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271. Minutes of Washington Special Actions Group Meeting1

PARTICIPANTS

  • Dr. Henry A. Kissinger, Assistant to the President
  • David Packard, Deputy Secretary for Defense
  • Gen. Earle Wheeler, Chairman, JCS
  • Richard Helms, Director of Central Intelligence
  • U. Alexis Johnson, Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs
  • Thomas Karamessines, Central Intelligence Agency
  • Marshall Green, Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian Pacific Affairs

SUBJECT

  • Cambodia

Wheeler: The Parrot's Beak operation got off on time. It's been excellent for the ARVN. They have used US gunships. Resistance is light so far. The main problem has been maintaining radio contact with the advance units.

Johnson: We have a cable from Phnom Penh. The attaché is asking about the attack.2

[Page 913]

Kissinger: Are there any pressures in the Departments about the Vietnamese announcement?

Johnson & Packard: None yet.

Packard: DOD is holding off.

Wheeler: On the actions that were to be done:

  • —1000-man packs. We sent details of the contents to the attachés and request them to advise immediately. State sent parallel messages.2
  • —The carbines: 3000 M–2 and ammo are ready to deliver in VNAF aircraft. State has notified Phnom Penh.3

[All agreed to send the execute message.]4

Wheeler: It was recommended to buy AK–47 ammo. We can get it by August. State told Rives we are investigating.

—The Khmer: Abrams informs us the South Vietnamese are ready to transport 2100 Khmer. State has informed Phnom Penh. We are preferring to move them in VNAF aircraft.

[It was agreed to send the execute message to move them to Phnom Penh.]

Wheeler: 2000 more AK–47's will move tonight.

Johnson & Green: Galbraith thinks Malik and Suharto are receptive but they are not clear on what the Indonesians do know.

Johnson: With respect to the President's speech,5 we should get to Malik fast to head off a reaction because of a conference.6 Hopefully before he gets on.

Kissinger: We would like your suggestions on the topics of the speech and the language. It'll be a 15 minute speech. If we could have it by 5:00 p.m. I will have more word on the thrust of the speech by noon tomorrow. It'll be hard. We've done everything we can.

Green: We'll give you quotes from COSVN on inflicting casualties on allied forces.

[Page 914]

Wheeler: On the list of ammo and communications, this is what can be done:

—Radios. It would take $18 million. We can't identify all of it and we don't have all of it anyway. It's a problem of technical capability.

Johnson: Can we send a signal officer from Bangkok or Saigon? We don't want to put a mission in to operate.

Packard: Commercial equipment might be found.

[All agree we should send someone in.]

Wheeler: We will work with CIA to see what equipment is available and we'll send a signal officer.

Johnson: We will work out the scenario for informing. Most of it would be done by telegram.

Kissinger: We will have something fairly firm by 7:00 p.m.

The President wants a firm line with the French.

He has decided not to send Habib to see the North Vietnamese. I have reported the unanimous view to the President that the UN is not a good idea.

When will Lon Nol be informed?

Johnson: I will put it in the scenario. It'll be fairly shortly before the operation.

Kissinger: We'll meet tomorrow morning.

Johnson: We will get over some ideas on the speeches and scenario this afternoon.

  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, NSC Institutional Files (H-Files), Box H–114, WSAG Minutes, Originals, 1969–1970. Secret; Sensitive. The meeting was held in the White House Situation Room.
  2. Not found.
  3. Not found.
  4. In telegram 064225 to Phnom Penh, April 29, 1430Z, the Department informed the Embassy about the 3,000 carbines and stated that the Embassy was authorized to discuss with Cambodia arrangements for the Khmer Krom irregulars to be airlifted by the GVN to Cambodia. (National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1970–73, POL 27 CAMB/KHMER)
  5. All brackets in the source text.
  6. The President's speech of April 30 is printed in Public Papers: Nixon, 1970, pp. 405–410.
  7. In telegram 064560 to Djakarta, April 29, 0044Z, Green asked Galbraith to assure Malik that the Cambodian operations in no way meant that the United States did not welcome Indonesia's initiative for an Asian conference on Cambodian neutrality. (National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1970–73, POL 27 CAMB/KHMER)