400. Telegram From the Department of State to the Embassy in Vietnam 1

988. Saigon for MACV.

[Page 882]
High-level meeting today reaffirmed general positions stated Deptel 9782 Initiated intensive planning operation here looking to earliest possible preparation for later decision of comprehensive scenario for wider action taking account of current circumstances and interim actions required avoid any impression USG determination changing. JCS, CIA, Defense and State will be calling for additional inputs as required. Aim is to have analysis of alternatives and relevant scenarios ready soonest.
While we still inclined against immediate response related solely Bien Hoa attack, we consider possibilities substantial that Hanoi may be embarking on series provocative actions to test our intentions in what they believe may be period USG uncertainty. Assume you are taking all possible measures particularly for security US airfields and other installations. If other incidents occur we would expect immediately to reopen question of quick related response.
  1. Source: Johnson Library, National Security File, Vietnam Country File, Vol. XXI, Cables. Top Secret; Immediate; Exdis. Drafted by William Bundy, cleared by McGeorge Bundy, and approved by Ball. Repeated to CINCPAC.
  2. Document 396.