15. Record of Telephone Conversation Between Henry Kissinger and the Executive Secretary of the Department of State (Read)1

At 9:00 p.m. Paris time January 16, Bo called Marcovich and asked him if he could stop by to see Bo at an early time. M went over to see him immediately and had a two hour conversation, which he reported to Kissinger at 5:30 a.m. EST this morning.
Bo opened by saying that the breakoff in conversations with M & A last October was occasioned by general conditions and the DRV still held both of them in high personal esteem.
Bo called attention to the interview he had given to the French radio and television network earlier in the evening (see page 1 NYT story today by Henry Tanner),2 and read him the Q and A about Hanoi’s commitment to talk an appropriate time after cessation of the bombing.
M asked what the DRV meant by “an appropriate time”, and Bo replied that conversations would begin “just as soon as it will be established that the cessation is effective.”
M asked whether it would now be possible for Bo to receive Kissinger, and Bo replied that under existing circumstances any such request would be taken into consideration.3
  1. Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1967–69, POL 27–14 VIET/PENNSYLVANIA. Secret; Nodis; Pennsylvania. The Pennsylvania peace effort involved the efforts of Kissinger to conduct direct talks with Bo through two French intermediaries, Raymond Aubrac and Herbert Marcovich. For additional documentation, see Foreign Relations, 1964–1968, vol. V, Documents 306 ff.
  2. In the interview conducted on January 16, Bo confirmed that the Trinh formula was “perfectly clear,” stating notably that “all political observers have underlined the changes for the conditional to the future in the remarks of December 29.” See The New York Times, January 17, 1968.
  3. Later that day, Kissinger informed Read that he had given the following message to Marcovich for Bo: “a. Thanks for your message. b. If you (B) wish to see me directly, I will make an effort to come although my schedule is full.” (Memorandum of telephone conversation between Kissinger and Read, January 17, 6 p.m.; National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1967–69, POL 27–14 VIET/PENNSYLVANIA) According to a memorandum of a telephone conversation, January 18, 9 a.m., in which Kissinger reported to Read that Marcovich had delivered the message to Bo, Kissinger told Read that “Bo thanked M and opened the envelope in his presence but did not discuss it with M. Bo said that he hoped ‘things were going somewhere this time’. M reports the atmosphere was cordial.” (Ibid.)