88. Transcript of a Telephone Conversation Between the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (Moorer) and the Chief of Naval Operations (Zumwalt)1

1117—Telecon/Incoming—Adm Zumwalt—Fri, 11/3/72—1117.

CNO—I leave tonight and will be gone until Saturday noon. I think I was able to work around most of the stuff but it’s good to have you here and I don’t think you should be gone anymore.2 But I don’t think anything got through that would concern you—you satisfied?


CNO—I was with Mel briefly yesterday. I think that Weinel’s judgement as to the timing is accurate and that’s all I know.3

CJCS—We got another big flail going. Did you read Weyand’s summary this morning?

CNO—I haven’t gotten to it yet.

CJCS—The White House is after us again. He [Weyand] says (listen to this) he is talking about air efforts. “In summary, we are doing all possible to get the maximum effectiveness from our allocated air power. (The White House thinks that Laird is restricting him and we’ve [Page 352] been through this. Gayler has talked to him, I’ve talked to him on the telephone and he said he wanted 366 sorties and we’re giving him 420 every day now) But he goes on to say … “We are meeting our most urgent commitments but of course, cannot satisfy all requirements. We believe our priorities are about right. We will shift them depending on the situation and will be prepared in particular to support more ambitious RVNAF offensive operations as well as to increase the pressure against the enemy logistics network in NVN.” We’ve already been over this with the White House twice.

CNO—He’s just trying to cover his number for not doing more with the RVNAF. He hasn’t used the air resources he’s got and is running scared since the RVNAF is behaving like they are and is just trying to cover his number. We’ve got to go after him.

CJCS—I am. It’s just because of this that I’ve prepared a message and asked him just what his problem is and I am quoting him, and Gayler and saying that my records show such and such, now what is your problem.4 This is part of the bigger problem that they are trying to here at the last minute the Army is trying to get in and set up a sub-Unified Command, etc.

CNO—I talked to Chick [Clarey] yesterday briefly and he tells me that Abe [Abrams] has turned in a report recommending it out of channels.

CJCS—I wouldn’t put that past them.

CNO—I think what is going on is a Back Channel between Weyand to Abrams to Haig.

CJCS—And get it all set up before he becomes Vice Chief of Staff.

CNO—I think your message really ought to make him spell out he is not using what he has got.

CJCS—He is using (he got 300) and I’ve said 344 and it averages out for the last two weeks to 420 and he now says this. When they saw that over in the White House they went through the ceiling before Laird left and asked for information before he left for Europe the other day and they had a big discussion with HAK and he is mad as hell and when SecDef sees this he is really going to hit the ceiling.

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CNO—Let Mel know what the channel is.

CJCS—He is out of town and I am keeping this and I am going to tell him when I get my hands on him. It’s kind of a conspiracy.

CNOLaird more than anyone knows how it works because, for awhile, he was in on the net.


CNO—One other thing, looked to me like what Noel [Gayler] worked out for coordinating the B52s in the Panhandle for NVN was very simply the way to do it.

CJCS—That’s what he should have done the first time.

CNO—It was Clarey’s recommendations which it was based on.

CJCS—The way it was set up before had the Air Force so mad but neither Ryan nor Meyer wouldn’t say so and he put the B52s under CINCPACFLT for planning that was exactly what was done and all he was doing was repeating what we used when he bombed Haiphong on the 17th [of October] and they were perfectly all right with same coordinating [information] that they are using and that’s part of the whole game.

CNO—I just think it’s terribly important that you be here around-the-clock from now until Truce time.

CJCS—I am not going anyplace I shouldn’t gone then but those people really gave me the red carpet treatment and had everything set up helos, firing demonstrations, and I couldn’t very well cancel but I don’t think nothing happen while I was aware [away] that was fateful.

CNO—I’m more concerned not about the thrust from the Communists as I am about the threat from the Inner Enemy.

  1. Source: National Archives, RG 218, Records of the Chairman, Moorer Diary, July 1970–July 1974. Top Secret.
  2. Zumwalt was Acting Chairman while Moorer was in Germany on official duty.
  3. Weinel believed that a cease-fire would go into effect on November 20 and had so informed Moorer. (Message 7237 to Moorer in Germany, October 30, 2137Z; National Archives, RG 218, Records of the Chairman, Records of Thomas Moorer, Box 69, JCS Out General Service Messages, 1–31 October 1972)
  4. In message 3607, November 4, 0039Z, Moorer wrote to Gayler and Weyand: “I have been assuring higher levels that your requirements as perceived by you are being fully met. I have been assuring higher levels that your requirements have priority and all you need do is ask. I regret to say that these quote misunderstandings unquote on air support for you are consuming an inordinate amount of my, and other officials’, time. Worst of all they do nothing to enhance the military’s singleness of purpose or leadership.” (Ibid., Moorer Diary, July 1970–July 1974) In message 82414, November 4, 1020Z, Weyand responded, ending with these words: “I apologize for the problems all of this has caused you and will make an extra effort to keep all the cats and dogs that are involved in proper perspective.” (Ibid.)