Briefing Memo - Overall Evaluation

In concluding their October 2, 1963 report on the situation in Vietnam, McNamara and Taylor recognize the likelihood that Americans would not support war in Vietnam if the situation dragged-on indefinitely:


From the above analysis it is clear that the situation requires a constant effort by the U.S. to obtain a reduction of political tensions and improved performance by the Vietnamese Government. 

We cannot say with assurance whether the effort against the Viet Cong will ultimately fail in the absence of major political improvements.  However, it does seem clear that after another period of repressive action progress may be reduced and indeed reverse. 

Although the present momentum might conceivably continue to carry the effort forward even if Diem remains in power and political tensions continue, any significant slowing in the rate of progress would surely have a serious effect on U.S. popular support for the U.S. effort.

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Media Credits

Page from Memorandum for the President, "Report of McNamara-Taylor Mission to South Vietnam," 2 October 1963.  Image online, courtesy U.S. National Archives.




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