54. Memorandum From Robert N. Ginsburgh of the National Security Council Staff to the President’s Special Assistant (Rostow)1

I would speculate that there are two possible reasons why the attack on Khe Sanh has not yet materialized:

  • —Our B–52 and tactical air attacks may have upset their timing—especially if the air bombardment actually put their headquarters out of operation for a day or so.
  • —They may have planned the attack on Khe Sanh to coincide with a second round of attacks on the cities. Initial attacks on the cities would be designed to force General Westmoreland to commit his reserves. The second round would keep them committed while they launched a major assault on Khe Sanh.

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Since the first attacks did not achieve their objectives, it is conceivable that the attack might not take place.

More likely, the enemy would try to carry out its original plan. If so, we might expect the battle for Khe Sanh to start within the next three days. Various intelligence reports indicate; for example:

  • —Attack as early as possible before 5 February.2
  • —General Loan, police director, believes another attack on Saigon is scheduled for 4 or 5 February.
  • —Enemy troop movements in Pleiku area indicate possibility of attack the night of 4 February (today our time).
  • —A second attack is scheduled for Nha Trang ten days after the first attack (6 or 7 February).
  • —Special communications plans for enemy units the night of 4–5 February.

  1. Source: Johnson Library, National Security File, Country File, Vietnam, 2 A (2), I Corps and DMZ, 2/68 [2 of 2]. Secret.
  2. Late on the night of February 4–5 enemy shelling and minor ground assaults on Khe Sanh began but were quickly beaten back.