324. Telegram From the Embassy in France to the Department of State1

3257. From Kissinger. Bo saw M on short notice today at 12 noon. I met with M for ten minutes after this interview which lasted thirty-five minutes. Since M had to go to meeting which will occupy him all afternoon he could give me only the first of the conversation. In effect, Bo said that as long as the threat to bomb Hanoi was maintained he could not meet with me. However, he would be glad to receive any communication from me through M orally or on the basis of this morning, that is a message on a plain sheet of paper in a sealed envelope. M had the impression that Bo might prefer the latter method.

Accordingly when I see M at 1700 today I propose to ask him to see Bo first thing in the morning.2 I shall tell him that I have asked for instructions about delivering the message through M. In the meantime he should give Bo the following statement (drawn from my instructions) in English and French together with a renewed request for a personal meeting:

“Hanoi’s attitude with respect to the kind of restraint we have employed in this channel is baffling. If we bomb near Hanoi we are accused of bringing pressure. If we voluntarily and without any suggestion from Hanoi impose a restraint on our actions and keep this up without time limit we are accused of an ultimatum. In fact, the American proposal contained neither threats nor conditions and should not be rejected on these grounds.”

I shall tell M that the sentences are drawn from my instructions. If Bo refuses to see me, I shall have M pass on message early tomorrow afternoon. If you disapprove of this procedure, I shall simply ask M to deliver the message tomorrow morning. Please advise as soon as possible.

  1. Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1967–69, POL 27–14 VIET/PENNSYLVANIA. Top Secret; Flash; Nodis/Pennsylvania. Received at 12:31 p.m.
  2. Kissinger reported on the afternoon meeting more fully in telegram 3288 from Paris, September 13. (Ibid.) In telegram 3329 from Paris, September 14, Kissinger reported that as a result of Bo’s suggestion for written communications, he would ask Aubrac and Marcovich to make separate copies of his unsigned messages, both private and official, and translate them into French. Bo could use the same method. (Ibid.)