Begins Troop Withdrawal From Vietnam
National Security Action Memorandum No. 263
of the Joint Chiefs of Staff
a meeting on October 5, 1963, the President considered the recommendations
contained in the report of Secretary McNamara and General Taylor
on their mission to South Vietnam.
President approved the military recommendations contained in
Section I B (1-3) of the report, but directed that no formal
announcement be made of the implementation of plans to withdraw
1,000 U.S. military personnel by the end of 1963.
discussion of the remaining recommendations of the report, the
President approved the instruction to Ambassador Lodge which
is set forth in State Department telegram No. 534 to Saigon.
of Central Intelligence
Agency for International Development
SECURITY ACTION MEMORANDUM NO. 263
President has reviewed the discussions of South Vietnam which
occurred in Honolulu, and has discussed the matter further with
Ambassador Lodge. He directs that the following guidance be
issued to all concerned:
It remains the central object of the United States in South
Vietnam to assist the people and Government of that country
to win their contest against the externally directed and supported
Communist conspiracy. The test of all decisions and U.S. actions
in this area should be the effectiveness of their contributions
to this purpose.
The objectives of the United States with respect to the withdrawal
of U.S. military personnel remain as stated in the White House
statement of October 2, 1963.
It is a major interest of the United States Government that
the present provisional government of South Vietnam should be
assisted in consolidating itself in holding and developing increased
public support. All U.S. officers should conduct themselves
with this objective in view.
It is of the highest importance that the United States Government
avoid either the appearance or the reality of public recrimination
from one part of it against another, and the President expects
that all senior officers of the Government will take energetic
steps to insure that they and their subordinate go out of their
way to maintain and to defend the unity of the United States
Government both here and in the field. More specifically, the
President approves the following lines of action developed in
the discussions of the Honolulu meeting of November 20. The
office or offices of the Government to which central responsibility
is assigned is indicated in each case.
We should concentrate our own efforts, and insofar as possible
we should persuade the government of South Vietnam to concentrate
its efforts, on the critical situation in the Mekong Delta.
This concentration should include not only military but political,
economic, social, educational and informational efforts. We
should seek to turn the tide not only of battle but of belief,
and we should seek to increase not only our control of land
but the productivity of this area whenever the proceeds can
be held for the advantage of anti-Communist forces.
The whole country team under the direct supervision of the Ambassador.)
Programs of military and economic assistance should be maintained
at such levels that their magnitude and effectiveness in the
eyes of the Vietnamese Government do not fall below the levels
sustained by the United States in the time of the Diem Government.
This does not exclude arrangements for economy on the MAP accounting
for ammunition and any other readjustments which are possible
as between MAP and other U.S. defense sources. Special attention
should be given to the expansion of the import distribution
and effective use of fertilizer for the Delta.
AID and DOD as appropriate.)
With respect to action against North Vietnam, there should be
a detailed plan for the development of additional Government
of Vietnam resources, especially for sea-going activity, and
such planning should indicate the time and investment necessary
to achieve a wholly new level of effectiveness in this field
DOD and CIA)
With respect to Laos, a plan should be developed for military
operations up to a line up to 50 kilometers inside Laos, together
with political plans for minimizing the international hazards
of such an enterprise. Since it is agreed that operational responsibility
for such undertakings should pass from CAS to MACV, this plan
should provide an alternative method of political liaison for
such operations, since their timing and character can have an
intimate relation to the fluctuating situation in Laos.
State, DOD and CIA.)
It was agreed in Honolulu that the situation in Cambodia is
of the first importance for South Vietnam, and it is therefore
urgent that we should lose no opportunity to exercise a favorable
influence upon that country. In particular, measures should
be undertaken to satisfy ourselves completely that recent charges
from Cambodia are groundless, and we should put ourselves in
a position to offer to the Cambodians a full opportunity to
satisfy themselves on this same point. (Action: State.)
In connection with paragraphs 7 and 8 above, it is desired that
we should develop as strong and persuasive a case as possible
to demonstrate to the world the degree to which the Viet Cong
is controlled, sustained and supplied from Hanoi, through Laos
and other channels. In short, we need a more contemporary version
of the Jordan Report, as powerful and complete as possible.
Department of State with other agencies as necessary,.)