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

5507. From Kissinger. A very distraught M, A and I had a long conversation at the airport. I was deliberately very hard in painting the Washington mood. I covered all the points of your 56516.2 I dwelled particularly on the situation along the DMZ. I stressed that the current restrictions were among several that we had imposed on ourselves this year without eliciting a response. The current impatience in Washington was in part due to the fact that we had gone several times through a process where negotiations seemed imminent and then proved futile.

A replied that he did not think it was quite fair to charge Hanoi with failing to respond completely. They had given up the demand for a public declaration that bombing would stop. Their last message was much soberer than the first and said nothing about the withdrawal of American forces from SVN. Nevertheless he thought it urgent that he and M see Bo as soon as possible. I said that the decision was up to him as long as it was clear that the USG had nothing to say. If they met Bo they should understand that four points were of particular concern to Washington: (A) that a bombing stop be followed by prompt negotiations, (B) that these negotiations not be indefinitely delayed, (C) that no advantage would be taken on the ground, (D) the special situation along the DMZ.

M had to go to his laboratory at this point. A said that perhaps it had been a mistake for him never to see Bo alone. I said that it seemed to me futile to appeal to Bo’s personal good will. He was a professional acting under instructions. He would change his position only if the seriousness of the situation were brought home to him. A replied that he would go to the appointment fifteen minutes early. A then called Bo. Unfortunately both Bo and Sung were away and will not return till 2100. They will try to see him shortly thereafter.

  1. Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1967–69, POL 27–14 VIET/PENNSYLVANIA. Top Secret; Priority; Nodis; Pennsylvania. Received at 1:49 p.m. In a covering note transmitting the telegram to the President, October 20, 4:35 p.m., Rostow wrote: “Herewith Kissinger brings M and A closer to the facts of life.” (Johnson Library, National Security File, Country File, Vietnam, Pennsylvania) The notation “L” on the covering note indicates that the President saw the telegram.
  2. Document 358.