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March 4 1970 hearing (pages 509-568)
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}










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

44-706 WASHINGTON : 1970


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].”



{To come}

{March 4 1970 hearing, pages 509-568}



Vietnam: Policy and Prospects, 1970


U.S. Military Advisory Program in Vietnam


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

Wednesday, March 4, 1970

The committee met, pursuant to notice, at 10:07 a.m., in room S-116, U.S. Capitol Building, the Honorable J. W. Fulbright (chairman) presiding.

Present: Senators Fulbright, Mansfield, Symington, McGee, Aiken, Case, Cooper, and Williams.

The Chairman. The committee will come to order.


The committee is meeting in executive session today to continue receiving testimony from Brig. Gen. Wallace L. Clement, director of the Training Directorate in the U.S. Military Assistance Command, Vietnam, and Col. Jesse L. Wheeler, Jr., senior adviser to the 1st Infantry Division of the South Vietnamese Army.

As high ranking officers, with the on-the-ground responsibility for training Vietnamese forces to take over the burden of the war, you gentlemen are in a far better position to appraise the problems of Vietnamization than are policymakers in the Pentagon — or legislators in the Congress, who must vote on bills to finance the war.

It might interest you that one reason I was late this morning was that I had a delegation of contractors call upon me crying the blues about why their business has gone to pot. I told them it was primarily because of the war in Vietnam, which I think is true. It was a very interesting situation. Contractors are beginning to feel they are going broke. That is why I was late. They were from Arkansas. Otherwise, I would have been here on time.

Policies can be no better than the factual information on which they are founded. That is why it is essential that this committee receive the most accurate, impartial, and detailed information available concerning the plans and prospects for disengaging American forces in Vietnam. And I hope that today you can and will provide the committee with the best factual information upon which we may judge the merits of the current policy.

It is curious, I may say. I do not think this will be on record.

(Discussion off the record.) {p.510}

Statement of
Brig. Gen. Wallace L. Clement, Director of the Training Directorate in the U.S. Military Assistance Command, Vietnam;
accompanied by
Col. Jesse L. Wheeler, Jr., Senior Adviser, First Infantry Division, Army of the Republic of Vietnam;
Mr. Peter R. Knaur, Office of Assistant Secretary of Defense (International Security Affairs)

The Chairman. Do you want to say anything initially before we go into specific questions?

General Clement. No; I have no opening statement.


The Chairman. One question occurred to me. Did you get the figures on cost of the training of pilots and other activities I asked for yesterday?

General Clement. Yes, sir.

The Chairman. Do you have those for the record?

General Clement. Yes, sir.

The estimated cost of offshore training for fiscal year 1970 is [deleted] and I can give you the specifics on the pilot training.

The Chairman. By offshore, do you mean the United States?

General Clement. That is what I mean, yes, sir.

The Chairman. That is for all categories.

General Clement. Yes, sir.

The Chairman. [Deleted.] How many personnel does that contemplate?

General Clement. The plan for the total year will be—

The Chairman. Fiscal year?

General Clement. Yes, sir; fiscal year 1970. That plan encompasses [deleted] people in the fiscal year 1970 offshore program.

The Chairman. Are they all categories?

General Clement. Yes, sir. Army, Navy, Marine Corps, and Air Force.

The Chairman. What do you estimate it costs to train one pilot?

General Clement. I have the costs. For a UH-1, helicopter pilot, [deleted]. For a jet pilot, [deleted].

The Chairman. Why is that? Why is there such a tremendous difference? Is it time or what is it?

General Clement. It would be the time differential, the type of instruction they undergo, and the more expensive materials they use.

The Chairman. Why are pilot training costs confidential? Is there any reason why these figures should be classified or secret? Does this tell the enemy anything it should not know?

General Clement. Sir, these are confidential figures.

The Chairman. Why are they confidential? This is what interests me. Is this simply to keep the American people ignorant of how much the war costs them?

General Clement. No, sir.

The Chairman. Are you afraid the American people would become disillusioned with the war if they knew how expensive it is?

General Clement. No, sir. {p.511}

The Chairman. Then what is the reason? Just give us a good reason.

General Clement. I am sure the training costs as a part of our total resources is a security matter.

The Chairman. What is it? We have a feeling, frankly, that the reasons for security are far less to prevent the enemy from knowing about it than to prevent the American people and Congress from knowing about it. I wish you would disabuse my mind of this.

General Clement. Sir, I really do not know the exact reason why these figures are confidential, but I do understand the general matter — and I am sure you do — of the security aspects.

The Chairman. Maybe you want to speak for yourself and tell us the reason. Why is the cost of jet pilot training confidential? You do not have to do it secondarily. We are quite willing to refer your—

Mr. Knaur. Actually, I do not think it is in the general’s or my purview to know why. I mean, it is a decision that was made by the responsible officials.

The Chairman. Who?

Mr. Knaur. This, sir, would fall within the Security Review Branch of the Pentagon.

The Chairman. This is so vague and indefinite. Cannot you say? Is this the responsibility of the Secretary of Defense?

Mr. Knaur. In the last analysis, yes, sir. I mean—

The Chairman. Can you put it in the record? Will you procure for the record a very positive statement of why the costs of training a jet pilot must be confidential?

Mr. Knaur. Yes, sir; I will.

The Chairman. And possibly be understandable and direct and simple?

Mr. Knaur. I will try on the latter.


(The information referred to follows:)



The individual cost attributed to the training of a Republic of Vietnam Air Force jet pilot is not considered classified information. However, the identification of the total program with costs and strengths would be considered sensitive information.


The Chairman. Why is it that the cost of training a Vietnamese to fly a jet is confidential? I cannot imagine why it should be, other than the fact that you are afraid it might disillusion the Congress and the American people with the war.

Mr. Knaur. I am sure that is not the motivation.

The Chairman. Why are you sure it is not? I cannot think of a better one. Can you think of a better one?


Mr. Knaur. Because I have never heard of any security rule being based on trying to deceive the American public or the Congress.

The Chairman. Say that over. What is this now? I did not get the thrust of that.

Mr. Knaur. Just, sir, that I have never heard of a security rule that has been made for the prime purpose of keeping information from the American public or from the Congress.

General Clement. Sir, if I may, there is another aspect. {p.512}

The Chairman. All right. Go to it. What is it?

General Clement. If the cost of training a jet pilot is known in the budget there is an overall cost, then we are telling the other side that we are training 200 pilots this year. So this, you see, is a way these figures can be used.

The Chairman. What difference does it make?

General Clement. This is a factor involved.

The Chairman. What difference does it make?

General Clement. I think we should keep the enemy in as much doubt about what we are doing at all levels, and I know you share the belief with me. It is hard to get information on the battlefield, sir, and we do not like to have the enemy given it free, as you well know.

The Chairman. On that theory we should not publish budgets and we should not have debates in the Congress and should pretend the war is not going on.

General Clement. No, sir.

The Chairman. Every time a speech is made about the war up here it gives some information.

General Clement. Yes, and I think as I know you are well aware, this is a matter of judgment. Obviously, the American public must know and should know just as much as possible. We share that with you.


The Chairman. It is nice of you to say that, but you know yourself that some of your principal officers, such as Admiral McCain and General Ciccolella and others have denounced the Congress roundly, not only the Congress in general but me in particular, for criticizing the war or raising any question that this is not in our interest. You know that as a fact.

General Clement. I cannot speak of what General Ciccolella has said. I really have no knowledge.

The Chairman. You do not know anything about it. How is it that you can be in this war and know so little? You do not know what your counterpart thinks? You never heard of General Ciccolella?

General Clement. Yes, sir.

The Chairman. You do not know anything about what he thinks of it?

General Clement. Sir, your question was did I know what he had said about you and I do not know.

The Chairman. I mean about the war and those who disapprove of it. You ought to have a copy of his famous speech to the chamber of commerce at Taiwan about the war and the Congress generally and all of those who do not think it is the Lord’s work.

General Clement. May I pick up on another point? You said I do not know what my counterpart was thinking. I must say I work closely with my counterpart and I thought I indicated that yesterday. I do try to get into these aspects.

The Chairman. Did I not ask you what he thought about the Chau case and you said you did not know?

General Clement. This is a specific case. Yes.

The Chairman. There may be other things but I thought if you worked that closely — the Chau case is famous. You know about it; do you not?

General Clement. Yes, sir. {p.513}

The Chairman. I am sure your counterpart would know about Mr. Chau.

General Clement. We have not actually discussed it. In general, I discuss training matters with him.

The Chairman. It is amazing to me you do not know what Admiral McCain said. He has been publicized and he had a lead article in the Reader’s Digest saying the enemy was defeated. That was a year ago, in January.

“ John S. McCain. We have the enemy licked now. He is beaten. We have the initiative in all areas. The enemy cannot achieve a military victory; he cannot even mount another major offensive. We are in the process of eliminating his remaining capability to threaten the security of South Vietnam ... My optimism is based on hard military realism.”

John S. McCain (USCINCPAC), interviewed in Reader’s Digest (February 1969).

General Clement. Yes, sir.

The Chairman. Did you read that?

General Clement. In general terms—

The Chairman. Did you read the article?

General Clement. I cannot recall specifically, but I have read these articles.

The Chairman. Do you think the events proved he was correct in his statement?

General Clement. Well, if this is the statement he made, then the events obviously did not bear him out.

The Chairman. Did you not read it? This was a question and answer interview with him.

General Clement. I am sorry, sir, I do not recall.

The Chairman. It was a lead article. I think it was the first article in the Reader’s Digest of a year ago January. I think I am paraphrasing accurately. He said the enemy is defeated. He just does not know it yet.

General Clement. Well, a year ago January, sir, we were pretty busy in the sector I was in and I do not believe I was doing a lot of reading at that time.

The Chairman. I was busy, too, but we read these things because they are of such major interest here.


I think it is the Pentagon’s responsibility and not yours really. I would like them to give reasons for classifying this type of information.

Mr. Knaur. Yes, sir.

The Chairman. I guess a good example is why the costs to train a jet pilot should be classified specifically.

Mr. Knaur. I will, Mr. Chairman.

The Chairman. If the best you can do is that the reason is that the other side might know how many jet pilots you are training. I feel very sorry for you. I do not think that is a justifiable reason.


General, we come back to something more specific. What types of American military support, for example, artillery and air support, are South Vietnamese Army commanders expecting in 1970?

General Clement. Sir, let me give a general statement and then we can get some specifics in it. Under the RVNAF improvement and modernization program, which is what we are talking about [deleted] percent of all ARVN authorized units had deployed by January 31, 1970. Many ARVN units have been activated earlier than planned as a result of men and equipment being available. This includes artillery {p.514} units, an additional Marine battalion, some logistics units, and other units of this type. We have specifics which are in some detail.


The Chairman. General, pardon me. I apologize. I meant to ask while you are doing this to give me what it costs to train an American pilot and if that is secret. Include that in the memorandum.

Mr. Knaur. Eight, sir.

(The information referred to follows:)



The United States spends approximately $82,000 to train one jet pilot for the U.S. Air Force. This cost includes equipment, training facilities, and personnel to support the training base. The individual costs are unclassified, but the entire jet pilot training program is considered sensitive information.


The Chairman. Proceed.


General Clement. As an example, we will indicate here how some of these things were completed ahead of schedule. An artillery battalion, 105 millimeter, was activated in November 1969 rather than the fourth quarter of fiscal year 1970. A light truck company was activated February 1, 1970, versus the fourth quarter of fiscal year 1970. In the Vietnamese Air Force [deleted] percent of all the authorized squadrons had been declared operational as of January 31, 1970. Many of these units have become operationally ready prior to the planned operational ready date. For example, a gunship squadron. In addition, a [deleted].

[Deleted] percent of all the authorized small combat craft have been turned over to the Vietnamese Navy. The Navy program has been accelerated to complete a turnover of all small craft. That would be river patrol boats principally.

These are specific examples, sir, of the kind of thing that is going on as far as our improvement and modernization program.


Senator Mansfield. Mr. Chairman, could I ask a question there?

The Chairman. You certainly may.

Senator Mansfield. General, following up one of the questions raised by the chairman which you indicated if answered at least in the financial sense might be of value to the enemy by giving him an idea of how many people are being trained as jet pilots and the like. I note here in the February 22 issue of the Washington Post a story under the byline of Mr. Richard Homan, which indicates that the number of Vietnamese over here being trained in various capacities will increase within this year from 1,600 to 6,000. The story itself is from Mineral Wells, Tex.

There are breakdowns as to the number of South Vietnamese being trained at Keesler Air Force Base in Mississippi and what they are doing, at Lackland Air Force Base in Texas and what they are doing, at Fort Wolters outside Mineral Wells. Tex. and in what they are being trained, and at Newport, R.I., where it is anticipated a 60-man class of South Vietnamese naval officer cadets will be forthcoming. {p.515}

It looks as if while the costs may not be available, the numbers are available for those who want to read the U.S. newspapers. I would hazard a guess that Mr. Homan obtained this information from official sources. Otherwise, he could not write so authoritatively. I cite it and I ask that this be made a part of the record at this point only to indicate that there is too much secrecy and not enough publicity as far as our involvement in Vietnam is concerned. This is true also in the case of our involvement in Laos, which I think is pretty well known but for some reason officially is an interlude war, a nonwar, a secret war or something else.

(The information referred to follows:)


[From the Washington Post, Feb. 23, 1970]


(By Richard Homan)

MINERAL WELLS, Tex.— One after another, 30 Orange and white helicopters dropped from the brilliant Texas sky, broke their fall inches above the hardpacked clay, and settled — some smoothly and some awkwardly — onto the makeshift landing strip.

Inside one of the bubble cockpits, the student, Warrant Officer Le Tan Minh, said. “It was pretty good.” His instructor, Warrant Officer William R. Wells, said, “Except—” and Minh admitted, “Except for air speed — some trouble there.”

Warrant Officer Minh is a 22-year-old Buddhist Vietnamese, a high-school graduate from Hue. He and his American instructor are assigned to Ft. Wolters, 60 miles west of Dallas. They are part of the Vietnamization of the war in Southeast Asia.

The Pentagon considers the training of Vietnamese in the United States the key to eventual withdrawal of American fighting men.

This year the training of Vietnamese in the United States has quadrupled, from 1,600 to 6,000 men a year, forming the nucleus of the future Vietnamese fighting forces.

In a recent week, at Ft. Eustis, Va., 250 Vietnamese were studying to be helicopter mechanics. At Randolph AFB in Texas, 200 were receiving their first flying lessons in fixed-wing aircraft.

At Keesler Air Force Base on the Mississippi Gulf coast, 160 were in the second phase of pilot training, studying navigation, airborne electronics, or learning to be air traffic controllers.

At Lackland Air Force Base on the edge of San Antonio, Tex., 550 were taking specialized English courses, learning the technical jargon of their future military jobs.

At Ft. Wolters, outside Mineral Wells, Tex., 350 were learning to fly helicopters, and the first class of 35 moved into the final month of its 21-week course, preparing to transfer after graduation to Hunter Army Airfield in Savannah, Ga., for 16 weeks of advanced helicopter training.

At Newport, R.I., the Navy was preparing for the arrival in March of a 60-man class of South Vietnamese naval officer candidates.

At each of these installations, and at the Pentagon, where the program is monitored, officials are enthusiastic and describe the results so far as unexpectedly good.

Talks with students and instructors at several installations indicate that the South Vietnamese, most in their early 20s, are generally shy at the start, but have impressed instructors with the grasp of complex U.S. military machinery. In many instances, they have performed better than comparable classes of U.S. draftees.


But the specialties being taught the Vietnamese and the scope of the program to train Vietnamese instructors indicates that Vietnamization of the support role will be gradual and painstaking.

For example, all of the flight training at Randolph and Keesler is in single-engine, propeller-driven planes. Only a small number of Vietnamese are scheduled for advanced instruction that will enable them to fly multi-engine cargo planes or jets. {p.516}

Helicopter training at Ft. Wolters and Hunter is in single-rotor, observation-type aircraft. Few South Vietnamese will learn to fly the large troop-carrying or gunship helicopters.

Because the immediate emphasis is on boosting the number of Vietnamese flying personnel, there is little effort now to develop a sizable cadre of South Vietnamese qualified to expand that country’s present small pilot training facility.

Limited though it is, Pentagon officials say the training is consistent with South Vietnam’s immediate needs and weaponry.

South Vietnam’s Air Force has few jets or other advanced aircraft. It has three squadrons of A-1 Skyraiders, single-seat attack bombers; three squadrons of A-37s, subsonic attack jets; several C-47 cargo planes and gunships and one squadron of F-5’s, simplified supersonic fighters produced primarily for recipients of U.S. military assistance.

Training is done within the framework of the Military Assistance Program, under which the U.S. annually trains several thousand men from the armed forces of 50 allied nations. Because of the sudden increase of Vietnamese students — which is expected to last at least another year — a separate taks {sic: task} force has been created in the Pentagon to oversee their instruction.

The emphasis is on aircraft skills, with the immediate goal, according to Air Force Secretary Robert C. Seamans Jr., the doubling in size of the South Vietnamese Air Force by the end of 1971. Seamans said recently, “This is a program that will run for another year and three-quarters or so.”

Through the program, the Pentagon hopes to upgrade the South Vietnamese capability to operate and repair helicopters, needed to allow the Vietnamese to carry on the mobile type of combat that the U.S. has pioneered there.

According to Pentagon planners, the expectation is that a solid grounding in the basic aircraft will allow South Vietnam to conduct more than half of the total combat sorties flown in the country — about twice as many as they now fly.

The sudden increase in Vietnamese students has forced a rapid readjustment of teaching methods.

By lengthening courses and concentrating on problem areas, U.S. instructors have been able to produce graduates who, they say, meet the same standards set for American GIs.


“I’m flabbergasted at the success, really I am,” said Maj. A. Robert Cyr, a helicopter maintenance instruction supervisor at Ft. Eustis. “Let’s face it. They’ve got a grave, grave problem with language and technical background. You can simply say ‘carburetor’ to an American GI and he knows what you mean. But back home in Quang Ngai province, maybe the most complicated thing the Vietnamese boy has seen is the bus going by or his uncle’s bicycle.”

Maj. James W. Johnson, a director of helicopter pilot training at Ft. Wolters, said, “We insist that the VNAF student is just as good as the American when he graduates, and by the same standards.” At Keesler, Col. Stanley R. Lovell, director of Vietnamese pilot training, said, “We’re proud of our product and we couldn’t be if they put pressure on us, or a quota system.”

The Vietnamese students are young, most between 20 and 23. All are high school graduates, many have attended two years of college and all have studied English before leaving Vietnam.

To be eligible for technical training in the U.S., the Vietnamese must score 65 per cent on the standard English Comprehensive Level test given all potential students from abroad.

Most however, come to the United States with a 40 per cent score and go to Lackland for English courses — eight weeks of general English and seven weeks of specialized instruction in technical terminology related to their military job.

“Technical language, even if you already speak English, is really a language all its own,” John P. Devine, head of a special language unit at Lackland, said.

A few doors from Devine’s office, 12 Vietnamese sitting in a circle in a tiny classroom shouted the new jargon in a strange mechanistic chant led by their civilian American teacher: “Laterally, laterally, he’s vibrating laterally! Vertically, vertically, he’s vibrating vertically! He vibrates vertically because he’s out of track. He’s vibrating vertically! The machine is out of balance. The machine! The machine! The machine is out of balance!

The influx of Vietnamese has been absorbed easily at most U.S. bases because the American de-escalation has resulted in a reduction of American GI’s being trained. {p.517}

At Ft. Wolters, a peak of 575 helicopter pilot graduates a month was reached in 1968. Now, even with the Vietnamese, the total is well below 500. At Ft. Eustis, where helicopter mechanics were taught in three shifts around the clock in recent years, only two shifts are needed now.

Where their numbers are large enough, the Vietnamese form separate classes. This permits the teachers to pace the instruction to their language capabilities and reduces problems of shyness and embarrassment.

The training, conducted by U.S. military personnel and civilian contract firms, is aided by staffs of four or five Vietnamese cadre, most of them captains and majors, at each base. The cadre are proficient in the specialty being taught at the base and fluent in English. Many have taught at the Vietnamese air training center in Nhatrang.


At Randolph Air Force Base, Capt. Nguyen Minn Duc, 31, a U.S.-trained pilot with 6000 flying hours, most of it in combat where he was shot down twice, counsels and tutors Vietnamese nervously preparing for their first solo flight. Minh, who says he is anxious to get back to combat, talked of the students’ problems.

“Most of them can’t drive a car,” he said. “They have just graduated from high school, maybe they can drive a scooter, and that’s all. Their skill with machinery was very limited. I think they have the skill now to fly airplanes, but the main problem has been the language.”

At Fort Wolters, a Vietnamese captain went up in a helicopter with a student who was in danger of being eliminated because of extreme nervousness. The student flew flawlessly with his countryman, and the captain learned during the flight that the student was simply frightened at the hand gestures of his demonstrative American instructor. He thought the first instructor would hit him.

Different customs and language make it clear why the United States is pressing to develop a training capability within the Vietnamese military.

“The eventual objective,” a Pentagon planner of Vietnamization said, “is to train them in their own country with their own instructors. What we’re really doing now is handling the surge created by the expansion of their military.

When the expansion of the Vietnamese military has been completed, the United States expects South Vietnam to be able to train its own pilots, technicians and specialists to fill the vacancies that result from normal American attrition and rotation.

In one effort to build that capability, at Keesler Air Force Base a 12-man team of enlisted instructors, headed by a master sergeant with 15 years’ background in electronics, is preparing to go to Nhatrang in August to spend a year helping South Vietnam establish courses similar to those at Keesler.


Keesler also graduated a 15-man “transitional pilot” class last month, made up of Vietnamese with years of practical flying experience but little formal training in instrumentation or navigation. The course upgrades the pilots and sends them back to Vietnam as potential instructors.

At each training center, the U.S. military men speak glowingly of the enthusiasm and dedication of the Vietnamese.

Hanoi-born Capt. Ly Ngoc An, who lost his right arm in a bombing mission and has returned to the U.S. for psychological warfare training at Fort Bragg, explained, “Some people here think that because we are a country at war, the students probably would rather stay over here — not go home. But they seem very anxious to go home and serve.”

When a visitor asks the students what sort of aircraft they hope eventually to fly, some talk excitedly of jets — which are flown only by their Air Force’s elite. One student pilot, asked how long he expected to serve in the Armed Forces, responded solemnly, “Until I die.”

Another, Warrant Officer Bui Viet Thac, 22, from Saigon, admitted to some apprehension about flying as he waited in a hangar at San Antonio’s Stinson Field for his first hour of instruction. “But I think I must enjoy it if I’m going to be a pilot,” he said.

Two factors contribute to the high motivation exhibited by the Vietnamese students: they are handpicked for their intelligence and attitude and the training is a volunteer program that requires an 8-year minimum military commitment.

“They see it as an opportunity to get in on the ground floor of the expansion of their military,” one U.S. instructor said. {p.518}


In most courses, the elimination rate for Vietnamese actually runs lower than that for Americans — because of the less rigid screening of U.S. students and the lower motivation of some U.S. draftees. At Fort Wolters, the elimination rate in the first three Vietnamese helicopter pilot classes was 6 percent. American classes run about 18 percent

One course allows the Vietnamese up to 30 hours of helicopter flying time before they are required to solo, though most are ready to solo after about 20. U.S. students are required to solo after 16 hours of dual instruction.

To add long-term benefits for the United States and to influence the men they expect to be the South Vietnamese colonels and generals of the next generation, the Defense Department has encouraged and financed a broad travel and orientation program for the students.

One is at Fort Eustis, where Maj. William J. Blair, the post’s foreign liaison officer, has supervised an ambitious program that includes visits to Colonial Williamsburg, Jamestown and Yorktown; the Newport News Maritime Museum; the Federal Reserve Bank in Richmond; cigarette factories (“to show them methods of mass production, with a product they can readily relate to”) and Washington.


“I have them eat in automats and Hot Shoppes,” Blair said. “I want to show them how to mass feed. I do not pull any punches at all about our country’s problems and I try not to hide any minority problems. I let them see what the problems are and what we’re trying to do about them. I show them the middle-class homes and the slums — so they realize we aren’t all rich.”

The students fly to Fort Eustis from Vietnam, but they can go back to Travis, Calif., AFB by commercial bus, if they want a longer and closer look at the United States.

At one training center, a Vietnamese liaison officer talked frankly of how the visit to the United States can erase the ugly American impression that young Vietnamese may have formed.

“In Vietnam,” he said, “your GI’s, they can throw a beer can wherever they want; here they put it in a trash can. It’s a little thing, but it gives us a different view of Americans. And here, at a traffic light, you must stop. There, the American military can drive however they please.”

Pentagon planners expect the Vietnamese student load at U.S. bases to remain at its present level for the next year or more, then drop off as the expanded Vietnamese Armed Forces fill their manpower requirements and attain the capability to train their own replacements.

The Vietnamese Air Force, for example, has a backlog of about 500 qualified cadets waiting for flight training and about 30 percent of the flight training is now being done in the United States. As the backlog is reduced and more Vietnamese instructors become available, U.S. bases will get out of the business of mass training of South Vietnamese pilots.

Until then, the attitude of many of the U.S. instructors is that Chief Warrant Officer Bob Watts. At Fort Wolters last week. Watts, who admits to being “skeptical about this self-help program at first,” said, “I’d rather spend my time training an individual than standing in for him.”



Senator Mansfield. Incidentally, General, are your activities confined to South Vietnam or do you have anything to do with events in Laos and Thailand?

General Clement. I have nothing at all to do with those activities, sir.

Senator Mansfield. Who would be your counterpart in Thailand, if there is a counterpart? There is a different situation there. There may be none.

General Clement. Sir, I do not have a counterpart in Thailand.


Senator Mansfield. I understand that you said yesterday that the cost of the effort in Vietnam during this year—

General Clement. Fiscal year 1970. {p.519}

Senator Mansfield (continuing). This fiscal year is now down to $1.5 billion a month?

General Clement. No; the total support for the RVNAF, Republic of Vietnam Armed Forces, is $1.5 billion for the fiscal year.

The Chairman. That is only equipment; is it not?

General Clement. That is the equipment and supplies, sir.

Senator Mansfield. It will be $1.5 billion for this fiscal year.

General Clement. Yes, sir.

Senator Mansfield. What is the overall cost to us to date — applicable to the Vietnamization program?

The South Koreans and the Thais. Do you have any figures as to the total overall cost of our participation in this venture in Vietnam?

General Clement. Sir, I do not.

Senator Mansfield. You have no indication as to what the cost of the military advisory effort is to date. Do any of your colleagues?

General Clement. I have cumulative costs here, sir, for supporting the RVNAF up to date. Beginning in fiscal year 1965 and forward.

Senator Mansfield. What is the total?

General Clement. Up through fiscal year 1969, a total of $3.7 billion is the investment and operating costs.

Senator Mansfield. That would be in addition to the $1.5 billion for this fiscal year?

General Clement. Yes, sir.

Senator Mansfield. I would assume for the next fiscal year the figure will be on the increase?

General Clement. I do not know about fiscal year 1971, sir; I have no figures on that at all.

Senator Mansfield. Do you have any figures as to the total overall cost to this Government and its people of the Vietnamese war?

General Clement. No, sir; I do not.

Senator Mansfield. Not even an estimate?

General Clement. No, sir; I do not have that.

Senator Mansfield. Do any of your colleagues, either civilian or military, have a thought on that?

The Chairman. Does the Pentagon have any figures?

Mr. Knaur. I am sure they do, sir; but I do not know them.

The Chairman. Can you get them for the record? What is their estimate of the cumulative cost of the Vietnam war?

Mr. Knaur. Cumulative—

The Chairman. Cumulative including fiscal year 1970.

Mr. Knaur. All right, we will try to ascertain that.

The Chairman. The New York Times had an estimate the other day. I would like to compare it and see whether they are accurate or not.

(The information referred to follows:)


Estimated Department of Defense outlays in support of Southeast Asia operations

(Dollars in millions)

Fiscal year:
1965 103
1966 5, 812
1967 20, 133
1968 26, 547
1969 28, 804
1970 23, 204
Total 104, 603

________ {p.520} ________

Senator Mansfield. It is my understanding that the cost has been in the vicinity of $28 to $30 billion a year and that Secretary Laird indicated earlier this year or late last year that he thought the figure could be reduced to about $1.5 billion a month, which would make it a total of $18 billion a year. That is a decided drop, but still a lot of money. To that $18 billion I would assume perhaps the $1.5, which you have indicated is going for the Vietnamization of the Republic’s forces, would be added. I do not know.

That is all the questions I have at this time, Mr. Chairman.


The Chairman. Mr. Knaur, while we are talking about it, can you give us what the Pentagon estimates the cost will be in fiscal year 1971, in Vietnam?

Mr. Knaur. If that is possible, sir; yes.



Estimates for FY 1971 Southeast Asia costs are not available for public release, because of the need to preserve flexibility in determining the scope of operations in Southeast Asia and to avoid disclosure of our intentions to the enemy. All relative information regarding FT 1971 Southeast Asia operations and costs have been provided to the Armed Services and Appropriations Committees of the House and the Senate.


Senator Mansfield. I would like to ask one more question. What is the U.S. troop strength in South Vietnam at the present time, roughly, if you do not have the exact figure?

General Clement. We do have the figure, sir. The total at this time is [deleted] men.

Senator Mansfield. Does that include the personnel of the 7th Fleet?

General Clement. This includes the Navy force of [deleted] sir; the Naval Forces, Vietnam — who are engaged in small boat and river operations in Vietnam.

Senator Mansfield. That would be exclusive of the 7th Fleet then.

(The information referred to follows.)


{No inserted information “follows” at this point}



General Clement. Well, these are not a part of the 7th Fleet.

Senator Mansfield. But what you have are these forces in Vietnam. They have been mostly concentrated, as I understand, in the Delta region.

General Clement. Yes, sir.

Senator Mansfield. They are manning small boats. I think they call them riverine forces. Is this 29,000 separate from the 7th Fleet as an entity detached?

General Clement. Yes, sir: this is specifically attributable to the Vietnam effort. In other words, these forces come under General Abram’s purview, his operational control.

Senator Mansfield. The 7th Fleet comes under whose authority?

General Clement. Under Admiral McCain.

Senator Mansfield. What would you estimate would be the number of man attached to the 7th Fleet? {p.521}

General Clement. Sir, of the 78,900 assigned to the 7th Fleet, 23,900 are committed offshore to direct support of the Southeast Asia operation.



Senator Mansfield. What I am trying to indicate is that there is a greater concentration in Vietnam than is generally known because not only do you have the forces in Vietnam proper, Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine, and Coast Guard, but you have the backup installations at Clark Base in the Philippines. You have backup installations in Japan where we have a number of hospitals which take care of our people who are wounded in Vietnam. You have some sort of a connection between Okinawa and Vietnam as well. I would hazard a guess that those who are in contact, directly or indirectly, with the venture in Vietnam would very likely number somewhere in the vicinity of 600,000 or even a little more with this drawdown strength which has come into effect since this administration took office.

Mr. Knaur. Well, Mr. Chairman, can I just comment that the 7th Fleet and the other bases that you have mentioned, have a responsibility beyond Vietnam. I mean, they are not there solely for Vietnam. The 7th Fleet—

Senator Mansfield. They still are now.

Mr. Knaur. Not the 7th Fleet.

Senator Mansfield. Yes; they are. I will challenge that statement. I will tell you why. When I was out there last year I found that we had only two ships, destroyers, in the Gulf of Taiwan, which is the original base for the 7th Fleet concentration. This does not take in the facilities where they go for repairs like Yokosuka and the like. [Deleted.]

The straits have been relatively undefended as far as the 7th Fleet is concerned because of Vietnam and, therefore, its chief concentration is in that area and part of the installations at Clark Air Force Base in the Philippines are tied to the Vietnam venture. Okinawa is too and so are in some respects the Philippines and so was, unless the B-52’s have been removed, Guam itself. All of these factors veer in one direction, one objective, and for one purpose. We are in a situation which is not normal which would back up your statement, I believe, as to dispositions. Everything now is pointed in one direction and that is Vietnam. I think the record will show that.

That is all.

The Chairman. I would only venture this observation. I think I heard the Senator from Missouri give on the floor yesterday his estimate including all of our forces in the Far East. He did not say directly Vietnam, but directly and indirectly it was 800,000. He was including those in Korea, in Thailand, Japan, Okinawa, Laos, and all that. His estimate, I think, also included civilians.

I do not know whether he made a calculation or was estimating it roughly.


Senator Mansfield. I think, Mr. Chairman, it would be a good thing to direct the staff to make a calculation of the situation in that area so we can have as a part of the record what the connection is between {p.522} the war in Vietnam, the 7th Fleet, the installations in Japan, Guam, Taiwan, Korea, the Philippines, Laos and Thailand, and many other areas.

The Chairman. I agree with that. It seems to me the Pentagon would have this. Could you arrange for this, Mr. Knaur? Are you representing the Pentagon or AID or what are you representing this morning?

Mr. Knaur. I am Department of Defense.

The Chairman. Then you ought to have this available. I mean it ought to be very easy for you to obtain a total compilation of all the personnel.

Mr. Knaur. We can submit that for the record; yes, sir.


The Chairman. May I ask you if this is confidential and secret?

Mr. Knaur. I do not know, sir.

Senator Mansfield. I think we can do it from both ends, Mr. Chairman.

Mr. Knaur. I am sure a detailed listing of our strengths would be a classified figure.

The Chairman. It would?

Mr. Knaur. Yes, sir.

The Chairman. Take a figure like Korea. Every day we read it is around 60,000, but this is still classified. You see it in the paper all the time, but that still is a classified figure.

Senator Mansfield. I think I can show stories out of the U.S. News & World Report.

The Chairman. I know you can. I read them all the time. I want to know if it is still classified.

Mr. Knaur. The fact that a figure exists in the paper does not declassify it.

The Chairman. I understand.

Mr. Knaur. And the other thing I would like to say is that a rank figure is not necessarily classified.

Senator Mansfield. A what kind?

Mr. Knaur. A rank figure. If you say around 60,000 where the actual figure, and this is hypothetical, is 52,000, then the around 60,000 would not be classified where the 52,000 would be.

Senator Mansfield. We would like to have round figures.

Mr. Knaur. Well, we will see if we can do that, sir.

The Chairman. Can you give it for all these categories that he mentioned in the whole Far East? It is not restricted to Vietnam. I mean the total manpower and their location. By that I mean I would like to know whether or not you are including Guam or Okinawa. We can draw the conclusions as to whether or not they are related to Vietnam. You do not have to draw that. We want the disposition of personnel in the Far Eastern theater. I think you could supply that: could you not?

Mr. Knaur. Yes, sir.

The Chairman. I am sure the Secretary has that at his fingertips.

Mr. Knaur. I am sure he does.

(The information referred to is classified and in the committee files.)

The Chairman. We would like what degree of classification you have applied to it. Since you are going to do that, if it is classified we would {p.523} like to know why. We have to get to the bottom of why you classify so much of the information relating to our military activities.

(The information referred to follows.)



The disposition of United States troops in the various countries of the Far East is considered classified information, at the level of SECRET. The only purpose of any security classification is to deny access, by the enemy, or possible enemy, to information that may be of some aid or benefit to him and could therefore be inimical to the security of the United States.

Specific numbers of troops, especially by service, in specific locations could quite easily lead an enemy into deducing our capabilities and intentions in those specific areas and could over a period of time indicate trends.


I wonder, General, do you have any information on when the 486,000 you mentioned would be reduced to 250,000? Do you have any projection when it will be?

General Clement. Sir, I have no knowledge, I have no projections at all of what end strengths are going to be at any time in the future.


The Chairman. How do you organize training schedules if you have no idea of what the level of people is going to be and when it will be reduced? On what basis do you organize a training schedule?

General Clement. If you are talking of Vietnamese training schedules, we do have knowledge of how they are increasing and what their forces are going to be.

The Chairman. What is it?

General Clement. These forces are considered in our training projections and this is—

The Chairman. What is it? Will you give us that?

General Clement. In fiscal year 1971, sir, under the acceleration program. Vietnamization, we are heading toward an end strength of [deleted.] That is the total Republic of Vietnam Armed Forces. RVNAF is building up toward this total. This is the agreed figure with them, [deleted] and with this—

The Chairman. [Deleted.]

General Clement. Yes, sir.

The Chairman. That is the fiscal year 1971.

General Clement. Fiscal year 1971, sir.

The Chairman. How do you project what that is going to be in the next few years? What is 1972? Have you a projection?

General Clement. I do not have that. We have the fiscal year 1971 figure firm right now. And we have, of course, fiscal year 1970.

The Chairman. What is 1970?

General Clement. [Deleted.]

The Chairman. [Deleted.] So they are increasing [deleted] between 1970 and 1971.

General Clement. Yes, sir.

The Chairman. Would you venture an opinion that that is sort of the rate of increase that you anticipate in their armed forces? Is that the overall?

General Clement. Sir, I would not because this is subject to again the enemy situation and other things that are happening. We are firm on the [deleted] for fiscal year 1971. This is part of the plan I was {p.524} talking of yesterday. The Army, Marine Corps, Navy, and Air Force break out in there—

The Chairman. How is that broken down?

General Clement. [Deleted.]


The Chairman. Do you train sailors over here as well as air and jet pilots?

General Clement. Yes, sir; there is a training program.

The Chairman. For what?

General Clement. For the Vietnamese Navy.

The Chairman. Vietnamese Navy?

General Clement. Yes, sir; this is generally in the skilled areas. In other words, maintenance and that sort of thing.

The Chairman. What do you estimate it costs to train a boat maintenance man?

General Clement. I will have to provide it for the record. I cannot supply it now.

(The information referred to follows:)



Cost of training a boat maintenance man varies according to the location and skill level desired. This training (Deisel {sic: Diesel} Maintenance) is accomplished at one of three places and the costs for each are as follows: CONUS {continental U.S.} (including transportation) $1320.00 per individual, Guam (on the job training) $500.00 per individual, Danang (U.S. Contractor School) $600.00 per individual. The duration of the courses are: 18 weeks CONUS, 8 weeks Guam, and 12 weeks Danang.


The Chairman. You do have a list of—

General Clement. I had the overall cost for you, sir, of—

The Chairman. [Deleted.]

General Clement. [Deleted] would include all of those being trained in the States.

The Chairman. That is all of them, but there is a vast difference. [Deleted]. How long does it take to train that jet pilot? That [deleted] is a year or is it total?

General Clement. That is the total cost.

The Chairman. Spread over how long?

General Clement. Thirty weeks of language training in Vietnam, sir, plus an additional 6 or 8 weeks at Lackland Air Force Base, plus the pilot training itself which would amount to about 16 to 18 months.

The Chairman. That seems very expensive. Say 18 months at the outside it costs [deleted]. Does that not strike you as very expensive?

General Clement. Yes, sir; I do think that training is expensive in general.

The Chairman. What is that $4,000 a month to train a pilot? Why is that? Does that include the cost of the plane or something?

General Clement. It would be the operational costs to include the maintenance on the aircraft he is using, cost of the instructor who is used, and things of that nature.


The Chairman. When does your counterpart in the Vietnamese Army expect the American forces to be reduced to 250,000? Has he {p.525} ever indicated what he has in mind as to what he expects in this regard?

General Clement. Sir, we have discussed no specific strengths and have not discussed this aspect at all.

The Chairman. One thing surprised me. You say the increase in South Vietnamese forces between fiscal 1970 and 1971 is only 6,000. At that rate, that is one for one; how many years would it take for us to withdraw 300,000? What is 6,000 into 300,000? Six into 300. That is 50. So, at that rate they would supplant our withdrawal of 300,000 in 50 years; would they not?

General Clement. Sir, I am not sure of the figures you are using now.

The Chairman. The actual figures are that they have increased their armed forces from [deleted]. Is that not the figure you gave me?

General Clement. Yes, sir.

The Chairman. Assuming they continue at this rate of increasing their figures 6,000 a year and they are to take up the place of 300,000 of our troops, it will take them 50 years to do it; will it not?

General Clement. Sir, I do not believe we have really—

The Chairman. What is wrong with that reasoning?

General Clement. I do not think we have agreed on just how many they are replacing of ours.

The Chairman. I know you have not agreed, but this is one little fact into which we have got our teeth. You said this is what the fact is. This is what we are going to do.

I am projecting that in the absence of any estimate. You say neither you nor your counterpart can give any estimate. If you have to reduce to extrapolating that figure, it would look like you are contemplating around 50 years to make a transfer. What is wrong with that reasoning?

General Clement. Well, sir; we are not speaking of any transfer. I am speaking of training the Vietnamese Armed Forces.

The Chairman. The Administration’s policy is to withdraw Americans and ARVN take their place. Is that not the policy of the Vietnamization?

General Clement. In very general terms, yes.

The Chairman. In general terms we are going to withdraw and they take our place. You describe it better then. I throw this out as a thought. What is wrong with that?

General Clement. In general terms I am sure it is true.

The Chairman. That is the Vietnamization program. Insofar as you are willing or able to give us information, what is happening is they are increasing at the rate of 6,000 a year. I say that looks like it is going to be a very long time to bring about this withdrawal of 300,000 troops.


General Clement. But, sir, it is going to depend, as you well know, on other factors besides Vietnamization.

The Chairman. I am only inviting you to explain the other factors. I am giving you an opportunity to enlighten us now. I am not trying to persuade you to say any particular thing. Tell us the other factors.

General Clement. Sir, I think the Paris negotiation is obviously one big factor which is overriding. The enemy activity is another big factor that is overriding. {p.526}

In other words, the activity of the North Vietnamese themselves. No. 2 would be the Paris negotiations and how that culminates, and Vietnamization, in other words, their taking on more and more of the burden. These are the three broad variables, I guess you would call them, on which the whole program is based. You have to take them all into account when we are talking strengths, speeds, and transfer of responsibilities.

The Chairman. I wish I could draw the conclusion, and maybe with your support I might, that this very slow increase in their personnel indicates the administration expects to have a negotiation in Paris. Would I be correct if I draw that conclusion?

General Clement. Sir, that is beyond my purview.


Senator Symington. Mr. Chairman, there is another hearing I left and I have to get back. May I ask a couple of questions?

The Chairman. Certainly. I would welcome it. Before you came in I took your name in vain by saying I thought I remembered your saying yesterday that you estimated 800,000 American personnel in the Far East theater. Was I right or wrong?

Senator Symington. That is about right.

The Chairman. Did you not say something like that?

Senator Symington. 540,000 in Vietnam. Eight.

The Chairman. As of today, I thought you meant.

Senator Symington. At one point we had about 545,000 in Vietnam, didn’t we?

General Clement. We did earlier. Right now we have [deleted].

Senator Symington. And you had 50,000 in Thailand at one point, right?

General Clement. I do not know about that.

Senator Symington. I do. So, that would be 595,000. Then, you have the fleet which is estimated at about 60,000 all told. That adds up to 655,000. You also have all the ancilliaries, such as Japan. The Guam setup incident to B-52’s, Okinawa incident to refueling of B-52’s, and Clark Field and Subic Bay in the Philippines.

What I said therefore, and the chairman is right, at the peak period we had around 800,000 people in the Far East working on the problem to the best of my analysis. Would you have any cause to dispute that?

General Clement. No, sir; I would really have no comment.


Senator Symington. If the United States of America having that number of people working to accomplish whatever it is that we want to accompish {sic: accomplish} out there could not do the job with the Vietnamese, regardless of the degree of training and the amount of equipment that we give to the South Vietnamese, how can we expect them to do it without those 800,000 people? That is my concern about the question on the Vietnamization program.

General Clement. Well, I would like to offer some comments in general terms, sir. I think when we discuss these matters and go back in history over time and we talk of a people at a certain point in time and how they are doing, these are, by themselves, variables. {p.527}

Tet 1968. 2 years ago—

Senator Symington. I understand all that. I have been to Vietnam numerous times. One of the reasons I asked that question is I asked in another committee whether the rules which have restricted our Air Force, Navy, and Army would also apply to the South Vietnamese. I was told yes, that they would apply so long as we put up the money.

Does this mean in effect that a good deal less number of people with the same rules can do a better job than we could do with the U.S. forces that were there? Now we are leaving; and I am for that. Personally I do not think there is anything left out there to win, but if we have failed as against what President Johnson wanted, and I support President Nixon’s program, and we get out, how can they win without us under the same rules?

To me it is mathematical, but I would like to get your comments on it.

General Clement. If I understood it, I would like to bring it down to Vietnam itself, our present deployment there, and what we are doing there. I think you broadened it to include all of Southeast Asia and I would rather stay—

Senator Symington. No; I am only talking about South Vietnam and the rules that apply to the fighting there.

General Clement. Again, sir; I am saying, as you analyze the problem, you are analyzing the forces you are dealing with, our own and the Vietnamese. We feel the Vietnamese have come a long way — that is why I went back to Tet of 1968 — there has been a tremendous change. I think if you were there at that time and there now you would see a tremendous difference.

This change in an Army is a factor that is taken into account — it is a big thing, as a matter of fact.

Senator Symington. How do you mean a big thing? I was there just a few weeks before Tet.

General Clement. I think it is a big thing that we have the feel for their effectiveness. The way they have operated has been effective and we have seen this demonstrated in the past.

Senator Symington. You mean an improvement in the forces of South Vietnam?

General Clement. Eight.

Senator Symington. Do you think those forces are improving to a point where they can handle the situation without us in the not too distant future?

General Clement. No, sir; I would not estimate when we would be able to leave or in what form. I think that it is a function of the forces we are working with and Vietnamization. This is why I believe there is such, well guarded optimism about this particular subject. We believe that the South Vietnamese forces are responding.

I think another—

Senator Symington. I am sure they are responding. The figure you have I think, is $1-1/2 billion for the annual cost of equipment. Does that include training?

General Clement. Yes, sir: that includes training and equipment; $1.5 billion is what we are talking about for fiscal year 1970.


Senator Symington. And how many helicopters are we giving them? Do you know roughly? {p.528}


General Clement. Yes, sir; under the program they will have in the area of [deleted.]

Senator Symington. And in rough figures how much is that worth?

General Clement. About $250,000 per helicopter.

Senator Symington. Are you saying the average cost of these helicopters is $250,000 apiece? Is that right?

General Clement. About $250,000, sir.

Senator Symington. How many helicopters have we lost in Vietnam?

General Clement. I believe you mentioned a figure of 1,500, sir.

Senator Symington. I did not mention it, I do not think but—

General Clement. It was mentioned in an article and I do not have the total at hand, but it is probably in that area.


Senator Symington. Do you find helicopters pretty tricky to run? Are the South Vietnamese learning how to handle them well?

General Clement. Yes sir; I think you will find that they are. As a matter of fact, they are pretty good pilots and I think this is another reason for guarded optimism. They have demonstrated an ability to fly helicopters and jet aircraft and have performed well. They seem to be quite eager. They take English language training. It would be very stimulating the next time you are over there to visit the English language training program to see these young Vietnamese getting trained by our young airmen. These young airmen are given a course of instruction in English language training by the Defense Language Institute in Vietnam, and then these young men go on to teach the Vietamese {sic: Vietnamese}. It is quite gratifying to see them perform.

Senator Symington. The airmen speak Vietnamese?

General Clement. No, sir. They are teaching English. The course runs roughly 30 weeks, I have talked to some of these VNAF airmen and asked how they are doing. They are very proud to speak the English they can speak after a few weeks. They say they like this training. We ask are you all ready to fly those choppers? Of course, they have a long way to go. They have to go back to the States and get trained at Lackland and Rucker and other places. However, they reply, yes, sir, we are ready to fly! We want to fly! This is just—

Senator Symington. Do they fly as well as the American pilots?

General Clement. I would hesitate to make a judgment, sir. I have heard judgments made that they are pretty darn good pilots and I would think the same.

Senator Symington. Properly trained they are just about as good as ours?

General Clement. Well, I think so, sir, in general terms. This kind of thing is what heartens you a little bit about those people. You feel a little bit stimulated about their ability to do things and their eagerness to do these things.


Senator Symington. General, how many divisions do the ARVN have now?

General Clement. They have 10 numbered divisions, sir: an airborne division, and a Marine division. {p.529}

Senator Symington. Twelve divisions all told?

General Clement. Yes, sir.

Senator Symington. And how many people in a division?

General Clement. The average strength authorized is around 12,000, sir. The 1st Division is heavier than that. But the average is about 12,000.

Senator Symington. That would give them about 144,000, something like that?

General Clement. In their combat divisions.

Senator Symington. Combat divisions. And how many of those are combat soldiers? De {sic: Do} we support those divisions with American logistic support?

General Clement. No, sir. They have—

Senator Symington. How many of the 12,000 are combat troops?

General Clement. Well, that would get down to the ratio of combat troops to service troops.

Senator Symington. Right.

General Clement. I have the figure here for a typical division.

Colonel Wheeler. [Deleted.]

Senator Symington. I cannot follow you on the regiment; please put it in the division.

Colonel Wheeler. [Deleted.]

Senator Symington. How many combat and how many noncombat?

Colonel Wheeler. [Deleted.]

Senator Symington. Thus 9,000 out of 12,000 would be combat, and 2,000 more would be combat support and 1,000 more would be non-combat. Is that a fair analysis?

Colonel Wheeler. Yes, sir.

Senator Symington. So, you would say out of a division, about 11,000 could be considered combat.

Colonel Wheeler. Yes, sir.


Senator Symington. Take an American Division of 15,000. How many in that are combat?

Colonel Wheeler. It would be much less, sir.

Senator Symington. How many roughly, out of 15,000? As I remember the figure, it was two noncombat to one combat, so there would be in an American division, 9,000 noncombat and 6,000 combat. You say in a South Vietnamese division of 12,000 there are 11,000 combat and 1,000 noncombat. Does that mean that a lot of the logistics are going to continue to be performed by Americans? You see the thrust of my question.

General Clement. Yes, sir. And may I suggest that this is part of the program. In other words, with the buildup, the combat forces are pretty well builtup so far as the ARVN goes.

Now, talking of logistical support — they do have a logistical system of their own and a pretty good one.


Senator Symington. Well, the way you put it you have about 130,000 combat South Vietnamese troops. How many Viet Cong regulars, guerrillas and North Vietnamese oppose them? {p.530}

General Clement. I am just trying to recall a figure. [Deleted] troops. The rest were guerrillas, NVA, and VC.

Senator Symington. How many of those would be combat, of the 300,000?

General Clement. That is the figure I am trying to recall.

Senator Symington. OK.

General Clement. There was a total given of, I think, 300,000.

Senator Symington. Right.

General Clement. [Deleted.]

Well, sir, besides the infantry divisions, there is a lot of fire support — artillery and aircraft. This is a big part of the picture.

Senator Symington. I see. In other words, if we give them enough modern equipment, you think that might turn the tide?

General Clement. To go back to the earlier question, a part of the buildup is really to beef up their logistical force in order to give them much greater self-sufficiency.

Senator Symington. What did you say?

General Clement. The Navy and the Air Force programs are giving them more combat support. This is accelerated. So this means that the combat effort, particularly groundwise, may very well be there, but the combat support is needed. This is coming, and the total picture is a much more balanced force in the future. This is why we feel that for a period of time the United States will be there, but I cannot say how long.


Senator Symington. Now, I would like you to file for the record an answer to my earlier question. If we plan to get out of Vietnam and leave it to the South Vietnamese — we are certainly not going to give them better equipment than we have given our own boys — how can they succeed if we take the 800,000 people out of the picture that we have had there? Mr. Chairman, I do not want to pursue it any further. I have been asking this question and cannot get an answer that is satisfactory to me.

General Clement. Let us try to provide something.

Senator Symington. Thank you. I would appreciate it.



In the four years (1965-69) of increasing U.S. participation in South Vietnam, there were very significant results achieved in the main force war, in pacification, and in the improvement and modernization of the South Vietnamese forces. This progress makes Vietnamization a credible option.

Indigenous Viet Cong forces have been seriously degraded. Recruiting is difficult and becomes increasingly so as GVN presence expands into the countryside. The brunt of the main force war must be borne by the NVA. Heavy quantitative losses in the VC/NVA forces beginning in Tet 1968 have resulted, more importantly, in severe qualitative losses in experience {sic: experienced} soldiers and in leadership.

As a measure of progress in pacification, the increase in percent of population under GVN control since the time the Hamlet Evaluation System (HES) was initiated, is encouraging:

GVN control 678688
Contested 1678
VC control and not evacuated 1774
Total 100100100



The critical military factor in Vietnamization is the improvement and modernization of the South Vietnamese forces. In quantitative terms alone, their forces have roughly doubled in size, exclusive of the People’s Self-Defense Forces.

June 1973
RVNAF 522,400875,800986,4001,100,000
Total forces including paramilitary 625,8001,057,4001,189,9003,249,160

Qualitative improvements have been slow and laborious but have received primary emphasis during the past year. The fruits of this effort have been amply demonstrated in the highly professional performance of the RVNAF in recent engagements.


Senator Case. Mr. Chairman, may I ask the Senator a question? I think he has presented this in a very graphic and striking way, this question. I wonder if we are going to get any response. I want an answer to the same question — a response more or less keyed to the question of well, we can get out, if the North Vietnamese let us.

Senator Symington. Well, I think that is a very good observation, if I may say so, but one of the things that has worried me—

Senator Case. Maybe we should save several alternatives.

Senator Symington. One of the things that is worrying me is Laos. We are getting so little out of the Paris talks and it would seem logical if we are not pressing them in any way and assuring them we are not going to launch an attack against Laos, it seems quite logical they will take those divisions and put them into Laos.

Senator Case. Again the Senator will not think I am presumptuous—

Senator Symington. No, I appreciate this.

Senator Case. In response to his question he might ask that it be responded to on the basis of an alternative; 1, the North Vietnamese do not come back and exercise a strong stand and, (2) if they do. That is all I want.

Senator Symington. I think that is very well put.

May I ask this question, General. Do you premise your opinion of success if we leave on the basis of less interest on the part of the North Vietnamese in taking over South Vietnam?

General Clement. Sir, I am sure the whole question will be addressed in the context of the three propositions, the North Vietnamese actions, the Paris negotiations, and the rate of Vietnamization.

Senator Symington. If that is done, will that satisfy—

Senator Case. I think so. Unless we are going to get the same old answer we have gotten since the November 3d speech and before that which is, we will come out of this fine if A, B, and C and nobody can say what will happen if A, but not B or C.

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

Senator Symington. We are getting down to this point on it. If I were in the executive branch, which I am not, or if I were running a company, which I am not, and somebody came to the board of directors, which is in effect what the Congress is because it puts up the money as the board does for the president of a company, and ask for blank billions of dollars to run a program, it is logical to ask what the company and the stockholders will get out of that program.

Thus for this additional $7-1/2 billion, I would like to know what we think we are going to get and why.

Thank you, Mr. Chairman. {p.532}


The Chairman. General, I have a few questions here that are sort of basic to the operation over there. I will try to make them short and maybe we can get some answers.

Of the [deleted] presently in the armed forces, what is the present desertion rate in the ARVN forces?

General Clement. Yes, sir.

(The information referred to follows:)



The desertion rate for the RVNAF is as follows:

Calendar year:
1967 81, 797
1968 139, 670
1969 123, 311
1970 (March) 27, 851


General Clement. Sir, I can show you a chart of the gross desertion rate for 1968 and 1969. I also have a table which may be more helpful and I will supply it for the record.

The Chairman. You will have to put it in the record. The record cannot show that chart. You can read from it if you like. It does not have to be precise.

General Clement. Currently it is running at about [deleted].

The Chairman. [Deleted.]

General Clement. Yes, sir, we have a table which is worked out on it.

The Chairman. All right.

General Clement. This is less, we would like to point out, than it was in 1968. It runs perhaps an average of two per thousand under that.


The Chairman. What is the draft rate in comparison to the desertion rate?

General Clement. They have met their recruiting quotas, sir.

The Chairman. How do they compare with the desertion rate?

General Clement. We will have to work that figure up, sir.

The Chairman. Will you work it up and put it in the record, please?

General Clement. Certainly we will.

The Chairman. What percent of the sorties are flown by South Vietnamese aircraft?

General Clement. We will have to do some research.

(The information referred to follows:)



The following table is a comparison of the total South Vietnamese who were conscripted into the RVNAF and the total number of RVNAF personnel who deserted during the years 1967 and 1969.

1967 48,54581, 797
1968 99,145139, 670
1969 80,423123, 311



(The information referred to follows.)



The Republic of Vietnam Air Force flew 18 percent of the total strike sorties flown during February 1970 in South Vietnam.


The Chairman. Do you have the bombs dropped and helicopter flights? Surely you have that. We are trying to show their relative effort presently this year.

General Clement. {No text}

The Chairman. And the artillery fire by the South Vietnamese and do you have any projections what they will be next year?

(The information referred to follows.)



During the first quarter of 1970 a total of over 230,000 tons of bombs and over 220,000 tons of artillery ammunition was expended in South Vietnam.

Also, during the same period, U.S. and Vietnamese airforce flew over 1,000,000 armed helicopter and combat support sorties.



Do you have {sic: know} how many U.S. helicopters were in Vietnam a year ago and how many are there today?

General Clement. I do now know a year ago, sir, but I believe roughly it is [deleted] that are there today.

The Chairman. U.S. helicopters?

General Clement. Yes, sir.

The Chairman. Does that include helicopters that the Vietnamese have?

General Clement. No, sir.

The Chairman. What do—

General Clement. [Deleted.]

The Chairman. [Deleted.]

General Clement. Yes, sir.


The Chairman. How many U.S. fighter-bombers are there in Vietnam today?

General Clement. That, I will have to get. I have it here.

The Chairman. Do you have approximately what it is?

General Clement. [Deleted.]

The Chairman. How many were there a year ago? Is this an increase or decrease?

General Clement. I think it is probably maybe a little bit less than it was a year ago because there has been some redeployment.

The Chairman. How many South Vietnamese fighter-bombers are there?

General Clement. As now planned they will have [deleted].

The Chairman. When? That is not today?

General Clement. No, sir; that will be — completely operational in fiscal year 1971.

The Chairman. 1971. Do you have the figure there for what they are today?

General Clement. I do not have it right now, sir. I can get that.

(The information referred to is classified and in the committee files.) {p.534}


The Chairman. How many South Vietnamese artillery battalions are there?

General Clement. We do have that. And again, I can give it to you for the record, if you wish.

The Chairman. Can you give what your estimate is they will be next year?

General Clement. Yes, sir; we can show you what the projected buildup is.

(The information is classified and in the committee files.)


The Chairman. How many maneuver battalions does ARVN have now compared to the number the North Vietnam and Vietcong have committed in South Vietnam?

General Clement. We will have to, again, do some more research on that. We can dig out the maneuver battalions but the enemy side will have to—

(The information is classified and in the committee files.)


The Chairman. Does the United States presently provide all of the South Vietnamese Armies’ medical evacuation support?

General Clement. No, sir; it does not.

The Chairman. About what percentage?

General Clement. I can give you the numbers. We do have it broken out and let me provide it for the record. I believe that something that has not been widely known is that the Vietnamese have flown their own dust-off, as we call them. There have been VNAF medical evacuation sorties.

(The information referred to follows.)



RVNAF is currently providing approximately 15% of the total helicopter medical evacuation effort in support of Vietnamese forces.



The Chairman. How many U.S. personnel are now involved in the maintenance of electronic equipment being used by the Vietnamese Armed Forces?

General Clement. We have none, sir. They are maintaining their own equipment. In other words, they have their own system.

The Chairman. They maintain their own electronic equipment?

General Clement. Yes, sir.

The Chairman. How many fully-trained Vietnamese are there in the field of electronics equipment? Do you know how many there are?

General Clement. I am sure we can get it for you, sir. I do not have the figure on hand right now.

The Chairman. You have it available?

General Clement. We can get it; yes, sir.


(The information referred to follows:) {p.535}



Determining the number of full-trained Vietnamese in the field of electronics equipment maintenance has consistently been one of the major obstacles in attempting to determine not only RVNAF but also civil requirements in this field. The Vietnamese do perform their own communications-electronics maintenance on the equipment currently in their inventory, however, most of this equipment is relatively unsophisticated compared with US systems equipment in Vietnam. The skills required for maintenance of this equipment are predominately lower level skills, although maintenance up to third echelon is performed by the RVNAF. Approximately 65 to 70 percent of the RVNAF personnel requirements in the communications operations and maintenance field are now filled.

As US turnover of communications and electronics (C-E) sytsems {sic: systems} to the RVNAF is made, concurrent training programs will be conducted. Training in wide-band communications equipment is scheduled to begin in July 1970 with the ultimate goal of providing approximately 1,500 trained personnel over a 5-year period.

The military services do not maintain statisical data regarding local national civilians trained in these fields. Specific figures regarding trained RVNAF C-E personnel must be obtained from MACV.



The Chairman. Are there any specific measures of the overall effectiveness of ARVN and other South Vietnamese forces compared to U.S. forces? Is there any way to measure that?

General Clement. No, sir; I do not think so. We are talking of two different forces.

The Chairman. I thought perhaps you had estimated that they are 10 percent or 50 percent as effective and, therefore, you draw a conclusion as to how many people they will need to take the place of some of the Americans. Have studies like that ever been made?

General Clement. Sir, I know of none.

The Chairman. Let us take one specific indication. Colonel, can you say if any such study has been made with regard to your division, which is a very special one and the best as I understand it? Has anyone ever made a comparison that it is as good or about as good or better than an American division?

Colonel Wheeler. There has been no published study that I know of, sir. I think the observations and the record of their combat actions will indicate that they are comparable to any U.S. unit considering the fact that they are on the lean side with combat support and service support. The majority of their forces are combat forces. We maintain about 85 percent combat unit strength in the 1st ARVN Division.

The Chairman. Are the ARVN divisions evaluated individually as ours are or is yours the only one?

Colonel Wheeler. No, they are all evaluated.

The Chairman. They are all evaluated individually?

Colonel Wheeler. Yes, sir.

The Chairman. Can you say how they are evaluated today relative to a year ago? You can deal with yours and then all of them?

General Clement. Yes, sir. I think we can show there has been an improvement.

The Chairman. This would bear upon the question of if the ARVN forces take over the full burden of the war and the activity of the enemy continues at the level of last year, then you should be able to project how large a force it would take to handle the situation. Do you know if that has been done?

General Clement. No, sir. I do not know that that has been done. {p.536}


The Chairman. If the Vietnamese take over the full burden, is there any estimate that has been made of how much of the cost would have to be paid by the United States?

General Clement. No, sir. I know of no studies on this line.

The Chairman. I would think they would make such a study in contemplation of the implementation of the President’s program.

General Clement. I know of none, sir.


The Chairman. What was the total number of ARVN contacts with the enemy in 1969 compared with 1967 and 1968? Do you have that?

General Clement. I am sure we can compile something along this line, sir, which will show the comparisons.

The Chairman. Do you have any idea yourself as to whether they were greater or less?

General Clement. I will have to check, but 1968 had the Tet Offensive in it and, for that period, there is going to be a difference. So, 1968 and 1969 may be equal, but I would have to wait and put it into the record.

(The information referred to follows:)



The total number of battalion-size or larger unit ground operations which were conducted by RVNAF are as follows:

Current year:RVNAF
1966 3, 942
1967 3, 874
1968 6, 973
1969 11, 403
1970 (March) 2, 701



The Chairman. Can you tell us how do American officers and NCO’s feel about combined operations? Are they, for example, willing to rely on ARVN units in situations in which the ARVN performance is critical to their own security?

General Clement. Sir, this would just be a very general statement on my part. I do not want it to be definitive, but I think when a new man comes in, there is a need for him to get to know them. I think after you get to know them and after you work with them, there is a feeling of quite mutual respect and confidence depending on where you are in the unit.

I know specifically in my own unit we had quite a bit of confidence in the ARVN division working with us.

The Chairman. Which division was that?

General Clement. Second ARVN Division.

Colonel Wheeler. The U.S. units will call for 1st ARVN Division artillery support just as quickly as they will call for the U.S. artillery support, and likewise in our combined operations they may be some cases in which we have a small portion of U.S. forces and they work very well and with complete confidence. {p.537}

The Chairman. In the ARVN.

Colonel Wheeler. Yes, sir.


The Chairman. How many ARVN generals have been killed or wounded in action compared to the number of U.S. generals killed or wounded?

Colonel Wheeler. I do not know, sir. I do know General Truong has been wounded twice. He has received 25 decorations for valor, two of which are U.S. Silver Stars.

General Clement. This, I do not know.

The Chairman. These are compiled; are they not? These are available?

General Clement. We would have to do research.

The Chairman. There are so few of them that would not be very many.

General Clement. No. We would have to dig that out.

(The information referred to is classified and in the committee files.)

The Chairman. In the same way could you supply the casualty rate last year for junior officers of the ARVN and those of U.S. forces comparable in grade or rank? If those studies had been made—

General Clement. I am not familiar with the data, but I think we can get—

The Chairman. I think I have seen some of these comparisons made in the papers.

(The information referred to is classified and in the committee files.)


Have any new American forces ever been put under Vietnamese command?

General Clement. No, sir. We never had that where I was. I do not know about you, Colonel.

Colonel Wheeler. We have had operational control, but not command.

General Clement. We have operational control. We work closely.

Colonel Wheeler. Operations control but not command.

The Chairman. Could you define for the record Briefly the difference between command and operational control?

General Clement. It is defined operational control which controls the maneuver of the units, the general fighting plan, while full command involves all the administrative aspects, discipline and the rest of it.

(The following information was subsequently submitted by the Department of Defense.) {Italic emphasis in original}



The following is the definition for Command and Operational Control:

(a)  Command — The authority vested in an individual of the armed forces for the direction, coordination and control of military forces.

(b)  Operational control — The authority granted to a commander to direct forces assigned so that the commander may accomplish specific missions or tasks which are usually limited to function, time, or location; to deploy units con- {p.538} cerned, and to retain or assign tactical control of those units. It does not include administrative or logistic control (these functions are the responsibility of individuals who exercise command over the assigned units.)



The Chairman. Have the Vietnamese been put under the command of American officers?

Colonel Wheeler. No, sir. It has been one of operational control and it has worked very satisfactorily without any question with regard to who was specifically in command.

General Clement. I think the same thing as previously stated, operational control.


The Chairman. Can you give us how many noncommissioned officers or other enlisted men in the South Vietnamese Army became commissioned officers last year?

General Clement. I can give you an estimate on it, sir. There is now a program called the special reserve officer candidate school program. In 1967 they had no such program. In this program they take people from the ranks and into the officer corps.

The results have been they feel, most gratifying. I think we do, too. Out of — I will speak in round numbers — about 10,000 OCS students who went through their infantry school at Thu Duc, near Saigon, in the neighborhood of 1,000 came out of the special program for NCO’s. This has been a very gratifying thing.

Obviously, it is a good thing to have men who have been in battle several years and recognize the fact that they can lead, and they do.

In fiscal year 1970, they anticipate 30 percent of the 9,000 or 10,000 OCS candidates will come from the ranks. So, it is a program that is not well known, but it is going well.


The Chairman. Can you give us how many ARVN officers were relieved of their command for corruption last year?

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

The Chairman. How many were convicted or sentenced?

General Clement. I do not know.

The Chairman. You do not have that?

General Clement. Nothing on that, sir.


The Chairman. Do you think the pay of the ARVN officers and soldiers is adequate?

General Clement. Sir, they have a very low pay scale.

The Chairman. What is it?

General Clement. A private, for example, gets about $40 a month. A major gets about twice that. If you would like the entire pay scale for the record, we can provide it.

The Chairman. All right. Put it in.

(The information referred to follows:) {p.539}



[U.S. dollar equivalent]

General 185437
Lieutenant general 169392
Major general 159371
Brigadier general 151399
Colonel 116392
Lieutenant colonel 110311
Major 103287
Captain 86265
1st lieutenant 76229
2d lieutenant 70211
ASP 58174
Master sergeant 1st class 53168
Master sergeant 50165
Sergeant 1st class 47161
Sergeant 44157
Corporal 1st class 43151
Corporal 40123
Private 1st class 39119
Private 38118



The Chairman. Have you estimated how much it would cost to raise the pay to what you would call an adequate level?

General Clement. I do not have it, sir. There are studies underway in this general area. There are joint studies going on in the area of morale, pay, housing, rations, social welfare, family problems, and leave. All these things bear on a soldier’s attitude.


The Chairman. Could you put in with that information how much of the cost of any increase would have to be paid by the United States?

General Clement. Sir, before I can say, let me see what we can give you on this, and if possible, we certainly will.

(The information referred to follows:)



If the Republic of Vietnam Armed Forces (RVNAF) are granted a 20 percent pay increase, the cost to the GVN is estimated to be over 24 billion piasters.

A pay increase for RVNAF would not necessarily require an increase in U.S. supporting assistance. The level of supporting assistance reflects the difference between the resources necessary to support GVN military activity and the ability of the GVN to provide such resources from the domestic economy of South Vietnam. A military pay increase would require increased supporting assistance only to the extent that the GVN was unable to transfer sufficient resources to cover the increase from other sectors of the domestic economy. The ability of the GVN to effect such transfers in any given instance depends upon a variety of factors, including security, levels of domestic production, administrative capabilities, and legislative authority, to note the most obvious.



The Chairman. Do the U.S. forces advise the South Vietnamese forces on public relations matters?

General Clement. We do have an information advisory element working with Vietnamese counterparts in the Joint General Staff. We also have advisory functions with some units.

The Chairman. You do have advisory functions.

General Clement. We do have an advisory function, yes, sir.

The Chairman. Are U.S. reporters allowed to accompany the South Vietnamese on combat operations?

Colonel Wheeler. In the 1st ARVN Division they are permitted to go as they so desire. I believe when Mr. Moose and Mr. Lowenstein were there in December, the same courtesies were extended to them. {p.540}

The Chairman. Are they allowed to do so in other divisions or just the First?

General Clement. I am sure it is a general policy throughout Vietnam.

The Chairman. In all of these?

General Clement. Yes, sir.

The Chairman. Do U.S. advisers insist on preparing press information concerning battle actions involving South Vietnamese troops?

General Clement. No, sir, I would say they do not.

The Chairman. If they advise on public relations matters, why do they not advise on those releases?

General Clement. Sir, I do not have the detailed information but, in general, the advice is on the mechanics of handling and doing and I am certain the substance of releases is under Vietnamese control.


The Chairman. Can you estimate how many U.S. advisers to Vietnamese military units will be in Vietnam a year from now?

General Clement. I cannot give you a precise number, sir; but I think it will be slightly larger than the 7,000 military advisers that I have spoken of previously. This is because of the buildup that we have shown, particularly in the Navy and the Air Force. There may be some more.

The Chairman. You would not venture a guess or was that dependent upon how many more people are put in their armed forces?

General Clement. No, sir. It is dependent on the buildup of the units themselves. Principally Navy and the Air Force.

It will be in the area of perhaps another 300 or 400, sir. Again, I think I can check this more specifically.


The Chairman. Did I ask you the estimate for the cost to the United States of the military equipment, supplies, and bases to be turned over to the Vietnamese in 1971?

General Clement. I believe you did. I do not believe we have that cost for 1971 estimated.

The Chairman. Could you not have that for 1971?

General Clement. We do not have it, sir.

The Chairman. You make such projections; do you not? You are contemplating next year’s operations now, are you not?

General Clement. Sir this is beyond my cognizance. I have fiscal year 1970 costs which I have given you.

The Chairman. Have you given it for 1970?

General Clement. I gave you the $1.5 billion, sir.

The Chairman. Do you expect U.S. support for the Vietnamese military budget to increase in the future?

General Clement. Sir, I would hesitate to make a guess on these budgetary matters which are beyond my purview.

The Chairman. Is there specific agreement concerning the amount of budget support that will be provided for various military purposes?

General Clement. I really do not know that there is such an agreement, sir. {p.541}

The Chairman. From what sources and under what authorization does the equipment, supplies, and other aid to the Vietnamese armed forces come?

General Clement. This is under the Military Assistance Service funded program, sir.

The Chairman. Is that all of it; or how much of it is provided under the Department of Defense budget?

General Clement. I am not sure. The figure that I gave you of 1.5 is part of Department of Defense budget.

The Chairman. That is Department of Defense. The military aid is, I thought, part of the AID program.

Mr. Knaur. No, sir; the military assistance for Vietnam was transferred totally to the regular—

The Chairman. All of it?

Mr. Knaur. Totally in 1966, yes, sir, for the regular Defense budget.

The Chairman. Then the whole billion and a half is DOD.

Mr. Knaur. Yes, sir.


The Chairman. Only the economic now comes out of the AID.

Mr. Knaur. Yes, sir.

The Chairman. How much is that?

Mr. Knaur. The economic, I do not know.

The Chairman. It is around $500 million; is that correct?

Mr. Knaur. I am not aware of that.


The Chairman. How many advisers are attached to the Vietnamese Joint General Staff?

General Clement. We have approximately 400 advisers—

The Chairman. You have 400 attached to the Joint General Staff. How many to the South Vietnamese corps commanders?

General Clement. The total is just over 3,000. I have precise figures. [Deleted.]

The Chairman. How many are attached to the ARVN division commanders?

General Clement. The corps figure of 3,000 actually encompasses the divisions.

The Chairman. That is corps and divisions?

General Clement. Yes, sir.

The Chairman. How many are attached to smaller units than divisions? How is that broken down?

General Clement. The total figure includes all regimental and battalion advisers.

The Chairman. How many are in that category?

General Clement. Well, for example, the 1st ARVN Division Advisory Team has a total of [deleted] officers and men. That includes advisers to the division headquarters and to the regiments, battalions, and subordinate units. We can give you some figures on division advisory team strength.

The Chairman. Yes, give us a feeling of how it is divided.

General Clement. Well — and we have the corps figures also.

The Chairman. All right. {p.542}

(The information referred to follows:)



 OfficerEnlisted menTotal
Division command and staff advisers 222345
Regimental headquarters advisers (3 regiments) 9918
Infantry battalion advisers (12 battalions) 242448
Armored cavalry squadron advisers (1 squadron) 448
Artillery advisory team 112
Division recon company team 112
Direct support battalion team 448
Team support branch (administrative, logistical, and security personnel for support of the advisers) 12021
Total 6686152



Colonel Wheeler. In the 1st ARVN Division there are [deleted] officers and NCO’s advising at regimental and battalion level.

The Chairman. Out of about 200?

Colonel Wheeler. Yes, sir.

The Chairman. Of these advisers, how many are with the Navy?

General Clement. The Navy has roughly 900, sir.

The Chairman. And how many with the Air Force?

General Clement. [Deleted].

The Chairman. How many are attached to military academies and service groups?

General Clement. That total, sir, is in the Training Directorate and it runs in the area of 250.

The Chairman. Are there any other advisory positions that Americans occupy?

General Clement. The logistics advisory positions, sir.

The Chairman. What are they?

General Clement. It is in the area of 500 and I have the specifics on it. They are advisers to the area logistics commands and the technical services, for example.

The Chairman. I believe that one press report we have seen reported that after the U.S. combat supported logistical troops are withdrawn from South Vietnam, about 50,000 or more U.S. advisers will be left in Vietnam indefinitely.


Would you say that is a possibility?

General Clement. No, sir: I would prefer to make no comment at all on what might be left at any time in the future.


The Chairman. How many officers, enlisted men, and U.S. civilians are attached to MACV headquarters at present?

General Clement. Sir, I will have to get that exact figure.

The Chairman. You have it?

General Clement. Yes, sir.

The Chairman. Could you say approximately and then supply the figure:

General Clement. I believe MACV headquarters is authorized about 2,000 military personnel. The civilian strength. I am not sure about.

The Chairman. Including civilians? {p.543}

General Clement. No, sir.

The Chairman. You can supply the figure. I just wanted to have an idea of the general size.

General Clement. All right, sir.

(The information referred to is classified and in the committee files.)

The Chairman. Do you gentlemen want to question? These are questions prepared by the staff.

Senator Cooper. I was not able to be at the hearing yesterday. I am sorry I missed being here.


The Chairman. Do you think that Vietnamization has been put to a test yet?

General Clement. Yes, sir; in this way. In the territorial forces last fall and last summer there was an acceleration of the Popular Forces training efforts by approximately 6 months. This was, what might be considered a jump on the part of the Government to move these Popular Forces platoons through these training centers and out into their hamlets very quickly and much ahead of what initially had been planned.

This has been done and I believe the general results have been rather gratifying as far as the Popular Forces platoons are concerned.

This effort is continuing right now.

Another increment is being trained, ahead of schedule again, to go on out into the hamlets. Of course, sir; {sic: ,} when we talk of Vietnamization, we are talking of the whole effort which begins with the villages and hamlets, as Ambassador Colby has covered, and continues up to the corps level. We try to think of it in the total context — the people’s Self-Defense Force, and the Popular and Regional Forces, and the regular units.

The Chairman. You think of Vietnamization as far more than just the military effort.

General Clement. Yes, sir.

The Chairman. You think of it as the total concept of building a nation?

General Clement. It is a total concept, sir.


The Chairman. Why has there never been a unified command for combat forces in Vietnam?

General Clement. Sir, MACV is a unified command under Admiral McCain.

The Chairman. I guess this question means we are talking about the previous one. Are there any plans for putting U.S. units under Vietnamese command in the future? I thought you said they were not under United States-Vietnamese command.

General Clement. You are talking of a combined command.

The Chairman. Why has there never been a unified command for combat forces in Vietnam?

General Clement. I think what was misleading was the term unified command, that we recognize as such, which means all of the U.S. forces under one command. No, sir: I know of no plan that envisages a combined command. {p.544}

The Chairman. Why has there not been a unified command for all combat forces? What is the reason there was not?

General Clement. Sir; {sic: ,} I really have not gone into that problem in any detail at all. I could not say.


The Chairman. During the time the United States is in the process of withdrawing combat forces, will the enemy attack in force, in your opinion? We have already really discussed that, have we not?

General Clement. I think we have.

The Chairman. You said you did not know. I do not see how you could know.

General Clement. I think that is a real crystal ball question.

The Chairman. Yes, have you made any estimate of the number of casualties the United States is likely to suffer under the current withdrawal schedule? Is there any estimate of that?

General Clement. No; I know of none, sir.



The Chairman. I think I have asked you this. What is the total enemy recruitments and infiltrations in 1969? Do you have any figures on that?

General Clement. I do not have any total on this, sir.


The Chairman. Do you have any comment to make on the morale and training of the enemy forces? How do they strike either one of you?

General Clement. Again, it would have to be in general terms.

The Chairman. Sure; give me your impression from your own experience and from talking to your counterpart.

General Clement. We find, I believe, as with any force, that it is spotty. For example. North Vietnamese Army units will vary. Up in the sector where I was in the Americal Division they had NVA regiments there that on several occasions did not do very well. It was very surprising. We thought they were supposed to be crack troops. On other occasions, they stayed around for a while and did quite well. On balance, though, we felt the quality was deteriorating and this is another aspect of why I think you find the South Vietnamese forces feel a little bit more confident. NVA leadership in several instances that I can think of was certainly not the greatest. For example, one sapper attack on a fire support base last August, near the Hiep Duc region, was really an abortive attempt. Here they came in, tipped off their hand. Their own supporting fires dropped on their own troops, which is unusual. They got to the wire and were just about decimated. In fact, there were over 50 killed on the wire and they never did penetrate the fire base. That was an example. We had other experiences with them earlier where they never did such a thing.

The Chairman. Was this attributable to training or morale?

General Clement. That is a training aspect.

The Chairman. They were poorly trained. {p.545}

General Clement. I do not make a general statement. I am trying to give you examples of training where we feel their leadership must have been hurt. It has been hurt, we feel. I think another example of this is that we know, in their infantry battalions, they have ordered one company now to take sapper training. The sappers, of course, are the units that try to get into the fire bases. The sapper has been in elite units in the past and specifically trained for this mission of getting through the wire with just a pair of shorts on, a few grenades, cutting the wire, getting in, getting out on the other side after throwing their grenades and satchel charges. Rifle companies go out and become sappers now. We feel they are desperated. Sure it is a training problem. It is not the way he would have done it earlier. Now, I do not want to make general statements about it, but we do feel in instances and perhaps Colonel Wheeler can talk of some, too, that the training is not up to what it had been before.

The Chairman. That is your estimate. It is not nearly up to what it was?

General Clement. And I think you are going to find examples of low morale as we have found, definitely where the Hoi Chanhs come in through the Chieu Hoi program. In Quang Tin, the province I was in, I understand 3 months ago they had almost a whole company defect. This is very unusual.


The Chairman. From your experience, would not these two go together? If they are not trained, then I think their morale is bound to be pretty bad if they do not know what they are doing.

General Clement. Again, I think you have to look at the unit and I would hate to say the enemy morale is low and their training is no good. I want to say selectively we have seen examples of it where we were working against these units and certainly it has surprised us.

The Chairman. I am sure there will be that variation in it. We have already discussed the variation in the ARVN divisions, but I guess that the thrust of this is compared to a year ago or 2 years ago, how it is now. Is it deteriorating or is it as good or is it better?

Colonel Wheeler. I can elaborate in the area which I am familiar since we have both examples. First of all, the local forces and guerrillas. In their case we find their morale is much lower than it was last year because of the beating they have taken by the ARVN and the U.S. forces. On the contrary, those forces that come across the DMZ are normally well trained, well fed, well supplied and they present a more formidable force. And likewise, the forces that infiltrate from Laos. They are normally replacements and in some cases they are entire units. The morale of the prisoners depends upon the age and length of service. The younger ones obviously are surprised and disillusioned at what they find in South Vietnam whereas the older ones, the more seasoned soldier, has probably made that trip before and has come back again, hoping this time to achieve success.

Each time they meet with a stronger resistance. I think that we find the reason that the Chieu Hois are willing to talk and lead us to the locations of the enemy forces is because they, too, have lost a great deal of the previous spirit that they had. {p.546}

The Chairman. Is it fair to say from that that the morale and training of the VC, the guerrilla forces has deteriorated markedly but the North Vietnamese are about the same? Is that about a fair summary?


Colonel Wheeler. Yes, sir, I would like to give a brief explanation from the map, if I may, sir, with regard to Vietnamization and how it is being achieved in our area.

Generally speaking, the ARVN responsibility for the 11th Division Tactical Area (DTA) which extends north of the Hai Van Pass to the DMZ, is assigned to the 1st ARVN Division. Major operations conducted by the U.S. XXIV Corps and the 1st ARVN Division destroyed most of the NVA forces in the lowlands by the end of 1968. The success of continued operations conducted by the 1st ARVN Division, the 101st Airborne Division, the 3d Marine Division, and the 1st Brigade, 5th Mechanized Division in the Piedmont region, the A Shau Valley, south of Khe Sanh and along the DMZ while maintaining pressure on the VC and the local guerrilla forces in the lowlands resulted in the enemy forces being well mauled by July 1969. At that time General Truong made the decision to turn over the internal security of the lowlands where 90 percent of the people live, to the RF and PF units. He then concentrated the efforts of the division with the support of U.S. forces west of QL1, the north-south main highway. Combined operations with the 101st Airborne Division in the A Shau Valley and ARVN independent operations in the Piedmont region destroyed the principal enemy communication/logistical complexes in base areas 101 and 114. This was accomplished prior to the withdrawal of the 3d Marine Division and the Marine combat support and combat service support forces in the fall of 1969.

The 1st ARVN Division assumed responsibility for most of the area previously occupied by the 3d Marine Division along the DMZ in accordance with a plan agreed to by CG, XXIV Corps, and CG, 1st ARVN Division. Accordingly, U.S. and ARVN forces were disposed to insure maximum security to the population. Cognizance was taken of the forthcoming monsoon season — October to March — and the enemy-announced winter/spring offensive. Chieu Hoi’s prisoners and captured documents have since verified the enemy had been denied the capability of redeploying large tactical forces and resupplying existing units in the 11th DTA with sufficient food supplies, primarily rice, from the people in the lowlands. At the same time the NVA has been unable to rebuild the VC infrastructure which he considers paramount to the conduct of a successful major offensive. It is reported that the people are enjoying security in this area to a degree never before experienced. The fact that the RF, PF, and PSDF have provided most of the internal security while the combat forces were employed against the NVA is a significant factor in the people’s increase support of the Government of Vietnam.


The Chairman. Could you say to what extent the deterioration of the VCI or VC is due to the Phoenix program?

Colonel Wheeler. No, sir; I cannot. {p.547}

The Chairman. Are you familiar with the Phoenix program?

Colonel Wheeler. I know there is a Phoenix program, sir, but I do not deal with it.

The Chairman. You have nothing to do with it?

Colonel Wheeler. No, sir.

The Chairman. You are aware of its results?

Colonel Wheeler. No, sir.

The Chairman. Thank you very much, Colonel.


What are the plans, if any, for withdrawal of the South Korean and Thai forces in Vietnam, General?

General Clement. Sir, I do not know of any plans. I really do not know of any plans for withdrawal or their disposition in any way.

The Chairman. Do you know what the total cost of all support provided their forces in Vietnam was last year?

General Clement. Of all support?

The Chairman. Provided the forces of the Koreans and Thais.

General Clement. No, sir; I do not.

The Chairman. Do you or does anyone advise with the Thai and the Korean forces the same way they do with the Vietnamese?

General Clement. No, sir.

The Chairman. They have no advisers?

General Clement. Not in Vietnam.

The Chairman. Do the Vietnamese have advisers with them or are they entirely on their own?

General Clement. They have interpreters with them.

The Chairman. They have only interpreters?

General Clement. We have liaison with them, but not an advisory force.

The Chairman. Why would we not have advisers with them if we have them with the Vietnamese? I wonder what is the rationale for that.

General Clement. I think it is due to the fact that the ROK’s are well-trained forces.

The Chairman. They are in a strange country, and so on. I would think they would benefit by advisers. I did not realize that. They have no American advisers?

General Clement. We have no advisers with them that I know of.

The Chairman. I am surprised. I rather assumed—

General Clement. I would like to enlarge on that a bit. The ROK’s undertake quite a tremendous training program of their own for the Popular Forces, which they conducted last year and are continuing it. It is quite a good course. They train popular forces platoon leaders and NCO’s as well as units.

The Chairman. They train Vietnamese.

General Clement. Yes, sir.

The Chairman. Do the Thais do the same?

General Clement. I do not believe the Thais do, sir. I do not know of their program.

The Chairman. Are the Thais combat troops or not? I have forgotten. Do you know?

General Clement. Yes, sir, they have combat troops. {p.548}


The Chairman. The Philippines were not combat.

General Clement. No, sir.

The Chairman. Have you ever had any contact with the Thai forces?

General Clement. I have not, sir.

The Chairman. Have you with the Koreans?

General Clement. Yes, sir; with the Korean marine brigade up in the north in the sector I was in, Quang Tin.

The Chairman. What was your impression?

General Clement. We feel the Koreans are pretty good soldiers.


The Chairman. What is the normal ratio between logistics forces and combat troops required for their protection?

General Clement. Sir, this gets back to, I think, an earlier question of the breakout which we are providing of the ratio of combat to combat support and combat service support. I think this is the question.

The Chairman. This is a further question. If 200,000 U.S. forces are required for logistics, air and artillery service to the Vietnamese forces, how many U.S. combat troops will be needed to protect them? That is the thrust of the question. Did we ask that?

General Clement. No, sir; you are asking that now. Sir, I really do not have that figure.

The Chairman. That surely has been considered in the development of the program of Vietnamization though; has it not?

General Clement. Sir, I am certain that there have been many proposals and discussions but there is nothing firm and no decision has been made. It would be premature to say anything about it.

The Chairman. I would think this would be a matter that has been discussed and some estimate made as to how many combat troops will be needed. I have heard the Secretary of Defense himself say, that of course, there would be a certain number. He did not say how many of the combat troops would be necessary for the protection of the logistics people. I wondered if you have such figures.

General Clement. No, sir.

The Chairman. If there is any such study, will you make it available? I do not know whether there is or not.

General Clement. If we have it.

The Chairman. At some point I assume you will have to do that. If you have not done it yet, you will do it I reckon.

Senator Case. I wonder if at that point, I have one or two questions.

The Chairman. I am almost through. These are the staff questions.


Senator Case. I know they are. I was just thinking about elaborating on an answer, getting some added impressions to the picture. How many bases we would have to support with our 200,000 support forces, how they would be located? Just give us some idea what the whole country would look like, General, if you have some idea. I do not mean to interrupt the chairman now, but you might be thinking about this because I would like to get some idea of what this theater is going to look like when we get our combat troops out and what kind of a war it is going to be. {p.549}

General Clement. Sir, I do believe in this general vein, that the policy has been to stay away right now from figures and projections until the President deems what will be done, at which time the force that would remain would obviously have to be determined.

Senator Case. We would like to ask some questions later.

The Chairman. I am almost through.

Senator Case. I am not rushing you.


The Chairman. I have only a few more. How are American military advisers selected? Is there any particular process by which military advisers are selected?

General Clement. Yes, sir; through the career management system within each service.

The Chairman. Do they have any special training when they are selected?

General Clement. Yes, sir; they do. There is a course, for example, in the Army at Fort Bragg which trains a percentage of these advisers.

The Chairman. Do they receive language training?

General Clement. Yes, sir; it varies from 3 to 12 weeks, something of that nature.

The Chairman. In language?

General Clement. Yes; there is a percentage of these people who receive language training.

The Chairman. Do you mean not all of them?

General Clement. No, sir; it is a percentage that are earmarked specifically for these advisory positions. Now, for example—

The Chairman. Are all of those selected for advisory positions given language training?

General Clement. No, sir.

The Chairman. What percentage are?

General Clement. Probably in the area of 15 percent, sir, within the Army.

The Chairman. Are advisory assignments ever offered to draftees instead of combat assignments if they would reenlist?

General Clement. Not to my knowledge.

The Chairman. I would assume this is at lower level. I do not mean at the general level but lower level.

General Clement. No, sir; at whatever level, sir.

Colonel Wheeler. Normally you will find that your adviser personnel are skilled and more experienced. They are personnel in the NCO grades. The normal draftee assigned is in a clerical status or some other nonadvisory capacity.


The Chairman. Yes. To what extent are the — I do not know whether you call them surplus or not — U.S. military forces in Vietnam being redistributed to other countries in the Far East such as Thailand, Formosa, Korea? In other words, are they being brought back to the United States or being redistributed in other countries?

General Clement. No, sir; this is the general policy of career management. In other words, the man’s tour overseas is so long and he then moves to his next station. I know of no specific program that allocates him to other countries. {p.550}


The Chairman. I think the thrust of the question is if they are pulled out of Vietnam will they be brought to the mainland, United States or put in Formosa, Korea, or Thailand? I am told this refers to equipment and arms rather than personnel.

General Clement. I beg your pardon?

The Chairman. I am told this refers to equipment and arms rather than personnel. I thought it meant personnel. The equipment is there. Is it left in Vietnam or is it redistributed in some other Far Eastern base?

General Clement. It depends on the program itself. Obviously, if there are shortages in country and the equipment is needed, some would be earmarked to remain there. Then the total disposition is made depending on where shortages are and where the equipment is needed.

The Chairman. But the equipment of these divisions that are withdrawn is not left in Vietnam; is it?

General Clement. No, sir. The divisions, I believe to date have redeployed with equipment. Neither the 1st Division nor the 1st Brigade, 4th Division, but the Marines, for example, went out with it and—

The Chairman. Do you mean they bring it home with them?

General Clement. Or wherever they are stationed.

The Chairman. Wherever they go they take the equipment with them.

General Clement. That has been the case. Now, there are examples also, and this is because of the reequipment program, where the equipment is left in place, to save shipping back and forth.

The Chairman. It is left there for the Vietnamese to use.

General Clement. Yes, turned over to them if they are authorized it.


The Chairman. How many U.S. advisers are in the field of psychological warfare?

General Clement. I will have to get that figure for you, sir. It is not a great figure but we do have 27 military personnel authorized in MACV headquarters as psychological operations advisers.

The Chairman. You do have some.

General Clement. We do have some, yes, sir.

The Chairman. Do U.S. units engage in this activity also? In the U.S. Forces do you have psychological warfare?

General Clement. Yes. It is called the G-5 section or S-5 section in a battalion.

The Chairman. What do they do?

General Clement. Sir, for example from an operational point of view, there may be a combat action in which the battalion commander on the other side has been captured or is a casualty. Psychological operations personnel would develop a program to utilize leaflets or loud speakers to reach the rest of his unit stating: your battalion commander has been captured. We suggest you come in, turn over your arms and whatnot. Chieu Hoi, for example, is this kind of thing. Chieu Hoi pamphlets are disseminated and this pamphlet is a safe conduct pass for the man to bring in and he is accepted as a Hoi Chan. {p.551}

The Chairman. Not only our people do this, but you try to get the ARVN people to do the same thing.

General Clement. Yes, sir, and it is a valuable thing, more particularly with them, because they are talking with their own people, in their own hamlets and villages.


The Chairman. Do you have the cost to the United States of construction work on American bases last year?

General Clement. I will have to see what we have.

The Chairman. That is available, I guess.

General Clement. We will have to see.

The Chairman. Do you have what is planned for this coming year, fiscal 1971?

General Clement. We will see what we have, sir, on that.

The Chairman. How much money is being kept aside for the planned and scheduled construction? One of the things that interests us very much is the cost of this operation now and the projected cost because, as the Senator from Missouri emphasized, money is very tight in this country.

How much will be spent on construction of South Vietnamese bases as opposed to our own this year? Do you have that?

General Clement. Let us see if we have something.

The Chairman. Will you supply that? And I would like in that connection to know how much of it the United States will pay. What is the total cost of all U.S. bases in Vietnam and will all of these be turned over to the Vietnamese? Can you answer that for the record?

General Clement. I cannot, sir, at this time. I will have to get something.

The Chairman. You can give the total cost. You cannot give whether it will be turned over.

You do know the total cost of all the bases in Vietnam? This is a matter of record in the Pentagon, I think.

General Clement. I was going to say we will have to dig out—

The Chairman. I imagine you have that available. I assume that is a cumulative total they have to present to the Appropriations Committee every year. I do not think that will be any surprise to them. Do you think they have that, Mr. Knaur?

Mr. Knaur. I will see if we do have it.

The Chairman. What do you do when you go to the Appropriations Committee and they ask you what you spend? They know what you spend. They try to keep up with it anyway. They ask you at least. I will be interested in this connection in what we spend.


(The information referred to follows:)



During the first nine months of Fiscal Year 1970, Military Construction funds totaling $74.4 million had been obligated to meet South Vietnamese construction requirements. Projections for the remainder of Fiscal Year 1970 indicate that an additional $21.3 million will be obligated for this purpose.

In regard to the total cost of all U.S. bases in South Vietnam, military construction in-place totaled $1.53 billion as of March 1, 1970. Of this total, $135.4 million represented Republic of Vietnam Armed Forces work-in-place. The $1.53 billion represents the total military construction investment in Vietnam, including bases, ports, airfields, roads and operational facilities. Working in collaboration with the Vietnamese Joint General Staff, we are making every effort to {p.552} assure that maximum Vietnamese utilization is made of existing U.S. facilities which become excess to U.S. requirements. However, we do not anticipate that all U.S. facilities will be turned over, as there are facilities which are probably in excess of Vietnamese military requirements. These facilities are in locations which cannot be used by the Republic of Vietnam Armed Forces. Further, in some cases, U.S. facilities have exceeded their original life expectancy.



I think this is the last question I have. I wonder, General, if you could give this, or perhaps the colonel could as some of these questions perhaps cannot be answered generally for the whole country as they can for the I Corps. In your relations with your counterparts, how do the Vietnamese plan to take up the slack, for example, Colonel [deleted]? What are their plans to take up the slack? How are they going to go about it?

Colonel Wheeler. [Deleted.]


The Chairman. What is an AO?

Colonel Wheeler. [Deleted.]

The Chairman. I understand they are sharing it. We had this question yesterday, I think, and I had been informed that there were approximately [deleted] troops in the I Corps and [deleted] Vietnamese of which yours is [deleted] I believe.

Colonel Wheeler. [Deleted.]

The Chairman. [Deleted.] What I think we are trying to get at is that you are already deployed, presumably in significant areas. What do they have in mind doing when these [deleted] leave? What are they going to do about that?

Colonel Wheeler. [Deleted.]

The Chairman. What percentage do you think of the Americans who are withdrawn can be replaced with Vietnamese who are now in training?

Colonel Wheeler. I know of no figure, sir, that would give you a percentage. Again, we would, take into consideration that the RF and the PF are growing in stature. They are undertaking the surveillance and the security of their hamlets and villages which releases the ARVN combat units to go after the NVA forces.

The Chairman. That relates certainly to the question. If I understand what you are saying, the PF and RF are going to take up much of the slack. That is what you are saying.

Colonel Wheeler. Yes, sir; they are now, and that is why the 1st ARVN Division is in the jungle and along the DMZ making it difficult for the NVA to infiltrate and terrorize the people.

General Clement. Sir, as a matter of fact, in the delta when our 9th Division came put, this is exactly what happened. The 7th ARVN Division operates in that general area now.

The Chairman. How do you rate the 7th?

General Clement. [Deleted.]

The Chairman. New commander?

General Clement. Yes, sir.

The Chairman. Is he a good one?

General Clement. He is very good. sir.

The Chairman. Is he an improvement?

General Clement. They think highly of him; yes, sir. {p.553}

The Chairman. Senator Cooper?

Senator Cooper. Senator Case will be back in a few minutes. He has some questions. I am very sorry I was not able to come to the meeting yesterday.

The Chairman. Well, we missed you. I am sorry, too.

Senator Cooper. Thank you. I had other committees I had to go to.

Senator Fulbright asked very comprehensive questions. Perhaps what I ask has been gone over before. If they have been asked you can tell me.


Since the cessation of bombing of North Vietnam, has there been an increased flow of supplies from North Vietnam into South Vietnam?

General Clement. Sir, I really cannot give you the data on that as to what kind of a buildup and what the rates are. I do not have these figures at hand. We want to be sure we are precise.

Senator Cooper. Perhaps though your military command observations you have some precise evidence that North Vietnam has either diminished supplies or enlarged supplies to its forces in the south. Just general observations.

General Clement. In the business of intelligence estimates, I would rather stay on —

(The following information was subsequently submitted.)



Yes, evidence does indicate that North Vietnam has increased its materiel support for its war effort in South Vietnam since the bombing halt



Senator Cooper. Have the North Vietnamese forces been enlarged either in South Vietnam or in Laos? Cambodia? Cambodia particularly?

General Clement. Let me again dig this out. This is in the intelligence business, and we want to be precise in whatever figures we give you.

(The information referred to is classified and in the committee files.)


Senator Cooper. I assume that the United States is now in the course of providing to the South Vietnamese more effective, better equipment—

General Clement. Yes, sir.


Senator Cooper. I am sure that is correct. What would you say about the comparison of the arms of the U.S. forces in comparison to North Vietnam forces?

General Clement. Sir, I think we have much superior fire power available.

Senator Cooper. Are our rifles as good?

General Clement. Yes, sir.

Senator Cooper. Artillery? {p.554}

General Clement. Yes, sir. They use mostly rockets. A rocket by its very nature is a very imprecise weapon, but makes a big explosion and if it hits near, it causes concern. An artillery piece is much more accurate and we have a lot of artillery. Our air support again—

Senator Cooper. They use mortar?

General Clement. Some mortar fire, but our artillery will generally outdistance them all and is more accurate.

Senator Cooper. Have you noticed in the last year or two more sophisticated items of equipment given to the North Vietnamese forces? We have read about their rocket capabilities, and their surface-to-air missiles.

General Clement. No, sir: I think a weapon like the AK-40, is a good one. They have an antitank rocket, the B-40, which is a pretty good antitank weapon.

Senator Cooper. Surface-to-air. I remember reading Russia provided them with this.

General Clement. I really have no knowledge of that kind of equipment, sir.


Senator Cooper. Before the United States became involved, in combat I recall one instance when Senator Stennis in his position on the Armed Services Committee was managing the defense authorization bill and appropriations bill. Questions were asked, and in fact he raised these questions himself, that the type of training that had been given to the South Vietnamese soldier was not the kind of training that was needed for guerrilla warfare. It was in 1962 or 1963 that these questions were raised in the debate on the Senate floor.

I recall I asked him about it and after a year or so, he said that the proper kind of training had been provided.

Was it correct that at the beginning of your mission that there was inadequate training in guerrilla type of warfare?

General Clement. I would like to answer generally, sir, because that is really before my time in Vietnam, but in general terms—

Senator Cooper. I am talking about the training of military advisers?

General Clement. When you bring your force into a new environment you obviously start learning on the ground. Your doctrine covers so much and as you know, the doctrine of the plan bumps up against reality and then you start flexibly moving with what is actually happening. I know that there was a learning curve, if you want to call it that, as we went into Vietnam.

I assure you we started a lessons learned program which for example captures the experience of the First Cavalry Division when they went in. The lesson learned is used in our doctrine back home.

Vietnamese training includes the same thing. They have a lessons learned program.

Remember, sir, they are training themselves in their schools and training centers. When you go to a Popular Force platoon, these men come from that hamlet. This is their own hamlet and they have lived there all their lives. Maybe a young man has been a platoon leader for 4 years in his hamlet and you query him. You say, platoon leader, how do you dispose — this is through an interpreter — how do you dis- {p.555} pose your platoon? First of all, schematically draw your hamlet. He will draw the stream, the hamlet, and the street. Where do you put your strong point? Here, here, here, I have one here.

Senator Cooper. Now, if the NVA or VC come from this direction, who do you communicate with and where do you get your supporting fire? Do you sweep afterwards?

General Clement. Yes, we sweep this way. So through bitter experience and through long hard experience they have been exposed to VC and they try to get that right back into their training programs.

Of course, a lot of training takes place. You have the formal program and then when you get back in the hamlet it is an on-the-job program.

So I would say, yes, lessons learned, certainly—


Senator Cooper. I just have two more questions. Is there any pattern in your direct experience there and your knowledge of the experience of our forces there of attacks by the North Vietnamese being directed preferably at South Vietnamese forces rather than at U.S. forces or the contrary?

General Clement. No, sir. Again I will have to speak in general terms. There was an offensive last summer, I believe it was in August, or earlier, which was specifically aimed at U.S. fire bases to inflict U.S. casualties and at the same time attack the hamlets. In other words, where popular force platoons are. Based on documents captured later, they were going to hit the pacification program, and inflict U.S. casualties and, as a matter of fact, it seemed in our sector, ARVN units were avoided at that time. They had so much ammunition to expend, and recognize that they do not have a great supply to haul down those trails. They were hitting U.S. bases, so a part of their policy was to single out at that time the U.S. forces.

Senator Case. This was last summer?

General Clement. Yes. Now, more recently I know the pacification program is a fair target because they recognize, and I believe Ambassador Colby covered this, that the accelerated pacification program of President Thieu, seems to have stolen a march on the enemy. In other words, they got these platoons out into the hamlets before — and this man on the other side is very meticulous and studies hard — before he could crank up a campaign on his side to counter it. But now, yes, I think you will find that they seem to be going after the pacification effort. ARVN units selectively have been hit. For example, at Bien Het and Bu Prang, ARVN units were specifically hit and the fighting was successfully handled by the ARVN themselves. There were some casualties there but ARVN inflicted more casualties than they suffered. This was strictly ARVN. As a matter of fact, up in Bien Het it seemed to be a test of Vietnamization. Bien Het is in Kontum Province. Elements of the 4th Division had been operating up in that area and this area had been turned over to the ARVN and it seemed the NVA decided to test them.

The Chairman. Will the Senator yield? I need to go to the floor. I wonder if Senator Case will carry on as long as you care to and ask all the questions.

Senator Case. When we are finished— {p.556}

The Chairman. Just adjourn. Gentlemen, I appreciate very much your coming here. I have been unable to go to the floor all week, so I need to go up there now. I have a very important statement I want to make.


Senator Cooper. We heard the U.S. forces had quite an elaborate communications and intelligence system in Vietnam for application of force wherever it is needed; air power, supplies, evacuation — a very sophisticated communications network. Is there any training of this kind being done for the South Vietnamese? Would they be able to handle such sophisticated advance communications systems?

General Clement. [Deleted.]

Some of these students will go offshore; by that I mean to Fort Monmouth, for example, in the United States. Not many. [Deleted.] They have a signal school already. It is a big problem. It is being addressed, and they are being trained right now.


Senator Cooper. Are you able to make any comments to compare the morale of South Vietnamese forces and North Vietnamese forces, describing their will to fight?

General Clement. Sir, I think, generally speaking, we feel that the South Vietnamese morale is pretty good. One example is, I believe, that they have been able to get out into these hamlets where they have not been before. They have been able to accelerate their training. They have been able to pick up the equipment, the accelerated Vietnamization program we have been talking about, and go. They have had some successes. The two battles that I mentioned are examples. Yes; they have been in it, did it the hard way, but they did finally come out all right. In the delta, the 9th Division, ARVN, has operated with more mobility and more rapidly and covered more ground than any division has done for some time. This is not only in the area where they used to operate, but also down in the U Minh Forest area, up to the north and back. So, I say as a general statement, yes.

Now, you are going to find examples where morale is low and you are going to find that everywhere. However, I do feel that in general they seem to be getting with it and getting on with it and certainly — one big thing I think that is evident is the pacification effort with the Popular Force platoons and regional force companies who are out where they have not been before.

Senator Cooper. Thank you.


Senator Case (now presiding). Please do not hesitate to involve yourself in this part either. I would like to pick up a little bit, just for my own benefit, a picture of what we are really talking about here.

Earlier we discussed the hypothesis that when the period of Vietnamization was over we would still leave about 200,000 American personnel in various supporting capacities. I do not ask you to say yes or no about that figure. But at the time I was wondering if I could get some idea — assuming that that were true or something like it. {p.557}

Would they all be in Saigon and Danang, a few other places, or the big harbor we have there or would there be smaller, a number of smaller units around? I would like to get some idea of yours and you particularly, Colonel, in regard to your two provinces up there in the north, just what you envisage.

First of all, let us say how is this support coming in now, and from where? And how much from that, if you could extrapolate maybe, just to get some idea what this picture is again.

General Clement. Sir, in general I would rather not even project or talk about force dispositions or locations because again we are getting into the future where forces might be, how they might be deployed, things of that nature.

Frankly, I have no specific knowledge of these things and—

Senator Case. Well, I know you do not. Let us talk about the present, then, in your operations and in the operations of our forces up there, support troops.


Colonel Wheeler. Sir, at the present time I might clarify one point regarding logistical support. Normal supplies for the division are requisitioned through the ARVN channel. This means that their ammunition, clothing, equipment, rations, et cetera, all come through the ARVN Army Logistical Command just the same as the U.S. supplies come through its own logistical system.

Now, for that combat support such as the helicopters—

Senator Case. Where is this material? How does it get into the country and where does it go?

Colonel Wheeler. [Deleted.]

The helicopter support—

Senator Case. That particular operation is conducted by the Vietnamese Army?

Colonel Wheeler. By the Vietnamese Army, sir.

Senator Case. Under the protection, including—

Colonel Wheeler. [Deleted.]

Senator Case. What is in that?

Colonel Wheeler. [Deleted.]

Senator Case. This is the Vietnamese?

Colonel Wheeler. Vietnamese helicopter squadron; yes, sir.

Senator Case. And what kind of helicopters? What kind—

Colonel Wheeler. Hueys, UH-1H’s, sir. They are used for resupply and for combat assaults, as required.

Senator Case. Combat assaults. You do not mean that they are fire ships, do you?

Colonel Wheeler. No, sir.

Senator Case. Are there any helicopter fire ships?

Colonel Wheeler. They do have some gun ships.

General Clement. But they have not been introduced operationally as yet.

Senator Case. Would you describe one just in a rough general way? I did not realize we had any helicopter fire ships. I mean fighters.

General Clement. Not fighters as such. They are gun ships and they have machine guns mounted on each side of them for protection. They do not have the Cobras of which you speak. This unit does not have them. {p.558}


Senator Case. But they do have—

General Clement. [Deleted.]

Senator Case. Which are used in support of ground troops.

General Clement. Yes, sir.

Senator Case. How many of the [deleted].

General Clement. [Deleted.]

Senator Case. That supplies, if I remember, the testimony from yesterday about 20 percent of the helicopter requirement for the South Vietnamese 1st Division.

Colonel Wheeler. Twenty percent in my division area.

Senator Case. Yes.

Colonel Wheeler. Yes, sir.

Senator Case. So that means we are now providing 80 percent roughly.

Colonel Wheeler. Yes, sir.

Senator Case. Where is that located and what is it and how does it get in?

Colonel Wheeler. [Deleted.]

Senator Case. Is that the only supply?

Colonel Wheeler. There is a requirement for Medevac helicopters.

They are located near the surgical hospitals; the 18th surgical at Quang Tri and the 85th surgical hospital at Phu Bai.


Senator Case. Now, what kind of protection do you have for those, the helicopter—

Colonel Wheeler. [Deleted.]

Senator Case. So that as long as we have helicopter support we are going to be in combat, are we not? As long as we are providing helicopter support we are going to be in combat, I take it, leaving aside — you do not have lines in this—

Colonel Wheeler. No, sir; we do not normally have front lines.

Senator Case. I mean, it is like the Middle Ages. This is the thing that I am trying to get at, a picture of what kind of operation this would be when the so-called ground troops are gone. We are still going to have to have fighters, fighting men in protection of these various support operations. Is not that true?

General Clement. Sir, I think this has been the general thrust of the announcements to date, the balanced force. In other words, the rate of Vietnamization is a function of the level of activity and of how many gun ships are needed for how long. This would be one way of interpreting that, and if I follow your questioning, again the Paris talks, the enemy, his activity and what he is doing, so that is why we cannot really talk too much in the future about the balance or how many ships are going to be devoted to combat a year from now. These figures will be — we just do not have them and I believe—

Senator Case. But as far as you can envisage in the future and project from what we are doing now, so long as we have American helicopter support we are going to have Americans in action. Is that not true?

Colonel Wheeler. I would say given that—

Senator Case. I am just trying to figure out — we had Americans in World War I. I remember as a small boy ambulance drivers, and they were not regarded as in action in a sense. But is it not true that the {p.559} ambulance driver in World War I was a good deal more respected as a noncombatant than the operations of ambulance helicopters in this war?

Colonel Wheeler. He is very highly respected.

Senator Case. By the enemy as well?

Colonel Wheeler. Yes, sir. To the extent they know that they are the ones who get in there and get out the wounded.

Senator Case. And they lay off, in other words.

Colonel Wheeler. I am not certain, sir, as to what the directions are with regard to the enemy.

Senator Case. What is your experience?

Colonel Wheeler. We have not experienced any helicopter Medevacs being shot down.

Senator Case. By the enemy?

Colonel Wheeler. By the enemy. We know they do come under fire.

Senator Case. They do come under fire? By mistake, in your judgment or deliberately?

Colonel Wheeler. That I could not answer, whether it is deliberately or not.

Senator Case. You leave me a little confused.

Colonel Wheeler. [Deleted.]


Senator Case. My point, though, really is to get an honest and fair picture of what the American public is going to be looking at as we move down the line here and — would it be a fair statement? — that so long as we are in there in any support capacity, or as advisers, whether in communications support, even medical, certainly as far as transport and gun ships, there are going to be Americans in combat either directly with the enemy or indirectly or following their presence there to protect their own forces? It is not possible to think of us as a non-combatant so long as we are providing support, is that not true? I am not saying we should or should not do it. I have not any solution to this thing. My general impression is if you want my own view just as one Senator, I am not a dove or a hawk. I have a belief that Hanoi will give up or do anything that is in its interest. If it is going to get a better deal now than it will at the end and that is the way this is going to come up, and what we are talking about is to try and bring this to some situation which will make them realize or believe that they are better off now to make a negotiation than later on a basis that is acceptable to us. Therefore, what we are talking about is some kind of a credible picture of America — this country supporting this effort for such time as is necessary to bring North Vietnam to that frame of mind.

That is, I think, what we are really talking about and that is why I am trying to find out what it is likely to be.

General Clement. Yes, sir. I would have to agree with you that it depends on time and we are not saying how many or when or what the nature of the forces and the environment there. Whatever forces are left in Vietnam, including just pure Vietnamese, are going to be exposed to a hostile environment as long as the enemy is there.

Senator Case. I appreciate that and I am sure the committee will be sure never in any way to misuse it or to prove more than you said by what you have said or anything else, and if you ever see any of us doing this, tell us privately. I really mean this because the Lord knows we are only— {p.560}

General Clement. I am just painting a picture—

Senator Case. We are only after the true picture and the true prospect.


General Wheeler last month said on this Vietnamization strategy several things. I would not like to comment, but I base my question on it, so I will quote:

The question remains, then, what of the leadership, the motivation and the confidence, for these are the ingredients of military success which the United States cannot provide and they are the ingredients on which victory or defeat can turn.

Lack of adequate leadership and experience has been a problem at all levels of command from squad leader to the Division Commander.

He went on:

Rapid mobilization of both the regular forces and the paramilitary forces greatly depleted the supply of talent, education, and leadership capability. The numbers of those with potential for advancement is limited.

I should not ask you if you agree with the statement of your superior officer. Of course, you do. The second one I really want to ask is the second one here. Can these basic deficiencies be overcome within a period of 2 or 3 years and if not, how long is it going to take?

General Clement. This is a very general question. It is impossible—

Senator Case. Very general.

General Clement (continuing). Impossible to get the time—

Senator Case. Another phase of the question, how long.


General Clement (continuing). To solve these problems. Let me say this, sir, from the point of view of leadership, one aspect of it is training and I think I have already mentioned that the training program is going on. That is good. For example, the Vietnamese military academy graduated its first class last December. This is a 4-year course.

Senator Case. How many?

General Clement. This class was 92 officers at that time.

Senator Case. Graduated?

General Clement. Yes, sir; and they are out—

Senator Case. Is this across the board, military, naval, air, and—

General Clement. Yes. There is an allotment for each service given. This is one example of growth. Please do not multiply 92 times the four services. An enrollment of 250 is what they are looking for. These are regular officers. Lieutenants. I am just giving you an example of how leadership is coming on.

The Navy and Air Force have their own schools. They are of short duration and much more applied to Air Force problems and Navy problems. They are not the 4-year course. In addition, for senior officer leadership training there is the National Defense College; this is at a higher level.

Senator Case. You mean like staff?

General Clement. Like our National War College here, sir, the next class at the Defense College in Saigon, and they will be coming in very soon, will be 40. They are selected senior officers, colonel rank, part of the future leadership. This is part of the program. {p.561}

Tu Duc, the infantry school, turned out just about 10,000 officer candidates last year and they anticipate the same kind of a turnout in fiscal year 1970. These are the young officers.

The NCO courses. There is an NCO academy up at Nha Trang for Vietnamese noncommissioned officers. This school and all of the other schools are run by the Vietnamese. This NCO academy, I think, turned out somewhere in the area of 16,000 noncommissioned officers.

Senator Case. How long is the course for them?

General Clement. The NCO course runs about, I think, 16 weeks, through that academy. This has been one of the finest academies. We really want to be sure the quality is there and that putting too many through too fast does not degrade the quality. This is, of course, a constant problem. This is a trade off.

Senator Case. Have we had a heavy advisory operation in that?

General Clement. Yes, sir. We have advisers at all of these schools. Now, for example, I believe at the NCO academy it is probably a total of 10, eight or 10 men. That would be about five officers and five enlisted men.

Senator Case. They do not really do much instruction.

General Clement. No, sir; they certainly do not. The instruction is given by the Vietnamese. What we do is check on the quality, assist the counterparts at these schools and advise in the management of it.

Senator Case. Do these Americans have the language?

General Clement. No, sir. You will find very, very few. On the other hand, you will find that most Vietnamese in responsible positions speak English. I myself do not speak Vietnamese. My counterpart speaks perfect English. This goes on in the combat units as well. In a few weeks you can learn something about the language, a few of the general expressions. I would say hello or goodbye, perhaps, but generally the English language is used and this is not a bar. The program goes on.

So, these are examples of leadership training and the training centers themselves. Quang Trung is a big one right near Saigon, for example. They train 12,000 or 15,000 men at a time in their training center and some of these are specific leadership courses that are given. So, it is being addressed and not taken for granted.

Senator Case. Just a couple of questions that have been suggested by the staff, if I may. How many ARVN generals have been killed or wounded?

General Clement. Sir, that was—

Senator Case. This was—

General Clement. This has been asked and we are going to have to do some research.

Senator Case. This would be in comparison with the number of our general officers.

General Clement. That was the context, yes.


Senator Case. Is there any plan to make the 1st Division ARVN, completely self-sufficient so they will not need any American support?

Colonel Wheeler. Sir, the 1st ARVN Division as it is presently constituted, can operate on its own without U.S. support. The U.S. support is made available so that we may take better advantage of the {p.562} tactical situation in moving the ARVN combat troops to where they can decisively and quickly engage the enemy. This is a matter of being able to use the tactical mobility which U.S. forces have but which is not organic to the ARVN division.

Senator Case. Again, I suppose this has been covered many, many times in many different ways but each time we go into it I learn a little bit. In other words, the 1st Division could subsist indefinitely.

Colonel Wheeler. Yes, sir. The 1st Division as presently organized can—

Senator Case. Can protect itself; is that what you are talking about?

Colonel Wheeler. [Deleted.]

Senator Case. Of that division.

Colonel Wheeler. Yes, sir.

Senator Case. This is a very interesting point because it leads toward the question of whether in using other tactics, other strategy, we can pull out entirely.

Colonel Wheeler. Sir, they use not only the U.S. tactics, they use their own. They are quick to adopt any new ideas or means that take better advantage of the enemy. We have units that use sapper tactics, the same as the NVA.

Senator Case. When you say we—

Colonel Wheeler. Sir, 1st ARVN Division.

You asked me about their contacts with the NVA yesterday. The most recent contacts prior to my departure, ranged from small squads to platoon to company size. In all of these the ARVN troops acquitted themselves admirably and inflicted many casualties on the enemy without suffering any appreciable wounded themselves.

I think this is significant because they plan and they execute very appropriately, in a limited amount of time, those things which normally could not be accomplished by a unit that has been recently activated.


General Clement. Sir, I do not believe you can speak of divisions uniquely or pull them out and say, therefore, they are self-sufficient. They are a piece of the whole problem up there in, say, those northern two provinces and there is a system up there, a combat system which involves both U.S. and Vietnamese forces at this time. So, I do not believe we can address it out of context and divorce the whole — the PF and the RF, and it is going to vary as you look at other locales. You go to the south and go through the country, you must examine the problem in the province, in the area, from the point of view of what the enemy is doing. You must examine the context in which these operations are taking place. In the delta situation, an analysis of the enemy actions, of the forces themselves and their combat effectiveness, would undoubtedly be quite different. The environment is different in the delta from the north. You cannot answer without considering the whole package of forces that are committed, enemy, Vietnamese, American, and others, and the kind of support given these forces.

Yes: the 1st Division does a tremendous job. I just want to point out it is a part of an overall complex, an overall combat system up there in those northern two provinces. {p.563}

Colonel Wheeler. I would summarize, sir. In my area the United States and ARVN have not only concentrated their combat forces on enemy units in the Piedmont and A Shau Valley [deleted].

But simultaneously, have worked hard on building roads, pacification and resettling the refugees. When you combine these areas together, it builds the total picture and also builds the people’s confidence in their government’s ability to defeat the enemy.


Senator Case. I have the general impression that those two provinces may be self-sufficient as far as food goes under normal circumstances. Whether it is now true or not I would like to have you comment on. But there is not very much for that they have got there, is that right? That is—

Colonel Wheeler. They do not have very much industry.

Senator Case. Or no extractive industry particularly.

Colonel Wheeler. Not at the present time. They do have a capability whenever the area becomes secure to go into lumbering and fishing.

Senator Case. Mining?

Colonel Wheeler. No, sir.

Senator Case. There are mines down in — below that, I guess.

General Clement. There are mines.

Colonel Wheeler. South of Da Nang.

General Clement. And sugar cane down in the south, too.

Senator Case. Right now it is not really supporting the operations going on up there, is it?

Colonel Wheeler. No, sir.


Senator Case. I suppose in a sense there are — the question is if sufficient U.S. forces were taken out of I Corps to equalize the number of ARVN and U.S. troops, do you think the situation could be held if the North Vietnamese decided to make a hard push? That is, could we equalize enough troops to make our combined force with South Vietnam hold against North Vietnamese? Do you have a judgment about that?

General Clement. I would not want to make a judgment, sir.

Senator Case. In other words, how many troops have we got there now?

General Clement. [Deleted.]

Senator Case. That is in the I Corps?

General Clement. Yes, sir.

Senator Case. And I suppose that — well, while certainly they are not all in your two provinces, they are available for relief in some measure and this is an important factor, I suppose, is it not? The availability — they form a kind of reserve in a sense for operations in your province, is that not true?

Colonel Wheeler. Yes, sir.

Senator Case. And now, the South Vietnamese forces there come to what, something under [deleted].

Colonel Wheeler. [Deleted.] {p.564}

Senator Case. In your division. What else is there in, say— well, in the whole I Corps?

General Clement. [Deleted.]

Senator Case. We have roughly three times as many now as the South Vietnamese in that I Corps area.

Colonel Wheeler. The total figure which the general has given includes all the service, support and everything United States. We have not included the ARVN service, and support elements—

Senator Case. In our own figures. So the ratio would be even larger of American troops now.

General Clement. No, sir. We have them included in the [deleted]. I would hesitate to add up all the Vietnamese support foresee. I have maneuver battalions here which is again what we were talking about.

Senator Case. I want to be sure I understand. You gave me a figure of [deleted] that was the total United States.

General Clement. Total U.S. forces but I did not give you the total ARVN force because I was using combat forces. So, it would be, perhaps double the ARVN force I gave you.

Senator Case. In I Corps, actually located there.

General Clement. I believe something in that area. We can provide—

Senator Case. So, we have then not three times as many personnel but something over 50 percent.

General Clement. One and a half. Given those figures. And I may have to check that.

(The following information was subsequently submitted:)



The following is the troop strength of I Corps as of January 1970.

U.S. 152, 600
ARVN 80, 800


Senator Case. Now, can yon tell us what would be the figure comparable in American active forces to the figure you first gave me for the South Vietnamese combat forces?

General Clement. That is the 101st Division, the 23d Division, and the First Marine Division, and the 1st Brigade, 5th Mechanized Division. This is a rough estimate again, sir. [Deleted.]

Senator Case. Does that include the support, that is—

General Clement. No, sir. Well, no, this is a division. I am talking now about combat divisions.

Senator Case. So, in addition we have actually in combat support—

General Clement. Yes; which would come up to the total of [deleted].

Senator Case. That is everything. I am talking about the people who actually get in there and fly missions.

General Clement. I am measuring combat divisions, so I have taken the 101st Division, a separate brigade which is up there, and the 23d Division and Marine division.

Senator Case. We actually have at least twice the combat troops in this area that the South Vietnamese do?

General Clement. [Deleted.]

Senator Case. Equal strength in combat effort?

General Clement. [Deleted.] {p.565}


Senator Case. So the question, my question then would not be based on an accurate assumption if I assumed that there was a difference. Now, that total force has been against, opposed to, roughly over the last year, what size enemy?

General Clement. Sir, I would rather—these forces vary, these estimates of enemy strengths. I really cannot—

Senator Case. Maybe you can perhaps give a high and a low or something of that sort for the record.

General Clement. All right, sir.


Senator Case. What does the ARVN 1st Division do with prisoners of war?

Colonel Wheeler. The prisoners of war, sir, are evacuated to their combined interrogation center and after they are interrogated there, they are processed.

Senator Case. Which is countrywide?

Colonel Wheeler. Yes, sir.

Senator Case. Have you any observation to make about the manner in which they are interrogated?

Colonel Wheeler. Sir—

Senator Case. Are we present at these regularly or sometimes or—

Colonel Wheeler. Yes, sir. At the combined interrogation center there are some members—Americans there and they are inspected and the facilities are quite adequate. We have been—General Truong and I have been in the field when we have captured prisoners and the U.S. press has been there. There has been no indication, no observation of my own to indicate that they have been other than treated with the utmost care and I would say this is one of the reasons why the 1st ARVN Division enjoys success, is because most times the prisoners will lead them back into the areas, and I have a good example of that just recently.

Senator Case. Is that a matter of policy on their part? Do they understand—

Colonel Wheeler. I believe that is now a policy throughout the ARVN Army, because your best intelligence comes from the POW and he knows the area which he left prior to being captured.

Senator Case. In other words, they do not feel—the enemy does not feel it has to fight to the death in order to avoid a worse fate.

Colonel Wheeler. No, sir; and the Chieu Hoi program, I think, has been coming along nicely.


Senator Case. Have you any general comments, General, about the attitude of the American soldier toward the war?

General Clement. Just from my own experience in the 23d Division, I think the American soldier has been pretty well described by many of our leaders in this country. He is a pretty well motivated man when he is given a job and he gets on with it. And I must say it is very inspiring to see the young men come in, put up at a new base in some unpronounceable hamlet and see him go about his job, get out, go on patrol, come back and stay with it. {p.566}

You have examples, I know, that can be publicized but I do not believe the fact has been equally publicized that these American soldiers are very professional and the American is a good fighting man. By professional attitude I mean the conscript, if you want to call him that, is a professional and his outlook very quickly gets to be to get on with the job. You know, in group identification the first thing he thinks of is his squad, his platoon, his battalion. And this is a function of leadership.

So, my general observation of the soldier over a period of many years, they are some of the finest young men we have seen.

Senator Case. I wonder if I could ask you for the record later, or now if you wish, to answer a list of questions that are jotted down on this note to me.


How would you describe the attitude of American GI’s toward the war?

(The information referred to follows:)



The Army has never polled its personnel as to whether or not they approve of the Army’s assigned mission in Vietnam. As in previous periods of armed conflict the natural instinct for survival is high in the minds of all Army combat personnel; the surest aid to survival being teamwork, from the squad level to the highest command level. Such teamwork inherently encompasses obedience to lawful orders of duly appointed leaders.

Objectively viewed, it seems safe to assume that any individual — soldier or civilian — who is faced with possible death has a feeling of antipathy toward the causative agent, whether it be an active war or a careless driver on the highway. There is no reason to doubt, however, that the overwhelming majority of soldiers believe in the necessity of the Army retaining a responsive, apolitical body in implementing national policy which emanates from the Commander in Chief.


Are draftees offered less dangerous assignments if they will reenlist?

(The information referred to follows:)



It is neither Army policy nor intent to unduly influence soldiers into reenlisting. It is, however, Army policy to retain on a long-term basis those qualified soldiers necessary to maintain a trained, experienced force. To achieve this goal a number of options advantageous to the soldier and the Army are offered as incentives for reenlistment.

Current reenlistment policy permits personnel serving on their initial term of service to reenlist any time after completion of eight months service for any option for which they qualify. There are two options for which such personnel serving in short tour areas, including Vietnam, may reenlist regardless of the length of time in the command.

The Present Duty Assignment Reenlistment Option permits an individual in grade E-6 and below to reenlist and be reassigned to any unit within the command. However, the unit must have a vacancy for his particular military occupational specialty.

The second option is the Army Career Group Reenlistment Option. This option permits personnel in grade E-4 and below to reenlist for training in a new military specialty. This is provided the command has the training capability and a valid requirement for the specialty. In conjunction with this option, the individual may request a transfer to another unit. Again, the unit requested must have the training capability and the vacancy to fulfill the option. {p.567}

Statistical data on reenlistment which resulted in transfers from divisions or brigades to combat support or combat service support units have not been maintained in Vietnam. A recent one-time analysis of Vietnam reenlistments indicated that the majority of personnel exercising these options selected door gunner and aviation maintenance fields. It should be pointed out that these soldiers, by reenlisting for reassignment to door gunner duties, have voluntarily continued themselves in positions with a high combat exposure factor.



Are there incidents between white and black soldiers? Have any of these incidents resulted in a loss of lives?

(The information referred to follows:)



Yes, there have been some incidents. The initial racial climate that manifested itself immediately after the buildup of American forces in SEA and SVN was characterized by congenial intergroup relations in both the combat areas and the rear support activities areas. The character of racial relations that developed at this time was unique in that it incorporated a kind of pervasive intergroup rapport and social fraternization which had not been previously demonstrated on former expeditions of American forces to foreign countries. Following the outbreaks of racial disturbance in the continental United States in the summers of 1966 and 1967, letters from servicemen and the reports of news men in the area of SEA and SVN indicated a serious deterioration in relations between the races. A field visit in October 1968 to SEA by elements of the ODASD (Civil Rights) revealed that racial tensions were dangerously increasing. In 1969 we witnessed an increase in overt racial violence. The spate of racial disturbances of serious magnitude that occurred in July and August of 1969 and earlier in October of 1968 appear to have peaked and at present are in a process of winding down. Minor disturbances, intolerable though they may be, have persisted to some extent.


We have been unable to identify an instance of a death directly attributable to a racial incident.


I am going to have to go upstairs and vote and we will adjourn the hearing at this point. I want to thank you both for your patience and endurance, too.

(Whereupon, at 1:15 p.m., the hearing was adjourned.) {p.568}

{Page 568 is blank} {p.569}



Source: The printed hearings (cited below).

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This document: March 4 1970 hearing, pages 509-568, 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: March 3 1970 hearing (pages 445-508) {300kb}.

Next: March 17 1970 hearing (pages 569-634) {285kb}.

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.”


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.


Charles Judson Harwood Jr.

Posted June 3 2004. Updated May 17 2009.


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