Cable 1451 from the JCS to CINCPAC on Reaction to Bien Hoa Attack, 1 November 1964

Source: The Pentagon Papers, Gravel Edition, Volume 3, pp. 587

From: JCS 1451


1 Nov 1964


1. Highest level meeting to discuss courses of action related to Bien Hoa attack tentatively scheduled for 1300 hours Washington time 2 November.

2. At preliminary meeting same subject this date, concern was expressed that proposed US retaliatory/punitive actions could trigger North Vietnamese/CHICOM air and ground retaliatory acts. Highest authority desires to consider in conjunction with US military actions, increased security measures and precautionary moves of US air and ground units to protect US dependents, units and installations against North Vietnamese/CHICOM retaliation.

3. JCS are considering the following in connection with proposed US punitive actions against the DRV:

a. Outshipment of US dependents prior to or simultaneous with initiation of US air strikes.
b. Movement of SLF afloat to Da Nang airbase and two Army or Marine battalions by air to Saigon area to provide local security to US personnel and installations.
c. Movement one Marine HAWK battalion from 29 Palms, California to SVN.
d. Movement of augmentation land-based and carrier-based air required to optimize execution of course of action IA CINCPAC Frag Order 3.
e. Forward movement from CONUS or within PACOM of ground, sea, and air units to WESTPAC and alert of additional units in CONUS as might be required to implement appropriate portions of CINCPAC OPLAN 32-64 and/or CINCPAC OPLAN 39-65.

4. In addition to above, JCS are considering military utility of employing US aircraft in South Vietnam in country to augment VNAF and FARMGATE.

5. Request comments of addressees ASAP.

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