100. Memorandum From the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger) to Secretary of Defense Laird1

We have just received the following flash message from the President:2


“From: The President

“To: Henry Kissinger

“1. The absolute maximum number of sorties must be flown from now thru Tuesday.3

“2. Abrams to determine targets.

“3. If at all possible 1,000 sorties per day.

“4. This will have maximum psychological effect.

“5. Give me report soonest by message as to how this order is being specifically executed.

“6. There are to be no excuses and there is no appeal.”

Please provide me with a basis for response to paragraph 5 in the foregoing.4

Henry A. Kissinger
  1. Source: Washington National Records Center, OSD Files: FRC 330–77–0095, 385.1, Viet. Top Secret; Sensitive; Exclusively Eyes Only. This memorandum had an attachment that was not found.
  2. The President was vacationing at Key Biscayne, Florida, and in mid-afternoon flew by helicopter to Grand Cay, Bahamas, where he spent the night before returning to Key Biscayne the next day. (National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, White House Central Files, President’s Daily Diary)
  3. May 2.
  4. Kissinger called Moorer at 5:40 p.m. and read the President’s message to him. Kissinger ended the short conversation with the following: “Can you send me something over, can you give me message or something within an hour what you are going to do that I can flash to him and I will do it in your name and I will say this is what I got from Moorer in response to your request.” Moorer called Kissinger at 7:05 to read to him the order about to be sent to McCain, after which he said: “I just wanted you to know, fills all the points the President made.” At 7:36 p.m., Moorer called McCain to read the message to him, saying: “That’s exactly what the President said and I am only sending it to you knowing that you will pick it up and issue other instructions.” (Moorer Diary, April 28; National Archives, RG 218, Records of the Chairman) The message itself went out at 7:47 p.m. and is ibid., Records of Thomas Moorer, Box 68, JCS Out General Service Messages, 16–30 April 1972.