MEMORANDUM OF DISCUSSION WITH THE PRESIDENT, Saturday. .
Attending: the President and McCone alone
both of which indicated increased dependence by the Soviets
on use of nuclear weapons in their strategic planning and also and most significantly, their aerial-ground offensive warfare.
reviewed recent SNIK on Laosan amendment would be forthcoming after the next USIBPresident was urged to read this Estimate carefully and hedo so,opy with him for the week end.
McCone pointed out that the thrust of these Estimates was to the effect that each increase in our effort in Laos, whether it involved additional support of the RLG or the placement of American troops in Laos, or the commiting of American troops to combat in Laos would be met by an escalation in the Communist effort which would undoubtedly also be in stages involving additional North Vietnam combat units and very probably covert and finally the overtof Chinese Communists troops to action. McCone stated that he personally was convinced that thiseasonable appraisal of trend of events in Laos and it represented the unanimous view of the Intelligence Community. However, it was pointed out lo the President that he, McCone, had detected on the part of the military the feeling that the logistics problem of supplying combat forces in Laos wouldery inhibiting factor and because of this there was an attitude that perhaps the Communists would not escalate their effort In Laos to meet the increase in our own effort. McCone said (hat he disagreed with this viewpoint and while he recognized all of the logistics problems, he nevertheless felt that the Communists would keep the pressure on and what could not be accomplished one month or in one season would be an objective for the next month or the next season. This has been the history of the Communist effort as it moves southward toward Southeast Asia in the past several years.
WPRIVtl FIR IIIIASI MTLVfl'117
McCone stated that he therefore would urge the President to recognize that the commitment of troops in Laos must be coupled with the decision to take actions against North Vietnam which at first would involve air strikes against mililary concentrations, airfields supply depots, transportation facilities, and communications facilities' all of which were readily identifiable from recent photography. In other words, if we are going to commit our forces in Laos, we must not do as we did in Korea, provide the Cornmunist forcesanctuary from which they can direct and supply their operations.
3. The President asked McCone again about the "London Times" article and McCone stated that we had exhausted every effort to determine the source and had,hird party, been told that tho "Times" correspondent originally wrote the articlethink piece" using gossip and other information, and had then taken it to and had cleared ithite House source, who he felt was responsible. The White House source was not and cannot be identified.
McCone said that he was so disturbed over reports of this nature and aleo conflicting reportB on operations in Southeast Asia, he had decided to go to Southeast Asia leaving on the 3rd of June, returning aboutayseeks later. Representatives ofould accompany McCone. Also, it was suggested that Mike Forrestal go along. The President agreed this wouldood idea, and suggested that McCone call the President on Monday, to confirm this arrangement.
The meeting lasted approximatelyinutes with Ml George Bundy being present for part of the time.
NOTE: Prior to seeing the President,alked with Mr. McGeorge Bundy, covering in detail the substance of my proposed talk with the President, most particularly my view with respectecision to eliminate the sanctuary of North Vietnam in the event that wc commit American troops to combat in South Vietnam. iscussed with Bundy the extent to which the Harriman criticism of CIA over Laotian policy had filtered through the Washington press corps, largelyesult of gossip and talk on social occasions in Washington.
John A. McCone Director