313. Telegram From the Department of State to the Embassy in France1

211189/Todel 787. Eyes only for Harriman and Vance from the Secretary.

I have discussed your Delto 524 with the President and the Secretary of Defense.2 This short message is to let you know as soon as possible, pending a more extensive comment, that we wish to stay firmly on our present course and press for a constructive Hanoi response to the proposals we have already made. They have told us they are “seriously considering” those proposals. We have not yet had a reply and believe that we are entitled to an answer. The proposals we have made, especially in the Phase 1-Phase 2 framework, are reasonable, fair and generous if there is any interest on the part of Hanoi in a tolerable peace in South East Asia. Such a tolerable peace is our central objective for which we have already made major concessions without significant response from Hanoi.
We have reason to believe that Hanoi, Moscow and others are trying to mount a concerted campaign to force us to stop all of the bombing without any corresponding action at all from Hanoi. It may be that they are counting on the convention and electoral period to achieve this end. They must be disabused of this idea if there is to be peace. We will continue to give thought to all alternatives but we should not leave the impression that further delay by Hanoi will cause us to make further unilateral concessions.
In view of the above we believe that Vance should remain in Paris for the present to be available for Hanoi’s response and further discussion along that line rather then return at this point and stimulate a lot of speculation that we are about to make new moves in the absence of such a response.
I will go over this in detail with Katzenbach upon his return and be in touch with you further. Warm regards.
  1. Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, A/IM Files: Lot 93 D 82, HARVAN-(Incoming)-July 1968. Secret; Immediate; Nodis; Harvan; Plus. Drafted and approved by Rusk and cleared by William Shepard of S/S-S. A notation on a copy of the telegram sent to the White House reads: “Sent 9:34 p.m. July 29.” (Johnson Library, National Security File, Country File, Vietnam, Harvan Misc. & Memos, Vol. V(a), 7/68)
  2. Delto 524 is Document 312. Rusk met with the President and Clifford beginning at 6:45 p.m. Rusk left the meeting at 8:05 p.m., and Clifford apparently stayed until 8:30 p.m. (Ibid., Dean Rusk Appointment Book, 1968–1969) While complete notes of the meeting have not been found, Clifford’s handwritten summary points from the meeting indicate that the principal topic of conversation was the planned summit between the President and Kosygin and its impact on the election and on the Vietnam negotiations. (Ibid., Clark Clifford Papers, Handwritten Notes, Memos, etc.)