75. Letter From Secretary of Defense Laird to the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger)1
Following our conversations, I have reviewed NSDM–232 again and believe that you should know about some of the things we are doing over here along these lines.
On 17 June, I directed Warren Nutter to form an OSD task group to study and supervise the Vietnamization effort in order to ensure that Vietnamization continues in an orderly, equitable, efficient, and explainable way. The Assistant Secretaries of Defense, Comptroller, Installations and Logistics, Manpower and Reserve Affairs, Public Affairs, and Systems Analysis are represented in the task group. The group is chaired by Warren’s deputy for East Asia, Dennis Doolin, and meets on a daily basis. A copy of the group’s current task list is appended.3 Every morning, Warren, Doolin, and Admiral Bill Lemos meet with me on Vietnam and Vietnam related matters. We are presently expanding the staff in Warren’s office and adding full-time analysts to the task group to study redeployment planning, concepts and strategy, leadership, and Vietnamese force improvements.
You are also aware of the Vietnam Ad Hoc Group,4 chaired by Bill Sullivan at State. This group meets every Tuesday and Friday, and has [Page 160] representatives from State, Defense (OSD and Joint Staff), AID, CIA, and your own staff.
Although NSDM–23 does not so state, I understand that the creation of a permanent working group is being considered to carry out the tasks outlined in your memo. Is such a group necessary in view of ongoing efforts? If so, would it not be more advisable and effective to place this group under the already established WSAG, rather than under a new special study group at the Under Secretary/Deputy Secretary level? I will be happy to discuss this with you at your convenience.