Washington, D.C., 4 August 2004 - Forty years
ago today, President Johnson and top U.S. officials chose to believe
that North Vietnam had just attacked U.S. destroyers in the Gulf
of Tonkin, even though the highly classified signals intercepts
they cited to each other actually described a naval clash two
days earlier (a battle prompted by covert U.S. attacks on North
Vietnam), according to the declassified intercepts, Johnson White
House tapes, and related documents posted today by the National
Security Archive at George Washington University.
Compiled by Archive senior fellow and Vietnam expert John Prados,
today's 40th anniversary electronic briefing book includes Dr.
Prados's detailed analysis of the intercepts - only declassified
in 2003 - together with audio files and transcripts of the key
Tonkin Gulf conversations between President Johnson and Defense
Secretary Robert McNamara. The latter are excerpted from Dr. Prados's
book, The White House Tapes (New York: The New Press,
2003). The posting also contains photographs and charts from the
Tonkin Gulf incident courtesy of the U.S. Naval Historical Center,
a detailed documentary chronology compiled by the State Department's
Office of the Historian for the Foreign Relations of the United
States series, a CIA Special National Intelligence Estimate
on possible North Vietnamese responses to U.S. actions from May
1964 (just declassified in June 2004), and links to previous and
upcoming Archive publications on Vietnam.
For more information, contact Dr. John Prados or Archive director
Thomas Blanton at 202/994-7000.
40th Anniversary of the Gulf of Tonkin Incident
by John Prados
of Tonkin Signals Intercepts
Source: LBJ Library: LBJF: NSF: CFVN, b. 77, f,
"3A(3) Gulf of Tonkin, 8/64."
Tapes on Gulf of Tonkin
Source: John Prados, The White House Tapes
(New York: The New Press, 2003)
Special National Intelligence Estimate on possible North Vietnamese
responses to U.S. actions, May 1964
Department - Foreign Relations of the United States (FRUS):
"U.S. Reaction To Events in the Gulf of Tonkin, August 1-10"
for the Record of White House Staff Meeting, Washington, August
5, 1964, 8 a.m.
Source: Source: National Defense University, Taylor
Papers, T-202-69. Secret; Eyes Only. Drafted by William Y. Smith.
- December 1, 2005
Tonkin Gulf Intelligence
"Skewed" According to Official History and Intercepts
Declassified National Security Agency Documents Show Analysts
Made "SIGINT fit the claim" of North Vietnamese Attack