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Tonkin Gulf Collection

Dates: 1962-1984

Collection Number: COLL/18

Finding aid (Word)

Scope and Content Note

The bulk of the Tonkin Gulf Collection comprises historical materials culled from various official records collections held in the Archives Branch. Staff in the Archives created this collection in response to the 1967-1968 requests for documentation relating to the Gulf of Tonkin Incidents of August 1964 by Senator J. W. Fulbright, Chairman, Committee on Foreign Relations.

The collection is arranged into eight series of records. The Miscellaneous Subject files contain information on the Desoto Patrols, Operation Plan 34A, USS Maddox (DD-731) and USS C. Turner Joy (DD-951). Types of documentation in these subject files include action reports, chronologies, statements of Maddox and C. Turner Joy crewmembers.

The Congressional Hearings Files include correspondence and memoranda for the record relating to providing the Foreign Relations Committee with information and materials on the incidents in the Gulf of Tonkin during 1967 and 1968. It also includes briefing material for testimony before the Committee and copies of the Congressional Record.

Media reaction is documented in the Printed Material Files, which contain newspaper clippings, press statements, and news releases relating to the Tonkin Gulf Incidents in 1964 and the hearings in 1967 and 1968.

Indices of classified and unclassified material are an extensive list of documentation relating to the Tonkin Gulf Incident 2-4 August 1964. The unclassified index is of the material contained in the record of the 20 February 1968 hearing before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee with former Secretary of Defense Robert S. McNamara testifying.

The message traffic held in this collection provides extensive coverage of the Desoto Patrol and the Tonkin Gulf Incidents for period July-August 1964. It includes messages by U.S. Naval Communication Station Philippines concerning PT boat attacks on Maddox and C. Turner Joy. There is also a message chronology for August 1964 and a list of weather messages.

The files containing extracts from deck logs, sonar logs, CIC and quartermaster logs from USS Maddox and USS C. Turner Joy for the period 1 July through 7 August 1964 complement the track charts and Dead Reckoning Tracer Charts held in the collection.

The photographic material is the last category of documentation in this collection. The photographs pictorially document the Tonkin Gulf Incident.

Preferred Citation

This collection should be cited as Tonkin Gulf Collection, Archives Branch, Naval History and Heritage Command, Washington, D.C.


3 July 2003


Published: Mon Oct 18 11:58:01 EDT 2021