236. Memorandum From the President’s Special Assistant (Rostow) to President Johnson 1
Washington, May 18, 1968, 12:40 p.m.
- Herewith Harriman’s brief account of today’s slugfest.
- We’re clearly deadlocked on reciprocity; and we shall see
- —they stick and test us by seeing how long we can take it, while they try to mount political pressure on us;
- —or, let some third party suggest a face-saving form of reciprocity.
Their choice will be significant. If they hold—and are in no hurry—it suggests they are content to enjoy peace and quiet down to the 19th parallel and await political events in Saigon and the U.S.
If something turns up on the side in coming days, it suggests they may be in Paris for serious business.
W.W. Rostow 2
- Source: Johnson Library, National Security File, Country File, Vietnam, Harvan Paris Todel-Delto 11, 5/17–24/68. Secret; Nodis; Harvan.↩
- Printed from a copy that bears this typed signature.↩
- Telegram 14240/Delto 76 from Paris, May 17, transmitted the delegation’s planned opening remarks. (Johnson Library, National Security File, Country File, Vietnam, Harvan Misc. & Memos, Vol. I) These remarks had been redrafted in accordance with instructions transmitted in telegrams 165857 and 165860 to Paris, both May 17. (Ibid., Harvan Paris Todel-Delto 11, 5/17–24/68) According to a notation on a May 17 memorandum from Rostow to the President, the President affirmed Rostow’s suggestion that Harriman make a statement noting the “positive propositions” he had made as well as “the areas of potential agreement” that had been indicated. (Ibid.)↩
- Thuy set the tone during the next meeting on May 22 by re-reading his statement of May 18. (Telegrams 14502/Delto 113 and 14503/Delto 114 from Paris, May 22; National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, IS/OIS Files: Lot 90 D 345, Paris Peace Conference, Delto Chron.) In Intelligence Note No. 371 sent to Rusk, May 20, Hughes noted: “Throughout this week, the Hanoi regime strove hard for propaganda effect, showed itself more sensitive to U.S. propaganda charges than might have been expected, and tried to back up its Paris team with spectacular military gestures and pressures in South Vietnam.” (Ibid., Central Files 1967–69, POL 27–14 VIET)↩