November 12-30, 1968: South Vietnamese Participation in the Paris Peace Talks


214. 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. VI. Secret; Immediate; Nodis/HARVAN Double Plus. Repeated to Paris.


216. 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. VI. Secret; Flash; Immediate; Nodis/HARVAN Double Plus. Received at 11:18 p.m. on November 12. Repeated to Paris for Harriman and Vance.


217. 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. VI. Secret; Immediate; Nodis/HARVAN Double Plus. Received at 7:45 a.m. Repeated to Paris for Harriman and Vance.


218. Memorandum of Conversation

Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1967-69, POL 27-14 VIET. Secret; Nodis/HARVAN Double Plus. Drafted by Adolph Dubs, Acting Country Director for the Soviet Union in the Bureau of European Affairs. The Department transmitted a synopsis of the conversation to Rusk, who was attending the NATO Ministerial meeting in Brussels November 12-16, in telegram 271357 to Brussels, November 14. (Ibid., A/IM Files: Lot 93 D 82, HARVAN-(Outgoing)-November 1968)


219. 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. VI. Secret; Immediate; Nodis/HARVAN Double Plus. Received at 8:05 a.m. Repeated to Paris for Harriman and Vance.


220. National Intelligence Estimate

Source: Central Intelligence Agency, Office of National Estimates, Job 79-R01012A, NIE Files. Secret; Sensitive; Limdis; Controlled Dissem. Prepared by the National Intelligence Board and signed by Helms. For an INR assessment of this NIE, see Foreign Relations, 1964-1968, vol. XXVII, Document 96.


221. 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. VI [1 of 2]. Secret; HARVAN Double Plus. The notation “ps” on the memorandum indicates that the President saw it.


222. 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. VI. Secret; Immediate; Nodis/HARVAN Double Plus. Repeated to Paris for Harriman and Vance.


223. Notes of Meeting

Source: Johnson Library, George Elsey Papers, Van De Mark Transcripts (1 of 2). No classification marking.


224. 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. VI [1 of 2]. Secret; HARVAN Double Plus. The notation “ps” on the memorandum indicates that the President saw it.


225. Memorandum Prepared in the Central Intelligence Agency

Source: Johnson Library, National Security File, Country File, Vietnam, HARVAN Misc. & Memos, Vol. VII. Secret; Sensitive. In an attached covering note transmitting a copy of the memorandum to the President, November 11, 7:15 p.m., Rostow wrote: “Herewith Thieu's rationale for his position and frame of mind as of 19 November. He apparently envisaged at that time to confer with Bunker on November 20 and get out the joint statement within ‘2 or 3 days.’” The notation “ps” on the covering note indicates that the President saw the memorandum. (Ibid.)


226. 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)-November 1968. Secret; Immediate; Nodis/HARVAN Double Plus. Drafted by Habib and Bundy, cleared by Rostow and Read, and approved by Katzenbach. Repeated to Paris for Harriman and Vance as Todel 1601. In a covering note transmitting a copy of the telegram to the President, November 19, 3:05 p.m., Rostow wrote: “Herewith for your clearance is the proposed outgoing to Bunker to guide him in, hopefully, the showdown discussion with Thieu at 8:30 tonight our time.” The President cleared the telegram. (Johnson Library, National Security File, Country File, Vietnam, Memos to the President/Bombing Halt Decision, Vol. VI [1 of 2])


227. Notes of Meeting

Source: Johnson Library, Tom Johnson's Notes of Meetings. No classification marking. The meeting lasted from 1:15 to 2:30 p.m. (Ibid., President's Daily Diary) Nitze and the President met the previous evening to discuss Vietnam and other issues with Rusk, Clifford, Rostow, McPherson, and Christian. (Ibid.) No record of that meeting has been found, although an agenda in a November 19 memorandum from Read to Rusk indicates that the topics were the same as those discussed the next day. (National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, S/S-EX Files: Lot 74 D 164, Secretary-President Luncheons (2))


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

Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 84, S/AB Files: Lot 74 D 417, Files of Ellsworth Bunker, Vietnam Telegram Chronos. Secret; Immediate; Nodis/HARVAN Double Plus. Received at 7:41 a.m. Repeated to Paris for Harriman and Vance. On November 21 Clifford wrote to the President: “I note with concern in Ambassador Bunker's report on his talk with President Thieu that Saigon continues to urge the two main points that have been the basis of the disagreement between our two countries. These involve the desire of Saigon to take the lead in the Paris talks, and their refusal to permit problems of internal politics to be considered.” He recommended that a telegram be sent to Bunker containing a strong message from the President in order to expedite the decision by the GVN to come to Paris. (Johnson Library, National Security File, Country Files, Vietnam, Memos to the President/Bombing Halt Decision, Vol. VII)


229. Memorandum From Secretary of State Rusk to President Johnson

Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, S/S-EX Files: Lot 72 D 192, Dean Rusk's Files, White House Correspondence. Secret.


230. Telegram From the CIA Station in Saigon to Director of Central Intelligence Helms

Source: Central Intelligence Agency, DDO/ISS Files, Job 78-32, [name not declassified] Chrono File, Vol. III. Secret; Rybat.


231. Telephone Conversation Between President Johnson and Secretary of Defense Clifford

Source: Johnson Library, Recordings and Transcripts, Recording of Telephone Conversation Between Johnson and Clifford, November 23, 1968, 11:45 a.m., Tape F68.09, PNO 9. No classification marking. This transcript was prepared specifically for this volume in the Office of the Historian.


233. 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)-November 1968. Secret; Immediate; Nodis/HARVAN Double Plus. Repeated to Saigon.


234. Notes of Meeting

Source: Johnson Library, Tom Johnson's Notes of Meetings. No classification marking. This was the 594th meeting of the NSC and was held in the Cabinet Room of the White House. These notes were taken by Tom Johnson; additional notes taken by Bromley Smith are ibid., National Security File, NSC Meetings File, Vol. V, Tab 76. A summary and a full transcript of the meeting are ibid., Transcripts of Meetings in the Cabinet Room.


235. Memorandum Prepared in the Central Intelligence Agency

Source: Washington National Records Center, Department of Defense, OSD Files: FRC 330 73 A 1250, VIET 092.2, (November) 1968. Secret; Sensitive. In an attached covering note transmitting a copy of the memorandum to Clifford, November 26, Helms wrote: “Attached is a report on the 25 November South Vietnamese National Security Council meeting obtained from a reliable Vietnamese source who has been reporting accurately on Vietnamese political affairs since 1962. This report has been passed to Ambassadors Bunker and Harriman. In Washington it is being disseminated only to you, and the Messrs. Rostow, Rusk and Bundy.” A stamped notation, dated December 6, on the CIA memorandum reads: “SecDef has seen.”


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

Source: Johnson Library, National Security File, Memos to the President, Walt Rostow, Vol. 108. Secret; Immediate; Nodis/HARVAN Double Plus. Repeated to Paris for Harriman and Vance. In an attached covering note transmitting a copy of the telegram to the President, November 26, 12:55 p.m., Rostow wrote: “Herewith Bunker's latest talk with Thieu. As you will see (para. 3), Thieu is still a little foggy about getting into substantive talks until towards the end of next week. This cable underlines the urgency of our working out our own negotiating strategy and talking it over with the GVN—an item on today's lunch agenda.” The notation “L” on the telegram indicates that the President saw it.


238. Notes of Meeting

Source: Johnson Library, Tom Johnson's Notes of Meetings. No classification marking. The meeting was held in the Family Dining Room of the White House. Afterwards, the President met privately with Clifford, Rusk, and Helms for an additional quarter hour. The President left for the LBJ Ranch in Texas that evening and returned to Washington on December 2. (Ibid., President's Daily Diary)


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

Source: Johnson Library, National Security File, Country File, Vietnam, HARVAN Paris Todel-Paris Delto, Vol. XVI(a). Secret; Immediate; Nodis/HARVAN Plus. Repeated to Saigon.


240. 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)-November 1968. Secret; Immediate; Priority; Nodis/HARVAN Plus. Repeated to Saigon. The Department terminated the HARVAN Double Plus series on November 27 and reserved Nodis/HARVAN for the most sensitive subject matter on the Paris talks. (Telegram 279033 to Bangkok, Canberra, Manila, Seoul, and Wellington (repeated to Saigon and Paris), November 27; ibid., HARVAN-(Outgoing)-November 1968)


241. 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)-November 1968. Secret; Priority; Nodis/HARVAN Plus. Repeated to Saigon. Bromley Smith sent the text of this telegram to the President at his Texas Ranch in telegram CAP 82851, November 30, and informed the President: “Herewith Ambassadors Harriman and Vance report on their conversation with Soviet Ambassador Zorin about the Paris talks. Zorin was selling full withdrawal of U.S. troops and acceptance of a coalition government. Zorin asked if Harriman and Vance would be leaving after January 20 and they replied affirmatively. Thereupon Zorin said all should push forward as rapidly as possible before that date.” (Johnson Library, National Security File, Country File, Vietnam, HARVAN Double Plus, Vol. III) Prior to the meeting with Zorin, the Department sent Harriman and Vance as background an account of the subjects discussed during a November 25 meeting between Rusk and Dobrynin. (Telegram 278474/Todel 1681 to Paris, November 27; National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, A/IM Files: Lot 93 D 82, HARVAN-(Outgoing)-November 1968) For a detailed memorandum of the Rusk-Dobrynin conversation, see Foreign Relations, 1964-1968, vol. XIV, Document 325.