194. Editorial Note

At the request of Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Averell Harriman, the Central Intelligence Agency prepared a memorandum entitled “Possible Carrots for Hanoi” and submitted it to Harriman on June 4. The memorandum stated that “carrots” should be considered as complementary and supplemental to the ongoing examination of punitive action against North Vietnam meant to compel the North Vietnamese to call a halt to insurgencies in Laos and South Vietnam.

The CIA memorandum concluded that there were “doctrinal differences” in the upper echelons of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam’s leadership, but these differences were related primarily to tactics, and not to long-term goals. While Defense Minister Vo Nguyen Giap and President Ho Chi Minh might be more “nationalist” than pro-Chinese Chairman of the Standing Committee of the National Assembly, Troong Chin, all North Vietnamese leaders were dedicated to reunification of North and South Vietnam on their terms. The memorandum therefore concluded that “Hanoi is probably under little present compunction to settle for half a loaf, even temporarily.”

The memorandum then assessed possible concessions to Hanoi in political, economic, and international fields. These potential concessions, however, would have little effect because North Vietnam always subordinated economic and popular needs to political and military ambition. The memorandum concluded as follows: [Page 447]

“In sum, though the idea of canvassing our imaginations to develop positive inducements capable of giving the DRV some reason to stop its insurgent activities in Laos and South Vietnam is worthwhile we think it unlikely that any such inducements can be evolved which could both (a) be really tempting to the DRV and (b) not be counterproductive for the US. We feel that this would probably remain the case whether such inducements were publicly offered and negotiated or privately conveyed and discussed through some discreet, privileged channel.” (Library of Congress, Harriman Papers, Southeast Asia, 1964)