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 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. 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. The statute also 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.
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. The subseries presents in 34 volumes a documentary record of major foreign policy decisions and actions of President Johnson’s administration. This volume documents U.S. policy toward Vietnam in 1967. Volumes I–IV cover Vietnam from 1964 through 1966; volumes VI and VII will present documents from 1968 through January 1969.
Focus of Research and Principles of Selection for Foreign Relations, 1964–1968, Volume V
The editor of the volume sought to present documentation that illuminates responsibility for major foreign policy decisions in the U.S. [Page IV]Government, with emphasis on the President and his advisers. The documents include memoranda and records of discussions that set forth policy issues and options and show decisions or actions taken. The emphasis is on the development of U.S. policy and on major aspects and repercussions of its execution rather than on the details of policy execution.
President Lyndon Johnson relied upon his principal foreign policy advisers, Secretary of State Dean Rusk, Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara, Special Assistant Walt Rostow, as well as many other official and unofficial advisers, for advice and recommendations on policy for Vietnam. The editor tried to document this broad policy process of recommendation, discussion, and the final decisions by the President. While the volume’s principal focus is on Washington policymaking, a secondary focus is on events and policy repercussions in South Vietnam.
The volume covers a broad range of topics and themes, the foremost of which is the U.S. effort to explore a possible negotiated settlement of the war. There is in-depth coverage of the major unsuccessful peace initiatives, Sunflower and Pennsylvania to the North Vietnamese and Buttercup to the National Liberation Front, as well as less detailed coverage of other peace initiatives thought at the time by U.S. policymakers to be less promising. Another major theme of the volume is the military intensification of the war effort to force the enemy to accept a peace settlement. The Presidential decisions to intensify the bombing campaign against North Vietnam and the long debate and final compromise decision by Johnson to augment the level of U.S. forces in Vietnam are part of this theme. The problem of U.S. domestic support for the war is another theme, as the Johnson administration grappled with building anti-war pressure. During the period covered by the volume, the Johnson administration named a new Ambassador to Vietnam, Ellsworth Bunker, put Robert Komer in charge of pacification and rural development, and then engaged in an effort to encourage reorganization and reform of the South Vietnam Government. This campaign, which had mixed results, is another main theme.
Documents in the volume also cover the South Vietnamese presidential elections, especially U.S. concerns about lack of unity between the two military contenders for the presidency. Another focus is the debate within the U.S. intelligence community over the size of the enemy in South Vietnam, the so-called “order of battle” controversy. During 1967 the administration conducted a reassessment of the war, a continuing theme of U.S. Vietnam policy, which resulted in advice to the President to stay the course.
The documents are presented chronologically according to Washington time or, in the case of conferences, in the order of individual [Page V]meetings. Memoranda of conversation are placed according to the time and date of the conversation, rather than the date the memorandum was drafted.
Editorial treatment of the documents published in the Foreign Relations series follows Office style guidelines, supplemented by guidance from the General Editor and the chief technical editor. The source text is reproduced as exactly as possible, including marginalia or other notations, which are described in the footnotes. Texts are transcribed and printed according to accepted conventions for the publication of historical documents in the limitations of modern typography. A heading has been supplied by the editors for each document included in the volume. Spelling, capitalization, and punctuation are retained as found in the source text, except that obvious typographical errors are silently corrected. Other mistakes and omissions in the source text are corrected by bracketed insertions: a correction is set in italic type; an addition in roman type. Words or phrases underlined in the source text are printed in italics. Abbreviations and contractions are preserved as found in the source text, and a list of abbreviations is included in the front matter of each volume.
Bracketed insertions are also used to indicate omitted text that deals with an unrelated subject (in roman type) or that remains classified after declassification review (in italic type). The amount of material not declassified has been noted by indicating the number of lines or pages of source text that were omitted. Entire documents withheld for declassification purposes have been accounted for and are listed by headings, source notes, and number of pages not declassified in their chronological place. All brackets that appear in the source text are so identified by footnotes.
The first footnote to each document indicates the document’s source, original classification, distribution, and drafting information. This note also provides the background of important documents and policies and indicates whether the President or his major policy advisers read the document.
Editorial notes and additional annotation summarize pertinent material not printed in the volume, indicate the location of additional documentary sources, provide references to important related documents printed in other volumes, describe key events, and provide summaries of and citations to public statements that supplement and elucidate the printed documents. Information derived from memoirs and other first-hand accounts has been used when appropriate to supplement or explicate the official record.
The numbers in the index refer to document numbers rather than to page numbers.[Page VI]
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 process of the series and advises on all aspects of the preparation and declassification of the series. The Advisory Committee does not attempt to review the contents of individual volumes in the series, but it makes recommendations on problems that come to its attention.
The Advisory Committee has not reviewed this volume.
The Information Response Branch of the Office of IRM Programs and Services, Bureau of Administration, Department of State, conducted the declassification review of the documents published in this volume. The review was conducted in accordance with the standards set forth in Executive Order 12958 on Classified National Security Information and applicable laws.
The principle guiding declassification review is to release all information, subject only to the current requirements of national security as embodied in law and regulation. 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.
The final declassification review of this volume, which began in 1998 and was completed in 2002, resulted in the decision to withhold about two-tenths of one percent of the documentation proposed for publication; no documents were withheld in full. The minor excisions were made to protect intelligence sources and methods. Such information is exempt from declassification under Executive Order 12958. The issue of U.S. covert support for certain electoral candidates in South Vietnam and the covert support of a political party to support President Thieu were appealed to a High-Level Panel consisting of senior representatives from the Department of State, the National Security Council, and the Central Intelligence Agency. The panel, established in 1998, determines whether or not a covert activity or other intelligence activity can be acknowledged in the Foreign Relations series. The panel arrived at a determination that resulted in the release in excised form of all of the appealed documentation. The editor is confident, on the basis of the research conducted in preparing this volume and as a result of the declassification review process described above, that the documentation and editorial notes presented here provide an accurate account of U.S. policy toward Vietnam in 1967.[Page VII]
The editor wishes to acknowledge the assistance of officials at the Lyndon B. Johnson Library of the National Archives and Records Administration, especially Regina Greenwell and Charlaine Burgess, who provided key research assistance. The editor also wishes to acknowledge the assistance of historians at the Central Intelligence Agency, particularly Scott Koch; the staff of the Center for Military History; Sandra Meagher at the Department of Defense; David Phelps at the Joint Chiefs of Staff; and the staff of the Manuscript Division, Library of Congress.
Kent Sieg collected documentation for this volume and selected and edited it, under the supervision of Edward C. Keefer, Chief of the Asia and Americas Division, and David S. Patterson, General Editor of the Foreign Relations series. Rita M. Baker and Vicki E. Futscher did the copy and technical editing, and Susan C. Weetman coordinated the declassification review. Max Franke prepared the index.
Bureau of Public Affairs