Foreign Relations of the United States, 1964-1968, V. 6: Vietnam, January-August 1968

Foreign Relations of the United States, 1964-1968, V. 6: Vietnam, January-August 1968
Foreign Relations of the United States, 1964-1968, V. 6: Vietnam, January-August 1968
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State Department Publication 10959. Edited by Kent Seig. General Editor: David S. Patterson. Documents United States policy toward Vietnam in 1967. This volume presents documentation that explained and illuminated the major foreign policy decisions on Vietnam of President Lyndon B. Johnson, as counseled by his key foreign policy advisers. The documents in the volume include memoranda and records of discussions that set forth policy issues and options and show decisions or actions taken. The emphasis is on the development of U.S. policy and on major aspects and repercussions of its execution rather than on the details of policy execution.

The Foreign Relations of the United States series presents the official documentary historical record of major foreign policy decisions and significant diplomatic activity of the United States Government. The Historian of the Department of State is charged with the responsibility for the preparation of the Foreign Relations series. This volume is part of a subseries of volumes of the Foreign Relations series that documents the most important issues in the foreign policy of the 5 years (1964–1968) of the administration of Lyndon B. Johnson. The subseries presents in 34 volumes a documentary record of major foreign policy decisions and actions of President Johnson's administration. This volume documents U.S. policy toward Vietnam from January to August 1968.

President Lyndon Johnson relied upon his principal foreign policy advisers, Secretary of State Rusk, Secretary of Defense McNamara (and his successor Secretary of Defense Clifford), Assistant to the President Rostow, and many other official and unofficial advisers for counsel and recommendations on Vietnam policy. Because this volume’s primary focus was on the policy process of recommendation, discussion, and then final decision by the President, the locus of the volume is Washington, but it also covers events and developments in South Vietnam, as they affected the policy process.

The volume contains a number of major themes. Of primary importance to President Johnson was his and the Department of State's continuing efforts to find a negotiated end to the war. The volume covers U.S. diplomatic contacts with Romania, Norway, and the Vatican to explore possible negotiation formulas with Hanoi in the hopes that they would lead to formal peace negotiations. Also covered are continued tentative prisoner of war contacts with the National Liberation Front in the hopes that they might lead to a separate political settlement. These diplomatic efforts were overshadowed by another major theme of the volume, the Tet Offensive and the resulting policy debate in Washington on whether to raise the number of U.S. troops in Vietnam. This debate led to a broader reassessment of U.S. policy in Vietnam, which culminated in the President's order for a partial bombing halt of North Vietnam, his decision not to run for reelection, and an announcement of U.S. willingness to meet anywhere to negotiate peace. The search for a venue for the talks and attempts by advisers to convince the President to institute a full bombing halt comprise the final focus of the volume. Two other themes are evident in the volume, yet they are captured in only a few documents: the growing anti-war movement in the United States and the upcoming presidential elections of 1968. These two events affected discussions within the Johnson administration.

Table of Contents

Abbreviations and Terms
Note on U.S. Covert Actions
Vietnam, January-August 1968
January 1-29: The Continuing Search for Peace and preparations for the Enemy’s Winter-Spring Offensive (Documents 1-31)
January 30-February 8: The Tet Offensive (Documents 32-62)
February 9-28: Westmoreland’s Augmentation Request (Documents 63-94)
March 1-15: Policy Reassessment and the “A to Z” Review (Documents 95-131)
March 16-31: De-escalation and the March 31 Speech (Documents 132-169)
April 1-May 3: Discussions on the Site for Talks (Documents 170-221)
May 4-31: Opening of the Peace Negotiations and the May Offensive Documents 222-257)
June 1-July 15: Soviet Involvement and Possible North Vietnamese Restraint (Documents 258-298)
July 16-August 31: The Lull in Fighting, the U.S.-South Vietnamese Conference at Honolulu, and the Third Enemy Offensive (Documents 299-345)


Students and professors of history, political history, presidential history, and anyone in the general public interested in the Vietnam War and/or Lyndon Johnson’s presidency and his policies regarding the Vietnam War, as well as his efforts to negotiate an end to the war, will find this volume essential.

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State Dept., Bureau of Public Affairs, Office of the Historian
  • Seig, Kent
Key Phrases:
  • State Department Publication 10959
  • Vietnam
  • Southeast Asia
  • Vietnam War
  • Foreign Policy
  • Johnson Administration
  • Vietnam, January to August 1968
SuDocs Class:
S 1.1:964-68/V.6
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210 288FB
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