September 1-October 1, 1968: Efforts To Move the Peace Talks Forward; the Ohio Exercise


1. Telephone Conversation Between President Johnson and Secretary of Defense Clifford

Source: Johnson Library, Recordings and Transcripts, Recording of Telephone Conversation Between Johnson and Clifford, September 2, 1968, 10:10 a.m., Tape F68.06, PNO 4. No classification marking. This transcript was prepared specifically for this volume in the Office of the Historian. Clifford, in Washington, called the President at his Texas ranch, where Johnson was staying August 23 to September 3. (Ibid., President's Daily Diary)


2. Telegram From the Embassy in France to the Department of State

Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, A/IM Files: Lot 93 D 82, HARVAN-(Incoming)-September 1968. Secret; Immediate; Nodis/Harvan/Plus. Received at 2:53 p.m.


3. Notes of Meeting

Source: Johnson Library, Meeting Notes File. Top Secret. Drafted by Christian. The meeting was a regular Tuesday Luncheon. Attending were the President, Rusk, Clifford, Helms, Wheeler, Taylor, Rostow, and Christian. (Ibid., President's Daily Diary) An agenda for this meeting prepared by Read is in the National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, S/S Files: Lot 74 D 164, Presidential Luncheon Memoranda.


4. Summary Notes of the 590th Meeting of the National Security Council

Source: Johnson Library, National Security File, NSC Meetings, Vol. 5, Tab 72. Secret; Sensitive; For the President Only. Attending were the President, Rostow, Humphrey, Rusk, Clifford, Ball, Nitze, Fowler, Helms, Wheeler, Marks, Thompson, Director of the Office of Emergency Preparedness Price Daniel, Assistant Secretary of State for European Affairs John M. Leddy, Ambassador to NATO Harlan Cleveland, Smith, Christian, Edward Fried of the NSC Staff, and White House aide Nathaniel Davis. (Ibid., President's Daily Diary) A full transcript of the meeting is ibid., Transcripts of Meetings in the Cabinet Room.


5. Notes of Meeting

Source: Johnson Library, Transcripts of Meetings in the Cabinet Room. No classification marking. The President discussed the same matters in a telephone call with Muskie at 2:47 p.m. later that day. (Ibid., Transcripts and Recordings of Telephone Conversations) A full record of the meeting is ibid., Transcripts of Meetings in the Cabinet Room.


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

Source: Johnson Library, National Security File, Files of Walt Rostow, Vietnam, July-December 1968. Secret; Sensitive.


7. Telegram From the Embassy in France to the Department of State

Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, A/IM Files: Lot 93 D 82, HARVAN-(Incoming)-September 1968. Secret; Flash; Nodis; HARVAN; Plus. Received at 12:26 p.m.


8. Notes of Meeting

Source: Johnson Library, Tom Johnson's Notes of Meetings. No classification markings. This was an off-the-record meeting with the bipartisan Congressional leadership. Attending were the President, Rusk, Clifford, Rostow, Special Assistant Harold Barefoot Sanders, Chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers Arthur Okun, Director of the Bureau of the Budget Charles Zwick, Tom Johnson, and Congressmen McCormack, Albert, Ford, Melvin Lair, and Leslie Arends. (Ibid., President's Daily Diary) A full transcript of the meeting is ibid., Transcripts of Meetings in the Cabinet Room.


10. Paper Prepared by the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (Wheeler)

Source: Washington National Records Center, Department of Defense, OSD Files: FRC 330 73 A 1250, VIET 092.2 (September-October 1968). Confidential. A notation on the paper reads: “Dep. Sec. has seen.” An attached note dated September 11 reads: “Clark—Some days ago you asked me to think over an idea of yours relative to a cessation of bombing north of 17!. I have done so. The attached paper, which I wrote personally, sets forth the doubts & problems it raises for me. Bus.” Another attached note to Clifford from his military aide Robert Pursely dated October 17 reads: “Mr. Clifford: You handed the attached paper to Mr. Warnke some time ago. He now returns it, with the comment that he feels no action is indicated at this time. REP"


11. Memorandum for Director of Central Intelligence Helms

Source: Central Intelligence Agency, DDO/IMS Files, Job 72-207A, AA-3, FE Division, 1968. Secret; Sensitive. Drafted by Carver. In an attached note to Deputy Director for Plans Thomas Karamessines, Chief of the Far East Division William E. Nelson, Chief of Vietnam Operations [name not declassified], and Chief of Saigon Station [name not declassified], September 12, Carver wrote: “Attached is the final version of the briefing memorandum on Lien Minh given the Director to brace him for the 12 September Presidential lunch. In going over this with him, I reported [name not declassified] strong conviction (which I share) that although we may have some reservations about the mechanics of the Ambassador's proposal, we feel the Lien Minh concept is sound and merits U.S. financial support. The Director agreed and said he would argue for the basic concept at the lunch.”


12. Notes of Meeting

Source: Johnson Library, Tom Johnson's Notes of Meetings. No classification marking. The meeting was held in the White House Mansion. (Ibid., President's Daily Diary)


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

Source: Johnson Library, National Security File, Country File, Vietnam, HARVAN Misc. & Memos, Vol. VI, 8/68-9/68. Secret; Nodis; HARVAN/Plus.


14. Telegram From the President's Special Assistant (Rostow) to President Johnson at Camp David

Source: Johnson Library, National Security File, Country File, Vietnam, HARVAN Misc. & Memos, Vol. VI, 8/68-9/68. Secret; Sensitive; Literally Eyes Only. Received at 11:35 a.m. The notation “ps” on the telegram indicates that the President saw it. The President was at the Presidential retreat at Camp David, Maryland, September 14-16. (Ibid., President's Daily Diary)


15. Notes of Meeting

Source: Johnson Library, George Elsey Papers, Van De Mark Transcripts [1 of 2]. No classification marking. Drafted by Elsey. This meeting is the regular 8:30 a.m. staff meeting of Secretary of Defense Clifford, which included, in addition to Clifford, Nitze, Warnke, Elsey, Assistant Secretary of Defense for Public Affairs Phil G. Goulding, and military assistant Colonel Robert Pursley. For additional information on the group, see Clark Clifford with Richard Holbrooke, Counsel to the President: A Memoir (New York: Random House, 1991), p. 491.


16. Memorandum From the Board of National Estimates to Director of Central Intelligence Helms

Source: Washington National Records Center, Department of Defense, OSD Files: FRC 330 73 A 1250, VIET 092.2 (September-October) 1968. Secret. A notation on the memorandum reads: “Sec Def has seen—8 Oct 1968.”


17. Intelligence Report Prepared in the Central Intelligence Agency

Source: Johnson Library, National Security File, Country File, Vietnam, Memos to the President, Vol. V. Secret; Sensitive. In an attached covering memorandum transmitting a copy of this report to the President, September 17, Rostow wrote: “Herewith the matter Dick Helms was going to raise at lunch, but held off at Sect. Rusk's suggestion. It reveals what Ky's—and in part, Thieu's—frame of mind really is; and their deep anxiety about the U.S. This is absolutely firm intelligence and suggests our major problem with a bombing cessation. I believe I know how we can deal with it.” Notes of this luncheon meeting are printed as Document 22.


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

Source: Johnson Library, National Security File, Walt Rostow Files, Chlodnick File. Literally Eyes Only for the President and Secretary Rusk.


19. Memorandum of Conversation

Source: Library of Congress, Manuscript Division, Harriman Papers, Special Files, Public Service, Kennedy-Johnson, Subject File, Rusk, Dean—1968-69. Top Secret; Nodis. Harriman's summary version of this conversation is ibid., Confidential File, July-September—General. Harriman had returned to the United States 2 days before to attend a family funeral.


20. Memorandum of Conversation

Source: Library of Congress, Manuscript Division, Harriman Papers, Special Files, Public Service, Kennedy-Johnson, Subject File, Johnson, Lyndon—1968. Top Secret; Nodis. The meeting lasted until 12:42 p.m. (Johnson Library, President's Daily Diary) In a memorandum to the President, September 17, 10:15 a.m., Rostow transmitted guidance for the meeting in the form of five questions that the President should ask. (Ibid., National Security File, Files of Walt Rostow, Middle East and Vietnam Negotiations, September 1968) Rostow's notes of this meeting are in his undated memorandum for the record. (Ibid., National Security File, Country File, Vietnam, Memos to the President/Bombing Halt Decision, Vol. I [1 of 3])


21. Memorandum of Conversation

Source: Library of Congress, Manuscript Division, Harriman Papers, Special Files, Public Service, Kennedy-Johnson, Confidential File, July-December 1968. Top Secret; Nodis.


22. Notes of Meeting

Source: Johnson Library, Tom Johnson's Notes of Meetings. No classification marking. The meeting began at 1:43 p.m. at the White House. Clifford and Wheeler left at 2:40 p.m.; Rusk, Helms, and Harriman left at 2:55 p.m.; and Rostow, Christian, and Tom Johnson left at 3:10 p.m. (Ibid., President's Daily Diary)


23. Telegram From the Department of State to the Embassy in France

Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, A/IM Files: Lot 93 D 82, HARVAN-(Outgoing)-September-October 1968. Top Secret; Nodis; HARVAN/Plus. Drafted by Bundy; cleared by Harriman, Rostow, Katzenbach, Clifford, and Read; and approved by Rusk.


24. Telegram From the Embassy in France to the Department of State

Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, A/IM Files: Lot 93 D 82, HARVAN-(Incoming)-September 1968. Secret; Flash; Nodis; HARVAN/Plus. Received at 4:53 p.m.


25. 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. 95. Top Secret; Sensitive; Literally Eyes Only for the President. Received at the LBJ Ranch at 12:36 p.m.


26. Telegram From the Embassy in France to the Department of State

Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, A/IM Files: Lot 93 D 82, HARVAN-(Incoming)-September 1968. Secret; Priority; Nodis; HARVAN/Plus. Received at 3:54 p.m.


27. Letter From W. Averell Harriman and Cyrus Vance of the Paris Delegation to Secretary of State Rusk

Source: Library of Congress, Manuscript Division, Harriman Papers, Special Files, Public Service, Kennedy-Johnson, Subject File, Rusk, Dean, 1968-69. Secret; Personal.


28. Telegram From the Embassy in Norway to the Department of State

Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1967-69, POL 27-14 VIET/OHIO. Secret; Immediate; Nodis; Ohio/Plus. Received at 4:54 p.m. Repeated to Paris for Harriman and Vance.


29. Telegram From the Department of State to the Embassy in Norway

Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1967-69, POL 27-14 VIET/OHIO. Secret; Priority; Nodis; Ohio/Plus. Drafted by Bundy; cleared in substance by Rusk, Katzenbach, and Rostow; and approved by Bundy and Read. Repeated to Paris for the delegation.


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

Source: Johnson Library, National Security File, Files of Walt Rostow, Chlodnick Files. Top Secret; Sensitive; Literally Eyes Only For the President. Received at the LBJ Ranch at 1:40 p.m. The notation “ps” on the telegram indicates that the President saw it.