239. Notes of Meeting1
NOTES OF THE PRESIDENT’S MEETING
The President said General Westmoreland was upset last night because of the press reports. The press indicated to General Westmoreland that Secretary McNamara had questioned the General’s management of the war when the Secretary briefed the press at the White House on July 12.
The President said he told General Westmoreland Wednesday night:
- —We would carefully review everything.
- —Secretary McNamara, General Westmoreland, and the President feel that General Westmoreland’s team in Vietnam is the best we have ever seen.
- —The President said he has never heard anybody who has ever been critical of General Westmoreland in any way.
- —The President said that Westmoreland has been assured that he will have the troops he needs. The President referred back to many earlier statements he has made which said that the General’s suggestions would be reviewed in light of existing situations and the General would be given whatever he needed. The President said there is an acceptable area on the number of troops and that we will be announcing these numbers in a few weeks. This agreement is shared fully by General Westmoreland, Secretary McNamara, and General Wheeler of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
The President said there is a question of what other countries will do in response to our request for additional manpower. They must answer two questions:
- Do they give additional troops, and
- When, where, and how will they be provided.
General Wheeler asserted that as a matter of military security and prudence the figures should not be disclosed. (He indicated this would be notifying the enemy in advance of our manpower program.)
- Source: Johnson Library, Tom Johnson’s Notes of Meetings, 7/13/67. Top Secret; Literally Eyes Only. The meeting was held in the Cabinet Room following the NSC meeting. Tom Johnson forwarded these notes to the President under cover of a July 13 memorandum at 5:30 p.m. (Ibid.)↩