205. Memorandum for the Record1

SUBJECT

  • Discussion with Secretary Rusk at Breakfast Meeting—18 Mar 65

[Here follows material unrelated to Vietnam.]

7. South Vietnam: In answer to the Secretary’s question as to our current appraisal of the situation in South Vietnam, I reviewed the highlights of the joint CIA/DIA/State memorandum on the strength of VC military forces in South Vietnam, dated 17 March,2 copy of which I left with him, and then stated that our estimates have been correct to date but it remained to be seen what the NVN and ChiCom reaction would be to a higher level of Rolling Thunder. I reiterated my view that while we felt overt Chinese Communist and NVN military reaction improbable, at the [Page 458]same time it was definitely a possibility and we must be always prepared to meet any possible enemy reaction. It is not enough merely to plan on the probable. The Secretary seemed depressed over the outlook and not at all sure the actions we were taking would bring about results. He expressed concern over the fragility of the political situation, lack of leadership, high level of Viet Cong strength, etc. He asked that we examine the weather situation over the next several months and its possible effect on both the SVN and the VC.

Action: This study has been requested of Mr. Cline.

[Here follows material unrelated to Vietnam.]

Addendum.

9. Message from Archie Roosevelt,3 [less than 1 line of source text not declassified] 6489 of 11 March, recounting a discussion between Rod MacLeish and Anatoliy Danilov of the Soviet Embassy in London—in this referenced cable Danilov had suggested that we in the United States ought to exchange intelligence information on this (meaning South Vietnam and North Vietnam). I told Rusk we were giving consideration to opening a channel, carefully cut out, and unattributable, to see if there was any pay dirt in this suggestion. Rusk indicated interest but no confirmation or endorsement of the idea.

  1. Source: Central Intelligence Agency, DCI (McCone) Files, Job 80 BO 1285A, Memos for the Record, 1 Mar-29 Apr 65. Secret; Eyes Only. Dictated by McCone and transcribed in his office. The time of the meeting is from Rusk’s Appointment Book at the Johnson Library.
  2. “Strength of VC Military Forces in SVN.” (Johnson Library, National Security File, Country File, Vietnam, Vol. XXXI)
  3. Not found. A handwritten note in the margin indicates that the telegram was destroyed in 1972.