158. Memorandum From the Assistant Secretary of State for Far Eastern Affairs (Bundy) to the Secretary of State1

At yesterday’s meeting2 Secretary McNamara and Sullivan reported that Lodge was now urging that we undertake the Canadian gambit in the full sense as soon as the man gets out there (June 15 is now estimated), and that the initial threat-carrot approach be followed by covert air strikes against targets in North Vietnam. Lodge claims that it is the position that he took in his discussions with you in Saigon.

As you know, we have asked Lodge to make this specific. But just on the point of what he said to you during your visit, I have checked the notes taken by Lodge’s own man.3 They make clear that Lodge proposed the Canadian gambit but did not have in mind, at that time, that it would be undertaken before the new Canadian man arrived, which then looked like July. As to the question of initial air strikes being wholly “covert”, the record contains absolutely nothing to support Lodge’s contention that he made this point during the discussion. Our own scenario, which he should have read but (according to Nes) had not (!) made it quite clear that our script thought that the initial air strikes would have to be acknowledged by the GVN. Thus, it was an obvious point for Lodge to seize on if he disagreed with it, but the record is perfectly clear that he did not do so.

This only for use if the President appears to believe that you and I did not take Lodge in correctly. As often, he was simply fairly woolly.

I have now made a master file of all our exchanges with Lodge on this subject, and will do an analysis of this very soon so that we know just what kind of things he really said.

  1. Source: Department of State, Bundy Files, WPB Chron. Confidential.
  2. See footnote 1, Document 154.
  3. See Document 120.