211. Memorandum From the Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs (Warnke) to Secretary of Defense McNamara1



  • Daniel Boone

As result of recommendations by the Joint State/Defense/CIA Study Group for Cambodia, CINCPAC was authorized on 22 May 1967 to conduct limited cross-border ground reconnaissance operations into the northeast corner of Cambodia, using U.S.-South Vietnamese Special Forces teams (Daniel Boone). The specified area of operations and other conditions for the initial Daniel Boone program are shown on the map at Tab A.2 The map at Tab B3 shows a sampling of Daniel Boone operations June–September 1967. It illustrates that present restrictions result in Daniel Boone operations having limited value for tactical or other intelligence purposes.

Based on COMUSMACV and CINCPAC recommendations, the Joint Staff representative on the Cambodia Study Group proposed expanding the area of operations to the full length of the SVN/Cambodian border and authorizing the use of helicopters to infiltrate and exfiltrate [Page 465] the teams. This proposal was discussed by the Study Group and eventually reduced to the modified program as shown at Tab C,4 which would have provided for use of helicopters for both introduction and extraction of the teams in the northern part of the area of operations. The Department of State representative non-concurred on the basis that such use would inevitably result in incidents and should be authorized by Washington on a case by case basis and only under exceptional circumstances. The length of the area was also objected to on the basis of its extending too far into areas of population density. State therefore proposed to use Route 13 as the dividing line between sub-areas. Mr. Katzenbach supported this position.

An alternative proposal developed by the Joint Staff to reduce the risk and at the same time to permit needed operational flexibility is shown at Tab D.5 It has also been rejected by the Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs, State. However, Mr. Katzenbach has not addressed this new proposal.

In the memorandum at Tab E,6 the Acting Chairman, JCS, requests that you take this matter up with the Secretary of State to seek his agreement on the alternative program.

I recommend that you endorse the concept of operations shown at Tab D and that you instruct me to take up this proposal with Mr. Katzenbach.7

Paul C. Warnke
  1. Source: Washington National Records Center, RG 330, OASD/ISA Files, FRC 71 A 4919, Cambodia 000.1—1967 (381 Cambodia). Top Secret.
  2. Tab A was a map that delineated a 20-kilometer deep zone of operations in a small area of the extreme northeast corner of Cambodiaʼs border with Kontum province of South Vietnam. Foot infiltration and exfiltration was allowed; helicopters could be used only for emergency exfiltration. There could only be a maximum of ten missions a month and monthly schedules had to be submitted in advance for Washington-level approval.
  3. Attached, but not printed.
  4. Tab C was a map that proposed that the border between Cambodia and South Vietnam be divided into 2 zones. In the northern Alpha zone from the Lao border to Route 13 there could be up to 30 incursions in a 20-kilometer deep area per month with infiltration and exfiltration by helicopters. Forty-eight-hour notice would be given to Washington. In the southern Bravo zone from Route 13 along the rest of the Cambodia border, all operations had to be referred to Washington on a case-by-case basis.
  5. Tab D was the “JCS/DOD minimum proposal,” which covered the same two zones as in Tab C, but in Alpha zone only 5 of the 30 missions a month could use helicopters and they would be limited to infiltration of only 10 kilometers. Forty-eight hoursʼ notice would be required. Operations in Bravo zone would be referred to Washington for approval.
  6. CM 2666–67, September 28. Attached, but not printed.
  7. McNamara wrote the following note at the end of the memorandum: “10/6. Discuss with Nick [Katzenbach]—I lean to ʼmodified Cʼ if Nick disagrees with D.R. McN.”