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

In view of the current intelligence indicating (a) a major enemy campaign to move supplies and equipment into South Vietnam, and (b) plans to launch a new offensive in Northern MR 1, I desire, during the next 48 hours, to maximize U.S. airpower (B–52 and TacAir) in and around the area between the DMZ and a line formed by the Cua Viet River and Route 9. The level of effort should be at least as great as that employed during the early days of the Northern Vietnamese invasion across the DMZ.

Following this 48-hour period for the next two weeks, I desire maximum sortie level for both B–52’s and TacAir applied against all suspected enemy logistic and manpower build-up areas throughout South Vietnam and Route Package 1.2 This increased level of air activity will remain in effect until 18 November 1972. My memorandum of October 14, 1972, is hereby rescinded.

Mel Laird
  1. Source: National Archives, RG 218, Records of the Chairman, Records of Thomas Moorer, Box 30, Vietnam, November 1972. Top Secret; Sensitive.
  2. In message 8834, November 9, 0037Z, Moorer informed Gayler that the earlier order was amended and directed him to conduct B–52 strikes further into North Vietnam, to the 20th parallel in the southern section of bombing Route Package 4, to destroy enemy supplies moving south in logistics convoys. (Ibid., Box 69, JCS Out General Service Messages, 1–30 November 1972)