293. Memorandum for the Record1

The Secretary gave me the following instructions with respect to handling the special message for Hanoi. These instructions emerged from the luncheon at the White House:2

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If A & M get their visas they should go according to plan.3
If they are refused their visas they should deliver their message to the North Vietnamese representative in Paris.4
Algard should go to Hanoi as soon as convenient.5
We will brief Algard in Olso before he leaves.
Algard will be given the same message as A & M regardless of whether A & M deliver their message in Hanoi or in Paris.

[Note: One question of timing remains: presumably we would want to avoid having both A & M and Algard in Hanoi at the same time. But we can deal with this when we hear more from A & M re their visas.]6

  1. Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, S–AH Files: Lot 71 D 461, Kissinger Project. Secret; Nodis. Prepared by Chester Cooper.
  2. The President’s weekly luncheon with his principal foreign policy advisers was held on August 22 from 1:20 to 3:10 p.m. Attending the meeting were the President, Rusk, McNamara, Wheeler, Helms, Walt Rostow, and George Christian. (Johnson Library, President’s Daily Diary) No record of the meeting has been found.
  3. On August 18 Aubrac and Marcovich (A and M) sent a message to Hanoi requesting travel visas. Their initial application was refused on August 21; the same day they again submitted an urgent request for a visa. This appeal was turned down on August 31. On August 25 they asked Mai Van Bo to send the message that they carried, along with the information that the bombing would be restricted for 10 days, directly to Bo’s superiors in Hanoi. See Herring, The Secret Diplomacy of the Vietnam War, pp. 730–733.
  4. Kissinger had added a verbal message that he had the French intermediaries transmit, which included the following stipulations: “1. The United States is interested in the declarations of the chiefs of the government of Hanoi as transmitted by Kissinger. 2. Washington is handling this problem confidentially and requests that Hanoi do so likewise. 3. Washington is particularly interested in the possibility that Hanoi envisages direct, secret discussions. 4. [Recent] attacks on the dikes were accidental. 5. Washington has prepared the [message putting forth the formulation for the halt] and requests that M and A transmit it in person to Pham Van Dong as soon as possible. 6. If Hanoi desires additional commentary on the message, Washington is ready to send a special representative to supplement the information directly and secretly. Suggest, for example, Vientiane, or Moscow, or Paris. 7. It is acceptable to Washington if Hanoi wishes to utilize the Kissinger-Aubrac/Marcovich channel or wishes to send another message.” (Memorandum prepared by Kissinger, no date, as transmitted to Rostow, September 5; National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1967–69, POL 27–14 VIET/PENNSYLVANIA)
  5. See footnote 5, Document 287.
  6. Brackets in the source text.