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Full text of "Relations of US Elections to Vietnam Policy"

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1. (OCI 2225/64 The Communist View of the Situation in SE Asia) 

Our reaction to the attack on the destroyers was swift and powerful, but 
it was a limited reaction. US spokesmen went to great lengths to make it 
clear that the air strikes were inflerided only as retaliation for a specific 
action, and that the US response would be limited to a one-time action if 
the provocation was not repeated. 

This has probably reinforced the Communist b elief that the hard line taken by 
the US in the spring, threatening destruction in NVN if the situation in the 
South continues to deteriorate, was at least in part an outgrowth of the pre ¬ 
election situation in the U3. They problbly alxpabrads 
believe it is a political maneuver designed to freeze the Indochina situation 
and thus to avoid a choice between damaging reverses or new commitments of US 
forces in the months ahead. They probably also think we hone to bring a 
slackening of pressure in Laos and SVN which would give non-Communist forces 
a breathing space and improve their political and military positions.