317. Information Memorandum From the Executive Secretary of the National Security Council (Smith) to President Johnson1


  • Report on Today’s Paris Meeting by Secure Telephone From Paris

State Department was given the following summary of today’s four hour Paris meeting on Vietnam:2

The meeting can be described as a “holding action” by the North Vietnamese.
During the Tea Break Colonel Lau, who spoke for the North Vietnamese in the absence of Chief Delegate Thuy, said:
  • —He would be in contact with our negotiators about a private meeting.
  • —Did not answer clearly in response to Ambassador Vance’s direct question as to whether the North Vietnamese were seriously considering the private proposal we had made to them. He merely said that serious consideration had been given to the proposal but that then they had been confronted by the Honolulu communique.
  • —The North Vietnamese asked whether there had been a change in U. S. policy and whether Ambassadors Harriman and Vance spoke for the U.S. Government.
In the regular public session the usual exchange took place. The North Vietnamese attacked the Honolulu communique and described Secretary Rusk’s press conference as bellicose. Ambassador Harriman rebutted charges with special emphasis on North Vietnamese troops in the south.
Ambassador Harriman stressed the Lao situation in the larger meeting.

  1. Source: Johnson Library, National Security File, Country File, Vietnam, Harvan Misc. & Memos, Vol. V(a), 7/68. Secret. The notation “ps” on the memorandum indicates that the President saw it.
  2. The Paris delegation’s reports on the 15th formal session are in telegrams 18798/Delto 531 and 18824/Delto 536 from Paris, both July 31. (Ibid., Harvan Chron., Vol. XVI, 7/26–31/68)