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Cold War Files: All Units: Events: Kennedy Refuses Deployment of Combat Troops to Vietnam

October 1961
Kennedy Refuses Deployment of Combat Troops to Vietnam

To get a first-hand look at the deteriorating military situation, top Kennedy aides, Maxwell Taylor and Walt Rostow, visit Vietnam. "If Vietnam goes, it will be exceedingly difficult to hold Southeast Asia," Taylor reports to the President and advises Kennedy to expand the number of U.S. military advisors and to send 8000 combat soldiers.

Defense Secretary McNamara and the Joint Chiefs of Staff recommend instead a massive show of force by sending six divisions (200,000 men) to Vietnam. However, the President decides against sending any combat troops.

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