD BE A LONG RANGE PROGRAM INVOLVING A MINIMUM NUMBER OF FREE VIETNAMESE FORCES, EMPHASIZING THE INTERNAL SECURITY MISSION. /JCS HIST.
102754 AMERICAN MILITARY INFLUENCE IN THE VIETNAMESE ARMY BEGAN WITH THE PLACEMENT OF 3 MAAG OFFICERS AT VIETNAMESE ARMY HEADQUARTERS, 1 IN THE DEFENSE MINISTRY AND 1 AT EACH REGIONAL HEADQUARTERS. THE DECISION WAS MADE BY AMBASSADOR HEATH, AND GEN. L'DANIEL WITH GEN. ELY'S APPROVAL. /JCS HIST.
1154 VIETNAM ARMY STRENGTH WAS 170,000. IT WAS POORLY TRAINED AND ORGANIZED AND HEAVILY DEPENDENT ON FRENCH FOR STAFF, LOGISTICS SUPPORT AND ADVICE. /JCS HIST.
1154 THE FRENCH ASKED THE U.S. TO SUPPORT A 100,000 MAN FEC AT A COST OF $530 MILLION. /JCS HIST.
1154 SMM SURVEY OF THE VIETNAMESE ARMY REPORTED GOOD TROOP–CIVILIAN RAPPORT.
110854 COLLINS ARRIVED IN SAIGON AS PRES. EISENHOWER'S REPRESENTATIVE.
110854 HEATH AND COLLINS FELT SOME SUPPORT TO FEC ESSENTIAL TO PREVENT A VACUUM THAT VNA COULD NOT FILL WHICH WOULD RESULT IN VIETMINH TAKEOVER. FEC PRESENCE ESSENTIAL TO U.S. PROGRAM. /JCS HIST.
111654 COLLINS ISSUED HIS COMPROMISE BETWEEN DEPT. OF STATE AND JCS' PLAN ON STRENGTH OF VNA. IT CALLED FOR A 77,685 MAN ARMY WITH 4,000 CIVILIANS AND A SMALL AIR FORCE AND NAVY. /JCS HIST.
111754 THE JCS APPROVED COLLINS' PLAN BUT REITERATED THAT HIS FORCE COULD NOT PROTECT SOUTH VIETNAM AGAINST EXTERNAL ATTACK. /JCS HIST.
111754 IN A MEMO TO THE PRESIDENT, DULLES REITERATED GENERAL COLLINS' VIEW THAT IT WOULD BE DISASTROUS FOR FEC TO WITHDRAW. WE SHOULD CONTINUE TO SUBSIDIZE UP TO $100 MILLION. THE VNA SHOULD BE REDUCED TO 77,000 AND TRAINING RESPONSIBILITY ASSUMED BY THE U.S. /JCS HIST.
111954 HINH LEFT SAIGON FOR FRANCE AT THE REQUEST OF BAO DAI. /JCS HIST.
112054 MENDES-FRANCE VISITED WASHINGTON AFTER WHICH THE DETAILS OF THE AGREEMENT OF THE SEPTEMBER WASHINGTON CONFERENCE WERE MADE PUBLIC. /J.B.DRAGON.
112354 NIE 63–7-54 REPORTED A DEMORALIZED, DISORGANIZED VNA. LEADERSHIP AND CAPABILITY TO DEAL WITH INTERNAL DISORDERS WERE BOTH LACKING. THE VIETNAMESE GENERAL STAFF, BUSY WITH POLITICS, NEGLECTED THE ARMY WITH THE RESULT THAT THE ARMY WAS INCAPABLE OF OCCUPYING AND PACIFYING AREAS FROM WHICH THE VIETMINH HAD WITHDRAWN. TRAINING OF THE VNA WAS BEING PERFORMED BY 4,800 FRENCH OFFICERS OF THE FRENCH MILITARY MISSION TO VIETNAM. THIS MISSION WAS TO BE INCREASED TO 6,000 BY THE END OF 19
VIETNAMESE ARMY STRENGTH WAS ESTIMATED TO BE 170,000 REGULARS AND 10,000 AUXILIARIES. REGULARS WERE ORGANIZED IN 5 INFANTRY REGIMENTS, 152 COMBAT BATTALIONS. 20 PERCENT OF THE INFANTRY UNITS HAD FRENCH OFFICERS AND 50 PERCENT OF LOGISTICS AND TECHNICAL UNITS WERE CADRES OF FRENCH PERSONNEL. THE VNA WAS DEPICTED AS TOTALLY INEFFECTIVE AS A RESULT OF ITS DEPENDENCY ON THE FRENCH FOR ALL ADVICE AND SUPPORT.
THE DIEM GOVERNMENT PROPOSED A 200,000 MAN ARMY BY THE END OF 1954 TO BE INCREASED TO 225,000 BY THE END OF 1955. COST—$450 MILLION.
THE SECT ARMIES WERE COMPOSED OF 10,000 CAO DAIST TROOPS, 8,000 HOA HAO, 2,600 BINH XUYEN, 4,500 URBAN POLICE UNDER BINH XUYEN.
THERE WAS LITTLE INFORMATION AVAILABLE ON SEMI-MILITARY OR POLICE FORCES.
112454 U.S. AGREED TO SUPPORT THE FEC AT THE $100 MILLION LEVEL. /JCS HIST.
1254 FRENCH DECIDED TO ACCELERATE FEC WITHDRAWAL FROM VIETNAM. THEY PERSISTED IN THE VIEW THAT IT WAS U.S. RESPONSIBILITY FOR INDOCHINA'S REMAINING IN FREE WORLD SPHERE. (DULLES AND ARGUMENT) /JCS HIST.
1254 GENERAL COLLINS URGED DIEM TO APPOINT QUAT TO MINISTRY OF DEFENSE. /JCS HIST.
1254 BECAUSE OF DESERTIONS AND DEMOBILIZATION, THE VIETNAM ARMY WAS DOWN TO 180,000.
1254 VIETNAMESE MINISTER OF DEFENSE HO THING MONH OBJECTED TO THE FORCE LEVEL IN THE COLLINS–ELY AGREEMENT ON TRAINING AS TOO LOW, THE 8,800 LEVEL NOT MUCH LARGER THAN THE SECT ARMIES. IT WOULD CAUSE SERIOUS ECONOMIC AND MILITARY REPERCUSSIONS. /JCS HIST.
121254 DIEM NAMED GENERAL LE VAN TY TO BE THE NEW CHIEF OF STAFF REPLACING GENERAL HINH. THE APPOINTMENT APPEARED BASED MORE OR LE'S LOYALTY TO DIEM THAN ON ABILITY. FRENCH WERE OPPOSED AND AGREED ONLY AFTER DIEM AGREED TO APPOINT GENERAL NGUYEN VAN VY AS INSPECTOR GENERAL OF THE ARMED FORCES.
121354 COLLINS AND ELY AGREED ON A FORCE STRUCTURE. FULL RESPONSIBILITY FOR TRAINING AN INDEPENDENT VNA WAS TO BE ENTRUSTED TO U.S. CHIEF MAAG UNDER BROAD AUTHORITY FROM GENERAL ELY. /JCS HIST.
121554 GEN. COLLINS EXPRESSED GRAVE RESERVATIONS IN RESPECT TO CAPABILITIES OF DIEM TO ESTABLISH A VIABLE GOVERNMENT. HE URGED THE U.S. STATE DEPT. TO SEEK OUT ALTERNATIVES TO DIEM AND RE-EVALUATE PLANS TO ASSIST SOUTHEAST ASIA. /JCS HIST.
121954 DULLES+MENDES-FRANCE MEETING. DULLES' POSITION VIS-A-VIS DIEM WAS TO GIVE HIM EVERY OPPORTUNITY BUT PROBABLY A GOOD IDEA TO HAVE AN ALTERNATIVE TO HIM IF HE FAILED. FRENCH INTERPRETED THIS AS A COMMITMENT TO CHANGE WHICH THE U.S. DENIED AND AN ARGUMENT ENSUED. /JCS HIST.
122554 AT THE TRIPARTITE MEETINGS THE PROBLEM OF TRAINING RE ADEQUATE STAFF WAS DISCUSSED AND THE ISSUE OF EXCHANGING TRAINING PERSONNEL RAISED. /JCS HIST.
122554 GENERAL COLLINS WAS AGAINST TRAINING IF SUBTERFUGE HAD TO BE USED TO CIRCUMVENT ARTICLE 16 OF THE GENEVA AGREEMENT. COLLINS DID NOT THINK ARTICLE 16 WOULD INTERFERE WITH TRAINING. /JCS HIST.
NEW ACCORDS WERE SIGNED PROVIDING FOR FINANCIAL AND ECONOMIC INDEPENDENCE.
123154 COLLINS RAISED THE VIETNAMESE ARMY FORCE LEVEL GOALS TO 100,000.
123154 NATIONAL SECURITY ACTION DIRECTIVE (PACIFICATION) WAS ISSUED BY PRES. DIEM. THIS HAD BEEN DEVELOPED BY A JOINT FRENCH–U.S. WORKING GROUP. /SMM REPT.
123154 THE U.S. ANNOUNCED THAT, EFFECTIVE JANUARY 1, 1955, IT WOULD BEGIN TO SUPPLY FINANCIAL AID DIRECTLY TO THE GOVERNMENTS OF VIETNAM, CAMBODIA AND LAOS FOR THE PURPOSE OF STRENGTHENING THEIR DEFENSES AGAINST THE THREAT OF COMMUNIST SUBVERSION AID AGGRESSION.
0155 THE GOVERNMENT ANNOUNCED ITS PLANS TO REDUCE THE STRENGTH OF THE ARMY FROM 217,000 TO 100,000. THE CAO DAI HAD 25,000 MEN, THE HOA HAO HAD 20,000.
0155 RE-EVALUATION OF U.S. POLICY IN VIETNAM WAS UNDERTAKEN. /JCS HIST.
0155 LANDSDALE WAS TRANSFERRED TO TRIM TO HEAD NATIONAL SECURITY DIVISION. EFFORT WAS DIVIDED INTO TWO GROUPS. FIRST WAS RESPONSIBLE FOR PARAMILITARY AND SUPPORT OPERATIONS, SECOND FOR POLITICAL AND PSYCHOLOGICAL WARFARE. /SMM REFT.
0155 6,000 HOA HAO AND CAO DAI TROOPS INTEGRATED INTO THE VNA. /JCS HIST.
010155 U.S. PROMISED TO RENDER DIRECT ASSISTANCE TO VIETNAM, ON THE BASIS OF THE EXISTING PENTALATERAL AGREEMENT OF DECEMBER 1950, FOR SUPPORT OF VIETNAMESE ARMED FORCES.
010555 DIEM'S CONTROL OVER ASSISTANCE FUNDS BEGAN. IT ALLOWED HIM TO BUILD UP HIS OWN STRENGTH AND SECURE LOYALTY OF ARMY.
010555 CARDINAL SPELLMAN VISITED SAIGON.
010555 SECRETARY OF DEFENSE WILSON ASKED JCS TO REVIEW U.S. POSITION IN VIETNAM AND MAKE RECOMMENDATIONS RELATIVE TO EIGHT QUESTIONS. /JCS HIST.
010855 EVER SINCE THE MILITARY COLLAPSE OF TONGKIN THE FRENCH WERE READY TO WRITE OFF THE SAIGON GOVERNMENT AND PARTICULARLY SINCE IT HAD BEEN LED BY A STRONG ANTI-FRENCH PRIME MINISTER. /LONDON ECONOMIST.
010855 THE FRENCH REVISED THE COLLINS–ELY TRAINING AGREEMENT AND SUBMITTED IT TO THE U.S. /JCS HIST.
011055 GENERAL ELY REPORTED THAT FRANCE WOULD WITHDRAW ITS FORCES AS SOON AS THERE WAS A SECURE GOVERNMENT IN SOUTH VIETNAM.
011255 THEGOVERNMENT FORMALLY TOOK OVER THE ADMINISTRATION OF THE PORT OF SAIGON FROM THE FRENCH. /J.B. DRAGON.
011355 SOUTH VIETNAM ANNOUNCED PLANS TO CUT ITS 217,000 MAN ARMY BACK TO 100,000.
011155 DIEM LURED A HOA HAO OFFICER COLONEL NGUYEN VAN HUE, THE CHIEF OF STAFF GENERALISSIMO SOAI, INTO HIS CAMP. HE BROUGHT 3,500 MEN WITH HIM. THE MOVE BOLSTERED DIEM IN THE DISPUTE OVER THE CAMAU REGION. A FEW WEEKS LATER, MAJOR NGUYEN DAY JOINED DIEM WITH 1,500 MORE MEN WHICH HAD BEEN HOLDING THE CAN THO AREA. AT THE END OF JANUARY, THE CAO DAI LEADER TRINH MINH TAY RALLIED AGAIN AS A SHOW OF SUPPORT AFTER HIS INITIAL RALLYING IN NOVEMBER 1954. /J.B. DRAGON.
011955 PRESIDENT DIEM, GEN. COLLINS AND THE VIETNAMESE MINISTER OF NATIONAL DEFENSE REACHED AN AGREEMENT ON FORCE STRUCTURE AND TRAINING PROGRAM FOR THE VNA TO WHICH GENERAL ELY CONCURRED. /1-137.
012055 THE U.S., FRENCH AND VIETNAMESE OFFICIALS AGREED IN SAIGON THAT THAT WOULD ASSUME FULL RESPONSIBILITY FOR ASSISTING THE VIETNAMESE GOVERNMENT IN THE ORGANIZATION AND TRAINING OF ITS ARMED FORCES, UNDER THE OVERALL AUTHORITY OF GENERAL PAUL ELY, FRENCH COMMANDER IN CHIEF, AID IN CO-OPERATION WITH THE FRENCH MISSION. THIS ACCORD, REACHED AFTER THREE MONTHS OF DIFFICULT NEGOTIATIONS, SAVED FRENCH SENSIBILITIES SOMEWHAT BUT TRANSFERRED EFFECTIVE POWER TO THE U.S., REPRESENTED BY GENERAL LAWTON COLLINS, U.S. AMBASSADOR TO VIETNAM. GENERAL O'DANIEL WAS APPOINTED TO HEAD THE U.S. TRAINING MISSION, WHICH AIMED AT A 140,000 MAN ARMY, WELL TRAINED AND POLITICALLY INDOCTRINATED TO COMBAT COMMUNIST AGGRESSION FROM THE NORTH. /FLEM-CWO/ NYT.
012055 GEN. COLLINS ACCEPTED THE TASK OF TROOP ORGANIZATION AND TRAINING OF THE NATIONAL ARMY UNDER THE OVERALL AUTHORITY OF GEN. ELY. THE REGULAR ARMY WAS TO HAVE 100,000 MEN BACKED BY 150,000 RESERVES WHICH WERE TO BE UNDER THE OPERATIONAL COMMAND OF THE VIETNAMESE NOT THE FRENCH.
GEN. J. LAWTON COLLINS SUBMITTED HIS REPORT ON VIETNAM TO THE SEC.OF STATE AND NSC. IN THIS REPORT HE CALLED FOR A STRONG SEATO PACT COMMITMENT TO REACT IN CASE OF HOSTILITIES. HE QUESTIONED FRENCH INTENTIONS IN VIETNAM, BACKED DIEM AS BEING THE BEST LEADER FOR VIETNAM. /1-125
012155 DIEM REQUESTED THAT COMMAND FOR THE VIETNAMESE ARMED FORCES BE TRANSFERRED FROM FRENCH TO HIM, AND THE TRAINING AND ORGANIZATION OF THE VIETNAMESE ARMY BE HANDED OVER TO AMERICAN OFFICERS. (SEE ) /J.B.DRAGON. ENTRY
0124–0210 1955 GENERAL COLLINS WAS CALLED TO WASHINGTON BY THE PRESIDENT FOR A CONFERENCE ON THE AID PROGRAM. THE FRENCH HAD AGREED TO THE U.S. ASSUMING THE VIETNAMESE ARMY TRAINING.
012755 GENERAL COLLINS URGED NSC TO RECOMMEND A STRONG U.S. POLICY IN VIETNAM. THIS WAS DONE. /JCS HIST.
013155 FRENCH STOPPED SUPPORTING THE SECT ARMIES. /JCS HIST.
020155 PREMIER DIEM REPORTED THAT THE CAO DAIST GENERAL TRINH MINH TAY OFFERED THE GOVERNMENT THE USE OF HIS 5,000 MAN ARMY.
020155 IN THE GOQUAO AREA, HOA HAO TROOPS ATTACKED A SOUTH VIETNAMESE ARMY BATTALION. AFTER THE VIETMINH HAD WITHDRAWN FROM THE CAMAU PENINSULA THE REGULAR ARMY AND THE HAO HAO FOUGHT OVER CONTROL OF THE AREA.
020355 SEC.DEF. MEMO EXPRESSED THE VIEW OF NSC THAT FRENCH SUPPORT WAS NEEDED TO INSURE VIETNAM SURVIVAL.
021155 JCS ADVISED SEC.DEF. U.S. SHOULD NOT ENTER INTO COMBINED MILITARY PLANNING FOR DEFENSE OF SEATO AREA NOR DISCLOSE ITS PLANS TO SEATO MEMBERS. /JCS HIST.
021155 FRANCE TURNED OVER THE COMMAND OF SOUTH VIETNAM'S MILITARY FORCES TO THE DIEM GOVERNMENT, LEAVING GENERAL ELY AS THE COMMANDER OF THE REMAINING FRENCH FORCES. FRENCH SUBSIDIES TO VIETNAMESE ARMED FORCES CAME TO A END IN THE AGREEMENT SIGNED BETWEEN FRENCH GENERAL AGOSTINI AND VIETNAMESE ARMY CHIEF OF STAFF GENERAL LE VAN TY.
021255 U.S.–FRENCH AGREEMENT AT GOVERNMENTAL LEVEL WAS REACHED RE COLLINS–ELY TRAINING PLAN. /JCS HIST.
021255 THE VIETNAMESE SECRETARY OF STATE FOR NATIONAL DEFENSE STATED THAT THE GOVERNMENT INTENDED THE SECTS TO BECOME PART OF THE NATIONAL ARMY.
021255 COLLINS–ELY AGREEMENT WENT INTO EFFECT. THE U.S. MILITARY ASSISTANCE ADVISORY GROUP (MAAS) TOOK OVER THE TRAINING OF THE SOUTH VIETNAMESE ARMY, FOLLOWING THE RELINQUISHING OF COMMAND AUTHORITY BY THE FRENCH.
021255 PRES. DIEM ANNOUNCED THAT RESPONSIBILITY FOR ORGANIZING AND TRAINING THE VIETNAMESE ARMY WOULD BE VESTED IN GEN. O'DANIEL, CHIEF OF THE U.S. UNDER THE OVERALL AUTHORITY OF GENERAL ELY. AMERICAN, SAID, WOULD BE USED CONCURRENTLY WITH FRENCH PERSONNEL AS ADVISORS AND INSTRUCTORS OF THE VIETNAMESE ARMED FORCES. DEFENSE MINISTER MINH STATED THAT THE AVERAGE STRENGTH OF THE VIETNAMESE ARMED FORCES DURING 1955 WOULD BE 140,000 IN ACTIVE AND READY RESERVE CATEGORIES.
021255 LT. GEN. O'DANIEL'S STAFF NUMBERED 300 AMERICAN OFFICERS, WITH 1,000 FRENCH OFFICERS AVAILABLE. $200-MILLION OF U.S. AID WAS TO BE SPENT ON NATIONAL FORCES.
021355 GENERAL TRINH MINH TAY AND 2,500 MEN SWORE FEALTY TO THE SOUTH VIETNAM GOVERNMENT.
021955 PRES.EISENHOWER DECLARED, IN A LETTER TO BAO DAI, CHIEF OF STATE OF VIETNAM, THAT PREMIER DIEM'S ANNOUNCED PROGRAMS OF LAND REFORM AND REORGANIZATION OF THE ARMED FORCES SHOULD, WHEN FULLY CARRIED OUT, FURTHER INCREASE THE STABILITY AND UNITY OF GOVERNMENT AND THAT HE HAD CONCURRED IN GENERAL COLLINS' RECOMMENDATION TO CONTINUE AND EXPAND SUPPORT FOR FREE VIETNAM.
021955 S.E.ASIA COLLECTIVE DEFENSE TREATY (SEATO)—WITH ITS PROTOCOL COVERING VIETNAM, CAMBODIA, AND LAOS—WENT INTO FORCE.
022255 THE U.S., FRENCH AND VIETNAMESE MILITARY EXPERTS WEIGHED PLANS TO BUILD THE VIETNAMESE ARMY UNDER U.S. SUPERVISION.
022755 TRAINING RELATIONS AND INSTRUCTION MISSION (TRIM) ESTABLISHED. TRIM WAS A COMBINED U.S.–FRENCH STAFF AND FIELD ADVISORY EFFORT. IT WAS THE OUTGROWTH OF THE COLLINS–ELY AGREEMENTS. TRIM CALLED FOR 220 OF THE SPACES ALLOTTED IN MAAG. IT WAS EXCLUDED FROM THE VIETNAMESE NAVY AND AIR FORCES. /217155, JCS HIST.
0355 ONLY 81 PERSONS WERE AVAILABLE FOR ASSIGNMENT TO TRIM. /217155.
0355 NATIONAL ARMY VS. SECT CIVIL WAR. (MARCH–APRIL)
0355 FRENCH PREMIER FAURE STATED THAT FRANCE WOULD WITHDRAW THE EXPEDITIONAL CORPS AT THE DEMAND OF THE VIETNAMESE GOVERNMENT. CORPS STRENGTH HAD BEEN REDUCED SINCE OCTOBER 1954 FROM 175,000 TO 30,000. MOST WERE STATIONED AT CAP ST. JACQUES.
0355 DIEM SENT NGUYEN HUU CHAU TO PARIS TO ASK THAT AUTHORITY OVER ALL TROOPS IN VIETNAM INCLUDING FRENCH BE VESTED IN THE VIETNAMESE GOVERNMENT. FRENCH GOVERNMENT WOULD AGREE TO NOTHING BUT SEPARATE COMMANDS.
030155 DULLES VISITED SAIGON AS PART OF HIS TOUR OF THE FAR EAST AND CONFERRED WITH GENERAL ELY AND AMBASSADOR BONNET ON TROOP TRAINING BY THE U.S. THE FRENCH FEAR U.S. ENCROACHMENT.
030455 THE CAO DAI POPE ANNOUNCED THE FORMATION OF THE UNITED FRONT OF NATIONALIST FORCES. /JCS HIST.
030455 THE CAO DAI BEGAN A CIVIL WAR AND WERE JOINED BY THE HOA HAO AND BINH XUYEN.
030855 THE RELIGIOUS SECT REBELS STAGED UPRISINGS IN BALANG AND CAMAU PENINSULA. DIEM PLACED HIS PALACE UNDER HEAVY GUARD AND ORDERED THE VIETNAMESE TO DESTROY THE REBEL BANDS.
031155 THE U.S. FAVORED A MEETING OF DEPUTIES AT THE WORKING LEVEL TO CONSIDER A CUT IN FRENCH MILITARY FORCES AID THE FORMATION OF A MODERN VIETNAMESE DEFENSE FORCE RATHER THAN A THREE-MINISTER CONFERENCE AS THE FRENCH PROPOSED.
031255 DIEM SENT 40 INFANTRY BATTALIONS AGAINST BACUT'S FORCES IN THE THOTNO AREA AND REPORTED THAT THE BALANG AREA WAS UNDER GOVERNMENT CONTROL.
032155 UNITED FRONT RELEASED DECLARATION AND MOTION AGAINST DIEM. /JCS HIST.
032855 DIEM'S TROOPS OCCUPY CENTRAL POLICE HEADQUARTERS. /JCS HIST.
END OF MARCH 1955 GENERAL ELY, HIGH COMMISSIONER FOR FRANCE AND COMMANDER OF THE EXPEDITIONARY CORPS, FEARING A CIVIL WAR WHICH WOULD ENDANGER FRENCH PROPERTY AID LIVES STEPPED IN TO STOP DIEM FROM CRUSHING THE BINH XUYEN. HE WAS NO FRIEND OF THE SECTS. /J.B. DRAGON.
032955 IN THE NAME OF THE NATIONAL FRONT OF THE SECTS AID OTHER DISSIDENT GROUPS THE BINH XUYEN, AFTER FIRST ISSUING AN ULTIMATUM, ATTACKED THE NATIONAL GOVERNMENT BY FIRING AT THE PRESIDENTIAL PALACE. THE NATIONAL ARMY REACTED VIGOROUSLY. THE FRENCH, AID WITH AMBASSADOR COLLINS' SUPPORT IMPOSED AN ARMISTICE ON THE GOVERNMENT. THE BINH XUYEN WERE IN CONTROL OF THE POLICE IN SAIGON. AN ARMED REVOLT WAS PRECIPITATED THAT ULTIMATELY SPREAD INTO LARGE-SCALE DISSIDENCE IN THE SOUTHERN PROVINCES WITH THE PARTICIPATION OF ELEMENTS OF THE CAO DAI AID HOA HAO RELIGIOUS SECTS.
032955 BINH XUYEN ATTACKED POLICE HEADQUARTERS. /JCS HIST.
032955 ELY IMPOSED A CEASE-FIRE DURING WHICH THE BINH XUYEN AND FRENCH TOOK UP FORTIFIED POSITIONS IN SAIGON. SOME SECTORS WERE PUT OFF-LIMITS TO NATIONAL ARMY TROOPS. THE FRENCH COMMAND STILL CONTROLLED ALL SUPPLIES FOR THE VIETNAMESE ARMY AND WERE WITHHOLDING AMMUNITION AND FUEL.
033155 COLLINS ADVISED THE U.S. STATE DEPT. TO CONSIDER ALTERNATIVES TO DIEM. /JCS HIST.
APR–NOV 1955 FRENCH COMPONENT OF TRIM REDUCED TO 122 FROM 208. /JCS HIST.
040755 COLLINS–ELY MEETING AT WHICH ELY CONCLUDED DIEM HAD TO BE REPLACED. /JCS HIST.
040755 GEN. COLLINS' RECOMMENDATION TO DULLES WAS TO REMOVE DIEM. /MSG 4399
040755 GEN. ELY FELT TRIM COULD ESTABLISH AN EFFECTIVE VNA IN A FEW MONTHS. /MSG 4382.
041055 SVN GOVERNMENT SET UP A CIVIL GUARD FORCE OF 10,000 TO HELP CONTROL AREAS EVACUATED BY THE VIETMINH.
041555 WHEN IT BECAME EVIDENT THAT DIEM WOULD RENEW HIS ATTACK ON THE BINH XUYEN COLLINS BECAME ALMOST EMPHATIC IN HIS OPPOSITION TO DIEM. /J.B. DRAGON.
042055 COLLINS RETURNED TO WASHINGTON FOR AN ATD CONFERENCE. (APRIL 20–30) ADVOCATED THAT DIEM HAD TO BE REPLACED.
042255 SOUTH VIETNAMESE AND VIETMINH TROOPS BEGAN LARGE SCALE MOVEMENTS INTO AREAS ASSIGNED UNDER THE TRUCE.
042355 DIEM ANNOUNCED GENERAL ELECTIONS WOULD BE HELD IN 3 OR 4 MONTHS. THIS WAS A POLITICAL MOVE TO MAINTAIN HIMSELF IN POWER. /J.B. DRAGON.
042655 DIEM OUSTED THE REBEL NATIONAL POLICE CHIEF LAI VAN SANG, STRIPPED THE BINH XUYEN OF ITS POLICE POWER, APPOINTED NGUYEN NGOC LE IN SANG'S PLACE AND SET A DEADLINE FOR ALL NUMBERS OF THE POLICE FORCE TO REPORT.
042755 DULLES AND COLLINS AFTER CONFERRING WITH CONGRESSIONAL LEADERSHIP STATED THE U.S. POSITION WAS TO CONSIDER A SHIFT OF SUPPORT FROM DIEM BUT IF FRENCH WOULD GUARANTEE FULL BACKING TO THE VIETNAMESE GOVERNMENT EVOLVED AND WOULD RESOLVE ITS AMBIGUOUS POSITION RELATIVE TO NORTH VIETNAM. /JCS HIST.
042755 DIEM–SECT TRUCE WAS BROKEN. /JCS HIST.
042855 BAO DAI ORDERED THAT THE MILITARY POWER BE TURNED OVER TO THE OPPOSITION GENERAL NGUYEN VAN VY, BUT DIEM IGNORED THE ORDER.
042855 CIVIL WAR BROKE OUT IN SAIGON. DIEM ORDERED THE VIETNAMESE ARMY TO ATTACK.
043055 FRANCE UNDER THE TRUCE ACCORD, CUT ITS MILITARY FORCES IN SOUTH VIETNAM TO 90,000 WHILE REMOVING MOST TROOPS FROM CAMBODIA AND LAOS.
043055 THE NATIONAL REVOLUTIONARY CONGRESS, A REPORTED BROAD BASED GROUP, CALLED ON DIEM TO FORM A NEW GOVERNMENT AND ELIMINATE BAO DAI. /JCS HIST.
050155 GENERAL NGUYEN VAN VY TOOK CONTROL OF SOUTH VIETNAM FOR A DAY. HE HELD DIEM PALACE PRISONER AND ORDERED TROOPS INTO STRATEGIC SAIGON POSITIONS. MILITARY LEADERS WERE CONFUSED BY THE COMMAND SHIFT AND CLAIMED THAT IT BLOCKED AN OFFENSIVE AGAINST THE REBELS. BY THE NEXT DAY DIEM RESUMED CONTROL WITH GENERAL LE VAN TY'S HELP.
050255 THE NATIONAL ARMY OPENED AN OFFENSIVE AGAINST THE REBELS OUTSIDE SAIGON.
050555 THE PEOPLE'S NATIONAL REVOLUTIONARY COMMITTEE COMPRISING SOME 4,000 DIEM SUPPORTERS MET AND DEMANDED REMOVAL OF BAO DAI.
050855 AT TRIPARTITE MEETINGS (US–FRANCE–GREAT BRITAIN, MAY 8–14) FAURE THREATENED TO WITHDRAW THE FEC BECAUSE OF U.S.–FRENCH DISAGREEMENT OVER WITHDRAWAL OF DIEM. DULLES BELIEVED HIS THREAT. /JCS HIST.
DULLES AGREED THAT BAO DAI COULD BE RETAINED IF HE STOPPED INTERFERING WITH DIEM'S EXERCISE OF POWER. DULLES REFUSED TO SEE BAO DAI IN PARIS. /J.B. DRAGON.
050955 JCS MEMO TO SEC.DEF. STATED THAT THE VNA WAS LITTLE GOOD, THAT PRESENCE OF AN OUTSIDE FORCE IN VIETNAM WAS ESSENTIAL AND THAT EVENTUAL FRENCH WITHDRAWAL WOULD BE DESIRED. /353–1
051055 THE REBELLION WAS BROKEN, DIEM RECONSTITUTED HIS GOVERNMENT BY FORMING A NEW CABINET COMPOSED LARGELY OF HIS OWN FOLLOWERS.
051155 GENERAL NGUYEN VAN HINH WAS RELIEVED OF HIS GENERALSHIP AND MEMBERSHIP IN THE VIETNAMESE ARMY.
051155 IN TALKS BETWEEN FAURE AND DULLES, THE U.S. HELD THAT THE FRENCH WITHDRAWALFORCES SHOULD BE CO-ORDINATED WITH THE TRAINING AND ORGANIZATION OF VIETNAM'S NATIONAL ARMY TO ASSURE THAT NATION'S DEFENSE. THE VIETNAM SITUATION DID NOT LEND ITSELF TO A CONTRACTUAL AGREEMENT BETWEEN FRANCE AND THE U.S., (I.E.—THE U.S. IN THE FUTURE WOULD ACT INDEPENDENTLY OF FRANCE.) /JCS HIST.
051255 DIEM HOPED THAT FRANCE WOULD MOVE ITS EXPEDITIONARY CORPS TO THE 17TH PARALLEL AND NOT KEEP THEM IN SAIGON, TOURANE AND CAP ST. JACQUES. FELT THE FRENCH TROOPS MAJOR ROLE WAS TO GUARD AGAINST AGGRESSION FROM THE NORTH.
051355 IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE ARMISTICE AGREEMENTS, THE FRENCH EVACUATED HAI
051355 FRANCE AND U.S. PRODUCED A TOTAL AGREEMENT ON A POLICY FOR VIETNAM. AGREED TO PACK DIEM WITH DIFFERENCES OF EMPHASIS. FAURE WAS REPORTED TO HAVE OBTAINED FROM DULLES ASSURANCE THAT THE U.S. WOULD LOYALLY BACK FRANCE IN SEEKING TO PREPARE FOR THE 1956 ALL-VIETNAM ELECTIONS.
FAURE REPORTED THAT GREAT BRITAIN, FRANCE, AND U.S. HAD REACHED A NON-WRITTEN AGREEMENT THAT FRANCE WOULD CONTINUE FORCE WITHDRAWAL BUT POSSIBLY ONE CONTINGENT MIGHT BE LEFT.
051455 GENERAL COLLINS LEFT SAIGON FOR A NATO POSITION. /JCS HIST.
051555 THE IMPERIAL GUARD OF BAO DAI WAS ABOLISHED AND MERGED WITH THE ARMY.
051655 DEADLINE OF WITHDRAWAL FOR FRENCH UNION FORCES TO SOUTH OF 17TH PARALLEL AND VIETMINH TO NORTH.
051855 THE VIETNAMESE NATIONAL ARMY COMPLETED OCCUPATION OF QUI NHON, HELD BY THE VIETMINH FOR 10 YEARS.
052055 GENERAL ELY DEMANDED TO BE RELIEVED. HE WAS WORN OUT BY HIS EFFORTS TO CARRY OUT AN IMPOSSIBLE MISSION. /J.B.DRAGON.
052055 THE FRENCH COMMAND AGREED TO RETIRE ITS TROOPS FROM THE SAIGON–CHOLON. /J.B. DRAGON.
052055 THE FIRST MICHIGAN STATE UNIVERSITY (MSU) POLICE TECHNICIANS ARRIVED IN VIETNAM, UNDER ICA AUSPICES.
052155 BOA DAI WAS DEPOSED AS EMPEROR.
052155 DIEM SENT THE NATIONAL ARMY REINFORCEMENTS TO THE HOA HAO AREA.
052355 SVN TROOPS WERE FLOWN TO THE HOA HAO AREA IN COCHIN CHINA. ARMY FORCES WERE THERE AS A SAFETY MEASURE — NO ATTACK WAS PLANNED.
052655 AMBASSADOR G. FREDERICK REINHARDT ARRIVED IN SOUTH VIETNAM REPLACING GENERAL COLLINS.
052955 DIEM ATTACKED SECTS.
0655 LT.COL.JORGENSEN, ASSIGNED BY GENEML O'DANIEL TO ASSIST AMBASSADOR COLLINS IN STAFF PLANNING FOR A CIVIL GUARD, WAS REQUESTED BY AMBASSADOR REINHARDT TO CONTINUE THIS WORK. COLONEL VALERIANO AND MICHIGAN STATE UNIVERSITY ADMINISTRATION PERSONNEL WERE ALSO INVOLVED IN THE EARLY NATIONAL POLICE PLANNING PROGRAM.
55 DIRECT FRENCH INTERFERENCE IN THE SECT–DIEM FIGHT HAD EFFECTIVELY ENDED. /J.B. DRAGON.
060155 THE VIETNAMESE ARMY TOOK OVER THE SUPPLY SYSTEM WHEN THE FRENCH EVACUATED THE PHU THO DEPOT.
060155 THE NATIONAL ARMY AND POLICE TOOK OVER THE SECURITY OF SAIGON.
060555 THE NATIONAL ARMY BEGAN A LARGE SCALE OFFENSIVE AGAINST THE FORCES OF GENERALS BA CUT AND TRAN VAN SOAI SOUTH WEST OF SAIGON.
060655 THE VIETMINH GOVERNMENT DEMANDED TALKS, IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE GENEVA AGREEMENT TO PREPARE THE ELECTIONS IN JULY, 1956, TO UNIFY VIETNAM.
060655 DIEM INSISTED THAT FRANCE HONOR THE PROMISE MADE BY MENDES-FRANCE AT GENEVA TO WITHDRAW FRENCH TROOPS FROM VIETNAM SINCE THIS WAS THE ONLY WAY THAT FRENCH COLONIAL AEGIS COULD BE REMOVED. FRANCE WAS WILLING TO WITHDRAW BUT WAS NOT ABOUT TO LEAVE ITS LOGISTICAL SUPPORT UNDER VIETNAM CONTROL AS DIEM HOPED. /JCS HIST.
062055 GENERAL ELY LEFT SAIGON AFTER TURNING OVER HIS COMMAND TO GENERAL PIERRE JACQUOT, WHO WAS DESIGNATED ACTING COMMISSIONER GENERAL ANDCHIEF OF FRENCH UNION FORCES IN INDOCHINA, PENDING NOMINATION OF ELY'S REPLACEMENT. /JCS HIST.
070155 FRANCE FORMALLY RELINQUISHED COMMAND AUTHORITY OVER THE VIETNAMESE NAVY AND AGREED THAT FRENCH AND VIETNAMESE FORCES SHOULD BE UNDER INDEPENDENT COMMANDS.
070155 THE ARVN BEGAN OPERATIONS AGAINST THEHAO IN THE THAT SON AREA.
070255 THE DEPENDENCE OF THE VIETNAMESE ARMY COMMAND ON THE FRENCH HIGH COMMAND AT LAST CAME TO AN END. THE EXPEDITIONARY CORPS WAS THEN CONCENTRATED IN THE CAP ST. JACQUES VICINITY AND HAD BEEN REDUCED FROM 175,000 TO 30,000 MEN. /J.B. DRAGON.
070355 THE U.S. APPROVED DROPPING THE PLAN TO CUT THE ARMY TO 100,000 MEN SO THE ARMY COULD ABSORB THE ARMIES OF THE RELIGIOUS SECTS.
070755 ON THE ANNIVERSARY OF HIS INSTALLATION AS PRIME MINISTER, DIEM ANNOUNCED THE NATIONAL REFERENDUM SET FOR OCTOBER 23, 1955. /J.B. DRAGON.
070755 FRENCH FORMALLY TRANSFER NHA PRANG AIR BASE TO VIETNAMESE CONTROL.
071655 NGO DINH DIEM DECLARED THAT SOUTH VIETNAM, NOT HAVING SIGNED THE GENEVA AGREEMENT, WOULD NOT TAKE PART IN GENERAL ELECTIONS UNLESS THEY WERE GUARANTEED TO BE FREE IN THE NORTH AS WELL AS IN THE SOUTH. /J.B.DRAGON.
071855 AFTER AN ANNOUNCEMENT OF AID BY THE PEOPLE'S REPUBLIC OF CHINA TO THE DRV ON JULY 7, MOSCOW ALSO CONCLUDED AN AID AGREEMENT WITH HANOI.
071855 THE NATIONAL ARMY BATTLED THE HOA HAO IN HA TIEN.
071855 U.S. OFFICERS STARTED TO TRAIN VIETNAMESE OFFICIALS IN QUANG TRI.
071955 NGO DINH DIEM REFUSED TO ATTEND TALKS WITH DELEGATES FROM THE NORTH ON ELECTIONS TO BE HELD IN 1958. TALKS WERE SCHEDULED BY THE GENEVA TO BEGIN JULY 20, 1955.
SVA REJECTED THE NORTH VIETNAMESE GOVERNMENT'S INVITATION TO DISCUSS ELECTIONS OH THE GROUNDS THAT IN THE NORTH THE PEOPLE WOULD NOT BE ABLE TO EXPRESS THEIR WILL FREELY AND THAT FALSIFIED VOTES IN NORTH VIETNAM COULD OVERRULE THE VOTES IN SOUTH VIETNAM. /READER
072955 THE ASST.SEC.DEF. (ISA) REQUESTED A JCS EVALUATION OF THE MAAG–RECOMMENDED 150,000 MAN VNA FOR FY 1955–56. ISA REITERATED FORCE REQUIREMENTS TO MEET INTERNAL NOT EXTERNAL AGGRESSION. /323-1
0855 THE U.S. COUNTRY TEAM SUBMITTED THE TEAM PLAN FOR TRAINING THE SECURITY FORCES OF SOUTH VIETNAM. /COUNTRY TEAM MESSAGE 933, DISPATCH
0855 THE FRENCH AGREED TO THE MINISTRY FOR THE ASSOCIATED STATES OF INDOCHINA. ITS FUNCTIONS, MUCH ALTERED BY THE REALIZATION OF INDEPENDENCE, WERE TRANSFERRED TO THE MINISTRY OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS.
0855 NO AGREEMENT ON FRENCH FORCES STATUS AND WITHDRAWAL WAS REACHED IN NEGOTIATIONS BETWEEN FRENCH AND SOUTH VIETNAMESE REPRESENTATIVES IN PARIS.
080955 DIEM'S REFUSAL TO DISCUSS ELECTIONS WITH NORTH VIETNAM INCREASED THE LIKELIHOOD OF AN ATTACK BY THE NORTH. U.S. POLICY IN THIS EVENT WITH RESPECT TO SEATO AND APPLICATION OF FORCES WAS DEVELOPED. /JCS HIST.
080955 GENERAL O'DANIEL PROPOSED U.S. SUPPORT 150,000 FORCE LEVEL IN VIETNAMESE ARMY, PLUS 10,000 TROOPS OF THE SECT ARMIES BY JULY 1, 1956.
081055 AMBASSADOR REINHARDT AND CINCPAC ENDORSED GENERALFORCE LEVEL. JCS RECOMMENDED IT BE APPROVED. /JCS HIST.
081655 HENRI HOPPENOT, AMBASSADOR OF FRANCE ON EXTRAORDINARY MISSION AND HIGH COMMISSIONER OF THE FRENCH REPUBLIC NEAR THE STATE OF VIETNAM PRESENTED HIS LETTERS OF CREDENCE TO PRIME MINISTER DIEM. THIS ACTION TERMINATED THE OFFICE OF COMMISSIONER GENERAL OF FRANCE IN INDOCHINA.
083055 DULLES DECLARED THE U.S. GOVERNMENT WAS IN AGREEMENT WITH DIEM AND SUPPORTED TILE CONTENTION THAT CONDITIONS IN NORTH VIETNAM RULED OUT POSSIBILITY OF HOLDING FREE ELECTIONS. /LANCASTER.
0955 FATHERLAND FRONT WAS ORGANIZED IN HANOI, FORMERLY WAS LIEN VIET.
090255 JCS AGREED WITH THE TAYLOR ANALYSIS.
090255 DOD CONCURRED IN SECRETARY OF THE ARMY'S DESIGNATION OF SAMUEL T. WILLIAMS TO SUCCEED O'DANIEL AS CHIEF MAAG. /326–1
SEPT 6–29 1955 LT. GEN. BRUCE C. CLARK COMMANDING GENERAL USARPAC VISITED WEST PACIFIC AND S.E. ASIA, REVIEWED THE TRIM ORGANIZATION. /JCS HIST.
090955 JCS ENVISAGED DEFENSE OF S.E. ASIA AS RELYING INITIALLY ON INDIGINOUS FORCES, U.S. AIR AND NAVAL POWER, ARMY MOBILE STRIKE FORCE. JCS HOWEVER FELT SUBVERSION WAS REAL THREAT. NO ADDITIONAL FORCES SHOULD BE SENT TO ASIA UNTIL THAT CHANGED. /JCS TO SEC.DEF. MEMO.
091255 JCS MESSAGE 988351 REQUESTED CINCPAC TO EXPRESS THEIR VIEWS ON PHILIPPINE TRAINING IN COUNTER SUBVERSION FOR VNA.
092055 DIEM OPENED A CAMPAIGN AGAINST THE BINH XUYEN WITH 22 BATTALIONS.
092155 DIEM ISSUED A STATEMENT THAT THERE WAS NO QUESTION OF A CONFERENCE BETWEEN SOUTH AND NORTH VIETNAM. /LANCASTER.
1055 CINCPAC RECOMMENDED VNA TRAINING IN PHILIPPINES. BOTH JCS AND DOD CONCURRED BY NOVEMBER 1955. /323-1.
1055 BINH XUYEN WAS DEFEATED AS AN ORGANIZED ARMED INSURGENT FORCE.
1055 SOUTH VIETNAM RECALLED ITS DELEGATION FROM PARIS, WHICH HAD BEEN TRYING TO REACH AN AGREEMENT ON THE STATUS OF THE FRENCH FORCES.
101055 WASHINGTON APPROVED THE COUNTRY TEAM PLAN FOR TRAINING THE SECURITY FORCE IN SOUTH VIETNAM. /STATE DEPT. MESSAGE 1221.
101155 NIE 63, 1-3-55 REPORTED THE STRENGTH OF THE VNA AT 147,000 PLUS 8–10,000 SECT FORCES IN THE PROCESS OF BEING INTEGRATED. THE GVN WANTED A FORCE OF 200,000 WHEREAS THE U.S.–APPROVED FORCE LEVEE, WAS 150,000 BY JULY 1956. THE VNA WAS NOT CONSIDERED CAPABLE OF COUNTERING MAJOR GUERRILLA OPERATIONS.
VIETNAMESE NATIONAL POLICE HAD 4,500 MEN. CIVIL GUARD WAS TO BE ORGANIZED FROM PROVINCIAL GUARDS, LOCAL MILITIA AND OTHER ELEMENTS UNDER MINISTER OF INTERIOR. ORGANIZATION TO CONTAIN 65,000 MEN THE U.S. TO SUPPORT ONLY 25,000. 0212–1ST.
THE FRENCH EXPEDITIONARY CORPS WAS REDUCED TO 45,000 TROOPS.
101855 THE REFERENDUM TO BE HELD TO CHOOSE BETWEEN DIEM AND BAO DAI AS ANNOUNCED BY DIEM WAS DECLARED ILLEGAL BY BAO DAI.
102355 IN A NATIONAL REFERENDUM HELD TO ELECT THE CHIEF OF STATE, NGO DINH DIEM RECEIVED 5,721,735 VOTES, AGAINST 63,017 FOR BAO DAI, FORMER EMPEROR SINCE MARCH 7, 1949, HEAD OF STATE OF VIETNAM. /J.B.
102655 A REPUBLIC WAS PROCLAIMED BY NGO DINH DIEM. HE BECAME THE FIRST PRESIDENT OF SOUTH VIETNAM.
102855 CINCPAC DISPATCH 280503A REDESIGNATED MAAG INDOCHINA AS MAAG VIETNAM. 217155.
103155 PRESIDENT DIEM ISSUED HIS FIRST ORDER TO THE VIETNAMESE ARMED FORCES AS THEIR SUPREME COMMANDER.
1155 MDAP EQUIPMENT WAS VALUED AT $508,000,000 ACCORDING TO FRENCH INVENTORY.
1155 REPORT FROM VIETNAM COUNTRY TEAM INDICATED REDUCTION IN FRENCH FORCES RESULTED IN LOSS OF CONTROL OF MDAP MATERIALS. COULD NOT SUPPLY FORCES IN THE EVENT OF CONTINGENCY BY MID–1956. FRENCH WERE ALSO REMOVING GOOD EQUIPMENT. /JCS HIST.
1155 CIVIL GUARD TRANSFERRED BY DIEM FROM MINISTRY OF INTERIOR TO PRESIDENCY.
1155 GENERAL S.T. WILLIAMS ARRIVES IN SAIGON.
110155 JCS APPROVED ADMIRAL STUMP'S VIEWS AND AUTHORIZED CINCPAC TO BUDGET AND PLAN THE PROGRAM.
113055 PROGRAM FOR REDISTRIBUTION OF MDAP EQUIPMENT REACHED THE CRITICAL STAGE.
1255 TRIM ACCOMPLISHED LITTLE TRAINING DURING 1955, BECAUSE OF CONTINUED EMPLOYMENT OF THE VNA IN OPERATIONS AGAINST THE SECTS AND THE LACK OF INTEREST BY THE FRENCH. /JCS HIST.
1255 HOA HAO, BINH XUYEN AND CAO DAI WERE NO LONGER AN ORGANIZED THREAT TO THE GOVERNMENT.
120655 THE CNO (AS JCS EXECUTIVE AGENT) REPORTED TRAINING HAD PROGRESSED BUT CRITICAL STAGE HAD BEEN REACHED. STEPS HAD TO BE TAKEN TO RETAIN THE TEMPO OF MAAG.
120855 VNA ARMY, DEPLOYED THROUGHOUT SOUTH VIETNAM, HAD BEEN ABLE TO THWART VIETMINH AND SECTS. LATE 1955 THE VNA GENERAL STAFF BEGAN TO REGROUP THE ARMY INTO DIVISIONS TO TRAIN. ADDITIONAL SECURITY FORCES WERE NEEDED TO FILL THE VOID CREATED BY THE WITHDRAWING ARMY UNITS. /JCS HIST.
121255 THE U.S. CONSULATE IN HANOI WAS CLOSED.
121255 JCS REQUESTED OSD TO ASK NSC TO RECONSIDER ADDITIONAL PERSONNEL FOR VIETNAM.
121355 SEC.DEF., WILSON TO SECRETARY OF STATE, DULLES MEMO DISCUSSING GENEVA AGREEMENT, ARTICLE 16 RELATIVE TO EXPANDED MAAG TO HANDLE MDAP EQUIPMENT. JCS, CINCPAC, DOD FELT THAT ARTICLE 16 AND ITS RESTRICTIVE CLAUSE DID NOT APPLY TO U.S. AND SVN SINCE NEITHER HAD SIGNED.
121355 A COMMITTEE CHAIRED BY LT. COL. EVANS MET IN PLANS SECTION, MAAG, TO PLAN THE PREPARATION OF TWO NEW TD'S (TERM) FOR MAAG. THE FIRST PLAN WAS TO ACCOMPLISH PRESENT MISSION AND THE SECOND TO ACCOMPLISH A MISSION TO BEGIN JULY 1, 1956.
121655 ALLEN DULLES WROTE JOHN FOSTER DULLES THAT IT WAS ESSENTIAL TO CIA OPERATIONS THAT RESTRICTIONS ON THE NUMBER OF MILITARY PERSONNEL BE RELAXED SO THAT AGENCY WOULD BE ASSURED OF SUFFICIENT SLOTS UNDER MILITARY COVER TO DO ITS JOB. /335-1.
122055 THE NEW PLANS (TD) BEING DEVELOPED AT MAAG–VIETNAM WERE COMPETED.
122755 LT. COL. HANELIN REPORTED TO CHIEF, MAAG ON WASHINGTON ACTION ON MAAG-VIETNAM PERSONNEL REQUIREMENTS.
122755 GENERAL O'DANIEL REPORTED THAT MR. ROBERTSON, DEPT. OF STATE, STATED THAT STATE MIGHT REACT FAVORABLY TO AN INCREASE OVER THE AUTHORIZED 342
EARLY 1956 CONTROVERSY EXISTED BETWEEN FRENCH AND VIETNAMESE OVER ADMINISTRATION OF THE TRIM PROGRAM. IT FUNCTIONED WITH SOME U.S. ADVISORS BUT WAS PREDOMINATELY STAFFED WITH FRENCH INSTRUCTORS. /WID 17–56.
0156 SOUTH VIETNAMESE ARMY UNITS OCCUPIED TAY NINH, PRINCIPAL CAO DAI POLITICAL CENTER, LEADING TO THE BREAK UP OF THE ORGANIZED CAO DAI ARMED INSURGENCY. AGREEMENT WITH CAO DAI LEADERS ON FEBRUARY 28 LEGALIZED CAO DAI RELIGIOUS PRACTICES AND FORBADE ITS POLITICAL ACTIVITIES AS RELIGIOUS SECT.
011156 CNO ASKED CINCPAC FOR MINIMUM U.S. PERSONNEL REQUIRED TO REPLACE FRENCH.
011356 CHIEF–MAAG REPORTED TO CINCPAC THAT SECRETARY QUARLES SUGGESTED THAT FRENCH OR VIETNAMESE CIVILIAN TECHNICIANS BE HIRED TO REPLACE THE WITHDRAWING FRENCH FORCES. THIS WAS NOT POLITICALLY ACCEPTABLE TO VIETNAMESE.
011456 THE FRENCH ANNOUNCED PLANS TO RETAIN 230 PERSONNEL AS ADVISORS TO VNAF PLUS 130 OF THEIR PERSONNEL TO SERVE AS A TRAINING CENTER FOR F-8-F TRAINING AND TO RETAIN EXCLUSIVE RESPONSIBILITY OF VNAF AND NAVY THRU 1956.
011456 CHIEF–MAAG INFORMED CINCPAC THAT MAAG VIETNAM WAS DEVELOPING A NEW TD ANTICIPATION OF A RAISE IN PERSONNEL CEILING.
011456 MAAG CABLE TO CINCPAC STATED THEIR SECOND PLAY: WOULD PROVIDE FOR ADVICE DOWN TO BATTALION LEVEL AND WOULD THUS REQUIRE 1049 U.S. PERSONNEL AS AGAINST PRESENT 342 AUTHORIZED.
011956 CHIEF–MAAG INFORMED CINCPAC THAT THE FIRST PLAN CALLED FOR 636 U.S. MILITARY.
012156 A MESSAGE FROM CHIEF, MAAG, VIETNAM TO CINCPAC, DEPTAR, CNO, AND DEPTA STATED THAT THE CONTINUED WITHDRAWAL OF FRENCH PRESENTED A PROBLEM IN THE DISPOSAL OF EXCESS EQUIPMENT. HELP ASKED IN THE SPEED-UP OF ADMINISTRATIVE PROCESSING OF DECLARATIONS AND SHIPPING INSTRUCTIONS.
012556 MEMO TO SECRETARY OF DEFENSE FROM ASD STATED THAT REPORT OF INTERAGENCY COSTING TEAM THAT HAD RECENTLY RETURNED FROM A 5 WEEK MISSION TO VIETNAM INDICATED 150–200 MORE WERE NEEDED AT MAAG FOR LOGISTIC PURPOSES.
012656 PRES. DIEM FORMALLY ASKED FOR AN INCREASE IN U.S. ADVISORS. IT WAS THE VIETNAMESE GOVERNMENT'S POSITION THAT REPLACING DEPARTING FRENCH FORCES WITH U.S. FORCES WOULD NOT VIOLATE EITHER THE SPIRIT NOR THE LETTER OF THE GENEVA ACCORDS.
012756 CINCPAC INFORMED CNO THAT WITHDRAWAL OF FRENCH AND INABILITY OF FRENCH ANTI–VIETNAMESE TO COMPROMISE REQUIRED EXPEDITING AUGMENTATION PLANS DECISION TO RAISE 342 CEILING WAS MADE.
013156 A JOINT INVENTORY OF MDAP EQUIPMENT WAS PROPOSED TO FRENCH.
013156 SEC.DEF. C.E. WILSON WROTE SEC.STATE DULLES OUTLINING PROBLEMS OF MAAG VIETNAM RE SHORTAGE OF PERSONNEL TO HANDLE LOGISTICS PROBLEMS.
0256 THE GOVERNMENT GAINED OCCUPATION OF CAO DAI POSTS IN TAY NINH AND INTEGRATION OF MOST OF GENERAL PHUONG'S FORCES. /WID 9–56.
0256 FEC STRENGTH DOWN TO 15,000.
020256 DULLES DECIDED PROTECTION OF MDAP EQUIPMENT WARRANTED AN INCREASE IN PERSONNEL AND THEREFORE AUTHORIZED A GROUP OF 350 FOR THE TEMPORARY EQUIPMENT RECOVERY MISSION TO BE SENT TO VIETNAM. THE MISSION WAS TO PREVENT A GREATER DOLLAR LOSS THROUGH MISUSE OR WASTE OF U.S.PROVIDED MATERIEL.
020356 SEC. OF STATE DULLES DECIDED THAT THE TERM OPERATION SHOULD BE USED TO IMPLEMENT HIS DECISION TO EXPLORE WITH OTHER GOVERNMENTS A MEANS OF RECOVERING U.S. EQUIPMENT. /I-33.
021256 FOLLOWING SECRET NEGOTIATIONS WITH TIE VIETNAMESE GOVERNMENT, TRAN VAN SOAI, THE LEADER OF AN IMPORTANTHAO FACTION REJOINED THE VIETNAM ARMY. BA CUT, ANOTHER PRINCIPAL HOA HAO LEADER, WAS CAPTURED ON APRIL 13, LEADING TO THE BREAKUP OF ORGANIZED HOA HAO ARMED INSURGENCY. /WID 9–59.
021356 A MESSAGE FROM AMBASSADOR TO SECRETARY OF STATE STATED THAT TERM SHOULD BE PRESENTED SOLELY AS AN EQUIPMENT RECOVERY MISSION AND NOT AS A TRAINING MISSION.
022156 FRANCE AGREED TO WITHDRAW ITS REMAINING FORCES FROM SOUTH VIETNAM.
0356 THE FREE VIETNAMESE INTERNAL SECURITY AGENCY WAS OFFICIALLY DESIGNATED SELF DEFENSE CORPS. /WID 13–56.
0356 DIEM DEMANDED THE WITHDRAWAL OF THE FEC FROM VIETNAM.
030956 DIEM HELD ANOTHER CONFERENCE WITH NAVAL COMMANDER LE QUANG MY REGARDING THE COMMUNIST OCCUPATION OF BOISEE ISLAND OF THE PARACEL GROUP. PURPOSE OF CONFERENCE APPARENTLY TO FORMULATE POLICY PRIOR TO TALKS WITH FRENCH TO COMMENCE MARCH 10. NO MILITARY ACTION AGAINST THE PARACELS WAS TAKEN. /WID 10–56.
031456 U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE JOHN FOSTER DULLES VISITED SOUTH VIETNAM.
031556 FIRST PHASE OF Franco–VIETNAMESE TALKS ENDED WITH THE VIETNAMESE INSISTING UPON COMPLETE FRENCH WITHDRAWAL FROM ALL BASES IN VIETNAM. DIFFICULTY IN TALKS CENTERED AROUND THE FRENCH NAVAL ARSENAL IN SAIGON. ITS REPAIR FACILITIES WERE IMPORTANT TO THE VIETNAM NAVY. THE FRENCH ALSO NEEDED THE REPAIR FACILITIES FOR ITS NAVY AND WANTED EITHER PRIORITY REPAIR SERVICE FOR FRENCH SHIPS AT THE ARSENAL OR THE NON–MDAP EQUIPMENT TO SET UP SUCH A FACILITY WOULD HAVE TO BE WITHDRAWN AND MOVED ELSEWHERE. MUCH OF THE NON–MDAP EQUIPMENT THERE WAS BELIEVED TO HAVE BEEN GIVEN TO THE FRENCH BY THE U.S. /WID 10–56.
031656 AGREEMENT WAS REACHED BETWEEN THE GOVERNMENT AND THE CAO DAI SECT WHICH RELEGATED THE LATTER TO A PURELY RELIGIOUS ROLE. A COROLLARY THAT AGREEMENT WAS THAT ALL THE CAO DAI ARMED DISSIDENTS, ESTIMATED MAXIMUM 4,000, HAVE CAPITULATED WITH THEIR ARMS AND AMMUNITION. PROCESSING OF THE SURRENDEREES STARTED AROUND MARCH 13, 1956. BA CUT REMAINED AN OPPONENT OF THE GOVERNMENT. /WID 10–56.
032256 AGREEMENT WAS SIGNED BY FRENCH AND VIETNAMESE STIPULATING THE WITHDRAWAL OF FEC BY JUNE 30, 1956.
0456 TERM WAS PRESENTED TO THE ICC FOR APPROVAL. NEITHER APPROVAL NOR DISAPPROVAL. WAS RECEIVED SO THE PROJECT PROCEEDED IN JUNE. /WID
040656 VIETNAM GOVERNMENT ANNOUNCED THAT IT WOULD CONTINUE TO COOPERATE WITH ICC AND REITERATED ITS POSITION OF SUPPORTING VIETNAM–WIDE ELECTIONS AT SUCH TIME AS CONDITIONS IN COMMUNIST NORTH VIETNAM PERMITTED GENUINELY FREE VOTING.
040856 TRIM MISSION ENDED. REDESIGNATED COMBAT AND TRAINING ORGANIZATION.
041056 THE LAST ELEMENTS OF FRENCH EXPEDITIONARY CORPS LEFT SAIGON.
041256 DIRECTIVE FROM CNO TO COFSA+COFSAF ISSUED IMPLEMENTING THE TERM PROGRAM. IN IT THE CNO STATED THAT TERM SHOULD APPEAR TO BE SEPARATE ORGANIZATION FROM MAAG. CHIEF OF TERM SHOULD BE A SENIOR COLONEL OR BRIG. GEN. NOT PRESENTLY APPEARING ON MAAG'S ROSTER.
042356 THE FRENCH HIGH COMMAND WAS INACTIVATED. /NIE 245 1ST N.
042556 AT THE REQUEST OF THE GVN MOST OF THE FEC WERE WITHDRAWN FROM INDOCHINA.
042856 THE DEPARTURE FROM SAIGON OF GENERAL JACUOT, COMMANDER IN CHIEF OF THE FRENCH EXPEDITIONARY CORPS, MARKED THE DISSOLUTION OF THE FRENCH HIGH COMMAND IN VIETNAM. /PROGRESS REPT. NSC 5405/5428/5
042856 ARVN TRAINING BECAME THE RESPONSIBILITY OF MAAG.
0556 THE ASSISTANT SECRETARY OF DEFENSE VISITED VIETNAM AND URGED MORE SUPPORT FOR THE CIVIL GUARD.
EARLY MAY 1956 AGREEMENT HAD NOT YET BEEN REACHED CONCERNING THE STATUS OF SAIGON NAVAL ARSENAL RELATIVE TO THE FRENCH WITHDRAWAL. /WID 19-56
050156 ROBERT D. MURPHY, DEPUTY UNDER SECRETARY OF STATE WROTE WILSON THAT TERM PERSONNEL SHOULD NOT BE USED AS A TRAINING FORCE, BUT THEY SHOULD BE ADMINISTRATIVELY SUPERVISED BY MAAG NOT EMBASSY.
051556 VNA STRENGTH WAS 156,000.
051556 DEADLINE FOR WITHDRAWAL OF ALL FRENCH NAVAL PERSONNEL (EXCEPT FOR SMALL LIQUIDATING DETACHMENTS). TRANSFER OF CONTROL OF THE ARSENAL TO THE VIETNAMESE WAS TO BE MADE. /WID 10-56.
052356 DOD OFFICIALLY ESTABLISHED THE TERMS OF REFERENCE FOR TERM. /JCS HIST.
0656 GVN ESTIMATED VIETMINH ACTIVE STRENGTH AT 1,360 OUT OF 6–8,000 HOSTILE FORCE. U.S. PUT STRENGTH AT 8-10,000 IN SKELETON UNITS.
0656 THE GVN FORMALLY REQUESTED AUGMENTATION OF MAAG. A SPECIAL DETACHMENT OF 350 MEN WAS ORGANIZED AND CHARGED WITH RECOVERING AND EXPORTING LARGE QUANTITIES OF U.S. WAR MATERIEL. A COLLATERAL PURPOSE WAS TO INCREASE THE LOGISTICAL CAPABILITIES OF THE VIETNAMESE ARMY. THE PROJECT WAS TERM. /WID 13-57.
060156 AFTER JUNE 1, 1956, THE DEADLINE FOR WITHDRAWAL OR TURNOVER TO THE VIETNAMESE OF AIR FORCE EQUIPMENT, THE FRENCH WERE COMPLETELY PHASED OUT OF THE VIETNAMESE AIR FORCE. ONLY A FEW FRENCH INSTRUCTORS REMAINED IN SOUTH VIETNAM. /WID 17–56.
060156 U.S. TEMPORARY EQUIPMENT RECOVERY MISSION (TERM) ACTIVATED.
060756 ADMIRAL RADFORD BRIEFED THE NSC ON THE STRATEGY FOR THE DEFENSE OF SOUTH VIETNAM WHICH REPEATED THE PLANS SET FORTH IN FEBRUARY AND SEPTEMBER.
063056 THE VNA HAD 142,000 MEN IN 4 FIELD DIVISIONS AND 6 LIGHT DIVISIONS AND 13 TERRITORIAL REGIMENTS, PLUS SERVICE SUPPORT UNITS. THIS WAS APPROVED STRENGTH. /WID 20-56.
0756 THE CRUCIAL MONTH DURING WHICH THE ELECTIONS TO UNIFY VIETNAM SHOULD HAVE BEEN HELD AS PROVIDED IN THE GENEVA AGREEMENT PASSED WITHOUT INCIDENT. /J.B.
0756 CIVIL GUARD 51,000 STRONG, OPERATED IN THREE MILITARY REGIONS.
070656 VICE PRESIDENT RICHARD NIXON VISITED SOUTH VIETNAM.
070756 ADMIRAL RADFORD BRIEFED THE NSC ON CONCEPT DELINEATED IN 5612/1.
071156 JCS DIRECTED CINCPAC TO PREPARE A CONTINGENCY PLAN BASED ON THE QUICK RESPONSE STRATEGY AS SET FORTH BY ADMIRAL RADFORD IN THE JUNE 7, 1956 BRIEFING TO NSC, FOR DEFENSE OF SOUTH VIETNAM.
071356 BA CUT EXECUTED. /WID 32-56.
071756 COMMUNIST ARMED STRENGTH IN THE SOUTH ESTIMATED AT 5–10,000 1955–56, PROBABLY ABOUT 8,000 WITH 5,000 ORGANIZED IN SKELETON COMPANIES. /247 NIE 1ST.
071756 THE VNA HAD THE APPROXIMATELY 145,000 TROOPS. /NIE.
071756 NIE 63–56 STATED WASHINGTON'S CONCEPT OF THE CIVIL GUARD AND THE SELF-DEFENSE CORPS. THE GVN ORGANIZED THE CIVIL GUARD TO RELIEVE THE VNA'S MANY STATIC INTERNAL SECURITY DUTIES. THE 43,000 MEN IN LIGHTLY ARMED MOBILE COMPANIES WERE TO MAINTAIN LAW AND ORDER, COLLECT INTELLIGENCE, CONDUCT COUNTER-SUBVERSION OPERATIONS IN PROVINCES PACIFIED BY THE V THE 60,000 MAN SELF-DEFENSE CORPS WAS TO MAINTAIN VILLAGE SECURITY.
072056 THE ALL–VIETNAMESE ELECTION AS PROVIDED IN 1954 GENEVA DECLARATION FAILED TO TAKE PLACE. /READER.
072156 FRENCH ACCEDED TO SOUTH VIETNAM'S REQUEST THAT FRENCH BE REPRESENTED BY AN AMBASSADOR RATHER THAN A HIGH COMMISSIONER.
073056 A VIETNAMESE LIAISON MISSION TO THE ICC WAS ESTABLISHED PREPARATORY TO THE TRANSFER OF FUNCTIONS FROM THE FRENCH LIAISON MISSION. /READER.
0856 ESTIMATES OF VIETMINH IN SVN WERE 5,000–7,000. /WID 32-56.
083156 TERM AT FULL STRENGTH OF 350.
090556 THERE WAS A CHANGE IN POLICY FROM TRAINING THE VIETNAMESE ARMY FROM INTERNAL SECURITY ALONE TO BOTH A MISSION OF INTERNAL SECURITY AND LIMITED INITIAL RESISTANCE. OCMH.
091656 U.S. TRAINING PROGRAM OF ARVN WENT INTO EFFECT.
091956 FRENCH AIR FORCE OFFICIALLY TRANSFERRED THE TOURANE AIR BASE TO VIETNAMESE CONTROL.
100156 OPLAN 46-56 DEFENSE OF SOUTH VIETNAM PREPARED BY CINCPAC.
102456 STATE DEPARTMENT REPORT EMPHASIZED THAT THE SUBVERSION–POLITICAL THREAT TO SOUTH VIETNAM WAS MORE LIKELY TO BE A REAL DANGER THAN OVERT AGGRESSION.
110156 THE CHIEF OF MAAG PROPOSED SUPPORTING THE CIVIL GUARD AT A STRENGTH OF 59,160 AND A SELF DEFENSE CORPS OF 60,000. OCMH.
1256 COUNTRY TEAM JUDGED THE VNA CAPABLE OF MAINTAINING INTERNAL AND EXTERNAL SECURITY. /JCS HIST.
0157 DIEM ASKED THE U.S. TO INCREASE HIS FORCE TO 200,000. THIS WAS REFUSED.
010357 THE ICC REPORTED THAT BETWEEN DECEMBER 1955 AND AUGUST 1956 NEITHER NORTH OR SOUTH VIETNAM HAD BEEN FULFILLING ITS OBLIGATIONS UNDER THE 1954 ARMISTICE AGREEMENT.
021557 THE TWO PACIFICATION OPERATIONS TRUONG TAN BUU AND THOAI NGOC HAU TERMINATED. THE VN MILITARY FELT THAT THE ARMY SHOULD PERFORM ONLY MILITARY FUNCTIONS WHICH DID NOT INTERFERE WITH NORMAL TRAINING. HOWEVER DIEM WANTED THE TWO OPERATIONS TO BE CONTINUED AS PART OF THE PARTICIPATING ORGANIZATIONS ROUTINE FUNCTIONS. BUU AND HAU HAD BEEN VAST MILITARY AND PSYCHOLOGICAL OPERATIONS EMPLOYING MEN FROM THE ARMED CIVIL GUARD, AND CIVIL ACTION COMMITTEES WITH THE PURPOSE TO BRING ALL UNDER GOVERNMENT CONTROL AND TO PUBLICIZE AND POPULARIZE THE DIEM GOVERNMENT. /WID 15-57
0357 THE GOVERNMENT OF PRESIDENT DIEM ANNOUNCED A SERIES OF REGULATIONS INTENDED TO ENCOURAGE FOREIGN INVESTMENTS. /J.B.
031957 OPLAN 16-56 DEFENSE OF SOUTH VIETNAM WAS APPROVED BY JCS.
041657 ELBRIDGE DURBROW PRESENTED HIS CREDENTIALS AS AMBASSADOR OF THE U.S. TO SOUTH VIETNAM.
050257 PRES. DIEM REINSTITUTED A DRAFT LAW. /JCS HIST.
050457 ARVN'S FIRST MAJOR TACTICAL CONTROL HEADQUARTERS WAS ESTABLISHED, I CO /JCS HIST.
050557 PRESIDENT DIEM VISITED THE U.S.
050957 PRESIDENT DIEM ADDRESSED A JOINT ASSEMBLY OF CONGRESS.
051057 IN A MEETING BETWEEN PRESIDENT DIEM AND DEPUTY SECRETARY QUARLES, DIEM PUT FORTH HIS PLAN TO MOVE THE CIVIL GUARD INTO HIGH PLATEAU AREAS TO FILL THE VACUUM THERE. HE ALSO PUT FORTH THE NEW ARMY REORGANIZATION. HE WANTED THE SAME NUMBER OF DIVISIONS BUT WITH A STRENGTH INCREASE UP TO 10,000 WHICH REQUIRED A TOTAL FORCE INCREASE OF 20,000.
051157 PRESIDENT EISENHOWER AND PRESIDENT DIEM DECLARED THAT BOTH COUNTRIES WOULD WORK TOWARD A PEACEFUL UNIFICATION OF VIETNAM (JOINT COMMUNIQUE).
051157 ACCORDING TO EISENHOWER AND DIEM THE CHIEF DANGER TO SOUTH VIETNAM WAS THE LARGE BUILDUP OF MILITARY FORCES IN NORTH VIETNAM.
051757 NORTH VIETNAMESE LIAISON MISSION TO THE ICC WAS WITHDRAWN FROM SAIGON AT THE REQUEST OF SOUTH VIETNAM.
052457 ASST. SECRETARY OF DEFENSE, GVN, SUBMITTED A WRITTEN REQUEST TO CHIEF-M FOR U.S. ADVISOR ASSISTANCE FOR THE VIETNAM AIR FORCE AND NAVY.
052857 NEW YORK STATE POLICE INSPECTOR UPDIKE WAS ASKED TO SET UP THE SOUTH VIETNAMESE POLICE FORCE.
053157 FRENCH PARTICIPATION IN THE TRAINING OF THE VIETNAMESE AIR FORCE, NAVY, AND AT THE VIETNAMESE COMMAND AND GENERAL STAFF COLLEGE TERMINATED. FRENCH LEGAL INSTRUCTORS TO GENDARMERIE AND CIVIL GUARD STILL REMAINED.
0657 THE FRENCH NAVAL AND AIR FORCE TRAINING MISSION WAS WITHDRAWN FROM SOUTH VIETNAM.
061357 THREE NEW YORK STATE POLICEMEN WERE ASSIGNED TO HELP ORGANIZE THE POLICE IN SOUTH VIETNAM.
0757 GVN REQUESTED $60 MILLION FOR HEAVY EQUIPMENT FOR THE CIVIL GUARD. MA AND MSU PROPOSED $14–18 MILLION. /JCS HIST.
0757 AN ICA SURVEY REPORT ON VIETNAM INDICATED THAT COMMODITY ASSISTANCE FUNDING TO THE INTERNAL SECURITY PROGRAM WAS TO END IN 1958. /159-1
0757 SINCE THE ARVN'S ANTI-DISSIDENT CAMPAIGNS HAD ACHIEVED SUCH SUCCESS, THE SOUTH VIETNAM GOVERNMENT DIVERTED MOST OF THE MILITARY TO TRAINING FOR CLASSICAL WARFARE AS A NECESSITY FOR NATIONAL DEFENSE AGAINST POSSIBLE DRV AGGRESSION. /WID 30-58.
0957 ALL 10 ARVN DIVISIONS HAD COMPLETED BASIC TRAINING. 7 DIVISIONS HAD FINISHED THIRD LEVEL TRAINING.
102257 U.S. PERSONNEL WERE INJURED IN SAIGON IN THE BOMBING OF INSTALLATIONS THE U.S. MILITARY ASSISTANCE ADVISORY GROUP AND OF THE U.S. INFORMATION SERVICE.
1157 INTELLIGENCE REPORTS DEPICTED VIETCONG EFFORTS AS ONE OF SURVIVAL DURING JULY 1956 – JULY 1957. /JCS HIST.
120957 SOUTH VIETNAM EX-DIRECTOR OF POLICE NGUYEN VAN TON WAS SENTENCED FOR AIDING THE REBEL ELEMENTS.
58 THE VIETNAMESE ARMY WAS REORGANIZED. FIELD AND LIGHT DIVISIONS WERE CONVERTED TO 7 IMPROVED DIVISIONS. (LATE 1958–SEPT. 1959)
010458 LARGE COMMUNIST GUERRILLA BAND ATTACKED A PLANTATION NORTH OF SAIGON, REFLECTING STEADY INCREASE IN COMMUNIST ARMED ACTIVITY IN SOUTH VIETNAM SINCE MID–1957.
032758 PERMANENT SECRETARIAT GENERAL OF NATIONAL DEFENSE UNDER THE PRESIDENCY ESTABLISHED.
0458 THROUGH INTENSIVE RECRUITING IN THE SOUTH, THE NORTH VIETNAM GUERRILLA STRENGTH IN THE SOUTH ROSE TO ABOUT 2,100. /WID 51-58.
0558 ORGANIZED COMMUNISTS IN SOUTH VIETNAM WERE ESTIMATED AT 1,140–1,400. /WID 22-58.
0758 THE SVN GOVERNMENT ATTEMPTS TO ANNIHILATE VIETCONG SUFFERED FROM RELYING TOO HEAVILY ON THE INEFFICIENT PARAMILITARY FORCES INSTEAD OF THE ARMY TO DOWN ARMED INSURGENCY. /WID 30-58.
0758 GENERAL PHAM XUAN CHIEU WAS THE DEPUTY CHIEF OF STAFF FOR ARVN. /WID
0958 MAAG REPORTED U.S. PERSONNEL WERE VC TARGETS.
091058 FRANCE AND SOUTH VIETNAM SIGNED AN AGREEMENT UNDER WHICH FRANCE PROVIDED AID FOR THE VIETNAM GOVERNMENT'S AGRARIAN REFORM PROGRAM — 1,490
1258 VIETNAMESE BUREAU OF INVESTIGATION STRENGTH OF 6,500, INCLUDING 2,500 PERMANENT AGENTS. /WID 52-58.
120858 PRESIDENT EISENHOWER APPROVED A NATIONAL SECURITY COUNCIL ACTION WHICH AMONG OTHER ITEMS EMPHASIZED POLICE AND CONSTABULARY TYPE FORCES FOR INTERNAL SECURITY PURPOSES IN LIEU OF LARGER INDIGENOUS MILITARY ESTABLISHMENTS.
59 IT WAS ESTIMATED THAT THERE WERE BETWEEN 5,000–12,000 COMMUNIST GUERRILLAS ACTIVE IN SOUTH VIETNAM IN 1959.
0159 JCS REPORTED ARVN WAS READY TO FULFILL THE MISSION THE U.S. HAD SET /JCS HIST.
0159 GVN AGREED TO TRANSFER THE CIVIL GUARD TO THE MINISTRY OF INTERIOR. AID PROGRAM TO THE CIVIL GUARD WAS THEN RESUMED. /JCS HIST.
010759 30,000 POLICE AND CIVIL GUARDSMEN HAD BEEN LOCALLY TRAINED IN LAW ENFORCEMENT AND TECHNICAL TRAINING COURSES. MORE TRAINING IN ADMINISTRATION AND COMMAND FUNCTIONS WAS BEING REQUESTED.
010759 NSC 5809 REPORTED THAT THE U.S. EMBASSY AND THE GVN HAD REACHED AN AGREEMENT ON TRAINING AND EQUIPPING A CIVIL GUARD FORCE OF 32,000. THE WAS IN WASHINGTON FOR APPROVAL. THE QUESTION BEING ASKED WAS WHETHER THIS SITUATION REQUIRED IMPROVEMENT IN THE CIVIL GUARD OR WHETHER OTHER EXISTING VIETNAMESE SECURITY FORCES COULD ADEQUATELY DEAL WITH THE SITUATION.
011259 A NORTH–SOUTH VIETNAM MEETING WAS HELD TO DISCUSS PROBLEMS CONCERNING DEMILITARIZED ZONE. THE OPPOSING PARTIES PREPARED TO DISCUSS SPECIFIC LOW-LEVEL MATTERS OF MUTUAL CONCERN. ARRANGED BY ICC. /WID 39-58.
032959 VNAF FLEW ITS FIRST MISSION AGAINST A VC TARGET. /SAIGON–STATE MSG 4-457. /JCS HIST.
0459 DIEM ENCOURAGED TERRORIST ACTIVITY REPORTING.
040959 DURBROW–DIEM–WILLIAMS CONFERENCE ON WORSENING INTERNAL SECURITY SITUATION.
050659 EMBASSY DID NOT BELIEVE DIEM'S STORY THAT SECURITY WAS AT ITS WORST SINCE 1955. U.S. SKEPTICISM RE THREAT TO SVN CONTINUED THROUGH 1959. S-STATE 2345 6MAY59.
052659 THE ICC STATED TERM SHOULD END ACTIVITIES BY MID–1959.
052659 2,000 GUERRILLAS WERE REPORTED IN SVN. THOUSANDS MORE WERE INACTIVE. CIVIL GUARD STRENGTH = 47,000. VNA = 136,000 REGULARS. INTERNAL SECURITY FORCES WERE NOT CONSIDERED CAPABLE OF ERADICATING A DRV SUPPORTED GUERRILLA FORCE. VNA WILL HAVE TO BE DIVERTED TO THIS TASK. /249-
052959 U.S. ADVISORS WERE AT REGIMENTAL, SEPARATE ARTILLERY, ARMOR AND MARINE BATTALION LEVEL.
052959 USOM PUBLIC SAFETY DIVISION BEGAN RETRAINING AND RE-EQUIPPING CIVIL GUARD. /JCS HIST.
063059 THE MICHIGAN STATE UNIVERSITY POLICE ADVISORY GROUP LEFT VIETNAM. USOM PUBLIC SAFETY DIVISION TOOK OVER TRAINING RESPONSIBILITY. THEY OBTAINED NO RESOLUTION TO THE PROBLEMS OF THE CIVIL GUARD DURING THE NEXT TWO YEARS. /JCS HIST.
070859 COMMUNIST GUERRILLAS ATTACKED THE VIETNAMESE MILITARY BASE AT BIEN KOA TWO U.S. MAAG PERSONNEL WERE KILLED AND ONE WAS WOUNDED.
083059 SECOND NATIONAL ELECTIONS GAVE THE NATIONAL REVOLUTIONARY MOVEMENT AND OTHER PRO-GOVERNMENT POLITICAL PARTIES ALL SEATS IN THE NATIONAL ASSEMBLY IN SOUTH VIETNAM. NO OPPOSITION CANDIDATES WERE ALLOWED TO TAKE THEIR SEATS.
0959 DIEM ESTIMATED THAT THERE WERE 1000 VC REGULARS.
0959 THE ARVN FRENCH STYLE 4 FIELD AND 6 LIGHT DIVISIONS CONVERTED TO 7 U.S. TYPE 10,000 MAN DIVISIONS. /JCS HIST.
0959 JCS PAPER TO NSC URGED U.S. TO BACK PROGRAMS NOT PERSONALITIES.
103059 SPOKESMAN OF THE VIETNAMESE ARMY DISCLOSES THAT A CAMPAIGN AGAINST COMMUNIST GUERRILLAS IN THE COUNTRY'S SOUTHERNMOST REGION, THE CAMA PENINSULA, RESULTED IN HEAVY GUERRILLA LOSSES.
1259 OSD DIRECTED CINCPAC TO PREPARE A NEW JOINT DISTRIBUTION TABLE REFLECTING TERM PHASE OUT. /ITEM 56.
1259 FIRST USE OF TO MOVE TROOPS. /SAIGON TO STATE 2061 1/3
020160 GVN DIRECTIVE ISSUED ORDERING CONCENTRATION ON ANTI–GUERRILLA TRAINING TACTICS.
021860 AMBASSADOR DURBROW TOLD CINCPAC CIVIL GUARD ANTI–GUERRILLA TRAINING WAS URGENT. CINCPAC HELD OUT FOR MAAG/TERM RESOLUTION RE ICC. /JCS HIST.
0360 FIRST AGROVILLE ESTABLISHED IN PHONG DINH PROVINCE.
032460 CHIEF OF STAFF ARMY TOLD THE JCS THAT THE SECURITY SITUATION IN VIETNAM HAD EADLY DETERIORATED AND THAT DIEM CONSIDERED THAT VIETNAM WAS IN ALL OUT WAR WITH THE VIETCONG.
0460 VIETCONG STRENGTH 4,000.
031760 NORTH VIETNAM PROTESTED TO THE CHAIRMEN OF THE 1954 GENEVA CONFERENCE (BRITAIN AND THE USSR) THE FORMIDABLE INCREASE OF PERSONNEL IN THE U.S. MILITARY ASSISTANCE ADVISORY GROUP IN SOUTH VIETNAM AND ACCUSED THE U.S. OF TURNING SOUTH VIETNAM INTO A U.S. MILITARY BASE FOR THE PREPARATION OF A NEW WAR.
043060 AN OPPOSITION GROUP OF 18, CALLING THEMSELVES THE COMMITTEE FOR PROGRESS AND LIBERTY, SENT A LETTER TO PRES. DIEM DEMANDING DRASTIC ECONOMIC, ADMINISTRATIVE, AND MILITARY REFORMS.
050560 U.S. ANNOUNCED THAT AT THE REQUEST OF THE GOVERNMENT OF SOUTH VIETNAM, THE U.S. MILITARY ASSISTANCE AND ADVISORY GROUP WAS TO BE INCREASED BY THE END OF THE YEAR FROM 327 TO 685 MEMBERS.
052060 THE SOVIET UNION PROPOSED TO THE UNITED KINGDOM THAT THE TWO GOVERNMENTS AS CO-CHAIRMEN OF THE GENEVA CONFERENCE, SHOULD APPEAL TO THE U.S. TO REFRAIN FROM INCREASING THE NUMBERS OF ITS MILITARY ADVISORS (MAAG) SOUTH VIETNAM AND ALSO TO CONSIDER THE QUESTION OF WITHDRAWING MAAG SOUTH VIETNAM. THEIR PRESENCE IN SOUTH VIETNAM CONTRADICTED THE SP OF THE GENEVA AGREEMENTS. THE AIM WAS TO LIQUIDATE ONE OF THE SOURCES OF UNREST AND OF STRENGTHENING PEACE IN INDOCHINA.
0660 COMMUNIST GUERRILLA ACTIVITIES IN SOUTH VIETNAM INCREASED. (JUNE–OCTOBER)
060160 MAJ.GEN. LIONEL T. MC GARR WAS APPOINTED THE HEAD OF THE U.S. MAAG.
060660 COUNTER–INSURGENCY TRAINING PROGRAM UNDER MAAG FOR THE VIETNAMESE ARMED FORCES WAS STARTED.
063060 THERE WERE ONLY 25 MSU ADVISORS IN SOUTH VIETNAM.
101260 SEC.DEF. TOLD THE JCS THAT THE RESPONSIBILITY FOR TRAINING AND LOGISTICAL SUPPORT OF THE CIVIL GUARD SHOULD BE TRANSFERRED TO THE MAAG PROMPTLY AND THAT THE CIVIL GUARD SHOULD BE PUT IN THE VIETNAMESE MINISTRY OF DEFENSE, RATHER THAN IN THE MINISTRY OF INTERIOR.
122960 CIVIL GUARD WAS TRANSFERRED TO DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE FROM MINISTRY OF INTERIOR AT MAAG'S REQUEST. /JCS HIST.
0161 THE FIRST INCREMENT OF CIVIL GUARD BEGAN TRAINING UNDER THE MAAG.
013061 PRES. KENNEDY AUTHORIZED $29,400,000 TO EXPAND THE VIETNAM ARMED FORCES TO 170,000 PLUS $12,700,000 FOR THE CIVIL GUARD.
032861 MESSAGE FROM TRAPNELL TO JCS INDICATED FAILURE OF CG AND VNA TO COPE WITH VIETCONG. RECOMMENDED U.S. SUPPORT FULL 68,000 CIVIL GUARD FORCE.
040361 U.S.–VIETNAMESE TREATY OF AMITY AND ECONOMIC RELATIONS WAS SIGNED IN SAIGON. THE NATIONAL ASSEMBLY RATIFIED THE TREATY ON JUNE 14.
040461 PRESIDENT DIEM APPEALED TO THE ICC TO MAKE AN IMMEDIATE AND ENERGETIC INVESTIGATION OF GROWING TERRORISM AND SUBVERSION THROUGHOUT SOUTH VIETNAM.
040961 PRESIDENT DIEM AND VICE PRESIDENT THO WERE ELECTED BY AN OVERWHELMING MAJORITY IN THE VIETNAM PRESIDENTIAL ELECTIONS.
042961 PRESIDENT KENNEDY AUTHORIZED MAP SUPPORT FOR ALL 69,000 CIVIL GUARD. MAAG VIETNAM WAS DIRECTED TO SUPPORT AND ADVISE SDC. MAAG STRENGTH TO BE INCREASED AS NEEDED.
0561 MAAG PERSONNEL IN SOUTH VIETNAM NUMBERED 685. ABOUT HALF WERE AIRBORNE COMMANDOS.
050561 PRES. KENNEDY DECLARED AT A PRESS CONFERENCE THAT CONSIDERATION WAS BEING GIVEN TO THE USE OF U.S. FORCES, IF NECESSARY, TO HELP SOUTH VIETNAM RESIST COMMUNIST PRESSURES. HE DECLARED THAT THIS WOULD BE ONE OF THE SUBJECTS DISCUSSED DURING THE FORTHCOMING VISIT OF VICE PRESIDENT JOHNSON IN SOUTH VIETNAM.
051161 U.S. VICE PRESIDENT JOHNSON WAS IN SOUTH VIETNAM.
051361 WHILE JOHNSON WAS IN VIETNAM A JOINT COMMUNIQUE DECLARED THAT ADDITIONAL U.S. MILITARY AND ECONOMIC AID WOULD BE GIVEN TO HELP SOUTH VIETNAM IN ITS FIGHT AGAINST COMMUNIST GUERRILLA FORCES.
0661 IT WAS ESTIMATED THAT THERE WERE BETWEEN 7,000–15,000 COMMUNIST GUERRILLAS IN SOUTH VIETNAM.
0661 LOCAL MILITIAMEN IN SOUTH VIETNAM NUMBERED 50,000, SAME AS IN 1959.
060961 DIEM ASKED SUPPORT FOR AN INCREASE IN THE VIETNAMESE ARMY TO A FORCE OF 270,000.
080261 PRESIDENT KENNEDY DECLARED THAT THE U.S. WOULD DO ALL IT COULD TO SAVE SOUTH VIETNAM FROM COMMUNISM.
080461 PRES. KENNEDY AUTHORIZED AN INCREASE IN THE VIETNAMESE ARMY TO 200,000.
081561 VNA – 150,000, CIVIL GUARD – 60,000, SELF DEFENSE CORPS – 45,000, VIETCONG – 12,000. /254 NIE.
090161 THERE WAS A SERIES OF ATTACKS BY 1,000 COMMUNIST GUERRILLAS IN KONTUM PROVINCE. AN ARMY COMMAND COMMUNIQUE STATED THAT DURING THE MONTH OF AUGUST THERE WERE 41 ENGAGEMENTS BETWEEN GOVERNMENT FORCES AND COMMUNIST REBELS IN SOUTH VIETNAM.
091761 A BRITISH ADVISORY MISSION ON ADMINISTRATIVE AND POLICY MATTERS, HEADED BY R. THOMPSON (FORMER PERMANENT DEFENSE SECRETARY IN MALAYA) LEFT SOUTH VIETNAM.
091861 COMMUNIST FORCES ESTIMATED AT 1,500 MEN ATTACKED AND SEIZED THE CAPITAL OF PHUOC THUNH PROVINCE ONLY 60 MILES FROM SAIGON.
092561 PRESIDENT KENNEDY, ADDRESSING THE U.N. GENERAL ASSEMBLY IN N.Y., DECLARED THAT A THREAT TO PEACE WAS THE SMOLDERING COALS OF WAR IN SOUTHEAST
100161 SEATO MILITARY EXPERTS MET IN BANGKOK, THAILAND, TO CONSIDER THE INCREASING COMMUNIST MENACE TO SOUTH VIETNAM. ADM. HARRY D. FELT, U.S. NAVY COMMANDER IN CHIEF IN THE PACIFIC, DECLARED THAT THERE WAS NO IMMEDIATE PROSPECT OF USING U.S. TROOPS TO STOP THE COMMUNIST ADVANCES IN SOUTHEAST ASIA, BUT HE INDICATED THAT AMONG THE PLANS EVOLVED FOR EVENTUALITY, SOME DID CALL FOR THE USE OF AMERICAN TROOPS.
100261 PRES. DIEM = "IT IS NO LONGER A GUERRILLA WAR WAGED BY AN ENEMY WHO ATTACKS US WITH REGULAR UNITS FULLY AND HEAVILY EQUIPPED AND WHO SEEKS A STRATEGIC DECISION IN S.E.ASIA IN CONFORMITY WITH THE ORDERS OF THE COMMUNIST
THE PRESIDENT ALSO SAID THAT THE U.S. COMMITTEE HEADED BY DR. EUGENE STALEY RECOMMENDED AN INCREASE IN AID BOTH FOR MILITARY MEASURES AND ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT.
101161 PRES. KENNEDY ANNOUNCED (AT HIS NEWS CONFERENCE) THAT HE WAS SENDING GEN. MAXWELL D. TAYLOR, HIS MILITARY ADVISER, TO SOUTH VIETNAM TO INVESTIGATE THERE THE MILITARY SITUATION AND TO REPORT ON IT TO HIM PERSONALLY.
101861 A STATE OF EMERGENCY WAS PROCLAIMED IN SOUTH VIETNAM BY PRESIDENT DIEM.
111661 FOLLOWING CLOSELY THE RECOMMENDATIONS IN GENERAL TAYLOR'S REPORT, PRESIDENT KENNEDY (WITH THE APPROVAL OF THE NATIONAL SECURITY COUNCIL) DECIDED TO BOLSTER SOUTH VIETNAM'S MILITARY STRENGTH, BUT NOT TO COMMIT U.S. COMBAT FORCES AT THIS TIME.
1261 THERE WERE 170,000 VIETNAMESE ARMY TROOPS.
1261 THE NUMBER OF CIVIL GUARD TROOPS IN SOUTH VIETNAM HAD RISEN TO 60,000.
120861 U.S. STATE DEPARTMENT PUBLISHED A WHITE PAPER THAT STATED THAT SOUTH VIETNAM WAS THREATENED BY CLEAR AND PRESENT DANGER OF COMMUNIST CONQUEST.
121461 U.S. PRES. KENNEDY PLEDGED INCREASED AID TO SOUTH VIETNAM.
122961 U.S. AMBASSADOR TO VIETNAM WITHDREW EARLIER OPPOSITION TO INCREASE IN VIETNAMESE FORCE LEVELS.
063062 MICHIGAN STATE UNIVERSITY ADVISORY GROUP LEFT VIETNAM.
U.S. TRAINING OF THE VIETNAMESE NATIONAL ARMY,
TABLE OF CONTENTS AND OUTLINE
|A.||Why did the U.S. undertake the training of ARVN?||1|
|B.||How was the decision to organize and train Vietnamese forces taken?||3|
|C.||What was the threat to South Vietnam?||6|
|1.||The Sect Forces||6|
|2.||The Viet Minh Residue||7|
|3.||The Vietnamese People's Army||8|
|D.||What was the mission of the Vietnamese forces?||10|
|1.||U.S. strategic military policy||10|
|2.||The nature of SEATO||11|
|3.||The French Expeditionary Corps||13|
|4.||The pressures exerted by the Diem Government||14|
|5.||Recent U.S. experiences in Korea||15|
|E.||What was the state of the South Vietnamese Army?||15|
|F.||How did the U.S. go about altering the state of the VNA?||17|
|G.||Did U.S. assistance through 1960 result in creation of a South Vietnamese Army in the image of the U.S. Army?||24|
|1.||Evolution of the mission||21|
|2.||The strategy of the regular establishment||24|
|3.||On the tactical level||24
|4.||The organization of the defense establishment||25|
|6.||The equipment provided the Vietnamese regular forces||30|
|7.||The training of the Vietnamese armed forces||30|
Table: Comparison of U.S. 7T ROCID Infantry Division (1956) and ARVN Standard Division (1959)
Diagrams: U.S. Infantry Division TOE 7T ROCID (20 December 1956)
ARVN Reorganized Infantry Division, 1959 (standard ARVN division)
U.S. TRAINING OF THE VIETNAMESE NATIONAL ARMY,
- A. Why did the U.S. undertake the training of ARVN?
Underlying the U.S. decision to train the ARVN were broad political objectives and beliefs relating to Asia, together with narrower considerations relating to methods of achieving U.S. objectives in Southeast Asia. Both broad and narrow considerations had their origins in the post–World War II chaos in Asia; both stemmed from the overall U.S. aim to deter or defeat communist aggression wherever and whenever it might occur; and both became pillars of U.S. Indochina policy with the fall of Mainland China to the communists in 1949.
On the broader level, the U.S. decision to train the Vietnamese armed forces was viewed as necessary to preserve the independence and freedom of Vietnam south of the 17th parallel, an essential prerequisite to the containment of communism. Containment—lately a function of SEATO as well as of the U.S.—was viewed as essential to the preservation of the rest of Southeast Asia from communist domination and control. Communist domination of the area was viewed as the outcome associated with the fall of Free Vietnam by the proponents of the domino theory, which continued as a major influence on U.S. foreign policy throughout the period examined here. "In view of the importance of Vietnam to all of Southeast Asia, I am convinced that the United States should expend the funds, materiel, and effort required to strengthen the country and help it retain its independence," reported General J. Lawton Collins. "If the chances of success are difficult to calculate, the results of a withdrawal of American aid are all too certain, not only in Vietnam, but throughout Southeast Asia. Such a withdrawal would hasten the rate of communist advances in the Far East as a whole and could result in the loss of Southeast Asia to communism. In my opinion, the chance of success is not only worth the gamble; we cannot afford to let free Vietnam go by default."3
On the narrower level, several considerations tended to urge an affirmative decision concerning a training role for the U.S.:
1. Throughout the French–Indochina war, U.S. authorities continually urged the French to create and train a Vietnamese National Army. This measure was pressed not only because the U.S. believed it to be a necessary political gesture (evidence of the true independence of the Associated States), but also because U.S. experts viewed it as a military measure vital to the successful prosecution of the war.4
2. The U.S. was never satisfied with French efforts concerning the Vietnamese National Army and was continually frustrated by apparent French reluctance to act on this score. Particularly disturbing to U.S. officials were French inaction concerning formation of the VNA into divisional units, French training procedures, and French reluctance to develop a Vietnamese officer corps: in short, acute frustration was caused by French refusal to initiate changes U.S. officials believed, rightly or wrongly, that the U.S.,could and would initiate if the U.S. were in charge.
3. The U.S. had the capability to train "native armies," as demonstrated by Korean forces. Although U.S. pressure on the French culminated in a French visit to Korea to observe U.S. training methods and procedures, the French were most impressed with the unsuitability of Korean forces and the methods used to train them to the situation in Indochina.5
4. The U.S. had been considering the idea of U.S. training of Vietnamese forces since early in the Indochina war; in fact, the U.S. had been asked as early as 1950 to participate in a Vietnamese plan for a Vietnamese National Army trained and equipped by the U.S. without French participation.6 The U.S. attitude was ambivalent. As early as April 1952 the Service Secretaries suggested that the U.S. expand the Indochina MAAG to undertake training and equipping of a national army should the French declare their intention to withdraw from Indochina;7 in January 1954 General Erskine suggested elevating MAAG to the status of a mission "to help in training."8 On the other hand, although the theme of U.S. training of Vietnamese forces became increasingly prominent from early 1953 on, a high-level committee in Defense recommended against seeking direct American participation in training in January of that year, and the JCS agreed with this recommendation, which stemmed from French opposition to any such role for the U.S., relatively higher French qualifications to train the local armies, and from the language problem.9 As the war neared its close, however, CHMAAG General O'Daniel, in face of firm and consistent opposition from the French, pressed harder and harder for a direct American involvement in the training of Vietnamese forces; in May 1954 General Ely, the French High Commander, apparently succumbed to O'Daniel's pressure to agree to U.S. training of, and the positioning of U.S. advisors with, Vietnamese units.10 On 9 June 1954, Ely, through O'Daniel, requested the U.S. to organize and supervise the training of Vietnamese divisions, and to do the same for all other Vietnamese training.11 By this time, however, U.S. decisionmakers believed that the "situation in Vietnam has degenerated to point where any commitments at this time to send over U.S. instructors in near future might expose us to being faced with situation in which it would be contrary to our interests to have to fulfill such commitments,"12 and they feared that, "It may be that in effort to draw U.S. into conflict without having U.S. conditions on intervention met, French military may now seek U.S. training in advance of U.S. commitment to intervene with own combat forces.... We are resolved not to get drawn in to training program to reverse situation training program has virtually no chance of success...."13 Although O'Daniel repeatedly requested a reversal of this decision, going as far as to request his plea by passed on "to the highest authority" on 26 June,14 the denial stood to the end of the Indochina war.
5. This prolonged involvement with the problem of affording U.S. assistance in training of the Vietnamese National Army lost hardly any of the momentum given it by General O'Daniel during the final days of the Indochina war in spite of the U.S. decision to stop all aid shipments to Indochina on 30 July 1954 and to reconsider the entire problem of U.S. actions relating to Indochina.15 On 27 July, General O'Daniel again urged that the U.S., without French interference, undertake a priority program for training the Vietnamese Army, and took steps to expand the authorized roster of MAAG personnel prior to the Geneva–imposed strength ceiling deadline of 11 August without Washington approval of the program.16 It is believed that this momentum, generated in Saigon and supported by the Department of State, was of itself of considerable importance in the actual taking of the decision to organize and train Vietnamese forces.
- B. How was the decision to organize and train Vietnamese forces taken?
Ambassador Heath and his superiors in the Department of State "strongly concurred" with General O'Daniel's recommendation of 27 July that the U.S. undertake a priority program to train the Vietnamese Army.17 The JCS, however, recommended that "before the United States assumes responsibility for training the forces of any of the Associated States certain preconditions were four' in number: "a reasonably strong, stable civil government in control"; a request from each of the Associated States that the U.S. "assume responsibility for training their forces and providing the military equipment, financial assistance, and political advice necessary to insure internal stability"; arrangements with the French "granting full independence to the Associated States and providing for the phased orderly withdrawal of French forces, French officials, and French advisors from Indochina"; and "the size and composition of the forces...should be dictated by the local military requirements and the over-all U.S. interests."18 These recommendations were transmitted by the Secretary of Defense to the Secretary of State by letter.19
In response to this letter, Secretary Dulles indicated that Cambodia had already met the recommended conditions, and that although Vietnam had not yet done so, the U.S. should nonetheless undertake a training program since strengthening the army was in fact prerequisite to stability ("one of the most efficient means of enabling the Vietnamese Government to become strong is to assist it in reorganizing the National Army and in training that Army.")20 Although in approving NSC 5429/2, which provided for the maintenance of forces in Indochina as necessary to assure the internal security of the area, the NSC had apparently decided the issue in favor of the Secretary of State, the disagreement between State and Defense continued with an additional dispute concerning the level of forces to be maintained. In agreeing to train Cambodian forces, the JCS in effect reasserted their earlier position vis-a-vis Vietnam:
- However, the Joint Chiefs of Staff note with concern the unstable political situation presently existing within the state of South Vietnam, and accordingly consider that this is not a propitious time to further indicate United States intentions with respect to the support and training of either the Vietnamese regular or police forces. Accordingly, the Joint Chiefs of Staff recommend against the assignment of a training mission to MAAG Saigon.21
In recommending force levels for Vietnam, the JCS reiterated the above recommendation and pointed out that the US MAAG would be limited by the Geneva cease-fire agreement, that "the development of the proposed forces...will require extensive and detailed training which will extend over a period of 3 to 5 years," and that "in view of the uncertain capabilities of the French and Vietnamese to retrieve, retain, and reorganize the dispersed forces of Vietnam, it may be several years before an effective military force will exist. Therefore, U.S. military support to that area, including the training and equipping of forces, should be accomplished at low priority and not at the expense of other U.S. military programs and should not be permitted to impair the development through MDA programs of effective and reliable forces elsewhere."22
The JCS proposed Vietnamese forces of 184,000 (5 divisions of light infantry including one light artillery battalion per division—41,000; 12 regiments—24,000; gendarmerie—9,000; Headquarters, Service and Support forces—110,000), a militia of 50,000, and a small air force and navy, and proposed that "French forces consisting of a minimum of 4 divisions...should be retained in this country until phased out by U.S.-trained Viet Nam units."23
The Secretary of State, still believing in the need for a U.S. training mission, disagreed with the force levels proposed by the JCS, considering them excessive to the requirement of maintaining internal security as expressed in NSC 5429/2.24 On 19 October the JCS argued that their force proposals were justified by the ultimate objectives of the forces of Vietnam and repeated their opposition, from a military point of view, to U.S. participation in the training of Vietnamese forces. Their memorandum concluded, however, by providing the concession the Department of State must have so eagerly sought:
- However, if it is considered that political considerations are overriding, the Joint Chiefs of Staff would agree to the assignment of a training mission to MAAG, Saigon, with safeguards against French interference with the U.S. training mission.25
With this crack in the Defense position, the OCB recommended, and the NSC approved a limited and interim training program for Vietnam. On 22 October a Joint State-Defense message was dispatched to Saigon authorizing Ambassador Heath and General O'Daniel to "collaborate in setting in motion a crash program designed to bring about an improvement in the loyalty and the effectiveness of the Free Vietnamese forces,"26 and on 26 October the Secretary of Defense, in accordance with the request of the President, instructed the JCS to prepare a "long-range program for the reorganization and training of the minimum number of Free Vietnamese forces necessary for internal security (paragraph 10d/1 of NSC 5429/2)."27 The decision, subject only to refinement, negotiation with the French, and reexamination in the light of redevelopments, had been taken—and had been taken largely on the basis of an opening in the position of the Department of Defense which, far from dealing with the specific and reasonable objections to U.S. training of Vietnamese forces, simply avoided those objections by making the concession on totally different grounds.28
The impact of the President's decision not to assist the French by bombing at Dien Bien Phu and of his refusal to permit the landing of a U.S. force in the Hanoi-Haiphong area after the fall of Dien Bien Phu as recommended by the Chairman of the JCS also seems to have contributed to this concession. As reported by James Gavin, "...there was a compromise. We would not attack North Vietnam, but we would support a South Vietnamese government that we would provide a stable, independent government that was representative of the people. As I said before, we saw ourselves as the good guys. The French had let us down, but we would continue the battle. Also, we in the Army were so relieved that we had blocked the decision to commit ground troops to Vietnam that we were in no mood to quibble over the compromise."29
The refinement of the decision to organize and train the national army, dealing with missions and force levels, was completed by the JCS on 17 November 1954; in an interesting change of position (see note 28), the Joint Chiefs asserted that "MAAG Indochina is capable of furnishing training assistance to develop the Internal security Army and Navy forces, provided: a. A maximum portion of the MAAG military personnel is devoted to training; and b. The cooperation and collaboration of the French MAAG is secured."30
Negotiations with the French were completed when the agreed minute of understanding between General J. Lawton Collins and General Paul Ely of 13 December 1954 was approved by the U.S. and, later, by the French governments. The agreement, which provided for full autonomy for Vietnamese forces by 1 July 1955 and for assumption by the US MAAG of full responsibility for assisting the Government of Vietnam in the organizing and training of armed forces (under the general supervision of the French High Commander and with the help of French advisors), led to the assumption of this responsibility by General O'Daniel on 12 February 1955.
The reexamination of the decision, reported by the JCS on 21 January 1955, suggested that "although national policy prescribes making every possible effort to prevent South Vietnam from falling to the communists, the degree to which the United States is willing to support this policy in men, money, materials, and acceptance of additional war risks is not readily apparent," and urged that: "Prior to consideration of military courses of action with respect to this area, a firm decision at national level as to implementation of U.S. policy in Southeast Asia is mandatory." Although no such decision was forthcoming, and even this reexamination of the decision to assist the Vietnamese did not choose one course of action over any other, it did imply by repeated honks on the domino klaxon that U.S. assistance to Vietnam was required. When, a week later, General Collins expressed in more positive terms this need, the way was clear for the NSC to endorse a strong U.S. policy in Vietnam,31 confirming General O'Daniel's takeover on February 12—but the extent to which the U.S. was prepared to support this policy (then or now) was never made clear.
- C. What was the threat to South Vietnam?
In addition to the more general considerations underlying the U.S. decision to train Vietnamese forces was the specific consideration of the enemy threat to South Vietnam. As perceived during the time this decision was being taken, the threat consisted of three elements: the dissident sect forces in South Vietnam; the communist forces in South Vietnam, dominated by the decisionmakers in Hanoi; and the Vietnamese People's Army of North Vietnam.
1. The sect forces, consisting of an estimated 10,000 Cao Dai, 2,500 Hoa Hao, and 2,600 Bien Xuyen forces, plus the urban police forces which were at that time under the control of the Binh Xuyen, were in opposition to the fledgling Diem government.32 "The politico-religious armed groups called the Cao Dai, Hoa Hao, and Binh Xuyen are anti-communist in orientation, but feudalistic and regressive in all other respects. At present they have an effective veto power over government action. This power they use to block reforms which might threaten their preferred military, economic, and political status. They will retain their power to threaten and harass the government until the National Army is strong enough to neutralize their forces."33
The sects thus were regarded as an internal security threat—and more specifically as a threat to the Diem government. By some in Saigon they were regarded as the major internal threat.34 Long subsidized by the French as their partners in the Indochina war, and faced with the end of French financial assistance, major elements of the sect forces were integrated into the Vietnamese National Army; other elements, including the Hoa Hao forces of Ba Cut, were fragmented and reduced to low-level dissidence by government forces, according to contemporary intelligence estimates, by 1956.35 There is some evidence that these fragmented groups were penetrated by the communists, however, and that they were used by the communists throughout the period. In this role the sects represented a continuing, if low-level insurgent threat as an element in the overall internal security problem not qualitatively different from that represented by the communists themselves.
2. The Viet Minh Residue in South Vietnam was generally regarded as the instrument with which "the Communists" would pursue their "objective of securing control of all Indochina."36 Contemporary (1954) intelligence reports indicated the belief that
- ...the Viet Minh will seek to retain 37 military and political assets in South Vietnam. Although the [Geneva] agreements provide for the removal to the north of all Viet Minh forces, many of the regular and irregular Viet Minh soldiers now in the south are natives of the area, and large numbers of them will probably cache their arms and remain in South Vietnam. In addition, Viet Minh administrative cadres have been in firm control of several large areas in Central and South Vietnam for several years. These cadres will probably remain in place....
Later reports confirmed this statement and continued to describe the situation as "precarious."38
Estimates during the period of relevance were consistent on the issue of control of the Viet Minh movement in the South: They did not question unity of purpose among the communists of the north and south (or, for that matter, among the members of the communist bloc); they did continue to assert or infer that the Viet Minh in the south were under the control of the Viet Minh in the north.39
Viet Minh force levels in the south were variously estimated by the U.S. during this period but never exceeded 10,000; GVN estimates, which tended to include all organized dissidents, were consistently lower than the U.S. estimates, never exceeding 8,000. Of these estimated dissidents, no more than some 2,000 were considered "active" by any available official estimate in the period 1954–1960. These forces were consistently estimated to be augmented by political and administrative cadre;40 their modus operandi was seen as subversion and small-scale guerrilla operation.
Thus the main internal threat to South Vietnam was viewed throughout the period as Hanoi–controlled subversion and small-scale guerrilla operations carried our primarily by military and political cadre of the Viet Minh.
3. The Vietnamese People's Army "continued evolution" into a regular military force during the last year of the French–Indochina war,41 and in the period during which the U.S. was deciding to assume responsibility for organizing and training the South Vietnamese army the VPA was judged to be increasing its already formidable capabilities.42 In April 1955, the regular VPA, "reorganized and strengthened since Geneva," was estimated to have increased in numbers to 240,000 (largely at the expense of the regional forces of 37,000 and the popular forces of 75,000) and to have been organized into 10 infantry divisions, 2 artillery divisions, 1 AAA groupment, and 25 independent infantry regiments.43 Throughout the period 1954–1960 the VPA grew slowly and was consistently estimated to have the capability of defeating both French and Vietnamese forces were VPA forces to undertake an invasion of South Vietnam. It was generally assumed that these forces would be backed by Communist Chinese forces, if such backing proved necessary.
Just as consistent as the high estimates of VPA capabilities were the estimates of the VPA's intentions: the communists, although continuing to pursue their goal of controlling all of Indochina, would "without violating the armistice to the extent of launching an armed invasion to the south or west, pursue their objective by political, psychological, and paramilitary means."44 In the fall of 1954 it was reported that "the Viet Minh probably now feels that it can achieve control over all Vietnam without initiating large-scale warfare. Accordingly, we believe that the Communists will exert every effort to accomplish their objectives through means short of war....If, on the other hand, South Vietnam should appear to be gaining in strength or if elections were postponed over Communist objections, the Communists probably would step up their subversive and guerrilla activities in the South and if necessary would infiltrate additional armed forces in an effort to gain control over the area. However, we believe that they would unlikely openly to invade South Vietnam at least prior to July 1954...."45
The theme of political, psychological, and paramilitary operations as the communist method of securing its objectives was stressed in all available estimates throughout the years 1954–1960. No U.S. estimate that it was likely the VPA would overtly invade South Vietnam during that period has been found; on the contrary, in spite of insistence by Diem that invasion by the DRV was a serious possibility,46 U.S. estimates continued to stress that such an invasion was unlikely. In the words of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, engaged in the business of determining U.S. policy in the event of aggression in Vietnam, "the Joint Chiefs of Staff are of the opinion that at this time the major threat to South Vietnam continues to be that of subversion...."47
In a somewhat later period it was stated that "The North Vietnamese Army is almost twice the size of the South Vietnamese Army. The threat posed by the large northern forces has put constant psychological pressure on the GVN."48 In view of the nature of the U.S. response to the combined threat posed by the sects, the Viet Minh in South Vietnam, and the VPA as reflected in the missions assigned the forces of South Vietnam, it would appear that this "constant psychological pressure" had telling effects on U.S. as well as GVN policymakers.
- D. What was the mission of Vietnamese forces?
The mission initially envisioned for the forces of Free Vietnam by the principal advocate of a U.S. role in organizing and training those forces, the Secretary of State, was simply that of providing and maintaining security within the borders of their country,49 and it was on this basis that the decision to assume responsibility for the organization and training of the Vietnamese National Army was taken. This single mission concept was in dispute, however, before, during, and after its pronouncement; the Joint Chiefs of Staff, in an attempt logically to trace through the web of U.S. commitments woven largely by the Secretary of State, were on the record in opposition to it;50 and, in fact, by early 1956 a two- or three-fold mission for South Vietnamese forces was considered more or less established by the Chiefs and by others more directly concerned with the organization and training of the Vietnamese forces.51
The evolution of the mission of the Vietnamese forces from that of maintaining internal security to (a) maintaining internal security; (b) resisting external aggression; and (c) contributing to regional defense with other non-Communist countries was affected critically by five factors; the state of U.S. strategic military policy in the mid-1950's; the nature of SEATO and of U.S. views concerning fulfillment of its commitments under that treaty; the withdrawal of the French Expeditionary Corps; pressures exerted by the Diem government; and recent U.S. experiences in Korea.
1. U.S. strategic military policy in the mid-1950's, as has been well documented,52 was both complex and confused, and confusion over the issue of massive retaliation versus local defense was particularly intense. The JCS — among others — were unable ever to resolve the dilemma posed by U.S. policy in this regard with respect to the defense of Southeast Asia.
The JCS had contended, first, that "from the point of view of the United States, with reference to the Far East as a whole, Indochina is devoid of decisive [presumably narrowly defined] military objectives"53 when considering U.S. intervention in the Indochina war, and that the main target of U.S. air and naval forces should be the source of the aggression (i.e., China). But they also contended both during and after the Indochina war that atomic weapons should be used within Vietnam in the local defense of that country — and that if permission to use such weapons were denied (a spectre which appeared constantly to haunt the Chiefs), U.S. force requirements and the time required to achieve victory would soar.5354 Finally, after the French defeat, the Chiefs argued that a ground defense against aggression from North Vietnam by South Vietnamese forces would be necessary to provide time for the U.S. to intervene with ground forces, again using atomic weapons for local defense.55
Thus, although U.S. defense policy in the mid-1950's called for main but not sole reliance on nuclear weapons, and on use of massive retaliatory power in response to acts deemed hostile to the interests of the United States, definition of and planning for use of such weapons, in retaliation or otherwise, were so ambiguous, and the concepts themselves so unclear that, particularly when applied to specific remote local defense situations, their value as guidance was virtually nil.
2. The nature of SEATO, and of U.S. views concerning fulfillment of its obligations under the SEATO treaty, necessarily reflected the confusion in overall U.S. defense policy and planning. Added to this general problem was the more specific matter of matching U.S. resources to the worldwide commitments, including SEATO, that had been assumed since the end of World War II. Thus the Joint Chiefs stated that "U.S. commitments to Formosa, Japan and Korea, which nations have been excluded from the [SEATO] treaty, make it imperative that the United States not be restricted by force commitments in the subject treaty area;56 to these commitments must be added the U.S. obligations outside Asia.
As is well-known, the.SEATO treaty, pressured into existence by the United States and intended to deter overt aggression by China or other Communist nations, relied heavily in concept on the military participation of the U.S. Faced with the magnitude of U.S. commitments, particularly in relation to the capabilities of the defense establishment, and continually confronted by the considerations and requirements of general war, the JCS sought a way in which U.S. SEATO obligations might be carried out:
- 5. a. Continued development of combat effective indigenous forces, with their structure and training mutually coordinated to develop local leadership and prestige, and with improved capabilities to create a cohesive fighting force through integration of their operations with adjacent indigenous forces and with support by operations of forces of other Manila Pact members.
- b. Readiness to retaliate promptly with attacks by the most effective combination of U.S. armed forces against the military power of the aggressor.
- c. Encouragement of other Manila Pact countries to maintain forces in readiness to counter aggression.
- d. Discussion, in general terms, of unilateral military plans by the Military Representatives to the Council to the extent necessary to insure maximum participation and cooperation by other member nations but not to the extent that U.S. strategic plans or the availability of U.S. forces for implementing such plans might be revealed.
- e. Periodic visits by U.S. forces into the area as demonstrations of intent, and for joint and combined training exercises.
- f. Availability of appropriate mechanism for the employment of U.S. forces in support of friendly indigenous forces in support of friendly indigenous forces in the general area.
- 6. The concept of prompt retaliatory attacks does not envisage attacks on targets within the aggressor country other than on military targets involved in the direct support of the aggressor action. If authorized, atomic weapons would be used, even in a local situation, if such use will bring the aggression to a swift and positive cessation, and if, on a balance of political and military consideration, such use will best advance U.S. security interests. Under the alternative assumption that authority to use atomic weapons cannot be assured, the above concept would not require change, but this assumption would not permit the most effective employment of U.S. armed forces, and consequently might require greater forces than the U.S. would be justified in providing from the over-all point of view.57
The clear intent of this concept — in accordance with SEATO objectives — is deterrence of and response to overt aggression against South Vietnam, among other countries; in view of limited U.S. resources, and of the recognition of this problem in NSC 162/2, which "envisages reliance on indigenous ground forces to the maximum extent possible,"58 and in view of the psychological pressure generated by the powerful VPA, the logical consequence of assignment of the mission "to external aggression" to local South Vietnamese forces is virtually unavoidable. Therefore, the JCS stated their view — and held to it throughout the period 1954–1960 — "that the ultimate objectives of the military forces of the Associated States should be:
- VIETNAM — to attain and maintain internal security and to deter Viet Minh aggression by a limited defense of the Geneva Armistice demarcation line.59
Although it was not until the publication of NSC 5612/1 in mid-1956 that approved U.S. policy recognized this mission by stating that the U.S. should "assist Free Vietnam to build up indigenous armed forces, including independent logistical and administrative services, which will be capable of assuring internal security and of providing limited initial resistance to attack by the Viet Minh,"60 unofficial U.S. policy, from the JCS in Washington through the MAAG in Vietnam,61 had set in motion programs which implicitly assigned a mission of limited, initial resistance to Vietnamese forces which attempted to be both responsive to SEATO requirements and cognizant of.U.S. resource limitations.
3. The French Expeditionary Corps, with a force of 176,000 men in October 1954, figured heavily in U.S.–French plans for the defense of South Vietnam. In effect, the FEC was planned to be the shield behind which training of the VNA could be conducted, free of major concern over a Viet Minh attack across the 17th parallel. Unfortunate from the point of view of these plans were the major policy disputes that plagued — and finally did in — joint U.S.-French activities in Vietnam.
Dominant among U.S.–French disagreements were the French reluctance to support the Diem Government and the apparent French attitude of conciliation toward the Communists in both North and South Vietnam depends at a minimum on an early and convincing demonstration by the French of their wholehearted support."62 It was particularly frustrating not only that no such "wholehearted support" was forthcoming but also that considerable evidence tended to support the belief that the French were actively attempting to overthrow Diem during the period they remained in Vietnam.63
French reluctance to support Diem — or, as the U.S. estimated, "any nationalist government"64 — was consistent with their attitude toward Communist North Vietnam. Although Generals Collins and Ely enjoyed a cordial relationship of mutual trust, there is considerable evidence that Ely was, in a sense, the victim of both his superiors in the French Government and of his subordinates in Vietnam. Thus while Collins almost never expressed doubts regarding Ely's statements to him (and never of his integrity), French politics both high- and low-level, were particularly intense and seemed to be directed toward preservation of French commercial and cultural influence in both North and South Vietnam. The high-level French mission to Hanoi, the Mission, was in particular regarded as evidence of French duplicity, although General Ely, in his memoirs, denies such duplicity.65 Suspected French assistance to the sect forces opposing the Diem Government and French activities within the joint U.S.–French Training Relations Instruction Mission were also consistent with the policy of preservation of French interests.
For some time U.S. policymakers had been thinking seriously about going it alone in Vietnam without the French. When at the Washington Conference in September 1954, the French delegates discussed their intentions to cut the FEC to 100,000 by the end of 1955 and asked for $330 million in U.S. support for the FEC at that level, the reaction among U.S. decision makers was negative. On November 5 it was decided that on balance the U.S. would probably fare better in Vietnam without the French, and it was tentatively agreed that the U.S. should not continue its support that had been requested, but should limit the contribution to $100 million. In their view a complete withdrawal of the FEC in 1955 would create a vacuum that only the Viet Minh could fill, for the VNA would remain incapable of coping even with Viet Minh irregular forces for at least that period. Furthermore, French cooperation was essential to the success of any U.S. project in Vietnam, and a decision to grant any support for the FEC vould jeopardize French cooperation.66
Although Heath and Collins prevailed and $100 million was allocated to support the FEC during 1955, the French were informed that no further assistance could be expected beyond that time.67 The French responded by making it clear that a drastic reduction of the FEC was in the offing — to a level of 40,000 by the end of 1955, and the Foreign Office emphasized that although this action was based entirely on monetary considerations there was also much sentiment in France for transferring the FEC to North Africa. In Vietnam, it was stated, French troops were serving the interests of the Free World; if the Free World would not pay their costs, then they should be sent to North Africa, where they would be serving the interests of France and the French Union.68
Pressures applied by Diem also influenced the French exodus. Making no secret of his Franco-phobia, Diem asked the French to withdraw the FEC as early as September 1954, and in March 1955 Premier Faure announced that France would withdraw the FEC at the demand of the Vietnamese Government. By October 1955, the FEC had been reduced to 45,000;69 by February 1956 only 15,000 remained;70 and on April 1, 1956 the remnants of the FEC left Saigon, leaving only small Air Force and Navy training missions behind.
With thehigh command on April 23, only the VNA was left to carry out the mission of guarding South Vietnam against aggression from the north, a mission which the French had been expected to perform.
4. The pressures exerted by the Diem Government on the U.S. regarding the Vietnamese National Army were consistently in favor of larger forces than the U.S. was willing to support71 and in the critically formative years of 1954 and 1955 were oriented toward regular forces organized to combat an invasion from the north as well as to provide internal security. Just as Diem had felt the FEC should be deployed along the 17th parallel,72 he believed that the VNA should be manned and organized in such a way as to counter any such invasion, although "from the earliest days senior Vietnamese officers, including General Minh, argued for the creation of an effective grass-roots security organization in the countryside. They knew how the war had been fought and lost. Diem at first had no idea. While the Viet Minh tactics were changing from attrition to annihilation, Diem was abroad. He returned with the opinion that aircraft and naval craft were the essentials and that even infantry were necessary. Later he developed an attachment to artillery.... By the time he came round to accepting the advice of his own generals, the United States had embarked on its major plans for major reorganization, and the paramilitary forces, which Diem had created in a half-hearted way, were withering on the vine."73
5. Recent U.S. experiences in Korea were of two kinds: a tremendous effort to counter an invasion by a large Communist conventional army across a parallel of latitude with a large conventional army composed primarily of U.S. and U.S.-trained "native" troops; and an anti-guerrilla effort so as to be accorded to U.S. forces and less than half a short paragraph in General Matthew B. Ridgway's 291-page book on the Korean war.
- ...So it seemed a good time [in November 1951] to take care of a persistent annoyance — the existence of large bands of guerrillas in South Korea, particularly in the mountainous areas northwest of Chinju, where they had taken refuge after the Communist retreat. Van Fleet assigned Lieutenant General Paik Sun Yup, with two ROK divisions, to Operation RATKILLER, designed to rid us of this potentially dangerous threat. By the end of January 1952, nearly 20,000 freefooters — bandits and organized guerrillas — had been killed or captured and the irritation was ended for good.74
In view of the Korean experience, not yet two years old at the time of O'Daniel's assumption of responsibility and training of the Vietnamese National Army, it is hardly surprising that the mission of defense, however limited, of the 17th parallel was envisioned for these Vietnamese forces to complement the more limited mission of achieving and maintaining internal security. Nor perhaps is it surprising that this mission came to dominate the organization and training of the VNA.
- E. What was the state of the South Vietnamese Army?
While the U.S. was still in the process of taking the decision to assume responsibility for organizing and training the Vietnamese army, NIE-63-7-54 reported on the condition of that army. Related documents give no reason to suspect the accuracy of this estimate or to believe the estimate overstates the magnitude of the tasks the U.S. was about to undertake:
- 23. The Vietnamese National Army has an estimated strength of 170,000 regulars and 10,000 auxiliaries. Naval and air strength is negligible. The regulars include 5 infantry regiments and 152 combat battalions, of which 69 are infantry, 61 light infantry, 8 guard, 5 airborne infantry, 8 artillery, and one armored reconnaissance. The regroupment necessitated by the Geneva Agreements has forced many units to leave their home provinces for the first time, resulting in a considerable number of desertions since 1 June (up to 25 percent of the total army strength). Some auxiliaries and other semimilitary forces are being demobilized, with the exception of the armed forces of the South Vietnamese sects and certain guard and militia elements.
- The Vietnamese General Staff has become so involved in political affairs that it has neglected the required planning of an adequate internal security program. This neglect has fostered a spirit of insubordination and irresponsibility throughout the army. The army in some instances has been incapable of executing occupation and pacification operations in areas formerly under Viet Minh control. Almost all units, particularly those from North Vietnam, require a period of intensive training and reorganization to bring them up to strength and improve their effectiveness.
- 24. Advisory and training aid is provided by approximately 4,800 French officers and NCO's currently serving in the French Military Mission to Vietnam. This mission is to be increased to 6,000 by the end of 1954. These individuals serve in command, staff, and advisory roles on the Vietnamese General Staff in the territorial command structure, and in training establishments. About 20 percent of Vietnamese infantry units and 50 percent of support and technical units are cadred at least partially by the French. The army is still under French operational control and continues to be completely dependent on the French for logistic support.
- 25. A major reason for the ineffectiveness of the Vietnamese National Army is its lack of adequately trained officers. Only about one percent have received training roughly equivalent to that of a US army officer of field grade and virtually none has a comparable background of staff and command experience. Very few of the Vietnamese officers would be competent even in assignments justified by their training and experience, and even fewer are capable of an adequate performance at the higher positions of responsibility which they now hold. Their background is one of subordination to French command, and they are inclined to rely heavily on French advisers even when given positions of authority and responsibility.
- 26. The other serious deficiencies in the South Vietnamese national forces, ineffective organization and training and absence of logistics and technical services, are related to the lack of leadership and stem from the same basic cause, i.e., French failure to train and develop qualified leaders. This situation can be resolved only over a period of tine and only if an intensive program for the progressive development of an effective officer corps is soon initiated.
- 28. We have little information on the strength and status of other semi-military and police forces....
- 29. South Vietnam's mobilizable manpower pool is estimated at 1,500,000 physically fit, military-age males, of which about 20 percent are now under arms. An additional 10 percent could probably be mobilized without initially curtailing essential economic activities. The Vietnamese Government would be almost entirely dependent upon foreign aid to support such a force.
- 30. The Diem Government proposes to expand the army to 200,000 by the end of 1954, and to 225,000 by the end of 1955. By the latter date, the army would include 10 divisions plus 60 territorial battalions. The cost of maintaining these forces through 1955 has been estimated at about $450,000,000 of which almost all would have to be furnished by external assistance. The French have supported this proposal as being required.... A proposal for development of a National Guard under the Ministry of the Interior has been postponed pending the outcome of French–Vietnamese–United States discussions.
- 31. On the other hand, the United States is considering the reduction of the Vietnamese army to about 80,000, including 3 combat light divisions. These reduced forces would have primarily an internal security mission. Against a large-scale Viet Minh invasion, they would serve only as a delaying force. Cost of maintaining the forces at the reduced levels has been tentatively estimated at about $200,000,000 per year. This estimated cost is in addition to financial, economic, and military support funds, which might total $150,000,000 per year.75
Thus a listing of problems and deficiencies to be dealt with would contain at least the following: force size; force structure; disengagement of general staff from political affairs; planning of an internal security program; planning of a delaying strategy to counter invasion from the north; correction of a spirit of insubordination and irresponsibility; replacing French cadre; developing a self-reliant officer corps; developing an independent logistics capability; developing adequate technical services; development of training system and program; learning about and coping with the problems of semi-military and police forces; resolving the problem of the National Guard.
- F. How did the U.S. go about altering the state of the VNA?
With the JCS-recommended force levels for Indochina forwarded to Secretary of Defense on 22 November 1954, the upper bound of the regular Vietnamese army force goals was established at 184,000;76 the taking into account of the objections of Secretary of State, who regarded this force level as "excessive" to the mission of establishing and maintaining internal security,77 set the lower-bound goal of approximately 88,000. The earliest U.S. actions toward the VNA were devoted to reducing the VNA to this lower level while reorganising the forces in order to rectify as many as possible of the problems listed above.
Although at this stage MAAG was charged solely with the task of assisting the Vietnamese to develop a force capable of establishing and maintaining internal security, the second mission of limited resistance to an onslaught from the north was reflected in General Collins recommendations of 15 November. In recommending a force level of some 88,000, General Collins indicated his belief that divisional combat elements should be included in the force structure to assist the FEC to absorb the shock of invasion if hostilities were renewed as well as, if called upon, to reinforce the security troops in pacification activities. General Collins also contended that to reduce the VNA by half without at the same time providing forces organized for combat rather than merely for security duty was certain to have a bad effect on Vietnamese morale.78
Accordingly, General Collins recommended that the U.S. support a small, well-balanced force including 13 security regiments and an airborne RCT for internal security purposes and a three-field-division force to delay any Communist invasion until external assistance from the Manila powers could arrive. A small navy and air force were recommended to complete the Vietnamese defense establishment.79
On 17 November the JCS approved Collins' recommendations, emphasizing, however, that this program "does not provide adequate security for the Associated States against external aggression after the withdrawal of the French forces. With the Viet Minh increasing the size and effectiveness of their forces and with no force in being committed to mutual defense under the Southeast Asia Collective Defense Treaty, the above long-range program would be insufficient to provide more than limited initial resistance to an organized military assault by the Viet Minh."80 In his report of 20 January, Collins expanded on this recommended force structure, a structure "based on the concept that a relatively small force, properly trained, equipped and led can perform the above missions more effectively and at less cost than a larger force which would be disproportionate to the economic and manpower capacities of the country."81
The task of assuring that Vietnamese forces were properly trained, equipped, and led fell initially to the Training Relations Instruction Mission (TRIM), a joint U.S.–French enterprise under USMAAG Chief 0'Daniel. Although the Collins-Ely minute of understanding did not go into effect until 12 February 1955, 0'Daniel had begun to implement that agreement in 1954 by organizing TRIM, which consisted of all French and U.S. advisory and training personnel as well as French cadres with Vietnamese units, for this purpose.82 During 1955 TRIM occupied itself with organizing a military school system, setting up programs for training officers and specialists in the U.S. and other countries, and reducing the language barrier. Much time and thought went into planning for reorganising and training the army on a divisional rather than a battalion basis, but TRIM accomplished little in this area during 1955 because of the continued employment of the VNA against the sects and because of the French phaseout, which was veil underway during that year.83
The continuing conflict with sect forces, the reduction and eventual withdrawal of the FEC, the lack of a capability to demobilize efficiently, concern about overloading the economy with unemployed veterans (potential grist for the sects' and for the Communists' mill), and the fact that the 88,000-man VNA was viewed as only slightly larger than the sect forces alone led the Vietnamese Ministry of Defense (MOD) to object to the 88,000 force level in 1954. As a first compromise, CHMAAG indicated that the U.S. would agree to supporting a goal of 100,000 by the end of 1955; the same factors led to 0'Daniel's recommendation of a goal of U.S.-supported forces of 150,000 (plus 10,000 sect-troops) by 1 July 1954.84 Ambassador Reinhardt and CINCPAC fully endorsed 0'Daniel's recommendation, and the JCS recommended approval of this force basis.85 Upon D0D approval, MAAG immediately began planning for the reorganization of Vietnamese forces "according to American concepts"86 and at the newly approved level. The organizing and training of this force of 4 field divisions, 6 light divisions, 13 territorial regiments, 1 airborne RCT, and supporting troops, plus an air force and navy of limited size, was to occupy MAAG until the reorganization of 1959.87
To accomplish this task, MAAG had a total strength of 342 officers and men, of which 220 were assigned TRIM in February 1955. With the French withdrawing personnel engaged in processing MDAP equipment, MAAG found it difficult to supervise redistribution and end use of this material.86 As early as February, before the French began to withdraw, 0'Daniel had reported he needed twice the authorized MAAG strength to accomplish this mission;89 both 0'Daniel and CINCPAC argued against the State Department's interpretation that Article 16 of the Geneva Agreement held MAAG to a ceiling of 342 personnel and the JCS recommended "that the Secretary of Defense inform the National Security Council of the gravity of the situation in Vietnam, requesting the authority to raise the 342 limitation;"90 and the Secretary of Defense, in forwarding these dissenting views to the Secretary of State, agreed with the dissenter.91 Before the Secretary of State could reply to the D0D inquiry, an interagency costing team which had just returned from Vietnam reported that because of the reduction in French personnel control of MDAP supplies and spaces had been lost and that as a result, "the capability of supply of forces in the field in the event hostilities should be resumed in mid-1956 would be virtually non-existent."92
On February 3, 1956, the Department of State acquiesced in the creation of the Temporary Equipment Recovery Mission (TERM).93 By the end of 1956, this group of 350 military personnel had greatly facilitated the recovery and redistribution of MDAP equipment; although they were not part of MAAG, they had also improved the organization of Vietnamese logistical services and had launched an extensive logistical training program. In addition, TERM relieved MAAG of logistical responsibilities, thus freeing MAAG personnel for training.94 Thereafter, the MAAG training program "gained momentum."95
This momentum was in the direction of training and organizing the VNA so that it would have its proper role in the overall defense of Vietnam as had already been envisioned by the MAAG in 1955:
- (1) The organization and missions of the National Army, Civil Guard and Self-Defense Corps all supplementary in assuring adequate internal security for Free Vietnam. The National Army retains overall responsibility for internal security in accordance with its assigned mission. The development of the Civil Guard and Self-Defense Corps as supplementary internal security agencies will, at nominal cost, provide for increased internal security and simultaneously afford necessary relief of army units or necessary combat training, thus greatly increasing the potential of Free Vietnam to resist armed aggression from without, coordinated with guerrilla and subversive action from within.
- (2) The Civil Guard will be responsible for (a) nationwide civil law enforcement except in those cities having municipal police, (b) supplementing the Army Territorial Regiments in maintain internal security, and (c) serving as an operating agency for the Vietnamese Bureau of Investigation in the collection of anti-subversive intelligence. The Civil Guard will possess the necessary mobility to concentrate against strong subversive actions, supplementing and lending breadth to the Army Territorial Battalions....
- (3) Neither the Army nor the Civil Guard will have the necessary strength, dispersion or familiarity to provide necessary protection for widely scattered and numerous (approximately 6,000) villages against subversive actions of Viet Minh cadres and dissident sect personnel. The Self-Defense Corps, operating with 10-men armed units in each village, would possess these requirements to the degree necessary to ferret out and eliminate existent or potential subversive movements.... The Army and the Self-Defense Corps will have the same command channels.... Close coordination will exist between Self-Defense Corps units and the Civil Guard on the lower levels.96
No concept for defending Free Vietnam could be clearer: the regular army in command of (or in close coordination with) the irregulars who will have the capability to free the army to fill an army role — "to resist armed aggression from without." Unfortunately, however sound this concept may have been — and in view of demonstrated Viet Cong and DRV flexibility it is not clear that the concept was completely unsound — it was never successfully implemented. The VNA, gradually transformed into ARVN, was organized and trained along U.S. lines (at least in the view of those doing the training and reporting on their progress97 and by the end of 1958 MAAG was able to state that "The combat posture of the Vietnamese Armed Forces has improved to a marked degree in the past few years. At the end of CY 1958, the Vietnamese Army, compared with other army forces in Southeast Asia, reached a relatively high degree of combat effectiveness...."98 But the Civil Guard and the Self-Defense Corps were never brought to the stage of development at which they might have relieved the army of the internal security mission for which its new-found organization, training, and equipment were rendering it unfit.
As far as can be estimated on the basis of available information, training within Vietnam was conducted in as centralized a fashion as possible. Limited availability of personnel and GVN opposition precluded posting of U.S. advisors to lower than airborne brigade level until 1961, although the need for advisors at lower levels was well recognized.99 Training methods were, as far as can be judged, standard U.S. methods minimally adapted to the Vietnamese context; standard training cycles similar to U.S. programs were employed; extensive use was made of translated U.S. training films and training and field manuals. Extensive training of Vietnamese officers in the U.S. was conducted. Combat and support units, especially logistics units, benefited equally from U.S. methods and procedures. Equipment (including personal gear) reflected U.S. taste in kind, if not in quality. And U.S. organizational preferences became fully realized when, in 1959, the agitation begun by General O'Daniel during the Indochina war had its full flowering in the reorganization of the Vietnamese Army into a General Headquarters, Field Command, six Military Region Headquarters, two Corps Headquarters and Corps Troops, one provisional Corps Headquarters, and seven standard divisions of 10,500 men each. By 1959 these forces were judged capable of maintaining internal security and of providing limited initial resistance to any renewed aggression from the North.100
In spite of all this progress, however, MAAG statements in 1959 reveal that many of the problems and deficiencies found in the VNA of 1954 and noted above were still to be found in the ARVN of 1959:101 although force size had been settled by fiat, it was still a, troublesome problem particularly vis-a-vis the GVN which persisted in its desire for larger forces; force structure was still unclear, particularly with reference to command and control; as the abortive coup of 1960 was to show, high-ranking officers were still politically active;102 plans for an internal security program relied heavily on the virtually nonexistent capabilities of the Civil Guard and Self-Defense Corps; correction of a spirit of insubordination and irresponsibility was not complete, as revealed at low as veil as high (or "coup") levels;103 French cadre had been replaced, but with Vietnamese cadre generally less well-adapted to their role; a self-reliant officer corps was still a vision of the future, as were an independent logistics capability and adequate technical services; and although something had been learned about the problems of semi-military and police forces, not enough had been done to cope with them to provide genuine internal security.
There were, in fact, several views of the roles and missions of the paramilitary forces. The Michigan State University Advisory Group, under contract to USOM, Vietnam to provide counsel and guidance on the development of the Civil Guard (CG), viewed this organisation as a national police, civilian in character and function, lightly but adequately equipped, with sufficient delegated authority and training to enforce all laws, control subversion, and collect intelligence data in areas not covered by municipal police, as well as establishing close ties with the population of the rural areas by fixed basing in the villages within pacified areas.104 Diem envisaged the CG as a large and powerful military organization accountable to him through his appointed province chiefs — a counter to the army in the struggle for power which would also provide provincial security through mobility from posts outside the villages; in line with this view, he transferred the CG from the Ministry of the Interior to the Presidency in 1956. The USMAAG came to view the CG much as Diem did — not, of course, as an anti-coup safeguard, but as a mobile counter subversion force, an adjunct to the army that would relieve it of internal security duty and free it to learn how to counter the threat from the North.105 As of the end of 1956 the CG were being trained at the Quang Trung School to assist the army in case of crisis or of overt attack;106 by late 1957, they were conducting operations with ARVN in unpacified areas.107
The MSU Advisory Group, in a 1956 report,108 outlined the problems that existed with respect to the problems of the several Vietnamese law enforcement agencies, including the CG, and made far-reaching recommendations, some of which were reiterated in the Counterinsurgency Plan of 1960.109 This reiteration supports the hypothesis that few of the KSU recommendations were acted upon effectively in the intervening years.
In July 1957 the GVN requested $60 million worth of heavy equipment for the CG, which had been equipped only with non-U.S. weapons surplus to the army's requirements. MAAG and MSU proposed $14 – 18 million in lighter equipment; in 1958, a compromise was reached, providing for only $14 million but including some of the heavy equipment to be issued over a 4-year period with the understanding that the CG be reorganized into a civilian operation under the Ministry of Interior and along lines proposed by U.S. advisors.110 Little progress was made in changing the Civil Guard, however, in spite of this U.S. leverage; the $14 million in assistance was withheld for almost two years. In January 1959, Diem agreed to transfer the CG to the Minister of the Interior, and the U.S. agreed to go ahead with the aid program. The new Public Safety Division of USOM assumed responsibility for training the CG in June, but the impasse over the concept of the CG continued until December 1960, when Diem, at MAAG's urging, transferred the CG to the DOD.111
The Self-Defense Corps (SDC),like the CG, was armed with non-U.S. weapons surplus to the army's requirements. Established by Diem as a part of the DOD, the SDC received U.S. assistance from its inception in the form of a $6 million per year subsidy for salaries. All reports indicate that the SDC was in even worse shape than the CG. The controversy that engulfed both these organizations for five years produced two paramilitary units that, far from being adequate to free the army for "combat," were confusingly organized, inadequately equipped, poorly trained, and badly led — even when compered with ARVN.112
According to the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College "Study on Army Aspects of the Military Assistance Program in Vietnam," published in June 1960,113 "The Armed Forces of the Republic of Vietnam are anxious to take the offensive and 'march to Hanoi.' The Chief, MAAG, and his principal assistants who come in direct contact with the Vietnamese high command must be constantly alert to detect this desire and any evidence of preparations therefor, as the consequences of such a premature act, not only to the numerically inferior South Vietnamese Armed Forces,but also to the entire region and possibly the whole world, could be most serious." Given the deficiencies remaining in the seven standard division regular army that would do the marching, and the state of the paramilitary forces, the authors of this study were well advised to add, parenthetically and perhaps wistfully: "(Eventual reunification through 'peaceful means' is to be hoped for.)"
- G. Did U.S. assistance through 1960 result in creation of a South Vietnamese Army in the image of the U.S. Army?
While it would probably be incorrect to assert that the U.S. created a complete "mirror image" of its own forces in the Vietnamese defense establishment, consideration of the mission, strategy, tactics, organizations, manpower policy, equipment, and training of that establishment indicates that conscious and unconscious U.S. efforts did result in emphasis on conventional forces (at the expense of paramilitary forces) "governed by the concept of a war front enabling use of the superior weaponry and technology of the West against a guerrilla force that was potentially the spearhead of a more massive thrust out of North Vietnam."114
1. Evolution of the mission of the VNA has been described. The fact is that assignment of a dual mission to VNA led rapidly to formation of a regular military establishment designed primarily to counter the threat of overt invasion from the North. Countering the internal threat—as is so often the case—was downgraded to the status of a "lesser-included capability in the regular forces."115
2. The strategy of the regular establishment was described as early as 1956 as
- defensive in nature and involves the conduct of a delaying action against external aggression of sufficient duration and effectiveness to hold as much ground as possible, and retain the key strategic entity, the Saigon Complex, in order to permit the arrival of the foreign military assistance which will be necessary to preserve her territorial integrity and national sovereignty....This defensive strategy must not only include consideration of the enemy threat in the form of overt military aggression from outside her borders but also from separate or concurrent extensive guerrilla and clandestine activities conducted by indigenous dissident groups or foreign military and political cadres already present or infiltrated into the country.116
The latter threat was countered by the territorial regiments in 1956; these regiments were abolished in 1959, with the advent of the 7 standard division force. Thus on the strategic level the regular forces came to reflect the strategy evolved by the U.S. in Korea and elsewhere.
3. On the tactical level the Vietnamese forces also came to reflect standard U.S. doctrine—with one possible exception, that of "pacification."
- Thus the tactical doctrine which will probably emerge from the present  reorganization and training period will most likely reflect past, relatively small-unit, infantry-type operations under the French; the inherently mobile infantry nature of the present forces influenced by increased firepower; a capability for coordinated operations up to division and eventually corps level; and increased service and logistical support for the essentially infantry-type forces. Mobility and increased infantry firepower will dictate the utilization of essentially infantry tactics....The VNA [will] adopt a highly mobile tactical doctrine characterized by extensive movement and maneuvering of the main body with extensive mining and ambuscades.117
The preponderant evidence gleaned from ARVN experience against the Viet Cong supports the hypothesis that ARVN tactics, influenced by the factors listed above, rapidly evolved toward relatively large-scale operations, heavily reliant on increased prepower including artillery and air support, and away from "relatively small-unit, infantry-type operations," again reflecting U.S. practice, if not U.S. doctrine, in countering large-scale aggression.
The concept and tactics of the pacification mission, unlike those of countering aggression, required particular concentration on specialized methods of dealing with the local populace as well as countering insurgents. Thus the Saigon Military Mission reported that as a result of its teaching efforts,
- Troops were courteous, they had constructed a school and were holding classes for both children and adults with Army volunteers as teachers, they had helped rebuild the marketplace and church, they carried out active patrolling, and they had placed locked boxes to receive information and suggestions from the population. People responded to the treatment. In a few days they started being friendly with the troops (something usually reserved for Communist troops in Asian countries) and, after a Viet Minh hand-grenade attack on the marketplace, information about names and locations of the Viet Minh cadres started to flow to the Army from the people.118
In spite of this apparent good start, MAAG Country Statements from 1955 to 1959 are silent on the subject of training for pacification, although National Security Action, as pacification was then called, was actually underway. This is a reasonably good indication of how important this set of concepts and tactics was regarded by MAAG officers.118 In fact, quite the opposite was the case: MAAG reports constantly complained of the diversion of the Vietnamese Army from unit training to pacification, without suggesting that specialized training in the tactics of this mission might be useful.119 The clear inference is that the orthodoxy of U.S. tactical doctrine prevailed.
4. The organization of the defense establishment in general reflected the U.S. practices insofar as it was feasible to persuade the Diem government to adopt them.120 Available evidence indicates that the standard ARVN division of 1959 was patterned after the 1954 U.S. Army division—reduced in scale, and without organic armor, aviation, and band.
Each ARVN standard division had 10,450 men organized in three regiments, each of which was capable of independent action and could be broken into company-size task forces. Each division had two artillery battalions equipped with towed 105 mm howitzers and 4.2" mortars, one engineer battalion, and technical and logistics support companies. The seven divisions were formed into two Corps. There were also four armor battalions, one airborne brigade, one marine group, one air force fighter-bomber squadron, two C-47 transport squadrons, two light aircraft observation squadrons, and one squadron of helicopters.121
In 1964 Lieutenant General Samuel T. Williams (Chief MAAG Vietnam 1955–60) during the course of an interview was asked whether MAAG had created the Vietnamese Division in the image of the American Division. His vehement denial included the statement that "Actually, there was little similarity between the South Vietnamese division in existence then  or now ."122 However, an examination of the following table and figures indicates that there were more similarities than differences in the overall structure of the two organizations. All of the technical services were to be found in the 1959 ARVN Division, although at somewhat reduced strength in some cases. Division artillery was 50 percent heavier in the U.S. Division and was concentrated in 105 howitzer battalions with some 155 mm, 8-inch and 763 mm weapons. The ARVN Division had a 4.2-inch mortar battalion in addition to the 105 mm battalion. Maneuver units, the regiments of the U.S. and ARVN Division, were about equal in strength. Both regiments contained a mortar company. There were more regiments in the U.S. Division (5) as opposed to ARVN's 3, and the U.S. regiments were divided into rifle companies (4 per regiment). In the ARVN Division there was an intermediate battalion echelon. In this respect the 1959 ARVN Division more closely resembled the 7-11R Regiment of the U.S. Army 7R Division (1955). This regiment type was heavier than both the ROCID 7-11T Infantry Regiment and the ARVN 1959 Regiment and was evidently capable of more sustained operations, since it had organic support units attached to it including a company of tanks. A similar regiment (7–11R) without the technical support units was supposed to provide the division with the flexibility to conduct operation with task forces of any size, a stated goal of the authors of the ARVN Divisional reorganization.123 Thus, while the mirror image accusation is not entirely correct, neither is the denial that there were no similarities between the U.S. and ARVN Divisions. The evidence available suggests that clearly the blueprint for the 1959 ARVN Division reorganization was to be found in the TOE's of the U.S. Army.5. Manpower policies in Vietnam in the late 1950's resulted in allocation of the best personnel to the Vietnamese Armed Forces.
COMPARISON OF U.S. 7T ROCID INFANTRY DIVISION (1956) AND
ARVN STANDARD DIVISION (1959) (U)
|U.S. 7T ROCID Inf Div 1956||ARVN 1959 Inf Div|
|Division Total Strength
|Div Hq & Hq Co||x||292||x||186|
|Arm'd Car Bn||x||669||x|
|Engineer Combat Bn||x||791||x||446|
|Signal||x||Bn 525||Co 164|
|105 mm How Bn||x||897||x||420|
|4.2" Mortar Bn
|Hq & Hq Spt Co||x||1,550||x||[a]|
|Heavy Mort 81 mm
|Hq & Hq Det & Band||x||70||x|
|Combat Aviation Co||x||223||x|
|Administrative Service Co||x||162||x|
|Transportation||x||Bn 532||x||Co 105/1100 civ|
Source: Infantry Reference Data, 1958
U.S. Infantry Division TOE 7T ROCID (20 December 1956)
Source: Study on Army Aspects of the Military
Assistance Program in Vietnam, U.S.
Army Command and General Staff
College, 1 June 1960 (S)
ARVN Reorganized Infantry Division, 1959
(standard ARVN division)
- Rational direction of manpower was not proposed by American advisors and would have lain beyond the capacity for organization of the RVN Government; all young professional graduates were enlisted into the army, which then controlled most of the manpower to do the jobs and had to be allowed to make good the civilian shortcomings engendered by conscription.124
This insatiable requirement for the "best" men to build up the officer corps was in part a reflection of the requirements of the South Vietnamese social structure; in any event, it was much closer to the conventional U.S. view of an officer corps than to the view of Ho Chi Minh and Vo Nguyen Giap, and reflected the view that well-schooled men are required to manage complex modern armies
6. The equipment provided the Vietnamese regular forces was more suited to countering aggression from the North than to preserving internal security in the South. While ARVN were not equipped as heavily as those of the U.S.—they had no tracked vehicles (tanks or personnel carriers), fewer trucks, and generally lighter weapons—727 trucks, 660 trailers—to make them mechanized and road-bound. Armor was provided, but was not organic to the standard division.
- ...U.S. military aid was programmed in more or less the same fashion as for countries like Turkey and Korea, where guerrillas were not a threat. The Vietnamese armed forces not only were equipped with tanks, planes, artillery and similar hardware that was relatively little value against as the French had discovered so painfully and the Pentagon apparently had not noticed. They were also trained to depend on that kind of big bang support in battle, reducing both their capability and their psychological willingness to get out and fight the guerrillas the only way that works: with rifles, close in.125
7. That the training of the Vietnamese armed forces was conducted along U.S. lines has been documented above. Between 1950 and 1959:
- (1) 3,296 Vietnamese military personnel had received training in military facilities in the United States, while 747 had been trained in other Free World military schools.126
- (2) Training films, manuals and lesson plans were those used by the U.S. military adapted to Vietnamese culture and environment.127
- (3) The U.S. was particularly proud of its accomplishments in the training of armed forces in Korea, where a large conventionally organized force had proven itself in the combat recently experienced there.128
- Memorandum for SecDef from JCS, "Indochina," 17 November 1954 (TS).
- Fragmentation in the U.S. community had an obvious and adverse effect on the U.S. capability to bargain with the GVN. By devoting minimal care to the selection of the U.S. official he would talk to first, Diem could often become the arbiter of, rather than a participant in, the bargaining process. Thus General Williams: "I can't remember one time that president Diem ever did anything of importance concerning the military that I recommended against." "Why U.S. Is Losing in Vietnam," U.S. News and World Report, November 9, 1964.