336. Memorandum From Secretary of Defense Laird to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (Moorer)1


  • US Air Operations in Cambodia

I am aware that certain operating instructions recently transmitted to field commanders may leave room for possible misinterpretation. Of particular concern are instructions pertaining to B–52 strike approval procedures for Cambodia (JCS #8281, 251712Z January 1973).2

My concurrence with the instructions contained in this message was in no way intended to expand the B–52 strike approval authority for Cambodia presently delegated to the field commanders by the SEAsia operating authorities. Accordingly, if authorization for expansion of B–52 strike approval authority for Cambodia can be construed [Page 1173] from the text of this message, a follow-on clarifying message should be transmitted immediately.3

In my opinion, the critical course of events taking place throughout Indochina during the next few months will reinforce the requirement to maintain the operating restrictions set forth in the approved SEAsia rules of engagement and operating authorities.

Melvin R. Laird4
  1. Source: National Archives, RG 218, Records of the Chairman, Records of Thomas Moorer, Box 13, Cambodia, Jan–May 73. Secret.
  2. Message 8281 from Moorer to Gayler, January 25, 1712Z. Copies were sent to Weyand and Vogt. (Ibid., Box 69, JCS Out General Service Messages, January 1973)
  3. Moorer sent the following message to Gayler (copied to Weyand and Vogt) on January 27: “Guidance provided by the ref [message 8281] does not negate in any manner those constraints on B–52 operations in Cambodia which were effective prior to promulgation of the ref.” (Message 1327, January 27, 1636Z; ibid., Box 13, Cambodia, Jan–May 73)
  4. Printed from a copy that indicates Laird signed the original.