86. Editorial Note

Secretary of Defense Laird was scheduled to meet with the Joint Chiefs of Staff on October 20, 1969. The agenda included discussion of National Security Decision Memorandum 27 on the U.S. military posture (Document 56), key issues involved in Vietnamization, and a [Page 288] status report on the “Readiness Tests” then ongoing. The Office of the Secretary of Defense (OSD) Staff, in advance of the meeting, prepared briefing materials for Laird’s use, which the Secretary saw according to a stamped note on the original. Laird’s preparatory package included a section on “Issues on Special Exercise” which listed the following questions:

  • “—Are the ‘Readiness Tests’ being picked up by Soviet and/or NVN sources? If so, what impact are the ‘Readiness Tests’ having?
  • “—Are the ‘tests’ yet to be accomplished apt to have more, less, or about the same impact on the USSR/NVN?
  • “—What risks are implicit in the continuing ‘tests’? Are the risks manageable?
  • “—Can we continue to abide by the public affairs posture taken so far? If not, what changes can and/or should be made?” (Washington National Records Center, OSD Files: FRC 330–75–103, 337, SD/JCS)