201. 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

1749—Telecon/Incoming (Secure)—Dr. Kissinger

HAK—Every plane get out all right?2

CJCS—Haven’t heard from the last flight that went in at 1710 and they aren’t going to say anything until they get well south that is their instructions they don’t want the north … we don’t have any indication that they didn’t. I will probably know sometime between now and the next ten minutes.

HAK—Call me. One other thing, the Secretary has called me and wants to knock down the number of sorties over Hanoi to 30 and let you use the B52s, (God Dammit hold on a second—to someone in the room with him) in Hanoi and Haiphong and we’re going to let you chose the B52 targets.

CJCS—What we have done is chosen more targets.

HAK—We don’t want to pick your targets for you.

CJCS—I picked them and Laird has approved them.

HAK—God Dammit we sure don’t want to get into the syndrome of last summer where we were just dropping bombs now that we have crossed the bridge let’s brutalize them.

CJCS—I thought 30 planes with 108 bombs/big load from CONUS basis is about the right size I think after we put in 129–90–903 in addition to that my message will say additionally put B52s around Vinh and this is in addition to the 30 that will always go up to Hanoi/Haiphong area depending on what the requirements are and MACVs responsibility in the meantime we’ll be going with A6s, F111s and when the weather comes up we’ll really go in full blast everything.

HAK—Your requirement is to have maximum impact on the North.

[Page 760]

CJCS—I understand that.

HAK—I will tell you you’ll have massive problems with the President if there is any, if under any guise whatever, this stuff is being pulled off that.

CJCS—Henry, there is no guise, I’m just thinking about it in terms of …

HAK—Your military judgment as to what we should do then that’s fine.

CJCS—That is my judgment, Henry, I think we will be doing here will be for what I am putting this in now is heavy pressure permanent continous operation as opposed to the three-day “massive” effort.

HAK—After that three-day effort you will have 30 over Hanoi/Haiphong area every day?

CJCS—Every day.

HAK—Massive effort over North Vietnam and some for the SVN.

CJCS—Around Vinh every now and then we get a plea from Godley you know.

HAK—I sent out request for MR–1?

CJCS—That’s all taken care of.4


CJCS—I think we divided up the resources properly and we can keep continuous pressure you can rest assured that it will be done.

HAK—You know what the President wants.

CJCS—Of course I do, I talked to him a long time last night5 about this posture and we’ll keep this up for awhile that is the whole object.

HAK—You don’t have to keep up 100 a day in the Hanoi/Haiphong area after tomorrow and you can go to 30 with another massive effort over rest of country, we don’t want them to feel that we are letting up.

CJCS—We are not you can depend on that. I’ll keep you advised. Incidentally, did you see the FBIS message where all 5 frequencies have gone off the air.

HAKThat breaks my heart!

  1. Source: National Archives, RG 218, Records of the Chairman, Moorer Diary, July 1970–July 1974. Top Secret.
  2. Kissinger was inquiring about whether the third of three waves of B–52s scheduled to bomb in the Hanoi-Haiphong area on December 19 had done so without loss.
  3. The numbers represented how many B–52s were to be deployed each night during the first three nights of the bombing (officially called Operation Linebacker II; unofficially dubbed the “Christmas Bombing”). As it turned out the figures for the second and third day were 93 and 99 respectively. (Clodfelter, The Limits of Air Power, pp. 186–187)
  4. See Document 200.
  5. According to the President’s Daily Diary, Moorer and his wife attended a private dinner party at the White House where the guest of honor was Alice Roosevelt Longworth. (National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, While House Central Files)