210. Action Memorandum From the Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian Affairs (Habib) to the Under Secretary of State (Katzenbach)1


  • JCS Proposal to Extend Daniel Boone Operations

Attached at Tab A is the draft authorization message for expanding Daniel Boone operations inside Cambodia geographically, numerically, and mechanically.2 The presently authorized area is in the extreme Northeast (marked in red on map at Tabs B and C). The JCS recommend 1) an extension of the area in a 20 km swath along the border to the Gulf of Siam; 2) an increase from 10 to 30 operations per month from the Lao border to Lo Go (marked in green on map at Tab B); 3) additional operations on a case-by-case basis South of Lo Go (marked in black on map at Tab B); and 4) the use of helicopters for insertion and extraction of the reconnaissance teams.

While I agree in the need for increased reconnaissance along the Cambodian border, the attached proposal would, if accepted, almost certainly expose our operations inside Cambodia and might result in direct combat between Cambodian forces and the US-led Daniel Boone teams.

The use of helicopters multiplies the risk of detection several times. They are highly visible and audible and would attract the attention of defenders, whether Cambodian or Communist Vietnamese. They are also vulnerable to ground fire, and if shot down, would provide tangible proof of allied violation of Cambodian territory.

The risk of exposure and combat with Cambodian forces is also greatly increased by operations in the area south of Route 13. From that point, population density increases and the character of the population changes from predominantly nomadic Montagnard to predominantly Cambodian farmer, who has been told to defend his home against allied “aggressors”, and who in many cases has been provided with the weapons to do so. This area also contains a greater number of Cambodian military units.


I recommend for the foregoing reasons that you approve the following guidelines for Daniel Boone: [Page 464]

Use of helicopters is excluded from Daniel Boone operations except in emergency extractions and in cases where it can be shown that their use is essential.
Daniel Boone operations up to a maximum of 30 a month are limited to a 20 km belt from Route 13 to the Lao border (marked in blue on Tab C), except in those cases where an essential need for reconnaissance can be demonstrated.

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, POL 27 CAMB. Top Secret. Drafted by Perry on September 13.
  2. Tabs A–C are attached, but not printed.
  3. Katzenbach approved both recommendations on September 16.