Paper titled "Summary of Recent MACV and CIA Cables on Infiltration," Author Unknown, 27 November 1964

Source: The Pentagon Papers, Gravel Edition, Volume 3, pp. 673-674

27 November 1964


1. The working team in Saigon has examined the MACV materials and methods and concludes that the 31 October MACV study of infiltration is essentially correct in reporting a larger number of infiltrators than was reported by MACV in its April 1964 study.

2. The team concluded that on the "basis of the presently available information, it considers 19,000 infiltrators from 1959 to the present as a firm (confirmed) minimum. In regard to the estimated figure given in the MACV 31 October study for the total number of infiltrators since 1959 (approximately 34,000), the team believes that it represents a maximum on the basis of present information.

3. The team broke the PW interrogation reports and captured documents into several categories: Category A consists of sources and documents which have been confirmed in whole or in part by other sources or documents; Category B consists of sources whose information is probably true but not yet confirmed by other sources; Category C is all others. The total for Category A from 1959 to the present is 21,889 (of these some 2,756 may be duplications, leaving the firm (confirmed)) total of 19,133 infiltrators . . . Category B consists of 7,433 infiltrators which the team considers probable. Another 4,646 are in Category C as possible infiltrators.

4. The totals reported in the MACV October 1964 study are based on a compilation of evaluated reports selected on the same standards as the reports used to prepare previous MACV infiltration studies. The drastic increase reported in infiltrators in the October study results primarily, according to the team, from the greater number of prisoner interrogation reports. The April 1964 study, for example, was based on 85 interrogees, and the October study on 187. Previous MACV studies had been based on less than 30 prisoners.

5. For the most part, MACV has used a conservative approach, according to the team, in analyzing the available data. They note that as additional data continues to become available, upward refinements are likely. Furthermore, there almost certainly have been other groups of infiltrators of which there is no present knowledge.

6. The team concluded that in view of the wide difference between confirmed, probable and possible infiltrators, the significance of the infiltration to the insurgency cannot be defined with precision. However, it is clear that most of the leadership of the VC has been provided by infiltration, and it appears that infiltrated personnel constitute the bulk of the main and local force units in the Communist Military Region 5 in the northern part of South VN.

7. The team investigated the possibility that the GVN was doctoring the interrogation reports for its own purpose, and was assured by MACV that there was very little indication that this had occurred.

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