On July 14, 1998, Colonel Thomas G. Bowman, USMCR, spoke with Secretary
to discuss Operation Tailwind. Secretary Laird indicated that he had a brief
(approximately four minute) conversation with a journalist regarding Operation
Tailwind and the use of Sarin gas.
Secretary Laird informed the journalist that he never authorized
or was asked
to authorize the use of Sarin gas while he was Secretary of Defense
(1969-1973). Secretary Laird was aware of the fact that Sarin gas was located
on Okinawa. He had no knowledge of Sarin gas being used at any time
associated with operations "in theater." "In theater" meant any of the bases
and installations in the Pacific area (Guam, Okinawa, etc.) area that were
being used to support the Vietnam War. To the best of his knowledge none of
the Sarin gas located on Okinawa was ever transported to Vietnam or any other
location in Southeast Asia.
During the conversation the journalist read him portions of a transcript
taped conversation between the journalist and ADM Thomas Moorer, USN, (Ret.),
former Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff, regarding the alleged use of Sarin gas
during the Operation Tailwind. As read to him the comments seemed to indicate
that Adm Moorer confirmed that Sarin gas was used. When asked for his comment
regarding the information from the transcript, Secretary Larid indicated that
he thought the allegation regarding the use of Sarin was "...was ridiculous.
I met with ADM Moorer every afternoon at about 4:30 to discuss the oeprations
in Vietnam. I have no recollection of him ever speaking to me about
authorizing the use of Sarin. I would have had to approve such action."
Secretary Laird closed the conversation indicating that he thought
of the Special Forces and was proud of their accomplishments in Vietnam.