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

12428. 1. I met DʼOrlandi and Lewandowski Saturday afternoon2 pursuant to your 95709,3 and stated:

2. “I am instructed to tell you that the United States Government is instructing the American Embassy in Warsaw to contact the North Vietnamese representative there on December 6. Our Embassy will be able to confirm that the ten points outlined by you broadly represent our position. We will have to say, however, that several specific points are subject to important differences of interpretation.”

3. Lewandowski said he assumed from what I had said that some of the ten paragraphs in our opinion need clarification and that this interpretation will be done in Warsaw, to which I agreed. He asked whether the U.S. would be ready on December 6, and I said that we would be ready to make contact.

4. He said: “Probably for the first meeting we will extend to you some help in getting in touch with the North Vietnamese. Someone from the Ministry will be in touch with the Embassy and will effectuate a contact.”

5. He then said that he was under instructions from Rapacki to tell me that on December 2, there was the most heavy bombardment of Hanoi since last July. Rapacki thinks, said Lewandowski, that when we are on the brink of such a delicate undertaking, it is wise to avoid anything which would create the impression that the United States interprets anything in Hanoi as a sign of weakness. To do this would be a most unhappy interpretation.

6. I said that I was confident that the event of which he spoke was undertaken for military reasons having nothing to do with the matter on which we had been working, and said that I would transmit what he said to the U.S. Government.

7. Lewandowski then referred to the paragraph of his statement which dealt with the cessation of bombing, and asked whether that was right.

8. I said that it was my understanding that broadly speaking, it gave a fair picture of our position, in that we agreed with them in not [Page 901] linking the cessation of bombing to anything but the broad cause of getting peace.

9. Lewandowski then said that if we reached no progress this time, it might be a long time indeed before there is another opportunity. He added, “I am not excluding the possibility that we three will be occupied with this again. I strongly believe that at the next stage, we may be useful in opening another channel, Not necessarily through Hanoi but to the representative of the ‘Front.’”

10. I said that there is nothing about that in anything that I had said. Lewandowski agreed and said he mentioned this on his own personal initiative.

11. DʼOrlandi then said that it is obvious that this matter would come up, and that it was very complicated and it would be more easily dealt with by men who were here on the ground and knew all the ins and outs than by men in a distant place who had no first hand familiarity with Viet-Nam. It might have been useful for us to have been authorized to proceed one step further. It is difficult for those who donʼt know what we know. But then, he said, “We wanted speed and we stressed speed, and we certainly got it, and our work has really led to a very significant result. We can congratulate ourselves.”

12. Lewandowski said that it was not for him to dwell on what he had said about the Front. He was not raising it under instructions, but he felt that it was a question which would arise.

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, POL 27–14 VIET/MARIGOLD. Top Secret; Immediate; Nodis; Marigold. The source text does not indicate the time of transmission; the telegram was received at 4:55 a.m.
  2. December 3.
  3. Dated December 2. (Department of State, Central Files, POL 27–14 VIET/MARIGOLD)