7. Summary of Conclusions of a Meeting of the Washington Special Actions Group1


  • Cambodia


  • Chairman—Henry A. Kissinger
  • State
    • Mr. U. Alexis Johnson
    • Mr. Marshall Green
    • Mr. Thomas Pickering
  • Defense
    • Mr. David Packard
    • Mr. Dennis Doolin
  • JCS
    • Adm. Thomas H. Moorer
    • Lt. Gen. John Vogt
  • CIA
    • Mr. Richard Helms
    • Mr. Thomas Karamessines
    • Mr. William Nelson
  • NSC Staff
    • Mr. Richard T. Kennedy
    • Mr. John H. Holdridge
    • Mr. David White


Administrative Procedures. When an issue coming before the WSAG cannot be resolved in three days, it will be presented to the President as a split paper. Each agency will get a chance to present its views, and the issue will then be moved to the President for his decision.
Communications Equipment for Cambodia. Mr. Packard will confirm the military necessity of the proposed tropo-scatter system in linking Phnom Penh and Saigon, and will advise Mr. Johnson within 24 hours. If the necessity is reconfirmed, Mr. Johnson will withdraw his objections to the proposed tropo-scatter system and the project will be carried out.2
Organization. Several different groups with the same principals have been dealing with various aspects of the conflict in Southeast Asia. In order to simplify this situation organizationally, this group of principals will now be called the Senior Review Group on Southeast Asia.3
Indonesian AK-47’s for Cambodia. Since DOD expects a delivery of 25 million rounds of AK–47 ammunition in 90 days, the WSAG decided to approve the transfer of 15,000 AK–47’s from Indonesia to Cambodia. Replacement weapons (M–16’s) for the Indonesians will be flown to Indonesia, and the AK–47’s picked up and flown to Cambodia. This procedure will satisfy the Indonesian desire to avoid the appearance of giving direct military aid to Cambodia, since both transfers could be construed as U.S. MAP. Funding of the $2.5 million for the M–16’s for the Indonesians is to be worked out by Mr. Packard and Mr. Johnson. The WSAG favored the use of MAP funds other than Cambodian for the funding, but it was recognized that funds probably would not be available from any other source. To insure that the Cambodians receive operative weapons, Indonesia will be informed that our approval of the project includes the understanding that the AK–47’s will be in good condition.4
Support for Thai Khmer Units. DOD is to pay initial family separation allowances for the first 2,000 troops, and to cover the first quarter’s pay and allowances after deployment in Cambodia. AID will offset this cost later by making available supporting assistance to cover a Vietnam cost which otherwise would be funded by DOD. The State Department is to make sure the Thais understand that these units must at least nominally be folded into FANK in order that initial equipment needs and operative support can be covered by Cambodian MAP.5
Support for Khmer Krom . The WSAG agreed that this program had to be continued. DOD agreed to cover operating support costs. Pay and allowances are to be covered by AID supporting assistance.6
Prairie Fire . Contingent upon Ambassador Godley’s response after talking with Souvanna, the expanded Prairie Fire program is to be implemented as rapidly as possible. U.S. forces are to participate in intelligence collection but are not to be used in exploitation operations. Non-U.S. personnel are to be trained as rapidly as possible to conduct exploitation operations with training programs to begin immediately. Participation by U.S. personnel in intelligence activity can be used as a jumping-off point from which non-U.S. personnel move into exploitation operations.
Additional Paramilitary Operations in Laos. The WSAG agreed that projects for recruitment of two additional Lao SGU battalions and six Thai SGU battalions for paramilitary operations in South Laos should go forward. It was further agreed that a desirable but lower priority program would be to upgrade the weapons of the present SGU battalions in Laos. However, no source of funds (approximately $19.5 million) was found for these projects. Accordingly, the upgrading of weapons will not be considered now. Dr. Kissinger will discuss possible sources of funds for the new units with Secretary Laird.7
Response to Lon Nol . The WSAG agreed that the armored cars and helicopters which Lon Nol requested in his letter to the President8 should not be approved. Mr. Green is to draft a reply to Lon Nol emphasizing other forms of U.S. support for Cambodia and skirting the question of armored cars and helicopters.
Thai Troops in Northern Laos. The previous decision to notify the Thais that their forces in Northern Laos would be required at least through the end of the year and probably into 1971 was confirmed.
U.S. Base at Takhli. The WSAG agreed that DOD should pull its F–105’s out of Takhli, but that the base should be kept open at least until October 1971. It was further agreed that the U.S. should do nothing at this time to indicate that we might withdraw completely from Takhli.

[Omitted here are the minutes of the meeting.]

  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, NSC Institutional Files (H-Files), Box H–114, WSAG Meetings Minutes, Originals, 1969–1970. Top Secret; Nodis. The meeting took place in the Situation Room of the White House.
  2. In a memorandum to Kissinger, August 11, Kennedy and Holdridge noted that an implementing telegram had been sent and the Embassy informed. (Ibid., Box H–78, WSAG Meetings, WSAG Meeting, 8/4/70)
  3. Kennedy, Holdridge, and Lynn recommended creating the group in a memorandum to Kissinger, August 4. Noting that there were numerous NSC groups already involved in Southeast Asian issues, they argued that a single interagency coordinating group was needed, but impractical in the short-term. As an interim step, they proposed a coordinating group in Kissinger’s office headed by them to “ride herd on the various groups in the bureaucracy.” Kissinger initialed the memorandum. (Ibid., Box 559, Country Files, Far East, Air Activity in SEA
  4. In telegram 128077 to Djakarta, August 7, the Department instructed the Embassy to brief Suharto on the U.S. decision to provide Indonesia with M–16s to replace the AK–47s it would send to Cambodia. (Ibid., RG 59, Central Files 1970–73, POL 27 CAMB/KHMER)
  5. In telegram 128815 to Bangkok, August 7, the Department informed the Embassy of these decisions and requested comments from the Embassies in Bangkok and Phnom Penh on their host governments’ plans for the deployment of the first Thai Khmer regiment. (Ibid.)
  6. In a memorandum to Kissinger, August 24, Laird argued for continuing the current arrangement: [text not declassified] AID supporting assistance to cover the rest of 1971; and roughly $1 million in MAP for logistics in FY 1970 and $7.5 million in 1971. Laird added that Defense was legally obligated to use MAP funds for logistics, because the Khmer Krom were part of the FANK. (Ibid., Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 510, Country Files, Far East, Cambodia, Vol. IX)
  7. In a memorandum to Shultz, August 7, Kissinger noted that the CIA was responsible for those projects but was unable to cover the cost. He asked Shultz to work with Laird on funding, including $4.8 million for four Cambodian battalions, $2.5 million for two additional Lao battalions, and $6.1 million for six Thai battalions. He sent a similar memorandum to Laird noting that Shultz would assist him. (Ibid., Laos, 1 Apr 70 to 11 Aug 70)
  8. See Document 6.