307. Instructions for Henry A. Kissinger1

Dr. Kissinger will fly to Paris from Boston late on September 8, arriving Paris Saturday morning, September 9.

Kissinger will first meet with Marcovich. He will caution M strongly against any disclosures of the contact by M or A, and note increasing US impatience at failure to receive any reply from Hanoi. He will contrast US restraint to date with numerous attacks sustained by US in the South. Arguments about US actions on August 21, 22, 23 will be countered, as previously, by noting the comprehensive nature of the US bombing cessation proposal.

Kissinger will advise M that if Bo wants to see him, HK is prepared to meet with Bo. Kissinger will indicate that a private meeting between him and Bo is preferable, but if M and/or A’s presence appears [Page 758]unavoidable, this should not prevent HK’s meeting with Bo. We would welcome obtaining HK’s impressions of a conversation with Bo.

If a Kissinger/Bo meeting occurs, Kissinger will attempt to learn as much as he can from Bo about DRV reactions concerning the contacts to date. HK will note the total absence to date of any response, substantive or procedural, from Hanoi in this or any other channel.

If pressed about future US bombing in and around Hanoi, Kissinger will simply note that there has been no bombing in this area since August 24 and avoid giving any direct or indirect indication about future actions. HK will advise Bo where he can be reached at any time and note he will have to leave Paris “fairly soon” without implying any assurance or ultimatum in connection with a specific departure date.2

Mr. Kissinger will report promptly all developments through Embassy Paris cable facilities.3

  1. Source: Johnson Library, National Security File, Country File, Vietnam, Pennsylvania (cont.). Top Secret; Nodis; Pennsylvania. A handwritten notation by Read, dated September 8, reads: “OK’d by Sec. Rusk & Sec. McNamara. Read and memorized by Kissinger.”
  2. Rusk received a telephone call from McNamara the previous day, notes of which read: “M[cNamara] said he understand that Kissinger had called in this afternoon about the fact there was no answer. Seventy-two hours was involved and did not seem like an ultimatum. M suggests K be told this doesn’t represent an ultimatum. M said any reasonable period was acceptable to us. Sec said there was the question of what happened on the 21st and 22nd. M said we wanted to clear the record as much as we could.” (Notes of telephone call between McNamara and Rusk, September 6, 5:45 p.m.; National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Rusk Files: Lot 72 D 192, Telcons, 1961–1969 and Presidential)
  3. In telegram 34110 to Paris, September 8, Read requested that Kissinger be allowed to file messages “at any time of day or night” and that only the Ambassador and DCM know of his activity. (Ibid., Central Files 1967–69, POL 27–14 VIET/PENNSYLVANIA)