The Foreign Relations of the United States series presents the official documentary historical record of major foreign policy decisions and significant diplomatic activity of the United States Government. The series documents the facts and events that contributed to the formulation of policies and includes evidence of supporting and alternative views to the policy positions ultimately adopted.

The Historian of the Department of State is charged with the responsibility for the preparation of the Foreign Relations series. The staff of the Office of the Historian, Bureau of Public Affairs, plans, researches, compiles, and edits the volumes in the series. This documentary editing proceeds in full accord with the generally accepted standards of historical scholarship. Official regulations codifying specific standards for the selection and editing of documents for the series were first promulgated by Secretary of State Frank B. Kellogg on March 26, 1925. These regulations, with minor modifications, guided the series through 1991.

A new statutory charter for the preparation of the series was established by Public Law 102-138, the Foreign Relations Authorization Act, Fiscal Years 1992 and 1993, which was signed by President George Bush on October 28, 1991. Section 198 of P.L. 102-138 added a new Title IV to the Department of State’s Basic Authorities Act of 1956 (22 USC 4351, et seq.).

The statute requires that the Foreign Relations series be a thorough, accurate, and reliable record of major United States foreign policy decisions and significant United States diplomatic activity. The volumes of the series should include all records needed to provide comprehensive documentation of major foreign policy decisions and actions of the United States Government, including facts that contributed to the formulation of policies and records that provided supporting and alternative views to the policy positions ultimately adopted.

The statute confirms the editing principles established by Secretary Kellogg: the Foreign Relations series is guided by the principles of historical objectivity and accuracy; records should not be altered or deletions made without indicating in the published text that a deletion has been made; the published record should omit no facts that were of major importance in reaching a decision; and nothing should be omitted for the purposes of concealing a defect in policy. The statute also requires that the Foreign Relations series be published not more than 30 years after the events recorded.

The statute also requires that the published record in the Foreign Relations series include all records needed to provide comprehensive [Page IV] documentation on major foreign policy decisions and actions of the U.S. Government. It further requires that government agencies, departments, and other entities of the U.S. Government cooperate with the Department of State Historian by providing full and complete access to records pertinent to foreign policy decisions and actions and by providing copies of selected records.

In preparing each volume of the Foreign Relations series, the editors are guided by some general principles for the selection of documents. Each editor, in consultation with the General Editor and other senior editors, determines the particular issues and topics to be documented either in detail, in brief, or in summary. Some general decisions are also made regarding issues that cannot be documented in the volume but will be addressed in editorial or bibliographical notes.

The editors of this volume, which was originally compiled in 1984 and 1985 and revised and updated in 1993 and 1994, are convinced that it meets all regulatory, statutory, and scholarly standards of selection and editing.

An explanation of the selection policy for the series and of this particular volume and a detailed description of the sources available to the editors of the series as well as a list of specific files consulted for this volume follow this preface.

Structure and Scope of the Foreign Relations Series

This volume is part of a subseries of volumes of the Foreign Relations series that documents the most important issues in the foreign policy of the 5 years (1964-1968) of the administration of Lyndon B. Johnson. In planning and preparing the 1964-1968 subseries, the editors chose to present the official record of U.S. foreign policy with respect to Vietnam in seven volumes. Volume III (presented here) documents U.S. policy toward Vietnam during the period from June 13, 1965, through December 31, 1965. Volumes I, II, and IV through VII document U.S. policy toward Vietnam during the following periods: I, 1964; II, January 1, 1965, through June 12, 1965; IV, 1966; V, 1967; and VI and VII, 1968.

These seven volumes focus on Vietnam. They do not record activities in the rest of mainland Southeast Asia except as they may relate immediately to the conduct of the war in Vietnam. U.S. relations with Laos are documented in Volume XXVIII.. U.S. relations with Cambodia, Thailand, Burma, and SEATO are documented in Volume XXVII.

Advisory Committee on Historical Diplomatic Documentation

The Advisory Committee on Historical Diplomatic Documentation, established under the Foreign Relations statute, reviews records, advises, and makes recommendations concerning the Foreign Relations series. The Advisory Committee monitors the overall compilation and editorial [Page V] process of the series and assists with any access and/or clearance problems that arise. Time constraints prevent the Advisory Committee from reviewing all volumes in the series.

This volume has not been reviewed by the Advisory Committee.

Declassification Review

The declassification review of this volume resulted in the decision to withhold .05 percent of the documentation originally selected; no documents were withheld in their entirety. The documentation provides an accurate account of the main lines of U.S. policy toward Vietnam during the June 13-December 31, 1965 period.

The Division of Historical Documents Review of the Office of Freedom of Information, Privacy, and Classification Review, Bureau of Administration, Department of State, conducted the Department of State declassification review of the documents published in this volume. The Declassification Coordination Division of the Historian’s Office coordinated the interagency and foreign government declassification review. The review was conducted in accordance with the standards set forth in Executive Order 12356 on National Security Information and applicable laws.

Under Executive Order 12356, information that concerns one or more of the following categories, and the disclosure of which reasonably could be expected to cause damage to the national security, requires classification:

military plans, weapons, or operations;
the vulnerabilities or capabilities of systems, installations, projects, or plans relating to the national security;
foreign government information;
intelligence activities (including special activities), or intelligence sources or methods;
foreign relations or foreign activities of the United States;
scientific, technological, or economic matters relating to national security;
U.S. Government programs for safeguarding nuclear materials or facilities;
cryptology; or
a confidential source.

The principle guiding declassification review is to release all information, subject only to the current requirements of national security and law. Declassification decisions entailed concurrence of the appropriate geographic and functional bureaus in the Department of State, other concerned agencies of the U.S. Government, and the appropriate foreign governments regarding specific documents of those governments.

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The editors wish to acknowledge the assistance of officials at the Lyndon B. Johnson Library, in particular Regina Greenwell and Charlaine Burgess; the Department of Defense, in particular Sandra Meagher; the National Defense University, in particular Susan Lemke; the Minnesota Historical Society, in particular Dallas Lindgren; the University of Montana; the Library of Congress; and officials at other specialized repositories who assisted in the collection of documents for this volume. The editors also wish to thank senior Foreign Service officer William H. Marsh for reading the manuscript and for his comments and suggestions.

Edward C. Keefer and Louis J. Smith originally compiled this volume, and David C. Humphrey contributed to the collection, selection, and substantive editing of the material presented in this volume. General Editor Glenn W. LaFantasie supervised the final steps in the editorial and publication process. Student intern Shelby Hunt assisted in the preparation of the lists of sources, abbreviations, and persons. The Declassification Coordination Division, David H. Herschler, David C. Geyer, Kerry E. Hite, and Donna C. Hung, coordinated the declassification review. Editors Rita M. Baker and Vicki E. Futscher prepared the book manuscript for publication and performed the editorial review, and Barbara-Ann Bacon of the Publishing Services Division oversaw the production of the volume. Breffni Whelan prepared the index.

William Z. Slany
The Historian
Bureau of Public Affairs

October 1995