May 17, 1965.
Dear Mr. President:
I am returning
herewith the letter of the Director of Central Intelligence, dated
May 8, 1965, (2) together with enclosures.
I which to
make one major point.
our ground forces in South Vietnam should be kept to a minimum,
consistent with the protection of our installations and property
in that country. My concern is that a substantial buildup of U.S.
ground troops would be construed by the Communists, and by the
world, as a determination on our part to win the war on the ground.
be a quagmire. It could turn into an open end commitment on our
part that would take more and more ground troops, without a realistic
hope of ultimate victory.
I do not think
the situation is comparable to Korea. The political posture of
the parties involved, and the physical conditions, including terrain,
are entirely different.
to believe that the constant probing of every avenue leading to
a possible settlement will ultimately be fruitful. It won't be
what we want, but we can learn to live with it.