Memorandum for Southeast Asia Principals, "Scenario for Immediate Action Program," William P. Bundy, 28 November 1964

Source: The Pentagon Papers, Gravel Edition, Volume 3, pp. 676-677

November 28, 1964


Subject: Scenario for Immediate Action Program

I have gone over with the Working Group the problem of a scenario for carrying out the Immediate Action Program (Section VII of the draft summary) or Ambassador Taylor's recommended sequence, which comes very close to the same ingredients. We have tried to work on this on the alternative assumption, that a decision is or is not taken to go on with Option C thereafter if Hanoi does not bend or the GVN come apart. Frankly, the Working Group inclines more and more to the view that at least a contingent decision to go on is now required.

The problem is a difficult one, a real jigsaw puzzle in which you have to weigh at every point the viewpoints of:

a. The American Congress and public.
b. Saigon.
c. Hanoi and Peiping.
d. Key interested nations.

At this point, I don't see how all can be met at all points, but I have attacked it by listing the actions that might be included and setting up worksheets for each, with an indication of their possible timing and substance. So much depends on the actual terms of the President's decision that we should in any case avoid getting too firmly fixed on all elements. This will need a lot of work before the Tuesday meeting, and quite possibly after as well.

William P. Bundy


I. US Public Actions

A. White House statement following Tuesday meeting
B. Background briefing on infiltration in both Saigon and Washington
C. Congressional Consultation
D. Major speech
E. Jorden Report


A. Consultation with GVN
B. GVN statement

III. Key Allies

A. Consultation with RLG
B. Consultation with Thai
C. Consultation with UK, Australia, New Zealand, and Philippines.
D. SEATO Council statement (?)

IV. Communist Nations

A. Signals and messages to Hanoi and Peiping
B. What to say to Soviets (and Poles?)

V. Other Nations

A. Canada, India, and France
B. UN is required

VI. Existing Categories of Military Actions

A. US Laos reconnaissance
B. RLAF attacks in Laos
D. US high-level reconnaissance of DRV

VII. Reprisal Actions

A. Renewed DESOTO patrol
B. Another Bien Hoa or other spectacular

VIII. Added Military or Other Actions

A. Stopping flow of dependents
B. YT strikes in Laos: infiltration areas, Route 7
C. US low-level reconnaissance over DRV
D. Strikes across the border into DRV: GVN and US roles

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