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January 1, 1971
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25X1C10b L Approved For Release 1999/09/02 : CIA-RDP79-01194A000300150001-7 Approved For Release 1999/09/02 : CIA-RDP79-01194A000300150001-7 Approved For Release 1999/09/02: CIA-RDP79-01194A000300159rIR3HT Approved For Release 1999/09/02 : CIA-RDP79-01194A000300150001-7 Approved For Release 1999/09/02 : CIA-RDP79-01194A000300150001-7 Vietnamization, CPYRGHT Approved For Can It Succeed? All the years of fighting come down now to a single question: Can the South Vietnamese army-rearmed and retrained-stand alone? Experts on the scene think the chances are good, and getting better desolate Plain of Reeds in South Vietnam's Mekong Delta. Their mission was to seize a district head- quarters at Long Khot, a small town just half a mile from the border, and thus strike a blow at confidence in the Saigon government's ability to A r 3 A.M. last December 3, some goo well-armed North Viet- namese troops slipped out of their sanctuary in Cambodia and crossed the border into the take over the combat burden of the war. At one time it would have been an easy task. Long Khot was defended by fewer than 300 members of South Vietnam's Regional and Popular Forces. In the past, these "territori- al" troops, armed only with worn-out had been hopelessly outgunned by the communists, who are equipped with AK-47 automatic rifles sup- plied by Communist China. As a result, many territorial units had been cut to pieces, or else they had simply bolted in panic. But when the North Vietnamese tried to storm Long Khot, they were greeted with devastating fire from new American M-16 automatic rifles and M-60 machine guns. Although the communists quickly blew three pathways through the barbed-wire erimeter, the territorials stood firm, ease \Ye9I Oe/D2ictcgFA- t7,9d9V 194A0:O3OO 0000 -7 Approved For Release I 99 09 O2 IA RDP79-01194A00030015d r R 3HT he attackers. At daylight, when the American troop withdrawals, 6o,ooo orth Vietnamese tried to with- men were sent home. Another raw across the plain to Cambodia, 50,000 are to have left Vietnam by any were mowed down by Ameri- April 15. Further withdrawals, says an and South Vietnamese helicop- Washington, will depend on the ters and jets. When this reporter level of enemy activity, continued visited Long Khot soon afterward, improvement of the Vietnamese some 16o North Vietnamese lay armed forces, and progress, if any, dead in and around the town. Only at the Paris peace talks. But some 12 of the defenders had been killed. officials have voiced a cautious hope Long Khot was more than a that the bulk of American combat victory for the once-despised ter- troops will have been sent home ritorials. It is a promising sign for by the end of this year. U.S. troop the future of the war in Vietnam, strength thus might be cut to around and. a prime example of what is be- half the peak force of 543,000. The ing accomplished under "Vietnam- remaining Americans would provide ization"-the series of programs air, artillery and logistical support designed to enable the South Viet- for the South Vietnamese. Eventu- natnese to fight the war on their own. ally, these troops would also be Cautious Hope. Vietnamization pulled out, leaving behind only a is going on in a spectacular way all relatively small advisory force. over Vietnam, from the chilly, wind- Thus, while the Army of the swept hills along the Demilitarized Republic of Vietnam (ARVN) can Zone in the north to the steaming probably count on American back- mangrove swamps at the southern- ing of one kind or another for some most tip of the country. All troops, time to come, the day is nearing including all the territorials in thou- when it will have to fight the ground sands of small communities like battles on its own. Will it be able to Long Khot, have been rearmed handle the job? with up-to-date weapons. Far-reach Years of Heartbreak. With ing training programs, involving al- 930,000 men under arms (including most everyone in the armed forces, territorials), South Vietnam has the have also been launched. Indeed, fifth-largest military establishment seldom in modern times has an en- in the world (after the United tire army been so drastically over- States, the Soviet Union, Commu hauled in so short a time. nist China and India). Yet despite The aim of Vietnamization is to its formidable size, the ARVN has make it possible for the United problems. States to extricate itself from The key to this force's future per- X7` t m without i nominiously formance-the typical South Viet A rove ? C F ir7v9 h1 a man about 150001-7 pp munitW Approved For Release 1M M2r7Z1ARG Ps eQA494A00036gKW9 ~ Approveq' aaal y ao 111 11900. is barely literate, if that. As a private W 1111 1F-JS Loan tnree years' service tinue to fight ? Not because he feels and d no ependents hh ,e earns te any particular loyalty to either ov- free-market equivalent of $12 a g ernment or country; his only alle- month. (An American private in gtance 1s, to his family and village. Vietnam gets $200.80 a month- He fights more than senior Vietnamese offi- the communists. Hardly a day goes cers.) He is serving for the duration by in Vietnam during which the of the war, and his casualty rate is Reds do not throw grenades into high, his margin for survival not crowded buses or marketplaces, or overly good. fire rockets or mortars at random Losses have been staggering. Since into towns, killing men, women 196o, nearly 100,000 ARVN soldiers and children. During the Tet offen- have been killed. Relative to the pop-sive in 1968, they killed nearly 3000 ulation, this is as if the United civilians city States had lost almost 1,200,000 men were buried alive. In all, the commu- in Vietnam. Some 32,000 ARVN nests have murdered nearly 27,000 soldiers are listed as missing in civilians in ten years and kidnaped actign. some 6o,ooo others, most of whom Despite this, the South Vietnam- are presumed dead. In all of this ese soldier continues to fight and, at they have sought to terrorize the times, to fight superbly. In more population into submission; but they than ten years of war, not one ARVN have also succeeded in stiffening the unit has gone over to the enemy. resistance of many. The individual desertion rate is Inferiority Complex. More than high-12 men per thousand per anything else, the performance of month for all the armed forces and ARVN units depends on the caliber as high as 25 men per thousand per of its officers. American advisers month in combat elements-but who live and fight with ARVN troops American advisers say that a major- ity desert to visit their families or be- tinsist that there are excellent officers hroughout the army. But there are cause of a crisis at home, then either problems, rejoin units closer to their village or Until recently, sign up for elite units such as the officer came from the a special typical world. ARVN Airborne, where the pay is some- Only young men who had success- what better. All units are happy to fully completed their secondary ed- get recruits, no questions asked. And ucation were accepted for officer if the ARVN has a desertion problem, training. As only the upper classes too has the Vi L ar C~j 1~~3 t cRElQM# ~11p'Pgikbt93 1 ~~ ~ d bc2~"t'oYp tSecame a monnz X0001-7 Approved For Release 1999/09/02EEC4A4tDPM;01 194A OO IPNRGHT those classes-high government offi- surprised the Americans. The coup cials, large landowners and wealthy try was put on a full war footing, an businessmen and merchants. Talent the armed forces were expanded b in the ranks was wasted. Also, after one third. American advisers repor more than ten years of war many of that the announcement in 1969 of th the bravest officers have fallen in first American troop withdrawals al combat. Some of those remaining so had a healthy psychological of avoid combat whenever possible; fect, in that it further galvanize some-in part,-probably, because of the ARVN's determination and led to abysmally low pay-are dishonest. a rise in self-respect and confidence Along with its other problems, among the officers. the ARVN has labored in the past New Look. In overhauling the under a monumental inferiority ARVN under the Vietnamization complex. In the early ig6os, it was program, the first task was to pro- very much on the defensive against vide it with modern weapons. To in- mounting Vietcong attacks. When crease firepower, some 76o,ooo M-16 ARVN units ventured into rural rifles, 37,000 M-79 grenade launch- areas, they were often annihilated in ers, 12,000 M-60 machine guns, 1300 communist ambushes. The situation heavy mortars and loon howitzers worsened in 1964 when North Viet- were shipped to Vietnam. To give namese divisions invaded the South. the ARVN a mobility it never had The first U.S. troops landed in before, it was equipped with 1350 early 1965. Partly because there was tanks and armored personnel car- no time to reorganize the ARVN, riers and 31,000 jeeps and trucks. To partly because of characteristic remedy inadequate field communi- American impatience, the Ameri- cations, 29,000 tactical radios were cans pushed aside the ARVN and distributed. made the war an American war. In addition, the Vietnamese air ARVN officers felt humiliated, and force was given 6o A37 jets, and 8o many concluded that there was no UH1 (Huey) helicopters. Eventu- need to risk their lives if strangers ally there may be 400 choppers, were not only willing but insistent still a relatively small number on doing the fighting alone. compared with the 2000 U,S. Army. But the Tet offensive of early 1968 helicopters now in Vietnam; the jolted the ARVN out of its lackadaisi- communists, on the other hand, cal approach to the war and its near- have no combat helicopters there. total reliance on the Americans. The U.S. Navy is turning over its Faced with a countrywide commu- fleet of 500 high-speed riverboats to nist onslaught-more than loo cities the Vietnamese. These boats, operat- and towns were attacked simulta- ing in the labyrinth of waterways neously-both regulars and territo- in lie o 0001-7 p'o Approved Fo aAe l e 4999/OWR2th lA s ~ p~nf d Approved For ReleeWjgj$~/ OZ,;vC1&BDF79-01194A00030015U FgHT Appro4 infiltration of North Vietnamese uates are sent to the United States troops from Cambodia. By June, all for 34 weeks of helicopter pilot of the boats will be operated by training-there were 527 of them in South Vietnamese crews; American the United States at recent count. officers and sailors will function only Others are trained as mechanics or as advisers and in shoreside logistical as communications experts. Says one and training roles. American : "There's not a piece of With deliveries of military hard- equipment, even the most sophisti- ware almost completed, the major cated ones, that the Vietnamese emphasis now is on training South haven't been able to learn to handle Vietnamese armed forces. The pre- with proficiency." requisite of a secondary education Of equal importance to the build- for all officer candidates has been up of the ARVN has been the abolished. Last year, 20 percent of strengthening of the Regional and the nearly io,ooo men who gradu- Popular Forces. These men fight in ated from officer training schools their home areas and usually have a were sergeants who had proved stronger motivation than regular themselves in battle. This year it is troops from remote provinces. The hoped that the number will jump to victory at Long Khot was only one 40 percent, and next year to a major- of many such battles; the territorials, ity. Steps are also being taken to re- fighting small-unit actions that go move incompetent ARVN officers virtually unnoticed in the press, ac- from command. counted for nearly one half of all Under new programs, all Viet- enemy casualties last year. namese troops are getting up to six Glowing Future? While the per- weeks of refresher training. Nearly formance of some ARVN units still loo,ooo men were graduated from makes American advisers wince, advanced military schools last year many are showing a new aggressive- -more than twice the number of ness. At a time when American two years earlier. And more than casualties have declined, those of the iooo men a year are taking special- ARVN have risen and in recent ized training in the United States. months have been running at three In training helicopter pilots, the and four times the American rate. U.S. command discovered that it In the past, many ARVN units ven- was virtually impossible to translate tured out of their base camps only all the hundreds of thousands of by day and only in force. Now they pieces of technical literature into are conducting more and more Vietnamese. So six schools were set small-unit night actions. And Viet- up in Vietnam, where American namese pilots now fly more than instructors are currently giving Soon half of all tactical air strikes by eduFo f WS ~J/ 2 fi l~ r e t 3 and sneaking English. ome gra 9~ Cy 150001-7 Approved For Release 1999/6?",d&-4 0001-7 CPYRGHT Approved A QUESTION OF BALANCE BY SIR ROBERT THOMPSON Noted for the key role he played in the defeat of the communist guer- rillas in Malaya during the 1950s, Sir Robert is now an adviser to Presi- dent Nixon on Vietnam. His article, "On the Road to a just Peace," was published in The Reader's Digest last month. Here he oflers some cautionary thoughts on the process of Vietnamization. I AM convinced that Vietnamization is the road to a just peace in Vietnam. But this does not mean simply re-equipping and retraining the South Vietnamese army. We must do that, of course, but in the process we must be sure that we create an army that will not become a bottomless drain on the revenues and skilled manpower of the country -and which, at the same time, will be closely identified with the people. In carrying out Vietnamization, therefore, it seems to me that a number of balances have to be preserved. First, American troop w?thdrawals must be balanced against a declining enemy capability and a rising South Viet- namese capability: they must not be so fast that they allow the North Vietnamese army to stage an all-out offensive before the South Vietnamese are ready to cope with it; they must not be so slow that they encourage the South Vietnamese to think that American combat forces will be around forever. A second balance concerns the composition of the remaining United States forces as they are reduced. Obviously, the situation will require that they should be weighted toward air and artillery support and logistic units. But if the force is to be reduced to a level of 2oo,ooo men, as has been suggested, there must be some combat-infantry support for its own protection. A third, and quite the most difficult, balance to preserve is the size and composition of South Vietnam's armed forces in relation to its total re- sources. During the next few years the test in South Vietnam is likely to be as much in the political, administrative and economic fields as in the military field. Thus, there is a great need for a rational direction of man- power to avoid a situation in which the whole talent of the country-its best-educated, most highly qualified citizens -is consumed by the military. Which raises some interesting questions. For example, who is more important at this stage of the war, a helicopter pilot or, say, a good teacher in a village primary school? Which of the two has to be a South Vietnam- ese? If South Vietnam cannot provide both, which can the United States more easily provide, and withdraw when the time comes? These questions must be answered, for as soon as a country is overloaded d Rele'aseyI, ~o 0 1021: CIX-RiD 79 01194Aand O0 3001y. 01-7 ApprovedsFor Re1easb(195W0/ ' A2RQVM01194A000300156by_~GHT The army inevitably becomes the source of political power, the economy declines and expenditures soar. Because revenue is depressed, pay scales are kept at the lowest possible level. In an inflationary war situation this leads straight to corruption, because no government officials, including the police, can live on their pay. Or consider a future situation in which the ARVN, all highly modern- ized, are in occupation of former American bases like Phu Bai and Chu Lai, and are then kept just sufficiently occupied by North Vietnamese army probes to justify their continued existence. Meanwhile, remnants of the Vietcong put all their effort into reviving communist influence in rural areas. There will be no Vietcong in jets, helicopters and tanks; they will be right in among the population in the towns and villages. If Viet- namization were to develop in this way, it could lead the country straight back to the situation that existed at the end of the 195os, when the war started. At that point the South Vietnamese had a large, American- equipped army with a sizable strength superiority over the Vietcong. And look what happened. All this means that problems of revenue, taxation, salaries, the training of civilian staff and so on must be as much a part of the Vietnamization program as any improvement or increase in the forces. It is not enough that ARVN should be able to deal with the North Vietnamese army. The war must be won on both fronts-military and civilian-at the same time. ARVN has not yet been put to a major test. The enemy did not stage a single large-scale offensive in 1969. In part this may be because he has been badly mauled, but some Amer- ican officers feel that he may simply be biding his time until more Amer- ican troops are withdrawn. In summing up, American officers point to the fact that the ARVN of 1970 is a vastly improved army. The Regionals and Populars have emerged as formidable units in their own right. And while the ARVN in 1964 controlled little of the country- side, 92.5 percent of the population now is rated as living under "reason- ably" secure conditions. App vec ReI a & dictions about the outcome of the war stand like the hulks of so many burnt-out tanks along a five-year road. As a result, Americans on the scene are notably reluctant to make any kind of prediction. The con- sensus is that some major tests lie ahead and that the ARVN may lose some battles. Yet, though no one will say so with certainty, the feel- ing in South Vietnam is that there is a very good chance that the ARVN will manage on its own in the long run. Reprints of this article are available. Prices,postpaid to one address: 10-750; 50-83; 100-84.50; 500-$15; 1000- $28. Address Reprint Editor, The 4 Reader's Di &t 9-011' 4Aoo 300 lOS 79 150001-7 REPRINTED FROM THE APRIL 1970 ISSUE OF THE READER'S DIGEST @1970 THE READER'S DIGEST ASSOCIATION, INC., PLEASANTVILLE, N.Y. 10570 PRINTED IN U.S.A. 25X1C10b Approved For Release 1999/09/02 : CIA-RDP79-01194A000300150001-7 Next 1 Page(s) In Document Exempt Approved For Release 1999/09/02 : CIA-RDP79-01194A000300150001-7 Approved For Release 1999/09/02 : CIA-RDP79-01194A000300150001-7 U. 5.IIEWS S, WORID?REPORT, Dec. 21, 1970 EL DES CU Red strategy for Chile was to take "the peaceful road"-a far cry from Castro's guerrilla warfare. Story of how it worked is related by some of Latin America's newest exiles. Since FaIly o em. er, Cline Has been The Communist-Socialist coalition led ruled by a Marxist Government, domi- by Salvador Allende came out on top in nated by Communists dedicated to turn- a three-way race last September with ing the country into a socialist state in 36 per cent pf the vote. the Soviet style. In .other democratic countries, two or This development, which has rocked more anti-Communist candidates gaining the ,Hemisphere as well as the rest of nearly two thirds of the total vote often the Western world, came about not have joined forces to win congressional through violent revolution but in a free election approval for one as President. But that . Chile . Why did it happen in Chile, a nation did not happen in it th I d with the - oldest democracy in South America? And how did it happen? Is ,Chile lost to the free world? What does this portend for other nations of the Hemisphere? To get at the answers, talk with busi- ness and professional people among an estimated 17,000 Chileans who have fled their country since the September vote. A grim picture. What emerges from such talks is a chilling picture of how the Communists, through a combination of circumstances, oreanization and skill- ful maneuvering, gained power as they have in no other nation of the,. Americas except Castro's Cuba. Says a prominent Chilean lawyer: "It is now clear that we have been playing Russian roulette every six years with our presidential elections. "In-each, we permitted the Reds to run in a left-wing coalition in spite of the Communist vow to, destroy free. in- stitutions and implant an authoritarian system. "Every six years, the Reds became, more. powerful in that coalition, from being weak, junior members 18 years ago until they gained the dominant voice. "Yet. in the name of democracy, we winked at their creed and the threat it presented--only to watch them squeak into office." e oppos ion majority in nstea , Congress gave Allende and his Marxist allies the votes they needed to gain the Presidency. "Allende and the Communists had peo- ple anesthetized," says an engineer who fled to Argentina. "They made many Chileans feel it would not be as bad as they might fear under those Reds. "People told each other: 'Chile, after ,all, is a democracy. We've always worked this way. Why, I've got a cousin whose brother-in-law is one of them, and he's nobody to be afraid of.' That's just, how people talked." In spite of such talk, many Chilean refugees declare that there was a real feeling of fear, following the election, as to what the Communists and their array of left-wing allies might do if de= nied power. Strength of Reds. A former security official says: "The Communist Party in Chile is the strongest and most disciplined in all of Latin America outside Cuba. It has at least 50,000 members, and they hold control over a network of so-called 'Popular Unity Committees' that reach into every walk of Chilean life. "There are more than 8,000 of these political-action groups. They work for the Socialist cause in factories, offices, on newspapers and radio and television stations and in the universities and CPYRGHT neighborhoods. A Chilean doctor says: "The Reds are so well-organized that Allende was able to put thousands of his followers into the streets of many cities at short notice during the election campaign. "And on election night, they massed in the streets once again to 'defend' Al- lende's victory-even before the votes were counted. 'All- this was not lost on the Chil- eans, or on the Chilean Army that some anti-Communists were urging to break its long tradition of keeping hands off politics, and to move in. "Red propaganda said: Watch it, brother, because, if you move, well take to the streets with arms. Then well oc- cupy the factories. Besides that, we've got you penetrated so that you can't trust your noncommissioned officers.' And soon." Background of take-over. Actually, many of the Chilean refugees explain, the stage for a Communist take-over had been set a long time before the 1970 election. "As far back as the 1940s," a lawyer 'recalls, "the Chilean Communist Party made a decision to follow the Moscow line in seeking to win powwr through quiet pen- etration and membership in popular-front move- ments, as against the fire- brand revolutionary ap- proach taken by Castro and many other Latin- American left-wingers. The Communists in Chile called it !a ofa pa- cifica-the peaceful road to power." This Communist stmt- Approved For Release 1999/09/d-2 : CIA-RDP79-01194A000300150001-7 1