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269. Editorial Note

At 6:35 p.m. on August 3, the President met in the Cabinet Room of the White House with Rusk, McNamara, Wheeler, and McGeorge Bundy to discuss Vietnam. (Johnson Library, Johnson Daily Diary) No record of the meeting, which lasted until 7:15 p.m., has been found. A telephone conversation between Bundy and Rusk at 2:45 p.m.. however, previewed the meeting:

“B called to see if Sec had message re the 6:15. Sec did. Sec said he presumed it was on the Gulf of Tonkin and B said yes. B supposed we would review the rules of engagement. B said we need a draft reply to Max; since we were not asking any staff, could Sec bring whatever he wanted himself. B said he thought this would all pass over. Sec said Khanh is kicking up, saying we should retaliate.” (Department of State, Rusk Files: Lot 72 D 192, Telephone Conversations)

The meeting was delayed until 6:35 p.m. because of a reception for American foreign language newspaper editors.