334. Editorial Note

From 4:35 to 5:02 p.m. on December 9, 1966, President Johnson met in the Cabinet Room with Secretary of Defense McNamara, Under Secretary of State Katzenbach, Deputy Secretary of Defense Vance, Vice President Humphrey, General Earle Wheeler, and Special Assistants Walt Rostow and Robert Kintner. (Johnson Liabrary, Presidentʼs Daily Diary) According to a note prepared for his Daily Diary, the President “considered the problem of next steps in hitting targets in North Vietnam.” “Broadly speaking, the decision was made to carry forward with what was necessary but at this particular moment not to expand our targeting.” (Ibid., Meeting Notes File)

On December 10, General Wheeler reported in JCS telegram 7591–66 to General Westmoreland that he had met the previous day with President Johnson “to discuss Rolling Thunder withheld targets” (pre-sumably the four targets authorized but deferred on November 10 and 11; see footnote 4, Document 299). Wheelerʼs message continued: the President “declined to make an affirmative decision at that time because of certain political problems; however, he stated that he wished to renew the discussion in about a week.” (Center of Military History, Westmoreland Papers, COMUSMACV Message Files)

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Also on December 10, the Department of State notified Ambassador Gronouski in telegram 100627 to Warsaw that “for the immediate future the bombing pattern will remain unchanged from what it has been over the past several weeks. This may well involve some targets which Rapacki will insist represent further escalation, just as in the past he took to be escalation certain variations in our bombing pattern which in fact represented no real new departures in the pattern as a whole.” (Department of State, Central Files, POL 27–14 VIET/MARIGOLD)