286. Editorial Note

On August 17 and 18, 1967, Henry Kissinger met with his French intermediaries in the Pennsylvania channel, Herbert Marcovich and Raymond Aubrac. He gave them a message in which the U.S. Government proposed a bombing cessation of North Vietnam if it would “lead promptly to productive discussions” if the North Vietnamese would “not take advantage” of the halt. In light of the significance of the new U.S. position for negotiations, Marcovich and Aubrac agreed to take the message to Hanoi. (Memorandum from Kissinger to Katzenbach, August 21; National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Katzenbach Files: Lot 74 D 271, A & M) They decided, however, that the use of the word “if” was too conditional when used in conjunction with the “not take advantage” phrase. They suggested an alternative clause that Kissinger translated as “with the understanding that,” a phrase they believed would have greater appeal to the North Vietnamese hierarchy. Kissinger reported the change and recommended its adoption. The Department concurred in the revision. (Telegrams 1997 and 2017 from Paris, both August 17; telegram 2034 from Paris, August 18; and telegram 22969 to Paris, August 18; all ibid., Central Files 1967–69, POL 27–14 VIET/PENNSYLVANIA) A record of Kissinger’s meetings with Aubrac and Marcovich as reported in these telegrams appears in Herring, The Secret Diplomacy of the Vietnam War, pages 727–729.