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


  • Vietnam


  • Chairman
  • Henry A. Kissinger
  • State
  • Mr. John N. Irwin
  • Mr. William Sullivan
  • Defense
  • Mr. Kenneth Rush
  • Mr. Armistead Selden
  • JCS
  • Adm. Thomas H. Moorer
  • Lt. Gen. John Vogt
  • CIA
  • Mr. Richard Helms (Mr. William Newton, only stayed for Mr. Helms’ briefing)
  • NSC Staff
  • Maj. Gen. Alexander Haig
  • Mr. Richard T. Kennedy
  • Mr. John Negroponte
  • Mr. Mark Wandler


It was agreed that:

  • —General Abrams and his senior staff should try to meet daily with General Vien and the senior members of the Vietnamese General Staff.
  • —The State Department will ensure that the Voice of America follows the Administration line on the current crisis.
  • CIA will provide an assessment of a possible resumption of the leaflet campaign in North Vietnam.
  • —The two squadrons of Marine F–4s based in Japan and three squadrons of Air Force F–4s based in the U.S. will be sent to Vietnam.2 [Page 216] The State Department will check to see if we have ever given advance notice to the Japanese about pending movements of military aircraft stationed in Japan.
  • —Dr. Kissinger will obtain Presidential guidance on sending another one of the Pacific-based carriers to Vietnam and on basing the additional B–52s at Kadena, on Okinawa.
  • —A message should be sent to Thailand, giving a sense of what we are trying to do in Vietnam.
  • —The Joint Chiefs of Staff will look into the possibility of launching a South Vietnamese amphibious operation against North Vietnam.

[Omitted here are the minutes of the meeting.]

  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, NSC Institutional Files (H-Files), Box H–085, Washington Special Actions Group Meetings, WSAG Meeting Vietnam 4/5/72. Top Secret; Sensitive. The meeting took place in the White House Situation Room.
  2. Laird ordered the deployment of the five squadrons that day. However, as he pointed out in a memorandum to Nixon, one of the five was made up of F–105 Thunderchiefs rather than F–4 Phantoms. (Ibid., Box 117, Vietnam Subject Files, Vietnam Offensive Permanent File (2 April 72)) According to the minutes of the meeting, on the relationship between air power and policy, Kissinger said: “I cannot stress enough the President’s determination to do whatever is necessary. He will not be run out of Vietnam. He wants no excuses from subordinates or commanders that he has not done enough. The North Vietnamese have committed their whole army while we still have massive air power available, and we will take advantage of it.”