79. Telegram From the Department of State to the Embassy in Vietnam1
Washington, October 16, 1968, 1121Z.
256007. Deliver by hand to Ambassador or Chargé.
- Saigon should promptly inform Thieu that in private session in Paris on
based on telecons only so far:
- Our basic understandings on military restraints concerning DMZ and major cities were again restated without challenge.
- We used form of words that clearly excluded reconnaissance, twice without challenge.
- However, while expressing agreement in principle to GVN (and NLF) inclusion, Hanoi representatives said that they could not promise to get authorized NLF representatives to Paris on a date certain, but would do so “as promptly as possible.”
- Accordingly, we have decided that we cannot adhere to any schedule for announcement or action until we get a firm date from DRV as to when NLF representatives will appear. We are telling Hanoi at Wednesday tea break that we cannot set any date for cessation of bombing until we know a firm date at which formal serious talks would get under way with the GVN present. (On Tuesday night, Hanoi represent-atives rejected having the GVN present without the NLF.) We are going on to say that, once we know the firm date for serious talks, we would be prepared to have the bombing stopped 24 hours in advance.
- You may tell Thieu that we are somewhat at a loss to explain this inability to set a definite date. However, we suppose it is conceivable that Hanoi and NLF have genuine difficulties and perhaps are troubled about transit through Communist China.
- Saigon should thus report fully what has taken place in Paris. However, to avoid getting in the position of reporting every phase of the play, other addressees should simply pass the word quietly not indicating when or how received that Hanoi was unable to set a precise date for serious talks with the GVN present, so that we are waiting for them to do so. You may indicate that rest of information received did indicate likely arrangement along the lines already presented.
- Above all, Saigon and all addressees should stress in the strongest possible terms the importance of maintaining security. This is absolutely vital from every standpoint.
- Wellington should quietly inform Marshall or White, indicating that we were unable to reach Holyoake or Laking, but will do so tomorrow morning through Corner. Canberra should inform Hewitt or Gorton, and again we will tell Waller in the morning. Bangkok should know that we have not yet informed Thanat in any way, aid now propose to wait until the arrangement becomes firm, including the date.3
- We assume Saigon will be letting us know in any event whether proposed joint announcement is satisfactory. We will try if possible to coordinate this with all TCC before the time comes for its use.
- Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, A/IM Files: Lot 93 D 82, HARVAN-(Outgoing)-October 1968. Secret; Flash; Nodis; HARVAN/Double Plus. Drafted and approved by Bundy, and cleared by Read. Repeated to Bangkok, Canberra, Manila, Seoul, and Wellington.↩
- October 15.↩
- Reference is to Prime Minister of New Zealand Keith Holyoake, Deputy Prime Minister of New Zealand John Marshall, New Zealand Ambassador to the United States F.A. Corner, Australian Prime Minister John Gorton, Australian Ambassador to the United States Sir John Waller, and Thai Minister of Foreign Affairs Thanat Khoman.↩