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1968

Task Force sends memo to the president

In a draft memorandum to the president, the Ad Hoc Task Force on Vietnam advises that the administration send 22,000 more troops to Vietnam, but make deployment of the additional 185,000 men previously requested by Gen. William Westmoreland (senior U.S. commander in Vietnam) contingent on future developments.

The Task Force was a group of senior policy advisors including Secretary of Defense Clark Clifford; Central Intelligence Agency Director Richard Helms; General Maxwell Taylor; Assistant Secretary of State for Far Eastern Affairs William Bundy; and Paul Warnke, head of the Pentagon’s politico-military policy office. President Johnson requested that the Task Force study a request by the Joint Chiefs of Staff and General Westmoreland for more than 200,000 additional troops to augment U.S. forces in Vietnam and to strengthen U.S. security in other parts of the world.

President Johnson asked that the memorandum be sent to General Westmoreland, who, in a reply four days later, welcomed the additional 22,000 troops, but insisted that he still needed the full requested reinforcements by year’s end. Ultimately, President Johnson and his advisers, seeking a way to disengage from the war, refused Westmoreland’s request for more troops.

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