U.S. Military and Advisory Effort in Vietnam - 1963 Memo

The Kennedy Administration had sent "advisers" to Vietnam.  U.S. military people were "in country" to discuss things, not to take actions against North Vietnam.

In assessing whether such an advisory system was effective, the document notes these key facts:

The U.S. advisory effort, however, cannot assure ultimate success.  This is a Vietnamese war and the country and the war must, in the end, be run solely by the Vietnamese. 

It will impair their independence and the development of their initiative if we leave our advisors in place beyond the time they are really needed.  In some areas reductions in the U.S. effort and transfer of U.S. responsibilities to the Vietnamese can now be carried out without material impairment of the total war effort. 

As a start, we believe that a reduction of about 1000 U.S. personnel (for which plans have been in preparation since the spring) can be carried out before the end of 1963.  No further reductions should be made until the requirements of the 1964 campaign become firm.

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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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