On March 3, 1965, it was reported that more than 30 U.S. Air Force jets had struck targets along the Ho Chi Minh Trail in Laos. This was part of the elevation of ground and airstrikes against villages and roads along the supply route by which the North Vietnamese were moving weapons, manpower, ammunition and other supplies from communist-led North Vietnam to their supporters in South Vietnam. (1)
Though the raids were common, the State Department felt the pressure to announce the controversial missions, even though they had been regularly reported in the media. The Johnson administration was becoming increasingly criticized for its bombing raids and in Cambodia and Laos. Many felt Johnson was escalating the war without authorization. The U.S. State Department felt it was important for the American people to know that the missions were authorized by the powers granted to President Lyndon Johnson in the August 1964 Gulf of Tonkin Resolution.