Robert McNamara, the American Secretary of Defense, returned from his five-day inspection tour of South Vietnam on Wednesday (21 July).
McNamara's arrival, statement at airport.
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Background: Robert McNamara, the American Secretary of Defense, returned from his five-day inspection tour of South Vietnam on Wednesday (21 July). He said that the situation in Vietnam did not appear totally black, and indicated that American forces there would have to be increased.
The Secretary told newsmen at Andrews Air Force Base, where he arrived, that the Viet Cong guerrillas now number about 165,000 compared with about 500,000 South Vietnamese government forces. "This is a totally unacceptable ratio," he said. Later, he noted that 'the Viet Cong themselves are suffering very high casualties" and the situation was not all black.
(Officials have indicated that to fight guerrillas like the Viet Cong successfully, ten regular soldiers are required for each guerrilla. Mr. McNamara's comment that the present ration in Vietnam is unacceptable was taken to mean that he would recommend to President Johnson that U.S. strength in Vietnam be increased.)