BRIEFING POINTS ON SOUTH VIETNAM

Created: 11/2/1954

OCR scan of the original document, errors are possible

iiOTiu- nle mr Case No

T27

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APPROVED FOR RELEASE DATE:1

MEMORANDUM RE, General Collins

points on South Vietnam

In accordance with your request, this memorandum summarizes briefly the principal points which General Cabell, Mr. Biosellade In our briefing, as well as one or two other points which were developed in the course of our discussion.

With regard to the general political and administrative situation presently prevailing in South Vietnam, it Is our considered view that as matters have been going up to now the situation lato such an extent that there couldollapse well prior to the scheduled date for the elections. However, thereumber of American observers on the ground who feel that the situation is far from hopeless and that with vigorous OS action and with strong leadership it should be possible to assemble and exploit the elements of strength potentially present Inay as to check thespiral and very possibly reverse the trend of developments.

The outstanding element of weakness within the Vietnamese governmental situation ia, of course, the all-absorbing struggle for powor. The dissension and bitterness engendered by this strupgle/is apparently being exploited by certain elenents^aaong the rrencp^Vno, for their particular purposes, do not wish bosses the Diem Government succeed. As of the second week of October it was the consensus of

j- opinion that General Kinh was being incited and encouraged by ^subordinate elements in the French military set-upvto continueampaign of attack against Diemiew to umuernlning anddown Diem and hisceneral Sal an and General Renucci were the officers most frequently referred to aa being responsible for this activity, even after the conclusion of thethat both governmenta would support DiemTJ^.

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^^Uwir respe^lve-enargleB in the direction of combatting the very sell organized and eortVeHe^-ef^ective campaign ofsubversion and terror being conducted by theET) Certain^HHp>eople, notably Colonel Lansdale, have been successful in establishing close contacts with both factions, and they have been exploiting these contacts to the fullest extent of their ability along the lines indicated and with some evidences of success at least in so far as Hinh is concerned. Our mostrecen^reports indicate that Diem, although willing toHaammmaethasilling to modify bis TTnXasBSamst attftnae toward Hinh.sis

position of "the British in all of this has beenwith soma local evidences of an intention to discourageof the Associated States from accepting US militaryassistance.Department knowledge andhave been spear-head"!ng an effor^to smoke out the Britishposition and possibly toeversal or modificationpolicy which may exist contrary to ITSha_nr,iaTlkeep you advised of any developments which may occur ininpartlcular any clarification of theposition whicn^nrTway-^acflijeTJ

le our Impression that]the Australian Governmentteres teoT*in seeing the area of Southeast Asia strengthened,to the extent of enabling South Vietnam and the otherto protect and defend themselves against overthrow bysubversion. Sir Allen Watt, the Australian Commissionerhas glven/us] the Impression oftaunchin this regard, and it occurs to usossibly usefulyou might establish oontact with him at some future date. that USIA is prepared to putarger effort inprovided that opportunities for effective action arethe attention of USIA headquarters, Washington (Xr.Stump is well informed concerning the critical situationVietnam and has urgedop US representative ofand influence be appointed to provide authoritativecoordination for all US elements in the country.

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Air-AttaeheV. Fficers have-^been functioning aa MAAG organization.

conditions ana personal that you be briefed by

Jhas much usefuln Vietnam, and we wouldnd

Concerning the poaition and method of ocerating of Colonel Lansdale, it was your thought, with which we agreed, that upon vour arrival in Saigon you might find it desirable to swing Lansdale" overosition directly under you in order to enable him more properly and appropriately to engage in activitiesolitical nature. We should like to suggest that you discuss this matter on the ground upon your arrival with the various American orincipals and parties concerned; and whatever seems wise to you after your survey of the situation, will be acceptable to us. The main point with regard to Lansdale, is that he is an exceptionally able, energetic and imaginative officer, who should be most useful to you in the attainment of your major objectives. (Colonel Lansdale'3 established status as Assistant Air Attache should make it easier for you to use him in an Qnbassy capacity if you so desire.'

We further agree with you that as soon as possible after your arrival Colonel Lansdale should be encouraged to devote more of his time and attention to the development of programs calculated to combat the subversive activities of the Viet Minn and to work in this reeard with the Vietnamese Army. We have the distinct impression that the French are doing very little. If anything, in this regard and that the Vietnamese do not have the neceasaryand know-how to undertake such programs without leadership.MstPrtcal reasons-.Hhich^we.^xpLained_tqXou, our organization naa never been able to enter into this field of ac^vj^yy^ntt^ioj

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view of the change of our governmental policy to one of directie Government,

Our

reoorta indicate thatiperhapa the raost critical area at the moment is that referred "to as South Central Annan,. the area immediately eouth of the Seventeenth Parallel. rogram oforder and inaugurating military administration ia probably necessary, in view of the fact that the Viet Minh are believed to be operating there without any aooreclable governmental opposition or control. The situation la also very bad In the extreme south, i. e. the area known as Cochin-Chinaalthough we hear that the French have some plans for attempting to cope with the problem there.

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