235. Transcript of a Telephone Conversation Between the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (Moorer) and the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger)1

TELECON/IN—From Dr. Kissinger (Secure)

HAK—I was talking to the President about our conversation and now he feels he does not have full control of the bombing.

CJCS—He has complete control. I want to send you two messages that I sent out last week, Sunday2 and CINCPAC’s follow-up.3 I said [Page 825] to be sure that the civilian side of the house understands what the President wants but no orders to restrict attacks. They are not taking any orders to cut down on the activity.

HAK—For as long as the negotiations are underway.

CJCS—None of the people are holding back orders. Last week we had a casualty with one of our carriers for three or four days but she is back on the line now. The rate of effort is steady.

HAK—The President is now considering having the air effort run from one place. That is what is being considered right now. He feels that there too many people giving orders and wants to have it run from one place.

CJCS—I don’t advise that. Vogt will tell you and so will the people at sea, that the orders are understood. You know we now have the 7th Air Force in Thailand, we had to move them out of Vietnam and 7th Air Force concentrates on the land battle, particularly in SVN, Cambodia and Laos and provides the additional aircraft, with weather permitting, from Hanoi, west. The Aircraft Carriers, we have three up North and they put their effort against NVN up to the Buffer Zone. One carrier stays down South and moves up and down, wherever Weyand wants it to go.

HAK—Okay, you will take personal responsibility of this and we will watch it for the next couple of weeks.

CJCS—I will let you know the minute there is any changes directed.

HAK—There is not any backchanneling going on is there?

CJCS—No sir, especially now that Abrams has left. I just talked to Vogt at midnight and I talk to him and Weyand all the time. In the logistics arena here they are worrying about the NATO stockpile.

HAK—They can worry about that in January.


HAK—You will give us any information of any changes directed.

CJCS—I will let you know the minute there is any changes.

HAK—Thanks Tom.

[Page 826]

CJCS—I want to send you a copy of those messages. I did not tell Laird or show them to him. They tell them exactly what to do and how to do it. Please hold them private because Laird will probably object if he gets ahold of them.

HAK—Only to me. I will show the President and that is all, they will not go any further. Thanks again, Tom.

  1. Source: National Archives, RG 218, Records of the Chairman, Moorer Diary, July 1970–July 1974.
  2. Document 230.
  3. In a message to Weyand, Clarey, Clay, and Meyer, August 10, 0225Z, McCain made the following points about Operation Linebacker: “In general, we say that much has been accomplished. However, the enemy continues to pursue his goals in RVN, and there is much left to be done.” Analyzing the situation, he observed: “Although weather has been a factor in diverting strike assets from the northern route packages to the NVN panhandle, greater emphasis on strikes against validated targets in the NVN heartland is required.” Wrapping up this general discussion before giving specific orders to various commands, McCain concluded: “To accomplish the foregoing and to signal Hanoi in the strongest way possible that our air presence over their country will not diminish, I wish to intensify the air campaign in northern NVN.” (Attached to Moorer Diary, August 12; National Archives, RG 218, Records of the Chairman)