11. Memorandum From the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger) to President Nixon1


  • Actions Resulting from National Security Council Meeting of January 25, 19692

Attached is a list of the actions indicated during the National Security Council meeting on Saturday, January 25, 1969 dealing with Vietnam. The list has been coordinated on an eyes only basis with the principals and has been agreed to by them.

With your approval, I will prepare appropriate implementing instructions where required.3



Vietnam in General

The President directed that CIA prepare an analysis of how each of the nations in S.E. Asia would view the Vietnam options outlined in the NSC paper considered on the January 25 NSC agenda.

The President asked to see the November NIE which contains an analysis of S.E. Asian reactions to various settlement options in Vietnam.

The Assistant to the President asked for an analysis of recent casualty statistics to reflect comparisons between friendly and enemy casualties, resulting from (a) friendly initiated actions and (b) enemy initiated actions.

The President requested an updating on the military situation in Vietnam focused on possible enemy initiatives during Tet so that he will be prepared to respond quickly to recommendations for appropriate U.S. responses.

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Associated with review of U.S. contingency actions in the event of an enemy Tet offensive, the President wishes to see the contingency plan which has already been prepared outlining the proposed U.S. response to an enemy attack on Saigon and/or other major South Vietnamese population centers.

The President requested that the Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff provide him with a report on current plans and programs for the improvement of South Vietnam’s internal security capabilities with emphasis on the development of indigenous police forces. The report should include information on the current U.S. organization for accomplishing this task, to include an analysis of the qualifications of our responsible officials at each level in the U.S. organization.

The President emphasized that he wants absolutely no public or private criticism of the GVN by U.S. officials.

The President registered his concern for insuring that the U.S. Government continue to apply pressure on the GVN to replace incompetent ARVN leadership, especially in the III Corps area of SVN.

Paris Negotiations

The President emphasized that he did not want the U.S. to initiate any discussions on ceasefire in the Paris negotiations. It was agreed, however, that a U.S. position on the issue must be developed should it be raised by the other side.

The President wishes that unilateral (U.S.) troop withdrawals not be proposed by the U.S. side in the Paris negotiations. The President approved continuation of U.S.–GVN discussions currently underway in Saigon involving possible selected U.S. troop reductions in conjunction with increasing GVN military capabilities but emphasized that they be held on a strictly close-hold basis. For the present, public discussion of U.S. withdrawals or troop reductions in Vietnam should be limited to mutual withdrawals in the context of Paris negotiations.

The President wishes the issue of de-escalation not be included on the list of U.S. negotiating items in Paris.

The President approved the inclusion of Prisoner Exchange in the initial U.S. Paris negotiating position.

World-Wide Issues

The President requested recommendations as to whether or not the U.S. should seek to reestablish relations with Cambodia to include whether or not the President might take such an initiative through a note to Sihanouk.

The President wishes to be advised at an early date on the possibility of a transition to an all volunteer Army.

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The President requested that the Secretary of Defense provide him with his views on the Draft issue.

[Omitted here is a short paragraph on future contacts with the Soviet Union.]

  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, NSC Institutional Files (H-Files), Box H–109, NSC Minutes, Originals, 1969. Secret.
  2. See Document 10.
  3. Nixon checked and initialed the approve option.