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292. Memorandum for the Record1

PARTICIPANTS

  • Dr. Henry A. Kissinger, Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs
  • Lt. Gen. Robert E. Cushman, Jr., USMC, Deputy Director of Central Intelligence
  • Thomas Karamessines, Central Intelligence Agency
  • David Packard, Deputy Secretary of Defense
  • Warren Nutter, Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs
  • Admiral Thomas H. Moorer, Acting Chairman, JCS
  • Lt. General John W. Vogt, Jr., USAF, Director for Operations, Joint Staff
  • Amb. U. Alexis Johnson, Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs
  • Marshall Green, Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs
  • Dennis J. Doolin, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs (East Asia and Pacific Affairs)
  • Col. Richard T. Kennedy, NSC Staff

SUBJECT

  • Meeting of WSAG Principals on Cambodia

Kissinger: We need press guidance on the new operation. Packard: It is just another base area operation.

[Page 974]

Kissinger: Leave out any reference to land and sea routes of transport.

All agree.

Packard: Secretary Laird is concerned about the number of ARVN involved. It cuts their ability to maintain control and pacification in IV Corps.

Moorer: Abrams has said this is not a problem.

Kissinger: It was mentioned to the President, who did not see a concern after the message from Abrams.

Market time—where do we stand?

Vogt: It is at 104°. US ships are not participating in Cambodian territorial waters, only advisors on Cambodia ships. US forces are outside territorial waters.

Kissinger: Are the public statements in line?

Vogt: We have sent an execute message limiting it to 104°. It was sent last night.

Johnson: There are no more public statements.

Kissinger: If any are called for, they have to be consistent. I agree we don't want to volunteer more.

Johnson: Let's find out what MACV has said.

Packard: I will double check.

Johnson: Then we can see what clarification might be needed.

Kissinger: Did we try to tone down Ky?

Johnson: We will work it into the guidance telegram.

Kissinger: The Takeo operation. Can we consider it approved? [Packard agrees.]2 The President said we shouldn't be as restrictive on the ARVN as on ourselves. They should be free to move on the sanctuaries in cross-border shallow operations. After June 30, they should also be in a position to be a deterrent against an NVA attack on Phnom Penh. He also feels they should make a major effort in South Vietnam after July 1.

Packard: We think ARVN should work hard on Vietnamization and in South Vietnam even before 1 July.

Johnson: The Cambodians have a dilemma. They need the South Vietnamese but are suspicious. They probably will be asking for help and will be working to some extent with the Vietnamese.

Green: The South Vietnamese and Thais are contemptuous of the Cambodians.

[Page 975]

Karamessines: [1½ lines of source text not declassified]

Kissinger: The President is concerned that we put the South Vietnamese's maximum effort on cleaning up the guerrillas in South Vietnam.

I thought we approved recruiting the Khmers for the Parrot's Beak area.

Moorer: Abrams wants to get 1800. He would put them under the Cambodians not later than 30 June. We had approved the concept. Now he wants approval of the plan.

[All agree to approve this plan.]3

Kissinger: Where do we stand on the Khmer in Thailand?

Karamessines: We have put two packs in already—two days early. [less than 1 line of source text not declassified] The Thai accept the decision and the proposal for financing—that they pay for the second regiment in Cambodia. [less than 1 line of source text not declassified] Unger will discuss it with the Prime Minister. There is a cable coming in.

Green: How long for training?

Karamessines: [less than 1 line of source text not declassified], two and one-half months for the Cambodians.

Kissinger: T–28 ammunition?

Moorer: We have two means to provide it—by US stocks in Thailand or in South Vietnam. We can ship them on the river or by air. We are still working on this.

Vogt: We have an interim response only so far on Thai maintenance. Maybe we can make it a Thai project. We are working to this end.

Karamessines: We should wait to see what Unger reports from his meeting with the Thai Prime Minister.

Kissinger: Where are we on uniforms?

Moorer: They are on the way.

Kissinger: On the Presidential Determination?

Johnson: We will have it ready today.

Kissinger: What about the timing of the submission?

Johnson: We should get the Determination as soon as possible but report later. There is a concern over the money.

Nutter: We may have enough in MAP to carry us through 30 June.

Johnson: We have to be sure we have money available to cover the amount of the Determination.

[Page 976]

Packard: We should assess the need and see how best to handle it.

Kissinger: On prisoners?

Green: We sent a draft to DOD. We will look into it.

Kissinger: What is the policy going to be?

Johnson: It involves both prisoners and refugees.

Kissinger: I don't think we should keep Cambodian POW's.

[All agree.]4

Johnson: I will check into this.

Kissinger: The President wants to use the rice to feed the refugees.

Vogt: They are doing this.

Green: How many refugees are there?

Vogt: Several thousand.5

  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. Brackets in the source text.
  3. Brackets in the source text.
  4. Brackets in the source text.
  5. In a separate summary of conclusions the following decisions were noted: “1. Press guidance on the new operation should omit reference to land and sea transport routes. 2. The Takeo operation was approved. 3. The President's views were summarized. We should not be as restrictive on the ARVN as ourselves. They should be free to move on sanctuaries in cross border shallow operations. After June 30, they should also be in a position to be a deterrent against an NVA attack on Phnom Penh. They should make a major effort in South Vietnam after July 1. The South Vietnamese's maximum effort should be cleaning up guerrillas in South Vietnam. 4. A plan to recruit 1800 Khmers in the Parrot's Beak was approved. 5. We should not keep Cambodian POW's.” (National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, NSC Institutional Files (H-Files), Box H–074, WSAG Meeting, Cambodia, 5/14/70)