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February 9–28: Westmoreland's Augmentation Request


63. Telegram From the Commander, Military Assistance Command, Vietnam (Westmoreland) to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (Wheeler) and the Commander in Chief, Pacific (Sharp)

Source: Johnson Library, William C. Westmoreland Papers, #29 History File, 1–29 Feb 68 [II]. Top Secret. In telegram JCS 1529 to Westmoreland, February 7, Wheeler cautioned that the motive behind the enemy's strategy for the build-up in I Corps and especially around Khe Sanh was to compel Westmoreland to commit his troops to the area, thereby exposing the South Vietnamese Army in Saigon and other parts of the country to attack. To counter this strategy, Wheeler suggested that the 82d Airborne and one-half of a Marine division (the 6/9 Marine Division available in the Pacific Command) could be sent to Vietnam. In conclusion, Wheeler noted: “The United States is not prepared to accept a defeat in South Vietnam. In summary, if you need more troops, ask for them.” (U.S. Army Center for Military History, William C. Westmoreland Papers, Eyes Only Message File, 1 Feb.–29 Feb. 1968)


64. Notes of Meeting

Source: Johnson Library, Tom Johnson's Notes of Meetings. Top Secret. The meeting was held in the Cabinet Room of the White House. Those attending the meeting were the President, Rostow, Rusk, McNamara, Clifford, Wheeler, Harold Johnson, Chapman, Air Force Vice Chief of Staff General Bruce K. Holloway, Moorer, Nitze, Christian, and Tom Johnson. (Ibid., President's Daily Diary)


65. Notes of Meeting

Source: Johnson Library, Tom Johnson's Notes of Meetings. Top Secret. The meeting was held in the White House. Those attending were Rusk, McNamara, Clifford, Rostow, Tom Johnson, and Christian. (Ibid., President's Daily Diary)


67. Notes of Meeting

Source: Johnson Library, Tom Johnson's Notes of Meetings. Top Secret. Those attending the meeting were the President, Rusk, McNamara, Wheeler, Taylor, Clifford, Helms, Rostow, and Tom Johnson. (Ibid., President's Daily Diary)


68. Telegram From the Commander, Military Assistance Command, Vietnam (Westmoreland) to the Commander in Chief, Pacific Command (Sharp) and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (Wheeler)

Source: Johnson Library, National Security File, NSC History of the March 31st Speech, Vol. 2, Tabs a-z. Top Secret; Eyes Only; Limited Distribution. In the attached covering memorandum transmitting a copy of the telegram to the President, February 12, 9:35 a.m., Rostow wrote: “Herewith Westy's message loud and clear and, in my judgment, correct.”


69. Telephone Conversation Between President Johnson and Secretary of Defense McNamara

Source: Johnson Library, Recordings and Transcripts, Recording of Telephone Conversation Between Johnson and McNamara, February 12, 1968, 8:29 a.m., Tape F68.02, Side A, PNO 4. No classification marking. Prepared in the Office of the Historian specifically for this volume.


70. Notes of Meeting

Source: Johnson Library, Tom Johnson's Notes of Meetings. Top Secret. Those attending the meeting were the President, Helms, Rusk, McNamara, Rostow, Wheeler, Clifford, Christian, and Tom Johnson. The first part of the meeting was a luncheon held in the Family Dining Room until 3:20 p.m.; from then until 3:50 p.m., the participants met in the Oval Office. (Ibid., President's Daily Diary)


71. Memorandum of Conversation

Source: Library of Congress, Manuscript Division, Harriman Papers, Special Files, Public Service, Kennedy-Johnson, General-February 1968. Secret; Nodis/Personal; Packers. Drafted by Harriman. This memorandum of conversation was transmitted to the Embassy in Romania in telegram 117922 to Bucharest, February 20. (National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1967–69, POL 27–14 VIET/PACKERS)


72. Vietnam Situation Report

Source: Johnson Library, National Security File, Country File, Vietnam, 2 C (5), 2/6–12/68, General Military Activity. Secret. The report, disseminated as TDCS DB–315/00518–68, covered the period January 28–February 10. In a covering memorandum to Rostow, February 12, Helms wrote: “This is the cable I mentioned to you on the 'phone a little while ago. I am sending it to you in this form, because I wanted you to have it promptly.” (Ibid.) In his covering memorandum transmitting a copy of the report to the President, February 12, 4:50 p.m., Rostow wrote: “This is an extremely well balanced CIA assessment from Saigon of what the Communists have gained and lost; and what our problems are. We are unlikely to have anything better right away.” (Ibid.) The notation “ps” on this covering memorandum indicates that the President saw it.


73. Intelligence Memorandum

Source: Central Intelligence Agency, O/DDI Files, Job 78–T02095R, SNIE 14.3–1–67, Viet Cong Recruitment and Morale Problems. Secret; No Foreign Dissem. A notation on the first page reads: “This memorandum was produced by CIA. It was prepared by the Office of Economic Research with assistance of the Vietnamese Affairs Staff and coordinated with the Office of Current Intelligence. It analyzes developments reported through 13 February 1968.”


74. Notes of Meeting

Source: Johnson Library, Tom Johnson's Notes of Meetings. Top Secret. The meeting was held in the White House. McNamara, Rostow, Taylor, Clifford, Helms, and Wheeler left at 2:25 p.m.; Rusk left at 2:32 p.m.; Christian and Tom Johnson left at 2:40 p.m. (Ibid., President's Daily Diary)


75. Circular Telegram From the Department of State to All Posts

Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1967–69, POL 27 VIET S. Secret; Priority; Limdis. Drafted by John Burke of the Vietnam Working Group, cleared by Habib and EA Public Affairs Adviser Oscar Armstrong, and approved by Bundy. Sent to all European posts, all East Asian and Pacific posts, Hong Kong, Mexico, Argentina, Brazil, Pakistan, Ceylon, Tunisia, Iran, India, Morocco, and USUN, and pouched to all other posts.


76. Telegram From the Embassy in Vietnam to the Department of State

Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1967–69, POL 27 VIET S. Secret; Immediate; Nodis. This telegram is printed in full in Pike, ed., The Bunker Papers, Vol. 2, pp. 334–341.


77. Telegram From the Embassy in Vietnam to the Department of State

Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1967–69, POL 27 VIET S. Top Secret; Immediate; Nodis.


78. Memorandum of Conversation

Source: Library of Congress, Manuscript Division, Harriman Papers, Special Files, Public Service, Kennedy-Johnson, Chronological File, February 1968. Secret; For Personal Files Only; Absolutely No Distribution. Drafted by Harriman. The meeting began at 12:37 p.m. and lasted until 1 p.m. (Johnson Library, President's Daily Diary)


80. Notes of Meeting

Source: Johnson Library, Tom Johnson's Notes of Meetings. Top Secret. Those present at the meeting were the President, Rusk, McNamara, Clifford, Helms, Wheeler, Rostow, Christian, and Tom Johnson. The meeting was held in the White House. (Ibid., President's Daily Diary) On February 18 the enemy launched a series of “second wave” attacks in three of the Corps Tactical Zones.


81. Record of Meeting

Source: Johnson Library, Transcripts of Meetings in the Cabinet Room, 2/21/68. No classification marking. The meeting lasted from 11:08 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. (Ibid., President's Daily Diary)


82. Telegram From the Embassy in Vietnam to the Department of State

Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1967–69, POL 27 VIET S. Secret; Immediate; Nodis. Received at 9:08 a.m. and passed to the White House. This telegram is printed in full in Pike, ed., The Bunker Papers, Vol. 2, pp. 342–350.


83. Telegram From the President's Special Assistant (Rostow) to President Johnson in Texas

Source: Johnson Library, National Security File, Memos to the President, Walt Rostow, Vol. 64. Top Secret; Sensitive. The President stayed at the LBJ Ranch February 21–28.


85. Telegram From the President's Special Assistant (Rostow) to President Johnson in Texas

Source: Johnson Library, National Security File, NSC History of the March 31st Speech, Vol. 3, Tabs A–Z and AA–QQ. Top Secret; Sensitive. Received at the LBJ Ranch on February 23 at 11:17 a.m.


86. Memorandum From the Chairman of the Board of National Estimates, Central Intelligence Agency (Smith) to Director of Central Intelligence Helms

Source: Johnson Library, National Security File, NSC History of the March 31st Speech, Vol. 3, Tabs RR–ZZ and a-d. Secret. Prepared by the CIA's Office of National Estimates. In an attached covering memorandum transmitting a copy of this CIA memorandum to the President, February 27, Rostow wrote: “I have marked the key passages in this CIA document on the outlook in Vietnam. So far as the decisions before you are concerned, paragraphs 11 and 13, sidelined in red (pp. 5–6), are critical. Whether ‘the U.S. and ARVN regain the initiative’ is really what your decision in the days ahead is about.” This memorandum was part of the backup material considered by the Clifford Task Force. See Document 100.


87. Telegram From the Department of State to the Embassy in Italy

Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1967–69, POL 27–14 VIET/KILLY. Secret; Nodis; Killy. Drafted by Harriman and Heywood Isham (EA/VN); cleared by Bundy, Katzenbach, and George Kelly (S/S); and approved by Rusk and Harriman. Repeated to the White House. Beginning in January 1967, Italian Ambassador to South Vietnam Giovanni D'Orlandi and North Vietnamese Ambassador to Czechoslovakia Phan Van Su met intermittently at Prague. Following these exchanges, which lasted through January 1968, Su came to Rome and met with Italian Foreign Minister Amintore Fanfani on February 5 and 6. According to Fanfani, Su suggested the possibility of the DRV opening contacts after a cessation of bombing. Su rejected reciprocity but noted that his government might take certain “favorable meas-ures” as talks progressed. On February 7 Italian Ambassador to the United States Egidio Ortona read to Rusk a telegram from his government summarizing the contacts and emphasizing the step forward made by Hanoi. A story about these contacts appeared in the Italian press on February 12. (Memorandum from Bundy to Rusk, February 12, and attached translated note from Ortona to Rusk, February 7; ibid., EA Files: Lot 71 D 461, Killy—DD's Background, and memorandum of conversation between Fanfani and Su, February 5; ibid., Killy (extra copies and drafts))


88. Memorandum From the Ambassador's Special Assistant (Lansdale) to the Ambassador to Vietnam (Bunker)

Source: Johnson Library, National Security File, Country File, Vietnam, 8 E (1), 7/67–3/68, Lansdale Memos to Rostow. Secret. In an attached covering memorandum transmitting this memorandum to Rostow, February 29, Lansdale wrote: “Ellsworth Bunker asked each of us in the Mission Council to assess the period of the Tet offensive for him. Since he undoubtedly will want to compile a balanced account, based on the wide variety of assessments he gets, I don't want to prejudice his report in Washington. Thus, I enclose my personal assessment on an ‘eyes only’ basis to give you a personal insight into how this all looked to my little group, with the reminder that others will be broadening the view.” A MACV analysis of the Tet offensive and recommendations for action are in an untitled report dated March 15. (Ibid., William C. Westmoreland Papers, #30 History File, 1–31 Mar 68 [1])


89. Notes of Meeting

Source: Johnson Library, National Security File, Country File, Vietnam, March 19, 1970 memo to the President on the Decision to Halt the Bombing, 1967, 1968 [I]. No classification marking. The notes are handwritten by McPherson.


90. Memorandum From the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (Wheeler) to President Johnson

Source: Johnson Library, National Security File, NSC History of the March 31st Speech, Vol. 3, Tabs A–Z and AA–QQ. Top Secret. The notation “ps” on the memorandum indicates that the President saw it.


91. Notes of Meeting

Source: Johnson Library, Tom Johnson's Notes of Meetings. Top Secret. The meeting lasted from 8:35 to 11:15 a.m. and was held in the White House. The Vice President joined the meeting at 8:50 a.m. (Ibid., President's Daily Diary)


92. Information Memorandum From the President's Special Assistant (Rostow) to President Johnson

Source: Johnson Library, National Security File, NSC History of the March 31st Speech, Vol. 3, Tabs RR–ZZ and a-d. Top Secret; Sensitive. The notation “ps” on the memorandum indicates that the President saw it and the attachment.