New Releases Show How Vietnam Weighed on Nixon

Defense secretary urges against plan that would become 'Christmas bombing'
By Nick McMaster,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 2, 2008 4:25 PM CST
The 37th President of the United States of America, Richard Nixon, makes a speech in 1970.   (Getty Images)
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(Newser) – Newly declassified documents and tapes from the Nixon era show how conflicted the administration was over public dissatisfaction with the war in Vietnam, the AP reports. One October 1969 memo from Defense Secretary Melvin Laird advises the president against adopting a proposal for a massive assault on North Vietnam, noting “seemingly rising levels of discontent in the United States.”

"We must,” Laird writes, “act in a fashion which will maintain the support of the American people." Though Nixon turned down the Joint Chiefs’ proposal, he would later undertake similar action in the 1972 “Christmas Bombing” of Hanoi.