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The MACV staff, spring 1964. Seated at head of table are General Paul D. Harkins, US A, Commander, U.S. Military Assistance Command, Vietnam, and his relief General William C. Westmorland, USA. Major General Richard G. Weede, USMC, MACV Chief of Staff, is seated to General Westmorland's immediate left, and Brigadier General Carl A. Youngdale, USMC, Assistant Chief of Staff, J-l, is seated two positions to General Weede's left. (Photo courtesy of Major General Carl A. Youngdale, USMC (Ret.V).

before 30 September. At this juncture, however, General Westmoreland pointed out that such a rapid influx of personnel would 'overload existing facilities [in South Vietnam]' and stated his desire to see the build-up accomplished in a more orderly progression over a period of several months. After considering the general's latest request, the Secretary of Defense withdrew his earlier demand for an accelerated deployment.3

While the details of the expanded U S. advisory program were being hammered out in Washington, the focus of the administration's concern swung abruptly from the battlefields of South Vietnam to the Tonkin Gulf off the coast of North Vietnam. In two separate incidents during the first week of August, North Vietnamese torpedo boats attacked U.S. Navy ships operating in international waters.* An international crisis ensued when the United States retaliated with limited air strikes against North Vietnamese naval facilities. On 6 August, the U.S. Congress unanimously passed a joint resolution authorizing the President 'to use all measures, including the commitment of armed forces to assist [South Vietnam] in the defense of its independence and territorial integrity . . . .' 4 President Johnson signed the so-called Tonkin Gulf Resolution five days after it was passed, and in so

A vigorous debate has since developed concerning the actual origins of the Tonkin Gulf incidents. It has been claimed that the Americans precipitated the attacks by supporting aggressive South Vietnamese naval patrols off the North Vietnamese coast.

 

 



Page 128(The Advisory & Combat Assistance Era: 1954-1964)