MEMO 4/3/68 HANOI'S MOTIVES

Created: 4/3/1968

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APPROVED FOR RELEASE DATE:5

INTELLIGENCE" AGENCY OFFICE OF NATIONAL ESTIMATES

3

MEMORANDUM

SUBJECT: Hanoi's Motives

NOTE: This cecoranduci represents the cocclusions arrived athy analysts froa CIA, IHR, and

1. Hanoi's move almost certainly does nothange In its var aims, hut the statementprilignificant departure in tactics. The North Vietnamese leaders havo abandoned their adamantly-held, position that there could he no official contacts at all before the hashing totally ceased.

2. There is one possible motivation which we would virtually rule out: while Hanoi may have been concerned by the mounting costs of. an accelerated military effort, it was not constrained by inability to carry on the var. It maythough we doubt that this vas importanthave felt that the President had left himself free to carryajor escalation of the confict if he response waa negative or long-delayed.

3. tho quickneas of hanoi's response suggests that it may already have docided, before the president's statement, to go over to "talk-fight" tactics if an opportunity offered itself during the winter-spring offensive. however this may be, we believe that dhv motives were (a) to assure themselves that the' respite ia bombing which they now have win continue, andto force' the utiomplete cassation of all bombing of the north; (b) to exploit sentiment within tha DS in favor of ending the war, and if possible to lead the ds governmentoint where ds publl: opinion would noteversal towards heightened canflict; (c) to intensify divisions between the ds and the gvn; and fd) to accelerate disarray in saigon andtvvml ne the willingness of the south vietnamese to fight.

u. it is possible that hanoi read tbe president's statementecisive change in ds policyan admission of unwillingness to continue the war,irst step towards accepting the con-aequencea. at least, from hanoi's point of view, the situation - n both the ds and south vietnam since tot must seem much more vulnerable to talk-fight tactics, and to offer an opportunity for hanoi to explore tha possibilitiesettlement cc terms favorable to it. for the north yiotnamose must, after all, be

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