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BANGKOK - The US Air Force wanted to use nuclear weapons against Vietnam in 1959 and 1968, and Laos in 1961, to obliterate communist guerrillas, according to newly declassified secret US Air Force documents.
In 1959, US Air Force chief of staff General Thomas D White chose several targets in northern Vietnam, but other military officials blocked his demand to nuke the Southeast Asian nation.
"White wanted to cripple the insurgents and their supply lines by attacking selected targets in North Vietnam, either with conventional or nuclear weapons," one declassified air force document said.
"Although White's paper called for giving the North Vietnamese a pre-attack warning, the other chiefs tabled it, possibly due to the inclusion of nuclear weapons. Seven months later, the proposal was withdrawn," it said. The 400-page document, titled, "The United States Air Force in Southeast Asia: The War in Northern Laos 1954-1973," was written in 1993 by the Center for Air Force History in Washington and "classified by multiple sources".
It was made public - along with several other previously secret, war-era air force documents - on April 9 by the National Security Archive in Washington, after extensive Freedom of Information Act litigation. The Archive is an independent, non-governmental research institute in George Washington University.