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288. Memorandum for the Record1

PARTICIPANTS

  • Dr. Henry A. Kissinger, Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs
  • Richard Helms, Director of Central Intelligence
  • Thomas Karamessines, Central Intelligence Agency
  • Warren Nutter, Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs
  • Lt. General John W. Vogt, Jr., USAF, Director for Operations, Joint Staff
  • Amb. U. Alexis Johnson, Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs
  • Dennis J. Doolin, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs (East Asia and Pacific Affairs)
  • Col. Richard T. Kennedy, NSC Staff
[Page 959]

SUBJECT

  • WSAG Principals on Cambodia

Johnson: When do we go ahead with the additional 1,000-man pack?

Karamessines: There is no decision. We were to await recommendations from the field. We can ship one or more whenever we are ready.

Kissinger [to Helms]:2 Do you need any formal approval to increase the river interdiction in southern Laos [referring to a memo from Helms]?3

Helms: No, we are doing it anyway—just increase level of effort.

Kissinger: Can we get an appraisal of the enemy situation in Cambodia?

Helms: No, we can't get anything solid. The Cambodians are mixed up. We have no hard information. We are working hard now to get good information.

Kissinger: What is the enemy using for supplies?

Vogt: He is capturing it and buying it.

Kissinger: We don't want to see them going into Phnom Penh.

Helms: That concerns me.

Karamessines: It's fair to say right now we haven't observed any real move toward Phnom Penh.

Vogt: They have mostly moved up to the northeast, and come to the south and southeast. Those in the south are in trouble. Market Time will make it harder for them.

Helms: I don't think it is probable that the NVA will launch a frontal attack on Phnom Penh.

Kissinger: Most of the population is in the south.

Johnson: Yes.

Karamessines: Sihanouk's plans for coming down were delayed. The situation is not right.

Johnson: Kosygin blesses him but doesn't recognize him.

Kissinger: Can we find out what the Cambodian Army is doing?

Vogt: The Khmers are doing the most. The others are not effective.

Kissinger: We approved more Khmers for introduction in the Parrot's Beak earlier. Has this been done?

Karamessines: We still haven't worked out DOD financing for the pay of the Khmer.

[Page 960]

Vogt: We will get out a message.

Johnson: The Church amendment will be a problem.4

Helms: It will be tough.

Nutter: We are working to see what we need to do to make that what we've already done is legal.

Johnson: State has drafted a memo.5 We'll have it today to get to the President. Then we have to find the money.

Helms: What about the 1,000-man packs?

Johnson: Should we send more of them now? How many? We don't have specific recommendations from CIA now.

Helms: I think we should send in a few more but not so much that they don't use it or lose it!

Johnson: Should we send two more now?

All agree.

Johnson: I will notify Rives.

Vogt: We will forward them from Okinawa immediately.

Johnson: Did we send maps and air charts?

Nutter: We sent out a cable on the maps.

Vogt: I will check on the air charts.

Johnson: What about munitions for the T–28s?

Vogt: I will check on what is available.

Johnson: The Helsinki AK–47 ammunition.

Doolin: We have put on pressure for air delivery in August.

Kissinger: Market Time?

Vogt: We are not in it until the Vietnamese agree to our rules of engagement.

Johnson: Anything on the T–28s? Presidential determination.

Nutter: We were to explore VNAF support.

Vogt: I am clearing a message with Secretary Laird to ask Abrams.

Kissinger: Yesterday I thought the public relations and legal problems were serious. The public relations problem may be the worst.

Johnson: We need Presidential Determination—that it is important to the security of the US.

[Page 961]

Kissinger: Then where do we get T–28s and money?

Nutter: Paying out of MAP is a problem.

Johnson: We have two choices—FMS cash sale—and don't worry about when we get paid. We could lose the bills.

Nutter: The Congressional reaction is a problem. They are trying to home in on what we have already given.

Kissinger: How can we get a judgment on whether it makes military sense to give them at all?

Vogt: I will get an assessment.

Kissinger: We want to make a decision on this tomorrow.

Johnson: We should decide whether we want to do it, then figure out how to do it.

Kissinger: The 701 operation has been approved by the President. How about Phase II—Takeo?

Johnson: I am briefing the Secretary of State today on Takeo.

Vogt: A memo to Secretary Laird has gone up.

Kissinger: We will discuss it tomorrow.

Johnson: We have a draft on GVN extended operations. We have this dilemma. We don't want the ARVN too deeply involved and get us involved, but liaison between Cambodia and the ARVN is going well. They can do a lot on their own without us which would be helpful. The problem is coordination, consultation and maybe support.

Kissinger: We don't want them involved in a situation we have to bail them out of or let them suffer a defeat, but they have the threat.

Helms: Can we convey the idea to Bunker verbally?

All agree it should be in writing.

Johnson: I will try a redraft. I don't want to discourage too much.

Vogt: We want to be kept fully informed by the GVN.

Johnson: I will redraft it.

Nutter: We will make suggestions.

Kissinger: Have we found out whether MACTHAI support the Khmer?

Karamessines: We expect the information soon.

Kissinger: We will meet again tomorrow.6

  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. All brackets in the source text.
  3. Helms' memorandum as described here has not been found.
  4. The Cooper–Church amendment under debate in the Senate prohibited the use of funds to retain U.S. forces in Cambodia, pay for U.S. advisers there, or provide air combat support for Cambodian armed forces unless specifically authorized by Congress. The amendment was adopted on June 30, the date announced by the President for withdrawal of U.S. forces from Cambodia. (Congressional Quarterly, Congress and the Nation, Vol. III, 1969–1972, p. 911)
  5. See footnote 4, Document 281.
  6. In a separate summary of conclusions, May 12, the following decisions were noted: “1. We should send in two more 1,000-man packs. 2. A redraft on GVN extended operations should be done. We had a dilemma. We did not want the ARVN involved in the situation where we would have to bail them out or let them suffer a defeat, but they had [to remain] the [a] threat. The problem was coordination, consultation and maybe support.” (National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, NSC Institutional Files (H-Files), Box H–074, WSAG Meeting, Cambodia, 5/12/70)