15. Memorandum for the Record1

SUBJECT

  • Meeting in the Cabinet Room on Vietnam and the Dominican Republic, 1730, 23 June 19652
1.
Attendance at this meeting is set forth in the attached agenda.3 Item No. 2, Berlin, was not discussed.
2.
That part of the meeting devoted to Vietnam was opened by Mr. Bundy who presented to the President a copy of the Javits resolution, herewith attached.4 The President directed that it be permitted to run its normal course in the Congress.
3.
Rolling Thunder 20 was approved, Target 43 being chosen instead of 51.12/82.15.
4.
Regarding the anticipated South Vietnamese break in diplomatic relations with France, it was agreed that the United States would tell the French Government that we regretted this section on the part of General Ky and that we were not party to the basic decision.
5.
There ensued considerable discussion of the B-52 strike which is scheduled for Sunday, 27 June. The President emphasized that the press releases on this strike should be handled in such a way as to convey the straight story to the public. He authorized briefing the press fully both in Washington and Saigon on the reasons for such raids and agreed that on this occasion the news of a raid should first be released in Saigon. There was general agreement that there should be a significant tightening up of security on the planning and execution of such raids.
6.
Ambassador Thompson briefed on Soviet attitudes toward Vietnam and emphasized that these attitudes were hardening not only toward the United States but also toward Communist China.
7.
There was some discussion of a proposal to place an international force across the 17th parallel in order to put an end to North Vietnamese infiltration of South Vietnam. Secretary McNamara indicated[Page 40]that such a proposal was unrealistic and could not be implemented without a vast military force. He pointed out that sea patrols of the Vietnamese coast were not turning up significant amounts of equipment proceeding by sea.
8.
The President expressed considerable concern about the Wilson mission and said that he saw no point in having the Prime Minister come to Washington if Washington and Saigon were the only capitals which would receive him. He expressed the view that a Wilson visit could be counterproductive, would achieve little in the interest of peace, and might turn out to be a further embarrassment to the United States foreign policy.
9.
The remainder of the discussion on Vietnam is excluded from this Memorandum for the Record since the President made it clear he did not want it talked about outside the compass of the meeting.

[Here follows brief discussion of the Dominican Republic.]

Richard Helms5
Deputy Director
  1. Source: Central Intelligence Agency, DCI (Helms) Files, Job 80 BO 1285A, Chrono as DDP and DDCI, 1 Jan-31 Dec 65. Secret. Prepared by Helms on June 24.
  2. The meeting actually began at 5:50 p.m. and ended at 8 p.m. (Johnson Library, President's Daily Diary) For another record of this discussion, see Document 16.
  3. Not attached, but see Document 14. Attending were the President, Rusk, McNamara, Ball, McGeorge Bundy, Vance, William Bundy, McNaughton, Wheeler, Raborn, Helms, Thompson, Busby, Cater, Jack Vaughn, and U. Alexis Johnson. (Johnson Library, President's Daily Diary)
  4. Not printed.
  5. Printed from a copy that indicates Helms signed the original.