Task in South Viet Nam

April 17, 1963

Report Outline
Undeclared War in South Viet Nam
Non-Red Opposition to Diem Government
American Criticism of Viet Nam Venture

Undeclared War in South Viet Nam

The United States again risks becoming deeply involved in what Secretary of State Dean Rusk has called a “dirty, untidy, disagreeable” war across the Pacific, this time in the rice bowl area of Southeast Asia. American forces helping the government of South Viet Nam to wage war against Communist guerrillas now number more than 12,000. The Americans, all of them professional military men, are ostensibly advisers and instructors. In point of fact, their role is far more important.

The operation is exacting a heavy toll in men and money. Since Jan. 1, 1961, American casualties have numbered 80 dead (31 in or as a result of combat), 139 wounded, and six missing in action. Support of U.S. and Vietnamese troops is estimated to cost the American taxpayer $2 million a day. Top U.S. military commanders have asserted that the end may be in sight; Adm. Harry D. Felt, commander of U.S. forces in the Pacific, said last Jan. 29 that the task would be completed in three years. But some officials and newspaper correspondents, recalling that it took more than a decade to root Red guerrillas out of nearby Malaya, suggest that such views are over-optimistic.

Four senators who visited South Viet Nam at President Kennedy's request last December were disturbed to find that the country appeared, seven years after it had become a republic, “less, not more, stable than it was at the outset, … more removed from, rather than closer to, the achievement of popularly responsible and responsive government.” In the opinion of the senators, not only the government of South Viet Nam, but also “our policies, particularly in the design and administration of aid, must bear a substantial, a very substantial, share of the responsibility.” After noting that the aid programs were being reshaped and support of the Vietnamese armed forces intensified, the senators said in a report to the Foreign Relations Committee:

ISSUE TRACKER for Related Reports
Vietnam War
Feb. 18, 2000  Legacy of the Vietnam War
Dec. 03, 1993  U.S.-Vietnam Relations
Mar. 18, 1988  Vietnam: Unified, Independent and Poor
Jul. 06, 1984  Agent Orange: The Continuing Debate
Nov. 04, 1983  MIAs: Decade of Frustration
Mar. 11, 1983  Vietnam War Reconsidered
Oct. 21, 1977  Vietnam Veterans: Continuing Readjustment
Jan. 18, 1974  Vietnam Aftermath
Feb. 21, 1973  Vietnam Veterans
Jun. 09, 1971  Prospects for Democracy in South Vietnam
May 06, 1970  Cambodia and Laos: the Widening War
Jan. 07, 1970  War Atrocities and the Law
Jul. 02, 1969  Resolution of Conflicts
Apr. 17, 1968  Reconstruction in South Vietnam
Aug. 23, 1967  Political Evolution in South Viet Nam
Jan. 11, 1967  Rural Pacification in South Viet Nam
May 26, 1965  Political Instability in South Viet Nam
Mar. 25, 1964  Neutralization in Southeast Asia
Apr. 17, 1963  Task in South Viet Nam
Jun. 14, 1961  Guerrilla Warfare
May 17, 1961  Threatened Viet Nam
Sep. 23, 1959  Menaced Laos
Cold War
Conflicts in Asia
Regional Political Affairs: East Asia and the Pacific
U.S. at War: Vietnam
War and Conflict