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October 16-25, 1968: Negotiating the Understanding


75. Telegram From the Embassy in Vietnam to the Department of State

Source: Johnson Library, National Security File, Country File, Vietnam, Memos to the President/Bombing Halt Decision, Vol. I [2 of 3]. Secret; Immediate; Nodis; HARVAN/Double Plus. Received at 4:57 a.m. In an attached covering note transmitting a copy of this telegram to the President, October 16, 8:30 a.m., Rostow wrote: “Bunker's full account of how the leak occurred in Saigon. As you see, the story converges with Le Duc Tho's movements and the surfacing of the lull.” The notation “ps” on the covering note indicates that the President saw it and the attached telegram.


76. Information Memorandum From the President's Special Assistant (Rostow) to President Johnson

Source: Johnson Library, National Security File, Country File, Vietnam, Memos to the President/Bombing Halt Decision, Vol. I [2 of 3]. Secret; HARVAN/Double Plus. The notation “ps” on the memorandum indicates that the President saw it. Harriman and Vance's written report on their meeting with Thuy and Lau was transmitted in telegrams 22486/Delto 830 and 22490/Delto 832 from Paris, both October 16. (National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, A/IM Files: Lot 93 D 82, HARVAN-(Incoming)-October 1968)


77. Telephone Conversation Between President Johnson and Senator Mike Mansfield

Source: Johnson Library, Recordings and Transcripts, Recording of Telephone Conversation Between Johnson and Mansfield, October 16, 1968, 9:34 a.m., Tape F68.07, PNO 1. No classification marking. This transcript was prepared specifically for this volume in the Office of the Historian.


78. Telegram From the Department of State to the Embassy in France

Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, A/IM Files: Lot 93 D 82, HARVAN-(Outgoing)-October 1968. Secret; Immediate; Nodis; HARVAN/Double Plus. Drafted by Read and Bundy, cleared by Clifford and Read, and approved by Rusk.


79. Telegram From the Department of State to the Embassy in Vietnam

Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, A/IM Files: Lot 93 D 82, HARVAN-(Outgoing)-October 1968. Secret; Flash; Nodis; HARVAN/Double Plus. Drafted and approved by Bundy, and cleared by Read. Repeated to Bangkok, Canberra, Manila, Seoul, and Wellington.


80. Telephone Conversation Among President Johnson, Hubert Humphrey, Richard Nixon, and George Wallace

Source: Johnson Library, Recordings and Transcripts, Recording of Telephone Conversation Among Johnson, Nixon, Humphrey, and Wallace, October 16, 1968, 11:41 a.m., Tape F6810.04, PNO 2-3. No classification marking. This transcript was prepared specifically for this volume in the Office of the Historian. An unknown White House telephone operator was on the line to arrange the call. Humphrey was the Democratic Presidential candidate, Nixon the Republican candidate, and Wallace the Independent candidate. From Washington the President reached Humphrey at St. Louis, Missouri; Nixon at Kansas City, Missouri; and Wallace at Los Angeles, California. The conversation lasted 18 minutes. The entry for this meeting in the Daily Diary reads: “Vietnam Situation—White House Release on Reported Peace Negotiations.” (Ibid., President's Daily Diary)


81. Telephone Conversation Between Senator Everett Dirksen and President Johnson

Source: Johnson Library, Recordings and Transcripts, Recording of Telephone Conversation Between Johnson and Dirksen, October 16, 1968, 3:27 p.m., Tape F6810.04, PNO 5. No classification marking. This transcript was prepared specifically for this volume in the Office of the Historian. From Washington Johnson placed the call to Dirksen, who was in Champaign, Illinois, in order to inquire about a statement the Senator had made during a speech in Chicago. (Ibid., President's Daily Diary) This conversation followed a telephone call Johnson had made to Dirksen earlier that day regarding his briefing of the Presidential candidates. Dirksen made the following pledge: “You stand your ground and I stand with you.” (Ibid., Recordings and Transcripts, Recording of Telephone Conversation Between Johnson and Dirksen, October 16, 1968, 1:40 p.m., Tape F6810.04, PNO 4)


82. Telegram From the Department of State to the Embassy in France

Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, A/IM Files: Lot 93 D 82, HARVAN-(Incoming)-October 1968. Secret; Flash; Nodis; HARVAN/Double Plus. Drafted and approved by Rusk, and cleared by Bundy and Read.


83. Notes of Meeting

Source: Johnson Library, George M. Elsey Papers, Van De Mark Transcripts (1 of 2). No classification marking. This was a regular daily meeting of the Secretary of Defense's top civilian advisers. The attendees are not indicated but usually included Clifford, Nitze, Warnke, Goulding, Elsey, and Pursley. Also see Clark M. Clifford with Richard Holbrooke, Counsel to the President: A Memoir (New York: Random House, 1991), p. 491.


84. Telegram From the Embassy in France to the Department of State

Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, A/IM Files: Lot 93 D 82, HARVAN-(Incoming)-October 1968. Secret; Flash; Nodis; HARVAN/Double Plus. Received at 1:06 p.m. In a covering note transmitting a copy of this telegram to the President, October 17, 2:15 p.m., Rostow wrote: “Herewith Harriman's and Vance's report on their meeting to get a date set for the quadripartite talks. It is not until para. 11 that they get our basic propositions stated straight.” (Johnson Library, National Security File, Country File, Vietnam, Memos to the President/Bombing Halt Decision, Vol. I [2 of 3]) In a memorandum to the President, October 17, 9:15 a.m., Rostow discussed a telephone report from Vance on this meeting, describing it in the following manner: “Pursuant to authority granted them, Cy met this morning with Thuy. He made the point that the concept of meeting ‘the next day' was Thuy's—not ours. What was essential from our point of view was that a date certain be set. If, for example, a date for the meeting was set on Monday, we were prepared to stop the bombing two or three days before. Vance found the subsequent conversation interesting. Thuy virtually admitted there was a split in Hanoi. There were some, he said, who argued that this was ‘reciprocity.' Thuy indicated that he was arguing in the other sense. Lau joined the conversation and indicated to Vance how the hardliners make their arguments. It is now Harriman's and Vance's view that the earliest we can get a response is Saturday, and we will probably not get a response until Monday. Their case is based on day's rest for Tho, upon his return to Hanoi, plus some debating in the politburo in Hanoi.” (Ibid.)


85. Telegram From the Department of State to the Embassy in Vietnam

Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, A/IM Files: Lot 93 D 82, HARVAN-(Outgoing)-October 1968. Secret; Priority; Nodis; HARVAN/Double Plus. Drafted by Bundy, cleared by Read, and approved by Rusk. Repeated to Paris as Todel 1301.


86. Telephone Conversation Between President Johnson and Secretary of State Rusk

Source: Johnson Library, Recordings and Transcripts, Recording of Telephone Conversation Between Johnson and Rusk, October 17, 1968, 4:47 p.m., Tape F6810.05, PNO 2. No classification marking. This transcript was prepared specifically for this volume in the Office of the Historian.


87. Telegram From the Embassy in Vietnam to the Department of State

Source: Johnson Library, National Security File, Country File, Vietnam, Memos to the President/Bombing Halt Decision, Vol. I [2 of 3]. Secret; Immediate; Nodis/HARVAN Double Plus. Received at 9:35 a.m. In an attached covering note transmitting a copy of the telegram to the President, October 18, 12:00 p.m., Rostow wrote: “Herewith a GVN problem if we appear to accept the NLF as a ‘separate entity'—and not part of ‘their side.'” The notation “ps” on the covering memorandum indicates that the President saw the telegram.


88. Telegram From the Embassy in France to the Department of State

Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, A/IM Files: Lot 93 D 82, HARVAN-(Incoming)-October 1968. Secret: Nodis/HARVAN/Double Plus. Received at 10:53 a.m. In a covering memorandum transmitting a copy of this telegram to the President, October 18, 11:45 a.m., Rostow described the Vance-Oberemko discussion as a “clarifying conversation.” (Johnson Library, National Security File, Country File, Vietnam, Memos to the President/Bombing Halt Decision, Vol. I [2 of 3]) Vance reported on the meeting by telephone that morning. In a memorandum to the President at 8:45 a.m., October 18, Rostow wrote: “Cy Vance just called with the following: Oberemko asked to see him to catch up on the situation. Cy took him very carefully through the whole position. Cy feels it was time well spent. Oberemko promised to use his ‘best influence' to get his government to lead Hanoi over the hump. Oberemko himself had nothing new to throw into the discussion.” (Ibid.)


89. Memorandum of Conversation Between the Vietnamese Ambassador (Bui Diem) and the President's Special Assistant (Rostow)

Source: Johnson Library, National Security File, Country File, Vietnam, Memos to the President/Bombing Halt Decision, Vol. I [2 of 3]. Secret; HARVAN Double Plus. The memorandum was sent to Bunker and the Paris delegation in telegram 258305/Todel 1327 to Saigon and Paris, October 18. (National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, A/IM Files: 93 D 82, HARVAN-(Outgoing)-October 1968) Bui Diem repeated the same messages in a conversation he had with Bundy that same day. (Telegram 257720 to Saigon and Paris, October 18; ibid.)


90. Telegram From the Department of State to the Embassy in Vietnam

Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, A/IM Files: Lot 93 D 82, HARVAN-(Outgoing)-October 1968. Secret; Priority; Nodis/HARVAN Double Plus. Drafted by Bundy, cleared by Rostow and Read, and approved by Rusk. Repeated to Paris as Todel 1324 for Harriman and Vance.


91. Telegram From the Embassy in Vietnam to the Department of State

Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1967-69, POL 27 VIET S. Secret; Immediate; Nodis. Received at 8:50 a.m. Repeated to Paris for the Vietnam Mission. This telegram is printed in full in Pike, ed., The Bunker Papers, Vol. 2, pp. 600-611.


92. Telegram From the Department of State to the Embassies in France and Vietnam

Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, A/IM Files: Lot 93 D 82, HARVAN-(Outgoing)-October 1968. Secret; Priority; Nodis/HARVAN Double Plus. Drafted and approved by Rusk and cleared by Read. In a covering note transmitting a copy of the telegram to the President, October 21, 8:30 a.m., Rostow wrote: “You may wish to see exactly how Sec. Rusk reported his conversation with Dobrynin. He suggested that you have this text available.” (Johnson Library, National Security File, Country File, Vietnam, Memos to the President/Bombing Halt Decision, Vol. I [1 of 3]) The notation “ps” on the covering note indicates that the President saw the telegram.


93. Telegram From the Department of State to the Embassy in Vietnam

Source: Johnson Library, National Security File, Country File, Vietnam, HARVAN/DOUBLE PLUS, Vol. II. Secret; Priority; Nodis/HARVAN Double Plus. Drafted by Bundy, cleared in substance by Rusk, and approved by Bundy and Read. Repeated to Paris as Todel 1337.


94. Telegram From the Department of State to the Embassies in Vietnam and France

Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, A/IM Files: Lot 93 D 82, HARVAN-(Outgoing)-October 1968. Secret; Immediate; Nodis/HARVAN Double Plus. Drafted by Bundy and approved by Read.


95. Situation Report by the Executive Secretary of the Department of State (Read)

Source: Johnson Library, National Security File, Country File, Vietnam, Memos to the President/Bombing Halt Decision, Vol. I [1 of 3]. Secret; Nodis; HARVAN Double Plus. In an attached covering note transmitting a copy of the report to the President, October 21, 10:25 a.m., Rostow wrote: “Herewith Read's notes of his secure telephone conversation with Vance.” The notation “ps” on the covering note indicates that the President saw the memorandum. The full report of this secret meeting between the delegations was transmitted in telegram 22742/Delto 857 from Paris, October 21. (National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1967-69, POL 27-14 VIET) A summary was transmitted in telegram 22724/Delto 854 from Paris, October 21. (Ibid., A/IM Files: Lot 93 D 82, HARVAN-(Incoming)-October 1968)


96. Telegram From the Embassy in Vietnam to the Department of State

Source: Johnson Library, National Security File, Country File, Vietnam, Memos to the President/Bombing Halt Decision, Vol. I. Secret; Immediate; Nodis/HARVAN Double Plus. Received at 8:38 a.m. Repeated to Paris for Harriman and Vance.


97. Information Memorandum From the President's Special Assistant (Rostow) to President Johnson

Source: Johnson Library, National Security File, Country File, Vietnam, Memos to the President/Bombing Halt Decision, Vol. I [1 of 3]. Top Secret; HARVAN Double Plus; Literally Eyes Only for the President. The notation “ps” on the memorandum indicates that the President saw it.


98. Telegram From the Department of State to the Embassy in France

Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, A/IM Files: Lot 93 D 82, HARVAN-(Outgoing)-October 1968. Secret; Nodis/HARVAN Double Plus. Drafted and approved by Rusk and cleared by Read. Repeated to Saigon.


99. Situation Report by the Executive Secretary of the Department of State (Read)

Source: Johnson Library, National Security File, Country File, Vietnam, Memos to the President/Bombing Halt Decision, Vol. I [1 of 3]. Secret; Nodis; HARVAN Double Plus. In an attached covering note transmitting a copy of the report to the President, October 22, 9:30 a.m., Rostow wrote: “Herewith the Soviet proposition.” The notation “ps” on the covering note indicates that the President saw the report. Vance's written report on the meeting was sent in telegram 22750 from Paris, October 22. (National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, A/IM Files: Lot 93 D 82, HARVAN-(Incoming)-October 1968)


100. Telephone Conversation Between President Johnson and Secretary of State Rusk

Source: Johnson Library, Recordings and Transcripts, Recording of Telephone Conversation Between Johnson and Rusk, October 22, 1968, 9:50 a.m., Tape F6810.05, PNO 10. No classification marking. This transcript was prepared specifically for this volume in the Office of the Historian.


101. Situation Report by the Executive Secretary of the Department of State (Read)

Source: Johnson Library, National Security File, Country File, Vietnam, Memos to the President/Bombing Halt Decision, Vol. I [1 of 3]. Secret; Nodis/HARVAN Double Plus. In an attached covering note transmitting a copy of the report to the President, October 22, 11:25 a.m., Rostow wrote: “Here is Cy Vance's latest, plus a note of mine printed for the 12 o'clock meeting. The Russians are obviously trying very hard to pull this off—and in a hurry.” The notation “ps” on the covering note indicates that the President saw the report and the attached memorandum. Vance's written report on the meeting was sent in telegram 22763 from Paris, October 22. (National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, A/IM Files: Lot 93 D 82, HARVAN-(Incoming)-October 1968) Rostow's “note” is Document 102.


102. Information Memorandum From the President's Special Assistant (Rostow) to President Johnson

Source: Johnson Library, National Security File, Country File, Vietnam, Memos to the President/Bombing Halt Decision, Vol. I [1 of 3]. Secret; HARVAN Double Plus. Rostow transmitted the memorandum, which is marked “For noon meeting,” to the President; see footnote 1, Document 101.


103. Notes of Meeting

Source: Johnson Library. Tom Johnson's Notes of Meetings. No classification marking. The meeting was held in the Oval Office, with the President and Rusk entering at 11:59 a.m.; Clifford, Wheeler, and Rostow at 12:01 p.m.; and Christian and Tom Johnson at 12:10. Clifford and Rostow left at 12:50 p.m., Wheeler at 12:55, and Rusk at 12:56, while Christian and Tom Johnson accompanied the President for a walk on the South Lawn. (Ibid., President's Daily Diary)


104. Notes of Meeting

Source: Johnson Library, Tom Johnson's Notes of Meetings. No classification marking. The meeting was held in the mansion of the White House. Clifford, Rusk, Wheeler, Helms, and Rostow entered at 1:22 p.m., and lunch began at 1:35 p.m.; Rostow left at 2:22 p.m., Rusk and Helms at 2:24 p.m., and Clifford and Wheeler at 2:33 p.m. (Ibid., President's Daily Diary)