213. Memorandum From John D. Negroponte of the National Security Council Staff to the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger)1
- Radio Hanoi
After reading the minutes of your July 20 WSAG meeting,2 I can’t escape the conclusion that we should proceed with a plan to knock out Radio Hanoi forthwith. I had never realized from earlier discussions that the National Guard was only necessary for the black propaganda that we would substitute.
Clearly these are two separate issues and need not be resolved simultaneously. What is of real importance, in my view, is to deprive Hanoi of a vital instrument of internal political and military control and a means of disseminating its propositions internationally. I think the cumulative impact on the DRV cadre and population would be substantial, not to mention the fact that the South Vietnamese, Laotians and Cambodians would no longer be able to tune into their favorite Hanoi programs.
Why can’t we proceed with this immediately at a time when we want to maximize our negotiating leverage? The major pitfall which I think we would wish to avoid is further accusations that we are bombing civilian targets; but it is inconceivable that we could not come up with a skillfully thought out rationale to the effect that Radio Hanoi [Page 755] serves as a vital political military instrument for Hanoi’s activities throughout Indochina.
As for using the National Guard for black propaganda, its merits appear to me considerably more questionable. First, do we want to pay the domestic political cost? Second, might it not be better to try to impose a silence on North Vietnam rather than substituting broadcasts of our own, and lastly, are we really skilled enough to conjure up sophisticated substitute broadcasts?