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May/June 2023   -   -  

May 1: William Sullivan and North Vietnamese deputy foreign minister Nguyen Co Thach end talks in Paris. The Americans threaten resumption of military action if Hanoi continues cease-fire violations. At the Pentagon Papers trial, an FBI report put into evidence claims former chief domestic affairs advisor John Ehrlichman, at Nixon’s request, ordered a secret White House investigation which resulted in the break-in of the office of Daniel Ellsberg’s psychiatrist.

May 2: Judge William Matthew Byrne, Jr., confirms he met twice with Ehrlichman to discuss the possibility of Byrne heading the FBI. The defense says it will call for an immediate dismissal of all charges against Ellsberg and Anthony Russo, Jr.

May 3: Byrne orders Howard Hunt’s May 2 testimony to the grand jury investigation into Watergate turned over to him immediately.

May 4: Hunt’s testimony reveals that the break-in into the office of Ellsberg’s psychiatrist was created, directed and paid for in the White House and that the CIA provided the camera and disguises used during the heist.

May 6: Sources contend Marine commandant and Joint Chiefs of Staff member Gen. Robert Cushman, Jr., authorized the use of the agency’s material and research for the break-in while deputy director of the CIA in 1971, allegedly at Ehrlichman’s request.

May 7: Sources claim Nixon tried twice to prevent the release of information relating to the Ellsberg case. At the trial, documents from Hunt’s testimony show former Nixon counsel Charles Colson ordered State Department cables forged to implicate President John Kennedy in the assassination of South Vietnamese president Ngo Dinh Diem in 1963.

May 10: The House votes to block the Pentagon’s transfer of funds to finance the Cambodian bombing raids. At the Pentagon Papers trial, the government discloses that the FBI wiretapped Ellsberg’s phone from late 1969 to early 1970 but the transcripts disappeared sometime between July and October 1971. Byrne halts the trial; he orders the government to produce all records.

May 11: Specifying “improper government conduct shielded so long from public view,” Byrne dismisses all charges against Ellsberg and Russo. The judge bars the government from trying them again. Cushman tells three congressional committees his superior at the CIA, Richard Helms, “assented” to the agency’s assistance to Hunt.

May 12: Seven of the twelve Pentagon Papers jurors say they were leaning toward full acquittal. Ellsberg and Russo say their 89-day ordeal got at “the truth, the very painful truth.”

May 13: Sources say White House counsel John Dean III attempted to infiltrate antiwar groups before the 1972 Democratic and Republican national conventions by setting up an undercover ring through the Department of the Interior, but an Interior official, Kernith Tapman, refused the proposal.

May 14: The Senate Appropriations Committee votes to bar the Defense Department from transferring monies to pay for the Cambodian bombing campaign. The Senate Foreign Relations Committee approves an amendment to cut off funds for any military action in Southeast Asia that does not have the authorization of Congress. FBI acting director William Ruckelhaus says the data on the Ellsberg wiretapping was found in Ehrlichman’s safe. On his last day on the job, Secretary of the Army Robert Froehlke refuses to take off three years of First Lt. William Calley, Jr.’s, twenty-year sentence. The Supreme Court rules female members of the armed forces are entitled to the same dependency benefits for their husbands as servicemen receive for their wives.

May 15: The Senate Appropriations Committee unanimously votes to cut off all funds for the Cambodian bombing campaign.

May 17: Upon resigning from the CIA, Indochina expert Samuel Adams claims the intelligence community was “neither honest enough nor thorough enough” in its work in Southeast Asia. The Senate Foreign Relations Committee unanimously votes to curb the president’s war-making powers.

May 18: The U.S. Embassy discloses that the grave of a twenty-fourth American has been found in North Vietnam.

May 21: Brig. Gen. Robert Kingston, head of the Joint Casualty Resolution Center, says there is no indication that any Americans listed as MIA are still alive in Indochina.

May 24: At a White House gala dinner for former POWs, Nixon tells the cheering crowd, “It is time to quit making national heroes out of those who steal secrets and publish them in newspapers.”

May 26: Sources contend federal prosecutors are in possession of evidence which directly links H.R. Haldeman, Nixon’s former chief of staff, and Ehrlichman to illegal actions against Ellsberg in 1971 which were a major factor behind the White House decision to coverup the Watergate break-in in 1972.

May 29: The Defense Department announces Col. Theodore Guy has brought court-martial charges against five Army and three Marine Corps enlistees for misconduct while POWs in Hanoi.

May 31: The Senate votes to stop all funding of the Cambodian bombing campaign.

June 2: In Florida, a federal judge refuses to dismiss indictments against seven members of Vietnam Veterans Against the War charged with conspiracy to disrupt the 1972 Republican national convention.

June 3: In Dallas, 32,000 people join in a homecoming celebration for Vietnam veterans. Thirty-three-year-old Capt. Edward Brudno, held captive by the North Vietnamese for over seven years, is found dead from an apparent suicide.

June 4: The Defense Department discloses that 10,303 Americans died of noncombatant cause in Vietnam is addition to the 45,958 battle deaths. The Air Force begins an investigation into Brudno’s death, not only as part of a routine inquiry but to study the wider implications of his suicide for other ex-POWs.

June 8: Sen. Sam Ervin (D-N.C.) says the Senate Watergate Committee will expand its investigation to include the burglary of the office of Daniel Ellsberg’s psychiatrist.

June 9: At the Treasure Island Naval Station in California, the court-martial of Patrick Chenoweth—for the sabotage of the aircraft carrier Ranger “in a time of war”—opens.

June 12: Chenoweth is acquitted of all charges by a five-man court-martial board.

June 15: A federal judge dismisses the charges by six West Point cadets who accused the Honor Code Committee of depriving them of their constitutional rights.

June 16: The State Department confirms that Emmet Kay, on contract with the CIA, is the first confirmed POW taken since the January peace accord was signed.

June 18: Lawyers for First Lt. William Calley, Jr., file a motion to obtain all records pertaining to White House involvement in the My Lai investigation.

June 21: Pentagon sources report former POW Adm. James Stockdale has filed misconduct charges against two other officers held with him in North Vietnam.

June 27: Sgt. Abel L. Kavanaugh, home only two months and charged with collaborating with the enemy while a POW, commits suicide.

June 29: Nixon tells Congress military activity in Cambodia will end by August 15 and says he will seek congressional approval if any action is needed after that date. Sandra Kavanaugh charges the Pentagon and her husband’s accuser with killing him through harassment and torture.




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