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Microforms Research Collections: War in Vietnam

THE WAR IN VIETNAM: Classified Histories by the National Security Council

Location: The eight reels in this collection are located in Film Cabinet 26-H.

Scope: To cover the major developments in Vietnam from 1964 through 1968, the National Security Council compiled a series of histories based upon top-secret documents. Unlike the Pentagon Papers (which contained only 100 documents from this period, compared to over 2,000 in this collection), the NSC histories offer large amounts of material from the upper levels of the executive branch. The wide range of source material is indicated by the partial listing below:

  • White House Situation Room reports
  • Papers of the Vietnam Advisory Group
  • Daily, weekly, and special reports from General Westmoreland
  • Reports and briefings from U.S. ambassadors to Vietnam
  • Messages between United States military headquarters and troop commanders throughout Vietnam
  • Communications of the President with Vietnamese leaders

For the study of virtually any aspect of America’s role in the war in Vietnam, this collection offers a wealth of untapped information. The documents give new perspectives on the Gulf of Tonkin incident, on the internal political situation in Saigon, on the build-up of U.S. troops, on the reactions of U.S. allies, on criticism that the military was not being allowed to do what was necessary to win, on intelligence estimates of enemy strategy, on the Tet offensive of 1968, on differences of opinion within the Johnson administration, and on many other topics.

How to search the collection:
On the Multimedia Index table you can find a small blue paperback Guide to the War in the Vietnam. This index is broken up into five major sections: Presidential Decisions, Gulf of Tonkin Attacks of August 1964; Deployment of Major U.S. Forces to Vietnam, July 1965; Honolulu Conference, February 6-8, 1966; Manilla Conference and President’s Asian Trip, Oct. 17-Nov. 2, 1966; President Lyndon B. Johnson’s Speech of Mar. 31, 1968. The contents of the various frame numbers on the reel are listed giving exact dates and names of the parties involved. After using this Guide you can then retrieve the appropriate reel(s) from Cabinet 26-H.

Your Friendly Neighborhood Librarian

Jeanne Pavy's picture
Jeanne Pavy
Room 205

Earl K. Long Library

University of New Orleans

New Orleans, LA 70148