203. Backchannel Message From Richard T. Kennedy of the National Security Council Staff to the President’s Deputy Assistant for National Security Affairs (Haig) in Saigon1

Tohaig 25/WHS 2288. Deliver immediately.

We have not been sending you the few results we have received on air strikes thus far, assuming that you have received more current information from MACV. However thought it would be helpful for you to know mood here. Strikes will continue into 3rd day at previously planned level with some 100 B–52 sorties. Secretary Laird discussed the idea of calling a halt to the campaign after the 3-day period, but Dr. Kissinger has convinced him that they should continue a strong effort against the Hanoi/Haiphong complex as well as hitting targets in other areas of North Vietnam north of the 20th parallel. At least 30 B–52s a day will be devoted to the Hanoi/Haiphong complex.

Admiral Moorer submitted his expanded target list to Secretary Laird and it was approved by the Secretary without being referred to us.2 Dr. Kissinger fully agrees that we should keep up a maximum effort until Christmas and is not hesitant even about hitting the buffer zone targets if weather conditions permit.

All here are gratified by fact that no B–52 was lost in second day of sorties.

We will send you fuller information now that you are leaving Vietnam.

Warm regards.

  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 1019, Alexander M. Haig Special File, Gen. Haig’s Vietnam Trip, Tohaig/Haigto & Misc., December 17–22, 1972 [1 of 3]. Top Secret; Sensitive.
  2. In JCS message 7656 to Gayler and Meyer, December 19, 2058Z, Moorer sent a list of the newly authorized targets, noting: “The targets listed above are designed to concentrate on the Hanoi and Haiphong areas while at the same time permitting sufficient flexibility to take advantage of local breaks in the weather.” (Ibid., RG 218, Records of the Chairman, Records of Thomas Moorer, Box 71, Linebacker II Messages, December 1972)