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Volume VI

Foreign Relations, 1964-1968


Vietnam, January-August 1968
Editor: Kent Sieg
General Editor: David S. Patterson

Washington DC
2002

Office of the Historian


Bureau of Public Affairs

Document Numbers

Document dates

January 1-29: The Continuing Search for Peace and Preparations for
the Enemy's Winter-Spring Offensive
1 through 31

Jan 1-29, 1968

January 30-February 8: The Tet Offensive


32 through 49

Jan 30-Feb 3, 1968

50 through 62

Feb 3-8, 1968

February 9-28: Westmoreland's Augmentation


63 through 70

Feb 9-12, 1968

71 through 85

Feb 12-24, 1968

86 through 94

Feb 26-29, 1968

March 1-15: Policy Reassessment and the "A to Z" Review


95 through 107

Mar 1-6, 1968

108 through 131

Mar 6-15, 1968

March 16-31: De-esclation and the March 31 Speech


132 through 148

Mar 16-21, 1968

149 through 169

Mar 22-31, 1968

April 1-May 3: Discussions on the Site for Talks


170 through 193

Apr 1-11, 1968

194 through 221

Apr 13-May 3, 1968

May 4-31: Opening of the Peace Negotiations and the May Offensive
222 through 239

May 4-21, 1968

240 through 257

May 20-31, 1968

June 1-July 15: Soviet Involvement and Possible North Vietnamese


Restraint
258 through 277

Jun 3-20, 1968

278 through 298

Jun21-Jul 15, 1968

July 16-August 31: The Lull in Fighting, the U.S.-South Vietnamese


Conference at Honolulu, and the Third Enemy Offensive
299 through 318

July 16-31, 1968

319 through 345

Aug 1-31, 1968

Foreign Relations, 1964-1968, Volume VI, Vietnam, January-August 1968


Released by the Office of the Historian

Preface
The Foreign Relations of the United States series presents the official documentary historical record of major foreign
policy decisions and significant diplomatic activity of the United States Government. The Historian of the Department of
State is charged with the responsibility for the preparation of the Foreign Relations series. The staff of the Office of the
Historian, Bureau of Public Affairs, plans, researches, compiles, and edits the volumes in the series. Official regulations
codifying specific standards for the selection and editing of documents for the series were first promulgated by Secretary
of State Frank B. Kellogg on March 26, 1925. These regulations, with minor modifications, guided the series through
1991.
A new statutory charter for the preparation of the series was established by Public Law 102138, the Foreign Relations
Authorization Act, Fiscal Years 1992 and 1993, which was signed by President George Bush on October 28, 1991.
Section 198 of P.L. 102138 added a new Title IV to the Department of States Basic Authorities Act of 1956 (22 USC
4351, et seq.).
The statute requires that the Foreign Relations series be a thorough, accurate, and reliable record of major United
States foreign policy decisions and significant United States diplomatic activity. The volumes of the series should include
all records needed to provide comprehensive documentation of major foreign policy decisions and actions of the United
States Government. The statute also confirms the editing principles established by Secretary Kellogg: the Foreign
Relations series is guided by the principles of historical objectivity and accuracy; records should not be altered or
deletions made without indicating in the published text that a deletion has been made; the published record should omit
no facts that were of major importance in reaching a decision; and nothing should be omitted for the purposes of
concealing a defect in policy. The statute also requires that the Foreign Relations series be published not more than 30
years after the events recorded.
Structure and Scope of the Foreign Relations Series
This volume is part of a subseries of volumes of the Foreign Relations series that documents the most important issues
in the foreign policy of the 5 years (19641968) of the administration of Lyndon B. Johnson. The subseries presents in
34 volumes a documentary record of major foreign policy decisions and actions of President Johnsons administration.
This volume documents U.S. policy toward Vietnam from January to August 1968. Volumes IV cover Vietnam from
1964 through 1967; volume VII will cover September 1968 through January 1969.
Focus of Research and Principles of Selection for Foreign Relations, 19641968, Volume VI
The editor of the volume sought to present documentation that explained and illuminated the major foreign policy
decisions on Vietnam of the President, as counseled by his key foreign policy advisers. The documents include
memoranda and records of discussions that set forth policy issues and options and show decisions or actions taken.
The emphasis is on the development of U.S. policy and on major aspects and repercussions of its execution rather than
on the details of policy execution.
President Lyndon Johnson relied upon his principal foreign policy advisers, Secretary of State Rusk, Secretary of
Defense McNamara (and his successor Secretary of Defense Clifford), Assistant to the President Rostow, and many
other official and unofficial advisers for counsel and recommendations on Vietnam policy. Because the editors primary
focus was on the policy process of recommendation, discussion, and then final decision by the President, the locus of
the volume is Washington, but it also covers events and developments in South Vietnam, as they affected the policy
process.
The volume contains a number of major themes. Of primary importance to President Johnson was his and the
Department of States continuing efforts to find a negotiated end to the war. The volume covers U.S. diplomatic contacts
with Romania, Norway, and the Vatican to explore possible negotiation formulas with Hanoi in the hopes that they would
lead to formal peace negotiations. Also covered are continued tentative prisoner of war contacts with the National
Liberation Front in the hopes that they might lead to a separate political settlement. These diplomatic efforts were
overshadowed by another major theme of the volume, the Tet Offensive and the resulting policy debate in Washington
on whether to raise the number of U.S. troops in Vietnam. This debate led to a broader reassessment of U.S. policy in
Vietnam, which culminated in the Presidents order for a partial bombing halt of North Vietnam, his decision not to run
for reelection, and an announcement of U.S. willingness to meet anywhere to negotiate peace. The search for a venue
for the talks and attempts by advisers to convince the President to institute a full bombing halt comprise the final focus of
the volume. Two other themes are evident in the volume, yet they are captured in only a few documents: the growing
anti-war movement in the United States and the upcoming presidential elections of 1968. These two events affected

discussions within the Johnson administration.


Editorial Methodology
The documents are presented chronologically according to Washington time or, in the case of conferences, in the order
of individual meetings. Memoranda of conversation are placed according to the time and date of the conversation, rather
than the date the memorandum was drafted.
Editorial treatment of the documents published in the Foreign Relations series follows Office style guidelines,
supplemented by guidance from the General Editor and the chief technical editor. The source text is reproduced as
exactly as possible, including marginalia or other notations, which are described in the footnotes. Texts are transcribed
and printed according to accepted conventions for the publication of historical documents in the limitations of modern
typography. A heading has been supplied by the editors for each document included in the volume. Spelling,
capitalization, and punctuation are retained as found in the source text, except that obvious typographical errors are
silently corrected. Other mistakes and omissions in the source text are corrected by bracketed insertions: a correction is
set in italic type; an addition in roman type. Words or phrases underlined in the source text are printed in italics.
Abbreviations and contractions are preserved as found in the source text, and a list of abbreviations is included in the
front matter of each volume.
Bracketed insertions are also used to indicate omitted text that deals with an unrelated subject (in roman type) or that
remains classified after declassification review (in italic type). The amount of material not declassified has been noted by
indicating the number of lines or pages of source text that were omitted. Entire documents withheld for declassification
purposes have been accounted for and are listed by headings, source notes, and number of pages not declassified in
their chronological place. All brackets that appear in the source text are so identified by footnotes.
The first footnote to each document indicates its source, original classification, distribution, and drafting information. This
note also provides the background of important documents and policies and indicates whether the President or his
major policy advisers read the document.
Editorial notes and additional annotation summarize pertinent material not printed in the volume, indicate the location of
additional documentary sources, provide references to important related documents printed in other volumes, describe
key events, and provide summaries of and citations to public statements that supplement and elucidate the printed
documents. Information derived from memoirs and other first-hand accounts has been used when appropriate to
supplement or explicate the official record.
The numbers in the index refer to document numbers rather than to page numbers.
Advisory Committee on Historical Diplomatic Documentation
The Advisory Committee on Historical Diplomatic Documentation, established under the Foreign Relations statute,
reviews records, advises, and makes recommendations concerning the Foreign Relations series. The Advisory
Committee monitors the overall compilation and editorial process of the series and advises on all aspects of the
preparation and declassification of the series. The Advisory Committee does not attempt to review the contents of
individual volumes in the series, but it makes recommendations on problems that come to its attention.
The Advisory Committee has not reviewed this volume.
Declassification Review
The Information Response Branch of the Office of IRM Programs and Services, Bureau of Administration, Department of
State, conducted the declassification review of the documents published in this volume. The review was conducted in
accordance with the standards set forth in Executive Order 12958 on Classified National Security Information and
applicable laws.
The principle guiding declassification review is to release all information, subject only to the current requirements of
national security as embodied in law and regulation. Declassification decisions entailed concurrence of the appropriate
geographic and functional bureaus in the Department of State, other concerned agencies of the U.S. Government, and
the appropriate foreign governments regarding specific documents of those governments.
The final declassification review of this volume, which began in 1999 and was completed in 2002, resulted in the
decision to withhold about one-tenth of 1 percent of the documentation proposed for publication; no documents were
withheld in full. The information was excised to protect intelligence sources and methods, in keeping with requirements

of Executive Order 12958. The issue of covert funding for a grass-roots political party to support South Vietnam
President Nguyen Van Thieu was appealed successfully to a High-Level Panel consisting of senior representatives from
the Department of State, the National Security Council, and the Central Intelligence Agency. The panel, established in
1998, determines whether or not the Foreign Relations series can acknowledge a covert activity or other intelligence
activity and provides general guidelines for declassification review. The Panel arrived at a determination that resulted in
the release of the relevant documentation, with some excisions. The editor is confident, on the basis of the research
conducted in preparing this volume and as a result of the declassification review process described above, that the
documentation and editorial notes presented here provide an accurate account of U.S. policy toward Vietnam from
January through August 1968.
Acknowledgments
The editor wishes to acknowledge the assistance of officials at the Lyndon B. Johnson Library of the National Archives
and Records Administration, especially Regina Greenwell, and Charlaine Burgess, who provided key research
assistance. The editor also wishes to acknowledge the assistance of historians at the Central Intelligence Agency, the
staff of the Center for Military History, Sandra Meagher at the Department of Defense, and David Phelps at the Joint
Chiefs of Staff, and the staff of the Library of Congress, Manuscript Division, for their valuable assistance in expediting
research of this volume.
Kent Sieg collected documentation for this volume and selected and edited it, under the supervision of Edward C.
Keefer, Chief of the Asia and Americas Division, and David S. Patterson, General Editor of the Foreign Relations series.
Rita M. Baker and Vicki E. Futscher did the copy and technical editing, and Susan C. Weetman coordinated the
declassification review. Max Franke prepared the index.
Marc J. Susser
The Historian
Bureau of Public Affairs
September 2002

Foreign Relations, 1964-1968, Volume VI, Vietnam, January-August 1968


Released by the Office of the Historian

Sources
Sources for the Foreign Relations SeriesThe Foreign Relations statute requires that the published record in the Foreign
Relations series include all records needed to provide comprehensive documentation on major U.S. foreign policy
decisions and significant U.S. diplomatic activity. It further requires that government agencies, departments, and other
entities of the U.S. Government engaged in foreign policy formulation, execution, or support cooperate with the
Department of State Historian by providing full and complete access to records pertinent to foreign policy decisions and
actions and by providing copies of selected records. Many of the sources consulted in the preparation of this volume
have been declassified and are available for review at the National Archives and Records Administration.
The editors of the Foreign Relations series have complete access to all the retired records and papers of the
Department of State: the central files of the Department; the special decentralized files ("lot files") of the Department at
the bureau, office, and division levels; the files of the Departments Executive Secretariat, which contain the records of
international conferences and high-level official visits, correspondence with foreign leaders by the President and
Secretary of State, and memoranda of conversations between the President and Secretary of State and foreign officials;
and the files of overseas diplomatic posts. All the Departments indexed central files for these years have been
permanently transferred to the National Archives and Records Administration at College Park, Maryland (Archives II).
Many of the Departments decentralized office (or lot) files covering this period, which the National Archives deems
worthy of permanent retention, have been transferred or are in the process of being transferred from the Departments
custody to Archives II.
The editors of the Foreign Relations series also have full access to the papers of President Johnson and other White
House foreign policy records. Presidential papers maintained and preserved at the Presidential libraries include some of
the most significant foreign affairs-related documentation from the Department of State and other Federal agencies
including the National Security Council, the Central Intelligence Agency, the Department of Defense, and the Joint
Chiefs of Staff.
Sources for Foreign Relations, 1964-1968, Volume VI
In preparing this volume, the editor made extensive use of Presidential papers and other White House records at the
Lyndon B. Johnson Library. The large Vietnam Country File within the National Security File was one of the most
important sources. Other useful components of the National Security File were the NSC History File, the Files of Walt
Rostow, and Memoranda to the President. For Johnsons meetings on Vietnam, the Tom Johnson Notes were the most
valuable collection, although Meeting Notes Files were also useful. The Johnson tape recordings, of both telephone
conversations and meetings in the Cabinet Room, were another key source from the Johnson Library. Other Johnson
Library collections cited less frequently but still of value were the Office Files of White House aides, such as Harry
McPherson and George Christian, and the Papers of Clark Clifford, George Elsey, and General William Westmoreland.
Second in importance to the records at the Johnson Library were the central files of the Department of State.
Documents relating to the various peace initiatives are filed in POL 27-14 VIET or POL 27-14/[negotiating track codename]. For example, POL 27-14 VIET/CROC is the repository for Ambassador Harrimans initial peace negotiations
documentation. Basic reporting and recommendations on important developments in South Vietnam were often put in
POL 27 VIET S, the file reserved for military operations, but used as a catch-all. It was the most important Department
of State Central File. Of the Department of State lot files, the A/IM Files of Harriman and Cyrus Vance in Paris, Lot 93 D
82, were the most important. The IS/OIS files relating to the records of the Paris Peace Conference, Lot 90 D 345, and
the IS/OIS files of Ambassador Bunkers weekly reports to the President, Lot 92 D 306, were also valuable. The files of
Ambassador at Large Averell Harriman, S-AH Files, Lot 71 D 461 are also important.
Of the records at the Department of Defense, which are at the Washington National Records Center, official files of
Secretaries Robert McNamara and Clark Clifford, were significant: McNamara/OSD Files, FRC 330 71 A 3470, and the
Clifford/OSD Files, FRC 72 A 2457-2468 and FRC 73 A 1250. The official records of the Joint Chiefs of Staff were also
valuable. In addition, the files of Military Assistance Command, Vietnam at the Institute of Military History and the
Westmoreland and Creighton Abrams Papers at the Center for Military History, contained useful information.
At the Library of Congress, Manuscript Division, the two most important collections for the volume were the Averell
Harriman and Paul Nitze Papers.
For intelligence issues, DCI (Helms) Files, the DCI Executive Registry Subject Files and the Files of DCIs Special
Assistant for Vietnam, George Carver, at the Central Intelligence Agency, were most useful. The National Security
Councils Intelligence Files provided papers submitted to the 303 Committee and records of the Committees meetings.

Almost all of this documentation has been made available for use in the Foreign Relations series thanks to the consent
of the agencies mentioned, the assistance of their staffs, and especially the cooperation and support of the National
Archives and Records Administration.
The following list identifies the particular files and collections consulted in the preparation of this volume. The
declassification and transfer to the National Archives of the Department of State records are in process, and many of
those records are already available for public review at the National Archives. The declassification review of other
records is going forward in accordance with the provisions of Executive Orders 12958 and 13142, under which all
records over 25 years old, except file series exemptions requested by agencies and approved by the President, should
be reviewed for declassification by 2003.
Unpublished Sources
Department of State, Washington, D.C.
Central Files. See National Archives and Records Administration below.
Lot Files. These files may be transferred to the National Archives and Records Administration at College Park Maryland,
Record Group 59. See National Archives and Records Administration below.
INR/EAP Files: Lot 90 D 99
National and Special Intelligence Estimates, 1952-1985.
INR/IL Historical Files
Historical files relating to covert action and intelligence.
INR/REA/SA Files: Lot 75 D 352
South Vietnam Country files, 1968-1970.
INR/RSB Files: Lot 90 D 320
Soviet-Asia relations, 1965-1978.
National Archives and Records Administration, College Park, Maryland
Record Group 59, Records of the Department of State
Subject-Numeric Central Files. The subject-numeric system is divided into broad categories: Administration, Consular,
Culture and Information, Economic, Political and Defense, Science, and Social. Within each of these divisions are
subject subcategories. For example, Political and Defense contains four subtopics: POL (Politics), DEF (Defense), CSM
(Communism), and INT (Intelligence). Numerical subdivisions further define the subtopics. The following are the most
important files consulted for this volume:
AID (US) VIET S, U.S. aid to South Vietnam
DEF 4 SEATO, Southeast Asia Treaty Organization
E US-VIET S, economic relations, U.S.-South Vietnam
E VIET S, economic affairs, South Vietnam
E 12 VIET S, land reform, South Vietnam
FN 12 VIET S, balance of payments, South Vietnam
ORG SAIGON, organization and administration, Saigon Embassy
POL IT-US, political relations, U.S.-Italy
POL NOR-VIET N, political relations, Norway-North Vietnam
POL UK-US, political relations, U.S.-United Kingdom
POL US-USSR, political relations, U.S.-Soviet Union
POL 1 US-USSR, general policy, U.S.-Soviet Union
POL 1 VIET S, general policy, South Vietnam
POL 1-1 VIET S, contingency planning, South Vietnam
POL 7 US, visits and meetings, U.S.
POL 12 VIET S, political parties, South Vietnam
POL 15 VIET S, Government of South Vietnam
POL 15-1 VIET S, head of state/executive branch, South Vietnam
POL 15-1 US/JOHNSON, Head of State, the President
POL 15-1 VAT, correspondence and meetings with the Pope

POL 17 NOR CHICOM, diplomatic representation, Norway-China


POL 17 US-VIET N, diplomatic representation, U.S.-North Vietnam
POL 17 VIET N, diplomatic and consular representation, North Vietnam
POL 17-1 NOR-US, accreditation, U.S.-Norway
POL 23-9 VIET S, civil disturbances and revolts, South Vietnam
POL 27 US/HUMPHREY, Vice Presidents assessment of military affairs
POL 27 VIET S, military operations, South Vietnam
POL 27 VIET S/MARIA, cease-fires, South Vietnam
POL 27-7 VIET, prisoners of war, Vietnam-POL 27-7 VIET S/BUTTERCUP, prisoner exchanges, South Vietnam
POL 27-12 VIET, war crimes, Vietnam
POL 27-14 VIET/ASPEN, peace negotiations codenamed Aspen
POL 27-14 VIET/BAMBOO, peace negotiations codenamed Bamboo
POL 27-14 VIET/CROCODILE, peace negotiations codenamed Crocodile
POL 27-14 VIET/KILLY, peace negotiations codenamed Killy
POL 27-14 VIET/LION, peace negotiations codenamed Lion
POL 27-14 VIET/MARIGOLD, peace negotiations codenamed Marigold
POL 27-14 VIET/NIRVANA, peace negotiations codenamed Nirvana
POL 27-14 VIET/OHIO, peace negotiations codenamed Ohio
POL 27-14 VIET S, truce talks, South Vietnam
POL 30 VIET S, defections, South Vietnam
REF VIET, refugees, Vietnam
REF VIET N, refugees, North Vietnam
Lot Files
A/IM Files: Lot 93 D 82
HARVAN correspondence and telegrams, 1968-1969.
AmEmbassy-Saigon Files: Lot 75 F 193
Files and telegrams from classified and unclassified central subject files of the American Embassy in Saigon, 19501974.
Bundy Files: Lot 85 D 240
Files of William P. Bundy as Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs, 1964-1969.
Bunker Files: Lot 74 D 417
Files of Ambassador Ellsworth Bunker, including telegrams, personal and presidential messages, and correspondence,
1967-1973.
Bunker Files: Lot 77 D 146
Files containing Ambassador Ellsworth Bunkers official and personal correspondence, speeches and statements,
interviews, and briefing books, 1967-1973.
EA Files: Lot 74 D 246
Records relating to the Paris Peace Negotiations on Vietnam, 1966-1973.
EA Files: Lot 71 D 10
Files on the Paris Peace Talks, 1966-1968.
EA Files: Lot 72 D 33
Background papers on Asia, 1967-1968.
EA/ACA Files: Lot 69 D 128
Files of weekly reports on Vietnam peace negotiations, 1967-1968.
EA/ACA Files: Lot 72 D 175
Miscellaneous files of the Asian Communist Affairs Office, 1961-1969.
EA/VN Files: Lot 72 D 207
Files on the Manila Summit, the Clifford-Taylor trip to Southeast Asia, the Tet Offensive, and background material, 19641968.

EA/VN Files: Lot 73 D 141


General files of the interagency Vietnam Working Group.
EA/VN Files: Lot 73 D 461
Files on politics, defense, rural development, and elections in South Vietnam, 1967-1969.
EA/VN Files: Lot 74 D 51
Military files containing the record of the air war in Vietnam, 1963-1970.
EA/VN Files: Lot 75 D 167
Files on Vietnamese political-military affairs and meetings and trips of senior U.S. government officials with Vietnamese
and Asian leaders, 1963-1969.
EA/VN Files: Lot 75 D 303
Files relating to the Free World Assistance in Vietnam, 1963-1971.
HARVAN Files: Lot 93 D 82
Correspondence, telegrams, and records of meetings of the HARVAN (Harriman-Vance) mission to the Paris peace
talks on Vietnam, 1968-1969, including background material on Vietnam peace negotiations, 1962-1969.
IS/OIS Files: Lot 90 D 345
Chronological records of the Paris Peace Conference, 1968-1969.
IS/OIS Files: Lot 92 D 306
Telegrams transmitting the weekly reports of Ambassador Ellsworth Bunker to the President, 1967-1973.
Johnson Files: Lot 90 D 410
Files of Ambassador U. Alexis Johnson, 1958-1973.
Katzenbach Files: Lot 74 D 271
Files of Under Secretary of State Nicholas Katzenbach, 1966-1969.
Kohler Files: Lot 71 D 460
Files of Deputy Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Foy Kohler concerning his discussions with Soviet
Ambassador Anatoli Dobrynin, 1967-1968; discussions between Secretary of State Dean Rusk and Soviet Foreign
Minister Andrei Gromyko, 1962-1968.
Komer Files: Lot 69 D 303
Files of Robert W. Komer, 1949-1969.
Rusk Files: Lot 72 D 192
Files of Secretary of State Dean Rusk, 1961-1969, including texts of speeches, miscellaneous correspondence files,
White House correspondence, chronological files, and memoranda of telephone conversations.
S/S-AH Files: Lot 71 D 461
Files of Ambassador at Large W. Averell Harriman concerning Vietnam peace negotiating channels, 1967-1968.
S/S-I Files: Lot 72 D 316
National Security Action Memoranda 1-371, 1961-1968.
S/S-I Files: Lot 72 D 318
National Security Council meeting memoranda and agenda, 1966-1968.
S/S-S Files: Lot 68 D 453
International conference chronologies and briefing papers, 1967-1968, including background material for the Vice
Presidents East Asian trip, Ambassador at Large W. Averell Harrimans Near Eastern and European trip, and the
Presidents visit to Australia.
S/S-S Files: Lot 69 D 217
Administrative history of the Johnson administration; foreign policy fact books for Republican candidates; transition

books, 1968.
S/S-S Files: Lot 70 D 207
Vietnam briefing books and reports, contingency studies, and background papers on negotiations, 1965-1968.
S/S-S Files: Lot 70 D 48
Miscellaneous Vietnam reports and briefing books, 1949-1968, including briefing books on negotiating initiatives and
Senate committee reports.
S/S-S Files: Lot 70 D 48
Miscellaneous Vietnam reports from the Executive Secretariat.
S/S-S Files: Lot 71 D 228
Transition books for the incoming Nixon administration, December 1968.
S/S-S Files: Lot 76 D 435
U.S./U.S.S.R. Conversations on Vietnam and Southeast Asia, 1961-1968.
Record Group 84, Records of the Foreign Service Posts of the United States
Saigon Embassy Files of Ambassador Ellsworth Bunker, 1967-1973.
Record Group 200, Records of Secretary of Defense Robert S. McNamara, 1961-1968
Record Group 273, Records of the National Security Council
National Security Action Memorandums
Record Group 407, Records of the U.S. Army Adjutant Generals Office
Westmoreland v. CBS Litigation Collection, 1966-1972
Record Group 472, Records of the U.S. Army in Southeast Asia
Headquarters, Military Assistance Command, Vietnam
Command Information Publications
Assistant Chief of Staff
Office of Civil Operations for Revolutionary Development
Nixon Presidential Materials Project
National Security Council Files
Agency Files
Name Files
Paris Talks/Meetings
HAK Office Files, Country Files, Far East, Vietnam, Negotiations
Central Intelligence Agency, Langley, Virginia
William Colby Files, Job 80-M01009A
DCI (Helms) Files, Jobs 80-R1580R, 80-B01721R, 80-R01720R, 80-M01044A, 80-B01285A, 85-T00268R
DDI Files, Job 80-B01721R
DDO/ISS Files, Jobs 78-32, 78-06425A, 78-0064235A

DO/EA Files, Jobs 79-00207A, 80-00088A, 80-00106A


Executive Registry Subject Files, Jobs 80-R51580R, 80-R01284A
O/DDI Files, Job 78-T02095R
SAVA (Carver) Files, Jobs 80-R01284R, 80-R012850R, 80-R01720R
Lyndon B. Johnson Library, Austin, Texas
Papers of President Lyndon B. Johnson
National Security File
Agency File
Country File
Intelligence File
International Meetings and Travel File
Head of State Correspondence
Special Head of State Correspondence
Files of Robert Komer
Komer-Leonhart File
Memos to the President
Name File
National Intelligence Estimates
National Security Action Memorandums
National Security Council Histories
National Security Council Meetings File
Files of Walt Rostow
Files of Bromley Smith
South Vietnam and U.S. Politics
Speech File
Subject File
Unarranged Files
Warnke-McNaughton Files
Office Files of the White House Aides
George Christian Files
James R. Jones Files
Harry McPherson Files
Special Files
Meeting Notes File
Office of the President File
Presidents Appointment File (Diary Backup)
Presidents Daily Diary
Recordings and Transcripts of Telephone Conversations
Reference File--Vietnam
Transcripts of Meetings in the Cabinet Room
White House Central Files
Confidential File
Subject File
Reference Files, Vietnam
Other Personal Papers
Clark Clifford Papers

George Elsey Papers


Alain Enthoven Papers
Morton Halperin Papers
Tom Johnsons Notes of Meetings
William Jorden Papers
Oral History Collection
Dean Rusk Papers, Personal Appointment Books
Paul C. Warnke Papers, John McNaughton Files
William C. Westmoreland Papers
Department of Defense, Washington, D.C.
Official Records of the Joint Chiefs of Staff
Southeast Asia Files, 1966-1968.
National Security Council, Washington, D.C.
Intelligence Files
Records of the 303 Committee
Subject Files, Vietnam
Washington National Records Center, Suitland, Maryland
Record Group 330, Records of the Office of the Secretary of Defense:
McNamara Files: FRC 71 A 3470
Files of Secretary of Defense Robert S. McNamara, 1961-1968.
McNamara Vietnam Files: FRC 77-0075
Vietnam Files of Secretary of Defense Robert S. McNamara, 1961-1968.
OSD Files: FRC 72 A 2467-2468, FRC 73 A 1250
Office of the Secretary of Defense Files.
OSD/General Counsel Files: FRC 75 A 0062
Files on the Pentagon Papers.
OSD/OASD/ISA Files: FRC 71 A 4919, FRC 69 A 6216, FRC 72 A 1498-1499, FRC 72 A 7500-7515, FRC 73 A 13501352, FRC 83 A 0119-0129
Files of the Bureau of International Security Affairs.
Library of Congress, Manuscript Division, Washington, D.C.
W. Averell Harriman Papers
Paul H. Nitze Papers
Henry A. Kissinger Papers

National Defense University, Washington, D.C.


Andrew Goodpaster Papers
Lyman Lemnitzer Papers
Maxwell Taylor Papers
U.S. Army Center for Military History, Washington, D.C.
Robert Komer Papers
DepCORDS/MACV Files
Files of the Deputy for Civil Operations and Revolutionary Development, Military Assistance Command, Vietnam
William Colby Papers
Creighton Abrams Papers
Thomas Thayer Papers
William C. Westmoreland Papers
History File, History Backup, and COMUSMACV Message Files, 1964-1968.
U.S. Army Military History Institute, Carlisle Barracks, Pennsylvania
Army Chiefs of Staff Collection
Creighton Abrams Papers
William DePuy Papers
Richard Gard Papers
Harold K. Johnson Papers
Bruce Palmer Papers
John Paul Vann Papers
William C. Westmoreland Papers
Military Assistance Command, Vietnam, Headquarters Archive
Douglas Pike Collection
Published Sources
Documentary Collections
Barrett, David M., ed., Lyndon B. Johnsons Vietnam Papers: A Documentary Collection. College Station, TX: Texas A &
M Unviersity Press, 1997.
Council on Foreign Relations, Documents on American Foreign Relations, 1968-69. New York: New York University
Press, 1972.
The Declassified Documents Quarterly Catalog and microfiche. Woodbridge, CT, 1975 onwards.

Herring, George, ed., The Secret Diplomacy of the Vietnam War: The Negotiating Volumes of the Pentagon Papers.
Austin, TX, 1983.
Pike, Douglas, ed., The Bunker Papers: Reports to the President From Vietnam, 1967-1973. 3 vols. Berkeley, CA:
University of California Press, 1990.
The Pentagon Papers: The Department of Defense History of United States Decisionmaking on Vietnam, The Senator
Gravel Edition. 4 vols. Boston: Beacon Press, 1971.
U.S. Department of State, Department of State Bulletin, 1968-1969. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office,
1968-1969.
U.S. House of Representatives, Armed Services Committee, United States-Vietnam Relations, 1945-1967: Study
Prepared by the Department of Defense. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1971.
U.S. National Archives and Records Administration. Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States: Lyndon B.
Johnson, 1968-69. 2 vols. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1970.
Memoirs
Bui Diem, with David Chanoff, In the Jaws of History. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1987.
Bundy, William P., A Tangled Web: The Making of Foreign Policy in the Nixon Presidency. New York: Hill & Wang,
1999.
Califano, Joseph A., The Triumph and Tragedy of Lyndon Johnson: The White House Years. New York: Simon and
Schuster, 1991.
Chennault, Anna, The Education of Anna. New York: Times Books, 1979.
Clifford, Clark, with Richard C. Holbrooke, Counsel to the President: A Memoir. New York: Random House, 1991.
Colby, William, with James McCargar, Lost Victory: A Firsthand Account of Americas Sixteen-Year Involvement in
Vietnam. Chicago: Contemporary Books, 1989.
DeLoach, Cartha D., Hoovers FBI: The Inside Story by Hoovers Trusted Lieutenant. New York: Regnery Publishing,
1995.
Humphrey, Hubert, Education of a Public Man: My Life and Politics. Garden City, NY: Doubleday, 1976.
Johnson, Lyndon Baines, The Vantage Point: Perspectives of the Presidency, 1963-1969. New York: Rinehart and
Winston, 1971.
Kissinger, Henry A., White House Years. Boston: Little, Brown, 1979.
McNamara, Robert S., with Brian VanDeMark, In Retrospect: The Tragedy and Lessons of Vietnam. New York: Times
Books, 1995.
McPherson, Harry, A Political Education. Boston: Little, Brown, 1972.
Nguyen Cao Ky, Twenty Years and Twenty Days. New York: Stein and Day, 1976.
Nixon, Richard, RN: The Memoirs of Richard Nixon. New York: Grossett & Dunlap, 1978.
Palmer, Bruce, The 25-Year War: Americas Military Role in Vietnam. Lexington, KY: University Press of Kentucky,
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Rostow, Walt W., The Diffusion of Power: An Essay in Recent History. New York: Macmillan, 1972.

Rusk, Dean, as told to Richard Rusk, As I Saw It. New York: W.W. Norton, 1990.
Taylor, Maxwell, Swords and Plowshares: A Memoir. New York: W.W. Norton, 1972.
Westmoreland, William C., A Soldier Reports. Garden City, NY: Doubleday, 1976.

Foreign Relations, 1964-1968, Volume VI, Vietnam, January-August 1968


Released by the Office of the Historian

Abbreviations and Terms


ANZUS, Australia, New Zealand, United States
AID, Agency for International Development
A/IM, Office of Information Management, Bureau of Administration
Antwerp, code name for peace initiative with the National Liberation Front conducted by Edward Lansdale
Arc Light, code name for U.S. B-52 bombing strikes in Southeast Asia
ARVN, Army of the Republic of (South) Vietnam
Aspen, code name for U.S. peace negotiations through Swedish channels
Barrell Roll, code name for U. S. air operations over northern Laos
Buttercup, code name for prisoner exchanges with the National Liberation Front
C, Confidential
CAP, series indicator for outgoing White House telegrams
CAS, controlled American source
CBS, Columbia Broadcasting System
ChiCom, Chinese Communists
CIA, Central Intelligence Agency
CIDG, Civilian Irregular Defense Group
Chieu Hoi, Government of South Vietnams repatriation program for the Viet Cong
CINCEUR, Commander in Chief, Europe
CINCPAC, Commander in Chief, Pacific
CINCPACAF, Commander in Chief, Pacific Air Force
CINCPACFLT, Commander in Chief, Pacific Fleet
CINCUSARPAC, Commander in Chief, U.S. Army, Pacific
CIP, Commercial Import Program
CJCS, Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff
CM, Chief of Staff memorandum
CMC, Clark M. Clifford
COMUSMACV, Commander, U. S. Military Assistance Command, Vietnam
CONUS, Continental United States
CORDS, Civil Operations and Revolutionary Development
COS, Chief of Staff
COSVN, Central Office for South Vietnam
Crocodile, code name for secret peace initiatives conducted by W. Averell Harriman
CTZ, Combat Tactical Zone
C/VNO, Office of the Special Assistant for Vietnamese Affairs, Central Intelligence Agency
CVT, Congress of Vietnamese Trade Unions
Daniel Boone, clandestine U.S.-ARVN reconnaissance operations into Cambodian border areas
DCI, Director of Central Intelligence
DCM, Deputy Chief of Mission
Dep, Deputy
Deptel, Department of State telegram
Delto, Department of State telegram to the Paris Delegation
DIA, Defense Intelligence Agency
DMZ, Demilitarized Zone
DOD, Department of Defense
DO/EA, Directorate of Operations, Office of East Asian Affairs, Central Intelligence Agency
DRV, Democratic Republic of Vietnam
DTG, Date-Time-Group
EA, Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs, Department of State
EA/ACA, Office of Asian Communist Affairs, Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs, Department of State
EA/VN, Vietnam Working Group, Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs, Department of State
Exdis, exclusive distribution
EXO, Executive Officer
FN, Financial
FNL, National Liberation Front

FRC, Federal Records Center


FULRO, United Front for the Struggle of the Oppressed Race, a movement for Montagnard autonomy
FVS, Foreign Voice Services
FWMAF, Free World Military Assistance Forces
FY, fiscal year
FYI, for your information
GME, George M. Elsey
GVN, Government of (South) Vietnam
Harvan, Harriman-Vance Mission to the Paris Peace Talks
HQ, Headquarters
ICC, International Control Commission
ICEX, Infrastructure Coordination and Exploitation
ICRC, International Committee of the Red Cross
IMF, International Monetary Fund
INR, Bureau of Intelligence and Research, Department of State
INR/DDC, Deputy Director for Coordination, Bureau of Intelligence and Research, Department of State
INR/IL, Intelligence Liaison, Bureau of Intelligence and Research, Department of State
INR/REA, Office of Research and Analysis for East Asia and Pacific, Bureau of Intelligence and Research, Department
of State
IR, Intelligence Report
ISA, Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs
IS/OIS, Office of Information Services
JCS, Joint Chiefs of Staff
JCSM, Joint Chiefs of Staff memorandum
JGS, Joint General Staff, Vietnamese Armed Forces
JUSPAO, Joint United States Public Affairs Office
KIA, killed in action
Killy, code name for secret peace negotiations mediated by the Italian government
Lien Minh, National Alliance for Social Revolution
Limdis, limited distribution
Lions, code name for secret peace negotiations mediated by the Vatican
LOC, line of communication
MAC, Military Assistance Command
MACV, Military Assistance Command, Vietnam
MAF, Marine Amphibious Force
MAP, Military Assistance Program
MDT, Maxwell D. Taylor
MiG, Soviet-built fighter aircraft
MR, Military Region
NATO, North Atlantic Treaty Organization
NSC, National Security Council
NLF, National Liberation Front
NIE, National Intelligence Estimate
NM, nautical miles
NMICC, NMCC, National Military Intelligence Coordination Center
Nodis, no distribution
Noforn, no foreign distribution
Nor, Norway
NP, National Police
NPFF, National Police Field Force
NSA, National Security Agency
NSAM, National Security Action Memorandum
NSC, National Security Council
NVA, North Vietnamese Army
NVN, North Vietnam

OASD, Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense


O/B, order of battle
O/DDI, Office of the Deputy Director of Intelligence, Central Intelligence Agency
Ohio, secret peace negotiations mediated by Norway
OJCS, Office of the Joint Chiefs of Staff
ONE, Office of National Estimates, Central Intelligence Agency
OSD, Office of the Secretary of Defense
Packers, code name for secret peace initiative mediated by the Romanian government
PAVN, Peoples Army of (North) Vietnam
PF, Popular Forces
Phoenix, U.S. military program targeting the Viet Cong infrastructure
Phung Hoang, South Vietnamese program targeting the Viet Cong infrastructure
P.L., Public Law
PM, Prime Minister
POL, petroleum, oil, lubricants
POLAD, Political Adviser
POW, prisoner of war
Prairie Fire, interdiction operations in Laos
PRU, Provisional Reconnaissance Unit
PSAC, Presidents Science Advisory Committee
psywar, psychological warfare
PT, motor torpedo patrol boat
PTF, fast patrol boat
PW, prisoner of war
PX, post exchange
Rams, code name for secret peace initiative involving U Thant
RD, Revolutionary Development
recce, reconnaissance
reftel, reference telegram
RF, Regional Forces
RG, Record Group
RLT, Regimental Landing Team
ROK, Republic of Korea
Rolling Thunder, code name for program of U.S. air operations in North Vietnam
RP, route package
RT, Rolling Thunder
RVN, Republic of (South) Vietnam
RVNAF, Republic of (South) Vietnam Armed Forces
S, Secret
SAM, surface to air missiles
SAVA, Special Assistant for Vietnamese Affairs, Central Intelligence Agency
SC, Security Council
SEA, Southeast Asia
Sea Cabin, code name for study on military ramifications of a complete bombing halt
Sea Dragon, code name for naval operations along the North Vietnamese coast up to the 20th parallel
SEATO, Southeast Asia Treaty Organization
SecDef, Secretary of Defense
Secto, series indicator for telegrams from the Secretary of State while away from Washington
septel, separate telegram
SFRC, Senate Foreign Relations Committee
SNIE, Special National Intelligence Estimate
sitrep, situation report
SOG, Studies and Observation Group; Special Operations Group
S/S, Executive Secretariat, Department of State
Steel Tiger, code name for U.S. air strikes against the Ho Chi Minh trail in Laos
SVN, South Vietnam
SYG, Secretary-General of the United Nations
TAOR, tactical area of responsibility
TASS, official Soviet news agency
TCC, troop contributing countries
Todel, State Department telegrams to the Delegation in Paris
Tosec, series indicator for telegrams to the Secretary of State while away from Washington

TS, Top Secret


TSN, Tan Son Nhut
TV, television
U, unclassified
UK, United Kingdom
UN, United Nations
UNGA, United Nations General Assembly
USAF, United States Air Force
USAID, United States Agency for International Development Mission
USG, United States Government
USIA, United States Information Agency
USMACV, U.S. Military Assistance Command, Vietnam
USMC, U.S. Marine Corps
USOM, United States Operations Mission
USSR, Union of Soviet Socialist Republics
USUN, United States Mission to the United Nations
VC, Viet Cong
VCI, Viet Cong Infrastructure
Viet Cong, South Vietnamese term for National Liberation Front guerrillas
VIP, Very Important Person
VN, Vietnam; Vietnam Working Group, Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs, Department of State
VNAF, (South) Vietnamese Air Force
VNCC, Vietnam Coordinating Committee
VNQDD, Viet Nam Quoc Dan Dang (Vietnamese Nationalist Party)
VP, Vice President
WH, White House
Z, Zulu or Greenwich Mean Time

Foreign Relations, 1964-1968, Volume VI, Vietnam, January-August 1968


Released by the Office of the Historian

Persons
Abrams, General Creighton, Deputy Commander, Military Assistance Command, Vietnam to July 1968; thereafter
Commander
Acheson, Dean, former Secretary of State, 19491953, and informal adviser to the President
Agnew, Spiro, Governor of Maryland and Vice Presidential nominee of the Republican Party
Aiken, George, Senator (Republican-Vermont)
Albert, Carl, Representative (Democrat-Oklahoma)
Algard, Ole, Norwegian Ambassador to the Peoples Republic of China
Allen, George, Deputy Special Assistant for Vietnamese Affairs, Central Intelligence Agency
Ashmore, Harry, Executive Director, Center for the Study of Democratic Institutions
Ayub Khan, Mohammad, President of Pakistan
Ball, George, Representative to the United Nations after May 14, 1968
Baggs, William, Director, Center for the Study of Democratic Institutions
Battle, Lucius D., Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern and South Asian Affairs
Berger, Samuel R., Deputy Ambassador to Vietnam after March 1968
Bogdan, Cornelieu, Romanian Ambassador to the United States
Boggs, Hale, Representative (Democrat-Louisiana)
Bogomolov, Sergei, First Secretary of the Soviet Embassy in Paris
Bohlen, Charles, Deputy Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs
Bowles, Chester, Ambassador to India
Bradley, Omar, General (ret.), informal adviser to the President
Brezhnev, Leonid, Chairman, Soviet Communist Party
Brooke, Edward, Senator (Republican-Massachusetts)
Brown, Harold, Secretary of the Air Force
Bruce, David K.E., Ambassador to the United Kingdom
Bui Diem, Republic of Vietnam Ambassador to the United States
Bundy, McGeorge, President, Ford Foundation, and informal adviser to the President

Bundy, William P., Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs
Bunker, Ellsworth, Ambassador to Vietnam
Busby, Horace, former Special Assistant to the President
Byrd, Robert, Senator (Democrat-West Virginia)
Calhoun, John A., Political Officer at the Embassy in Saigon
Califano, Joseph, Special Assistant to the President
Cao Van Vien, Chairman, Joint General Staff, Republic of Vietnam Armed Forces
Carver, George A., Special Assistant for Vietnamese Affairs to the Director of Central Intelligence
Ceausescu, Nicolae, President of the State Council of Romania
Celac, Sergiu, Third Secretary of the Romanian Embassy in Washington
Chan, see Nguyen Chan
Chernyakov, Yuri, Charg dAffaires of the Soviet Embassy in Washington
Christian, George A., Special Assistant to the President and White House Press Secretary
Clifford, Clark M., Secretary of Defense after March 1, 1968
Colby, William, Deputy Director, Civil Operations and Revolutionary Development Support
Collingwood, Charles, correspondent, Columbia Broadcasting System
Cushman, General Leonard F., Commandant of the Marine Corps
Daley, Richard, Mayor of Chicago
Daniel, Price, Director, Office of Emergency Planning
Dang Duc Khoi, Special Assistant to the Vice President, Republic of Vietnam
Davidson, Daniel I., Special Assistant to the Ambassador at Large and member, U.S. Delegation to the Paris Peace
Talks
Davis, Nathaniel, Member, National Security Council Staff
Dean, Arthur, retired diplomat and informal adviser to the President
De Gaulle, Charles, President of France
Denney, George, Deputy Director, Bureau of Intelligence and Research, Department of State
DePuy, Major General William, Special Assistant for Counterinsurgency and Special Activities, Joint Chiefs of Staff
Dillon, C. Douglas, former Secretary of the Treasury and member of the unofficial "Wise Men" Group
Dirksen, Everett, Senator (Republican-Illinois)

Dobrynin, Anatoliy, Soviet Ambassador to the United States


Dodd, Thomas, Senator (Democrat-Connecticut)
DOrlandi, Giovanni, Italian Ambassador to the United States
Douglas, Paul, Senator (Democrat-Illinois)
Eisenhower, Dwight D., President, 19531961
Elsey, George M., Special Assistant to the Secretary of Defense
Enthoven, Alain, Assistant Secretary of Defense for Systems Analysis
Fanfani, Amintore, Italian Foreign Minister
Finch, Robert, Lieutenant-Governor of California and adviser to Presidential candidate Richard Nixon
Floweree, Charles C., Staff Member, Vietnam Working Group, Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs, Department of
State
Ford, Gerald R., Representative (Republican-Michigan)
Fortas, Abe, Associate Justice of the Supreme Court
Fowler, Henry (Hugh), Secretary of the Treasury
Freeman, Orville, Secretary of Agriculture
Fulbright, J. William, Senator (Democrat-Arkansas)
Gandhi, Indira, Indian Prime Minister
Gelb, Leslie, Analyst, Bureau of International Security Affairs, Department of Defense
Ginsburgh, Robert N., member, National Security Council Staff
Goldberg, Arthur J., Representative to the United Nations to June 24, 1968
Goodpaster, General Andrew, Director, Joint Staff, to April 1968; Member, U.S. Delegation to the Paris Peace Talks,
AprilJuly 1968; thereafter Deputy Commander, Military Assistance Command, Vietnam
Gore, Albert, Senator (Democrat-Tennessee)
Gorton, John, Australian Prime Minister
Goulding, Phil G., Assistant Secretary of Defense for Public Affairs
Gromyko, Andrei, Soviet Foreign Minister
Gronouski, John, Ambassador to Poland to May 26, 1968
Ha Van Lau, Deputy Chief, North Vietnamese Delegation to the Paris Peace Talks
Habib, Philip C., Deputy Assistant Secretary of State, Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs, and Member, U.S.
Delegation to the Paris Peace Talks

Halperin, Morton, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs
Hardesty, Robert, Assistant to the President
Harkins, General Paul, Commander, Military Assistance Command, Vietnam, 19621964
Harlow, Bryce, adviser to the Nixon Presidential campaign
Harriman, W. Averell, Ambassador at large; Head, U.S. delegation to the Paris Peace Talks
Helms, Richard R., Director of Central Intelligence
Herz, Martin F., Country Director, Cambodia and Laos, Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs, Department of State
Hickenlooper, Bourke, Senator (RepublicanIowa)
Ho Chi Minh, President of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam
Holbrooke, Richard C., Staff Member, U.S. Delegation to the Paris Peace Talks
Holdridge, John, Deputy Director, Office of Research and Analysis for East Asia and the Pacific, Bureau of Intelligence
and Research, Department of State
Hollings, Ernest, Senator (Democrat-South Carolina)
Hoopes, Townsend, Under Secretary of the Air Force
Hughes, Thomas, Director, Bureau of Intelligence and Research, Department of State
Humphrey, Hubert H., Vice President
Hurwitch, Robert, Deputy Chief of Mission of the Embassy in Vientiane
Ignatius, Paul, Secretary of the Navy
Iliescu, Marin, First Secretary of the Romanian Embassy in Washington
Jackson, Henry, Senator (Democrat-Washington)
Johnson, General Harold K., Army Chief of Staff to June 1968
Johnson, Lyndon B., President of the United States
Johnson, U. Alexis, Ambassador to Japan
Johnson, W. Thomas (Tom), Assistant Press Secretary to the President
Jones, James R. (Jim), Special Assistant to the President
Jorden, William J., Staff Member, National Security Council; after May 1968, Member, U.S. Delegation to the Paris
Peace Talks
Kaplan, Harold, Member, U.S. Delegation to the Paris Peace Talks
Karamessines, Thomas, Deputy Director for Plans, Central Intelligence Agency

Katzenbach, Nicholas deB., Under Secretary of State


Kennedy, Edward (Ted), Senator (Democrat-Massachusetts)
Kennedy, Robert F., Senator (Democrat-New York)
Kissinger, Henry A., consultant to the Department of State; informal adviser to the Rockefeller and Nixon Presidential
campaigns
Komer, Robert W., Deputy for Civil Operations and Revolutionary Development to the Commander, Military Assistance
Command, Vietnam, and Special Assistant to the Ambassador to Vietnam
Koplowitz, Wilfred D., Chief, Political Operations Division, Central Intelligence Agency Station in Saigon
Kosygin, Alexei, Chairman of the Council of Ministers of the Soviet Union
Krulak, Lieutenant General Victor, Commander, Fleet Marine Force, Pacific
Lansdale, Edward, Special Assistant to the Ambassador to Vietnam
Lapham, Lewis, Chief of Station in Saigon
Laird, Melvin, Representative (Republican-Wisconsin)
Le Duc Tho, Special Adviser, Democratic Republic of Vietnam Delegation to the Paris Peace Talks
LeMay, Curtis, Vice Presidential candidate, American Independent Party
Leonhart, William, Special Assistant to the President
Levison, Lawrence, Deputy Special Counsel to the President
Locke, Eugene, Deputy Ambassador to Vietnam to January 1968
Lodge, Henry Cabot, Ambassador at large to May 7, 1968; Ambassador to Germany after May 27, 1968
Long, Russell, Senator (Democrat-Louisiana)
Macovescu, George, First Deputy Foreign Minister of Romania
Mai Van Bo, Democratic Republic of Vietnam Representative to France
Manach, Etienne, Director for Asia, French Foreign Ministry
Manatos, Mike, Administrative Assistant to the President
Mansfield, Mike, Senate Majority Leader (Democrat-Montana)
Marks, Leonard, Director, United States Information Agency
Maurer, Ion Gheorghe, President of the Council of Ministers of Romania
McCain, Admiral John S., Commander in Chief, Pacific, after July 31, 1968
McCarthy, Eugene, Senator (Democrat-Minnesota)

McCloskey, Robert J., Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Public Affairs and Department Spokesman
McCloy, John J., former Assistant Secretary of War and High Commissioner for Germany; informal adviser to the
President
McConnell, General John P., Chief of Staff, U.S. Air Force
McCormack, John, Speaker of the House of Representatives (Democrat-Massachusetts)
McGee, Gale, Senator (Democrat-Wyoming)
McNamara, Robert S., Secretary of Defense to February 29, 1968; thereafter President of the World Bank
McPherson, Harry, Special Counsel to the President
Middleton, Harry, Staff Assistant to the President
Mills, Wilbur, Representative (Democrat-Arkansas)
Momyer, General William, Commander, 7th Air Force, Pacific, and Deputy Commander for Air, Military Assistance
Command, Vietnam
Moorer, Admiral Thomas, Chief of Naval Operations
Moyers, William (Bill), Special Assistant to the President, 19641967
Murphy, Charles, Special Consultant to the President
Murphy, Robert, adviser to Presidential candidate Nixon
Negroponte, John, Staff Member and interpreter, U.S. Delegation to the Paris Peace Talks
Nelson, Gaylord, Senator (Democrat-Wisconsin)
Ngo Minh Loan, Democratic Republic of Vietnam Ambassador to the Peoples Republic of China
Nguyen Cao Ky, Vice President of the Republic of Vietnam
Nguyen Chan, Charg dAffaires of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam Embassy in Vientiane
Nguyen Dinh Phuong, Member, Democratic Republic of Vietnam Delegation to the Paris Peace Talks
Nguyen Dinh Trinh, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs, Democratic Republic of Vietnam
Nguyen Duc Thang, Commanding General, IV Combat Tactical Zone, Army of the Republic of Vietnam
Nguyen Minh Vy, Member, Democratic Republic of Vietnam Delegation to the Paris Peace Talks
Nguyen Ngoc Loan, Director General of the National Police and Chief of the Military Security Service, Republic of
Vietnam
Nguyen Thanh Le, Member and Spokesman, Democratic Republic of Vietnam Delegation to the Paris Peace Talks
Nguyen Van Loc, Republic of Vietnam Prime Minister to May 18, 1968
Nguyen Van Thieu, President of the Republic of Vietnam

Nguyen Van Vy, Minister of Defense and Minister of Veterans Affairs, Republic of Vietnam
Nguyen Xuan Phong, Member, Republic of Vietnam Delegation to the Paris Peace Talks
Nitze, Paul, Deputy Secretary of Defense
Nixon, Richard M., Republican candidate for President
Norodum Sihanouk, Chief of State of Cambodia
Nugroho, Indonesian Ambassador to the Democratic Republic of Vietnam
Oberemko, Valentin, Political Officer of the Soviet Embassy in Paris
OBrien, Lawrence (Larry), Postmaster-General to April 10, 1968
Oelhart, Benjamin, Ambassador to Pakistan
Orotona, Egidio, Italian Ambassador to the United States
Osberg, J.C.S., First Secretary, Swedish Foreign Ministry
Palmer, General Bruce, Chief of Staff, U.S. Army, Vietnam
Park (Pak) Chung-hee, President of the Republic of Korea
Paul IV, Pope
Pearson, Drew, syndicated news columnist
Pell, Claiborne, Senator (Democrat-Rhode Island)
Perry, Jack, Political Officer and Second Secretary of the Embassy in Paris
Petri, Lennart, Swedish Ambassador to the Peoples Republic of China
Pham Dang Lam, Republic of Vietnam observer at the Official Conversations on Vietnam
Pham Van Dong, Prime Minister, Democratic Republic of Vietnam
Phan Hien, Member, Democratic Republic of Vietnam Delegation to the Paris Peace Talks
Phan Van Su, Democratic Republic of Vietnam Ambassador to Czechoslovakia
Pierson, W. DeVier, Special Counsel to the President
Pursley, Robert., Military Assistant to the Secretary of Defense
Raimondi, Archbishop Luigi, Apostolic Delegate to the United States
Read, Benjamin, Executive Secretary of the Department of State
Reischauer, Edwin O., Professor of History, Harvard University, and Ambassador to Japan, 19611966
Resor, Stanley, Secretary of the Army

Reuss, Henry, Representative (Democrat-Wisconsin)


Ribicoff, Abraham, Senator (Democrat-Connecticut)
Ridgway, General Matthew B. (ret.), informal adviser to President Johnson
Ridgway, Rozanne, Political Officer of the Embassy in Oslo
Rivers, L. Mendel, Representative (Democrat-South Carolina)
Robb, Charles (Chuck), Marine Corps officer in Vietnam and son-in-law of the President
Roche, John, Special Assistant to the President
Rockefeller, Nelson, Governor of New York
Rostow, Walt W., Special Assistant to the President
Rusk, Dean, Secretary of State
Russell, Richard, Senator (Democrat-Georgia)
Sainteny, Jean, unofficial French envoy to the Democratic Republic of Vietnam
Sanders, Harold Barefoot, Legislative Counsel to the President
Sharp, Admiral Ulysses S., Commander in Chief, Pacific, to July 31, 1968
Sidle, Major General Winant, Chief, Office of Information, Military Assistance Command, Vietnam
Sisco, Joseph, Assistant Secretary of State for International Organizational Affairs
Smathers, George, Senator (DFL)
Smith, Admiral Abbott, Chairman, National Board of Estimates
Smith, Bromley, Executive Secretary, National Security Council
Smith, Margaret Chase, Senator (Republican-Maine)
Sorensen, Theodore, informal adviser to Senator Robert F. Kennedy
Souvanna Phouma, Laotian Prime Minister
Sparkman, John, Senator (Democrat-Alabama)
Steadman, Richard, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for East Asia and Pacific Affairs
Stewart, Michael, British Foreign Secretary
Sullivan, William H., Ambassador to Laos
Swank, Emory, Deputy Chief of Mission of the Embassy in Moscow
Taylor, General Maxwell, Special Consultant to the President

Thanh Le, Member and Spokesman, Democratic Republic of Vietnam Delegation to the Paris Peace Talks
Thant, U, United Nations Secretary-General
Thompson, Llewelyn, Ambassador to the Soviet Union
Thompson, Sir Robert, counter-insurgency expert
Tibbetts, Margaret Joy, Ambassador to Norway
Ton That Tien, Minister of Information, Republic of Vietnam
Tower, John, Senator (Republican-Texas)
Tran Buu Kiem, Member, National Liberation Front delegation to the Paris peace talks
Tran Chanh Thanh, Republic of Vietnam Minister of Foreign Affairs
Tran Quang Co, Member, Democratic Republic of Vietnamese Delegation to the Paris Peace Talks
Tran Van Don, Republic of Vietnam Senator
Tran Van Huong, Republic of Vietnam Prime Minister from May 18, 1968
Tran Van Lam, Republic of Vietnam Senator and Chief of unofficial delegation in Paris
Trueheart, William, Deputy Director for Coordination, Bureau of Intelligence and Research, Department of State
Unger, Leonard, Ambassador to Thailand
Vance, Cyrus R., Member, U.S. Delegation to the Paris Peace Talks
Vann, John Paul, Military and Pacification Adviser to the Commander, III Corps
Vo Nguyen Giap, General, Democratic Republic of Vietnam Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of National Defense
Vuong Van Bac, Member, Republic of Vietnam Delegation to the Paris Peace Talks
Wallace, George, Independent Presidential candidate
Wallner, Woodruff, Deputy Chief of Mission of the Embassy in Paris
Walsh, John P., Deputy Executive Secretary, Department of State
Walt, Lieutenant General Lewis, Commander, III Marine Amphibious Force
Warnke, Paul, Assistant Secretary of Defense for International and Security Affairs
Westmoreland, General William C., Commander, Military Assistance Command, Vietnam, to June 11, 1968; Army Chief
of Staff after July 3, 1968
Weyand, Lieutenant General Frederick C., Commander, 25th Division (Saigon/Gia Dinh area); after June 1968 Deputy
Commander, Military Assistance Command, Vietnam
Wheeler, General Earle, Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff

Wilson, Harold, British Prime Minister


Xuan Thuy, Chief, Democratic Republic of Vietnam Delegation to the Paris Peace Talks
Young, Stephen, Senator (Democrat-Ohio)
Zorin, Valerian, Soviet Ambassador to France
Zwick, Charles, Director, Office of Management and Budget

Foreign Relations, 1964-1968, Volume VI, Vietnam, January-August 1968


Released by the Office of the Historian

Note on U.S. Covert Actions


In compliance with the Foreign Relations of the United States statute to include in the Foreign Relations series
comprehensive documentation on major foreign policy decisions and actions, the editors have sought to present
essential documents regarding major covert actions and intelligence activities. The following note will provide readers
with some organizational context on how covert actions and special intelligence operations in support of U.S. foreign
policy were planned and approved within the U.S. Government. It describes, on the basis of declassified documents, the
changing and developing procedures during the Truman, Eisenhower, Kennedy, and Johnson Presidencies.
Management of Covert Actions in the Truman Presidency
The Truman administrations concern over Soviet "psychological warfare" prompted the new National Security Council
to authorize, in NSC 4-A of December 1947, the launching of peacetime covert action operations. NSC 4-A made the
Director of Central Intelligence responsible for psychological warfare, establishing at the same time the principle that
covert action was an exclusively Executive Branch function. The Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) certainly was a
natural choice but it was assigned this function at least in part because the Agency controlled unvouchered funds, by
which operations could be funded with minimal risk of exposure in Washington./1/
/1/NSC 4-A, December 17, 1947, is printed in Foreign Relations, 19451950, Emergence of the Intelligence
Establishment, Document 257.
CIAs early use of its new covert action mandate dissatisfied officials at the Departments of State and Defense. The
Department of State, believing this role too important to be left to the CIA alone and concerned that the military might
create a new rival covert action office in the Pentagon, pressed to reopen the issue of where responsibility for covert
action activities should reside. Consequently, on June 18, 1948, a new NSC directive, NSC 10/2, superseded NSC 4-A.
NSC 10/2 directed CIA to conduct "covert" rather than merely "psychological" operations, defining them as all activities
"which are conducted or sponsored by this Government against hostile foreign states or groups or in support of friendly
foreign states or groups but which are so planned and executed that any US Government responsibility for them is not
evident to unauthorized persons and that if uncovered the US Government can plausibly disclaim any responsibility for
them."
The type of clandestine activities enumerated under the new directive included: "propaganda; economic warfare;
preventive direct action, including sabotage, demolition and evacuation measures; subversion against hostile states,
including assistance to underground resistance movements, guerrillas and refugee liberations [sic] groups, and support
of indigenous anti-Communist elements in threatened countries of the free world. Such operations should not include
armed conflict by recognized military forces, espionage, counter-espionage, and cover and deception for military
operations."/2/
/2/NSC 10/2, June 18, 1948, printed ibid., Document 292.
The Office of Policy Coordination (OPC), newly established in the CIA on September 1, 1948, in accordance with NSC
10/2, assumed responsibility for organizing and managing covert actions. OPC, which was to take its guidance from the
Department of State in peacetime and from the military in wartime, initially had direct access to the State Department
and to the military without having to proceed through CIAs administrative hierarchy, provided the Director of Central
Intelligence (DCI) was informed of all important projects and decisions./3/ In 1950 this arrangement was modified to
ensure that policy guidance came to OPC through the DCI.
/3/Memorandum of conversation by Frank G. Wisner, "Implementation of NSC-10/2," August 12, 1948, printed ibid.,
Document 298.
During the Korean conflict the OPC grew quickly. Wartime commitments and other missions soon made covert action
the most expensive and bureaucratically prominent of CIAs activities. Concerned about this situation, DCI Walter Bedell
Smith in early 1951 asked the NSC for enhanced policy guidance and a ruling on the proper "scope and magnitude" of
CIA operations. The White House responded with two initiatives. In April 1951 President Truman created the
Psychological Strategy Board (PSB) under the NSC to coordinate government-wide psychological warfare strategy.
NSC 10/5, issued in October 1951, reaffirmed the covert action mandate given in NSC 10/2 and expanded CIAs
authority over guerrilla warfare./4/ The PSB was soon abolished by the incoming Eisenhower administration, but the
expansion of CIAs covert action writ in NSC 10/5 helped ensure that covert action would remain a major function of the

Agency.
/4/NSC 10/5, "Scope and Pace of Covert Operations," October 23, 1951, in Michael Warner, editor, The CIA Under
Harry Truman (Washington, D.C.: Central Intelligence Agency, 1994), pp. 437439.
As the Truman administration ended, CIA was near the peak of its independence and authority in the field of covert
action. Although CIA continued to seek and receive advice on specific projects from the NSC, the PSB, and the
departmental representatives originally delegated to advise OPC, no group or officer outside of the DCI and the
President himself had authority to order, approve, manage, or curtail operations.
NSC 5412 Special Group; 5412/2 Special Group; 303 Committee
The Eisenhower administration began narrowing CIAs latitude in 1954. In accordance with a series of National Security
Council directives, the responsibility of the Director of Central Intelligence for the conduct of covert operations was
further clarified. President Eisenhower approved NSC 5412 on March 15, 1954, reaffirming the Central Intelligence
Agencys responsibility for conducting covert actions abroad. A definition of covert actions was set forth; the DCI was
made responsible for coordinating with designated representatives of the Secretary of State and the Secretary of
Defense to ensure that covert operations were planned and conducted in a manner consistent with U.S. foreign and
military policies; and the Operations Coordinating Board was designated the normal channel for coordinating support for
covert operations among State, Defense, and CIA. Representatives of the Secretary of State, the Secretary of Defense,
and the President were to be advised in advance of major covert action programs initiated by the CIA under this policy
and were to give policy approval for such programs and secure coordination of support among the Departments of State
and Defense and the CIA./5/
/5/William M. Leary, editor, The Central Intelligence Agency: History and Documents (The University of Alabama Press,
1984), p. 63; the text of NSC 5412 is scheduled for publication in Foreign Relations, 19501955, Development of the
Intelligence Community.
A year later, on March 12, 1955, NSC 5412/1 was issued, identical to NSC 5412 except for designating the Planning
Coordination Group as the body responsible for coordinating covert operations. NSC 5412/2 of December 28, 1955,
assigned to representatives (of the rank of assistant secretary) of the Secretary of State, the Secretary of Defense, and
the President responsibility for coordinating covert actions. By the end of the Eisenhower administration, this group,
which became known as the "NSC 5412/2 Special Group" or simply "Special Group," emerged as the executive body to
review and approve covert action programs initiated by the CIA./6/ The membership of the Special Group varied
depending upon the situation faced. Meetings were infrequent until 1959 when weekly meetings began to be held.
Neither the CIA nor the Special Group adopted fixed criteria for bringing projects before the group; initiative remained
with the CIA, as members representing other agencies frequently were unable to judge the feasibility of particular
projects./7/
/6/Leary, The Central Intelligence Agency: History and Documents, pp. 63, 147148; Final Report of the Select
Committee To Study Governmental Operations With Respect to Intelligence Activities, United States Senate, Book I,
Foreign and Military Intelligence (1976), pp. 5051. The texts of NSC 5412/1 and NSC 5412/2 are scheduled for
publication in Foreign Relations, 19501955, Development of the Intelligence Community.
/7/Leary, The Central Intelligence Agency: History and Documents, p. 63.
After the Bay of Pigs failure in April 1961, General Maxwell Taylor reviewed U.S. paramilitary capabilities at President
Kennedys request and submitted a report in June which recommended strengthening high-level direction of covert
operations. As a result of the Taylor Report, the Special Group, chaired by the Presidents Special Assistant for National
Security Affairs McGeorge Bundy, and including Deputy Under Secretary of State U. Alexis Johnson, Deputy Secretary
of Defense Roswell Gilpatric, Director of Central Intelligence Allen Dulles, and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff
General Lyman Lemnitzer, assumed greater responsibility for planning and reviewing covert operations. Until 1963 the
DCI determined whether a CIA-originated project was submitted to the Special Group. In 1963 the Special Group
developed general but informal criteria, including risk, possibility of success, potential for exposure, political sensitivity,
and cost (a threshold of $25,000 was adopted by the CIA), for determining whether covert action projects were
submitted to the Special Group./8/
/8/Ibid., p. 82.
From November 1961 to October 1962 a Special Group (Augmented), whose membership was the same as the Special
Group plus Attorney General Robert Kennedy and General Taylor (as Chairman), exercised responsibility for Operation
Mongoose, a major covert action program aimed at overthrowing the Castro regime in Cuba. When President Kennedy
authorized the program in November, he designated Brigadier General Edward G. Lansdale, Assistant for Special

Operations to the Secretary of Defense, to act as chief of operations, and Lansdale coordinated the Mongoose activities
among the CIA and the Departments of State and Defense. CIA units in Washington and Miami had primary
responsibility for implementing Mongoose operations, which included military, sabotage, and political propaganda
programs./9/
/9/See Foreign Relations, 19611963, vol. X, Documents 270 and 278.
President Kennedy also established a Special Group (Counter-Insurgency) on January 18, 1962, when he signed NSAM
No. 124. The Special Gourp (CI), set up to coordinate counter-insurgency activities separate from the mechanism for
implementing NSC 5412/2, was to confine itself to establishing broad policies aimed at preventing and resisting
subversive insurgency and other forms of indirect aggression in friendly countries. In early 1966, in NSAM No. 341,
President Johnson assigned responsibility for the direction and coordination of counter-insurgency activities overseas to
the Secretary of State, who established a Senior Interdepartmental Group to assist in discharging these
responsibilities./10/
/10/For text of NSAM No. 124, see ibid., vol. VIII, Document 68. NSAM No. 341, March 2, 1966, is printed ibid., 1964
1968, vol. XXXIII, Document 56.
NSAM No. 303, June 2, 1964, from Bundy to the Secretaries of State and Defense and the DCI, changed the name of
"Special Group 5412" to "303 Committee" but did not alter its composition, functions, or responsibility. Bundy was the
chairman of the 303 Committee./11/
/11/For text of NSAM No. 303, see ibid., Document 204.
The Special Group and the 303 Committee approved 163 covert actions during the Kennedy administration and 142
during the Johnson administration through February 1967. The 1976 Final Report of the Church Committee, however,
estimated that of the several thousand projects undertaken by the CIA since 1961, only 14 percent were considered on
a case-by-case basis by the 303 Committee and its predecessors (and successors). Those not reviewed by the 303
Committee were low-risk and low-cost operations. The Final Report also cited a February 1967 CIA memorandum that
included a description of the mode of policy arbitration of decisions on covert actions within the 303 Committee system.
CIA presentations were questioned, amended, and even on occasion denied, despite protests from the DCI. Department
of State objections modified or nullified proposed operations, and the 303 Committee sometimes decided that some
agency other than CIA should undertake an operation or that CIA actions requested by Ambassadors on the scene
should be rejected./12/
/12/Final Report of the Select Committee To Study Governmental Operations With Respect to Intelligence Activities,
United States Senate, Book I, Foreign and Military Intelligence, pp. 5657.

Foreign Relations, 1964-1968, Volume VI, Vietnam, January-August 1968


Released by the Office of the Historian

Index
Note: References are to document numbers.
Abrams, Gen. Creighton W., 58, 90, 101, 186, 261, 270, 321
Appointment to command position, 150, 189
Bombing of DRV, 337, 338
Cliffords assessment of, 302
Communist insurgency, 157, 157, 159, 302, 316, 328, 340
Khe Sanh campaign, 35, 156
Military program in Vietnam:
Assessment of, 159, 160
CIA-DOD briefing for Johnson, 162
Civilianization program, 302
Free World forces, 160
MACV Forward headquarters, 60
Morale of troops, 156
Presentation to Wise Men re, 156, 157
Tactical defeat, potential for, 156
Tour of duty extensions, 156
Republic of Vietnam Armed Forces (RVNAF/ARVN), 62, 157, 159, 302
Troop augmentation by U.S., 68
Vanns assessment of, 290
Wise Mens reassessment of U.S. policy, 156, 157, 158
Acheson, Dean G., 125, 135, 155, 157, 158
Agnew, Spiro, 186, 327
Aiken, George, 109
Albert, Carl, 22, 35, 254
Algard, Ole, 66, 291
Allen, George, 41
Anderson, Robert, 234
Anh Ba, 6
An Ngoc Ho, 245
Antwerp contact, 277
ANZUS Council meeting, 183
Arends, Leslie, 254
Armstrong, Oscar, 75
Army of the Republic of Vietnam (ARVN). See Republic of Vietnam Armed Forces (RVNAF/ARVN).
Ashmore, Harry, 184
Aspen peace initiative, 66
Aubrac, Raymond, 15
Au Ngoc Ho, 294
Australia, 253
Ayub Khan, Mohammad, 176, 200
Baggs, William, 184
Bailey, Charles, 47
Ball, George, 39, 155, 157, 158, 164, 209, 222, 282, 293, 333
Bates, William, 39, 142, 196, 254
Battle, Lucius D., 26
Berard, Armand, 81
Berger, Samuel R., 176, 261, 274, 277, 298
Binsberg, Gen., 43
Bo. See Mai Van Bo.
Bogdan, Cornelieu, 5, 9, 18, 71, 203
Boggs, Hale, 22, 35, 254, 339
Bogomolov, Sergei, 240, 246, 273, 286, 300, 322

Bohlen, Charles E., 81, 143, 185, 214, 265, 272, 279, 295, 316
Bolton, Francis, 254
Bombing of DRV (see also Bombing subheadings under Paris peace talks):
Aircraft losses, 59
Bombing between 19 and 20th parallels during peace talks, 226, 232, 233, 241, 248, 249, 252, 253, 255,
259, 261, 301
Cessation on unilateral basis, proposals for, 308, 312, 313, 314, 315, 324, 327
Abrams argument against, 338
Harrimans assessment of failure to halt bombing, 336
Johnsons conversation with Humphrey re, 330
Johnsons rejection of, 316, 318, 321, 332, 338, 339
Cessations effect on Communist conduct of war, 331, 337
Clifford Task Force recommendations, 103
Deferrals of strikes, 3
Democratic presidential platform position re, 339, 345
Effectiveness of bombing, PSAC report on, 251
Eisenhowers assessment of, 20
Financial costs associated with, 308
Hanoi-Haiphong targets, 59, 74, 86, 97
Infiltration into RVN, impact on, 337
Johnsons briefing for Nixon re, 310
Linkage of bombing to level of Communist violence, proposed, 319
Pause during winter of 1965-1966, 310
Peace talks site determination and, 216
Restriction on bombing announced March 31, 141, 147, 149, 152, 153, 163, 168, 169
Clarification of terms, 172, 173, 174, 176, 177
Congressional criticism of, 172
DRV reaction, 175
JCS attitude toward, 166
Military effect, 144
RVN reaction, 137, 145, 165, 170
Resumption of bombing north of 20th parallel if peace talks failed, 242, 243, 244, 248, 249, 256, 260
Saigon attacks by Communists, possible responses to, 205, 258
Soviet ships hit by bombs, 10
Thanh Hoa attack, 172, 173
Bonesteel, Gen. Charles, 198
Bow, Frank, 39
Bowles, Chester, 14, 142, 216
Boyd, Alan, 177
Boyd, Forrest, 47
Bradley, Gen. Omar, 155, 157, 158
Brandon, Henry, 58
Brezhnev, Leonid, 280
Brown, Lt. Gen. George S., 220, 337
Brown, Maj. Gen. Grover, 220, 321
Brown, Harold, 35, 126, 150, 340
Brown, Winthrop, 226
Bruce, David K. E., 246
Buchwald, Art, 112
Bui Diem, 140, 189, 234, 235, 294, 325
Bunche, Ralph, 81, 199, 200
Bundy, McGeorge, 39, 146, 147, 149, 155, 157, 158, 310
Bundy, William P., 5, 17, 24, 75, 81, 87, 92, 103, 113, 137, 140, 143, 155, 157, 158, 165, 167, 182, 189, 198, 213, 233,
254, 277, 278, 283, 288, 293, 294, 304, 312, 316, 325
Bombing of DRV, 141, 147, 149, 248, 255, 337
Honolulu Conference, 294

Johnsons March 31 speech, 147, 149, 163


Packers peace initiative, 8, 9
Paris peace talks:
Ashmore-Baggs mission to DRV, 184
DRV objectives, U.S. speculation on, 189
Instructions for U.S. representatives, 188
Johnsons meetings with U.S. delegates, 225, 227, 279
Mutual withdrawal issue, 320
Opening statements, 227
Phase I-Phase II proposal (Zorin proposal), 286
U.S. acceptance of DRV offer to initiate talks, 178
U.S. delegation for, 232
Peace talks site determination, 190, 191
Bucharest option, 203, 214
DRV-U.S. private discussions re, proposed, 214
Neutral party to propose site, 203, 214
Paris option, 203, 214
Pressure on U.S. to agree to site, 214
Tehran option, 214
Thants involvement, 214
U.S. requirements for acceptable site, 203
U.S. site proposals, 189, 201
Troop augmentation by U.S., 89
Vances possible visit to Vietnam, 70
Bunker, Ellsworth, 43, 50, 120, 143, 176, 237, 304, 321, 337
Bombing of DRV, 97, 137, 145, 165, 170, 248, 258
Communist insurgency, 14, 53, 82, 107, 245, 228, 235, 245, 302
Government of RVN:
Coup threat, 138
Factionalism within, 124
1967 developments, 11
1968 prospects, 25
Personnel changes, 138, 189, 235, 245
Thieu-Ky relationship, 25, 117, 138, 189
Thieus leadership, 124
U.S. dissatisfaction with GVN performance, 138
U.S. covert support for, 343, 344
Honolulu Conference, 287
Johnsons March 31 speech, 170
Khe Sanh campaign, 28
Military program in Vietnam, 11, 77, 97, 124, 189, 249
Negotiation issue, 8, 97, 139
NLF offer to disband in return for government participation (Antwerp contact), 277
NLF recruitment, 124
Paris peace talks:
Bombing cessation leading to military de-escalation, 228, 235
Bombing cessation to promote breakthrough at talks, Soviet appeal for, 264, 265
DRV objectives, U.S. speculation on, 189
Informal meetings, initiation of, 264
Instructions for U.S. representatives, 189
Political settlement in the South issue, 292
RVN apprehensions re, 186, 189, 207, 235
RVN participation, 194, 207
Thieus assessment of, 245
U.S. delegation for, 232

Peace talks site determination, 216


Press coverage of Vietnam, 11
Republic of Vietnam (RVN):
Coalition government, 14
DRV, private contacts with, 325
Economic situation, 76, 94
Labor unrest, 14
Lien Minh political front, 274, 298, 325
Martial law, 45
National political organization to compete with Communists, 117, 124
Pacification program, 82, 94, 117, 124, 189
Project Recovery following Tet offensive, 45, 62, 82, 94, 124
Self-defense program, 235
Tet offensive response, U.S. proposals for, 45, 53, 62
Tet offensives psychological impact, 82
Thieus State of the Union address, 53
Thieus weekly radio speeches, 235
Republic of Vietnam Armed Forces (RVNAF/ARVN):
Corruption problem, 117
Mobilization for, 117, 124, 132, 134, 218
Modernization program, 97, 117
Tet offensive, 53, 62, 76, 82, 88, 94, 107, 189
Troop augmentation by U.S., 68, 90, 117
U.S. personnel reductions in Vietnam, 46
Weekly reports, 11, 14, 25, 53, 62, 76, 82, 94, 107, 124, 170, 207, 218, 235, 245, 298
Burke, David, 23
Burke, John, 52, 75
Busby, Horace, 169, 185, 339
Buttercup prisoner exchange operation, 6, 36, 70
Byrd, Robert, 22, 35, 58, 59, 254
Calhoun, John A., 22, 228, 277
Califano, Joseph, 35, 89, 111, 186, 339
Cambodia:
Communist infiltration into RVN from, 97
Communist sanctuaries, 14, 82, 316
U.S. incursions into, 22, 249
Cao Van Vien, Gen., 21, 28, 44, 49, 90, 101, 124, 185, 270, 302, 340
Carroll, Gen. Joseph, 220
Carver, George A., Jr., 12, 19, 40, 155, 162, 188, 238, 255, 277, 325, 342, 344
Cassady, John, 209
Ceausescu, Nicolae, 5, 9, 18
Celac, Sergiu, 9
Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), 296
Bombing resumption north of 20th parallel should peace talks fail, 248
Communist insurgency, 19, 72, 83, 86, 95, 263, 311
Government of RVN, 86, 263, 325:
DRV defections, 279, 296
Lien Minh political front, 274
Military program in Vietnam, briefing for Johnson, 162
Negotiation issue, 95
Order of battle estimates, 202, 220
Pacification program, 72
Paris peace talks, 175, 263, 311
Project Recovery following Tet offensive, 72
Republic of Vietnam Armed Forces (RVNAF/ARVN), 44, 86

Tet offensive, 40, 41, 44, 56, 72, 73, 84


Troop augmentation by U.S., possible Communist response to, 95
War and Reconstruction Councils, 44
Chan. See Nguyen Chan.
Chapman, Gen. Leonard, 31, 47, 64, 70, 104, 166, 227, 241, 340
Chernyakov, Yuri N., 10
China, Peoples Republic of, 1, 19, 78, 95, 181, 199, 327
Chou En-lai, 199
Christian, George, 23, 26, 31, 39, 47, 58, 59, 60, 64, 65, 70, 74, 91, 104, 105, 113, 120, 121, 130, 142, 147, 149, 150,
157, 158, 160, 167, 172, 178, 185, 186, 187, 189, 191, 205, 216, 222, 225, 226, 227, 232, 233, 243, 249, 253, 261, 279,
282, 293, 304, 308, 316, 333
Christian Science Monitor, 333
Christopher, Warren, 261
Church, Frank, 147
Churchill, Winston S., 86,
Clarey, Adm. Bernard A., 150, 166
Clark, Joseph, 233
Clark, Ramsey, 149
Clay, Henry, 310
Clifford, Clark M., 23, 39, 47, 58, 60, 81, 97, 106, 116, 119, 121, 136, 159, 160, 167, 169, 171, 176, 177, 213, 228, 239,
270, 283, 286, 288, 293, 301, 311, 321, 325, 337, 338
Abrams, assessment of, 302
Bombing of DRV:
Bombing between 19th and 20th parallels during peace talks, 226, 232, 233, 241, 249,
253, 261
Cessation on unilateral basis, proposals for, 314, 324
Cessations effect on Communist conduct of war, 331
Effectiveness of bombing, PSAC report on, 251
Financial costs associated with, 308
Hanoi-Haiphong targets, 59, 86,
Linkage of bombing to level of Communist violence, proposed, 319
Peace talks site determination and, 216
Restriction on bombing announced March 31, 144, 147, 149, 163, 166, 169, 172, 173,
174
Resumption of bombing north of 20th parallel if peace talks failed, 242, 249, 256, 260
Saigon attacks by Communists, possible responses to, 205
Thanh Hoa attack, 173
Bui Diem-Johnson meeting, 140
Cambodian sanctuaries, 316
Communist insurgency:
Saigon attacks, 278, 282
Second (May) offensive, 222, 232
Third (August) offensive, 302, 304, 316, 324, 328, 333, 340
Confirmation as Secretary of Defense, 27
Congressional testimony by administration officials, 65, 232
Czechoslovakia, Soviet invasion, 316
Honolulu Conference, 294
Johnsons March 31 speech, 146, 147, 149, 163
Khe Sanh campaign, 185
Military program in Vietnam:
Bunkers briefing for Johnson, 189
Cambodia, incursions into, 249
Ceasefire issue, 185
Civilianization program, 302
Clifford-Wheeler visit to Vietnam, 261, 287, 302, 304
"Close to winning the war" viewpoint, 326
Free World forces, 70, 241, 276
Friendly fire casualties, 328

Helicopter mishap in Saigon, 261


"Infeasibility of military victory" viewpoint, 126, 241, 306
Landing above DMZ, proposed, 36
Offensive operations, 110
Public statements by military officials, policy re, 112
Reconnaissance flights, 186
Strategic guidance, reassessment of, 104
Tour of duty extensions, 104
U.S. command authority over all Free World forces, proposed, 70
Westmorelands briefings for Johnson, 185, 186
Negotiation issue, 27, 66, 142, 333
Order of battle estimates, 202
Paris peace talks:
Assessment of, 238, 328
Bombing cessation leading to military de-escalation, 276
Bombing cessation to promote breakthrough at talks, Soviet appeal for, 265
Bombing expansion, U.S. threat, 241
Congressional involvement, 226
DRV objectives, U.S. speculation re, 189, 249
Instructions for U.S. representatives, 189
Johnsons meetings with U.S. delegates, 225, 227, 253, 279
New approaches, Rusks rejection of, 326
Opening statements, 227
Phase I-Phase II proposal (Zorin proposal), 282, 288, 326
Presidential campaign in U.S. and, 333
Productivity of talks, U.S. debate re, 243, 278
Unity among U.S. participants, need for, 227
U.S. acceptance of DRV offer to initiate talks, 178
U.S. delegation for, 179, 180, 226, 232
U.S. publics support for war and, 242
U.S. public stance re, 196
Vances briefing for Johnson and Congressional leaders, 254
Peace talks site determination, 187, 191, 196, 204, 212, 216
Presidential campaign in U.S., 333
Republic of Vietnam Armed Forces (RVNAF/ARVN), 187, 205, 302, 304, 328
Thieus proposed visit to U.S., 261
Troop augmentation by U.S.:
Clifford Task Force recommendations, 86, 92, 100, 102, 103, 104, 105, 114
Composition of units to be deployed, 120, 129
Congressional involvement, 105, 142
Equipment support, 105
Johnsons meetings re, 64, 65, 67, 70, 74, 86, 91, 104, 105, 113, 120, 130, 142
Clifford, Clark M.Continued
Troop augmentation by U.S.Continued
Public announcement, 130, 142
Rationale for, 64, 70
Reserve call-ups, 104, 129, 189
Vietnam and non-Vietnam deployments, 130
Westmorelands requests for, 70, 89, 114
Wheelers Vietnam visit re, 67
U.S. policy on Vietnam:
De-escalation through negotiation, 146, 163
Financing reduction, 302
Kennedys proposal for re-evaluation of, 123
Peace front, 146
Westmorelands Army Chief of Staff appointment, 151
Wise Mens meetings, 142, 155, 157, 158

Clifford Task Force, 86, 92, 100, 102, 103, 104, 105, 114
Cline, John, 209
Cohen, Wilbur, 177
Collingwood, Charles, 185
Communist insurgency (see also Khe Sanh campaign; Tet offensive):
Abrams assessment of, 157, 159
Aircraft used in, 60, 64
Cambodian sanctuaries, 14, 82, 316
Communist bloc support for, 78
Fighting ability of troops, 67
Future developments, U.S. estimates re, 19, 48, 83, 263
Infiltration into RVN, 97, 156, 198, 209, 222, 227, 232, 238, 253, 316, 337, 340
Lull in fighting, 305, 307, 311, 321
Morale problems, 245
Order of battle, U.S. estimates, 91, 202, 220
Persistence, 302
Political front in RVN, 263
Propaganda statements, 107
Psychological warfare, 53
Saigon attacks, 23, 205, 258, 263, 278, 282
Second (May) offensive, 72, 82, 222, 226, 228, 232, 235, 245
Status in late February, 85
Sustaining offensive action, capacity for, 86, 95
Tet losses, recovery from, 73
Third (August) offensive, 302, 304, 309, 310, 312, 316, 320, 321, 324, 328, 333, 340, 342
Three-phase strategy for early conclusion of war, 63, 68
Troop augmentation by U.S., 95
Troop strength. See Order of battle above.
Congress, U.S.:
Anti-war Senators, Johnsons criticism of, 315
Bombing restriction announced March 31, 172
Cliffords confirmation as Secretary of Defense, 27
Gulf of Tonkin Resolution debate, 79, 86, 109, 111, 113
Khe Sanh campaign, 35
Military program in Vietnam, Johnsons meetings with Congressional leaders re, 22, 338
Paris peace talks, 226, 254
Peace talks site determination, 196, 217
Senate Foreign Relations Committee, 65, 86, 109, 120, 142, 232
Testimony by administration officials, 65, 86, 120, 232
Tet offensive, 39
Troop augmentation by U.S., 105, 109, 111, 115, 122, 130, 142
Connally, John, 169, 176, 310
Cooper, Chester, 327
Cooper, John Sherman, 86,, 226
Couve de Murville, Maurice, 221
Cronkite, Walter, 228
Cushman, Gen. Leonard F., 12, 101
Czechoslovakia, Soviet invasion, 316, 336
Daley, Richard, 123, 146, 169, 176, 215, 333
Dam Si Hiem, 245
Daniel, Price, 60, 160
David, Sid, 47
Davidson, Daniel I., 5, 8, 9, 18, 71, 87, 139, 180, 182, 203, 226, 234, 246, 329, 342
Davidson, Lt. Gen. Phillip B., 22, 302
Davis, Jeanne, 294
Davis, Nathaniel, 26
Davis, Richard H., 9
Dean, Arthur, 155, 157, 158
Dean, John Gunther, 203
Dean, Sir Patrick, 246

Defense Intelligence Agency, 175


De Gaulle, Charles, 181
Democratic National Convention, 333, 339, 341
Democratic Republic of Vietnam (DRV) (see also Bombing of DRV; Communist insurgency; Paris peace talks; Peace
talks site determination):
GVNs legitimacy, possible acceptance of, 309
Leadership divisions, 19
Negotiation issue:
Aspen peace initiative, 66
DRV position, 1, 2, 4, 10, 20, 95
Italian peace initiative, 87
Ohio peace initiative, 66, 71
Packers peace initiative, 5, 8, 71
Thants peace initiative, 81
NLF, relations with, 19
RVN, private contacts with, 325
Denney, George, 175, 335, 344
DePuy, Maj. Gen. William E., 16, 51, 56, 67, 155, 162, 220
Desai, Morarji, 310
Diem. See Bui Diem.
Dillon, Douglas, 155, 157, 158
Diplomatic efforts toward settlement in Vietnam. See Negotiation issue.
Dirksen, Everett M., 36, 226, 227, 254, 308, 341
Doan Ba Cang, 94, 138
Dobrynin, Anatoliy F., 2, 10, 168, 185, 191, 197, 206, 222, 262, 269, 272, 279, 280, 282, 286
Dong. See Pham Van Dong.
Do Phat Quang, 211
DOrlandi, Giovanni, 87
Douglas, Paul, 142
Dthlefsen, Maj. Merlyn, 47
Duggan, Ervin, 177
Duke, Angier Biddle, 198
Eaton, Cyrus, 273, 280
Eckhardt, Gen. George, 101
Edmunds, Col. A. C., 220
Eisenhower, Dwight D., 20, 39, 86, 176, 187, 225, 308, 310
Ellsworth, Bob, 310
Elsey, George M., 324, 326, 328, 340
Enthoven, Alain, 90, 100, 144, 202, 302, 337
Evans, Allan, 335
Ewell, Gen. Julian, 101
Fanfani, Amintore, 87
Fisher, Adrian, 160
Fisher, Roger, 139
Ford, Gerald R., 36, 226, 254, 310
Forsythe, Maj. Gen., 16, 94, 124, 138
Fortas, Abe, 130, 142, 147, 149, 150, 155, 157, 158, 159, 185, 222, 249, 253, 261, 265, 279
Foster, William, 160
Fowler, Henry, 26, 60, 92, 102, 104, 147, 149, 162, 177, 243
France, 221
Frankel, Max, 47
Freeman, Orville, 149
Free World forces in Vietnam. See under Military program in Vietnam.
Frei Montalva, Eduardo, 176
Fried, Edward, 243
Fulbright, J. William, 35, 65, 86, 109, 111, 120, 171, 172, 173, 176, 196, 217, 226, 232, 254
Galbraith, John Kenneth, 228
Gandhi, Indira, 216, 276, 297

Gaud, William, 60
Gelb, Leslie, 100
Geneva Conference, 2
Giap. See Vo Nguyen Giap, Gen.
Ginsburgh, Robert N., 54, 108, 231, 242, 275
Goldberg, Arthur J., 2, 81, 131, 142, 147, 160, 177, 178, 181, 209
Peace talks site determination, 190, 197, 199, 200, 212, 215
Wise Mens meetings, 155, 157, 158
Goldstein, Ernest, 177
Goodpaster, Gen. Andrew J., 20, 51, 150, 180, 186, 189, 225, 227, 265, 302
Gore, Albert, 86,
Gorton, John, 189, 253
Goulding, Phillip G., 36, 37, 86,, 100, 106, 116, 173, 302, 324, 328
Government of RVN (GVN):
Coup threat, 138, 263
DRVs acceptance of GVNs legitimacy, 309
Factionalism within, 124
Huongs appointment as Prime Minister, 245
Huongs discussion with Komer re, 257
Intelligence report on, 263
Kys threat to resign, 261
Negotiations, apprehensions re, 97
1967 developments, Bunkers assessment, 11
1968 prospects, Bunkers assessment, 25
Personnel changes, 138, 189, 232, 235, 245, 249, 263
Post-Tet prospects, 86
Stabilization program, 7
Thieu-Ky relationship, 25, 117, 138, 189, 279, 298, 325
Thieus leadership, 88, 124, 261
U.S. covert support for, 343, 344
U.S. dissatisfaction with GVN performance, 138
Westmorelands assessment of, 185
Graham, Phil, 176
Greene, Fred, 6
Gromyko, Andrei, 24, 246
Gronouski, John, 203
Gruening, Ernest, 172
Gwertzman, Bernard, 209
Habib, Philip C., 14, 52, 75, 86,, 89, 155, 189, 225, 227, 248, 284, 285, 291, 298, 300, 301, 334
Halperin, Morton, 100
Hamilton, Ed, 60
Harkins, Gen. Paul, 290
Harriman, W. Averell, 62, 81, 104, 142, 168, 182, 189, 200, 228, 246, 294, 298, 304, 345
Bombing of DRV, 174, 248, 252, 259, 261, 312, 313, 336
Communist insurgency, 78, 307, 312
Czechoslovakia, Soviet invasion, 336
Military program in Vietnam, 185, 189
Negotiation issue, 164
Italian peace initiative, 87
Ohio peace initiative, 71, 342
Packers peace initiative, 5, 8, 9, 18, 71
Soviet-U.S. cooperation, 164
Vaticans peace initiative, 139
Thants peace initiative, 78
Paris peace talks:
Ashmore-Baggs mission to DRV re, 184
Bombing cessation leading to military de-escalation, 276
Paris peace talksContinued

Bombing cessation to promote breakthrough at talks, Soviet appeal for, 265, 273, 280
Bombing expansion threat by U.S., 240, 241
Demilitarized DMZ, 234
DRV objectives, U.S. speculation, 189
DRV troops in RVN, 253
Formal talks, course of, 230, 236
Informal meetings, initiation of, 240, 247, 252, 271, 273, 280, 281, 282
Informal meetings, reports on, 291, 299, 329, 334
Instructions for U.S. representatives, 188, 189
Johnsons meetings with U.S. delegates re, 225, 227, 279
Opening statements, 227, 230
Phase I-Phase II proposal (Zorin proposal), 283, 289, 291, 297, 299, 300, 317, 322
Political settlement in the South, 292
Productivity of talks, U.S. debate re, 278
Restraint by Communist forces, 247, 252, 322
Soviet interest in success of talks, 273
Soviet-U.S. discussions re, 240, 247, 252, 273, 280, 282, 289, 300, 305, 322
Summary report by Harriman and Vance, 312
Thos arrival on behalf of DRV, 259
Unilateral bombing cessation strategy, U.S. consideration of, 312, 313
U.S. acceptance of DRV offer to initiate talks, 178
U.S. delegation for, 179, 180
U.S. domestic political situation and, 225
Peace talks site determination, 191, 192, 200, 203, 206, 216
U.S. policy on Vietnam:
De-escalation through negotiation, 210, 219
DRV-NLF split, focus on, 279
Westmoreland, criticism of, 71
Wise Mens meetings, 155, 157, 158
Hasluck, Paul, 183
Hatfield, Mark, 310
Ha Thuc Ky, 62
Ha Van Lau, 190, 229, 284, 285, 299, 300, 305, 317, 323, 329, 334
Hay, Maj. Gen., 302
Hayden, Carl, 39, 149
Helms, Richard M., 12, 23, 26, 34, 38, 41, 44, 47, 50, 59, 60, 74, 86, 92, 113, 120, 121, 142, 155, 157, 158, 160, 172,
175, 178, 188, 202, 216, 226, 263, 277, 288, 293, 296, 304, 308, 321, 325, 342
Bombing between 19th and 20th parallels during peace talks, 233, 241
Communist insurgency, 19, 67, 220, 232, 282, 311, 316, 333
Czechoslovakia, Soviet invasion, 316
Government of RVN, 232, 249, 279
Military program in Vietnam, 36, 162, 185, 205
Paris peace talks:
Bombing cessation leading to military de-escalation issue, 276
Bombing expansion threat by U.S., 241
DRV objectives, U.S. speculation re, 249, 311
Johnsons meeting with Nixon re, 327
Johnsons meetings with U.S. delegates re, 225, 227, 253, 279
Mutual withdrawal, 320
Phase I-Phase II proposal (Zorin proposal), 282
Vances briefing for Johnson, 254
Republic of Vietnam Armed Forces (RVNAF/ARVN), 16, 67
Tet offensive, 36, 39, 72, 84
Troop augmentation by U.S., 67, 70, 86, 91, 104, 105
Henkin, Daniel Z., 324
Hickenlooper, Bourke, 86, 109, 111, 226, 254
Hill, A. William, 209
Hoang Tung, 184

Hoang Van Lac, Brig. Gen., 294


Ho Chi Minh, 17, 19, 209
Hoffman, Burton, 209
Holbrooke, Richard C., 234, 291, 329
Holloway, Gen. Bruce K., 64
Holyoake, Keith, 183
Honolulu Conference, 287, 294, 303, 304, 308
Hoopes, Townsend, 74, 78, 126, 328
Hoover, J. Edgar, 310
Hope, Paul, 209
Ho Quang Phuoc, 277
Horner, Jack, 47, 209
Hornig, Donald, 160, 233
Houdek, Robert, 213
Hudson, David, 88
Hughes, Richard, 315
Hughes, Thomas L., 1, 41, 48, 56, 185, 194, 195, 236, 243, 259, 321, 335
Humphrey, Hubert H., 22, 26, 35, 47, 60, 91, 104, 142, 147, 157, 158, 159, 162, 169, 176, 177, 186, 206, 243, 254, 268,
310, 327, 330, 339, 345
Huong. See Tran Van Huong.
Hurwitch, Robert, 182, 208, 211, 345
Ignatius, Paul, 150, 328, 340
Iliescu, Marin, 9
India, 81, 216, 276, 282
Indonesia, 216, 221
International Control Commission (ICC), 299, 301
Isham, Heywood, 87
Italy, 87
Jackson, Henry, 111, 142
Javits, Jacob, 310
Jessup, Peter, 344
Johnson, Gen. Harold K., 31, 47, 64, 86, 90, 105, 136, 150, 166, 225, 226, 227, 233
Johnson, Lyndon B. (see also Weekly reports under Bunker, Ellsworth), 29, 40, 86, 263, 270, 305, 312, 322, 325
Anti-war Senators, criticism of, 315
Bombing of DRV:
Aircraft losses, 59
Bombing between 19th and 20th parallels during peace talks, 226, 232, 233, 241, 248,
249, 253, 259, 261
Cessation on unilateral basis proposals, 308, 314, 315, 316, 318, 321, 324, 330, 332,
338, 339
Deferrals of strikes, 3
Democratic presidential platform position re, 339, 345
Effectiveness of bombing, PSAC report on, 251
Hanoi-Haiphong targets, 59, 74, 86,
Johnsons briefing for Nixon, 310
Linkage of bombing to level of Communist violence, proposed, 319
Pause during winter of 1965-1966, 310
Peace talks site determination and, 216
Restriction on bombing announced March 31, 147, 149, 152, 153, 168, 169, 172, 173,
174, 176, 177
Resumption of bombing north of 20th parallel should peace talks fail, 242, 243, 244, 249
Saigon attacks by Communists, possible responses to, 205, 258
Thanh Hoa attack, 173
Bui Diem, meeting with, 140
Buttercup prisoner exchange, 36, 70
Communist insurgency:
Abrams assessment of, 157, 159
Aircraft used in, 60, 64
Cambodian sanctuaries, 316

Communist bloc support for, 78


Fighting ability of troops, 67
Future developments, U.S. estimates re, 83
Infiltration into RVN, 156, 198, 209, 227, 232, 253
Lull in fighting, 321
Saigon attacks, 282
Second (May) offensive, 222, 226, 232
Status in late February, 85
Third (August) offensive, 302, 309, 310, 316, 318, 333
Congressional testimony by administration officials, 65, 79, 86, 120
Dobrynins meeting with, 168
Eisenhowers meeting with, 86,
Government of RVN, 232, 249, 279
Gulf of Tonkin Resolution debate, 79, 86, 109, 111
Honolulu Conference, 294, 303, 304, 308
Humphrey, praise for, 177
Robert Kennedys meeting with, 176
Khe Sanh campaign, 22, 23, 26, 30, 31, 35, 51, 60, 64, 67, 91, 156, 176
Kosygin, correspondence with, 262, 269
March 31 speech (see also Restriction on bombing announced March 31 under Bombing of DRV), 146,
147, 149, 163, 167, 169, 170, 171, 176
Military installations tour, 86
Military program in Vietnam:
Abrams appointment to command position, 150, 189
Abrams presentation to Wise Men re, 156, 157
Anti-aircraft missiles, 36
Bunkers briefing, 189
Cambodia, incursions into, 22, 249
Ceasefire issue, 282
CIA-DOD briefing for Johnson, 162
Civilian contractors used in, 91
Clifford-Wheeler visit to Vietnam, 302, 304
"Close to winning the war" viewpoint, 310
Disagreements among commanders re strategy, 26, 31
Feint of full-scale landing above DMZ, 36
Free World forces, 60, 64, 216, 241
Graphic depictions of U.S. strategy, 55
Helicopter mishap in Saigon, 261
Hospitals and medical personnel, 60
"Infeasibility of military victory" viewpoint, 241
Johnsons briefing for Nixon, 310
Johnsons meetings with Congressional leaders, 22, 338
Laos, incursions into, 205
Morale of troops, 156
Nuclear weapons, possible use of, 51, 176
Offensive operations, 101, 110
"Protracted effort with few casualties" strategy, 106, 119
Reconnaissance flights, 186
Rostows proposed sequence of actions, 108
Tactical defeat, potential for, 156
Taylors recommendations, 67
Tour of duty extensions, 58, 74, 104, 156
U.S. command authority over all Free World forces, proposed, 70
Vanns assessment of, 290
Westmorelands briefings, 185, 186
Wheeler and Abrams positive assessment, 159, 160
Negotiation issue:
DRV position, 4
Goldbergs proposal, 131, 142
Ohio peace initiative, 66
Packers peace initiative, 5, 8, 9, 18, 36
Roches "gimmick" proposal, 17

San Antonio formula, 13, 47, 81


Soviet-U.S. cooperation, 168, 171
Thants peace initiative, 78, 81,
U.K.-Soviet peace initiative, 24
Vatican peace initiatives, 118, 333, 341
Nixons meetings with, 308, 310, 327
Paris peace talks:
Ashmore-Baggs mission to DRV re, 184
Bombing cessation leading to military de-escalation, 231, 237, 275, 276
Bombing cessation to promote breakthrough at talks, Soviet appeal for, 262, 265, 267,
268, 295
Bombing expansion, U.S. threat, 241
Break-up, risk of to preserve talks, Rostows proposal, 268
Briefings for Nixon, 310, 327
Briefings for Rockefeller and McCarthy, 266
Congressional involvement, 226
DRV objectives, U.S. speculation re, 189, 249, 309
DRV offer to initiate talks in response to bombing restriction announced March 31, 175
DRVs personal attacks on Johnson, 332
Formal talks, reports on, 236
Honolulu Conference discussions of, 303, 304
Informal meetings, 269, 284, 329
Instructions for U.S. representatives, 189
Meetings with U.S. delegates and foreign policy advisers, 225, 227, 253, 279
Meeting with Thant, 181
Opening statements, 227
Phase I-Phase II proposal (Zorin proposal), 281, 282, 284, 286, 288, 289, 293, 297, 310,
317, 323
Political settlement in the South, 224, 275, 277
Presidential campaign in U.S. and, 333
Procedural agreement, 229
Productivity of talks, U.S. debate re, 243
Rostows proposed outline for talks, 179
RVN apprehensions re, 186
Separate talks on political and military issues, proposed, 282
Unilateral bombing cessation strategy, U.S. consideration, 314
Unity among U.S. participants, need for, 217, 227
U.S. acceptance of DRV offer to initiate talks, 178
U.S. agenda for, 179, 223
U.S. delegation for, 179, 186, 187, 226, 232
U.S. public stance, 196
Vances briefing, 254
Peace talks site determination, 187, 190, 191, 193
Administration discussions with Congressional leaders re, 196
Alternative sites, 201
Bombing of DRV during negotiations, 216
Bucharest option, 215
Congressional criticism of discussions, 217
DRV-U.S. private discussions, proposed, 204, 212, 215, 216
Harrimans position, 191
Neutral party to propose site, 215
Paris site, agreement on, 221
Press conference statements, 209
Soviet involvement, 191, 197
Thants involvement, 215
U.S. requirements for acceptable site, 195
Presidential campaign in U.S., 150
Democratic National Convention, 333, 339, 341
Democratic presidential platform position re bombing of DRV, 339, 345

Humphrey-Nixon unanimity re Vietnam, 345


Meeting with Robert Kennedy, 176
Meeting with Nixon, 310
Paris peace talks and, 333
Withdrawal from, 169, 209
Pueblo crisis, 22, 39, 47
Republic of Vietnam (RVN), 62, 298
Republic of Vietnam Armed Forces (RVNAF/ARVN), 64, 70, 104, 157, 159, 186, 187
State of the Union address, 13
Tet offensive, 36, 37, 39, 42, 47, 57, 72, 76, 84
Thant, meeting with, 181
Thieu, correspondence with, 186
Thieu, meetings with. See Honolulu Conference above.
Thieus proposed visit to U.S., 261
Troop augmentation by U.S.:
Clifford Task Force recommendations, 92, 102, 104, 105
Composition of units to be deployed, 120, 129
Congressional involvement, 105, 130, 142
Equipment support, 91, 105
Financing for, 121, 156
Induction increases, 104
Johnsons comments to Robert Kennedy, 176
Johnsons decisions, 70, 130
Johnsons meetings re, 64, 65, 67, 70, 74, 86, 91, 104, 105, 109, 111, 113, 120, 121, 130,
142
McNamaras recommendations, 69
Press coverage of administration debate re, 116
Public announcement re, 130, 142, 167
Rationale for, 64
Reserve call-ups, 70, 74, 91, 104, 111, 128, 129
Vietnam and non-Vietnam deployments, 130
Westmorelands requests for additional troops, 68, 70, 89, 156
Wheelers trip to Vietnam, 86, 90
U.S. policy on Vietnam:
Australian support, 253
Declaration of war, 64
De-escalation through negotiation, 146, 163
Disengagement from Vietnam, proposals for, 125
Humphrey-Nixon unanimity re, 345
Kennedys proposal for re-evaluation, 123
Nitzes refusal to testify before Congress, 133, 150, 156
Peace front, 146
Personnel reductions in Vietnam, 46
Political offensive against policy in U.S., 58
Renewal of U.S. public support, proposal for, 161
Rostows proposed sequence of actions, 148
Vances possible visit to Vietnam, 70, 74
Westmorelands appointment as Army Chief of Staff, 150, 151, 250
Wheelers continuance as JCS chairman, 150
Wilson, correspondence with, 24
Wise Mens meetings, 135, 142, 154, 156, 157
Johnson, Vice Adm. Nels, 301
Johnson, Tom, 23, 26, 29, 31, 35, 39, 47, 58, 59, 60, 64, 65, 67, 70, 74, 91, 104, 105, 113, 120, 121, 130, 142, 147,
156, 157, 158, 162, 167, 172, 177, 178, 181, 185, 186, 189, 205, 216, 226, 227, 232, 233, 253, 254, 261, 265, 279, 282,
293, 308, 310, 316, 327, 333
Johnson, U. Alexis, 179, 184
Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS), 38, 50, 51, 169, 310, 326
Bombing of DRV:

Bombing between 19th and 20th parallels during peace talks, 253
Cessation on unilateral basis proposals, 316
Effectiveness of bombing, PSAC report on, 251
Restriction on bombing announced March 31, 166, 169, 174
Resumption of bombing north of 20th parallel if peace talks failed, 256, 260
Khe Sanh campaign, 30, 31, 35
Military program in Vietnam, 239, 326
Order of battle estimates, 220
Paris peace talks, 301
Troop augmentation by U.S., 64, 70, 74, 96, 239
Wheelers continuance as chairman, 150
Jones, James "Jim," 4, 142, 157, 158, 169, 181, 185, 189, 190, 232, 265, 304, 339
Jorden, William J., 49, 140, 147, 148, 180, 201, 225, 227, 275, 279, 291
Kaplan, Harold, 226, 275, 291
Katzenbach, Nicholas deB., 26, 44, 52, 60, 81, 87, 92, 116, 141, 142, 155, 157, 158, 160, 175, 176, 185, 188, 189, 233,
248, 296, 287, 297, 312, 325
Bombing of DRV, 10, 172, 174, 177, 253
Communist insurgency, 253, 282
Military program in Vietnam, 98, 185, 186
Negotiation issue, 8, 10
Paris peace talks:
Bombing cessation leading to military de-escalation, 276
Johnsons meetings re, 225, 227, 253, 279
Mutual withdrawal, 320
Opening statements, 227
Phase I-Phase II proposal (Zorin proposal), 282, 283, 289, 293
Political settlement in the South, 292
Productivity of talks, U.S. debate re, 243
U.S. acceptance of DRV offer to initiate talks, 178, 182
Vances briefing for Johnson and Congressional leaders, 254
Peace talks site determination, 182, 191, 195, 196, 199
Troop augmentation by U.S., 89
U.S. policy on Vietnam, 253, 279
Kaul, T. N., 199
Keeney, Spurgeon, 160
Kelly, George, 87
Kennedy, Edward M. "Ted," 23, 26, 31, 156, 172, 176, 339
Kennedy, John F., 176
Kennedy, Robert F., 111, 123, 146, 149, 150, 156, 176, 206, 226, 228, 242, 264, 273, 310
Kerwin, Maj. Gen., 270
Keyserling, Leon, 149
Khang. See Le Nguyen Khang, Gen.
Khe Sanh campaign, 36, 83, 156, 157, 279
Attacks on Khe Sanh, 22, 54
Communist troop strength, 64, 67
Dien Bien Phu analogy, 51
Johnsons meetings re, 23, 26, 31, 35
Lang Vei evacuation, 60, 61
Operation Pegasus, 176
Significance for U.S., 60
Thieus assessment of, 28
U.S. offensive actions, 91
U.S. reinforcement capability, 51, 64
U.S. reinforcement of Khe Sanh prior to attack, 12
Walts assessment of, 61
Westmorelands assessment of, 30, 185

King, Martin Luther, Jr., 150, 185


Kissinger, Henry, 15, 139
Knowland, William, 86,
Komer, Robert W., 16, 45, 62, 68, 94, 138, 143, 189, 245, 257, 258, 298, 302
Kopytin, Aleksandr, 293
Korea, Republic of, 39, 65, 70, 216, 276
Kosygin, Alexei N., 2, 24, 78, 168, 171, 200, 262, 264, 265, 267, 268, 269, 272, 273, 280, 295, 297, 320
Krim, Arthur, 169
Krulak, Lt. Gen. Victor, 198
Kuznetsov, Vasily, 268
Ky. See Nguyen Cao Ky.
Laird, Melvin, 254
Lang, William, 21
Lansdale, Edward, 88, 277
Laos, 97, 205, 320
Lapham, Lewis, 40
Lau. See Ha Van Lau.
Lausche, Frank John, 86,
Le Duc Tho, 259, 271, 273, 275, 285, 291, 327, 328, 329, 334
Le Ngoc Chan, 194
Le Nguyen Khang, Gen., 101, 302, 340
Leonhart, William, 7, 23, 226, 320
Le Van Kim, Gen., 185
Le Van Thu, 245
Levison, Larry, 339
Lien Minh political front, 274, 298, 325, 343, 344
Lincoln, Abraham, 70
Lindquist, Robert, 183
Lindsay, John, 146
Livesay, R. Eugene, 328, 340
Loan. See Nguyen Ngoc Loan, Gen.
Loc. See Nguyen Van Loc.
Locke, Eugene, 7
Lodge, Henry Cabot, 39, 65, 76, 106, 119, 151, 155, 157, 158
Long, Russell, 22, 35
Luong The Sieu, 245
Macovescu, George, 5, 8, 9, 18, 71
Macy, John, 177
Maguire, Charles, 177
Mahon, George, 39, 121, 142, 254
Mai Thi Vang, 6
Mai Tho Truyen, 62
Mai Van Bo, 1, 4, 15, 104, 199, 291
Malik, Yakov, 199
Manach, Etienne, 1, 234
Manatos, Mike, 35, 177
Manescu, Corneliu, 212, 215
Mansfield, Mike, 22, 35, 71, 86,, 109, 111, 172, 173, 176, 226, 227, 254, 308, 316
Marcovich, Herbert, 15
Marcy, Carl, 173
Marder, Murrey, 18
Marks, Leonard, 26, 60, 160, 177, 243, 253
Marshall, Gen. George C., 86,
Maurer, Ion, 5
McAuliffe, Col. D. P., 220
McCain, Adm. John S., 189, 198, 301, 337
McCarthy, Eugene, 86, 123, 156, 178, 228, 266, 309, 310, 330, 333
McCloy, John, 155
McConnell, Gen. John P., 31, 47, 155, 166, 243, 301, 321, 328, 340
McCormack, John, 22, 35, 226, 254
McGill, Ralph E., 78
McGovern, George, 172
McGrory, Mary, 209
McManaway, Clay, 257
McNamara, Robert S., 16, 31, 35, 39, 40, 46, 51, 167, 189, 310

Australian support for U.S. policy, 253


Bombing of DRV, 3, 59, 74, 253
Communist insurgency, aircraft used in, 60
Gulf of Tonkin Resolution debate, 79, 86
Johnsons March 31 speech, 176
Khe Sanh campaign, 12, 22, 23, 60, 64, 67
Military program in Vietnam:
Anti-aircraft missiles, 36
Ceasefire, 253
Civilian contractors used in, 69, 91
Disagreements among commanders re strategy, 26
Landing above DMZ, possible, 36
Free World forces, 64
Hospitals and medical personnel, 60
Nuclear weapons, possible use, 176
Tet holiday truce, 21
Tour of duty extensions, 74
U.S. command authority over all Free World forces, proposed, 70
Packers peace initiative, 8
Paris peace talks, 253
Political offensive against U.S. policy, 58
Refugee and medical care programs, 23
RVNAF mobilization, 64
Tet offensive, 36, 37
Troop augmentation by U.S.:
Clifford Task Force recommendations, 92
Equipment support, 91
Johnsons meetings re, 64, 65, 67, 70, 74, 91
Recommendations, 69, 70
Reserve call-ups, 70, 74, 91
Westmorelands requests for additional troops, 89
Wheelers trip to Vietnam, 86
Vances possible visit to Vietnam, 74
Westmorelands Army Chief of Staff appointment, 151
McPherson, Harry C., Jr., 42, 65, 89, 142, 146, 147, 149, 152, 159, 162, 163, 167, 172, 185, 290, 304, 309
Mehlert, Calvin, 88
Michalowski, Jerzy, 171
Micunovic, Veljko, 171
Military program in Vietnam (see also Bombing of DRV; Khe Sanh campaign; Republic of Vietnam Armed Forces; Tet
offensive; Troop augmentation by U.S.):
Abrams appointment to command position, 150, 189
Abrams presentation to Wise Men re, 156, 157
Anti-aircraft missiles, 36
Bunkers briefing for Johnson, 189
Cambodia, incursions into, 22, 249
Cambodia and Laos infiltration routes, focus on, 97
Ceasefire issue, 144, 185, 253, 282
Chemical weapons, possible use of, 51
CIA-DOD briefing for Johnson, 162
Civilian contractors used in, 65, 69, 91, 302
Clifford-Wheeler visit to Vietnam, 261, 287, 302, 304
"Close to winning the war" viewpoint, 310, 326
Covert action against DRV, 335
Defections by NLF, encouragement of, 279, 296
Disagreements among commanders re strategy, 26, 31
Eisenhowers assessment of, 20
Free World forces, 60, 64, 65, 70, 77, 160, 216, 241, 253, 276
Friendly fire casualties, 328
Helicopter mishap in Saigon, 261

Hospitals and medical personnel, 60


"Infeasibility of military victory" viewpoint, 126, 241, 306
In-place teams, 335
Johnsons briefing for Nixon re, 310
Johnsons meetings with Congressional leaders re, 22, 338
Landing above DMZ, possible, 36
Laos, incursions into, 205
MACV Forward headquarters, 60
Major Communist offensive, capacity for response to, 239
Maritime operations, 335
Mining of DRV ports, 108
Morale of troops, 156
1967 developments, Bunkers assessment, 11
Nuclear weapons, possible use of, 51, 176
Offensive operations, 101, 110, 116, 124
Operation Delaware/Lam Son 216, 222
Political/psychological actions, 7, 335
"Protracted effort with few casualties" strategy, 106, 119
Public statements by military officials, policy re, 112
Reconnaissance flights, 186
Rostows proposed sequence of actions, 108
"Search and destroy" operations, 106, 119
Soviet response to escalation, 98
Strategic guidance, reassessment of, 103, 104
Strategic reserve. See Reserve call-ups under Troop augmentation by U.S.
Tactical defeat, potential for, 156
Taylors recommendations, 67
Tet holiday truce, 21
Tour of duty extensions, 58, 64, 74, 104, 156
Troop reduction proposals, 301
U.S. capacity to respond to military threats elsewhere in world and, 239
U.S. command authority over all Free World forces, proposed, 70, 77
U.S. strategy, 55
Vanns assessment of, 290
Westmorelands advice upon departure from Vietnam, 250
Westmorelands briefings for Johnson, 185, 186
Wheeler and Abrams positive assessment of, 159, 160
Mill, John Stuart, 29
Mills, Wilbur, 176, 193, 232
Momyer, Gen. William H., 23, 30, 35, 90, 172, 173, 176
Moor, Dean, 19
Moorer, Adm. Thomas H., 31, 47, 64, 301, 340
Morgan, Thomas, 35, 254
Morse, Wayne, 86, 310
Moyers, Bill, 169, 310, 345
Mundt, Karl, 86, 111
Murphy, Charles, 176, 198, 339
Murphy, Robert, 155, 157, 158
National Liberation Front (NLF) (see also Communist insurgency):
Buttercup prisoner exchange operation, 6
Coalition government issue, 14, 20
Defections, U.S. policy of encouraging, 279, 296
DRV, relations with, 19
Intelligence collection concerning, 143
Offer to disband in return for participation in government (Antwerp contact), 277
Recruitment by, 124
National Security Action Memorandum (NSAM) No. 328, 143
National Security Agency (NSA), 32, 263
National Security Council (NSC) meetings, 26, 60, 160, 243
Negotiation issue (see also Paris peace talks; Restriction on bombing announced March 31st under Bombing of DRV):

Aspen peace initiative, 66


DRV position, 1, 2, 4, 10, 20, 95
Goldbergs proposal, 131, 142
GVN apprehensions, 97
Harrimans recommendations, 164
Italian peace initiative, 87
Ohio peace initiative, 66, 71, 342
Packers peace initiative, 5, 8, 9, 18, 36, 71, 104
Pennsylvania peace initiative, 15
Roches "gimmick" proposal, 17
San Antonio formula. See U.S. position below.
Shah of Irans peace initiative, 104
Soviet-U.S. cooperation, 164, 168, 171
Thants peace initiative, 78, 81,
U.K.-Soviet peace initiative, 24
U.S. position (San Antonio formula), 2, 10, 13, 27, 47, 81, 131
Vaticans peace initiatives, 118, 139, 333, 341
Negroponte, John, 285, 329, 334
Nehru, B. K., 276
Nelson, Gaylord, 111, 150
Nelson, William, 279
Neubert, Joseph W., 18
Ne Win, Gen., 310
Newsweek, 228
New York Times, 60, 112, 116, 200, 202
Ngo Minh Loan, 66, 291, 342
Nguyen Bao Tri, Gen., 124, 185
Nguyen Cao Ky (see also Government of RVN), 14, 62
Bombing of DRV, 145, 165
Buttercup prisoner exchange operation, 70
CIA interview with, 325
Clifford-Wheeler visit to Vietnam, 302
Communists third (August) offensive, 302
Helicopter mishap in Saigon, 261
Honolulu Conference, 287
NLF recruitment, 124
Paris peace talks, 194, 235
Project Recovery following Tet offensive, 45, 62, 72
Self-defense program, 235
Urban security, 90, 91
U.S. financial support for, 343, 344
War and Reconstruction Councils, 44
Westmorelands farewell, 270
Nguyen Chan, 182, 189, 204, 208, 211, 342
Nguyen Dinh Phuong, 285
Nguyen Duc Thang, Gen., 16, 44, 101, 124, 189
Nguyen Duy Trinh, 1, 4, 5, 24, 66, 185
Nguyen Luu Vien, 62, 245
Nguyen Minh Vy, 285, 291, 299, 334
Nguyen Ngoc Loan, Gen., 36, 54, 60, 235, 261, 270, 340
Nguyen Phu Duc, 245
Nguyen Thanh Le, 291
Nguyen Tho Chan, 66, 185
Nguyen Thuong, 189, 190
Nguyen Van Chuc, 207
Nguyen Van Huong, 124, 344
Nguyen Van La, Gen., 16
Nguyen Van Loc, 16, 134, 138, 189, 207, 245
Nguyen Van Minh, Gen., 261
Nguyen Van Sao, 275
Nguyen Van Thieu (see also Government of RVN), 7, 62
Bombing of DRV, 137, 145, 165, 170, 248, 255

Buttercup prisoner exchange operation, 70


Cambodia, Communist forces in, 14
CIA interview with, 325
Clifford-Wheeler visit to Vietnam, 302
Communist offensives, 82, 302
Communist propaganda statements, 107
Honolulu Conference, 287, 294, 303, 304
Johnson, correspondence with, 186
Khe Sanh campaign, 28
Negotiation issue, 1
NLF offer to disband in return for participation in government (Antwerp contact), 277
Packers peace initiative, 8
Paris peace talks, 186, 189, 194, 235, 245, 270, 302, 303, 304
Republic of Vietnam (RVN):
Coalition government, 14
DRV, private contacts with, 325
Lien Minh political front, 274, 298, 325
Martial law, 45
Pacification program, 124, 189, 263, 302
Project Recovery, 45, 94, 124
State of the Union address, 53
Urban security, 90, 91
War and Reconstruction Councils, 44
Weekly radio speeches, 235
Republic of Vietnam Armed Forces (RVNAF/ARVN), 16, 63, 91, 117, 132, 134, 218, 328
Tet holiday truce, 21
Tet offensive, 53, 62, 94, 107
U.S. financial support for, 343, 344
U.S. visit (see also Honolulu Conference above), 261, 287
Westmorelands farewell, 270
Nguyen Van Tho, 245
Nguyen Van Truong, 235
Nguyen Van Vy, Gen., 185, 245
Nguyen Van Huong, 298
Nhur, Paul, 245
Nitze, Paul H., 16, 26, 31, 44, 60, 64, 91, 92, 103, 104, 105, 119, 120, 127, 130, 133, 146, 150, 155, 156, 157, 158, 160,
166, 189, 228, 232, 238, 239, 243, 293, 301, 306, 319, 320, 321, 324, 325, 326, 328, 331, 337, 344
Nixon, Richard M., 105, 178, 281, 308, 310, 327, 330, 345
Non-Group, 188, 320
Norway, 66, 342
Noyes, Crosby, 209
Noyes, Newbold, 209
Noyes, Tommy, 209
Nugent, Pat, 149, 176
Nugroho, 184
Oberemko, Valentin, 240, 273, 280, 322
Oberg, J. C. S., 66
OBrien, Lawrence, 35, 161, 177
ODonohue, Daniel, 137
Oelhert, Benjamin, 200
Ohio peace initiative, 66, 71, 342
Ortona, Egidio, 87
Pacification program. See under Republic of Vietnam.
Packers peace initiative, 5, 8, 9, 18, 36, 71, 104
Pahlavi, Muhammed Reza Shah, 104, 214
Paine, Thomas, 39, 47
Paris peace talks (see also Peace talks site determination):
Ashmore-Baggs mission to DRV re, 184
Bombing cessation leading to military de-escalation issue (see also Phase I-Phase II proposal below) ,

228, 231, 235, 237, 275, 276


Bombing cessation to promote breakthrough at talks, Soviet appeal for, 262, 264, 265, 267, 268, 272,
273, 280, 295
Bombing expansion threat by U.S., 240, 241
Break-up risk in order to preserve talks, Rostows proposal re, 268
Cliffords assessment, 238, 328
Congressional involvement, 226
Demilitarized DMZ (see also Phase I-Phase II proposal below), 234, 299
DRV delegation for, 199, 221, 259
DRV objectives, U.S. speculation re, 189, 249, 309, 311
DRV offer to initiate talks in response to bombing restriction announced March 31st, 175, 184, 187
DRV personal attacks on Johnson, 332
DRV troops in RVN issue, 253
Formal talks, course of, 230, 326
Former presidents views, 225
Honolulu Conference discussions, 303, 304
Informal meetings, initiation of, 240, 247, 252, 262, 264, 269, 271, 273, 280, 281, 282, 283, 284
Informal meetings, reports on, 285, 291, 299, 323, 329, 334
Instructions for U.S. representatives, 188, 189, 232, 289, 297
Intelligence reports on, 263
Johnsons briefings for Nixon, 310, 327
Johnsons briefings for Rockefeller and McCarthy, 266
Johnsons meetings with U.S. delegates, 225, 227, 253, 279
Johnsons meeting with Thant, 181
Mutual withdrawal, 320
New approaches, Rusks rejection of, 326
Opening statements, 227, 230
Phase I-Phase II proposal (Zorin proposal), 281, 282, 283, 284, 285, 286, 288, 289, 291, 293, 297, 299,
300, 301, 305, 310, 317, 322, 323, 326, 334
Political settlement in the South, 224, 275, 277, 292
Presidential campaign in U.S. and, 263, 333
Press coverage of, 243
Prisoner of war release arrangements, 300
Procedural agreement, 229
Productivity of talks, U.S. debate re, 243, 278
Restraint by Communist forces, 247, 252, 322
Rostows proposed outline for course of talks, 179
RVN apprehensions, 186, 189, 194, 207, 235, 263
RVN participation, 194, 207, 334
RVN-U.S. consultations, 218
RVN-U.S. relations, impact on, 270
Separate talks on political and military issues, proposed, 282
Soviet interest in success of talks, 273
Soviet-U.K. discussions, 246
Soviet-U.S. discussions, 240, 247, 252, 273, 280, 281, 282, 286, 289, 300, 305, 322
Summary report by Harriman and Vance, 312
Thieus assessment of, 245
Thieus proposed negotiating strategy, 302
Unilateral bombing cessation strategy, U.S. consideration of, 312, 313, 314
Unity among U.S. participants, need for, 217, 227
U.S. acceptance of DRV offer to initiate talks, 178, 182
U.S. agenda, 179, 223
U.S. delegation, 179, 180, 186, 187, 226, 232
U.S. domestic political situation and, 225, 242
U.S. gains and losses, 271
U.S. public stance re, 196
Vances briefing, 254, 301
World opinion re, 253, 271
Park Chung Hee, 65, 216, 276
Parker, Alan, 307
Patterson, Eugene, 78
Paul VI, Pope, 18, 171, 215, 216, 282, 333, 341
Peace talks site determination, 187, 190
Administration discussions with Congressional leaders, 196
Bombing of DRV during negotiations, 216

Bucharest option, 203, 212, 214, 215


Bunkers proposal, 216
Chinese involvement, 199
Congressional criticism of discussions, 217
DRV proposals, 185, 189, 190
DRV-U.S. private discussions re, proposed, 204, 206, 208, 211, 212, 213, 214, 215, 216
Harrimans position, 191, 192, 200
Johnsons explanations of his thinking, 191, 193
Johnsons press conference statements on, 209
Neutral party to propose site, 203, 214, 215
Paris, agreement on, 203, 214, 221
Pressure on U.S. to agree to site, 214
Soviet involvement, 191, 197, 199, 200, 206
Tehran option, 214
Thants involvement, 199, 200, 214, 215
U.S. proposals, 182, 189, 200, 201
U.S. requirements, 195, 197, 203
Peers, Lt. Gen. William R., 101
Pennsylvania peace initiative, 15
Perritt, Lt. Col. H. H., 162
Perry, Jack, 246, 273, 300, 322
Petri, Lennart, 66
Pham Van Dong, 5, 24, 185
Phan Hien, 329, 334
Phan Quang Dan, 62, 245, 257
Phan Van Su, 87
Phap Tri, Thich, 245
Pho Quoc Chu, Lt. Col., 261
Phoenix program, 279
Pierson, DeVier, 123
Pope, Cmdr. Daniel K., 31
Porter, William, 198
Presidential campaign in U.S., 146, 149, 150, 178, 206, 308
Democratic National Convention, 333, 339, 341
Democratic presidential platform position re bombing of DRV, 339, 345
Humphrey-Nixon unanimity re Vietnam, 345
Johnson-Kennedy meeting, 176
Johnson-Nixon meeting, 310
Johnsons willingness to be nominated, 339
Johnsons withdrawal from, 169, 209
New Hampshire primaries, 123
Paris peace talks and, 263, 333
Presidents Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board (PFIAB), 84
Presidents Science Advisory Board (PSAB), 233
Presidents Science Advisory Committee (PSAC), 251
Press coverage of Vietnam, 11, 20, 47, 106, 116, 119, 156, 243, 310
Prisoners of war, 291, 300, 329
Buttercup operation, 6, 36, 70
Provisional Reconnaissance Unit (PRU), 143
Proxmire, William, 147
Pueblo crisis, 22, 39, 47, 310
Raimondi, Luigi, 18, 118, 139, 216
Rather, Dan, 47
Rayburn, Sam, 86,, 176
Read, Benjamin H., 15, 132, 182, 200, 232, 233, 265, 271, 283, 293
Reagan, Ronald, 178
Redmont, Bernard, 4
Reilly, Sir Patrick, 246
Reischauer, Edwin O., 142

Republic of Vietnam (RVN) (see also Government of RVN):


Chieu Hoi program, 257
Coalition government issue, 14, 20, 310
Countryside conditions, 263
DRV, private contacts with, 325
Economic situation, 76, 94, 263
Labor unrest, 14
Lien Minh political front, 274, 298, 325
Martial law, 45, 56
National political organization to compete with Communists (see also Lien Minh political front above), 49,
117, 124
Pacification program, 56, 72, 75, 82, 94, 117, 124, 189, 257, 263, 302
Paris peace talks and, 186, 189, 194, 207, 218, 235, 263, 270, 334
Popular attitudes toward war, 263
Project Recovery following Tet offensive, 45, 62, 72, 82, 88, 94, 124
Self-defense program, 235
Sinophobia in, 88
Tet offensive response, U.S. proposals for, 44, 45, 49, 52, 53, 62, 88
Tet offensives psychological impact, 43, 55, 76, 82, 88
Thieus State of the Union address, 53
Thieus weekly radio speeches, 235
Urban security, 90, 91, 119
War and Reconstruction Councils, 44
Republic of Vietnam Armed Forces (RVNAF/ARVN):
Abrams assessment, 157, 159
Cliffords assessment, 302
Communists third (August) offensive, 340
Corruption, 44, 49, 117
Improved performance with U.S. support, 67
Increased responsibility for conduct of war, 102, 302, 328
Ineffective units, 90, 91
Information program, 302
Intelligence report on, 263
Mobilization for, 63, 64, 70, 91, 117, 124, 132, 134, 160, 189, 218, 257, 304
Modernization program, 97, 102, 104, 117, 186, 187, 205, 239
Reorganization program, 16, 44
Saigon defenses, 340
Shortages problem, 302
Stabilization program, 7
Tet offensive, 56, 62, 75, 86, 91, 338
U.S. command authority over, proposed, 70, 77
Westmorelands assessment of, 185
Reserve call-ups. See under Troop augmentation by U.S.
Resor, Stanley, 127, 150
Reuss, Henry, 150
Reynolds, Frank, 47
Ribicoff, Abraham, 150
Ridgway, Gen. Matthew B., 47, 70, 142, 155, 156, 157, 158, 164
Rivers, L. Mendel, 121, 142, 196
Robb, Capt. Charles, 261
Roberts, Chalmers, 47, 308, 315
Roberts, Gene, 112
Roche, John, 17, 177
Rockefeller, Nelson, 149, 169, 266, 310
Romania. See Packers peace initiative.
Rosson, Lt. Gen. William B., 51, 101, 302
Rostow, Elspeth, 55
Rostow, Walt W., 7, 16, 19, 23, 26, 35, 38, 39, 44, 47, 50, 51, 56, 65, 74, 86, 88, 90, 95, 101, 120, 121, 130, 140, 159,
165, 167, 168, 176, 182, 205, 213, 231, 232, 254, 263, 271, 283, 294, 297, 304, 308
Bombing of DRV:

Bombing between 19th and 20th parallels during peace talks, 233, 248, 249, 253, 259
Cessation on unilateral basis proposals, 308
Cessations practical effect on Communist conduct of war, 331
Hanoi-Haiphong targets, 86,
Infiltration into RVN, impact on, 337
Peace talks site determination and, 216
Restriction on bombing announced March 31, 147, 149, 153, 172
Resumption of bombing north of 20th parallel if peace talks failed, 242
Saigon attacks by Communists, possible responses to, 258
Thanh Hoa attack, 173
Buttercup prisoner exchange operation, 70
Communist insurgency, 83, 85, 198, 222, 226, 232, 309, 333
Government of RVN, 23, 3092, 344
Honolulu Conference, 294
Johnsons March 31 speech, 147, 149
Johnsons meetings with Nixon, 310
Khe Sanh campaign, 31, 54, 61, 176
Military program in Vietnam:
Bunkers briefing, 189
Cambodia, incursions into, 249
Landing above DMZ, proposed, 36
Mining of DRV ports, 108
Offensive operations, 110, 116
"Protracted effort with few casualties" strategy, 106
Rostows proposed sequence of actions, 108
Tet holiday truce, 21
Tour of duty extensions, 64
U.S. strategy, 55
Westmorelands briefings, 185, 186
Negotiation issue:
DRV position, 4
Goldbergs proposal, 131
Ohio peace initiative, 66
Packers peace initiative, 5, 8
Roches "gimmick" proposal, 17
Vatican peace initiatives, 118, 333
NLF offer to disband in return for participation in RVN government (Antwerp contact), 277
Paris peace talks:
Ashmore-Baggs mission to DRV re, 184
Bombing cessation leading to military de-escalation, 275, 276
Bombing cessation to promote breakthrough at talks, Soviet appeal for, 262, 265, 295
Bombing expansion, U.S. threat, 241
Break-up risk in order to preserve talks, Rostows proposal re, 268
DRV objectives, U.S. speculation re, 189, 309
Formal talks, reports on, 236
Informal meetings, initiation of, 284
Informal meetings, reports on, 329
Instructions for U.S. representatives, 289
Johnsons meetings with U.S. delegates, 225, 227, 253, 279
Opening statements, 227
Phase I-Phase II proposal (Zorin proposal), 281, 282, 284, 286, 288, 289, 293
Political settlement in the South, 224, 275, 277, 292
Rostows proposed outline for course of talks, 179
RVN apprehensions re, 186
Soviet-U.S. discussions re, 305
Thos arrival on behalf of DRV, 259
Unity among U.S. participants, need for, 217
U.S. acceptance of DRV offer to initiate talks, 178
U.S. delegation for, 179, 180, 232

U.S. domestic political situation and, 225


U.S. public stance re, 196
U.S. publics support for war and, 242
Peace talks site determination, 187, 190
Administration discussions with Congressional leaders re, 196
Alternative sites, 201
Bombing of DRV during site negotiations, 216
Bucharest option, 203
DRV-U.S. private discussions re, proposed, 204, 212
Paris site, agreement on, 221
Soviet involvement, 197
Thants involvement, 199
U.S. requirements for acceptable site, 195, 197
Republic of Vietnam (RVN), 20, 274, 298, 310
Republic of Vietnam Armed Forces (RVNAF/ARVN), 70, 102
Tet offensive, 40, 42, 43, 49, 57, 60, 72
Thieus proposed visit to U.S., 261
Troop augmentation by U.S.:
Clifford Task Force recommendations, 92, 102, 104, 105
Financing for, 102, 128
Johnsons meetings re, 64, 67, 70, 86, 91, 104, 105, 113
Press coverage of administration debate re, 116
Reserve call-ups, 102, 128
Rostows recommendations, 93
Westmorelands requests for, 68, 89
U.S. policy on Vietnam:
Disengagement proposals, 125
DRV-NLF split, focus on, 279
Political offensive against policy in U.S., 58
Proposed sequence of actions, 148
Vances possible visit to Vietnam, 70
Wise Mens meetings, 135, 142, 154, 155, 157, 158
Rusk, Dean, 16, 17, 23, 24, 26, 34, 35, 38, 39, 40, 41, 46, 47, 50, 51, 56, 62, 81, 97, 101, 111, 113, 159, 182, 236, 259,
268, 269, 288, 304, 321, 322, 325, 337, 345
ANZUS Council meeting, 183
Bombing of DRV:
Bombing between 19th and 20th parallels during peace talks, 232, 233, 241, 248, 249,
255, 261
Cessation on unilateral basis proposals, 313, 314, 315, 316, 338
Hanoi-Haiphong targets, 59, 74, 86,
Linkage of bombing to level of Communist violence, proposed, 319
Peace talks site determination and, 216
Restriction on bombing announced March 31, 137, 141, 145, 147, 149, 153, 165
Resumption of bombing north of 20th parallel if peace talks failed, 248
Saigon attacks by Communists, possible responses to, 205
Soviet ships hit by bombs, 10
Bui Diem-Johnson meeting, 140
Buttercup prisoner exchange operation, 6, 36
Cambodian sanctuaries, 14, 316
Communist insurgency, 48, 6, 3070
Infiltration into RVN, 227
Second (May) offensive, 222, 232
Third (August) offensive, 316, 333
Gulf of Tonkin Resolution debate, 86,
Congressional testimony by administration officials, 65, 86,, 120, 232

Czechoslovakia, Soviet invasion, 316


Government of RVN, 232, 249, 279
Rusk, DeanContinued
Honolulu Conference, 294, 308
Johnson-Nixon meetings, 310, 327
Johnsons March 31 speech, 147, 149, 163, 176
Khe Sanh campaign, 64, 91
Military program in Vietnam:
Abrams presentation to Wise Men, 156
Anti-aircraft missiles, 36
Bunkers briefing, 189
Cambodia, incursions into, 22, 249
"Close to winning the war" viewpoint, 326
Defections by NLF, encouragement of, 279, 296
"Infeasibility of military victory" viewpoint, 241
Johnsons meetings with Congressional leaders re, 338
Laos, incursions into, 205
"Protracted effort with few casualties" strategy, 106
Reconnaissance flights, 186
Strategic guidance, reassessment of, 104
Tour of duty extensions, 58
U.S. command authority over all Free World forces, proposed, 70
Westmorelands briefings, 186
Negotiation issue:
DRV position, 1
Goldbergs proposal, 142
Harrimans recommendations, 164
Italian peace initiative, 87
Ohio peace initiative, 71
Packers peace initiative, 5, 8, 9, 36, 71, 104
Shah of Irans peace initiative, 104
Vaticans peace initiatives, 139, 333
Paris peace talks:
Ashmore-Baggs mission to DRV re, 184
Bombing cessation leading to military de-escalation, 237
Bombing cessation to promote breakthrough at talks, Soviet appeal for, 265
Bombing expansion threat by U.S., 241
DRV objectives, U.S. speculation re, 189, 249, 311
Instructions for U.S. representatives, 188, 189, 232, 297
Johnsons meetings with U.S. delegates, 225, 227, 279
New approaches, Rusks rejection of, 326
Opening statements, 227
Phase I-Phase II proposal (Zorin proposal), 288, 289, 293, 297, 310
Presidential campaign in U.S. and, 333
Productivity of talks, U.S. debate re, 278
Soviet-U.K. discussions re, 246
Unilateral bombing cessation strategy, U.S. consideration of, 312, 313
U.S. delegation for, 226, 232
Peace talks site determination, 187, 199, 203, 214
Bombing of DRV during site negotiations, 216
Bucharest option, 215
DRV-U.S. private discussions re, proposed, 204, 212, 213, 214, 215
Neutral party to propose site, 215
Soviet involvement, 197
Thants involvement, 215
U.S. requirements for acceptable site, 197
U.S. proposals, 200, 201

Presidential campaign in U.S., 333, 339


Republic of Vietnam (RVN), 52, 298
Republic of Vietnam Armed Forces (RVNAF/ARVN), 64, 67, 132, 134
Tet offensive, 36, 42, 48, 75
Thieus proposed visit to U.S., 261
Troop augmentation by U.S.:
Clifford Task Force recommendations, 92, 104, 105
Congressional involvement, 130, 142
Equipment support, 105
Induction increases, 104
Johnsons meetings re, 64, 65, 67, 70, 74, 86, 91, 104, 105, 130, 142
Public announcement re, 130, 142
Westmorelands requests for, 70, 89
Wheelers Vietnam visit re, 67, 86,
U.S. policy on Vietnam:
ANZUS discussion, 183
"A to Z" review, 120
Declaration of war issue, 64
DRV-NLF split, focus on, 279
Vances possible visit to Vietnam, 74
Wise Mens meetings, 142, 155, 156, 157, 158
Russell, Richard B., 39, 65, 74, 104, 111, 113, 121, 142, 146, 150, 156, 173, 176, 196, 250, 254, 261
Ryan, Gen. John D., 150
Sacred Sword Patriotic League (SSPL), 335
Saigon attacks. See under Communist insurgency.
Saltonstall, Richard, 47
San Antonio formula. See U.S. position under Negotiation issue.
Saunders, Harold Barefoot, 26, 35, 177
Scherer, Ray, 47
Schnittker, John, 177
Schnyder, Felix, 216
Schultze, Charles L., 3
Seaborg, Glenn, 160
Sea Cabin group, 301
Seib, Charles, 209
Seignious, Gen. George, 265, 291
Seitz, Gen. Richard, 86,, 156
Shah of Iran, 104, 214
Sharp, Adm. Ulysses S. Grant, 21, 34, 38, 43, 50, 63, 68, 99, 112, 115, 136, 150, 157, 189, 198, 221, 233
Sheehan, Neil, 116
Shepard, William, 313
Shriver, Sergeant, 149, 240, 281, 305
Sidle, Gen. Winant, 16, 23, 36, 302
Sihanouk, Prince Norodom, 14, 199, 316
Sisco, Joseph, 26, 81,, 199
Smith, Adm. Abbott, 19, 86, 175
Smith, Bromley, 26, 60, 160, 177, 197, 199, 229, 243, 291, 292, 293, 312, 316, 317, 319, 321, 322, 323, 325
Smith, Cyrus, 177
Smith, Hedrick, 116
Smith, Margaret Chase, 39, 142, 196
Sorensen, Theodore, 123, 176
Soviet Union:
Bombing of Soviet ships in DRV ports, 10
Communist insurgency, 19, 78
Czechoslovakia invasion, 316, 336
Military escalation in Vietnam, possible response to, 98
Negotiation issue, 10, 24, 164, 168, 171
Paris peace talks:

Bombing cessation to promote breakthrough at talks, Soviet appeal for, 262, 264, 265,
267, 268, 272, 273, 280, 295
Phase I-Phase II proposal (Zorin proposal), 281, 286
Soviet interest in success of talks, 273
Soviet-U.K. discussions re, 246
Soviet-U.S. discussions re, 240, 247, 252, 273, 280, 281, 282, 286, 289, 300, 305, 322
Peace talks site determination, 191, 197, 199, 200, 206
Troop augmentation by U.S., response to, 95
Sparkman, John, 35, 86,, 109, 111
Special National Intelligence Estimates, SNIE 53-68, 263
Steadman, Richard, 21, 100, 135, 150
Stennis, John, 39, 142, 147, 176
Stewart, Michael, 241, 246
Stillwell, Maj. Gen., 302
Stoessel, Walter, 203, 243
Sullivan, William H., 199, 205, 216, 226, 228, 246
Peace talks site determination, 182, 184, 185, 187, 189, 204, 208, 211, 221
Sutherland, Jack, 47
Swank, Emory, 185
Sweden, 66
Sweet, Charles, 88
Symington, W. Stuart, 142, 196
Tanner, Henry, 15
Taylor, Gen. Maxwell D., 39, 47, 92, 113, 120, 130, 261, 288, 308, 310
Bombing of DRV:
Bombing between 19th and 20th parallels during peace talks, 253
Cessation on unilateral basis proposals, 316
Linkage of bombing level to that of Communist violence, proposed, 319
Resumption of bombing north of 20th parallel if peace talks failed, 244, 249
Saigon attacks by Communists, possible responses to, 258
Communist insurgency, 67, 253, 316, 321
Military program in Vietnam, 104, 185, 249, 253
Paris peace talks:
Bombing cessation leading to military de-escalation issue, 231
Bombing cessation to promote breakthrough at talks, Soviet appeal for, 267
Johnsons meetings with U.S. delegates and foreign policy advisers re, 225, 227, 253,
279
Phase I-Phase II proposal (Zorin proposal), 282, 285, 286, 293
Rostows proposed outline for course of talks, 179
Separate talks on political and military issues, proposed, 282
U.S. agenda for, 179, 223
U.S. delegation for, 179, 226
Tet offensive, 84
Troop augmentation by U.S., 67, 70, 91, 104, 105
Wise Mens meetings, 155, 157, 158
Temple, 304
Tet offensive:
Battle of the Bulge analogy, 58
Bunkers assessment of, 53, 62, 76, 82, 94, 107, 189
Casualties, 39, 43, 49, 50, 53, 60, 62, 72, 75, 76, 94
CIA Saigon Station report on, 40

Communist gains and losses, 72, 88


Communist objectives, 41, 48, 50, 62, 88, 91, 107
Communist recognition of failure, 57
Communist units participating in, 73
Eisenhowers assessment of, 310
Forewarnings of, 32, 40
Intelligence failure by Communists, 72
Intelligence failure by U.S. and RVN, 49, 84
Intelligence reports on, 41, 72, 73, 84
Johnsons meetings re, 36, 39
Johnsons press conference on, 47
Johnsons speech on, 42
"No retreat" instruction to Communist units, 57, 62
Propaganda value for Communists, 40, 43, 49, 55
Property damage, 62, 76, 82, 94
Pueblo crisis and, 39
RVNAF, positive effects in, 338
RVNAF performance, 56, 62, 75, 91
RVN response. See under Republic of Vietnam.
Scope and intensity of, 33, 38, 50
Second wave attacks, 82, 94
Three-phase campaign, 43
Uprising by Vietnamese populace, Communist expectation of, 57, 62, 72, 88, 94
U.S. appraisals of, 37, 49, 75, 76, 88, 290
U.S. Embassy, attack on, 36, 38, 40
U.S. public opinion, impact on, 33
Westmorelands reports on, 34, 38, 43, 50, 185
Thailand, 70, 328
Thang. See Nguyen Duc Thang, Gen.
Thanh Le, 275
Thant, U, 78, 81, 171, 181, 190, 197, 199, 200, 214, 215, 232, 268
Thieu. See Nguyen Van Thieu.
Tho. See Le Duc Tho.
Thompson, Llewellyn E., Jr., 98, 171, 178, 185, 191, 246, 265, 272, 286, 295
303 Committee, 143, 343, 344
Thuy. See Xuan Thuy.
Tibbetts, Margaret Joy, 66
Tomorowicz, Bohdan, 139
Ton That Thien, 245
Toon, Malcolm, 10
Tower, John, 111
Tran Bach Dang, 6
Tran Chanh Thanh, 194, 245
Tran Kim Phuong, 194
Tran Luy, 245
Tran Quang Co, 285
Tran Quoc Buu, 298, 344
Tran Thien Khiem, 245
Tran Van An, 62, 124
Tran Van Dac, Lt. Col., 228, 245
Tran Van Don, 124, 235, 274, 298, 344
Tran Van Hai, 270
Tran Van Huong, 62, 189, 207, 218, 235, 245, 257, 263, 274, 302
Tran Van Tuyen, 62
Trinh. See Nguyen Duy Trinh.
Troop augmentation by U.S.:
Bunkers recommendations, 117
Clifford Task Force recommendations, 92, 100, 102, 103, 104, 105, 114
Communist response, U.S. estimates re, 95
Composition of units to be deployed, 115, 120, 122, 127, 129, 136
Congressional involvement, 105, 130, 142
Equipment support, 91, 105
Financing for, 102, 104, 121, 128, 156
Induction increases, 104
JCS recommendations, 70, 96

Johnsons comments to Robert Kennedy re, 176


Johnsons decisions, 70, 130
Johnsons meetings re, 64, 65, 67, 70, 74, 86, 91, 104, 105, 109, 111, 113, 120, 121, 130, 142
McNamaras recommendations, 69, 70
Press coverage of administration debate re, 116
Problems in Vietnam resulting from, 117
Public announcement re, 130, 142, 167
Rationale for, 64, 68, 70, 99, 119
Reserve call-ups, 70, 74, 91, 102, 103, 104, 111, 128, 129, 189, 239
Resistance in government and the public, 115, 122, 136
Rostows recommendations, 93
Tour of duty extensions, 58, 64, 74, 104, 156
Vietnam and non-Vietnam deployments, 130
Westmorelands requests for, 63, 68, 70, 89, 90, 99, 114, 156, 157
Wheelers recommendations, 90
Wheelers Vietnam visit re, 67, 86, 90, 91
Trudeau, Pierre-Elliot, 232
Trueheart, William, 335
Truman, Harry S, 176, 225
Truong, Gen., 302
Truong Binh Tong, 6
Truong Thai Ton, 245
Tuckner, Howard, 156
Tydings, Joseph, 111
Udall, Stewart, 177
Ullman, Richard, 116
Unger, Leonard, 203
United Kingdom, 24, 246
United Nations, 2
U.S. policy on Vietnam (see also Bombing of DRV; Military program in Vietnam; Troop augmentation by U.S.):
ANZUS discussion re, 183
"A to Z" review, 120, 131
Australian support, 253
Declaration of war issue, 64
De-escalation through negotiation issue, 146, 163, 210, 219
Disengagement from Vietnam, proposals for, 109, 111, 125, 158
DRV-NLF split, focus on, 279
Economic assistance, 257
Financing reduction, 302
Humphrey-Nixon unanimity re, 345
Kennedys proposal for re-evaluation of, 123
Nitzes refusal to testify before Congress, 133, 150, 156
Peace front, 146
Personnel reductions in Vietnam, 46
Political offensive against policy in U.S., 58
Public opinion re, 33, 326
Refugee and medical care programs, 23
Renewal of U.S. public support, OBriens proposal for, 161
Rostows proposed sequence of actions, 148
Wise Mens meetings re, 135, 142, 154, 155, 156, 157, 158
Valenti, Jack, 310
Vance, Cyrus R., 26, 65, 67, 155, 157, 158, 198, 209, 228, 236, 246, 292, 294, 298, 304
Bombing of DRV, 248, 301, 312, 313, 327
Communist insurgency, 307e, 312
Military program in Vietnam, 253, 301
Ohio peace initiative, 342
Paris peace talks:
Bombing cessation leading to military de-escalation issue, 276
Bombing cessation to promote breakthrough at talks, Soviet appeal for, 265

Demilitarized DMZ issue, 234, 299


Informal meetings, initiation of, 271, 281, 284
Informal meetings, reports on, 285, 291, 299, 323, 329, 334
Johnsons briefings for Nixon, 327
Johnsons meetings re, 225, 227, 253
New approaches, Rusks rejection of, 326
Phase I-Phase II proposal (Zorin proposal), 283, 284, 285, 286, 288, 289, 291, 293, 297,
299, 300, 301, 317, 322, 323, 326
Procedural agreement, 229
Restraint by Communist forces, 322
Soviet-U.S. discussions re, 273, 280, 286, 289, 305, 322
Summary report by Harriman and Vance, 312
Unilateral bombing cessation strategy, U.S. consideration of, 312, 313
U.S. delegation for, 179, 186, 187
Vances briefings for, 254, 301
Peace talks site determination, 192
Vietnam visit, proposed, 70, 74
Vann, John Paul, 290
Van Van Cua, 261, 270
Vaticans peace initiatives, 118, 139, 333, 341
Vien. See Cao Van Vien, Gen.
Viet Cong. See National Liberation Front (NLF).
Vietnam. See Democratic Republic of Vietnam; Republic of Vietnam.
Vietnam Alliance of National, Democratic, and Peace Forces, 263
Vo Long Trieu, 62
Vo Nguyen Giap, Gen., 28, 65, 260
Vu Quoc Thuc, 245
Vy. See Nguyen Minh Vy.
Walker, Lannon, 52
Wallace, George, 310
Wallner, Woodruff, 203
Walsh, John P., 6, 165, 241, 246, 297, 327
Walt, Lt. Gen. Lewis, 61, 86,, 301, 324, 328
Warnke, Paul, 59, 78, 92, 100, 105, 106, 119, 150, 180, 189, 233, 286, 293, 320, 324, 328, 337, 340
Washington Post, 130
Washington Star, 209
Watson, Marvin, 104, 232, 339
Weaver, Robert, 177
Welsh, Paul V., 220
Westmoreland, Gen. William C., 143, 159, 219, 221, 270, 333
Army Chief of Staff appointment, 150, 151, 250
Communist insurgency:
Saigon attacks, 23
Second (May) offensive, 228, 232
Status in late February, 85
Third (August) offensive, 310, 324, 328, 333, 340
Three-phase strategy for early conclusion of war, 63, 68
Criticism of, 65, 71
Eisenhowers assessment of, 86,
Government of RVN, assessment of, 185
Khe Sanh campaign, 12, 23, 26, 28, 30, 35, 51, 60, 67, 185
Military program in Vietnam:
Briefings for Johnson, 185, 186
Cambodia, incursions into, 249
Ceasefire issue, 185
Chemical weapons, possible use of, 51
Civilian contractors used in, 91
Disagreements among commanders re strategy, 26

Final advice, 250


Friendly fire casualties, 328
Johnsons meetings with Congressional leaders re, 338
MACV Forward headquarters, 60
Nuclear weapons, possible use of, 51
Offensive operations, 101
Public statements by military officials, policy re, 112
Reconnaissance flights, 186
Tet holiday truce, 21
Troop reduction proposals, 301
U.S. command authority over all Free World forces, proposed, 77
Order of battle estimates, 202
Project Recovery following Tet offensive, 45
Republic of Vietnam Armed Forces (RVNAF/ARVN), 63, 117, 185, 328, 340
Tet offensive, 34, 38, 43, 50, 53, 60, 185, 338
Troop augmentation by U.S.:
Clifford Task Force recommendations, 104, 114
Composition of units to be deployed, 115, 122, 136
Requests for, 63, 68, 70, 89, 90, 99, 114, 156, 157
Resistance in government and the public, 136
Wheelers trip to Vietnam re, 90
Weyand, Lt. Gen. Frederick C., 51, 63, 101, 302
Wheeler, Gen. Earle G., 16, 40, 44, 50, 92, 101, 103, 113, 121, 225, 226, 239, 293, 301, 308, 310, 325, 337, 338
Bombing of DRV:
Aircraft losses, 59
Bombing between 19th and 20th parallels during peace talks, 232, 233, 241, 249, 253,
261
Cessation on unilateral basis proposals, 316
Deferrals of strikes, 3
Effectiveness of bombing, PSAC report on, 251
Hanoi-Haiphong targets, 59, 74, 86,
Linkage of bombing to level of Communist violence, proposed, 319
Peace talks site determination and, 216
Restriction on bombing announced March 31, 144, 166, 172
Resumption of bombing north of 20th parallel if peace talks failed, 256, 260
Saigon attacks by Communists, possible responses to, 205
Communist insurgency:
Aircraft used in, 60, 64
Cambodian sanctuaries, 316
Infiltration into RVN, 156, 198, 232, 238, 253, 340
Saigon attacks, 282
Second (May) offensive, 222, 232
Status in late February, 85
Third (August) offensive, 304, 316, 324, 340
Honolulu Conference, 294
JCS Chairman, continuance as, 150
Khe Sanh campaign, 156, 157
Communist troop strength, 64, 67
Johnsons meetings re, 23, 26, 31, 35
Significance for U.S., 60
U.S. offensive actions, 91
U.S. reinforcement capability, 51, 64
U.S. reinforcement of Khe Sanh prior to attack, 12
Westmorelands assessment of, 30, 185

Military program in Vietnam:


Abrams appointment to command position, 150
Abrams presentation to Wise Men re, 156, 157
Anti-aircraft missiles, 36
Bunkers briefing for Johnson, 189
Cambodia, incursions into, 249
Ceasefire issue, 144
CIA-DOD briefing for Johnson, 162
Civilian contractors used in, 91
Clifford-Wheeler visit to Vietnam, 261, 287, 302, 304
Disagreements among commanders re strategy, 26, 31
Free World forces, 60, 64, 241, 276
Helicopter mishap in Saigon, 261
Hospitals and medical personnel, 60
"Infeasibility of military victory" viewpoint, 241
Landing above DMZ, proposed, 36
Laos, incursions into, 205
Nuclear weapons, possible use of, 51
Offensive operations, 110
Operation Delaware/Lam Son 216, 222
"Protracted effort with few casualties" strategy, 119
Public statements by military officials, policy re, 112
"Search and destroy" operations, 119
Tactical defeat, potential for, 156
Tet holiday truce, 21
Tour of duty extensions, 58, 64, 74, 104, 156
U.S. command authority over all Free World forces, proposed, 70
Westmorelands briefings for Johnson, 185, 186
Wheeler and Abrams positive assessment of, 159, 160
Order of battle estimates, 91, 202, 220
Paris peace talks:
Bombing cessation leading to military de-escalation, 276
Bombing cessation to promote breakthrough at talks, Soviet appeal for, 265
Bombing expansion threat by U.S., 241
Harrimans briefing for Johnson and foreign policy advisers, 279
Instructions for U.S. representatives, 189
Phase I-Phase II proposal (Zorin proposal), 282
U.S. acceptance of DRV offer to initiate talks, 178
U.S. delegation for, 186, 232
Vances briefing for Johnson and Congressional leaders, 254
Vances briefing for Johnson and foreign policy advisers, 253
Peace talks site determination, 216, 221
Press censorship, 119
Republic of Vietnam, urban security in, 90, 91, 119
Republic of Vietnam Armed Forces (RVNAF/ARVN), 64, 91, 104, 304, 340
Tet offensive, 34, 36, 38, 39, 43, 58, 60, 91
Troop augmentation by U.S.:
Clifford Task Force recommendations, 104, 105, 114
Composition of units to be deployed, 115, 120, 122, 127, 136
Equipment support, 105
Induction increases, 104
Johnsons meetings with foreign policy advisers re, 67, 70, 74, 86,, 91, 104, 105, 120,
130, 142
Johnsons meetings with JCS re, 64
Public announcement re, 142, 167
Rationale for, 64, 70, 99, 119
Reserve call-ups, 70, 74, 104
Resistance in government and the public, 115, 122, 136
Westmorelands requests for, 63, 68, 70, 90, 114, 156, 157
Wheelers recommendations, 90

Wheelers Vietnam visit re, 67, 86, 90, 91


U.S. policy on Vietnam:
De-escalation through negotiation issue, 210, 219
Political offensive against policy in U.S., 58
Public opinion re, 326
Wise Mens meetings, 142, 156, 157, 158
Wilson, Harold, 24, 81,
Wilson, Woodrow, 176
Wirtz, Willard, 177
Wise Mens meetings on U.S. policy, 135, 142, 154, 155, 156, 157, 158
Xuan Thuy, 199, 221, 230, 234, 236, 243, 253, 259, 271, 281, 284, 291, 329, 334, 336
Young, Milton, 39, 142, 254
Young, Stephen, 150, 261
Zorin, Valerian, 240, 247, 252, 273, 280, 281, 286, 289, 300, 305, 322
Zwick, Charles, 46, 162

Foreign Relations, 1964-1968, Volume VI, Vietnam, January-August 1968


Released by the Office of the Historian
Documents 1-31

January 1-29: The Continuing Search for Peace and Preparations for the
Enemy's Winter-Spring Offensive
1. Editorial Note
On January 1, 1968, Radio Hanoi broadcast an official North Vietnamese statement made by Foreign Minister Nguyen
Duy Trinh during a reception for a visiting delegation from Mongolia on December 29, 1967, in Hanoi. Trinh's remarks
seemed to refine earlier official remarks and categorically affirmed the single condition under which his government
would enter into discussions on peace in Vietnam. The key part of Trinh's statement reads:
"If the American government really wants conversations, as clearly stated in our declaration of January 28, 1967, it must
first unconditionally cease bombing and all other acts of war against the Democratic Republic of Vietnam. After the
cessation of bombing and all other acts of war against the Democratic Republic of Vietnam, the DRV will start
conversations with the United States on relevant problems."
For the full text of the statement, see American Foreign Policy: Current Documents, 1967, pages 1055-1057. The
operative term used in Trinh's statement was that talks "will" follow a halt rather than "could," as mentioned in previous
proclamations. On January 3 Mai Van Bo, the North Vietnamese representative in Paris, told French Foreign Minister
Etienne Manac'h that the statement was the "direct answer to President Johnson." In addition, he elaborated that "we
will guarantee that the conversations will be explicit (claires) and serious." (Telegram 8741 from Paris, January 7;
National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1967-69, POL 27-14 VIET/RAMS)
The statement was perceived by the United States, however, as neither innovative nor radically different from past
intransigence on Hanoi's part. In a news conference on January 4, Secretary of State Dean Rusk stated that the "use of
the word 'will' instead of 'could' or 'would' seems to be a new formulation of that particular point, but that leaves a great
many questions still open." He suspected the sincerity of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam in light of the fact that the
North Vietnamese ordered an offensive for the winter season and already violated the holiday truces. For Rusk's
remarks, see Department of State Bulletin, January 22, 1968, pages 116-124.
South Vietnamese President Nguyen Van Thieu stated that he "saw no real change" in the North Vietnamese Foreign
Minister's formulation for peace. (Telegram 14927 from Saigon, January 3; National Archives and Records
Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1967-69, POL US-VIET S) The Consulate in Hong Kong, the primary U.S. post for
"China-watching," described the Trinh statement as "a flat contradiction" of China's position on Vietnam and thus a
reflection of the policy differences between the North Vietnamese and the Chinese. (Telegram 3774 from Hong Kong,
January 3; ibid., POL 27 VIET S) According to an Intelligence Note from Thomas Hughes, Director of the Bureau of
Intelligence and Research, to Secretary of State Rusk, January 12, Hanoi responded harshly to the tepid U.S. response;
the North Vietnamese accused the United States of distorting Trinh's statement, putting forward "arrogant" and
"insolent" conditions for a halt, and continuing the escalation of the war. (Ibid.)

2. Memorandum of Conversation/1/
Washington, January 3, 1968.
/1/Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1967-69, POL 27 VIET S. Secret; Exdis.
Drafted by Goldberg and approved in S/S on January 6.
SUBJECT
Viet-Nam and the Security Council--Part 6 of 7
PARTICIPANTS
Ambassador Goldberg and Ambassador Dobrynin
In mid-December Ambassador Dobrynin approached me at a large social function and indicated a strong desire for a
private meeting with me at an early date. After checking with the Secretary and with his concurrence, I arranged a

luncheon in the Secretary's private dining room for the Ambassador and myself on January 3, 1968. My talk with
Ambassador Dobrynin covered a wide variety of topics, and our discussion of two and one-half hours is briefly
summarized as follows:
We then talked briefly about Viet Nam and the Security Council./2/ I told him that our final decision had not been made
but then asked whether in light of the recent statements out of Hanoi the Soviet position about UN involvement had
changed in any way. Dobrynin replied that insofar as he was aware their position remained the same against UN
involvement and then frankly in response to a question from me stated that their position would, as in the past, be
determined by Hanoi's attitude. He added that it had been their view for some time that the NLF position was not
necessarily the same as Hanoi's and expressed the private opinion that it would be highly useful to explore possibilities
through the NLF. I then asked for his reaction to the recent statement of Foreign Minister Trinh of North Vietnam./3/ He
disclaimed any official information about the statement but added that it was not surprising since Hanoi had stated the
same position to Kosygin last February. He added that Kosygin had communicated this to us at the time./4/ I inquired
whether in light of Trinh's statement, the Soviets as a co-chairman of the Geneva Conference would feel at great liberty
to join with the British in reconvening the conference. He replied that the bombing still stood in the way. He then asked
as to the meaning of the President's San Antonio statement/5/ and I replied that I thought the statement spoke for itself
and that I had tried at the UN to express the same concept when I said that negotiations or discussions could only take
place under circumstances which would not disadvantage either side. He then asked whether the words meaningful or
fruitful negotiations were not conditions and I said rather than being conditions they were a simple statement that
negotiations would have to be good faith negotiations.
/2/For the debate over whether to introduce the issue of Vietnam in the UN Security Council, see Foreign Relations,
1964-1968, vol. V, Documents 421 ff.
/3/See Document 1.
/4/Reference is to talks Kosygin held with British Prime Minister Harold Wilson in February 1967; see Foreign Relations,
1964-1968, vol. V, Documents 39 ff.
/5/The President's San Antonio address of September 26, 1967, established a formula for a bombing halt, provided the
halt was followed by "prompt and productive" discussions with the North Vietnamese who would not take advantage
militarily of the cessation. For text, see American Foreign Policy: Current Documents, 1967, pp. 995-999. See also
Foreign Relations, 1964-1968, vol. V, Document 340.

3. Telephone Conversation Between President Johnson and Secretary of Defense McNamara/1/


Washington, January 3, 1968, 2:55 p.m..
/1/Source: Johnson Library, Recordings and Transcripts, Recording of Telephone Conversation Between Johnson and
McNamara, January 3, 1968, 2:55 p.m., Tape F68.01, Side A, PNO 2. No classification marking. This transcript was
prepared specifically for this volume in the Office of the Historian. Johnson called McNamara from his ranch in Texas,
where he remained until January 13. (Ibid., President's Daily Diary)
President: Bob?
McNamara: Yes, Mr. President?
President: Dean just called me and says that he thinks there's some re-strikes scheduled that could be misinterpreted
because of Sihanouk and because of the Romanians./2/ It looks like every time we get to where we can get in with the
weather, why something happens, and I guess the weather is not too good anyway, but-/2/See Document 5 and footnote 4, Document 14.
McNamara: Mr. President, I can't quite hear you.
President: I say, Dean just called me and said that there were some re-strikes scheduled in the Hanoi area and because
of the Sihanouk thing and because of the Romanian thing that he questioned the wisdom of our going in. I asked Buzz
[Wheeler] what was scheduled. He said that there was nothing important except the two bridges and they didn't need to
be hit for the next day or two. I wanted to get your judgment on what you thought about it. Dean Rusk suggested I call

you./3/
/3/Rusk called the President at 2:38 p.m. (Johnson Library, President's Daily Diary) No record of this conversation has
been found. Johnson then called Wheeler at 2:47 p.m. He informed Wheeler that Rusk told him that strikes, including
the re-strikes, which he believed did not involve any especially significant targets, should be prohibited in the area
around Hanoi for a few days due to the situation in Cambodia and the involvement of the Romanians in the peace
process. Wheeler replied that the re-strikes on two bridges in Hanoi were important and that McNamara had told him
that he was not keen on Rusk's proposal. (Ibid., Recordings and Transcripts, Recording of Telephone Conversation
Between Johnson and Wheeler, Tape F68.01, Side A, PNO 1)
McNamara: There are a total of 11 targets authorized for re-strike in the 5-mile area, and 3 other targets that have not
yet been struck but are authorized for strike, and therefore 14 targets authorized on which action would be deferred by
Dean's proposal. I talked to Buzz about it. It was my view, and I think he shared it as he evidently expressed to you, that
deferral of strikes in that 5-mile circle for a period of days would not be serious. The weather's been bad, we haven't
been hitting them regularly anyhow, so I would support Dean's view, although I must also say that I don't think the
political gain of these deferrals is very great either.
President: I don't think we get any gain but we might get some damage just from propaganda-wise, and they always like
to use this as a standard operating excuse.
McNamara: Well, you probably know that two Los Angeles Times reporters are writing a book on this theme and that
sways my judgment as much as anything, the exact point that you just made. And their book could be very damaging
and it would be worse if we went in there in a slam-bang strike when the weather was good and gave any basis for
Hanoi or Cambodia or the Romanians for criticizing us. So I supported Dean's view and I told him to tell that to you.
President: Well, then, let's just tell them, and you tell him that I've talked to you, I wanted to get all the information before
I did, and you tell him and tell Buzz for me, let's hold it off for 2 or 3 days and we'll talk about it a couple of days from
now.
McNamara: It might be helpful, in the orders that go out to the field, if we could put a date on it, subject of course to later
change.
President: I'd tell them 2 or 3 days.
McNamara: Just 2 or 3--it would probably be better if I gave them a date, such as today, the 3d. Would the 6th be
appropriate?
President: Yeah, that's all right.
McNamara: Tentatively the 3d through the 6th.
President: That's all right. Of course, if Sihanouk told us to go to hell in the morning, and the Romanians, whatever
came of that, but I guess that's all right.
McNamara: All right, we'll bring it up to you again.
President: Why don't you just--yeah. That's all right. Or why don't you just tell them not to strike until further notice and
that you expect that there will be at least a 72-hour deferral.
McNamara: That's better.
President: We anticipate a 72-hour deferral. Do not strike within 5 miles of Hanoi until further word.
McNamara: That's good.
President: And then we can give them notice and do it and it doesn't look too bad for the record with other folks.
McNamara: Yes, very good. I'll do that, Mr. President.
President: Any other news?

McNamara: No, sir. I talked to Charlie Schultze/4/ today about the problem of a no tax bill and the expenditure
reductions, and you had talked to him after you had talked to me, and he and I discussed how we'd go about it on the
Defense and non-Defense side and he and I are in accord that we're going to try to get $3 billion of expenditure
reduction out of Defense and $3 billion out of non-Defense. I've being working with my comptroller here, I haven't told
anyone else in the Department, but I would hope by Saturday to have a list of the kinds of actions we'd have to take to
get that $3 billion expenditure reduction.
/4/Director of the Office of Management and Budget Charles L. Schultze.
President: Good. Well, let me know when you're done. I'll be seeing you. You call me now.
McNamara: I'll do it right away.

4. Telegram From the President's Special Assistant (Rostow) to President Johnson in Texas/1/
Washington, January 4, 1968, 0510Z.
/1/Source: Johnson Library, National Security File, Country File, Vietnam, 3J-Bombing Mistakes. Secret; Sensitive;
Literally Eyes Only. This telegram was received at the LBJ Ranch Communications Center at 1:05 a.m. on January 4.
The notation "ps" on the telegram indicates that the President saw it. The President stayed at the Ranch from December
26, 1967, through January 13, 1968.
CAP 80092. 1. Jim Jones has asked me for comment on the Westinghouse interview with Bo in Paris./2/ It must, of
course, be combined with the Trinh formula presented at the Outer Mongolian banquet/3/ and combined with other
evidence as well.
/2/In a January 3 interview with Bernard Redmont, a correspondent for the Westinghouse Broadcasting Corporation, Bo
reportedly had "confirmed more clearly than ever that Hanoi is willing to open peace talks at once if the bombing and all
other acts of war against North Vietnam are halted." See The New York Times, January 4, 1968.
/3/See Document 1.
2. I shall, therefore, divide this report into three parts:
--analysis of Bo and Trinh statements;
--other evidence and analysis of it;
--conclusions and recommendations.
I. Trinh and Bo
3. On the face of it the Trinh and Bo statements meet all but one of the criteria--more or less--built into the San Antonio
formula:
--"prompt". The Westinghouse broadcast, for the first time, says "Hanoi is willing to open peace talks at once if the
bombing etc., are halted."
--"productive". In both the Westinghouse and the Trinh statements Hanoi paraphrases productive as "conversations on
problems interesting the two parties." In line with the Buttercup formula,/4/ the Westinghouse interview sharply
distinguishes those problems between the U.S. and the North (U.S. operations against North Vietnam plus anything
reciprocal they would do with the South) from those matters appropriate to the NLF and Saigon in the South.
/4/See Document 6.
--"assuming". There is no word in public at all, in either the Trinh or the Westinghouse statements, responding to your
"assumption" that Hanoi would not "take advantage" of a bombing pause.

4. This is clearly the greatest gap between Hanoi's apparent present position and San Antonio formula; that is they do
not address themselves at all to the DMZ problem.
5. Now look at these formulae from Hanoi's previous point of view:
--They have dropped "could" for "will"; they have dropped "permanently," leaving only "unconditionally" which could be
as much to our advantage as theirs, because it leaves us freedom of action to resume bombing if in our judgement they
do not meet our "assumption."
6. In short, Hanoi, so far as the public record is concerned, has left us in the position of having some kind of response to
all the elements in the San Antonio formula except reciprocal restraint at the DMZ; since we can continue to bomb in
Laos along the Ho Chi Minh Trail even during a pause.
II. Other Evidence
7. It is certain that these moves by Hanoi are, at least part--and perhaps wholly--an effort to exert increased political and
psychological pressure on you to stop bombing the North. I say this for two reasons:
--We know for certain that various Eastern European friends of Hanoi have been urging them for some time to present a
better face to the world by being "more flexible."
--If they were one hundred percent serious about ending the war they would have used a secret channel to us, not the
public prints, to shift their position and find accommodation with the San Antonio formula.
8. Having said this, I must also say that I think we must keep our minds open to the possibility that they have decided it
is more in their interest to end the war before the November 1968 election than after the election.
9. For at least a year we have known the object of their military operations was not victory in the field in Vietnam but
political victory in the United States. We have generally believed they're holding out until November 1968 in the hope
that American political life would produce a Mendes-France who would accept defeat as the French did in 1954. But
they may have decided now that a pre-election Johnson will give them a better deal than a post-election Johnson or a
Nixon-Rockefeller-Reagan with four years to go.
10. Whether this transition in their thoughts has--or has not--taken place, the following are facts with which we must
reckon:
--They have told the Viet Cong cadres all over South Vietnam that the purpose of the winter-spring offensive is to yield
as soon as a coalition government which the NLF will dominate: they are now promising their long suffering cadres
peace; and this is an important hostage to fortune.
--The new NLF program shifts the NLF from being "the sole legitimate representative of the South Vietnamese people"
to being a participant in a coalition government.
--There is Buttercup, the most persuasive of all the approaches we have thus far had.
--In at least one South Vietnamese province (Long An) the Viet Cong province leader is promising peace by Tet to his
people.
--The Russians have been denouncing Mao as having turned Asia over to the United States to organize by frightening
the peoples of Southeast Asia with "Hitlerite" domination (Soviet speeches on this theme sound very much like our own
speeches about the emergence of the new Asia).
--Hanoi has begun to spread the concept of a neutralized Southeast Asia--not dominated by any other major power; and
Hanoi is also beginning to establish ties to France, Singapore, and elsewhere looking, apparently, to its postwar
development.
--A Rumanian envoy is coming here on January 5th with a message from Hanoi;/5/ and we are returning Buttercup/2 to
meet Buttercup/1 the same day.
/5/See Document 5.

III. Conclusions and Recommendations


11. Keep our powder dry: unless proved to the contrary we must plow ahead with our present plans in both South
Vietnam and with respect to the bombing of the North. We are engaged in a test of nerve and will in which we are being
measured every day. We should not draw back from our present dispositions and operations unless we have reasons of
substance to do so.
12. We must accept that we are being subjected, at the minimum, to a major Hanoi psychological warfare offensive to
get us to stop bombing in order to permit them more cheaply to prolong the war in the South.
13. We should make no move on the Trinh-Westinghouse formula until we hear out the Rumanian envoy on January
5th-6th. Then we must make clear to the envoy and to Hanoi that the San Antonio formula is rock-bottom. You meant
every word that you said about the San Antonio formula in your TV interview.
14. But if the Rumanian message is reasonably forthcoming, we will face a very tough problem:
--should you have a bombing pause and talks "at once" even if you do not have prior assurance on the "assumption" of
"no taking advantage";
--or, should you first negotiate and insist on the assumption of reciprocal action from either side.
15. This is a matter of which, of course, you must judge in the light of all the evidence at the time. We have not heard
the Rumanian yet. I would, however, make this observation: if there is any chance for peace, it is because they want it
before 1968. Therefore, we should, if we get a reasonably forthcoming response from the Rumanians, take it slowly and
carefully despite the pressures that are already building at home and abroad. To make it precise, I think we should send
the Rumanians back to check out the "assumption" before we actually stop bombing--assuming that they confirm at a
formal diplomatic level the Trinh and Westinghouse statements.
16. Finally, we must watch sensitively the Buttercup channel and other indicators of the possibility of a Southern
negotiation. Both the Westinghouse broadcast and Buttercup have, as I noted initially, made the same sharp distinction:
--between a Southern negotiation to settle the political shape of South Vietnam;
--and a U.S.-Hanoi negotiation to stop the bombing (with NVN reciprocal action) and thus set the stage for the
reinstallation of the Geneva Accords of 1954 and 1962--to which the Westinghouse interview refers explicitly.
17. In short, Mr. President, I am beginning to believe my judgement at the time of Ho's letter to you a year ago/6/ could
be wrong. I then said that peace was beyond our grasp until after the November 1968 election. I am now beginning to
open my mind to the possibility that Hanoi may have decided that time is no longer its friend--either on the battle fields of
Vietnam or the battle fields of U.S. politics. But, I repeat, a part of what we see is certainly not diplomacy but political
pressure against us.
/6/For Ho Chi Minh's February 1967 letter to President Johnson, see Foreign Relations, 1964-1968, vol. V, Document
82.
18. On both counts, therefore, we must be prepared to respond actively to what we hear from the Rumanians on
January 5-6 and to what emerges from Buttercup. At a certain point you may wish to cease the initiative. Instead of
counterpunching you may wish to hold their feet to the fire on both the San Antonio formula and your five points on TV.
If you wish this scenario pursued I can continue; but that's enough for tonight.

5. Record of Meeting/1/
Washington, January 5, 1968.
/1/Source: Library of Congress, Manuscript Division, Harriman Papers, Special Files, Public Service, Kennedy-Johnson,
Subject Files, M-Man. Secret; Nodis; Packers. Typed at the top of the page is the notation: "Dean--At Walt's request I
prepared this memo to go to the Ranch. It's inadequate but best I could do briefly on four hours talk. Ben has sent it over
to Walt. Averell." In telegram CAP 80115 to the President, January 5, Rostow suggested Vance, Clifford, Bundy, Taylor,

or Lodge as the negotiator if Packers was successful in producing a halt and subsequent talks. (Johnson Library,
National Security File, Country File, Vietnam, PACKERS (II) continued)
Following are the highlights of this morning's meeting between Governor Harriman and the Romanian First Deputy
Foreign Minister, Macovescu, lasting over two hours followed by lunch:
1. As a result of their conversations with Governor Harriman in Bucharest,/2/ President Ceausescu and Prime Minister
Maurer sent Macovescu to Hanoi. Macovescu was in Hanoi for four days in mid-December and had a number of
meetings with Vietnamese officials, including one long one with Prime Minister Pham Van Dong and two with Foreign
Minister Trinh.
/2/For an account of the meetings of November 28-29, 1967, see Foreign Relations, 1964-1968, vol. V, Document 411.
In a January 2, 1968, meeting, Bogdan told Bundy and Davidson that Macovescu and his staff would arrive on January
5 and would be prepared to stay "as many days as necessary to have all contacts and to fulfill his mission." Bogdan
added that he thought Macovescu "had something" of importance as a result of his meetings in Hanoi. (National
Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1967-69, POL 27-14 VIET/PACKERS)
2. After extended discussion, Macovescu was told in writing with verbal explanations that:
(a) Hanoi will undertake talks with U.S. at any mutually agreeable place, after bombardment of North Vietnam has
unconditionally ceased. However, no interval of time before the meeting was specified. Demand for permanent
cessation of bombardment was definitely dropped.
(b) At the talks Hanoi would put forward its four points and the NLF program as basis for settlement. However, Hanoi
understands the United States to have a different position and is prepared to engage in serious discussions.
(c) There was no mention of the NLF being present at the talks, nor limitation of subjects to be covered.
In addition, Macovescu explained in detail to North Vietnamese the meaning of the assumption of "no advantage" to be
taken of the cessation of bombardment--namely, no increase in the flow of men and supplies to the South or attack
across the DMZ. However, Hanoi characterized the "no advantage" formula as a condition and maintained an
unwillingness to indicate its position. Macovescu clearly understands the adverse effect of a breakdown in negotiations if
Hanoi were to take advantage of the cessation of bombardment and is certain he explained it fully to North Vietnamese.
Macovescu stopped in Peking on his return and reported to Chinese Foreign Office official Romanian and U.S. positions
but not Hanoi's. At first, Chinese appeared to oppose negotiations but at end stated it was a question for Hanoi to
decide.
Macovescu is under instructions for Ceausescu and Maurer to see the President before his return.
Harriman was impressed by Macovescu's meticulous care in clarity of his statements and answers to his questions in
order to avoid any possible misunderstanding on our part of Hanoi's position. It seems clear that Trinh's statement of
December 28 resulted from Macovescu's visit.
A fuller memcon/3/ is being prepared which the Secretary of State will bring with him on Sunday./4/ In the meantime, he
is seeing Macovescu at 11:00 Saturday morning./5/
/3/Dated January 5. (Ibid.)
/4/January 7.
/5/In the meeting the next day, Macovescu told Rusk and Harriman: "The leaders of my government, President
Ceausescu and Prime Minister Maurer, believe that at present there is a minimal set of conditions required to start
conversations with the government in Hanoi. We believe that it is in your interest (and here I emphasize that we have no
intention of interfering in your internal affairs), the interest of Hanoi and the interest of world peace that a gesture be
made towards peaceful settlement of the war in Vietnam." (Memorandum of conversation, January 6; National Archives
and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1967-69, POL 27-14 VIET/PACKERS)

6. Editorial Note
The contacts between the United States and the National Liberation Front (NLF) known as Buttercup began in the fall of
1967 and continued through early 1968. The immediate objective of the Buttercup operation was to secure the
exchange of prisoners; both parties also viewed it as a possible means for generating a dialogue on political issues. For
documentation on the operation in 1967, see Foreign Relations, 1964-1968, volume V, Documents 341 ff. On January 5,
1968, the intermediary Truong Binh Tong and Mai Thi Vang, the wife of NLF Central Committee member Tran Bach
Dang, were released from South Vietnamese custody in order to return to the headquarters of the NLF, the Central
Office for South Vietnam (COSVN). Arriving at COSVN on January 10, Tong met with Dang's secretary, Anh Ba, who, in
addition to questioning him about the American reaction to the original letter Tong had transmitted, which called for an
exchange of political views in addition to a prisoner release, directed him to return with a new offer. (Telegram CAS
6841 from Saigon, January 10; National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1967-69, POL 27-7
VIET S/BUTTERCUP)
Ten days later, Tong arrived in Saigon with a message proposing that the GVN release four prisoners named on a list
passed to the United States the previous October in exchange for the release of two American and two South
Vietnamese prisoners. (Telegram CAS 7321 from Saigon, January 23; ibid.) This proposal followed a January 8 release
by the NLF in Binh Thuan of 14 South Vietnamese officers, 2 of whom were on the exchange list, a move that Secretary
of State Rusk termed "somewhat implausible in terms of the promptness of the action and the belatedness of the word
to us establishing the connection." (CAS telegram from Rusk to Bunker, February 3; Central Intelligence Agency, DO/EA
Files: Job 78-00058R, C/VNO File, BUTTERCUP, Vol. III-1 February 1968) On January 23 the NLF did release the two
American enlisted men in Quang Tin Province and two additional South Vietnamese soldiers in Can Tho Province.
Carrying a reply from the United States, on January 26 Tong left for Viet Cong headquarters in the NLF Military Region
IV in order to make contact with COSVN by radio. The points listed in the reply sent with Tong included: "(a) clarification
of proposed prisoner release by NLF; (b) more formalized and efficient prisoner exchange arrangements in the future;
(c) NLF agreement to using the radio channel or alternatively face to face meetings by representatives from both sides
designated to discuss prisoner exchange matters; and (d) selection of different, more efficient and less dangerous
routes for travel" by Tong on future trips. (Telegrams CAS 297 and 298 from Saigon, January 26; National Archives and
Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1967-69, POL 27-7 VIET S/BUTTERCUP)
On January 27 North Vietnam announced that it would release three American pilots; they returned to the United States
on February 17. In light of this development, the administration became very eager to move forward on Buttercup, and
suggested that the Embassy engineer a reciprocal release of GVN-held Viet Cong prisoners even without waiting for
Tong's return. (Telegram CAS 70173 to Saigon, January 27; ibid.)
Tong arrived back in Saigon on January 29. The message he carried from Dang was disappointing, since it did not
address the points made by the United States in its message sent through Tong and instead called for a continuation of
the same procedures for the second part of the exchange. (Telegram CAS 353 from Saigon, January 29; ibid.)
Difficulties were encountered in persuading the GVN to agree to the release of NLF prisoners, two of whom were killed
during Tet. Working through Vice President Nguyen Cao Ky, however, the Embassy convinced the GVN to agree to the
release of three of the VC prisoners, only one of whom had been on Tong's January list. (Telegram CAS 591 from
Saigon, February 12; Johnson Library, National Security File, Country File, Vietnam, Buttercup Vol. II, and telegrams
from Bunker to Rostow, Rusk, Helms, and McNamara; CAS 730, February 20; and CAS 768, February 22; Central
Intelligence Agency, DO/EA Files: Job 78-00058R, C/VNO File, Buttercup, Vol. III-1 February 1968)
On February 22 Tong returned to COSVN with the Viet Cong prisoners released by the GVN as well as with instructions
to inform Dang that political discussions were still under consideration by the United States. Despite initial U.S. optimism
relating to this channel, no further response was received from Tong, and both sides began to back away from this
contact. (Telegram CAS 896 from Bunker to Rostow, Rusk, McNamara, and Helms, February 27; telegrams from
Bunker to Rostow, Rusk, Clifford, and Helms; CAS 148, April 24; and CAS 654, September 11; ibid.) In a memorandum
to Deputy Executive Secretary John Walsh, May 26, Fred Greene, Director of the Office of Research and Analysis for
East Asia and the Pacific in the Bureau of Intelligence and Research, observed: "It does not seem likely, therefore, that
the Front was prepared, had covert political contacts eventuated, to give very much on its own position; rather such
contacts might have seemed worthwhile in and of themselves as advancing the Front's claim to formal status as the
negotiating partner with the U.S. with regard to ending the war in the South." (National Archives and Records
Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1967-69, POL 27-7 VIET S/BUTTERCUP)
The channel remained moribund until January 16, 1969, when an NLF operative identifying herself as "Madame
Jeanne" telephoned the Embassy in Saigon on the same extension given to Tong and identified herself as his
associate. The GVN, however, immediately raised considerable resistance to pursuing this channel. (Memorandum from
Helms to Secretary of State William P. Rogers, January 27, 1969; Central Intelligence Agency, DCI (Helms) Files, Job
80-B01285A, DCI (Helms) Chrono, Jan.-Jun. 1969)

7. Memorandum From the President's Special Assistant (Leonhart) to the President's Special Assistant
(Rostow)/1/
Washington, January 6, 1968.
/1/Source: Johnson Library, National Security File, Country File, Vietnam, 6G(1)a 12/67-1/68, Talks with Hanoi. Secret.
A notation on the memorandum indicates that Rostow saw it.
1. Herewith rough cuts at:
Stabilizing GVN/RVNAF
Political/Psychological Actions Against the VC
2. My main search has been for measures which will (a) increase GVN willingness to move in phase with us and (b)
minimize our dependence on their assumption of new administrative burdens. Locke's talk with Thieu yesterday
abundantly illustrates the point./2/
/2/As reported in telegram 15140 from Saigon, January 5. (National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59,
Central Files 1967-69, POL US-VIET S) A follow-up conversation with Thieu was reported by Locke in telegram 15269
from Saigon, January 7. (Ibid.)
3. On scenario reflections, the problem of the number of governments with which we may wish to be in early touch will
deserve very careful treatment. "Effective international guarantors", a revised supervisory commission, or new
international inspection force may all be involved. And in addition to whatever claims the 1954 Geneva Nine or the 1962
Geneva Fourteen may have--there are at least the special situations of Japan and Indonesia.
Bill

Attachment 1
STABILIZING THE GVN AND RVNAF FOR AND
DURING NEGOTIATIONS
1. Political. The prime question is agreement on the nature and composition of the political system we seek in Vietnam.
This issue cuts across the negotiations process, SVN cooperation, the requirements of US public opinion. We must be
clear about the design we have in mind and get it right. From it, we can work back to initial negotiating positions-fallbacks--irreducibles--troop dispositions--interim security arrangements--aid strategy--regional development plans.
a. The non-negotiable negatives: No coalition in advance of elections; no partition of SVN; no freeze-in-place during
negotiations.
b. The basics: constitutional order; one-man/one-vote elections; GVN freedom of movement in SVN; "open skies" over
NVN; undiminished GVN control of the armed forces and security establishment.
c. Maneuver areas: (1) present GVN Constitution with representatives in an expanded Assembly elected from where
balloting has not yet taken place--(2) new National Elections under the present Constitution and a revised election law
(primaries and a runoff)--(3) revised Constitution by a new Constituent Assembly followed by new national elections.
Each has advantages--the third would provide the longest stretch out for strengthening the GVN and deferring US troop
withdrawals.
2. Bilateral Arrangements. Once agreement is reached with the GVN "inner group" on the political framework, we will
need general understandings on post-settlement bilateral arrangements. These should include:
--post-settlement MAP and military support costs

--US adviser forces (engineers, technical service elements, instructors, etc.)


--transfer and stand-by maintenance of military installations
--national and regional economic development plans.
3. "Effective International Guarantees"--as stipulated at Manila./3/ We will need to define at an early stage with the GVN
who will be the guarantors and what the case of intervention.
/3/Regarding the discussion of Vietnam at the Manila conference of October 1966, see Foreign Relations, 1964-1968,
vol. IV, Document 284.
4. Negotiating Process. Invite and assure GVN participation from the beginning. Consider Military Advisers Group (in
Saigon) from Troop Contributor Countries.
5. Specific Actions
a. Intensify Pacification--deploying a substantial share of US forces against provincial guerrillas; expanding combined
operations; moving at least one US division to the Delta; increasing air reconnaissance and Market Time operations.
b. Accelerate Anti-Infrastructure Campaign--expanding detention programs and facilities, and emphasizing PRU
operations (increased pressure against the infrastructure is probably indispensable to greater effectiveness of Chieu Hoi
and National Reconciliation appeals).
c. Shift AID Program Emphasis to support of elected village institutions--accelerating movement of civilian supplies to
the countryside, expediting indemnity payments for war damage, energizing land reform, improved rice cultivation, local
education and health programs.
d. Grant Wage and Pay Increases--for GVN and RVNAF, justified in any event (real wages having declined in the
government sector 50 percent since 1964).
e. Organize Civil Constabulary--activate program for combining elements of RF/PF/CIDG/PRU/PFF into a single rural
constabulary under civil auspices and not subject to demobilization arrangements.
f. Assist GVN Information Services--expanding radio and TV operations and rural programs.
g. Increase Support to National Political Building Blocks--labor unions, veterans, farmers associations, sectarian groups.
h. Accelerate and Publicize Post-war Economic Plans--based on Lilienthal-Thuc reports,/4/ and including regional
cooperation programs.
/4/See ibid., vol. V, Document 430.
6. Contingency Plans
a. (US/GVN) Reach general understanding on military consequences of a failure of negotiations.
b. (US Only) Develop a series of leverage actions and contingency measures for any GVN attempt to thwart or sabotage
negotiations--once they appear reasonably productive. These measures should be scaled from reduced US support
through coup frustration to regime succession.

Attachment 2
POLITICAL/PSYCHOLOGICAL ACTIONS AGAINST THE NLF
1. High-level Defector Program could have the greatest pay-off. It should be re-examined at highest levels and pressed

to the maximum.
2. Chieu Hoi--Seek further program improvements in security of camps, living conditions, employment opportunities,
exploitation of individual returnees in VC areas, and information on good treatment by GVN.
3. National Reconciliation--try to persuade GVN to reactivate, offering full amnesties, job opportunities, and political
rights.
4. Designate "No Fire" Areas in each district in SVN where individuals can turn in--with bounties for arms--and
supervised by US civil affairs teams.
5. Establish Substantial Reward System for province or district chiefs who arrange unit defections.
6. Expand Use of Hoi Chanh in Military Operations--increase use of Kit Carson scouts; experiment with Chieu Hoi
Battalions; publicize in VC areas their successes against the VC.
7. Psy Ops Appeals--Convene psyops working groups in Washington and Saigon to review both procedures and
content. Possible new themes:
"Join Winning Side--While You Can"
"Hanoi is Sacrificing the South for Immunity in the North"
"Hanoi is Conspiring with the Chinese to Weaken the VC for an NVN Takeover"
"New GVN Constitution Guarantees Free Elections--It's Better to Vote than to Die"

8. Telegram From the Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs (Bundy) to President
Johnson in Texas/1/
Washington, January 11, 1968, 0227Z.
/1/Source: Johnson Library, National Security File, Country File, Vietnam, PACKERS (II) Continued. Top Secret; Nodis;
Packers. Received at 0408Z at the LBJ Ranch.
CAP 80264. Secretary Rusk and Secretary McNamara recommend that you now arrange to see the Romanian
representative in order to deliver to him the written and oral messages below. These messages have the full
concurrence of Walt Rostow, Nick Katzenbach, and myself, and were drafted in extensive consultation with Governor
Harriman.
If you approve these texts, the Secretaries recommend that you select a member of your staff to work out with Walt or
me an absolutely secure means of flying the representative to the Ranch and return, for an appointment at a time
designated by you. The representative must have his interpreter and his personal aide and note-taker as well; these two
persons are important to enable him to give us and Hanoi what have seemed to us all extremely clear, full, and accurate
accounts of what is said. It is also recommended that Governor Harriman act as escort with his aide, Daniel Davidson,
who has taken all the notes on our side. We believe it essential that a full record of the conversation be made.
Governor Harriman and Davidson could see you before the actual meeting to give you any further background you may
desire. However, we believe the proposed texts speak for themselves.
In our meeting tonight, it was the feeling that Bunker should be given a summary of the Romanian messages and these
texts, for his own personal information and not for revealing to Thieu./2/ We expect to send another message to Bunker
on what he can say to Thieu to ease the tense atmosphere in Saigon, and also a very short statement to the Manila
allies--to the effect that, as Secretary Rusk said in his press conference, we are exploring the meaning of the Trinh
statement and how it relates to your San Antonio formula, we have no information as yet, but will be in touch with them
when and if there is any useful light.
/2/Bunker was authorized to do so in telegram 98130 to Saigon, January 12. (National Archives and Records

Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1967-69, POL 27-14 VIET/PACKERS)


The Romanians should communicate the following written message (in English and French texts) to the DRV:
1. The DRV has communicated to the USG this statement of DRV position:
"If the USG really wants discussions with the Government of the DRV it should first unconditionally cease bombing and
any other acts of war against the DRV. After the unconditional cessation of all bombing and of any other US act of war
against the DRV and at the end of an appropriate period of time the Government of the DRV will enter into serious
discussions with the USG."
The USG welcomes this statement.
2. We understand that Foreign Minister Trinh has stated that "as soon as" all bombing ceases, the DRV "shall be
prepared to receive" a U.S. representative. The USG will be prepared to have its representative have contacts with a
representative of the DRV as soon as all bombing ceases. (The USG believes that the first contacts should take place
almost immediately, perhaps one or two days after the cessation of bombing.) The purpose of these "contacts," which
might be in Vientiane, Rangoon, Bucharest, or some other suitable third-country location, would be to fix the time and
place of serious discussions referred to by the DRV. Arrangement of the necessary modalities for the serious
discussions should take no more than a few days./3/
/3/In a January 8 memorandum to Rusk, Harriman described a meeting that day among himself, Bundy, Davidson, and
the Romanians exploring what they had been told on the issue of talks following a halt: "Macovescu explained that it
was his impression there could be preliminary contacts through diplomatic representatives to exchange points of view
and then after an appropriate period of time official meetings to prepare for negotiations. In other words, he visualized
the possibility of three stages: contacts, official talks and then negotiations." (Ibid.) A full report on this conversation is in
a memorandum of conversation, January 8. (Ibid.) In a January 9 memorandum to Katzenbach, Harriman wrote: "I've
been surprised that a number of people have assumed that Hanoi would insist on having the talks Secret. For my part, I
don't see how it would be possible to keep any talks 'secret' after bombing has stopped. It seems to me the sensible
thing to do is to pick a place such as Rangoon or Bucharest, where the presence of international press is limited. Should
there be contacts prior to the talks, the possibility of which was suggested by Mr. M.[acovescu], I assume these would
be secret." (Ibid.)
3. The USG takes note of the fact that a cessation of aerial and naval bombardment is easily verifiable. In fact, the act of
cessation would be observed immediately internationally and become a matter of public knowledge and speculation. In
these circumstances, the USG believes that the "serious discussions" referred to by the DRV should commence
immediately on the conclusion of the arrangements through the contacts.
4. Obviously it will be important at an appropriate time, in connection with the serious discussions, to accommodate the
interests of all parties directly concerned with the peace of Southeast Asia. One such means is that the DRV and the
USG might suggest to the two co-chairmen, and possibly to the three ICC members, that they be available at the site
chosen for the serious discussions in order to talk to all parties interested in the peace of Southeast Asia. This
procedure could avoid the problems of a formal conference.
5. The USG understands through representatives of the Romanian Government that the serious discussions
contemplated by the DRV would be without limitation as to the matters to be raised by either side. The attitude of the
USG toward peace in Southeast Asia continues to be reflected in the 14 Points and in the Manila Communiqu.
6. The USG draws attention to the statement of President Johnson in San Antonio on September 29 in which he said:
"The United States is willing to stop all aerial and naval bombardment of North Viet-Nam when this will lead promptly to
productive discussions. We, of course, assume that while discussions proceed, North Viet-Nam would not take
advantage of the bombing cessation or limitation."
The Aide-Mmoire handed to the Romanian Government in November, 1967, which we understand was communicated
to the DRV in mid-December, explained this statement in the following language:
"The President, in making his assumption that the North Vietnamese would not take advantage of the bombing
cessation or limitation while discussions proceed, was not assuming North Viet-Nam would cut off entirely its support of
its forces in the South while the armed struggle was continuing; at the same time the USG would feel if NVN sought to
take advantage of the bombing cessation or limitation to increase its support of its forces in the South, to attack our
forces from North of the DMZ or to mount large-scale visible resupply efforts, now impossible, it would not be acting in

good faith."
The USG wishes to confirm to the DRV that this statement remains the position of the USG.
7. The USG would inform the DRV in advance of the exact date of the cessation of aerial and naval bombardment in
order to enable the DRV to have its representative prepared to meet the representative of the USG.
End of Written Message
ORAL POINTS
The following points would be made orally to the Romanian representative:
(A) The Romanian representative should be thanked for his efforts and told that we are confident that he has fully and
faithfully reported the positions of both sides in these matters. We are grateful for this action and have confidence that
he will continue to do so.
(B) He should understand that the first sentence of paragraph 4 in the written message is intended to refer to the
importance of the South Vietnamese Government and other interested parties being present at the site of the
discussions in order to play an appropriate role.
(C) The USG wishes to avoid any misunderstanding also with respect to any allegations which may be made concerning
specific military actions by the USG against the DRV prior to cessation. In deference to the serious intent and sincere
objectives of the mission of the Romanian Government, the USG will refrain for a limited period of time from bombing
within 5 miles of the center of Hanoi or of Haiphong. This information is for the Romanian Government only. The USG
states this as a fact and not as a commitment as to the future, but the USG would not wish the DRV to be informed of
this fact for fear that, as in the past, it could be misinterpreted by them.
(D) The USG awaits with interest the report of the Romanians, after consulting Hanoi, on the foregoing written and oral
points.

9. Memorandum of Conversation/1/
Washington, January 11, 1968, 12:45 p.m.
/1/Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1967-69, POL 27-14 VIET/PACKERS.
Secret; Nodis; Packers. Drafted by Davidson and initialed by Harriman. The meeting was held in Rusk's office.
SUBJECT
Vietnam Peace Talks
PARTICIPANTS
United States
The Secretary
W. Averell Harriman, Ambassador at Large
Daniel I. Davidson, Special Assistant to Gov. Harriman
Romania
First Deputy Foreign Minister George Macovescu
Corneliu Bogdan, Ambassador
Marin Iliescu, First Secretary of Embassy
Sergiu Celac, Third Secretary of Embassy
Rusk: I talked to the President. He regretted that it is not feasible for you to come to the ranch. He had hoped to come to
Washington but there have been problems of scheduling discussions and of other types.
He did ask me to thank you for your visits to Hanoi and Peking.

He asked me to give you a communication. It is in two parts--one oral and one written, and we ask you to convey the
written to Hanoi.
Maybe you want to read it over with your colleagues to see if there is any inaccuracy in our understanding of what you
told us.
Our President will be writing to your President to thank him and to give our views. The President told me this morning
that he would be in immediate touch with your President on this matter.
(The Secretary distributed the written message.)/2/
/2/See Document 8.
This, of course, is a highly confidential communication.
Macovescu: Oh yes.
Rusk: We might go over it paragraph by paragraph to check the accuracy of our understanding of what was said.
Paragraph one is from the public statement, so we assume there is no problem.
Harriman: No, it is not the public statement, but the statement conveyed through the Romanians.
Rusk: I understand.
(About five minutes passed while the group reads the document.)
I don't want to press you. I will be leaving in a few minutes for California. You might discuss further with Ambassador
Harriman the accuracy. The policy matters are between us and Hanoi, but you may wish to talk with the Governor about
detail and accuracy.
Harriman: I would like to bring in Assistant Secretary Bundy.
Rusk: There are also certain oral points I am to make but perhaps the simplest thing is to give them to you in writing with
the understanding that it is to be considered oral.
Macovescu: Understood.
Harriman: You'll note that the first paragraph is our thanks to you.
Rusk: Yes, perhaps I should read that paragraph aloud.
You notice we are telling you that we won't bomb you if you return to Hanoi.
Harriman: Perhaps they won't feel that we were welcoming them as we did last time.
Rusk: In terms of talks, we are making suggestions. If there are other suggestions, they can be considered.
There are two problems. First is the contacts to make arrangements which we refer to as "contacts". Then there are the
more serious discussions. It is difficult to conduct them in secrecy. The bombing will have stopped and the world will
have noted it. If the discussions are in public there are a good many governments and parties who will suggest that they
are entitled to participate. We could lose months, so we proposed--let's see how we put it. In paragraph four, the second
sentence, we say, "one such means". In other words, this suggests that the two Co-chairmen and the three ICC
members send representatives to the location. Anyone else could be in the city available to discuss this with the two or
the five or with each other.
Rusk (cont.): I do not know Peking' s attitude. They may not want to come to a conference but might want to have a man
present at the location. On our side some will want to be present. This is one suggestion that could avoid the problem of
a formal conference. We are willing to hear your suggestions or Hanoi's. It's a problem of modalities--to avoid a formal
conference, but to make all views available. I don't anticipate a big meeting with eight or twelve or fifteen present, but

the two Co-chairmen or the three ICC members might be a communications center talking to the parties and putting
their two or five heads together on the possibilities of agreement.
Macovescu: I have a first question Mr. Secretary. Suppose that after the first contacts the two parties desired to meet
according to certain formulae--one of which you have just presented. This is just for me to see what is the issue and not
a final suggestion on my part. Would you accept to have further negotiations with the Vietnamese alone, without the
presence of any other party there? I repeat, this is not a formal suggestion, but to make me clear in my mind, and if you
don't wish me to discuss this aspect with the Vietnamese, I will not.
Rusk: If the fact of talks becomes public, and I think it will, both sides will have serious problems. In our reply to
Secretary General U Thant in March, we made it clear that other parties must be associated with talks./3/ This does not
mean that there cannot still be bilaterals, but we cannot have a situation where everyone else is excluded. The
Government of Saigon and others present problems. I wouldn't make that suggestion to Hanoi. If they come back with it,
we will look at it but it will be difficult.
/3/On March 15, 1967, the United States delivered a reply of support for U Thant's March 14 call for a standstill ceasefire in Vietnam. For text, see Foreign Relations, 1964-1968, vol. V, Documents 107 and 108.
Macovescu: It is not my suggestion and I won't raise it. I just meant to bring more clarity so that we might better know
your position. If the Vietnamese side raises this problem we shall communicate with you on it.
Rusk: You have a mission in Hanoi?
Macovescu: We just sent a new Ambassador.
Rusk: You have private communications.
Macovescu: Yes.
Rusk: While you are in Hanoi, you may have problems you wish to discuss with us. Ambassador Davis/4/ is a good
friend and very discreet. You may wish to communicate through him.
/4/Richard H. Davis, Ambassador to Romania.
The President did tell me that he probably will be in Washington and that he wishes to see you if you come back.
I was in Texas and could land but not take off. I had to travel over miles of icy roads. The President's schedule has been
completely disrupted.
Harriman: And the security problem is impossible.
Rusk: And we didn't want to delay.
Harriman: I'd like to ask a frank question. I have told the Secretary that the President should address his letter to
Ceausescu and not to Maurer, which is his natural instinct since he met him.
Macovescu: Ceausescu.
Rusk: I'll be leaving for California in a few moments. But Mr. Harriman, our youngest elder statesman, will be available
this afternoon.
Harriman: Any time.
Macovescu: I thank you. Of course I will be needing certain clarifications but as you told me that I may have these
through Governor Harriman--for that reason I won't detain you. I know you are very busy.
I hope that I am not going home empty handed and that we shall be in a position to continue this dialogue between
Hanoi and Washington.

Rusk: Mr. Minister, Governor Harriman and I have been involved in many crises. Don't be discouraged too soon with
your difficulties. We are interested in peace, not in something less. The two sides are still divided by very difficult and
complex problems. The question is peace but on what basis so a certain amount of persistence on your side is required.
Macovescu: We understand the situation as well as you do. We also understand that it is not only complex but also
complicated. We can assure you that we do not discourage easily.
Harriman: They have negotiated with the Russians.
Rusk: If you succeed, you will get the Nobel and Lenin Peace Prizes. If you fail, you will have the satisfaction of having
tried.
Bogdan: Perhaps a Pulitzer Prize for writing a book?
Harriman: We can't give you a Lenin Prize, or recommend you for it, but we can recommend you for a Nobel Prize.
Macovescu: We don't desire a prize, but peace, which will satisfy us sufficiently.
Harriman: I'll see you anytime you wish./5/
/5/Harriman, Bundy, and Davidson met with the Romanian delegation later that evening to clarify the message for the
North Vietnamese. Harriman underscored that the primary concern was to have clarified fully the U.S. position and to
obtain the North Vietnamese reaction to it. "The maximum you can get is that they will meet us in two days or in five
days for serious talks after cessation in Rangoon or Vientiane or elsewhere--the more you can get of this the better but
we are not asking for those precise answers," he told Macovescu. (Memorandum of conversation, January 11, 5:15
p.m.; National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1967-69, POL 27-14 VIET/PACKERS)
Rusk: I am going off to make a speech in California tonight. After the speech I will be asked questions. Do not pay too
much attention to what I say. The document that I have given you is the important thing.

10. Memorandum of Conversation/1/


Washington, January 12, 1968, 7 p.m.
/1/Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1967-69, POL 27 VIET S. Confidential;
Exdis. Drafted by Toon and approved in U on January 15.
SUBJECT
Soviet Note on "Pereyaslavl-Zalesskiy" Incident
PARTICIPANTS
Mr. Yuri N. Chernyakov, Soviet Charg, a.i.
Mr. Nicholas deB Katzenbach, Acting Secretary
Mr. Malcolm Toon, Country Director, Soviet Union Affairs
Chernyakov requested and was given an appointment with the Acting Secretary in order to deliver a note from his
Government in reply to the United States Government note of January 5 with regard to the bombing of the Soviet ship
"Pereyaslavl-Zalesskiy" in the harbor of Haiphong on January 4./2/ A translation of the note is attached./3/
/2/In its January 5 note, the United States apologized for the incident but "neither substantiated nor ruled out" the claim
that the damage was caused by U.S. aircraft. (Ibid.)
/3/Not printed. In its January 12 note, the Soviet Government replied that it could not "acknowledge the reply of the USA
Government to be convincing, since it not only does not contain a clear recognition of the guilt of the American armed
forces in the perpetration of the marauding attack upon a Soviet merchant vessel in violation of all norms of international

law and freedom of navigation, but actually admits the possibility of the repetition of such aggressive acts by the
American air forces." Since Rusk had informed Dobrynin on January 9 of the accidental dropping of 17 undetonated
bombs near Haiphong, the Department was surprised that the Soviet reaction was so muted. (Telegram 96905 to
Moscow, January 10, and telegram 98440 to Moscow, January 13; both ibid.)
Mr. Katzenbach pointed out that the Soviet Government must recognize that ships operating in an area of active
hostilities run certain risks and it was impossible to guarantee that accidents would not happen. As had been made clear
in the United States Government note of January 5, all that could be done was to offer assurances that careful
precautions would be taken to avoid damage to non-hostile shipping in and around North Vietnam. The United States
Government regretted the damage caused to the Soviet ship in the port of Haiphong and hoped that such incidents
could be avoided in the future. It was for this reason that additional information, of which the Charg was undoubtedly
aware, had been passed to Ambassador Dobrynin by the Secretary of State earlier this week. Mr. Katzenbach pointed
out that there could be no real guarantee against damage to Soviet shipping so long as Soviet ships operated in the
North Vietnamese waters.
Chernyakov said his instructions did not go beyond the delivery of the note itself, but he would point out on a personal
basis that attacks on Soviet shipping were in contravention of international law and violation of the principle of freedom
of navigation. In Chernyakov's view the best way to avoid further incidents would be to stop the bombing.
Mr. Katzenbach replied that the bombing could stop tomorrow if the North Vietnamese would comply with the Geneva
accords and withdraw their forces from South Vietnam. If this should be done, then difficulties stemming from such
developments as the January 4 incident involving the "Pereyaslavl-Zalesskiy" would not arise between our two
countries.
Chernyakov referred to Trinh's statement of December 30/4/ and said that it was clear that talks would take place if the
bombing were stopped.
/4/See Document 1.
Mr. Katzenbach said that the United States Government's position on cessation of bombing was clearly set forth by the
President in his San Antonio speech in which the President said that he would be prepared to stop the bombing if it was
clear that such action would lead to productive talks. Was it Chernyakov's view that Trinh's offer was a serious one?
Chernyakov said that his Government certainly regarded Trinh's offer as a serious one and the only way to ascertain if
talks could be productive would be to stop the bombing in order to permit them to take place. He did not wish to criticize
the statements by President Johnson, but he would point out that whereas in the past the President had said that the
United States Government attached no preconditions to talks, the San Antonio formula seemed to impose the condition
that talks must be productive.
Mr. Katzenbach felt that it was wrong to regard the San Antonio formula as imposing conditions on talks. Obviously, if
the North Vietnamese should insist that the agenda for talks be limited to Hanoi's four points, then there would be no
purpose in talks since obviously they could not be productive. This was the meaning of the San Antonio formula in Mr.
Katzenbach's view.
Chernyakov said that he would only point out that in his December 30 statement Trinh made no mention of the four
points.
Chernyakov was asked if his Government planned to publicize the note which he had handed Mr. Katzenbach.
Chernyakov had said his instructions did not refer to publicity and he would point out on a personal basis that his
Government's note of January 4/5/ was made public.
/5/The January 4 Soviet note demanded punishment of those responsible for the incident and called for U.S. assurances
that it would not happen again. (Telegram 94518 to Moscow, January 6; National Archives and Records Administration,
RG 59, Central Files 1967-69, POL 27 VIET S)

11. Telegram From the Embassy in Vietnam to the Department of State/1/


Saigon, January 13, 1968, 1055Z.

/1/Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1967-69, POL 27 VIET S. Secret;
Immediate; Nodis. This telegram is printed in full in Douglas Pike, ed., The Bunker Papers: Reports to the President
from Vietnam, 1967-1973, Vol. 1 (Berkeley, CA: Institute of East Asian Studies), pp. 284-294.
15899. For the President from Bunker. Herewith my thirty-fourth weekly message.
A. General
1. In the present message, I am attempting to give an objective evaluation of the efforts and achievements which, in
common with our Vietnamese and other Free World allies, we have recorded during 1967. This represents not only my
own views but also those of the major elements of the Mission so that in effect it represents a Mission consensus. In the
next message, I hope to outline the major problem areas we foresee and to summarize the actions we plan to take to
deal with them in the year ahead.
2. The past year has been one of sustained and unremitting effort and I believe has seen enough achievements to give
us every encouragement to continue along the present lines. We can have confidence that the successful defense of the
Republic of Viet-Nam against Communist aggression and subversion is assured. Our efforts have been magnificently
supported by you and by the American people, who have contributed in men and money to a degree unparalleled in our
own history, to the defense of a people far from our shores. But as you have often said, the cost in men and money,
heavy as it has been, cannot be compared to what the cost would ultimately be if we allowed Communist aggression
and subversion to succeed in Viet-Nam. All of us working in the Mission here are convinced that what we do will affect
not only the future of Viet-Nam but all of the countries in this part of the world who wish to be free and so has a direct
bearing on our own vital national interests.
3. The achievements of the past year, I believe, fall into three main categories. In the field of military operations the
bringing into proper balance of the ratio of combat to support troops in the U.S. forces and the steady improvement of
the Vietnamese armed forces, together with the contributions of our Free World allies, resulted in increasingly effective
actions against the enemy. He has been thwarted in his attempts at penetration south of the DMZ, his bases
increasingly neutralized, and he has been steadily pushed back toward the Laotian and Cambodian borders. Viet Cong
recruitment and morale have declined. Lines of communication have been steadily opened up, commerce and trade
thus permitted to develop.
4. Slow but steady progress in pacification combined with military successes have brought a steadily increasing
proportion of the population under government control, now about 67 percent, with a corresponding decrease under Viet
Cong control, approximately 17 percent, the balance being in contested areas.
5. Progress in these two categories were essential elements in the progress achieved in the third, that of constitutional
development. Perhaps the major achievement of the year has been stabilization of the government and the opening and
democratization of the political system. People have been able to vote for local, village, and hamlet officials thus
marking the beginning of the reinstitution of local self-government. The promulgation of the Constitution opened the way
for the election of a President, Vice President, and a National Assembly. The inauguration of the new government
marked a beginning of fully constitutional processes and the change-over to civilian rule. The immediate problem now
facing us is to encourage, prod, persuade, and draw our Vietnamese allies to use their new political and governmental
structure to face up to and resolve more effectively the problems of defense and growth that have beset them for many
years.
6. I think these achievements reflect favorably on the Vietnamese people. For them the struggle against the
Communists has been going on for more than twenty years, and their losses have been heavy. But we can now see
growth of a conviction among them that they can and will see the struggle through to a successful conclusion. Their
concerns now turn more directly on the nature and form of a final settlement and the position it would leave them in,
located immediately next to an unremittingly hostile neighbor. Their concern is with the consequences of success rather
than with the results of failure.
7. Our defects in the field of public affairs, both here as well as in Washington, have required imagination and energy.
We have sought to present the true dimensions of the conflict in Viet-Nam to American and world public opinion as
objectively and fairly as we can, but we have had to do this through a press which, it seems to me, has been unusually
skeptical and cynical. One experienced journalist gave an explanation for this which may have validity, i.e., that there is
a generation gap here in that many of the young reporters have never seen nor experienced war before and
consequently suffer from an emotional trauma which results in subjective reporting. However that may be, the result of
all this is that there tend to be two separate and only partially connected realities: the view of Viet-Nam as we see it here
in Viet-Nam and the view that is being presented to American and world public opinion. This problem has engaged
major attention during the past year and will continue to have our attention in the future. I think we have made some,
though limited, progress in dealing with it.

[Omitted here is discussion of progress during 1967 on political, military, pacification, and economic matters.]
Bunker

12. Memorandum From the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (Wheeler) to Secretary of Defense McNamara/1/
CM-2908-68
Washington, January 13, 1968.
/1/Source: Washington National Records Center, Department of Defense, OSD Files: FRC 330 73 A 1304, 1968 Files,
VIET 385. Top Secret. A stamped notation on the memorandum indicates that McNamara saw it on January 15.
According to a January 8 memorandum from Carver to Helms, entitled "The Enemy Threat to Khe Sanh, A Speculative
Appraisal," intelligence reports indicated that elements from four NVA divisions had been moved into the area around
Khe Sanh in preparation for an attack. The memorandum concluded that the enemy's objectives were, at a minimum, to
force abandonment of the base and, at a maximum, "to draw substantial U.S. reinforcements from other areas in South
Vietnam and tie them down in the Khe Sanh area." (Central Intelligence Agency, Executive Registry Subject Files, Job
80-R01284A, DCI/ER Files, ER Files-Special Material 01 Jan-28 Feb 1968)
SUBJECT
Khe Sanh (U)
Recently, two differing views of the situation in the Khe Sanh area came to my attention. Briefly, these are: (1)
preempting an enemy assault in the Khe Sanh area by an offensive into Laos; (2) a complete withdrawal from Khe
Sanh. I do not personally subscribe to either of these views, both of which overlook important factors. However, since
these two propositions have reportedly been given prominent attention at high non-military levels, I considered that it
would be useful to have General Westmoreland's comments on them and on the Khe Sanh situation in general./2/ I
have now received his comments and I provide them to you, in the succeeding paragraphs, for your information.
/2/In telegram JCS 343, January 11, Wheeler requested Westmoreland's views on each option. The first was phrased
as "the possibility of turning an attack against the Khe Sanh to our advantage, that is, Dien Bien Phu in reverse. This
view argues the possibility of capitalizing on an attack against Khe Sanh by striking the enemy from the rear in Laos and
proceeding to attack enemy bases in the area, perhaps as far west as Tchepone, in a relatively short campaign." The
second was phrased as "withdrawal from Khe Sanh because the enemy is building toward a Dien Bien Phu. This
argument is based upon the following premises: A. The Road to Khe Sanh has been cut. B. We do not control the
commanding hills. C. The enemy is bringing up artillery which will be able to control the airfield. D. A withdrawal now
could be done without much public notice. E. There is an awkward relationship between COMUSMACV and the Marine
commander which makes the Marines reluctant to withdraw and COMUSMACV reluctant to direct them to do
so." (Johnson Library, William C. Westmoreland Papers, Eyes Only Message File, 1 Jan.-31 Jan. 1968)
"1. I have just returned from a visit with General Cushman during which we discussed contingency plans for reinforcing
Khe Sanh and the I Corps Tactical Zone (CTZ). General Cushman has two USMC battalions in Khe Sanh now and
contingency plans for augmenting this force with an additional USMC battalion on eight hour notice, followed by a
second battalion on twelve hour notice, and by SLF forces. Additionally, and as a result of the above discussion, I have
directed him as a matter of first priority to alert a brigade of the Americal Division to move into the Hue/Phu Bai area.
This can be done quickly with fixed wing or rotary wing aircraft.
"2. As a second priority we are prepared to reinforce I CTZ in the Hue/Phu Bai, Danang, or Chu Lai areas in that priority
with another brigade, either from the 101st Airborne Division or from the 1st Cavalry Division.
"3. Additional actions underway include the following:
"a. As the ROK Marine Brigade moves into the Danang tactical area of responsibility (TAOR), elements of the 1st
Marine Division are being released for deployment north of Ai-Van pass. This in turn is releasing elements of the 3d
Marine Division for movement into Quang Tri province. Two battalions of the ROK Marine Brigade have completed their
movement and four battalions of the 1st Marine Division are now north of Ai-Van pass. This move will be completed by
31 January with four ROK battalions in the Danang TAOR and five 1st Marine Division battalions north of the pass.
"b. The JGS has agreed to deploy a task force of two airborne battalions to I CTZ on or about 15 January 1968, bringing
to four the number of ARVN airborne battalions in I CTZ.

"c. We are developing priority targets in Operation Niagara/3/ for a sustained Arc Light campaign, augmented by tactical
air, beginning not later than 18 January. We plan to concentrate on targets in RVN prior to Tet with approximately 75
percent or more of our total effort. During and following the Tet cease fire, we will strike targets in Laos. This operation
also includes a slam type operation in the Khe Sanh area by 7th Air Force. In conjunction with our sustained Arc Light
campaign, I am requesting (by separate communication) a further step up in the B-52 accelerated program now
scheduled to begin 20 January.
/3/A clearing operation involving bombing and artillery shelling of enemy positions around Khe Sanh.
"d. We are also requesting that a carrier be alerted to be brought in to augment tactical air, and the prompt return of the
SLF for commitment to either the 3d or 1st Marine Division areas.
"e. Maximum number of NGF support ships will be concentrated in the I CTZ.
"4. Regarding view (1), above, my concept for operations in Laos is outlined in Operation El Paso, proposed for October
1968. Preempting a Khe Sanh area assault by an offensive into Laos is neither logistically nor tactically feasible at this
time. Significant considerations include the following:
"a. To be effective, a Laotian assault should be launched in the near future.
"b. With the NE monsoon upon us, launching and supporting the magnitude of force envisioned is not within our current
capability. An air LOC is essential and flying weather is marginal. Additionally, our airlift capabilities are inadequate to
support both this concept and an acceptable tactical posture in other RVN threat areas at this time.
"c. We estimate sizable enemy forces to be in the Tchepone area and to the north thereof; thus a brief successful
campaign there may not be possible.
"5. Regarding a withdrawal from Khe Sanh, I consider this area critical to us from a tactical standpoint as a launch base
for Special Operations Group (SOG) teams and as flank security for the strong point obstacle system; it is even more
critical from a psychological viewpoint. To relinquish this area would be a major propaganda victory for the enemy. Its
loss would seriously affect Vietnamese and US morale. In short, withdrawal would be a tremendous step backwards.
"6. Although there are some in non-military circles who favor the concept of retreating into enclaves, I must reiterate that
such a strategy merely returns the center of violence to the midst of the RVN people in the populated centers. On the
other hand, a massive assault into Laos is not feasible in the near time frame.
"7. In view of the enemy capability to initiate a major offensive in Quang Tri province before Tet, I would prefer to defend
with force deployment and combat support as indicated above. I will submit additional support requirements separately
for Arc Light, Carrier and NGF support."
Earle G. Wheeler
Chairman
Joint Chiefs of Staff

13. Editorial Note


On January 17, 1968, President Lyndon Johnson delivered his annual message to Congress on the State of the Union.
In the speech, the President discussed the prospects for peace in Vietnam:
"Right now we are exploring the meaning of Hanoi's recent statement. There is no mystery about the questions which
must be answered before the bombing is stopped. We believe that any talks should follow the San Antonio formula that I
stated last September, which said:
"--The bombing would stop immediately if talks would take place promptly and with reasonable hopes that they would be
productive.
"--And the other side must not take advantage of our restraint as they have in the past.

"This Nation simply cannot accept anything less without jeopardizing the lives of our men and of our allies. If a basis for
peace talks can be established on the San Antonio foundations--and it is my hope and my prayer that they can--we
would consult with our allies and with the other side to see if a complete cessation of hostilities--a really true cease-fire-could be made the first order of business. I will report at the earliest possible moment the results of these explorations to
the American people."
For full text of the speech, see Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States: Lyndon B. Johnson, 1968-69, Book
I, pages 25-33.

14. Telegram From the Embassy in Vietnam to the Department of State/1/


Saigon, January 17, 1968, 1115Z.
/1/Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1967-69, POL 27 VIET S. Secret;
Immediate; Nodis. Received at 8:01 a.m. and passed to the White House. This telegram is printed in full in Pike, ed.,
The Bunker Papers, Vol. 2, pp. 295-301.
16225. For the President from Bunker. Herewith my thirty-fifth weekly message:
A. General
1. I indicated in my last weekly message/2/ that I would be sending my assessment of problems and prospects for 1968
in my next message. I have now deferred this for a week in order to assure that a more careful and comprehensive
analysis can be prepared. The following report therefore covers normal developments of the past ten days.
/2/Document 11.
2. Viet-Nam is now entering its annual pre-Tet lull when most activities are either slowed or halted altogether in favor of
preparations for the great annual Tet holiday, which is a celebration which resembles our Christmas, New Years, and
Thanksgiving all rolled into one.
3. Indeed approaching Tet season is the official explanation of the reason given for calling a halt to the conflict between
the government and the CVT labor union which arose because of the demands of the employees of the former French
owned power company for pay increases. The strike had already spread to other segments of the work force. Although
there were other compelling reasons for calling a halt to the conflict between the government and the CVT labor union,
following a meeting of labor leaders and government officials which lasted until 3 in the morning, the CVT yesterday
issued a communiqu stopping all strikes in the interest of not inconveniencing the people before the Tet holiday.
4. If the Tet spirit helped to smooth over the clash between the CVT and the government, it has not yet allayed the
widespread concern about the possibility that the U.S. will make a deal with Hanoi or the NLF which will ultimately result
in a Communist takeover of South Viet-Nam. The Trinh statement on negotiations set off a wave of speculation that
continues to touch all facets of Vietnamese political life. The Senate discussed the question of the GVN position with
regard to the NLF on January 3, and most speakers stressed their belief that coalition government is a Communist tactic
aimed at accomplishing by political means what they have failed to do by military action. The chairman of the Senate as
well as a number of other Senators and lower house Deputies have expressed their deep concern to us privately. Some
military leaders have gone so far as to talk privately of a coup if a coalition government seems imminent. Even militant
Buddhist leaders and "Struggle" elements have expressed such fears and counseled against any dealings with the NLF
which will give the Front any status other than that of Hanoi's instrument. These fears have been echoed and agitated
by the press. For six weeks editorial comment has been dominated by such things as the possibility of U.S. recognition
of the NLF and the bogey of coalition government.
5. President Thieu has responded to these anxieties by a series of statements designed to show that he is determined
to oppose and prevent any policy moves from any quarter which will result in a Communist takeover here. On January 5
he told journalists that he will crush all peace moves which favor the formation of coalition government. He made several
similar statements in the following days, and on January 15 he made a major speech in which he set out the
government position on the peace issue. He warned against a bombing pause without any reciprocal action by the
Communists, and he said that the Communists are trying to get the allies to negotiate with the NLF in order to "obtain
acceptance of a 'coalition government' in which the Communist elements, as Trojan horses, will gradually take over the
whole of South Viet-Nam."

6. I think that Thieu's remarks reflect his own general thinking, though he is personally more flexible than the
uncompromising tone of his speech might seem to indicate. For example, he repeated to me recently what he had said
as long ago as last August that he could and was not unwilling to probe the NLF but that this must be done secretly and
that he could do nothing unless and until public speculation and talk subsided. But whatever his personal view of these
matters, the speech certainly reflects his reading of Vietnamese political realities. Thieu clearly does not think that he
can take any other position publicly without risking loss of support from both military and civilian leaders.
7. I expect that the Secretary's very good statement of January 15/3/ will help to reduce the fears that we are going to
sell out South Viet-Nam, and in turn that should make such reactions as Thieu's January speech less necessary. In fact,
Thieu yesterday told me that the agitation and the fears which had been sweeping the country were like a wave. The
crest had been reached and it was not subsiding. The problem of handling Vietnamese opinion will continue to be with
us, however, all the more so if Hanoi in fact proves to have any sincere intention of seeking an acceptable solution to
this conflict.
/3/Rusk assured the GVN that "it goes without saying that the future of South Vietnam could not be decided without full
participation of the legal and constitutional government of South Vietnam." See The New York Times, January 16, 1968.
8. Concentrating as they are on the possibilities of negotiations with Hanoi and the NLF, most Vietnamese leaders have
had little to say about the Bowles mission to Cambodia and the resulting communiqu./4/ Comment has been mildly
favorable for the most part, though I think no one really expects much in the way of concrete results. In his January 15
speech, Thieu restated the government's position on the Cambodian border question in rather harsh terms. The tone of
his remarks unfortunately reflects the continuing [garble--antipathy?] which most Vietnamese leaders feel for Sihanouk
personally as well as Thieu's understandable anger over the great assistance which Cambodian policies have given to
the enemies of a free South Viet-Nam. I tried to get Thieu to eliminate one paragraph referring to Sihanouk personally
but he reacted rather strongly and said that while obviously Sihanouk did not have to talk to the Vietnamese, the least
he could do was to be correct. Thieu and Ky, however, in private conversations with Phil Habib and me have agreed that
the Bowles mission was a useful exercise and that Sihanouk's intentions should now be tested more concretely.
/4/In a January 4 press conference, Rusk announced that Ambassador to India Chester Bowles would travel to
Cambodia to discuss with Sihanouk measures to restrict the presence of NVA/VC forces in Cambodia. See Department
of State Bulletin, January 22, 1968, pp. 116-124. In a January 12 joint communiqu resulting from Bowles' trip, Sihanouk
renewed his pledge to strengthen the ICC's role in ensuring Cambodian territorial integrity, especially through the
policing of border areas. They did not, however, reach accord on "hot pursuit" of Communist forces into Cambodian
territory. See ibid., January 29, 1968, pp. 133-134. See also Foreign Relations, 1964-1968, vol. XXVII, Documents 105
ff.
[Omitted here are sections on Priority Programs, Other Reports on Efforts to Improve Civil Administration, and sections
on Political, Pacification, Economic Issues, Chieu Hoi, and Americans and Vietnamese Killed.]
Bunker

15. Record of Telephone Conversation Between Henry Kissinger and the Executive Secretary of the Department
of State (Read)/1/
Washington, January 17, 1968, 7:30 a.m.
/1/Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1967-69, POL 27-14
VIET/PENNSYLVANIA. Secret; Nodis; Pennsylvania. The Pennsylvania peace effort involved the efforts of Kissinger to
conduct direct talks with Bo through two French intermediaries, Raymond Aubrac and Herbert Marcovich. For additional
documentation, see Foreign Relations, 1964-1968, vol. V, Documents 306 ff.
1. At 9:00 p.m. Paris time January 16, Bo called Marcovich and asked him if he could stop by to see Bo at an early time.
M went over to see him immediately and had a two hour conversation, which he reported to Kissinger at 5:30 a.m. EST
this morning.
2. Bo opened by saying that the breakoff in conversations with M & A last October was occasioned by general
conditions and the DRV still held both of them in high personal esteem.
3. Bo called attention to the interview he had given to the French radio and television network earlier in the evening (see
page 1 NYT story today by Henry Tanner),/2/ and read him the Q and A about Hanoi's commitment to talk an

appropriate time after cessation of the bombing.


/2/In the interview conducted on January 16, Bo confirmed that the Trinh formula was "perfectly clear," stating notably
that "all political observers have underlined the changes for the conditional to the future in the remarks of December 29."
See The New York Times, January 17, 1968.
4. M asked what the DRV meant by "an appropriate time", and Bo replied that conversations would begin "just as soon
as it will be established that the cessation is effective."
5. M asked whether it would now be possible for Bo to receive Kissinger, and Bo replied that under existing
circumstances any such request would be taken into consideration./3/
/3/Later that day, Kissinger informed Read that he had given the following message to Marcovich for Bo: "a. Thanks for
your message. b. If you (B) wish to see me directly, I will make an effort to come although my schedule is
full." (Memorandum of telephone conversation between Kissinger and Read, January 17, 6 p.m.; National Archives and
Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1967-69, POL 27-14 VIET/PENNSYLVANIA) According to a memorandum
of a telephone conversation, January 18, 9 a.m., in which Kissinger reported to Read that Marcovich had delivered the
message to Bo, Kissinger told Read that "Bo thanked M and opened the envelope in his presence but did not discuss it
with M. Bo said that he hoped 'things were going somewhere this time'. M reports the atmosphere was cordial." (Ibid.)

16. Memorandum for the Record/1/


Washington, January 17, 1968.
/1/Source: Washington National Records Center, Department of Defense, OSD Files: FRC 330 73 A 1304, VIET 092.
Top Secret; Sensitive. An attached note from Wheeler to Nitze, January 18, reads: "Paul--Herewith a copy of a Memo
for Record by Bill DePuy concerning situation in SVN. I propose to give a copy to each member of the No-Name
Committee at our meeting this afternoon. You will note he reports Komer et al. at some variance with the CIA report on
the same subject & Amb. Bunker's 35th Weekly Report. Bus."
SUBJECT
Conversations with Ambassador Komer and Major General Forsythe--COORDS, MACV
1. Both Ambassador Komer and General Forsythe are extremely disquieted by the situation in the GVN at this time. The
basis for their unhappiness and concern goes something like this:
a. The GVN is simply not functioning at this time. The various ministries have not organized themselves nor have they
launched into the new programs mentioned by Thieu in his inaugural statement.
b. The reorganization of the RVNAF which was worked out on a combined basis with MACV and which would reduce
the power of the Corp Commanders and the Division Commanders in respect to their relationship with the provinces as
well as the regional and popular forces has been frustrated by a series of crippling stipulations. For example, it is not to
go into effect until:
(1) The military situation is propitious.
(2) The provincial staffs are beefed up.
(3) The provincial staffs have reached an unstated higher level of training and quality.
c. Corrupt Province Chiefs have not been removed.
d. Province Chief designees have not been sent to the Vung Tau School and now will receive a watered down course in
Saigon instead, but this has not yet started.
e. The Vice Chief of the JGS (until recently General Thang) has not been given authority for Provincial affairs. This
simply means that the Corps Commanders continue to exercise their "war lord" authorities without regard to Saigon and
the particularly unresponsive Corps Commanders in the 2nd and 4th Corps have not been removed./2/

/2/According to a January 20 discussion with Forsythe reported in telegram 16712 from Saigon, January 23, Thieu noted
that the reorganization of the RVNAF that began on January 2 ultimately would result in the termination of all but a
supporting role in pacification by the division and corps commanders, thereby removing them from the "political arena"
in order to concentrate on the "military arena." (National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files
1967-69, POL US-VIET S)
2. At the moment the Thang case is center of stage. Thang demanded increased authority along the lines of the
reorganization plan and demanded the relief of Vinh Loc and Manh in 2nd and 4th Corps respectively. He stated that
there was no point in going through the pacification planning cycle while these two Corps Commanders continued to
ignore Saigon authority. Thieu refused to let Thang resign but said he could not move that rapidly. Thang is cooling his
heels at home./3/ Thieu continues to refer to the post Tet period when he claims all these problems will be solved. There
is only a little confidence in Saigon that this will be the case. What worries Bunker, Westmoreland and Komer and
Company at the moment is that the press which had called a moratorium of four months on criticism of the Government
is now on to the fact that Thang has been sidetracked. General Sidle is of the opinion that this will blow the thing wide
open and the press will take off after the inactivity--in fact the back sliding--of the Government. The Thang case, of
course, is only symptomatic and the last thing he wants is a lot of American help at this time. He believes that if he is
reinstated under American pressure that Thieu will only go through the motions and give him no real authority./4/
/3/In a January 17 memorandum to Rusk, McNamara, Wheeler, and Rostow, Helms noted the Saigon CIA Station's
opinion that Thang's resignation was "a serious threat to the GVN pacification effort" because he had "provided a quality
of leadership and courage in his relationships with other senior military leaders that, one can safely predict, will not be
replaced." The Station suggested that the situation be kept "in a state of suspense" so that Thang's role in pacification
might somehow be saved. (Department of Defense, Official Records of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, 970/305 (29 Sep 67), IR
2554, Sea Cabin)
/4/Forsythe and Komer met with Thang and his designated replacement, General Nguyen Van La, on January 24.
Thang listed the most important objectives of the GVN pacification effort, especially focusing on means to improve the
RF/PF in terms of morale, manpower, and its contribution to RD. In addition, means for more effectively training
province and district level officials had to be ensured. (Memorandum for the Record, January 24; U.S. Army Center of
Military History, DepCORDS/MACV Papers, 103. RD Liaison: 1968)
3. Thieu thinks he is faced with conflicts between three major constituencies:
a. The electorate and the new lower and upper houses.
b. The senior generals who placed him at the head of the ticket in lieu of Ky.
c. The Americans.
4. Thieu, in long conversations with General Forsythe, who has a special relationship with him, seems to understand the
problem only too well--in fact exaggerates the danger of a coup. His approach apparently is to move toward
reorganization very slowly and thus gradually to diminish the powers of his military constituency. Whether he will do this
is by no means certain. That he will proceed with great caution and slow speed is highly likely. In the meantime, the RD
Cadre and the Province RD Chiefs are having a morale crisis. The Junior Officers of the Army are increasingly restive in
that nothing has been done about corruption in the Armed Forces. The Government ministers and ministries feel that
they have no authority to move out on new programs nor are they getting any support from Thieu. The Prime Minister,
Loc, is involved in some kind of a balancing act between Thieu and Ky.
5. This all adds up to an absence of forward motion and an apparent inability to make the basic organizational and
personality decisions which would put the Government on the road. Komer considers this to be intolerable, given the
weight of U.S. investment in blood, dollars and effort. He feels the crunch is coming and that we are very close to the
time when the U.S. must somehow force the GVN to make decisions and move out. All this of course, is a perfect
example of the so-called theory of leverage. There is simply no possibility of applying effective leverage anywhere below
the top level in Saigon with any success unless and until the Bunker/Westmoreland/Komer level has applied adequate
leverage at their level. This view, by the way, is very wide-spread amongst the successively lower echelons in the
American military and civil structure.
6. Given the GVN sensitivity to U.S. activities related to possible negotiations, this may well be as difficult a time as any
to put the heat on the GVN. This does not change the fact that we are close to a time when this nettle must be grasped.
It would be far better to do it now before the press mounts an attack against the GVN for inactivity. There is a current
preoccupation with the likelihood of a major NVA effort in the Northern provinces (probably Khe Sanh) which can
probably be handled from a military standpoint after a number of bloody fights. But in the long run, the immobility of the
GVN is the more serious and most difficult problem. It may be necessary for the U.S. high command in Saigon, not only

to make certain demands to the GVN for specific actions, such as reorganization, but also to involve itself in whatever
scenarios may be necessary to remove the power of the Corps Commanders. Of all the things regarding SVN that
should be worrying Washington now, it is my opinion that this subject should be number one./5/
/5/In a memorandum to the Senior Advisers for each CTZ, January 18, Komer outlined final COMUSMACV-approved
guidelines for the 1968 pacification effort. (National Archives and Records Administration, RG 472, MACV
Headquarters, CORDS Office Files, 1966-1969, 1601-04--CORDS Correspondence and Unidentified Files (Folder 2 of
2))
W.E. DePuy
Major General, USA

17. Memorandum From the President's Special Consultant (Roche) to President Johnson/1/
Washington, January 18, 1968.
/1/Source: Johnson Library, National Security File, Country File, Vietnam, 6 G (1)a, 12/67-1/68, Talks with Hanoi. Eyes
Only. Received at 3:55 p.m. An attached note from Johnson to Rostow, January 18, 6 p.m., reads: "Raise the question
with the proper people." A handwritten notation reads: "done 1/19/68."
I recognize (and respect up to a point) the attitude that Secretary Rusk, Bill Bundy and others have about "gimmicks" or
"grandstand plays."/2/
/2/On January 4 Roche sent a memorandum to Rostow which reads: "Why not try a little dirty pool and see what
happens? 1. We announce that our negotiating team will be in Geneva tomorrow. 2. We announce that there will be an
'unconditional' bombing pause. 3. We announce that if there is a DRV negotiating team there and that 'productive
discussions' are initiated, and no military advantage is taken of the pause, the 'unconditional' pause will be extended. I
don't have much use for gimmicks, by and large, but this puts the ball in their court." (Ibid., 6 G (1)b, 12/67-1/68, Talks
with Hanoi)
Of course, there is a difference between your position and theirs: nobody to my knowledge has ever been elected
Secretary of State.
We are getting butchered in the press for "over-caution" vis--vis negotiations. I have never doubted that the
Communists would throw negotiations into the pot this year as a technique of political warfare (see my attached memo
of last March 27)./3/
/3/In the memorandum to the President, March 26, 1967, Roche wrote: "On the basis of various statements that have
been emerging from Hanoi over the past six months, as well as articles in Hoc Tap and other Communist organs in
Hanoi, I am convinced that Ho knows that the road to victory in South Vietnam by overt aggression is closed. He is
therefore willing to shift from overt war to negotiations, with the latter in no way compromising his determination to some
day 'unify' Vietnam. Negotiations are a weapons system at which Ho is an expert (see his performance between the
French and the Chinats from 1946-49 or his 1949-53 moves with the French)." Roche concluded that Ho would initiate
negotiations "at the worst possible time in terms of American internal unity--say on September 1, 1968." (Central
Intelligence Agency, Executive Registry Subject Files, Job 80-R01580R, 273--Vietnam Task Force)
But why can't we play too? Why can't you announce that on January 30 our representatives will be in Djakarta,
Rangoon, Geneva or wherever, that the bombing of North Vietnam will stop (it's Tet anyhow), and that if productive
discussions occur it will not be resumed, etc.
This would put the ball in Hanoi's court--and we could still bomb hell out of the Laotian trails without violating the pledge.
Let "world opinion" focus on Hanoi for a while.
John

18. Memorandum of Conversation/1/


Washington, January 18, 1968, 3 p.m.
/1/Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1967-69, POL 27-14 VIET/PACKERS.
Secret; Nodis; Packers. The meeting was held in Harriman's office.
SUBJECT
Vietnam Peace Talks
PARTICIPANTS
W. Averell Harriman, Ambassador at Large
Daniel I. Davidson, Special Assistant, S/AH
Corneliu Bogdan, Romanian Ambassador
Ambassador Bogdan told the Governor that Mr. Macovescu today left for Hanoi and that weather permitting he will arrive
in Hanoi on January 22. Bogdan presumed this was Hanoi time. On Tuesday January 23, the Soviet government will be
informed by an authorized representative of the Washington talks and of Macovescu's new mission to Hanoi.
Ambassador Bogdan did not know who the authorized representative would be but thought it would be "probably at the
highest level". When asked what the Russians would be told Bogdan said that he had not been informed exactly but he
recalled Macovescu saying they would be given the gist or a summary of the talks.
Governor Harriman asked if the Ambassador had seen the State of the Union address/2/ which the Governor
characterized as confirming the San Antonio formula. Bogdan replied that he had and saw nothing new in it. The
Governor said that he mentioned the speech because some newspaper commentators said that the U.S. had hardened
its stand and that he wanted the Romanians to know that the U.S. government had not changed its position.
Ambassador Bogdan recalled that Secretary Rusk had said that what he told the Romanians is what counts and not
what was said publicly. Bogdan said the Romanians understand that no advantage is not a condition but a warning.
/2/See Document 13.
The Governor stated that he was authorized to inform the Romanians that there had been no change in the San Antonio
formula. As the Romanians had been frankly told a bombing pause could not continue if Hanoi took advantage of it but
the U.S. was not requiring Hanoi to agree to any conditions in advance.
The Governor referred to the statements by Bo in Paris./3/ Bogdan said that they did not contain anything new and if
anything confirmed what the Romanians had told us. Governor Harriman said that we did not want to get it confused
with the Romanian message.
/3/See footnote 2, Document 4.
Ambassador Bogdan said that yesterday evening after the State of the Union address Murrey Marder of the Washington
Post had called him at home and asked if a high Romanian official was in Washington. Bogdan had said that no such
high official was now here but that the First Deputy Foreign Minister had inspected the Embassy at the beginning of the
year. The Ambassador had asked Marder what made him inquire and Marder had replied that there was an item on this
in a Washington news letter./4/
/4/Telegram 98490 to Bucharest, January 14, instructed DCM Neubert to deliver a message to Ceausescu from
Johnson thanking him for his government's efforts "to bring about an honorable and peaceful solution." (Ibid.) On
January 15 Neuber gave the note to Macovescu and informed him that information on the latter's visit to Hanoi the
previous December apparently had leaked out. In response, Macovescu replied that such an occurrence was
"understandable" since both the Soviet and Chinese Governments had been informed of his visit to the DRV. He hoped
that the secrecy of his visit to Washington would be maintained until after his planned trip to Hanoi later in January.
(National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1967-69, POL 27-14 VIET/PACKERS) Despite
Macovescu's hopes, the Romanian Government itself did not maintain secrecy. A January 26 note given to the
Department of State by the Apostolic Delegate Luis Raimondi, reads: "In a special audience with His Holiness, Pope
Paul VI, on January 24, 1968, the Prime Minister of Rumania repeatedly stated that he has reason to believe that if the
United States stops bombing North Vietnam, the Hanoi Government will not take advantage of the situation to reinforce
its military power. This information, received by the Cardinal Secretary of State, is conveyed for whatever interest it may
have." (Ibid., POL 27 VIET S)

19. Memorandum From the Board of National Estimates, Central Intelligence Agency, to Director of Central
Intelligence Helms/1/
Washington, January 18, 1968.
/1/Source: Central Intelligence Agency, Executive Registry Subject Files, Job 80-R01580R, Peace Talks. Secret. An
attached note from Helms to Rostow, January 22, reads: "Here are three copies of an effort on our part to fulfill your
request for an examination of certain hypotheses in connection with Hanoi's intentions. I have sent copies to no one
else. If you want further distribution, please advise me." A second attached note from Smith to Helms, January 18,
reads: "This has been revised after consultation with George Carver, Dean Moor, and DD/I. I believe they are now
satisfied with it."
SUBJECT
Alternative Interpretations of Hanoi's Intentions
Introduction
1. There are several hypotheses concerning the progress of the war in coming months and the intentions of the
Communists. Most of them can be argued plausibly, for and against, and can be supported by some evidence. None is
capable of conclusive proof or disproof, mainly because the evidence is either insufficient or can be interpreted in
various and often diametrically opposed ways.
2. For example, there is the question of whether the North Vietnamese are willing to "negotiate." Hanoi has declared that
it "will" talk if the bombing of North Vietnam is stopped. It is idle to say that this represents no change of attitude
whatsoever; it is equally idle to assume that of itself it indicates an early end to the fighting. One may argue, quite
plausibly, that Hanoi has finally comprehended that war against the power of the US can have but one ultimate
conclusion, and is now probing to find out what US terms are. But one may also regard this latest statement simply as
another political and psychological move to encourage dissent in the US and inflame world opinion against Washington.
3. In present circumstances it is true that any of a multitude of things could happen, at almost any time. Hanoi could quit
tomorrow, or at any time thereafter; the Chinese could enter the conflict with their own armed forces in great number;
China could collapse in total chaos; the Soviets could take a far more active role, either in support of Hanoi to continue
the war or in withdrawing such support; the South Vietnamese government and polity could disintegrate; the Sino-Soviet
controversy could become far more or far less acute than it is, and thus change the context of the Vietnam struggle; the
policy of the US government could change in any of a number of ways, and so on.
4. A balanced estimate of the situation cannot rule these and other possibilities wholly out of consideration. The best it
can do is to decide, on the basis of evidence and careful argument, that many of them are so unlikely as to be irrelevant,
at least until more evidence appears, and that others should be held as possible qualifications and correctives in a net
judgment. In the paragraphs that follow we attempt to show how the evidence and arguments may fit or not fit into
alternative estimates of the prospects in Vietnam.
5. There are three hypotheses under which the situation in Vietnam may be considered and to which most of the
evidence may be related: (1) Hanoi has decided that it must terminate the fighting in the course of this year; (2) Hanoi
still feels a good measure of confidence in its prospects and firmly intends to fight on until it perceives a break in its favor
in US policy; (3) Hanoi is less certain of its prospects and is keeping several options open. It intends to continue hard
fighting in the months ahead, but recognizes it may be advisable to seek a compromise solution within the next year,
according to the way things develop.
I. Pessimism in Hanoi
6. The more solid evidence supporting the proposition that Hanoi intends to quit at an early date comes from an analysis
of Communist prospects in South Vietnam. According to our view of the data, the leaders in Hanoi could conclude that
their prospects in South Vietnam are steadily and surely diminishing. The toll on their forces is increasingly heavy; their
losses cannot be reduced without undermining the effectiveness of their military and political operations; recruitment in
South Vietnam is becoming more and more difficult, control over the population is diminishing, and morale is becoming
more of a problem as the war continues without conclusive results. Even though such problems may not yet be critical,
the overall effect is that the Communist position will be weaker at the end of 1968 than it is now. Military action can
arrest the decline but cannot change it fundamentally.

7. Proceeding from this analysis, Hanoi's current efforts on the military and political fronts can be seen as one last push
to gain the best possible terms in an early settlement. For example, it can be argued that Hanoi would not intentionally
seek the bloody and costly battles that it has, unless it knew that the fighting would end fairly soon and replacements
would not be a problem. Hanoi would not, under this hypothesis, commit part of its strategic reserve, unless it believed
there would be no real threat of an invasion from the US. Nor would the North Vietnamese claim that 1968 would be
"decisive" and lead to the formation of a "coalition" government unless they actually anticipated an early political
settlement.
8. There are, of course, various other considerations or factors which could cause Hanoi to seek an early end to the
fighting; some of these have some evidential base. Perhaps the burden of the war on North Vietnam is in itself a
decisive factor. The leadership may find that the annual loss of young men, added to the sum of economic and material
damage, is unacceptable in its implications for the future vigor and productivity of the nation. Our own view, however,
based on a variety of sources and buttressed by the recent testimony of the Spanish repatriates, is that the strains of the
war on North Vietnam are still well within manageable limits.
9. There are other possibilities which are no better than sheer conjecture, but which cannot be entirely excluded. For
example, it could be that Moscow, concerned over a decline in Communist strength in Vietnam, a possible US invasion
of the north, and greater Chinese involvement and influence in North Vietnam, is exerting pressure on Hanoi to end the
war. Such pressure could have taken the form of a threat to terminate major military aid after the completion of the
deliveries negotiated this past fall along with a promise to provide substantial aid for economic development once the
fighting stops.
10. Pressures from Peking could also be responsible for a decision to end the fighting. The Chinese, for example, might
have made their continued aid conditional on Hanoi's acceptance of Chinese advice on both military and political
strategy.
11. Neither of these conjectures can be supported by any available evidence. Indeed, Peking and especially Moscow
have appeared reluctant in the past to apply direct and heavy pressures on Hanoi; neither wants to force Hanoi into the
embrace of the other. While Moscow, unlike Peking, is not committed to prolongation of the war, it has always seen
some advantages in the fighting and has demonstrated no willingness to intervene with Hanoi in favor of early
negotiations.
12. Alternatively, Hanoi may have concluded that the Sino-Soviet dispute will undermine effective aid. The USSR may
be refusing to ship certain weapons through China, or to risk delivery by sea. Hanoi may anticipate that one of the
Communist giants will insist that it take a clear cut stand in the dispute; this would place Hanoi in the position of
alienating at least one side.
13. Another possibility is that the North Vietnamese leaders may have concluded that turmoil and disruption in China
make it a poor prospect as a "reliable rear area." Hanoi may fear that China's antics are encouraging the US to escalate
the war without fear of Chinese reactions. And Hanoi might even fear that the time will come when the Chinese will insist
that North Vietnam begin its own "cultural revolution."
14. There is, of course, evidence of Hanoi's concern over the Sino-Soviet dispute and over China's internal policy. Last
year the North Vietnamese Politburo and Central Committee apparently passed a resolution affirming Hanoi's neutrality
in the dispute. Missions were sent to both Moscow and Peking to explain this position, which has been continually reemphasized. At one point last year, Hanoi apparently had to become directly involved in ensuring that Soviet supplies
transited more expeditiously through China. Hanoi also reacted to Mao's cultural revolution by issuing a fairly pointed
criticism of Chinese behavior and the cult of Mao. Added to these concerns is the fairly open record of Chinese
opposition to any hint of talks between Hanoi and the United States.
15. What is lacking, however, is any evidence that the tensions with China or the concern over Soviet support have
reached the level where Hanoi would fear Soviet or Chinese disengagement. The physical evidence suggests that both
Peking and Moscow are in fact increasing their aid.
16. If for any of the reasons discussed under this hypothesis Hanoi should decide to end the fighting, it would have at
least two alternatives. It could simply decide to allow the conflict to die down, without seeking a political resolution. Or it
could attempt to obtain the best possible terms for a settlement under the existing circumstances. In this latter case, the
recent Trinh statement on talks with the US could be read as the first step in the gradual development of a negotiating
position. The North Vietnamese, of course, would still bargain for favorable terms, but they would also recognize the
need to be more forthcoming and to reduce their demands for a settlement. It would also make sense under this
interpretation for Hanoi to get negotiations underway before rather than after the American elections, reasoning that
during an election campaign it would have more room for maneuvering against the US. Hanoi's handling of the follow up
to the Trinh interview will be a test for this hypothesis; if it is correct confirmatory evidence should become available
before long.

II. Confidence in Hanoi


17. The North Vietnamese may be more impressed with their achievements in the past two years than with the problems
they have encountered. They have withstood the massive American intervention in the South and the heavy bombing of
the North. Despite the bombing, they now fight with more and better arms and ammunition, and their supply lines are
more elaborately developed. The political infrastructure in the South has been maintained, even if in somewhat
weakened condition. Their military effort, based on the increasing threat from the border areas, not only presents a new
challenge to the US on the ground but also introduces new political complications for the Americans. Finally, of course,
because of their experience with the ebb and flow of the French war, the natural inclination of the political leaders would
be to exaggerate their own strength and expect the US to concede defeat rather than face the prospect of a protracted
war.
18. Hanoi's determination to keep fighting could also be explained by what it believes are fundamental weaknesses in
the American and South Vietnamese position. The Communists may be convinced that the Saigon regime has little
chance of becoming an effective government, generally accepted by the people. Moreover, Hanoi may be persuaded
that the South Vietnamese army will never develop into a fighting force which is effective enough to assume part of the
US burden. Thus, even if the US military effort is highly successful, in the end the US will find it has no political base in
South Vietnam and will be forced to conclude a political settlement with the Front.
19. Even if Hanoi does not read the situation in South Vietnam in this way, it may be relying on assurances of
substantial external support which will enable the Communists to fight on effectively. The Chinese may have promised
more logistical and air defense troops and even some combat units in order to meet any manpower needs in North
Vietnam. The Soviets may have promised new weapons to cope with superior American fire power and the air and naval
attacks on the North.
20. Perhaps the best evidence in support of this general interpretation of Hanoi's outlook is the record of the past two
years. At each phase of the US buildup Hanoi has been willing to respond by committing additional resources to the
struggle in the South. A high level of infiltration has been maintained; the most recent deployments near the western end
of the DMZ may express a determination not only to persist in the war, but to try for a decisive defeat of the US in some
local battle. Hanoi's leaders have not taken advantage of several opportunities for negotiations; this could mean that
they believe nothing can be gained at the bargaining table unless it has already been won on the battlefield. Finally, a
commitment to fight a protracted war was the main decision of the North Vietnamese Central Committee resolution of
late 1965, was reaffirmed by the Central Committee in early 1967, and continues to be cited as basic policy.
21. As to evidence of external support, Hanoi has recently concluded a series of new agreements with its Communist
allies. Moscow has openly promised a variety of weapons; Soviet coastal defense missiles could be the first of several
new items on the list. New Chinese weapons have shown up in the Delta for the first time in the war. We know of no
increases in Chinese troop strength in North Vietnam in recent months. Recent high level reaffirmations of pledges to
support Hanoi, however, could be read as a willingness to increase Chinese commitments. And air defense cooperation
between Hanoi and Peking has grown markedly in recent months.
22. We know of no evidence that is totally inconsistent with an intention to continue the war for some considerable
period of time. Nevertheless, it can be argued that Hanoi would never draw down its home army and weaken the
defense of North Vietnam if it looked forward to a long war, particularly in light of continuing concern over an American
invasion. And it could be further argued that Hanoi would not tell the troops in the South that this would be a "decisive"
year, if in fact it believed the war was likely to continue well beyond 1968. Finally, why Hanoi would want to keep alive
hopes for negotiations, aggravating the Chinese in the process, if it had no intention of reaching a political settlement in
the near future?
23. If Hanoi's mood and outlook is roughly as assumed under this hypothesis then its attitude toward peace talks is likely
to be intransigent. Upon exploration, moves like the recent Trinh statement will come to nothing. Hanoi, of course, would
welcome an end to the bombing, but will adamantly refuse to pay any price for it. Negotiations would be mainly to
register the defeat of the US and the end of the Saigon regime.
24. Finally, one may conjecture that Hanoi's postulated confidence rests on some factor or event which is not yet
apparent to the US, such as a major escalation by the Communists. This might take the form of a military offensive in
Laos which would threaten to expand the area of conflict and further strain US resources in Southeast Asia. Or
escalation might take the form of Chinese moves in Vietnam or elsewhere around its periphery. Or again, the North
Vietnamese could be relying on the USSR to create a diversionary crisis, say in Berlin.
25. Such possibilities have been carefully considered almost since the beginning of the US intervention in Vietnam.
Thus far, there is no persuasive evidence that Hanoi, Peking or Moscow intends to enlarge the war beyond Vietnam or
take major action elsewhere against the US.

III. Suspended Judgment in Hanoi


26. The third hypothesis assumes that Hanoi's estimate of the situation is based on a mixture of increased pessimism
and continuing confidence, which are compounded by other factors, particularly the American elections. Under this
hypothesis Hanoi is keeping several options open and will continue to do so at least until late spring or summer, when it
should be in a better position to judge the effect of the American primaries and conventions and the results of its own
military offensive. At that time Hanoi will also be better able to judge the effectiveness and durability of the Saigon
government.
27. If this is so, Hanoi's winter-spring offensive is designed not only for its immediate military objectives but for its overall
impact on the US. Hanoi would recognize that its chances for a military victory have evaporated, but it would still hope,
by sustaining high levels of combat in the months ahead, to create the impression of a stalemate. It would not expect the
US to capitulate, but it would see increased chances for a compromise on terms that would protect the Viet Cong
infrastructure and provide the basis for a new political phase in the revolutionary struggle. Hanoi could not be confident
of what the outcome of its own efforts will be. But it would recognize that the next twelve months provide an unusual
opportunity because of the American elections.
28. Even if political overtures combined with military pressures do not bear fruit, Hanoi could reason that by agitating the
question of a coalition government and contacts with the Front, the strains between Washington and Saigon will grow
and the US will come under increasing international pressures to modify its own terms. In short, Hanoi would do what it
could to maintain its military pressures, but would at the same time become more flexible in its diplomacy, waiting for
some months more to decide whether to make the best deal possible, continue the war more or less along present lines,
or even to adopt a radically different way of fighting, i.e., guerrilla warfare.
29. This hypothesis rests on a different reading of much of the same evidence already cited. Hanoi has made military
decisions which strike some observers as inexplicable given the nature of their problems. Hanoi cannot possibly hope to
drive the US into the sea and probably cannot expect another Dien Bien Phu. Thus, it would seem better advised to
conserve its forces for a protracted war in which it would hope to sap the will of the US. Instead, the North Vietnamese
commit more troops and seek costly battles. Moreover, since last July they do seem to have indicated more interest in
maintaining private contacts with the US and, in some cases, actually inviting US negotiating probes--moves which their
rather rigid public position would not justify.
30. This hypothesis is supported by some negative evidence. For example, why should China be so cool to the new
program of the NLF unless Peking senses that the revision of the program was a step toward a negotiating situation?
Why did the Front try to send representatives to New York, if as Hanoi claims the UN has absolutely no business in the
Vietnam question? And, above all, why do the captured documents contain intriguing tidbits suggesting that the war may
not go beyond 1968? These contradictions or inconsistencies could be reconciled within the framework of this third
hypothesis.
31. Uncertainty could also grow out of the state of relations with China and the USSR. In actual fact we know little of
Hanoi's relations with its allies. What we do know is based on glimmerings from captured documents, deductions from
overt statements and an occasional hint from Soviet sources. In any case, Hanoi cannot be very confident that Moscow
and Peking will not fall into an even more bitter conflict, or that the situation inside China will not deteriorate further.
Indeed, Hanoi could conclude that it would be better to explore US terms for a political settlement while China is still in
some disarray rather than later, when the Chinese leadership might be reunified and tempted to interfere more directly
in Hanoi's affairs.
32. Indications of uncertainty could also be reconciled with an even more extreme variant of this hypothesis, namely,
that the North Vietnamese Politburo is badly divided and is pursuing an indecisive and at times contradictory policy.
Perhaps, as Ho Chi Minh's health has declined, factionalism has reared its ugly head and led to a fairly even split
between hawks and doves. Both factions could seek comfort and support from abroad, the hawks from Peking and the
doves from Moscow. The hawks may insist on the need for further intensive military effort while the doves could be
arguing for a shift to political tactics.
33. Though there is some evidence that the North Vietnamese leaders have engaged in debates over policy, mainly on
the proper military tactics, there has never been sufficient evidence to conclude that the leadership is divided on basic
policies of whether to fight or quit. A power struggle in Hanoi, of course, is a possibility after Ho and could be developing
now. But the evidence is lacking, and this explanation of Hanoi's behavior seems highly unlikely.
34. Even less likely but still within the reach of the imaginable is a split between the Viet Cong and Hanoi. As Hanoi has
assumed more of the burden and direction of the war, it may have alienated a faction within COSVN. The Viet Cong
could argue, with support from certain figures in the Hanoi leadership, that all talk of negotiations is defeatism. Hanoi
may suspect a Chinese bent in the Viet Cong., etc., etc. There may be actual divergencies between Hanoi and some of
the Viet Cong leaders, but a real split should be excluded as unlikely.

35. As noted at the outset of this discussion we cannot rule out any of these three hypothetical explanations for Hanoi's
behavior. It would certainly not be surprising if the North Vietnamese continued the war through next year and for some
time afterward. It would be more surprising if they decided to end it soon. We believe there is much to recommend the
third case: in the months ahead Hanoi will continue its military effort but will probe more intently to discover what the
shape of a political settlement might be.
For the Board of National Estimates:
Abbot Smith
Chairman

20. Memorandum for Record/1/


Palm Desert, California, January 18, 1968.
/1/Source: Johnson Library, National Security File, Name File, President Eisenhower [1965-1968] [1 of 2]. Secret.
Prepared by General Goodpaster on January 22.
SUBJECT
Meeting with General Eisenhower, Palm Desert, 18 January
I met with General Eisenhower for two hours at his office and his home at Palm Desert on 18 January.
I began with a report on the progress of the war. In recent weeks, the VC and NVA have been making an unusual
military effort, and taking very heavy losses--3,000 and 2,200 in the last two weeks. Documents have been captured
which call for an immediate or "final" effort by all units. The general pattern continues to show Communist losses more
than 5 times as great as the losses to U.S., Allied and ARVN forces combined.
Next I gave a rsum in some detail of the principal US/ARVN operational efforts now going on and envisaged for the
near future, including ground/air operations in SVN (by Corps area), ground activities relating to Laos and Cambodia,
naval operations in the Vietnam area, B-52 operations, Air operations against NVN, Air operations in Laos, the antiinfiltration system, and revolutionary development operations in SVN.
Next I covered a few points of special note. There is an enemy concentration which may total 3 NVA divisions in the Khe
Sanh area which is being closely watched. Also there is enemy preparation for possible renewed action in the Dak To
area. Next, I reported recently obtained VC reports that in Quang Tri and Quang Nam, the Communist organization is
being "stunted" by US/SVN military operations, and that in areas of Phu Yen, cadre and infrastructure are disintegrating;
also an NVN report indicates that North Vietnam is hurting from the bombing attacks and suffering losses, some of
which are irreplaceable.
I then passed on a report that the NVN had conducted a remarkably well coordinated supply operation during Christmas
week. Trucks observed in Route Package 1, other than Christmas Day, ranged from 3 to 95 (averaging 44) and
waterborne logistic craft from 0 to 43 (averaging 17); on Christmas Day 547 trucks and 325 waterborne logistic craft
were sighted. On the same day between Thanh Hoa and Dong Hoi 900 trucks were sighted, 888 moving south (carrying
an estimated 4,000 tons). General Eisenhower thought these were significant figures and asked why these figures are
not better known. I told him that figures like these had been made public, and there had been some press coverage,
although not with the emphasis he had in mind. (I indicated that I could not speak about TV coverage.) He said he
thought that photographs should be taken and publicized in case of any future suspension. I told him this has been done
in the past, and that in the discussions I have heard concerning possible future bombing halts there was strong
insistence on the need to provide photo reconnaissance.
I next reported on Chieu Hoi returnees in 1967. The number--some 27,000--was less than had been estimated when the
year began, but was 34% over 1966. Of the 27,000, some 17,000 were military, the equivalent of 2 Communist divisions
or about one-fifth of the total VC/NVA killed or captured in 1967 (91,000). Political returnees numbered nearly 8,000 of
whom 4,700 were infrastructure or party organizers. General Eisenhower asked whether some of these may be VC
agents. I told him that they are screened, and that in fact some of the returnees are used with patrols that seek out,
propagandize, and call in air and artillery strikes on the units from which they came.
General Eisenhower commented that the TV coverage of our bases that are hit by mortar fire is damaging to our
people's understanding of the war. The presentations are highly dramatic and shocking in their effect. I told him that a
great deal of patrolling, which is often successful, goes into protecting our bases against mortar fire, and that some

attacking groups have been detected and attacked by air and artillery. This, of course, cannot be shown as graphically
on TV and in the press as the attacks on our bases.
I next reported upon the widespread SVN concern over "coalition", as the background for General Thieu's recent
statement. Ambassador Bunker had reported rising concern in SVN that the U.S. might be shifting to favor coalition, and
had suggested that this should be scotched. Also, Mr. Rostow told me that there was a great deal of talk and worry
about this in SVN, much of which seemed to be starting with the VC. The latter, according to captured documents, is
pushing the coalition issue in its propaganda (and linking the U.S. to the idea) while calling for a special round of combat
effort. I said Mr. Rostow had told me that our government does not favor coalition; this is simply VC propaganda.
General Eisenhower said that a coalition would be undesirable and dangerous and we should oppose it. I also
mentioned that Mr. Rostow believes there is some evidence of a shift in the view the Communists have held that time is
on their side. General Eisenhower thought such a shift would be highly significant.
Next I took up the status of the possible NVN "peace feeler" involved in the shift from "could" to "will", covering points
provided to me by General Wheeler. We do not know what the NVN objective may be--whether they are serious, want a
respite, seek a psychological coup, etc., or whether their shift on "permanent" cessation is somehow an indirect
assurance they will not take advantage of a bombing halt.
During discussion, General Eisenhower cited his experience first with the Italian surrender and later with the German
surrender. He advised not to rely on "iffy" favorable interpretations, but to insist upon more frank and clear-cut
statements (which may, of course, be made privately). Even then, he said, we must not put ourselves in the position of
depending upon belief in what a Communist says. Whatever is worked out must be self-enforcing. I told him that these
questions, and others like them, are being very carefully studied within the government, and that a great deal of thought
is being given to them. There seems to be considerable recognition that the key issue is whether the NVN is ready, or
can be led, to give up its efforts at take-over of SVN by force. Also, that if bombing is stopped, it could prove very difficult
to start up again. This underlies the cautious and careful approach that is being made.
Next he said that if the NVN is in fact weakening its position, now is the time to hit them harder. He mentioned B-52
attacks on enemy forces and bases in SVN, and I told him that an expansion of effort is envisaged currently. Also, he
thought we should hit the enemy with our ground forces, and should encourage the SVN to go after him with special
aggressiveness at this time. The enemy might, as suggested, be making a great military effort in order to impose losses
on us, and advance his advantages in going into negotiations. We should do much the same.
He said he hoped that we could get an effective armistice. To that end, now may be the time to increase our combat
effort. He commented that this will be a partisan and political year, but that there is nothing partisan in his views when
the lives of U.S. military men are involved. He said he wants to see the President win the war.
G.
Lieutenant General, U.S. Army

21. Memorandum From the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (Wheeler) to Secretary of Defense McNamara/1/
CM-2927-68
Washington, January 20, 1968.
/1/Source: Washington National Records Center, Department of Defense, OSD Files: FRC 330 73 A 1304, VIET 092.2.
Top Secret. A stamped notation on the memorandum reads: "Sec Def has seen."
SUBJECT
Tet Stand down
1. This responds to a request from Mr. Walt W. Rostow for General Westmoreland's rationale behind his
recommendation for a 36-hour Tet stand down. In requesting General Westmoreland's views, I provided to him a
summary of the rationale which the Joint Staff prepared for me on this question./2/ This was provided to Mr. Steadman,
OSD (ISA) and Department of State on 18 January. General Westmoreland agreed with that rationale and the logistical
data therein. His comments are reflected below:
/2/Attached to a January 18 memorandum from Acting Assistant Secretary of Defense William Lang to McNamara was a
draft Presidential memorandum recommending only a 36-hour Tet holiday truce, a paper arguing the military

advantages of reducing the stand-down, and an undated estimate from the DIA which suggested that the North
Vietnamese could infiltrate as much as an additional 10,000 tons of material southward during the 12-hour difference.
(Ibid., OSD Files: FRC 330 72 A 1499, Vietnam 381, Jan-April 1968) In a memorandum for the record, January 16,
Westmoreland discussed a conversation he had with Thieu the previous day in which they decided upon a 36-hour truce
for the RVNAF (from 1800 on January 29 to 0600 on January 31). However, all U.S. troops would be on alert, as would
50 percent of the ARVN. (Johnson Library, William C. Westmoreland Papers, #28 History File) The truce was shortened
the next day; 8 days later, the truce was canceled for CTZ I.
a. Holiday ceasefires have been unilaterally established, together with rules of conduct, by both the enemy and
ourselves. However, our respective objectives are unrelated. The record is replete with documented evidence that the
enemy's intent and actions have been consistently contrary to any peaceful objectives. Hanoi has directed the truce
periods be fully exploited for improving the communist military posture.
b. Free World casualties sustained during truce periods are but slightly less than during non-truce conflict. Hence, there
can be no sense of security or safety for the people of the Republic of Vietnam (RVN) for the enjoyment of holidays,
whether ceasefire periods are established or not. On the other hand, the aggressor in this conflict and his people suffer
no similar limitations while pursuing their mockery of our concessions.
c. For so long as Hanoi persists in its direction and support of the war in RVN, our air interdiction efforts in North
Vietnam (NVN) are indispensable to both the defense of RVN and the achievement of an early and acceptable
negotiations posture. The expense in men and planes has fallen very heavily on the United States. Bombing pauses,
however brief, are capitalized on fully to rebuild the essential elements of the NVN logistics system which we have so
painstakingly disrupted. It would be unfortunate if our costly, necessary, and yet restrained air interdiction program were
nullified by the concession of unilateral privileges which can be accurately forecast as being unproductive.
d. The enemy is presently developing a threatening posture in several areas in order to seek victories essential to
achieving prestige and bargaining power. He may exercise his initiatives prior to, during or after Tet. It is altogether
possible that he has planned to complete his offensive preparations during the Free World ceasefire. He has used past
truce periods for this purpose and can be expected to do so again. We shall do all possible to restrict the movement of
men and materials by the enemy in RVN during the ceasefire through advance positioning of our forces.
e. President Thieu and General Vien do not question the advisability of keeping ceasefires to the shortest possible time
periods, and they recognize the wholly unilateral aspect of the holiday truces. They do, nevertheless, feel bound to at
least a token observance of this most important of Vietnam holidays. However, they do not propose standing down the
war for the full run of the traditional Tet celebration; this out of frank recognition of the severe penalties of imposing
unwarranted trust in an enemy whose duplicity in such actions is so well established.
f. In summary, the longer the truce the greater the cost to us and to our Allies in lives, material and probably the duration
of the war. It has been conclusively demonstrated that holiday truces of whatever length will not have any mollifying
effect upon the enemy. The additional 12 hours (to 48 hours) will offer the Vietnamese people nothing in the form of
safety or respite from the communists. It would seem that the additional 12 hours will serve only the purpose of the
enemy, with no reciprocal benefits to us.
2. Admiral Sharp, in response to my request for his views on this matter, strongly recommended that the Tet ceasefire
period be of the shortest possible duration, no more than 36 hours, to permit the enemy the shortest possible period to
refurbish and reposition his forces. The additional 12 hours permitted by a 48 hour stand down would allow a very
considerable increase in supply movement south and can only result in additional casualties to friendly forces.
3. Copies of this memorandum are being provided to Deputy Secretary of Defense, Secretary of State, Mr. Walt W.
Rostow, and OSD (ISA).
Earle G. Wheeler

22. Notes of Meeting/1/


Washington, January 23, 1968, 8:30-9:45 a.m.
/1/Source: Johnson Library, Tom Johnson's Notes of Meetings. Confidential. The meeting was held in the White House.
Those present at the meeting were the President; Vice President Humphrey; Senators Mansfield, Russell Long, Robert
Byrd, McCormack, and Albert; Representative Hale Boggs; and several White House officials. (Ibid., President's Daily

Diary)
NOTES OF THE PRESIDENT'S MEETING
WITH
THE DEMOCRATIC LEADERSHIP
The President said U.S. forces are moving in reinforcements to prepare for a major concentrated attack around
Khesanh. The President said that the Communists are making a major build up in this area./2/
/2/The NVA siege of Khe Sanh began on January 22. In a telephone conversation with the President at 8:27 a.m. that
morning, McNamara reported: "You undoubtedly know that we think the long-expected attack on Khe Sanh in South
Vietnam has been initiated. Substantial artillery and mortar fire and ground action is taking place there. General
Westmoreland believes he is fully prepared to meet it." (Ibid., Recordings and Transcripts, Recording of Telephone
Conversation Between Johnson and McNamara, January 22, 8:27 a.m., Tape F68.01, Side A, PNO 5)
The President described the capture this morning of a U.S. communication ship off the coast of North Korea. He said
confidentially that early reports indicated that several U.S. Navy personnel had been wounded as a result of the incident.
There may have been shots fired. The ship was surrounded by North Korean boats and forced to port. He said this
could develop into a major international problem./3/
/3/Reference is to the North Korean seizure of the U.S.S. Pueblo.
The President said the U.S. Government and the South Vietnamese government are doing all they can to get Hanoi to
discuss peace. "Hanoi changed from would and could to will talk, but they will not say when. They will not discuss
anything but North Vietnam. They will not talk unless we cease all military activities. We must know what ceasing all
military activities really means."
The President said the U.S. Government thinks it has caught the Soviets paying off some of the anti-war people in this
country.
The President said U.S. troops crossed into Cambodia yesterday trying to protect themselves. There was no way to
avoid this in effort to save their own lives. The Vice President said he was sorry that Secretary Rusk had to apologize for
the incident. The President said it is really a question that we cannot violate even one inch of territorial integrity./4/
/4/In a February 1 memorandum to Calhoun, General Phillip Davidson, head of MACV intelligence, submitted the final
report of his investigation on the border episode. The report was transmitted to the Department in airgram A-406 from
Saigon, February 8. (National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1967-69, POL 27 VIET S) On
January 22 Rusk expressed regret over the crossing into Cambodian territory by allied forces during a clash with the
enemy. See The New York Times, January 23, 1968. For background, see footnote 4, Document 14.
The President said there could be a major upsurge in infiltration in the next quarter. The increased intensity of enemy
activity indicates a major effort. Intelligence reports show a great similarity between what is happening at Khesanh and
what happened at Dien Bien Phu. The President said there is no firm indication that North Vietnam will back down on
any of its conditions.
The President said that there is a rapid deterioration of the strength of the Viet Cong. They are having to replace their
manpower with North Vietnamese. The current campaign is a short-term surge effort designed to gain political
advantages.
The President reviewed the last 48 hours. Reports show that a full scale attack on Khesanh is imminent. There also is a
strong possibility of attack on Camp Carroll and multi-battalion attacks on Danang. In addition, country-wide terrorism is
expected with attack on Pleiku and enemy violence in and around Saigon.
[Omitted here is discussion unrelated to Vietnam.]

23. Notes of Meeting/1/


Washington, January 23, 1968, 12:58-2:30 p.m.

/1/Source: Johnson Library, Tom Johnson's Notes of Meetings. Top Secret. Those attending the meeting were the
President, Rusk, McNamara, Clifford, Rostow, Helms, Wheeler, Christian, and Tom Johnson. (Ibid., President's Daily
Diary)
NOTES OF THE PRESIDENT'S TUESDAY
NATIONAL SECURITY LUNCH
[Omitted here is discussion of the Pueblo crisis, printed in Foreign Relations, 1964-1968, volume XXIX, Part 1,
Document 213.]
The President said he thinks that this incident is related to the whole picture. He said he would not be surprised if
something happened in Berlin to coincide with what is going on in Vietnam and in Korea.
The President asked if we were confident of our situation around Khesanh.
The President asked General Wheeler if we had given General Westmoreland everything he needed.
General Westmoreland said, yes, sir.
General Wheeler said Westmoreland is confident of being able to handle the problem in Khesanh. He said that reenforcements have been sent into the area and the weather is not continuously bad. Even in the event of bad weather
there is sufficient artillery. In addition, the ARVN have sent a Ranger Battalion to the area to make this a joint effort.
The President pointed out that we have had a very good press from Saigon in the last two or three weeks.
Rostow said General Sidle is an excellent man who is moving the ARVN out front in the press. General Wheeler said
Sidle has a good program and also is making Westmoreland more prominent in the news.
The President asked if anybody had heard from Senator Ted Kennedy on the refugee study./2/ Walt Rostow said he had
not.
/2/Kennedy visited Vietnam to investigate refugee and medical care programs. Johnson saw Kennedy at a meeting for
Democratic members of the Congressional labor committees on the morning of January 23, and asked to meet him the
next day. In an off-the-record session on January 24, 11:35 a.m.-12:35 p.m., the President met with Kennedy, his
administrative assistant David Burke, and Leonhart to discuss the Vietnam visit. (Ibid.) Notes of the meeting have not
been found. Kennedy discussed his visit in a January 25 speech delivered at the World Affairs Council in Boston. In the
speech, Kennedy suggested that many leaders in the U.S. military in Vietnam would support the enactment of a
defensive enclave-like strategy that emphasized holding onto the heavily populated areas. See The New York Times,
January 26, 1968.
Secretary McNamara said he saw a preliminary report from the field. Based on the questions asked, it appears the
report will emphasize excessive fire from allied weapons is resulting in civilian casualties and refugees.
Walt Rostow asked should the incident be referred to the United Nations, involving the ship.
The President said this would be protective and would show a lack of malice on our part.
Secretary Rusk said we might like to take this to the Security Council. First, we should see what comes from the Mixed
Armistice Commission./3/
/3/Reference is to the armistice commission deliberating on the Pueblo.
Director Helms said the Soviets have their own ships of this kind including two ships off the Korean coast to keep an eye
on the Red Chinese. In addition, they have one ship off Guam.
With reference to the expected enemy offensive near Khesanh, General Wheeler said General Momyer is coordinating
all air support.
Secretary McNamara said that the anti-personnel barrier has been defended for use around Khesanh.

General Wheeler said that "gravel" (ammunition used to blow up personnel) will be placed in the area tomorrow.
The President read portions of General Westmoreland's cable outlining developments in the area and the potential
terrorism which is expected in Saigon./4/
/4/Reference is to telegram MAC 01049 to Wheeler, January 22, in which Westmoreland concluded: "The bulk of our
evidence suggests that the enemy is conducting a short-term surge effort, possibly designed to improve his chances of
gaining his ends through political means, perhaps through negotiations leading to some form of coalition
government." (U.S. Army Center for Military History, William C. Westmoreland Papers, #29 History File)
[Omitted here is discussion of the Military Assistance Program and the provision of arms to Jordan.]

24. Telegram From President Johnson to Prime Minister Wilson/1/


Washington, January 24, 1968, 0530Z.
/1/Source: Johnson Library, National Security File, Head of State Correspondence, United Kingdom, Vol. 7. Secret.
CAP 80370. We have given a careful reading to your record of the current discussion and much appreciate your letting
us see it./2/
/2/In telegram T.33/68, January 24, Wilson described his efforts to devise a communiqu with Kosygin, part of which
related to Vietnam. Despite having been briefed by Bundy about the existence of a "channel of communication" with
Hanoi (although the fact that it was through the Romanians was not disclosed), the Prime Minister complained that his
being in the dark had made his task more difficult. In addition, Wilson noted Kosygin's desire for him to make contact
with the DRV Embassy in Moscow. (Ibid.) Bundy's report on his briefing of Wilson is in telegrams 5726 and 5728 from
London, both January 20. (National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1967-69, POL 27-14
VIET) A backgrounder on Bundy's mission is in telegram 101274 to Saigon, January 19. (Ibid.)
We are a bit puzzled about just what Kosygin has in mind. Over a year ago Secretary Rusk asked Gromyko for advice
about which of the capitals in reasonably friendly relations with Moscow would be the most appropriate and reliable
contact with Hanoi. Gromyko quite categorically stated "Moscow. The others are of no value." In the most recent period,
however, it has been our very strong impression that Moscow was not interested in working seriously in Hanoi for a
peaceful settlement. If that was their view, we thought we ought to accommodate them.
One can never be sure about contacts involving third parties. In this instance, however, we have every reason to believe
that we are in such contact with Pham Van Dong and Trinh, the Foreign Minister. This derives both from internal
evidence in what has allegedly been said and from external evidence in the consistency between what has been said
privately, what has been said publicly by Hanoi and by reasonable interpretations of a great deal of diplomatic gossip in
a number of capitals involving Hanoi's representatives.
It is probable that Moscow knows the channel and does not particularly like it. After all, Moscow's own prestige could be
involved. It may be that Hanoi is somewhat evasive with Moscow because of Hanoi's problem with Peking. There is
always the possibility, whatever the intermediary might be, that we are being hoodwinked. But we are protecting
ourselves against being hoodwinked. For example, the bombing has not been stopped.
It is curious that Kosygin seems to feel strongly about the channel but has nothing to say on the substance. We have
had nothing from your talks with him or with Brezhnev indicating what Moscow is prepared to do on the assumption that
we are prepared to stop the bombing within the framework of the San Antonio formula.
We have followed our own contact closely, know where he is and when he will get back. We expect to see him or hear
from him again before the end of the month. We have even done one or two little things as a contribution to his safety
and comfort while on his mission.
If Kosygin, unexpectedly, wishes to talk about the issues in substance we would be glad to know what he has in mind.
He knows our own view, he knows our address and we have had nothing from him.
We concur in your judgment that perhaps you yourself should not see the North Vietnamese Ambassador in Moscow
but we have no particular problem about your Ambassador, or indeed our Ambassador, seeing this individual to listen

although we would not ourselves wish to direct any message through that channel at the present time. We say this
because we have tried on other occasions and have gotten nothing but bruises for our efforts.
Trying to answer your specific questions, we don't know who is taking whom for a ride except that we don't intend to be
the victim. It is possible that Hanoi is dealing somewhat at arm's length with Moscow because of the Peking problem. It
is entirely possible that Kosygin is trying to sell you something and it would be habitual for him to try to persuade you
that we are trying to sell you something. In this case, I have no doubt that he would like to get a tender morsel on VietNam in the communiqu. What is perhaps more ominous is that Moscow may be playing a spoiling game in Hanoi
because of their irritations with the present procedure.
Our inclination would be to play our hand out on the present line to see where we get. If that gets nowhere and Moscow
is ready to play the next chapter, we won't object if they smirk a bit and say "we told you so." I do hope that you can
keep your position as co-chairman intact when it comes to the communiqu because there will be a lot of people
engaged in defending South Viet-Nam who need to have confidence that at least one of the co-chairmen is playing it
straight./3/
/3/In an unnumbered personal telegram for the President, January 24, Wilson expressed thanks for Johnson's message,
which "arrived just in time to arm me for what proved a classic Kremlin battle over the passage on Vietnam in the
communiqu." He reported that the Soviets had unsuccessfully "fought with total intransigence for a formula which
would have had us denounce outside (i.e. American) interference and declare that any settlement should be based on
the right of local peoples to solve their internal affairs without it." In addition, while Wilson could not get the communiqu
tied to the San Antonio and Trinh formulas, he did manage to have the Geneva agreements referenced. (Johnson
Library, National Security File, Head of State Correspondence, United Kingdom, Vol. 7) In a further report on his
discussions in Moscow, in an unnumbered personal telegram to the President, January 29, Wilson elaborated on his
impressions of the Soviet mood: "I cannot help feeling that their real dilemma is how to strike a satisfactory balance in
their own minds between, on the one hand, the requirements of their global relationship with yourselves and their
determination not to get involved in a conflict with you; and, on the other hand, a blend of gut-reaction against (as they
would see it) any attempt by the capitalist world to eliminate a socialist state and of plain fear that any open let up on
their part will weaken their effort to retain leadership of the world communist movement." (Ibid.) For the official British
record of Wilson's meetings at the Kremlin, see Foreign and Commonwealth Office, Documents on British Policy
Overseas, Series III, Vol. I: Britain and the Soviet Union, 1968-72, pp. 14-22.

25. Telegram From the Embassy in Vietnam to the Department of State/1/


Saigon, January 24, 1968, 1215Z.
/1/Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1967-69, POL 27 VIET S. Top Secret;
Immediate; Nodis. Received at 9:10 a.m. The telegram is printed in full in Pike, ed., The Bunker Papers, Vol. 2, pp. 302315.
16850. For the President from Bunker. Herewith my thirty-sixth weekly message.
A. General
1. In this message, I should like to give a general assessment of some of the problems we shall be facing in 1968 and
how we propose to cope with them. We will, of course, be dealing with them and reporting on them in a more specific
manner as time goes on, but I thought it would be useful to give a rather general view of the situation ahead as we see it
now.
2. I think one general observation is in order. As a result of a number of elections held since September 1966, and with
our encouragement, the Vietnamese have adopted a democratic, constitutional form of government with the institutions
which normally pertain to it, executive, legislative, and judicial. It marks the transition from a recent military form, and
historically an authoritarian form of government to democratic institutions. It is a form of government with which the
Vietnamese have had virtually no experience. A senator said to me last week: "We must make our new government
work, but it will be difficult because while we have a history of 4,000 years, we have no tradition of democracy." The fact
that the basic structures have been built and representative institutions constructed out of near chaos and are beginning
to function is in itself quite a remarkable achievement. But the question we have to look to in the coming year is how well
and how rapidly they can be made to operate.
3. I believe we shall have to face the fact that in many instances action will be less rapid than under the previous
government which could rule by decree. The views of the Assembly, which is beginning to assert its prerogatives, will

have to be considered by the executive. Even in cases where regulations might be promulgated by the executive as, for
example, in the raising of certain taxes, it may be reluctant to take the political risks involved without consulting the
Assembly. The decree law on partial mobilization and the Assembly reaction to it is an example of what may occur.
Consequently unless the Assembly is willing to relinquish some of its authority and grant to the executive fairly broad
wartime powers, I believe we shall have to expect some disappointment in the rapidity with which actions are taken.
4. Another factor which will make for caution is the necessary process of the transformation of the character of the
government from an essentially military one to a civilian regime. This will require some deft handling, especially on
Thieu's part. Some resistance by the military to give up prerogatives which they have long enjoyed can be expected. At
the same time, the civilian elements of the government have to gain experience and get accustomed to their jobs. Thieu
recognizes this problem and, being essentially cautious, will move, I believe progressively step by step rather than
abruptly to bring about the change. I believe he is wise in this, for too precipitate actions might cause strains which
would be difficult for the present governmental structure to sustain. A corollary to this is the Thieu-Ky relationship, which
needs to be nurtured and cultivated on both sides. I think there are encouraging signs that this is developing
satisfactorily and that their present relationships are now better than they have been for some time in the past. Both
have very recently expressed a desire to work closely together.
5. Another thing we shall have to live with is sensitivity to US pressures, at least with a more articulate expression of it. A
massive American presence is apt to stimulate a latent xenophobia and with a free press and open debate in the
Assembly, I believe we can expect a certain amount of criticism of our actions here. If kept within reasonable bounds, I
do not think we need to be apprehensive about this, for it represents a healthy spirit of developing nationalism and
independence.
6. Another general problem is that of political organization, the creation of broadly representative national political
parties. This is something which will take time. As both Thieu and Ky have said, the process must develop from a sound
base. The effort to force the development too rapidly will result in artificiality and instability. On the other hand, it is
something which we must steadily and progressively encourage and help to push, for the development of political
organization on national lines is, I believe, the ultimate defense against the Viet Cong and perhaps the only permanent
defense. The formation of groupings, or blocs as they call them, in the Assembly and the institution of local government
at the village and hamlet level, which is proceeding steadily, may form the nuclei for the development which we seek.
This is something which we shall want to keep steadily pushing./2/
/2/Preliminary discussion of Vietnamese plans to form a political party are reviewed in telegram 17282 from Saigon,
January 30. (National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1967-69, POL 12 VIET S)
7. The question of peace, a political settlement and negotiations are matters which will be constantly before us here as
well as at home. It is my view, shared by members of the Mission Council, that were we to enter into negotiations now,
we would be faced with a most difficult situation. I do not believe that the present government has acquired sufficient
strength, either militarily or politically, to be assured of survival on its own. Six months from now it should be in a
somewhat stronger position, but Hanoi may be aware of this and consequently press for negotiations. It seems to me
that if I were in their place, this is what I would be doing. I realize their estimate of the situation may be quite different,
but I believe that we should be prepared for such an eventuality; and that therefore we ought to try to spell out in as
precise terms as possible what would be acceptable terms of settlement to us. Since what may be acceptable to us may
not be fully so to the GVN or some of our other allies, we may need to engage in some educational effort and I believe
we ought to be in a position to begin this before too long.
[Omitted here is discussion of politics, pacification and development, economics, military actions, and public affairs.]
Bunker

26. Notes of Meeting of the National Security Council/1/


Washington, January 24, 1968, 1-2:06 p.m.
/1/Source: Johnson Library, Tom Johnson's Notes of Meetings. Top Secret. The meeting was held in the Cabinet Room
of the White House. In addition to those who spoke, those present at the meeting included Humphrey, Rusk, Battle,
Sisco, Nitze, Helms, Marks, Vance, Katzenbach, Rostow, Christian, Saunders, Davis, Smith, and Tom Johnson. (Ibid.,
President's Daily Diary)
[Omitted here is discussion of the Pueblo and Cyprus crises. The discussion relating to the Pueblo is printed in Foreign
Relations, 1964-1968, volume XXIX, Part 1, Document 218.]

The President: I spent some of this morning with Senator Ted Kennedy discussing his trip to Vietnam and the report he
plans to submit./2/ There are two points he made:
/2/See footnote 2, Document 23.
1. He is distressed about the degree of corruption in the South Vietnamese government. He thinks this may be
ascending rather than descending.
2. He said there is substantial division among our generals about tactics and strategy we are following. He said many of
them think we are investing more than we are getting in return.
I would suggest Secretary McNamara call the Senator and tell him I am very concerned about his report and that we are
taking steps to head this off.
Secretary McNamara: We looked into the harassment and interdiction fire tactics. General Wheeler asked General
Westmoreland to make very clear the rules of engagement and make sure they are well understood.
The President: General Wheeler, are you as confident today as you were yesterday that we can handle the situation at
Khesanh?
General Wheeler: I do not think the enemy is capable of doing what they have set out to do. General Westmoreland has
strengthened his position. He has contingency plans and can meet any contingency. There is nothing he has asked for
that he has not been given. Khesanh is important to us militarily and psychologically. It is the anchor of our defensive
situation along the DMZ.
The President: General Wheeler, are you sure that you have everything that is needed to take care of the situation in
Khesanh?
General Wheeler: Yes, we are. General Westmoreland has been given everything he has requested.
The President: Have you done all we can back here?
General Wheeler: Yes Sir.
The President: We have been getting unusually good press from South Vietnam recently and I think that Secretary
McNamara and General Wheeler should pass that along to the people who are handling our press relations out there.
Secretary McNamara: We have a good new military press man and I will be happy to pass along the President's views.
The President: I will now ask Secretary Fowler to give us a summary of his situation concerning the budget and the
possible deficit.
Secretary Fowler: It is no longer a question of debate on whether or not a tax increase is a good thing. I think our case
has been presented quite clearly. We may get $6 billion, 2.9 from excise taxes and 3.0 from corporate taxes. So it
becomes a question of getting 6 this way or 12 if we get the surtax.
Looking back over the last six months, the economy has risen $32 billion in this half versus $13 billion increase in the
first half. We have a 4% price increase. Last year we said the balance of payments problem was becoming serious. It
did. The committee said they wanted budget expenditures reduced by $5 billion. We reduced them by $4-1/2 billion.
The committee asked us not to request a rate of increase to exceed that of last year. We did that. We restricted new
programs. We cut back on old programs.
I reminded the committee that time is running out if we are to do anything meaningful about this deficit.

27. Editorial Note

In confirmation hearings before the Senate Armed Services Committee during January 1968, Secretary of Defensedesignate Clark M. Clifford answered questions on the Vietnam war. In testimony on January 25, Clifford opposed a halt
to the bombing under the current circumstances, citing the need for reciprocal actions on the part of the North
Vietnamese. In response to a question on whether the North Vietnamese had to end all military activity as a condition of
a cessation, Clifford responded that under the San Antonio formula, postulated by President Johnson the previous
September, the only conditions were that the North Vietnamese engage in negotiations promptly following a halt and not
take advantage of it militarily. "Their military activity will continue in South Vietnam, I assume, until there is a cease-fire
agreed upon. I assume that they will continue to transport the normal amount of goods, munitions, and men to South
Vietnam. I assume that we will continue to maintain our forces and support our forces during that period. So what I am
suggesting is, in the language of the President, that he would insist that they not take advantage of the suspension of
the bombing." Clifford's testimony was reported in The New York Times, January 26, 1968. The Senate unanimously
confirmed Clifford's nomination on January 30.

28. Telegram From the Embassy in Vietnam to the Department of State/1/


Saigon, January 25, 1968, 1228Z.
/1/Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1967-69, POL 27 VIET S. Secret; Exdis.
Repeated to CINCPAC for POLAD.
16919. During a talk with President Thieu morning January 25 I told him about the latest information we had had from
General Westmoreland on developments in the Khe Sanh area and asked him how he felt about this offensive. Thieu
said he thought that the result might give us some real estimate of the will of the North Vietnamese, as they were clearly
embarked on an all-out effort along the DMZ. He was also inclined to think that General Giap was actually leading the
attack. Thieu said that we would also soon see if this was an NVN effort to support proposals for talks, on the theory that
the U.S. was under pressure to talk. Thieu said that he was going to visit the area tomorrow and noted that Generals
Westmoreland and Vien were up there today. He observed in conclusion that at least two divisions were needed for a
dynamic defense, or possibly a dynamic offensive, if it developed that way.
Bunker

29. Editorial Note


From 1:25 to 3:45 p.m. on January 27, 1968, President Johnson met with a group of leaders representing the National
Alliance of Businessmen. The principal subjects of discussion were the Pueblo crisis, economic indicators, and the
budget. According to Tom Johnson's notes of the meeting, the President also spoke to the group about Vietnam as
follows: "This has been an involved week. We have a very great concentration of power against us. There has been a
great deal of political pressure placed on us in this country concerning Vietnam. We have 700,000 people tied down by
our bombing in Vietnam. We believe the Hanoi government and the Viet Cong are hurting." The President also read a
quote from John Stuart Mills on war: "War is an ugly thing, but not the ugliest thing: the decayed and degraded state of
moral and patriotic feeling which he thinks nothing worth a war is worse. A man who has nothing which he cares about
more than his personal safety is a miserable creature who has no chance of being free, unless made and kept so by the
exertions of better men than himself."
In concluding remarks, the President noted: "We know what would happen if we did not stand firm in Vietnam. We have
told Hanoi we will stop the bombing immediately if they will talk promptly and will not take advantage of the talks. In
Korea, they killed more of our men after the talks started than before. I do not want that to happen again. We are
seeking any way we can for an honorable peace. So, this has been a bad week. We had an intrusion into Cambodia.
We had a bomber go down with nuclear weapons aboard. We had a major offensive planned against us in Vietnam. The
North Koreans tried to assassinate President Pak and then the North Koreans took the Pueblo." (Notes of the
President's Meeting with the National Alliance of Businessmen, January 27; Johnson Library, Tom Johnson's Notes of
Meetings)

30. Memorandum From the Joint Chiefs of Staff to President Johnson/1/


JCSM-63-68

Washington, January 29, 1968.


/1/Source: Department of Defense, Official Records of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, 911/301 (29 Jan 68), IR 4542. Top
Secret. An attached note reads: "At the special meeting of the Joint Chiefs of Staff at 1100 hours Monday, 29 January
1968, the Chairman tabled the subject paper as a proposed CM. After making one minor amendment the Joint Chiefs of
Staff agreed that the memorandum should be a JCSM and approved it for signature by the Chairman and transmittal to
the President."
SUBJECT
The Situation at Khe Sanh
1. You will recall that on 12 January 1968 General Westmoreland informed me that the Khe Sanh position is important
to us for the following reasons: (a) it is the western anchor of our defense of the DMZ area against enemy incursions
into the northern portion of South Vietnam; (b) its abandonment would bring enemy forces into areas contiguous to the
heavily populated and important coastal area; and (c) its abandonment would constitute a major propaganda victory for
the enemy which would seriously affect Vietnamese and US morale. In summary, General Westmoreland declared that
withdrawal from Khe Sanh would be a tremendous step backwards./2/
/2/See footnote 2, Document 12.
2. At 0910 hours this morning I discussed the Khe Sanh situation by telephone with General Westmoreland. He had just
returned from a visit to northern I Corps Area during which he conferred with senior commanders, personally surveyed
the situation, and finalized contingency plans. General Westmoreland made the following points:
a. The Khe Sanh garrison now consists of 5,000 US and ARVN troops. They have more than a battalion of US artillery
supporting them, and 16 175 MM guns which can fire from easterly positions in support of the Khe Sanh force.
b. Among other reinforcing actions, he has moved a full US Army Division into northern I Corps. Within a few days the
equivalent of an ARVN airborne division will also reinforce this area.
c. He has established a Field Army Headquarters in the Hue/Phu Bai area to control all forces, both US and ARVN, in
northern I Corps. This headquarters is commanded by General Abrams.
d. General Momyer, Commander 7th Air Force, is coordinating all supporting air strikes in the Niagra area which
constitutes the locale of enemy buildup around Khe Sanh.
e. Air action since 17 January has been remunerative. About 40 B-52 sorties per day and some 500 tactical air sorties
per day are being conducted in the Niagra area There have been numerous secondary explosions. It appears that air
strikes and our artillery fire have disrupted the enemy's logistic buildup and troop concentration.
3. General Westmoreland stated to me that, in his judgment, we can hold Khe Sanh and we should hold Khe Sanh. He
reports that everyone is confident. He believes that this is an opportunity to inflict a severe defeat upon the enemy.
Further, General Westmoreland considers that all preparatory and precautionary measures have been taken, both in
South Vietnam and here, to conduct a successful defense in the Khe Sanh area.
4. The Joint Chiefs of Staff have reviewed the situation at Khe Sanh and concur with General Westmoreland's
assessment of the situation. They recommend that we maintain our position at Khe Sanh.
For the Joint Chiefs of Staff:
Earle G. Wheeler
Chairman
Joint Chiefs of Staff

31. Notes of Meeting/1/


Washington, January 29, 1968, 1:04-1:40 p.m.
/1/Source: Johnson Library, Tom Johnson's Notes of Meetings. Top Secret. The meeting was held in the Cabinet Room.

Those in attendance were the President, McNamara, Wheeler, Nitze, Moorer and his assistant, Commander Daniel K.
Pope, Harold Johnson, Chapman, McConnell, Rostow, Christian, and Tom Johnson. (Ibid., President's Daily Diary)
NOTES OF THE PRESIDENT'S
MEETING WITH
THE
CHIEFS OF STAFF
The President asked the Joint Chiefs if they were completely in agreement that everything has been done to assure that
General Westmoreland can take care of the expected enemy offensive against Khesanh.
General Wheeler and all the Joint Chiefs agreed that everything which had been asked for had been granted and that
they were confident that General Westmoreland and the troops there were prepared to cope with any contingency./2/
/2/See Document 30.
General Chapman told Walt Rostow that the special ammunition was in the hands of the troops and fully ready to be
used if necessary.
General Wheeler: There have been enemy casualties in the Khesanh area.
The President: Are these figures reasonably accurate?
General Wheeler: We count only the ones we find on the battlefield. There is only a 10 percent margin of error in this
count. You must remember that a lot of bodies are lost in swamps and waterways and many of them are hauled off by
the enemy.
The President: What are you doing with the other aircraft which are not hitting Hanoi and Haiphong?
General Wheeler: They are striking at the Khesanh area, in Laos and in the other parts of South Vietnam.
The President: If you had your way would you also hit Hanoi and Haiphong?
General Wheeler: Yes, sir.
General Johnson: Yes, we would also like to hit Hanoi and Haiphong, Mr. President. We have the capability of doing
that.
General Wheeler: In Vietnam we have the capability of flying 1,000 sorties a day. We're using only 500.
[Omitted here is discussion of the Pueblo crisis; for text, see Foreign Relations, 1964-1968, volume XXIX, Part 1,
Document 243.]
The President: A senator (Senator Ted Kennedy of Massachusetts) told me he was very worried about our situation in
Vietnam. He said that some of our top generals have serious questions about our military strategy in Vietnam. I thought
the Westmoreland-Bunker reply was a very good one. Bob (Secretary McNamara), I would go to the Senator and tell
him you want to see what the various generals said to determine whether or not they were wrong--or if what we are
doing is wrong.
General Wheeler: I told General Westmoreland of this charge plus the one of corruption. I have not seen his response. I
have been out there 14 times. General Johnson has been out there several times. General Chapman has been out
there several times. General McConnell has been out there several times. Between us, I think we have talked to every
general officer in Vietnam. I have not heard one word of criticism about General Westmoreland's strategy.
The President: Each one of you should write me a memo on the facts and what you have heard. The Senator says the
generals think the Bermuda strategy is the one they want. Take this matter up with General Westmoreland, with the
Joint Chiefs, and with Senator Russell. Let's get the right answers./3/
/3/Chapman reported his opinion in a February 2 memorandum to the President. (U.S. Army Military History Institute,
Harold K. Johnson Papers, Memorandum of L.F. Chapman to President, Feb. 2, 1968) In a February 1 memorandum to

the President, General Johnson commented on Kennedy's ideas and the strategy pursued in Vietnam. (Johnson Library,
Papers of Clark M. Clifford, 2nd Set [Memos on Vietnam Feb. 1968])
General Johnson: There is some corruption. But there is no disagreement over strategy among our generals.
The President: We cannot have perfection. We have corruption here. General Westmoreland and Ambassador Bunker
and all of you are against corruption. You should point out how much corruption and crime we have in places like
Houston, Washington, New York City, and Boston.
[Omitted here is additional discussion of the Pueblo crisis, also printed in volume XXIX, Part 1.]

Foreign Relations, 1964-1968, Volume VI, Vietnam, January-August 1968


Released by the Office of the Historian
Documents 32-49

January 30-February 8: The Tet Offensive


32. Editorial Note
The U.S. intelligence community provided some forewarning of the coming general offensive in South Vietnam, although
not comprehensive details. An interim report, entitled "Intelligence Warning of the Tet Offensive in South Vietnam," April
8, 1968, was prepared by a working group of officers from the Central Intelligence Agency, Defense Intelligence Agency,
Bureau of Intelligence and Research, National Security Agency, and Joint Staff. Representatives of the group visited
Vietnam March 16-23 to collect documents, receive briefings, and conduct interviews.
The working group report indicates that Director of Central Intelligence Richard Helms informed the President's Foreign
Intelligence Advisory Board in February that there had been evidence in January that attacks in the Highlands might be
conducted during the Tet holiday. By late January some targets had been identified, and the intelligence had been
communicated to senior military and political leaders in both Saigon and Washington. The report continues: "Despite
enemy security measures, communications intelligence was able to provide clear warning that attacks, probably on a
larger scale than ever before, were in the offing. Considerable numbers of medium- and low-grade enciphered enemy
messages were read. . . . They included references to impending attacks, more widespread and numerous than seen
before. Moreover, they indicated a sense of urgency, along with an emphasis on thorough planning and secrecy not
previously seen in such communications. These messages, taken with such nontextual indicators as increased
message volumes and radio direction finding, served both to validate information from other sources in the hands of
local authorities and to provide warning to senior officials."The report concluded, however, that the evidence was "not
sufficient to predict the exact timing of the attack." This report is in Central Intelligence Agency Files; it is also available
on the Internet at <www.foia.cia.gov>.
Individual intelligence reports are in the National Security Agency, Center for Cryptologic History. [text not declassified]
Additional reports of enemy preparations and a memorandum entitled "Vietnam Reporting Prior to Tet 1968 Offensive,
September 17, 1975, which reviews the pre-Tet intelligence collection are in the Central Intelligence Agency, DO/EA
Files, Job 80-0088A, Vietnam Reporting on Tet 1968 Offensive.

33. Editorial Note


Following attacks that took place in parts of I and II Corps on January 30, 1968, a force numbering initially 58,000 and
quickly rising to approximately 84,000 Viet Cong (VC) cadre and North Vietnamese Army (NVA) regulars launched an
extensive series of coordinated assaults on most of the urban centers of South Vietnam. The Vietnamese Communist
leadership in Hanoi had infiltrated forces into these areas over the preceding weeks. The offensive sought to instigate a
mass uprising against the Americans and the government in Saigon, generate instability and a loss of security in the
South, draw strength away from Khe Sanh, and position North Vietnam favorably in any future peace talks. The
insurgents rose up in the capital, the six largest cities of South Vietnam, 36 of 44 provincial capitals, 64 of 242 district
centers, and numerous other smaller villages and hamlets. The tactical surprise the NVA/VC achieved was evidenced in
the audacious nature of their attacks, which included penetrations by VC sapper teams of the U.S. Embassy compound,
the Presidential Palace, and Ton Son Nhut airport in Saigon; damage to ships in Cam Ranh Bay; the seizure of the U.S.
military billet in the center of Dalat; and the fall of the ancient imperial capital of Hue to NVA/VC units after an assault
lasting only a few hours. A summary of the situation broken down by corps tactical zones in the immediate aftermath of
the Tet offensive is in Intelligence Note No. 89, February 1. (National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59,
Central Files 1967-69, POL 27 VIET S)
The impact of the Tet offensive on the American public was immense. Press reports stressed that the NVA/VC forces
had achieved a strategic victory. In retrospect, it became clear that they had suffered a devastating tactical defeat, with
the eradication of nearly 70 percent of NVA/VC cadres in the South. In the immediate aftermath, however, public opinion
polls reflected that the American public turned sharply against supporting a continuation of President Lyndon Johnson's
effort in Vietnam. For literature describing Tet as the major turning point of the war, see James J. Wirtz, The Tet
Offensive: Intelligence Failure in War (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1991); Ronnie E. Ford, Tet 1968:
Understanding the Surprise (London: Frank Cass, 1995); Peter Braestrup, Big Story (Boulder, CO: Westview Press,
1977); Don Oberdorfer, Tet! (Garden City, NY: Doubleday, 1971); Bruce Palmer, Jr., The 25-Year War: America's Role
in Vietnam (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1985); Eric Hammel, Fire in the Streets: The Battle for Hue--Tet 1968 (New
York: Dell, 1992); Larry Berman, Lyndon Johnson's War (New York: W.W. Norton, 1989); Andrew F. Krepinevich, The
Army and Vietnam (Baltimore, MD: The Johnson Hopkins University Press, 1986); Herbert Y. Schandler, The Unmaking

of a President: Lyndon Johnson and Vietnam (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1977); William C.
Westmoreland, A Soldier Reports (New York: Dell, 1976); Samuel Zaffiri, Westmoreland: A Biography of General
William C. Westmoreland (New York: William Morrow, 1994); William J. Duiker, The Communist Road to Power in
Vietnam (Boulder, CO: Westview Press, 1981); Douglas Pike, War, Peace, and the Viet Cong (Cambridge, MA: MIT
Press, 1969); Peter Macdonald, Giap: The Victor in Vietnam (New York: W.W. Norton, 1993); and Cecil B. Currey,
Victory at Any Cost: The Genius of Viet Nam's General Vo Nguyen Giap (Washington: Brassey's, 1997).

34. Telegram From the Commander of the Military Assistance Command, Vietnam (Westmoreland) to the
Commander in Chief, Pacific Forces (Sharp) and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (Wheeler)/1/
Saigon, January 30, 1968, 1255Z.
/1/Source: Johnson Library, National Security File, NSC History of the March 31st Speech, Vol. 2, Tabs A-Z and AA-AA.
Secret; Eyes Only. Notations on the telegram indicate that Wheeler forwarded it to Rusk, Helms, and McCafferty of the
White House staff.
MAC 01438. The events of the past 18 hours have been replete with enemy attacks against certain of our key
installations in the I and II CTZs. The heaviest attacks were launched against Danang, Kontum, Pleiku, Nha Trang, Ban
Me Thuot, and Tan Canh in the Dak To area. Lesser attacks were made on Qui Nhon and Tuy Hoa. Although enemy
activity in III and IV CTZs was comparatively light during this period, we are alert to attempts by the enemy to attack
significant targets in these areas. Repeated attempts can also be expected in the I and II CTZs. While our operations
reports to your headquarters have covered these attacks in some detail, I felt it would be helpful to give you a wrap-up
on the situation as it stands now.
It is significant that in I CTZ none of these attacks were directed against our installations north of the Ai Van Pass,
perhaps because of the thickening of US forces in that area. Danang was the prime target and was attacked beginning
at 20 minutes past midnight. The facilities at Marble Mountain and the Danang air base were mortared and rocketed
with a number of aircraft receiving damage, to include five jet aircraft destroyed. The rocket site was immediately located
and brought under fire with unknown results at this time. Simultaneously, the ARVN Corps Headquarters came under
enemy mortar and ground attack by an estimated reinforced enemy company. An attempt was made against the
Danang bridge by underwater swimmers. It was thwarted with three enemy KIA and one captured. Timely warning of the
attacks plus rapid reaction by US/ARVN/ROK forces has brought the situation in the Danang area under control at this
time. Casualties so far list 89 enemy KIA and 7 friendly KIA. Noteworthy among the counteractions launched in the early
morning hours was that of the ROK Marines, who, in response to an enemy ground attack in the Hoi An area, inserted a
force by helicopter, engaged the enemy, killing 21 with no friendly casualties.
The II CTZ received the bulk and intensity of the enemy attacks. In the Kontum area, in excess of 500 enemy attacked
from the north in the vicinity of the airfield, and were engaged by elements of the 4th U.S. Division and assorted
Vietnamese units. The area is now under control with artillery and air strikes being employed against an estimated two
enemy battalions. Seven U.S. were killed in this action, with 165 NVA KIA. Vietnamese casualties are unknown. In Tan
Canh of Kontum Province, contact is sporadic with elements of the 3/42 ARVN regiment opposing an unknown size
enemy force. Four friendly have been killed and five NVA. In Pleiku, contact continues with an enemy of unknown size in
the city, with friendly forces attempting to cut off the enemy forces trying to escape. The 4th Inf Div captured 220 enemy
in the vicinity of Pleiku. Of these, 20 had North Vietnamese money on their person. The vast majority are Montagnards
believed to be pressed into service. Average age appears to be 18 to 30. 58 claim to be Hoi Chanhs. ARVN forces are
in the city (Pleiku). Seven friendly have been killed as against 103 enemy. In Nha Trang, sporadic fighting continues in
the city. Friendly lost 21 KIA; enemy 60 KIA. Fighting continues against the enemy attempting to withdraw. City fighting
continues in Ban Me Thuot with enemy still in the vicinity. Casualties are reported to be 7 friendly KIA and 131 enemy
KIA. In addition, 36 enemy have been killed in the Tuy Hoa area and 11 NVA KIA in the Ninh Hoa area. In Qui Nhon, the
enemy holds the radio station and the maintenance area but has lost 50 KIA. The ROKs have the radio station
surrounded but have not attacked, since the enemy is holding three hostages.
In III CTZ in Binh Dinh Duong Province, southwest of Ben Cat, units of the 25th U.S. Division made a significant contact
with an enemy force, resulting in 66 enemy killed, with eight friendly killed and 14 wounded. IV CTZ had one significant
encounter in the Vinh Long area, where gunships and tactical support aircraft engaged a cleared target of sampans in a
canal area, killing 80 enemy, destroying 124 sampans, with three secondary explosions.
During the course of the day we had a maximum air effort, which was reported to be extremely effective.
The current outlook depicts a situation similar to my foregoing account.

In summary, the enemy has displayed what appears to be desperation tactics, using NVA troops to terrorize populated
areas. He attempted to achieve surprise by attacking during the truce period. The reaction of Vietnamese, US and free
world forces to the situation has been generally good. Since the enemy has exposed himself, he has suffered many
casualties. As of now, they add up to almost 700. When the dust settles, there will probably be more. All my subordinate
commanders report the situation well in hand.

35. Notes of Meeting/1/


Washington, January 30, 1968, 8:30-10:06 a.m.
/1/Source: Johnson Library, Tom Johnson's Notes of Meetings. Top Secret. The meeting was held in the White House.
Those attending the meeting were the President, the Vice President, McCormack, Albert, Boggs, Mansfield, Long,
Fulbright, Sparkman, Byrd, Representative Thomas Morgan, Rusk, McNamara, Wheeler, Secretary of the Air Force
Harold Brown, O'Brien, Rostow, Sanders, Califano, Manatos, and Tom Johnson. (Ibid., President's Daily Diary)
NOTES OF THE PRESIDENT'S MEETING
WITH THE
DEMOCRATIC LEADERSHIP
[Omitted here is discussion of the Pueblo crisis.]
Senator Byrd: Thank you very much for the briefing. I think the actions which have been taken are prudent and wise. On
another matter, I am very concerned about the build up at Khesanh. I have been told that we have 5,000 troops there
compared with 40,000 enemy troops. Are we prepared for this attack?
The President: This has been a matter of great concern to me. I met with the Joint Chiefs yesterday. I went around the
table and got their answers to these questions. In addition, I have it in writing that they are prepared.
I asked, "Have we done all we should do?" They said yes. I asked, "Are we convinced our forces are adequate?" They
said yes.
I asked should we withdraw from Korea. They said no, that Khesanh is important to us militarily and psychologically.
[Omitted here is discussion relating to Korea.]
The President: Russell, if you will just listen a minute you will see that we are taking the action we believe to be right.
There are 700 enemy dead now as a result of our actions in Vietnam. That is not soft.
Walt Rostow: During the first day of Tet the enemy attacked in 10 places in Vietnam. Six were substantial attacks.
At 6:00 a.m. today General Westmoreland said the enemy suffered the highest killed in one day of the war. They
counted 700 enemy dead. The ratio of enemy killed to U.S. killed runs about 5 to 1.
The enemy is trying to terrorize the people. Reports said the ARVN performed very well. Khesanh's air field is open.
General Wheeler: On the matter of your question, Senator Byrd, about 5,000 U.S. troops versus 40,000 enemy troops.
Khesanh is in very rugged areas. There are 5,900 U.S. troops in the Khesanh Garrison. These are support troops
including 26th Marines and a battalion of the ARVN. In support of this there are 105 millimeter, 155 millimeter and 8 inch
guns.
There are 175 millimeter guns operating from the nearby "rockpile." There are 14 more 175 millimeter guns 14 miles
east.
Off the coast, there is a force of cruisers and destroyers which can target on the enemy.
There are 4 North Vietnam divisions at Khesanh. We have available the 1st U.S. Infantry Division. We have one
additional ARVN Division available with units which can be dispatched quickly. There are 39,968 friendly forces versus
38,590 enemy forces. Roughly, there are 40,000 allied troops to match the 40,000 enemy. We think we are ready to

take on any contingency.


In addition, there are 40 B-52 sorties and 500 tactical air sorties in the area Niagara each day hitting the enemy.
I talked with General Westmoreland yesterday. He had been in the area and conferred with senior field commanders.
He placed the entire field operation under his deputy General Abrams. He has as his air deputy General Momyer.
General Westmoreland is confident he can hold the position. To abandon it would be to step backward. The Joint Chiefs
agree with General Westmoreland. The Joint Chiefs believe that he can hold and that he should hold.
General Westmoreland considers it an opportunity to inflict heavy casualties on North Vietnam. We have 6,000 men
there, and 34,000 available. It is 40,000 versus 40,000.
[Omitted here is Part II, discussion of unrelated Congressional legislation.]

36. Notes of Meeting/1/


Washington, January 30, 1968, 1:08-2:50 p.m.
/1/Source: Johnson Library, Tom Johnson's Notes of Meetings. Top Secret.
THOSE ATTENDING THE MEETING WERE
Secretary Rusk
Secretary McNamara
Clark Clifford
CIA Director Helms
Walt Rostow
George Christian
Tom Johnson
[Omitted here is discussion of the Pueblo crisis, printed in Foreign Relations, 1964-1968, volume XXIX, Part 1,
Document 248.]
The President: What about Buttercup?/2/
/2/See Document 6.
Secretary Rusk: The last Buttercup messenger turned around because of particularly heavy activity around Hanoi. On
his last report the message was not very clear. Ambassador Bunker wants it authenticated. Their people think we should
release four additional prisoners. I think we should leave the details of this with Ambassador Bunker to work out with
Thieu.
The President: What about Packers?/3/
/3/See Document 18.
Secretary Rusk: Our man is expected in Bucharest on February 1. I think Hanoi is waiting to see how they come out in
this offensive.
The President: General Wheeler, will you give us the most up to date information about Khesanh.
General Wheeler: First reports indicate 700 enemy killed. U.S. and Vietnamese casualties are light. There have been
rockets and mortars to hit Da Nang. The city of Da Nang was also attacked. Pleiku was attacked by a couple of hundred
men. They terrorized the city and struck at the Pleiku air base. There have been at least two other acts, one against the
4th Infantry and one at Nha Trong and Kontum.
At Khesanh the situation is quiet and the weather is good. At 9:00 a. m. today EST General Westmoreland said that he

had talked with his Commander at Khesanh and the situation is well in hand. At Tet it is customary for many people from
the countryside to come into town. It is easy for the Viet Cong to infiltrate these groups. They can bring in a mortar and a
rocket easily. They assemble it at a prearranged time and attack these installations. We caught four trying to blow up a
bridge. The enemy has lost quite heavily. The 4th Infantry captured 200 Viet Cong, most of whom were Montagnard
Tribesmen. Twenty of them had North Vietnamese money.
Secretary McNamara: There are three military actions we would like to bring up at this time. Two of them will require the
President's approval, and one is for the President's information.
General Wheeler: We would like approval of the Talos anti-aircraft missile for use south of the 20 degree south latitude.
We have noticed recently that the MIG's are carrying wing tanks which give them greater range. They will be going after
the B-52's in South Vietnam. They have been trying to shoot down a B-52 for psychological purposes for some time.
(The President approved this action upon the recommendation of General Wheeler, Secretary Rusk and Secretary
McNamara.)
The second item on which the President's approval is requested is the use of patrols in the DMZ. These patrols would
be used to check on the disposition of supplies, troops and other developments inside the DMZ. Intelligence indicates a
thickening of forces around Khesanh with a thinning in the Eastern end of the DMZ. As an alternative to use of U.S.
patrols, we would suggest use of ARVN patrols with U.S. advisers.
Secretary Rusk: We will lose some men this way, but there is no political problem.
Secretary McNamara: I have no problem because of the Khesanh build-up. It is natural that we will want to know what is
going on in the DMZ, particularly with Khesanh shaping up the way it is.
Secretary McNamara: The third action we proposed is to organize and mount a feint of a full scale landing above the
DMZ. This would involve mounting naval gun fire, making air strikes along the coast and moving amphibious shipping
north into the area.
The President: Is this about the same as the proposal I have heard once before?
General Wheeler: Yes, sir. There are some disadvantages. If we made such a feint, North Vietnam would claim a
victory, but we request the President's approval to go ahead and prepare a plan. This plan would be submitted to the
Joint Chiefs of Staff and to the President for approval. We would pretend we were going to make a landing and we
would let it leak to the South Vietnamese to make sure that the North Vietnamese would learn of it. We would use naval
gunfire and marshal the shipping as though we were going to load troops. The objective of this would be to make them
believe that we were about to have a major landing. This would, if its purpose is realized, get them to move troops and
lessen the pressure in the Khesanh area.
One advantage of this is that if it does break publicly, we have never made such a move.
Secretary McNamara: We would plan this on the basis that it would be brought to the attention of the North Vietnamese
and not to the American public.
CIA Director Helms: It is a great thing if you can keep it out of the hands of the press.
Secretary McNamara: I agree.
Walt Rostow: I would not leak it to the ARVN. Once you do it will become known to the press. I would make the cover
through the use of the most sophisticated electronic equipment we have.
Clark Clifford: Here is my uninformed reaction. If we go ahead and plan on this and it should become known, people
would say we used this as an excuse for the real thing.
The President: Go ahead and plan it. I want to give weight to the Field Commanders recommendation in this case.
[Omitted here is continuing discussion of the Pueblo crisis.]
Walt Rostow: What are we going to do about Ted Kennedy's report?

Secretary Rusk: He has used figures we cannot legitimately attack. Corruption is a tough one to deal with.
Secretary McNamara: There is no excuse for the Vietnamese not lowering their draft age to below 20.
The President: We should sit down with these people who have been to Vietnam and talk to them before they are turned
loose on an unsuspecting public.
(At 2:35 Walt Rostow returned from a call he had taken from Bromley Smith. He reported to the meeting that "we have
just been informed we are being heavily mortared in Saigon. The Presidential Palace, our BOQ's, the Embassy and the
city itself have been hit. This flash was just received from the NMCC.)/4/
/4/During a meeting with Dirksen and Ford later that day, the President discussed the attack on the Embassy compound
and other areas. The record of the meeting, "Notes of the President's Meeting with Senator Dirksen and Congressman
Ford," January 30, is in the Johnson Library, Tom Johnson's Notes of Meeting.
The President: This could be very bad.
Secretary Rusk: Yes, I hope it is not Ambassador Bunker's residence.
The President: What can we do to shake them from this?
This looks like where we came in. Remember it was at Pleiku that they hit our barracks and that we began to strike them
in the north.
What comes to mind in the way of retaliation?
General Wheeler: It was the same type of thing before. You will remember that during the inauguration that the MACV
headquarters was hit. In a city like Saigon people can infiltrate easily. They carry in rounds of ammunition and mortars.
They fire and run.
It is impossible to stop this in its entirety. This is about as tough to stop as it is to protect against an individual mugging
in Washington, D.C.
We have got to pacify all of this area and get rid of the Viet Cong infrastructure.
They are making a major effort to mount a series of these actions to make a big splurge at Tet.
Secretary McNamara: I have two recommendations. This is a public relations problem not a military one. We need to
keep General Loan in charge of the Saigon police. He should not be removed as some of our people in the State
Department are suggesting. At least not until we find somebody better.
CIA Director Helms: I agree completely.
Secretary McNamara: He is the best security chief since Diem's time. He has cleaned up Saigon well.
Secretary Rusk: He is a good police chief, but he has been rather uncooperative with some of our people.
Secretary McNamara: The answer to the mortar attacks is success at Khesanh. We must get our story across. Phil
Goulding called General Sidle this morning in Saigon. We are inflicting very heavy casualties on the enemy and we are
not unprepared for the encounter.
[Omitted here is discussion of clearing the Suez Canal.]

37. Editorial Note


Beginning at 7:24 a.m. on January 31, 1968, President Johnson conferred by telephone with Secretary of Defense

McNamara. Among the topics of conversation was the Tet offensive in Vietnam. In response to the President's request
that McNamara evaluate the situation in Vietnam, the following exchange occurred:
McNamara: Well, I think it shows two things, Mr. President. First, that they have more power than some credit them with.
I don't think it's a last gasp action. I do think that it represents a maximum effort in the sense that they've poured out all
of their assets and my guess is that we will inflict very heavy losses on them both in terms of personnel and matriel and
this will set them back some, but that after they absorb the losses, they will remain a substantial force. I don't anticipate
that we will hit them so hard that they'll be knocked out for an extended period or forced to drop way back in level of
effort against us. I do think that it is such a well-coordinated, such an obviously advance-planned operation that it
probably relates to negotiations in some way. I would expect that were they successful here, they would then move
forward more forcefully on the negotiation front, thinking that they have a stronger position from which to bargain. I don't
believe they're going to be successful. I think that in the case we're going to have the real military engagement, I believe
we'll deal them a heavy defeat. I think in the other areas it's largely a propaganda effort and publicity effort and I think
they'll gain that way. I imagine our people across the country this morning will feel that they're much stronger than they
had previously anticipated they were, and in that sense I think they gain.
The question in my mind is how to respond to this. Is there anything we could be doing that we're not doing? I've talked
to the Chiefs about some kind of reciprocal action in retaliation for their attack on our Embassy or in retaliation for their
attack across the country. There just isn't anything they've come up with that is worth a damn. They talk about an area
bombing attack over Hanoi. The weather is terrible--you can't get in there with pinpoint targeting. The only way you
could bomb it at all at the present time is area bombing, and I wouldn't recommend that to you under any circumstances.
They just haven't been able to think of retaliation that means anything. My own feeling is that we ought to depend upon
our ability to inflict very heavy casualties on them as our proper response and as the message we give to our people.
President: I think that one thing we ought to do is try to keep Westmoreland in the news out there, twice a day-McNamara: Yes, I quite agree. I asked Phil [Goulding] to talk yesterday to our people there and have Westy make--I
said once a day, but I'll make it twice a day. You're quite right.
President: I think you ought to too. I don't think they get enough information. I think you've become sensitive and we all
pulled in. I meet with them once every 2 or 3 months--you meet with them once a month if there's something big. But if
you'll remember, you used to see them almost daily, and I think it shows the difference, and I think in this campaign
year, the other crowd has got two or three committees grinding out things. Their only interest is to find something wrong.
People look for something wrong unless you've got so much choking them that is happening. (Johnson Library,
Recordings and Transcripts, Recording of Telephone Conversation Between Johnson and McNamara, January 31,
1968, 7:53 a.m., Tape F68.02, PNO 1; transcript prepared in the Office of the Historian specifically for this volume)

38. Telegram From the Commander in Chief, Pacific Forces (Sharp) to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff
(Wheeler)/1/
Honolulu, January 31, 1968, 0707Z.
/1/Source: Johnson Library, National Security File, NSC History of the March 31st Speech, Vol. 2, Tabs A-Z and AA-ZZ.
Top Secret; Eyes Only. Wheeler forwarded the telegram to the other JCS members and to Rusk, Helms, and Rostow at
1253Z. It was received in the White House at 2:02 p.m.
1. I have just talked with Westy by telephone. He provided me an assessment of the situation as of now by secure
telephone and filled in the complete details which follow.
2. The situation is still confused but it is apparent that the enemy has taken advantage of the general state of relaxation
existing during Tet. His forces infiltrated into Saigon in civilian clothes. They are moving throughout the city against
government buildings and in a general campaign to terrorize and kill civilians. Their campaign has been well planned
and obviously formed over a long period of time.
3. The expected attack against Khe Sanh or across the DMZ has not materialized, but it could come momentarily and
we must be ready for it. It is possible that the massive air attacks conducted in I CTZ and along the DMZ may have
thrown him off his time table but the threat of his attack still remains.
4. In the Capital District one of the most dramatic attacks took place against the U.S. Embassy. The enemy blew a hole
in the wall and attempted to enter across the compound. A detachment of the 101st Airborne landed on the roof and

joined Marine guards and MPs in repelling the attack. Westy had just returned from the Embassy where he viewed 19
VC bodies on the ground outside the Embassy building. Westy states that no VC actually entered the building. This
changes many conflicting reports which we had received earlier in the day indicating that enemy troops were actually
inside the Embassy. One Marine was KIA, and 4-5 Army MPs were killed at the Embassy. The building was partially
defaced but there is no structural damage. There is minor damage in the lobby downstairs but nothing that cannot be
repaired.
5. The enemy has been unsuccessful in getting into Tan Son Nhut and a friendly battalion is now sweeping the field.
Two troops of cavalry have arrived at TSN and one company is engaging the enemy in the race track area. There is a
big fight now in process there. Rockets from U.S. gun ships could be heard overhead while General Westmoreland
made this report. He advised that the impact was approximately 1000 yards away.
6. An ordnance depot in Gia Dinh Province has been penetrated by the VC and they are now being engaged by ARVN
Rangers. A VC captain has been captured and claims that 30 VC battalions are in the environs of Saigon. Another POW
states that 21 battalions have infiltrated the city. Both reports are unconfirmed but it is obvious that infiltration is
widespread, that the enemy can be expected in any kind of uniform, and that he is well equipped and armed with
automatic weapons. Attacks have taken place against the palace, several of our BOQs and generally throughout the
city.
7. Bien Hoa is closed to jets but the VNAF is taking off on an open runway. There is rocket fire now taking place there,
with a battalion sweeping the area. The enemy has attacked the POW camp at Hien Hoa but has not penetrated. II Field
Force headquarters has been infiltrated and mortared with one friendly KIA. 199th Brigade has been in an intense fire
fight with the enemy in a village northeast of Bien Hoa. First reports indicate that upwards of 500 enemy KIA might be
anticipated, but Westy does not attach too much reliability to this first report. Our casualties have been light in the 199th.
8. Note: Deliver during duty hours.

39. Notes of Meeting/1/


Washington, January 31, 1968, 8:40-10:15 a.m.
/1/Source: Johnson Library, Tom Johnson's Notes of Meetings. Top Secret. The meeting was held in the White House.
Those attending the meeting were the President, Rusk, McNamara, Clifford, Helms, Wheeler, Taylor, Rostow, Christian,
Tom Johnson, Senators John Stennis, Margaret Chase Smith, Carl Hayden, and Milton Young, and Representatives
George Mahon, Frank Bow, and William Bates. (Ibid., President's Daily Diary)
NOTES OF THE PRESIDENT'S
BREAKFAST MEETING
WITH
CONGRESSIONAL LEADERS
AND
POLICY ADVISORS
The President: I appreciate your coming here. I hope Senator Russell can be out of the hospital as quickly as possible.
Our people have talked with General Eisenhower. In addition, we have talked with Senator Russell, McGeorge Bundy,
George Ball, Henry Cabot Lodge and General Taylor. I have discussed this matter with my senior foreign policy advisors
and with many of the men I have mentioned who are outside of government. I intend to ask General Ridgway to come in
to discuss this with me.
I want to review the problems of the Nation with you. There is not [now?] a war spirit in the country, but we do have
more sympathizers and "agents of the enemy" in this country working against us.
I have always felt that man's judgment is no better than his information. We have spent a great deal of time on this
situation. I have received reports from 90 ambassadors. I asked Clark Clifford, George Ball, Henry Cabot Lodge, and
General Taylor to come in Sunday and go over this. We are calling on men like Mark Clark and Admiral McDonald to
look at it. We have talked to Senator Smith, Senator Stennis and Senator Russell.
A desperate attack is being launched against us in Vietnam. At the same time the number of incidents has changed
from 57 to more than 570 during the past year in and around the DMZ in Korea. This Pueblo seizure was well planned.

The JCS reviewed the military plans and have told me they have done everything we can for Westmoreland. Everything
he has requested we have granted. All of them believe he is prepared to handle the situation in Vietnam.
General Wheeler: I will read to you excerpts received at 4:18 this morning from General Westmoreland./2/
/2/See Document 38.
In it he reports on the country-wide attacks throughout South Vietnam. There were heavy attacks in Saigon. The DMZ
and Khesanh are quiet.
We have inflicted very heavy losses on the enemy. At Kontum 300 enemy were killed.
We estimate the enemy has lost 3,000 men killed in action in the last two days. This compares with about 300 allied
losses, including 100 U.S. We know they are prepared for a major offensive at Khesanh.
The President: We still face a big challenge at Khesanh. At home many people want to destroy confidence in your
leaders and in the South Vietnamese government. I ask you to measure your statements before you make them. The
greatest source of Communist propaganda statements is our own statements.
We are going to stand up out there. We are not about to return to the enclave theories.
President Eisenhower said, what I want most for the President is for him to win the war.
(A copy of the telephone conversation with General Eisenhower is attached as Appendix A.)/3/
/3/No record of this conversation has been found.
The enemy has about 40,000 men around Khesanh. You won't hear much in the press about how bad the enemy's
bombing in Saigon was last night. You won't hear many speeches about the North Koreans' attempt to cut off President
Park's head and to kill the American Ambassador. All we hear about is how bad our bombing is.
We see both of these actions in Vietnam and in Korea as a coordinated challenge.
[Omitted here are a briefing by Wheeler on the Pueblo crisis and subsequent discussion by Congressional leaders and
Johnson administration officials.]
[CIA Director Helms:] There is not much doubt that there is a connection between the incursion along the DMZ and the
seizure of the Pueblo. The reasons for these actions are to divert attention from the attacks in Vietnam and to keep
South Korea from sending more troops to South Vietnam.
There has been no movement of Chinese.
General Wheeler: After going over all the evidence for several days I have nothing really useful to suggest that has not
been mentioned.
The mission of the ship was essential. We could not prevent the capture of it under the circumstances.
The time and space factor would not permit it. It is undesirable for these ships to have escorts. If they did, they would
not be able to get the information.
We cannot afford a military diversion. We cannot have a split with South Korea. They are our strongest allies.
And we cannot let the Pueblo be a dividing factor with us.
The President then read a cable from Ambassador Bunker which ended with a quote by Thomas Paine beginning,
"These are the times that try men's souls."
The text of that cable is attached as Appendix C./4/

/4/Not found.
These have been trying times. We have had the incident along the Cambodian border. The B-52 craft with A bombs
aboard. There was increased infiltration and the assassination attempt in South Korea. The Pueblo was seized. We are
being attacked heavily in Saigon and in South Vietnam. We are going to get our most experienced men and get their
advice. We will be talking with you more. Meanwhile the Joint Chiefs will get us any information you need.
I want you to provide leadership. Senator Stennis did an excellent job in speaking on this matter on TV Sunday.
If somebody launches a tirade against our people I hope you will tell them to be responsible. We may have to extend
enlistments. We may have to have 100 million dollars for Korea. We may need further call-ups.
But if you have further ideas, I hope you come and talk to me.

40. Memorandum From the Special Assistant for Vietnamese Affairs, Central Intelligence Agency (Carver) to the
President's Special Assistant (Rostow)/1/
Washington, January 31, 1968.
/1/Source: Johnson Library, National Security File, Memos to the President, Walt Rostow, Vol. 58. Secret; Sensitive.
Copies were sent to Rusk, McNamara, and Wheeler. In an attached covering note to the President, January 31, 4:45
p.m., Rostow wrote: "I have marked the key passages in this interesting report from the CIA Station in Saigon. It
indicates clearly the task ahead for Thieu and Bunker in regaining confidence after the shock of these attacks."
SUBJECT
31 January Telephone Conversation with Saigon Station
1. At 31/0433Z I was in telephonic communication with our Saigon Station. The circuit was bad: I could hear Saigon but
they could not understand me. The Station reported that the situation was generally stabilizing and the press greatly
exaggerating the seriousness of the penetration of the Embassy. The Chancery was not actually penetrated, though Viet
Cong did get into the compound. There were no U.S. civilian casualties in Saigon known as of that time.
2. After the phone conversation I transmitted the following specific questions to Mr. Lapham through the open teletype
link, explaining that these were the points I had hoped to raise over the phone.
a. What does the countrywide situation look like?
b. What do regional officers report?
c. Was attempt made against Thieu, Ky or other senior GVN officials?
d. Did Saigon attack seem primarily aimed at American targets?
e. Was there any local intelligence or other warning of these attacks (in Saigon or elsewhere)?
f. What do you expect in Saigon and countrywide within next 24-48 hours?
g. Any indication of effect attacks had on mood or attitudes of Vietnamese population?
h. Your general preliminary comments on meaning and import current countrywide spate of VC activity.
i. How is VC surge likely to affect GVN standing and stability?
3. At 31/0710Z, Mr. Lapham replied. The text of his reply is given below. I am passing it to the recipients of this
memorandum in the belief that you may find it useful. You will understand, of course, that these are Mr. Lapham's initial
reactions in a very fluid situation, the full dimensions and details of which were not known to him at that time.

For Mr. Carver From Mr. Lapham:


1. Appreciate your need for rapid coverage of events and assure you we are doing everything possible to comply. It has
been extremely difficult during the morning hours to obtain any hard information on the events of the night since police
are fully occupied in mopping up operations in various sectors of the city. For example, the VC continued to be holed up
in a house across from the Palace and apparently in houses in the area of Tan Son Nhut. Contrary to earlier reports,
Embassy employees have been instructed not to report to work this afternoon.
2. You will shortly receive dissem concerning police report we have received re enemy plans for this evening.
3. Mr. Carver's telecon just received. As you can see from above, announcement premature that situation was calm
enough to permit return of personnel to work. At this moment, it is impossible to estimate how long it will take to mop up
VC who are holed up around town. If intelligence referred to above is accurate, we may have a busy night again this
evening.
4. Will be filing report shortly on countrywide situation (TDCS 314/01647-68). Regional officers are preparing sitreps for
direct transmission. An FVS has been filed re Loan's comments./2/ President Thieu was in My Tho yesterday and
requested MACV assistance in returning to Saigon this morning. Although American facilities received their share of
attention, other targets were Korean and Philippine Embassies, Palace and Saigon radio station. During the last few
days, Station has diligently pursued all available sources for intelligence that might have given us warning of these
attacks. The police had a few spotty reports but nothing which appeared to be very hard. They were unquestionably not
prepared for this attack on the opening day of Tet, when large numbers of them were celebrating with their families. At
this point, we anticipate that countrywide attacks will continue tonight. However, we lacking intelligence from the regions
which would give us an accurate read-out. Your telecon questions, para 2g, h, and i will be dealt with separately.
/2/Not found.
5. COS and EXO will spend night in Station, with a backup commo command post in another area of the city. We are
establishing additional commo links with various police posts. Every possible precaution being taken to assure security
of personnel and classified facilities.
6. Re your telecon questions g, h and i:
a. You will appreciate the difficulty we have in even beginning an answer to these questions which will be of great
importance when the security situation settles down.
b. We are not today in contact with many elements in the Vietnamese population to discern their attitudes and moods. A
circling airplane with loudspeakers told the people to stay off the streets and in their homes. VC have reportedly made
specific threats to persons living in certain areas to vacate homes at risk of death. Most Saigonese have indeed stayed
at home and we assume that they will follow VC orders as well. The mood is very tense.
c. The meaning and import of current activity can be extracted from VC stated intentions regarding the winter-spring
campaign, their calls for general uprising, and their obvious drive toward a major victory for propaganda and morale
purposes. While we may be undergoing a major multiple harassment without lasting military significance, the ultimate
import will depend on their degree of success on the ground and the impact on American and South Vietnamese
willingness to rebound. The boost to VC/NVA morale is in any case certain to be substantial.
d. Regardless of what happens tonight or during the next few days, the degree of success already achieved in Saigon
and around the country will adversely affect the image of the GVN (and its powerful American allies as well) in the eyes
of the people. All Vietnamese, both those who are sympathetic and those who are critical, hope and expect for
protection from their government and the relative lack of VC activity in Saigon during recent months created a
presumption of GVN and police strength in this area at any rate. Those who believe that security situation (not the
political) is paramount will deduce that only a tough, efficient, no-nonsense government run by the military can meet the
sheer physical thrust of the Viet Cong. Those who cannot stomach such a government will be moved further toward the
temptation of negotiations and coalition government.
e. We would hope to be permitted to delay additional analysis and prediction until we have provided for the necessary
security of our installations and personnel and can begin to move about the city to communicate with sources able to
provide authoritative reactions and ideas. In meantime, hope above will be helpful.
George A. Carver, Jr.

41. Intelligence Memorandum/1/


SC No. 01909/68
Washington, January 31, 1968.
/1/Source: Central Intelligence Agency, DO Files, IMSC 01909/68. Top Secret; [codeword not declassified]. A note on
the first page reads: "This memorandum was produced solely by CIA. It was prepared by the Office of Current
Intelligence and coordinated with the Special Assistant for Vietnamese Affairs."
THE COMMUNIST TET OFFENSIVE
Summary
The current series of coordinated enemy attacks in South Vietnam appears designed for maximum psychological impact
and to demonstrate the Communists' continued power despite the presence of strong US forces. The Communists
clearly have made careful preparations for the offensive. These preparations point to a major assault in the Khe Sanh
area possibly in conjunction with a drive throughout the northern I Corps area, and widespread attacks against US
installations may be preparatory to or in support of such action. The enemy probably hopes to score some major
battlefield successes during their campaign. Their military actions appear related to Hanoi's recent offer to open talks,
but it is questionable that the Communists are making a final desperate bid before suing for peace.
1. The current coordinated series of enemy attacks in South Vietnam, so far targeted primarily against population
centers and US installations from I Corps to the delta, appears primarily designed for maximum psychological impact.
The Communists appear to be trying to demonstrate to the South Vietnamese, to US and world opinion and probably to
their own forces that, almost three years after the intervention of US forces, they can still enter major towns and bases,
threaten the US Embassy itself, and seriously disrupt the country, if only temporarily.
2. Extensive harassment of US airfields, logistical centers, and command and communications centers appears--in
addition to its shock effect--partly designed to inhibit immediate allied reaction and retaliation. It may be preparatory to or
intended to support further impending enemy actions in the Khe Sanh/DMZ/northern Quang Tri area. So far this area
has been relatively quiet during the latest round of attacks, but the enemy concentration in this area remains the most
ominous in the country.
3. Evidence has been building up for the past several weeks that the Communists intended a major nationwide offensive
in connection with the Tet season. Enemy propaganda, however, had stressed an intention to honor a seven-day ceasefire regardless of the period of the allied standdown. This line may have been intended to enhance the surprise factor of
attacks on the day of Tet itself. It may also be that the Communist timetable--in past years calling for stepped up action
just prior to and immediately following the Tet truce--was sufficiently flexible to call for action during the Tet if the allies
could be put in the position of apparently bearing the onus. In any event, Communist propagandists were clearly ready
with the line that the enemy attacks were "punishment" for allied violations.
4. It is clear that the Communists made careful and, most recently, urgent preparations for the current offensive. These
preparations seem to point, in coming days or weeks, to a major assault around Khe Sanh, possibly in conjunction with
a campaign throughout the northern I Corps area. The Communists probably hope, in addition to psychological gains, to
score some dramatic battlefield successes, ideally (from their standpoint) the overrunning of Khe Sanh or a US
withdrawal from this or some other key garrison. In launching a series of bold actions, they incur the risk of serious
defeats or retaliation, with possible repercussions on their own forces. Nonetheless, they probably hope to gain the
strategic initiative and to pin down substantial numbers of allied troops over wide areas in which the Communists hold
some military advantages. A major objective of the entire Communist "winter-spring" campaign since autumn appears to
be to draw off US forces while the VC attempt to erode the pacification effort through guerrilla-type actions. Furthermore,
the Communists certainly hope to make political mileage out of heightened US casualty rates and a demonstration of
continued VC strength./2/
/2/In Intelligence Note No. 84 to Rusk, January 31, Hughes wrote: "Unusual and unanticipated as the urban attacks are,
we do not believe that the Communists have chosen to mount them as a substitute for a major military thrust from one
or more of the areas in which they have been massing. Rather, we regard these urban forays (which must have required
considerable advance planning) as complementary to their main force attacks. That they were mounted in advance of
the main force attacks--preparations for which they must have known could not go undetected--suggests that the
Communists hope, by opening their campaign with a series of surprise, low-cost spectaculars, to lessen the subsequent
impact of the heavy casualties and inconclusive military results that mark major engagements with U. S.

forces." (National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1967-69, POL 27 VIET S)
5. There seems to be little question that the present Communist offensive activity bears a relation to Hanoi's recent offer
to open talks. Foremost, the Communists probably hope to improve their political and military image in the event that
any negotiations are initiated in coming months. Prior to the initiation of the "winter-spring" campaign, Communist forces
throughout the country were intensively indoctrinated on the importance of the campaign. At least in some areas, the
campaign itself was linked, directly or by implication, to the possibility of a political settlement. Some of this
indoctrination may have been propaganda intended to instill a victory psychology among troops possibly discouraged by
hardships and talk of "protracted war." Although the current surge of Communist activity involves both a military and
political gamble, it is highly questionable that the Communists are making a final desperate effort for a show of strength
prior to suing for peace. Despite evident problems of manpower and supply, enemy forces continued to display
improved fire-power, flexibility of tactics, and a considerable degree of resiliency. Their current offensive is probably
intended to convey the impression that despite VC problems and despite half a million US troops, the Communists are
still powerful and capable of waging war./3/
/3/A memorandum entitled "The Current VC Campaign," February 10, which was prepared by the staff of the SAVA
office and sent by Allen to Helms, noted: "The Tet Offensive represents the beginning of the spring phase--which our
adversaries have described as the decisive phase of the war. There is abundant evidence to demonstrate that this
phase aims at a 'general offensive' combined with a 'general uprising.' The VC hope that this offensive will inflict major
defeats on U.S. forces, disintegrate the Vietnamese forces, and collapse the GVN. The Communists evidently believe
that major successes along these lines will create irresistible international and domestic pressures on the U.S. to open
negotiations on Communist terms." (Central Intelligence Agency, Executive Registry Subject Files, Job 80-R01284A, IER Files--Special Material 01 Jan-28 Feb 1968)

42. Memorandum From the President's Special Assistant (Rostow) to Secretary of State Rusk/1/
Washington, January 31, 1968.
/1/Source: Johnson Library, National Security File, NSC History of the March 31st Speech, Vol. 7, Meeting Notes.
Confidential.
Herewith a rough working outline of the headings for the Presidential speech about which we talked.
1. The Setting. A widespread, desperate and dangerous Communist effort along the whole front in Asia to divert us from
Viet Nam, upset the progress made in Viet Nam, and discourage and split the American people.
2. Elements in Communist thrust:
--the Pueblo: why we were there; what we propose to do about it.
--mounting attacks across the 38th parallel, including the attack directed against President Park;
--the extension of the war in Laos and Cambodia;
--the VC raids throughout South Viet Nam during Tet; the build-up at Khe Sanh and the DMZ.
3. Peace proposals.
--The San Antonio formula--as far as any American President can go: rock bottom./2/
/2/In a January 27 memorandum to the President, McPherson suggested eliminating the use of the term "San Antonio
Formula." He argued that "it might be hard for us if we had to accept a 'Haiphong Formula' or a 'Vinh Formula.'" The
President noted on the memorandum: "Harry, That's fine. Bear that in mind in writing." (Ibid., Office Files of Harry
McPherson, Memoranda for the President (1968) [3 of 3])
--a serious intermediary has been trying to find out if the other side is prepared to accept it. I must conclude that they
have not. Let us stop talking about a bombing cessation and keep clearly in our minds the bombings in Saigon, Danang,
and all over South Viet Nam. When they are ready to talk about peace, they know where to get us. We shall be ready.

4. What are we seeking in Asia?/3/


/3/A marginal note in an unknown hand referring to the next three paragraphs reads: "This is WWR not LBJ."
We seek an end to a double standard:
--where we obey the laws of the sea, and the other side feels free to behave as pirates;
--where we defend the 38th parallel, and the other side feels free to attack;
--where we keep our ground forces out of North Viet Nam, and they feel free to send them across in defiance of the
1954 parallel;
--where we honor the Geneva Accords of 1962, and they feel free to violate them and to violate Cambodia as well;
--where they ask us to stop our bombing for the privilege of talking to them, while continuing to bomb throughout South
Viet Nam.
5. We want an Asia in which both sides obey the law, both sides honor international agreements, and the nations in the
area turn to their development in cooperation.
6. Actions.
In order to meet the pressures against us, and demonstrate the unity and will of the American people at this critical time,
I am asking the Congress to do the following:
--help protect the dollar by passing a tax bill immediately;
--lift the gold cover immediately;
--allocate funds for the Price Stabilization Board and, through voluntary means, make sure wages are properly related to
productivity and prices are kept as low as possible;
--freeing of the exchange stabilization fund to defend the dollar;
--give the President the right to extend tours of duty and call up individuals with special technical qualifications;
--add an extra $200 million to our funds for military aid, most of which would go to support Korea.
7. Call for unity and responsibility in the face of this Communist challenge despite an election year.
W

43. Telegram From the Commander, Military Assistance Command, Vietnam (Westmoreland) to the Chairman of
the Joint Chiefs of Staff (Wheeler)/1/
Saigon, February 1, 1968, 0132Z.
/1/Source: Johnson Library, William C. Westmoreland Papers, #29 History File, 1-29 Feb 68 [1]. Secret; Eyes Only.
Repeated to Admiral Sharp and Ambassador Bunker.
MAC 01464. At 0545 hours, General Wheeler called me on the secure telephone and directed that I call Mr. Rostow at
the White House and provide answers on behalf of Ambassador Bunker and myself to six questions. At 0650 hours, I
contacted on the secure telephone General Binsberg. The following is a transcript of my oral report.
This is General Westmoreland speaking.

I was instructed by the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff to call the White House and ask for Mr. Rostow.
Six questions have been posed. I will read these as I interpret them and will give you our answers. I am speaking for
Ambassador Bunker and myself--I have covered with Ambassador Bunker all these matters on the telephone.
Question number 1: Our estimate of friendly and enemy casualties.
Answer: From the beginning of the truce period--1800 hours, 29 January--the following casualties have been suffered by
us or inflicted on the enemy in accordance with our best estimates. KIA, friendly, 421, which includes 189 US, 3 Free
World, and remainder--229--Vietnamese. Enemy 4320 KIA, 1181 detainees, a number of whom are prisoners of war.
Question number 2: How long do we estimate the present campaign will continue?
Answer: We see this as a three-phase campaign. The first involved preparation, build-up, sporadic attacks, and a wellorchestrated psy war program. We are now in the second phase, which is an all-out military effort in South Vietnam,
excepting the two northern provinces. The enemy has achieved some local successes, but there is evidence that the
initiative is turning against him. However, we feel he has the capability of continuing this phase for perhaps several more
days, at great risk to himself. The third phase involves a massive attack in Quang Tri and Thien Provinces. The enemy
is now poised for this phase, which he considers his decisive campaign. Our air strikes may have blunted this attack, but
we still give him the capability to strike at any time with large forces supported by an abundance of artillery and rockets.
Question number 3: Do we believe there is a relationship between activities in South Vietnam and those in Korea?
Answer: It would seem to us that there is a relationship.
Question number 4: The French press allege that there is an impasse in South Vietnam. What is our comment?
Answer: We do not consider the situation an impasse, since the initiative is turning in the favor of the government and
her allies and the enemy is suffering unprecedented casualties.
Question 5: Is the enemy holding any towns in South Vietnam?
Answer: The enemy does not control any single town in South Vietnam. However, he has some degree of control in
several towns. Specifically, he has forces in Quang Tri, Hue, Duyxuan, Kontum City, Chau Phu and Ben Tre, he has
scattered elements in Saigon. Repeat, he does not control any single town. In those towns he has troops, they are
confronted by Vietnamese troops and fighting is continuous.
Question number 6: What political problems do we anticipate as a result of this enemy activity? Will it have a
psychological impact on the people and affect the stability of government?
Answer: It seems to us that initially there will be some psychological impact on the people and the government.
However, if the government handles the matter carefully, they can seize an opportunity to strengthen their position with
the people. President Thieu has the opportunity to exercise real leadership. The National Assembly has the opportunity
to be more constructive. The President has declared martial law, but this will have to be approved by the Assembly after
12 days, in accordance with the Constitution. The situation should not slow down (for a prolonged period) major
programs. It may well harden the government's position on negotiations with the Front. It may tend to set back
civilianization of the government. Military successes should give the ARVN and its leadership self-confidence and
encourage the acceleration of their improvement.
End of statement./2/
/2/In his History Notes for the month of February, Westmoreland wrote: "On Thursday, February 1, there was great
consternation in Washington. Frequent messages and telephone calls assisted in bringing balance to the real situation.
However, this was more than off-set by the alarming headlines and the gloom-and-doom type editorials that proceeded
to propagandize the limited successes by the VC. One received the impression that the press were gleeful that the VC
had finally accomplished something significant and the U.S. and South Vietnamese were in an awkward position. In
order to make known my assessment of the situation and try to bring about a certain balance in attitude and perspective,
I held, at the suggestion of Washington, an on-the-record press conference at 1645 in the JUSPAO auditorium. I
outlined the general situation, my assessment of the enemy's strategy, and pointed out that this was a major, go-forbroke offensive but that I anticipated that the enemy would shortly run out of steam. I was asked if I thought that the
offensive had anything to do with negotiations, to which I made a noncommittal reply. I was, however, decidedly under

the private and personal impression at the time that there was definitely such an association in the mind of the enemy. I
had made this view privately but was in no position to do so publicly." (Ibid.) A copy of Westmoreland's remarks and his
responses to press queries is ibid.

44. Memorandum Prepared in the Central Intelligence Agency/1/


Washington, February 2, 1968.
/1/Source: Central Intelligence Agency, DCI (Helms) Files, Job 80-M01044A, 282. SHOCK. Secret. In the February 2
covering memorandum transmitting this memorandum to Katzenbach, Nitze, Wheeler, and Rostow, Helms wrote: "A
number of officers of this Agency who have been concerned over the years with Vietnam have put together the attached
memorandum suggesting a possible course of action for the United States at this time. I pass it to you for your
consideration in light of some other factors bearing on the problem."
SUBJECT
Vietnam--Operation Shock
1. The Viet Cong Tet offensive is a clear indication of continued Viet Cong power which calls for a new look in our
approach to the Vietnam war and to the Government of Vietnam. Over the years the current leaders of Vietnam have
developed a complacent assurance that American support is immutable. Consequently, they have felt free to approach
the war in terms of gradualism, favoritism among the limited circle of personalities at the top and only a casual attention
to mobilizing popular support and engaging the population actively in the war. This gentle treatment of the members of
the Establishment has worked to exclude from positions of responsibility younger, more dynamic and modern-minded
leaders. The Tet offensive can be utilized in a frontal attack on these attitudes and habits, since it has forcefully
demonstrated that the present GVN lacks some of the principal attributes of sovereignty. It cannot defend its frontiers
without a half million U.S. troops and cannot even enable the American Ambassador to utilize his Embassy. In this
frontal attack, the United States must insist on standards of performance and American participation in decision making
during an emergency effort. While this would temporarily suspend the long-standing policy that the Vietnamese be
encouraged and allowed to carry an increasing load of initiative and decision, the objective would be to remake the
power structure to permit the emergence of new and more dynamic leadership to whom this role could be passed. This
frontal attack would be thoroughly consistent with our long-standing public position that the U.S. effort in Vietnam is only
to help the Vietnamese help themselves, not to carry the fight for them. These points should be expressed in an early
urgent interview between Ambassador Bunker, accompanied by General Westmoreland, and President Thieu and Vice
President Ky.
2. In specific terms, the United States should review for President Thieu the serious situation revealed by the Viet Cong
offensive in terms of the weakness of Vietnamese security and the lack of popular resolution to contribute to the fight
against the Viet Cong, with the implication that the prospects of success along current lines and current programs are
insufficient. The point should be made that gradualism can no longer be accepted as an approach on our side of the war
and it should be stated forcefully that henceforth the GVN must follow U. S. direction in an urgent program to redress the
state of the war.
3. As the first point in this program, we should insist that General Nuyen Duc Thang be named Minister of Interior and of
Defense, with "full powers" over the military, the police and the administrative structure. He should be assigned the
immediate urgent mission of providing for the security of the nation. He should be given full authority over all
Vietnamese forces in order to accomplish this and he should be directed to concentrate his efforts on strengthening and
purging secure areas outward into less secure areas. He should be advised that Free World forces will be employed
against Viet Cong and DRV main force units, through spoiling actions, etc., and in re-enforcement of the Vietnamese
forces when needed, and that Vietnamese forces must be 100% committed to an aggressive pacification role. General
Cao Van Vien of the Joint General Staff should be specifically instructed that all Vietnamese forces will henceforth be
used in direct support of the pacification program commanded by General Thang through such subordinate
commanders as Thang may select, including province chiefs. In the course of re-orienting the RVNAF, General Thang
should be given full authority to reorganize its command structure and remove officers as necessary to carry out this
new mission. Similarly, the Director General of Police, the Minister of Revolutionary Development and all other elements
of the GVN which can contribute to pacification should be given the primary mission of direct support to General Thang's
pacification program.
4. President Thieu should also be directed to appoint Vice President Ky as his Chief of Staff and Director of Operations.
Ky should be given two major missions. The first would be to organize an individual review of the personal files and
performance of all Vietnamese military and civilian officers and officials, with immediate purging of all found involved in
corruption or other abuses of authority. Upon removal, immediate replacements should be appointed from subordinate
levels or from other services. Vice President Ky's second major mission should be to organize a national political vehicle

or front outside the government structure, including all non-Communist political elements, to share a massive rallying of
the entire population in support of this new program to develop the country and free it of Viet Cong terror.
5. In order to focus the entire nation and government on this program, and still respect the provisions of the Constitution,
President Thieu should seek the approval of the National Assembly on an urgent basis of the establishment of a War
and Reconstruction Council. The War and Reconstruction Council should consist of President Thieu as Chairman, Vice
President Ky as Vice Chairman and Director of Operations, General Thang as Deputy Director of Operations, and
appropriate representatives of the Ministries and the Armed Forces as well as the Senate and the Lower House. The
War and Reconstruction Council should have counterpart War and Reconstruction Councils at the province and district
levels, with similar participation not only of representatives of the Administration but also of provincial and district
councils. The function of the Councils would be to review the degree to which the normal operations of government are
concentrated in support of this special program and to provide a means for ensuring the participation of all elements of
the population in the national effort. These Councils should also be charged with ensuring that the programs initiated in
this emergency be developed for the long term benefit of Vietnamese citizens through normal governmental and political
structures. The proposal to establish these Councils should be announced to the nation in a Presidential speech within
the next ten days, to be given maximum dissemination by all possible media. The National Assembly should be required
to accept or reject the proposal within a matter of days in order to avoid legislative wrangling over details and permit full
focus on this urgent problem while the implications of the Tet offensive are still fresh.
6. President Thieu should be advised that the United States and all its agencies will support this program to the fullest
and will utilize all its officers actively to assist, monitor and participate in the effort at all levels. Should additional
financial, logistical, etc. support be necessary, it will be immediately supplied outside normal channels if necessary,
7. President Thieu should be advised that we consider that this program must show obviously positive results within 100
days of Tet (i.e., by early May). If this does not occur or if President Thieu refuses this proposal, he should be advised
that the United States will reserve its position with respect to the GVN. In this event, he should be left in some doubt as
to whether this implies that the United States might seek an alternate GVN through other leadership or whether it might
begin the process of working out some accommodation with the NLF and the DRV at the expense of the GVN. He could
be assured that this 100 day showing is essential to the American nation, as if it does not occur there will only be a
matter of weeks thereafter before the American nation begins to make its basic political decisions for the next four years.
If the GVN is not able to show the kind of progress which makes further U.S. support justifiable, the United States might
then have to examine alternative courses of action.
8. The United States options at the end of the 100 days would deliberately be left undefined for President Thieu and
Vice President Ky. We might, of course, find that sufficient forward momentum has been achieved to warrant continued
U.S. support. Should this not occur, the United States might take one of the following courses of action:
a. Insistence that President Thieu or other GVN leaders resign in favor of individuals who might have proven themselves
during the 100 days, who could be duly elected according to Constitutional processes at the election three months after
the President resigns.
b. Suspension of the bombing of North Vietnam and the initiation of talks with the DRV. This action could be justified as
the result of the GVN's inability to respond to the challenge and consequently an American decision to adjust to this
situation. Alternatively it could be utilized as a further stimulus to Vietnamese leadership to take more vigorous action.
c. Development of a dialogue between the United States and the NLF suggesting the possibility of some move toward a
coalition government. In this situation, United States assistance could still be provided to some non-Communist
Vietnamese elements, continuing our policy of helping resolute Vietnamese fight and help themselves.

45. Telegram From the Embassy in Vietnam to the Department of State/1/


Saigon, February 2, 1968, 1125Z.
/1/Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1967-69, POL 27 VIET S. Secret;
Immediate; Exdis. Repeated to CINCPAC for POLAD.
17480. 1. After a meeting of the Mission Council this morning, Feb 2, I took up the urgent question of what was needed
in the way of action, primarily by the GVN but also by US, to overcome the psychological gains obviously made by the
Viet Cong through their terrorist attacks on the population centers. We agreed that the primary thing needed was visible
and effective leadership by the GVN, in order to restore confidence and deal with the urgent problems created by the
recent events. We agreed that it would be useful to propose to President Thieu that a joint task force be formed, headed

on the GVN side by Prime Minister Loc and on the US side by Ambassador Komer. This task force could address itself
to the problems across the board, including not only the Saigon area but also the principal provincial centers affected by
VC attacks./2/
/2/On February 3 Komer became the designated adviser to Ky for Project Recovery, the name given to the GVN's
program to repair the losses suffered during Tet. For additional information, see the Project Recovery action
memorandums in the U.S. Army Center for Military History, DepCORDS/MACV Files, Tet/Recovery: Project Recovery.
2. General Westmoreland and I met with President Thieu this afternoon just before he was to record his speech to the
nation, which will be televised and broadcast this evening. Thieu reported that he had convened a sort of National
Security Council this morning and had included the Presidents of the two houses of the Assembly. The demands of the
immediate situation were discussed in some detail. Thieu said that the meeting agreed that it was necessary to maintain
the martial law and the curfew for the present, at least until the most urgent security and other problems had been
brought under control./3/ Thieu went on to say that in order to assure that this state of martial law was kept within the
Constitution, it was agreed that there should be a special joint session of the two houses at which these special
measures could be endorsed. He thought this would take place as soon as the two houses could be reconvened. Thieu
said he recognized that it was important to avoid the impression that a military regime was being reimposed, and this
was why he had invited the Presidents of the two houses to be at the meeting and had asked them, in accordance with
the Constitution, to call a special joint session. I agreed with Thieu that it was important that all of these measures be
done within a constitutional framework and that there be no impression given that military rule was being reimposed.
/3/Thieu declared martial law on January 31.
3. I then told the President that we recognized that the events of the last few days, while representing a major military
defeat for the VC, also brought with them a major psychological gain for the enemy. I said that we must deal with the
immediate psychological problem in such a way as to avoid a pyrrhic victory and that I wished to offer whatever support
and assistance we could give him and his government for these purposes. I added that if this matter were handled well,
it could turn into a psychological victory for the GVN and its allies which could rally popular support and restore
confidence. I concluded that the first and most important objective should be to get back to the pre-Tet situation so that
the government and the population could resume work and security could be reestablished, with police and other
security forces publicly evident. I added that rooting out the VC infrastructure in Saigon and the cities was an urgent part
of this program and that mobilizing the population for all of these purposes was essential.
4. Following these comments I said that we had discussed these matters on our side and wanted to suggest for the
President's consideration the establishment of a joint US-GVN task force which could plan and order the execution of
the necessary measures to get the situation back to normal as quickly as possible. I said that rapid and effective action,
supported [possible omission] that the government was on top of the situation. I mentioned a number of urgent
objectives which should be met, in addition to restoring security in the cities, such as opening roads and airports, and
getting the economic life of the country underway speedily. I added that an active and imaginative psychological warfare
campaign was a vital element in this process. I concluded by saying that we wished to assist in any way we could and
offered to put the resources we had at the disposal of the government for these purposes. I then asked Westmoreland to
outline more specifically some of the needs as he saw them.
5. Westmoreland pointed out that there was much destruction, not only in Saigon, but also in many provincial cities. He
said the problems in these areas were serious but manageable and added that they were not very widespread in
Saigon. Among the urgent needs are the restoration of proper health and sanitation services, caring for refugees, and
the rebuilding of houses, schools, etc. Westmoreland recommended that a top-management group be set up, headed by
the Prime Minister and Komer, and reporting to the President. He suggested that the President might want to consider
delegating supervision to Vice President Ky. Westmoreland said that on the GVN side, the appropriate Ministries could
be instructed by the Prime Minister and on the military side he and General Vien could work closely with Loc and Komer
in providing what would be needed. He stressed that this would not be a new organization and would use existing
individuals and organizations, but with an effective method for assigning specific tasks promptly from the top and
keeping the President informed. Westmoreland concluded that we needed to put the best talents we have to work on
both sides in order together to overcome the effects of the VC attacks. He added that there probably should be a
separate Saigon task force under the over-all supervision of the Prime Minister and Komer.
6. Thieu said that he recognized there were many and varied problems to be solved, including the opening of main
roads, cleaning out the VC, and restoring sanitation and other services. He agreed coordination was desirable and that
this effort should be extended to the provinces as well. He suggested a joint meeting on February 3 to discuss these
problems and to be briefed by the US side regarding their organizational and other suggestions./4/ He thought that the
proposed task force could then work out the necessary programs.
/4/Telegram 17607 from Saigon, February 3, reported on the joint U.S.-GVN task force, during which GVN officials
stressed the necessity for a rapid restoration of order in Saigon. (National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59,

Central Files 1967-69, POL 27 VIET S)


7. Comment: Although it is apparent that the GVN intends to continue the current state of martial law for a further period
of time, I am encouraged to see that the President is very conscious of the need for doing this in a constitutional way
and has included the principal representatives of the National Assembly in his deliberations. He also seemed generally
responsive to our suggestions for dealing urgently and effectively with the vital problems to be met. We will make every
effort to keep up this momentum and to overcome the many wild rumors and reports that are circulating, by restoring
confidence in the government and demonstrating that we are working closely with them.
Bunker

46. Letter From President Johnson to the Ambassador to Vietnam (Bunker)/1/


Washington, February 2, 1968.
/1/Source: Johnson Library, National Security File, Country File, Vietnam, 1 E (2), 1/68-2/68, Post-Inaugural Political
Activity. No classification marking. The President underlined the words in the letter printed in italics and wrote at the top
of the page: "Personal Attention Please." In an attached memorandum to the President, February 1, Charles Zwick,
Director of the Bureau of the Budget, advised sending the letter but withholding its public release; the President
indicated his concurrence on the memorandum. (Ibid.)
Dear Ellsworth:
I recently directed the Secretary of State and the Budget Director to undertake a program to reduce United States
personnel overseas./2/ Because of the special problems you face, Viet Nam was specifically excluded from this
program.
/2/In memorandums to the heads of the Executive branch departments and to Rusk and Zwick, both released publicly
on January 18, the President directed the reduction of the number of U.S. employees overseas and curtailment of
official travel abroad. For text, see Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States: Lyndon B. Johnson, 1968-69,
Book I, pp. 34-35. In a November 6 memorandum to Johnson, Zwick reported on the measures taken along these lines.
See Weekly Compilation of Presidential Documents, Vol. 4, p. 1579. In a January 31 memorandum to Rusk, McNamara,
and Zwick, the President despaired over the international situation: "In general, it appears to be the judgment of our
enemies that we are sufficiently weak and uncertain at home, sufficiently stretched in our military dispositions abroad,
and sufficiently anxious to end the war in Viet Nam so that we are likely to accept, if not defeat, at least a degree of
humiliation," to which he attributed events in Korea and the Tet offensive in Vietnam. Thus he recommended that they
consider extending tours of duty, a selective call-up of reservists, additional military aid to South Korea and Thailand,
and various financial measures including a tax bill and currency exchange stabilization. (National Archives and Records
Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1967-69, POL 15-1 US/JOHNSON)
I believe very strongly that you and General Westmoreland should have the resources necessary for the difficult tasks
before you. But I also believe we must accomplish these tasks with the minimum number of Americans in Viet Nam.
To this end, I want you to develop with General Westmoreland ways to reduce American and other U.S.-financed
personnel in Viet Nam, other than those directly associated with combat activities. This will not be an easy job. But it is
highly important to the effectiveness of our efforts in Viet Nam.
I am purposely setting no target figure for the civil or military aspects of this exercise. I expect you to take a hard and
careful look at what can be done. I want you to report your findings and recommendations to me by June 1. Your efforts
will have my complete support.
Sincerely,
Lyndon B. Johnson

47. Notes of Meeting/1/


Washington, February 2, 1968, 4:30-6:02 p.m.

/1/Source: Johnson Library, Tom Johnson's Notes of Meetings. Confidential. The meeting was held at the White House.
According to a covering memorandum from Johnson to the President, February 3, the attending correspondents and the
press organizations which they represented were: Max Frankel, The New York Times; Charles Bailey, Cowles
Publications; Richard Saltonstall, Time Magazine; Chalmers Roberts, Newsweek; Frank Reynolds, ABC; Dan Rather,
CBS; Ray Scherer, Washington Star; Sid David, Westinghouse Broadcasting; Jack Sutherland, U.S. News and World
Report; and Forrest Boyd, Mutual Broadcasting. Rusk, Clifford, Taylor, Rostow, and Tom Johnson also joined the
meeting. (Ibid., President's Daily Diary)
NOTES OF THE PRESIDENT'S
DISCUSSION
WITH CORRESPONDENTS
Chuck Bailey: How did your discussion go with General Ridgway?/2/
/2/The President met with General Ridgway, the former commander of U.S. forces during the Korean war, at a luncheon
lasting from 2:15 to 4 p.m. and attended by Humphrey, Clifford, Rostow, Christian, Tom Johnson, McConnell, Moorer,
Harold Johnson, Chapman, and Helms. Among the topics discussed were the war in Vietnam, Kennedy's recent
statements, and the Pueblo. (Ibid.) Notes of the meeting have not been found.
The President: We talked about the Pueblo incident and the increase in the number of incidents along the demilitarized
zone in Korea. I asked for his advice as I have asked for the advice of many others who have experience in the military
and diplomatic field.
Frank Reynolds: What are the North Koreans up to?
The President: It appears to have been an irrational act on their part, perhaps to help their brothers in North Vietnam.
Max Frankel: What is General Giap doing?
The President: I always over-estimate Giap. You see what he did to the French. He is extremely able. I don't know what
will happen.
I asked the JCS to give me a letter saying that they were ready for this offensive at Khesanh. They have 40,000 men to
our 6,700. We have 40,000 men within 40 miles and we do have air mobility. There are 1,200 B-52 sorties per month
going into Vietnam.
Max Frankel: What do you believe Ho is thinking?
The President: I do not know. I felt by February 3 we could have expected the major offensive to begin. What Ho thinks I
do not know. I believe he thought that the people would rally with them. They did not. There have been much sporadic
activities. The ferocity was not anticipated.
They did not get into the Chancery of the embassy. They sent 19 men. All 19 were killed.
[Omitted here is discussion of the Pueblo crisis.]
Chuck Roberts: In light of the advance intelligence, were we in a state of sufficient readiness in Vietnam?
The President: Yes, anybody who could count can see that we were.
Chuck Bailey: Were the South Vietnamese prepared and how did they conduct themselves during this?
The President: Yes, the South Vietnamese were ready. I have heard nothing that would indicate any cowardice or lack
of responsibility on their part.
The President then read to the group the Thomas Paine quote:
"These are the times that try men's souls. The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the
service of his country; but he that stands it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman. Tyranny, like hell, is
not easily conquered; yet we have this consolation with us, that the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph.

What we obtain too cheap, we esteem too lightly; 'tis dearness only that gives everything its value. Heaven knows how
to put a proper price upon its goods; and it would be strange indeed, if so celestial an article as freedom should not be
highly rated."
Chuck Roberts asked if there had been any change since the San Antonio formula was given.
The President: We put many long hours and days into the text of the San Antonio speech. We said then and we still
believe that that is as far as we can go with honor. We stressed prompt, productive, and "it is assumed."
We do not want another Panmunjon. Sure, there will be some regular resupply. We undoubtedly will send in more
planes and food and supplies for our troops. We expect them to do something along the same lines. We haven't hit
Hanoi or Haiphong in a couple of days. There is good reason to what we are doing. Clark Clifford said what I stated in
San Antonio and said it better./3/ But it all means the same thing.
/3/See Document 27.
The formula still stands, although you will notice I almost withdrew it yesterday at the Medal of Honor ceremony./4/
Anybody who sees what they are doing out there now knows they do not appear very interested in peace talks.
/4/In the ceremony presenting the Medal of Honor to Major Merlyn Dthlefsen, USAF, the President stated: "Until we
have some better signs than what we have had these last few days--that I hope any American can see and read loud
and clear--that he [the NVA/VC enemy] will not step up his terrorism; and unless we have some sign that he will not
accelerate his aggression if we halt bombing, then we shall continue to give our American men the protection America
ought to give them, and that is the best America affords." For the full text of the President's remarks, see Public Papers
of the Presidents of the United States: Lyndon B. Johnson, 1968-69, Book I, pp. 145-147. Earlier that day, the President
conferred with the press, noting that U.S. forces in Vietnam were aware of the enemy's offensive in advance. For the
text of the President's statement at this conference, see ibid., pp. 155-163.
Jack Horner: Do we have any information that North Korea is planning a massive raid across the DMZ?
The President: We have no information of that type. They are not on an aggressive alert with any evil intentions as far
as I know. It just looked like they had a chance to make a contribution that then cost them militarily.
Sid Davis: What is your own gut feeling about Ho? Does he really want to talk this year before the elections?
The President: No, I don't think he wants to talk, but he may have to. I would think he would be better off before the
election than after.
[Omitted here is further discussion of the Pueblo crisis.]
Ray Scherer: Do you think there will be a partisan issue made of this by Nixon, Percy and others?
The President: I do not know. I know of a lot of people being worried. I do not say this is the last gasp by the North
Vietnamese. It is a kamikaze type thing. They are not getting a good return on their investment.
Ray Scherer: What are the Russians doing?
The President: I think they want to live in this world with us. I do not think they are anxious to have any major
confrontation over this.
They won't be too enthusiastic about getting into a war with us.

48. Intelligence Note From the Director of the Bureau of Intelligence and Research (Hughes) to Secretary of
State Rusk/1/
No. 97

Washington, February 3, 1968.


/1/Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1967-69, POL 27 VIET S. Secret; No
Foreign Dissem.
SUBJECT
Vietnam: Estimated Communist Strategy in the Coming Months
The events of the last several days suggest that the Communists are well-embarked upon a carefully planned campaign
of mutually-supporting military, political, and diplomatic efforts directed toward a massive deterioration in the GVN
position and an erosion of the political basis for a US presence in Vietnam. If this were to develop, negotiations could
become the seal of success rather than the path to a situation in which, in due course, success could be attained.
Meanwhile, they will continue to hold open the possibility of talks.
Intent on Creating Revolutionary Situation. Hanoi's primary intent appears to be to create the revolutionary situation, in
towns and countryside alike, which doctrinally must precede final victory in the South. The accelerated effort,
dramatically emphasized by recent events, to destroy the authority of the GVN and the credibility of the US/South
Vietnamese alliance could be intended to reach the point where war-weariness and defeatism throughout the country
become overwhelmingly strong and where non-Communist South Vietnamese political elements might be prepared to
join with the Front in the establishment of coalitions at the center and at lower administrative levels. The resulting
organization could claim to have supplanted the authority of the GVN and to have assumed the mantle of the "coalition
government." If it could be attained, this "coalition government" would become the condition precedent to or
simultaneous with negotiations rather than the goal to which negotiations might lead.
Flexing and Applying Military Muscle. To reinforce the political/military effort to destroy the authority of the GVN, Hanoi
also appears intent on using the threat of major military victories to manipulate the deployment and redeployment of the
allied forces./2/ This effort, by establishing a capacity for set-piece victories in remote locations of the country, appears
designed to whipsaw allied forces and to place a heavy strain on allied capabilities to engage in "conventional" war
against the main enemy force or to support GVN military efforts against Communist guerrilla and political forces in the
countryside. Hanoi may, if the proper opportunity presents itself, also use these build-ups to inflict heavy casualties on
US forces and, if possible or appropriate, to attempt to gain spectacular victories. But the main force military threat will
be maintained and employed primarily for its political impact and for its diversion and dispersion of allied resources
rather than for the attainment of military victories per se.
/2/Hughes reported in Intelligence Note No. 117 to Rusk, February 8, that Hanoi had begun to invoke the memory of
Dien Bien Phu for the first time since the Tet offensive began. (Ibid.)
Communists Assess their Position as Strong but Risky. The Communists probably believe that they are operating in the
South from a position of considerable strength. They have already demonstrated a three-fold capability--to deploy large
forces at various remote points; to carry on simultaneously with these deployments an intensified campaign of
harassment in the countryside; and to augment their political effort in the urban areas with an unprecedented wave of
coordinated attacks throughout the country without apparently drawing very significantly from their major troop
concentrations. They probably recognize also that they have embarked upon a high-risk course. They are clearly
exposing themselves to very heavy casualties. By enlarging their campaign, broadening the impact of their attacks, and
imposing additional resource requirements on themselves, they risk not only intolerable strains on their own structure
but also stronger reactions against them. By moving so rapidly and with so much propaganda and indoctrinational stress
on "decisive victories" and the opening of the "revolutionary phase", they risk the creation among the cadres of high
expectations of quick results which, if disappointed, could severely affect morale.
They probably expect, however, that they can make tactical adjustments which will compensate for difficulties
encountered, a capability they have especially demonstrated during the past two years. They could be counting on
going a long way in keeping up morale and willingness to persist by contending that their spectaculars--such as those of
recent days--even though they cannot be of long duration or of frequent occurrence, are in themselves "decisive
victories" that have moved the war into a new and close to ultimate phase. Heavy as their losses may be as the result of
such actions, they may believe that they can recover from them more rapidly than the GVN can recover from the
administrative disruption, necessity for redeployment, and loss of confidence and momentum which it has undergone.
The Communists would accept the heavy casualties that result from their major actions believing that the cost of such
actions are more than compensated for by heavy strains imposed on the allied side, which, on balance, facilitate the
persistent campaign of local harassment, small-scale action, and political organization. It is through these actions that
the Communists have long sought to destroy the GVN socio-political framework in the countryside; and they will
increasingly seek to do the same in urban areas. They would anticipate also increasing friction within the GVN and
between the GVN and the United States which will work to their advantage. While they will undoubtedly attempt to
create the impression that they are being increasingly supported by the enthusiastic revolutionary masses, their genuine

interest will lie not so much in winning major accretions of mass support as in inducing a widespread conviction that the
Communist drive cannot be stopped and must be accommodated to./3/
/3/In Intelligence Note No. 121 to Rusk, February 8, Hughes commented: "Despite heavy casualties, Communist forces
retain the capability to launch new attacks against urban centers while the bulk of the North Vietnamese Army main
force, still uncommitted, poses the threat of larger-scale assaults in the remote or outlying areas." (Ibid.)
The Talks/Negotiations Posture
While we believe that the Communists have adopted a strategy in the South which they will not quickly alter (that is,
within the next month or two), even in the face of particular failures or set-backs, we anticipate that they will continue to
hold open the prospect of talks. Though they may not expect to get a bombing pause, they would hope thereby to deter
the United States from harsher measures against the North, the resources of which must continue to flow to the South in
support of the accelerated campaign there. Anxious as they are for a bombing pause, their campaign in the South will
assume precedence in their thinking for the time being. Accordingly, we do not anticipate that Hanoi will be prepared in
the near future to promise that it will not "take advantage," though there is a chance that it may haggle on the subject if it
believes that some degree of compromise (as a hypothetical example, an understanding not to use the DMZ but no
restriction on infiltration rates) can gain a bombing halt.

49. Memorandum From William J. Jorden of the National Security Council Staff to the President's Special
Assistant (Rostow)/1/
Washington, February 3, 1968.
/1/Source: Johnson Library, National Security File, Country File, Vietnam, 1 EE (1), 2/2-20/68, Post-Tet Political Activity.
Top Secret; Sensitive; Eyes Only. A notation on the memorandum indicates that Rostow saw it.
SUBJECT
Situation in Viet-Nam
This memo contains some reflections on recent events in Viet-Nam and some thoughts on what should be done.
First, it is my opinion that the series of well-coordinated NVA/VC attacks in all parts of the country represents a distinct
setback to the Government in Saigon and to us. But it may also offer some opportunities that should not be lost.
I regard these events as a setback because:
--among other things, they reflect probably the worst intelligence failure of the war. If the VC and North Vietnamese can
move probably 30,000 men into place for attacks in all parts of the country without detection, something is wrong with
the GVN's intelligence network. It would have taken weeks to stockpile the weapons and ammunition used in these
attacks. Thousands of Vietnamese must have been used in this process. Many thousands of others must have been
aware of movements through or near their villages, and of unusual activity in their neighborhoods in the cities. Yet I have
seen no clear evidence that any of these movements were reported or their significance correctly understood. We didn't
have one single attack thoroughly anticipated, of the many that occurred. Something is rotten in the Vietnamese CIO,
the Military Security Service and the National Police. And what about our intelligence work in the provinces?
--by these attacks, the NVA/VC have demonstrated an ability to hit any urban center they choose, and to carry out a
level of coordination in their attacks heretofore unknown in Viet-Nam.
--I believe that the effectiveness of these assaults, despite their short duration in most cases, have severely shaken
confidence in the Government's ability to provide security for its people. It is a virtual certainty that thousands of
Vietnamese who have felt secure in the urban centers are now telling themselves: if the VC can hit like this once, they
can do it again; I better be more careful of what I say and do.
--these events cast serious doubt on any future statements that people in Viet-Nam's urban centers are "under
Government control" or "free from VC threat." They clearly are not, if the VC are prepared to pay the price to hit them.
--finally it is clear from intelligence reporting of the last day or two that many Vietnamese are prepared to believe and to
spread the wildest rumors about the Americans--that we helped the VC enter Saigon, that we are working with the VC to

set up a coalition government, that we are looking for a chance to get out, etc., etc. This means to me that VC
propaganda has been exceedingly effective and that our and that of the GVN leaves a hell of a lot to be desired.
I recognize, of course, that the North Vietnamese and VC paid a heavy price for this adventure. Even if the reported
losses are inflated--as they may be to some extent--they have sacrificed a lot of people, probably including some of their
best sabotage and terror personnel. The effects of these losses should be felt for some time. But I doubt that either the
VC or the general Vietnamese population are as impressed as we are by these losses. If the level of VC activity drops
dramatically in the weeks ahead, it will indicate how badly they have been hurt.
In any case, it is my deep conviction that the Vietnamese people and the Government itself have been more seriously
shaken by the events of this week than we now realize or than they are willing to admit.
This is not without potential benefit. It may cause people in the Government to take a more serious view of their situation
and to pull up their socks--in strengthening their military forces and going after the VC with new vigor, in pushing forward
programs of reform, in giving the people more protection and a higher stake in the future, in pushing personal rivalries
and jealousies into the background.
But I am utterly convinced it will not have this effect unless we provide some strong pushing in the right directions.
I said at the outset that this week offers opportunities. But I would urge that we strike while the iron is hot. The moment
can easily be lost.
I would recommend:
--that Bunker have a real heart-to-heart talk with Thieu. It should be private. He should tell Thieu that, in our judgment,
the coordinated VC attacks and their extensive propaganda campaign have had a strongly negative effect on both
Vietnamese and American opinion. It is of the highest urgency that the GVN act now and act decisively to meet the
problem. The time for caution and for slow steps forward is past. We recognize that strong measures will entail
mistakes. We can live with those and will not be throwing brickbats. But what we cannot live with is a "business as
usual" approach to a grave crisis.
Thieu can count on our support. We will help him in every way possible. But we cannot support inaction and halfmeasures. We strongly believe that he, Vice President Ky and Prime Minister Loc should be a closely-knit team; that
they should be working together and cooperating; that each should have his own clearly defined responsibilities and that
each of them can move, knowing he has the support of the others and of the Americans.
We believe that it is urgent that he push ahead rapidly on:
--strengthening the ARVN and getting the most able officers in command positions, eliminating or shelving officers who
are up to their necks in corruption;
--shaking up and getting more teamwork in his intelligence serv-ices. It is a disgrace that the VC can mount 30 or 40
simultaneous attacks all over the country and his Government doesn't know a damn thing about it in advance;
--improving the quality and honesty of his provincial and district leaders; the GVN's well-conceived reform program in
this area should be pushed with maximum energy;
--a large-scale and effective drive on corruption. The Vietnamese people are sick and tired of sending their sons into the
Army to receive $30 a month while they face death, when Vietnamese "operators" and blackmarketeers are making
millions a year on shady deals. It may be that the only approach to this knotty problem (given the involvements in deals
of so many army officers, their wives, and other officials) is to declare an amnesty for all past dishonesty. But to make it
clear that a new deal is now in effect, and the first officer or official who violates the new rules is going to get rapid and
strong justice.
It may be the only way to get someone like General Vien (who is himself clean but whose wife has been busy in the
marketplace) to take a strong supporting stand. Men like Vien are very worried about the effect of past activities of their
friends and families. If they have a clean slate to start from, they can crack down.
Finally, they need to get cracking fast on national political organization to compete with the VC and the Front. My own
personal belief here is that Senator Don and his Soldier-Farmer-Worker bloc has the best potential for something useful
and we should be thinking about the most effective way of supporting it. They have no solid financial base. They need

some kind of revenue-producing establishment whose profits can be fed into their organization. This is a better
approach than a "black bag." I wouldn't talk to Thieu about the Don situation, but I would urge him to get together with
Ky and begin real organizational work on a pro-government party, broadly based and national in scope. Every day that
is lost is a day the VC use to their own advantage.
In sum, I think the time is ripe for a new approach in Viet-Nam. The Vietnamese deeply want a better shake. They do
not want to be taken over by the Communists. They want a Government that they think is honest and effective. They
want action. And they want it now. I think we should, too.
Otherwise, we are in for a year of trouble and heartbreak.
Bill

Foreign Relations, 1964-1968, Volume VI, Vietnam, January-August 1968


Released by the Office of the Historian
Documents 50-62

50. Telegram From the Commander, Military Assistance Command, Vietnam (Westmoreland) to the Commander
in Chief, Pacific Forces (Sharp)/1/
Saigon, February 3, 1968, 1512Z.
/1/Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1967-69, POL 27 VIET S. Secret; Exdis;
Eyes Only. Repeated to Wheeler and Bunker. At 1810Z Wheeler forwarded the telegram to the JCS as well as to Rusk,
Rostow, and Helms.
MAC 01592. 1. The following is my assessment of the situation as it has developed.
2. The enemy's Tet offensive peaked on 30-31 January and has been ebbing over the past two days. Current actions
result primarily from the mopping up of pockets of enemy forces in and around the urban areas of the country. The
enemy has caused heavy damage to sections of Saigon, My Tho, and other cities and towns in his rampage of
destruction, but he has failed to gain the objectives he sought. The cost to him in losses of manpower have been
enormous. It is too early to accept any figure of enemy killed [garble--as legitimate], but I have no doubt that the enemy
lost more men in the 72 hours beginning 1800 29 Jan than he has in any single month of the war.
3. The objectives, strategy and tactics of this enemy offensive are becoming clearer. Beginning on 31 January, the VC
propaganda organs announced the existence of a new "revolutionary armed forces" responsive to a new political entity
called "the Alliance of National and Peace Forces". This organization was touted as a collection of intellectuals,
merchants, industrial, political and religious notables. The "revolutionary armed forces" are alleged to contain many
elements including defected GVN troops. It is apparent that the enemy attempted to create the impression of
spontaneous political and military uprising against the GVN and to suppress the role of the NLF and the VC/NVA military
forces.
4. The ruse is transparent, but the goals and strategy of this Tet offensive are indicated in it. The enemy apparently
hoped to seize a number of population centers or parts of them and set up an ostensibly non-VC political apparatus in
the ensuing chaos. The initial assaults, where possible, were conducted by VC main and local forces and guerrillas
infiltrated into populous areas under cover of the Tet celebrations. These were apparently to paralyze GVN control and
generate a popular uprising within 48 hours. Then the remaining VC main forces and the NVA would reinforce to exploit
the situation. This general pattern of the enemy plan has been substantiated by numerous POW interrogations and by
the actual movement and commitment of forces. There were, of course, modifications in various areas for local reasons.
5. The NVA divisions in northern I CTZ were not committed during the Tet offensive. There were some contacts near
Cam Lo, but these were due to U.S. Marine initiatives. Elements of the 812th Regiment and one battalion each of the
803rd (both from the 324B Division) and 270th Independent Regiments were committed to the attack on Quang Tri City.
6. In the Tri-Thien MR the enemy committed 80 percent of his locally available forces in attacks on Quang Tri City, Hue
and Phu Bai. Only the 9th NVA Regiment and possibly some elements of the 4th and 5th NVA Regiments were held
back. In southern I CTZ practically all of the VC units were committed, but the 2nd NVA Division and the newly infiltrated
31st NVA Regiment have not been to date.
7. In the western Highlands, every VC unit was committed along with elements of the 24th and 95B NVA Regiments.
The 1st NVA Division retained an offensive posture, but did not attack. Along the coasts of II CTZ, the paucity of VC
troops and guerrillas was reflected in the relative inactivity of the enemy. The exceptions were the attacks at Nha Trang
by the 18B NVA Regiment and at Phan Thiet by VC units. The remainder of the 5th NVA Division and all of the 3rd NVA
Division remained inactive.
8. In III CTZ, it now appears that almost every VC unit was committed with the 7th NVA Division plus the 88th NVA
Regiment withheld. A possible important exception is the 9th VC Division. It is possible that at least two regiments of the
9th are in the Saigon-Bien Hoa area, but we are not sure whether they have been committed.
9. In IV CTZ virtually every VC battalion which we know to exist was committed to attacks throughout the CTZ.
10. Thus it appears that the enemy has generally followed his plan to commit VC forces and retain NVA forces for follow
up attacks. He has achieved little success to exploit with follow up attacks, but his capability to recycle his offensive
remains, and another round of attacks could occur in I, II and III CTZ's at any time. In IV CTZ it appears that there are

no large reserves for renewed attacks in the near future.


11. I expect enemy initiation of large scale offensive action in the Khe Sanh-DMZ area in the near future despite the
failure of the Tet offensive to achieve its objectives. He has been hurt to some extent by friendly firepower and his
losses around Cam Lo, but it is unlikely he would abandon his heavy investment in offensive preparation in that area. It
is likely that the uncommitted NVA forces elsewhere in the country will conduct complementing offensive operations. If
the enemy conducts these attacks he will no longer enjoy the cover of the Tet holidays, and he will lack the assistance
of destroyed VC units. This presents us with an opportunity to inflict the same disastrous defeats on his NVA troops as
we have on his VC forces.

51. Memorandum From the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (Wheeler) to President Johnson/1/
CM-2944-68
Washington, February 3, 1968.
/1/Source: Johnson Library, National Security File, Country File, Vietnam, 2 A (2), I Corps and DMZ, 2/68 [2 of 2]. Top
Secret.
SUBJECT
Khe Sanh
In response to your telephone call to me last evening, I asked General Westmoreland to provide me his views as soon
as possible on our reinforcement capability in the Khe Sanh area. His reply to me is presented in the following
paragraphs for your information./2/
/2/Westmoreland's message was transmitted to Wheeler as telegram MAC 1586, February 3. (Ibid.)
"1. I agree with (General Wheeler's) response on the question of our Khe Sanh reinforcement capability/3/ and would
add the following amplification.
/3/In telegram JCS 1147 to Westmoreland, February 1, Wheeler referred the President's question on how to reinforce
Khe Sanh if bad weather set in and offered the following response: "You have sizable helicopter assets at your disposal
plus tank units and artillery closer to Khe Sanh area than the French had forces to Dien Bien Phu. You do not have to
depend on fixed wing aircraft for moving troops and supplies but can use choppers which do not need a runway.
Moreover, although it would be costly, in the ultimate you would be able to reopen Route 9." (National Archives and
Records Administration, RG 407, Litigation Collection, Westmoreland v. CBS, MACV Backchannel Messages to
Westmoreland, 1-20 February)
"2. Our situation at Khe Sanh as compared with the French at Dien Bien Phu is different in three significant respects.
We have supporting air (tactical air and B-52's) for all-weather attack of enemy forces by orders of magnitude over that
at Dien Bien Phu. We have reinforcing heavy artillery within range of the Khe Sanh area from USMC positions east of
the mountains. We have multiple and vastly improved techniques for aerial supply and we are within helicopter support
range for troop reinforcement, logistic support, medical evacuation and other requirements./4/
/4/General W.E. DePuy prepared a definitive refutation of the analogy between Khe Sanh and the Viet Minh siege of the
French garrison at Dien Bien Phu in an undated memorandum to Goodpaster, which Rostow sent to the President
attached to a February 21 memorandum. (Johnson Library, National Security File, Files of Walt Rostow, Khe Sanh-Dien
Bien Phu Comparison by Gen. DePuy)
"3. We now have four Marine Corps battalions and one ARVN ranger battalion with combat and combat service support
in the Khe Sanh area. We currently have two brigades of the 1st Air Cavalry Division (Airmobile), plus one brigade of the
101st Airborne Division, with appropriate light and medium artillery support, located north of the Hai Van Pass, within
prompt reinforcing distance of Khe Sanh. We have plans to further reinforce this area on short notice if required.
"4. We have a significant capability to reinforce Khe Sanh by fire in all weather conditions by artillery, tactical air, and B52's. There are 18 105MM howitzers and 6 155MM howitzers within the Khe Sanh defensive system. Additionally, 16
175MM guns are with the 3d Marine Division forces east of Khe Sanh positioned at the Rock Pile and at Camp Carroll.
These guns are within range of Khe Sanh and their fires can be massed as required through the use of the centralized

fire direction facility at Dong Ha. In addition to this heavy artillery support, and in contrast to the French situation at Dien
Bien Phu, we have a highly effective tactical air and B-52 capability. Radar or "Sky Spot" technique allows us direct
tactical air strikes either at night or in zero visibility conditions throughout the Khe Sanh area. In addition to tactical air,
our B-52 strikes are also weather independent. During adverse weather in the Khe Sanh area there are frequent breaks
of three or four hours, in which we could intensify the air strikes, and insert helicopter gun ships into the area for
additional fires as required. If the enemy masses to attack, he will be extremely vulnerable to the massed B-52's against
his supporting forces and destructive power of tactical air, gunships and artillery against his infantry. This capability of
reinforcement by fire alone could have changed the course of battle at Dien Bien Phu.
"5. Although logistical support will present a major problem, I am satisfied we can resolve it by our multiple means of
resupply. Enemy interdiction of the airfield at Khe Sanh will not deny our reinforcement and support capability by
helicopters. As pointed out in (General Wheeler's) response to the President, we could also re-open Route 9 for a land
line of communication. This would take 22 company days of engineer effort, but with considerable cost in security.
"6. Although not ideal, the tactical situation at Khe Sanh as well as our improved combat techniques and capabilities are
considerably different from those at Dien Bien Phu.
"7. Addressing the President's query on additional help required, with the current level of activity we need an additional
squadron of
C-130 aircraft, complete with ground handling and maintenance crews, for immediate usage. In addition, I recommend a
second squadron of C-130's be alerted for immediate movement if unforeseen contingencies arise. Admiral Sharp may
wish to addresf C-130's be alerted for immediate movement if unforeseen contingencies arise. Admiral Sharp may wish
to address these requirements from the standpoint of assets available elsewhere in the theater. Additionally, it would be
prudent to have heavy air drop equipment in reserve which can be called forward if we need it. We currently have a
capability of delivering 600 tons per day for 14 days with no recovery. I would like at least an equal quantity ready for
immediate air shipment forward if required. These requirements are also being submitted separately. Acceleration of the
issue of M-16 rifles, M-60 machine guns and M-29 mortars to South Vietnamese Army (ARVN) units would improve our
posture in economy of force areas. The importance of helicopter assets in the pending battle cannot be overstated. To
achieve the necessary helicopter lift for forces deployed to Northern Corps Tactical Zone, I plan drawing on Rosson's
(Commander I Field Force) and Weyand's (Commander II Field Force) assets to a major degree. Expediting the rate of
delivery of replacement helicopters for assault helicopter companies and assault support helicopter companies would
aid in maintaining our situation in the south during the battle in the north. We are also experiencing high loss rates of 0-1
observation aircraft and replacements are urgently needed to maintain our observation and surveillance capability over
our newly opened LOC, new areas under pacification, enemy routes of infiltration and enemy base areas. The northern I
Corps Tactical Zone has greatly increased our engineering requirements. Construction of a logistical base, the
maintenance of Route I in that area, construction of Dye Marker obstacle/strong point system, plus the need of opening
Route 9 to Khe Sanh will tax severely our construction capability. Providing the Naval Mobile Construction Battalion yet
to be furnished as part of Program 5 would significantly improve our buildup in the north. With regard to Republic of
Korea forces, action should be taken to oppose any thought of withdrawing elements of Republic of Korea forces in
Vietnam and returning them to Korea. In addition, every effort should be made to re-open negotiations regarding the
proposed ROK light division deployment as soon as the situation in Korea will allow. Expedited deployment of the Thai
light division, within practical limitation, is most desirable and would permit greater flexibility in the employment of our
ready reaction forces in RVN.ty to use COFRAM. However, should the situation in the DMZ area change dramatically,
we should be prepared to introduce weapons of greater effectiveness against massed forces. Under such
circumstances I visualize that either tactical nuclear weapons or chemical agents would be active candidates for
employment."/5/
/5/In telegram JCS 1154 to CINCPAC and COMUSMACV, February 1, Wheeler had requested Westmoreland's views
on the feasibility of nuclear strikes at Khe Sanh. (Ibid., NSC History of the March 31st Speech, Vol. 2, Tabs A-Z and AAZZ) In telegram JCS 1272 to COMUSMACV, February 3, Wheeler informed Westmoreland that the President did not
want to be placed in a situation in which he would be required to decide on the employment of nuclear weapons. (Ibid.)
On February 11 the President ordered the termination of contingency planning for the use of nuclear weapons at Khe
Sanh. (Telegram JCS 1690 to CINCPAC, February 11; ibid.) At a news conference on February 16, the President stated
categorically that Rusk, McNamara, and the JCS had "at no time ever considered or made a recommendation in any
respect to the deployment of nuclear weapons." See Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States: Lyndon B.
Johnson, 1968-69, Book I, pp. 230-238.
Earle G. Wheeler

52. Telegram From the Department of State to the Embassy in Vietnam/1/

Washington, February 4, 1968, 0144Z.


/1/Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1967-69, POL 15 VIET S. Secret;
Immediate; Exdis. Drafted by John Burke (EA/VN), cleared by Lannon Walker (S/S) and Katzenbach, and approved by
Habib.
109831. 1. We recognize here that situation continues to remain fluid in Saigon and throughout the country. We fully
endorse the moves you have begun with the GVN in an effort to recover from the physical and psychological blow
against the Allied effort. We feel particularly that joint GVN and US task force is good first step and we would hope that it
will prove to be the vehicle by which Thieu and the members of his government can be urged not only to take the
emergency measures that are necessary to recover from recent events but also to move ahead with the programs
outlined in his Inaugural address and his January 25 State of Nation speech./2/
/2/See Document 53.
2. In the aftermath of their urban offensive, the VC seem to have achieved a short term advantage, in political if not in
military terms. Assuming that the remaining NVA/VC forces can now be rapidly driven from positions they still occupy in
cities and towns and the GVN can get on with the business of picking up the pieces, the advantage could be swung to
our side.
3. There are some indications which incline one toward the judgment that VC have put significant portion of their
resources on this "throw of the dice." Interrogation reports and other intelligence sources support the thesis that they
expected and hoped to find a significant percentage of the urban populace ready to join their cause in response to direct
exhortations following their show of force in the cities and towns. However, as you have pointed out their expectations
do not appear to have materialized.
4. Another interesting indication tending to support the "all or nothing" thesis is the announcement by Liberation Radio of
the creation of the "Front of National Democracy and Peace Alliance."/3/ In unveiling what purports to be a wholly new
organization, with its sweeping revolutionary call to arms, the NLF has tacitly conceded that its own capacity to stir up
and mobilize broader segments of population has remained limited, notwithstanding its claim to be sole representative
and spokesman for the SVN people. If this ploy does not produce significant defections from the government side, the
NLF may subsequently find itself at a disadvantage in its efforts to represent itself before the world as the one valid
organization representing the majority of the people. This suggests the importance of vigorous psywar effort to expose it
as just another phony Communist front.
/3/As broadcast on January 30.
5. Thieu and the GVN on the other hand have been dealt a significant blow and Thieu must move energetically if GVN is
to recover from it. Even assuming that the GVN can regain firm control of the situation in the cities, and the VC forces
are forced to withdraw, Thieu may encounter important criticism in the press, the National Assembly, and in the Council
of Generals, all of whom may seek to blame him for letting the enemy forces strike such a blow. It is important that we
do what we can to spur him and to assist him in taking the kinds of measures which will neutralize this criticism and
channel it in a constructive direction. But in doing so we would want at all costs to insure that the constitutional fabric so
carefully woven over the last 2-1/2 years should not be torn at this time.
6. With this preamble we would like to lay out for your consideration certain of our own thoughts as to what steps we
believe might be considered at this time. Essentially these are our first thoughts following the events of this week but
they derive from the experience of the past few months. As we see it, the immediate tasks of the government include the
following:
a. An energetic and well-coordinated effort to mobilize all elements of the government, particularly the leadership of the
National Assembly, in a rededication to the struggle against the enemy.
b. A carefully thought out program of contacting important nongovernmental elements within the body politic and
enlisting their support for the government. This would include obviously labor, the religious sects (including even the
militant Buddhists if it can be determined that they did not conspire or collaborate with the VC/NVA forces), the
intellectuals, and the press.
c. A sweeping re-appraisal of the bureaucracy in an effort to evaluate performance of key officials during the crisis. We
would hope and expect that officials on the national, provincial, district levels who performed well during the recent crisis
would have their performance acknowledged in some suitable way. By the same token we would expect the GVN to
dismiss those who had failed to measure up. (If GVN can be persuaded to conduct such a review, this might provide
opportunity we have long sought to get rid of inefficient elements, both military and civilian.) The GVN should get on with

the task of clearing house.


d. A useful by-product of recent developments might be a modification in Thieu's sense of timing and priorities. As a
result of the crisis he might shift from his cautious, methodical approach to problems and programs to a more dramatic
energetic one--or at least give freer rein to those who naturally take a more activist posture. We might come, hopefully,
to find him more receptive to our advice in future and more willing to act quickly on it. Crisis might also convince him of
necessity of collaborating more closely with Ky and delegating him more authority. Note that Ky appears to have been
taking de facto control of task force on GVN side presumably with Thieu's blessing. This would now provide opportunity
to discuss and clear projects and programs directly with him without undue risk of damaging Thieu's sensibilities. Thieu
might, indeed, be willing to assign him action role and withdraw himself into position of presiding officer.
e. Finally, in addition to our suggestions above and those actions being considered by the joint GVN-US task force, we
would like to see an energetic hard-hitting psywar effort organized immediately. This would have three basic purposes:
(1) to reassure the populace that the GVN authority is still intact and will be rapidly reasserted; (2) to reaffirm the US
commitment; and (3) to exploit what we hope will be a significant disarray and confusion in VC ranks if their offensive
fails completely. All the mass media facilities available to the Mission and the GVN should be organized in an effort to
achieve those three goals.
7. As stated above this represents only our preliminary comments on a still fluid, fast moving situation. The steps you
have taken so far, including your excellent backgrounder, and the apparently helpful first meeting with Thieu-Ky of the
joint GVN/US task force seem to us eminently correct. We are very aware of the difficult situation facing you and we
intend to be as helpful as possible while at the same time trying to avoid adding to your already enormous tasks.
Rusk

53. Telegram From the Embassy in Vietnam to the Department of State/1/


Saigon, February 4, 1968, 1100Z.
/1/Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1967-69, POL 27 VIET S. Secret;
Immediate; Nodis. Received at 9:02 a.m. This telegram is printed in full in Pike, ed., The Bunker Papers, Vol. 2, pp. 316326.
17920. For the President from Bunker. Herewith my thirty-seventh weekly message:
A. General
1. Because of the emergency caused by the widespread enemy attacks which began in the early hours of January 31, I
have regretfully had to delay this week's message. It thus covers a period of ten days from January 25.
2. The early days of the period, although witnessing a continuation of the massive build-up of enemy strength along the
DMZ and the northern part of I Corps, with anticipatory preparations for the Tet holidays underway, began in an
atmosphere of relative calm. It began, however, with what to me was an occasion of great significance, an occasion
largely overlooked as so many important developments here tend to be because of the concentration on the military
situation. Appearing as the nation's freely elected President before the freely elected legislative branch, President Thieu
delivered his first state of the union message./2/ It was a sober, positive, and constructive speech, wide-ranging and
comprehensive in scope, outlining plans to benefit the Vietnamese people. He began by a reference to the constitutional
framework now in place and expressed the hope that the executive and legislative branches can work effectively
together to serve the nation. He indicated his plans to move quickly in establishing the other institutions called for in the
Constitution, notably the judiciary, the inspectorate, and the advisory councils. But he noted that the democratic system
cannot exist only through an external form; that it demands fundamental changes in organizations and laws as well as in
political structures and habits; and he noted the importance of the development of political parties.
/2/This speech before the RVN House and Senate occurred on January 25. See The New York Times, January 26,
1968.
3. While he mentioned some of the substantial achievements which had already been accomplished, the main thrust of
his speech looked to the future. Here he covered both plans for the longer term and short range priority programs on
which the government proposed to concentrate in the next six to seven months. These included judicial and
administrative reform, expansion of educational opportunities; the development of industry and agriculture; the

stimulation of land reform, in the social field, vigorous measures to improve the refugee situation; to expand public
health measures; to improve the condition of labor and measures and incentives to bring the youth into the service of
the nation. To carry out these programs, he presented a budget of 95 billion piasters which the Assembly is scheduled
to take up as the first order of business when it resumes its session February 6. It is almost certain, however, that by
mid-year the government will have to submit a supplementary budget since the amounts provided in its present
submission for the military effort are inadequate.
4. In dealing with the government's position on the question of peace and negotiations, Thieu stressed the fact that the
GVN is merely acting to defend itself against aggression and re-affirmed the government's adherence to the principles
established by the Manila summit conference. Implicit in this program is the desire and intention of the GVN to
strengthen its position before any negotiations open. The contrast between Hanoi's methods and that of President
Thieu's government is very great and, I hope, instructive to the critics of this regime and our effort in support of it.
5. The massive, countrywide terrorist attacks on centers of population which began in the early morning hours of
January 31 have been fully reported. I will not attempt to duplicate this reporting here. It is obvious that they were
premeditated and planned well in advance. It is equally clear that they were coordinated and correlated with the massive
and open invasion in northern I Corps by North Vietnamese forces.
6. It is evident too that the initial success of the attacks was due in part to the element of surprise and to the fact that
they were made in flagrant violation of the Tet truce period which Hanoi as well as the GVN had proclaimed. I think it's
fair to say also that there was some failure of intelligence on our side, for a sizable number of GVN troops and many
GVN officials were on leave.
7. That these widespread, concerted attacks will result in a massive military defeat for the enemy is evident in the
casualty figures reported Saturday morning. From 6:00 PM January 29 the beginning of Tet truce period, to midnight,
February 2, according to our figures, 12,704 of the enemy were killed, and 3,576, many of whom will become prisoners
of war, were detained; 1,814 individual and 545 crew served weapons were captured. Allied losses were 983 killed of
which 318 were US, 661 ARVN, and 4 other Free World; the number of allied wounded was 3,483. Enemy casualties for
these few days are considerably larger than for any previous month of the war. Based on the enemy casualties, I asked
General Westmoreland for an estimate of the total number of enemy committed and he said he thought that this was
probably in the neighborhood of 36,000.
8. Enemy military operations have been well orchestrated with their psychological warfare. As you know, for a
considerable period, both Hanoi and the NLF have spread rumors that negotiations and a resulting coalition government
were imminent after Tet. The inference, of course, was clear: if peace is so near, why go on fighting and getting killed?
When the attacks came, the Liberation Radio called for everybody to rally to the revolution, alleged that many ARVN
troops had defected, and of course claimed great victories, that the "US bandits and their lackeys had never before
been dealt such stinging blows." Liberation Radio also spread the rumor that US forces were cooperating with Viet Cong
attacks in order to put greater pressure on the GVN to agree to a coalition of government; and Hanoi Radio announced
the formation of a "front of national, democratic and peace alliance" in Saigon and Hue.
9. Given the fact that the enemy has suffered massive military defeat, the question arises whether he has secured in
spite of it a psychological victory; whether peoples' trust in the invincibility of the allied forces has been shattered;
whether their confidence in the ability of the GVN to provide security has been shaken; or whether on the other hand
Viet Cong perfidy in flagrant violation of the truce during the traditional Tet holiday, their use of pagodas, hospitals and
residential areas as sanctuaries and their terrorist tactics have aroused peoples' indignation and resentment. While our
information at this point on the reaction of the Vietnamese, especially in the provinces, is sketchy it seems apparent that
both reactions have occurred. But it also seemed to all of us here that if the GVN would take prompt action, if Thieu
would give evidence of strong leadership, would call in all elements in support of the government, that what might have
turned out to be a Pyrrhic victory for the GVN and its allies could be turned into a psychological victory as well.
10. It is for this reason, as I have reported, that I saw Thieu Thursday/3/ morning and told him that I thought this was the
psychological moment for him to demonstrate his leadership and to galvanize the nation by a statement which would
constitute a declaration of national unity. I said it would not only reassure the civil population, especially in the provincial
centers, but could also be a positive declaration to give life and meaning to the main programs and priorities he had
spelled out in his state of the union message. I suggested that he might want to meet with leaders of both houses of the
Assembly and perhaps have them associate themselves with his declaration and intentions. I think Thieu was impressed
with the arguments for taking advantage of the present situation to mobilize greater popular support. The next morning,
he held a meeting of the National Security Council and included the presidents of both houses of the Assembly to lay
out an action plan of relief and recovery for the civil population. In the afternoon, he recorded a speech to the nation
which was delivered on TV and radio that same evening.
/3/February 1.

[Omitted here is discussion of the U.S.-GVN Joint Task Force on post-Tet reconstruction.]
13. One naturally considers what the motives and purposes of Hanoi and the Front have been in staging these massive
attacks and apparently preparing momentarily to launch extremely heavy ones in northern I Corps. Were they prepared
to suffer these tremendous casualties in order to gain a psychological and propaganda victory? There are some
evidences that they might actually have had some expectations of popular uprisings, and in any case they are publicly
claiming that these have occurred. The British Ambassador, who has had much Asian experience, remarked that the
VC, having made these claims, will suffer, in Asian eyes, a very serious defeat if they prove to be not true. Had they
planned these offenses hoping to put themselves in a strong position to enter negotiations, hoping to force a coalition
government by demonstrating that the NLF commands the loyalty of the South Vietnamese people and must have a
major voice in any peace settlement; conversely hoping to demonstrate that the GVN is a weak puppet government and
can be ignored? Or is this part of a long winter-spring offensive which would endeavor to exert pressure to the extent to
the enemy's capabilities at least until our elections, hoping if possible to score some major victory, but in any case to
inflict heavy casualties on our troops in the expectation that they might create adverse psychological reactions in the
United States and thus a change in policy?
14. I am inclined to the former theory. It seems to me that the primary purpose of this particular operation was probably
psychological rather than military, that it was designed to put Hanoi and the Front in a strong position for negotiations by
demonstrating the strength of the Viet Cong while shaking the faith of the people in South Viet-Nam in the ability of their
own government and the US to protect them. This would be consistent with the determination on their part to press
towards peace talks.
[Omitted here is additional discussion of the Joint Task Force, politics, economics, Chieu Hoi, and casualties.]
Bunker

54. Memorandum From Robert N. Ginsburgh of the National Security Council Staff to the President's Special
Assistant (Rostow)/1/
Washington, February 4, 1968.
/1/Source: Johnson Library, National Security File, Country File, Vietnam, 2 A (2), I Corps and DMZ, 2/68 [2 of 2].
Secret.
I would speculate that there are two possible reasons why the attack on Khe Sanh has not yet materialized:
--Our B-52 and tactical air attacks may have upset their timing--especially if the air bombardment actually put their
headquarters out of operation for a day or so.
--They may have planned the attack on Khe Sanh to coincide with a second round of attacks on the cities. Initial attacks
on the cities would be designed to force General Westmoreland to commit his reserves. The second round would keep
them committed while they launched a major assault on Khe Sanh.
Since the first attacks did not achieve their objectives, it is conceivable that the attack might not take place.
More likely, the enemy would try to carry out its original plan. If so, we might expect the battle for Khe Sanh to start
within the next three days. Various intelligence reports indicate; for example:
--Attack as early as possible before 5 February./2/
/2/Late on the night of February 4-5 enemy shelling and minor ground assaults on Khe Sanh began but were quickly
beaten back.
--General Loan, police director, believes another attack on Saigon is scheduled for 4 or 5 February.
--Enemy troop movements in Pleiku area indicate possibility of attack the night of 4 February (today our time).
--A second attack is scheduled for Nha Trang ten days after the first attack (6 or 7 February).

--Special communications plans for enemy units the night of 4-5 February.
G

55. Memorandum From the President's Special Assistant (Rostow) to President Johnson/1/
Washington, February 5, 1968, 9 a.m.
/1/Source: Johnson Library, National Security File, NSC History of the March 31st Speech. No classification marking.
The notation "ps" on the memorandum indicates that the President saw it.
Mr. President:
Responding to a question from Elspeth/2/ last night, I explained events in Vietnam as follows.
/2/Rostow's wife.
The war had been proceeding in 1967 on an attritional basis with our side gradually improving its position, the
Communists gradually running down: like this
[Omitted here is Rostow's hand-drawn graph with a line labeled "Allies" rising and a line labeled "Communists" falling.]
Behind these curves were pools of military forces and fire power which represented the working capital available to the
two sides.
As the documents forecast, the Communists decided to take a large part of their capital and put it into:
--an attack on the cities;
--a frontier attack at Khe Sanh and elsewhere.
In the one case their objective was the believed vulnerability of the GVN and the believed latent popular support for the
Viet Cong.
In the other case, the believed vulnerability of the U.S. public opinion to discouragement about the war.
So the curves actually moved like this:
[Omitted here is Rostow's hand-drawn graph with the top line, the right half of which is dotted, rising gradually and the
bottom line falling slightly, rising sharply, then falling sharply to well below the beginning point, after which it rises again.
At the point where the line falls, it is dotted, coinciding with the dotted line above it.]
The dotted portions indicate the potentiality if:
--the cities are cleared up and held against possible follow-on attacks;
--the GVN demonstrate effective political and relief capacity;
--we hold Khe Sanh;
--we keep U.S. opinion steady on course.
In short, if all on our side do their job well, the net effect could be a shortening of the war.
Walt

56. Intelligence Note From the Director of the Bureau of Intelligence and Research (Hughes) to Secretary of
State Rusk/1/
No. 101
Washington, February 5, 1968.
/1/Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1967-69, POL 27 VIET S. Secret; No
Foreign Dissem.
SUBJECT
The GVN in the Wake of the Communist Urban Offensive
Since the Communists launched their unprecedented military offensive against South Vietnamese urban centers, the
GVN has of necessity concentrated on the security problem it faces throughout the country. As South Vietnamese and
Allied military forces continue to cope with North Vietnamese Army and Viet Cong troops in Saigon itself and at many
other points, the GVN has declared martial law, banned all public meetings and demonstrations, and placed under the
threat of severe punishment "all activities causing disturbance to public security and order, that is all political movements
lending a hand to Communism under a label of peace and coalition government." In the meantime, it is attempting to
restore normal administrative operations in the cities and towns and to provide immediate relief services to the
thousands of displaced persons.
Beyond these immediate tasks, however, the GVN will have the problem of countering the adverse psychological impact
of the enemy actions. Although information on public reactions is still very sketchy, available reports support the
assumption that the Communist effort has convinced many Vietnamese that enemy capabilities are far greater than they
had been led to believe and that no area, however "secure", is really immune from attack./2/ In addition to diminished
confidence among the urban public, the GVN may well have to contend with lowered morale in its regular and irregular
armed forces and in the civil bureaucracy. There may be increased attentisme among some political elements and
possibly a greater tendency to support an accommodation with the Communists. In the countryside, the Communist
offensive may have already dealt the pacification, Chieu Hoi, and other government programs serious setbacks.
Headquarters and support facilities have been disrupted or destroyed in a number of towns, and many pacification and
Chieu Hoi cadre presumably are without any guidance and/or in a highly demoralized state. More importantly, however,
the Communist attacks have almost certainly raised further doubts among the rural populace as to the ability of the
government to protect the countryside when it cannot protect secure urban areas./3/
/2/In Intelligence Note No. 128 to Rusk, February 9, Hughes noted a curious reaction to the timing of the Tet offensive
by the South Vietnamese, since "by violating the sanctity of Tet, the Vietnamese Communists have incurred a degree of
enmity among the urban population that will not soon subside, above and beyond the fact that the war has now directly
affected many people whose own lives and property had heretofore gone untouched." (Ibid.)
/3/In Intelligence Note No. 161 to Rusk, February 29, Hughes noted that, in addition to the loss of confidence in the
GVN, the withdrawal of the ARVN from rural areas into the cities to counteract the urban attacks left a power vacuum in
the countryside which VC guerrillas were filling, and the departure of RD teams caused pacification to become
"inoperative." (Ibid.) In a February 7 memorandum to Rostow, DePuy described the short-range impact of Tet upon
pacification as "very bad" and the long-term impact as unclear until the GVN could reverse the political and
psychological gains of the VC. (Johnson Library, National Security File, Country File, Vietnam, 1 C (3), Revolutionary
Development Support)
Thus far, the GVN seems to be attempting to capitalize on popular revulsion against the carnage and the violation of the
Tet holiday by the Communists, appeal for national unity, and rally support to the government. President Thieu may
even try to assume wider powers beyond those in the martial law decree for a protracted period and perhaps declare a
state of "general mobilization," or ask the Assembly to do so. Many Vietnamese in and out of the Assembly undoubtedly
have been shocked by the excesses attending the Communist offensive and may be more receptive to GVN appeals for
unity and support than has been the case in the past. When the initial shock passes, however, members of the
Assembly and other politically-important groups will probably tend to revert to the normal suspicion of the government
leadership and to their acute concern with their own prerogatives. At this point, the ability of the GVN itself to remain
united and prove by performance that it can respond more than it has in the past to public needs will become an
important factor in determining the acceptability of emergency measures. In the final analysis, moreover, much of the
GVN's ability to control the political situation will hinge on its ability to improve the military situation. Government
statements pointing to the high Communist casualty toll or announcing that the current Communist offensive has been
stopped are not likely to be very convincing as long as Communist harassment in and around the towns and cities

continues, and as long as the main body of NVA and Viet Cong regular forces continues to pose a serious threat of
larger scale actions in outlying areas./4/
/4/In a February 10 memorandum entitled "RVNAF Performance During the Tet Offensive," CIA analysts concluded: "It
does appear that most ARVN units--and National Police and other paramilitary units--reacted reasonably well to the
initial attacks. Subsequently, there seems generally to have been a lack of aggressiveness and some breakdowns in
discipline have been reported. It seems likely that morale and confidence have been shaken to some degree, but morale
does not appear to have collapsed. It would also seem likely that most units are at least temporarily well below normal
strength. Because of the disruption of communications, RVNAF units may not be well-informed of the situation, and thus
susceptible to the same rumors that seem to be upsetting the civil populace. Their vulnerability to Viet Cong propaganda
is thus also probably greater than usual. On balance, some ARVN elements would seem to be ill-prepared for sustained
or renewed pressure without a respite of several weeks. While many units can still be expected to perform well and give
good account of themselves, some of those in isolated areas and operating without close U.S. support might
disintegrate. We would expect RF and PF elements to be generally more shaky than ARVN, particularly those in
relatively isolated rural areas." (Central Intelligence Agency, O/DDI Files, Job 78-T02095R, I-South Vietnam Branch
(I/SV))

57. Memorandum From the President's Special Assistant (Rostow) to President Johnson/1/
Washington, February 6, 1968.
/1/Source: Johnson Library, National Security File, NSC History of the March 31st Speech, Tabs A-Z and AA-ZZ. No
classification marking.
We have gone through the accumulated materials resulting from interrogation of prisoners and documents captured last
week, and sought the answers to three questions:
1. Did the VC/NVA troops expect the Vietnamese populace to rise up and support them in their attacks?
2. Did the VC/NVA have any known plans for retreat or withdrawal?
3. What is the VC/NVA evaluation as to success or failure of the campaign?
In general, the answers are as follows:
1. Yes, they did expect assistance and uprising as evidenced by the following responses to interrogation.
A prisoner captured on January 31 in Chau Doc City stated that the attack was to create conditions which would bring
the U.S. Government to negotiate in order to proceed with peace. The time was ripe for an uprising. He said that the VC
realized that they were committing everything and every person they had in this assault. It was obvious to all that the
assault was a "go for broke" matter. He believes that few of the participants expected success, although most of them
hoped that they would succeed.
Prisoners captured in Nha Trang (II Corps) state that they were told they could take Nha Trang because of the VC
organization in the city. The NVA officers did not believe this but went on with the attack in order to support the nationwide effort and make success possible elsewhere.
According to one of these who was captured on the morning of February 4, "The current general insurrection campaign
will extend for the duration of the Winter-Spring Campaign. Many attacks will continue because the order has been
given and cannot be countermanded." He stated that "when the VC/NVA attacked Nha Trang, they expected to be
defeated; however, they believed in the general insurrection campaign of South Vietnam."
The Executive Officer of the VC Zone Committee II, Gai Lai (Pleiku), who was captured on January 30, stated that the
aim of the present action is to achieve the goals set forth in Resolution 13 of the Lao Dong Party, that is, guide people to
strike and demonstrate and to liberate all areas. He also advised that the present offensive was scheduled to last seven
days and would end on February 5, 1968.
Three prisoners captured in the Bien Hoa area stated that they had believed that the population would assist in an
uprising against the GVN and U.S. forces and in their opinion the anticipated support from the population has not been

forthcoming.
2. All evidence points to the conclusion that orders were received to "hold at all costs." Prisoners captured on January
30 in the attack on Pleiku revealed that they had orders to "take Pleiku City or not return." Three prisoners captured in
the Bien Hoa area apparently were not provided with withdrawal plans since there was no question about achievement
of victory. The prisoners said their orders were to continue fighting until the victory. (Lack of a withdrawal plan and
unfamiliarity with the local terrain may account in part for the large enemy losses.)/2/
/2/On this point, the Embassy offered the following assessment: "The virtually total absence of the usually elaborate VC
withdrawal plans as well as the 'no-retreat' instruction given to the units concerned strongly suggest that it was believed
that all they would have to do was to seize their objective and hold it for a brief period of time while the masses of the
people and the defecting ARVN could be mobilized for their support." (Telegram 18399 from Saigon, February 7;
National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1967-69, POL 27 VIET S)
Four prisoners captured in the attack on Saigon provided the following: Casualties were to be left behind. After Saigon
had been occupied, there would be a special detachment to take care of wounded. The Battalion was not to retreat. The
objective was to be held indefinitely. Supplies would be brought in later. Troops were ordered to fight until Saigon was
taken. A prisoner who died of wounds on February 1 revealed before his death that the major objectives in the attack on
Saigon were the Presidential Palace, the radio station, and the Tan Son Nhut Airbase, with orders to hold at all costs,
with no thought of retreat.
Another prisoner (believed to be a VC General and currently undergoing more intensive interrogation) revealed that the
VC planned to take over Chau Doc Province at any cost. If this failed, then taking over the Province was to be
completed before the end of the "Spring Phase," that is, before the end of March 1968. This all came about because of
an order from COSVN to use the Tet period as a "unique opportunity to make sacrifices of their lives for the survival of
the fatherland." There was no plan of retreat or withdrawal as the VC were convinced of success. This was part of a
general uprising throughout South Vietnam, which would reduce the number of U.S. or GVN troops which could be sent
in as reinforcements. Thus, if their first attack on Chau Doc City failed, they planned to keep attacking until they
achieved success.
Approximately 100 VC prisoners captured in the attack on the city of Rach Gia, Kien Giang Province, with an average
age being between 15 and 18 years, revealed during interrogation that the soldiers were given no contingency plan and
were directed simply to take the town and hold it until a coalition government could be formed.
3. There is little hard evidence in the form of response to interrogation or captured documents which gives feel for their
assessment of success or failure. However, the following does show that plans did not progress as anticipated.
A prisoner captured in Chau Doc City indicated that his troops had been told that the conditions were now right for an
uprising of the population and that an aggressive and rapid assault would bring the people to the side of the VC and
make untenable the positions of the GVN and American defenders. The uprising in fact did not take place during the
attack and the prisoner said that it is likely that this lack of all-out popular commitment to the campaign is having a bad
effect on the morale of the VC attackers.
A prisoner captured during the attack on Nha Trang stated that there would be a second attack of the city and that the
Special Forces Headquarters, the 62nd Aerial Squadron, and the airfield would be shelled. Shelling had been intended
during the first attack but the element in charge of transporting ammunition did not arrive on time./3/
/3/In a February 13 memorandum to the President, Rostow described another VC document captured at Danang which
showed that the NLF recognized the failure of Tet was a result of the inability to gain popular support, to cause ARVN
units to defect, and to coordinate attacks. (Johnson Library, National Security File, NSC History of the March 31st
Speech, Vol. 3, Tabs A-Z and AA-QQ)
W.W. Rostow/4/
/4/Printed from a copy that bears this typed signature.

58. Notes of Meeting/1/


Washington, February 6, 1968.

/1/Source: Johnson Library, Tom Johnson's Notes of Meetings. Top Secret. The meeting ran from 10:31 to 11:55 a.m.
(Ibid., President's Daily Diary)
NOTES OF THE PRESIDENT'S MEETING WITH SENIOR
FOREIGN POLICY ADVISERS
THOSE ATTENDING WERE
Secretary Rusk
Secretary McNamara
General Wheeler
Clark Clifford
Walt Rostow
George Christian
Tom Johnson
There was a general discussion of the proposed speech to be given by the President on the Pueblo and Vietnam
developments.
Secretary Rusk: Some parts of the speech are unnecessary. I do not think it should be given at this time. Extending
tours of duty in Vietnam could have a serious effect on the morale of the men.
General Wheeler: I agree with the consensus here. I think this speech should be made when events are clearer in
Vietnam and Korea. I would counsel against public announcement of a decision to extend tours of duty in Vietnam. It
would alarm the American people rather than reassure them.
The President: We must lay out this situation in a clear logical explanation of what happened. I do accept your advice
that it would be ill advised for the President to do this now.
The President then asked Tom Johnson to read the four points of criticism by Senator Robert Byrd (West Virginia)./2/
The four items follow:
/2/Byrd made his statement at the President's breakfast for the Congressional leadership that morning. In response to
Byrd's statement, the President replied: "I don't agree with any of that. We knew that they planned a general uprising
around Tet. Our intelligence showed there was a winter-spring offensive planned. We did not know the precise places
that were going to be hit. General Abrams said the Vietnamese are doing their best. There was no military victory for the
Communists. Just look at the casualties and the killed in action." (Ibid., Tom Johnson's Notes of Meetings)
1. Poor intelligence.
2. Poor preparations for these recent attacks.
3. Underestimated Viet Cong morale and vitality.
4. Overestimated support of South Vietnamese people and army.
The President said he was alarmed at this and that the attitude expressed by Senator Byrd seemed to be reflected by
much of the comment heard in Washington not only by politicians but by the press.
George Christian: The story circulating now is that we must have a confrontation with the South Vietnamese government
to get them to do more.
Walt Rostow: We have more evidence now than ever before about South Vietnam's role in this recent series of attacks.
The government was cool. It never broke down. The Vietnamese military took the brunt of the attacks. General Abrams
gives them very high marks.
The President: We should get to the Members of Congress information about all of this so that when they return to their
homes they know what line to follow.
I want to send South Korea what they need. I am afraid that many people now are working towards the objective of
undermining support and destroying our relationship with the South Vietnamese and with the South Koreans, and with

many people in this country. There seems to be a great effort to discredit this government and its military establishment.
Only yesterday I told Mr. Henry Brandon of the London Daily Telegram that I fully support General Westmoreland and
that any talk of his removal is absolutely untrue./3/ I took a bit of the steam out of him by showing him an "Eyes Only"
cable to General Westmoreland expressing my full support for him and his actions./4/
/3/On the afternoon of February 5, the President met with Brandon in an off-the-record session to discuss the Pueblo,
Vietnam, and the domestic political situation. (Ibid., President's Daily Diary)
/4/Telegram CAP 80390 from the President to Westmoreland, February 5, reads: "There is some irresponsible talk in
the newspapers abroad and here today that we have lost confidence in you. I wish to tell you in the bluntest and most
direct way I can that I have never dealt with a man in whom I had more confidence. You and your Vietnamese
colleagues have, in my judgment, dealt with the attack on the cities well. It is my judgment that your leadership and
Ellsworth's will bring us much further ahead a month from now than we otherwise would have been. Let us make that
happen. I believe that everything you have asked for has been supplied. As you go into this battle, you have my fullest
possible confidence and support." (Ibid., National Security File, NSC History of the March 31st Speech) In telegram
MAC 1719 to the President, February 7, Westmoreland replied: "Am grateful to you for your message of yesterday,
wherein you expressed your confidence in this command. Be assured we are doing all possible to deal the Communist
aggressor a severe blow. There are difficult days ahead, but we are fully confident in our ability to prevail over the
enemy. Faithfully yours." (National Archives and Records Administration, RG 407, Litigation Collection, Westmoreland v.
CBS, MACV Backchannel Messages from Westmoreland, 1-12 Feb 1968 [Folder I])
General Wheeler: I talked with General Westmoreland this morning and he said he was deeply appreciative of the
message from the President. He said that General Abrams would appear before the Press Corps to outline how pleased
he has been with the performance of the South Vietnamese Army.
[Omitted here is a brief discussion of the Pueblo crisis.]
Secretary McNamara: I am very disturbed about what the President said about the leadership, particularly Senator Byrd.
He treated Buzz rather badly in testimony this week.
The President: This is all part of a political offensive. They say we had the people believing we were doing very well in
Vietnam when we actually were not.
General Wheeler: This reminds me of the time of the Battle of the Bulge. The Germans did achieve tactical surprise both
in method and in their timing. They stretched the Seventh Army out like an accordion. The Germans did much like the
Viet Cong and the North Vietnamese, even to wearing United States uniforms. I never heard at that time anybody who
wanted to fire General Eisenhower because of bad intelligence. It was a severe defeat for at least one unit--the Army
99th Infantry Division. Having been there, I do know that we lost some of our heavy artillery--15 of our 18 guns. We have
had nothing like that during this current battle.
General Westmoreland was aware and concerned about these attacks. He had the highest possible state of alert. Had
he not done this, the situation would have been much worse.
We cannot have the precise plans of the enemy without some amazing stroke of luck.
Frankly Senator Byrd surprises me on Khe Sanh, I gave him the best response I could. I tried to put the military victory
in context.
The President: I told him he should be defending us rather than attacking us. I disagreed with all points that were made.
I say this to let you know what is going on.
Walt Rostow: If the war goes well, the American people are with us. If the war goes badly they are against us. The only
way for us to answer this is for the military situation out there to come out alright. I think the men in uniform now have
the burden in determining how much support or lack of support we get.

59. Notes of Meeting/1/


Washington, February 6, 1968.

/1/Source: Johnson Library, Tom Johnson's Notes of Meetings. Top Secret. The meeting lasted from 1:14 to 2:55 p.m.
(Ibid., President's Daily Diary)
NOTES OF THE PRESIDENT'S TUESDAY LUNCHEON MEETING
THOSE ATTENDING THE MEETING WERE
Secretary Rusk
Secretary McNamara
Clark Clifford
General Wheeler
CIA Director Helms
Walt Rostow
George Christian
Tom Johnson
[Omitted here is a brief discussion of the Pueblo crisis.]
(The President then left the room to talk to Senator Byrd who had called the President. The President returned to say
that the Senator had called to apologize for his criticism at the morning leadership meeting.)/2/
/2/See footnote 2, Document 58.
Secretary McNamara: The Joint Chiefs of Staff want to remove the restrictions around Hanoi and Haiphong, reducing
the circles to three miles around Hanoi and one and one-half miles around Haiphong./3/
/3/In a memorandum to McNamara, JCSM-78-68, February 3, Wheeler presented his argument for the reduction of the
control areas for limiting targets around Hanoi and Haiphong. (Washington National Records Center, Department of
Defense, OSD Files: FRC 330 73 A 1304, 1968 Secretary of Defense Files (Jan.-May)) In a memorandum to
McNamara, I-35128/68, February 5, Warnke advised accepting the JCS proposal only if "the new circles be treated as
containing areas where no strikes are to be made without individual authorization." (Ibid.)
The President: What is the reason for this?
General Wheeler: Currently there is a five mile absolute limit around both cities. We would like to reduce this to three
and one and a-half with Washington approval required inside of those circles.
Secretary McNamara: This was upon land, water and power facilities to route reconnaissance.
Secretary Rusk: This action also opens up the possibility of large civilian casualties and leads to extensive devastation
of the area. From what we have seen in other areas this leads to almost total devastation. What to hit is up to the pilot.
General Wheeler: We do not advocate attacking the population centers. We never have before, and we don't ask for
that now. I admit there will be more civilian destruction, but we will be going after trucks and water craft. They are secure
now, but represent very genuine military targets.
Secretary McNamara: Any attack of this type is very expensive both in the number of U.S. aircraft lost and in civilian
destruction. I do not recommend this. The military effect is small and our night time attack capability is small. Civilian
casualties will be high. In my judgment, the price is high and the gain is low. The military commanders will dispute all the
points I have made except aircraft loss.
General Wheeler: I do not think the effects on the civilian population will be that high. As you know, they have an
excellent warning system and most of them go to shelters and tunnels. From that standpoint, civilian loss could be lower
than it is in other areas. We have had nothing like the civilian destruction that took place in World War II and Korea. But
the targets which are there are military targets of military value. Frankly, this (civilian casualties which might result) does
not bother me when I compare it with the organized death and butchery by the North Vietnamese and the Viet Cong
during the last two weeks in South Vietnam. All of this relates to the matter of pressure.
The President: How are our aircraft losses running?
General Wheeler: We are losing more aircraft because the enemy is extending its air defense southward.

Secretary McNamara: We are losing about 40 fixed wing aircraft every month. Our helicopter losses are going up. We
had 27 helicopters destroyed and 137 damaged during the past two weeks. During the war we have lost 1700 aircraft.
There have been 2025 put in. That is a net gain of 375 wings.
Clark Clifford: The situation is so fluid in Vietnam and Korea now I don't feel it advisable for the President to have any
public comment. Any statement now will just augment public concern.
The President: I believe somebody in government should say something. I do not share the view that many people have
that we took a great defeat. Our version is not being put to the American people properly.
[Omitted here is a brief discussion of Korea and arms sales to Jordan.]
[The President:] What are we going to do now on these bombing targets?
Clark Clifford: I am inclined to move in the direction that their action over the past two weeks shows a dramatic answer
to the San Antonio Formula and to the request for talks. I am inclined to resume the bombing in North Vietnam and go
ahead with the suggested three mile and one and a-half mile limits.
As long as the enemy has demonstrated that they are not going to respond positively we should go ahead with this.
The President: Bob McNamara says the loss is not worth the gain.
Secretary Rusk: I would recommend hitting the 14 targets designated inside the restricted areas without authorizing total
route reconnaissance.
Secretary McNamara: There are 14 authorized and unstruck targets inside of that area.
General Wheeler: We can go first for the authorized targets although the Joint Chiefs does recommend the removal of
the limitation.
Secretary Rusk: Major destruction is involved.
The pilots select the targets. I do not know how much intensive bombing we want to permit in this area.
General Wheeler: I am fed up to the teeth with the activities of the North Vietnamese and the Viet Cong. We apply rigid
restrictions to ourselves and try to operate in a humanitarian manner with concern for civilians at all times. They apply a
double standard. Look at what they did in South Vietnam last week. In addition, they place their munitions inside of
populated areas because they think they are safe there. In fact they place their SAM's in civilian buildings to fire at our
aircraft.
We showed during the good weather period that our campaign of bombing cut off Hanoi and Haiphong from each other
and from the rest of the country. Photo reconnaissance showed that their air supplies were stacked all over and their
turn around time for ships was very lengthy. That turn around time has now been reduced and the ships are able to
unload much more quickly.
(The President approved the removal of the five-mile limit, agreed to strike the fourteen authorized targets. After these
targets are hit the question of granting permission of armed reconnaissance will be raised again.)
[Omitted here is a brief discussion of carrier escorts and Korea.]

60. Notes of Meeting/1/


Washington, February 7, 1968, 12:29-1:55 p.m.
/1/Source: Johnson Library, Tom Johnson's Notes of Meetings. No classification marking. The meeting was held in the
Cabinet Room. Those attending were the President, the Vice President, Rusk, Katzenbach, McNamara, Fowler, Helms,
Wheeler, Marks, Gaud, Office of Emergency Planning Director Price Daniel, Nitze, Clifford, Rostow, Christian, Tom

Johnson, Bromley Smith, and Edward Hamilton. (Ibid., President's Daily Diary) Summary notes of this meeting by Smith
are ibid., National Security File, NSC Meetings, Vol. 5, Tab 63.
NOTES OF THE PRESIDENT'S MEETING WITH
THE NATIONAL SECURITY COUNCIL
General Wheeler: There is continued fighting in the Cholon section of Saigon. We have intelligence indicating there are
two enemy divisions in the Saigon area. At Hue and Danang the situation is most serious. The enemy remains in Hue
and the strength of the ARVN battalions is down. Early reports say the ARVN battalions are "running out of gas."
Bad weather on the coast has affected air activities, including some resupply. A new attack on Danang is expected.
General Westmoreland said he plans to reopen Highway One so he can take supplies in by road rather than by air.
In the Khesanh vicinity there was a heavy attack on a special forces camp 4 miles from Khesanh. For the first time, the
attack was supported by 9 Soviet-supplied tanks. Some of the tanks were damaged or destroyed. The camp held out
until daylight, but we have just learned that it was necessary to evacuate Lang Vei./2/
/2/The combined armored/infantry assault by the NVA on Lang Vei, 5 miles southwest of Khe Sanh, began at 0042Z on
February 7.
Khesanh was shelled again last night and there was a probing attack against Hill 861.
U.S. casualties so far are: 670 U.S. dead; 3,565 wounded. There have been 1,294 South Vietnamese KIA and 4,448
South Vietnamese wounded. Enemy dead now stands at 24,199 with 5,007 detainees. We have captured 6,216 enemy
weapons./3/
/3/These are total casualties as a result of the Tet offensive up to this point. In telegram MAC 1614 to Wheeler, February
4, Westmoreland estimated the KIAs alone to have been 15,595. (Johnson Library, William C. Westmoreland Papers,
#29 History File, l-29 Feb 68 [1]) In telegram MAC 1754 to Wheeler, February 7, Westmoreland wrote: "I too had some
doubts about them at first, but as the facts of the general situation and individual actions come in, the KIA figures look
reasonable. The enemy committed virtually every VC unit in the country regardless of combat effectiveness and
regardless of normal area of operations. They were committed with do-or-die orders, forbidden to retreat, and with no
withdrawal or rallying plans. The enemy attacks might be described as a country-wide series of 'Loc Ninhs.' The very
high casualties are not strange in this light." (National Archives and Records Administration, RG 407, Litigation
Collection, Westmoreland v. CBS, MACV Backchannel Messages from Westmoreland, 1-12 February 1968 [Folder I])
General Westmoreland has established a field headquarters in Danang. It will be entitled "MACV Forward." General
Abrams will command it for the moment./4/ General Westmoreland and the Senior South Vietnamese Chief of Staff may
move to this headquarters to coordinate the heavy activity in the neutral sections of I Corps.
/4/Abrams officially took over as Commander of MACV Forward on February 13.
There are some conclusions:
--The attacks have caused fear and confusion in South Vietnam.
--The attacks have aroused anger among the South Vietnamese people. The North Vietnamese and the Viet Cong had
no regard for life and property in these raids. They also violated the Tet holiday.
--There is some loss of confidence, because of these attacks, in the government of South Vietnam and in the U.S.
General Loan said that his headquarters was getting many phone calls from private individuals in Saigon giving away
locations of the Viet Cong. This is encouraging.
We are concerned about stepped up MIG activity. They have been conducting bombing practices. MIGs may be used
for the first time in support of ground action or in an effort to shoot down our B-52's. They may also attempt to attack an
air base, like the one at Danang. I sent a message to all field commanders alerting them to these possibilities.
Secretary Rusk: What about the possibility of the MIG's attacking a carrier?

General Wheeler: No, I do not think this likely. The carriers do have air caps and are distant from the MIG bases.
The President: Go in and get those MIGs at Phuc Yen.
General Wheeler: We will as soon as the weather permits.
Secretary McNamara: The MIG's would have negligible military effects but they would have spectacular psychological
impact.
We do get the feeling that something big is ahead. We do not exactly know what it is, but our commanders are on alert.
The President: I want all of you to make whatever preparations are necessary. Let's know where we can get more
people if we need to move additional ones in.
General Wheeler: I have a preliminary list on my desk. I am not satisfied with it.
Secretary McNamara: This would include Army, Navy, Air Force and Marine units.
The President: What about the allies?
General Wheeler: The Australians are incapable of providing more troops. The problems in Korea are such that it will be
hard to get the South Koreans to even send the light division they had promised. The Thai troops are in training and to
move them in now would be more detrimental than helpful.
The President: So it would be only Americans? Well, I want you to know exactly where you could get them, where they
are located now and what we need to do. Get whatever emergency actions ready that will be necessary.
Secretary McNamara: All we would recommend at this time are the three items we had discussed earlier.
There may be some increase in draft calls but this would have no immediate effect.
The President: Do we have adequate hospitals and medical personnel?
General Wheeler: We have ample space, ample supplies, and enough doctors for the present.
Secretary McNamara: There are 6,400 military beds. Of that, 2900 are occupied by U.S. troops and 1100 by
Vietnamese civilians. So we have an additional capacity of about 2400.
The President: Look at this situation carefully. If we have another week like this one, you may need more.
Secretary Rusk: How do you interpret their use of tanks?
General Wheeler: They had to bring them all the way from Hanoi. This shows that this plan has been in staging since
September. It represents a real logistic feat. They want to create maximum disruption.
Director Marks: Could they do anything at Cam Ranh Bay?
General Wheeler: They could. On this last attack, we caught frogmen in there. They could put rockets in the hills and fire
on to the base.
The President: How many of the 25,000 killed were North Vietnamese Regulars?
General Wheeler: Approximately 18,000 were of a mixed variety of South Vietnamese enemy. Approximately 6,000 to
7,000 were North Vietnamese.
The President: How do things look at Khesanh? Would you expect to have to move out of Lang Vei?
General Wheeler: It was not planned that we would hold some of these outposts. We may have to move back that

company on Hill 861.


The President: Bob, are you worried?
Secretary McNamara: I am not worried about a true military defeat.
General Wheeler: Mr. President, this is not a situation to take lightly. This is of great military concern to us. I do think that
Khesanh is an important position which can and should be defended. It is important to us tactically and it is very
important to us psychologically. But the fighting will be very heavy, and the losses may be high.
General Westmoreland will set up the forward field headquarters as quickly as possible. He told me this morning that he
has his cables and his communications gear in. He is sending a list of his needs, including light aircraft. We are
responding to this request.
The President: Let's get everybody involved on this as quickly as possible. Everything he wants, let's get it to him.
[Omitted here is discussion of the Pueblo crisis.]
Mr. Rostow: The New York Times said today that enemy KIAs were more like the number of weapons captured than like
the figures which we are reporting.
General Wheeler: That is not true. We have captured many crew-served weapons. In fact we have captured 900 crewserved weapons on which 4 to 5 men operated. Many of these suicide crews have used only grenades and satchel
charges. They have been so heavily loaded that they do not carry hand weapons. Experience has shown that the ratios
of weapons to men runs 3 to 4 to 1. This ratio confirms our battle figure counts of enemy KIAs.
[Omitted here is additional discussion of the Pueblo.]
Then I went through the whole summary on Vietnam, similar to what General Wheeler gave here today. Most of them
are concerned about the political significance of the offensive.
I pointed out that the Government of South Vietnam had not waived or collapsed. There had been no reports of South
Vietnamese defections. There have been no reports of a popular uprising. Not a single one of the provinces or district
capitals is held by the Viet Cong.
I told them General Westmoreland made it clear that we can expect further attacks.
[Omitted here is discussion of military assistance programs.]

61. Letter From the Assistant Commandant of the Marine Corps (Walt) to the President's Special Assistant
(Rostow)/1/
Washington, February 8, 1968.
/1/Source: Johnson Library, National Security File, Country File, Vietnam, 2 A (2) [2 of 2], I Cor and DMZ, 2/68. Secret.
Dear Mr. Rostow:
Last evening at the McNamaras you asked if I would give you my personal opinion as to the situation at Khe Sanh, and
also the defensibility of the Khe Sanh area./2/
/2/In the immediate area of Khe Sanh, 5,700 Marines and 500 ARVN Rangers faced an opposing force of 25,000.
First, let me say that I left South Vietnam on 1 June 1967 and have not returned since. I knew the ground defenses at
Khe Sanh as they were at that time but since then many changes have been made. We have three times as many
Marines there now and I cannot speak as to the details of their fortifications or the disposition of the troops.

I did feel then, and I do now, that the combat base is of extreme importance to us, both from the psychological and
military points of view. I believe the psychological is obvious because of the nature of the war. Militarily, Khe Sanh is the
northwest anchor for the entire Quang Tri-Thua Thien defense sector. Its loss would allow the enemy to close in on the
Camp Carroll-Dong Ha-Quang Tri City areas to our serious discomfort. To the enemy, Khe Sanh lies at the junction of
several natural routes of infiltration into South Vietnam from Laos to the West and North Vietnam itself. Our location
denies him easy access to these routes, and forces him to take the long way around. Lastly, Khe Sanh, as you know,
serves as a base for certain of our specialized operations in the general area. The maps which we have provided your
office portray rather vividly the terrain implications in the area.
In short, Khe Sanh is tactically vital to us, in addition to the psychological factors which would beset us were we to
evacuate it.
I am sure that the Lang Vei evacuation assumes significant importance to you./3/ A couple of points are significant here.
First, Lang Vei, like all the Special Forces camps, has a mission to provide security in the local area, to conduct
reconnaissance, and to train and employ indigenous para-military people who are locally recruited. It did not have the
mission to serve as a conventional outpost for the defense of Khe Sanh against large organized enemy formations.
Significant also may be the perhaps forgotten concept of Special Forces camps--they were initially conceived as a
mechanism which would recruit and employ persons who might otherwise be recruited by the other side. Only after we
had had them on the payroll for a period of time did their other missions evolve.
/3/Ten Americans and 200 civilian irregulars were evacuated by helicopter later that day.
Returning to Khe Sanh proper, all indications point to an attack on Khe Sanh in force, and soon. We can expect
simultaneous efforts against Camp Carroll, Con Thien, Dong Ha, and Gio Linh, by fire at least and potentially by ground
troops as well. Additionally, we can expect rocket/mortar attacks against Danang, Phu Bai and Chu Lai. The form of the
attack against Khe Sanh itself will most probably come from the north, with probable diversionary effort from the west
along Route 9. I base this probability on the nature of the terrain north of the base which provides the enemy more
cover, which in turn permits him to move his supplies closer to the base and which subjects his troops to our supporting
fires for a shorter time and over shorter distances.
I hope the foregoing may prove helpful. Rest assured that I share the assurance which the Joint Chiefs of Staff and
others have expressed in our capability to retain our hold in the Khe Sanh area. Our 6,000 Marines there will insure this.
Sincerely,
LW Walt

62. Telegram From the Embassy in Vietnam to the Department of State/1/


Saigon, February 8, 1968, 1115Z.
/1/Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1967-69, POL 27 VIET S. Secret;
Immediate; Nodis. Received at 8:35 a.m. This telegram is printed in full in Pike, ed., The Bunker Papers, Vol. 2, pp. 327333. On February 6 Bunker, Westmoreland, and Thieu had preliminary discussions on ways to galvanize the GVN and
also on Loan's February 1 public execution of a VC suspect. (Telegram 18269 from Saigon, February 6; National
Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1967-69, POL 27 VIET S) Additional information on Loan's
action during the height of Tet is in telegram 109066 from Saigon, February 2, and memorandum from Meeker to Rusk,
February 3. (Both ibid.)
18582. For the President from Bunker. Herewith my thirty-eighth weekly message.
A. General
1. Because of the emergency situation caused by the Viet Cong Tet attacks, my last report was sent to you on February
4, just four days ago./2/ Nevertheless, I think enough has happened in the meantime to justify a short report at this time.
As more facts concerning the massive Tet offensive of the enemy comes to light and the story unfolds, a number of
things become evident. Information is being steadily accumulated as reports come in from the country and Saigon.
Consequently, what were somewhat tentative assumptions a few days ago begin to take more definite shape.

/2/Document 53.
2. It seems fairly clear now that:
A) Plans for the offensive were worked out long in advance and with meticulous care. Instances have come to light in
which enemy units were infiltrated disguised as civilians to reconnoiter targets, withdrawn, and re-infiltrated again as
civilians immediately before the attack.
B) Commitment of enemy troops was considerably larger than the estimate I reported in my last message. Estimates
now are that 52,000 enemy troops, plus another possible 10,000 guerrillas, for a total of approximately 62,000 enemy
forces, were committed to these widespread attacks.
C) The enemy believed that there would be uprisings in their support and that they would be able to take over many of
the cities. This is supported by captured documents and prisoner interrogations which indicated that enemy troops were
told they would find popular support, that there would be defections from the ARVN troops, and that reinforcements
would follow. Unlike previous heavy attacks, they had no orders covering possible withdrawal. The tenacity with which
the VC/NVA have held on to some of the areas they have captured (as in Hue and parts of Saigon) also suggests that
the leaders envisaged a seize-and-hold and not a hit-and-run operation. Given the forces available to the VC/NVA, this
would not be possible without massive popular and ARVN support. The enemy radio constantly pounded on the theme
that the masses were rising to help the Viet Cong, and the government forces were defecting to join with the Communist
troops.
A particularly interesting captured document is the Order of the Day from the headquarters of the South Viet-Nam
Liberation Army to all military forces in South Viet-Nam. The document has a tone of urgency and calls all enemy troops
"to liberate the 14 million people of South Viet-Nam" and "fulfill our revolutionary task." It refers to the attacks as the
greatest battle in Vietnamese history and states that the assaults "will decide the fate and survival of the fatherland." It
exhorts the enemy forces "to achieve the final victory at all costs."
D) No popular uprisings took place in any city, nor did the security forces defect to the enemy. Initially, many
Vietnamese were frightened and impressed by the enemy's ability to attack on such a wide scale, and their confidence
in the ability of their government and the United States to provide security was shaken. Now they have observed that the
enemy was not able to stand in the face of our forces but has instead fallen back and has been able to remain in none of
the cities he has tried to seize. The reaction consequently has changed from one of apprehension and doubt to anger,
indignation, and resentment at the treachery of the enemy's attack during the Tet holidays, at the widespread
destruction he has caused, and the terrorist tactics he has employed.
E) The enemy has suffered a major military defeat. He has suffered losses on an unprecedented scale. From the early
morning hours of January 31 until midnight of February 7, the enemy lost nearly 25,000 KIA, nearly 5,000 detainees,
more than 5,500 individual and nearly 900 crew-served weapons. These losses are two and one-half times that of any
previous month. Although these losses seem extraordinarily high, they are substantiated to a considerable degree by
the number of detainees and weapons captured. Friendly losses have been 2,043 killed (703 US, 1,303 ARVN, and 37
FW), less than one-twelfth of the enemy's. Gen. Westmoreland tells me that this estimate of enemy KIA is computed on
a very conservative basis, since neither enemy killed by airstrikes nor artillery have been included. This has been a
heavy blow for the enemy, particularly as many of the men killed were among the best they had, carefully trained
regulars and commandos, many of them from North Viet-Nam. From a military point of view, he had gained little in
return for his heavy expenditure of men and equipment.
F) In inflicting this severe military defeat on the enemy, our forces everywhere turned in a superior performance. A
highly encouraging development also was the very commendable performance of ARVN forces. General Westmoreland
reports that all the ARVN division commanders were on their toes and performed well, as did the corps commanders.
General Abrams has been visiting the ARVN divisions. He returned yesterday from II Corps with glowing reports of the
performance of the ARVN 22nd and 23rd Divisions. The Commander of the 23rd Division, with headquarters at Ban Me
Thout, allowed no Tet leave and, anticipating an attack, had deployed his troops outside the city; had he not done this,
destruction would have been much greater.
G) Although the enemy has suffered a heavy setback, he still retains the capability of launching a second wave attack in
Saigon and in the III Corps area. Elements of three enemy divisions, the 5th, 7th and 9th, are in the III Corps area. In
northern I Corps, in the DMZ, and the Khe Sanh area, he still has four divisions and farther south is threatening to exert
pressure on Danang. As I have previously reported, it is Thieu's opinion that the enemy will endeavor to keep up
pressure throughout the summer in I Corps and the central Highlands. In my talk with him yesterday, he added the view
that in addition to this pressure, he believed the enemy would continue efforts at harassment and infiltration against the
cities in order to pin down friendly troops in defense of the populated areas and would also endeavor to recover territory
in the countryside, in what he called a "counter-pacification effort."/3/

/3/This meeting was reported in telegram 18561 from Saigon, February 8. (National Archives and Records
Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1967-69, POL 27 VIET S)
H) Enemy attacks have resulted in heavy damage in many cities and towns. We do not yet have an accurate count of
the number of houses destroyed or refugees created, but we do have enough information to know that there has been
very considerable property damage. As of this morning, the refugee count in the Saigon metropolitan area was 93,000
and for the country as a whole about 190,000. Thus far, with 31 provinces out of 50 reporting, even though sketchily, we
estimate the number of evacuees (many of whom will return home as soon as fighting subsides) may reach between
250,000 and 300,000. About 15,000 homes are reported destroyed though this figure will undoubtedly increase. Civilian
casualties compiled from preliminary figures total almost 800 dead and 7,500 injured, though this also is probably much
under the actual total. Some important installations, such as hospitals, radio stations, and power plants, have also been
damaged. The GVN, however, has taken prompt measures to deal with all these problems through the Joint Task Force,
which I mentioned in my last message and to which I shall refer in more detail later in this report.
3. It may be argued that the enemy objective was not primarily military, that his military defeat is more than
compensated by his political and psychological gains. But I believe clear evidence is emerging that Hanoi expected to
take and hold a number of cities. Enemy documents and interrogations clearly suggest that at least middle and lower
level cadre and officers thought this was to be the final push to victory. The Order of the Day of the South Viet-Nam
Liberation Army would lend credence to this view. Some Vietnamese leaders who know the Communists well tell us that
they think the Communists expected to take the cities and so end the war. This, in fact, seems to be a fairly general
interpretation among our contacts.
4. As I mentioned in my last message, however, Thieu leans to the theory that the Tet attacks represent an effort to get
into a more favorable position for negotiations. He believes that the enemy realizes his strength is ebbing and so took a
desperate gamble so they could at least give the impression abroad of great and growing Communist power in South
Viet-Nam.
5. I think the two interpretations are not mutually exclusive. It seems possible that Hanoi would actually expect that the
Vietnamese people would in many cases side with the invading forces, either out of fear or because of grievances
against their own government. The experience of the Buddhist "Struggle" movement in I Corps in 1966, when military
and police units sometimes sided with the anti-government forces, may have encouraged Hanoi to believe that it was
possible to trigger defections from the GVN security forces./4/ Thus their maximum objective may have been the
occupation of some major urban centers and the collapse of the GVN.
/4/For documentation of the Struggle movement, see Foreign Relations, 1964-1968, volume IV.
6. But the primary objective of winning the war in one great series of attacks on the cities does not preclude a lesser
objective. Hanoi may well have reasoned that in the event that the Tet attacks did not bring the outright victory they
hoped for, they could still hope for political and psychological gains of such dimensions that they could come to the
negotiating table with a greatly strengthened hand. They may well have estimated that the impact of the Tet attacks
would at the very least greatly discourage the United States and cause other countries to put more pressure on us to
negotiate on Hanoi's terms.
7. But I am convinced that there is now a great opportunity not only to frustrate Hanoi's expectations, but to compound
the enemy's military defeat by also turning it to political and psychological advantage for the GVN. Much depends on the
promptness and effectiveness with which the GVN acts to return the situation to normal, to set about the task of
reconstruction and to care for the victims of the fighting. I have urged on Thieu that this is the psychological moment to
assert aggressive, dynamic leadership, to mobilize and energize elements of the government and to let the people know
that he proposes to push ahead with the programs he outlined in his state of the nation message. I have stressed the
importance of capitalizing speedily on the mood of anger and resentment at the Viet Cong treachery at Tet which is
sweeping the nation. And I have urged on him the importance of keeping the people informed about the GVN's
programs to help them; that through frequent brief appearances on radio and TV he should tell the people what is going
on and seek their support.
8. I have also suggested to Thieu that other Cabinet members supervising emergency activities should speak to the
people about their programs and that notables in Vietnamese life should be involved in all these activities and should be
encouraged to stimulate efforts by the population. I offered our assistance and participation on these information
activities in any way that he thought useful, and left with him a memorandum of specific suggestions./5/
/5/In telegram CAP 80391 to Bunker, February 6, the President suggested that the Ambassador get Thieu to "move
rapidly on the deeper problems facing the Vietnamese government" such as shoring up the ARVN, improving the
performance of the intelligence services, and rooting out corruption. (Johnson Library, National Security File, Memos to
the President, Walt Rostow, Vol. 59 [1 of 2]) In telegram 112634 to Saigon, February 9, the Department also provided a
list of necessary steps for the GVN to take, including mobilizing the people in the rebuilding effort, making radical

personnel changes, undertaking a more aggressive pacification campaign, and seizing momentum through "a sense of
theater and drama to get its message to the people and guide their emotions as they emerge from their state of
shock." (National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1967-69, POL 27 VIET S)
9. I also suggested to Thieu yesterday he might want to consider broadening the base of his government by associating
with it in some way prominent and influential civilians such as Nguyen Luu Vien, Tran Van Huong, Mai Tho Truyen, Vo
Long Trieu, Ha Thuc Ky, Tran Van Tuyen, Phan Quang Dan, Tran Van An, and others, Thieu said that perhaps such
individuals could be asked to serve as an advisory council to the government and that he was considering convening a
Congress of Notables, something along the lines of the congress which had been convened in 1966 to promote the
movement for elections for a Constituent Assembly to draft the Constitution./6/ He also noted that Ky had gone on
television on February 5 to inform the people of the GVN's relief and recovery effort and that he himself will address a
joint session of both houses of the Assembly on the morning of February 9./7/
/6/In a February 9 memorandum to Rusk, Harriman noted in relation to these comments by Thieu: "Whichever means is
used, I strongly endorse the idea of broadening the political base of the Saigon government. It is not today
representative of the people and does not have the ability to rally the loyalty which is essential for a strong national
government. I hope that Bunker will be encouraged to follow up on this conversation and that some steps are taken
along the lines to which both men appear to agree." (Library of Congress, Manuscript Division, Harriman Papers,
Special Files, Public Service, Kennedy-Johnson, Chronological File, February 1968)
/7/In the speech, Thieu asked the National Assembly for its support to speed up mobilization plans. (Telegram 18892
from Saigon, February 10; National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1967-69, POL 27 VIET
S)
10. Our pacification organization has turned itself into a relief operation for the time being. Bob Komer is managing US
support of the GVN's relief and recovery effort under Vice President Ky and has established a command post in the
palace with Ky. A small group of bottleneck-breakers and problem solvers are working there to pull together civil-military
operations on both GVN and American sides.
[Omitted here is continuing discussion of reconstruction measures and the economic situation.]
Bunker

Foreign Relations, 1964-1968, Volume VI, Vietnam, January-August 1968


Released by the Office of the Historian
Documents 63-70

February 9-28: Westmoreland's Augmentation Request


63. Telegram From the Commander, Military Assistance Command, Vietnam (Westmoreland) to the Chairman of
the Joint Chiefs of Staff (Wheeler) and the Commander in Chief, Pacific (Sharp)/1/
Saigon, February 9, 1968, 1633Z.
/1/Source: Johnson Library, William C. Westmoreland Papers, #29 History File, 1-29 Feb 68 [II]. Top Secret. In telegram
JCS 1529 to Westmoreland, February 7, Wheeler cautioned that the motive behind the enemy's strategy for the build-up
in I Corps and especially around Khe Sanh was to compel Westmoreland to commit his troops to the area, thereby
exposing the South Vietnamese Army in Saigon and other parts of the country to attack. To counter this strategy,
Wheeler suggested that the 82d Airborne and one-half of a Marine division (the 6/9 Marine Division available in the
Pacific Command) could be sent to Vietnam. In conclusion, Wheeler noted: "The United States is not prepared to accept
a defeat in South Vietnam. In summary, if you need more troops, ask for them." (U.S. Army Center for Military History,
William C. Westmoreland Papers, Eyes Only Message File, 1 Feb.-29 Feb. 1968)
MAC 01858. References: A. JCS 01590, DTG 090021Z;/2/ B. CINCPAC DTG 090359Z;/3/ C. MAC 01810, DTG
081440Z./4/
/2/In telegram JCS 1590 to Westmoreland, February 9, Wheeler suggested that Westmoreland issue a request signaling
a greater urgency. "Please understand that I am not trying to sell you on the deployment of additional forces which in
any event I cannot guarantee," Wheeler argued. "However, my sensing is that the critical phase of the war is upon us,
and I do not believe that you should refrain from asking for what you believe is required under the
circumstances." (Johnson Library, William C. Westmoreland Papers, #29 History File, 1-29 Feb 68 [II])
/3/In this unnumbered telegram to Westmoreland, February 9, Sharp accepted the possibility that "the Khe Sanh buildup
might be a threat to syphon off troops from the south in order to weaken U.S. and ARVN as much as possible to
facilitate attack on Saigon" and requested Westmoreland's analysis of whether the enemy might also be able to infiltrate
troops inside Saigon while it simultaneously attacked the city from without. (Ibid.)
/4/In telegram MAC 1810 to Wheeler, February 8, Westmoreland, concerned about the degree to which his forces were
stretched and citing the possibility that Khe Sanh could be lost, formally requested the dispatch by April to Vietnam of
the troops to which Wheeler had referred. (Ibid.) Westmoreland also attempted to obtain supplemental forces to fulfill
long-range requirements. In telegram MAC 1812 to Wheeler, February 8, Westmoreland detailed the areas in which an
additional number of troops above the previously established ceiling of 525,000 would be utilized. (Ibid.) In replying in
telegram JCS 1589 to Westmoreland, February 9, Wheeler offered the following caution against such expansion: "I
believe it imperative that you hold up the front channel submission of your supplemental requirements for the coming
year until at least the early part of March. I fear that, until we have fully sorted out and acted upon your immediate
requirements stemming from the present situation in Vietnam, the fulfilling of those requirements could very well be
jeopardized by adding your longer range requirements at this particular time." (Ibid.)
1. (U) Since references A and B concern the same general subject, I will answer them collectively.
2. (S) To put the situation in context, it might be desirable to give you my views of the enemy's strategy and the plans
that he developed in Hanoi during early fall. It would seem that the enemy concluded that a protracted war was not in his
long-range interest in view of the success of our ground and air actions against his forces, supplies, and facilities. He
therefore decided to adopt an alternate strategy to bring the war to an early conclusion. Stemming from this strategy,
there evolved a plan that I reconstruct in three phases. Phase I, which started at the end of October and was scheduled
to go until the first of the year, had as its objective the seizure of selected areas in remote provinces along the Lao and
Cambodian borders and consolidation of these areas pending further operations to expand his area of control. Also
during this phase, he proceeded to concentrate on district towns to disrupt the political and military control structure
outside the cities. During this phase, we saw the major attack on Dak To; attacks by fire on Kontum, Pleiku, and Ban Me
Thuot; and major ground attacks against Loc Ninh, Bu Dop, and Song Be; and attacks against innumerable district
towns and outposts. As you know, this phase achieved very limited success, resulted in large casualties to the enemy,
and a failure to physically control more territory in South Vietnam. An enclave strategy would have played into his
hands. The second phase, which we saw start at Tet, involved infiltration of cities to destroy the political and military
control apparatus and to bring about a public uprising. In the border areas, this phase was designed to support his plan
to seize control of Pleiku and Darlac Provinces which would give him de facto control of the eastern portion of the
country from the Ashau Valley in western Thua Thien all the way down through War Zone C in northern Tay Ninh. The

third phase, which is yet to begin, would involve consolidation of his position and strong attacks across the DMZ and
against Khe Sanh with the objective of establishing military control over the two northern provinces, thereby bringing
about a de facto partition of the country from wherein he would control Quang Tri and Thua Thien, western Quang Nam,
western Quang Tin, and the Provinces of Kontum, Pleiku, Darlac, Quang Duc, and at least the northern portions of
Phuoc Long, Bien Long, and Tay Ninh. Under the circumstances, he would have created a situation similar to that which
now prevails in Laos and would therefore be in a strong negotiating position, particularly if he were successful in his
design to assume control of the cities and bring about a public uprising.
3. As to the present situation, an enemy threat of major proportions is still posed north of the DMZ and around Khe
Sanh. In addition, the enemy is applying considerable pressure to the Hue area and to Highway 1 north of Danang.
Furthermore, he has a number of battalions directly south of Danang which pose a threat to the air field and the city. The
3d Mar Div is in good posture at Khe Sanh and south of the DMZ. The 1st Cav Div is in Quang Tri Province with two
battalions in blocking positions north of Hue. A Marine regiment is securing Hue/Phu Bai and assisting in the clearing of
Hue City. The Marines have made excellent progress, but the going by the ARVN in the citadel has been slow and they
will probably be with it for several more days. The road over Ai Van Pass is cut, with little prospect of being opened until
additional troops and engineers can be provided. Because of this situation, I am deploying by air tomorrow a battalion of
the 101st Abn Div to Hue/Phu Bai to assist in the security of that important area and will be moving out by LST a second
battalion of the 101st to Danang on the 12th with the mission of providing security for Highway 1 over Ai Van Pass. Also
I am sending by sea an army combat engineer battalion to work on Highway 1. The controlling factor in Quang Tri and
Thua Thien is logistics, now marginal at best. It is essential that we open up Highway 1 and the Marines cannot spare
the forces to do the job. The situation in Hue should improve because a task force of three Vietnamese Marine
battalions that are in good strength will be replacing the three understrength abn bns now fighting in the city along with
elements of the ARVN 1st Div.
4. The situation in II Corps is generally favorable but there is some fighting with enemy elements in Dalat and a sizeable
threat exists at Dak To. I believe we have enough forces in Dak To, but Rosson is prepared to reinforce with elements of
the 173d.
5. In III Corps, fighting continues in Saigon, but this situation should be cleared up shortly, despite the fact that I expect
the enemy to increase his effort there in the next several days. Today I deployed a US battalion in the area in order to
energize the ARVN and to permit them to redeploy a battalion to another part of the city. North and east of Saigon there
are elements of the 9th and 5th VC Divisions and further north we have the 7th NVA Div. The 5th and 9th Divisions have
been hurt by recent actions and their capability is considered limited. On the other hand, the 7th Div is in fair shape, but
we have been putting the pressure on them through ground raids, artillery, and air strikes during the last week, which
has probably degraded their capability. Weyand has so disposed his forces that the enemy will have difficulty getting an
attack off the ground and could only do so at great risk. During the last several days, Saigon has been reinforced by two
Marine battalions which were deployed from the II Corps. I am planning to move the mobile riverine force into Long An
on the 12th and if necessary can reinforce with troops now in the IV Corps on short notice. Finally, there is an airborne
battalion at Phan Thiet which I can use to further reinforce if required. In summary, despite the deployment of two
airborne battalions to I Corps, I feel that our posture in III Corps is adequate to cope with the situation.
In IV Corps, I now have five battalions of the 9th Div, to include the mobile riverine force. They have done an excellent
job and in my opinion have saved the situation in My Tho and Ben Tre. Yesterday I planned to move the mobile riverine
force to Long An on the 10th, but because of continued activity near My Tho I have decided to leave them in that area
until the 12th.
6. The only really serious threat that faces me now is in the I Corps area, where we are limited by logistics, weather, the
closure of Highway 1 and enemy initiatives. It is important that I reinforce soonest with a minimum of two battalions.
7. One of the problems that concerns me is the shortage of strength in the ARVN units. The situation was brought about
by high casualties during the past week and absentees from the units because of Tet. Most of these absentees were
authorized in that leaves were permitted and the troops have not been able to get back to their units. On the other hand,
I think we must realistically expect desertions to be high. It is going to take some time to build the ARVN back up to
strength. I have emphasized this to Pres. Thieu and urged that he proceed immediately to draft 19-year-olds, to be
followed as needed by the drafting of youths of 18. Furthermore, we plan to increase the Vietnamese Armed Forces by
65,000, and Thieu has recently asked if we can support an even greater build-up. In my opinion, we will have no
difficulty supporting any build-up that they can accomplish. After filling their depleted ranks, I doubt their ability to recruit
and train units beyond the planned strength increase of 65,000.
8. I have now deployed to I Corps the 1st Cav Div less a brigade, plus a brigade of the 101st Abn Div. I will be deploying
shortly two additional battalions of the 101st and will be prepared to deploy a third battalion with a brigade headquarters
at a later time. In my opinion, this is the minimum force that I will need to insure stability of the situation in the two
northern provinces, but even this may not be enough. I may have to employ the entire 101st Div and am prepared to do
so, depending upon enemy actions. However, logistics is the key and this means opening Highway 1. During the next
several months, I would move into the Ashau Valley and clean it out and to open up the road to Khe Sanh. On the other

hand, I will have to give priority to moving against the enemy once he has committed himself. I am not happy about
thinning out III Corps, but the departure of the 101st will not present an unacceptable risk; it will slow down progress that
could otherwise be made in defeating main force units in the area and in supporting pacification.
9. Needless to say, I would welcome reinforcements at any time they can be made available:
A. To put me in a stronger posture to contain the enemy's major campaign in the DMZ-Quang Tri-Thua Thien area and
to go on the offensive as soon as his attack is spent.
B. To permit me to carry out my campaign plans despite the enemy's reinforcements from North Vietnam which have
influenced my deployments and plans.
C. To off-set the weakened Vietnamese forces resulting from casualties and Tet desertions. Realistically, we must
assume that it will take them at least six months to regain the military posture of several weeks ago. I should point out in
this connection that when one considers the casualties inflicted on the enemy, this is not an expected [unexpected?]
price to pay.
D. To take advantage of the enemy's weakened position by going on the offensive against him.
10. If the one-half Marine division were made available now, I would of course assign it to III MAF, for either north of
Danang or in Quang Tin Province thereby releasing elements of the Americal Division for deployment further south. If
the 82d Abn Div were available now, I would want it to arrive at Danang and be deployed north in the Ai Van Pass and
thence to the Hue-Phu Bai area for possible operations in Base Area 117 and later perhaps in Base Area 101. This
division would operate in conjunction with the 1st Cav Div. Subsequently, along with the 1st Cav Div, and elements of
the III MAF, it could effect a land link-up with Khe Sanh and thence move into the Ashau Valley and clean it out. (York II)
The sequence of objectives would be determined after considering the factors at the time. I envision the 82d would
move by foot and road to the extent possible so as to economize on the use of helicopters. Such deployment would
permit me to relieve elements, if not all, of the 101st Abn Div to return to the III Corps to assist in operations there. If the
units arrive later, reference C pertains. When weather permits, it will be desirable, if not essential to establish a beach
support area south of Quang Tri as outlined in reference C. This is the most effective and economical way of providing
logistical support to the area. It will be feasible to support the 82d initially from Danang along Highway 1, provided
necessary troops are committed to keep the road open. With the commitment of such troops, it might also be practical to
put the railroad in operation and this would further increase the tonnage. However, I do not yet have a survey as to the
costs and time involved in opening railroad, but I do not believe it would be a major task.
11. In summary, I would much prefer a bird in the hand than two in the bush, but would like the birds to be deployed to
the I Corps area and not in the II Corps or III Corps. Elements that I have had to deploy from III Corps could perhaps be
returned and therefore expand our operations in that area. It is conceivable that a six-month loan of these units would
turn the tide to the point where the enemy might see the light or be so weakened that we could return them, particularly
if the ARVN can rebuild itself following its recent battles and improves its fighting quality by virtue of the modern
weapons it is scheduled to receive.

64. Notes of Meeting/1/


Washington, February 9, 1968, 11:02 a.m.-12:43 p.m.
/1/Source: Johnson Library, Tom Johnson's Notes of Meetings. Top Secret. The meeting was held in the Cabinet Room
of the White House. Those attending the meeting were the President, Rostow, Rusk, McNamara, Clifford, Wheeler,
Harold Johnson, Chapman, Air Force Vice Chief of Staff General Bruce K. Holloway, Moorer, Nitze, Christian, and Tom
Johnson. (Ibid., President's Daily Diary)
NOTES OF THE PRESIDENT'S MEETING
WITH THE JOINT CHIEFS OF STAFF
The President: I asked you to come here on the basis that we would hope for the best and expect the worst. I want to
see what we should do in Vietnam.
We ought to look at everything that we should be doing. Get the requirements ready to do what needs to be done. Let's
be fully prepared to move in the event we are required to do so.

We want to ask questions so that you can inform us of what the current situation is and so that we can determine what
things we need to work on now in the event we get a call for additional help.
I want a military review of the problems confronting us if the enemy continues more of the same activities as during the
past two weeks. I think we should anticipate all the surprises and determine what is going to confront us if the Viet Cong
attack the cities, attack Khesanh, and pull off a few surprises elsewhere.
Two questions we will have to answer:
1. Will we have to put in more men?
2. Can we do it with the Vietnamese as they are now?
General Wheeler: During the past few days I have talked with General Westmoreland over the phone and received a
number of cables from him.
Westmoreland reported the following:
--The enemy apparently will start new attacks on the 10th. That is tonight our time. This is based on communications
intelligence and prisoners of war.
--The ARVN fought well. There has not been any defections that we know of.
--There is a question whether the ARVN can stand up after 12 days of heavy fighting if another series of heavy attacks
occur.
--The enemy's objective may be fragmentation of the ARVN and the Government of South Vietnam. This fragmentation
would be accomplished by attacks against our air bases with an effort to keep U.S. men concentrated in the north.
Intelligence communications recognize this as one objective.
--The enemy may not be ready yet to attack Khesanh, General Chapman can elaborate on that.
--Westmoreland has moved the 1st Calvary Division and elements of the 101st Airborne Division. These are his two
strategic reserve elements which have been moved up North.
Those units are there to take care of contingency operations in the area.
--Westmoreland has had to use other reserve elements to deal with the fighting around Quang Tri and north of Hue.
--He is now moving by LST an airborne battalion to the Hue area. The major problem is a logistical one.
Westmoreland said he must have the use of Highway One in order to move supplies from Danang from the North and
support Khesanh logistically.
--He has moved an army engineer combat battalion to clear the road area.
--He will move another battalion of the 101st to open "MACV Forward," his front headquarters. This will be done tonight
our time.
--Yesterday was fairly quiet although Lang Vei was over-run and 27 U.S. men were killed. They killed 100 enemy.
--There was also an ambush on a truck convoy. It is obvious the enemy is trying to disrupt logistics.
--We are using water board craft to move supplies. The enemy is trying to disrupt this with frogmen.
The President: Are we doing all we can? Could we use civilians protected by military to help open that road? (The
President also referred to civilian contractors who have been involved in construction projects.)

Secretary McNamara: I am sure that these units are being employed and I will check on this.
General Wheeler: Westmoreland needs reinforcements for several reasons. The reinforcements he has in mind are the
82nd Airborne Division and the Sixth-Ninth of a Marine division. This would total 15 battalions.
He needs these reinforcements for two reasons:
1. To prevent the ARVN from falling apart.
2. To give himself a reserve to use as quick response units to any initiatives by the enemy in Vietnam.
He said he would put the 82nd Airborne in Danang and north of Danang. That would permit him to move the 101st south
and to keep Highway One open.
The Marines would give two capabilities:
1. Reinforcement in I Corps permitting amphibious forces to be available at all times.
2. Make available troops for an amphibious landing north of the DMZ if that action is decided upon.
The 82nd Airborne and the Sixth-Ninth of Marine division can only be deployed if we eliminate the restrictions on
frequency of tours and length of tours in Vietnam.
Secretary McNamara: We should give some very serious thought to the proposal of scrapping the 12-month tour. It
might have a very bad effect on morale.
Secretary McNamara: General Westmoreland said he needs the 82nd Division and two-thirds of a marine division. That
would be 15 battalions.
In order to do that, it would be required to call up some Army divisions and the 4th Marine division.
General Wheeler: We would propose to move the 4th Marine Division to Okinawa and Hawaii for ready deployment.
The 2 Army divisions should be in the U.S. to be ready to meet any contingencies.
The JCS will address themselves to this matter this afternoon.
There are four options:
Option 1--Slow Movement--This would involve 265 aircraft and no draw down on airlift capacity in Southeast Asia.
This would put the 12,500 men in Vietnam in 15 days. The cargo would arrive in 29 days under this option. (There are
11,600 tons of cargo.) Under this option, the 5 Marine battalions would reach Vietnam in 8 days. Their cargo would get
there in 17 days.
Option 2--This would involve 334 aircraft and a 70% draw down in cargo airlifts to Southeast Asia. This would put the
82nd Airborne Division in Vietnam in 6 days. The cargo would arrive in 17 days. The Marine battalions would reach
Vietnam in 3 days, and its cargo in 10 days. Option 2 cuts by one-half the time as required under Option 1.
Option 3--This would involve 670 aircraft and the call up of the Air National Guard and other air squadrons. This would
place the 82nd Airborne in Vietnam in 5 days (its cargo in 14 days). This option would put the Marines in Vietnam in 3
days and the cargo in 9 days.
Option 4--This would use civilian aircraft and would involve the cut down on airlift capacity to South Vietnam by 40%
rather than 70%. General Holloway says the call up of Stage III craft would have no effect.
There would be considerable lost motion in refitting these civilian aircraft for military use.

General Holloway said that by leasing aircraft we could cut down on time required.
I would add a K factor to the times specified in order to alert the men and to assemble the airlift. This K factor would be
plus 2 days to all times given.
If this program is followed, it will be necessary for the President to get authority to extend terms of service (to call up
individual reservists) and to extend existing authority to call up reserve units past the 1968 deadline.
Based on my conversations with General Westmoreland, I believe General Westmoreland is now dictating a message to
ask for early deployment of the units I have now mentioned.
The President: How many men does this represent?
General Wheeler: 25,000 men in these units plus support personnel.
Secretary McNamara: The total would run about 40,000.
Normally, each battalion has 5,000 men. If one multiplies that times the 15 battalions, the total level would be 75,000
men. The difference between the 40,000 and the 75,000 is made up by the use of overhead manpower already in
Vietnam which could be placed in these 15 battalions to raise them to full strength.
The President: How many men do we have there now?
General Wheeler: 500,000.
The President: Can we speed up the other infantry battalions we have already promised?
General Johnson: We have already curtailed training to the minimum. We must give these units proper training time.
They are already squeezed. One battalion is scheduled to go the last week in March. Three battalions are scheduled to
go the last week in April.
Secretary McNamara: If General Johnson says that is the case then I will accept it. I would like to look more at this.
Perhaps these units could be sent on short training into rear areas.
General Johnson: Mr. Secretary, there are no rear areas in Vietnam anymore.
Secretary McNamara: What we are considering is a massive force structure. I think it would be unwise to leave these
forces out there if the contingencies we have discussed do not develop.
Apart from the immediate contingency I do not think we will need them. We do need to extend the tours, but this should
be only temporary.
To call up the forces we are talking about would involve a total of about 120 men.
General Wheeler: This emergency is not going to go away in a few days or a few weeks. In 3 months we may still be in
an emergency situation.
The enemy is not in a position to really assault Khesanh. He is going to take his time and move when he has things
under control as he would like them.
The reserve divisions we are sending must have a period of training and shake down before they can perform well. I
would estimate this to take about 8 to 12 weeks.
I want to point out, Mr. President, that if you do make a decision to deploy the 82nd Airborne, you will have no readily
deployable strategic reserves. I know this will be a serious problem for you politically.
In all prudence, I do not think we should deploy these troops without reconstituting our strategic reserves in the United
States.

The President: All last week I asked two questions. The first was "Did Westmoreland have what he needed?" (You
answered yes.) The second question was, "Can Westmoreland take care of the situation with what he has there now?"
The answer was yes.
Tell me what has happened to change the situation between then and now.
General Wheeler: I have a chart which was completed today based on a very complete intelligence analysis. It relates to
all of South Vietnam, Laos and the area around the DMZ. It shows the following:
--Since December the North Vietnamese infantry has increased from 78 battalions to 105 battalions. Estimating there
are 600 men per battalion that is approximately 15,000 men.
--We have been able to get this information by 3 means:
1. Contact with the actual units
2. Communications intelligence
3. Captured documents and POWs.
--This represents a substantial change in the combat ratios of U.S. troops to enemy troops.
--This ratio was 1.7 to 1 in December. It is 1.4 to 1 today.
--In the DMZ and I Corps area, there is a 1 to 1 ratio. There are 79 enemy battalions in the 1st Corps area (60 North
Vietnamese and 19 Viet Cong).
In the same area there are 82 Free World battalions (42 U.S.; 4 Free World; and 36 ARVN).
This is about 1 to 1.
The President: What you are saying is this. Since last week we have information we did not know about earlier. This is
the addition of 15,000 North Vietnamese in the northern part of the country. Because of that, do we need 15 U.S.
battalions?
General Wheeler: General Westmoreland told me what he was going to put in tonight's telegram. This is the first time he
has addressed the matter of additional troops.
Paul Nitze: I was not aware of this new intelligence.
General Wheeler: The last report was that there was approximately 15,000 enemy near and around Khesanh.
As of today, our estimates range between 16,000 and 25,000. Their infantry has been built up.
In addition, Westmoreland is now faced with the problem of the impact of these recent heavy attacks on the ARVN.
We do not know what is going to happen to the ARVN after this second round of attacks. All ARVN units are on
maximum alert.
But in Hue, the ARVN airborne units are down to 160 men per battalion. Their strength is far below that required.
The President: We have to get the Government of South Vietnam to increase its efforts. Why can't we get them to do as
we do, call up 18 year olds and give the American people the impression that they are doing as much as we.
Secretary McNamara: When I was in Vietnam I talked with Thieu and Ky. They told me then they intended to call up 18
and 19 year olds.
The President: I saw where Senator Kennedy pointed out that the South Vietnamese voted not to call up 18 year olds.

General Wheeler: I met last night with this unnamed group chaired by Nick Katzenbach and Paul Nitze. We are pressing
for the South Vietnamese to lower the age limit at least to 19 and Bunker is pushing this hard.
Secretary Rusk: We must keep in mind that they consider a child 1 year old when he is born, so, their 19 year olds are
our 18 year olds.
The President: Has either House voted not to draft these men?
Paul Nitze: I am unaware of any vote on it.
Secretary McNamara: I will look into this and follow through.
The President: Are there some things that we can get the South Koreans and the South Vietnamese to do to match all
of these things we are planning to do?
Walt Rostow: The men at Hue have been drawn down by the very intensive action there. What is the state of strength of
the ARVN units?
General Wheeler: I do not have the answers precisely. They have been mauled. As of 11:00 p.m. our time last night,
1,698 ARVN were killed; 6,633 were wounded seriously. This totals about 10,000 ARVN lost.
Mr. Rostow: Has the enemy switched from a slow attrition strategy to a "go for broke" strategy? Would an extension of
tours in Vietnam be understood as far as morale is concerned?
General Wheeler: For a temporary period we can sustain an extension of tours without losing morale. For any long
period of time, however, you would face a loss of morale. We now have a rule that we will not send a man back without
25 months between tours in Vietnam.
General Johnson: We send men back now with special skills in less than 25 months.
As I see it there are two basic problems. The first is at Khesanh. The second is in the cities. What are they trying to do?
There are two postulates:
1. The enemy believed that the people would rise up. There were no withdrawal plans by the enemy.
2. The enemy suffered erosion over the last few months. They have seen a decoupling of its forces in hamlets and
villages. U.S. troops have cleaned out the Viet Cong from many of the villages. So, he has concluded he must go for a
psychological victory prior to negotiations.
We are in a critical stage. We expect new attacks will begin on the 10th. There are two essential questions facing us:
1. What strength does the enemy have to renew the attacks with?
2. What strength does the ARVN possess to resist these attacks?
The President: What is the ARVN strength?
General Wheeler: Approximately 360,000 men now. Total forces about 600,000.
Secretary Rusk: I have been asking for several days if there was a new order of battle. This is the first time that I have
heard of this.
The President: Because of their increase of 15,000 troops, is it true that we now need 15 battalions or 45,000 men?
What mobile reserve forces does Westmoreland have between now and the time he gets more men?
General Wheeler: He has the bulk of the 1st Cavalry and one brigade of the 101st Airborne. Other than that, all of his
forces are dispersed to meet the enemy. We are not getting much mileage out of the Australian or South Korean troops.

They must go back to their home country for their orders.


The President: Do you mean that the Australian and Korean commanders have to go back to their capital before they
can be deployed?
General Wheeler: Yes sir, they remain under the operational control of their government.
Secretary McNamara: I am under the very clear impression that they have been told by their home governments to do
everything possible to hold down their own casualties.
Our losses are running six times the level of Korean losses on a percentage basis.
The President: We ought to try to bring all the allied forces under Westmoreland's command.
General Wheeler: In all fairness, the allies have operated well in areas where they have been located.
The President: Does Westmoreland have enough airpower to support his troops?
General Wheeler: Yes sir, we are moving in 2 more C-130 units.
The President: How is the supply problem at Khesanh? Will artillery and rockets knock this out? Can we rely on roads?
Secretary McNamara: There is no road available up there.
General Wheeler: We moved in 214 tons of supplies yesterday with helicopters and fixed wing aircraft. As long as we
use B-52's and tactical air, we will be able to keep our resupply up. They are keeping about 10 to 12 days supplies in
storage.
The President: Wouldn't we have one big problem if the airfield at Khe Sanh was out?
General Wheeler: Yes, we would have to link up by road some way. Of course we can use air drops and helicopters.
The air strip will be used from time to time.
The President: If you lost the air strip, would you evacuate Khesanh?
General Wheeler: That depends on the course of the fighting and their ability to resupply.
Secretary Rusk: When does the weather improve?
General Johnson: It is now beginning to improve. I have some concern about the loss of the air strip, because fixed wing
aircraft carry so much more than helicopters.
Nobody can give a categorical answer. We think we have a 50-50 chance of sustaining our actions out there.
The men have 12 days of rations and 11 days of ammunition. Almost no cofram has been used.
Being cut off would hurt in the evacuation of wounded, but we can evacuate at night if necessary. This is one of the
hazards you have to accept.
The President: How is the weather likely to affect actions along the border?
General Wheeler: The better the weather, the more it favors us.
The President: Have you anticipated air support from any of the communists?
General Wheeler: There is no evidence of any movement except the training flights and the Soviet bombers which were
seen at Khesanh.

The President: What is his air capability if he uses it?


General Wheeler: His capability in using air is a nuisance and has propaganda value rather than any great military
threat. He has 8 IL 28's.
The President: What use does he have of these?
General Wheeler: I do not know.
The President: How many MIGs does he have?
General Wheeler: We know of 23 MIG 21's. There are other MIG 15's and 17's.
Most of these MIGs are in China.
The President: Keep the MIGs in sight at all times.
General Wheeler: We are doing the best we can. Admiral Sharp is moving a guided missile ship to the Gulf of Tonkin. It
carries the Talos Missile. We are also sending in ships with the Terrier Missile.
The President: Get the JCS to work up all the options and let's review them together.
I want you to hope for the best and plan for the worst. Let's consider the extensions, call ups, and use of specialists.
Dean, should we have more than the Tonkin Gulf resolution in going into this? Should we ask for a declaration of war?
Secretary Rusk: Congressional action on individual items would avoid the problems inherent in a generalized
declaration. I do not recommend a declaration of war. I will see what items we might ask the Congress to look at.
The President: Where are the problems in the cities?
General Wheeler: In Hue, we have one Marine battalion operating on the south side of the river. The ARVN units at Hue
have been shot down to 160 men per battalion. In Cholon there are enemy forces being met by 3 Vietnamese. There is
one U.S. battalion in the race track area.
The President: What would be the impact internationally to a declaration of war?
Secretary Rusk: It might be a direct challenge to Moscow and Peking, in a way we have never challenged them before.
There would be very severe international effects.
Secretary Rusk: How can we get as many Vietnamese as possible returned to duty?
General Wheeler: The men are coming back. We do not know what numbers.
Secretary Rusk: I have skeptics [am skeptical?] of the enemy's ability to hit us again. Some of them have been very
badly mauled.
Secretary McNamara: There is no question that they have been hurt, but I believe they have the ability to restrike.
Clark Clifford: There is a very strange contradiction in what we are saying and doing.
On one hand, we are saying that we have known of this build up. We now know the North Vietnamese and Viet Cong
launched this type of effort in the cities. We have publicly told the American people that the communist offensive was:
(a) not a victory, (b) produced no uprising among the Vietnamese in support of the enemy, and (c) cost the enemy
between 20,000 and 25,000 of his combat troops.
Now our reaction to all of that is to say that the situation is more dangerous today than it was before all of this. We are
saying that we need more troops, that we need more ammunition and that we need to call up the reserves.

I think we should give some very serious thought to how we explain saying on one hand the enemy did not take a victory
and yet we are in need of many more troops and possibly an emergency call up.
The President: The only explanation I can see is that the enemy has changed its tactics. They are putting all of their
stack in now. We have to be prepared for all that we might face.
Our front structure is based on estimates of their front structure. Our intelligence shows that they have changed and
added about 15,000 men. In response to that, we must do likewise. That is the only explanation I see.
General Wheeler: The enemy has changed the pattern of the war. In the past, there have been instances of terrorism,
but this is the first time they have mounted coordinated attacks throughout the country.
Secretary Rusk: I have a question. In the past, we have said the problem really was finding the enemy. Now the enemy
has come to us. I am sure many will ask why aren't we doing better under these circumstances, now that we know
where they are.
The President: Is there anything new on the Pueblo?
General Wheeler: No, except the North Korean Prime Minister says that North Korea is ready for another war.

65. Notes of Meeting/1/


Washington, February 10, 1968, 3:17-5:15 p.m.
/1/Source: Johnson Library, Tom Johnson's Notes of Meetings. Top Secret. The meeting was held in the White House.
Those attending were Rusk, McNamara, Clifford, Rostow, Tom Johnson, and Christian. (Ibid., President's Daily Diary)
NOTES OF THE PRESIDENT'S MEETING WITH THE
SENIOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS ADVISORY COUNCIL
Secretary Rusk: The Korean Desk at State does not want Vance to go to Vietnam. They think it would dilute his mission
to South Korea to go elsewhere.
The President: Is it true there are no nuclear weapons in Vietnam?
Secretary McNamara: It is true there are none there.
The President: Do you expect any more trouble on the nuclear matter?
George Christian: No, I think it will die down.
The President: How do you feel about Khesanh?
Secretary McNamara: There seems to be no alternative except to hold it, and put in reinforcements. I would not send
the 82nd Airborne out there.
The President: Where is all this criticism of Westmoreland coming from?
Secretary McNamara: Not out of the Defense Department.
Secretary Rusk: I have heard no criticism of Westmoreland in the State Department.
Secretary McNamara: There is some difference between Westmoreland and Ambassador Lodge on search and destroy
versus search and harass. Lodge feels that what we are doing is too costly and involves too many U.S. troops.
The President: What's causing the enemy to delay its attack against Khesanh?

Secretary McNamara: The bombing affected their schedule./2/


/2/The NVA did not launch any large-scale attacks against Khe Sanh for the next 2 weeks.
The President: What about the cities?
Secretary McNamara: A number of them are threatened by small guerrilla bands.
Secretary Rusk: I doubt if a second wave of attacks will be as great as the first.
The President: Should we just sit and wait?
Secretary McNamara: I think so.
Secretary Rusk: Westmoreland wants them to commit themselves before hitting them with our reinforcements. In that
sense, Khesanh is bait.
The President: Does the use of tanks affect Westmoreland's defensive capability?
Secretary McNamara: No, Westmoreland did not expect the strength of attacks throughout the cities.
Because of it, he had to spread his deployment differently.
The President: What would Westmoreland want if he could have it?
Secretary McNamara: The 82nd and the Six-Ninths of a Marine Division.
The President: Don't you think it would be good to get these men on out there or nearby on Okinawa? Frankly, I am
afraid to move the 82nd because of the possibility of civil disturbances here in the U.S.
Secretary McNamara: I do not think we should send the 82nd Airborne. I fear we are further involving the U.S. as a
substitute for Vietnamese troops.
Secretary Rusk: I am worried about the ARVN taking six months to get back into shape.
The President: That worries me too.
Secretary McNamara: I believe it unwise for Paul Nitze to go to Vietnam. If he went, he would be called before the
Congressional committee and would face press questioning. If Cy Vance goes to Vietnam, he doesn't have to say
anything.
The President: Cy is the best equipped for this. He is precise, firm and positive.
Secretary McNamara: Cy would take a hardheaded view. He is a good reporter. He would bring back the views of our
top people there and his own intelligent assessment.
The President: Should we increase the production of helicopters?
Secretary McNamara: Yes, we will increase the number.
I think we may want to move those 5 U.S. battalions out of the Delta. I was disappointed at the uses that we had to put
U.S. troops to in Saigon. The ARVN should have been able to handle Saigon. We do not correct a situation by putting
more U.S. troops in.
I think we should do 4 things:
1. Get the 50% back who were on Tet leave.

2. Try to get the ARVN to perform better.


3. Get the Vietnamese to follow their decree and draft 19 year olds as we do here.
4. See where we can relieve men for duties more essential than those they are now performing (as in the Delta).
President: What other recommendations do you have?
Secretary McNamara: The Chiefs are meeting Sunday/3/ and will be ready for their recommendations on Monday. I also
have a group working on troop deployment. You will have a Wheeler plan and a McNamara plan.
/3/February 11.
Secretary Rusk: I can't find out where they say those 15,000 extra enemy troops came from. They say that these
battalions came in between December and January.
The President: The Chiefs see a basic change in the strategy of the war.
They say the enemy has escalated from guerrilla tactics to more conventional warfare.
I asked the Generals last week about the necessity of defending Khe-sanh. They said it was necessary. I asked them
about the security of Khesanh. They said they could defend it.
General Wheeler and all of them said it was necessary to defend it and it could be defended.
There seems to have been some movement in their position.
All I am asking is that we make sure that everything has been done. I do not want my advisors to shift from a position of
sureness to a position of uncertainty. I don't want them to ask for something, not get it, and then have all of this placed
on me.
I would supply Westmoreland with all he needs. Let's get him the 25,000. Senator Russell told me last night that the
82nd is all we have here./4/ But he said he would not have Westmoreland asking for the 82nd and not supplying them.
/4/The President spoke by telephone with Russell at 5:15 p.m. the previous evening. (Johnson Library, President's Daily
Diary) No record of the conversation has been found, but it is summarized briefly below.
Secretary McNamara: I am trying to devise a plan which will get you the men without the disastrous consequences of
the action recommended by the JCS (call up and dispatch of the 82nd Airborne Division and the Sixth-Ninth of a Marine
division).
The President: Senator Russell said we do not have anybody in the U.S. Army who compares with General Giap in
guerrilla warfare.
The President: That may be true.
Clark Clifford: I hope we do not have to ask for a completely new program. This is a bad time to do it. On one hand the
military has said we had quite a victory out there last week. On the other hand, they now say that it was such a big
victory that we need 120,000 more men (call-up of reserves).
I would much prefer that Khesanh get real rough and then provide more men than to put them out there now after all
that had been told the American people.
The President: I think it would strike morale a death blow if we extended tours in Vietnam permanently. But we may
want to let Congress know that all of the things the Viet Cong have done will cost a great deal more money.
Clark Clifford: All we have heard is about the preparation the North Vietnamese have made for the attack at Khesanh. I
have a feeling that the North Vietnamese are going to do something different. I believe our people were surprised by the
24 attacks on the cities last week. God knows the South Vietnamese were surprised with half of their men on holiday.

There may be a feint and a surprise coming up for us.


Secretary Rusk: One regiment of enemy troops was seen moving east of Khesanh this morning. This unit may hit
somewhere other than Khesanh.
The President: But I have been told that both communications intelligence and captured documents show Khesanh as
their target.
It may be that Giap knows we know this and then will hit us elsewhere.
Secretary McNamara: If I were Giap I would hit Kontum or Pleiku. This would be less costly in men for him.
I do not know the precise relative strength in the area, but I do know that we will pay a heavy price. We have lost 900
men in 10 days already.
Clark Clifford: With all the attention on Khesanh, with the population in disarray, Giap may want to keep Westmoreland
and 20,000 troops tied down up north. This is a very difficult time and we must watch every possibility. I do not think we
really know where the blows are going to come.
In addition, I am getting a few pains in my tail about the South Koreans. They should remember that we have kept
60,000 men and lost many thousands of American lives in defense of South Korea.
It just seems to me that South Korea should know that we are over there to help them. Somehow, it seems to them that
they are helping us.
We must say, wait just a minute, we are there to help you and we have been helping you for over a decade.
The President: I told Cy Vance last night that Park must understand our problems. Cy must make it clear to him that this
talk of pulling out of Vietnam would cause us to pull men out of South Korea.
Secretary Rusk: When Walt was at the Policy Planning Council at State, I asked them then how does a great power like
the U.S. avoid becoming a satellite of a small allied power, such as Korea.
The President: Senator Russell said we should not have Senator Fulbright and the Military Foreign Relations Committee
down here. He also said we could not testify on television during war time. He said there is a big difference between
Secretary Rusk's answering questions put to him by newsmen and answering questions on television asked by the
members of Congress. It makes us look as though one branch of government is opposed to what the other is doing.
Clark Clifford: I do not like the idea of the President having to write Senator Fulbright a letter.
I think a dinner is better than a formal letter./5/
/5/The previous morning, the President, Rusk, McNamara, Clifford, McPherson, Rostow, Christian, and Tom Johnson
had met to discuss Fulbright's request that Rusk appear before televised hearings of the Senate Foreign Relations
Committee. Clifford advised: "The times are too serious and the public too concerned for a public feud between the
Senate Foreign Relations Committee and the Secretary of State. I think the people are hopeful that we would be
working together at times like these. I think it unwise to write a formal letter turning this down. A public session would be
a disservice to the country. We should quiet the whole matter down. The Committee wants either a Roman Holiday with
Dean Rusk or a confrontation with the President." (Notes of the President's Meeting with Senior Foreign Policy Advisers,
February 9; ibid.)

66. Editorial Note


The North Vietnamese continued to signal an interest in negotiations with the United States through numerous
channels, including one code-named Ohio. Ohio had originated in 1967 and involved contacts in Peking between the
North Vietnamese Ambassador, Ngo Minh Loan, and the Norwegian Ambassador, Ole Algard. In telegram 1406 from
Oslo, February 10, 1968, Ambassador to Norway Margaret Joy Tibbetts reported that Loan had told Algard the previous
day that the North Vietnamese Government "presupposed" that military operations would not take place while any

potential negotiations with the United States were in progress. (National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59,
Central Files 1967-69, POL 27-14 VIET/OHIO) This statement appeared to represent an answer to a long-standing
requirement of the Johnson administration that the North Vietnamese engage in military restraint if and when peace
talks began. Loan had also invited further exchange with the Norwegian Government. In a February 10 covering
memorandum transmitting this telegram to President Johnson, Walt Rostow, in commenting on this latest expression of
policy from Hanoi, observed: "They may well think that, having failed to knock off the government and the ARVN, the
best thing they could do would be have a cease-fire on a what-we-have-we-hold basis." (Johnson Library, National
Security File, Memos to the President, Walt Rostow, Vol. 61)
In response, the Department of State authorized Tibbetts to give to the Norwegian Government a statement to use in its
discussions with the North Vietnamese. It laid out the San Antonio formula of "prompt discussions" and not taking
military advantage of negotiations, as well as the corollary put forward by Secretary of Defense-designate Clark Clifford
accepting "normal" levels of southward infiltration. The conclusion of the statement read: "The U.S. evaluation of Hanoi's
current position takes into account Hanoi's actions as well as its words. The unprecedented offensive against most of
South Viet-Nam's urban centers, which Hanoi treacherously launched in the midst of the traditional Tet holidays,
causing widespread civilian casualties and suffering, was made notwithstanding the fact that we were still exploring with
Hanoi its position through diplomatic channels, and that we had exercised restraint in bombing targets in the immediate
vicinity of Hanoi and Haiphong. In this context, we cannot but weigh Hanoi's words with great skepticism and caution.
These actions carry a harsh political message. The U.S. favors every effort to obtain clarification of Hanoi's position. We
shall continue to evaluate all information and to pursue every possible avenue which promises to bring us closer to the
resolution of this conflict through serious negotiations." (Telegram 118092 to Oslo, February 20; National Archives and
Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1967-69, POL 27-14 VIET/OHIO)
Algard visited Hanoi March 3-10 at the invitation of the North Vietnamese Government. He found "little new" outside of
references to the formula put forth by Foreign Minister Nguyen Duy Trinh the previous December. Trinh also told him
that "it was now up to the Americans to take the next step" although it appeared that the United States "was not
interested in negotiations." The Foreign Minister also said that the San Antonio formula could not be accepted, even in
the "somewhat diluted form" rendered by Clifford. Algard concluded: "It was very difficult on the basis of these
conversations to get any impression of how much Hanoi wanted a peaceful solution of the conflict and on which points
they would think of concessions to make possible such a solution. They are clearly realistic enough to understand that a
peace excluding Hanoi's conditions cannot come under discussion and that also from the Vietnamese side a will to
compromise must be shown. At the same time I had the impression that the military advances in the south had created
a certain hardening in these positions. It was clear that Hanoi because of the military advances in the south now felt that
politically their position had been strengthened." (Telegram 4120 from Oslo, April 5; ibid.)
Another part of North Vietnam's "diplomatic offensive" was the resumption of the channel through Sweden known as
Aspen. In response to a scheduled visit to Stockholm by the North Vietnamese Ambassador to Moscow, Nguyen Tho
Chan, the United States transmitted to Sweden the same statement given to the Norwegians for use in the ensuing
discussions. Prior to the arrival of Chan's mission, both First Secretary of Sweden's Foreign Ministry J.C.S. Oberg and
Ambassador Lennart Petri, Swedish representative in Peking, planned to visit Hanoi. The visit, however, was postponed
at U.S. request. (Telegrams 877 from Stockholm, February 16; 883 from Stockholm, February 20; 896 from Stockholm,
February 23; 901 from Stockholm, February 214; and 117383 to Stockholm, February 17; all ibid., POL 27-14
VIET/ASPEN) Additional documentation on Aspen is ibid., S-AH Files: Lot 71 D 461, Aspen.

67. Notes of Meeting/1/


Washington, February 11, 1968, 4:25-6:15 p.m.
/1/Source: Johnson Library, Tom Johnson's Notes of Meetings. Top Secret. Those attending the meeting were the
President, Rusk, McNamara, Wheeler, Taylor, Clifford, Helms, Rostow, and Tom Johnson. (Ibid., President's Daily
Diary)
[Omitted here is discussion of the Pueblo crisis.]
The President: Reviewed General Westmoreland's wire of February 9. (Attachment B)./2/
/2/Not attached, but printed as Document 63.
Secretary McNamara: General Wheeler will discuss Westmoreland's wire and the current situation in Vietnam.
General Wheeler:

--Very little went on yesterday in Vietnam.


--There were some small actions around Khe Sanh.
--More people were evacuated from Khe Sanh.
--A defector was picked up. He said the plan of attack was first to hit Long Vie; then to hit Con Thien; then to hit Khe
Sanh at a later time.
--We had a report of Frog Missiles being mounted on the front of enemy tanks. These missiles are similar to our Honest
John. They carry an 800 pound warhead. These could pose problems.
--In Hue there is still fighting in the Citadel area. We hope to clean this up within a couple of days. The outskirts of the
city are clear.
--In Da Nang, there has been a hell of a scrap. Units of the NVA are leaving.
--At Dalat there is continued sniping. The situation is in hand.
--Saigon fighting continues in Cholon. There was an attempted attack on Tan Son Nhut airport last night. Over 170
weapons were captured and 100 enemy left dead.
--In IV Corps there is some skirmishing around the towns.
The Joint Chiefs are looking at the entire situation. On Friday/3/ we had not seen the Westmoreland cable. His cable put
a different light on the situation we discussed at the Friday morning meeting with the President. As you will recall, on
Thursday I sent Westmoreland a cable that we had discussed additional matriel but he had said nothing about
additional troops. The next day Westmoreland said that he could find use for additional troops like the 82nd and some
Marine units. I talked to him again on Friday morning. He said he was then dictating a cable on the current situation.
This cable came in Friday afternoon. I had DePuy go over the cable thoroughly to see what it means. The key
paragraph says "needless to say I would welcome reinforcements if they became available." He said he would use
these reinforcements to do three things:
/3/February 9.
1. To contain the enemy offensive in the two northern provinces of I Corps.
2. To carry out his 1968 campaign plan.
3. To offset a weakened Vietnam armed forces.
The Joint Chiefs feel that we have taken several hard knocks. The situation can get worse. We do not know the ability of
the North Vietnamese and the Viet Cong to recycle and come back to attack. We know that the enemy committed
virtually all of its Viet Cong units to these most recent actions. There have been heavy casualties inflicted.
We do not know what the ability of the ARVN is to withstand recycled attacks.
Secretary McNamara: I have doubts about the ARVN strength but many of them have returned after the Tet Holidays to
bring the units back up in capability.
The President: What I am interested in is that line in the Westmoreland cable "shortage of strength in the ARVN units."
General Wheeler: The ARVN are getting the men back to their units.
Walt Rostow: What about the RF and PF units.
General Wheeler: We do not know what the situation is on these units.

The President: As I see it, you have concluded that neither Bob's plan or the JCS plan is workable now, and that we
should look at this whole situation tomorrow.
General Wheeler: That is correct.
Secretary McNamara: Yes, we will talk about this tomorrow.
The President: What about the supply situation and the need for more helicopters?
Secretary McNamara: We are examining the helicopter production schedules. We are in good shape with fixed wing
aircraft.
The President: What about Khe Sanh?
General Wheeler: The supplies at Khe Sanh are very adequate. There is plenty of anti-tank ammo and they have used
Coraform only once. We may move more C-130's in temporarily.
General Wheeler: The President may want to consider sending a small JCS staff group of intelligence, operations, and
logistical advisers either with me to come back with a first-hand report of the situation. I have never found any substitute
for getting first hand information.
The President: First let's see what we can do with Cy Vance. If Westmoreland really does not need additional troops,
let's don't plan any troops on the basis of what we have.
General Wheeler: The situation could deteriorate. The Joint Chiefs today do not feel the President should undertake the
emergency actions we proposed on Friday. Of course this situation could change.
The President: Let's meet tomorrow and see what happens.
Secretary Rusk: Should we plan on Cy Vance going on to Vietnam?
The President: Yes.
Does it concern anybody about those two divisions outside of Saigon?
General Wheeler: General Westmoreland thinks the situation is in hand./4/
/4/In telegram MAC 1901 to Wheeler, February 10, Westmoreland minimized the danger posed to Saigon by infiltration
and main force attacks. Instead, he described Khe Sanh as the area where the NVA posed the major threat, since the
enemy had "put too much effort into this buildup to support the diversion theory." (U.S. Army Center of Military History,
William C. Westmoreland Papers, Eyes Only Message File, 1 Feb.-29 Feb. 1968)
Secretary McNamara: It is not the two divisions that I am worried about. They may be recycling to undertake a second
wave. The Viet Cong and the North Vietnamese may have the ability for a strong second attack.
The President: How many enemy do you estimate are available for new attacks.
Secretary McNamara: At least 60,000.
The President: Do you think they will bomb Khe Sanh?
General Wheeler: They may do one of three things:
1. Surprise us with the Frog Missiles.
2. Use MIG's and SA-2's to come south of the DMZ and try to shoot down the B-52's.
3. Use the IL-28 bombers to attack us in the South.

The President: I want to be completely clear in my mind. Is it true that General Westmoreland is not recommending or
requesting additional troops now?
General Wheeler: That is true.
Secretary McNamara: That is my reading of it.
The President: Is it your judgment not to send additional troops today?
General Wheeler: Yes sir.
Secretary McNamara: Yes, that is my judgment.
Clark Clifford: How prepared are we for the second wave of attacks?
General Wheeler: The question is this. Is the government strong enough to withstand another wave of attacks? That I
cannot say. Physically we are better prepared. The element of surprise is removed.
The President: What about the extent of desertions and the men on leave?
General Wheeler: We have nothing firm on desertions and on the number of men who have returned from leave.
The President: So you really don't know the state of readiness.
General Wheeler: The only ARVN reported as non-effective are the 5 airborne battalions which were shot down in the
heavy fighting around Hue.
Walt Rostow: I think we should be giving considerable attention to what is happening in the countryside. The RD Cadres
moved to the cities as did the Viet Cong.
If the Viet Cong go back into the countryside they may be able to make very quick recruitment drives.
If we have a diplomatic offensive, it would be very bad for the Viet Cong to control more of the countryside than they did
before this offensive. It would be good to find out what the RF and the PF are doing. We also need to determine how
quickly the ARVN can get back into the countryside to take over that which was previously held. I expect a diplomatic
push to pressure us to negotiate.
General Taylor: I am out of tune with this meeting. I read General Westmoreland's cable differently from you.
As I read it, Westmoreland's forces are tied down. He has no reserves except some units of the 101st. The offensive in
the north is against him. The enemy has 35,000 men already in the area. Westmoreland does not say anything about
how he would get reserves if he were to be met with a massive engagement there. It looks to me as if he is operating on
a shoestring. I still feel we do not need to do anything today. But I strongly recommend sending General Wheeler out
there to get information first hand.
Clark Clifford: Would it be unusual for General Wheeler to go out there? Have you been before recently on a mission of
this type?
General Wheeler: I have been out there fourteen times.
General Taylor: It is a natural military mission.
Secretary Rusk: I do not think it unwise for Wheeler to go. I must say if General Westmoreland is requesting troops in
this cable he has a poor Colonel doing the drafting for him.
General Wheeler: We are not without reserves, General Taylor. He does have the First Cavalry Division up there. There
are ARVN forces not committed. There are some Marines not committed.

General Taylor: What about the logistics of the situation?


General Wheeler: Westmoreland told me that he must get that road up. In bad weather he would have need of secure
land LOC. Water LOC is not good this time of year.
The President: From my station, it looks as though we felt content with what was happening until the fire crackers
started popping. We talked to General Westmoreland and the Joint Chiefs on Friday and they felt we should send the
82nd Division and 6/9 of a Marine division.
Bob McNamara countered by saying we could pick up 12 battalions without using the 82nd by putting 4 battalions in
South Vietnam and the others off the coast in LST's and in Okinawa.
Westmoreland's wire came in. I interpret it as a man who wanted 600,000 troops last year and was talked down to
525,000. Now he is saying he could use the 82nd and the portion of a Marine division because of all of the uncertainties
which face him. He is concerned about the effective fighting capabilities of the ARVN.
I think we should send anything available to get the number up to the 525,000 limit. We should live up to our
commitment. "Just before the battle Mother" the JCS is now recommending against deploying emergency troop units.
General Wheeler: At this time, yes sir.
The President: If the Joint Chiefs feel secure, if Secretary McNamara feels secure and if General Westmoreland doesn't
ask for them, I don't feel so worried.
Secretary McNamara: I do not feel secure. But I do think it is not a shortage of U.S. battalions at issue. It is the stability
of the political structure in Vietnam and a lack of motivation by the ARVN and the PF and RF.
The President: But when they are unable to do the job and when we are in a fight to the finish, then don't you think we
should give the troops as they are necessary?
Secretary McNamara: Emergency augmentation is not required. We could redeploy forces already in Vietnam such as
those that are operating in the Delta.
The President: If Westmoreland asks for the 82nd Division would you give them?
Secretary McNamara: No, I would not. I read this as a permanent augmentation to forces. We are carrying too much of
the war there now. All this would do is to shift more of the burden on us. There is no reason to have those battalions in
the Delta.
Secretary Rusk: I do not believe that the deployment of additional forces would have the same effect on deployment as
would the placement of 525,000 fresh forces. There may be reasons to redeploy some of the U.S. forces there.
There are no current responsibilities between ourselves and the Vietnamese. We are spread out all over the country.
There are none of the advantages of a concentration of forces. I do not think we are really getting the full benefit of our
500,000 U.S. troops there now.
General Taylor: We may want to provide General Westmoreland with new strategic guidance. Let us not fight this war
on the enemy's terms. We need to do what we should to get reserves and wait for favorable weather./5/
/5/In a memorandum to the President, and in a paper entitled "Enemy Scenario of the Future?", both February 10,
Taylor suggested that Westmoreland concentrate on the security of the urban areas, avoid major combat actions under
disadvantageous conditions that might give the enemy an opportunity for "victory," build up reserves for a counteroffensive beginning in March, and maintain Rolling Thunder operations at maximum levels. Johnson read the
memorandum and asked Rostow to give copies to Clifford, Rusk, and McNamara for "their eyes only." (Johnson Library,
National Security File, Country File, Vietnam, 8I, 1/67-12/68, Taylor Memos-General)
The President: Who deployed the U.S. troops in the Delta?
General Wheeler: This was part of General Westmoreland's battle plans submitted last year.

General Taylor: I think that it may be necessary now to outline our objectives. We should ask General Westmoreland to
get set for a major offensive in a particular area when the weather breaks.
The President: I would be glad to get from you any suggestions on redeployment or any other strategic advice.
Secretary Rusk: I tend to expect Westmoreland and our troops to do everything all at once. I think we need to get clearly
in mind what our priorities are.
General Taylor: I think our objective should be to clear the cities first and to recruit forces there to put in reserve.
Clark Clifford: How many men of the 525,000 do we have out there now?
Secretary McNamara: 500,000.
The President: What about a reordering of our priorities at this time?
Secretary McNamara: Not now while we are in the middle of this.
Secretary Rusk: No I would not recommend it while we are in this situation.
The President: It seems that Westmoreland has inherited this thing by stages. Let's re-evaluate the overall strategy after
this is over. The Joint Chiefs and you do not feel that you should recommend deployment of more men at this time? Is
that correct?
Secretary McNamara: This is correct.
The President: What about the re-evaluation of supplies.
General Wheeler: The men are satisfied.
The President: Well, it looks like we are generally content with the situation today.
Secretary Rusk: We will meet tomorrow and see how this thing shapes up.
Secretary McNamara: Westmoreland has not asked for troops to avoid defeat. If he does, I recommend deployment of
those there.
General Taylor: The function of an overall headquarters is to give strategic guidance. I think we need to give thought to
what that new guidance should be.
The President: I am inclined to leave the situation as it is based on your judgments. I think we should tell Westmoreland
that if he really isn't asking for more troops and find out if that interpretation is correct. In my mind I think he really wants
more troops. I would favor Cy Vance going out there and taking a hard look at all of this.
Secretary McNamara: I would also send Cy there. I think we could send General Wheeler out there if it weren't for this
being splattered all over the front page.
General Taylor: I will make one more plea. I think it is important to get a first hand report from General Wheeler after he
gets first hand military judgment from his military commanders out there. There is no substitute for that.
Secretary Rusk: I received excellent response last night to a speech I made to a group of Secondary School
Principals./6/
/6/The previous evening Rusk spoke at the 52d Annual Convention of the National Association of Secondary School
Principals in Atlantic City, New Jersey. For text of the speech, which included comments on the Tet offensive, see
Department of State Bulletin, March 4, 1968, pp. 301-304.
Director Helms: I am not satisfied on our intelligence on RF, PF and ARVN units. I disagree with Bob McNamara about

U.S. units being placed with ARVN units. My information is that ARVN fights better with U.S. units around them. The
U.S. forces provide the ARVN with the courage they need.
The President: What is the real difference? What makes the North Vietnamese fight so well, with so much more
determination than the South Vietnamese?
Director Helms: I think it is a combination of good training and good brain washing. There is a certain heroism about
dying for this cause. The North Vietnamese have been damn good fighters for fifteen years. They are well trained, well
equipped and well disciplined. Their system eliminates all doubt from their mind.
The President: For a moment let us assume that the ARVN are not doing their part. What is the alternative?
Secretary McNamara: We should not do their job for them. Let them fight it out for themselves.
Secretary Rusk: I think you get better performance when the U.S. troops and the ARVN are billeted together.
The President: Buzz, what is the evaluation of the military effect of this wave?
General Wheeler: There are always pluses and minuses in anything like this. The ARVN has performed and behaved
well. No unit defected. They took heavy casualties. Their morale seemed to improve because of the casualties.
Destruction has been very bad. Many towns are in shambles and there was one completely flattened.
The President: Are you concerned about the refugees?
General Wheeler: Bob Komer has turned his entire effort into refugee care. Our people are working with the ARVN,
sharing food with the Vietnamese and doing all they can.
I think the civilian populace of Vietnam was appalled by the destruction and the cruel, cruel atrocities caused by the Viet
Cong and the North Vietnamese. But we are not better off than we were on January 15.
Secretary McNamara: We need to get the Vietnamese to do more by insisting that they do what they should do. We
should refuse to do what they must do. Their Congress has yet to pass a single bill.
The President: Get working on a combined authority by which General Westmoreland would take over responsibility for
all allied units and then let's address ourselves to the problem of the Vietnamese. Let's go to work on them. I want them
to live up to that decree of drafting 19 year olds.
The President: Should we still not say anything publicly (in the form of a Presidential speech)?
General Taylor: We do need to say that there has been a change of strategy on the part of the enemy brought about by
losses inflicted on him by the old strategy.
(The issue of the Presidential message was left for consideration at a later time.)

68. Telegram From the Commander, Military Assistance Command, Vietnam (Westmoreland) to the Commander
in Chief, Pacific Command (Sharp) and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (Wheeler)/1/
Saigon, February 12, 1968, 0612Z.
/1/Source: Johnson Library, National Security File, NSC History of the March 31st Speech, Vol. 2, Tabs a-z. Top Secret;
Eyes Only; Limited Distribution. In the attached covering memorandum transmitting a copy of the telegram to the
President, February 12, 9:35 a.m., Rostow wrote: "Herewith Westy's message loud and clear and, in my judgment,
correct."
MAC 01975. Subject: Assessment of situation and requirements.
1. Since last October, the enemy has launched a major campaign signaling a change of strategy from one of protracted

war to one of quick military/political victory during the American election year. His first phase, designed to secure the
border areas, has failed. The second phase, launched on the occasion of Tet and designed to initiate public uprising, to
disrupt the machinery of government and command and control of the Vietnamese forces, and to isolate the cities, has
also failed. Nevertheless, the enemy's third phase, which is designed to seize Quang Tri and Thua Thien Provinces has
just begun. This will be a maximum effort by the enemy, capitalizing on his short lines of communication, the poor
weather prevailing in the area for the next two months, and his ability to bring artillery and rocket fire to bear on
installations from positions in the DMZ and north and from Laos to the west. Furthermore, he can bring armor to bear on
the battlefield. It is clear that the enemy has decided he cannot "strike out" in this phase as a matter of face. We can
therefore expect him to exert on the battlefield the maximum military power available to him. In addition, we must expect
him to try to regain the initiative in all other areas.
2. If the enemy has changed his strategy, we must change ours. On the assumption that it is our national policy to
prohibit the enemy from seizing and permanently occupying the two northern provinces, I intend to hold them at all cost.
However, to do so I must reinforce from other areas and accept a major risk, unless I can get reinforcements, which I
desperately need.
3. To bring the maximum military power to bear on the enemy in Quang Tri and Thua Thien and to prevent the gradual
erosion of these two provinces, I must open up Highway 1 from Danang and Highway 9 to Khe Sanh. These two tasks
are not unreasonable, provided that I can divert the troops to provide security and commit the engineers to the task. I
therefore must make a down payment in troops in order to provide the logistics to support in fully adequate fashion
troops now deployed and reinforcements that will be required. First, it will require a Marine regiment or an Army brigade
to secure the Ai Van Pass from Quang Tri to Hue/Phu Bai. Another regiment or brigade will be required between Hue
and Quang Tri. Finally, a third regiment or brigade will be required to secure Highway 9 to the Khe Sanh area. I cannot
afford to divert troops now deployed in that area for the purpose and am therefore forced to deploy the 101st Abn Div
from the III Corps; this is now in the process and will be done as fast as transportation can be made available. Even the
commitment of the 101st will put me in no better than a marginal posture to cope with the situation at hand.
4. This has been a limited war with limited objectives, fought with limited means and programmed for the utilization of
limited resources. This was a feasible proposition on the assumption that the enemy was to fight a protracted war. We
are now in a new ball game where we face a determined, highly disciplined enemy, fully mobilized to achieve a quick
victory. He is in the process of throwing in all his "military chips to go for broke." He realizes and I realize that his
greatest opportunity to do this is in Quang Tri-Thua Thien. We cannot permit this. On the other hand, we must seize the
opportunity to crush him. At the same time, we cannot permit him to make gains in the other Corps areas, and I am
obligated to maintain the minimum essential troops in these areas to insure stability of the situation and to regain the
initiative. Equal in priority to the enemy is the Saigon area and a high risk in this area is unacceptable. I now have
approximately 500,000 US troops and 60,981 Free World military assistance troops. Further contributions from the
Thais and Koreans are months away. I have been promised 525,000 troops, which according to present programs will
not materialize until 1969. I need these 525,000 troops now. It should be noted that this ceiling assumed the substantial
replacement of military by civilians, which now appears impractical. I need reinforcements in terms of combat elements.
I therefore urge that there be deployed immediately a Marine regiment package and a brigade package of the 82d Abn
Div and that the remaining elements of those two divisions be prepared to follow at a later time. Time is of the
essence./2/
/2/In telegram MAC 1924 to Wheeler, February 11, Westmoreland wrote: "Additional forces from CONUS would be most
helpful in permitting us to rapidly stabilize the current situation. Their deployment would underscore our determination
and will certainly speed the completion of our mission." He noted that the forces would be deployed initially in the
northern part of the country and only later to the southern part of South Vietnam. (Ibid., William C. Westmoreland
Papers, #29 History File, 1-29 Feb 68 [II])
5. I must stress equally that we face a situation of great opportunity as well as heightened risk. However, time is of the
essence here, too. I do not see how the enemy can long sustain the heavy losses which his new strategy is enabling us
to inflict on him. Therefore, adequate reinforcements should permit me not only to contain his I Corps offensive but also
to capitalize on his losses by seizing the initiative in other areas. Exploiting this opportunity could materially shorten the
war.
6. If CINCPAC concurs, request that the Secretary of Defense and Commander in Chief be informed of my position./3/
/3/In an unnumbered telegram to Westmoreland, February 12, Sharp stated his concurrence in the deployment of
additional forces to the I Corps area. "If enemy actions reflect his desperation, these additive forces can assist in
delivery of a decisive blow," he added. "If his strength and determination have been underestimated we will need them
even more." (Ibid., National Security File, NSC History of the March 31st Speech, Vol. 2, Tabs a-z) In a February 12
memorandum to the President, Rostow discussed the means of countering the continuing enemy assault in northern
South Vietnam: "So far as U.S. and world opinion are concerned, there is only one satisfactory answer: a clear defeat of
the enemy in I Corps, while rallying the South Vietnamese to get back on their feet elsewhere. Moreover, I Corps is--or
should be--our kind of battle. It has guerrilla elements, but is much more nearly conventional war. It should be our kind

of war if Westy is not strapped for men, aircraft, and supplies. Only such a demonstration is likely to permit us to end the
war on honorable terms. Therefore, I am for a very strong response to Westy's cable. Only you can make the political
assessment of what it would cost to call up the reserves; but that would be the most impressive demonstration to Hanoi
and its friends." (Ibid.)
7. I have discussed this message in detail with Amb Bunker and he concurs./4/
/4/In concluding his assessment of Westmoreland's request in memorandum CM-3003-68 to the President, February 12,
Wheeler noted: "While the decisions and requests made in his message of today are his, he has consulted closely with
Ambassador Bunker, General Abrams and Mr. Komer who all agree as to the validity of his assessments and request
for additional troop strength." (Ibid.)

69. Telephone Conversation Between President Johnson and Secretary of Defense McNamara/1/
Washington, February 12, 1968, 8:29 a.m.
/1/Source: Johnson Library, Recordings and Transcripts, Recording of Telephone Conversation Between Johnson and
McNamara, February 12, 1968, 8:29 a.m., Tape F68.02, Side A, PNO 4. No classification marking. Prepared in the
Office of the Historian specifically for this volume.
McNamara: We've just had a message from Westmoreland/2/ that's quite different from the interpretation we were
placing on the message last night./3/ He states categorically he wants six battalions immediately. I just wanted you to
know this. The Chiefs are meeting now. We'll of course be back sometime later today. My view hasn't changed a bit
from what it was last night. I think it'd be a mistake to call up the reserves and plan on permanent augmentation of our
forces out there above the planned 525. I do think, given this kind of a message, we ought to place six battalions either
out in Vietnam or along the shores, in a sense, as an emergency supplement to meet a contingency and do it damn fast.
But I think to go to the Congress for legislation to call up the reserves to plan on permanent augmentation to take over
further the job of the South Vietnamese would be in error. In any event, that isn't the reason for my call. The reason for
my call is simply to alert you that we had this message that just came in.
/2/Document 68.
/3/See Document 67.
President: Yeah, Bob. I didn't quite understand. I felt like I was in the ring yesterday with a boxer and I didn't know who I
was boxing. I was--I was about to agree with the thought that you had expressed. That is what I was trying to adjust to
yesterday and the day before.
McNamara: Yes.
President: And then it seemed like we moved from our position--I mean, you did. I never have felt that we ought to go
with this whole thing that you outlined at this stage. We might be called to even do that and more if the situation required
it.
McNamara: That's right, that's right.
President: But I thought that if we would in effect--if you could do with him what you had done on the 525, where you've
got a greater proportion of combat troops than supply troops and where you reduce the total numbers a good deal, and
where you didn't have to bust up the 82d [Airborne Division] and send it out, that that was an alternative that we ought to
try to find. Now I gather that when you all re-interpreted the message that you didn't think that was justified. That's still
the viewpoint I have. Between the Chiefs of Staff, I did not share the approach that Buzz had the day before. I did more
or less look favorably, although I hadn't hardened, and concluded--as you could see last night, I went along. But on the
alternative that you were attempting to evolve--now, that's where I would like to come out if we could. So, A--I don't have
a position of deserting my commander in time of war. B--I don't have a position of deserting my home folks and acting
imprudently or getting involved where I can't pull out. I did like the LST idea for several reasons. I didn't have the feeling,
they may be right, but I did like the Okinawa idea. I thought that you wouldn't have all the uproar if they were in Okinawa
even for a short time and they'd be close in an emergency, but it ought to be treated more or less as an emergency
instead of a regular permanent operation.

McNamara: Well, Mr. President, I think that's the plan that we ought to try to push through. I'm going to have great
difficulty on it because the Chiefs and the Marines don't want to send these Marine battalions. They're--in my opinion,
they're available for an emergency assignment. I actually had with me last night, and I didn't want to bring it up because
there was so much opposition among the Chiefs to it. I have a full paper on this, as I told you I would have, and I
strongly believe it can be done. In any event, the purpose of the morning call is to tell you that Westy's come in for an
immediate requirement for six. We'll get to work on it. I'll try and work it out the way on Friday/4/ I told you the way I
thought it should be worked out.
/4/February 9.
President: Does he give any more justification? Does he have any alarming-McNamara: Yeah, yeah. Well, I wouldn't say alarming, but I'll read you a couple of lines here. [McNamara read portions
of telegram MAC 1975.] So, that's the essence of it. Now, on this question of replacing military with civilians, you asked
me on Friday or Saturday to look into that civilian contractor situation--Saturday, I guess you asked about it./5/ I did. I
cleared with Buzz Wheeler this morning and I sent to Westmoreland a cable suggesting to him that he replace certain of
his construction battalions outside of the I Corps area with civilians. I said I've got $50 million in a contingency allowance
that I'm making available to him for this purpose and encouraged him to use as many civilians under those civilian
contractors as he wants. We can replace one construction battalion--one military construction battalion--a month with a
thousand civilians at a cost of $750,000 a month. So I urged him to go as far as he wanted to in that way. We went
down from 50,000 construction civilians to about 17,000, just about what you told me on Saturday. So I think we can do
more than we have in that area. But based on what he says here, and I've only read you a portion of the cable, Mr.
President, I'm inclined to believe that as Commander in Chief you can't very well deny him these six battalions at this
time. But neither do I think that we ought to obtain them by calling up the reserves and going to Congress for legislation.
So I'll try to work something out on that basis. I'm sure the Chiefs will not immediately accept that kind of alternative.
/5/See Document 65.
President: Well, we'll meet on it, I guess, this afternoon./6/ You'll meet this morning, won't you?
/6/See Document 70.
McNamara: That's right, we will, Mr. President.
President: Okay. Bye.

70. Notes of Meeting/1/


Washington, February 12, 1968, 1:45-3:08 p.m.
/1/Source: Johnson Library, Tom Johnson's Notes of Meetings. Top Secret. Those attending the meeting were the
President, Helms, Rusk, McNamara, Rostow, Wheeler, Clifford, Christian, and Tom Johnson. The first part of the
meeting was a luncheon held in the Family Dining Room until 3:20 p.m.; from then until 3:50 p.m., the participants met in
the Oval Office. (Ibid., President's Daily Diary)
NOTES OF THE PRESIDENT'S MEETING WITH
SENIOR FOREIGN POLICY ADVISORS
The President: Just now I said in a speech that we should keep in mind that President Lincoln lost 600,000 men and
faced all of the division and adversity in this country that is imaginable. He said then "we have got to stick it out." I said
today, "so will we."/2/ One man told me this morning that it doesn't look like the same person wrote the Westmoreland
wire today and the one Friday./3/ What reaction do you have to it?
/2/Earlier in the day, the President attended a ceremony at the Lincoln Memorial in honor of President Lincoln's birthday.
(Ibid.) In remarks at the ceremony, Johnson stated: "Sad, but steady--always convinced of his cause--Lincoln stuck it
out. Sad, but steady, so will we." For full text of the President's remarks, see Public Papers of the Presidents of the
United States: Lyndon B. Johnson, 1968-69, Book I, pp. 218-219.
/3/Taylor made this comment in a February 12 memorandum to the President, noting that "this new one is clear, crisp

and sounds an unambiguous call for additional help in minimum time." Taylor concurred in Westmoreland's desire to
create reserves for use in I Corps and recommended that the President approve "the dispatch without delay of the
additional forces which General Westmoreland requests." (National Defense University, Maxwell Taylor Papers, Clifford
Study Group-Tet 1968)
Secretary Rusk: It looks to me like Westmoreland wants to take advantage of an opportunity to exploit the situation. I do
not read it as a desperate need. He wants to shorten the war with it, and that has a certain attractiveness to all of us. It
bothers me that we do not know what is happening to the South Vietnamese and their determination.
I don't appreciate Thieu saying he needed more American troops. I would think he would be looking for more ways to
get more of his own men.
But if six battalions will help him exploit this opportunity, I am for sending them without a permanent commitment.
Secretary McNamara: I read the Westmoreland cable differently from Dean. I read that he needs these six battalions in
order to avoid defeat at Khe Sanh.
If he only wanted them to take advantage of the opportunity to do more, I would also send them.
I recommend today the following:
1. Send him the units he has requested.
2. Send the troops for the period of the emergency only, not a permanent augmentation./4/
/4/In JCSM 91-68 to McNamara, February 12, the JCS examined plans for the emergency augmentation of MACV but
recommended that the deployment of reinforcements be deferred until measures were undertaken to reconstitute the
strategic force posture through reserve call-ups. However, the 82d Airborne and the 6/9 Marines would begin
preparations for possible deployment. See The Pentagon Papers: The Senator Gravel Edition, pp. 539-542.
3. Send General Wheeler out to meet with Ambassador Bunker, General Westmoreland and Cy Vance.
The President: Where will these units come from?
Secretary McNamara: It will include a brigade of the 82nd Airborne Division and Marine units.
The President: Do these units have Vietnam veterans in them?
Secretary McNamara: We will screen out the Vietnam veterans, those we can.
The President: How long will this take?
Secretary McNamara: 14 days.
General Wheeler: 14 days is correct.
The President: Are there any U.S. troops in the area we can use?
General Wheeler: No, sir.
Secretary McNamara: There is one battalion on the way.
General Wheeler: General Chapman wants to return that battalion to Hawaii because it includes some 17-year olds and
it was operating in the area on an exercise only.
The units will be sent from the following locations:
One battalion from Camp Pendleton.

Units from Camp Lejeune.


The 82nd Airborne from Fort Bragg, North Carolina.
Possibly some army from Fort Benning.
The President: How many men does that total?
General Wheeler: 3800 from the 82nd and 6500 from the Marines, for a total of 10,300.
The President: Does that give Westmoreland what he needs?
General Wheeler: Yes, sir.
Secretary McNamara: The loss of one brigade of the 82nd will not affect our ability to handle severe disturbances.
Clark Clifford: I would like to get some answers to several questions. In General Westmoreland's cable he says, "If the
enemy has changed his strategy, we must change ours." What change in strategy has the enemy made?
General Wheeler: The enemy has been on a protracted fighting basis. Now he seeks to "grab" for immediate success. I
think the enemy overestimates the degree of support in the Vietnamese populace and underestimates our strength.
General Wheeler: He is taking both actions concurrently. He is attacking the cities and also launching conventional
attacks for the first time.
Clark Clifford: In his cable, General Westmoreland also points out that it is national policy to keep the enemy from
seizing and holding the two northern provinces. Hasn't that been the situation all along?
General Wheeler: General Westmoreland believes that it would cost more to withdraw and go back later than to stand
and fight now. But he does know we can trade space for time and troops if necessary.
Clark Clifford: General Westmoreland says in his cable that he cannot hold without reinforcements. What change has
taken place to keep him from holding?
General Wheeler: There have been wide-spread attacks in the South. General Westmoreland is unsure of the ARVN
strength as a result of these attacks. He must also hold open Highway 1 and Highway 9. He has more troops committed
around Saigon than he has in the past. He says that he cannot take more forces from the South without risk.
Secretary Rusk: Couldn't he take more out of the Delta?
General Wheeler: He does have contingency plans, both for taking units from the Delta and for, if necessary, withdrawal
from Khesanh. But these are contingency plans only.
Clark Clifford: General Westmoreland also says that we are now in a new ballgame with the enemy mobilized to achieve
quick victory. Is that something new?
General Wheeler: This thing has been building up for some time. There has been the greater build-up around the DMZ.
There is a new determination for major attacks coupled with the Tet actions. Prior to now, the enemy has fought a piecemeal war.
Clark Clifford: General Westmoreland's telegram has a much greater sense of urgency in it. Why is that?
General Wheeler: General Westmoreland realized that his earlier low-key approach was not proper based on a full
assessment of the situation.
Clark Clifford: General Westmoreland makes it clear that he cannot permit the enemy to make gains in other areas. He
does not want to permit a reduction in strength elsewhere.

But he has now sent what is clearly an urgent message.


General Wheeler: General Westmoreland has been conservative in his troop requests in the past. Now he finds that his
campaign plan has been pre-empted by enemy action.
Secretary Rusk: Can it only be done by additional U.S. forces? Can't we press them to brigade U.S. troops with
Vietnamese?
General Wheeler: Before I answer that I need to know what you mean by brigading.
Secretary Rusk: By putting one battalion of U.S. troops with one battalion of ARVN.
Clark Clifford: General Westmoreland said it was time to open up key roads, Route 9 and Route 1. Can we use civilians
under military protection to do some of this work?
Secretary McNamara: I authorized General Westmoreland to use whatever civilians he wished to use. I do not think he
would want to use civilians in I Corps.
The President: I want a cable sent to Cy Vance to tell him to examine this./5/ We should put civilian road and
construction experts to work and replace military construction personnel so they may be sent up north.
/5/Vance was going to South Korea, and the possible visit to South Vietnam was a suggested side trip. In a February 12
memorandum to McNamara and Rusk, Rostow outlined the issues Vance should raise in Seoul and Saigon. In Saigon
Vance would explore with the GVN its mobilization plans for the ARVN, the use of civilian contractors to release military
engineering units, a new combined command structure, strategic guidance to Westmoreland, and Buttercup. (National
Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1967-69, POL 27 VIET S) In a February 12 memorandum to
Rusk, Bundy sent a more detailed draft of instructions for Vance's possible visit to Saigon. (Ibid.)
General Wheeler: Westmoreland wants combat troops in construction brigades. Frankly I think he has underestimated
what is needed to open and hold those two roads.
The President: Let's try to use what is out there if possible. I wanted Cy Vance to talk with him about it.
I am worried about the North Vietnamese Air Force and the possibility that many of our choppers will be destroyed.
Clark Clifford: I learned with great surprise that General Westmoreland does not have authority to control Korean and
Australian forces. If he is short of men, can't Cy Vance get an understanding with President Park for greater utilization of
the Korean troops in Vietnam?
Secretary Rusk: I think we should strongly consider a combined Allied Command with President Thieu as Commander
in Chief and General Westmoreland as Chief of Staff.
Secretary McNamara: There are benefits to this with the Vietnamese. We have not moved in this direction because of
the political problems.
General Wheeler: We have a similar thing to that in Thailand. On this, I think we need to get the advice of Ambassador
Bunker.
The President: I would sure try to do this for maximum control of the South Koreans, the Australians and the South
Vietnamese.
Clark Clifford: Are there any U.S. troops in the area of Japan, Hawaii or Okinawa we could use?
General Wheeler: Zero.
Clark Clifford: From a psychological standpoint, this would be a good time to get more Thais and South Koreans.
The President: Get Cy Vance to tell the South Vietnamese that we are accelerating our program and they need to
accelerate theirs. In addition ask Cy to see what he can do about getting that extra division moving from Korea to

Vietnam. What is the hold-up?


Secretary McNamara: They say equipment, but the equipment is on the way. The Thais cannot possibly be ready before
July 1.
General Wheeler: All of our military people in Thailand say July 1 is the earliest time.
Secretary McNamara: The Koreans would send a division if they wanted to.
The President: What actions are the South Vietnamese taking on getting those extra 65,000 men?
Walt Rostow: The Cabinet on Sunday/6/ voted to do two things. The first is to call back veterans. The second is that
they moved the date to begin the drafting of 18 and 19 year olds. They moved back from April 1 to March 1 the drafting
of 19 year olds. They moved back the drafting of 18 year olds from July 1 to May 1.
/6/February 11.
The President: What is our average draft age?
Secretary McNamara: It's either 20.2 or 20.4 years.
The President: Get me the exact answers on that, Buzz.
What is our situation with equipment? I hear we lost quite a bit out there lately.
Secretary McNamara: That was a misleading report that you received today. We have had 57 choppers destroyed and
48 choppers which will require replacement. There will be between 97 and 137 to be replaced this month. We are
shipping this month 246.
The President: How about observation planes?
Secretary McNamara: We are fine on those.
The President: I want to ask all the questions that I possibly can now so that we get answers to them before a situation
develops and we didn't have them. I hope all of you see what has happened during the last two weeks. Westy said he
could use troops one day last week. Today he comes in with an urgent request for them.
I want to look at all of these things now. I want to anticipate that more will happen to us than we had planned. I have
very serious concerns about our equipment.
Frankly, I am scared about Khesanh.
I worry about that runway going out or those C-130s being knocked down. I think if the weather gets bad and if the
runway gets knocked out we are going to have a hell of a problem on resupply. Then I guess we will have to use
helicopters. I am afraid they will pick off the helicopters. So I want you to check the number of helicopters and fixed wing
aircraft.
If we lose this big build-up we can't endure many losses. And we can look if we are out of ammunition, or out of fuel or
didn't have medicine. I would feel better to get the answers here now. I have a mighty big stake in this. I am more
unsure every day.
Secretary Rusk: Is General Westmoreland aware that he can choose his own place to fight?
The President: I want a crash program to get these men out there just as fast as they can. Dick, how do you feel about
all of this?
Dick Helms: I have been meeting this morning with twelve of my top CIA people who have been in Vietnam. They
believe the war is in a critical phase. They think Westmoreland should get the troops if he needs them. We cannot even
find some of the forces. I am a believer in the old axiom "A stitch in time saves nine."

General Taylor: In my view, this is an urgent situation. The element of time bothers me. General Westmoreland seems
to believe that he has time to open the roads. He seems to believe he has time to do all of the other things that are
necessary. And I get the feeling that many of us here today feel the same way. I do not. This offensive could open up
today. We should assume in our planning that it will open up tonight. I think Westmoreland's request is reasonable and
we should act quickly to meet it.
The President: Do all of you feel that we should send troops?
Secretary McNamara: Yes.
Secretary Rusk: Yes.
Director Helms: Yes.
General Wheeler: Yes.
General Taylor: Yes.
Mr. Rostow: Yes./7/
/7/In a memorandum to the President at 11:45 a.m. that day, Rostow urged "a very strong response" to Westmoreland's
request, a response that included calling up the reserves, since such an action "would be the most impressive
demonstration to Hanoi and its friends." (Johnson Library, National Security File, NSC History of the March 31st
Speech, Vol. 2, Tabs a-z)
The President: Is there any objection?
(There was no objection.)
General Wheeler: We will close these forces in Vietnam in 14 days.
The President: Is that the minimum time?
General Wheeler: Yes, it is.
The President: There is no schedule you can improve upon?
General Wheeler: We will move as quickly as possible.
We should maintain our current level of resupply to Southeast Asia. The Joint Chiefs will use these 62 aircraft which are
normally withheld for emergencies. This is an emergency.
MAC and TAC will operate in war-time rates. We are utilizing voluntary civilian air lift.
We propose to call up the Air Force National Guard and Reserve C-124 squadrons. This will be augmented by 112
reserve aircraft and 48 Air National Guard aircraft. This would total about 10 squadrons.
The President: How many men?
Secretary McNamara: 2,000 to 3,000 men.
The President: Well, let's do it. Could you tell the Air Transport Association we will need to call up civilian aircraft?
General Wheeler: The Joint Chiefs feel that if you deploy these men there should be a call-up of the reserves.
If we send a brigade of the 82nd Airborne, we should call up two brigades from the Army National Guard. This would
total about 30,000 men.

General Chapman feels that if we deploy this Marine unit, we should call up the Fourth Marine Division, one RLT now
and the rest of the Fourth Division subject to call at any time.
The Marine reserves will be ready to go within two months.
The President: I want you and Bob McNamara to get together and come in with an agreed recommendation as to whom
to call-up. Let's not decide on that today. Go back and agree on what to call.
We must move as soon as we can. I was ready Friday. The clock is ticking. We may waste valuable time and money,
but it is better to have them there when they are needed than to need them there and not have them.
General Wheeler: I will call now and get my men drafting the order.
(General Wheeler left the room.)
The President: What is the status of Buttercup?/8/ I see where Ky agreed on the release of prisoners. Get Vance to
follow through.
/8/See Document 6.
Walt Rostow: President Thieu also has agreed to this.
Secretary McNamara: My position on Vietnam is very clear. I do not think it wise to go to the Congress asking for
additional legislation. I do not think the call-up is necessary.
The President: Well, if you can not agree with the Joint Chiefs on what is needed, then submit to me a minority
viewpoint and your separate recommendations.
Secretary McNamara: Do you want General Wheeler to go to Vietnam?
The President: No, I want him here. I don't want anybody substituting for him at a time like this. I feel better with him
here.
My feeling is that if the Vietnamese aren't able to carry the load alone we will have to do it rather than let them all get
defeated. I think Westmoreland is confronted with a defeat or a victory.
[Omitted here is discussion of Korea.]
The President, Dick Helms, George Christian, General Wheeler and Tom Johnson then went to the office where the
President showed charts reflecting the ratio of enemy KIA to friendly KIA.
The President said that General Ridgway had told him that we are not prepared for another major problem elsewhere in
the world. He said our preparedness is not that adequate.
The President said he would rather have more than is needed in Vietnam than to need something and not have it
available./9/
/9/In telegram JCS 1695 to Westmoreland, February 12, Wheeler described this meeting and noted the sense of the
participants about Westmoreland's position: "A. You could use additional U.S. troop units, but you are not expressing a
firm demand for them; in sum you do not fear defeat if you are not reinforced. B. You are concerned as to the possible
status of the ARVN as a result of recent combat actions. C. You are concerned about the reliability of your logistic
system into northern I Corps Tactical Zone and believe that you must control and use Highway 1 through the Ai Van
Pass. D. Additional forces would give you increased capability to regain the initiative and go on the offensive at an
appropriate time." (Johnson Library, National Security File, NSC History of the March 31st Speech, Vol. 2, Tabs a-z) In
his reply, telegram MAC 2018 to Wheeler, February 12, Westmoreland wrote: "I am expressing a firm request for
additional troops, not because I fear defeat if I am not reinforced, but because I do not feel that I can fully grasp the
initiative from the recently reinforced enemy without them. On the other hand a set back is fully possible if I am not
reinforced and it is likely that we will lose ground in other areas if I am required to make substantial reinforcement of I
Corps." (Ibid.)

Foreign Relations, 1964-1968, Volume VI, Vietnam, January-August 1968


Released by the Office of the Historian
Documents 71-85

71. Memorandum of Conversation/1/


Washington, February 12, 1968.
/1/Source: Library of Congress, Manuscript Division, Harriman Papers, Special Files, Public Service, Kennedy-Johnson,
General-February 1968. Secret; Nodis/Personal; Packers. Drafted by Harriman. This memorandum of conversation was
transmitted to the Embassy in Romania in telegram 117922 to Bucharest, February 20. (National Archives and Records
Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1967-69, POL 27-14 VIET/PACKERS)
PARTICIPANTS
Secretary of State Dean Rusk
Governor Harriman
When I telephoned the Secretary to tell him of the unsatisfactory reply we had from Macovescu's visit to Hanoi, he
asked me to stop in. I showed him the specific message and told him that in addition, Macovescu had reported verbally
that the Hanoi officials had stated that our point of view was unacceptable as it made the stopping of bombing
conditional./2/ This confirmed the rejection of the San Antonio formula. I explained that the only glimmer of light was
Macovescu's statement that the Romanian Government was prepared to pass any further messages to Hanoi. The
Secretary said he thought we should close out this channel, thanking the Government, and specifically for Macovescu's
personal efforts. I agreed, with the comment that Hanoi seems to be trying several channels in addition to the
Romanians. I pointed to the strange one through Rome and the new one through Algard, the Norwegian Ambassador in
Peking./3/ This indicated, I said, that Hanoi was trying out several channels as negotiation feelers--perhaps
substantiating one guess that Hanoi had expected general disarray in the United States as well as in the South Vietnam
Government, which would lead to negotiations at any price.
/2/In a conversation with Harriman and Davidson, February 12, Bogdan discussed Macovescu's meetings in Hanoi with
Dong and Trinh during the period January 22-28. As a result of these contacts, Bogdan noted, his government put forth
a new interpretation of a formula for peace involving "new conditions" created for a "new step towards a solution through
negotiations." These "Romanian considerations" consisted of an unconditional cessation of bombing by the United
States, followed, after "a convenient period of time" for the United States to "prove" that it had in fact terminated
hostilities, by talks "on questions of interest to the two parties." According to the memorandum of conversation, "the
Governor stated his unofficial reaction is that Hanoi does not wish talks and he commented that Hanoi had paid no
attention to cigars." (Ibid.) Macovescu later expanded on the particulars of his visit to Hanoi in conversations with
Harriman on March 2 and with Rusk on March 4. (Memoranda of conversation, March 2 and March 4; ibid.)
/3/See Document 66.
Dean asked whether we had answered the Rome feelers. I said I didn't recall that we had but would see that some
answer was prepared. We discussed the reply that had gone to Oslo and he agreed that we should await developments
there.
I asked him if he had read Senator Mansfield's inexcusable speech in Maine, and since he hadn't and his New York
Times was in front of him, I suggested he look at it mentioning that it was on page 8. He read about half of it and said,
"well, if we're all wrong we'll be spending the rest of our time in Hobe Sound or otherwise these men will have to eat
their words"./4/
/4/In a speech at the University of Maine on February 11, Mansfield described the South Vietnamese political structure
as insecure and unstable and declared his opposition to any effort by the United States to "insure that any political
structure shall be enshrined over the smoldering ruins of a devastated Vietnam." See The New York Times, February
12, 1968.
He said that the gloom in World War II was much worse than now. I replied that in London in January 1942 there was
gossip of Churchill's Government collapsing; Beaverbrook really believed that he was going to be called by the King to
take the Prime Ministership. Dean said he didn't see why we should be so distressed. I said that I thought there should
be a review of the military program. That Westmoreland had been consistently proven wrong in his military judgment. I
wasn't at all sure that his military plans were right; that I could not sit in Washington and suggest a military program, but
I felt the program should be reviewed. I hoped that the President would not commit himself to Westmoreland. Our
pacification program had received a major blow. As far as I was concerned I did not know what our military plan should
be but I was not at all sure Westmoreland was on the right track. To this he made no reply. I mentioned my

memorandum (of February 9)/5/ in which I pointed out my opinion that we must have a broadly based government-perhaps this was the time to get rid of Loc, the Prime Minister, who reports indicated was no good. I suggested Huang,
or some other political leader, or else Thieu's idea of a broadly based advisory committee which would have real
functions not just scenery.
/5/See footnote 6, Document 62.
He again repeated that he didn't see why we should be discouraged; that perhaps he was wrong. He referred to the
depression in World War II. I said that that was quite different. Then I was not depressed because I was convinced of
our own capacity. The problem today is not our capacity but the capacity of the South Vietnamese to develop a
government with the will and spirit; we had to work through them; we could not do the job ourselves. I pointed to the
encouragement of the better fighting of the ARVN and other South Vietnamese units without any unit defection but we
had no information on individual dissenters. He agreed we should find out how rapidly and how many of the Tet
vacationers returned to their units. He also agreed that the clearance of Saigon and other cities had been done largely
by Vietnamese troops and should be given credit. However, he spoke about the continued great losses of the Viet Cong.
I said that I didn't know yet whether the VC had expected to take such losses and thought them worthwhile. I could not
agree with Westmoreland's optimism about attrition. There was some evidence that the Vietnamese Communists were
quite ready to accept the ratio of loss as being favorable to their side (I was referring not to this last period but to the
previous period). On the whole, I got the impression that, although he admitted that he might be wrong, he did not
indicate there should be any change in plans, programs, etc.

72. Vietnam Situation Report/1/


No. 7/68
Saigon, February 12, 1968.
/1/Source: Johnson Library, National Security File, Country File, Vietnam, 2 C (5), 2/6-12/68, General Military Activity.
Secret. The report, disseminated as TDCS DB-315/00518-68, covered the period January 28-February 10. In a covering
memorandum to Rostow, February 12, Helms wrote: "This is the cable I mentioned to you on the 'phone a little while
ago. I am sending it to you in this form, because I wanted you to have it promptly." (Ibid.) In his covering memorandum
transmitting a copy of the report to the President, February 12, 4:50 p.m., Rostow wrote: "This is an extremely well
balanced CIA assessment from Saigon of what the Communists have gained and lost; and what our problems are. We
are unlikely to have anything better right away." (Ibid.) The notation "ps" on this covering memorandum indicates that
the President saw it.
THE TET OFFENSIVE--A PLUS OR A MINUS?
The Year of the Monkey had an inauspicious beginning for the people of South Vietnam as the VC/NVA forces violated
the sacred Tet holidays and launched virtually simultaneous attacks against 36 province capitals, five of the six
autonomous cities, and numerous other population centers throughout the country. Their objectives have been clearly
spelled out in captured documents--to destroy or subvert the GVN/allied forces, eliminate the GVN governmental
structure, create a general uprising among the people, and establish a revolutionary government dominated by the
National Liberation Front. In what appears to be an almost incredible miscalculation of their own military capabilities and
the degree of support they could command from the people, the Communists failed to achieve these stated objectives. It
has cost them dearly in manpower--in 12 days some 31,000 killed, 5,700 detained, probably another 10,000 dead from
wounds, and unknown number dead from air and artillery strikes--a total probably amounting to more than half of the
forces used in this attack. Nevertheless, the enemy's well-planned, coordinated series of attacks was an impressive
display of strength which has given him a major psychological victory abroad, dealt a serious blow to the pacification
program, and created problems that will tax the energies and resources of the government for many months to come.
The enemy's military strategy consisted of a two-phase offensive. Wherever possible, the first phase assaults were
conducted by VC local forces. Psychologically, this was more appropriate than using NVA units, given the enemy's
objective of winning the support of the people. NVA forces were used in I and II Corps where VC forces were
inadequate, but throughout the country most VC/NVA main forces were withheld for the second phase when they would
move in to capitalize on the expected chaos and general uprising.
The passive reaction of the population, the fierceness of Free World and ARVN counteroffensives after the initial
surprise and confusion, and the effectiveness of massive air and artillery fire obviously forced cancellation of the
commitment of VC/NVA main forces. It is estimated that slightly less than half of the enemy's main force maneuver units
outside of those in the DMZ, but well over half of his local force units, participated in the attacks. Thus, he still has

substantial uncommitted forces available for a new "second phase" attack.


In spite of the enemy's heavy losses, he apparently still plans a resumption of the offensive on a large scale in the near
future. The failure of committed forces to withdraw completely to safehavens and current disposition of previously
uncommitted units lend credence to prisoners' statements that the second phase offensive will soon be initiated.
Although the VC/NVA main forces would supposedly be better equipped, trained, and disciplined than the primarily lowlevel troops (cannon fodder) which launched the first offensive, the enemy has lost the element of surprise, does not
have the cover of a Tet truce, and has already expended a great deal in the way of men and matriel. The consequence
of a second "all-out" series of attacks would probably be as disastrous militarily as the first phase. If, indeed, the enemy
is preparing for large-scale attacks at Khe Sanh, Quang Tri, Hue, Danang, Dak To, Phu My, Tuy Hoa, Saigon, Can Tho,
and My Tho, then he must strike quickly. Though stretched thin, allied forces have consolidated their gains, regrouped,
and initiated offensive operations against the enemy's massed main forces with notable success. As time passed, his
position is becoming more tenuous and there will be less and less opportunity to achieve his immediate objectives.
Although the enemy has been seriously weakened, he is not on the verge of desperation. He has over half of his main
forces basically intact with more men and matriel enroute or available from NVN. He has taken substantial losses in the
past and shown an amazing degree of resiliency. On the other hand, his logistics and recruitment problems will be
greatly increased with such heavy losses from the local and guerrilla forces who provide manpower for support and
combat.
As an alternative to a second assault against the cities, the enemy could elect to cut his losses by reverting to more
traditional harassing attacks while attempting to improve his position in the countryside. The recent well-coordinated
attacks over widespread areas proved the enemy's capability to utilize this tactic. Such attacks on a smaller scale would
still gain headlines and have considerable psychological appeal and value to the enemy as they re-raise questions in
SVN and the world as to the ability of the allies to provide security to the people. However, after such extensive
indoctrination of the inevitability of imminent victory, a reversion to essentially guerrilla warfare would probably cause
severe problems of morale among the cadres and a loss of impetus for the revolutionary effort.
It is not yet possible to make a firm assessment of the damage which has been caused to the pacification program, but it
probably has been extensive. The pacified areas did not at least initially appear to have been a priority target, probably
because most of the VC guerrillas were drawn into local force units for the city battles or were engaged in interdicting
LOC's. However, GVN forces providing security for the pacified areas and the RD teams were in many cases withdrawn
to assist in the defense of urban areas, leaving the VC free to penetrate previously secured hamlets and conduct
propaganda, recruit, acquire food, eliminate the GVN administration, and occasionally terrorize the population. The
impact of the VC presence was especially severe in the
larger hamlets which generally are located close to the population centers and were on the VC route of entry. This
activity was responsible for part of the large refugee flow into the cities.
With many of the cities in shambles and requiring priority reconstruction and rehabilitation efforts, the development
aspects of the program almost inevitably will suffer. In any event, it will be many months before the confidence of the
people in the previously secured hamlets can be restored, some of whom felt the VC presence for the first time. One
possibly hopeful sign is that many of the VC expressed surprise at the relative prosperity of the people in the GVN
areas, contrary to what they had been led to believe. This, together with the military defeat and heavy losses, should
contribute to some future defections.
There has naturally been a mixed reaction from the people to the Communist onslaught--initially, it was one of shock at
the strength of the attack, and anger at its perfidy. However, even those skeptics who would not previously acknowledge
that the large electoral turnouts, the inability of the VC to get a response to calls for a general strike, and the almost
totally conscript nature of the VC forces were proof that the VC lacked popular support, can hardly deny it now. Despite
the creation of a revolutionary administration, supposedly untainted by association with the NLF, no significant element
of the population or of the armed forces defected. The refusal of the people to respond to the VC call for an uprising,
and in fact often to render assistance to the government forces, was the key to the failure of the VC plan, and is one of
most encouraging aspects of the whole affair.
There are negative factors, of course--the people now have a greater respect for the capabilities of the VC, and this will
probably result in some cases in a more cautious attitude toward open support for the government. There is criticism
over the government's lack of preparedness, charges of excessive property damage and civilian casualties, and looting
by the counterreaction forces, and a persistent belief that somehow the U.S. was in collusion with the VC. However, the
population is universally angry at the VC for violating both a sacred holiday and their own truce, and the blame for all of
the ills is generally placed on the VC. There was left no doubt in the minds of the people as to the superiority of the
government forces and as to who won this engagement. On balance, we feel that in the contest for the hearts and minds
of the people, the VC have so far suffered a severe loss. In common danger, there was a tendency to unite behind the
government. With a residue of ill will toward the VC which will not be easily erased, the task of nation-building, at least in

those areas still under government control, should become a little easier. Much will depend, how-ever, on the skill and
alacrity with which the government handles the severe social and economic problems it faces.
The days ahead constitute a severe test for the GVN. There is no question but that the government suffered a serious
loss of prestige by its inability to defend its cities. Notwithstanding, there has been at least a temporary tendency on the
part of nationalist elements to set aside their parochial interests and rally behind the leadership. This is by no means
universal--the militant Buddhists, the Dai Viets, and some others still have refused either publicly to condemn the VC or
to support the government actively. Although it was an American idea, clearly the most effective action by the
government so far was the creation of the joint Vietnamese/American task force under Vice President Ky to handle the
immediate problems of rehabilitation. Whatever closing of ranks behind the government that has accrued can be
credited largely to Ky, who has emerged as the "man of the hour." Despite aggravating and bureaucratic problems,
some forward movement has been made in reestablishing essential facilities and services. Ky may well have saved the
GVN from projecting its usual image of inactivity.
We are not sanguine about future political problems. The schisms which divide this society are deeply rooted, and will
inevitably arise again as the first flush of unity begins to fade. Demands will be made for the removal of officials, both
national and local, who proved unequal to the task in a crisis, and this will be certain to restore the endemic factional
infighting. The military, some of the Catholics, and those favoring a rough, directed system will fault the government for
not being tough enough, while others will be concerned over even the temporary sacrifice of democratic processes and
the continued preeminent role of the military. The crisis has ignited a spark of unity, but to sustain it will require a
successful relief and recovery operation, and a sublimation of personal and partisan political interests which this society
has never before demonstrated.
The Communists can be credited with having maintained excellent security for such a comprehensive plan, but they are
guilty of a massive intelligence failure. Documents captured over the past four months and interrogations of the
prisoners involved in the recent attacks indicate quite clearly that the VC did intend to take and hold the cities, did
expect a general uprising, and did plan to install a revolutionary government, as evidenced by the presence of a standby
VC administrative structure in the major cities. It may seem incredible that VC expectations should have been so
divorced from reality, but there are three factors which probably explain this. First, the Communists are and always have
been victims of their doctrine, and in the present case the articles of faith were: "The longer we fight, the stronger we
become;" and, "The more viciously the enemy fights, the closer he is to collapse;" and "The people support us and when
the urban people have the chance to rise up, our victory will be assured." Second, the leaders have been consistently
and greatly misinformed by lower cadres. Given the doctrinal bias alluded to above and the Oriental penchant for telling
people what they want to hear, the reports going upward have so misinterpreted the facts that the leaders could not
base their decisions on reality. Third, the need for a significant victory after two years of drought may have introduced a
lack of prudence. By any rational standard, North Vietnam has been losing too much in order to gain too little. For too
long, VC strength and support has been dwindling. The entire nature of the war, the entire environment of the struggle,
changed with the massive U.S. involvement. The Tet assault must have been part of an expected VC plan to inflict
heavy physical and psychological damage in hope of gaining, if not all their objectives, something which could be
construed as a victory.
We are very much aware that we have probably seen only the first of a two-act drama. If the second act repeats the
scenario, we will seriously question the ability of Hanoi to continue to carry on this kind of conventional warfare for a
protracted period. Whatever else may follow, the Tet offensive in South Vietnam, contrary to much foreign opinion, is not
popularly regarded here either as a VC victory or even as an indication of their eventual success. There is a sobering
thought for the future, however--if it were not for the presence of U.S. forces, the VC flag would be flying over much of
South Vietnam today.

73. Intelligence Memorandum/1/


ER IM 68-23
Washington, February 13, 1968.
/1/Source: Central Intelligence Agency, O/DDI Files, Job 78-T02095R, SNIE 14.3-1-67, Viet Cong Recruitment and
Morale Problems. Secret; No Foreign Dissem. A notation on the first page reads: "This memorandum was produced by
CIA. It was prepared by the Office of Economic Research with assistance of the Vietnamese Affairs Staff and
coordinated with the Office of Current Intelligence. It analyzes developments reported through 13 February 1968."
COMMUNIST UNITS PARTICIPATING IN ATTACKS
DURING THE TET OFFENSIVE

30 JANUARY THROUGH 13 FEBRUARY 1968


Summary
A review of field reporting since the start of the current Communist offensive indicates that approximately 58,000
Communist main and local forces were committed in attacks on urban areas and military installations through 13
February. (For detailed data on forces available and engaged in the Tet offensive, see Appendixes A and B.)/2/ Of this
total, about 37 percent were North Vietnamese Army (NVA) troops and another 29 percent were Viet Cong (VC) main
force troops. The remaining 34 percent consisted of VC local forces which had been reinforced for the attacks by the
upgrading of local guerrillas. On the basis of MACV's latest order of battle of 115,000 men, the Communists would
appear to have committed about 50 percent of their regular forces to the attacks.
/2/Neither printed.
If the reported losses of 32,500 killed in action and 5,500 detained applied solely to the VC/NVA regular forces, the
Communists would have lost more than 65 percent of the forces committed to the Tet offensive. This would have been a
devastating blow. However, there are a number of pieces of evidence which suggest that such an interpretation would
overstate the Communist manpower drain.
First of all, VC/NVA forces participating in the offensive were augmented by numbers of guerrillas operating in
independent units or integrated into local force units. Second, there was extensive VC activity to raise new recruits.
Third, casualties included laborers conscripted to move VC supplies, as well as a number of civilians in densely
populated areas taken under attack. Almost certainly the rate of casualties among new and relatively untrained forces
was higher than among hard-core troops.
In summary, a number of factors suggest that the VC/NVA losses, although high, are not as serious as first believed.
Most recently, the enemy has been taking advantage of his greater control of the countryside to accelerate recruiting
among the rural population. All of these developments make it difficult to assess the current enemy manpower situation
with any accuracy./3/
/3/In a CIA memorandum entitled "The Communists' Ability To Recoup Their Tet Military Losses," March 1, the Office of
Current Intelligence and the Office of Economic Research speculated that it would take the NVA/VC 6 months to recover
from their Tet losses, but added the following caveat: "It is entirely possible, however, that they might be able to
accomplish full recovery in a much shorter time and that within six months their troop strength would be substantially
greater than it was prior to Tet. Everything hinges on the real extent of their Tet losses and on their ability to recruit and
impress personnel in the countryside." (Ibid.)
[Omitted here is the body of the paper.]

74. Notes of Meeting/1/


Washington, February 13, 1968, 1:12-2:30 p.m.
/1/Source: Johnson Library, Tom Johnson's Notes of Meetings. Top Secret. The meeting was held in the White House.
McNamara, Rostow, Taylor, Clifford, Helms, and Wheeler left at 2:25 p.m.; Rusk left at 2:32 p.m.; Christian and Tom
Johnson left at 2:40 p.m. (Ibid., President's Daily Diary)
NOTES OF THE PRESIDENT'S
LUNCHEON MEETING
WITH
SECRETARY RUSK
SECRETARY MCNAMARA
CIA DIRECTOR HELMS
CLARK CLIFFORD
WALT ROSTOW
GEORGE CHRISTIAN
TOM JOHNSON
[Omitted here is a brief discussion of Korea.]

The President: Anything new on Vietnam?


General Wheeler: There is continued resistance in Saigon, but it is fragmented. Dalat is clear. The enemy is still holding
the citadel in Hue.
There is shooting but nothing important around Khesanh and the DMZ.
The President: What is your evaluation of the light activity around Khesanh?
General Wheeler: They had the hell knocked out of them. They are trying to reconstitute their forces. Their first wave
was very savagely handled.
General Westmoreland indicated to me this morning that "things are looking better all over."
The enemy has a new flag with blue, red and yellow. The red represents blood; the blue represents the land; and the
yellow represents the revolutionary spirit.
The President: What is the nature of the enemy forces in Saigon?
General Wheeler: The forces in the Saigon area are decreasing. There is still the build-up and the threat across the
Cambodian border.
At Khesanh we got that C-130 out. He took off in 0-0 visibility. It was a very gallant action.
The President: How are the C-130s coming?
Secretary McNamara: Westmoreland asked for two squadrons of C-130s. They were sent on February 9.
The President: Is there no problem with the C-130? Do they have enough?
Secretary McNamara: There is no problem at present.
General Wheeler: We do not have with us now a recommendation on reserve call-up. The Joint Chiefs are working on
that today./2/
/2/On February 13 McNamara ordered the deployment of one brigade of the 82d Airborne and one Marine regiment to
South Vietnam. In JCSM 96-68 sent to McNamara that day, the JCS indicated that 46,000 reservists would have to be
called up to active duty to meet immediate requirements and 137,000 more needed to be readied for possible call-up.
The text of this memorandum is in The Pentagon Papers: The Senator Gravel Edition, pp. 542-546.
The first troops will begin moving out of U.S. facilities tomorrow night 6 p.m. (These are the first units of the 10,500
authorized and approved for immediate shipment in response to General Westmoreland's request. The Bunker
announcement and press guidance are attached as Appendices A and B.)/3/
/3/Attached but not printed.
The Chiefs are preparing a paper, one proposal based on the minimum call-up necessary to support these troops and
the second based on the desirable level in case we have to deploy the rest of the 82nd Division and more Marines.
The President: I sure want you and Bob McNamara to get together on one program. Let's agree on these things before
you get here.
There are a number of questions which I want you to consider and get answers to me. Those questions are:
1. Why is it necessary to call up reserve units at this time?
a. To be ready for further reinforcement of Vietnam?

b. To be ready for other contingencies outside Vietnam?


c. To reassure allies such as NATO to whom we have military commitments?
d. To contribute to our overall deterrent posture by adding to our visible strength in being?
2. How large should the call-up be to satisfy the foregoing requirements? Can the call-up be diminished by such devices
as a reduction in our overseas garrisons in Europe or Korea?
3. Why is it necessary to call up individual reservists at this time? Can't it be avoided or postponed? If not, how many
must be called? When? From what sources?
4. What will happen to the reserve units and individuals called up? Where will they go? How long will they serve? Are
the necessary housing, equipment, and training facilities ready for them?
5. What are the budgetary implications of these actions?
6. What must be requested from the Congress? What can be avoided or delayed?
7. What will be the manpower requirements for maintaining these increased forces? What will the effect be on draft
calls?
8. What will be the domestic and international reactions to these decisions?
9. How should our decision be explained to the domestic and international public? What should be the timing of our
statement?/4/
/4/The President had these questions typed and submitted to Rostow on February 15. (Johnson Library, National
Security File, NSC History of the March 31st Speech, Vol. 2, Tabs aa-vv)
The next thing I want to discuss with you is the telegram I received from Cy Vance./5/ I will read it:
/5/Telegram 4180 from Seoul, February 12. (Ibid., Korea-Pueblo Incident, Seoul Cables, Vol. II)
There could only be one answer if the President really wants me to go. I have serious reservations, however, about
going on to Saigon from here. I fear that decision to this effect could jeopardize any benefit which may come out of our
mission. These people are ultra sensitive and in a hurt mood. There is a good chance they would feel they are being
downgraded by being made a part of a two purpose mission and by lack of urgency in my reporting to the President on
their problems.
Secretary Rusk: Bunker said we should not let the Vance mission be interpreted that the South Vietnamese Government
has the same problem with the U.S. Government as does the South Korean Government.
The President: Would you send him?
Secretary Rusk: I want you to get the best information and advice you need.
Secretary McNamara: I think it would be helpful to get a first-hand report from Vance.
Secretary Rusk: Somebody should go.
The President: It looks like it is a question of personalities then.
I think Cy has a point that Pak wants me to get the message from him as quickly as possible.
Secretary Rusk: Also we should not underestimate the trouble with South Korea Vance is handling.
General Wheeler: Admiral Sharp asked me whether we should move the cruiser Canberra from the Sea of Japan back

to Vietnam in light of the political problems this might cause with South Korea.
[Omitted here is a brief discussion of the Pueblo crisis.]
Secretary McNamara: There are four near-term action programs which are proposed.
Those are as follows:
1. Defer additional reinforcements of U.S. forces in South Vietnam until requested by Westmoreland. Defer "call-up" of
reserve units to replace the 6 battalions now being deployed until further information is available as to Westmoreland's
additional troop requirements, the extent of defections in the ranks of the ARVN, RF/PF and South Vietnamese security
forces and the success of the GVN in restoring
services, coping with the refugee problem, etc. Defer request for new legislative authority.
2. Call up now a relatively small number of the Ready Reserves, approximately 40,000, recognizing that additional callups may be required later. This can be done without additional legislative authority. This call-up could be accompanied
by a Presidential speech noting that a further call-up may become necessary depending upon developments in
Southeast Asia, but that for the time being no legislative action is being requested on either personnel or financial
matters.
3. Call up either a small (40,000) or large (130,000) number of Reserves and concurrently request Congress to
authorize additional personnel actions to strengthen the Armed forces./6/ Defer request for supplemental financial
authorizations and appropriations, but indicate these will be required.
/6/By Joint Resolution of Congress, the following authorities could be granted: (a) Authorize the extension of all
enlistments, appointments, periods of active duty, and other periods of obligated service of Regular and Reserve
members of the Army, Navy, Marine Corps and Air Force. (b) Authorize activation of all needed individual Ready
Reservists and extend beyond June 30, 1968 the authority to call both units and individuals of the Ready Reserve. (c)
Authorize re-call of retired Reserve personnel. [Footnote in the source text.]
4. Call up either a small (40,000) or large (130,000) number of Reserves and concurrently request from Congress both
the authority to take the needed personnel actions and the supplemental financial authorizations and appropriations
required./7/
/7/The possible increase in our effort in Southeast Asia may require, for Fiscal 1968, additional new Obligational
Authority of $1 billion, with additional expenditures of $500 million, and for Fiscal 1969, additional new Obligational
Authority of from $2 to $3 billion, with an increase of expenditures amounting to $2 billion $500 million. [Footnote in the
source text.]
General Wheeler: Senator Russell said it would be necessary to have a substantial reserve call-up before Congress
would approve extension of enlistments.
The President: What would you get with an extension of enlistments?
Senator McNamara: You would get 17,000 extra men per week by extending enlistments. It would raise the readiness of
our strategic reserves.
The President: How long would you extend tours?
Secretary McNamara: It would depend on how many men are called up. We would ask for authority to extend one year.
We would apply that authority if needed. For example, we need helicopter pilots extended.
General Wheeler: Yes, it would help with helicopter pilots.
The President: What do we do with the Rumanian?/8/
/8/See Document 71.
Secretary Rusk: I think we should just thank him for his help. He brought back nothing.

The President: What about any targets in the Hanoi area?


Secretary McNamara: There are 13 authorized but not hit.
Secretary Rusk: In light of these recent attacks and the negative response to our visitor to Hanoi, I am ready to hit
almost anything.
General Wheeler: The Joint Chiefs propose again limiting the circle around Hanoi to three miles and 1-1/2 miles around
Haiphong. This would open everything else up to Route reconnaissance.
But these targets do not have to be brought up today, since the weather is bad and there are authorized targets which
have not been struck.
The President: How do you feel about this, Bob?
Secretary McNamara: As I have said before, the military value is small. The risk is very high. The chance for civilian
casualties is very high.
Secretary Rusk: We can consider this at a later time.
Clark Clifford: To get the reply you did do what I consider a very just and fair suggestion. It seems very reasonable and,
in fact, well justified to increase the level of pressure in North Vietnam. I would favor a step up in the military pressure./9/
/9/In a February 13 letter to Clifford, Under Secretary of the Air Force Townsend Hoopes argued that, although the
bombing program had caused heavy damage to the DRV, it had not impaired the North Vietnamese ability to infiltrate
men and matriel southward in order to continue the fighting on an indefinite basis. He recommended a bombing
cutback and curtailment of ground actions in order to reduce casualties. (Johnson Library, Clark M. Clifford Papers,
Memos on Vietnam, February-March 1968)

75. Circular Telegram From the Department of State to All Posts/1/


Washington, February 14, 1968, 1733Z.
/1/Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1967-69, POL 27 VIET S. Secret;
Priority; Limdis. Drafted by John Burke of the Vietnam Working Group, cleared by Habib and EA Public Affairs Adviser
Oscar Armstrong, and approved by Bundy. Sent to all European posts, all East Asian and Pacific posts, Hong Kong,
Mexico, Argentina, Brazil, Pakistan, Ceylon, Tunisia, Iran, India, Morocco, and USUN, and pouched to all other posts.
115081. Subject: Initial Appraisal Viet Cong Tet Offensive.
1. Note: Over the last several days Sitreps have been provided to keep you abreast of the developing situation in South
Viet-Nam in the wake of the communists' Tet offensive. The following represents a preliminary appraisal of the current
situation, which you may draw upon on background as appropriate in your conversations with senior officials of the
government to which you are accredited as well as colleagues within the diplomatic corps. It may also be used with
reputable correspondents.
2. North Vietnamese and VC forces have succeeded in dealing a major blow against the urban population of South VietNam in the offensive launched Jan 30. Though there is some intelligence which indicates that this initial strike will be
followed up by one or more additional concerted efforts, this phase of the offensive seems to be drawing to a close.
There is still fighting going on in the suburbs of Saigon, in a section of Hue, and in Dalat, but aside from these areas the
attacking forces have been driven from the towns and the Government of Viet-Nam is proceeding to restore order and
re-establish security and services in the urban centers. The enemy has also massed regular North Vietnamese divisions
near the DMZ and the Khe Sanh campaign is expected soon in that area.
3. The Tet offensive was ordered by Hanoi and the operation was in the planning stage for weeks and probably months
before the initial attack. Our forces have captured a copy of the general order for the offensive which begins with the
words: "The Tet greeting of Chairman Ho is actually a combat order for our entire army and population." In the midst of
their announced holiday truce they mounted an attack on province capitals and district towns throughout the length and

breadth of South Viet-Nam. Thirty-eight of the forty-four province capitals were attacked either by artillery or ground
troops in force. About sixty district towns were also struck. It now appears that Hanoi committed a tremendous
proportion of its resources in the south and took very heavy casualties. Our estimates are that more than 60,000
NVA/VC troops, mostly main and local force, were utilized. A great many of the attacks were suicidal in character.
However, on the basis of preliminary interrogation reports of those captured, many of the cadre involved were
apparently led to believe that their efforts would be followed up by subsequent VC attacks. Many of those captured have
stated that they were not provided with withdrawal plans (in past communist operations withdrawal plans have been an
essential feature). In their briefings, communist cadre were also led to believe that the people would respond to their
calls for anti-GVN uprisings and would welcome them as liberators. Such a reaction was not forthcoming and in the
testimony of POWs, this was apparently a source of surprise and disappointment.
4. We know from captured documents and interrogations, as well as from Hanoi and Liberation Radio broadcasts, that
the communists expected to achieve the following goals:
a. Full control of many of the cities. (Instead they retain only a small portion of Hue, part of Dalat, and a few hundred are
still holding out in the Chinese suburbs of Saigon.)
b. They expected major defections from ARVN and they have even claimed that entire units had defected. Conclusive
reports from our advisers make clear that there were no significant defections and it has been clearly established that
one of the units identified by Hanoi as defecting, the ARVN 45th regiment, fought very well against the communists and
remains firmly on the side of the GVN.
c. They expected the elected, newly installed GVN to collapse in the face of their offensive. In contrast its executive
branch has moved quickly to establish a Recovery Task Force which is mobilizing the Government's resources to
provide relief for the many refugees created by these attacks, re-establish services, and organize the task of rebuilding
the destroyed areas.
5. There are a number of hopeful and potentially favorable elements in the present situation:
a. Despite the fact that it was caught by surprise and several effectives were on holiday leave, the ARVN performed
commendably and indeed bore the brunt of the attack. (As of Feb 12 over 2,100 ARVN troops had been killed and
almost 8,000 had been wounded. This contrasts with American dead of approximately 1,000 with an additional 5,000
wounded.) ARVN performance has been attested to by newsmen on the scene. (E.g., CBS broadcast of February 9
from Saigon: "Now that more and more reports are in, the record would seem to show that face to face against the Viet
Cong in the battle for the cities the South Vietnamese armed forces performed almost universally well, and this could be
the most significant development of this phase of the war. The South Vietnamese armed forces have long been a
question mark. There was a period in this war about three years ago when entire battalions would disappear in the face
of attack. Nothing like this happened in the past week and a half.")
b. Key groups and leaders, including those within the National Assembly and in opposition political circles, have issued
statements denouncing the Viet Cong for their deceitful attack and urging the people to rally in opposition to the VC.
Such statements have come from intellectuals (a group of university professors, journalists and writers issued a strong
statement on February 11), labor groups (the president of the largest trade union federation in SVN), a former chief of
state and unsuccessful presidential candidate, religious leaders (the Director of the Institute for the Propagation of the
Buddhist Faith). In addition to these public statements, there have been numerous private assurances of support for the
GVN in present emergency from many other political figures including declared oppositionists.
c. Reports almost universally testify to a widespread sense of outrage over the VC violation of Tet. (N.B. Tet is the most
important and most sacred of Vietnamese holidays and normally runs for four days. It is a time when families are
reunited, usually in the home village or hamlet, gifts are exchanged and religious ceremonies are held in honor of
ancestors. Weeks before Tet, the North Vietnamese and the Viet Cong had publicly declared that they intended to
observe a seven-day truce in connection with this holiday. The GVN and allied forces had, on their part, announced a
thirty-six-hour truce, but there was no indication that the North Vietnamese and the Viet Cong intended to shorten their
truce as a consequence. Up to the time the attacks took place, Hanoi and Liberation Radio had still not indicated any
intention to depart from their seven-day truce.) This sense of outrage at the violation of Tet and the many atrocities
committed by the communists during their attacks--e.g., the systematic massacre of entire families could now result in a
galvanizing of popular will.
6. There are also less hopeful elements:
a. The initial success of the attacks on the urban centers could well produce a loss of confidence in the ability of the
GVN, the ARVN, and the allied forces to protect the people from the VC.

b. The urban population has been exposed for the first time to heavy property destruction and loss of life. Latest figures
as of February 12 indicate that refugee count may exceed 500,000, including 217,000 in Saigon and environs. Civilian
casualties have been estimated by Chief of State Thieu as being in the neighborhood of 3,000 killed.
c. The pacification program, to which so much importance has been attached, has been temporarily disrupted. To get it
back on the track both the GVN and U.S. forces must act quickly and effectively.
7. Over the next few months the true impact of the Tet offensive can be calculated. The initial advantage must be
conceded to the NVA/VC forces. They have succeeded in invading the previously-inviolable cities and exposing the
urban population to the brutal facts of war for the first time. They have created havoc and suffering and have imposed a
heavy new burden on the already overstrained manpower and material resources of the GVN. Obviously, the ultimate
success or failure of their urban effort will depend on how well the GVN addresses itself to these new problems. So far it
has reacted well. President Thieu and other key members of his administration have shown leadership and a willingness
to come to grips with the situation. This effort must, however, be sustained. The populace undoubtedly will be watching
GVN leadership.
8. The other side of the coin is just how much the NVA/VC forces spent on the urban offensive. They sustained heavy
casualties: over 30,000 dead and almost 6,000 taken prisoner. (Because of their magnitude Vietnamese and American
officials in Saigon have checked their figures carefully against such other factors as captured weapons, and are
convinced of their essential accuracy.) From interrogations and from their propaganda broadcasts it seems clear that
they expected to realize much from this offensive. The fact that they failed to take control of any major town, except for
brief periods of time, and their inability to generate any popular support for their effort may prove to be of prime
significance. It should be noted that they were willing to announce the formation of an "Alliance of National and Peace
Forces" as a propaganda weapon coincident with this offensive. This paper organization was meant to attract
intellectuals, merchants, industrialists and politicians and its creation carried with it the tacit admission that the NLF was
not the single voice of the South Vietnamese people. This obviously important concession would seem a heavy
propaganda price in view of the fact that there was no significant popular rising in response to the urban offensive.
9. The Tet offensive was deliberately ordered by Hanoi at a time when they knew we were actively taking soundings to
determine whether the Trinh statement of December 28/2/ represented a sincere intention on their part to enter into
meaningful talks and had, in connection with these soundings, imposed restrictions on air activity in the vicinity of Hanoi
or Haiphong. Thus, the Tet offensive, taken in conjunction with the communist buildup at Khe Sanh and the harsh
denunciation of the San Antonio formula by radio Hanoi, and by Trinh himself on Feb 8, does not augur well for the early
commencement of meaningful peace talks. This does not however mean that Hanoi and the supporters of the DRV will
not attempt to mount an increasingly shrill propaganda concerto in favor of early negotiations on their terms. Our
position on talks remains clear: the San Antonio formula.
/2/See Document 1.
Rusk

76. Telegram From the Embassy in Vietnam to the Department of State/1/


Saigon, February 15, 1968, 1100Z.
/1/Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1967-69, POL 27 VIET S. Secret;
Immediate; Nodis. This telegram is printed in full in Pike, ed., The Bunker Papers, Vol. 2, pp. 334-341.
19428. For the President from Bunker. Herewith my thirty-ninth weekly message:
A. General
1. As the massive Viet Cong Tet offensive subsides, it becomes increasingly possible to draw certain conclusions. What
was blurred a week ago begins to become more clearly into focus. Although it will be several days before we have a
fairly accurate country-wide assessment of the physical and material damages certain things are now fairly evident:
A) The enemy has suffered a heavy military setback with nearly 33,000 killed, over 5,600 detained, and the loss of more
than 8,000 individual and 1,250 crew-served weapons. A large part of the force he had committed, estimated at about
60,000, has been put out of action. A second wave of attacks against Saigon and some other major cities, which it was
feared for some time might take place, has not materialized and there is increasing evidence, for the present at least,

that it may not.


B) That Hanoi and the Viet Cong made a major miscalculation in expecting uprisings among the people and defections
among the Vietnamese forces. While the GVN may not enjoy great popularity among the people in general, there is
strong evidence that in the city and countryside alike the Viet Cong attacks during the last two weeks have caused
widespread resentment and bitterness toward the VC.
C) That it seems apparent that Hanoi's maximum objective was to take and hold many of the cities, thereby creating a
political situation which would compel the GVN and the US to virtual surrender. The second and fallback objective (and
this is Thieu's opinion also) was probably to put themselves in a strong position for negotiations, one in which they could
insist as a minimum on a coalition government.
D) That despite the heavy military defeat suffered by the enemy, much damage has resulted throughout the country.
The number of evacuees which had climbed to 485,000 yesterday showed a decline of 457,000 today, probably an
indication that people are beginning to return to their homes. The number of houses destroyed has now been reported
at 48,000 although on the basis of our observations, we believe the figure may be exaggerated. The figures on civilian
deaths increased to almost 3,800, and the wounded to nearly 21,000. In addition, there has been substantial damage to
industry and to lines of communication. Commercial activity has been slowed, at least temporarily, and will take some
time to recover.
E) The economic situation in Saigon and in most of the country is improving. Food prices, which rose rapidly in the first
days of the attack, are coming down. Lines of communication are beginning to be opened up. In looking beyond the
immediate crisis, economic prospects are less bright than they appeared a few weeks ago. It will take time to restore the
damage to industry and the loss of confidence in the business community which the attacks have caused. The
Vietnamese economy, however, has demonstrated powers of recuperation in the past and hopefully these negative
factors may prove short lived.
F) That the predominant reaction of the people is that of anger, indignation, and a sense of outrage at the VC, especially
its treachery in attacking during the Tet holidays, although there is a lot of apprehension and fear of the possibility of
future attacks. There is too surprise that the enemy was capable of attacking on such a wide scale in such force and
criticism of GVN intelligence capabilities. But there is also a feeling of pride in the performance of the Vietnamese
forces, a new confidence in the GVN, and a welling up of the support for it from many quarters. I think it is fair to say,
therefore, that the GVN is facing a crisis of confidence. If it reacts quickly and effectively, moves ahead with
reconstruction and other constructive programs the resentment of people at the losses they have suffered will be
replaced by confidence and gratitude; if not, the GVN can be seriously weakened./2/
/2/In a February 13 memorandum to the President, Lodge noted that the "plus side" of the aftermath of Tet was that in
South Vietnam the growth of "a dividend from all the work we have done to bring about constitutional government and a
sense of civic consciousness," which he labeled "political energy," was occurring. In addition, the RVNAF had fought
well and there was a "remarkable" degree of unity among the GVN leadership. (Johnson Library, National Security File,
NSC History of the March 31st Speech, Vol. 2, Tabs aa-vv)
[Omitted here is extensive discussion of measures undertaken by South Vietnam to rebuild in the aftermath of the Tet
offensive.]
Bunker

77. Telegram From the Embassy in Vietnam to the Department of State/1/


Saigon, February 19, 1968, 1050Z.
/1/Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1967-69, POL 27 VIET S. Top Secret;
Immediate; Nodis.
19824. Ref: State 114390./2/ Subj: Command Relationships.
/2/Telegram 114390 to Saigon, a joint State/Defense message to Bunker, Sharp, and Westmoreland, February 13,
requested an assessment of the "feasibility and desirability" of developing a command structure that would give
COMUSMACV more direct authority over South Vietnamese and allied nation forces. One such plan involved
designating Thieu the overall force commander and Westmoreland the field force commander. (Ibid.)

1. I have given careful consideration to the suggestion that a new command arrangement be developed here to increase
the authority of COMUSMACV over RVNAF and third country forces. While I agree that we want to consider measures
to make our prosecution of the war more effective, I think we must avoid adopting solutions which may in themselves
create more problems than they solve. This sums up my reaction to the idea proposed. In saying this, I recognize that
the main reasons for such a change in command arrangements are military and I am not in the best position to judge the
merits of this proposal from this viewpoint. I have, of course, talked with General Westmoreland who is developing his
own thoughts on reftel, and will address this particular aspect of the question in his reply. Our replies will naturally be
closely coordinated but I would like to address myself primarily to the obviously sensitive political factors which would be
involved in any such proposal.
2. As we have emphasized in numerous messages over the past few months, Vietnamese sensitivities about real or
imagined encroachments on their sovereignty and allegations of US domination of their governmental activities have
increased slightly. The lifting of censorship of the press last summer, the election campaigns, and the establishment of
the National Assembly have all afforded wider means voicing these views. They have often taken the form of highly
critical and even vitriolic comment on our massive presence here and its overwhelming effect on Vietnamese society
and political life. No matter how we might seek to disguise such a command arrangement, I have no doubt that the
Vietnamese will see it for exactly what it is intended to be, and this will only add to the hue and cry.
3. In addition to this internal political factor, such a change in command arrangements would lend itself readily to
propaganda exploitation by Hanoi and the NLF, and indeed all critics of the pres-ent Vietnamese Government and of our
efforts here. Hanoi's constant reiteration of the phrase "puppets" and the "Thieu-Ky-US clique" would be given added
force and indeed substance. Two of our basic and urgent objectives here are to build up constitutional processes and to
increase confidence and competence among the leaders of the new Vietnamese Government. In my opinion such a
change would tend to undermine both of these objectives. If there were some international umbrella, such as the United
Nations afforded for the Korean war command structure, this might make the proposal more digestible, but I do not
believe that either the facade of a Vietnamese overall commander for the seven nations grouping would be adequate to
this purpose. Moreover, the Koreans themselves would want high-level positions in the command structure and this
would only complicate present relationships, which are satisfactory.
4. An added point related to the naming of President Thieu as overall force commander would be that such a move runs
in the face of our effort to emphasize his civilian Presidential role under the Constitution. I recognize that he is also
Commander-in-Chief of Vietnamese Forces, but the public impression that he is first and foremost a General would be
strengthened. On the other hand, it is difficult to imagine naming someone with lesser stature to this position.
5. A further consideration of the political side is the likelihood that a fundamental revision of command relationships will
stimulate already expressed GVN desires for a more formal status of forces agreement between our two governments.
This opens a can of worms which we all want to avoid.
6. In sum, I can see no political advantages from such a revision in command arrangements, and very considerable
disadvantages. Subject to more expert views on the military purposes which would be served by this change, would
urge that it not be considered at the present time, or in the foreseeable future.
7. General Westmoreland has seen this message and concurs with it.
Bunker

78. Memorandum of Conversation/1/


Washington, February 20, 1968.
/1/Source: Library of Congress, Manuscript Division, Harriman Papers, Special Files, Public Service, Kennedy-Johnson,
Chronological File, February 1968. Secret; For Personal Files Only; Absolutely No Distribution. Drafted by Harriman.
The meeting began at 12:37 p.m. and lasted until 1 p.m. (Johnson Library, President's Daily Diary)
MEMORANDUM OF CONVERSATION WITH THE PRESIDENT
I talked with the President at noon today alone. [Omitted here is brief discussion of domestic issues.]
He then said, "Now what will I say to U Thant?"/2/ I said I had prepared a memorandum as he had asked me to, which
he read over and said gave him a good review./3/ I said on the basis of this record he has every right to tell U Thant that

there has been no indication from Hanoi yet that they seriously want negotiations. They want the U.S. surrender.
/2/The President met with Thant the next day; see Document 80.
/3/Harriman brought to the meeting a memorandum entitled "Our Efforts To Seek a Peaceful Settlement of the Vietnam
Conflict," which detailed the numerous efforts since 1964 of the Johnson administration to seek a peaceful resolution of
the war. (Library of Congress, Manuscript Division, Harriman Papers, Special Files, Public Service, Kennedy-Johnson,
Chronological File, February 1968) In a February 19 memorandum to Warnke, Under Secretary of the Air Force
Townsend Hoopes decried the administration's dour predictions of the prospects for peace talks following Tet, noting
that "only in circumstances under which Hanoi can demonstrate a degree of military muscle [and] can make clear that
NVN has remaining strengths and alternatives, will it be willing to accept the risk of serious bargaining from which it
knows there will emerge a compromise solution--i.e., something less than its stated war objectives." (Johnson Library,
Alain Enthoven Papers, Alternative Strategies 1968)
I said I was still hopeful, however, that they were moving in that direction and that I hoped that we could get talks started
before the autumn. He said that would be most desirable. I said they should understand the chance they are running in
the election for a tougher U.S. position. He said, "I'm afraid they don't understand that."
I said I was afraid our military did not recognize that it wasn't just the North Vietnamese we were fighting. We were
fighting North Vietnam with the full, determined support of the Soviet Union and Red China; that I thought
Westmoreland's attrition rate was acceptable to the North since the manpower situation in Asia was unlimited. Also,
Kosygin had told me that the Soviet Union and the countries of Eastern Europe had offered volunteers, and this offer
was open. I am not sure that he liked that comment, but I went on to refer to the recent meetings of the Non-Communist
Front. He readily agreed that this was the most important thing that had happened, and did not dispute my statement
that this Front would be strong enough to deal with the VC or elements of the NLF, which is not true of the Saigon
Government. He did not appear to disagree also with the statement that I felt the eventual solution lay in South Vietnam,
even though talks between us and Hanoi might have to come first.
As I left he thanked me for my support and I commented that I thought I should continue to be very blunt off the record
and rather careful on the record, as I was still his representative in peace negotiations which should be non-political.
This position I would change when the elections grew nearer. I feel sure he fully agrees.
W. Averell Harriman/4/
/4/Printed from a copy that bears this typed signature.

79. Editorial Note


On February 20, 1968, Secretary of Defense McNamara testified in closed session before the Senate Foreign Relations
Committee on the Tonkin Gulf attack of August 2, 1964, and the supposed attack 2 days later on August 4. The
hearings, continuing through February 26, served to cast aspersions on the credibility of the Johnson administration.
McNamara, without the Committee's approval, released a statement on his testimony on February 21; see The New
York Times, February 21, 1968. The Committee never published a final report on the hearings and accompanying
investigation, although McNamara's testimony was made public on February 24. See U.S. Senate Committee on
Foreign Relations, Hearings: The Gulf of Tonkin, The 1964 Incident, 90th Congress, 2d Session, 20 February 1968.
The President and McNamara had earlier, on February 19, discussed on the telephone the August 1964 Tonkin Gulf
affair and the upcoming Senate deliberations. In response to the President's query about the basis of the criticism by
Senator Gore of the administration's role in the episode, McNamara said: "He's just intemperate and I think his real
objective is to disassociate himself from any responsibility for anything that's followed, which of course is Fulbright's as
well. They want to prove that they were misled, and had they known at the time the facts of the Tonkin Gulf situation
they never would have supported the resolution and hence would not in any way be responsible for the escalation in
military operations out there that has occurred since then. And if he can't hang it on one thing and you destroy the case
on that he pops up two or three places elsewhere with different arguments." (Johnson Library, Recordings and
Transcripts, Recording of Telephone Conversation Between Johnson and McNamara, February 21, 1968, 8:29 a.m. and
8:52 a.m., Tape F68.03, PNO 4 and PNO 5; transcript prepared in the Office of the Historian specifically for this volume)

80. Notes of Meeting/1/

Washington, February 20, 1968, 1:05-2:50 p.m.


/1/Source: Johnson Library, Tom Johnson's Notes of Meetings. Top Secret. Those present at the meeting were the
President, Rusk, McNamara, Clifford, Helms, Wheeler, Rostow, Christian, and Tom Johnson. The meeting was held in
the White House. (Ibid., President's Daily Diary) On February 18 the enemy launched a series of "second wave" attacks
in three of the Corps Tactical Zones.
NOTES OF THE PRESIDENT'S LUNCHEON MEETING
WITH
FOREIGN POLICY ADVISORS
Secretary McNamara discussed his appearance before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on the Tonkin Gulf
incident./2/ "So far it's a draw."
/2/See Document 79.
Clark Clifford: [blank in the source text]
Secretary McNamara: Yes. This is highly classified.
Secretary Rusk: Why has Fulbright not let your statement out?
Secretary McNamara: It is obvious he wanted to get out his side first.
Secretary Rusk: If he does, will you go with your release?
Secretary McNamara: Yes. It is a can of worms. They will try to cloud the issue.
The President: Who took the lead in opposing and defending you?
Secretary McNamara: Senator Lausche was on our side. Senator Morse was doing the most damage, trying to prove we
provoked the incident. Senator McCarthy was nasty personally. Senator Cooper was decent. Senator Mundt did not find
the opening he wanted. Sparkman was marginally helpful. So was Senator Mansfield and Senator Hickenlooper on one
occasion./3/
/3/Senators Frank Lausche, Wayne Morse, Sherman Cooper, Karl Mundt, John Sparkman, and Bourke Hickenlooper,
respectively.
The President: How long do you expect it to go on?
Secretary McNamara: All day. Senator Morse said it may go on through tomorrow, but I am going to try to cut it off
today.
The President: I suppose you have a better case on the fact the attack occurred than on the charge that we did provoke
the attack.
Secretary McNamara: I have a good case that there was an attack. They think we responded too soon.
(At 12:23, Secretary McNamara received a call from Phil Goulding. Goulding said Senator McCarthy had already made
a statement about Secretary McNamara's testimony before the committee. In light of this, Secretary McNamara said to
go ahead and issue his statement.)/4/
/4/McNamara's statement reiterated the administration's contention that intelligence reports had indicated that there was
a second attack. See The New York Times, February 21, 1968.
Secretary McNamara said McCarthy went out and told the press that one of the U.S. vessels penetrated North
Vietnamese waters. "He just did not listen. That is exactly what I thought would happen."
Clark Clifford: Would the President like to report on his visit with President Eisenhower?

The President: I enjoyed the trip very much. I intend to get away from here Wednesday afternoon and spend the
weekend in Texas./5/
/5/During the weekend of February 17-18, President Johnson toured several military installations. On February 21 he left
for his Texas ranch and remained there through February 28. (Johnson Library, President's Daily Diary)
We first went to Fort Bragg with General Johnson and General Walt. I made a brief speech and stood at an aircraft while
the men loaded aboard.
I told them that there were 500,000 of their buddies in Vietnam and that General Westmoreland had asked for their help.
I said if they had been out there and needed help, I know they would have wanted us to respond when we were asked.
Those boys expressed no sentiment, but it was obvious to me that none of them was happy to be going. It was a very
serious moment to be going. The whole trip was great. Everybody knew what to do. There were no complaints.
General Seitz, Commander of the 82nd Airborne said to me, "This is the proudest moment of my entire life."
About 50% of the men down there were Negroes. I understand they volunteered because of the high morale in the
Airborne and the extra pay./6/
/6/The President's first stop during his weekend visit to bases was at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, in the late afternoon of
February 17. In remarks to 2,500 members of the Army's 82d Airborne Division who were leaving for Vietnam, he said:
"We long to see this bloodshed come to an end. Month after month we sought to find an honorable solution to the
struggle that has torn Vietnam for 20 years. The enemy's answer was clear. It is written in the towns and the cities he
struck 3 weeks ago--in the homeless thousands who fled the scenes of battle--in the army that he has massed in the
North near the DMZ. And our answer--your answer--must be just as clear: unswerving resolution to resist these ruthless
attacks, as we have resisted every other." For full text of these remarks, see Public Papers of the Presidents of the
United States: Lyndon B. Johnson, 1968-69, Book I, pp. 238-239.
From there we went to El Toro and spoke to the men inside the hangar. After a three-minute talk I walked down rows of
men. I told myself--I am at heart a sentimental guy at times like those--that I sure regret having to send those men. One
soldier really melted me and brought me to my knees. I asked a boy from Ohio if he had been to Vietnam before. He
said yes, he had been there four times. I asked him if he had a family. He said yes, sir, he had a little baby boy born
yesterday. There wasn't a tear in his eye. No bitterness showed in his face. But I can assure you I sure stopped asking
any men questions for awhile. I saw them load the plane. The people moved with precision. I went inside the plane.
There were 94 men in there, all in place. I talked to them a few minutes and then saw the plane take off. That's a rather
rough feeling./7/
/7/At El Toro Marine Corps Base in California, the President spoke to Marine formations and an assembled civilian
crowd. Noting that "freedom's defense could not be in better hands," Johnson praised the men and underscored the
importance of their mission in support of the defenders of Khe Sanh. At the conclusion of his speech, Johnson, as he
had at Fort Bragg, came out to the tarmac to talk or shake hands with the Marines as they boarded their transport plane.
For full text of the President's remarks, see ibid., pp. 240-241.
From there I went to see men on the Carrier. They are going back to Yankee Station. I met many of the men on the ship.
Ninety-five percent of them think we should be doing more in Vietnam. They said they would not mind giving their lives
but they were a little more war-like and kept saying, "It's not cost effective to fight the war like this."
I had 25 men in for breakfast. All they knew was that they had a job and they wanted to do it well. They wanted to keep
the pilots and the equipment in the air and in good shape. They lost one plane with a flame out and each of them felt a
very personal loss of the three men. I would be glad to have any of them looking after my plane. They made a good
impression.
I remember one thing about the trip in particular. When I was speaking to the 82nd Airborne I came to a line in my
speech when I said, "You are the Airborne." A roar came up from the crowd unlike anything I have ever heard before
with "All the way, sir." They like the prestige of the Airborne.
I almost froze in my Captain's quarters aboard the Constellation. I turned the electric blanket up to 9. About 3 o'clock,
and every hour after, I went to the door and saw this big hulk of a Marine. I kept telling him, "I am freezing." He kept
saying, "yes, sir." But he never moved./8/
/8/At a breakfast with 20 of the Constellation's crew, a sailor questioned why his fellow servicemen had to go to war

while "peace-niks got away from the draft by rebelling and having demonstrations." The President replied that "in every
war there are always dissenters and this is not something that has happened just in the Viet Nam war and this is not
something that happens just about wars. There are always people who are against what is going on in the world. Take,
for example, how people are against short skirts." Johnson also told the sailors that he was proud of them, adding "that
it is boys like you that make America a free country." (Johnson Library, President's Daily Diary) According to notes taken
by Tom Johnson, a further exchange occurred: "He asked one boy 'If you were President what would you do to change
things?' Boy asked 'What things sir?' The President said 'Anything. What goes on that could be corrected?' Sailor said 'I
would hit them more.' President explained they would come back at us and there were many more of them than us.
Then he was asked about hitting their supply ships. Rostow said they could get their supplies other ways. 'It is hard to
keep the roads and railroad closed. In good weather we do a lot of damage. Then they have the ports of Southern China
to use. We could make it more difficult to get supplies, but you would run into trouble with Russia and others by closing
the ports. You would make Hanoi more dependent on the Chinese than ever.' President: 'We are trying to keep them
(meaning Chinese and Russians) actively out of it. If you hit two or three ships in the harbor--it is like slapping me and I
would slap back. We don't want a wider war. They have a signed agreement that if they get into a war, the Russians and
the Chinese will come to their aid. They have two big brothers that have more weight and people than I have. They are
very dangerous. If the whole family jumps upon me--I have all I can say grace over now--that is the reason the
Secretaries of Defense and State have to see that what damage we will do them will be in the end not so dangerous.
We will do better tomorrow than yesterday, but if we provoke both of them and get them on us, if we have all three
actively fighting us--we are trying not to make this a wider war.'" (Ibid., Tom Johnson's Notes of Meetings) The full text of
the speech given by the President while on the Constellation is in Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States:
Lyndon B. Johnson, 1968-69, Book I, pp. 241-243.
General Wheeler: I'll bet he had orders not to move and nobody telling him to move, even including you, was going to
affect his orders.
The President: Well, I quit trying at 6 o'clock. I said, go get Rostow. We had breakfast and then met with all of the men. I
can say to you Secretaries and Generals, that even Senator Fulbright couldn't find anything wrong with those men and
that operation. It makes me feel sorry that we worry about creature comforts with these men who go back three and four
times and who fly 25 hours straight into combat.
The crew was the proudest. They have the major responsibility for getting the men safely to Vietnam.
After the Constellation, we returned to see President Eisenhower and to get his judgment./9/ I think he has been
mistreated by history and by misinterpretation.
/9/Johnson flew by helicopter to the home of former President Dwight Eisenhower at Palm Springs. Following a briefing,
lunch, and a game of golf with Eisenhower, the President returned to Washington. (Johnson Library, President's Daily
Diary) The President's telephone discussion with Eisenhower the next day is ibid., Recordings and Transcripts,
Recording of Telephone Conversation Between Johnson and Eisenhower, February 19, 1968, 12:17 p.m., Tape F68.03,
Side A, PNO 2-3. In a discussion with Secretary Rusk on February 19, the President noted: "I spent a long time with
Eisenhower. He says, 'I don't think you all--one criticism I've got of this administration is I think you're right, I think you're
doing what you ought to do, I think you got to be there, but I don't think you understand that the longer the war, the more
costly it is.' He said, 'I'd rather lose 25,000 a day for a few days and get it over with than lose 2,500 a month ad
infinitum.' And I said, 'Any general would do that,' and he said, 'The man that's got the greatest responsibility on his
shoulders of any general in the history of this country is Westmoreland.' But he said, 'Westmoreland ought to be asking
for more men and ought to be doing more than he is. And anybody can look at it and see,' and he said, 'I'm afraid that
that's your mistake.' So I would gather that's the Republican line." (Ibid., Recording of Telephone Conversation Between
Johnson and Rusk, February 19, 1968, 11 a.m., Tape F68.03, Side A, PNO 1; transcript prepared in the Office of the
Historian specifically for this volume)
He said that he did not intend to play politics with Rusk and McNamara. He said it is a mistake to second guess the
people who know the information. He spoke glowingly of General Wheeler and General Westmoreland and General
Goodpaster. He said he saw no justification for the criticism of General Westmoreland. He said he remembered in
another war when people sat on the sidelines and said there was a better way, but he preferred to leave that to the
judgment of the men who had the better information.
He said there were two people he had most respect for. Who would you think they are?
Secretary Rusk: General Marshall?
General Wheeler: Churchill?
Director Helms: General MacArthur?

The President: It was Marshall and Churchill. He told me some stories about General Marshall. He said that Marshall
was an impersonal man. He brought Ike up from Fort Sam to handle operations. He ordered General Eisenhower to
draft the invasion order and plan. Ike said he guesses he was a little vain and a little cocky and he went to General
Marshall and said, "I hope the General knows that I have spent many hours on this plan and that it is O.K." General
Marshall told him "Eisenhower, I hope it is too. You may be the one called upon to execute it."
In addition, Eisenhower said that Churchill wanted to go into battle. Eisenhower told Churchill he did not think it was
wise to go into battle because of the additional security that must be provided. When Churchill told the King, the King
also said he wanted to go. As far as Churchill was concerned, that ended it. He didn't go.
General Eisenhower said that Westmoreland carries more responsibility than any General in the history of this country.
He said we should give him everything he needs and then let him fight the war.
I asked him how many allies he had under his command during World War II. He said, including U.S. and allied troops,
he had about five million.
I told him General Westmoreland had 500,000 men, so how could he say that Westmoreland had the greatest
responsibility of any American general?
He said it was a different kind of war and General Westmoreland doesn't know who the enemy is and there is not any
clearly defined front.
Ike said, I am a mean Republican, but I am not going to be partisan on the war.
Then General Eisenhower was asked how he got legislation passed when he was President. He said he told the visitor
that he had a Speaker from Texas and a Majority Leader from Texas, both Democrats. He said his leader was
Knowland of California./10/
/10/Senator William Knowland, Senate majority and minority leader during the 1950s.
He said he could call in Mr. Sam/11/ and me and say why a certain piece of legislation was best for the country and that
the two of us would do it if it were in the best interest of the country. He said this was often not the case with his own
party.
/11/Representative Sam Rayburn, Speaker of the House of Representatives, 1940-1961, and Johnson's mentor.
General Eisenhower said that we had always done what we thought was best for the country, particularly when he
called on us. He intended to do the same thing now.
He called me and told me of a rough wire he received from three scientists who told him I planned to drop the nuclear
bomb. I told him I had talked to the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the Secretary of Defense and that no one had
recommended nuclear weapons in the last four years.
Now, what do we do with this trip of General Wheeler's?
Secretary Rusk: Can we keep this trip very quiet until Buzz gets there? I am worried about what they might do to the
airport if they knew he were coming.
The President: We talk too much anyway. Ike said it is criminal to announce the location of men or units or
headquarters. He said the press can talk about the way in which the war is being directed but that it is wrong to say
anything about when or where or how it is being fought.
Ike said we should get the other government to restrict coverage and that he never would have said that we were
sending 10,500 men. He said he would think General Giap would just love to have that information.
General Wheeler: I will leave tomorrow night and return on Tuesday the 27th.
The President: What should we do while Buzz is out there?
Secretary McNamara: There is nothing we need to do that we haven't done. We should wait until Buzz comes back.

General Wheeler: General Westmoreland said that the intelligence indicated there might be a major attack tonight on
Saigon. As of this morning, nothing of a sizeable nature had happened.
Walt Rostow: It has been quiet up until the time of the meeting.
The President: What about targets? Should we retaliate for these strikes?
General Wheeler: The weather is terrible except for an occasional day. We can make systems runs on certain targets. I
don't want to sound like a broken record, but I still feel the best thing is to squeeze down the circle and then authorize
armed reconnaissance.
Secretary McNamara: May I leave? (The Secretary had to return to the Hill where he was testifying before the Senate
Foreign Relations Committee.)
General Wheeler showed maps of the Haiphong-Hanoi area. The General pointed to high value targets and said that
systems runs on these targets should be considered. He recommended reducing the circles around Hanoi and
Haiphong to three miles and 1-1/2 miles and permitting armed reconnaissance.
The General pointed out the northeast arm of the railroad and Highway 1-A. In addition, he pointed out the inland port of
Hanoi. He said it was an inland port used for barges to bring in supplies.
Secretary Rusk: I would not object to systems runs. There would be a limitation of 15 miles along the China border. I
would hit the highway and the railroad.
Walt Rostow: How about a systems run on Hanoi radio headquarters?
General Wheeler: We could hit it. It is part of the Air Defense System in the area.
The President: Go get it. It has been previously authorized anyway.
General Wheeler: May we reduce the circles to 1-1/2 and 3 miles?
The President: Do you have any trouble with that, Dean?
Secretary Rusk: It will get a lot of civilians but I feel less strong about the matter now. Let me look at this and get back to
you later.
The President: Take the 15 mile limit.
General Wheeler: How about a systems run on the Hanoi port?
The President: How do you feel about that?
Secretary Rusk: O.K.
Clark Clifford: O.K.
The President: What is a systems run?
Secretary Rusk: It is bad weather bombing.
General Wheeler: It is not as good as visional bombing.
Clark Clifford: Is it safer with a systems run?
General Wheeler: It is somewhat more safe. Planes can go in at night and also in bad weather.
The President: Do you want to send anybody with Wheeler?

Secretary Rusk: I want to send Habib with Wheeler.


General Wheeler: We have made space for him on the plane.
The President: O.K. What is the enemy up to, Dick?
Director Helms: It is clear the enemy had a poor assessment of what would happen. They thought a political uprising
would take place. They did not get it.
Based on the documents, they are now re-evaluating and are much more flexible in their attitude. They are now
attacking some cities with mortars and some with troops. Meanwhile, they are not coming out with any real forces for
ground attacks. They are busy in the countryside. They have a manpower pool out there to draw on.
What they do in the future depends on what we do.
The President: How did they get the countryside?
Director Helms: All of the ARVN and U.S. forces have come in to protect the cities.
General Wheeler: Not all.
Director Helms: Most. In addition, it appears that the North Vietnamese may not attack Khesanh now. They may wait
and try to hold us down and move their troops in along the coast. We have a rough problem at Quang Tri.
General Wheeler: General Westmoreland said the ARVN troops are tired and some have taken rather heavy casualties.
[Omitted here is discussion of the Pueblo crisis.]

81. Record of Meeting/1/


Washington, February 21, 1968.
/1/Source: Johnson Library, Transcripts of Meetings in the Cabinet Room, 2/21/68. No classification marking. The
meeting lasted from 11:08 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. (Ibid., President's Daily Diary)
MEETING BETWEEN U THANT AND THE PRESIDENT
U Thant reported to the President that he had met with the French Ambassador in New York, Mr. Berard./2/ He told U
Thant the French Delegation had reported to Paris. U Thant asked for a statement in writing confirming this. The note
received reported the French Delegation reports that North Vietnam considers "The appropriate time after the cessation
of the bombing as meaning a time necessary to demonstrate that the cessation is effective."
/2/Armand Brard, French Representative to the United Nations.
U Thant added that if the Republic of North Vietnam were to be officially notified of such a cessation of hostilities from
the United States, then the talks could start immediately. U Thant reported that the impression he got in his talks in New
Delhi and Paris are: They want to talk./3/
/3/French Foreign Ministry officials informed Bohlen that on January 30 the DRV had authorized its representatives in
New Delhi to discuss with U Thant the issue of Vietnam. (Telegram 9857 from Paris, February 2; National Archives and
Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1967-69, POL 27-14 VIET/RAMS) On February 16 the President
discussed this upcoming meeting at a news conference, noting that "I have received a good many reports from folks
who have visited other capitals." See Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States: Lyndon B. Johnson, 196869, Book I, pp. 235-236. One such source was the Indian Government, representatives of which had met with their
North Vietnamese counterparts both in Hanoi and in New Delhi. The Indian Government also concluded that North
Vietnam was prepared to negotiate. (Telegram 115569 to New Delhi, February 15, and telegram 117317 to USUN,
February 17; both National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1967-69, POL 27 VIET S; and

memorandum from Rostow to the President, February 29, 12:15 p.m.; Johnson Library, National Security File, Country
File, Vietnam, March 19, 1970 Memorandum to the President--Decision to Halt the Bombing, 1968, III) The British
Government also had transmitted to Washington word of U Thant's message from Hanoi. (Message from British
Ambassador Patrick Dean to Rusk, February 13, in telegram 115376 to London and Moscow, February 14; National
Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1967-69, POL 27-14 VIET)
U Thant met with the Hanoi representative on the 7th, Hanoi-Peking attacked him on the Peking radio on the 11th-calling him messenger boy of Washington, etc. Hanoi replied to him on the 13th. His interpretation was--in spite of
Peking's attack on him, Hanoi disregarded this and sent a reply. U Thant said the point he wanted to make was in spite
of Peking's attack on him, Hanoi always made it a point to answer his questions. He reported Hanoi has been saying if
there is an unconditional cessation of bombing and other things, they will talk, "but, of course, they can't be trusted.
Peking we never have trusted. Peking Radio has been broadcasting for about three years that we will solve the problem.
That is Peking's position. So in spite of Peking's position, Hanoi has come up with this formulation. So this is another
instance of Hanoi's independence of Peking. My conclusion is: Hanoi wants to be independent of Peking. Told
Ambassador Stevenson also, long ago, my impression is Hanoi is more independent of Peking than either was ever
independent of Moscow."
U Thant expressed opinion we could get Hanoi on our side. Thought Hanoi could be weaned away from Peking, but
would have been much easier two years ago. He expressed view that if bombing was stopped, Hanoi would talk. In the
case of stopping the bombing, he did not consider the DMZ part of North Vietnam and it might be necessary to bomb to
stop infiltration of troops. Suggested a message be sent to Hanoi that the President would test their sincerity by stopping
the bombing an x number of days. Thought that would make them decide to talk. Test their sincerity, whether to discuss
cease-fire, or de-escalation in the South, maintenance of proposed San Antonio Formula--although they don't accept the
San Antonio Formula, at least up to now.
President asked how U Thant's suggestions differ in substance from the San Antonio Formula./4/ President said: "I
imagine what it would be, the discussions that the bombing would stop, that's one part of it. The discussions would start
in a couple of days, that would be two. Three, they could be productive in that they would be on substantive matters and
not vituperation and just harassment but they would involve the four points and our points."
/4/In a telephone conversation with Clifford on February 14, the President made the following comment on U Thant's
latest peace initiative: "Now U Thant is screwing the thing up and just as much as he can. And he's their agent almost.
And he's gone to Moscow and he didn't see anybody but some clerk. Then he dashed over and tried to put it to Wilson,
and Wilson's no good, but he did at least tell us what's happening. Now he's going to run over and try to see DeGaulle.
Then they're going to come in and demand that we stop bombing tomorrow." He later added: "He's meeting in Paris
today and he's got a new message now from North Vietnam--they've sent for him, and they're going to put the
propaganda to us again. And it's going to be one of these 'will' is changed to 'should' and 'should' is changed to 'would'
and they will meet now and not in 6 months but in 10 days. And they'll do nothing. But if we stop that bombing we've just
sacrificed all of our men." (Johnson Library, Recordings and Transcripts, Recording of Telephone Conversation
Between Johnson and Clifford, February 14, 1968, 9:16 a.m., Tape F68.02, Side B, PNO 1-2; transcript prepared in the
Office of the Historian specifically for this volume)
U Thant said yes. The President continued by saying:
"And finally, we would assume that they would want us to stay at the table and discuss these things in an atmosphere
that would be productive so they wouldn't have a crash program or take advantage while we were talking to try to
overrun us at the DMZ, or something like that."
The President reported that he did not see much difference in what U Thant was saying and what was contained in the
San Antonio Formula.
President: "The San Antonio Formula says there will be talks--and they will speak productively on the subjects and they
don't have to agree to anything else. We assumed, we thought that if you take advantage of this, if you continue to
infiltrate and you continue to supply to your troops and you continue to wage war, we understand that. We will continue
to supply our troops. We expect that you will do that. But if you take advantage over and above by trying to have a crash
program to overrun us, while we are trying to talk to you, if you're going to take our wives and our children out there and
try to burn the house down while we are sitting here in the Cabinet Room talks, then we'll have to go out and turn the
water on to keep the house from burning. The purpose of the talks is to get somewhere and we are not wanting to take
advantage by bombing Hanoi and Haiphong and we don't want you to take advantage by increasing, etc. We can't
expect you to let your men starve or run out of ammunition or not get food or something. But we do expect you to not
line your trucks up bumper-to-bumper and 30,000 extra men to try to shove over while we are sitting down.
"Now it seems from what you say that there are three elements of our San Antonio Formula: One is we stop the
bombing of North Vietnam. Okay. We could do that. Second, that the talks could start promptly--that's today. Three, they

could be productive, fruitful, substantive talks. That's all that means, that they're expected to be settled. Then we say,
we don't make a condition and we don't exact a promise from you. We warn you, or we notify you, or we think frankly,
candidly that if while we were talking, a fire is started with our wife and children--. They say 'We won't take any of it--the
San Antonio Formula is out', and they hit 44 cities."
U Thant reported he felt they had changed their attitude. He reiterated he would try to test their sincerity by stopping the
bombing.
President. "My experience has always been that these other pauses--that once we pause and they use them as they did
for 37 days,/5/ then it takes days and days to get out of the pause and the folks really don't understand and then the
good sincere people want to blame us for resuming and so forth, and our men out there feel like we had been duped
and we've let them down by tying their hands while these folks come at them, hitting 44 cities at once and all that stuff."
/5/Reference is to a temporary bombing halt that lasted from December 1965 to January 1966.
U Thant reported that was a factor for the President to decide but his feeling was it was worth testing.
President reported: "Now, we yearn for peace. We want self-determination in that area. We have no desire to stay there
as a colonizer and occupier. We want to take the resources that we're spending in the war, as I said in Johns Hopkins,
and spend in economic development and that not only includes South Vietnam. It includes that area in North Vietnam,
just as we have in other areas where we have struggled to protect freedom in Europe, in Asia before, and we want to do
that and anything that gives us any hope of the sincerity of the other side in permitting the people themselves to
determine what kind of government they want, and for that reason, after Mr. Gromyko indicated to us, that if we could be
specific on leaving there--we went to Manila and pointed out that if the infiltration would cease and violence would
subside, then we could divert our attention to economic building of the area instead of destroying the area. We still feel
that way, very strongly.
"So last week the message that we got from the leader of another country who had communicated our explanations in
some detail of what we meant by 'prompt', what we meant by 'productive', what we meant by 'taking advantage of', we
had done that before last summer--in August and September--and when we announced the San Antonio Formula. Then
we repeated it again through another government and their answer there was the original position--they wouldn't accept
the San Antonio Formula just as they didn't last summer and we felt they had not budged very much, if any, from the
position they took all along, mainly, their four points./6/ But we are anxious to have peace. We do want to go halfway to
meet them. We are desirous of taking the resources we have to stop using them for destruction and try to use them for
constructive purposes."
/6/The basic DRV position for the peaceful resolution of the conflict, known as the Four Points, was stated by Dong on
April 8, 1965; see American Foreign Policy: Current Documents, 1965, pp. 853-854.
The President told U Thant he welcomed and applauded his consistent attempts to try to bring us together./7/
/7/Rusk, Goldberg, Clifford, Katzenbach, Harriman, Bundy, and Sisco met with Thant and Ralphe Bunche, UN Under
Secretary-General, at 1 p.m. that day. (Memorandum of conversation, February 21; National Archives and Records
Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1967-69, POL 27-14 VIET) U Thant's report on his contacts with the North
Vietnamese was disseminated in telegram 119559 to London, Saigon, Paris, and USUN, February 22. (Ibid.)

82. Telegram From the Embassy in Vietnam to the Department of State/1/


Saigon, February 22, 1968, 1200Z.
/1/Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1967-69, POL 27 VIET S. Secret;
Immediate; Nodis. Received at 9:08 a.m. and passed to the White House. This telegram is printed in full in Pike, ed.,
The Bunker Papers, Vol. 2, pp. 342-350.
20175. For the President from Bunker. Herewith my fortieth weekly message.
I. General
1. Since my last weekly message, there have been a number of significant developments in the situation, some

favorable, others less so. I shall try to summarize these briefly at the beginning and will endeavor to enlarge on them
later in the report:
A) The GVN has continued to press the recovery program with commendable energy. Despite frustrations, substantial
progress has been made. In the Saigon area, public services have been maintained, distribution of food has been
expanded, prices have come down (now about 20 percent higher that pre-Tet), and the problem of evacuees has been
handled effectively. The curfew has been relaxed and people are getting back to their normal occupations. In the cities
and towns throughout the country, recovery work is underway, food supplies are adequate, and efforts are being made
to open lines of communication as rapidly as possible. The counterparts of the Central Recovery Committee at corps
and province level are for the most part working effectively. Perhaps a major by-product of the effort has been that of
getting Ministries to work together, horizontally instead of vertically.
B) We have as yet no comprehensive inventory of destruction throughout the country but this is now underway. It is
obvious from preliminary reports, however, that destruction has been heavy. Evacuees will probably number from
400,000 to 450,000, of which perhaps 30-40 percent having left their homes for security reasons will be returning. Most
of the remaining will be refugees in the true sense in that their homes have been destroyed. We have no accurate count
of the number of houses destroyed nor an inventory of the damage to industry. Our latest count showed 61,000 houses
destroyed, a figure considerably higher than that of the GVN. As reported in my last week's message,/2/ industrial plants
have suffered extensive damage. It is apparent, therefore, that the repair of physical destruction caused by the Tet
offensive will involve an extensive and time consuming effort, and a substantial allocation of resources.
/2/Document 76.
C) Further elements in the enemy's strategy developed with renewed attacks on a number of cities during the night of
February 18-19 in what appears to be the second phase of the Tet offensive. These for the most part were rocket and
mortar attacks directed principally at airfields and bases. Exceptions were the cities of Phan Thiet and Song Be which
the enemy entered and from which he was thrown out with heavy losses. But what is evident is that the enemy in effect
is attempting an investment of some of the major cities. For example, troops are being moved closer to Saigon and to
Can Tho in the Delta. He is making intensive efforts to disrupt lines of communication, cutting Highway 4 from the Delta
every night. His present moves seem to confirm Thieu's view that he will continue to attempt to harass, isolate, and
choke off the cities. He remarked to me yesterday that the countryside has always been of prime importance to the VC
for this reason.
D) The enemy is bringing in heavy reinforcements to the Saigon area and severe fighting has been taking place in Gia
Dinh. These reinforcements evidently have been coming from replacement camps in Cambodia. Heavy truck traffic has
been noted on the Cambodian side proceeding up to the border and heavy sampan traffic observed from the border
inland to Viet-Nam. This raises the question as to how long we can afford to permit the enemy to make use of the Laos
and Cambodian sanctuaries as freely and effectively as he has been doing for the infiltration of men and material. I
recognize that this is an extremely difficult problem having many complex and sensitive political aspects, and will
therefore want to make it the subject of another message.
E) The enemy's present moves, it seems to me, lend credence to General Westmoreland's views and those of President
Thieu on the probable future course of his strategy. As I reported last week, General Westmoreland believes that the
enemy may be preparing for a major offensive in the northern provinces, perhaps supported also in the Central
Highlands, and that he has the capability to mount such an offensive. Thieu's view, which he confirmed again in my talk
with him yesterday, is that the present offensive will be followed by a second one which may come some months from
now, perhaps around May to July: that in this he will try to pin down our troops in the North, in the Central Highlands,
and in defense of the cities; to continue mortar and rocket attacks on airfields in an effort to reduce our air potential; to
continue harassment and infiltration of the cities to carry on political "spoiling" and attempt to paralyze the government
through terror attacks; and to attempt to regain and hold as much of the countryside as possible. Thieu believes that the
main enemy objective is still the countryside, and that his purpose in its control is twofold: to choke off the flow of food
and other supplies to the cities, and to be able to demonstrate that he controls a large part of Vietnamese territory
before going to negotiations. Thieu believes, therefore, that the enemy's ultimate objective is a political settlement, and
his view of timing looks toward the end of 1968 or early 1969.
F) If these views are correct, and they seem to me quite logical, then it appears they will involve a major effort on the
part of the enemy. How long he can sustain such an intensive effort, given the losses which he has already taken and
which such an effort will inevitably entail, is problematical, especially if we have the men and material to meet and
frustrate him at every turn; I think there is no question about the will.
G) It is apparent that the pacification program has suffered a setback, though to what extent it has not been possible to
determine. Eighteen of the fifty-four ARVN battalions assigned to pacification were withdrawn for defense of the cities;
so apparently were a considerable number of the Regional and Popular Forces and some of the RD teams, though the
exact numbers are not known. The consequent impairment of security which has resulted has raised doubts in people's

minds concerning the capability of the government to provide adequate security in the countryside. On the positive side,
however, is the fact that substantial numbers of the Viet Cong forces were withdrawn from rural areas for the attacks on
the cities and that for the first time a large part of the infrastructure has surfaced and been identified. This should make
possible a more effective rooting out process.
First priorities, already underway, are to get supplies to the provinces; to get refugees into permanent camps; and to get
inspection teams out. The next priorities are to get the forces back into the countryside as soon as possible; to reestablish security; to revive the economy; through psyops to capitalize on the Tet failure; and to attack the exposed
infrastructure.
H) Popular reactions have continued to surface. Confidence in the government was at first badly shaken; but at the
same time popular opinion hardened against the VC. While the enemy instilled new fear in the city dwellers, he learned
that the masses will not voluntarily support him. In the view of many experienced observers, the crisis has generated a
greater feeling of unity and more willingness to contribute to the common cause than has ever been witnessed in this
country. There are anxieties about the "second wave" attacks, but there is also among many Vietnamese a new esprit;
they feel they have met and defeated the best the enemy had, they are proud of their army for the first time in many
months, and as Phan Quang Dan puts it, they believe that their government and their system has proved it is "viable" in
the toughest kind of situation.
2. Military situation. Since General Westmoreland has reported daily, comprehensively and in detail, developments in
the military situation, I shall only give a brief summary of the present outlook. The "second wave" of the Tet offensive is
apparently underway. It began with a coordinated series of rocket and mortar attacks throughout II, III, and IV Corps in
the early morning hours of February 18. Since then, many cities and airfields, including Saigon and Tan Son Nhut, have
suffered harassing mortar and rocket fire. Enemy forces at considerable strength are close to Saigon with the obvious
purpose of investing the city. The apparent intention of these attacks throughout the country is to tie down defense
forces and prevent them from moving back to the countryside, while at the same time continuing to maintain tension
among the urban population and impress them with VC power. The prime enemy objective, I believe, is III Corps and
Saigon, although he also poses a threat to Can Tho in the Delta, and a continuing and very serious threat in the
northern part of I Corps with four divisions in Quang Tri and Thua Thien Provinces.
3. Although we have by no means necessarily seen the whole of the enemy intention or capability for "second wave"
attacks, I am inclined to be encouraged by the slowness and apparent relative weakness of his follow-up attacks.
Obviously, it was essential from his point of view to hit the cities and the GVN again as quickly as possible. Enemy radio
broadcasts made the point that we must not be allowed to get back on our feet. In fact, it appears to me that the GVN,
with our help and prodding, has reacted to the new situation, both military and political, faster and better than has the
enemy.
4. On the political-economic side, we have reported daily the government effort over the past three weeks to provide
immediate relief to the victims of the fighting, show vigorous leadership and inspire confidence by public appearances
and statements, and rally all nationalist groups to the support of the government in this crisis.
[Omitted here is discussion of additional measures undertaken by the GVN to rebuild in the aftermath of Tet.]
Bunker

83. Telegram From the President's Special Assistant (Rostow) to President Johnson in Texas/1/
Washington, February 22, 1968, 1850Z.
/1/Source: Johnson Library, National Security File, Memos to the President, Walt Rostow, Vol. 64. Top Secret;
Sensitive. The President stayed at the LBJ Ranch February 21-28.
CAP 80484. February 22, 1968. Herewith a summary of a CIA assessment of future Communist military strategy in
South Vietnam. I will forward the full text in the next pouch./2/
/2/Not found.
Developments during the past three weeks have made it clear that the Communists now plan to put extensive and
sustained military pressure on the urban areas of South Vietnam. At a maximum, they hope to move in and control
some of the major cities; failing this, they hope to bring about a deterioration of the governmental authority in urban

areas, as well as in the countryside, that eventually would be severe enough to force a political accommodation in the
war on Communist terms.
During the last few weeks there have also been a number of indications, apart from the attacks on the cities, that
additional shifts in Communist war strategy are in process. Among these has been evidence of plans to use the limited
North Vietnamese air arm in a logistic or attack role in South Vietnam. New Communist weapons including tanks and
possibly better artillery rockets have appeared in the DMZ area. Signs pointing to heavy new troop infiltration to the
south have been noted, while the flow of supplies to the DMZ and down the Lao corridor has continued at a stepped-up
pace. Additional enemy road building has also been under way which will improve the Communists' ability to support the
military units in both the DMZ and the coastal area of the two northern provinces in South Vietnam.
The developments suggest that the enemy is trying to get in a position throughout this area which will permit him to
conduct sustained offensive operations, probably along more conventional military lines than ever before in the war.
Recently the bulk of one division of Communist troops from the DMZ area has slipped south into the coastal plains of
Quang Tri and, along with NVA elements already in the sector, will probably attempt a sustained campaign to erode and
destroy friendly control over the rural population and the cities in the area. It now appears that the Communists are
going to make a major effort to hold their positions in the city of Hue, invest or capture Quang Tri, and, if possible, gain
de facto administrative control over Thua Thien and Quang Tri Provinces.
Continued pressure on the allied bastion at Khe Sanh is likely in the course of the Communist effort in the North, with
the enemy seeking to tie down a substantial allied reaction force. Whether Hanoi will make an all-out effort to overrun
the base remains to be seen; there is some evidence in the shift of Communist troops to the eastward in recent days
that the enemy may be reducing his forces in the general vicinity of Khe Sanh. It is possible that he plans at present only
to mount a long-term siege operation against the base.
We believe the most likely course of over-all enemy action in Vietnam during the near term will revolve around a major
effort in the north combined with selective pressure against the urban areas farther south. The pressure against the
cities will include both limited ground probes and coordinated attacks by fire. We think it likely the enemy will make a
special effort, both for political and psychological reasons, to harass and disrupt the city of Saigon.
The Communists will also be heavily engaged in trying to consolidate the gains they have made throughout the rural
areas of the country since the government's retreat to defend the cities. In particular, the Communists will attempt to
revise much that has been achieved in the pacification/RD program, and will utilize renewed access to the rural
population to intensify recruitment efforts and the collection of taxes and other forms of logistic support.

84. Editorial Note


A comprehensive analysis of the Tet offensive by the intelligence community began in February 1968. Director of
Central Intelligence Richard Helms met with the President's Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board (PFIAB) on February
16. Helms noted that pre-Tet intelligence was deficient in terms of predicting "the precise time of the urban attacks, their
widespread scale, and their intensity" because of the lack of penetration of the Viet Cong, inadequate dissemination and
analysis procedures, and poor performance by the South Vietnamese intelligence service. (Central Intelligence Agency,
DDO/IMS Files, Job 79-207A, US-8 President Files, US-8 January 1968 to December 1968) In a February 23 letter to
Helms, Maxwell D. Taylor, PFIAB Chairman, requested that he cooperate in a study to determine "to what extent, if any,
our intelligence services and those of our allies were at fault in failing to alert our military and political leaders of the
impending large-scale attack on the cities and towns of South Vietnam." Taylor posed two questions: "Did our
intelligence collection agencies obtain all or most of the pertinent intelligence which was available in the
circumstances?" and "Was the evaluation of the available intelligence sound and did that evaluation reach the decisionmakers in time to assist them in taking appropriate action?" He requested a response by April 1. (Ibid., Executive
Registry Subject Files, Job 80-R01580R, PFIAB Subject File, 285. Tet Offensive)
In a letter to Taylor on April 1, Helms noted that the U.S. intelligence agencies in Washington, the Joint Staff, the staff of
the Commander in Chief, Pacific, and the agencies in Saigon had begun the study. The report had not been completed,
however, due to "the complexity of the task, the vast amount of material to examine, the necessity to interview
commanders and intelligence officers in the field, and our desire to minimize the additional load placed on these
officers." Helms did transmit to Taylor an interim report entitled "Intelligence Warning of the Tet Offensive in South
Vietnam." Principal among the findings of the interim report was the fact that advance warnings of some of the attacks
had been given to senior officials and "as a result, a series of actions were taken in Vietnam which reduced the impact
of the enemy offensive." However, other factors to a great extent mitigated this achievement. Numerous reports
described attacks on other dates in other areas. In addition, there was a lack of awareness of the full scope of the
offensive since the enemy, in emphasizing security even over coordination, had "compartmented" his plans for attack.
Despite the abundance of intercepted messages and reports, the exact timing and the scale of the offensive had not

been determined beforehand. Not surprisingly, most of those who knew about the coming enemy attack "did not
visualize the enemy as capable of accomplishing his stated goals as they appeared in propaganda and in captured
documents." Finally, the "urgency" of the attacks felt by those on the ground in Vietnam was not immediately grasped in
Washington. (Ibid.)
The final report to PFIAB evaluating the quality of U.S. intelligence before and during Tet, completed on June 7, was
received by President Johnson on June 11. The conclusions of the report were:
"a. that the intelligence at hand contributed to the decision on January 25 to cancel the Tet truce in I Corps and to
General Westmoreland's action on January 30 putting U.S. commanders on full alert throughout all of South Vietnam
just prior to the main attacks;
"b. that intelligence contributed substantially to the result that the attacks on the cities were beaten off and that no
permanent lodgements were achieved;
"c. that the intelligence bearing on the Tet offensive proved adequate in that it alerted U.S. commanders in time to
permit them to carry out their missions successfully and, therefore, there are no grounds to support the charge of a
major intelligence failure;
"d. that the finished intelligence assessments and reporting at the Washington level did not convey the same sense of
urgency of the developing military situation as those reaching decision-makers in Saigon and often arrived too late to
satisfy the demands of senior officials for prompt information."
PFIAB recommended that the "normal intelligence process" be examined for ways in which its defects could be
overcome. (Memorandum from Taylor to the President, June 7; Johnson Library, National Security File, Intelligence File,
PFIAB, Vol. 2)

85. Telegram From the President's Special Assistant (Rostow) to President Johnson in Texas/1/
Washington, February 24, 1968, 1546Z.
/1/Source: Johnson Library, National Security File, NSC History of the March 31st Speech, Vol. 3, Tabs A-Z and AA-QQ.
Top Secret; Sensitive. Received at the LBJ Ranch on February 23 at 11:17 a.m.
CAP 80542. Herewith Bus and Westy respond to our query of yesterday/2/ with their picture of the situation.
/2/In telegram OSD 2175 to Wheeler and Westmoreland, February 23, Rostow wrote: "Roughly speaking, our
appreciation of the situation, as seen from here, runs about as follows: The enemy is preparing to strike in the Western
Highlands (Pleiku, Kontum, Dak To). He is apparently bringing major units in towards Saigon. He is, of course,
positioned to attack at both Khe Sanh and Quang Tri. He has forces around Hue and Danang; degree of readiness less
certain, although major contact northwest of Hue is reported. In the Delta, especially, but elsewhere as well, he is
moving rapidly to exploit the relative vacuum in the countryside to recruit in an effort to make up recent losses, to
expand rural control, and exert pressure on towns. The effort to close off Route 4 to deny food supplies to Saigon
continues, as well as the effort to keep Route 1 closed between Danang and Hue to limit military supplies to I Corps.
Diplomatically, the enemy is establishing a whole range of diplomatic contacts 'to explain his victories' and to keep lines
open for a later negotiating offensive. We now estimate that more than 60,000 were used in the first wave of attacks at
Tet made up as follows: 37 percent North Vietnamese units; 29 percent VC main forces; 34 percent VC local forces. CIA
estimates that main force units (North Vietnamese and VC), estimated by MACV at 115,000 in December, were higher
than that at Tet. 'Over half' of main forces are available for follow-on major attacks. There is the suggestion in
intelligence that additional North Vietnamese regulars are being brought south--perhaps two additional divisions. It may
well be that the enemy is about to make a virtually total effort with the capital he has in hand. He may then try to lock us
into a negotiation at his peak position before we can counterattack. In particular, he may try to dissipate Westy's
reserves by simultaneous attacks at a number of places and take Khe Sanh, if possible. In what way would your
appreciation on the spot conform or differ from this thumb-nail sketch?" (Ibid.)
From here the enemy situation looks like this:
I Corps--The enemy attacked Khe Sanh yesterday with a heavy attack by fire and continues to adjust his fire to increase
the effectiveness of his artillery. The threat to Quang Tri has been reduced somewhat and now consists of the 803rd
Regiment attempting to interdict the Cua Viet River, north of Quang Tri City, and the 812th Regiment attempting to cut

Route 1 south of Quang Tri City. There are at least eight equivalent combat effective battalions threatening Hoi An and
Danang. The battle at Hue involves about eight combat effective battalion equivalents and the fighting is heavy as the
enemy attempts to hang on in the city. There is extensive supply activity in A-Shau Valley, and the enemy is building a
road from the valley to join Highway 547 which runs to Hue. We have no information on what troop units are located in
A-Shau.
II Corps--The enemy is tactically deployed to conduct offensive operations in the Dak To area. He is capable of
conducting ground attacks with seven battalions of the 1st NVA Division supported by elements of the 40th Artillery
Regiment. Available evidence indicates that these attacks can be initiated at any time. In Kontum City, the relocation of
major units coupled with evidence of detailed planning indicates an offensive action against the city with as much as
three infantry and two sapper battalions at any time. In Pleiku City, the enemy does not pose an immediate major threat
at this time. He is however, capable of attacks by fire and harassment type activity.
III Corps--The three regiments of the 9th VC Division remain in the northern and western Gia Dinh Province. Elements
of the 101st NVA Division have been identified north of Saigon, and a PW from the 141st NVA Regiment, captured in
southern Binh Duong stated his battalion was following two others to Gia Dinh. Airborne direction finding located a
terminal serving the 2nd Battalion, 274th VC Regiment on 23 February in eastern Gia Dinh. Thus, elements of three
divisions threaten Saigon, although some of them have been hit hard in the past weeks.
IV Corps--The enemy is currently attempting to capitalize on the fact that ARVN forces in the Delta have been forced to
concentrate upon the defense of urban centers throughout the area. While keeping his maneuver units within striking
distance of the major cities and lines of communication, his efforts in the rural areas have centered around recruitment
and anti-GVN/US propaganda. It is not clear, however, that he is moving rapidly to exploit the situation in the
countryside throughout the corps. During recent weeks the enemy has been able to successfully interdict Highway 4
throughout the Delta. Road blocks, cratering, and harassing attacks have been used to bring traffic on this major
thoroughfare to a near standstill. We doubt the enemy believes that this will cut off food supply to Saigon.
Strength--About 60,000 enemy combat and combat support troops were committed in the first two days of the Tet
offensive. Up to 25 percent more were committed from the guerrillas, administrative services and political infrastructure.
Of the total, about 30 percent were NVA troops. In the three weeks since that time the enemy has committed additional
forces (five to seven battalions in I Corps, four battalions in II Corps, five to nine battalions in III Corps, and none in IV
Corps). Main force strength at the beginning of the offensive was about 133,000 due to the arrival of the 304th and
320th Divisions. About half of enemy's main force strength probably remains uncommitted, the most significant intact
elements being those at Khe Sanh, the DMZ, the Highlands, and four NVA regiments (2nd Division and 31st Regiment)
in the Danang-Hoi An area.
Reinforcement--Although a few PW's have stated that the 308th and 30th Divisions are in the DMZ, there is no credible
intelligence held by MACV indicating that additional divisions are in or near South Vietnam or enroute thereto. The NVA
divisions located in NVN have not exhibited any unusual communications patterns which would indicate southward
deployment, although the 308th Division is not currently isolated in SIGINT.
Summary--We agree with you that the enemy can conduct simultaneous large scale attacks against Khe Sanh, Hue,
Danang, Dak To, and Saigon. He will no doubt attack other towns and cities at the same time. With due consideration
for the location and strength of the enemy threat COMUSMACV has deployed his forces to be in the best posture to
counter these simultaneous attacks throughout the country.
While we are prepared to defend against multiple attacks, there is some evidence that the enemy may delay for weeks,
even months before initiating his next offensive. In the interim he will attempt to invest the cities and towns, attriting the
Air Force of the Republic of Vietnam and weakening the will of the civilians and their loyalty to the GVN. To capitalize on
any such delay, together with RVNAF we are proceeding with operations designed to destroy the enemy or to push him
away from the towns, while moving to reopen lines of communication and reassert friendly presence in the countryside

Foreign Relations, 1964-1968, Volume VI, Vietnam, January-August 1968


Released by the Office of the Historian
Documents 86-94

86. Memorandum From the Chairman of the Board of National Estimates, Central Intelligence Agency (Smith) to
Director of Central Intelligence Helms/1/
Washington, February 26, 1968.
/1/Source: Johnson Library, National Security File, NSC History of the March 31st Speech, Vol. 3, Tabs RR-ZZ and a-d.
Secret. Prepared by the CIA's Office of National Estimates. In an attached covering memorandum transmitting a copy of
this CIA memorandum to the President, February 27, Rostow wrote: "I have marked the key passages in this CIA
document on the outlook in Vietnam. So far as the decisions before you are concerned, paragraphs 11 and 13, sidelined
in red (pp. 5-6), are critical. Whether 'the U.S. and ARVN regain the initiative' is really what your decision in the days
ahead is about." This memorandum was part of the backup material considered by the Clifford Task Force. See
Document 100.
SUBJECT
The Outlook in Vietnam
1. This Memorandum does not seek to explore all aspects of the situation in Vietnam, or its probable development over
a long term. It is addressed only to the specific question put to us, i.e., whether developments in Vietnam are apt to
involve a continuation of combat into the indefinite future at a level comparable or higher than current levels, or whether
it is more probable that either the VC or the GVN will be unable to sustain such a level beyond a few months.
2. The current phase of combat will have a critical bearing on the further course of the war and may even prove to be
decisive. We cannot be sure how long this phase will last, but it seems likely that by early summer the immediate results
and the longer term implications will be fairly clear to Hanoi, Saigon, and Washington. At present, the key questions
concern: (1) the capabilities of the Communist forces to sustain their current challenge, and whether they can continue
the fighting thereafter, and (2) the capabilities of the South Vietnamese political and military establishment to cope with
the tasks imposed by the present Communist offensive.
Communist Plans and Prospects
3. Hanoi's aims in the present offensive phase are: to register significant military successes against US and especially
ARVN forces, and to inflict such heavy losses, physical destruction and disorganization on the GVN as to produce a
total situation favorable to a negotiated settlement on Communist terms. The Communists are not likely to have a rigid
timetable, but they probably hope to achieve decisive results during the course of the summer. The high importance
which Hanoi now attaches to forcing the issue is evident from the risks and costs of the enterprise.
4. The toll on Communist forces has been considerable, even if reported casualties are greatly inflated by inclusion of
low level recruits and impressed civilians. To some extent these losses have been offset by measures already taken.
Heavy infiltration of both new units and replacements from the North is continuing. A strenuous, last minute recruitment
effort was made prior to the Tet attacks. A significant part of the guerrilla and main forces could still be committed. And,
at present, the Communists enjoy fuller access to the rural areas, where they are recruiting heavily. They will probably
be able to recoup their recent losses, though at some sacrifice in quality.
5. In any case, the Communists probably will maintain their offensive for the next several months and be prepared to
accept the high losses this entails. They cannot accept such losses indefinitely, however, and they probably will not be
capable again of launching repeated mass attacks of the magnitude and widespread scale of 30-31 January. But they
are almost certainly capable of sustaining a high level of combat, including major battles with US forces, assaults on
selected cities, and rocket and mortar attacks on urban areas and military installations.
6. It is possible that the Communists regard the present campaign as so critical to the outcome of the war that they will
commit their full resources to a maximum effort in the near term. On balance, however, we think it likely that even if their
present push falls short they will wish to be able to sustain a protracted struggle. Hence they will probably not exercise
their capabilities in such a profligate manner as to deny themselves the possibility of continuing the struggle should the
present phase fail to produce a decisive result./2/
/2/In a February 27 memorandum entitled "Hanoi's Appraisal of Its Strategic Position Prior to the Current Offensive," the
CIA used a captured North Vietnamese assessment of September 1, 1967, to show the rationale behind the DRV's
belief that it was favored increasingly in the strategic balance while the U.S.-GVN's military position was always in

decline. As a result, the memorandum concluded that the North Vietnamese would continue to press the offensive
begun at Tet "even at the cost of serious setbacks." (Central Intelligence Agency, Executive Registry Subject Files, Job
80-R01580R, 285. Tet Offensive)
GVN/ARVN Prospects
7. The will and capability of the GVN and its armed forces remain the keys to the eventual outcome.
8. In the main, the ARVN has acquitted itself fairly well since 30 January, though the record is uneven. Morale has held
up on the whole, and we know of no unit defections. However, the ARVN is showing signs of fatigue and in many areas
it has now lapsed into a static defensive posture. Security in the countryside has been sharply reduced. A long and
costly effort would have to be undertaken to regain the pre-Tet position. It is highly unlikely that the ARVN will be
inspired enough or strong enough to make such an effort--certainly not in the near future.
9. The GVN also performed adequately in the immediate emergency, particularly in the Saigon area. There now appears
to be a greater recognition of the need to push forward with additional measures, but the Communist challenge has not
yet proved a catalyst in stimulating an urgent sense of national unity and purpose.
10. The overall position of the government has been weakened. Its prestige has suffered from the shock of the Tet
offensive; its control over the countryside has been greatly reduced. Popular attitudes are confused and contradictory;
the Viet Cong received virtually no popular support, but neither was there a rallying to the government side. Passivity is
likely to continue as the dominant attitude in most of the population, but further military defeats could cause a sudden
swing away from the government. While the central authority in Saigon is unlikely to collapse, its ability to provide
energetic leadership throughout the country and all levels is in serious doubt. It is possible that over the next few months
certain provinces, especially in I and IV Corps, will be lost to Saigon's effective authority.
11. The psychological factor is now critical for South Vietnam's whole political-military apparatus. The widespread
rumors that the US conspired with the Communists are symptomatic of popular anxieties over the future course of the
war and US attitudes toward a political settlement. As yet, however, there are no signs of a crisis of confidence within
the government.
12. If major military reverses occur, the political and military apparatus could degenerate into general ineffectualness. If,
on the other hand, US and ARVN regain the initiative and inflict some conspicuous setbacks on the Communists and the
general offensive appears to be contained, then the GVN might manifest new energy and confidence and draw new
support to itself. On balance, we judge that the chances are no better than even that the GVN/ARVN will emerge from
the present phase without being still further weakened.
Alternative Outcomes of Present Phase
13. We believe that the Communists will sustain a high level of military activity for at least the next two or three months.
It is difficult to forecast the situation which will then obtain, given the number of unknowable factors which will figure. Our
best estimate is as follows:
a. The least likely outcome of the present phase is that the Communist side will expend its resources to such an extent
as to be incapable thereafter of preventing steady advances by the US/GVN.
b. Also unlikely, though considerably less so, is that the GVN/ARVN will be so critically weakened that it can play no
further significant part in the military and political prosecution of the struggle.
c. More likely than either of the above is that the present push will be generally contained, but with severe losses to both
the GVN and Communist forces, and that a period will set in during which neither will be capable of registering decisive
gains.
For the Board of National Estimates:
Abbot Smith
Chairman

87. Telegram From the Department of State to the Embassy in Italy/1/

Washington, February 27, 1968, 0332Z.


/1/Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1967-69, POL 27-14 VIET/KILLY.
Secret; Nodis; Killy. Drafted by Harriman and Heywood Isham (EA/VN); cleared by Bundy, Katzenbach, and George
Kelly (S/S); and approved by Rusk and Harriman. Repeated to the White House. Beginning in January 1967, Italian
Ambassador to South Vietnam Giovanni D'Orlandi and North Vietnamese Ambassador to Czechoslovakia Phan Van Su
met intermittently at Prague. Following these exchanges, which lasted through January 1968, Su came to Rome and
met with Italian Foreign Minister Amintore Fanfani on February 5 and 6. According to Fanfani, Su suggested the
possibility of the DRV opening contacts after a cessation of bombing. Su rejected reciprocity but noted that his
government might take certain "favorable meas-ures" as talks progressed. On February 7 Italian Ambassador to the
United States Egidio Ortona read to Rusk a telegram from his government summarizing the contacts and emphasizing
the step forward made by Hanoi. A story about these contacts appeared in the Italian press on February 12.
(Memorandum from Bundy to Rusk, February 12, and attached translated note from Ortona to Rusk, February 7; ibid.,
EA Files: Lot 71 D 461, Killy--DD's Background, and memorandum of conversation between Fanfani and Su, February
5; ibid., Killy (extra copies and drafts))
120937. Ref: Rome 4418, 4419, 4422, 4429, 4440, 4441./2/ From Harriman for Davidson.
/2/In telegrams 4418, 4419, and 4422 from Rome, all February 23, and 4440 from Rome, February 26, Davidson
reported on his February 22 discussion with Fanfani and D'Orlandi concerning statements made by Su during his
meetings with Fanfani. A summary of the Killy contacts appears in telegram 4429 from Rome, February 24. In telegram
4441 from Rome, February 26, Davidson recommended in favor of a trip to Prague by D'Orlandi, during which D'Orlandi
could "try to obtain an agreement on requirements of no advantage" and to get a firm statement from Su on the number
of days between a bombing halt to the opening of negotiations. (National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59,
Central Files 1967-69, POL 27-14 VIET/KILLY)
1. The full reports of your conversations with Fanfani and d'Orlandi have been most useful in evaluating this North
Vietnamese approach. On the basis of what the Italians have told you about the substance and background of these
conversations, and particularly in the light of the serious attitude the Italians have taken, we agree that we should give a
constructive response to the proposal that d'Orlandi make another visit to Prague as suggested by Ambassador Su. We
certainly do not wish to give the Italians the impression we are being negative on following up any possible opening;
and, in any event, it would be useful to obtain further insight on just how seriously the North Vietnamese really do view
the Italian channel (we have doubts on this score).
2. However, under existing circumstances it would be unwise to suggest any new formulations (as you propose para 4
Rome 4419)/3/ which might give Hanoi the idea that we were weakening on the San Antonio position.
/3/In this paragraph, Davidson reported that he had suggested to Fanfani and D'Orlandi that the DRV could get around
the problem of openly accepting the San Antonio formula "if Hanoi stated that it recognized that during a period when
the U.S. was not bombing and while talks were continuing that such acts as attacks on U.S. positions in the area of the
DMZ, massive terror against the cities such as the Tet campaign or increased infiltration, would show bad faith on its
part and that it, of course, would never do anything that smacked of bad faith."
3. In view of the above, it would seem well to keep the Italian channel open for possible future use rather than to pursue
it actively at the present time.
4. You should therefore convey the following to Fanfani and d'Orlandi:
(a) Express our great appreciation for their (particularly Fanfani's) efforts and attention they have given to these
problems, as well as for the information and background that Fanfani's conversations with North Vietnamese
representatives have developed. Secretary Rusk is personally most grateful for Fanfani's interest and effort in this
matter.
(b) You should explain to Fanfani that Hanoi has made a number of different approaches to other interested
governments since the Tet offensive although they are of more recent date and none of these has been as skillfully and
knowledgeably handled as that made through Fanfani. However, it appears to us that Hanoi is undertaking a combined
diplomatic and propaganda offensive rather than showing a serious intention to negotiate in good faith at the moment. It
would be useful for the Italians to try to discover whether the North Vietnamese look upon contacts with the Italians as
expressing a serious negotiating position or as part of a rather widespread exercise to impress a variety of governments.
(c) As you suggest in Reftel 4441, it appears useful for d'Orlandi to visit Prague in order to tell Su:
1) His statements have been communicated to the US and after careful analysis did not seem to US Government to be

any more forthcoming than public statements of Hanoi. If Hanoi has any intention of conveying anything new, Su should
be requested to point it out.
2) D'Orlandi might on his own responsibility explore with Su anything that Su could suggest which would be more
definite on timing and particularly any statements Hanoi would be willing to make as to their intentions relating to the
military problem of "no advantage." D'Orlandi may draw on explanations you have provided him as to meaning of San
Antonio formula./4/ FYI We have been informed by French and through U Thant on information he received from French
that negotiations would start immediately if we announced publicly unconditional cessation of bombing and other acts of
war against NVN./5/ Therefore there is no value in making an issue of this point through Su. End FYI.
/4/Telegram 4590 from Rome, March 4, reported on D'Orlandi's March 1 meeting in Prague with Su. According to
D'Orlandi, Su came close to confirming the San Antonio formula by reportedly implying that the North Vietnamese would
not launch or continue offensive operations in South Vietnam if the bombing had ceased and talks had begun. (National
Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1967-69, POL 27-14 VIET/KILLY) Lodge reported that he
was told by D'Orlandi that the North Vietnamese were prepared to agree that "they would not take advantage of a U.S.
bombing pause to improve their military position." (Telegram 134985 to Rome, March 22; ibid.) An analysis of Killy is in
a memorandum from Hughes to Rusk, March 22. (Ibid.)
/5/Goldberg reported this information received from U Thant in telegram 3886 from USUN, February 22. (Ibid.)
3) In addition, d'Orlandi might wish to point out to Su that since Hanoi had rejected San Antonio formula, Americans had
asked number of questions. For example, does this mean that Hanoi feels free to move men and supplies to the South
as they did during the Tet truce last year? Would Hanoi feel free to move troops to the DMZ area in positions to attack
US forces south of the DMZ? Would Hanoi consider it has the right to intensify artillery and other fire across the DMZ
into US positions in South Viet-Nam?
5. If the Italians express disappointment at the lack of detail in this message, please tell them that we are
understandably cautious because of the major military operations now in progress or being planned by North Viet-Nam
in the DMZ and the Laos Panhandle. We cannot ignore Hanoi's actions on the ground in interpreting what Hanoi's
intentions may be.
6. We agree Davidson should remain in Rome to debrief d'Orlandi immediately following his return (Rome 4421)./6/
/6/Dated February 23. (Ibid.)
Rusk

88. Memorandum From the Ambassador's Special Assistant (Lansdale) to the Ambassador to Vietnam
(Bunker)/1/
Saigon, February 27, 1968.
/1/Source: Johnson Library, National Security File, Country File, Vietnam, 8 E (1), 7/67-3/68, Lansdale Memos to
Rostow. Secret. In an attached covering memorandum transmitting this memorandum to Rostow, February 29, Lansdale
wrote: "Ellsworth Bunker asked each of us in the Mission Council to assess the period of the Tet offensive for him. Since
he undoubtedly will want to compile a balanced account, based on the wide variety of assessments he gets, I don't want
to prejudice his report in Washington. Thus, I enclose my personal assessment on an 'eyes only' basis to give you a
personal insight into how this all looked to my little group, with the reminder that others will be broadening the view." A
MACV analysis of the Tet offensive and recommendations for action are in an untitled report dated March 15. (Ibid.,
William C. Westmoreland Papers, #30 History File, 1-31 Mar 68 [1])
SUBJECT
Evaluation of Tet Offensive
As desired by you, the Senior Liaison Office submits herein its spot evaluation of the enemy's Tet offensive. It contains
both my personal opinion and also the opinions of the members of my staff (David Hudson, Calvin Mehlert and Charles
Sweet). It's our first total attempt at sorting out and considering the lump sum of what we've seen in the Saigon-Cholon
area, what we've read in reports, and what we've heard from a wide variety of Vietnamese and other contacts. Here,
then, is our evaluation:

In Brief
The enemy adopted the meanest attribute of the "Year of the Monkey," that of vicious trickery, to change the nature of
the war in Viet Nam at the start of the lunar year. It will mark how the war is waged from now on. The high cost of the
enemy was not vital to him. It could be made vital, if there were retribution from an aroused Vietnamese population who
were led with more spark and spunk than the present Neville Chamberlain style of Vietnamese leadership. As it is, the
enemy has the initiative in this war a month after Tet. Today, too many Vietnamese civilians and soldiers have a sinking
feeling in their guts that the enemy is going to outwit us with this initiative. It will take some tough political and
psychological judo on top of military muscle to throw down the enemy. There are initial thoughts about this at the end of
the paper.
Pre-Tet
As a starting point, it would be useful to keep in mind the look of things in the enemy's "target area" before the attack.
The enemy's immediate target was urban/suburban South Viet Nam, where the bulk of the people supporting the GVN
live. On the eve of Tet, this target area presented a picture with many encouraging overtones. Although it also had less
pleasing undertones, such as the threat of a full-scale invasion from the North and the debilitating effect of official GVN
corruption, these had been identified as problems and pertinent solutions were being tackled.
There was a fledgling Constitutional Government, elected by the people, learning to behave as an administrativeexecutive-legislative team; it had plans for progress and reform after Tet. There were more than a million and a quarter
men under arms, including some 700,000 Vietnamese backed up by U.S. and Allied forces; RVNAF in many places had
pushed out actively into the countryside after the smaller enemy, killing him at a high ratio, fighting him further and
further away from cities and towns. There was an energetic, nation-wide "pacification" campaign to win back the
countryside, with a heavy infusion of U.S. managerial techniques and with Americans to oversee the use of these
techniques at every Vietnamese echelon. There was a stirring among the Vietnamese political elements towards the
broadening of alliances, towards getting better roots among the people, as moves towards the founding of new political
parties. The people of the population centers had a new feeling of more security; there was more safety from the terror
of the enemy and there was more money to buy food and gifts for the family celebrations of Tet.
At Tet
The enemy moved into this target area at Tet, with effective new military weapons, with a hard core of dedicated fighting
men who evidently had top generals and political cadre amongst them to share in the dangers, and with a beguiling
exposition of political aims. The symbols of moral and political/administrative strength on our side were singled out for
denigration or destruction. Thus, the U.S. Embassy, the Presidential Palace, the JGS compound, the Hue Citadel, most
provincial headquarters, and police stations were attacked with great vigor; churches, temples, and pagodas were
occupied; leaders among the people were sought out for quick murder or kidnapping. Enemy troops fought hard, notably
so. Enemy troops behaved as good comrades towards the people, again notably so. Their new weapons were effective
against our armor, once again notably so. With all of this, there was attractive political talk of the war soon ending, of the
Americans making a deal and leaving Viet Nam to the Vietnamese, of the forming of a new government by the people.
The enemy who came into the cities and fought openly has been crushed militarily, with great loss of life to him, to our
military, and to civilians, along with much destruction of public and private property. The physical wounds of the enemy's
Tet offensive are being healed through a relief and recovery program which could ease the memory of them to a large
extent within this year. The psychological wounds of the enemy's Tet offensive are different, deeper, more dangerous. If
too little is done too late, the psychological wounds can fester and be fatal for us. The Tet offensive demonstrated that
the enemy is still waging "people's war." He got in among the majority of the people on our side this time. Although he
failed in his proclaimed objective of getting the people to rise up against the GVN and the Americans, the enemy has
shaken the faith of the people in the ultimate success of our side. An enemy as skilled as this one in the manipulation of
mass opinions can be expected to keep up the attack at a point he can recognize as being vulnerable.
One psychological fuse was lit during Tet that might bring a delayed explosion. It deserves attention. Both Vietnamese
and American combat forces fought the enemy right out in plain view of hundreds of thousands of articulate city
dwellers, the "home folks," instead of far off in the remote countryside or jungle. The Vietnamese home folks not only
saw the brutal face of war up close, they also saw RVNAF in a harsh comparison with both Americans and the enemy.
The comparison could become invidious, since RVNAF did not always show up well. From some of the emotional
outbursts of civilian and military "young Turks" since then, it can be deduced that there is some feeling of shame among
them. If reaction to this shame or "loss of face" is improperly channeled, it could turn into a virulent type of antiAmericanism as people acknowledge the obvious fact that the country would have been lost to the enemy if it weren't for
American actions. The "young Turks" must be given a good way of "gaining face" again, fast.
Enemy Objectives

When attempting to assess results of the enemy Tet offensive, we should ask what objectives the Communist leaders
sought to attain. They told their combatants that people in urban areas would rise up against the government, that
ARVN units would defect, and that "revolutionary" committees would be able to take over the administration in many
cities. They also told their shock forces that reinforcements would arrive after the first period of battle.
The people and ARVN failed to respond to the Communist appeal, reinforcements failed to appear, and the cities remain
under GVN control. Furthermore, the enemy took serious losses. On the surface, it would appear the Communists failed
and that, on balance, their offensive resulted in a stronger position for the GVN.
However, it is likely that the Communists, while hoping to attain the larger goals, knew that the chance for success was
uncertain, and had other, longer-range, goals in mind, such as:
--striking fear into the hearts of the urban population by demonstrating the inability of the government to provide
adequate security.
--terrorizing and demoralizing government civil and military personnel, and their families, the bulk of whom live in urban
areas.
--exacerbating existing tensions among top GVN leaders by confronting them with a major crisis, which caused them to
view one another in frustration, anxiety, and fear.
--straining American/Vietnamese relations for the same reasons as above, and for others, i.e., seeking to portray the
images that U.S. firepower destroyed the Vietnamese cities; that Americans in Viet Nam still live affluently while their
Vietnamese allies are without homes, food, etc.
--increasing pressure on the U.S. at home and abroad to withdraw, by seeking to demonstrate the hopelessness of
victory and the immorality of our cause (for example, the image of U.S. firepower destroying friendly Vietnamese cities).
--forcing the government to abandon its efforts to expand its areas of authority in the countryside (i.e., the RD program)
by compelling it to concentrate on urban defense and recovery; or, alternatively, forcing the government to spread its
resources so thinly that it is unable to do anything effective anywhere.
Enemy Gains
The urban population, at least in Saigon-Cholon, is still somewhat fearful, unsure of the ability of the GVN to face
repeated armed challenges in the cities. (For example, on the night of February 24, more than three weeks after the
opening of the Tet offensive, VC were reported calling at the homes of people on Ly Nam De Street, District 5, asking
for food. The people had no alternative but to provide food since there was no police protection on the streets after dark.
Many people in Cholon believe stories that the VC have been cutting off the hands of persons who work for Americans.)
The excessive burden of the demands created by the offensive has further weakened the GVN executive branch which
was already plagued by diffusion of power and internal political conflicts. The full powers required for handling the
emergency were not invested in the Central Relief Committee nor were they effectively assumed by the President,
causing considerable tension within the GVN as a result of its inability to act decisively in a critical period.
Destruction resulting from U.S./GVN bombing and artillery firepower has created some deep resentment against the
U.S. and Vietnamese governments, particularly in the refugee camps where Viet Cong agitators are at work. Viet Cong
atrocities have created mostly fear but not wide-spread antagonism, except in families which suffered personal losses.
Viet Cong propaganda still seems to have more credibility with the people, on this point, than does the information
campaign on our side. This can still be reversed, but time is running out.
The Viet Cong have sown the seeds of suspicion and distrust. The rumor of U.S./Viet Cong collusion in the attack is still
alive, still talked about among the people. The allegations of Communist infiltration into private organizations, and
collaboration by certain individuals with the Viet Cong, have also generated suspicions and have led the government to
be overly cautious and at times suppressive in their dealings with private individuals and associations. (The arrest of
CVT labor leaders at the moment they were generating an anti-Communist drive hurt our side, helped the enemy
cause.)
Public criticism of U.S. policy in Viet Nam has intensified in the U.S. and elsewhere abroad.
GVN resources have necessarily been spread more thinly. In many areas of the countryside, RD teams and RVNAF

units have been drawn back into more urban locations, inviting VC takeover of areas formerly under GVN control.
GVN Response
The government's response, beyond defending and restoring security in the urban areas, centered on the formation of
the People's Relief Committee headed by Vice President Ky. This Committee performed commendably in coordinating
and expediting the emergency welfare relief measures of the involved GVN and U.S. agencies, including such action as:
a. the re-supplying of Saigon and the shipping of emergency relief goods to the provinces;
b. the distribution of rice and food to the refugees and public and the re-opening of rice retail shops with strict
government price controls;
c. the protection and repair of public utilities, allowing services to continue throughout the emergency;
d. the resettling and registering of the 150,000 Saigon refugees;
e. the intensification of the government's psychological operation by giving each refugee camp a radio and television,
improving the news coverage on radio, and assisting 15 daily newspapers to begin publication;
f. the soliciting of funds, supplies, blood and labor from Vietnamese private organizations and individuals and third
countries;
g. the gradual lifting of restrictions and extension of the blue (secure) areas in Saigon;
h. the collection and burning of garbage; and
i. the deployment of inspection teams to the provinces and establishment of a system for culling all pertinent data for
Saigon and provinces.
Additionally, the imaginative action of assigning 2,500 RD cadre from Vung Tau to work in Saigon, the noteworthy
performances of the Ministry of Health and the City Sanitation and Fire Departments throughout the entire emergency;
and the visits of GVN officials to stricken areas brought definite political/psychological gains to the government.
Both Houses in the National Assembly became actively engaged in the relief effort. Initially, each House sent
representatives to attend the meetings of the Central Relief Committee. Senators and Lower House Deputies also
inspected refugee camps and damaged areas in Saigon and the provinces; Lower House Deputies unable to return to
Saigon assisted the provincial officials in the initial relief efforts. Both Houses have issued communiques supporting the
government's emergency relief efforts and have requested assistance for the victims from national legislatures of other
countries.
Despite these positive actions, the GVN so far has been unable to capitalize on the opportunity the Tet offensive
presented and emerge in a stronger position. Perhaps the principal reason for this is the excessive diffusion of executive
and political power which is largely the result of the continuing rivalry between the Thieu and Ky camps. As a result,
there has been no clear central point of executive and political leadership during the emergency. Because of this key
executive decisions have been delayed or not made, particularly those involving joint civil/military considerations (for
example, the curfew), and a trend has developed toward creation of two rival political Fronts.
Popular Response
The enemy's biggest "calculated risk" in the Tet offensive was on how the people in the GVN centers would respond to
him. True, the enemy asked for public uprising against the GVN and the Americans, which he failed to create. This was
a tactical loss to him. The enemy's strategy still will aim for creating an eventual surge of popular support for his cause
against ours in the urban/suburban population centers of Viet Nam. The enemy undoubtedly has this aspect of his Tet
offensive under intense study right now.
The Communists must make sure that the people's reactions to their Tet violence do not crystallize into a purposeful
hatred directed in an effective way against them. The enemy made this mistake against the Catholics and the Hoa Hao
years ago. He risked doing it again with other large groups of Vietnamese, by his Tet attack. However, he seems to be
getting away with it, although the final psychological effects are still not firm. The emotional flag-raising at the recaptured

Citadel in Hue, witnessed by so many thousands of teary-eyed residents, may well spark the nation-wide tide against
him that the enemy fears. However, there was no similar polarizing event in which the people could participate in Saigon
or other centers. The Hue ceremony could remain an isolated incident instead of becoming the focal rallying point (such
as "Remember the Alamo," "Remember the Maine," "Remember Pearl Harbor").
The initial response of the Saigon-Cholon-Gia Dinh population to the Tet offensive was disbelief--some even thought a
coup was in process. As the critical nature of the situation became clear, concern for personal safety prevailed. The
people soon started to wonder why their government could not protect them; stories of American and Viet Cong
collusion in the offensive were widely spread and believed. As fear grew, there was a reluctance on the part of refugees
and even volunteers from private associations to become too closely associated with the government although this
feeling has now been reduced. On balance, although the people have appreciated the government's efforts to help
them, there has also been a tendency out of fear for the urban population to assume a more moral neutral stance.
Political personalities, ARVN officers, civil servants, Northern Catholics, and other strongly anti-Communist groups also
reacted initially with fear, for they would lose the most in a Viet Cong takeover; also, for the first time, the war was
brought to their doorsteps. As the shock wore off, however, many of the elements came to believe that this may be the
last opportunity for "all nationalists to unite and save the nation."
At the moment, many of the people in the capital--and possibly the same is true elsewhere--feel isolated into just their
own family groups. Each family is an "island," separated apart from neighbors, the community, the government. In case
of another enemy attack, individuals will feel highly vulnerable, their main recourse to comfort or safety being only within
the immediate family. Much of this has been caused by the attitude and behavior of the police. Although the securing of
Saigon-Cholon owes a big debt to the energy and resourcefulness of General Loan, he also portrayed the image of an
emotionally unstable, suspicious, vindictive, and willful person. This image has rubbed off on the forces he commands,
further tarnishing their reputation for corrupt venality and saving their own hides in time of trouble. Unless this image is
changed, unless there is created some bond of trust and understanding between police and people, we will be leaving a
grievous chink in our armor for the enemy to exploit.
Challenge--Our Thoughts
The enemy's Tet offensive demonstrated once again the ability of Communist leaders to make a hard strategic decision,
marshal their resources in an extremely disciplined way, and deal us a hard blow. At present our strategy is less clear
and our resources are not being used in as concerted and disciplined a fashion as the enemy's at least in the political
sphere.
If we are to achieve our goal of having a strong, popularly-supported constitutional government and armed forces in
South Viet Nam, we must make some hard political decisions now and carry them out with teamwork, skill and discipline
of our own.
Specifically, I believe we must do the following:
(1) Help Nguyen van Thieu rapidly become a strong President, under the Constitution. This action has two closelyrelated facets: helping him develop his own capabilities as the elected leader of his country; and helping him acquire full
powers delegated to the President under the Constitution. At present, he has far too little authority over the key
elements of the executive branch, i.e., the cabinet, province chiefs, the police and the armed forces. Rapid emergence
of Thieu as a strong President with full authority is the first, and absolutely essential step, toward creation of a GVN that
works, that can really get things done, which is not the case today. Under a strong President, firm chains of command
could be established in both the civil service and armed forces. Until this is achieved, however, the GVN can only
muddle along in seeking to carry out critical programs, since the governmental mechanism for effective execution does
not exist. We can no longer tolerate a two-headed, Siamese-twin central government with four separate "governments"
between it and the people. Thieu and Ky, and their entourages, for many reasons, can never really work together to the
extent required, and we should not delude ourselves that they can.
(2) To assist Thieu, as discussed above, far more concerted U.S. political action is needed. As an immediate step, a
small political working group should be established under your personal direction, composed of Arch Calhoun, Lew
Lapham, a personal representative of General Westmoreland (such as Colonel John Hayes), General Forsythe and
myself.
(3) While helping Thieu consolidate presidential power under the Constitution, other critical actions should be taken to
create a political base which would complement and reinforce establishment of a strong executive/administrative base.
Immediate actions to create a political base include:
a. Real enforcement of the order recently issued by General Cao van Vien that looting by RVNAF personnel will result in

summary court-martial, and execution, if warranted. This order should include, if it does not already, squarely placing
responsibility for troop conduct on unit commanders. Another general order should be issued, and backed up, stating
that every officer and soldier has two duties of equal importance--to destroy the enemy, and to defend and help the
people--and that any misconduct toward the people will result in severe punishment. (This is a critical political action
because the armed forces, along with the police and RD cadre, remain the principal link between the government and
the people.)
b. Acts of political leadership, starting with Thieu, but also by all nationalist leaders, within and without the government,
which will create out of the emotions aroused by the Tet offensive, a new spirit of unity, sacrifice, pride and hope among
Vietnamese nationalists. Full support by Thieu for the "People's Congress," as a single, united popular Front for
emergency purposes, is one such leadership act critically needed now.
c. Create psychological polarity to focus the people's emotions against the enemy as a beast who must be stopped. This
can be done through a concerted campaign built around the battle-cry of "Remember Hue!". This requires a continuing
revelation of information about what the enemy did to unarmed civilians and to cherished national heritages in Hue,
through media that will spread these stories to the widest extent possible, over and over again. One such medium is the
Vietnamese ballad; a song is needed, to be sung throughout the country, carried there by VIS, RD cadre, and student
choral groups. "Remember Hue!" can be the theme of an address to the nation by President Thieu, of manifestos and
speeches by patriots in the new "Fronts." "Remember Hue!" can be included in general orders of RVNAF, used by
troops in counter-offensive operations. "Remember Hue!" can be imprinted with postal cancellation marks on all mail in
Viet Nam. We must beat the Communists to the punch, before they use "Remember Hue!" first.
d. Help put a stop to indiscriminate expressions of Sinophobia among the Vietnamese in urban centers, particularly
Saigon-Cholon. You and the rest of us in the U.S. Mission can make a point of this when talking with Vietnamese
leaders. President Thieu can be urged to meet with responsible and respected leaders of the Chinese-ancestry
"congregations" in Cholon, to learn what has happened to them and what they have contributed to our common cause,
to get a fix on enemy activities among those of Chinese blood, and to exchange pledges of mutual teamwork in the face
of national peril. Viet Nam Press can do a feature news item on the favorable actions by the Sino-Vietnamese of Cholon;
there have been heroic acts, heavy donations of money, goods, and services in this crisis. We in the U.S. Mission could
see that this item is picked up by the world press, that it becomes known to police and other GVN officials where we
have an advisory effort. This would give fresh heart to those in Viet Nam's most crucial commercial circles, to get the
nation's economy moving again.
e. Devise a feasible means of mobilizing the entire Vietnamese people into the war effort, in an organized way that will
make good sense to them and gain their willing support. While this is especially needed by "young Turk" civilians and
soldiers to channelize their energies and emotions into constructive channels, many others in the population are in need
of having a practical, known way in which they can help against the enemy. The mobilization means and the duties
assigned (which include self-defense) have a highly political import. GVN organizations, such as the Ministries of
Interior, Youth, and RD, and the newly-formed "Fronts" have concepts on mobilizing the people against the enemy. The
U.S. Mission needs to crystallize its own policy on this matter, to gain maximum effect of U.S. support. It is urged that
this subject be given early study by the small, political working group described above.

89. Notes of Meeting/1/


Washington, February 27, 1968.
/1/Source: Johnson Library, National Security File, Country File, Vietnam, March 19, 1970 memo to the President on the
Decision to Halt the Bombing, 1967, 1968 [I]. No classification marking. The notes are handwritten by McPherson.
[PARTICIPANTS]
Rusk, McNamara, Clifford, Katzenbach, Bundy, Rostow, Califano and McPherson
McN: Westmoreland wants
105,000 by 1 May
100,000 in two increments: part by 1 Sept, part by 31 Dec
Total: 205,000 men, all but 25,000 (air) in Army and Marines.

This will require a sizeable reserve call-up (minimum 150,000) as well as increased draft. In total, an increase in
uniformed strength of 400,000.
In expenditures, at least $10 billion extra in FY 1964. With auto-matic $5 billion in FY 1970, this will put FY 1970 DOD
budget at $15 billion above current FY 1969 figure.
Alternatives for President's speech and program:
1) Go with full 205,000. Ask for present surtax request plus additional taxes. Announce economic program (possibly
controls on interest, production controls, etc.).
2) Go with full 205,000, economic program, and announce new peace offensive.
Rusk: Basis for peace in Southeast Asia: ending of Communist assaults in Laos, Thailand; we will stop bombing North
of 20th parallel if NVN withdraws from Quang Tri province; or stop altogether in that event; or other specific proposal.
McPherson: This is unbelievable and futile.
3) Status quo on forces, with a change in strategy. End US commitment to defend every province and district capital.
Protect essential areas. Fight enemy wherever he fights; end search and destroy.
4) (Clifford) Another possibility that should be considered--and I am not pushing it--is announcement that we intend to
put in 500,000 to million men.
McN: That has virtue of clarity. Obviously we would have decided to put in enough men to accomplish the job. That and
status quo both have the virtue of clarity. I do not understand what the strategy is in putting in 205,000 men. It is neither
enough to do the job, nor an indication that our role must change.
5) (Bundy) We must also prepare for the worst. SVN is very weak. Our position may be truly untenable. Contingency
planning should proceed toward possibility that we will withdraw with best possible face and defend rest of Asia. We can
say truthfully that Asia is stronger because of what we have done in past few years.
Katzenbach took call from Habib in Hawaii. Reports Habib is "less optimistic" about political situation in Saigon than he
was when he went out. Reports that there is serious disagreement in American circles in Saigon over 205,000 request.
Bunker has doubts about this.
Rusk: If we have to call up reserves, we should take some of our troops out of Europe. Europeans will have to put some
more in for their defense.
McN: Agree, if we call 400,000.
State of military situation:
Rusk, Rostow think enemy took beating in Tet offensive. Rostow says captured documents show enemy was
disappointed, may be unable to mount heavy coordinated attack on cities. Rusk reminds that enemy took 40,000
casualties. No US units out of operation. Rostow says if we can re-inforce Westm. now, he should be able to handle
situation until good weather comes to I Corps and NVN.
McN: What then? Let's not delude ourselves into thinking he cannot maintain pressure after good weather comes.
(Rostow apparently had air attacks in mind.)
McN: We are dropping ordnance at a higher rate than in last year of WWII in Europe. It has not stopped him.
Bundy: SVN forces uncertain, but almost certainly not as strong as were before. Assessment due from MACV on Feb
29.
Clifford: Look at situation from point of view of American public and Vietnamese. Despite optimistic reports, our people
(and world opinion) believe we have suffered a major setback. Problem is, how do we gain support for major program,
defense and economic, if we have told people things are going well? How do we avoid creating feeling that we are
pounding troops down rathole? What is our purpose? What is achievable? Before any decision is made, we must re-

evaluate our entire posture in SVN. Unfortunately Pres. has been at ranch with hawks.
McN: Agreed. Decision must not be hasty. Will take a week at least to work out defense and economic measures, if we
go big. Wheeler, Habib will meet with Secretaries Wednesday morning/2/ at breakfast with President. Decision should
certainly not be announced that night.
/2/February 28.
General impression: prevailing uncertainty. Radically different proposals were offered and debated, none rejected out of
hand. We are at a point of crisis. McNamara expressed grave doubts over military, economic, political, diplomatic and
moral consequences of a larger force buildup in SVN.
Q[uestion] is whether these profound doubts will be presented to President./3/
/3/In telegram CAP 80610 to the President at the LBJ Ranch, February 27, which notified him of this meeting, Rostow
wrote: "A wide range of views were stated and explored. The only firm agreement among Secretaries Rusk and
McNamara, Katzenbach, and Clifford was this: The troop issue raises many questions to which you ought to have clear
answers before making a final decision. Therefore, it is recommended that you not make a final decision at breakfas