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


  • Psychological Warfare Campaign

An intensive psychological warfare campaign against North Vietnam, which you directed, is solidly launched and gaining momentum. We have given you two previous reports.2 This report advises you of further progress. A full range of approaches continues to be employed, including leaflet operations, saturation radio coverage (overt, black, and [Page 661] grey) beamed at North Vietnam and North Vietnamese troops in the South, a disinformation program designed to confuse and dishearten the North Vietnamese leadership, and covert and unconventional warfare operations. The following psychological warfare operations are now being waged against North Vietnam and North Vietnamese forces.

Highlights in the Last Week

  • —More than 44 million leaflets were dropped in NVN during the last week which makes a total of 92.6 million leaflets dropped. These missions used a mix of 13 new leaflets developed since the beginning of our campaign. Themes emphasize the culpability of the Lao Dong Party leadership, the hopelessness of the war, heavy NVA casualties, and the effectiveness of our mining and bombing.
  • —Six overt, grey, and black radios are broadcasting to NVN a total of 64½ hours each day. The newly repaired VOA transmitter at Hue has begun operation, which increases signal strength to NVN. Names of POWs and factual war news play prominent roles in the broadcasts to attract listeners. Commentary stresses USG strength and determination, the futility of the war, the drive to power of northern leaders, and the U.S.–GVN desire for a negotiated peace.
  • —Three recordings of Ho Chi Minh speeches have been located, and a doctored transcript is being produced.
  • —We are arranging with the RLG to use Lao radio facilities to broadcast news and purported coded messages to NVN minority groups.
  • —The press has increasingly reported NVN difficulties. For example, on 5 and 6 June there were many stories based on a Radio Hanoi account of northern problems. The 9 June Washington Post page one article on a captured COSVN document resulted from our purposeful declassification of it.
  • —The world press has also carried numerous stories of our bombing accuracy, on Hanoi’s guilt in escalating the war, and the SVN population’s rejection of the NVA “liberators.” We are feeding these articles into North Vietnam in our campaign.
  • —[2 lines not declassified]
  • POW interrogation procedures have been changed to search out complaints, hardships, and dissension in NVN and the NVA . . . including any POW knowledge of our leaflets and broadcasts.

Summary to Date

Forty-four million leaflets were delivered last week, citing the effectiveness of our mining-interdiction operations, stress the great toll of NVA killed and wounded, place the responsibility for continued North Vietnamese losses and destruction on the Party leadership, mention ARVN military successes, cite the benefits of peace, cite the increasing isolation of NVN by its allies as reflected by your cordial [Page 662] welcome in Moscow, and urge the North Vietnamese people to persuade their government to accept the generous U.S. proposal to end the war.

—On June 4, 17.8 million leaflets were dropped in the Panhandle of North Vietnam and on June 6 an additional 26.4 million were dropped. Two samples are at Tab A.3

Radio Broadcasts

Six radios, overt, covert, and grey, are broadcasting messages aimed at NVN and NVN forces in the South.

VOA is now broadcasting 17 hours a day in Vietnamese. Several times each day lists of recently captured North Vietnamese POWs are broadcast. To date, 376 names have been broadcast and VOA is receiving ten names a day from the GVN. Other themes include the continuing impact of your Moscow trip, the effectiveness of ARVN troops at Kontum, An Loc, and Hue, and the effectiveness of U.S. airstrikes in the North.
The GVN Voice of Freedom (VOF), which is on the air 20 hours daily, also repeats names of prisoners held. Other themes have been: NVN opposed U.S.–USSR talks because the DRG wishes to continue the war, USAF in one day destroyed over 100 boats in NVN waterways, and ARVN forces are on the offensive.
There are three black radios in operation, broadcasting a total of 14½ hours. All describe in detail the heavy losses of the NVA in the South, and the determination of the USG to see through its responsibility by a massive response. Though specifically targetted at NVN troops in the South, these can be received in NVN.
  • —Two of the three radios mimic NVN broadcasts and stresses the need for the populace and troops to prepare for more suffering to achieve victory, thus driving home the idea that the leadership in Hanoi cares only for its ambitions, not for the people.
  • —The other radio pretends to be the voice of national anti-regime groups and plays on the theme that the leadership is wasting the lives of NVN people to fight a war that it must lose.
The grey radio, which went on the air last week, broadcasts 13 hours daily on a frequency designed to take advantage of audiences of the BBC. Besides broadcasting a combination of themes used by VOA, VOF, and the black radios, it stresses the useless waste of the fratricidal war that North Vietnam has brought to the South.
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Leaflets continue to solicit listeners by announcing broadcast time and frequencies. To increase listenership in NVN, 30 thousand receivers will be purchased for delivery in about 6 weeks. They will be infiltrated into NVN. Tests have been conducted by VOA and show these radios will survive being airdropped in ½″ foam packing without parachutes and will also receive our broadcasts satisfactorily.

Special Operations

A series of carefully orchestrated black operations are being undertaken to deceive and confuse the DRG leadership and the North Vietnamese people.

  • —Three recordings of Ho’s speeches have been located and are being doctored to produce a speech by Ho criticizing the current leadership policies of the DRV.
  • CIA assets, with proven credibility to the DRG, have initiated an operation to convince the Hanoi leadership that the USG is in clandestine communication with a dissident faction at a high level within the North Vietnamese apparatus.
  • —Arrangements are being made with the Lao Government to use its radio facilities to broadcast straight news to minority groups in NVN. Inserted in these programs will be bogus coded messages to suggest to the DRG that elements within NVN minority tribes are actively scheming against the regime.
  • —The mechanics for knocking out Radio Hanoi and replacing it with our mimic broadcasts are being worked out. It is planned that the mimic will make a special announcement declaring that the Party has shifted to a peace policy and will report the resulting favorable benefits to the population—more food and clothing and the return North of their men.
  • —Rumor themes, designed to confuse and discourage the North Vietnamese, have been sent to the Saigon task force which has initiated a rumor program.
  • —The GVN is expected to cooperate in selecting South Vietnamese for proselytizing teams. They will approach North Vietnamese abroad with a view toward defecting them or at a minimum conveying to them in the process information that will raise questions about the fruitless war policy the DRG is following.

All our activities—leaflets, radios, rumors, and special operations—give the impression of U.S. iron determination and strength.

Special Press Activities

Domestic Press

  • —Wilson Frye’s column in the Kansas City Times described a significant dwindling of military supplies to Hanoi since NVN land and sea routes were interdicted.
  • —AP Hong Kong monitored and filed a report attributed to Radio Hanoi in which Hanoi admitted the difficulties which North Vietnam is experiencing in coping with the mining of the ports and the U.S. bombing. It was prominently replayed by American news media on 5 and 6 June.
  • —On 9 June, the Washington Post carried an article quoting a captured COSVN document which says the communist offensive has reached fewer than half its goals and blames Viet Cong cadres for halfhearted support. Declassification of this document was at the urging of the Washington PPOG.
  • —On June 9 the Baltimore Sun carried a Reuter’s report, datelined Peking, stating that visitors to Peking from Hanoi say there are indications that the Politburo in Hanoi favors a possible reassessment of the war.
  • —A 7 June Washington Star article, datelined Saigon, mentioned Hanoi’s annoyance that the Viet Cong has been ineffective in arousing the people of SVN to support the invasion.

Foreign Press

—In the effort to demonstrate Hanoi’s deteriorating position as a result of its invasion, CIA supplies Saigon Station daily with Foreign Press articles which support themes used in our leaflets and radios. Cities of origin so far have included Paris, Taiwan, Mexico City, London, Athens, Djakarta, Panama City, Islamabad, and Montevideo. Paris weekly L’Express noted the accuracy of new American bombing techniques, and Paris daily Le Figaro said the peasants did not support the invaders. Mexico City daily Excelsior explained Hanoi’s guilt in initiating and escalating the war.


  • —[4 lines not declassified]
  • —The GVN’s Voice of Freedom has agreed to let JUSPAO’s and VOA’s radio staff use VOF studios and its extensive tape and live-performer resources for recording the “Golden Music” programs.
  • —To better support the intensive psychological campaign against North Vietnam with POW information, CIA’s Saigon Station has adopted new procedures in the conducting and handling of NVA POW interrogations held under CIA control. It is searching for all available problems, hardships, complaints, dissension, and dislocations in North Vietnam as well as among NVA/VC main force elements. Two priority subjects that POWs may have knowledge of are leaflets and the foreign radio broadcasts heard by NVN soldiers.
  • —On 5 June, repairs were completed and operation began at VOA’s medium wave relay in Hue. This significantly strengthens the reception of VOA broadcasts in NVN.
  • —The Saigon Task Force has consulted with RVNAF to coordinate Task Force and RVNAF loudspeaker Psyops to NVA troops in South Vietnam.
  1. Source: Library of Congress, Manuscript Division, Kissinger Papers, Box CL 24, Chronological File, 6–14 June 1972. Secret; Sensitive. Sent for information. Haig initialed for Kissinger. A stamped notation on the memorandum indicates the President saw it.
  2. The President wrote in the margin beside this: “good.” Kissinger sent these reports to the President on May 23 and June 1. A draft of the first, “Psychological Operations Against North Vietnam and North Vietnamese Forces,” is in the National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, NSC Institutional Files (H-Files), Box H–088, Washington Special Actions Group Meetings, WSAG Meeting Vietnam 5/24/72; and the second, “Psychological Warfare Campaign,” is in the Library of Congress, Manuscript Division, Kissinger Papers, Box TS 66, Memoranda to the President, January–June 1972.
  3. Attached but not printed are the texts of two of the leaflets in English.