Note from McGeorge Bundy on Information Booklet on Vietnam, 4 September 1964

Source: The Pentagon Papers, Gravel Edition, Volume 3, pp. 559-560.


September 4, 1964

MEMORANDUM TO: Mr. Robert Manning

Subject: Possible problems in the current form of the Q & A booklet on Vietnam

Yesterday when we agreed to hold up this booklet, I undertook to let you know what parts of it might give trouble as of now. Obviously, as the situation shifts the problem changes, but the following items occurred to me in a careful reading two days ago:

1. On page 4 in the last paragraph we use some adverbs about the new government that are a little hard to justify this week.
2. On page 9 we describe the military situation as "stabilized," which seems optimistic.
On page 10 the discussion of VC military activities seems a trifle dated, and the estimate of the improvement of government forces optimistic.
3. On pages 19 to 21, questions 21, 22, and 23 might be outdated by decisions in coming weeks. There is no certainty about this, but I doubt if we wish to be pinned to a course from which we might wish to shift.
4. On page 22, 1 doubt if it is enough to call the M-1 rifle "adequate."
5. On page 24, I think the Gulf of Tonkin action should not be quite so sharply separated from possible future operations. I would correct the paragraph by including the possibility of retaliation and counteraction against maritime infiltration, without giving the implication that any such force is definitely agreed on now.
6. In a similar way, on page 25, I think we ought to leave the door a little more open to appropriate action against the north, but a very marginal change would satisfy me.

McGeorge Bundy

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