Week of April 23

Week of April 23

On April 24, 1950, President Harry S. Truman approved the contents of National Security Council Report (NSC) 64. The memorandum was drafted by the State Department and the National Security Council. NSC 64 cited Hồ Chí Minh's Communist connections, regional instability, the presence of Chinese troops along the border of Indochina, and an assumed international Communist scheme to "seize all of Southeast Asia." It concluded, in the interest of U.S. security, "that all practicable measures [should] be taken to prevent further communist expansion in Southeast Asia."

NSC 64 became one of the most important documents for justifying the escalating American commitment of money and troops in Vietnam. In the months after President Truman approved the report, the United States pledged $31 million to aid the French military against Vietnamese Communist forces-the beginning of a multi-billion dollar commitment-and established the U.S. Military Assistance and Advisory Group, which was the forerunner of the Military Assistance Command, Vietnam.1

1United States Department of State Foreign Relations of the United States, 1950. East Asia and the Pacific Vol. VI (Wash, DC: US Government Printing Office, 1976), 744-47, 787, 787n4 (http://digital.library.wisc.edu/1711.dl/FRUS.FRUS1950v06); United States-Vietnam Relations, 1945-1967: Vol. II, U.S Involvement in the Franco-Viet Minh War, 1950-1954 (Wash DC: Vietnam Task Force, Office of the Secretary of Defense, no date [declassified 2011]), A-36, A-43, A-46; "Report by the National Security Council on the Position of the United States with Respect to Indochina," in Mike Gravel, ed., The Pentagon Papers (4 vols.; Boston: Beacon Press, 1972), vol. 1, 361-62; Tucker, ed., Encyclopedia of the Vietnam War, 1406-7. Doris M. Condit, History of the Office of the Secretary of Defense, Volume II: The Test of War, 1950-1953 (Wash DC: Historical Office OSD, 1988), 207-8; Herring, America's Longest War (4th edition), pp. 21-33, 51. Ronald H. Spector, The U.S. Army in Vietnam: Advice and Support, the Early Years, 1941-1960 (U.S. Army, Wash. D.C.: 1985), pp. 115-17.