Vietnam Policy Records


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This section of the History Matters Archive presents important reports and documents on Vietnam policy during the Kennedy administration and the early Johnson administration. The Foreign Relations of the United States volumes were published in 1991. The other documents presented here were all declassified during the 1990s.

These records add detail to the long-obscured withdrawal plan which was put together in the spring of 1963, and implementation of which began just weeks before the assassination of President Kennedy. A close reading also adds weight to the argument, put forth in the most detail by Dr. John Newman in his book JFK and Vietnam, that Kennedy was well aware of the problems with the war effort, and had decided to withdraw anyway. This view is at odds with the more conventional historical thesis that both Kennedy and his military advisors were unduly optimistic about the war effort, and American involvement deepened once it was realized that this rosy view was false (in the aftermath of the November Diem coup and into 1964).

FRUS 1961-63 Volume III: Vietnam January-August 1963

FRUS 1961-63 Volume IV: Vietnam August-December 1963

Joint Chiefs of Staff Central Files