JFK+50: Volume 6, No. 1982JFK MAKES DECISION TO SEND MILITARY ADVISERS TO SOUTH VIETNAM
Washington, D.C. (JFK+50) Fifty-five years ago today, June 16, 1961, President John F. Kennedy made the decision to send American military advisers as instructors to assist the South Vietnamese Army. The decision came after a meeting with South Vietnam envoy Nguyen Dinh Thuan. The previous month, JFK had sent 400 Green Berets to train South Vietnamese soldiers in counter-insurgency fighting.
By October 1961, General Maxwell Taylor, after a visit to South Vietnam, recommended the sending of 8000 combat troops while Secretary of Defense Robert S. McNamara and the Joint Chiefs of Staff called for the sending of 6 combat divisions totaling 200,000 men. President Kennedy declined to authorize either recommendation.
At the time of JFK's death in late November 1963, the United States had 16,000 military advisers in South Vietnam but no combat troops. In 1965, however, after concluding the SVA could not contain the North Vietnamese communists, General Westmoreland and Ambassador Taylor once again recommended sending combat troops. This time, President Lyndon B. Johnson issued the order.
"The Buildup of US Forces, July 1965 July 1966" www.history.army.mil/
"The Vietnam War, America Commits 1961-1964," The History Place, www.historyplace.com/