23. Telegram From the Department of State to the Embassy in France 1
Washington, September 18, 1968, 2003Z.
240579/Todel 1107. Supplemental Instructions for Ambassadors Harriman and Vance .
- These instructions supplement those contained in State 233437,2 which have been the basis of your conduct of the three conversations with Le Duc Tho.
- As your previous instructions have made clear, the two critical points on which we seek the highest possible degree of understanding—as the basis for a decision to stop the bombing—are the inclusion of the GVN in subsequent substantive talks under the “Your side/our side” formula, and military activity in and near the DMZ.
- With respect to military activity in or near the DMZ, you should indicate that we have noted Tho's apparent understanding of our views on the subject and the importance we attach to it. It is vital that there be no misapprehension. You should, therefore, reiterate the understanding you expressed at that time, without their taking exception, so that it is in effect repeated and made clear what we understand their view to be.
- You should state, however, that we are not satisfied with the position they have taken on GVN representation. You should make clear that a further degree of understanding on this subject is required, and you may imply that such a further degree of understanding could be a major factor in facilitating a decision to stop the bombing. This should be the main topic on which you focus in your Friday meeting, so that they are left in no possible doubt as to its importance and our view of it.
- In expressing our views on the subject of military activity in or near the DMZ, you should find occasion, as you did in your September 15 meeting,3 to make clear that, while this is our foremost specific concern in the area of military restraint, we continue to have in mind the [Page 57]other items discussed in the Vance/Lau conversations, in which attacks on major cities were included. We regard attacks on major cities as an action which would have the gravest consequences.
- Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, A/IM Files: Lot 93 D 82, HARVAN-(Outgoing)-September-October 1968. Top Secret; Nodis; HARVAN/Plus. Drafted by Bundy; cleared by Harriman, Rostow, Katzenbach, Clifford, and Read; and approved by Rusk.↩
- In telegram 233437/Todel 1045 to Paris, September 5, the Department noted the key negotiating points as being GVN participation and the cessation of military activity in the DMZ. (Johnson Library, National Security File, Country File, Vietnam, HARVAN Paris Todel-Paris Delto XII)↩
- See Document 14.↩