352. Editorial Note

On December 25, 1966, The New York Times published the first of 15 dispatches from North Vietnam by Assistant Managing Editor Harrison E. Salisbury. The dispatches reported on the situation in North Vietnam and the effects of U.S. bombing, implying that U.S. aircraft were regularly striking civilian areas. During his 2-week stay in North Vietnam, Salisbury talked with North Vietnamese officials and private citizens and toured Hanoi and a number of towns and villages. Salisburyʼs last dispatch from North Vietnam appeared in The New York Times on January 9, 1967, but upon departing the country he filed an additional eight dispatches from Hong Kong “summing up observations on his visit to North Vietnam.” These articles appeared in The New York Times between January 11 and January 18, 1967.

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For Salisburyʼs account of his trip to North Vietnam, published in 1967, see Behind the Lines—Hanoi, December 23, 1966–January 7, 1967. For a description of the controversy in the United States touched off by Salisburyʼs dispatches, see William Hammond , Public Affairs: The Military and the Media, 1962–1968 (Washington, DC: Center of Military History, 1988), pages 274–279. The Department of State discussed the dispatches in a 7-page telegram to all diplomatic posts, December 31, stating that they were “based to a large extent on official North Vietnamese information” and contained inaccuracies but could not “be dismissed out of hand.” (Circular telegram 111162; Department of State, Central Files, POL 27 VIET S) The Department provided material discussing Salisburyʼs articles to British Foreign Secretary George Brown on December 30. (Ibid., Bundy Files: Lot 85 D 240, WPB Chron) For President Johnsonʼs response when asked about the Salisbury articles at a news conference on December 31, see Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States: Lyndon B. Johnson, 1966, Book II, pages 1461–1462.