132. Telegram From the Embassy in France to the Department of State1

22996/Delto 885. Eyes only for the Secretary from Harriman and Vance.

Pursuant to telcon with Secretary,2 there follows the answer to the three questions he raised.


(A) We have raised the issues of the DMZ and indiscriminate attacks against the major cities and what we expect on the part of the DRV in respect to these two matters in 12 secret meetings with the DRV. Often these subjects were raised more than once in those meetings. In most cases both subjects were raised; in a few cases only one was raised. The discussion of these matters began in June and have continued until the present day, so that we have been consistently presenting our position in this regard to the other side.

(B) Our demand with respect to the DMZ has been: there will be no firing of artillery, rockets or mortars from across and within the DMZ; there will be no movement of troops from, across and within the DMZ; and there will be no massing or movement of troops near the DMZ in a manner threatening to the other side. Our demand with respect to the cities has been that there will be no indiscriminate attacks against major cities. These formulations are precisely in accordance with our instructions, as most recently expressed in State 254715.3 ns for a settlement. (What Lau is saying when he speaks in this way is that while he will never admit to past violations of DMZ, he understands what will be necessary in the future.)llery fire across the DMZ, “you will see what will happen because our government has consistently respected the DMZ. Reality will give you the reply.” This, Lau said, would create the favorable conditions for a settlement. (What Lau is saying when he speaks in this way is that while he will never admit to past violations of DMZ, he understands what will be necessary in the future.)

(C) With respect to the indiscriminate attacks against major cities, we have not only raised this issue repeatedly in private sessions, but [Page 376] made it an issue in plenary meetings. In fact, with a few exceptions, there have been none for several months.

(D) Throughout our meetings when these subjects have been discussed, at no point has the other side given us any basis for believing that they did not understand precisely what we are talking about and what is expected of them.

(E) On October 11, pursuant to instructions (State 252815)4 and in accordance with Vance’s discussions with the Secretary, we said, “In responding to your question, it is very important there be no misunderstanding between us. It is very important to understand that we are not talking about reciprocity or conditions but simply a fact that after cessation of all bombardment the President’s ability to maintain that situation would be affected by certain elemental considerations.

“We do not look on them as a condition for stopping the bombing but as a description of the situation which would permit serious negotiations and thus the cessation to continue. You will understand, therefore, that the circumstances we have discussed in our various private meetings about military activity in and around the DMZ are essential to the maintenance of that situation. And, of course, you know from our various discussions that indiscriminate attacks launched against major cities would create a situation which would not permit serious talks and thus the maintenance of a cessation.” We have repeated this in equally clear terms on subsequent occasions.

(F) In addition, in four meetings with the Soviet representative in Paris, we have raised the subject of the DMZ and attacks on the major cities and have told them that the bombing cessation could not be maintained if the DRV acted in bad faith with respect to these matters. He had been in regular and frequent contact with the DRV delegation. He had indicated to us that the DRV understands our position. We further understand that the Secretary has also raised these subjects with the Russians and has made our position clear.

(G) Finally, our continued refusal to include the words “without condition” in an agreed minute makes it crystal clear that although there are no “pre-conditions” there are circumstances or what some people might call “conditions subsequent,” the occurrence of which would cause us to resume the bombing.

In our judgment, the DRV will carry out what we have demanded of them with respect to the DMZ and indiscriminate attacks against major cities. While we have not received direct affirmation that the DRV [Page 377] will abide by our demand—we are convinced they understand clearly what they are expected to do. As indicated above, this is confirmed by our discussions with Soviets. In addition, the DRV understands the consequences if they fail to live up to their part of the understanding, i.e., the bombing will be resumed. It is always possible that there will be some minor violations such as moving small numbers of men and supplies through the DMZ. These can be judged on the basis of the total circumstances in which they occur.
As we have previously stated on several occasions, the bombing should be resumed if our demands with respect to either the DMZ or the cities are violated.
  1. 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 6:17 a.m.
  2. See footnote 11, Document 129.
  3. Document 65.
  4. See footnote 4, Document 54.