331. Telegram From the Department of State to the Embassy in Poland1

97930. Ref: Warsawʼs 1375.2

Your reference telegram will receive urgent consideration here tomorrow and you will receive further guidance from us then.3
In the meantime, you should take no further initiative with GOP.
In the unlikely event that, before receiving further instructions, you should receive notice that NVN representative is ready and available for talks with us, we submit the following for your interim guidance.
If such a meeting with NVN representative should occur, you should follow prior instructions. If desirable, you are then authorized to read to him Lewandowskiʼs 10-point presentation of USG position as set forth at end of this cable, stressing that it is Lewandowskiʼs formulation.
You should then inquire whether points as presented by you are the same in all particulars as those passed on to Hanoi by Lewandowski.
For your information only, one of our principal concerns about the ten points is set forth in the next following paragraph, but even if pressed you should avoid discussing the substantive problems relating to these points with the NVN representative at this stage and stress that such discussions should be the subject of actual negotiations. We would assume that NVN representative would have no authority on this first contact to do more than report your presentation to Hanoi so we would not anticipate such probing at this time. Further cable tomorrow will spell out our thinking in greater detail and may suggest initiative to be taken if you have heard nothing, after additional lapse of time.
Lewandowskiʼs point two relating to change of present status quo in SVN is obviously most troublesome. This point could be interpreted variously to mean (a) NLF must be put into government of South Vietnam forthwith or (b) simple endorsement of election process under constitution now being drafted. If it is necessary to point out ambiguities in Lewandowskiʼs statement, however, you should not refer to this point but allude to less contentious ambiguities elsewhere in statement.
Lewandowskiʼs 10-point statement follows: [Page 910]
  • “1. I have insisted that the United States is interested in a peaceful solution through negotiations.
  • “2. Negotiations should not be interpreted as a way to negotiated surrender by those opposing the United States in Viet-Nam. A political negotiation would be aimed at finding an acceptable solution to all the problems, having in mind that the present status quo in South Viet-Nam would be changed in order to take into account the interests of the parties presently opposing the policy of the United States in South Viet-Nam, and that such a solution may be reached in an honorable and dignified way not detrimental to national pride and prestige. (FYI: Lewandow-skiʼs original presentation states status quo “must” be changed but when Lodge questioned this point Lewandowski said he would be glad to change word from “must” to “would”. End FYI.)
  • “3. That the United States are not interested from a point of view of its national interests in having a permanent or long term military presence in South Viet-Nam once a peaceful solution to the conflict has been reached. That is why the offer made in Manila regarding the withdrawal of U.S. troops and the liquidation of American bases should be considered in all seriousness.
  • “4. The United States would be ready, should other parties show a constructive interest in a negotiated settlement, to work out and to discuss with them proposals of such a settlement covering all important problems involved from a cease-fire to a final solution and withdrawal of U.S. troops.
  • “5. That the United States, within a general solution, would not oppose the formation of a South Vietnamese Government based on the true will of the Vietnamese people with participation of all through free democratic elections, and that the United States would be prepared to accept the necessary control machinery to secure the democratic and free character of such elections and to respect the results of such elections.
  • “6. The United States held the view that unification of Viet-Nam must be decided by the Vietnamese themselves for which the restoration of peace and the formation of proper representative organs of the people in South Viet-Nam is a necessary condition.
  • “7. The United States are ready to accept and respect a true and complete neutrality of South Viet-Nam.
  • “8. The United States are prepared to stop the bombing of the territory of North Viet-Nam if this will facilitate such a peaceful solution. In doing so, the United States are ready to avoid any appearance that North Viet-Nam is forced to negotiate by bombings or that North Viet-Nam have negotiated in exchange for cessation of bombing. Stopping of bombings would not involve recognition or confirmation by North Viet-Nam that its armed forces are or were infiltrating into South Viet-Nam.”

    [Page 911]

    At this point you should interrupt recitation of Lewandowskiʼs points and state as follows: “Mr. Lewandowski clearly implied to Ambassador Lodge that in Hanoi he had given his presentation in connection with the point on the bombing of North Viet-Nam in accordance with Ambassador Lodgeʼs earlier formulation, which was as follows: A package could be worked out which in its totality represented what both the United States and North Viet-Nam would agree to as a reasonable measure of de-escalation, but which would have two separate phases in its execution. Phase A would be a bombing suspension, while Phase B, which would follow after some adequate period, would see the execution of all the other agreed de-escalatory actions. North Viet-Namʼs actions taken in Phase B would appear to be in response to United States actions in Phase B rather than to the bombing suspension.” You should then resume the recitation of the ten points.

  • “9. I have informed the proper governmental sources that at the same time, the United States, while not excluding the unification of Viet-Nam, would not agree to unification under military pressure.
  • “10. While the United States are seeking a peaceful solution to the conflict, it would be unrealistic to expect that the United States will declare now or in the future its acceptance of North Viet-Namʼs four or five points.” (End of Lewandowskiʼs statement)
  • 9. If NVN representative probes further on cessation of bombing, you should merely state that as you have already indicated Mr. Lewandowski has suggested a possible procedure for agreeing on phasing and timing which could be the subject of later discussions.
  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, POL 27–14 VIET/MARIGOLD. Top Secret; Priority; Nodis; Marigold. Drafted by Read, cleared by Rostow, and approved by Katzenbach. Repeated to Saigon. Also printed in Herring, Secret Diplomacy of the Vietnam War, pp. 283–286.
  2. See footnote 3, Document 329.
  3. Document 333.