64. Telegram From the Embassy in Vietnam to the Department of State1
Saigon, October 13, 1968, 1230Z.
40178. Subject: Meeting with Thieu.
- Thieu concurs in instructions to be given Harriman-Vance.
- General Abrams, Amb Berger and I had hour and a half meeting with him tonight. We went over developments of last four days starting with October 9 tea break, and gave him orally paraphrased version of instructions and how we intended to proceed on all fronts.
- Abrams outlined military situation and implications of a bombing cessation on military position, and we exchanged views as to what military or other reasons prompted Hanoi to shift to negotiations. Thieu asked whether we intended to make reference to infiltration, and we said no and Abrams and I persuaded him that we can handle whatever they send down. Thieu thought that if Hanoi is serious in these negotiations they will soon propose cease-fire.
- We then together sketched out the sequence of next moves:
- Thieu agrees to instructions.
- We notify other contributors.
- Harriman-Vance put proposals to Hanoi at Paris.
- If Hanoi accepts them, Washington and Saigon work out timing for cessation, and date of meeting which GVN will join.
- Joint Johnson-Thieu announcement made that attacks on North stopped in effort to find basis for peaceful settlement. Thieu understands fully that we will not use words like reciprocal actions, agreement of Hanoi, etc., and need for secrecy.
- Thieu will inform a few key colleagues tomorrow of latest developments and his decision.
- Foregoing are bare-bones. Will send fuller report tomorrow.2