182. Minutes of a Washington Special Actions Group Meeting1


  • Vietnam


  • Chairman
  • Major Gen. Alexander M. Haig
  • State
  • John N. Irwin
  • William Sullivan
  • DOD
  • Kenneth Rush
  • G. Warren Nutter
  • Major Gen. David Ott
  • JCS
  • Adm. Thomas H. Moorer
  • Capt. Kinnaird McKee
  • CIA
  • George Carver
  • William Newton
  • NSC Staff
  • Richard T. Kennedy
  • John H. Holdridge
  • James T. Hackett
[Page 647]


It was agreed that:

  • —The State Department will prepare a draft telegram to Korea asking President Park to authorize the Korean forces in Vietnam to engage in a temporary exercise outside their area of operations to open the Kontum Pass. Gen. Haig will seek the President’s approval of the proposed telegram.
  • —The Chinese ships off-loading onto lighters at an island near Vinh will be kept under surveillance but not interfered with at this time.
  • —Ambassador Ingersoll should be informed that we will move some B–52s to Japan if Typhoon Lola strikes Guam. In addition, the Vietnam Working Group should review our arrangements with the Japanese for prior consultation on aircraft movements.
  • —The Thai Government should be informed that we wish to augment our tanker fleet in Thailand for about six months.
  • —The psywar proposal to preempt Radio Hanoi will be presented to the President in conceptual form, including a warning on the likelihood of criticism, for his decision.

[Omitted here is discussion unrelated to psychological warfare operations.]

Gen. Haig: This proposal of Carver’s (on a psywar operation) is very imaginative, very spicy.2

Mr. Sullivan: I’ll provide some additional details. We have proposed knocking out Radio Hanoi by bombing several transmitters around Hanoi, with a target date of June 15. We need about fifteen days from the time we get a green light to get this ready. We have to activate Coronet Solo, some old C–131s from the Pennsylvania National Guard that have the necessary communications equipment, and we must get together the Vietnamese who will cut the tapes. We can’t expect to pre-empt the signal for long; they will have a backup transmitter on the air sooner or later. We could have anywhere from 15 minutes to about three days at the outside. We’re hoping for one to three days. Once it’s done, it will become known as a U.S. hoax and I want to make sure the President is aware of this and agrees to it before we [Page 648] put anything on tape. We intend to stay within a general theme of credibility in our broadcasts.

Mr. Rush: Will these be picked up by any foreign elements?

Mr. Carver: Not many. Agence France Presse in Hanoi will pick them up and probably the diplomatic community, but that’s about all.

Mr. Sullivan: Is the main transmitter right in Hanoi?

Mr. Carver: No, it’s out of town. Our objective is to stir up trouble by suggesting that there is a dissident element in the leadership.

Mr. Irwin: What will be the result after ten days?

Mr. Carver: Well, we expect it to cause the leadership trouble. They will have to accuse us of doing it and that will be an admission that they cannot protect their own frequency. We will suggest disagreements among the leadership, report factually on the problems they are having and the casualties they are taking in the South and show that their allies are not rushing to their aid. Hanoi is full of rumors anyway, and this will feed them. It should also leave a suspicion with many that there is a dissident movement. We have struck that theme before.

Adm. Moorer: When it becomes public knowledge the President can merely say that the North Vietnamese people were not getting the truth and we wanted to see that they had it.

Mr. Sullivan: I don’t think there will be any strong opposition to it. We will probably get some snide remarks from The New York Times, but I think the general public will consider it a pretty good idea.

Gen. Haig: I suggest that we put the concept to the President in brief form, for planning purposes, and let him know that there is a chance we may be criticized for using dirty tricks. I’m quite sure he will say yes, enthusiastically, but only if the situation on the ground at the time justifies it.

Mr. Sullivan: I’d like to move quickly on this. The longer we sit on it, that many more people will learn about it and the chance of a leak will increase. The two key factors involved are the activation of the aircraft and their crews and making the arrangements for the Vietnamese to cut the tapes.

Adm. Moorer: There are eight planes involved. Two can be ready to go into action in twelve days, the other six in twenty days. They can fly out of Clark and refuel at Danang, using Clark as home base. They will operate about thirty miles off the North Vietnamese coast, circling over a ship that will provide protection. We will also provide fighter cover. We can get the operation going with two planes, but they are National Guard and will have to be activated. The cost will run between one and a half and two million dollars.

[Omitted here is discussion of press leaks and further discussion of Operation Archie Bunker.]

  1. Source: Library of Congress, Manuscript Division, Kissinger Papers, Box TS 80, National Security Council, Committees and Panels, Washington Special Actions Group, June 1972. Top Secret; Sensitive. The meeting took place in the White House Situation Room.
  2. A detailed, formal explication of the proposal (Operation Archie Bunker) is in a June 2 memorandum from Sullivan to Kissinger. (National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, NSC Institutional Files (H-Files), Box H–089, Washington Special Actions Group Meetings, WSAG Meeting Vietnam 11/2/72)