The editors of the Foreign Relations series have complete access to all the retired records and papers of the Department of State: the central files of the Department; the special decentralized files (“lot files”) of the Department at the bureau, office, and division levels; the files of the Department’s Executive Secretariat, which contain the records of international conferences and high-level official visits, correspondence with foreign leaders by the President and Secretary of State, and memoranda of conversations between the President and Secretary of State and foreign officials; and the files of overseas diplomatic posts. When this volume was being compiled, all Department of State records consulted were still under the custody of the Department, and the footnotes citing Department of State files suggest that the Department is the repository. By the time of publication, however, all the Department’s indexed central (or decimal) files for the 1964–1968 period have been permanently transferred to the National Archives and Records Administration (Archives II) at College Park, Maryland. Many of the Department’s decentralized office (or lot) files covering this period will also be transferred from the Department’s custody to Archives II over the next several years.
The editors of the Foreign Relations series also have full access to the papers of Presidents Johnson and other White House foreign policy records. Presidential papers maintained and preserved at the Presidential libraries include some of the most significant foreign affairs-related documentation from the Department of State and other Federal agencies including the National Security Council, the Central Intelligence Agency, the Department of Defense, and the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
The Department of State arranged for access to the many audiotapes of President Johnson’s telephone conversations that are held at the Johnson Library. The first audiotapes became available to the editors in late 1994 (a year after this volume was completed) with most audiotapes following during 1995 and 1996 (after this volume was well into declassification). The editors did not believe that the small portion of taped material relating exclusively to Laos justified any delay in publication of the volume. In 1964, President Johnson discussed Laos on the telephone within the context of Southeast Asia and two of those taped discussions are printed in Volume XXVII, Mainland Southeast Asia; Regional Affairs.
The Central Intelligence Agency provides access to Department of State historians to high-level intelligence documents from those records in the custody of that Agency and at the Presidential Libraries. This access is arranged and facilitated by the History Staff of the Center for the Study of Intelligence, Central Intelligence Agency, pursuant to a May [Page XVI]1992 memorandum of understanding. Department of State and CIA historians continue to work out the procedural and scholarly aspects of identifying the key portions of the intelligence record.
In preparing this specific volume, the editor made extensive use of Presidential papers and other White House files at the Lyndon B. Johnson Library.
The second important area of research was the extensive records of the Department of State, both the central files and to a lesser extent the lot files. In Laos the Ambassador had a unique responsibility for coordination of the U.S. and allied military effort against the Pathet Lao and North Vietnamese in addition to his political and diplomatic responsibilities, thereby allowing him to act as a de facto military commander. This responsibility brought the Ambassador into conflict with the military commanders in Vietnam, General Westmoreland and later General Abrams. The papers of Westmoreland and Abrams were important sources for documenting the military side of this bureaucratic struggle. Averell Harriman was the architect of the Laos agreement of 1962, and although his influence on policy towards Laos under President Johnson was not as great as it had been under Kennedy, his papers at the Library of Congress, especially his telephone conversations, are still an important adjunct depository for information on Laos.
Because U.S. policy in Laos had such a strong military component, the editor did extensive research in the records of the Department of Defense (DOD) at the Washington National Records Center at Suitland, Maryland, particularly the records of the Secretary of Defense and his major assistants. The files of the Department of Defense of most value were those of McNamara’s office and the office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs. In addition, the official files of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the Secretary of Defense’s cable files at the OSD Historian at the Department of Defense, the McNaughton Files at the Johnson Library, and the papers Maxwell Taylor at the National Defense University provided key supplemental documentation.
Laos also had an extremely large intelligence component that included secret air support of the Laos armed forces, covert support of the H’mong and other tribal groups, intelligence gathering and covert sabotage and harassment raids against the Ho Chi Minh Trail, and an intelligence assessment controversy about the nature of the North Vietnamese infiltration and U.S. success in preventing it. The files of the Directors of Central Intelligence, most importantly Director John McCone’s, provided invaluable insight into how intelligence and foreign policy interacted in Laos. The files of the Bureau of Intelligence and Research in the Department of State provided both finished intelligence and a window into the oversight of covert policy through the records of the 303 Committee. The editor attempted to document the history of the covert paramilitary [Page XVII]operations in Laos by providing overview documentation based on files of the Directorate of Operations of the Central Intelligence Agency and other relevant collections. Although two key documents selected for publication on this issue remain classified, the basic outline of the story, if not all the details, is presented here.
The following list identifies the particular files and collections used in the preparation of this volume. The declassification and transfer to the National Archives of these records is in process. Many of the records are already available for public review at the National Archives. The declassification review of other records is going forward in accordance with the provisions of Executive Order 12958, under which all records over 25 years old except for any file series exemptions proposed by agencies and approved by the President, should be reviewed for declassification by 2000.
Department of State
- Central Files. See National Archives and Records Administration below.
Lot Files. These files are either transferred
or in the process of being transferred to the National Archives and
Records Administration at College Park Maryland, Record Group 59.
- Bundy Files: Lot 85 D 240
- Files of William P. Bundy as Assistant Secretary of State for Far Eastern Affairs (Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs after November 1, 1966).
EA/Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia
Files: Lot 75 D 394
- Top secret non-telegraphic files for Laos, 1965–1972.
EA/Vietnam Working Group
Files: Lot 74 D 51
- Records of the air war in Southeast Asia, 1963–1970.
INR/EAP Files: Lot 90 D 99
- National Intelligence Estimates, Special Intelligence Estimates, and related documentation for East Asia and the Pacific, 1953–1969.
INR/EAP Files Lot 90 D 165
- National Intelligence Estimates, Special Intelligence Estimates, and related documentation for East Asia and the Pacific, 1954–1977.
INR/IL (Historical) Files
- Files of the Office of Intelligence Coordination, Bureau of Intelligence and Research.
Kohler Files: Lot 71
- Files of Ambassador Kohler for 1967–1968 concerning primarily his discussions with Soviet Ambassador Dobrynin and Foreign Minister Gromyko.
- Presidential Correspondence: Lot 66 D 204
- Exchanges of correspondence between Heads of Government and the President and the Secretary of State, 1953–1964.
- Secretary’s Memoranda of Conversation: Lot 65 D 355
- Memoranda of the Secretary of State’s and Acting Secretary of State’s conversations, 1961–1964.
S/P Files: Lot 72 D 139
- Files of Walt Rostow and Henry Owen of the Policy Planning Council, 1964–1967.
- S/S–I Files: Lot 79 D 246
- Microfilmed master chronological files of international conferences attended by the President, the Secretary of State, and other U.S. officials, 1953–1966.
- Bundy Files: Lot 85 D 240
National Archives and Records Administration, College
- Record Group 59, General Records of the Department of State
Subject-Numeric Indexed Central Files
- POL LAOS, general policy and background, Laos
- POL 1 LAOS, general policy and background, Laos
- POL 1–1 LAOS, contingency planning and coordination, Laos
- POL 2 LAOS, general reports, Laos
- POL 6 LAOS, Lao biographical
- POL 7 LAOS, visits and meetings of Lao officials
- POL 8 LAOS, Lao neutralism and non-alignment
- POL 15–1 LAOS, Lao head of state, executive branch
- POL 15–4 LAOS, administration of Lao government
- POL 17 LAOS, diplomatic representation in Laos
- POL 17–1 LAOS, accreditation of Lao diplomats
- POL 23–7 LAOS, infiltration and subversion in Laos
- POL 23–9 LAOS, rebellions and coups in Laos
- POL 27 LAOS, military operations in Laos
- POL 27–10 LAOS, chemical warfare (napalm) in Laos
- POL 27–14 LAOS, truces and cease-fires in Laos
- POL LAOS–US, general U.S. Laos relations
- POL 1 LAOS–US, general U.S.-Laos relations
- POL 15–1 LAOS–US, U.S. and Lao heads of state
- POL 31–1 LAOS–US, U.S. incursions of Lao boundaries
- POL 15–1 VIET S, head of state of South Vietnam
- POL 27 VIET S, military operations in South Vietnam
- POL 1 ASIA SE–US, U.S. general relations with Southeast Asia
- POL 27 ASIA SE, military operations in Southeast Asia
- POL US–USSR, U.S.-U.S.S.R. general relations
- POL 7 US/HARRIMAN, trips of Averell Harriman
- POL 7 US/HUMPHREY, trips of Vice President Humphrey
- DEF 1–1 LAOS, military contingency plans for Laos
- DEF 6 LAOS, Lao armed forces
- DEF 6–3 LAOS, Lao air forces
- DEF 6–6 LAOS, Lao military decorations and awards
- DEF 1 ASIA SE, general military policy in Southeast Asia
- DEF 1–1 ASIA SE, military contingency plans in Southeast Asia
- DEF 7 LAOS–VIET S, military missions and visits between Laos and South Vietnam
- DEF 6–12 US, U.S.-Lao military maneuvers
- DEF 19–US, U.S. military assistance
- DEF 19–2 US–LAOS, reports of U.S. military assistance to Laos
- DEF 7 LAOS–US, Lao-U.S. military missions
- DEF 15 LAOS–US, U.S. bases and installations in Laos
- DEF 17 LAOS–US, U.S. military transportation in Laos
- FN 1–1 LAOS, financial stabilization of Laos
- INT 6 PHOTO LAOS, U.S. photographic reconnaissance of Laos
- INT 2–2, National Intelligence Estimates
- ORG 7 OSD, visits of the Secretary of Defense
Central Intelligence Agency
- DCI (McCone) Files: Job
- Files of Director of Central Intelligence John A McCone, 1961–1965.
- DCI (Raborn) Files: Job 80–01285A
- Files of Director of Central Intelligence William F. Raborn, Jr., 1965–1966.
- DDO Files: Job 79–207A
- Files of the Office Directorate of Operations.
- DCI (McCone) Files: Job 80–01285A
Department of Defense, Washington, D.C.
- OSD Historian’s Office, Secretary of Defense’s Cable Files
- Official Records of the Joint Chief of Staff
Lyndon B. Johnson Library, Austin, Texas
Papers of President Lyndon B. Johnson
- National Security File:
- Country File, Laos, Vietnam
- Name File
- National Security Action Memorandums
- National Security Council Meetings
- Memos to the President
- Files of McGeorge Bundy
- Files of Walt Rostow
- Diaries and Appointment Logs
- President’s Daily Diary
- White House Central Files
- Confidential File
- Subject File
- George Ball Papers
- Memoranda of telephone conversations of Under Secretary of State George Ball, December 1963–1969.
- Tom Johnson Notes of Meetings
- Notes of meetings prepared by Tom Johnson, 1966–1968.
Memoranda of Meetings with the President
- CIA Director McCone’s records of meeting with the President, 1963–1965.
Dean Rusk Papers
- Rusk Appointment Book
Paul C. Warnke Papers
- Papers of Warnke’s predecessor, John McNaughton, 1963–1967 and Warnke’ papers, 1967–1968.
- Papers of William C. Westmoreland, Commander, U.S. Military Assistance Command, Vietnam.
- National Security File:
- Papers of President Lyndon B. Johnson
Washington National Records Center, Suitland,
Record Group 330, Records of the Office of the
Secretary of Defense, Deputy Secretary of Defense, and the
Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security
- OASD/ISA Files: FRC 68 A
306 and FRC 68 A 4023
- ISA secret and top secret subject decimal files, 1964.
- OASD/ISA Files: FRC 69 A
- Miscellaneous and sensitive ISA subject decimal files, 1961–1964.
OSD/Admin Files: FRC 69 A
- Official secret and top secret subject decimal files of the Secretary of Defense, Deputy Secretary of Defense, and their special assistants, 1964.
OSD/Admin Files: FRC 70 A
1265 and FRC 70 A 1266
- Official secret and top secret subject decimal files of the Secretary of Defense, Deputy Secretary of Defense, and their special assistants, 1965.
OSD/Admin Files: FRC 70 A
- Official secret and top secret subject decimal files of the Office of the Secretary of Defense, 1966.
- OASD/ISA Files: FRC 70 A
6648 and FRC 70 A 6649
- ISA secret and top secret subject decimal subject files, 1966.
- OASD/ISA Files: FRC 71 A
4918 and FRC 71 A 4919
- ISA secret and top secret subject decimal files, 1967.
- OASD/ISA Files: FRC 72 A
1498 and FRC 72 A 1499
- ISA secret and top secret subject decimal files, 1968.
OSD/Admin Files: FRC 72 A
2467 and FRC 72 A 2468
- Official top secret and secret subject decimal files of the Secretary of Defense, Under Secretary of Defense, and their special assistants, 1967.
OSD/Admin Files: FRC 73 A
1250 and FRC 73 A 1304
- Official secret and top secret subject decimal files of the Secretary of Defense, Under Secretary of Defense, and their special assistants, 1968.
- OASD/ISA Files: FRC 68 A 306 and FRC 68 A 4023
- Record Group 330, Records of the Office of the Secretary of Defense, Deputy Secretary of Defense, and the Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs (ISA)
Library of Congress, Manuscript Division, Washington,
- Harriman Papers
- Special files of W. Averell Harriman for the Kennedy and Johnson administrations.
- Harriman Papers
National Defense University, Fort NcNair, Washington,
- Maxwell Taylor Papers
U.S. Army Center of Military History, Washington,
- Abrams Papers
- Back channel messages of General Creighton W. Abrams, Commander in Chief, U.S. Military Assistance Command, 1968–1972.
- Back channel messages of General William C. Westmoreland, Commander in Chief, U.S. Military Assistance Command, Vietnam, 1964–1968.
- Abrams Papers
- U.S. Department of State. American Foreign Policy: Current Documents, 1962, 1963, 1964, 1965, 1966, 1967. Washington: Government Printing Office, 1966, 1967, 1968, 1969, 1970, respectively.
- ________Department of State Bulletin, 1964, 1965, 1966, 1967, 1968.
- National Archives and Records Administration. Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States: Lyndon B. Johnson, 1963–1964, 1965, 1966, 1967, 1968–1969. Washington: Government Printing Office, 1965, 1966, 1967, 1968, and 1970, respectively.
Memoirs and Official Military Histories
- The Department of State takes no responsibility for the accuracy of these memoirs nor endorses their interpretation of the events.
- Anthony, Victor B. and Richard R. Sexton. The Air War in Northern Laos, 1954–1973 (unpublished manuscript). Washington: Center for Air Force History, 1993.
- Colby, William. Lost Victory: A Firsthand Account of America’s Sixteen Year Involvement in Vietnam. Chicago: Contemporary Books, 1989.
- Johnson, Lyndon B. The Vantage Point: Perspectives on the Presidency, 1963–1969. New York, Chicago, San Francisco: Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1971.
- McNamara, Robert S. (with Brian VanDeMark). In Retrospect: The Tragedy and Lessons of Vietnam. New York: Time Books, Random House, 1995.
- Rostow, Walt W. The Diffusion of Power, 1957–1972. New York: The Macmillan Company, 1972.
- Rusk, Dean (as told to Richard Rusk). As I Saw It. New York and London: W.W. Norton & Company, 1990.
- Stieglitz, Perry L. In a Little Kingdom. M.E. Sharpe, Inc.: Armonk, N.Y. and London, England, 1990.
- Sullivan, William H. Obbligato: Notes on a Foreign Service Career. New York and London: W.W. Norton &Co., 1984.
- Van Staaveren, Jacob, Center for Air Force History. Interdiction in Southern Laos, 1960–1968. Washington: Government Printing Office, 1993.
- Westmoreland, General William C. A Soldier Reports. New York: Doubleday, 1976.