144. Memorandum From the Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs (Sullivan) to the Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs (Johnson)1


  • Covert Psychological Warfare Against NVN and NLF

CIA has provided a status report on covert psychological warfare conducted from South Vietnam against North Vietnam and the National Liberation Front and asked the Committee to approve continuation of the program.2 FY 1973 costs are estimated at $124,000 as against $167,000 for FY 1972 and $248,500 for FY 1971. Originally a part of [Page 529] OPLAN 34A and a combined MACV/CIA operation, the program was turned over to CIA by MACV on December 31, 1971. All operations are conducted with the cooperation of the Vietnamese Ministry of National Defense. Current arrangements provide for the training of Vietnamese, looking toward an eventual GVN takeover of the program.

Four black radios—[1½ lines not declassified]—along with a black letter operation directed toward North Vietnamese individuals make up the current program. Two radios [1½ lines not declassified] were dropped at the time CIA took over the program. One radio, the [less than 1 line not declassified], was added.CIA has also discontinued the earlier black leaflet project.

Response to black radio broadcasts was greater in 1971 than in any previous year. More than half of all North Vietnamese ralliers had listened to [less than 1 line not declassified]. Captured enemy documents and the regular warnings in NVN media indicated concern over the harm being done to the morale of the North Vietnamese population by psywar operations. This concern was reflected in the comment of Mme. Binh to the effect that intensification of US psychological warfare in SVN had produced a growing confusion among the SVN population as to whether the program of the NLF was in their best interests.


I recommend that you support continuation of covert psychological warfare operations against NVN and NLF.3

  1. Source: Department of State, INR/IL Historical Files, 40 Committee Files, Vietnam, January–June 1972. Secret; Eyes Only. Drafted by Stuart (INR/DDC) and concurred in by Askew (EA/VN). Sent through William McAfee (INR/DDC) for the Director of INR.
  2. Attached but not printed is the May 9 CIA report to the 40 Committee entitled “Periodic Report on Covert Psychological Warfare Operations Against North Vietnam and the National Liberation Front.”
  3. Johnson initialed the memorandum at the bottom and wrote: “OK.”