290. Memorandum From Clinton Granger of the National Security Council Staff to Secretary of State Kissinger1


  • Military Options

In preparation for the NSC meeting at 10:30 p.m. on May 13, 1975, the following may be useful background on the military options available. The Chairman, JCS, will have a detailed paper on military options available for the meeting,2 but according to Joint Staff officers involved in the planning process, the alternatives under consideration have been limited and very conventional.

Summary conclusions include:

  • —Movement between the ship, the adjacent island and the mainland should continue to be interdicted.
  • —Intelligence operations should be launched immediately to ascertain the exact location of the U.S. crew.
  • —A SEAL team should be moved into the area.
  • —Psychological operations leaflets should be used on the island to state the U.S. demands.
  • —Failing diplomatic actions, and if adequate intelligence is available to insure a reasonable degree of success in rescue of the crew, a raid operation should be conducted with helicopters when a supporting carrier is in position.

  1. Source: Ford Library, National Security Adviser, NSC Institutional Files, Box 21, Mayaguez Military Options. Confidential. Sent for information. A handwritten notation at the top of the memorandum reads: “HAK has seen.” Smyser concurred.
  2. Jones distributed “Possible Scenario for Recovery of Ship and Crew,” prepared by the Department of Defense, for the NSC meeting beginning at 10:40 p.m., May 13. (Ibid., Kissinger-Scowcroft West Wing Office Files, Box 1, Cambodia, Mayaguez Seizure) See Document 295.