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III. The McNamara-Taylor Mission To Vietnam and the McNamara Report, March 4–April 3


70. Memorandum of a Conversation Between the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the President,

Source: National Defense University, Taylor Papers, T–36–71. Top Secret. Drafted by Taylor.


71. Summary Record of the 523d Meeting of the National Security Council, White House,

Source: Johnson Library, National Security File, NSC Meetings, Vol. 1, Tab 4. Secret. Drafted by Bromley Smith. An attached attendance list indicates that 23 persons attended the Vietnam portion of the meeting.


72. Letter From the President to the Secretary of Defense (McNamara)

Source: Washington National Records Center, RG 330, McNamara Files: FRC 71 A 1470. Presidential Instructions. No classification marking.


73. Letter From the President to the Secretary of Defense (McNamara)

Source: Washington National Records Center, RG 330, McNamara Files: FRC 71 A 3470, Presidential Instructions. Secret.


74. Memorandum From the Secretary of Defense (McNamara) to the Members of the McNamara-Taylor Mission to Vietnam

Source: Department of State, Bundy Files, WPB Special Papers. Confidential. Addressed to Bell, McCone, McNaughton, William Bundy, Sullivan, and Sylvester who, with the addition of McNamara and Taylor, made up the mission to South Vietnam. They arrived in Saigon on March 8 and returned to Washington on March 12.


75. Memorandum for the Record by Brigadier General W.W. Stromberg of the Army General Staff

Source: National Defense University, Taylor Papers, T–233–69. Top Secret; US Eyes Only. Stromberg sent a copy of this memorandum to Lodge, Taylor, McNamara, and Harkins.


76. Memorandum Prepared by the Ambassador to France (Bohlen)

Source: Johnson Library, National Security File, Vietnam Country File, Vol. V. Confidential. Also published in Declassified Documents, 1976, 211H. Bohlen was in Washington for consultations. A note on the source text indicates that the President saw this memorandum and a covering note. The President met with Bohlen from 6:02 to 6:27 p.m. on March 12. Johnson Library, President’s Daily Diary) No record of this meeting has been found.


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

Source: Department of State, Central Files, POL 27 VIET S. Secret; Limdis. Repeated to CINCPAC. Taylor described this meeting in Swords and Plowshares, pp. 309–310.


78. Telegram From the Embassy in Vietnam to the Department of State

Source: Department of State, Central Files, POL 23 VIET S. Secret; Priority. Repeated to CINCPAC.


79. Memorandum From the President’s Special Assistant for National Security Affairs (Bundy) to the President

Source: Johnson Library, National Security File, McGeorge Bundy, Memos to the President, Vol. 11. No classification marking.


80. Memorandum From the Deputy Director for Intelligence (Cline) to the Director of Central Intelligence (McCone)

Source: Johnson Library, National Security File, Vietnam Country File, Vol. XXX, CIA. Secret.


81. Memorandum From the President’s Special Assistant for National Security Affairs (Bundy) to the President

Source: Johnson Library, National Security File, McGeorge Bundy, Memos to the President, Vol. II. No classification marking. Although there is no indication on the source text, this memorandum was presumably prepared in anticipation of the interview with the President by broadcast media representatives on March 15. See footnote 6, Document 79.


82. Memorandum From the Joint Chiefs of Staff to the Secretary of Defense (McNamara)

Source: Washington National Records Center, OASD/ISA Files: FRC 69 A 7425, Vietnam 381. Top Secret. A note on the source text indicates that McNamara saw this memorandum on April 2.


83. Memorandum From the President’s Special Assistant for National Security Affairs (Bundy) to the President

Source: Johnson Library, National Security Files, Memos to the President, McGeorge Bundy, Vol. II. Secret.


84. Memorandum From the Secretary of Defense (McNamara) to the President

Source: Johnson Library, National Security File, Vietnam Country File, Vol. V. Secret. Also printed in Pentagon Papers: Gravel Edition, vol. III, pp. 499–510 and published in Declassified Documents, 1978, 148A. On March 16, Bromley Smith sent a slightly revised version of this memorandum to the National Security Council for consideration at a March 17 meeting. (Johnson Library, National Security File, Vietnam Country File, Vol. V)

A March 2 preliminary draft of this memorandum was prepared by William Bundy over the weekend of February 29–March 1, designed, in Bundy’s words, as an “overall vehicle for thought and also designed by Secretary McNamara to serve as a possible framework for his report upon his return.” Bundy’s covering memorandum and the draft are ibid., Vol IV. They are published in Declassified Documents, 1975, 157A. On March 4, an abbreviated version of the draft was sent to those officials attending the March 5 NSC meeting (see Document 71). This March 4 draft is in Department of State, Bundy Files, WPB Special Papers. An undated White House copy of the abbreviated March 4 draft, received for filing on March 6, is published in Declassified Documents, 1977, 146D.

Two additional drafts of the full memorandum, March 5 and March 13, are in the Johnson Library, National Security File, Vietnam Country File, Vol. V. Important differences between these drafts and the final memorandum as submitted to the President are noted in footnotes below.


85. Message From the President to the Ambassador in Vietnam (Lodge)

Source: Department of State, Central Files, POL 27 VIET S. Top Secret; Priority; Exdis. Drafted in the White House and approved by Rusk. Transmitted as telegram 1454 to Saigon, which is the source text.


86. Summary Record of the 524th Meeting of the National Security Council,

Source: Johnson Library, National Security File, NSC Meetings, Vol. 1, U.S. Policy Toward Vietnam. Secret. Drafted by Bromley Smith. A full attendance list for this meeting is ibid.


87. National Security Action Memorandum No. 288

Source: Johnson Library, National Security File, NSAMs. Secret


88. Memorandum of a Telephone Conversation Between the Secretary of State and the Director of the United States Information Agency (Rowan),

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


89. Memorandum From Michael V. Forrestal of the National Security Council Staff to the President’s Special Assistant for National Security Affairs (Bundy)

Source: Johnson Library, National Security File, Vietnam Country File, Vol. V. Secret.


90. Memorandum From the President’s Special Assistant for National Security Affairs (Bundy) to the President

Source: Johnson Library, National Security File, Vietnam Country File, Vol. V. No classification marking.


91. Message From the Ambassador in Vietnam (Lodge) to the President

Source: Department of State, Central Files, POL 27 VIET S. Top Secret; Exdis. Transmitted as telegram 1776 from Saigon, which is the source text. Passed to the White House on receipt in the Department of State.


92. Message From the President to the Ambassador in Vietnam (Lodge)

Source: Department of State, Central Files, POL 27 VIET S. Top Secret; Exdis. The message was drafted in the White House and approved by Rusk. Transmitted as telegram 1484 to Saigon, which is the source text.


93. Message From the Ambassador in Vietnam (Lodge) to the President

Source: Department of State, Central Files, POL 27 VIET–S. Top Secret; Exdis. Transmitted as telegram 1803 from Saigon, which is the source text. Passed to the White House on receipt in the Department of State.


94. Telegram From the Embassy in Vietnam to the Department of State

Source: Department of State, Central Files, POL 27 VIET S. Secret; Nodis.


95. Memorandum From the Secretary of State’s Special Assistant for Vietnam (Sullivan) to the Special Assistant in the Bureau of Far Eastern Affairs (Thompson)

Source: Kennedy Library, Thomson Papers, Southeast Asia, Vietnam, McNamara’s Speech, 3/26/64. Confidential. Rusk took this memorandum to a luncheon meeting with the President, McGeorge Bundy, and McNamara at the White House on March 24, where the McNamara speech was approved substantially as originally drafted. No record of the luncheon meeting has been found. (Memorandum from Read to Rusk; Department of State, President’s Reading File: Lot 74 D 164)


96. Message From the President to the Ambassador in France (Bohlen)

Source: Department of State, Central Files, POL 27 VIET S. Secret; Immediate; Exdis. The message was drafted in the White House; discussed and revised at a 1 p.m. luncheon meeting among the President, Rusk, McNamara, and McGeorge Bundy; and approved by Rusk. Transmitted as telegram 4793 to Paris, which is the source text. Also published in Declassified Documents, 1978, 296A. A draft with McGeorge Bundy’s handwritten revisions is in the Johnson Library, National Security File, Vietnam Country File, Vol. VI, Cables and Memos.


97. Message From the Ambassador in France (Bohlen) to the President

Source: Department of State, Central Files, POL 27 VIET S. Secret; Immediate; Exdis. Transmitted as telegram 4486 from Paris, which is the source text. Passed to the White House on receipt in the Department of State.


98. Telegram From the Department of State to the Embassy in France

Source: Department of State, Central Files, POL 27 VIET S. Secret; Immediate; Exdis. Drafted in the White House, cleared by William Bundy and Rusk, and approved by Sullivan. Repeated to Saigon.


99. Memorandum for the Record of the White House Daily Staff Meeting,

Source: National Defense University, Taylor Papers. T–217–69. Secret: Eyes Only. Drafted by William Y. Smith.