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

262377/Todel 1394. Confirming outline and textual points in Secretary Rusk’s secure telecon with Ambassador Vance at 2:00 PM EDT October 26.

You should not request next meeting, but may inform DRV representative you are ready to meet (no sooner than Sunday morning) when they wish to do so.
You are familiar with Soviet approach and we are hopeful that possible similar representations to other side will convince DRV that agreement on cessation and fact of prompt subsequent meeting with agreed participants is the important thing and that haggling over exact words of agreed language concern only “third rate details”.
When next meeting does occur, you should make every effort to convince them that agreement on cessation and a prompt meeting thereafter with agreed participants is the essential thing, that agreed minute approach should be dropped, and that other points they are insisting on are “third rate details”. You should stand firm on timing issue as indicated in State 261543.2
If foregoing representations do not get them to drop insistence on agreed minute, you are authorized to propose any of the following changes:
(In Para A) “On the basis of our discussions, the United States, having reason to believe that the other side intends to join seriously with our side in deescalating the war in Vietnam and in moving toward peace, will stop without preconditions all air, naval, etc.”; or
(At end of Para A in form acceptable to us, add sentence:) “The USG and the DRV agree that in announcing and acknowledging the cessation neither side will use the words ‘conditional’ or ‘unconditional’.”
With respect to Paragraph B our only difficulty is with stated order of representatives. Suggest you propose to DRV that this matter [Page 362] be handled in customary diplomatic fashion with two ribbon copy originals initialed by both sides, our copy containing our preferred order (RVN, US, DRV, NLF) and theirs any order they wish.
Finally, you should make clear once again that whatever degree of agreement is achieved is subject to final approval here.
  1. 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 and cleared by Read and approved by Rusk.
  2. In telegram 261543/Todel 1382 to Paris, October 25, the Department urged Harriman and Vance to obtain North Vietnamese agreement on the removal from the secret minute of the phrase “without conditions,” as well as the list of participants. (Johnson Library, National Security File, Country File, Vietnam, HARVAN/Double Plus, Vol. III)