141. Memorandum From Rob Roy Ratliff of the National Security Council Staff to Secretary of State Kissinger 1

SUBJECT

  • Covert Psychological Warfare in Southeast Asia

CIA’s covert psychological warfare effort against Communist forces in Southeast Asia has expanded since the last 40 Committee review (see Tab A).2 Three Vietnamese-language and two Cambodian-language clandestine radio broadcasting facilities are used now, a recently acquired 10 KW mediumwave transmitting facility beamed at Cambodia opens in early September, and a 50 KW mediumwave transmitter near Hue may be acquired from USIA.

Programs broadcast on these facilities attack the morale and combat effectiveness of Communist troops, encourage anti-war sentiment among civilians in Communist areas, and exacerbate tensions and generate frictions. Are they successful? Refugee and rallier reports, continued Communist denouncements and warnings not to listen to the clandestine stations, and direct attacks on specific programs or stations are cited as evidence that the Communists are concerned about the impact on the target audience.

Clandestine radio is the only means of reaching the target audience on a sustained basis, and while there will always be charges of U.S. involvement, the fact that the Government of the Republic of Vietnam contributes to, supports and is involved in the effort lessens the potential impact of such charges.

This operation is budgeted for [dollar amount not declassified] for FY 1975 ([dollar amount not declassified] more than last year). It is coordinated with Ambassador Martin, who approves, as do the State, Defense, JCS and CIA 40 Committee principals.

Recommendation

That you approve the continuation of this clandestine radio broadcasting operation.3

  1. Source: National Security Council, Ford Administration Intelligence Files, Subject Files, Box I–012, Vietnam, August–June 1975. Secret; Eyes Only; Outside System. Sent for action. Stearman and Smyser concurred.
  2. Memorandum for the 40 Committee, “Periodic Report on Covert Psychological Warfare Operations Against North Vietnam, the National Liberation Front and the Khmer Communists,” August 13, attached but not printed.
  3. Kissinger initialed his approval on November 11.