10. Memorandum From the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger) to Secretary of Defense Laird1


  • Military Operations Against North Korean Targets

Confirming our secure line conversation at 9:55 p.m., April 15, the President has requested the following additional information beyond that contained in the Joint Chiefs of Staff submission entitled, “Air Strikes Against North Korean Targets,” of April 15:2

A military plan for U.S. retaliation against the departure airfield of the North Korean attack aircraft.
A military plan providing for the naval blockade of Wonsan Harbor.
A military plan for the mining of Wonsan Harbor.
A military plan for a submarine-launched torpedo attack against a North Korean military vessel within or outside North Korean territorial waters.
In conjunction with all the military plans listed above, including the initial submission entitled, “Air Strikes Against North Korean Targets,” provide an estimate of loss expectancy of aircraft and/or vessels.
List the respective order of battle of U.S. and North Korean forces.
Notwithstanding the specific military course of action proposed and in the event North Korea were to respond with air attacks against South Korean bases, what level of reinforcement would be required for U.S. air elements in South Korea to contain the attack and what would be the source and time frame for its completion.
In the event North Korea were to respond with air and ground attacks across the DMZ, what level of air and ground reinforcement would be required to contain such attacks.

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The foregoing information should be available for discussion in the meeting with the President at 3:00 p.m. on Thursday, April 16,3 and be provided in writing by noon tomorrow.

Henry A. Kissinger
  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 434, Korea: EC–121 Shootdown, North Korean Reconnaissance Shootdown 4/9/69–4/16/69, Vol. I Haig. Top Secret; Sensitive. An attached note indicates the memorandum was sent at 11:29 p.m.
  2. Laird sent Kissinger the Joint Chiefs’ paper under a memorandum and informed Kissinger that Laird had “discussed our planned approach with the President this evening [at 9:55 on the secure line] and he has approved our moving three carriers north from Vietnam. These will start tonight and are seventy-two hours away.” (Ibid.)
  3. See footnote 4, Document 9.