230. Minutes of Washington Special Actions Group Meeting1


  • Cambodia and Laos


  • Chairman—Henry A. Kissinger
  • CIA
  • Thomas H. Karamessines
  • William Nelson
  • Defense
  • G. Warren Nutter
  • Lt. Col. Gerald H. Britten
  • JCS
  • Admiral Nels C. Johnson
  • State
  • U. Alexis Johnson
  • Marshall Green
  • NSC Staff
  • John Holdridge
  • Col. Richard Kennedy
  • D. Keith Guthrie



The WSAG considered possible types and quantities of US assistance to Cambodia. All WSAG members agreed that the key issue was to determine the level of assistance that would reassure and help stabilize the Lon Nol Government and at the same time avoid stimulating the North Vietnamese to mount an all-out attack. The WSAG members agreed that more information was needed on Cambodian arms requirements.

The WSAG decided that Chargé Rives should be instructed to tell Matak at their meeting on April 15 that the United States can supply immediately 1,500 AK–47’s from South Vietnam and can provide 1,500 more shortly. He will state that we plan to arrange for delivery through the South Vietnamese Government to a point which the Cambodian Government designates. However, our offer will not be conditional on [Page 813] Cambodian acceptance of the use of the South Vietnamese as intermediaries. Chargé Rives will also inform Matak that we are prepared to give the Cambodians medical supplies either overtly or covertly, as the Cambodians prefer. He will seek more information on Cambodian requirements for arms and ammunition. The telegram of instructions to Chargé Rives is to be prepared by the State Department and cleared with Dr. Kissinger.2

The WSAG also decided that Embassy Djakarta should be instructed to ask the Indonesian Government whether it would be willing to sell AK–47 rifles and ammunition to Cambodia.3

The WSAG members agreed that it was desirable to encourage other countries to help the Lon Nol regime. In this connection, Dr. Kissinger will consult with Secretary Laird about urging Australian aid to Cambodia during the Australian Defense Minister’s current visit to Washington.

The WSAG members agreed that an immediate Presidential decision should be sought regarding Souvanna’s request for a second Thai battalion. Dr. Kissinger will prepare and clear with the State Department a memorandum to the President setting forth the advantages and disadvantages and requesting a decision.4

[Omitted here are the minutes of the meeting.]

  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, NSC Institutional Files (H-Files), Box H–114, WSAG Minutes, Originals, 1969–1970. Top Secret; Sensitive. The meeting was held in the White House Situation Room.
  2. Flash telegram 055340 to Phnom Penh, April 15. (Ibid., RG 59, Central Files 1970–73, DEF 19 US–CAMB)
  3. Flash telegram 055342 to Djakarta, April 15. (Ibid., POL 27 CAMB)
  4. For the memorandum as sent, see Document 231.