Foreign Relations of the United States, 1964–1968, Volume VI, Vietnam, January–August 1968
- Kent Sieg
- David S. Patterson
The volume contains a number of major themes. Of primary importance to President Johnson was his and the Department of State’s continuing efforts to find a negotiated end to the war. The volume covers U.S. diplomatic contacts with Romania, Norway, and the Vatican to explore possible negotiation formulas with Hanoi in the hopes that they would lead to formal peace negotiations. Also covered are continued tentative prisoner of war contacts with the National Liberation Front in the hopes that they might lead to a separate political settlement. These diplomatic efforts were overshadowed by another major theme of the volume, the Tet Offensive and the resulting policy debate in Washington on whether to raise the number of U.S. troops in Vietnam. This debate led to a broader reassessment of U.S. policy in Vietnam, which culminated in the President’s order for a partial bombing halt of North Vietnam, his decision not to run for reelection, and an announcement of U.S. willingness to meet anywhere to negotiate peace. The search for a venue for the talks and attempts by advisers to convince the President to institute a full bombing halt comprise the final focus of the volume. Two other themes are evident in the volume, yet they are captured in only a few documents: the growing anti-war movement in the United States and the upcoming presidential elections of 1968. These two events affected discussions within the Johnson administration.