216. Telegram From the Embassy in Cambodia to the Department of State 1
Phnom Penh, April 10, 1975, 2100Z.
6111. Subject: E&E. Ref: 81634.2
- Re para one reftel, it is now too late (0400 hours local, April 11) to execute evacuation early an April 11. We are therefore planning to evacuate early a.m. April 12. CINCPAC J–3 confirms that Hancock will be available April 12, which would increase total helo assets and assure us single-lift helo capability.
- Eagle Pull options one or two are not feasible for number of
- Unavailability of ground security force of sufficient size to secure Pochentong Airfield;
- Possibility that Pochentong will not be in friendly hands April 12 or will be under severe enemy attack by April 12;
- Probable necessity to use massive TACAIR to secure Pochentong, and inevitability that such TACAIR would be directed against friendlies as well as enemy, which would be highly inadvisable politically;
- Even if none of the above apply, massive evacuation via Pochentong would be likely to cause general panic in city, which would make operation impossible to execute without using force against civil populace.
- Contrary to scenario outlined in JCS 101821Z Apr 75,3 if Eagle Pull options one or two failed to be completed successfully because of pandemonium at Pochentong, it would then be impossible to move GSF and evacuees to LZ Hotel. Remember Da Nang.
- In view of above, Eagle Pull option three is our only possible course, and if military situation deteriorates we have to move before Saturday. DCM, General Palmer, Colonel Batchelder and Admiral Gayler (whom we have just consulted by phone) are unanimously in agreement with this judgment of mine.
- I therefore request all concerned to execute Eagle Pull option three at first light Saturday, April 12, with first chopper to arrive at LZ Hotel at 0900 hours local.
- Use of American TACAIR is less likely to be necessary under Eagle Pull option three than under the other options, though I cannot rule out the possibility that it would be required even under option three. Under option three my estimate is that it would be directed against the KC rather than against the FANK, which I could not guarantee under options one or two.
- Re para two reftel, I understand that my instructions are to give first priority to getting Americans out safely “and then as many Khmer as possible.” This is obviously a drafting error, since once the Americans have left, the Khmers will be on their own, and there will be no opportunity for us to get Khmers out “then.”
- Re para three reftel, I would be happy to stay, and more than a handful of my staff have already volunteered to stay with me, if there would be any way we could assist the Khmers to work out a peaceful resolution. Of course there would be some risks involved, and we shall weigh these risks tomorrow on the basis of meetings I plan to have with the leaders of the GKR. If they are still chewing their cuds, I see no reason to stay with them to see what they may regurgitate, but I will make that assessment tomorrow.