237. Backchannel Message From the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger) to the Ambassador to Vietnam (Martin)1
WH50717. We have just completed an interagency review of the state of play in South Viet-Nam. You should know that at the WSAG meeting today2 there was almost no support for the evacuation of Vietnamese and for the use of American force to help protect any evacuation. The sentiment of our military, DOD and CIA colleagues was to get out fast and now.
In addition, as I indicated in my message to you last night,3 the congressional situation is fast getting out of hand. Our task—yours and mine—is to prevent panic both in Saigon and Washington, and I know that you recognize this more clearly than almost anyone in the United States Government.
I appreciate your indication that you can and will meet my request that we reduce to approximately two thousand official and nonofficial Americans by the end of next week, but most now, in light of the situation in Washington, ask that this schedule be advanced. It is essential, despite the concerns that you have expressed and that I accept, for you to speed up the movement of American citizens out of Viet-Nam. We must be at or below the level of two thousand official and unofficial U.S. citizens by Tuesday, April 22. I ask that you move immediately to accomplish this and assure you that we are prepared to do everything we can to give you any additional assistance you need. You will be receiving a front channel message to this effect, plus certain other questions and instructions in tandem with this message.4