224. Memorandum From the Secretary of Defense (McNamara) to the President1
- Authorization of Combined US/GVN Planning and Training for Cross-border Operations from South Vietnam into Laos
NSAM 288 of 17 March 19642 authorized, among other things, South Vietnamese ground operations into Laos for border control purposes (Recommendation 11) and also directed preparation of a full range of Laotian border control actions (Recommendation 12).
Unilateral U.S. planning has been completed for both covert and overt cross-border operations into Laos and for a full range of Laotian border control actions. The essential US/GVN negotiations, planning [Page 528]and training to attain the desired state of readiness for these operations have not been initiated, except for limited covert intelligence collection patrols authorized into Laos.
In view of the present situation in Laos and South Vietnam, it is recommended that you now authorize such negotiations with the GVN and such combined US/GVN planning and training as is necessary to achieve a state of readiness to conduct cross-border operations from South Vietnam into Laos in the event a decision is made to initiate such actions. This would not involve any commitment to carry out such operations.
- Source: Johnson Library, National Security File, Vietnam Country File, Vol. XIII. Top Secret. A note on the source text indicates that the original memorandum went to Forrestal.↩
- Document 87.↩
- Top Secret.↩
- A second enclosure, a memorandum from the Deputy Director of the Joint Staff to the Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs, June 25, DJSM–1069–64, contained brief summaries of the three operations plans. It is not printed.↩
- Not printed; the draft memorandum basically reiterated the arguments presented above.↩