200. Central Intelligence Agency Information Cable1
- South Vietnam
- 1 July 1972
- Appraisal of situation: The Viet Cong/North Vietnamese Army (VC/NVA) offensive at the end of three months
- Vietnam, Saigon Field No. FVS–30,210
- This is a field appraisal. It presents the views of this Agency’s senior officer on the scene. It is an interpretation based on previously reported information. Prepared primarily for internal Agency use, it is disseminated in the belief that it may be useful to intelligence analysts in their own assessment of the situation.
Summary: At the end of three months of the North Vietnamese offensive, the VC/NVA hold most of the limited gains achieved in the first month of fighting but there are indications that the tides of war are turning. Depending in part on the outcome of current ARVN attacks in Quang Tri Province there may be significant changes in the offing. Enemy gains in the campaign thus far have been more apparent than real, and for these he has paid heavily in manpower and matériel both on the battlefield and in North Vietnam. Probably the most significant shortcoming in the enemy campaign to date has been his failure to fatally damage ARVN, which far from collapsing is stronger numerically and probably more effective in combat now than at the start of the enemy drive. It is perhaps too early to say that the enemy has been defeated, but he has been stalled. Nevertheless VC/NVA forces are still formidable, and remain capable of continued military pressures and attacks in the next two or three months. Given continued U.S. air support, these can probably be contained. The crucial [Page 701] question is no longer whether the enemy can be stopped but how effectively ARVN can go on the offensive and eject VC/NVA main force units now in South Vietnam. End summary.
[Omitted here is the full report.]
- Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 1093, Jon Howe, Vietnam Chronology Files, 7–2–72. Secret; No Foreign Dissem. Sent to INR, DIA, NMCC (for the Secretary of Defense, JCS, and the Service Chiefs), CIA, NIC, NSA, SDO, ONE, and CRS.↩