91. Telegram From the Embassy in Vietnam to the Department of State1

1117. Departmentʼs 974.2 In view reaction Canadians and Indians in Ottawa and Delhi and Canadians in Saigon to reftel argumentation we believe it inadvisable send note to ICC along lines proposed reftel. First, it is clear that ICC will not accept legal argumentation breach one party of Geneva Accords is justification breach by other party. Second, note proposed reftel would convict US officially out of our own mouths of violation Geneva Accords and put US at mercy Indian [Page 186]chairman. Third, Hooten has pointed out proposed reply would bring to head question of whether GVN Dec 9 letter3 was denunciation Articles 16 and 17, whereas Canadians and apparently Indians have been trying precisely to avoid that because it puts in question future existence ICC itself. For that reason ICC in reply GVN Dec 9 letter sent innocuous response (our A-2084) which Canadians and Indians hoped would not lead to any further reference by US and GVN to Dec 9 letter.

GVN has in meantime sent holding letter essentially along lines of draft prepared by Canadians in response ICCʼS letter Jan 6 and follow-up of Feb 3.5 We do not know how long holding letter can keep ICC satisfied but at least appears allow some breathing space for further consideration of US-GVN approach to Geneva Accords problem.6

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 751G.00/3-162. Secret. Repeated to CINCPAC for Polad, New Delhi, London, Vientiane, Bangkok, Singapore, Phnom Penh, Ottawa, Paris, and Geneva.
  2. Document 55.
  3. See footnote 3, Document 90.
  4. Not printed.
  5. Neither found.
  6. In telegram 2340 from New Delhi, March 9, Ambassador Galbraith agreed with the argument presented in this telegram that a proposed note to the ICC would be unwise. (Department of State, Central Files, 751G.00/3-962)