269. Notes of Washington Special Actions Group Meeting1


  • Kissinger, Packard, Wheeler, Karamessines, Johnson, Green, [Ziegler]

HAK—President wants absolutely the minimum of publicity. Statements to be adhered to. No backgrounders—all other questions— no comment. Any further explanations to be referred to the President’s speech in which he will report on situation in Cambodia. Emphasized. All reviewed draft statements and approved. Scenario—

Johnson: will get cable to Saigon–Bunker—texts of approved statements being sent to MACV.

  • —he can use texts of statements to judge Thieu’s statement. We want Thieu’s statement not to emphasize US involvement
  • —we want text of Thieu’s statement—want to issue as soon as possible
  • —no further comment or discussion by anyone.
[Page 909]

All agree. (Ziegler present)—Let Henkin play by ear—if necessary statement but not until after Thieu and not until necessary. [illegible–Rpts?] to be held until after Washington.

HAK: When arty [artillery] and air?

W[heeler]: arty probably right away; air may be held off. Air controllers in now.

HAK: Radios.

W: Still checking in. Probably won’t take US people but is checking.

J[ohnson]: AK–47s delivered!

W: Getting some AK–47 ammo—Army has contract 1 million rounds per month.

All agreed to send to Cambodia via GVN.

Green will msg [message] Rives—working on radios and ammo.

HAK: Do we tell Lon Nol that 10,000 carbines on way?

W: Rather wait till we’re sure where we stand.

J: What is follow on to carbines?

W: 1,000-man packs.

K[aramessines]: Have 1 in Saigon, 9 more ready, can be in Saigon in 3 or 4 days.

J: Should alert Rives & attachés to this & get estimate whether need.

W: Will do.

HAK: Raises ammo needs for US weapons (Phnom Penh 597).2

W: Will follow up and advises what we can do & report tomorrow.

Re 352/353

W: Begins Thursday between 7–9 pm.

HAK: Emphasize security.

W: Briefs plan.

HAK: Who commands?

W: CG 1st Cav.

HAK: Public affairs.

  • —President speaks at 1000 pm
  • —backgrounder at WH about 4 pm.

Pack[ard]: At what point how much detail can we give on operations? Probably want to give details—press will know quickly.

[Page 910]

HAK: Pres wants to give the maximum possible credit to SVN. Wants pictures of weapons, caches, captured plans, etc. Will tie all together.

Pack: Wants to get over story how serious this has been [illegible— to our?] Vietnamization program.

J: Secy [Rogers] was asked what has changed in Cambodia?

Pack: Threat all time but reluctant to move over Cambodia.

HAK: Willing to pay price as long as enemy stayed in bases in Cambodia, but now he has gone beyond. Alex [Johnson] & Green to draft paragraphs. President wants to tie as much as possible to Vietnam.

J: May want to postpone Bunker return.

Note: 1625—HAK leaves—[to see] President.

W & K: Believe we should say we are going in for limited objective & will withdraw.

Pack: Vietnamization was [making] good progress but now the enemy has mounted strong effort against it—we have to get bases out of the way to continue to make progress.

We are [illegible, reminding?] them they cannot expand their control or bases throughout Cambodia. It’s a concept at [illegible] if not stopped it can expand operations against SVN at will.

Pack: Should be careful not to look like taking on commitment.

K: Should President use maps for presentation. What should President say about Paris Peace talks?

J: Shouldn’t suggest we can make progress soon.

G[reen]: Poats suggests an approach to Indonesia to buy Cambodian rice [illegible] and also to provide [illegible] to Cambodia. A telegram going out to see [if] this might work.

Return 1645 HAK: President feels he has to do this raid—convey to Hanoi we are prepared take more steps—they’ve got to [illegible] even. This should characterize what we should say to others. A stiff note through Habib?

1650 President comes in; 1655 President leaves.

HAK: Consultations when?

J: Best if it could be before [illegible].

HAK: By Thursday am can give you the word. Green to provide quote.

J: Will send over to WH circular telegram.

HAK: Will give the group maximum info on speech. Who needs to be informed? J[ohnson] to provide scenario on consultation & outline of what will be said. What about speech at UN by Secretary?

Ziegler [?] W and K: [illegible] good idea—does it stir up debate?

[Page 911]

J: Will think over and comment tomorrow.

G[?]: [illegible] can take line which shows NVN we are exasperated which may lead to negotiations.

HAK: [illegible, I?] will talk to large group of Congress.

Meet—tomorrow 1010 AM.

  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, NSC Institutional Files (H-Files), Box H–073, WSAG Meeting, Principals, 4/28/70. No classification marking. The notes were apparently handwritten by Kennedy of the NSC staff.
  2. Telegram 597 from Phnom Penh, April 21, contained a list of U.S. origin weapons, munitions, and equipment which FANK needed and which were either in critically short supply or non-existent. (Ibid., Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 506, Country Files, Far East, Cambodia, Vol. III, 10 April 1970–23 April 1970)