95. Situation Report by the Executive Secretary of the Department of State (Read)1

Cy Vance called at 9:30 on the secure phone to make the following points:

Harriman and Vance met for four hours with Thuy and Lau this morning, Vance summarized by saying “there was no agreement” but they had moved towards our position on several points and indicated flexibility on others.
Thuy opened by proposing a joint communiquéé which would have three paragraphs: -1-A statement about stopping all bombing without conditions on a date left blank; -2-Reference to a “four power conference” to be called after cessation; -3-A statement that the conference would convene “as soon as possible” after cessation.
On the first paragraph after discussion the DRV agreed to the adoption of our phrase concerning “acts involving use of force”, and Harriman and Vance interpreted this to mean that they have given up on the reconnaissance issue.
On the second paragraph Harriman and Vance made clear that any reference to a “four power conference” was completely unacceptable to us. Thuy then proposed referring to the four participants by name, and Harriman and Vance said it would be essential from our point of view to get in the “our side your side” language.
On the third paragraph Harriman and Vance said the “as soon as possible” language was totally unacceptable. Thuy at first spoke of it taking a period of weeks for the NLF to appear in Paris but gave ground rapidly on this issue and left them finally with the impression that the NLF could be there one week following cessation. Harriman and Vance indicated one week was too long.
Thuy claimed the reason a joint communiqué was necessary was that there be no further misunderstandings and indicated concern at the statements coming out of Saigon.
Harriman and Vance spoke of four options: -1-Letting the actions of cessation and subsequent agreed early meeting speak for themselves, which we indicated was our preference; -2-separate US & DRV statements about cessation & subsequent meeting; -3-A joint minute; and -4-The joint communiqué. Summarizing, they repeated our strong preference for the first but did not rule out the other three options. Thuy said that they would report back to Hanoi and asked us to report back to Washington.
Harriman and Vance believed Thuy expects us to come back to him at the next stage with our further comments on how to proceed.

Ben Read
  1. Source: Johnson Library, National Security File, Country File, Vietnam, Memos to the President/Bombing Halt Decision, Vol. I [1 of 3]. Secret; Nodis; HARVAN Double Plus. In an attached covering note transmitting a copy of the report to the President, October 21, 10:25 a.m., Rostow wrote: “Herewith Read’s notes of his secure telephone conversation with Vance.” The notation “ps” on the covering note indicates that the President saw the memorandum. The full report of this secret meeting between the delegations was transmitted in telegram 22742/Delto 857 from Paris, October 21. (National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1967-69, POL 27-14 VIET) A summary was transmitted in telegram 22724/Delto 854 from Paris, October 21. (Ibid., A/IM Files: Lot 93 D 82, HARVAN-(Incoming)-October 1968)