87. Message From the Embassy in Laos to the Commander, Military Assistance Command, Vietnam (Abrams)1

2984. 1. The recent Arc Lights that you have placed in MR II seem to have broken the enemy’s back. We are not repeat not positive but there are several indications that the enemy is pulling back his cutting edge and could be undertaking a withdrawal, particularly of his heavy equipment, from the immediate area north of Long Tieng. Tacair in the last two days has been extremely effective and even the relatively few sorties we have gotten have destroyed at least two 130mm guns, two tanks and damaged another heavy field piece which has not been positively identified.

2. In view of the foregoing, I am not repeat not submitting any request for Arc Light strikes today for I believe that these highly effective weapons will probably serve us better in South Vietnam or some other area. I am, however, requesting through 7/13 AF that we receive a blocking belt package on the extremely vulnerable portion of the new road just off the “nipple” of the southern PDJ. If this belt can be put in expeditiously I believe we will bottle up in the Tha Tam Bleung Ban Hintang area heavy enemy equipment which we can then clean up at our relative leisure.2

  1. Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1970–73, POL 27 LAOS. Top Secret; Specat; Exclusive; Nodis. Repeated to the State Department exclusive for U. Alexis Johnson, JCS exclusive for Moorer, CINCPAC exclusive for McCain, 7th AF exclusive for Vogt, 7/13 AF exclusive for Searles, and 8th AF exclusive for Gerald W. Johnson.
  2. This telegram prompted an exchange between Johnson and Kissinger in the April 19 WSAG meeting. Johnson said: “As usual, the one bright spot is Laos.” To which Kissinger replied: “You mean Long Tieng?” Johnson confirmed, saying “Yes.” The minutes of the meeting are in the Library of Congress, Manuscript Division, Kissinger Papers, Box TS 78, National Security Council, Committees and Panels, Washington Special Actions Group, Mar. 1971–Apr. 1972. According to the Summary of Conclusions of the meeting, the only decision made was to “continue to follow the press line laid down by Secretaries Rogers and Laird.”