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Register of the Edward Geary Lansdale Papers, 1910-1987
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Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Descriptive Summary
  • Administrative Information
  • Access Points
  • Biographical Note
  • Scope Note

  • Descriptive Summary

    Title: Edward Geary Lansdale Papers,
    Date (inclusive): 1910-1987
    Collection Number: 80116
    Creator: Lansdale, Edward Geary, 1908-1987
    Collection Size: 93 manuscript boxes, 4 oversize boxes, 244 envelopes, 1 oversize folder, 5 album boxes, 2 slide boxes, memorabilia (65 linear feet)
    Repository: Hoover Institution Archives
    Stanford, California 94305-6010
    Abstract: Writings, memoranda, reports, studies, correspondence, printed matter, sound recordings, and photographs, relating to the Vietnamese War, and to counter-guerrilla operations, especially in Vietnam and the Philippines.
    Physical Location: Hoover Institution Archives
    Language: English.

    Administrative Information


    Collection is open for research.
    The Hoover Institution Archives only allows access to copies of audiovisual items. To listen to sound recordings or to view videos or films during your visit, please contact the Archives at least two working days before your arrival. We will then advise you of the accessibility of the material you wish to see or hear. Please note that not all audiovisual material is immediately accessible.

    Publication Rights

    For copyright status, please contact the Hoover Institution Archives

    Preferred Citation

    [Identification of item], Edward Geary Lansdale papers, [Box number], Hoover Institution Archives.

    Acquisition Information

    Acquired by the Hoover Institution Archives in 1980.


    Materials may have been added to the collection since this finding aid was prepared. To determine if this has occurred, find the collection in Stanford University's online catalog at http://searchworks.stanford.edu/ . Materials have been added to the collection if the number of boxes listed in the online catalog is larger than the number of boxes listed in this finding aid.

    Access Points

    United States. Air Force--Officers
    Guerrilla warfare
    Vietnamese Conflict, 1961-1975
    United States--Armed Forces
    Slides (Photography)

    Biographical Note

    1908, February 6 Born, Detroit, Michigan
    World War II Served with the O.S.S.
    1943 Promoted to Lieutenant, U.S. Army. Served in military intelligence for duration of war.
    1945-1948 Promoted to Major. Transferred to Philippines, AFWESPAC.
      Appointed Chief of Intelligence Division. Extended stay in Philippines at AFWESPAC and PHILRYCOM; helped Philippine Army rebuild its Intelligence Services.
    1947 Commissioned as a Captain in the Air Force, temporary rank of Major.
    1948 Instructor, Strategic Intelligence School, Lowry Air Force Base, Colorado.
    1949 Temporary promotion to Lieutenant Colonel.
    1950 At the request of President Elpidio Quirino, transferred to JUSMAG in the Philippines to advise Philippine Army Intelligence Services in fight against the Huks (Communists). Met Ramon Magsaysay, Philippine Secretary of National Defense; became close friends. Assisted in development of psychological operations, civic actions, rehabilitation of Huk prisoners, and other programs.
    1951 Temporary promotion to Colonel.
    1953 Member of General J.W. "Iron Mike" O'Daniel's mission to the French forces in Indochina; acted as an advisor on special counter-guerrilla operations.
    1954-1956 Transferred to Saigon, served with MAAG-Vietnam until end of 1956. Helped advise Vietnamese government and armed forces on problems of internal security, including pacification program (1954-55), psychological operations, intelligence, and integration of sect armies. Became close associate of President Ngo Dinh Diem.
    1957 Went to office of the Secretary of Defense, Washington; became Deputy Assistant Secretary for special operations.
    1959 Staff member of President's Committee on Military Assistance (Draper Committee).
    1960 Temporary promotion to Brigadier General.
    1961 Became Assistant Secretary of Defense for special operations.
    1963 Temporary promotion to Major General.
    1963 October 31 Retired; awarded Distinguished Service Medal (second time) for counter-insurgency work. Became consultant to director of Food For Peace, White House.
    1965-1967 Returned to South Vietnam as Senior Liaison Officer of the U.S. Mission to South Vietnam, appointed by Ambassador Henry Cabot Lodge. Also appointed Minister by President Johnson. Staff became the "Senior Liaison Office" (SLO). Work involved winning support in Vietnamese countryside.
    1967-1968 Assistant to Ambassador Ellsworth Bunker, U.S. Mission to South Vietnam.
    1972 Author, The Midst Of Wars
    1987, February 23 Died, McLean, Virginia

    Scope Note

    The Lansdale papers are drawn almost entirely from the post-World War II period. During the years following the war, General Lansdale served in the Philippines Ryukyus Command (1945-48), returned briefly to the United States as an instructor at the Lowry Air Force Base (1949), and then transferred back to the Philippines to serve in the Joint U.S. Military Advisory Group (1950-54). In 1953, Lansdale visited Vietnam with General J.W. O'Daniel's advisory mission to the French forces, and in 1954 he was transferred to Saigon for a two-year term (1954-56). In 1957 Lansdale joined the office of the Secretary of Defense as a special operations expert. After his retirement in 1963, and a brief tenure as consultant to the White House Food for Peace program, he returned to Saigon as Senior Liaison Officer at the U.S. Embassy (1965-68). He published his memoirs in 1972.
    The papers are divided into fifteen series. The first five (biographical file, correspondence file, diaries, speeches and writings, and subject file) consist of materials drawn from the entire time period (1945-present). The diaries record some of Lansdale's impressions and experiences during his first period in the Philippines. Within the speeches and writings series are the notes and drafts for Lansdale's memoirs ( The Midst Of Wars), containing much material not published in the final version. The subject file series is very broad, but of special interest under "Vietnam" are the sub-headings "politics and government" and "Republic of Vietnam." The latter is a sampling of memoranda and other papers from the government of Ngo Dinh Diem and his successors. Finally, several pamphlets outlining "operational guidelines" for cadre working within the rural construction (revolutionary development) program are found under "Vietnamese conflict" (sub-heading "pacification").
    The next five series follow Lansdale's career paths from his first years in the Philippines to his last stay in Vietnam. There are three very compact series of material from his two periods in the Philippines and his first period in Vietnam. The bulk of the collection is found in the other two career series: the files from the Department of Defense, Office of the Secretary of Defense, and from the United States Embassy-Saigon, Senior Liaison Office.
    In the Department of Defense series are found memoranda, reports, and other items from the Draper Committee, including schedules from that committee's 1959 tour of some Southeast Asia countries. Notes, correspondence, and comments from Lansdale's 1961 trip to Vietnam (with General Maxwell Taylor's party) are also of interest, and are found in this series under "subject file" (sub-heading "Vietnam").
    Within the Senior Liaison Office series the "day files" are especially complete (except for the security withdrawals--see below). These files comprise a record of each outgoing letter, memo, and report. Researchers may also wish to consult the tape recording series. Because of the sensitive nature of many of the Lansdale papers, there have been many security withdrawals of documents. In the place of these documents the researcher will find numbered "outcards." These documents will be reviewed for declassification consideration at five-year intervals, and eventually will be returned to the collection.