Defense Secretary McNamara, on a visit to South Vietnam, endorsed the newest South Vietnamese leader, General Nguyen Khanh.  Upon returning to Washington, McNamara, declaring that the prestige and credibility of the United States was at stake in Vietnam, convinced the Johnson administration to increase support—now including secret air strikes in Laos—for the war.

When accepted, his recommendations pushed the cost of American support of the war to $2 million per day.