77. Memorandum for the 40 Committee1


  • Periodic Report on the Covert Psychological Warfare Operations Against North Vietnam and the National Front for the Liberation of South Vietnam

1. Summary

This is a status report on psychological warfare operations directed against the political, military and psychological arms of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam (DRV) and against the National Front for the Liberation of South Vietnam (NLF). Current CIA covert psychological activities consist primarily of black radio broadcasts to North Vietnam (NVN) and South Vietnam (SVN). The program also includes black letter mailing operations to NVN, black leaflets distributed in SVN, and fabricated enemy documents delivered by armed reconnaissance teams of the Army of the Republic of Vietnam (ARVN) to specific areas in SVN.

Current operations derive from the program of psychological warfare which CIA began conducting with ARVN in 1961. The Special Group (5412)2 approved this original program on 8 June 1961. On 11 January 1964 higher authority approved OPLAN 34 A,3 which included combined Government of Vietnam (GVN)/DOD/CIA covert psychological warfare directed at targets in NVN. This program was modified in November 1968 to curtail those operations, including air support, which were being conducted north of the 17th Parallel. Certain psychological warfare activities were retained, and on 23 September 1969 the 40 Committee approved this modified program. This program has been coordinated in Saigon with Ambassador Bunker, the Mission Council and the Military Assistance Command Vietnam (MACV). In Washington, this program has been approved by Ambassador Marshall Green, Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs, and by Brigadier General Donald D. Blackburn, Special Assistant for [Page 197] Counterinsurgency and Special Activities (SACSA), Joint Chiefs of Staff.

All of the present operations are conducted with the support of the ARVN. With the exception of one CIA-controlled radio targeted at NVN youth, those operations which have NVN as their target are under MACV operational control, exercised by the Studies and Observations Group (SOG). The Agency, coordinating with MACVSOG, exercises similar operational control over those operations directed against targets in SVN.

This activity is budgeted for [dollar amount not declassified] in FY 71.4

[Omitted here is the body of the report.]

  1. Source: Department of State, INR/IL Historical Files, 40 Committee Meetings. Secret; Eyes Only.
  2. The Special Group/5412 Committee was the predecessor to the 303 Committee and the 40 Committee.
  3. In the early 1960s, the CIA, using non-American personnel, ran covert operations against North Vietnam. From January 1964, a United States military organization in South Vietnam—Military Assistance Command, Vietnam, Studies and Observations Group, or MACVSOG—took over the program and, also using non-Americans, called it Oplan 34A. For the origins of Oplan 34A, see Foreign Relations, 1964–1968, volume I, Vietnam, 1964, Document 4.
  4. According to an October 22 memorandum for the record by Jessup, the 40 Committee approved the report during a meeting on March 10 at which Kissinger, Packard, Johnson, Knowles, Helms, Nelson, Kennedy, Meyer, and Coerr were present; however, because the Executive Secretary was absent, no minutes were prepared. (Department of State, INR/IL Historical Files, 40 Committee Meetings)