home banner

Vietnam, a Documentary Collection — Westmoreland v. CBS

Location: Microfiche Cabinet 23, Drawer 8


Westmoreland v CBS had its origins on January 23, 1982, when CBS broadcast “The Uncounted Enemy: A Vietnam Deception.” On Sept 13, 1982 General William C. Westmoreland who served for four years (1964-1968) as commander of U.S. Military Forces in Vietnam sued CBS, several CBS employees, and Samuel Adams (a former CIA Analyst) for libel. The trial, which ended in February, 1985, resulted in 20,000 pages of trial transcripts, 30,000 pages of depositions and affidavits, and 30,000 pages of documentary exhibits.

This collection includes extensive testimony by civilian and military leaders of the Johnson administration, as well as by top CBS News executives. Many of the Vietnam-era documents were classified “top secret” before they were obtained for use in the trial through Freedom of Information Act requests and other legal processes.

Related microform collections are:
Vietnam Documents.
(Microfiche Cabinet 23, Drawer 9)  and
Vietnam Documents and Research Notes Series: Translations and Analysis of Significant Viet Cong/North Vietnamese Documents. (Microfilm DS 557.4 V553 1991).

Related Web sites are
Declassified CIA Documents on the Vietnam War – providing an in-depth indexing of the CIA declassified documents on the Vietnam War  and, where possible, a link to the full-text documents available at Virtual Vietnam Archive (VVA).

How to search the collection

There is a guide to the Westmoreland v. CBS collection.  It is shelved above Microfiche cabinet 23. There is no subject index  for this collection.

1.  Pleadings: These documents relate to the pre-trial (or in a few instances, trial) legal proceedings.  The guide lists what is in each volume of the pleadings and gives a tab number for each item. The corresponding volume and tab numbers are on the microfiche.  This information is arranged in chronological order on microfiche cards 1-92.

2.  Summary Judgment: This material concerns an important phase of the case that was, in effect, the trial before the trial.  Attorneys for CBS presented legal arguments–backed by exhibits, depositions and affidavits–to convince Judge Pierre N. Leval to dismiss the libel suit.  Attorneys for General Westmoreland presented their counterarguments and evidence to justify a jury trial of the issues.

All indexes that appear in the summary judgment volumes are printed in the guide.  To retrieve information listed in the summary judgment indexes, obtain the volume title and page number for the item you want.  Then find a microfiche card labeled “Summary Judgment” followed by the appropriate shortened volume title and page number.  Summary Judgments are on microfiche cards 93-132.

3.  Depositions: Microfiche cards 133-443 record the depositions taken by attorneys for both the plaintiff and the defendants. Depositions can be located easily by using the deposition index in the guide.  The deposition index lists alphabetically the names of deponents and next to each name is the number of the microfiche card on which the individual’s deposition begins.  To find the card, look for the matching number printed on the right-hand side of the header; on the left-hand side you will see the word “Depositions,” the name of the person deposed and the date of the deposition.

4.  Affidavits: The defendants’ affidavits and the plaintiff’s affidavits are grouped separately on the fiche, and two different indexes are provided in the guide for retrieving this material.  The index titled “Defendants’ Affidavits” lists names chronologically, that is, according to the date on which the witness gave the affidavit.  The names in the index are assigned Tab numbers that are keyed to Tab numbers on the left-hand side of the microfiche headers designated ” Defendants’ Affidavits” (microfiche cards 444-451).

Plaintiff’s affidavits are reproduced on microfiche cards 452-457.

The Defendant and Plaintiff affidavits are listed in the guide.

5.  Joint Exhibits: Referred to as JX, the joint exhibits are documents (primarily from the CIA) which were presented during the trial.  The joint exhibits were also numbered with DX, PX and PTX before the trial began but there is no list that will give you their corresponding JX number.

The Joint Exhibits are listed in the guide. They are on microfiche cards 465-883.

6.  Trial Transcripts: The complete transcript of the four-month-long trial of Westmoreland v. CBS is reproduced on microfiche cards 884-1010.  It is filmed in chronological order.  There is a table in the guide  that gives the microfiche card numbers for the transcript dates, along with the names of the witnesses who testified on those dates.  The guide also has a table with an alphabetical listing of the witnesses and the dates of their testimony.


Schneir, Walter, editor. Westmoreland v. CBS: Guide to the Microfiche Collection. N.Y.: Clearwater Publishing Co., Inc.  1987.
(shelved on top of Microfiche Cabinet 23).

For more information about this subject in our Library Catalog, check out these
Subject Categories:

Westmoreland, William C. (William Childs), 1914- -- Trials, litigation, etc.

CBS News -- Trials, litigation, etc.

Uncounted enemy.

Vietnamese Conflict, 1961-1975 -- Military intelligence -- United States.

Trials (Libel) -- United States.

Time Period: 20th Century  

Subject keywords: Trials, Vietnam War, Military History