143. Memorandum From President Nixon to the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger)1

As you know, I have very little confidence in the CIA insofar as its developing programs that are imaginative on the propaganda side such as we used so successfully to discourage the enemy in World War II.

On an urgent basis, I want the CIA to implement programs whereby broadcasts, leaflets and every other device are used so that the North Vietnamese troops which are in South Vietnam, and the North Vietnamese populace, particularly in the Hanoi area, are told of the massive public support for the President’s decision, of the damage that is being done to installations in North Vietnam, of the ships that are with the Marine Division on it that are menacing the coast of North Vietnam and any other story with regard to our military activities which might discourage the North Vietnamese leaders and general population.

I think it would be well to indicate that many North Vietnamese regiments have ceased to exist because of the pounding they have taken from massive B–52 air strikes and that very serious morale problems are developing among the troops in South Vietnam. The other side of this coin is that to the extent the troops in South Vietnam which the enemy has stationed there can be reached by such means they should be told of massive strikes on the North, of significant morale problems, draft dodging, etc.

I want you personally to supervise this project on a crash basis and see that CIA does a better job than they have ever done before. I just have a feeling, from looking at the CIA materials that have crossed my [Page 528] desk, that they are more interested in numbers of hours of broadcast, numbers of leaflets—in other words, simply how much they are doing—than the quality of what they are doing. I also think, as I have often said, that they show a total lack of imagination in terms of using such tactics as I have described above.

I am not suggesting that the tactics I have described are new and I am not suggesting that there may not be added to those tactics even better things that we can do. What we need from the huge bureaucracy at CIA are some better ideas as well as implementing the ones that I have outlined in this memorandum.2

  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 993, Alexander M. Haig Chronological Files, Haig Chron, May 1–20, 1972 [2 of 2]. Top Secret; Eyes Only. Printed from a copy that was not initialed by Nixon.
  2. Regarding this memorandum, Haig wrote to Kissinger on May 10: “The President is, of course, exactly right here except he thinks CIA does it all. These operations are controlled by Sullivan’s Interdepartmental Group. I think we should brutalize Sullivan at tomorrow’s WSAG and insist: a. That by the end of tomorrow they provide us with a specific plan to implement the President’s directive. b. That the means and themes to be used are clearly delineated so that we know that the job has been done.” (Ibid.)