April 12

This Day in History

Vietnam War

Apr 12, 1961:

Rostow recommends escalation of effort

Walt W. Rostow, senior White House specialist on Southeast Asia and a principal architect of U.S. counterinsurgency doctrine, delivers a memorandum to President John F. Kennedy asserting that the time has come for "gearing up the whole Vietnam operation." Rostow's proposals, almost all of which eventually became policy, included: a visit to Vietnam by the vice president; increasing the number of American Special Forces; increasing funds for South Vietnamese President Ngo Dinh Diem; and "persuading Diem to move more rapidly to broaden the base of his government, as well as to decrease its centralization and improve its efficiency."

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