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March 3 1970 hearing (pages 445-508)
Exit strategy: U.S. Military Advisory Program

CIS: 71 S381-2 SuDoc: Y 4.F 76/2:V 67/17

Vietnam: Policy and Prospects, 1970 {58.4mb.pdf, source}

 


HEARINGS


BEFORE THE


COMMITTEE ON FOREIGN RELATIONS


UNITED STATES SENATE


NINETY-FIRST CONGRESS SECOND SESSION


ON


CIVIL OPERATIONS AND RURAL DEVELOPMENT SUPPORT PROGRAM

______________________


February 17, 18, 19, 20, and March 3, 4, 17, 19, 1970 {appendix}


GPO mark


Printed for the use of the Committee on Foreign Relations


U.S. GOVERNMENT PRINTING OFFICE
44-706 WASHINGTON : 1970

COMMITTEE ON FOREIGN RELATIONS

J. W. Fulbright, Arkansas, Chairman

John Sparkman, AlabamaGeorge D. Aiken, Vermont
Mike Mansfield, MontanaKarl E. Mundt, South Dakota
Albert Gore, TennesseeClifford P. Case, New Jersey
Frank Church, IdahoJohn Sherman Cooper, Kentucky
Stuart Symington, MissouriJohn J. Williams, Delaware
Thomas J. Dodd, ConnecticutJacob K. Javits, New York
Claiborne Pell, Rhode Island
Gale W. McGee, Wyoming

Carl Marcy, Chief of Staff

Arthur M. Kuhl, Chief Clerk


Note.— Sections of this hearing have been deleted at the request of the Department of State and the Department of Defense. Deleted material is indicated by the notation “[Deleted].”


(II)

CONTENTS

{To come}

{March 3 1970 hearing, pages 445-508}

{Image: pages 445-462} {782kb.pdf}

 

{p.445}

Vietnam: Policy and Prospects, 1970

______________________

U.S. Military Advisory Program

_______________

Tuesday, March 3, 1970

United States Senate, Committee on Foreign Relations, Washington, D.C.


The committee met, pursuant to notice, at 10 a.m., in room 4221, New Senate Office Building, the Honorable J. W. Fulbright (chairman) presiding.

Present: Senators Fulbright, Gore, Aiken, Case, and Williams.

The Chairman. The committee will come to order.

OPENING STATEMENT

The committee is meeting this morning to begin the second phase of a series of hearings to study the nature and extent of U.S. advisory and assistance programs in Vietnam. Two weeks ago the committee considered the pacification program and the advisory program for the regional and popular forces. Today the committee begins consideration of the overall U.S. military advisory program in Vietnam.

President Nixon, in discussing the prospects for Vietnamization in his recent foreign policy message to the Congress, stated, and I quote:

We are now attempting to determine the depth and durability of the progress which has been made in Vietnam. We are studying the extent to which it has been dependent on the presence of American combat and support forces as well as on expanded and improved South Vietnamese Army and territorial forces. We are asking searching questions:

What is the enemy’s capability to mount sustained operations? Could they succeed in undoing our gains?

What is the actual extent of improvement in allied capabilities? In particular, are the Vietnamese developing the leadership, logistics capabilities, tactical know-how, and sensitivity to the needs of their own people which are indispensable to continued success?

What alternative strategies are open to the enemy in the face of continued allied success? If they' choose to conduct a protracted, low-intensity war, could they simply wait out U.S. withdrawals and then, through reinvigorated efforts, seize the initiative again and defeat the South Vietnamese Forces?

Most important, what are the attitudes of the Vietnamese people, whose free choice we are fighting to preserve? Are they truly being disaffected from the Viet Cong, or are they indifferent to both sides? What do their attitudes imply about the likelihood that the pacification gains will stick?

Richard Milhous Nixon, “First Annual Report to the Congress on United States Foreign Policy for the 1970's” (White House, Feburary 18 1970), 1970 PPPUS 116-190 (item 45) {ucsb, nixlib in 4 files: 1.41mb.pdf, 1.42mb.pdf, 1.37mb.pdf, 1.37mb.pdf} (“The text of the above item was issued by the White House in the form of a 160-page booklet.”), Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States, Richard Nixon, 1970.

“This report is, as you know, the first of its kind ever made by a President to the Congress. It is a very long report. We tried to shrink it some, but we finally came up with 40,000 words, which I understand is the longest report made to the Congress, except for a budget message.”

Richard Milhous Nixon, “Remarks to Reporters at a Briefing on the Foreign Policy Report to Congess” (White House, February 18 1970, 5:06 p.m.), 1970 PPPUS 114-115 (item 43) {ucsb, 100kb.pdf}, and see, Richard Milhous Nixon, “Message to the Congress Transmitting the First Annual Report on United States Foreign Policy” (White House, February 18 1970), 1970 PPPUS 115 (item 44) {ucsb, 38kb.pdf}, see also:
Richard Milhous Nixon (U.S. President, Jan. 20 1969-1974 Aug. 9), “Address to the Nation on the War in Vietnam” (White House, Oval Office, November 3 1969, 9:32 p.m.), 1969 PPPUS 901-909 (item 425) {ucsb, 621kb.pdf}, Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States, Richard Nixon, 1969 {ucsb.html, umich.pdf, nixlib.pdf, nara} {SuDoc: GS 4.113:969, ISSN: 0079-7626, LCCN: 58061050, GPOcat, WorldCat}CJHjr

I hope that these hearings with on-the-scene personnel will help to develop the facts upon which informed judgments can be made — by Administration officials, by the Congress, and by the general public — on basic questions such as those posed by the President. After years of frustration over the course of this tragic war, the American people cannot be expected to support any Vietnam policy on faith alone. {p.446}

HEARING SCHEDULE

The committee is pleased to have as witnesses today two distinguished Army officers who will discuss matters involving plans and prospects for the Vietnamization policy. They are Brig. Gen. Wallace L. Clement, director of the training directorate of the U.S. Military Assistance Command in Vietnam, and Col. Jesse L. Wheeler, Jr., senior adviser to the 1st Infantry Division of the South Vietnamese Army. The committee will hear additional testimony from them tomorrow in executive session on matters of a classified or sensitive nature. I hope that the information to be reserved for discussion in executive session will be kept to a minimum.

SWEARING OF WITNESSES

In order to protect these witnesses from the understandable ambivalence they may feel with respect to their responsibilities to the Army and the executive branch on the one hand and to this committee and the Senate on the other, we will follow the procedure used in the recent hearings on the pacification program and ask that they be sworn in before giving their testimony.

Would General Clement and Colonel Wheeler please stand and raise their right hands?

Do you solemnly swear that the testimony which you are about to give will be, to the best of your knowledge, the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help you God?

General Clement. I do.

Colonel Wheeler. I do.

The Chairman. You have a prepared statement, gentlemen?

General Clement. I do.

The Chairman. Would you read it, please.

Testimony of
Brig. Gen. Wallace L. Clement, Director of the MACV Training Directorate

General Clement. I am Brigadier General Clement, Director of the MACV Training Directorate. It is my privilege to present to the committee a summary of major aspects of the U.S. military advisory effort in South Vietnam. I believe a brief history of the growth of this effort will be of interest and will serve as useful background.

BACKGROUND OF U.S. MILITARY ASSISTANCE EFFORT

The original U.S. military assistance effort, MAAG (Military Assistance Advisory Group), Indochina, was established in 1951 to administer the disposition of and report on the use of equipment sent to the French and through them to the indigenous forces. From 1951 until 1954, this MAAG Indochina was primarily a small logistics group.

In July 1954, with the signing of the Geneva accords which brought about the ceasefire in Indochina, the French began withdrawing their combat forces and the Government of South Vietnam took command of its own troops. The South Vietnamese Armed Forces had a total strength just in excess of 200,000 men, the majority being in the army. The air force was practically nonexistent and the very small navy had no independent administrative or operational capability. {p.447}

At this time, MAAG Indochina was replaced by MAAG Vietnam which consisted of 342 officers and men. MAAG Vietnam’s mission was to assist the Vietnamese Government in improving the military capability of the South Vietnamese Armed Forces. In agreement with the French, a separate transitional organization, known as the training relations and instruction mission (TRIM) was established. TRIM was composed of French, Vietnamese, and American personnel and its mission was to assist the Government of Vietnam in the organization and development of sound, effective armed forces. TRIM was terminated in April 1956 when the French advisers withdrew. However, French missions for the Vietnamese Navy and Air Force were retained until May 1957.

In May of 1961, Vice President Johnson visited South Vietnam and issued a joint communique with President Diem announcing the expansion of defense and economic development programs. Shortly thereafter, Gen. Maxwell D. Taylor was sent by the President on a special mission to Vietnam. Near the end of the year, President Kennedy decided to enlarge the U.S. support for the South Vietnamese. From a strength of less than 700 at the end of 1960, MAAG Vietnam was increased some 2,500 personnel so that at the end of 1961 there were over 3,000 American military personnel in South Vietnam.

MAAG Vietnam was authorized to provide an adviser to each province chief and adviser teams down to battalion level for operational Republic of Vietnam Armed Forces units in the field.

South Vietnamese Armed Forces have grown from about 200,000 in 1954 to a force which will approach 1 million by the end of fiscal year 1970. The total advisory strength has grown from about 340 in 1954 to approximately 14,000 today. Of the latter figure approximately one-half are the military advisers of the Vietnamese Regular Armed Forces.

The Chairman. What is the other half?

General Clement. The other half, sir, you were briefed on by Ambassador Colby.

The Chairman. Oh, I see what you mean.

MISSION OF U.S. MILITARY ASSISTANCE COMMAND

General Clement. The advisory mission of the U.S. Military Assistance Command, Vietnam, is to: (a) Develop military assistance plans and programs in cooperation with the Chief of the U.S. Mission and other U.S. governmental agencies in the Mission, and (b) provide appropriate advisory services and technical assistance to the Republic of Vietnam on military assistance matters.

ORGANIZATION OF MACV

The advisory organization is tailored to the Republic of Vietnam Armed Forces structure, sir. We use the acronym RVNAF and I may lapse back and forth.

The Chairman. That is all right. We will try to interpret.

General Clement. And each U.S. military service contributes to the MACV advisory effort. If we will turn our attention to chart No. 1, I will show you where our advisers are.

At the top is the Vietnamese Joint General Staff, and the MACV headquarters staff, with its component advisers. On the lower line, we {p.448} have the Vietnamese Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, all Vietnamese; separate airborne division, the artillery command, ranger command, armor command, and special forces, each with its own advisory unit. Next, the Corps — I, II, III, and IV Corps — with their advisers. And, of course, under the corps, the operational units, the divisions, with their advisers.

 

Finally, on the lowest line, in the center, are the Corps advisers; you were briefed on this, sir. On the left, the central logistics command with its advisers. On the right is the Central Training Command which is run by the Deputy Chief of Staff for Training, with its advisers, which is really my training directorate. This gives you a very brief outline of the advisory effort.

The Chairman. The total comprises about a million men in Vietnam?

General Clement. Yes, sir; the figure of approximately 1 million is the total Republic of Vietnam Armed Forces structure, which includes the RF and PF, on which you have previously been briefed.

The functions of the Vietnamese Army Headquarters are performed by the Vietnamese Joint General Staff whose counterpart is MACV. Therefore, U.S. advisers to the Vietnamese Army are assigned to MACV.

MACV discharges the army advisory task by assigning advisers to all echelons in the Vietnamese Joint General Staff, and also to the corps areas under operational control of corps senior advisers. The U.S. senior adviser in each corps area is also the commander of U.S. Army and/or Marine units in that geographical area.

The Chief, Naval Advisory Group advises the Vietnamese Chief of Naval Operations and all naval forces. The Chief of the Naval Advisory Group is also the Commander of U.S. Naval Forces, Vietnam. The Marine Corps Advisory Group advises all Vietnamese Marine Corps Forces and is under the staff cognizance of the Commander, U.S. Naval Forces, Vietnam (COMNAVFORV).

The Chief U.S. Air Force Advisory Group advises the Vietnamese Chief of Air Operations and all Vietnamese Air Force units. The Chief of the Air Force Advisory Group does not command U.S. Air Force units in Vietnam.

BASIC FUNCTIONS OF ADVISORY GROUPS

The basic functions of the advisory groups are to provide advice and assistance to their Vietnamese counterparts in all matters pertaining to command, administration, training, tactical operations, logistics, and personnel with the objective of establishing combat ready and self-sufficient armed forces.

I will next discuss in broad terms some of the more salient features of the MACV advisory effort. I will exclude from my discussion the advisory effort for territorial forces (that is, regional and popular forces). The committee was briefed on this effort in February by Ambassador Colby.

CRITERIA FOR ADVISER ASSIGNMENT

The criteria for adviser assignment in each service are generally the same; that is, experience in the functional area to which assigned. In addition, to work successfully with the Vietnamese the adviser must be {p.449} sensitive to and respect their way of doing things, appreciating their strengths and weaknesses; he must be dedicated and sincere; patient and diplomatic; must appreciate the fact that the Vietnamese have been brought up to the sound of guns, have been fighting for a long time and foresee a continuing struggle. In brief, an adviser must know his business and be able to get along with the Vietnamese.

There are outstanding examples of leadership, courage, and dedication throughout the Vietnamese military system. There is an innate strength in the Vietnamese which has enabled them to endure combat, strife, and destruction and yet retain their basic values. It is important that we try to appreciate and to recognize the Vietnamese way of doing things which is based on a very ancient culture and traditions. We try to avoid uniquely “American” solutions, although this is often difficult.

METHOD OF OPERATIONS OF ADVISORY EFFORT

Gentlemen, I will describe how the adviser fits into the operational day-to-day aspects of the adviser effort.

The U.S. Army advisory effort parallels the Army of the Republic of Vietnam organization and is tailored to its present operational needs. Advisers are assigned at the Vietnamese Joint General Staff level downward through corps, division, regiment, and battalion in the combat and combat support area and downward through depots, area logistics command and subordinate support units in the administrative and logistics support area. The requirement for adviser skills runs, on one hand, from the detailed knowledge of the M-16 rifle through the operation of an automotive rebuild plant and, on the other hand, from the employment of a rifle squad in combat through the application of all types of combat power in a corps against both guerrilla and conventional enemy forces. Many of our Army advisers are committed to the training of ARVN forces — the Army of the Republic of Vietnam Forces — and are colocated at the many training centers and schools throughout South Vietnam.

The Navy advisory skills run the gamut required for the conduct of naval operations against an active and aggressive enemy in both coastal and inland waterway operations. The U.S. Naval advisory effort extends from the senior Vietnamese Naval Headquarters downward through task forces and river assault and interdiction division (RAID) to an individual small craft conducting combat operations on the many inland rivers and canals in South Vietnam, with the bulk being in the Mekong Delta area. This includes advisers with training and logistic support forces.

The U.S. Marine Corps Advisory Group, operating under the U.S. Naval Advisory Group (COMNAVFORV), is involved primarily in advising a Marine Corps Division.

The U.S. Air Force adviser works with the highest Vietnamese Air Force echelon downward through combat wings, combat groups, squadrons, training centers, forward air controllers, air liaison, and air logistics commands.

A military adviser may be officer or enlisted. He works directly with one or more Vietnamese counterparts. Advisers work alongside their counterparts in all phases of their activities, both advising and assisting them in the accomplishments of assigned missions. This involves the advisers with combat units accompanying the units on both combat {p.450} and pacification operations. Staff advisers at all levels work with their counterparts on combined studies and plans. All advisory efforts are aimed at improving the quality of the RVNAF, improving their management at all levels and making them self-sufficient.

INCREASE IN TRAINING EFFORTS

Training constitutes a major adviser effort in all services. The improvement and modernization of RVNAF brought with it a pronounced expansion of RVNAF personnel strength, and an attendant increase in training requirements. The objective is to increase the level of combat readiness and combat proficiency through individual training (in-country and off shore) and unit training. There are 42 RVNAF training centers and 27 RVNAF schools involved in this effort, located throughout the whole of South Vietnam. Those being trained range from recruits at training centers to senior officers at the Command and Staff College in Dalat, or at the National Defense College in Saigon. Instruction at these centers and schools is carried out by the Vietnamese. This chart very briefly, sir, shows the rapid buildup in the program in the past 2 years in the projected programs.

In calendar year 1968, the training base was saturated. We go from there to 1969, an increased effort, and from there to the 1970 projection. That was increased even more. So there is a great training effort going on in these schools, and training centers.

In addition, to these formal training programs, there is an extensive on-the-job training effort going on in all of the services, aimed generally at the technical skills. We trained over 3,000 in the logistical field alone in this manner in calendar year 1969, and currently have over 4,000 being trained. More than 2,000 Vietnamese are presently being trained in U.S. Navy craft. Of course, the Vietnamese themselves are implementing a supplementary on-the-job program.

FUTURE OF ADVISORY EFFORT

There is continuing improvement in the Vietnamese Armed Forces. As the RVNAF continues to grow, the weight of the advisory effort will be given to the most critical areas.

The RVNAF logistical organization and system are presently capable of reasonably satisfactory logistical support to operating elements. By necessity, there is a strong advisory effort in this area which will continue for some time.

We are advising a military force which has rapidly expanded over the past few years, stretching to the limit the amount of experienced talent available. It will take time for skill levels to catch up with the force structure. This, in itself, has placed severe tasks on our advisory effort. As the force structure increase approaches the end goal, more emphasis will be placed on qualitative improvements of all existing forces.

The size and composition of our present and future advisory effort in Vietnam will be determined in light of the development of RVNAF forces to assume a larger share of the war effort and the rate at which RVNAF units can receive equipment, complete training, and attain operational readiness.

Gentlemen, MACV is very much aware of the importance of the advisory role in connection with improving the Vietnamese Armed {p.451} Forces. The advisory effort contributes to RVNAF’s capability to shoulder the burden of the fighting at an accelerated rate. This allows a progressive reduction of U.S. military presence in South Vietnam. Sir, that concludes my statement. Do you have any questions at this time?

PURPOSE OF COMMITTEE INQUIRY

The Chairman. Thank you, General. That is a very interesting statement.

Before I proceed with any questions, General, I want to make it very clear that, at least speaking for myself and I think for most of the committee, criticism such as it has appeared in the press has never been against the military activities of your people, either the officers or the men. What we are really dealing with in this question of the difference in view is the political policy and the objectives of the operation as a whole. I hope that the military establishment realizes that we are not inquiring into these matters because of a feeling of disapproval of the way you or your men have conducted yourselves. This is not the issue at all. This committee is concerned with the political implications of the overall effort. It has often been misinterpreted that either this committee or the Senate or certain Members of the Senate did not support the Armed Forces. That is not at all a true reflection of the issue. It is not a question of supporting the Armed Forces or whether they have supported the policy. It is a question of supporting the political policy that results in these questions on Vietnam. I hope you understand.

General Clement. Yes, sir, I understand.

OBJECTIVE AND JUSTIFICATION FOR ACTIVITY IN VIETNAM

The Chairman. This statement and most of these statements are based upon the assumption that there is a legislative objective involved in all of this activity, because it is a very substantial and very extensive activity. Do you, as a military man, feel concerned about the question of whether or not the activity as such has a legislative objective? Could you say what you believe the objective is?

General Clement. Sir, I think I can address it as far as our mission, as far as the military advisers are concerned. We certainly feel it is a worthwhile objective. It is one that we are committed to and we certainly are intent on carrying it out and making sure that we do so to the best of our ability.

The Chairman. Maybe I did not make myself plain. I know as a military man you are under orders and no military organization can operate without discipline and established traditional organization. You took it back to the beginning in 1951, which is what inspired thought about this. You said the original military assistance was MAAG Indochina in 1951. Are you familiar with the circumstances of its creation?

General Clement. Not in detail, sir.

The Chairman. Do you know why it was created or what its purpose was?

General Clement. I believe I do, sir.

The Chairman. What was it? What is your feeling about it?

General Clement. It was established to counter the Communist threat in Southeast Asia, which continues to this time. I think that basically is one of the primary reasons that we are there. {p.452}

The Chairman. What was the nature of the threat in 1951?

General Clement. Sir, I am sorry. It really is outside my cognizance and I am not prepared to discuss that aspect.

The Chairman. This was really the thrust of my first question. It seems to me that perhaps quite properly, as a military man, it is not your responsibility to have a judgment. I do not wish to restrict you in any way if you have a judgment. After all, you are also a citizen of the United States. You are free to express a judgment, whether or not you concern yourself with that objective.

Senator Case. General, would you pull those microphones closer to you.

The Chairman. They are not every sensitive. Our technological expertise is exhausted in going to the moon. We cannot make good microphones or trucks.

General Clement. Sir, if you are asking me whether I feel we are performing a worthwhile task in Vietnam and whether our soldiers are, I would say yes, we certainly are, and, personally it has been a very challenging, very rewarding assignment.

The Chairman. If I understand you correctly, that does not involve necessarily, at least a judgment of the political justification beginning in 1951 and following through various stages of escalation after 1954 and after Kennedy came in, and then the major one in 1965. That is not your responsibility. Or do you feel it is your responsibility to have any judgment about such a matter?

General Clement. I believe, strictly speaking, sir, my responsibility is to carry out the orders that are given me by headquarters and which I am trying to do to the best of my knowledge and belief.

The Chairman. That is what I suspected was the proper answer. I am just curious.

ORIGIN OF U.S. INVOLVEMENT IN VIETNAM

I have a very strong feeling that it was none of our business going in there in 1951. We went in in support of the French to retain control of their colony; did we not? The French were still battling to control Vietnam in 1951; were they not?

General Clement. Yes, sir; I guess they were.

The Chairman. There is no guess about it. They were. They were fighting their enemies; weren’t they?

General Clement. Yes, sir.

The Chairman. The Armed Forces had a total strength of 200,000 men, the majority being in the Army. They were the remnants of the Colonial Army which the French had created to support their control of Vietnam. Is that not a fact?

General Clement. Yes, sir; I believe it probably was.

The Chairman. It was or was not. That is a fact; is it not? You made this statement; did you not?

General Clement. Yes, sir.

The Chairman. Did you create this statement out of your own knowledge or did someone assist you?

General Clement. No, sir; I did have assistance.

The Chairman. Was this the 100,000 you mentioned here—

General Clement. That was the French forces.

The Chairman. The French Colonial Army: was it not?

General Clement. Yes, sir. {p.453}

The Chairman. Their main purpose was to maintain the control of the French in Vietnam; was it not?

General Clement. I am not familiar with their purpose, sir. As a matter of fact, I was relating a general historical picture. I have not had much time recently to do much historical research. I really have been concerned with this training advisory effort.

The Chairman. I would not have asked you about it except you mentioned it in your statement. I think it is important, not particularly for you as a military man, and that is why I said that I am not critical of you or any of your colleagues. As a matter of fact, I am not particularly critical of the men who have been charged with atrocities because they are exposed to a situation which is almost intolerable and beyond human endurance. What I am critical of, and still am, is that policy would put them in this position, and that policy finds us in this position. It did then and it still does. I think it is an intolerable position: That is no reflection whatever upon you or any of your colleagues. That is not the point at all, but this is significant.

You have raised the point here that this is the origin of this war. It does have relevance as to whether or not we have any business continuing it, in my view, as a political matter, whether or not it is worth the price that you are continuing to pay because under your statement, we have advisers at every level and we are for all practical purposes running the country militarily.

You say we have 14,000 advisers. Do you know how many French advisers to the military there were?

General Clement. I do not know exactly.

The Chairman. I doubt if they had as much as we have. As a matter of fact, we have in effect taken over the effort.

You may be more acquainted with the history of this country. To give you a comparable view do you remember when the British fought the American Colonial power? You are familiar with the American Revolutionary War; are you not?

General Clement. Yes, sir; we studied it.

The Chairman. The British brought over a number of troops, of course, to help them, but the American Colonials fought them. When it was all over, and after the British finally gave it up, we had a remnant of an Army left that George Washington had created. That is the equivalent of this 200,000 that you are talking about here. Is it, or is it not?

General Clement. Yes, sir; I presume it would be.

The Chairman. No, it is not. You see, these people were fighting for the French. This is the point I wanted to make. These 200,000 were not fighting for the Colonials, the Colonists such as George Washington.

 

EXTENT AND ADVISABILITY OF CONTINUING INVOLVEMENT

I think it is very important, not so much for you as for the country. Because you are under orders, you do not have to know those things. You prompted me to raise a question which I think is central because this war is now escalating into Laos and we are getting into it deeper and deeper. It simply raised the question once again. Is it in the interest of the United States to go down this road?

Your testimony makes quite clear to me just how extensive our involvement is. You said 14,000 military advisers. {p.454}

General Clement. I beg your pardon. There is a total of 14,000 advisers; 7,000 is the rough number of military advisers.

The Chairman. Did I misread it?

General Clement. No, sir. If you will recall, 14,000 was the total effort and the CORDS people talked of the other 7,000. This is the 7,000 in the military effort, the military advisory unit, with the tactical units, the corps and divisions, the Central Training Command, and the logistics units.

The Chairman. They are still military or paramilitary. They are closely similar; aren’t they?

General Clement. For the purposes of the hearings, sir, you wanted to break out the military advisory effort from the total advisory effort. I was just putting it in perspective.

The Chairman. Would the 14,000, though, include legislatively all in the paramilitary or the police units?

General Clement. Yes, sir, that is what Ambassador Colby mentioned in his appearance.

The Chairman. How many were there a year ago? Is this more or less than there were a year ago?

General Clement. I think it is about the same, sir.

The Chairman. About the same?

General Clement. Yes, sir, about the same number.

COST OF MILITARY EQUIPMENT SUPPLIED TO SOUTH VIETNAM

The Chairman. Could you tell us what the total cost to the United States is for the military equipment supplied or turned over to the South Vietnamese to date?

General Clement. Sir, I do have some figures on costs. The fiscal year 1970 cost related to the support of the Republic of Vietnam Armed Forces, excluding paramilitary, is approximately $1.5 billion.

The Chairman. That is for fiscal year 1970?

General Clement. Yes, sir. The costs are broken down into different appropriation areas: Military personnel, which is basically rations for the Army; operations and maintenance, which includes offshore training, repair parts, depot overhaul programs, maintenance costs, and procurement, which consists primarily of equipment and ammunition. Those are the major parts of the $1.5 billion, sir.

The Chairman. Do you have an estimate of the accelerated total we have returned to the Vietnamese? This is the equipment and supplies?

General Clement. Yes, sir; this is for equipment and supplies.

The Chairman. What is that?

General Clement. This is the current appropriation, $1.5 billion.

The Chairman. That is for 1 year?

General Clement. Yes, sir.

I do not have the accumulated total.

The Chairman. An accelerated total for the past.

General Clement. I do not have that here, sir. I can try to provide it for you.

The Chairman. Would you get that for the record, please? I assume it is available.

General Clement. I will get it for the record of the executive session.

The Chairman. Do you have any estimates for 1971?

General Clement. No, sir, I have no projections for 1971. {p.455}

The Chairman. Does this $1.5 — and the figures I want, of course, include the bases and excess equipment we turned over to the Vietnamese? We have recently turned over some large bases, have we not?

General Clement. This would exclude the plant, sir, only equipment and supplies turned over.

The Chairman. The plant?

General Clement. The plant, or bases, are excluded, sir.

The Chairman. Everything from rifles on up?

General Clement. Yes, sir; all the programed supplies and equipment.

PERCENTAGE OF SOUTH VIETNAMESE MILITARY BUDGET PAID BY UNITED STATES

The Chairman. What portion of South Vietnam’s military budget is paid for, directly or indirectly, by the United States?

General Clement. We pay directly, of their fiscal year 1970 defense budget, which is about a billion dollars, about 11 percent, sir, as U.S. funds.

The Chairman. Of the military budget?

General Clement. Yes, sir.

The Chairman. Eleven percent. Who pays the other 89 percent?

General Clement. This is paid by the Government of Vietnam. They finance it through taxes and customs duties and raise other revenues.

The Chairman. Are you sure about this?

General Clement. As it concerns their military budget, yes, sir.

The Chairman. Then we pay all of the civilian; is that right? How do you judge this? You know very well that the Vietnamese have no resources to pay for 89 percent of the fighting. How is this set up?

General Clement. Sir, this is the way the defense budget is broken out and accounted for.

The Chairman. By whom?

General Clement. It is jointly worked out by the Vietnamese and our people in MACV.

The Chairman. Those taxes which the Government collects are all paid by the Federal Government of the United States; are they not?

General Clement. Sir, that is really beyond my area.

The Chairman. Beyond your area?

General Clement. Of responsibility.

The Chairman. Who would know about this? Is either of your colleagues expert in this?

Are you, Colonel?

Colonel Wheeler. No, sir.

The Chairman. You do not bother about budgetary matters?

Colonel Wheeler. No, sir.

The Chairman. I sympathize with you. I would not either, if I did not have to. I do not blame you.

But I would guess at least 90 percent of the civilian and military costs of the Government of South Vietnam is paid for by the American Government.

What they do, of course, is tax the imports that we send in for them. We send in a very large amount. $500 million of economic goods, to support them and they levy a tax on it and then they do not call that as being derived from the U.S. Federal Government. {p.456}

I said directly or indirectly. What I meant is either by direct budgetary support or by paying taxes to them in the form of import taxes or any other kind.

I am afraid the 11 percent is very misleading if you are saying that that is all that the U.S. Federal Government contributes to support of the military in Vietnam, directly or indirectly. It may be the only direct support.

I have a number of other questions I will direct later, but I want the other Senators to proceed if they are ready.

MEANING OF REDEPLOYMENT OF U.S. GROUND COMBAT FORCES

Senator Gore. General, I was interested in and have become increasingly interested in the last few weeks in military terminology. Now, let me read you a statement which Chief of Staff General Wheeler made. This is with respect to Vietnamization:

Our goal is to enable the South Vietnamese forces to improve so that in the absence of an acceptable guaranteed political settlement, they may resume full responsibility for the security of their country and we may redeploy all of our ground combat forces now there.

If you would be so kind, from your familiarity with military terminology, I would like you to tell me precisely what is the meaning of these words: “Redeploy all of our ground combat forces now there.”

General Clement. Well, sir, I am sure General Wheeler is referring to the phase redeployment from Vietnam which is currently going on. The current accent certainly is on redeployment of ground combat forces. I am sure he is talking in this context.

Senator Gore. In testimony before this committee, I questioned Secretary Laird with respect to this. If I correctly recall his terminology, what would remain there a year hence would be support troops, not by definition or description ground combat troops. Would you mind explaining the difference between support forces and ground combat forces?

General Clement. Sir, support forces would be primarily quartermaster, transportation, engineer, signal, aviation forces. When you speak of support, this is normally what is envisaged: The technical, administrative, and logistical people, et cetera, that support the combat effort.

Senator Gore. When I inquired of him if it included infantry, the answer was yes. Would you say it would include infantry?

General Clement. In the definition I gave, it did not, sir. But I am not sure of the context in which the Secretary was replying to your question. Was there a broader context?

Senator Gore. I am always left with this uncertainty. Just what is meant? The other day I read in the press that Secretary Laird said there were military advisers in Laos, but then changed it and they were military attaches. I do not know exactly the difference. I am frequently left with this.

General Clement. I am sure that the Secretary was talking in a broader or different context rather than strict redeployment of combat troops per se.

DEFINITION OF VIETNAMIZATION

Senator Gore. Maybe we will just leave this between you and me and not refer to what term the President or Secretary Laird has used. What is your definition of Vietnamization as you understand it? {p.457}

General Clement. Sir, because Vietnamization has been interpreted, paraphrased—

Senator Gore. I see you are prepared for this one.

General Clement. I would like to read the definition.

Senator Gore. Yes, I think it is worthy.

General Clement. {“}Vietnamization is the process by which the United States assists the Government of Vietnam to assume increasing responsibility for all aspects of the war and all functions inherent in self-government. It means building a stronger government with improved economy and strengthening the military internal security forces sufficient to permit the United States to reduce its military and civilian presence in Vietnam without unacceptable risks to the objectives of the United States in the security of the free world and Government of Vietnam forces. Vietnamization refers only to the assumption by Vietnamese of that portion of the war effort carried on by the United States. It does not refer to the total war effort in which the South Vietnamese themselves have carried such a large and heavy burden for some years.”

Senator Gore. Did you prepare this definition?

General Clement. We have prepared this definition; yes, sir.

Senator Gore. I did not understand that.

General Clement. We have prepared the definition. It is not original with my appearance here.

Senator Gore. I see.

Then this is an official definition?

General Clement. It can be termed that, I believe; yes, sir.

SCHEDULE FOR REDUCTION OF U.S. PRESENCE

Senator Gore. Can you give us some idea of when this millenium may arrive?

General Clement. Sir, I believe that President Nixon has reserved to himself the announcement of any further withdrawals, or, rather, redeployments of U.S. forces and any time schedule. I am not prepared, really, to put time limits or announce any schedules.

Senator Gore. Is there a schedule to your knowledge?

General Clement. Sir, I know of no schedule and, as I say, the President has said that he will make these announcements from time to time.

Senator Gore. If there is a schedule, you are not aware of it?

General Clement. I know of plans, sir, but they are plans only. I know of no schedule.

Senator Gore. Are you prepared to discuss with this committee those military plans?

General Clement. I believe I can discuss aspects, perhaps, in another session.

Senator Gore. In executive session?

General Clement. Yes, sir.

Senator Gore. I certainly shall not press you there. Do you know if agreements exist between the Pentagon or U.S. military forces and the Saigon government with respect to the support from the Saigon government’s troops?

General Clement. Sir, I really can’t answer that. I really do not know. It is beyond my area of competence here. {p.458}

 

Senator Gore. Mr. Chairman, all I seem to be able to get is another definition. I will turn the witness back to you.

EFFECTIVENESS OF ORIGINAL U.S. ADVISORY EFFORT

The Chairman. Senator Aiken.

Senator Aiken. I have only three or four questions.

First, the witness goes back to 1951. I think we ought to realize that from 1951 until 1954 we were considering Indochina and not Vietnam, and Indochina, as I recall, included Laos and Cambodia. So there was quite a difference.

At the time that Indochina was broken up, our advisory group consisted of 324 officers and men who became advisers to South Vietnam.

That is correct; is it not?

General Clement. Yes, sir.

Senator Aiken. Then the number of advisers increased slowly until 1960; they reached something less than 700. In the meantime, as I recall, in 1954, the United States was urged to send military assistance to the French; is that correct?

General Clement. Yes, I believe it is correct.

Senator Aiken. President Eisenhower at that time refused to put our Armed Forces in there in spite of urging from some of the Joint Chiefs. So by 1960, we had less than 700 advisers there.

Then they increased rather steadily from less than 700 at the end of 1960. The advisers for Vietnam alone increased to some 2,500 personnel. So at the end of 1961 there were over 3,000 American military personnel in South Vietnam. Yet it appears that as our number of advisers increased from 1961 until 1968, the effectiveness of the South Vietnamese military establishment did not increase proportionately or accordingly. Does that mean that they did not have the capacity to study them or to learn or to take the advice? Or does it mean that we considered it our war from 1963 until 1969?

Our advisers certainly were not very effective as far as strengthening the South Vietnamese during those years and were not effective until 1969, if I read correctly the reports we get. What was the trouble?

General Clement. I am not prepared, sir, to defend the previous advisory effort or to share your judgment that our advisers were ineffective. I would prefer to tell you about our advisory effort now. We feel it is quite effective.

Senator Aiken. Would you say our advice has been more effective during the last 12 months than it had been during the previous 6 or 7 years?

General Clement. Sir, I would prefer not to make comparisons out of context, because this effectiveness is a function of the enemy situation and of many other things.

Senator Aiken. Very well. I think it is so obvious you do not need to make an estimate on that.

ADVISORY EFFORT IN LAOS

The other question I had in mind concerns the military advisers in Vietnam. Do they operate entirely distinct from the military, or perhaps some would say nonmilitary, advisers in Laos who are trying to make an effective army out of those troops? Do they operate entirely distinct or is there collaboration? {p.459}

General Clement. Sir, I know nothing about the advisory effort in Laos and I am not prepared to discuss it. I can certainly tell you how our advisers operate, and specifically in the training field, what we do.

EFFECTIVENESS OF RECENT U.S. ADVISORY EFFORTS

Senator Aiken. Do you feel that your work in South Vietnam has been effective during the last year?

General Clement. Yes, sir; we do.

Senator Aiken. Is the work which they are doing there in part responsible for the fact that we are reducing the number of our own forces in South Vietnam?

General Clement. I would say the total effort, the work that everyone has done there, sir, is responsible for that. This is a total war over there.

Senator Aiken. What do you mean by everyone?

General Clement. I mean the South Vietnamese and the U.S. troops over there, our civilians working there — everybody working together.

Senator Aiken. You mean their morale, their spirit, has been better during the last year?

General Clement. I have only been there a year. I cannot make sharp judgments. I believe there has been a tremendous increase in spirit from what I have seen.

Senator Aiken. I think we can draw our own conclusions there, because we are getting reports, which I hope are accurate, of great progress being made during recent months, in contrast to the reports that we were getting, say, from 1963 to the end of 1968.

BASIS FOR DECISION TO TURN MORE RESPONSIBILITY OVER TO SOUTH VIETNAMESE

You are aware that we had planned to turn over to the South Vietnamese more responsibility for the defense of their own country. Is that plan based on our belief that the capacity of South Vietnam to assume the burden has increased greatly, or is it based on the theory that the North Vietnamese and Vietcong are getting sick of the job?

General Clement. No, sir. Personally, I think it is a function of all of those things. The South Vietnamese have demonstrated competence. I can speak particularly of the training area, where they have certainly demonstrated a competence which, for example, would be different from 2 years ago — remarkably different. So this is a part of it.

Of course, the enemy is also always a part of this picture when you are at war.

Senator Aiken. As the spirit and confidence of the South Vietnamese rises, then the spirit and the confidence of their enemy, the Vietcong and the North Vietnamese, diminishes or subsides. That seems a natural assumption, anyway.

I think and I hope we do not have any more complications, that the situation is much better than it was 2 years ago.

Thank you.

The Chairman. Senator Case, do you have any questions?

Senator Case. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

I know it is embarrasing {sic: embarrassing}, General, but the questions that Senator Aiken was putting are questions that concern me very much, concern {p.460} all of us. Secretary Laird, as I recall it, came back after his first trip over there and said he was appalled at the lack of training of the Vietnamese. Now, this, as Senator Aiken pointed out, was not really indicating progress. Newspaper accounts by responsible analysts who have come back, I think some of our very best people, have made this point.

WITNESS’ EXPERIENCE WITH TRAINING PROGRAM

How long have you been associated with the training program?

General Clement. Since September, sir. Formerly, I had a tour with the Americal Division for 9 months.

Senator Case. What division?

General Clement. Americal Division, sir.

Senator Case. Would you say the words out?

General Clement. I am sorry, sir. It was the U.S. 23d Division in the north. We worked very closely with the 2d Division of the Army of the Republic of Vietnam in the I Corps. I had opportunity daily to work and see them.

Senator Case. How long did you work with that?

General Clement. That was 9 months.

Senator Case. So your whole experience goes back about a year?

General Clement. A year ago December, yes, sir.

Senator Case. Before that, you were not connected with this problem?

General Clement. No, sir, I was not.

Senator Case. Are there any people here who were?

General Clement. No, sir, I do not believe so.

Senator Case. So we cannot get from you any idea of what the difference has been in this particular operation between the long period Senator Aiken referred to, from 1961 to 1969, and 1969 on? You are just not prepared to talk about this?

General Clement. No, sir.

EFFECTIVENESS OF ARVN 2D DIVISION

I can talk in a general way, for example, of the division with which I worked, and the change that did take place even in those months, brief as they were.

Senator Case. When you say division, you mean the whole training effort, the whole training program of the whole Vietnamese Army?

General Clement. That is right. The net result of the training is operational effectiveness, which, of course, is what we are after. This 2d Division, we thought, was tremendous, and still is, a very fine division.

Senator Case. How many men is that?

General Clement. It runs about 12,000, sir.

Senator Case. That is the whole division?

General Clement. That is the entire division, yes, sir.

Senator Case. That is how many?

General Clement. Regiments and battalions.

Senator Case. How large a total force?

General Clement. This 12,000 would be within the division itself. There would be a backup of logistical support.

Senator Case. I am sorry, one division out of how many? {p.461}

General Clement. Twelve divisions. Ten numbered divisions, the airborne division, and the marine division.

Senator Case. Has that division been good all along?

General Clement. I am certain that its effectiveness has been greater in the past year than it had been previously.

Senator Case. Was it in past years better than the rest of it?

General Clement. I am not prepared to say, sir.

Senator Case. You do not know anything about that?

General Clement. I do not know its effectiveness in past years in relation to other divisions in Vietnam.

Senator Case. This didn’t spring full blown from—

General Clement. No, it had been a good division.

REASONS FOR EFFECTIVENESS OF ARVN 2D DIVISION

Senator Case. Why had it been a good division? Why has it been all along a good division?

General Clement. I say it had been a good division, but I believe it has been much better, frankly, in the past year based on its records.

Senator Case. Why was it better in the old days, why is it better now than the rest?

General Clement. A lot of it is built on success, and they have had success in combat. There is nothing better than that to have the morale go up.

Senator Case. That had to begin some time. How did it get going? What are the qualities that make it different from other divisions?

General Clement. Leadership; you can begin with that, sir.

Senator Case. In the South Vietnamese Division itself?

General Clement. Yes, sir.

The division commander is a good leader.

Senator Case. Has he been the same commander for many years?

General Clement. He has been there 2 or 2-1/2 years, sir.

Senator Case. Did this division just start being good 2 years ago?

General Clement. Sir, I would like to reserve questions on the division, if you would, for later. Colonel Wheeler is prepared to discuss the 1st Division. He is the 1st Division senior adviser.

Senator Case. He has been for some time?

General Clement. Since last July.

Senator Case. But he knows something of the history of this?

Colonel?

Colonel Wheeler. Yes, sir.

Senator Case. You do know something of this—

The Chairman. If the Senator will yield, since you are interested, the colonel has a prepared statement. Then you can go on with the questioning.

Senator Case. I do not mind a bit. I am trying to get something specific about this, rather than this tremendous amount of generality.

The Chairman. He is the adviser. He would be able to answer you on this.

Senator Case. I will be glad to reserve until later.

The Chairman. You can do it now.

Senator Case. I do not want to create a break here. I am trying to get something more useful than the repetition of the many generalities we have had before.

Go ahead. {p.462}

As you suggest, Mr. Chairman, why not let the colonel go ahead.

The Chairman. All right.

Then we will come back and you can have a go at the rest of it.

 

Testimony of
Col. Jesse L. Wheeler, Jr., U.S. Army, Senior Adviser, 1st Infantry Division, Army of the Republic of Vietnam

Colonel Wheeler. Mr. Chairman, members of the committee, I am Colonel Wheeler, senior adviser to the 1st Infantry Division, Army of the Republic of Vietnam. The 1st Infantry Division is the northernmost Vietnamese division in South Vietnam. Its area of operations is contiguous with the demilitarized zone (DMZ) and includes the two northern provinces of Quang Tri and Thua Thien. The division headquarters is located on the northeast edge of Hue.

The organization of the infantry divisions in the Army of the Republic of Vietnam and the advisory teams are basically the same, except the 1st Infantry Division has an additional organic regiment to enhance its capability to cope with the strong threat in and along the DMZ.

MISSION AND ORGANIZATION OF ARVN 1ST INFANTRY DIVISION

I will discuss briefly the organization of the 1st Infantry Division for two reasons. First, as the senior adviser, I am most familiar with this division and, second, to depict where the advisory effort is employed.

The primary mission of the division is conduct of offensive operations against the enemy in order to provide security for the people in Thua Thien and Quang Tri Provinces and to facilitate the pacification effort.

The division combat units are three regiments with four battalions each and one regiment with five battalions for a division total of 17 infantry battalions and one armed cavalry squadron. Combat support and service support units are very nearly the same as in other ARVN divisions. Normally attached to the division are armored cavalry, artillery, engineer, military police, and Navy units.

The commanding general of the 1st Infantry Division is also the senior military commander of the two northern provinces, Thua Thien and Quang Tri. There are regional force companies and popular force platoons in these two provinces with whom the division is associated.

MISSION AND ORGANIZATION OF 1ST INFANTRY DIVISION ADVISORY TEAM

The mission of the 1st Infantry Division advisory team, U.S. Military Assistance Command, Vietnam, is to provide advice and assistance in the fields of command, personnel, intelligence, operations, training, and logistics. The 1st Infantry Division advisory team has 197 officers and enlisted men, 49 of whom are staff advisers and 111 advisers with the combat units.

ROLE OF THE ADVISER

The role of the adviser has been to advise and assist the commander and his staff concerning all aspects of military operations to include {p.463} coordinating combat operations and the employment of U.S. combat support and combat service support assets. This advisory effort is changed in direct proportion to the increased tactical proficiency of the ARVN units. For example, as units become self-sufficient, the advisers are withdrawn. In the 1st Infantry Division only newly activated artillery battalions are assigned advisers. In the signal battalion and engineer battalion the advisers have been deleted.

The increase in the level of military sophistication is typified by the professional operations of the 1st Division throughout the two northern provinces, and particularly along the DMZ, in the A Shau Valley, and the coastal areas during 1968 and 1969.

The 1st Infantry Division has effectively developed professional battalion and regimental commanders and principal division staff officers to the degree comparable to U.S. units. The majority of the battalion and regimental commanders have an average of 10 years combat command experience. To a large degree, these commanders have operated within the same general geographical areas. This background experience has enabled these commanders to develop expertise in most areas of tactical employment of military forces. In view of this tactical expertise, the adviser in the 1st Infantry Division has become a consultant for plans development and coordinator of available U.S. combat support and combat service support assets. Accordingly, the emphasis of the advisory effort has been directed toward these functions. Specifically, the adviser must possess the necessary education and experience to assist in the employment of nonorganic combat support assets to complement the combat plan developed by his counterpart, that is, selection of appropriate firepower for the accomplishment of the mission and use of tactical air support, to include gunships where precise English is a requirement.

The adviser must continue to give assistance to battalion and regimental staffs. In general, these staffs lack experience and until the junior officers and NCO’s are better trained, they provide only limited assistance to the commander. Specifically, two areas that require improvement are the analysis of intelligence and intrastaff coordination. Due to the emphasis of the advisory effort in this area, marked progress is being made in their development.

In the combat service support role, demands are made upon the advisor to be knowledgeable of both U.S. and ARVN logistical systems. The adviser must be able to complement the ARVN logistical system with any unique features of the U.S. system. Additionally, adviser assistance is required in administration, maintenance of equipment, and base management.

The adviser is expected to be knowledgeable of civilian military relations and history of the local area in which the unit operates. He must be able to discuss current events and the likely impact of these events upon US/ARVN relations. He must establish personal rapport with his counterpart, which is a most essential factor in adviser-counterpart relations and which provides the necessary foundation for which mutual advice is exchanged and acted upon.

Mr. Chairman, this is a brief resume of the mission and role of the adviser and organization of the 1st ARVN Division which I am senior adviser.

The Chairman. Thank you, sir.

Senator Case? {p.464}

Senator Case. Thank you, Mr. Chairman, Colonel.

It is not necessary that I follow what the chairman said at the outset of this hearing. I think all of us are completely aware of the tremendous difficulty of the job you men have had and still have. It is for us a unique kind of operation, and questions about it are not only, as the chairman suggested based upon questions of policy but also upon whether this kind of thing can be successful.

REASONS FOR EXCELLENCE OF 1ST DIVISION

I would like to come back now to the question I did present to General Clement earlier, and address it also to you, or both of you, if you will. What is there about this 1st Division that has set it apart over the years? What sets it apart now? Besides the fact that — but you do not have to comment upon your being the adviser of it. Undoubtedly, you are responsible for a good deal of its recent excellence. But this is not new. This has been always mentioned as we have one division of the South Vietnamese Army that really is beginning to shape up. This has been going on for years. Why?

Colonel Wheeler. Sir, the 1st ARVN Division enjoys its particular prestige among all combat divisions from probably two factors. One is the leadership it has in its division commander, subordinate commanders, and the soldiers within the ranks. The soldiers within the ranks of the 1st ARVN Division are 55 percent from the Thua Thien and Quang Tri Provinces, with 45 percent of the personnel coming from other areas in Vietnam.

Senator Case. You mean they are natives of that area?

Colonel Wheeler. They are natives of those two provinces, sir. It has been my observation that the soldier of the 1st ARVN Division, be he private, NCO, or officer, understands the value and the reason why he is fighting. I think he understands the fact that those values are worth fighting for and in some cases, worth dying for because the alternatives were clearly demonstrated to him during the Tet offensive of 1968.

Senator Case. That goes back only 2 years.

Colonel Wheeler. Yes, sir.

The 1st ARVN Division, sir, was taken over by General Truong in June of 1966 at the time that the Buddhist “struggle movements” were taking place. He has built the division through flawless leadership and has made it comparable to any U.S. division.

Senator Case. Is he also the province political head?

Colonel Wheeler. No, sir; the two provinces have their own province chiefs. He is the senior military man there and as such, he is the one who is responsible for the security of both provinces. He does not usurp their prerogatives of direct operational command of the PF and RF forces. However, he does include these forces in his planning and deployment for the security of the division tactical area components of his overall operational force.

Senator Case. Now, when he took over in 1966, what shape was the 1st Division in?

Colonel Wheeler. The division at that particular moment, sir, was not in the best state of morale because it was torn by the Catholic and the Buddhist factions. {p.465}

Senator Case. The factor that you mentioned earlier, that half of them or more come from the two provinces in which they are actively operating, that was still effective then; was it not?

Colonel Wheeler. Would you state the question again, please sir?

Senator Case. In 1966, though they were torn between the Catholics and the Buddhists and had other difficulties, they were still men from those two provinces; were they not?

Colonel Wheeler. They were, but I do not know the percentage, sir.

Senator Case. Do you think that percentage has increased?

Colonel Wheeler. I cannot say, sir.

Senator Case. Have you any reason to think it has increased?

Colonel Wheeler. I would think probably that it has increased to some extent, sir, since the recruitment for the division is primarily within those two provinces now.

Senator Case. Now, is this a unique factor applicable or attributable to this division as opposed to other divisions in which personnel do not come from the areas in which they are operating?

Colonel Wheeler. I do not know what percentage the other divisions have of personnel from their own local areas, sir. They all receive trainees from the nationalist training centers.

Senator Case. Including the 1st?

Colonel Wheeler. Including the 1st, sir.

UNIQUENESS OF GENERAL TRUONG

Senator Case. Now, as to the leadership, apart from the commander, the military commander, who is unique in your experience, is he in leadership, is he unusually good?

Colonel Wheeler. Yes, sir, he is.

Senator Case. Why is he unusually good?

Colonel Wheeler. Sir, he is a very competent individual, with an extraordinary amount of ability and intelligence. He has a very keen and analytical mind. He takes his job seriously. He is on the job 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 31 days a month.

Senator Case. Is he independent of Saigon?

Colonel Wheeler. No, sir; he is under the command of the I Corps commander, who in turn answers to JCS.

Senator Case. Is he one of the group who we sometimes talk about as the military leader, the real leadership of Vietnam, to which we—

Colonel Wheeler. Yes, sir; he does enjoy prestige from all quarters, both from Vietnamese and allied officials.

Senator Case. No. I am talking about is he one of the group of military commanders who are supposed to be the boys who really run the show?

Colonel Wheeler. I am not sure what you are speaking of here, sir. All I can say is that he devotes his primary effort to the war in the 11th Division Tactical Area which is his assigned responsibility. I will say that he assiduously avoids political involvement, although he does enjoy equal prestige, whether they be political leaders or otherwise.

Senator Case. What I am trying to get at is does he have unique qualities in his personality and his characteristics which give him the qualities to give leadership? What are the — I know you are trying to answer, but I am trying to find out why he is unique, why we do not have a dozen leaders of this kind thrown up in the process. How did he get to the top? {p.466}

Colonel Wheeler. Sir, a brief history of General Truong — he graduated from My Tho College in 1953 and attended Officer Candidate School at the Thu Doc Military School from which he graduated in 1954.

Senator Case. This is when the French were there?

Colonel Wheeler. That is correct, sir. Upon graduation he was commissioned a second lieutenant and assigned to the Airborne Division.

Senator Case. Was he a member of the mandarin class?

Colonel Wheeler. Not that I know of, sir.

Senator Case. Do you happen to know what his family background is?

Colonel Wheeler. He comes from the Kien Hoa Province, south of Saigon.

Senator Case. He is a southerner?

Colonel Wheeler. Yes, sir.

Senator Case. A Buddhist?

Colonel Wheeler. Yes, sir.

Senator Case. Please go on.

Colonel Wheeler. From the date of his commissioning until 1966 he served exclusively with the airborne division in all positions from platoon leader to deputy division commander. In June 1966, he became the commander of the 1st ARVN Division. His demonstrated leadership qualities were those associated with a professional of the military art. Furthermore they were achieved through his own efforts.

Senator Case. Why do we not have more of them? You know, I know this is part of your problem.

Colonel Wheeler. I am sure, sir, that there are others who are very competent, too.

General Clement. There are some coming along the line. There are good division commanders.

Senator Case. Out of 12?

General Clement. Yes, sir.

Senator Case. That is pretty — well, I mean not in very large proportions, is it, after almost 20 years of our military advisory effort?

General Clement. No, sir.

Of course, we have singled out the 1st Division. Colonel Wheeler is the senior adviser. This happens to be probably the outstanding commander. He is well up there. There are others that are very good, very fine commanders. The one I worked with in the 2d Division is very fine.

Senator Case. Where is that?

General Clement. That division is also in I Corps, just south of the 1st Division.

Senator Case. Running down to—

General Clement. Quang Ngal and Quangtin Provinces.

ESTIMATE OF 1ST DIVISION

The Chairman. I wonder if the Senator would allow me to read a story? It is on this subject. This is a story dated December 30 in the Christian Science Monitor. It contains an article by George Ashworth about the 1st Division:

The Americans have obviously tried to give the 1st the best of everything, as one would a precocious, favored son. {p.467}

He says:

The 1st not only is the best, but it is the largest South Vietnamese Division, with 19 maneuver battalions and a total strength of 21,000, including attachments of armored and other units. Other divisions are about half that size.

It talks about General Truong. It says, among other things, that he looks after his people. It says there is a commissary at which soldiers and their families can buy rice and other staples at well under the market level. Troops whose families are near are allowed time off, generally once a month, to go see them.

The article says:

Naturally, there are flaws in the 1st. There is a lack of depth in leadership. All enlisted leaders receive special training at the division’s training center, but some important staff positions remain unfilled, probably for lack of anyone the General cares to appoint. ...

But the question remains whether Saigon will have enough units as good as the 1st when the moment of crisis approaches ... One shining example, such as the 1st, may not be enough.

This is the Christian Science Monitor which, as you know, is a rather reliable newspaper, if there is one according to the modern day.

What would you say about Mr. Ashworth’s estimate of the 1st Division?

Colonel Wheeler. I would say his estimate, sir, is very accurate. I have met Mr. Ashworth on several occasions.

The Chairman. Then the conclusion would be that the 1st is by no means a typical division. It is the outstanding division of the whole ARVN Army; is it not?

Colonel Wheeler. I have no way of judging the other divisions, sir.

The Chairman. I see. I should not ask you that. I withdraw the question. That is what Mr. Ashworth and other people say. Being the senior adviser, I can see why you would not want to make a self-serving statement like that. I am sure General Clement, being there on the stand with you, would not want to, either, unless he wishes to volunteer that.

General Clement. No, sir, I would not wish to comment on that.

UNEVENESS OF PERFORMANCE OF ARVN FORCES

The Chairman. This is to Colonel Wheeler, too. Following that up on January 12 of this year, there was a panel discussion on national educational television among several reporters in Vietnam. In commenting on Vietnamization, Mr. Beach of the Chicago Daily News, who I believe has been out there longer than any and is very well acquainted in the area, said:

Well, the performance by the ARVN forces, and I will include the regional and popular forces in ARVN, has been very, very spotty. They have done very badly in some places and they have done very well in others. You can prove anything you want to, really, by going to a given area. You can prove that they are doing beautifully here and you can prove that they are doing simply horribly there. And that is that. It has always been true of this war.

Would you say that is a rather inaccurate statement, General?

General Clement. Sir, I would say there is bound to be unevenness in performance in all units.

The Chairman. Yes.

General Clement. And I think he may have overdrawn the case somewhat. {p.468}

 

The Chairman. You think he has, Colonel? Has he overdrawn the case?

Colonel Wheeler. I can only speak of my area, sir, I can say that the lowlands of the 11th Division tactical area are currently, and have been since last summer, secured by the RF and the PF units. The combat units and the combat support units of the 1st ARVN Division are employed in the Piedmont and the jungle areas where the NVA are located.

Senator Case. How long has the 1st Division been up there, operating where it is now?

Colonel Wheeler. The 1st ARVN Division, sir, has been there since its activation in 1955.

Senator Case. So from recent history, in recent history, it has been there all the time?

Colonel Wheeler. Yes, sir.

NUMBER OF AMERICAN TROOPS IN 1ST CORPS AREA

The Chairman. How many American troops are in that 1st Corps area compared to the ARVN troops?

Colonel Wheeler. I do not have a figure on the total American troops in the I Corps area.

General Clement. I don’t have a figure. We have a unit, sir; it is a Marine division.

The Chairman. Don’t you know how many men and arms are in the 1st Corps area?

Don’t you know, General?

General Clement. I am just wondering if I should provide the exact number or give you a ball park figure, sir.

The Chairman. Do you think this involves security?

General Clement. Yes, sir.

The Chairman. Why don’t you say so? Say you know, but don’t want to tell us in open session. That is the proper answer. Don’t say you don’t know. You leave the impression that you came all the way from Vietnam and don’t know anything to talk about. We can talk about it in executive if that is the way you feel. I did not assume it is any secret, but if it is, all right. That is your privilege.

Senator Case?

HELICOPTER SUPPORT FOR 1ST ARVN DIVISION

Senator Case. What percentage of the helicopter support comes from the Vietnamese force in the 1st Corps, the 1st Vietnamese—

Colonel Wheeler. The 1st ARVN Division helicopter support provided by the Vietnamese Air Force is about 20 to 25 percent, sir.

Senator Case. Of the support that that division is given in operations?

Colonel Wheeler. Yes, sir.

Senator Case. Has that markedly increased from what it was when you first went there?

Colonel Wheeler. Yes, sir.

At that time, we did not have support for the 1st ARVN Division provided by the Vietnamese Air Force. A helicopter unit became operational in October 1969 and that unit has provided some support to us on a daily basis for resupply and for combat assaults. {p.469}

Senator Case. Do they have a gunship helicopter?

Colonel Wheeler. No, sir, they do not.

The Chairman. I don’t understand. Are you talking about helicopters that first—

Senator Case. I am talking about Vietnamese helicopter support by the Vietnamese.

The Chairman. Do you mean how many they have that are not ours?

Senator Case. Well, I want to find out what percentage they are supplying of their own helicopter support.

The Chairman. I could not follow the answer.

Senator Case. I thought it was about 20 to 25 percent.

The Chairman. Of what?

Colonel Wheeler. I understand the question concerns the total amount of helicopter support that is employed or used by the 1st ARVN Division and what percentage of that is provided by the VNAF.

Senator Case. That is right.

Colonel Wheeler. I stated 20 to 25 percent.

The Chairman. Seventy-five percent by Americans.

Colonel Wheeler. Yes, sir.

The Chairman. Oh, I didn’t understand.

Senator Case. And none of that VNAF-furnished support is fighter ships?

Colonel Wheeler. No, sir. VNAF has no helicopter gunships at this time.

Senator Case. What is the plan and prospect for that?

Colonel Wheeler. I do not have the information on that, sir.

Senator Case. That comes from the Vietnamese Air Force, I take it? This is all a matter of central ARVN control?

Colonel Wheeler. Yes, sir, and we do get tactical air, both United States and VNAF.

The Chairman. How many helicopters does the 1st have?

Colonel Wheeler. The 1st ARVN Division does not have any organic helicopters, sir.

The Chairman. Oh, it does not have any?

Colonel Wheeler. No, sir.

Senator Case. So your training operation does not include any training in helicopter, even for support?

Colonel Wheeler. No, sir.

Senator Case. Even for support as opposed to fighting?

Colonel Wheeler. Our training includes the utilization of helicopters for combat assault and combat resupply missions.

Senator Case. That is furnished by 75 percent Americans or 75 or 80, and 20 to 25 supplied by the Vietnamese Army?

Colonel Wheeler. Yes, sir.

Senator Case. How long do you think it would be before — you are not prepared, I guess, to say how the Vietnamese Air Force is coming along in its training, are you? You would have to get that from some other place?

Colonel Wheeler. Yes, sir.

Senator Case. This kind of support objective is still central to the operations as you conceive that they will be carried on, continue to be carried on?

Colonel Wheeler. Yes, sir. {p.470}

 

NECESSITY OF HELICOPTER SUPPORT

Senator Case. You need helicopter support? It is essential, I take it?

Colonel Wheeler. It is essential to the combat operations there as long as the situation remains as it is now, sir.

Senator Case. Will you tell me why it is essential? The North Vietnamese-Vietcong operations have never had this kind of support. Why do we have to have it?

Colonel Wheeler. Sir, the location of the enemy in the area in which the division is employed requires that we have the necessary combat support. Here I am speaking of the artillery, to support the infantry units that are employed into the jungle and mountain areas. To move artillery in where there are no roads we use the helicopters.

Senator Case. I know you do. But the North Vietnamese do not have that. How do they get around?

Colonel Wheeler. The North Vietnamese, sir, do not employ fire power from the type artillery weapons that we do.

UNITED STATES INFLUENCE ON SOUTH VIETNAMESE WARFARE TACTICS

Senator Case. Of course, what I am getting at, Colonel, is this other question as to whether we have corrupted the tactics of the South Vietnamese in the war and tried to make it a war in which we fight our way and try to make them fight it in that way. I wish more comment on this thing. I again am not being critical, but this comment has been made many times, that we have not only taken the war over ourselves and fought it as I expect anybody given a job would want American forces to do, but that we have made it impossible by disabling the South Vietnames {sic: Vietnamese} from the kind of warfare they would be able to carry on any other time. What do you say about that?

Colonel Wheeler. I would say, sir, in this case, we do not have advisers in the artillery units. They are competent, fully capable, and do employ their artillery without the assistance of advisers.

Senator Case. That is a very interesting observation, but it does not really go to the question.

General?

General Clement. Sir, I think we should talk of air mobility tactics since this sort of personifies what we have there. One of the biggest reasons for the success we have had is because of the air mobility concept. This allowed us to get to places we had never been before, that the French had never been in before. Unfortunately, the French did not have this amount of helicopter support. We did. We have been able to move into the war zone C, war zone D, in and out as the enemy evaporated. This meant we could bring pressure on the enemy in places he had never had it before. We could make him move from his base areas. We could operate on his supply lines. This was a tremendous thing.

We first tried it out here in Fort Benning, Ga., and brought it over under General Kinnard and it made a tremendous difference from the very beginning.

Senator Case. I am not advocating that we have tied our men’s hands, our forces hands at all. That is not the point.

General Clement. No, sir.

Senator Case. The point is have we made it impossible for the South Vietnamese to fight the way they have always fought and know how to fight? {p.471}

General Clement. Let me come back to that and try to paint a picture of the enemy concept and the helicopter per se. It has been a tremendous thing. You mentioned the NVA and the fact that they do not have them. They would love to have them, I am sure.

We talk about the Vietnamese. We have trained them, yes, in the use of helicopters. Many of these combat assaults that Colonel Wheeler described are ARVN. These are Vietnamese soldiers out there, understanding how to be air mobile, understanding the use of the helicopter, how to do things with it. Yes, I think a certain percentage of helicopters ought to be retained by the Vietnamese.

Now, you come to the balance of how many should be retained. The ARVN is not a mirror image army by any means. It is a much slimmer army than ours. Its divisions are not as heavily armed as ours. There would not be as many helicopters as there are in our army, obviously. Certainly air mobility is a concept which should not be forgotten and which they should keep. How much is a question of trade-offs.

IS UNITED STATES SUPPLYING CRUTCH TO SOUTH VIETNAMESE?

Senator Case. Of course, I am not, again, trying to say how much they should have. All I am trying to say is are they getting to the point where they can take this job on themselves or are we in a sense, with the very best purpose in the world, making it impossible for them to do this by giving them this crutch and supplying this crutch which, when it is taken away, whether this year, 10 years from now, will make them unable to do the job?

General Clement. Sir, I believe that you maybe paint the crutch a little bit too heavily. I do not believe it is that much of a crutch. It is another facet, another weapon to be used, a different tactical employment to be used.

These commanders we are talking about are seasoned commanders — General Truong, for example, and most of the others — they have been at war for a long time. They understand the use of this measure. If it is taken away, there is another way to do it. They can always do it the way they did it before, which would take longer, perhaps, but given the enemy threat, this is what you are always concerned with.

Senator Case. I think I have just summed up the testimony that General Wheeler has given. I take it that you would pretty much agree, you are not prepared to talk about the prospects for self-sufficiency on the part of the Vietnamese Air Force, neither one of you.

General Clement. No, sir.

PROSPECTS FOR 1ST DIVISION OPERATION WITHOUT U.S. SUPPORT

Senator Case. That is involved here. You are prepared to say that in the north, these two northern provinces in the 1st Division area, the South Vietnamese Army is coming along so that it will be able to handle itself and make use of the kind of support that it is getting now and I feel we have come to lead them to think is necessary. So they will be able to take this on increasingly themselves and use it tactically and operationally. You are satisfied with this, that you could let them go fairly soon and they could run the show themselves, with the outside support, of course, especially the air support that we are now providing. {p.472}

Colonel Wheeler. Yes, sir. The staff of the 1st ARVN Division at the present time does plan by itself tactical operations, and the use of any support which we can provide, to accomplish whatever tactical plan the division commander directs.

Senator Case. In other words, now, may I broaden this just a little bit? If the rest of the Vietnamese Army could do this, we could pull out tomorrow except for support.

Colonel Wheeler. Sir, that goes beyond my purview.

Senator Case. What about you, General?

General Clement. No, sir, and I think you paint the picture, a little too strongly for the I Corps area. There are a lot of enemy up in I Corps, and there always have been. Quang Ngai Province, I am sure you recognize, has always been one of the most difficult provinces. It still is. The units here have to cover these areas where the enemy may be found. So this problem of where the enemy may be found is a very sensitive problem.

The Chairman. Will the Senator yield?

Senator Case. Yes.

The Chairman. How long do you think it will be before the 1st Division can operate completely independently without U.S. helicopter, artillery, and other support? How long do you think it will be before it can operate on its own.

Colonel Wheeler. Mr. Chairman, an answer to that particular question would certainly consider the intentions of the enemy. I would not at this time be in a position to state what those intentions are.

The Chairman. I assume that there has been the assumption that their intention was not the friendliest and that there would be some conflict. I did not mean that they could operate with no war at all. I assumed that with the known attitude of the North Vietnamese.

If you cannot answer, that is all right.

ATTITUDE OF U.S. SOLDIERS IN VIETNAM

I would like to go back to a question. You said a moment ago that one reason why the 1st Division was so good is that the soldier in the 1st understands what he is fighting for and he believes in it and that is why he is the best soldier. Is that about what you said?

Colonel Wheeler. Yes, sir.

The Chairman. Can you say that about the American soldiers there too?

Colonel Wheeler. Those that I have observed, yes, sir.

The Chairman. General, do you feel the same way about that?

General Clement. I think generally, yes, sir.

The Chairman. I wanted to examine you a bit on that. There have been a number of news stories in recent months concerning the growing disillusionment of American servicemen in Vietnam with the war. I will put a number of these in the record, but I would just ask you about a few excerpts from them.

The following from an article in the Washington Evening Star describes the problem in this way. These are Americans they are talking about and I quote:

“Soldiers do not seem to care particularly which ‘gooks’ finally win the war — ‘our gooks’ or ‘their gooks.’ To the American slogging through the rice paddies and jungles, under blazing sun or monsoon {p.473} rain, all Vietnamese are ‘gooks,’ whether fighting for the Communists or the Saigon Government.

“The widespread use of the term ‘gook’, a leftover of World War II and the Korean conflict, reflects the repugnance and aversion of most soldiers toward the citizens of the country they are ordered to defend.

“The term, spoken with contempt, hatred, or simple resignation, simplifies a contradiction between attitude of the average ‘grunt’ or infantryman and that of American officials still intent on ‘winning the hearts and minds of the populace.’”

Would you comment on that statement? This is by Donald Kirk, Asia Correspondent of the Washington Star.

General Clement. If I could just make a brief comment, sir, from experience serving with the American troops, in the 23d Division, I would not say that at all.

The Chairman. You would not?

General Clement. I think their attitude, their morale, their dedication, was pretty outstanding.

The Chairman. You would not agree with that at all?

General Clement. No, sir.

The Chairman. You think they know what they are fighting for?

General Clement. I think they do; yes, sir.

FOR WHAT IS THE UNITED STATES FIGHTING IN VIETNAM?

The Chairman. I wish you would make as clear as you can what you think they think they are fighting for?

General Clement. I would rather not speak about what they think they are fighting for. I can tell you what I think I am fighting for.

The Chairman. All right.

General Clement. I am fighting for what we first of all do recognize as a Communist threat. This has been over our heads for a number of years.

The Chairman. You speak for yourself, not with “we.” You go ahead and say what you think you find.

General Clement. We have encountered Communists on the battlefield, we have taken them under fire, and we feel that the counttry {sic: country} for which we are fighting, and with whose soldiers we are fighting, is making great strides toward becoming a nation on its own, self-determined, and that this is why we are doing it.

The Chairman. You say you have encountered many of these Communists. Have you?

General Clement. I say in battles, engagements.

The Chairman. What is it about the Communists that you think justifies the effort that we are making?

General Clement. Sir, I would prefer not to get into a lengthy political discussion about the communists.

The Chairman. The reason this question was prompted is that the Colonel says the reason the ARVN 1st Division is so good is that they know what they are fighting for. They understand it and they believe in it.

It sems {sic: seems} to me it is a legitimate question to ask an American what he is fighting for and why he believes it and why it is so important.

There are contradictions, you see. There are Communists in Cuba, for example, only 90 miles away from America. If it is important and {p.474} the only reason you are fighting there is because these are Communists and therefore they are evil and should be eradicated, why do we not fight in Cuba? This is the kind of question I am asked. I get letters from constituents all the time and this question has been a recurring one.

If I understand you, the reason we are fighting there is because we are fighting Communists. Is that correct?

General Clement. And another reason, sir; and probably the biggest one, is that our Nation has decided that that is where military forces will be committed by the United States. I am an officer and that is where I am going when I am sent there. I think that is where the forces do really go, sir. When they are sent, they go and they do a tremendous job.

The Chairman. I think that is a different kind of answer. You are there because you are a military man and you have been ordered there to fight for your country; is that right?

General Clement. Yes, sir; and I also have belief.

The Chairman. I think this is legitimate, too. I have inquired with both of them. They are both legitimate and I do not quarrel with them. I am just trying to elucidate it.

This article in the Washington Star is certainly not the last word.

ATTITUDE OF U.S. SOLDIERS IN VIETNAM

I have another article here from South Vietnam, “Every Boy, U.S.A.” This is apparently an interview with an American soldier. It says,

“His name is Roy Miles. He came to Vietnam last February, a fresh-faced, rosy-cheeked kid, fully prepared to fight honorably for his country’s ideal. There have been some changes since then.”

He is very disillusioned with the war. This is a quote from an interview by a man named Arnold Abrams in Saigon, carried in the February 12, 1970, Far Eastern Economic Review. He quotes Mr. Miles, saying,

“‘I’ve seen a lot of things and done a lot of thinking since I got here. * * * I feel as if I’ve been used. Nothing I’ve seen or heard about the way we’ve been doing things, and why, makes any sense.’ If the United States was supposed to save South Vietnam, he said, ‘How come we are starting to pull out now? Everyone knows the South Vietnamese can’t make it by themselves.’ He added: And if it’s not really so important to save this country, why did we get involved in the first place — and what do we say to the parents of the 40,000 guys who have been killed?’

“This was no hippie, draft dodger, or dissenter spouting rhetorical questions. This was, if such a thing still exists, Every Boy, U.S.A.; a clean-cut, right-thinking, relatively unsophisticated, Midwestern youth who has served and suffered as a soldier, seen others die, and now asks why. Nobody, he said, has supplied a satisfactory answer.

“Miles’ feelings are as representative of American troop morale in Vietnam as sentiments of the so-called Silent Majority are of prevailing public opinion in the United States. He is neither hawk nor dove; just disillusioned and disgusted.”

 

There are other articles. I am going to put all the articles in the record.

(The information referred to follows:) {p.475}

______________________

[From the Washington Evening Star, Nov. 9, 1969]

“LET THEM FIGHT IT OUT” — GROWING GI DISILLUSION CASTS DOUBT ON MORALE CLAIMS

(By Donald Kirk)

SAIGON.— The worn-out cliche of generals and master sergeants that “morale over here is great” no longer seems to apply to men in the field.

Unlike the veterans of previous tours in Vietnam, many of those here now say the United States should get out — as quickly as possible. “Leave it to the gooks to fight it out between themselves” is a typical comment

Soldiers do not seem to care particularly which “gooks” finally win the war — “our gooks” or “their gooks.” To the Americans slogging through the rice paddies and jungles, under blazing sun or monsoon rain, all Vietnamese are “gooks” whether fighting for the Communists or the Saigon government.

The widespread use of the term “gook,” a leftover of World War II and the Korean conflict, reflects the repugnance and aversion of most soldiers toward the citizens of the country they are ordered to defend.

The term, spoken with contempt, hatred or simple resignation, symbolizes a contradiction between the attitude of the average “grunt” or infantryman and that of American officials still intent on “winning the hearts and minds of the populace.”

SENSE OF FUTILITY

The reasons for GI opposition to the war range from lack of support at home for what they are doing to a sense of futility in patrolling the same patch of jungle day in and day out without any prospect of real victory.

Some soldiers express support for antiwar demonstrators at home, but many despise the demonstrators and center their discontent on the failure of the United States to throw all of its resources into winning a military victory.

Whatever the reasons, however, the prevalent GI attitude now goes far beyond routine complaints against authority or personal hardship.

“It’s a crazy war,” mused Spc. 4 Charles Rose, resting in the back of an armored personnel carrier in between patrols from a firebase operated by the 25th Infantry Division some 30 miles northwest of here. “It ain’t really worthwhile.”

To Rose, like many of the other soldiers interviewed at firebases around the country, one of the most disillusioning realizations was that the Vietnamese did not like the Americans.

“We went to a village and we asked the people some questions,” said Rose, a 20-year-old former farm boy.”All they said was, ‘Who’s VC?’ They acted like they never heard of them. The people don’t give a damn for us.”

GI’s often are not aware that the VC will threaten and possibly kill villagers who provide them with information, but the sense of hostiliy {sic: hostility} also is manifest in plainly “friendly” areas.

Outside the bases taxi-drivers, soft-drink vendors and the like wait to charge unsuspecting soldiers five or 10 times the going prices for their services.

“These people are just out for our money,” was a typical GI observation. “They want us to fight for them,” observed one soldier, “and then they’ll take us for all they can while we’re here. That’s all they care about.”

“If they don’t want us to help them, now’s the time to go home,” said Pfc. Ronald Dorsey, 21, a radio operator from Atlanta, Ga. “As long as the people don’t want us here, I don’t think we should be here.”

The inbred Vietnamese suspicion of foreigners, whether Americans, French, Chinese or Japanese, does not seem to puzzle the troops so much, however, as the opposition to the war in the United States.

DISSENT LOUD

Despite occasional efforts by Armed Forces Radio in Saigon to downplay criticism of the war. the message of dissent at home gets through loud and clear to the men in the field. They hear reports of anti-war statements by senators and demonstrations by students.

Soldiers two, three and four years ago almost unanimously viewed such reports with disdain and disgust. To the men who were then fighting the war, the demonstrators “back in the world” were “draftdodgers” who were too frightened to go to the war themselves. {p.476}

Many Americans here still hew to this view, but many others now applaud the antiwar dissidents. “They should keep on demonstrating,” said one soldier. “Then maybe we’ll all get to go home.”

“If I was there, I’d join ’em,” remarked a 22-year-old sergeant, James O. Smith of San Diego. “The demonstrations are ‘No. 1.’ I don’t think half the people here believe in this war.”

Pfc. Robert Jones, 19, countered that the demonstrations would not “help the cause” even if war was pointless. “They won’t get us out of here any faster,” he said, “and they might just encourage the gooks to fight harder against us.”

To Jones, a native of Memphis, the central question was whether or not the United States planned to fight to the finish or merely maintain a stalemate.

RISKS CAUSE GRIPES

“I can see the point in the war to fight to win,” he said. “If the war is to stop communism, I’d a lot rather stop it in Vietnam than somewhere else. But I can’t see any reason for just fighting it half way.”

The “half-way” nature of the war ranks as easily the greatest complaint among those soldiers who might support it as long as the United States had any intention of winning.

The most frequent gripe among infantrymen is they must risk their lives patrolling rice paddies and jungles designated as “no-fire zones” by their superiors. The reason for this designation in most cases is plain enough: artillery and bombs might kill and wound civilians and do more to injure than help the allied cause.

To the average GI, however, this reasoning makes little sense, particularly when some “civilians” turn out to be enemy soldiers or informants. And many of the troops are even less convinced of restrictions on going into enemy base areas along the Cambodian border.

“This war will always be just a stalemate,” observed a GI in a battalion of the 1st Air Cavalry Division, responsible for covering the jungles of War Zone C along the frontier “Either we should invade Cambodia or go back home. There’s no middle course.”

The sense of puzzlement, frustration and bitterness permeates the attitudes of young officers as well as enlisted men. It is not uncommon these days to find lieutenants and captains expressing complete agreement with the “antiwar” views of some of the troops beneath them.

WAR BELIEF SHAKEN

A lieutenant at a 25th Division fire base singled out a visiting reporter and advised him “None of the men here believe in this war.”

The lieutenant claimed only the Regular Army officers — career men — were enthusiastic about fighting much longer.

“Don’t believe what they tell you,” the lieutenant remarked when his superior officers were out of hearing. “We’re just here because we have no choice and for no other reason.”

Like the enlisted men, however, officers present a wide variety of views. “Personally, I think we should nuke ’em (hit with nuclear weapons),” remarked a second lieutenant in the 1st Cavalry Division. “We should have increased the bombing of North Vietnam and not have stopped it. That was the worst mistake of the war.”

Amid these conflicting viewpoints, a significant number of officers and men also support the present policy of the administration of gradual withdrawal of American troops and “replacement” of them by Vietnamese units.

“It’s their country, their weather, their insects.” remarked Pfc. Francis McCarten, 20, of New York. “They can speak to anyone they meet. Anything the VC can do, they can do. If they thought it was their war, then they would fight it.”

“Leave it to the gooks to fight for themselves,” was the advice of a lieutenant who had led a platoon in War Zone C. “It’s their country. They know that jungle better than we do. We’re lost there.”

Despite the general decline in troop morale, virtually no soldier admitted his personal attitude and views had affected his performance. “It hasn’t reached that point yet,” said a member of an artillery crew, “because we know we only have so much time to do here, and we just mark off the days on our calendars.

Other factors also tend to keep soldiers from refusing orders or openly rebelling. Helicopters fly hot food and mail out to the field. Post exchanges sell luxury goods as well as practical necessities at all major installations. Even on small artillery bases the troops get two cans of beer a day. {p.477}

6-DAY LEAVES

And then, in the middle of his tour in Vietnam, every GI goes on a six-day leave in one of the nightclub- and girl-filled cities of Asia and even to Honolulu or Australia. No other country in history has offered this kind of diversion or spent so much to please the troops.

GI’s remark, as do students at home, that the United States is the place to fight “the real war” against America’s problems. To some of these soldiers, however, the enemies when they return home will not be the generals who wanted them to fight in Vietnam but the youth who demanded an end to hostilities.

“We’re fighting the wrong enemy,” said a 19-year-old foot-soldier who graduated from high school in June of last year. “I think we should go back to the States and turn some of these weapons and helicopters against these demonstrators. We should take care of that problem before going ahead and fighting another war overseas.”

______________________

[From the Far Eastern Economic Review, Feb. 12, 1970]

SOUTH VIETNAM: EVERYBODY USA

(By Arnold Abrams)

A year in Vietnam had left its mark on the kid’s face, but had not erased the American Midwestern wholesomeness from his features. This was his first Saigon visit after 10 months in the field, and he was absorbing the city with wide-eyed wonder, in no hurry to rejoin his unit.

“My god, the girls,” he said. “I’ve never seen such girls. So beautiful — and the clothes they wear. Never seen anything like this in my whole life.” Understandably. His whole life had taken up all of 19-1/2 years, most of which were spent in Delavan, Wisconsin, a tiny town about 45 miles from Milwaukee. Not many Delavan girls wear Vietnamese ao-dais.

His name is Roy Miles. He came to Vietnam last February, a fresh-faced, rosy-cheeked kid fully prepared to fight honourably for his country’s ideals. There have been some changes since then.

There were, to start, the physical things: Miles’ nose was deeply ridged and spread across more of his face than before, the result of his detonating an enemy land mine while driving an armoured personnel carrier with the U.S. 1st Division north of Saigon. Then there was his hearing. It was off, due to a cracked eardrum caused by the boom of a B-40 rocket slamming into the rear of his carrier on another occasion.

Still, one of his companions had been killed and 10 others cut up in those incidents, so Miles really had no cause to complain about physical ailments. But more than battle bruises were bothering him, for time and medical care would heal those. His other anguish, however, was another matter: there is no known cure for disillusionment.

Miles had joined the army several months after graduating from Delavan High School in June, 1968. He had been an average student with no specific vocational aims, and had enlisted after killing time in two meaningless factory jobs.

Having respect for his parents, and noting their pride in his older brother, a military policeman stationed in the States, he had listened when his father spoke about love of country and fulfilment of obligations.

Miles knew nothing about Vietnam, but trusted his father, a police officer. He came to believe a worthy national cause was involved here, and that he should make whatever contribution he could.

Miles was ordered to Vietnam after completing basic and advanced infantry training. There was no time to return home. He phoned the news to his parents. “I don’t think they had ever got themselves to believe I’d be sent to Vietnam.” he said. “My mother cried when I told her. Still, their last words to me were that I should be a good soldier.”

He hit the mine six weeks after arriving. He was in hospital several weeks and then went back into action even though the smashed bone structure in his nose impeded normal breathing. “The doctors said I’d eventually have to get an operation,” he said, “but that in the meantime. I was in good enough shape to go back. I didn’t argue. I went.”

It is different with Miles now. He thinks he was a sucker. “I’ve seen a lot of things and done a lot of thinking since I got here,” he said, “and I feel as if I’ve been used. Nothing I’ve seen or heard about the way we’ve been doing things, and why, makes any sense.” {p.478}

 

If the US was supposed to save South Vietnam, he said, “how come we’re starting to pull out now? Everyone knows the South Vietnamese can’t make it by themselves.” He added: “And if it’s not really so important to save this country, why did we get involved here in the first place — and what do we say to the parents of the 40,000 guys who’ve been killed?”

This was no hippie, draft-dodger or dissenter spouting rhetorical questions. This was, if such a thing still exists, Everyboy USA: a clean-cut, right-thinking, relatively unsophisticated Midwestern youth who has served and suffered as a soldier, seen others die, and now asks why. Nobody, he said, has supplied a satisfactory answer.

Miles’ feelings are as representative of American troop morale in Vietnam as sentiments of the so-called Silent Majority are of prevailing public opinion in the US. He is neither hawk nor dove; just disillusioned and disgusted.

This boy’s case has deep implications, for there is mounting evidence of a malaise spreading through American troop ranks in Vietnam. Dissent here is generally attributed to the growing number of college educated youths pulled into service.

However, behind this articulate, protest-oriented minority, are many Boy Miles: farm boys and factory workers who do not wear beads, smoke pot or paint peace posters — but who are, nevertheless, increasingly intolerant of a seemingly senseless situation.

What will he say about Vietnam to the folks back in Delavan, particularly his parents? “I really don’t know. Maybe nothing.” Then he added: “My father feels ‘my country, right or wrong.’ I once did too. But going through something like this changes your mind. America is my country, yes. But when it’s wrong, it’s wrong, and something should be done to correct it. People shouldn’t let 40,000 guys get killed and not know why.”

He doesn’t sympathize with all the aims of peace demonstrators back home. “But I think they’ve done some good. I think they’ve made the point to the President and the American people that the United States can be wrong.”

What would he say now about Vietnam to a draft-age son? “I don’t think I’d say anything,” he said. “I’d let him make up his own mind. He’d understand.” Miles, due home later this month, wonders if his own father will understand.

______________________

[From the New York Times, Aug. 4, 1969]

MANY GI's DISILLUSIONED ON WAR BUT ESPRIT DE CORPS APPEARS EXCELLENT IN MOST UNITS

(By B. Drummond Ayres Jr.)

SAIGON, South Vietnam.— It was 2:25 A.M. and the moon over Landing Zone Center was high, too high for night ambushes. But the private from Phoenix had his orders.

He slung a belt of machinegun ammunition over each shoulder and wrapped a third around his waist. Then he smeared his face and hands with camouflage grease paint.

As he worked, he offered a running commentary on the war.

“If you’ll look closely,” he said, “you’ll see some beads and a peace symbol under all of this ammo. I may look like Pancho Villa on the outside but on the inside I’m nothing but a peacenik.

“I fight because that’s the only way to stay alive out here in the boonies. I don’t believe this war is necessary. I just work hard at surviving so I can go home and protest all this killing.”

He picked up his rifle, slid in a fresh magazine, slammed home a round and trudged off into the moonlit paddies stretching toward nearby Danang.

There are many United States soldiers in South Vietnam today who lack an ideological commitment to the war, though not all wear beads or threaten to march after discharge. But even though many voice disillusion with the war — either because they view it as unnecessary or because they feel it is not worth fighting under the present rules and circumstances — morale remains high.

‘ONLY WANT TO STAY ALIVE’

Why do these men continue to fight and die? What carried them to Apbia Mountain? Or made them stick it out at Benhet? {p.479}

Conversations with scores of infantrymen throughout the country over the last several months have produced a number of answers. Most are variations on the Arizonian’s theme that “I fight because that’s the only way to stay alive.”

To Sgt. William Simpson, a 28-year-old reconnaissance expert from Catlett, Va., the war has not “real” meaning. After completing a recent helicopter assault in which four enemy soldiers were killed, he said:

“I’m a volunteer but this war has become only a job to me. If we’re going to fight we ought to fight and not play around with a lot of sanctuaries and lulls and pauses. You could believe in the war if you could really fight it.

“As it is, I just do my job as well as I can because it’s death to let up. But I don’t have to like my working conditions.”

Specialist 4 Kenneth McParland, a 21-year-old infantryman from Rock Valley, Iowa, does not care about the war “except that it interrupted things and I want to get out and go home.”

During a break between patrols, he said: “I’m part of a squad. I pull my share of the load. The other fellows don’t let me goof off and I don’t let them goof off. It’s the only way to stay alive.”

‘BIG PAIN IN THE NECK’

To Private First Class Edward Stich, a 20-year-old rifleman from Queens, the war is “a big pain in the neck.”

“Who needs it?” he asked one hot morning at the end of a long march. Without waiting for an answer, he continued:

“I’m just putting in my days, doing what I’m told, doing a job. One morning I’ll wake up and I’ll be finished and then I’ll go home and tune out, forget it all.”

Many soldiers are quick to say they fight in South Vietnam because they believe in the war, whatever the political and diplomatic complications. Many of these men are career officers or sergeants.

Typical of them is Maj. James Bramlet, a 37-year-old operations officer with the First Cavalry Division (Airmobile).

“I believe in what we’re doing here,” he said over a cold beer at the end of a day of fighting.

“A big fellow has got to help a little fellow,” he added, “especially if the little fellow is a nice guy who’s getting kicked around. That’s what America is all about. It’s not a matter of the ‘yellow peril.’ I don’t go for that argument. It’s really just a matter of a man’s commitment to his fellow man when his fellow man needs help.”

Another professional, Capt. Ernie Carrier, 23 years old, of Benton, La., sees the war as “duty that I requested.”

Chatting with several of his men, he said: “I signed up. So I go along because that’s what I’m supposed to do. If I don’t like it, I can always get out.”

For all the division over the war here and at home, the espirit de corps remains excellent in most United States units. Even in outfits not yet scheduled to go home a part of the new United States withdrawal plan there are no signs of eroding morale. In fact, the average American soldier seems to hold no hope that he will go home a single day earlier than originally scheduled.

“Let’s face it,” said Private First Class John Cuccione, 20-years old, of New Rochelle. “Specific battalions of the Ninth Division were shipped home but most of the men in those battalions with more than a month to serve were shifted to some unit not scheduled to go home. They flipflopped with men with less than a month to go.”

United States commanders attribute the continuing high spirit to a number of factors, including good leadership, good medical care, good equipment and good food. The most frequently mentioned factor, however, is the relative shortness of the tour of duty in Vietnam.

“When one of my men arrives in country,” said Maj. Gen. Ormond R. Simpson, commander of the First Marine Division, “he knows that in exactly 13 months he’ll be going home again if bad luck doesn’t send him sooner.

“For the Army boys, the tour is only 12 months. You can’t beat short tours for boosting spirit in a war like this, especially when the short tours themselves are broken by a five-day free vacation to some exotic place like Hawaii or Hong Kong or Tokyo.” {p.480}

______________________

[From the Washington Post, Oct. 18, 1969]

MANY GI's DISLIKE VIET ALLIES VIETNAMESE RETURN THE ANIMOSITY

(By Robert G. Kaiser)

SAIGON.— {“}Before I came to Vietnam I wanted a job working with the Vietnamese,” the young American lieutenant said, “but now I’m glad I’m in a U.S. infantry outfit. I just don’t like Gooks. Right after I got here I went out with one of our companies, one of the first operations I went on. The company got hit — they got mauled, really. Six Americans got killed, 18 wounded. You looked at those guys, dead and wounded, and you had to feel different about the Gook after that.”

Gooks — or Dinks, or Slopes — are major figures in the Vietnam war who don’t often get their names in the papers. They are, in GI argot, the Vietnamese people. Gooks can be friendly or hostile, ours or theirs. The only good Gook, it is said again and again on U.S. bases throughout Vietnam is a dead Gook.

Open expression of American contempt for Vietnamese is common. An Army major driving a jeep in Saigon after a heavy rain deliberately drives along the edge of the road so he can keep his outside wheel in the puddles and splash pedestrians. A sergeant in Cantho taunts a Vietnamese girl who operates a PX snack bar with lurid sexual insults, knowing she doesn’t understand him, and basking in the laughter his insults evoke from his buddies.

A senior diplomat sneers, “these people are incorrigible.” A soldier recuperating in an Army hospital tells a fellow patient about the old man he killed “by mistake,” but it didn’t matter, “He was just a Gook.” One of the eight Green Berets recently accused of murder, jokes about the fate of Thai Khac Chuyen: “Just like a Gook to carry more chain than he could swim with.”

The American soldier’s contempt for Asians is now new. In World War II the Indians were Wogs, the Burmese and Chinese were Slopeys. But in Vietnam relations between Americans and “the little people” are more complicated.

Naive young U.S. soldiers are told that their enemy is Vietnamese — small, tough, slant-eyed, wearing black pajamas and lurking everywhere. They are also told that the United States is here to allow the South Vietnamese — small, slant-eyed, many clad in black pajamas — to determine their own destinies.

Enemy and ally don’t look any different. Most GIs find it difficult to believe that some Gooks are their mortal enemies while others are devoted friends.

The ordinary soldier’s attitude is undoubtedly colored by the Vietnamese he most often meets. Few GIs get to know ordinary Vietnamese people during their 12 months here. Instead the American soldier meets the riffraff of war, the camp-following pimps and bar girls, shopkeepers and hustlers who claw at him whenever he leaves his base.

It would be difficult to convince a 19-year-old American boy that these people are not typical. The Army makes little effort to promote good relations between Americans and Vietnamese.

There have been no polls or surveys to determine how many Americans in Vietnam like or dislike the Vietnamese. One can only report a personal impression: Among soldiers, negative feelings about the Gooks are as common as any openly expressed complaint. The soldier who speaks warmly of the Vietnamese, or who makes an effort to help them in his spare time or on his job, usually makes an impression, because he is an exception.

Soldiers working with the Vietnamese in advisory jobs seem much more likely to like the locals than GIs in American units.

A psychiatric social worker in the Army’s 3d Field Hospital in Saigon, Maj. Aaron Dotson, reports that in his experience black soldiers are less prone to prejudice against Vietnamese than whites. But there are certainly blacks who will curse the Gooks. Dotson says anti-Vietnamese feeling is widespread.

Among American civilians hostility is much more subtle, and admirers of the Vietnamese are much more common. But candid relationships are rare.

An American cannot overhear the unguarded remarks of Vietnamese, but one suspects that they regularly return the insults. The basic slang for Americans is “Meo,” which the Vietnamese equate with “Yanks,” though they say it is a “funny word.”

Vietnames {sic: Vietnamese} anti-Americanism seems to come in two strains. One is practical and direct: The Americans shot up my house, dumped my vegetable stand, defiled my daughter — I don’t like them. The other is more basic: We were a simple and peaceful society before the Americans came, now we are crass and commercial and our values are distorted. Vietnamese life will never be the same, the Americans have created more needs than they have satisfied. {p.481}

The undercurrent of the second strain of anti-Americanism is strong in Saigon. It often emerges at the end of long lunches or long conversations, heavily coated with Oriental politeness, but forceful and sometimes bitter.

Only occasionally is anti-Americanism overt, and when it is, Vietnamese assure their American friends that it is just an aberration.

A recent example was series of editorials in the militant Buddhist newspaper Chanh Dao, organ of the An Quang Pagoda. The editorials were written by a journalist named Viet Bang, a former employee of the U.S. government who was fired from his job in Saigon.

Bang’s editorials villified the United States for seeking to monopolize the Vietnamese economy, for importing foreign labor at the expense of local workers, for promoting black market sales of PX goods to undermine local products, and for many other transgressions. Bang is obviously not a representative spokesman for Vietnamese opinion, but one wonders how widely his prejudices may be secretly held.

There seems to be no single psychological explanation for the hostility between Americans and Vietnamese, but one often senses a common ingredient — resentment.

The Americans are here, they say, to save Vietnam, and they resent the Vietnamese for failing to be appropriately appreciative. Or they are here against their will, because they were drafted to fight a bewildering war, and they resent the Vietnamese for causing it. Or they are Americans who have no patience or deliberate Oriental ways, and they resent the Vietnamese for their stubborn unwillingness to adopt American ways.

For their part, the Vietnamese seem to have always been suspicious about why so many Americans came to their country. Many, including some intellectuals and politicians, are convinced that Vietnam is only a pawn in the grasp of uncaring big powers, and only one big power is available as a target for their resentment.

Some Vietnamese who are deeply grateful for the fact that the United States apparently saved them from a Communist takeover in 1965 (and there are many) nevertheless bitterly resent America’s deep involvement in their domestic affairs. Only once in his tenure in office has President Thieu been a genuinely popular leader: when he stood up to the Americans and refused to take part in the Paris peace talks last November. Even Thieu’s aides acknowledge to Americans that it was his finest hour.

__________

WHY IS UNTIED STATES FIGHTING IN SOUTH VIETNAM?

The Chairman. These are the kinds of questions that come to Senators, at least this Senator. What are we doing there? I can understand the soldier in Hue, who lives in Hue and he is fighting and he believes he is fighting for his personal existence and his way of life. It is difficult for me to explain to my constituents why we are fighting in South Vietnam. If it is just communism that you are fighting, I do not know why there are not other places, more agreeable places, to fight them if that is what we want to do. It is a very disagreeable place for the ordinary soldier; is it not? I do not mean for you, but for the boy in the paddy?

General Clement. Yes, sir; quite.

The Chairman. I understand it is very uncomfortable and unpleasant and it is very difficult for me to know why we are fighting, continuing to fight. What is worthwhile to the United States? What is the United States going to gain out of it?

If we are fighting in the traditional way to annex this area as a colony and exploit its natural resources, at least it is a traditional historical motive. But I cannot understand what the present motive is, the one that induced President Johnson to become so involved.

Can Senator Case explain that and give me a better answer? He looks as if he is anxious to reply.

Senator Case. No, the Senator is not anxious to attempt to answer the chairman’s question at this time. I was hopeful that we would use {p.482} these witnesses for their technical competence as much as we could and I was anxious to get on with a couple more things.

The Chairman. All right. I yield to you. The colonel inspired that question.

Senator Case. This question is one that plagues us all the time. Of course it is.

What I am really trying to get at now from you gentlemen, not in the way of hurrays, is again I repeat, I will continue to repeat, we have every understanding of the difficult job you have as you sit before us and the question is whether it is possible for any human being to accomplish it, if that is the question we are getting at here.

ENEMY CONTACTS OF 1ST ARVN DIVISION

How many contacts with the enemy did this 1st ARVN Division have in 1969 in the DMZ?

Colonel Wheeler. The exact number, sir, I do not have, but we have had numerous contacts.

Senator Case. Major ones?

Colonel Wheeler. Yes, sir.

We have had major contacts.

Senator Case. Could you make — I am not trying to dig into exact operational details — a comparison between say, 1967, 1968, and 1969 in this regard?

Colonel Wheeler. Certainly during 1968, sir, there was much heavier fighting in the division tactical area than in 1969. However, the enemy presence was still great. In early 1969, through the tenaciousness of the division commander and the gallant troops under his command, pressure was maintained on the enemy forces and by summer of 1969, the major portion of the NVA and the VC had been eliminated from the lowlands. At that time, the division’s efforts were applied in the Piedmont region and the Ashau Valley to destroy the base areas and sanctuaries where the enemy was located. The division commander turned over the defense and security of the hamlets and the villages to the RF and PF. At the present time, you will find the 1st ARVN Division soldiers west of QL-1, which is the north-south main highway. To the east, from QL-1 to the ocean, you will find the territory being secured only by RF and PF forces. The division has been in continuous combat. When you have 19 maneuver battalions, 17 infantry and two armored cavalry, some units will always be in contact with the enemy and others prepared to go into combat because of intelligence derived from prisoners or documents.

We engaged in 19 major regimental-sized operations during 1969.

Senator Case. Most in the early part of the year? The majority of them?

Colonel Wheeler. The majority of them in the early part.

Senator Case. And that has dropped off some?

Colonel Wheeler. That has dropped off some, sir, in the latter part of 1969.

Senator Case. Is that a function — I forget the word you used — of the reduced infiltration of the Vietcong forces?

Colonel Wheeler. It was in the latter part of 1969, yes, sir. {p.483}

 

TROOPS PROTECTING LAOS BORDER

Senator Case. As far as the west goes, the border of Laos, this 1st Division has been screened always by our own troops, has it not?

Colonel Wheeler. Has been always screened?

Senator Case. Protected from infiltration from the west?

Colonel Wheeler. The 1st Division has not always been screened, sir.

Senator Case. Yes, our own American troops have been guarding the border there, have they not?

Colonel Wheeler. No, sir, the 1st ARVN Division has been out there with them.

Senator Case. With whom?

Colonel Wheeler. Currently, the U.S. 101st Airborne Division, sir.

Senator Case. Under the 1st?

Colonel Wheeler. With the 1st. Prior to that time, the 1st ARVN operated with the 1st Cavalry Division and, before they were withdrawn, with the 3d Marine Division, sir.

PROSPECTS FOR WITHDRAWAL OF U.S. TROOPS

Senator Case. I am just trying to get the fact that the ARVN Army I can take this thing over tomorrow and we can get out of there. This is what I want. You appreciate, I am sure, as well as anybody else, that this general optimistic picture is something we have been getting for 20 years, almost, and it never realizes. So Secretary Clifford comes in and tries to get somebody to say, well, how soon is it going to be — 5 years, 10 years? We cannot say how long.

Do you have any estimates about it?

Colonel Wheeler. I do not, sir. I can say when the 3d Marine Division was withdrawn from their positions adjacent to the DMZ, the area was taken over by the 1st ARVN Division.

AMERICANS COMPRISE WHAT PORTION OF I CORPS?

The Chairman. If the Senator will yield. When I asked you, aren’t there more Americans in I Corps, you declined to answer on security grounds. I know there are more up there. I do not think you are being frank. You leave the impression that the 1st with all its prestige is taking over the fighting, but all the stories I have heard are that the Americans still are bearing the brunt of it. Therefore, I think it is misleading and deceives us to leave the impression indirectly that they have taken over the fighting. If you leave that impression, I think then you ought to go on and say how many Americans are there.

Are there only 10 percent of the fighting men in I Corps that are Americans or what? Or are you going to leave the impression that the South Vietnamese have taken it over? I think it has to be one or the other to be frank about it.

Colonel Wheeler. I can only talk about that portion of I Corps where I am located. That is the northern part of I Corps. We do have there the U.S. 101st Airborne Division and the 1st Brigade of the 5th Mechanized Division and those elements which support them as well as the 1st ARVN Division. They are all employed in separate areas of operation and they are gainfully employed at the present time with the threat that does exist. {p.484}

INFILTRATION ACTIVITY OF ENEMY

Senator Case. Has there not been a distinct dropping off in infiltration of enemy activity up in this area? You have already said this. Has it not been related to our bombing halt in some fashion? At least in time, we won’t argue about whether it is caused by that or not, but since that, has there not been a distinct lessening in enemy infiltration up in this area?

Colonel Wheeler. I think, sir, that I could say within the confines of this discussion that there was some lessening of infiltration last fall. However, that has not been so in recent months.

Senator Case. You mean it is stepped up again?

Colonel Wheeler. There has been some increase in infiltration, yes, sir.

Senator Case. Has it increased to the degree at which it existed before the decrease?

Colonel Wheeler. Sir, I would prefer to answer that in executive session.

Senator Case. Well, I will defer.

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

PROSPECTS FOR OVERALL AMERICAN WITHDRAWAL

The Chairman. We are, of course, really interested in, and it is difficult for us to get at, the prospects for the overall withdrawal of the American engagement in Vietnam. I do not know whether, judging from what you have said, you were willing to discuss that at open session. Is there any way you can approach it, general or colonel, to give any light upon the probabilities of the Americans being able to turn it over to the Vietnamese? Can you volunteer any thoughts about this?

General Clement. Sir, I am afraid I really can’t add to what already has been said about it. That is the President’s stipulation that there are three major factors — the negotiations in Paris, the enemy activities, and the rate at which the Vietnamese take on at an accelerated pace the equipment and training and operational aspects. It is dependent on those things.

The Chairman. Have you noticed any effect at all upon the attitude of the Vietnamese as a result of the increase in the activities in Laos? Do you have any knowledge at all about any reaction among the circles in which you travel in Saigon?

General Clement. Sir, I have no knowledge, really of any change on the part of the Vietnamese with regard to this.

Senator Case. Mr. Chairman, maybe I can interject just one point.

The Chairman. Yes.

Senator Case. I know that the three-pronged proposition that you have referred to has been this Administration’s position. The degree of speed with which we can and the completeness with which we can get out depends upon three things — the ability of the South Vietnamese to take over; the results of negotiations in Paris; and the willingness of the North Vietnamese to let us get out without taking advantage of that — that is a paraphrase, but that is what you had in mind just now, was it not, General?

General Clement. Yes, sir. {p.485}

EFFECT OF NORTH VIETNAMESE WILLINGNESS ON U.S. WITHDRAWAL

Senator Case. When you analyze it, what you said just now, I think, was that the speed with which the Vietnamese will be able to take over depends upon negotiations and the results in Paris and the willingness of the North Vietnamese not to take advantage of them. Now, is this not really saying, in both cases, that we will be able to disengage and the South Vietnamese will be able to take over depending on just one thing. That is the willingness of the North Vietnamese to let us get out of there. That is really what you are saying, is it not?

General Clement. I will refer to what I did say, sir.

Senator Case. I am not trying to twist a word. I am just trying to get to analyzing this proposition.

General Clement. Obviously, the negotiations play a big part.

Senator Case. That again depends upon the North Vietnamese does it not?

General Clement. I would say so.

Senator Case. We are always willing to negotiate; are we not? And we would make a fair settlement at any time; would we not? There are two parties to this and so it depends upon the North Vietnamese here too; does it not?

General Clement. Sir, the negotiations and those aspects are really not a part of my business.

Senator Case. I understand, but we are just talking now, you know, man to man or person to person and really just trying to analyze what we are talking about.

Mr. Chairman, do you want to go on?

The Chairman. I would like a few minutes if the Senator does not mind.

Senator Case. Not at all. The chairman has complete control of the time and so on.

The Chairman. Not at all.

Senator Case. I do not mean to be interrupting, but I did interject because it seems to me we got a clear understanding of what those three points were, and it all comes down to one thing, the willingness of the North Vietnamese to let us go.

The Chairman. I do not think there is any doubt that the North Vietnamese would like to see us go. They do not wish to let us go with an understanding that our puppets will remain in control in South Vietnam; they do not believe that that is our right. They are willing for us to go. I am quite sure they would love for us to leave tomorrow. But it is the conditions under which we go and how we can disengage.

ARE INTERESTS OF U.S. BEING SACRIFICED FOR QUESTIONABLE OBJECTIVE?

What I am interested in and trying to develop is that I think the interests of the United States are being sacrificed here for a very questionable objective. The interests of the United States to me are far greater and more important to enemy constituents and the country as a whole than as to whether or not they can preserve this government in Vietnam. The more I read about this wonderful judicial system that they have as reported in the morning paper, the way they conduct trials there, the less enthusiastic I am about sacrificing your time and your efforts along with the lives of your men for any such government. {p.486}

Do you remember the report of the trials of Mr. Chau in the morning paper, General?

General Clement. I have read of it, sir.

The Chairman. This morning?

General Clement. Not this morning, sir.

The Chairman. It was an interesting one. They have changed the whole basis of the trial now. They no longer list his immunity. It is a completely different theory of the trial. But this is such a farce and such a ridiculous and absurd way to conduct the business, the serious judicial business involving a man’s life and his freedom. Yet we say we are there — not say, we are supporting this government and saying self-determination.

There were one or two other questions, General, before we adjourn.

ATTITUDE OF U.S. OFFICIALS IN SAIGON TOWARD TROOP WITHDRAWAL

The Washington Star on February 25 — and this is the best way we have of getting news, because it is extremely difficult to get information from the front except through the reputable news agencies — states:

The feeling among these officials is that reduction of American strength after the present withdrawals would leave the South Vietnamese dangerously exposed to the enemy threat. American officials in Saigon, in fact, have opposed every phase of de-escalation beginning with the cessation of the bombing of North Vietnam in 1968 and then have reluctantly expressed their approval after they can no longer prevent the U.S. moves.

Would you say that is an accurate reflection from your observations?

General Clement. In my particular experience, sir, working with the training directorate and working with my counterpart and observing over 50 schools and training centers and their commanders, which is a fairly good sample of their military people, I think it is an inaccurate statement.

The Chairman. Inaccurate?

Gerenal Clement. {sic: General} I do not think it is right. From my experience in talking with those people, they feel that they perhaps are a little surprised at how well they have done. I have the general feeling, in talking with them, that they would like to get on with the job and just see what will happen.

The Chairman. In other words, the American officials in Saigon with whom you associate have not opposed the withdrawal of American troops?

General Clement. Sir, I am sorry. I was talking of Vietnamese officials and I misunderstood you.

The Chairman. No, no, they are Americans.

“American officials in Saigon in fact have opposed every phase of de-escalation. * * * ”

American officials.

General Clement. No, sir, I have not encountered American officials with these views.

The Chairman. In other words, American officials in Saigon have not opposed American withdrawal of troops? That is your view?

General Clement. I have not really had much contact in talking on this subject with American officials. As I say, most of my time has been spent with the Vietnamese, sir, and talking with them at times on this— {p.487}

The Chairman. You don’t associate much with American officials?

General Clement. Well, our time is pretty restricted, sir.

The Chairman. In another story on January 14, the Christian Science Monitor quotes an American officer in Saigon as saying

“We have fought Washington on every reduction so far. And I am sure we will keep fighting them.”

But you would say that is not accurate in your experience?

General Clement. I have no experience of that, no, sir.

UNITED STATES AND SOUTH VIETNAMESE GENERAL/FLAG OFFICERS IN VIETNAM

The Chairman. In a news story on January 14, Christian Science Monitor, it quotes the following:

The Vietnamese protocol list for Saigon names nearly 100 American officers of general and flag rank. By comparison, there are fewer than 50 South Vietnamese generals and admirals on active duty with all the Vietnamese armed forces.

Is that a true statement?

General Clement. I am not prepared to say, sir. I do not have the data at hand.

The Chairman. You do not know either of those, sir?

General Clement. I do not know the figures, sir.

The Chairman. Do you, Colonel?

Colonel Wheeler. No, sir.

The Chairman. Who do you think would know them?

General Clement. We can provide them, sir.

The Chairman. Oh, can you provide that?

General Clement. I think we can provide them for the record.

(The information referred to follows.)

__________

GENERAL OFFICERS FOR SOUTH VIETNAM

(Department of Defense)

As of 1 January there were approximately 90 U.S. general/flag officers in Vietnam. Of this number, 29 were assigned in the Saigon area. As of 1 January 1970, there were 44 general/flag officers in the Republic of Vietnam Armed Forces (RVNAF). RVNAF is authorized 196 general/flag officers.

__________

ADEQUACY OF VIETNAM FORCES

The Chairman. Prince Sihanouk wrote in an article:

The day the American Armies left, the Saigon Army would dissolve because today it is composed only of mercenaries, very well equipped, I am sure, but paralyzed by the lack of an idea.

Would you care to comment on that?

General Clement. Sir, would you repeat that?

The Chairman. You know who Sihanouk of Cambodia is?

General Clement. Yes, sir.

The Chairman. This is an article that quotes the article written by Prince Sihanouk:

The day the American Armies left, the Saigon Army would dissolve because today it is composed only of mercenaries, very well equipped, to be sure, but paralyzed by the lack of an idea.

General Clement. I would prefer not to comment, sir, on that.

The Chairman. You do not care to comment. {p.488}

 

The thrust of all of this is, sir, trying to find out your views and ideas of the inadequacies or adequacies of the Vietnamese forces with whom you are working if the Americans withdraw. It is very difficult, of course, to get this. I have asked in a general way would you care to estimate when you believe the Vietnamese could sustain themselves without American assistance. I believe you said you did not feel you could comment on it.

General Clement. No, sir.

The Chairman. These are statements of other people. These are newspapermen from the Christian Science Monitor, the Washington Star, and in particular, Mr. Ashworth of the Christian Science Monitor, who has written a great many articles, as of course, have many other people. These are their views about it and I thought maybe it would give you a vehicle either to agree or disagree with it.

ESTIMATE OF WHEN SOUTH VIETNAMESE COULD TAKE OVER

You simply do not feel that you want to make an estimate as to when the Vietnamese would be willing to take over. Is that right?

General Clement. Yes, sir, I believe that is correct. I really could not make an estimate.

The Chairman. You would not want to say whether it is a year, 2 years, or 10 years?

General Clement. No, sir, I prefer to stay away from time frames.

The Chairman. I may say in your own statement, the implications, and it is purely an implication that one draws from some of the language, you seem to anticipate that we will be there for quite a while. I would have to look it up. This is what you say:

The size and composition of our present and future advisory effort in Vietnam will be determined in light of the development of RVNAF forces, to assume a larger share of the war effort and the rate at which RVNAF units can receive equipment, complete training, and attain operational readiness.

The only thing I can say is that the implication is that you do not anticipate any withdrawal in the immediate future; do you? It does not indicate how long you will go on.

General Clement. No, sir, I am not giving any real time-frame. I am trying to paint the general problem and picture which finally results in advisors and—

PROGRESS BEING MADE BY SOUTH VIETNAMESE TROOPS

The Chairman. You feel, however, that the Vietnamese troops with whom you are acquainted, and you do spend most of your efforts in advising with them as I understand it, are making real progress. You feel that they can, at least in an indeterminate time, take over and carry the whole burden.

General Clement. I would say yes, sir, they certainly are making progress. They seem to show a willingness. If you remember the training chart, the paragraph showing the training centers, there is a lot of very hard work going on. When you have overloaded centers, perhaps the quality goes down a bit because you double the student load to get them out and get them into the operating unit, but withal, they make tremendous strides and they are very serious about their work, sir. {p.489}

VIETNAMIZATION AND U.S. WITHDRAWAL

The Chairman. I will put the rest of these articles in the record as illustrations of the views of other observers. There is a letter here from a Marine that I want to put in the record. I do not know that it is anything other than cumulative. It is the attitude of some of the soldiers and the comments of people interested in this matter about the prospects of the future for us as well as the Vietnamese.

(The information referred to follows:)

______________________

[From Christian Science Monitor, Dec. 24, 1969]

EMPTY AMERICAN CHAIR — DO UNITED STATES AND SAIGON COOPERATE ENOUGH?

Staff correspondent George W. Ashworth, now completing a six-month tour of duty in South Vietnam, gives his assessment of the Vietnamization of the land war there. In this, the first of several dispatches, he tells of the gulf that still exists between the American and South Vietnamese commands.

Every Monday, the Vietnamese joint general staff holds an operational and intelligence briefing in Saigon for high-level Vietnamese and allied officers.

The most senior Vietnamese officers are present, along with senior generals from the Thai, Korean, Australian, and New Zealand forces.

Almost always, sources say, the front row chair marked for the senior American representative is empty. Further back in the room, sitting with the other colonels, can usually be found the senior American present.

This is the way it is at the most important briefing the South Vietnamese Army general staff gives each week. To the Vietnamese, the American absence is a disagreeable snub.

Sources say the American command has indicated such presence would be “a waste of time” in that all of the important information is available through regular American channels. So the marked American chair remains empty.

GAP RANGES DOWN THE LINE

To many observers, this separation at the top symbolizes the wide gulf remaining between Vietnamese and Americans on down the line in this fifth year of heavy United States involvement.

Many sources believe that gulf is one of the greatest obstacles to successful transfer of the war effort from the Americans to the South Vietnamese.

The Nixon administration has substantially increased emphasis on “Vietnamization” of the war effort. When Secretary of Defense Melvin R. Laird returned to Washington in March, he was openly disappointed as he discussed preparations in Vietnam for the load burdens of war to be shifted.

Other high defense officials have visited the war zone and left saying a number of important Americans still don’t believe that Vietnamization is the most important task now confronting the vast American hierarchy here.

As one young officer who has worked at length in liaison between the Americans and Vietnamese put it, “The command here has fought Washington every step of the way. Each step forward has been forced on them. And it will probably have to stay that way.”

Senior Americans argue that the Americans and Vietnamese are working extremely closely together. They point out the vast numbers of civilian and military liaison teams.

HUGE NUMBERS IN LIAISON

There certainly are huge numbers of liaison teams. As one American put it, “Many of them are so big and so busy that they could get along well and keep busy even if all the Vietnamese they advise were moved away.”

When the Vietnamese Army was falling apart in late 1964 and early 1965, the Americans moved in with troops and supplies and took over the war. Now, in late 1969, there are few signs of a ready willingness to give it back, no matter what Washington wants.

Americans here still live in a society largely of their own. They generally see little of Vietnamese other than maids and chauffeurs unless they are specifically assigned to do so. {p.490}

Even among the advisory groups, often at very low level, it is uncommon to see Americans and Vietnamese actually living in close proximity. They work together, but when the time comes to eat or sleep or have a party, they usually go their separate ways.

In Saigon, officers in the vast Military Assistance Command headquarters freely admit they never see Vietnamese or talk to them or work with them.

Generals and colonels get into their staff cars at the end of a working day and are driven to quarters on or off post. If off post, the quarters are guarded by American military police, and the Americans often venture forth only in the company of other Americans.

This apartness continues in the field, where corps and division officers headquarters are isolated from the Vietnamese. Many staff officers, who must daily make decisions affecting the lives of hundreds of Vietnamese never have met any in the line of work or socially. Intelligence and operations officers have been able to spend whole tours without coming into contact with Vietnamese district and province officers.

When Vietnamese and American companies and battalions work together, the command points to fact {sic} proudly. And such efforts are given some symbolic name, such as Dong Tien, for “progress together.”

Sometimes, when the American and Vietnamese do work together, Americans go to the other extreme. Aloofness is discarded, and visitors are treated to the appalling sight of some Vietnamese officer being trotted out, much like a favored child. Then comes the pat on the shoulder and some such praise as, “Captain Nguyen is one heck of a fighter. A real tiger, aren’t you, Captain Nguyen.” And Captain Nguyen smiles with embarrassment and offers his hand.

Too often, many experienced officers here say, the Captain Nguyens and other Vietnamese officers are most appreciated when their approach resembles closely that of the Americans. To many Vietnamese, there is nothing more galling than the thought that the American way is the only right way.

But that view of American correctness does permeate. At the highest levels, the Vietnamese are urged to draw up their own plans for operations, but Americans are always ready to change them, sometimes completely. Consequently, many Vietnamese take the dodge of sounding out the Americans as to what plan they want before writing anything. Then the semblance of Vietnamese sufficiency is maintained — they do write a plan, but one perfectly suited to American views.

Of course, there are notable exceptions. The Marine combined action platoons and some Army units do live and work with the Vietnamese. Many advisers try to learn Vietnamese ways and customs, try to like Vietnamese food, and try to achieve both harmony and progress without needlessly hurting feelings.

Dozens of sources are deeply convinced that it is critically important now, as American withdrawal continues, that the operational rift between the allies be closed and that the Vietnamese be truly encouraged and helped to go it alone — while that is a choice, not an absolute necessity.

In effect, sources say, the alternative to closer help and encouragement is abandonment.

______________________

[From Christian Science Monitor, Dec. 30, 1969]

‘BEING NO. 1 DIVISION CAN BE AN EXPERIENCE’

Staff correspondent George W. Ashworth, now completing a six-month tour of duty in South Vietnam, gives his assessment of the Vietnamization of the land war there. In this second of several dispatches, he discusses the 1st Division — considered outstanding in the South Vietnamese Army.

HUE, Vietnam.— It’s quite an experience to see the South Vietnamese 1st Division.

A few years ago, it wasn’t much. Now it is something of a showpiece. It is setting an example for the rest of the country. For it proves, if nothing else does, that the Vietnamese Army can be efficient and effective.

The development of the 1st Division has been a gradual process over the past few years. As early as 1967, Americans would enthuse over the 1st. It was better than the others then. And it probably still is, although there have been many improvements in other units.

When experienced American officers are asked which Vietnamese divisions are good, they immediately point to the 1st. Then they usually add the 2nd, also in {p.491} northernmost 1st Corps area, and the 21st in the delta. Then the list tapers off to those divisions that are “coming along well.”

There are any number of reasons for a unit to be good or bad or in the middle. But the usual one centers on the availability or otherwise of good leadership from the middle level on up. The 1st doesn’t have any leadership problems, according to both Vietnamese and Americans.

COMMANDER PRAISED

As one senior American put it, when speaking of Maj. Gen. Ngo Quang Truong, the division’s commander: “There probably isn’t an American colonel in Vietnam (the rank of a division senior adviser) who could advise General Truong. He could help the general with support and coordination, but he couldn’t teach him anything.”

A Vietnamese source said, “Truong is really pretty good. He does a good job, and they leave him alone. They need him. Even his classmates at the academy aren’t jealous of him.”

The 1st Division reached a low point in 1966. Its ranks were bitterly divided, with a number of members of the division openly sympathetic to the Buddhist struggle movement. Division troops provided protection for Buddhist leaders and demonstrated against the government. When the movement was overthrown, the government ordered 1st Division combat forces away from Hue so they could no longer provide a threat.

General Truong was put in charge of the division when morale was near bottom and desertions were high.

What has happened since has set an example for the rest of the country. And in this case there has been the important difference that the example was set by the Vietnamese themselves, not Americans.

THRUSTS BLOCKED

From almost all accounts, the 1st fought well and without faltering during the Tet, 1968, battle of Hue. And its men have fought well since, blocking thrusts in force as well as smaller endeavors by North Vietnamese main-force units, as well as Viet Cong guerrillas.

The 1st not only is the best, but it is the largest South Vietnamese division, with 19 maneuver battalions and a total strength of 21,000, including attachments of armor and other units. Other divisions are about half that size.

The Americans have obviously tried to give the 1st the best of everything, as one would a precocious, favored son. And the 1st has leaped at the ready availability of American helicopters, for instance. The 1st has been fast to learn the usefulness of helicopters for operations throughout its operating area in northern 1st Corps, but particularly in the roadless, mountainous reaches away from the coast.

Consequently, the U.S. 101st Airborne Division (Airmobile), with its nearly 450 helicopters, finds itself hard pressed to meet the needs of two divisions — their own, the 101st, and the Vietnamese 1st.

While they use helicopters when necessary, members of the 1st are used to walking and climbing. Members of the 2nd battalion of the 1st’s 3rd Regiment were the first soldiers to reach the top of “Hamburger Hill.” They pulled back when American forces needed more air strikes to get on up and then went back up for the second time.

According to Col. Vu Van Giai, commander of the division forward command post, which controls the division’s 2nd Regiment and 7th Mechanized Task Force, “The only thing to do is have chow, get a rifle, and go fight. That’s what makes you No. 1.”

Colonel Giai attended military schools in the United States and took paratroop training at Fort Benning, Ga. Like many other officers in the division, he seems to have developed a liking for Americans, an affinity which is reciprocated. There is a sense of camaraderie between Americans and Vietnamese in the 1st that is often missing elsewhere.

ORIENTATION REQUIRED

The colonel likes to talk with Americans and he speaks excellent English. But he is not given to overly long explanations. Asked to explain the division’s success. Colonel Giai said, “We tried to make it No. 1 division. And we made it.”

Actually, the formula wasn’t that simple. Many believe an important ingredient has been the special 15-day training session given all recruits or draftees {p.492} arriving from the government’s training centers or, in the case of volunteers, from the division’s own training center. During the orientation for all, new soldiers are given haircuts, indoctrination, and dog tags, as well as a final brushing up to prepare them to go to the division.

As Colonel Giai puts it, “When they come here, all we must do is give them food and put them in the field.”

A half or a little more of the new men coming into the division are volunteers. Each regiment has three recruiting teams that comb the villages for eligible males between 18 and 35.

When they find a potential joiner, the pressure becomes pointed. Colonel Giai says the recruiters put it simply: “There are two ways to go. Either you be No. 1, or you go to the draftee center.”

He smiled slightly. “Most say, ‘Make me No. 1.’”

Being No. 1 can be an experience. General Truong is a very capable leader, but he also is a demanding one. Battalion commanders have been fined or jailed for infractions that hurt the morale of the troops. He also is quite ready to get rid of any officers or enlisted men who do not measure up to the standards.

PRIVILEGES GRANTED

Concern for the troops is evident in many ways. There is a commissary where soldiers and their families can buy rice and other staples at prices well under the market level. Troops away from their families are allowed time off, generally once a month, to go see them. And there is some dependent housing. In the forward area, for instance, there is dependent housing for 500 of 3,000 eligible families with more being obtained or built.

The general spends five or six hours daily overseeing field activities. When the weather is good, he uses a helicopter to be more far-ranging.

General Truong inspires great loyalty for his efforts. Officers tell of the time he was waving as an assault force aboard helicopters started off. One man thought the general was motioning for him, so he leaped about eight feet from the hovering helicopter and ran over to report. The general waved him back, and the man ran to a point under the hovering chopper. The American gunner leaned out, whisked him aboard, and they were away.

The officers and noncommissioned officers are expected to lead and to inspire. This inevitably leads to a certain elan. Aides tell of the day Colonel Giai’s headquarters was being rocketed from the DMZ area.

SOUVENIRS TAKEN

The colonel and a few men leaped aboard a helicopter and soared off to find the source of the shellings. They came in on the position, turned one rocket around, and fired it across the DMZ, then loaded the remaining two aboard to take home as souvenirs.

Naturally, there are flaws in the 1st. There is a lack of depth in leadership. All enlisted leaders receive special training at the division’s training center, but some important staff positions remain unfilled, probably for lack of anyone the general cares to appoint. Although the division is nearly up to strength, some officers are below the grades those positions would warrant. And because officers tend to stay in their jobs for years, there is a lack of broad experience among many.

Some of these problems are doubtless due to the general’s desire to build slowly. From every indication, what has been built has been built well. As a result, none of the problems is really serious.

By conventional measures the 1st Division stacks up well in loss rates and weapons-loss comparisons. Eleven enemy are killed for every member of the 1st. So far this year, 32 weapons have been lost to 2,441 captured.

But the question remains whether Saigon will have enough units as good as the 1st when the moment of crisis approaches. Progress has been, and remains, slow. And one shining example, such as the 1st, may not be enough.

 

______________________

[From Christian Science Monitor, Jan. 5, 1970]

SOME GLARING WEAKNESSES IN SAIGON MILITARY

Staff correspondent George W. Ashworth, having just completed a six-month tour of duty in South Vietnam, gives his assessment of the Vietnamization of the land war. {p.493}

LAI KHE, Vietnam.— When the Vietnamese battalion commander at Fire Base Mahone was killed in action, his battalion was quickly pulled off the line.

In the American Army, the battalion would have fought on. But the loss of a key man was a major blow to the Vietnamese battalion and raised real questions as to whether the battalion could continue in combat.

In almost any Vietnamese Army division, the loss of a senior officer in an important position has impact. This is particularly true in the Vietnamese 5th, which now is just venturing out into difficult action after years as a garrison-hugging “coup division.”

President Thieu formerly commanded the 5th, and it was his power base as he began his rise to sovereignty. Under later commanders, the 5th, stationed near Lam Son north of Saigon, was available should there be a need to save the palace from insurrection.

It was not until this fall that the disgruntled American command was able to prevail upon the Vietnamese to remove the politically safe and militarily cautious commander of the 5th and replace him with another Vietnamese officer, Maj. Gen. Nguyen Van Hieu. While not considered brilliant, General Hieu is thought of as moderately diligent by both Vietnamese and American officers.

Now the general is trying to lead his division to some higher level of competence. Most observers agree that if the 5th does become good it will bode well for the Vietnamese Army, for the 5th now is just about the worst of the 10 Vietnamese divisions.

At one time, not so long ago, there was something of a running competition among American advisers as to who could claim to be with the absolute worst divisions. The 5th, the 18th, and the 25th were all in the running, as horror stories were swapped.

It was not until 1969 that the desire for real, measurable improvement in these divisions became more than a matter of hope. In March, Secretary of Defense Melvin R. Laird told the command here in no uncertain terms that it had to get much more serious than ever before in preparing Vietnamese units — even the worst — to assume the burdens of war. Galvanized into action, the command began looking around for ways to step up progress.

Last summer, the American and Vietnamese units began working much more closely together in combined operations. Units of the 5th have been working with elements of the U.S. 1st Infantry, in particular, as well as the U.S. 1st Cavalry Division (Airmobile).

Since the 1st U.S. and the Vietnamese 5th began working together under the program called “dong tien,” which translates as “progress together,” there have been substantial increases in enemy killed, captives, Hoi Chanhs (ralliers to the government side), and weapons captured. In terms of these conventional measures, the 8th Regiment of the Vietnamese 5th is doing about three times as well as before.

The Vietnamese in general are compiling better records than the Americans. During one month, for instance, the Vietnamese 5th elements and territorial forces garnered all but eight of the 61 ralliers in the U.S. 1st Infantry’s area of operations.

The 5th Division’s kill rates are high, particularly in the cases of the better battalions. But American officers agree that the various tallies are an imperfect measure of a division’s performance and capabilities. So far, however, nothing better has been devised.

The tallies that look so promising are somewhat a product of the special environment of the Dong Tien program, in which vast quantities of U.S. helicopter transport and gunship support, as well as massive artillery and air support, are available. Under such circumstances, high kill rates can be expected.

When one battalion of the 5th completed a cycle of working with the Americans and then worked for a similar period away from the Americans, there were few signs of continued progress. As one adviser put it, the batallion {sic: battalion} “had about held its own.”

While there are doubtless advantages to be gained in working with Americans, exposure to the relative plenty of the American war machine can lead to problems, many military sources believe. The Vietnamese quickly learn that going by helicopter is easier than going by truck, that trucks are better than walking, that supplies can be quite plentiful, and that the fallen will be quickly evacuated.

But, when the Americans are gone, the supplies won’t be so plentiful. There will not be so many helicopters. Medical evacuation may not be so swift. Many things will only work if the Vietnamese make them work. American help won’t be so readily available. {p.494}

American officers agree that the 5th Division is being given a great deal — perhaps too much — now. But, they say, this does improve Vietnamese effectiveness. At the best, sources say, this plenty may be a sort of “pump priming” that will lead to a much higher level of performance when the Americans leave. In the meantime, one American said, a “hot-house environment” is needed for improvement.

Another officer was worried over the enormous problems that continue to plague the 5th. He asked: “Are we showing them things that aren’t germain?”

At present the division’s three regiments are rated good, acceptable, and weak. In terms of battalions, most U.S. officers who have worked with the 5th say that about one-fourth are very good, another fourth rather marginal, and the rest somewhere in the middle.

There are excellent battalions. One is the 1st of the 8th Regiment, which recovered after the loss of its commander and is now doing well in the field. The Americans thought so highly of the slain commander, Lt. Col. Chau Minn Kien, that they renamed Fire Support Bas {sic: Base} Mahone in his honor.

The 1st was replaced at Kien by the 3rd Regiment of the 8th, which has also done well, racking up better scores on the inevitable charts than other American battalions, including the U.S. battalion based with the Vietnamese battalion at Kien.

When a Vietnamese unit is good, it has a marked advantage over a similar American unit in terms of its ability to gather intelligence and to find out what is happening in its area. When Vietnamese units behave themselves and don’t steal or destroy, they are in a better position to be accepted by the people and to work with them.

When a unit is bad, the situation can be disastrous. For instance, one battalion of the 5th is so bad, Vietnamese commanders won’t let it out of training camp.

The 5th remains beset by shortages of officers, noncommissioned officers, and enlisted men. Officers of appropriate rank are often unavailable to command units. Some battalion commanders are captains. One commander, a captain, told me he had officers to head the administrative, logistical or civil-affairs sections of his headquarters.

When an officer is lost, there is often no one qualified to replace him. Promotions are slow, and a Vietnamese unwillingness to move officers around denies many the broad base of experience they would need to fill a new post adequately.

This officer problem is compounded by the fact that in war many of the best officers get killed. The casualty rate is far higher among the courageous and the capable.

Desertions remain a constant source of trouble for the 5th. Unlike the 18th Division nearby, which is now exempted from taking habitual or likely deserters into its ranks, the 5th takes all who are sent. And they can be a mixed bag. An estimated half of all new men sent to the 5th are rated as desertion-prone for one reason or another.

The 5th’s location within easy hiking distance of Saigon doesn’t help, for deserters often find it easy to lose themselves from the authorities in Saigon.

General Hieu has taken some steps to improve the situation. There are signs of greater interest at headquarters now in the concerns of the troops. And the general has tried to get the internal squabbling that has always plagued the division within manageable levels. But pay remains very low. There isn’t much dependent housing and what there is is not very good. Also food is scarce and costly.

As one Vietnamese source put it, “General Hieu has very many problems.”

Within the area the 5th shares with the U.S. 1st, the enemy strength is rather low. Including Viet Cong and North Vietnamese, strength totals perhaps 5,500. There are almost no concentrations. Thus the enemy can be found usually at squad strength or less.

Since the effort to improve the 5th went into full force in mid-1969, many elements of the division have moved away from the populated areas, leaving security to territorial forces and civilian defense groups. Those working with the U.S. 1st are largely in upper Binh Duong province north of Saigon. Other units are working with the U.S. 1st Cavalry closer to the border.

There are 55 hamlets rated as Viet Cong-controlled in III Corps, which surrounds Saigon and includes the populous center of the country. All but two are in Long An Province, leaving the 5th with only two to cope with in Binh Duong.

If the Americans were to leave Binh Duong now, with the Vietnamese 5th left responsible, the 5th would succeed, most sources say. If the enemy situation were to be stronger, the 5th might encounter difficulties, they add, while agreeing that the 5th will have troubles enough as it is. {p.495}

A concerted drive is now under way to overcome some of the 5th’s most serious problems, and senior Americans hope for marked improvement by April. By then, they say, strength should be generally higher, and there will have been time to gain experience where it is most sorely needed.

This will not remove concerns. One senior American said he was convinced the 5th could fight the big, conventional sort of battles, but such battles appear as a thing of the past Now, he said, there is a need for the Vietnamese to learn how to fight well in small units, in decentralized operations, with an emphasis upon stealth, endurance, and a willingness to persevere.

______________________

[From the Christian Science Monitor, Jan. 8, 1970]

THIEU’S MOVE NEXT — SOUTH VIETNAMESE PRESIDENT FACES QUANDRY IN CHOOSING BETWEEN MILITARY POLITICS AND UPPER-ECHELON PROFIENCY

{sic: QUANDARY, sic: PROFICIENCY}

Staff correspondent George W. Ashworth, now completing a six-month tour of South Vietnam, gives his assessment of the land war there. In this, the fourth of several dispatches, he cites pressures for President Nguyen Van Thieu to take decisive action.

SAIGON.— The next move in the quest for better South Vietnamese armed forces is up to President Nguyen Van Thieu.

There is general agreement among Vietnamese and Americans familiar with the development of the Vietnamese armed forces that the most alarming remaining problem is the caliber of the senior leadership.

That caliber remains startlingly low at this critical point in the Vietnamization process. And President Thieu has yet to do anything major to remedy the problem.

One senior American official estimated recently that of the senior generals in the Vietnamese hierarchy only one is fully competent to the job assigned him. Others, more generous, might put the competence level at 2 or 3 of the senior 14 or 15.

That is not high, and many say that continued unwillingness by the President to clean out the upper ranks could mean the ultimate failure of Vietnam’s fighting forces.

In late 1964 and early 1965, the South Vietnamese Army was, one senior American put it “shattering in the face of the enemy.” Losses were running at roughly a battalion a week.

RESPONSE DESCRIBED

Recalling the situation, one Vietnamese source said, “When the Army was not being attacked it would retreat. When it was attacked, it would run or surrender.”

Generally speaking, the generals in charge then are in charge now.

To be sure, there have been changes. But most of those have been politically motivated. To remove a man for sheer military incompetence and nothing else is a rarity — and when it does happen it is a long and laborious process.

The American command has been able to get a couple of the very worst South Vietnamese generals moved, but only after the application of great pressure. It was significant that the most recent modest reshuffling came last fall after Presidents Thieu and Nixon met at Midway and later at Saigon.

This quest for better generals is not only an American dream. Many Vietnamese, particularly younger officers, feel very strongly on the point. In Saigon, too{,} numerous politicians accept the present state of the military hierarchy as the single most important problem facing the military — if not the nation.

MILITARY BASE CITED

Unlike the United States, with its civilian-controlled military, South Vietnam is a miltary {sic: military} government. The military provide the corps commanders, the province chiefs, and the district chiefs. And all three men at the top of the government are military men.

Thus, inept or corrupt military men can greatly harm both the war and the endeavors of the government to gain that all-important support and backing of the people.

During the past two years. President Thieu has replaced most of the district chiefs. That is viewed in some quarters as a major step toward bringing corruption within bounds. But even with absolutely fine people coming into district- {p.496} chief positions — of itself a farfetched notion — corruption would not be halted. The Vietnamese expect a certain amount of corruption, and a district chief with modest demands can win the support of his people. But given a relatively honest district chief, there remain the monetary demands of his superiors — the province chiefs and the corps commanders.

INSPECTORATE EMBARRASSED

Often, there is the show of honesty, at least for American consumption. Vietnamese sources report that one corps commander recently gave an excellent talk to his province chiefs on the merits of honest government, being true to the peasants, and that kind of thing. Afterward, he reportedly drew two of the province chiefs off into a side room and berated them heatedly for being behind in their payments to him.

There is a government inspectorate designed to expose and deal with such corruption. But it does not have the backing of President Thieu. Once, when a general was exposed, the inspectorate was roundly criticized for bringing public disgrace upon the ranks of the Army. Nothing happened to the general, although the inspectorate was shamed.

COMPETENCY QUESTIONED

From time to time, however, a colonel or two, or someone lower, will be exposed and punished. Punishment usually does not mean jail or anything like that. At worst, it usually means a less desirable post. It is, of course, easier to catch a colonel than a general because the generals are always careful to make sure that there is a patsy or two around to take the blame if something goes awry.

Incompetence is as great a problem as corruption. Only 2 or 3 of the 10 South Vietnamese regular-division commanders are considered competent by Americans who have worked in the developmental process. And it is a sure commentary on the caliber of the available general officers that Americans, when asked whether a competent commander could be found for every division, start naming Vietnamese colonels — not generals — who they believe could lead divisions well.

The South Vietnamese Army is much more tightly controlled than is the U.S. Army, which allows unit commanders a fair degree of latitude. In the South Vietnamese Army, regimental commanders maintain tight controls over the battalions, and commanders are allowed very little room for initiative. Divisions similarly control their regiments.

TIES TRACED

Above that, the control begins to break down. Corps commanders theoretically are able to give orders to divisions, but often political influences are such that the division commander is allowed to go his own way to a great extent. However, the division commander is aware that his continued prosperity depends largely upon President Thieu, who appointed him and can remove him.

The result is a system of military control tied in closely with national politics. And at the higher levels political acumen becomes more important than military skill.

Thus, there are many things to stymie young officers who would like to improve the Army. Often they have commanders they cannot respect who give them orders, based on political considerations, they cannot appreciate. Promotions are slow. Rewards are often sparse, and things these young officers believe should be done are not done.

According to South Vietnamese sources, province and district chiefs are afraid to mention many of their problems to President Thieu or to his Prime Minister, Tran Thieu Khiem. They fear the complaints would get back to their superiors who, themselves unpunished, would punish the complainers.

AWARENESS NOTED

Thus much that goes on probably is unknown to President Thieu. The President rakes tours through the countryside to make sure that governmental money is being spent generally where it should be spent and that affairs are approximately in order.

However, Vietnamese sources say, although the President might not know all that is wrong with his military hierarchy, he does know enough to know that something should be done. {p.497}

One veteran Vietnamese politician summed up Mr. Thieu’s dilemma this way: “The issue now is whether Thieu has the courage to clean out the Army and the Joint General Staff. He must decide whether to resolve the problem in the national interests or in his own. He will act if he sees the national interests as his own.”

______________________

[From the Christian Science Monitor, Jan. 14, 1970]

HOW TO CUSHION GI WITHDRAWAL WOULD MORE U.S. ADVISERS HELP SAIGON?

(By George W. Ashworth)

SAIGON.— In the midst of American withdrawals from Vietnam, the United States command in Saigon is endeavoring to convince Washington to allow still more advisers to the South Vietnamese.

On the surface, it would appear that advice to the Vietnamese is already plentiful. As an example, the Vietnamese protocol list for Saigon names nearly 100 American officers of general and flag rank. By comparison, there are fewer than 50 South Vietnamese generals and admirals on active duty with all of the Vietnamese armed forces.

The hope for more advisers is not generally held in the field.

In interviews throughout Vietnam, numerous Army officers and civilians acting in advisory capacities expressed the view that they could get by with fewer — not more.

But as the American involvement in combat has waned and the emphasis upon development of the South Vietnamese forces has constantly grown, the military and civilian advisory effort has been looked upon in many quarters as the new way to grow.

This desire for expansion marks what many American sources see as a major continuing problem in Vietnam: the unwillingness of the Americans to let go.

One American officer put it this way: “We have fought Washington on every reduction so far. And I am sure we will keep fighting them.”

Despite withdrawals, American strength remains quite high in many areas of South Vietnam. In northernmost I Corps, for instance, there are nearly three times as many American fighting men as there are Vietnamese, despite the withdrawal in early fall of the 3d Marine Division. As of early December, there were still 55,589 American marines and 67,810 Army officers and enlisted men in I Corps. Vietnamese Army forces totaled 41,010.

In Saigon, the headquarters of the Military Assistance Command Vietnam (MACV) now contains about 2,400. A senior officer thought for a moment before guessing that the headquarters could be cut by about 1,000 without great difficulty.

The latest withdrawal announcement, made Jan. 12, included orders for a 10 percent cut in many headquarters staffs. It is the first major reduction in headquarters staffs, and there is general agreement that much of the American staff in Saigon, both civilian and military, is far too large.

One officer new to the field from an assignment at the Saigon MACV headquarters termed his departure an escape.

“There were seven colonels in our office,” he said, “and we had almost nothing to do. Sometimes, one or the other of us would skip lunch in hopes something would come along to do while the others were out.”

In some provinces, the advisory staffs number several hundred.

The abundance of Americans at the top levels — and down the chain of command — has produced what many in the field see as a major hindrance to the development of the Vietnamese.

Withdrawals so far have left the various headquarters and advisory efforts relatively untouched. Some staffs even have grown.

As the American withdrawal continues, and still more combat troops leave, the size of the so-called “tail” will become still more disproportionate, if current trends continue.

Aware of the problem, Washington ordered the military command at one point in recent withdrawals to increase the share of headquarters personnel leaving. Even then, it was but a tiny fraction of the whole.

One senior official in Saigon suggested that the overall effort could be substantially enhanced if a careful study were made to see precisely which departments could be abolished and which moved back to the United States. {p.498}

 

One officer suggested facetiously, “we could let those in the United States put up some barbed wire around their headquarters and wear jungle boots if they would be happier.”

GRAVITY SUMMED UP

While many sources who have followed the war effort closely joke about the vast continuing American presence, they carefully agree that it is most serious problem for several reasons:

The sheer size of the bureaucracy leads to a lot of waste motion as well as dreadful slowness from time to time in matters of great urgency. And many officers, particularly younger ones, complain that mediocrity is often forthcoming when brillance {sic: brilliance} is needed.

Because there are so many Americans, the Vietnamese simply are not afforded the challenges they desperately need at this stage in their development. There are so many Americans that they often must do more than they should simply to stay busy.

And there is the continuing problem of the American belief that only the American way is best acceptable. Too often, many sources here maintain, Vietnamese ideas are shunted aside needlessly and unthinkingly.

______________________

[From the Christian Science Monitor, Jan. 24, 1970]

VIETNAMIZATION AND WITHDRAWAL — “WHAT IS NEEDED ARE PRECISE TIMETABLES”

Staff correspondent George W. Ashworth has recently returned from a six-month tour of duty in South Vietnam for this paper. From the comparative quiet of his Washington desk he reports on the Vietnamization program.

WASHINGTON.— One leaves South Vietnam with a firm conviction that so-called “Vietnamization” can work.

Even then, it is very difficult to be convinced that it will work.

But that it can is one of the few things that can be considered reasonably certain in a period and a place of rampant uncertainty.

The other day one respected reporter in Saigon said: “When I go back to the States, people will want to know what I know. And the problem is that there is nothing to know in Vietnam.”

There are myriad statistics and indicators, and scores of “trends,” but there remains the continuing question whether the statistics are accurate, and if they are, what they say. And if there is a trend, where does it lead?

If President Thieu is trying to do something, there are a hundred answers to the questions why and what. And, while one answer may be true to a degree, it almost certainly is not complete. Nothing in Vietnam ever is.

When they admit one into the windowless briefing room at the MACV (Military Assistance Command in Vietnam) headquarters, all of the figures on pacification are neatly packaged into multicolored slides. They tell all without telling very much. A visitor wants to know, “What does it all mean?” The answer isn’t in the slides.

WHYS ARE MISSING

Intelligence is such that it is not too hard to find out what the enemy is doing in a physical sense; whether he is hungry; whether he has come into the mountains overlooking Tri Ton in Chau Doc Province; or whether he is massing. But again the whys are missing.

There are a number of people who have been in Vietnam for a long while, almost all of them civilians. The best of them admit that all one can do is conjecture. If enough factors are considered, these Americans can come up with quite acceptable and surprisingly accurate predictions.

But these are people who have watched the North Vietnamese and the Viet Cong for years, who understand the political-military approaches of the enemy. They know when a captured document is just so much propaganda, or when it tells something. But they are rare, and they are getting rarer as the war goes on and other places and duties beckon.

As a result, Vietnam is jammed with Americans manifesting what seems from time to time to be a vast corporate ignorance. Few can be well informed in their jobs — particularly in the military with its fast rotation policies. By the time they have learned much they are gone. By the time an adviser has gained the {p.499} trust and confidence of his Vietnamese counterpart, if he is able, he is ready for another assignment.

In Saigon, there is a sense of unworldliness in the bunkered and fenced MACV compound, from whence few emerge to see the war in the field. Sometimes officers driven by a desire to know what is going on get away to other assignments. Then they see part of it. Few can see the whole.

Compounding the lack of the sort of knowledge that only experience can give is the reluctance of military intelligence analysts to delve into the political implications of enemy activities.

Thus political-military endeavors are frequently analyzed strictly in military terms. And a question as to why the Viet Cong are doing something elicits the response that they have been “ground down” and are only able to do that. The further question, “Why, then, if they have been hurt, did they choose this precise approach?” thus eludes answer.

The complex is reduced forcibly to the simple, with frequent and inevitable inadequacy.

This problem becomes particularly clear at the present juncture, with the American command diligently trying to predict what the enemy will do in the spring after the Tet holidays. The rice harvest is nearly over now, and with the peasants freed from the fields, more guerrillas and helpers will be available for what is to come.

Analysts have decided that there will be no offensive similar to that of Tet 1968. This is based largely, apparently, on the analysis that the enemy is not capable of trying the same thing again. Some officers, however, give greater weight to the fact that such an approach is no longer allowed by enemy strategic doctrine.

But analysis becomes hazier when the question arises. “What then is likely in light of current doctrine?” This is much harder, because the new enemy strategy was evolved last year after the fourth and final phase of the massive offensive approach following Tet last year. Thus there is no experience with a spring campaign under the new approaches.

These uncertainties, as they affect the war, are added to by the continued lack of a precise, positive plan for the continued withdrawal of American forces. The command continues to adhere to the belief that something might happen, such as some big enemy endeavor, to slow American withdrawals. That belief has been bolstered by continued warnings by Washington that the enemy would be foolhardy to do anything to take advantage of American withdrawals.

Enemy doctrine is to do precisely that by emphasizing attacks upon South Vietnamese units assuming responsibilities from departing American units. Of course, that they are taking such advantage will not slow American withdrawals, but a sense lingers that perhaps they will go one step too far, and things will slow down.

OFFICERS POORLY ATTUNED

Sources in Washington realize that it would be almost impossible for the enemy to do anything to slow down the inexorable American departures. But that point has not been brought home finally to Americans in the civilian and military hierarchies in Saigon.

As a consequence, the American command in Saigon is less attuned to the immediacy of the American withdrawal program than is Washington. Those in the field are even less attuned.

Despite the clear fact of continued American departures, sources, say, plans for corps level on down in Vietnam are based on the assumption that the American involvement will continue indefinitely at the present level.

This can lead to an air of almost unreality. I spoke with one general in charge of several United States divisions and major units late last year and asked him what he could afford to send home during 1970. He replied that he could lose one of his several major units late in the year, and the later the better. Yet in Washington plans now being studied would relieve him of virtually all of his combat forces by the end of this year.

If Washington cannot get the point driven home of what it must and will do, this sort of thing will go on. It will have very harmful effects, most sources believe. If those in the field do not plan for the assumption of tasks by the Vietnamese on a time table attuned to than of Washington, each withdrawal will come as a surprise, and the cry will go up, “We are not ready.” That will. of course, be true, but sources believe it need not be.

What is needed, they say, are precise Timetables, understood in Washington and in the field, that will allow and force careful planning and preparation in the field for the inevitable shifting of the burden. {p.500}

There is a somewhat understandable reluctance among the military to accept the inevitability of U.S. departures, perhaps with the job not accomplished. It has been a long, sad and divisive war, and there remains in many the wistful hope that if the U.S. holds on long enough it will all turn out all right.

DEVELOPMENT PROCESS

Washington, with its political urgencies and its high budgets for preparing the Vietnamese to shoulder the burden, wants fast, efficient withdrawal. If the command had its way, withdrawals would be a mere trickle, with additional forces withdrawn only when it was doubly certain that the troops could be spared. Such certainties are very elusive in this war.

Numbers of sources in Vietnam believe that continued troop departures at the present speed, or even somewhat faster, have much to commend them. Only under such a program, they say, can several urgent things occur:

The command will be forced to continue the developmental process of the Vietnamese as well as possible, and many activities that should be turned over will be turned over out of necessity. Then, too, with fewer Americans around to play “big brother,” the Vietnamese will be forced to take the initiative or fail.

The Thieu government will be moved still further toward a sense of urgency that has not yet materialized. There are encouraging signs, however, and many sources believe that the challenge of continued withdrawal is about the best way to keep the government moving in productive directions.

As American troops leave, the civilian bureaucracy also will be dwindling. This should open the way for far greater efficiency and force the Americans to reevaluate many programs to see what could be cut out or reduced, what can be turned over to the Vietnamese, and what could be done with fewer Americans and done better.

In the final analysis, there are many reasons to believe that the Thieu government can bring itself and its armed forces through the trials of American withdrawal.

FOUNTAIN HEAD OF CORRUPTION

Certainly many problems remain. Corruption seems almost boundless, but South Vietnam is run by its Army, and that Army is the fountainhead of corruption. As long as the Army remains in absolute control of the provinces and the districts, with military men heading the government, corruption will continue. Of course, if it weren’t the Army running corruption, it would be someone else.

In their common travails, the Vietnamese have yet to pull together.

The militant An Qunag Buddhists, although now sifting around for new positions, have made it clear that they would rather head for the hills than support either the government or the Communists.

There are many Vietnamese with plans for the salvation of South Vietnam, but not many with a willingness to work with what they have to help the government improve. To many who see change as urgent, nights are calm, and conversation is pleasant, and “if the Americans would only get rid of Thieu. ...”

On the other hand, President Thieu has not approached with open arms those who would support him.

He used the legitimacy of the Assembly to argue against the formation of the advisory council the Americans wanted. Now, with that problem out of the way, he has been busy attacking the Assembly. The government reportedly has paid demonstrators — members of the civilian irregular defense forces — to demonstrate before the lower house.

Mr. Thieu has used the Army’s propoganda machine to denounce Sen. Tran Van Don and Gen. Duong Van (“Big”) Minn for their advocacy of a “third force.” General Minh is a likely candidate for president in 1971 against Mr. Thieu, who is doing all he can now to scotch the general’s chances.

TIME OF RECKONING

As many Americans and Vietnamese see it, the only thing that can temper this infighting and maneuvering, and all the other things of less urgency in this time of need, is the constant reminder that the time of reckoning is coming with the departure of the Americans.

As the Americans go, it will, hopefully, become abundantly clear to many Vietnamese that there are more important things at stake than getting reelected or making money. {p.501}

If this realization does not come, sources agree, then nothing the Americans could do will make it come, and without it, there can not be much hope no matter how long the Americans stay.

To be sure, there is reason now to be encouraged. As an example, a district chief who recently fled in the face of the enemy was relieved the next day by telephone. Sources took this as a major step forward for the government in achieving speed, as well as a good omen for the phone service.

But, in more important areas, the government has moved, although in an inept fashion, to institute some austerity taxes. There is a growing feeling of dedication among many South Vietnamese military men and civilians in the field. There are signs of improvement as the government gets better organized throughout the country.

Thus there is hope.

 

______________________

[From the Christian Science Monitor, Jan. 12, 1970]

MAJOR TESTS AHEAD FOR SAIGON FORCES U.S. WITHDRAWALS SOON TO PUT BURDEN ON SOUTH VIETNAMESE

Staff correspondent George W. Ashworth, now completing a six-month tour of duty in South Vietnam, gives his assessment of the Vietnamization of the land war there. In this, the last of five dispatches, he lists some of the strengths and weaknesses of South Vietnam’s forces as it prepares to assume a larger role in the war.

(By George W. Ashworth)

SAIGON.— Continued American withdrawals will soon open the way for the first broad-scale testing of the South Vietnamese fighting forces.

The United States presence is still so great in the South that there have been no opportunities for conclusive assessments of what the Vietnamese can do.

Yet there have been some indications, both good and bad:

On the encouraging side, a major part of the 23rd Division was partially responsible for fending off three North Vietnamese regiments in recent fighting around Du Prang and Duc Lap along the Cambodian border in II Corps central highlands.

It would be wrong, however, to tout this as a major victory for, as a senior colonel in Saigon put it, “We threw in so much air and artillery the ARVN [South Vietnamese Army] couldn’t lose.” Also involved were the U.S. special forces and their Cambodian civilian mercenary irregulars who proved, as they have before, quite valiant in the eight-week campaign.

Vietnamese excellence was more apparent in the fighting for the infamous Hamburger Hill last June, when elements of the 1st Vietnamese Division were the first allied force up the slopes.

In battling around Ben Hat late last spring, Vietnamese forces fought exceedingly valorously until they lost a high number of officers. Then they showed signs, as one American put it, “of coming unglued.”

When the U.S. Ninth Division was pulled out of the Mekong Delta last summer, with two-thirds of the division leaving for the states, an opportunity was presented for the Vietnamese 7th to take over and prove itself.

BASES SOMETIMES STRIPPED

When American bases were turned over to the Vietnamese, there were several instances of widespread stripping. Much that was taken never showed up again. Vietnamese engineer units were called upon to oversee some future transfers but the damage had been done.

And in the ensuing bitterness, members of the press were persona non grata for a while with the 7th, and no pictures of stripped facilities were allowed.

Later, the military picture in the 7th began to deteriorate. On Nov. 18, in Dinh Tuomg Province, Vietnamese sources report, about 15 enemy were killed when they ambushed a battalion of the 7th.

But the ARVN lost an estimated 55 killed, more than 80 wounded, and about 70 missing. The battalion commander was killed, along with other key officers, sources report. Specifics were not officially reported.

Units of the Vietnamese 9th had been sent to help the marines in the U Minh forest, but they were rushed back to bolster the sagging 7th. Now authorities here in Saigon consider the 7th a decided problem. {p.502}

PERFORMANCE EXTREME

To paraphrase the rhyme which might still be applied to the Vietnamese Army, “When it is good it is very, very good, and when it is bad, it is horrid.”

The 1st in the extreme north of the country is very, very good. And there are others, such as the 2nd and the 21st, the marines and the Airborne.

But there are units like the 7th, with problems, and the 5th and the 18th, which are coming along slowly but, hopefully, consistently.

Improving the ARVN is a slow process under any circumstances. Even though priorities have shifted away from the former almost complete emphasis upon the American war machine, there remains much to be done. Many sources argue that Vietnamization was not being taken seriously here until an appalled Secretary of Defense Melvin R. Laird ordered it so last March.

It is still not clear what kind of army the Vietnamese will have when it is all done. There is little doubt that they will have neither the vast quantities of equipment nor the technical expertise to be a duplicate or even a passable imitation of the Americans.

That, of course, is not necessarily bad, for many sources agree that the Vietnamese will have to devise the approaches and solutions best suited to their skills, not try to emulate the Americans.

But they cannot have the opposite of what the Americans have, or a pure guerrilla-fighting army, because it is not that kind of war anymore and because, with American guidance, the South Vietnamese have more than a 10-year experience gap at fighting a guerrilla-type war.

Certainly what some sources see as the “excessive firepower” of the Americans will not be available to the South Vietnamese. Discussing the American approach, one general in Saigon said, “If we see one little VC running around, we call in the B-52’s on him.”

The general was being a bit facetious, of course, but the enormity of American firepower has only been diminished slightly as tight budget problems have led to some cut-backs in B-52’s and other armaments. The Americans plan to support the Vietnamese with artillery and airpower for several years to come, but there is little doubt that the new approach, with the Vietnamese leading and the Americans supporting, will be somewhat less potent.

For one thing, the Americans cannot afford to leave everything behind in Vietnam. The Army is aware of probable budget strictures in the years to come, and it is realized that much military hardware must be saved from the war in Vietnam if it is to be repossessed at all.

Training is a problem, particularly that of such people as helicopter and fighter pilots and mechanics. It takes about 18 to 20 months to train a pilot, and about one-half that time is purely training in English. Thus it goes slowly.

Now the Vietnamese have about 150 helicopters. Eventually they will have 400 or so as the American combat forces leave and Vietnamese crews are trained.

Still, to show the enormous differences in mobility and firepower that can be envisioned, the Vietnamese armed forces will have fewer helicopters under present programs than the U.S. 1st Cavalry Division does now.

SIMPLER JETS BETTER?

In the case of fighters and bombers, the Vietnamese are getting relatively unsophisticated A-37 and F-5 jets, while the United States Air Force is taking home its more potent planes, such as the F-4 Phantom. And all of the new, large cargo planes are going back to the U.S.

Of course, it is probable that the Vietnamese can get by with far-less sophisticated equipment than can the Americans. This is argued particularly in the case of Jets. Any such planes, no matter how unsophisticated, will put the South Vietnamese that much ahead of the enemy, with no aircraft.

And it can even be argued that the smaller, less-sophisticated aircraft are better for use in fighting in the South, where there is no antiaircraft fire to worry about.

But all of these differences do mean that the South Vietnamese will have fighting forces much different in capabilities than the combination now in the field.

The Americans plan to use their own forces to bolster in problem areas. But it will certainly be a different war — and a war the Vietnamese have yet to prove themselves capable of fighting.

The Vietnamese are planning some reorganization to make the new war more manageable, but these needed changes are very slow in coming. {p.503}

TARGETS CAREFULLY PICKED

The North Vietnamese and Viet Cong have decided to concentrate upon Vietnamese forces that have replaced Americans in an attempt to show any inadequacies of the Vietnamese — thus shaking the confidence of the Americans and the South Vietnamese Governments.

There is little doubt here that the Communists will have some measure of success against the Vietnamese forces. At best, sources say, the Vietnamese will have to give up areas along borders and in enemy-infested or endangered sections where the South’s forces are overextended. At worst, enough of the South’s forces could begin falling apart to raise again enemy hopes that a military victory in the South is possible.

Almost all sources are inclined to the view that the South Vietnamese armed forces can achieve what is necessary, given a few setbacks. But there is general agreement that the question of whether what is necessary will be done is largely contingent upon the willingness of the Vietnamese to do so.

At present, there is an air of confidence in the South Vietnamese hierarchy. But that confidence may prove to be a delusion, many sources say, unless they can develop a sense of urgency and do what must be done.

Still needed is a reorganization of the military, with the elimination of the incompetent and the burdensomely corrupt. Then there must be a far greater concern for those who serve in the services and a willingness to punish those in positions of authority who do not do well. These things have yet to come.

In essence, the Thieu government should be able to survive the American withdrawal and assume the military burden. But without a vastly greater urgency and dedication than is now manifest, the future could indeed be grim.

______________________

[From the Washington Evening Star, Feb. 25, 1970]

INTELLIGENCE GROPES FOR CLUES — WHAT ARE REDS UP TO? U.S. AIDES ASK

SAIGON.— For the first time since the 1968 Tet offfensive {sic: offensive}, American officials admit they are deeply puzzled concerning enemy plans.

Now, however, Americans convey the impression they are groping through a complex array of indicators to discern enemy aims and finding only hints and threats but nothing conclusive on what to expect.

“LOTS OF THEORIES”

“Through most of 1968 and all of 1969 we really thought we had a pretty good handle on what the enemy was considering,” explained one American official. “Now all we can say is we don’t know. We have lots of ideas and theories but are more puzzled than we have been for more than a year.”

The main reason for the puzzlement of senior Americans here is the peculiar position in which the United States finds itself in relation to its own — and the enemy’s — troop strengths.

While Americans are gradually scaling down their commitment, the North Vietnamese are building up for what may eventually prove the final, decisive campaigns of the war.

Americans are desperately attempting to shore up South Vietnam’s defense capabilities against this threat but are as anxious now as they ever were for “time” — time to hold off the enemy while South Vietnamese divisions, supported by Regional and Popular Forces, reach a level deemed necessary for defeating the enemy on their own.

LESS HOPEFUL THAN LAIRD

Officials here indicate they are more pessimistic than Defense Secretary Melvin R. Laird, who praised the success of the “Vietnamization” program while warning of inevitable problems and setbacks.

The feeling among these officials is that reduction of American strength after the present withdrawals would leave the South Vietnamese dangerously exposed to the enemy threat.

American officials in Saigon, in fact, have opposed every phase of de-escalation beginning with the cessation of the bombing of North Vietnam in 1968, and then have reluctantly expressed their approval after they could no longer prevent {p.504} the U.S. moves. Observers here expect a similar pattern surrounding the next troop withdrawals this summer.

The pattern may be somewhat different this time, however, in that officials appear less inclined to speak of the capabilities and potential of the Vietnamese forces in quite such optimistic terms as they did six months — or even two months — ago.

While claiming vast “improvements,” as they did all during 1969, they give the impression they still are far from certain the South Vietnamese will be able to bear the brunt of a full-fledged North Vietnamese attack after the Americans have withdrawn.

RED BUILDUPS REPORTED

The sense of pessimism seems based largely on reports of unprecedented enemy buildups from the Mekong Delta to southern Lais {sic: Laos}, where officials report the most enemy vehicle traffic in the history of the war.

Most of the troops and equipment remain uncommitted, but officials say that obviously the North Vietnamese would not have sent them so far from staging areas in the North without intending to use them.

The influx of North Vietnamese troops and equipment into the war zone — including base areas across the borders as well in South Vietnam — has enabled the enemy to keep up its troop strength of approximately 240,000 men despite heavy losses in 1968 and the first half of 1969.

American officials believe more than 600,000 enemy troops have died in the war but admit relative ignorance of how many more troops Hanoi could send in for a showdown.

One of the greatest “unknowns” in the riddle of determining the enemy’s aims is the method by which North Vietnam has governed itself since President Ho Chi Minh’s death last year.

Officials here have the feeling North Vietnam is “ruled by committee,” as one of them put it, although Party Secretary Le Duan seems to have emerged as the chief policy spokesman.

Le Duan’s emergence bodes ill for the chances of a settlement of the war in the foreseeable future, for he has always been regarded as one of the “hardliners” in North Vietnamese ruling circles.

He has warned his countrymen of a long war requiring heavy sacrifices — an indication that North Vietnam is willing to suffer heavy losses in its effort to humiliate South Vietnamese forces and weaken the position of the government of President Nguyen Van Thieu.

FALL OFFENSIVE SEEN

Indicative of the puzzlement of American officials, however, is speculation the enemy will attempt to mount a major offensive next fall, in the period of the South Vietnamese senatorial elections and the American congressional campaign.

“These theories all sound very logical,” said one American official, “but so far we don’t have a shred of evidence to support them. We’re in a position now in which we can’t quite tell what they’re thinking or planning.”

“We’re still in the midst of a ‘lull’ in the fighting,” the official went on, “but a lot of important things could be happening. It’s kind of a deceiving, intermediate period, and it’s harder now than it ever was to figure out what’s going on beneath the surface.”

__________

EFFECT OF U.S. COMBAT FORCE WITHDRAWAL ON ADVISER STRENGTH

The Chairman. Do you think as the combat forces of the United States are withdrawn from Vietnam, the number of military advisers will have to increase to compensate for that?

General Clement. No, sir; I think — let me in a general way speak in these terms. We look forward to a decrease in adviser strength, without a time schedule now. Looking at the nature of things advisers do, with respect to the combat forces of the Vietnamese, we would say that perhaps you can begin to pull advisers out, say from battalion levels. They have already been pulled out of some of our engineer and artillery battalions in Vietnam and we are looking at where further reductions may be made. In the training centers, we are doing the same {p.505} thing. This is apart from U.S. deployment. This is looking hard at what the Vietnamese can do. We perhaps will not need as many advisers in training centers at some time in the future.

We do see in some other areas, because of the nature of the buildup, that there will be a need to increase logistical and technical advisers so there will probably be mutual offsets.

AVERAGE DIVISION STAFF AND U.S. ADVISERS

The Chairman. General, how large is the average Vietnamese division staff?

General Clement. It would probably be about 150 to 200, sir. The 1st ARVN Division runs about 200.

The Chairman. Of course, that division is larger. This article I read says it is twice as large as the average.

Is that right, Colonel?

Colonel Wheeler. I don’t know whether it is twice as large, sir, but the division does have responsibilities that are not normally assigned to other divisions such as the DMZ and that requires an additional intelligence effort.

The Chairman. How large is your division?

Colonel Wheeler. Our division’s staff approximates 200, sir. That includes all the staff elements.

The Chairman. How large is the U.S. advisory staff attached to that division?

Colonel Wheeler. My advisory team has a total of 197, of whom 49 are advisers at staff level and 111 at combat unit level, sir. The remainder are support personnel.

The Chairman. It is approximately the same size as the Vietnamese. You said 200 against 197?

Colonel Wheeler. Yes, sir.

The Chairman. Is that about average for the average Vietnamese division?

Colonel Wheeler. No, sir; they are smaller and so is adviser staff.

The Chairman. I don’t mean in numbers, actually, I mean in percentage.

To put it another way, in the average division, regardless of how large the staff is, is there approximately the same number of Americans as there are Vietnamese? That is what I mean.

Colonel Wheeler. Yes, sir.

The Chairman. Is that right?

Colonel Wheeler. Yes, sir; total adviser effort.

Sir, there is one thing I would like to add to that. When we are speaking of advisers, all are not located at division staff level. The total figure includes advisers down to the battalion level.

The Chairman. Yes; I understand you said that.

ATTITUDE OF SOUTH VIETNAMESE OFFICERS TO U.S. WITHDRAWAL OF COMBAT FORCES

What is the attitude of most senior South Vietnamese military officers with regard to the rate of withdrawal of the American combat forces? Can you give us an estimate of that, either one of you? {p.506}

General Clement. The few that I have spoken to, sir, have really felt that they could certainly live with this. I think that again, they feel that there is a momentum. I am trying to paint a picture of the feeling within the country — these are people I talk to, my counterparts and others — that they can certainly give it a go. I haven’t encountered any particular pessimism on their part.

The Chirman. {sic: Chairman} Do they expect that most U.S. combat forces will be withdrawn by the end of 1970?

General Clement. I have no judgment on that, sir.

The Chairman. What percentage of enemy casualties in 1969 credited to the South Vietnamese Army was due to U.S. air and artillery? Do you know that?

General Clement. I don’t have that data, sir.

COMBINED COMBAT OPERATIONS

The Chairman. What percentage of combat operations last year were combined United States Vietnamese operations? Do you have that?

General Clement. I do not have that information, sir.

Senator Case. I wonder if Colonel Wheeler can tell us about his own division?

Colonel Wheeler. In my division, sir, in the 1st ARVN Division, approximately 30 to 40 percent of the large scale operations, regimental sized, in 1969, were combined operations.

The Chairman. Did the combined operations prove advantageous? Did they produce a higher kill ratio?

Colonel Wheeler. No {sic: Not} necessarily, sir. It was just the fact that the enemy situation at the time and the suspected target was of such size that it required a preponderance of force, considering other troop requirements, the forces were combined in order to best accomplish all tasks.

During our combined operations, the target area was further broken down into individual unit areas of operations. Each battalion sized force operated independently in its own area.

SOUTH VIETNAMESE MILITARY BEING TRAINED IN UNITED STATES

The Chairman. How many South Vietnamese military personnel are being trained in the United States? Do you know that, general?

General Clement. At the present time, sir, we have in the neighborhood of 1,500 or 2,000, somewhere in that area.

The Chairman. Do you know how it is broken down in Army, Navy, and Air Force?

General Clement. I can provide the specific for the record, sir.

The Chairman. Good.

(The information referred to follows:)

__________

BREAKOUT OF SOUTH VIETNAMESE MILITARY BEING TRAINED IN UNITED STATES

(Department of Defense)

Six thousand three hundred twenty-two Vietnamese were programmed for training in the United States during FY 70. The break out by Service was: 735 Army, 1,906 Navy/Marine, and 3,681 Air Force. As of 1 January 1970, 460 (212 Army, 14 Navy/Marine, and 234 Air Force) had completed training and 1,967 were training (321 Army, 290 Navy/Marine, and 1,356 Air Force). {p.507}

__________

The Chairman. Do you know how much the training given the Vietnamese in the United States costs the United States? Can you give us the cost of that?

General Clement. I can give it for the record. I do not have it broken out specifically here, but we do have the figure.

The Chairman. Do you know how much it costs to train an average jet pilot?

General Clement. No, sir; I do not.

The Chairman. Have you any idea?

General Clement. No.

The Chairman. Could you find that out? Are such figures available?

General Clement. We can certainly look into it. There probably are figures available.

(The information referred to follows:)

__________

COST TO U.S. FOR F.Y. 1970 OFF-SHORE TRAINING OF ARVNAF

(Department of Defense)

Estimated costs to US for FY 70 off-shore training for ARVNAF is $41.8 million.

__________

1969 SOUTH VIETNAMESE CHANGES IN COMMAND

The Chairman. Do you know how many Vietnamese commanders were relieved of their commands last year?

General Clement. Sir, I am not saying relieved, but I know there were changes in command since last August in five divisions.

The Chairman. Five divisions since last August?

General Clement. Yes, sir.

The Chairman. Do you know the reasons?

General Clement. I don’t. I know specifically in two cases; the reason probably would be relief. I am not sure of the others.

The Chairman. Do you know whether or not the American advisers objected to these removals?

General Clement. That I do not know, sir.

DESERTION RATE IN SOUTH VIETNAMESE ARMY

The Chairman. Do you know, general, what is the current desertion rate in the South Vietnamese Army?

General Clement. I would like to discuss that, sir, if we could, in an executive session.

The Chairman. It is not public property, right?

General Clement. I don’t believe it is.

ADVISORY ASSIGNMENTS VERSUS COMBAT ASSIGNMENTS

The Chairman. Do most U.S. military advisers seek advisory assignments or do they prefer combat assignments?

General Clement. I think for a professional man, sir, the combat assignment, when we are in combat, is the one that is generally sought. But I must say that the advisory effort certainly has been emphasized in the past several months, particularly the idea of getting better quality advisers. The advisory effort per se is undergoing a tremendous examination right now, sir, as far as upgrading. {p.508}

 

SOUTH VIETNAMESE ATTITUDE TOWARD U.S. WITHDRAWAL AND VIETNAMIZATION

The Chairman. Colonel, I do not know the difference in the intimacy each of you has with your counterparts. This is a matter, I suppose, of personal relationships. But do you and your opposite number in the 1st Division ever talk about such things as the withdrawal of American troops and the so-called Vietnamization program?

Colonel Wheeler. We do, sir.

The Chairman. What does your counterpart think about it? Does he think it is a wise thing to do?

Colonel Wheeler. The 1st ARVN division commander and his commanders and their troops with whom I have been in daily contact are willing to shoulder the load. There has been no hesitation on their part to assume their responsibilities at every opportunity and their conduct on the field of battle and the results, I think, prove it.

The Chairman. Has he ever indicated to you what he thinks would be a reasonable timetable?

Colonel Wheeler. He has not said, sir. He has only made one statement in this regard and that was he would hope that the combat support and combat service support to best deal with the NVA threat currently within his area is sufficient for him to remove the threat from the confines of the South Vietnam borders.

The Chairman. Would you have anything to say, General, about the same question as to your counterpart?

General Clement. No, sir.

I think I had indicated earlier that I have talked to my counterpart in general terms and to many of the training center commanders about the general problem. I have had neither negative reaction nor negative attitude; they feel they can get along, can get on with the job.

The Chairman. Do you have anything further today? There are a number of these things I think you prefer to talk about in executive session.

General Clement. Yes, sir.

The Chairman. We will adjourn until tomorrow then.

(Whereupon at 12:15 p.m., the hearing was recessed to reconvene, Wednesday, March 4, 1970, at 10 a.m.) {p.509}

 

 

Source: The printed hearings (cited below).

By CJHjr: Photocopied at 141%, scanned, converted to text (OCR: FineReader 6.0), formatted (xhtml/css), links, text {in braces}, text beside a green bar |, text in yellow boxes, bold-face, bold-italics, highlighting, added paragraphing (for ease of reading) marked with this trailing paragraph symbol: ¶ .

This document: March 3 1970 hearing, pages 445-508, Vietnam: Policy and Prospects, 1970 {58.4mb.pdf, source}, “Hearings on Civil Operations and Rural Development Support Program” (U.S. Congress 91-2, Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, Hearings, February 17, 18, 19, 20, and March 3, 4, 17, 19, 1970, and Appendix, 7+750 pages) {SuDoc: Y 4.F 76/2:V 67/17, CIS: 71 S381-2, OCLC: 119418, LCCN: 76610214 pf, DL, WorldCat}.

Previous: February 20 1970 hearing (pages 257-244) {850kb}.

Next: March 4 1970 hearing (pages 509-568) {250kb}.

See also:

The second Phoenix hearings: U.S. Assistance Programs in Vietnam (U.S. Congress 92-1, House Committee on Government Operations, Subcommittee on Foreign Operations and Government Information, Hearings, July 15 {a.m., p.m.}, 16, 19, 21, and August 2 1971, 4+362 pages) {SuDoc: Y 4.G 74/7:V 67/4, CIS: 72 H401-3, OCLC: 235387, LCCN: 71616178 pf, DL, WorldCat}. Ensuing report: U.S. Assistance Programs in Vietnam (U.S. Congress 92-2, House Report No. 92-1610, House Committee on Government Operations, October 17 1972, 5+107 pages) {SuDoc: [Y 1.1/8:]92-2:H.RP.1610, Serial Set: 12976-6, CIS: 72 H403-19, OCLC: 540690, LCCN: 72603272 pf, WorldCat} {Full text: pages 1-46 2.4mb.pdf, pages 47-97 2.8mb.pdf, pages 99-107 501kb.pdf, omitting page 98 and repeating page 107, instead, at the start}.
The third Phoenix hearings: Nomination of William E. Colby to be Director of Central Intelligence (U.S. Congress 93-1, Senate Armed Services Committee, Hearings, July 2, 20 {a.m., p.m.}, 25, 1973, 3+186 pages) {SuDoc: Y 4.AR 5/3:C 67/3, CIS: 73 S201-27, OCLC: 800312, LCCN: 73603022 pf, DL, WorldCat}. Witnesses: William E. Colby, Robert F. Drinan, Samuel A. Adams, Paul Sakwa, David S. Harrington, Kenneth B. Osborn.
Vietnam Policy Proposals: Hearings on nine proposed items of legislation to end the U.S. war in Vietnam (U.S. Congress 91-2, Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, Hearings, February 3, 4, 5, and March 16, 1970, 5+405 pages) {SuDoc: Y 4.F 76/2:V 67/16, CIS: 70 S381-7, OCLC: 78825, LCCN: 74606991 pf, DL, WorldCat}.
National Veterans Inquiry on U.S. War Crimes in Vietnam (Citizens’ Commission of Inquiry on U.S. War Crimes, Washington D.C., December 1-3 1970), transcript, 117 Congressional Record 4238-4271 (U.S. Congress 92-1, March 1 1971, Permanent Edition (red bound)) {SuDoc: X.92/1:117/PT.4, ISSN: 0883-1947, OCLC: 05058415, LCCN: 12036438 pf, GPOCat, LL: paper, microfiche, DL, WorldCat}. Witnesses: Robert Bowie Johnson Jr., Mike McCusker, Daniel K. Amigone, Greg Motoka, Kenneth Barton Osborn, Norman Kiger, Gail Graham, Steve Noetzel, Edward Murphy, Daniel Alfiero, Louis Paul Font, Robert Master, Peter Norman Martinsen, T. Griffiths Ellison, Ed Melton, Chuck Hamilton, Lee Meyrowitz, Gordon S. Livingston, Greg Turgeon, Richard Altenberger, Bob Connelly, Robert Lifton, Chaim Shatan, Donald Engel, Gary Thamer, Steven Hassett, Kenneth Campbell, Sam Rankin, Phillip Wingenbach, Tod Ensign, Larry Rottmann, Robert Osman.
Winter Soldier Investigation (Vietnam Veterans Against the War Inc., Detroit Michigan, January 31, February 1-2, 1971), transcript, 117 Congressional Record 9947-10055 (U.S. Congress 92-1, April 6 1971, Permanent Edition (red bound)) {SuDoc: X.92/1:117/PT.8, ISSN: 0883-1947, OCLC: 05058415, LCCN: 12036438 pf, GPOCat, LL: paper, microfiche, DL, WorldCat}; 117 Congressional Record E 2825-2936 (U.S. Congress 92-1, April 6-? 1971, Daily Edition (green bound)) {SuDoc: X/A.92/1:117/???-???, ISSN: 0363-7239, LCCN: 80646573 pf, OCLC: 02437919, GPOCat, LL: paper, microfiche, DL, WorldCat}.
American Prisoners of War in Southeast Asia, 1971 (U.S. Congress 92-1, House Committee on Foreign Affairs, Subcommittee on National Security Policy and Scientific Developments, Hearings, March 23, 24, 25, 30, 31, April 1, 6, 20 {vvaw}, 1971, 9+583 pages) {SuDoc: Y 4.F 76/1:P 93/4/971/PT.1, CIS: 71 H381-9, OCLC: 15634210, LCCN: 77612471 pf, WorldCat}, witness: Larry Rottmann (volunteer coordinator, Vietnam Veterans Against the War), April 20 1971 hearing, pages 353-423 {3.2mb.pdf}, at pages 406-423. CIS: “Description of charged mistreatment of prisoners in South Vietnam by American forces; report of receiving Officers Candidate School instruction on the use of torture.”

link

Legislative Proposals Relating to the War in Southeast Asia {44.14mb.pdf, source} “Hearings before the Committee on Foreign Relations, United States Senate, Ninety-Second Congress, First Session, on S. 376, S. 974, S.J. Res. 82, S.J. Res. 89, S. Con. Res. 17, S. Res. 62, and S. Res. 66” (U.S. Congress 92-1, Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, Hearings, April 20-May 27 1971: “April 20, 21 and 22, 28, May 3, 11, 12, 13, 25, 26 and 27, 1971,” 7+726+12 pages) {SuDoc: Y 4.F 76/2:AS 4/13, CIS: 71 S381-18, OCLC: 198272, LCCN: 79614140 pf, DL, WorldCat}, witness: John Kerry (VVAW: Vietnam Veterans Against the War), Thursday April 22 1971, 11:05am-1:00pm, pages 179-210 {3.1mb.pdf}.
House Ad Hoc Hearing for Vietnam Veterans Against the War (U.S. Congressmen Jonathon Bingham and Paul Findley, presiding, Friday, April 23 1971, Venue: U.S. Congress, House of Representatives), transcript, 117 Congressional Record 13104-13118 (U.S. Congress 92-1, May 3 1971, Permanent Edition (red bound)) {SuDoc: X.92/1:117/PT.10, ISSN: 0883-1947, OCLC: 05058415, LCCN: 12036438 pf, GPOCat, LL: paper, microfiche, DL, WorldCat}. Witnesses: Larry Rottmann, Forest Lindley, Les Johnson, Arthur Egendorf, Kip A. Kypriandes, Phillip Lowley, Vinny Giardina, Michael Paul McCusker, William W. Lemmer, Alex Prim, Robert McLaughlin, Jack Smith, David B. Maize.
Senate Ad Hoc Hearing for Vietnam Veterans Against the War (U.S. Senator George McGovern, presiding, Friday, April 23 1971, Venue: U.S. Congress, Senate, Room G-103 New Senate Office Building), transcript, 117 Congressional Record 15392-15405 (U.S. Congress 92-1, May 17 1971, Permanent Edition (red bound)) {SuDoc: X.92/1:117/PT.12, ISSN: 0883-1947, OCLC: 05058415, LCCN: 12036438 pf, GPOCat, LL: paper, microfiche, DL, WorldCat}. Witnesses: Scott Camil, Vinny Giardina, Melville L. Stephens, Basil Paquet, Joe Nielsen, Dale Granata, Everett Carson, Forrest Lindley Jr., Samuel Miller, David A. Lamenzo, Jon Bjornson, Ken Provan.
Ad Hoc Hearings on Command Responsibility for War Atrocities in Vietnam {copy} (U.S. Congressman Ron Dellums, presiding, April 26, 27, 28, 29, 1971, 9:30 a.m.–12:30 p.m., Venue: U.S. Congress, House of Representatives, Caucus Room, Cannon House Office Building), transcript, The Dellums Committee Hearings on War Crimes in Vietnam: An Inquiry into Command Responsibility in Southeast Asia (New York, Vintage Books, 1972, 13+355 pages) {LCCN: 79039897 pf, ISBN: 0394717678, WorldCat}. Witnesses: Five West Point graduates (Fred Laughlin, Gordon Livingston {Iraq, copy}, Robert B. Johnson, Greg Hayward, Ron Bartek, Michael O'Mera), five former military intelligence special agents and POW interrogators {omitted from the linked source}, ten former Americal Division members (Gary Battles, Charles David Locke, Terry Mullen, Steve Padoris, Daniel S. Notley, John Beitzel, Guadalupe G. Villarreal, Daniel Barnes, Thomas Cole, William Toffling), overview of air war, pacification, and forced urbanization (John Sack, Kenneth Campbell, Randy Floyd, Elliot L Meyrowitz).
Bertrand Russell Tribunal, “International War Crimes Tribunal” (Stockholm Sweden, May 2-10 1967; Roskilde Denmark, November 20 – December 1 1967).
Tiger Force: “Buried Secrets, Brutal Truths: Tiger Force, an elite fighting unit in Vietnam, left a trail of atrocities in that country that have been concealed from the public for three decades.” (The Blade, Toledo Ohio, October 22 2003, February 15, March 28, April 6, May 2, May 12 2004).

This document is not copyrighted and may be freely copied.

CJHjr

Charles Judson Harwood Jr.

Posted June 3 2004. Updated May 10 2009.

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