205. Memorandum From the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger) to President Nixon 1


  • Psyops Campaign Against North Vietnam

Since I sent you the last psyops report on 16 June,2 there have been the following indications that our campaign is striking a raw nerve of the DRV leadership:

  • —Recent articles in Hanoi’s military newspaper take a swipe at “U.S. psychological warfare machinery” which has spread “false optimistic arguments” in an attempt to cover up ARVN’s “painful setbacks.” At a minimum the series indicates that the DRV regime believes the U.S. psywar campaign has had enough impact to necessitate a direct refutation.
  • —The Neutralist Front Radio, the Voice of the Laotian Communist Front, on 28 June angrily denounced the “thousands” of psychological activities which are “aimed at causing confusion by splitting the unity of the armed forces and the people. Moreover, they employ tactics to split the unity of Laos and Vietnam.” The broadcast continued to cite examples—“They set up fake radios to distort the revolution and deceive the people. They use newspapers to make slanderous charges; they drop agents into populated areas to unite the people and at the same time use airplanes to drop propaganda leaflets.”
  • —On 4 July, the Pathet Lao Radio issued a similar statement warning about our psychological warfare campaign.
  • —A recent intercept of an NVA air defense element directed subordinate units to stop listening to enemy radio stations, warning—“All units must have a strict inspection to prevent any cadres or troops hearing enemy radios.” Offenders are to be punished.

Our campaign is vigorously exploiting the deterioration of enemy morale and discipline, as reflected by the following intercepted enemy reports:

  • —A message intercepted 18 June stated that since 1 June, 53 men had deserted from an NVA anti-aircraft artillery regiment in Quang Tri Province. The next day regimental officers were reprimanded for poor performance of duty and some regimental personnel were “expelled” from the regiment.
  • —A message from another NVA anti-aircraft regiment in Quang Tri Province on 19 June reported that soldiers were deserting from one battalion and six comrades had refused to fight the “enemy.”
  • —On 22 June, another NVA regiment in the same province instructed two of its battalions to “evaluate their men, isolate those who are afraid to fight, and reeducate them with a fighting spirit.”
  • —A message sent 23 June by an AAA regiment stated that “because of enemy air strikes, some of our men have deserted . . .” The commander of the unit from which the men had deserted was ordered to capture and “severely punish” them as an example to deter future desertions.

The Saigon Government has prepared a White Paper, entitled “The Open Invasion of the Republic of Viet-Nam by the Communist North” (Tab A).3 10,000 copies in English are on the way to Vietnamese missions abroad for wide distribution. The GVN is encouraging their missions to produce French, German, and Spanish translations.4

  1. Source: Library of Congress, Manuscript Division, Kissinger Papers, Box CL 24, Chronological File, 6–14 June 1972. Secret; Sensitive. Sent for information. A stamped notation on the memorandum indicates the President saw it. He wrote across the top of the first page: “good.”
  2. Kissinger probably meant the June 12 report, Document 188.
  3. Attached but not printed.
  4. Nixon wrote the following note on the last page: “K—David Sarnoff—once strongly urged we air drop very inexpensive transistor radios in Eastern Europe—which could pick up R.F.E. broadcasts. Could Helms explore the possibility of doing this in battle areas & in Hanoi?” Haig’s reaction, in a handwritten initialed memorandum to NSC staff member Richard Kennedy was: “Note Pres’ comments—we can finesse doing this—should have brief memo advising.” (Ibid.)