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Rusk Asks Allies for Help in Vietnam

Apr. 20, 1964 - Secretary of State Dean Rusk said today that South Vietnam could use the help of more military advisers from other countries than the United States in its war against the Communist Viet Cong.

Rusk, who just returned from an 11-day trip to Asia, including his first visit as Secretary of State to South Vietnam, reported on his findings to President Johnson at the White House this evening.

Afterward, Rusk said several of this country’s allies had expressed their willingness to help South Vietnam combat the Viet Cong.

He said he did not expect that any organized military units would be sent to Vietnam “at this time” to bolster the efforts of 15,500 U.S. servicemen there.

But he said that Saigon might be asking for some military advisers from other countries and could make good use of them. At present, Australia has a 30-man military advisory mission in Vietnam, and Britain has about 10 officers.

Although he acknowledged that the situation in South Vietnam was critical, Rusk said he thought that General Khanh was “on the right track” and that the situation had shown “steady improvement.”

Present to hear his report at the White House were Defense Secretary Robert McNamara, Under Secretary of State George Ball, and McGeorge Bundy, the President’s special assistant for national security affairs.

In South Vietnam today, the Viet Cong derailed the Saigon-Hué train for the 10th time in 20 days. The train, moving on one of South Vietnam’s most vital communication links, was derailed in Phuyen province 250 miles north of Saigon, midway between Hué and Saigon.

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