69. Diary Entry by the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (Moorer)1
TELECON/IN—from Dr. Kissinger—Subject: SEA SITREP
HAK is going to talk to the President and wants an update. He wondered why there were only 50 Tacair strikes in MR–I. I said you do not have the entire day, you have from 0600 to 1600 and they are scattered around. They are having trouble in MR–I, MR–III, so they are not all in one spot.[Page 229]
I went over what is planned and what had been flown to date, the better two or three hour period is at the end of the day in this season. There were 71 [sorties] in MR–III, 95 in MR–I, 84 north of the DMZ which makes 391 total. He said the President wants to wallop RP–I,2 that is what they did.HAK said the President wanted to know why they were only attacking SAM sites. They do not have reports on anything else. I said they are attacking POL, SAM sites, Supplies, AA, Coastal Batteries, etc. They think we are only hitting SAMs and that is not true. The President thinks the reporting is lousy and that is a point for Vogt to know.
I told him that I would see if we could get better reports.
He then asked about BDA. The report we get does not have very much BDA, it comes out in OPREP 4 s and lags behind. They have to cover fields, ships and remote locations—tie it all together before it will make sense. HAK wants BDA and when Vogt gets out there he wants a more conceptual reporting and what the prospects are. I said I talked to Abrams and he has improved a little bit in the current reports. The only problem is that they lag because of the time it takes the pilots to get back to the fields and carriers and to accumulate the information. The President just has to realize that they are always going to be a little behind.
HAK asked if there was a big fight in MR–III and I said yes. In Kontum Province they had tanks and we flew 95 sorties. This included B–52s.HAK is worrying that Hue and Quang Tri could get cut off. Abe has been asked why 1st division is further south than the 3rd which is not the best division. In South Vietnam Hue is the second capitol. We agreed to put the Airborne Brigade in there to prevent them slicing in between Hue and Quang Tri.
In told him how well I thought the carriers had done, they turned out 391 strikes and soon we will have 2 squadrons of Marines in the act and 2 squadrons of Air Force F–4s from the States, the Midway will run it up to somewhere over 500 aircraft.
HAK said for political reasons they want the B–52s as soon as possible. SAC is looking for a good target that is worth the B–52s. The further north you go the greater the MIG threat but also the more valuable the target. HAK wondered if we were willing to risk a B–52. I said I do not have any problem with that and neither do the commanders. We do not want to go for nothing, we want a worthwhile target. I said I tried to give them that impression yesterday when I talked to the Overseas Writers. HAK was pleased with the presentation that I made. [Page 230] He said at the WSAG tomorrow that I should reassure the President that we are really going to work on it and not hold anything back.
HAK is counting on Vogt and I said he will be great. I told HAK that he had to overcome a little inertia. HAK said fire people. I said he will not have any problem in his own command. HAK said they are about ready to replace somebody out there and DePuy 3 would be a good one, some tough-nutted guy. I said if things start moving fast enough then they might do it.