186. Memorandum From the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger) to President Nixon1


  • Hanoi Informed that U.S. Has “Contacts” with High-Level Dissidents in North Vietnam

CIA has “revealed” to a North Vietnamese intelligence officer that the U.S. Government has “clandestine contacts” with high-level [Page 658] dissidents in North Vietnam.2 The officer did not react to this revelation but took careful notes which may stimulate a reaction when his reports reach Hanoi.

The channel used for this disinformation was the CIA asset [less than 1 line not declassified] who had established his credibility with the intelligence officer by reporting in advance on U.S. intentions to mine Haiphong harbor. The officer told CIA’s asset that Hanoi had cabled its congratulations on the Haiphong report. Because of the accuracy of his earlier reporting, the asset’s current account of U.S. “contacts” with dissidents may trigger probing questions from Hanoi.

The intelligence officer plans to vacation in North Vietnam in July and seemed despondent, admitting that recent U.S. actions had hurt North Vietnam and that his family was suffering hardships by being split up. He said he recognized that the U.S. could carry on the war for a long time, but the U.S. problem was that it did not know when or where the North Vietnamese will continue the struggle. He asked the CIA asset if the South Vietnamese Army would invade North Vietnam.

Mr. Helms’ memorandum which includes the fictional conversation the CIA asset related to the North Vietnamese intelligence officer is at Tab A.3

  1. Source: National Security Council, NSC Intelligence Files, Subject Files, Vietnam, 17 Jan 72–2 Oct 73. Secret; Sensitive; Eyes Only. Sent for information. Outside System. A stamped notation on the memorandum indicates the President saw it.
  2. In the margin beside this sentence the President wrote: “good.”
  3. Attached but not printed is the June 5 memorandum. The meeting between the double agent and the North Vietnamese intelligence officer took place on June 1. Another meeting took place on June 13. A report on that meeting concluded: “On balance, the double agent has the impression from this, and other recent conversations with DRV officials, that Hanoi is extremely anxious to find a way out of its dilemma and is reviewing the options to see what realistic bargaining points it has for renewed negotiations.” (Memorandum from Latimer to Kissinger, June 29; National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 160, Vietnam Country Files, Vietnam, June–July 1972)