212. Letter From Secretary of State Rogers to Secretary of Defense Laird1 2

Dear Mel,

As we go into the Geneva Protocol hearings in the Senate next month, I am asking the President to decide to phase out immediately, rather than waiting until May this year, all chemical herbicide operations in Vietnam. You will recall that both Ambassador Bunker and General Abrams recommended the phase-out and the President supported the idea.

I believe an earlier phase-out, for the reasons stated in the attached memorandum to the President, would be very much in our own broad interests, and will help to ensure that the President’s decision to seek Senate advice and consent to the ratification of the Protocol is carried out. I hope you will be able to concur in my memorandum. If not, I suggest that you write to the President on the subject. In view of the Hearing schedule and the preparations required, I plan to forward my memorandum to the President on or about February 1st.

With best personal regards,


William P. Rogers
  1. Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1970–1973, POL 27–10 VIETS. Top Secret; Exdis. The attachment is Document 214. In a February 3 memorandum, Eliot notified Laird’s aide, General Pursley, that Rogers planned to forward his memorandum to the President on or about February 10, not February 1 as Rogers’ letter erroneously stated. (Ibid.)
  2. Rogers requested Laird’s support in recommending to the President that the U.S. immediately cease the use of chemical herbicides in Vietnam.