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85. Intelligence Memorandum1

No. 05730/69

STRESSES IN NORTH VIETNAM

As the leaders of North Vietnam enter the eleventh year of their attempt to seize control of the South by force, they face a rising level of war-weariness among their people. In addition, as a result of the cessation of the bombing last year, the regime is having to combat a relaxation on the part of the North Vietnamese generally. Once the bombing stopped, many North Vietnamese, even in the armed services and in the vital areas of transportation, appear to have suffered an emotional letdown in2 the belief that the war was over as far as they were concerned. Now, the regime is having difficulty convincing the people that they must continue to endure deprivations and that many must continue to go South to fight what by now must seem to them to [Page 260]be an interminable war. Although these problems do not appear to be so grave as to impair significantly the regime's ability to prosecute the war, they are causing the politburo concern, and it is reacting.

[Omitted here is the 7-page body of the paper.]

  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 137, Vietnam Country Files, Vietnam, Vol. VI, 5/26/69–6/17/69. Secret; Spoke; No Foreign Dissem. Prepared in the Office of Current Intelligence of the Central Intelligence Agency and coordinated with the Office of Economic Research, the Office of National Estimates, and the Director's Special Assistant for Vietnamese Affairs. A stamped note on the memorandum indicates the President saw it. Nixon wrote on the title page: “K—What can we do to accelerate the morale decline?”
  2. Nixon underlined the previous portion of the sentence and drew an arrow to his handwritten comment: “K—what will effect on this morale be of our anticipated action?”