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McNamara: U.S. Will Not Send Combat Troops to Vietnam

May 9, 1962 - Secretary of Defense Robert S. McNamara (hatless at center) said today that there is no plan for introducing American combat forces in South Vietnam despite Communist gains in neighboring Laos. Secretary McNamara arrived in Saigon today for two days of conferences with Vietnamese and U.S. officials and a tour of military units in South Vietnam. At Ben Tuong, a new settlement 40 miles north of Saigon, Mr. McNamara saw the first results of Operation Sunrise, which seeks to pacify and secure rural areas. Operation Sunrise involves rounding up and resettling hundreds of families in areas previously controlled by the Communist Viet Cong. Most of these families must be forcibly removed by Government troops, who burn the dwellings to prevent their use by the the Viet Cong. The U.S. has made funds available to compensate the families. The purpose of Operation Sunrise is to isolate the Viet Cong from the rural population, thus depriving the Communists of supplies, information, and recruits. Attempts are made to win over the peasants by giving them services they never had before — schools, medicine, and security from the Communists. So far, 569 families of 2,732 persons have been resettled.

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