79. 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/OUT—to Dr. Kissinger (Secure)

CJCS—Report to the President all 52s “feet wet” that means all over Tonkin Gulf and are heading home. I haven’t heard from the A–6s but the big planes got in and out.2

HAK—A6s go in there too?

CJCS—Suppression helps them in there, were on instruments too, Navy’s all weather plane.

HAK—We should have more of them.

CJCS—That’s good news any way all home free, haven’t landed yet, but obviously out of danger.

HAK—How many?

CJCS—18; 1200 bombs.

HAK—Hit oil storage depot?

CJCS—That’s what its target was, we are watching for COMINT and any other indication all of the aircraft first phase out safely.

HAK—How many A6s?


HAK—They didn’t go after storage tanks?

CJCS—Prime targets aimed to what they call flak suppression what they don’t disrupting missile firing for B52s go later against them had go after those trucks—photographs I got for you on storage and barracks most of them were about, 10 of them, during SAM suppression and others after the trucks.

HAK—Other waves won’t go until 2100 tonight?3

[Page 257]

CJCS—2030, weather permitting, leaves they have got time to delay a couple of hours and still do the same job before dark. We will just have to do the best we can, real pleased over the fact no losses, won’t give those little bastards propaganda claims.

HAK—If they hit something.

CJCSHenry, with 1200 pound bombs going over there I can assure you they hit something—and caught their attention. 66 bombs each airplane, somewhere around 12.

HAK—How many F4s carry?

CJCS—About 12 on that mission, about 5 is good. F4s, of course, little more accurate since releasing on pinpoint, kind of hard but that is helpful operation.

HAK—Congratulations. You are not our problem—you are our solution.

CJCS—I will keep you posted—you can breathe easier until 2030.

  1. Source: National Archives, RG 218, Records of the Chairman, Moorer Diary, July 1970–July 1974.
  2. Seventeen B–52s had attacked an oil tank farm and other targets near Haiphong, the first time American bombers had hit that far north and that close to North Vietnam’s capital. The mission of the A–6s was to strike surface-to-missile sites before the B–52s made their bombing runs. (Thompson, To Hanoi and Back, p. 226) According to an unsigned “Key Events” chronology, the first raids against the North took place on April 6–7, and then the first, second, and third B–52 raids took place on, respectively, April 9, 12, and 15, each one shifting the target area further north. (Library of Congress, Manuscript Division, Kissinger Papers, Box CL 252, Geopolitical File, Vietnam, Peace talks, Summary, 1972–73, n.d.)
  3. This was a raid by 32 F–4s on a tank farm near Hanoi. All aircraft returned safely. (Thompson, To Hanoi and Back, p. 226)