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Foreign Relations of the United States, 1964–1968, Volume I, Vietnam, 1964

U.S. Reaction To Events in the Gulf of Tonkin, August 1–10


Document 255: Editorial Note


Document 256: Telegram From the Embassy in Vietnam to the Department of State

Source: Department of State, Vietnam Working Group Files: Lot 72 D 219, DeSoto Patrols, August. Confidential; Flash. Repeated to CINCPAC. Received at 8:46 a.m.


Document 257: Memorandum From the Duty Officer in the White House Situation Room to the President

Source: Johnson Library, National Security File, Vietnam Country File, Operation Pierce Arrow. No classification marking. Printed in part in Johnson, Vantage Point, p. 112. The President recalled that this memorandum was sent to him in his bedroom. Since his Daily Diary shows breakfast at 9 a.m., he must have received it before that time.


Document 258: Editorial Note


Document 259: Telegram From the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (Wheeler) to the Commander in Chief, Pacific (Sharp)

Source: Johnson Library, National Security File, Vietnam Country File, Maddox Incident. Secret; Immediate. Repeated to MACV, Saigon, the White House, CIA, the Department of Defense, and the Department of State, among others.


Document 260: Telegram From the Department of State to the Embassy in Vietnam

Source: Department of State, Central Files, POL 33–6 US–VIET N. Confidential; Flash. Drafted by William McAfee (INR) and cleared with Green, Hughes, and the Department of Defense.


Document 261: Telegram From the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of-Staff (Wheeler) to the Commander in Chief, Pacific (Sharp)

Source: Johnson Library, National Security File, Vietnam Country File, Maddox Incident. Secret; Flash. Repeated to Saigon, MACV, the White House, the Department of State, CIA, and the Department of Defense, among others.


Document 262: Telegram From the Embassy in Vietnam to the Department of State

Source: Department of State, Vietnam Working Group Files: Lot 72 D 219, DeSoto Patrols, August. Secret; Immediate; Limdis. Also sent to the White House, CIA, and the Department of Defense. Received at 12:15 a.m.


Document 263: Telegram From the Embassy in Vietnam to the Department of State

Source: Department of State, Central Files, POL 15–1 VIET S. Secret, Priority Exdis. Repeated to CINCPAC, the White House, ICS, and the Secretary of Defense.


Document 264: Telegram From the Embassy in Vietnam to the Agency for International Development

Source: Department of State, Central Files, AID (US) VIET S. Secret; Priority; Limit Distribution. Received at 11:12 a.m.


Document 265: Editorial Note


Document 266: Memorandum From the Chairman of the Vietnam Coordinating Committee (Forrestal) to the Secretary of State

Source: Department of State, Vietnam Working Group files: Lot 72 D 219, Maddox Incident. Top Secret. The source text bears the handwritten notation: “Secretary Saw.”


Document 267: Editorial Note


Document 268: Memorandum From the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs (Solbert) to the Secretary of Defense (McNamara)

Source: Washington National Records Center, RG 330, OSD/ISA Files: FRC 69 A 7425, Vietnam 381. Top Secret; Sensitive. Received in the Office of the Secretary of Defense at 4:49 p.m. The source text bears the stamp “Sec Def has seen.”


Document 269: Editorial Note


Document 270: Telegram From the Department of State to the Embassy in Vietnam

Source: Department of State, Central Files, POL 27 VIET S. Limited Official Use; Flash. Drafted by Corcoran (S/VN); cleared with Green, Forrestal, Harriman, Trueheart, Blouin, McGeorge Bundy, Ball, and others; and initialed by Rusk. The text of the protest is printed in Department of State Bulletin, August 24, 1964, p. 258.


Document 271: Telegram From the Department of State to the Embassy in Vietnam

Source: Department of State, Central Files, POL 33–6 US–VIET N. Top Secret; Immediate; Nodis. Drafted by Forrestal and initialed by Rusk.


Document 272: Editorial Note


Document 273: Editorial Note


Document 274: Memorandum of a Telephone Conversation Between the Secretary of State and the Secretary of Defense (McNamara)

Source: Department of State, Rusk Files: Lot 72 D 192, Telephone Conversations. No classification marking. Transcribed by Carolyn J. Proctor.


Document 275: Memorandum of a Telephone Conversation Between the Secretary of State and the Secretary of Defense (McNamara)

Source: Department of State, Rusk Files: Lot 72 D 192, Telephone Conversations. No classification marking. Transcribed by Proctor.


Document 276: Editorial Note


Document 277: Telegram From the Department of State to the Embassy in Thailand

Source: Department of State, Central Files, POL 33–6 US–VIET N. Secret; Flash; Nodis. Drafted by Trueheart, cleared with Ball, and initialed by William Bundy. Repeated to CINCPAC.


Document 278: Summary Notes of the 538th Meeting of the National Security Council

Source: Johnson Library, National Security File, NSC Meetings, Vol. 3, Tab 20. Top Secret; Sensitive; For the President Only. Drafted by Bromley Smith.


Document 279: Telegram From the Department of State to the Embassy in Vietnam

Source: Department of State, Vietnam Working Group Files: Lot 72 D 219, DeSoto Patrols, Aug. Top Secret; Flash; Exdis; Pierce Arrow. Drafted by Forrestal and cleared by William Bundy.


Document 280: Notes of the Leadership Meeting, White House

Source: Johnson Library, Meeting Notes File, August 4, 1964. No classification marking. Drafted by Walter Jenkins of the President's Staff. Attached to the source text were two notes dated August 24 and 25 concerning its drafting. One of these reads: “Put that on my desk—I'll need it every day. LBJ:JRJ 8/27/67.” In addition to the participants, Senator Kuchel and Representatives Vinson and Morgan were present. A 3–1/2–page summary of the meeting is ibid.


Document 281: Circular Telegram From the Department of State to Certain Diplomatic Missions

Source: Department of State, Central Files, POL 27 VIET S. Confidential; Immediate; Exdis; Pierce Arrow. Drafted by Green and Robert Creel (EUR) and initialed by William Tyler, Assistant Secretary of State for European Affairs. Sent to Bonn, Brussels, The Hague, Luxembourg, Paris (for the Embassy and USRO), and Rome and repeated to the other NATO capitals and Madrid. Similar messages were sent to 14 other capitals at 11:01 p.m. (Circular telegrams 222 and 223; ibid.) and at 11:02 individual messages were sent to New Delhi and Karachi. (Telegrams 266 and 136; ibid.) At 9:12 and 10:32, the U.S. representatives to NATO and SEATO were instructed to call sessions of their organizations to report on the U.S. position (Topol 198 and telegram 175 to Bangkok; ibid.)


Document 282: Message From President Johnson to Prime Minister Macmillan

Source: Department of State, Central Files, POL 33–6 US–VIET N. Top Secret; Immediate; Nodis; Pierce Arrow. Transmitted to the Embassy in London in telegram 861, August 4, 9:41 p.m. with the explanation that the message had been sent to the Prime Minister by a separate channel. Telegram 861 is the source text.


Document 283: Message From President Johnson to Prime Minister Khanh

Source: Department of State, Central Files, POL 27 VIET S. Secret; Flash; Exdis; Pierce Arrow. Transmitted to the Embassy in Saigon in telegram 342, 9:47 p.m., for delivery to Khanh with President Johnson's statement (see Document 286). Telegram 342 is the source text.


Document 284: Telegram From the Commander in Chief, Pacific (Sharp) to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (Wheeler)

Source: Washington National Records Center, RG 319, HQDA Message Center, Reel 11885. Secret; Priority. According to another copy, this telegram was repeated by the JCS to the White House, CIA, NSA, and the Department of State at 8:47 p.m. and was received in the Department of State at 10:26 p.m. (Department of State, Central Files, POL 27 VIET S)


Document 285: Memorandum of a Telephone Conversation Between the Secretary of State in Washington and the Representative at the United Nations (Stevenson) in

Source: Department of State, Rusk Files: Lot 72 D 192, Telephone Conversations. No classification marking. Transcribed by Proctor.


Document 286: Editorial Note


Document 287: Telegram From the Embassy in Vietnam to the Department of State

Source: Department of State, Saigon Embassy Files: Lot 68 F 8. Top Secret; Flash; Exdis; Pierce Arrow. Received at 11:58 p.m., August 4. Drafted by Taylor. Also sent to the Department of Defense and repeated to CINCPAC, CIA, and the White House.


Document 288: Telegram From the Department of State to the Mission at the United Nations

Source: Department of State, Central Files, POL 27 VIET S. Confidential. Drafted by Cleveland.


Document 289: Telegram From the Embassy in Vietnam to the Department of State

Source: Department of State, Central Files, POL 27 VIET S. Secret Immediate; Exdis; Pierce Arrow. Also sent to the Department of Defense and repeated to CINCPAC, CIA, and the White House. Received at 6:09 a.m.


Document 290: Memorandum for the Record of the White House Staff Meeting

Source: National Defense University, Taylor Papers, T–202–69. Secret; Eyes Only. Drafted by William Y. Smith.


Document 291: Record of the Secretary of State's Staff Meeting

Source: Department of State, Secretary's Staff Meetings: Lot 66 D 147. Secret. Drafted by Richard T. Davies, Deputy Executive Secretary.


Document 292: Editorial Note


Document 293: Memorandum of a Telephone Conversation Between the Secretary of State and the Assistant Secretary of State for Far Eastern Affairs (Bundy)

Source: Department of State, Rusk Files: Lot 72 D 192, Telephone Conversations. No classification marking. Transcribed by June M. Robinson of the Operations Staff.


Document 294: Memorandum From the Assistant Secretary of State for International Organization Affairs (Cleveland) to the Secretary of State

Source: Department of State, Central Files, POL 27 VIET S/UN. Confidential. Drafted and initialed by Cleveland and sent to Rusk through S/S.


Document 295: Letter From Chairman Khrushchev to President Johnson

Source: Department of State, Presidential Correspondence: Lot 77 D 163. No classification marking. The Russian text of the signed original, which was handed to Ambassador Kohler at 9 p.m. on August 5 is ibid. Presumably this translation was made in the Embassy in Moscow.


Document 296: Memorandum From the Director of the Policy Planning Council (Rostow) to the Secretary of State

Source: Department of State, S/P Files: Lot 70 D 199, Vietnam. Secret. Initialed by Rostow and sent to Rusk through S/S. The source text bears the handwritten notation “Secretary Saw.” Also published in Declassified Documents, 1979, 92C.


Document 297: Editorial Note


Document 298: Memorandum of a Conversation, White House

Source: Department of State, President's Memoranda of Conversation: Lot 66 D 149. Confidential. Drafted by Cleveland and approved in the White House on August 17. U Thant held a similar conversation with Rusk at 1:15 p.m. during a working luncheon at the Department of State. (Ibid., Secretary's Memoranda of Conversation: Lot 65 D 330)


Document 299: Memorandum of a Telephone Conversation Between the Secretary of State and the Director of Central Intelligence (McCone)

Source: Department of State, Rusk Files: Lot 72 D 192, Telephone Conversations. No classification marking. Transcribed by Proctor.


Document 300: Telegram From the Embassy in Vietnam to the Department of State

Source: Department of State, Central Files, POL 27 VIET S. Top Secret; Exdis. Also sent to the Department of Defense and the White House. According to another copy, this telegram was drafted by Sullivan and signed for Taylor by Johnson. (Ibid., Saigon Embassy Files: Lot 68 F 8)


Document 301: Editorial Note


Document 302: Letter From President Johnson to Chairman Khrushchev

Source: Department of State, Presidential Correspondence: Lot 77 D 163. No classification marking. Also published in Declassified Documents, 1978, 315B.


Document 303: Telegram From the Commander, Military Assistance Command, Vietnam (Westmoreland) to the Commander in Chief, Pacific (Sharp)

Source: Washington National Records Center, RG 319, HQDA Message Center, Reel 11888. Top Secret. Repeated to the Embassy in Saigon and to the JCS.


Document 304: Telegram From the Department of State to the Embassy in Canada

Source: Department of State, Central Files, POL 27 VIET S. Top Secret; Immediate; Exdis. Drafted by William Bundy and cleared in draft with McNamara, Ball, and McGeorge Bundy. Also sent to Saigon. The message and a McNaughton draft of it, dated August 7, are printed in Pentagon Papers: Gravel Edition, vol. III, pp. 519–522.


Document 305: Telegram From the Embassy in Vietnam to the Department of State

Source: Department of State, Central Files, POL 33–6 US–VIET N. Secret; Priority; Limdis. Repeated to Bangkok, Vientiane, and CINCPAC. Also printed in Pentagon Papers: Gravel Edition, vol. 111, pp. 522–524.


Document 306: Telegram From the Embassy in Vietnam to the Department of State

Source: Department of State, Central Files, POL 27 VIET S. Secret; Priority; Exdis. Received at 10:07 a.m. and passed to the White House, the Department of Defense, and CIA later that day. A summary of the telegram is printed in Pentagon Papers: Gravel Edition, vol. III, pp. 530–533.


Document 307: Memorandum for the Record of a Meeting, Cabinet Room, White House

Source: Johnson Library, National Security File, Aides Files, McGeorge Bundy, Meetings on Southeast Asia, Vol. 1. Top Secret. Drafted by McGeorge Bundy.


Document 308: Editorial Note