45. Memorandum from William Stearman of the National Security Council Staff to the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger)1


  • Saigon Station Chief’s Assessments

In response to your April 2 request in San Clemente, Saigon Station Chief Polgar has personally sent you two field assessments. One is an appraisal of the possibility of an imminent Communist offensive (Tab A)2 and the other is on the situation in Vietnam at X plus 90. (Tab B)3 These assessments are summarized below:

  • —For the next three months or so, fighting will continue in South Vietnam with varying intensity and occasional high points including multi-regimental level, but the scope of fighting will fall short of a nationwide major unit offensive.
  • —Despite countrywide reports predicting a large-scale resurgence of Communist military activity in the near future, neither the enemy’s posture nor his current strength levels indicate that these predictions are valid.

The Situation in Vietnam at X Plus 90

  • —While there is not yet a “cease-fire,” there is a “less fire” situation. While 8,500 Communist and 2,500 GVN troops were killed in the first 30 days of the cease-fire, comparable figures for the last 30 days are 2,500 and 1,500 respectively.
  • —A renewal of major unit fighting by the NVA on a nationwide scale is by no means a certainty.
  • —During the 90 days, the GVN has gained more than the Communists. The Government is strong, and GVN armed forces have gained despite the absence of direct U.S. support.
  • —There is some small movement toward a “modus vivendi” in the South and faint reflections of a changing spirit.
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George Carver, in his covering memorandum, said he believes that a substantial increase of military action in South Vietnam is “somewhat more likely—and may be more imminent—” than Polgar’s two reports indicate.4

While I find Polgar’s assessments to be somewhat on the optimistic side, I do agree that major Communist offensive operations are not likely in the immediate future. I am, however, less sanguine than he about Hanoi’s longer-range military intentions.

  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Material, NSC Files, Box 164, Vietnam Country Files, Vietnam, May–September 1973. Secret; Sensitive. Sent for information. Kissinger initialed the memorandum.
  2. Intelligence Information Cable, TDFIRDB 315/03916–73, “Appraisal of Situation: Field Appraisal of Possibility that VC/NVA Forces Are About To Launch a General Offensive,” April 25, attached but not printed.
  3. Intelligence Information Cable, TDFIRDB 315/04102–73, “Appraisal of Situation: At X Plus 90 in South Vietnam,” April 30, attached but not printed.
  4. Carver’s cover memorandum, May 1, attached but not printed.