173. Message From the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (Moorer) to the Commander in Chief, Pacific (McCain)1

3432. Deliver during waking hours only. Subj: Special Operations (U). Ref: A. JCS 121229Z May [codeword not declassified]. B. JCS 6177/152340Z May 72.2

Recently, several independent reliable sources have reported that while the population of Hanoi and Haiphong is generally calm, stresses are becoming apparent. Stepped up military activity and frequent air raid alerts are obviously extremely disturbing. Authorities are exerting major effort to bolster the people but family dislocations, food shortages, rising prices, black marketing and general disruption of transportation and communications systems are beginning to result in serious protests. Increased NVN casualties in SVN, stepped up air attacks with resultant casualties and damage in NVN, and perhaps the reaction to the mining, aggravate this condition.
Higher authority has requested that all efforts be made to exploit these and other weaknesses in NVN. The object is to convince the people of NVN of US resolve by whatever means necessary.
MACSOG has been disestablished; its missions and tasks cancelled reference A. These facts notwithstanding, request that as an urgent matter, MACV begin negotiating with the RVNAF Strategic Technical Directorate (STD) with a view toward STD planning for the operations listed below, and any others targeted against NVN, which are within STD current capability. Additionally, other operations which are outside STD capabilities but within your current capabilities, some of which are also listed, should be planned for early initiation.
Conduct direct action missions against fuel pipe lines, communications lines, power lines, and railroads in NVN using RVNAF [Page 626] Strategic Technical Directorate personnel supported by US air and naval assets.
Create the impression of presence of friendly agent teams in NVN by inserting resupply bundles, dummy parachutes, rubber boats, and pseudo agents, briefed as reinforcements for notional teams.
Drop fire fight simulators in selected areas of NVN to create impression of attack.
Insert counterfeit money in NVN by air, agents or mail. (CIA to provide money and mail delivery capability.)
Insert bogus documents, revealing weaknesses in the regime, in NVN by air, agents or mail. (CIA to provide documents and mail capability.)
Insert former NVA personnel wearing enemy uniforms in RVN as short duration agents to perform a variety of missions.
Conduct amphibious diversionary operations using the PACFLT amphibious ready group and/or VNN amphibious ships.
Insert radios, gift kits, and propaganda literature in NVN using air or water float techniques.
Insertion of photographs of NVA invasion of the Republic of Vietnam.
Support of other agency approved activities falling within your capability.
Operations in subparagraphs A, B, C, F, and G are authorized for planning only at this time. Operations in subparagraphs D, E, H, and I are authorized for immediate execution on a continuing basis except that US support to GVN for use of agents or friendly agents is authorized for planning purposes only at this time. In executing these operations, and until advised otherwise, the following restrictions will be observed:
No repeat no US personnel will operate in NVN, although supporting US aircrews may be employed over NVN and US advisors may accompany RVNAF forces during combat operations in SVN and aboard vessels operating in NVN territorial waters.
No operations will be conducted within prohibited areas for bombing around Hanoi in the time periods defined by reference B.
Further request:
That on a continuing basis additional concepts for covert/clandestine operations such as reinitiation of [less than 1 line not declassified] be developed and forwarded via this channel for approval.
That availability of required resources, e.g., specially configured C–130/C–123 aircraft, etc., within PACOM be determined and any shortfalls for support of these operations or lack of authorities to introduce available assets into SVN be forwarded earliest.
That consideration be given to using personnel assigned to Advisory Team 158 (STDAE) to temporarily reconstitute a SOG-type organization to assist in the coordination of these operations.
That your comments on current capabilities to conduct the operations listed in paragraph 3 above, together with proposed timing, be forwarded at your earliest convenience.
That a daily report on progress of actions taken in connection with tasking assigned herein.
That prescribed OPREP reports covering these operations be submitted via this channel to limit distribution of this sensitive information.
Other agencies have been tasked similarly to examine activities within their purview and will cooperate with/support/complement these operations. All activities will be coordinated at the interagency level here.
Warm regards.
  1. Source: National Archives, RG 218, Records of the Chairman, Records of Thomas Moorer, Box 68, JCS Out General Service Messages, 16–31 May 1972. Top Secret; Flash; Exclusive. Repeated to General Abrams and Focal Point Officer.
  2. Neither found.