Vietnam War Bibliography:

CIA Documents

Estimative Products on Vietnam, 1948-1975. Washington, DC: National Intelligence Council and Government Printing Office, 2005. xxxix, 660 pp. This collection of 38 documents (some sanitized), mostly National Intelligence Estimates and Special National Intelligence Estimates, produced by the Office of National Estimates, is accompanied by a CD containing the texts of a much larger collection, 174 documents in all. Both the version in the printed volume, with 38 documents and the complete collection of 174 texts are online.

Woodrow J. Kuhns, ed., Assessing the Soviet Threat: The Early Cold War Years. Langley: Center for the Study of Intelligence, 1997. 466 pp. Photocopies (sometimes slightly redacted) of CIA intelligence summaries, dated June 1946 to November 1950. Includes some assessments on Vietnam and neighboring areas.

The CIA has begun putting the texts of declassified documents, some complete, others sanitized in various ways, on a CIA web site. There are some there containing interesting information, particularly about Soviet aid to the DRV during the war. See
Freedom of Information Act Electronic Reading Room

The President's Daily Brief. The CIA gives to the President of the United States, every day except Sunday, a summary of intelligence information on events around the world. This was called The President's Intelligence Checklist (PICL, projounced "pickle") from June 17, 1961, to November 30, 1964. It was called The President's Daily Brief (PDB) from December 1, 1964 onward.
          For most of 1964 the daily publications were supplemented by The President's Intelligence Review, one issue of which usually covered three or four days, but might cover as few as two or as many as seven days. This publication repeated a lot of information that had previously appeared in The President's Intelligence Checklist.
          The CIA released, in September 1915, sanitized copies of all of these regularly issued publications, plus some ad hoc reports, for the period when John Kennedy and Lyndon Johnson were in office as president. It did the same for the Nixon and Ford administrations in August 2016. These are available online at the Freedom of Information Act Electronic Reading Room. The sections dealing with Vietnam are pretty heavily sanitized.

A large number of declassified CIA documents have been digitized and are available through the NARA (National Archives and Records Administration) facility in College Park, Maryland. To read actual documents in this digitized collection you must by physically present at the NARA facility, using a computer there to search the CREST (CIA Records Search Tool) system. But a pretty good search engine allowing you to find out what documents are in the CREST system, though not to read the actual texts, is available online through the CIA's Archive Search page.

CIA Documents that have been placed online by Texas Tech University

A large quantity of CIA documents, well over 1,000 items, have been placed on-line in the Virtual Vietnam Archive at Texas Tech University. Many of them are in the "Central Intelligence Agency Collection", but not all. So bear in mind, when using the Virtual Archive's search engine, that while limiting your search to the "Central Intelligence Agency Collection" will save you from getting a lot of hits that are not CIA documents, it will also filter out some interesting items that are CIA documents.

The Situation in South Vietnam. A weekly report. I am sure there are more issues from the period 1964-1968 available in the Virtual Vietnam Archive than I have located and listed here:

Joint Central Intelligence Agency/Defense Intelligence Agency reports evaluating the effectiveness of U.S. bombing of North Vietnam in Operation Rolling Thunder.

The Crisis in Indochina. ORE 92-49, 10 February 1950. 9 pp. Consequences to the US of Communist Domination of Mainland Southeast Asia. ORE 29-50, 13 October 1950. 11 pp. The texts of the two documents have been placed online together.

Indochina: Current Situation and Probable Developments. NIE-5, 29 December 1950. "The French Position in Indochina is critically endangered by the Viet Minh... We believe that control of Indochina by the Viet Minh would eventually entail Communist control of all mainland Southeast Asia in the absence of effective Western assistance to other countries of the area. The text.

Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam, Thailand: Zone of Conflict in Southeast Asia. Intelligence Memorandum CIA/RR GM 61-2, 14 March 1961, Office of Research and Reports. 14 pp. A compilation of background information on geography and population, not a crisis report. Has a bunch of maps, and population by province for the countries of Indochina. The text.

Appraisal of the Situation in South Vietnam. 14 February 1964. 2 pp. The second of a series of reports by a group of CIA officers (see George Allen's book) sent to Vietnam early in 1964. Focussed mainly on I Corps, but some information on Tay Ninh and elsewhere. The text.

Appraisal of the Situation in South Vietnam. 4 pp. The third report in the same series; this one was disseminated 18 February 1964. Described weakness of the government and growing strength of the Viet Cong, with Phuoc Thanh, Binh Duong, and An Xuyen mentioned as especially bad. The text.

SNIE 10-65: "Communist Military Capabilities and Near-Term Intentions in Laos and South Vietnam". 4 February 1965. 8 pp. The text, and also a preliminary draft dated 1 February 1965; I have not checked to see whether there are differences.

The Sino-Vietnamese Effort to Limit American Actions in the Vietnam War (Polo XX). Intelligence Study, Directorate of Intelligence, 9 June 1965. RSS No. 0008/65. ii, 31 pp. Text (sanitized). Suggests that China was actually pressing Hanoi to escalate the war in the South more than Hanoi wished to do; I regard this as improbable.

"Prospects for Communist Use of Air-to-Air Missiles Over North Vietnam," Intelligence Memorandum, Office of Current Intelligence, 23 June 1965, SC No. 07350/65. Text (sanitized). Says DRV fighters had attempted use of unguided rockets against U.S. aircraft June 4 and 20, 1965, and speculated about what guided air-to-air missiles the USSR might furnish soon.

"Developments in South Vietnam during the Past Year". Intelligence Memorandum, Office of Current Intelligence, 29 June 1965. 15 pp. text, 8 pp. statistical charts. The text (sanitized). Includes order of battle estimates, discussion of the way infiltrators from the North had begun to include significant numbers of native-born northerners around the beginning of 1964.

"Shootdown of US Aircraft on 24 July by Surface-to Air Missile," SC No. 07363-65, 26 July 1965. 4 pp. plus map. Text (sanitized).

USIB Memorandum, "Infiltration and Logistics, South Vietnam," 28 October 1965. ii, 45 pp. plus maps. Text (sanitized).

"The Militant and Moderate Elements in the North Vietnamese Communist Party," 1 December 1965. The text (sanitized). The cover letter by which DDI Ray Cline sent a copy to McGeorge Bundy identified it as CIA Memo 2400/65.

"Thich Tri Quang and Buddhist Political Objectives in South Vietnam". Intelligence Memorandum No. 0806/66, 20 April 1966. 15 pp. Issued by the Directorate of Intelligence. The text.

"Relationship of US Stand in South Vietnam to Stability of Southeast Asia". Intelligence Memorandum No. 0825/66, Directorate of Intelligence, 25 May 1966. 9 pp. The text.

"The Vulnerability of Non-Communist Groups in South Vietnam to Viet Cong Political Subversion". Intelligence Memorandum No. 0829/66, 27 May 1966. 16 pp. Issued by the Directorate of Intelligence. The text.

"Chinese Communist Intentions in Vietnam". 29 July 1966. 7 pp. A preliminary draft for SNIE 13-66. The text.

"The Organization, Activities, and Objectives of the Communist Front in South Vietnam". Intelligence Memorandum No. 1603/66, 26 September 1966. Issued by the Directorate of Intelligence, written primarily in the Office of Current Intelligence. The Text, in three parts: pp. 1-23 and the first 15 pages of Annex I (NFLSV Organization and Biographies),   pp. 16-55 of Annex I, and pp. 56-82 of Annex I, and Annex II (program statements).

The Vietnam Situation: An Analysis and Estimate. May 23, 1967. Some sections have been sanitized, and some have been completely omitted from the copy placed online. South Vietnam, sections I-III,   South Vietnam, sections IV-V,   This appears to be North Vietnam, section IX (The The Effectiveness of the Rolling Thunder Program and Enemy Countermeasures, 1 January 1966 - 30 April 1967), pp. 5-44, placed online out of its proper position),   This appears to be North Vietnam, section IX (The The Effectiveness of the Rolling Thunder Program and Enemy Countermeasures, 1 January 1966 - 30 April 1967), pp. 45-64; South Vietnam, section VI (The Pacification Program); North Vietnam, section VII (North Vietnamese Intentions) (sanitized),   section VIII (The Effect of the Bombing on North Vietnamese Thinking), section IX (The The Effectiveness of the Rolling Thunder Program and Enemy Countermeasures, 1 January 1966 - 30 April 1967), pp. i, iii, v, 1-4; section XI (Chinese Attitudes), section XIII, section XIV.

"Phases of the War in South Vietnam, 1963-First Quarter 1967: An Analysis by Moving Averages." x, 62 pp. Prepared by the Office of Research and Reports. I can see no indication that it had a date or a serial number. DDI R.J. Smith sent it to Walt Rostow, who had requested it, on 26 May 1967. R.J. Smith cover letter, front matter, and pp. 1-30;   pp. 31-62.

"Evaluation of Alternative Programs for Bombing North Vietnam". 1 June 1967. 17 pp. TS 196752/67. The text. A study that had been requested by Secretary of Defense McNamara, of the probable results of possible major changes in Operation Rolling Thunder: concentrating on the southern panhandle of North Vietnam (pp. 1-9), or various possible changes in the pattern of bombing in Route Package VI, including greater attacks on airfields, greater attacks on port facilities, and complete cessation of attacks on ports (pp. 10-17). Very pessimistic about the ability of the U.S. to achieve decisive results even with a heavy bombing campaign against Haiphong and other ports.

George Carver [SAVA] to Walt W. Rostow, "Papers on Viet Cong Strategy," 15 December 1967. Carver forwarded to Rostow three extremely interesting studies, all dated 8 December 1967, written by analysts at the CIA's Saigon Station and giving the Saigon Station's prediction of the Tet Offensive: "Overview of Viet Cong Strategy," "The Viet Cong/North Vietnamese Winter-Spring Campaign," and "The Viet Cong/North Vietnamese Position on Coalition Government." Carver was under the impression that Rostow had requested that these studies be written, but had not gone through CIA to request them; instead he had asked the U.S. Deputy Ambassador to Saigon, Eugene Locke, to ask the Saigon Station to write them. Carver's cover letter to Rostow says he has significant disagreements with the studies. Carver said that he and other analysts as CIA headquarters did not believe the Communist forces had been weakened as much as the analysts in Saigon were suggesting, and did not expect changes in Communist policy as drastic as those the analysts in Saigon were predicting. The texts.

The Situation in South Vietnam No. 15 (as of 7:00 A.M. EST). February 5, 1968. 4 pp. The text (sanitized).

The Situation in South Vietnam No. 16 (as of 12:30 P.M. EST). February 5, 1968. 4 pp. The text (sanitized).

An Appraisal of the Political Situation among Buddhist Factions in South Vietnam. Saigon, 26 January 1970. 13 pp. The An Quang faction has been becoming more anti-Communist without becoming friendlier to President Thieu. The text.

Revised Estimates of VC/NVA Forces in South Vietnam. This is clearly a major CIA intelligence estimate--it had been coordinated with DIA, and a DIA dissent to one part of it is included--but the date, serial number, and particular point of origin within CIA have been omitted from this copy. This is a preliminary analysis of the large quantity of documents captured during the Cambodian incursion of 1970, which CIA and DIA agreed showed that the actual strength of Communist forces in South Vietnam was significantly larger than had previously been estimated. p. 4: The CIA-DIA agreed estimate for enemy regular combat forces in early 1970, 120-140 thousand, is to be revised upward by 10 thousand to 130-150 thousand. p. 5: "At their maximum strength just prior to the Tet offensive of 1968, the combat forces had a strength of about 200,000." There were also increases to the estimates for administrative services, guerrillas, and infrastructure. The text.

"An Appraisal of the Internal Unrest in Vietnam as of 7 May 1970". Saigon, 7 May 1970 (but the DTG is 081225Z). 9 pp.

"An Appraisal of the Senatorial Election Situation in Vietnam as of 28 August 1970". Saigon, 28 August 1970 (281102Z). 11 pp.

" Appraisal of the 30 August 1970 Senate Elections in South Vietnam". Saigon, 14 September 1970 (140937Z). 8 pp.

"Outlook for the 29 August 1971 Lower House Election in South Vietnam". Saigon, 4 August 1971 (041005Z). 11 pp.

"Appraisal of the Current Presidential Election Campaign Situation in South Vietnam". Saigon, 8 August 1971. 10 pp. The text (incomplete--p. 5 is missing).

"Outlook for the 29 August 1971 Lower House Election in South Vietnam". Saigon, 27 August 1971. 9 pp. Pretty candid about government manipulation of the election. The title page has very poor legibility, which is probably why the document is listed in the index to the Virtual Archive as "Outlook for the 28 August 1971 Lower House Election in South Vietnam"

"Outlook for 3 October Election in South Vietnam". Saigon, 30 September1971 (but DTG is 291040Z). 8 pp.

A collection of intelligence information cables, giving detailed information on Communist order of battle in Military Region I of South Vietnam, and the southern portion of North Vietnam, in late 1974 and early 1975, as compiled by RVN intelligence. cables dated 2 December and 14 December 1974. cable of 14 December continued; cables dated 12 December 1974; 7 and 22 January 1975; 25 February 1975. cable of 22 February continued; cable dated 9 February 1975.

A wrap-up of events since the launching of the Communists' general offensive, Saigon, 27 March 1975 (271415Z). 10 pp.

Report on the Communist Party of Thailand, Intelligence Information Cable, IN 792302, TDFIR-314/00210-76. 19 pp. The text (with the first two pages, and thus the title, missing).

Concern of Communist Party of Thailand over Vietnamese Influence Within the Party. Intelligence Information Cable, IN 840494, TDFIR-314/00729-76, 27 February 1976. 8 pp. The text.

Council of Ministers of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam. January 1977. Vii, 103 pp. Detailed biographical profiles, including dates of trips abroad. Front matter and pp. 1-50 (Hoang Anh to Pham Hung), pp. 51-103 (Pham Hung, continued, to Nghiem Xuan Yem, and index).

CIA Documents on Cambodia

Thomas L. Ahern, Jr., Good Questions, Wrong Answers: CIA's Estimates of Arms Traffic Through Sihanoukville, Cambodia, During the Vietnam War. Center for the Study of Intelligence, Central Intelligence Agency, 2004. xii, 52 pp. Originally classified "Secret." The copy that has been placed online by the National Security Archive at George Washington University is very heavily sanitized, but still valuable.

"Appraisal of North Vietnamese and Viet Cong Efforts to Establish a Communist Infrastructure in Cambodia". Saigon, 3 June 1971 (030150Z). 10 pp.

Office of National Estimates, Taking Stock in Cambodia. 18 February 1972. 18 pp. The text.

Cambodia: General Survey. National Intelligence Survey NIS 43A GS (REV), April 1972. pp. i-x, 1-38 (the Chronology, pp. xi-?, is missing), pp. 39-96, pp. 97-106 (the "Area Brief" [p. 108] and a summary map are missing).

"Communism and Cambodia" CIA Intelligence Report RSS No. 0057/72, May 1972. xi, 90 pp. A history of the development of the Communist movement in Cambodia starting from the First Indochina War.

The Short-Term Prospect for Cambodia. Special National Intelligence Estimate 57-73. 24 May 1973. 9 pp. Quite pessimistic. The text.


A substantial number of CIA research reports have been published on microfilm. See
Microfilmed and CD-ROM Document Collections.

see also CIA Publications

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Copyright © 2006, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2014, 2015, 2019, Edwin E. Moise. This document may be reproduced only by permission. Revised January 14, 2019.