313. Memorandum From the President’s Special Assistant for National Security Affairs (Bundy) to the President1
The attached memorandum will be the main topic of discussion at the meeting scheduled for noon tomorrow, Friday. In the main, the paper speaks for itself, but you should know of a couple of important issues which it does not state directly.[Page 673]
The most important section of the paper begins on page 7 and deals with possible limited pressures forward in the direction you indicated in the Monday meeting. Within this section, on page 8, there is a discussion of cross-border operations into the Panhandle, and you should know that General Taylor and many others would now like to move toward U.S. air operations against the infiltration routes. Bob McNamara is strongly opposed. I think you may want to hear argument on both sides on this issue. Max Taylor’s cable giving his view is attached at Tab A.2
On page 9 there is a discussion of the DeSoto patrol. There is difference of opinion on when this patrol should go back. Most of us here in Washington think it can wait ten days to two weeks (as the memo says on page 1). Max Taylor would like it to go almost right now, on grounds of signal to the Communists and encouragement to our friends. On this one also you may wish to hear argument.
More broadly, it occurs to me that this meeting may be a good time for you to emphasize again the priority we put on Saigon. At Tab B is a very private letter from Mike Forrestal to John McNaughton2 which shows that the Army is using rather routine assignment and reassignment methods there. A bit of questioning from you to Wheeler might do a lot of good on this point.
Finally, I will give you a one-sheet wrap-up on this before the noon meeting.
- Source: Johnson Library, National Security File, Aides Files, McGeorge Bundy, Meetings on Southeast Asia, Vol. 1. Top Secret.↩
- Not further identified.↩
- Top Secret. The source text bears the typed note: “Third Draft.” The original draft of this memorandum has not been found, but a second draft, which is the same in format but missing some of the subsections, is printed in Pentagon Papers: Gravel Edition, vol. III, pp. 524–529. A memorandum from Robert Johnson to William Bundy, dated August 12, with comments on the second draft is in Department of State, S/P Files: Lot 70 D 199 R. Johnson Chron.↩
- Document 306.↩