189. Summary of Conclusions of a Washington Special Actions Group Meeting1


  • Vietnam


  • Chairman
  • Major Gen. Alexander M. Haig
  • State
  • U. Alexis Johnson
  • William Sullivan
  • DOD
  • Kenneth Rush
  • G. Warren Nutter
  • Major Gen. David Ott
  • JCS
  • Lt. Gen. Richard T. Knowles
  • Capt. Kinnaird McKee
  • CIA
  • George Carver [name not declassified] (only stayed for Mr. Carver’s briefing)
  • NSC Staff
  • Richard T. Kennedy
  • Philip Odeen
  • William Stearman
  • Mark Wandler

It was agreed that:

  • CIA will check out the special intelligence report about a possible new North Vietnamese line on negotiations.
  • CIA and DIA should prepare by Friday2 a joint assessment—coordinated with the field—on what we think the North Vietnamese can do between now and the end of July. The report should focus on potential enemy activity in MRs 3 and 4. In the light of this assessment, we should evaluate possible ARVN activities.
  • CIA should try to submit by Friday the answers to the questions handed over by General Haig. The questions attempt to refine the June 8 CIA study on North Vietnamese capabilities.3
  • —We will not send the DOD note concerning reconnaissance overflights of Chinese ships to the Chinese Foreign Minister. If possible, Mr. Kissinger will bring the subject up in his discussions in Peking.4
  • —We should make an assessment of the effectiveness of the leafletting operations so far. We should also try to resolve the operational question of diverting air assets for the leafletting operations.5
  • —State should provide the political input to the ARVN equipment study.
  • CIA should distribute to the WSAG participants the maps of the various territorial situations which could result from a negotiated cease-fire.
  • —We should send a decision paper to the President on the options for aircraft and crews to be used in the operation pre-empting Radio Hanoi.

[Omitted here are the minutes of the meeting.]

  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. June 23.
  3. See footnote 2, Document 193.
  4. Kissinger was in Beijing from June 19 to June 23 to brief the Chinese leadership on the Moscow Summit.
  5. This issue was raised in the WSAG meeting because Frank Shakespeare, Director of the United States Information Agency, at the time in Saigon on an official visit, attended a dinner hosted by Bunker. At the dinner Shakespeare asked for an assessment of the leaflet program over North Vietnam. From the discussion, he concluded that: “Mission elements, including Bunker, Abrams, CIA, USIA unanimously and strongly agreed that diversion of military effort, risk and expense were not worth it. Leafletting undertaken solely in response to Washington direct orders. Abrams and Vogt say they have much better uses for planes in bombing strikes, etc.” He suggested an immediate standdown and program review. (Backchannel message 781 from Shakespeare and Garment to Haldeman, June 20; National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 414, Backchannel, Backchannel Messages, From Amb. Bunker—Saigon, 1972) Prior to the WSAG meeting, NSC staffer Kennedy drafted a memorandum for Haig, June 20, detailing the context within which the leafletting was taking place and noting, “it obviously cannot be done without the use of some assets.” Kennedy’s memorandum is ibid., NSC Files, NSC Institutional Files (H-Files), Box H–088, Washington Special Action Group Meetings, WSAG Meeting Vietnam 6/20/72.