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U.S. Officials Critical of South Vietnamese Commanders

Feb. 28, 1963 - Commanders of South Vietnam’s military forces in the Mekong River delta have developed a tendency to avoid contact with large concentrations of Viet Cong guerrillas. In addition, U.S. military officials feel that escape routes for the Communists have been left open so that military operations could be evaded. The Americans are also deeply concerned by the tendency of Vietnamese commanders to launch operations where intelligence has shown Communist strength to be minimal. This has taken place in much of the rice-growing region of the delta where two Vietnamese divisions are deployed and some areas north of Saigon where the Vietnamese Fifth Division is stationed. One American adviser wrote a sharply critical report on the situation in the Mekong delta to his headquarters. His report was considered so controversial that an investigator was sent to the delta region. The investigator reported back to Saigon: “The only thing wrong with what he wrote is that all of it is true.”

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