167. National Security Decision Memorandum 1681


  • The Secretary of State
  • The Secretary of Defense


  • Military Assistance to the RVN

The President has reviewed the Department of Defense study on ways to augment our military assistance to the RVN and directs the actions spelled out below.

Options 1a, 1b, 2a, and 2b in the Defense study are approved and should be implemented immediately.2 It is understood that these actions are in addition to on-going resupply actions to rebuild stocks and [Page 615] replace combat losses. Defense may exercise flexibility in implementing these options should some aspects prove infeasible after more detailed review or if added items are determined to be needed and consistent with the objectives of the approved options. The President should be informed promptly of any changes that are made.

The President noted the large volume of matériel already enroute to South Vietnam or scheduled for early shipment. He directs that the matériel that has yet to be shipped be reviewed to see if its arrival in RVN can be accelerated. In particular, critical weapons and other high priority items should be shipped so as to arrive prior to August 1, if possible. The President wishes to be kept informed of actions taken to this end.

The President has directed a further study of the RVNAF to see what other changes in organization and equipping are needed. The objective should be to assist the RVNAF to cope with the new NVN tactics and weapons that we have seen during the current offensive. In addition, it should consider further steps to enable the RVNAF to carry out essential missions in the absence of U.S. combat and support forces.DOD has prime responsibility for preparing the study with the Department of State participating as appropriate.

This study should be prepared and submitted for consideration by the President by June 5, 1972.

Henry A. Kissinger
  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 364, Subject Files, National Security Decision Memoranda, Nos. 145–264. Top Secret. A copy was sent to the Director of Central Intelligence.
  2. For a listing of the items in Options 1 and 2, see footnotes 4 and 5, Document 163.