331. Notes of Meeting1

NOTES OF THE MEETING OF THE PRESIDENT
WITH
SECRETARY McNAMARA
UNDER SECRETARY KATZENBACH
WALT ROSTOW
GEORGE CHRISTIAN

[Here follows discussion of matters unrelated to Vietnam.]

The proposed U.N. speech by Ambassador Goldberg was discussed.2 The President said he hoped that the Ambassador would stick with what already has been said and Ho’s position as expressed in his released letter.3 The President said nothing good could come from a U.N. speech at this time.

The President read a tally sheet on votes in committee compiled by Senator Manfield related to the Asian Development Bank. Senator Mansfield said Senator Fulbright has asked the Department of State to [Page 813]handle the bill. The President said Eugene Black should talk with Senator Fulbright about his handling the legislation.

Secretary Katzenbach raised the question of a delegation to the South Vietnamese inauguration. The President asked the date. Secretary Katzenbach said it was in late October. The President said we had plenty of time to consider the delegation. Secretary Katzenbach suggested that the Vice President head the delegation.

Bombing policy was discussed. Secretary McNamara said there was no need for new targets to be approved this week since the JCS has 49 targets already authorized but not struck.

The Secretary said improved jamming techniques have prevented loss of any aircraft using the new Air Force devices.

The Secretary said it may be necessary to begin escorting reconnaissance aircraft since one was shot down by enemy jets this week. They previously had been flying without escort.

[Here follows discussion of matters unrelated to Vietnam.]

The President reiterated that he wanted an urgent priority given to talking with Senators and Congressmen on the Asian Development Bank message.

Secretary McNamara said it will be 3–6 months before we get the barrier working along the DMZ. He said he would like to have it operational by November.4

  1. Source: Johnson Library, Tom Johnson’s Note of Meetings. Top Secret. The meeting was held in the Cabinet Room.
  2. Goldberg’s speech, delivered before the UN General Assembly on September 21, opened discussion on Vietnam. Goldberg stated the various ways through which peace could arise and listed the terms of what the United States considered an “honorable settlement.” For text of the speech, see American Foreign Policy: Current Documents, 1967, pp. 992–995.
  3. See Document 82.
  4. In a September 20 memorandum to McNamara, Warnke noted Westmoreland’s decision (which had Sharp’s concurrence) to postpone construction of the barrier until the rainy season ended in early 1968 due to concern over estimated casualties that would occur. Since Warnke could forsee high casualties occurring even if there was a postponement until after the monsoons, he suggested the initiation of a study to determine whether the barrier could be built 10–15 kilometers south of where it was currently planned, a move that would both limit casualties and give U.S. forces “maneuver room.” (Washington National Records Center, RG 330, OSD Files: FRC 72 A 2467, VIET BARRIER 385 (Aug-Sep) 1967) A notation on the memorandum by McNamara dated September 22 reads: “Paul, as we discussed this morning, I am disinclined to start such a study now.”