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[Page 328]

105. Notes of a Telephone Conversation Between President Nixon and his Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger)1

[Omitted here is brief discussion unrelated to the KissingerXuan Thuy conversation.]

K said he wanted to give P brief rundown on his talk—spent 3 and a half hours with their Chief negotiator.2 K said it was at Sainteny's home and there four of them present—including interpreter and note taker. K said he made presentation along line he had shown to P on plane and similar to what K said to Ceausescu.3 K said he laid down deadline on them very hard. K said they asked 8 clarifying questions and then launched into usual line. K said he told them if they had nothing new to say, they were speaking in wrong forum and he would leave. K said in every case when he got tough, he moved back. He indicated he was extremely eager to talk again but had no authority yet and wanted to go back to Hanoi. K said he is writing long report now. K said one of his assistants who was present feels this was most conciliatory they have ever been. K said while none of this proves anything before he would have said the chances were one in ten and now he thinks they are one in four or three that this thing will work. P asked what will happen. K said one interesting thing was they said when they want to get in touch again they would prefer to get in touch thru Walters rather than Sainteny. K said they had number of modifications in their negotiating position, but it is not enough for us yet. P said this movement has not been made to Lodge and K said right. He saw Habib right after meeting and K is sure of that. P said not to tell them a thing about it. K said he just went over positions and in abstract way said let me understand position exactly. K said they tried to draw him into discussion about ten points and K told them these are ten points and not ten commandments and we will not talk about them as only basis for solution. K said he told them it is their turn to make proposal now, etc. K said he told them toward end of this year will face another test of strength. K said every time he did that, other side pulled back. P said it looks to him as though they will try to diddle us along, but this also proves that Lodge has not been tough enough. K said he told them Pres will not withdraw troops unilaterally and will not replace Thieu[Page 329]this will not happen and they have to face as fact of life. K said they will get Romanian report shortly.4 K said if we do not hear within four weeks or there is no movement at Paris. Pres interrupted to ask K what his guess is—will they want to talk to K again. K said he suggested that they do normal negotiation in Paris and if they reach point where they want to tell us something quite new, they get in touch with K. K said he told them he did not want to come over there to hear the same old thing. P said he agreed completely with this. K said if they get in touch and ask to see him it would be the first time in 18 months that they have asked to see us—the other meetings have been at our request. P said he wants Lodge instructed to that effect and to stop begging. K said he told Lodge of change P had made in Saigon statement5—also that P has said he has gone as far as he can go.

[Omitted here is discussion unrelated to the KissingerXuan Thuy conversation. Kissinger briefed the President on his talks with Pompidou who agreed that there would be no further concessions on Vietnam and offered to arrange for contacts with the North Vietnamese, if required. The President and Kissinger agreed that if the story about the KissingerXuan Thuy meeting broke, they would say that Kissinger had dinner with Sainteny, the North Vietnamese were present, and they had a “social chat.” Both Kissinger and Nixon also agreed not to tell Laird about the meeting in Paris.]

  1. Source: Library of Congress, Manuscript Division, Kissinger Papers, Box 360, Telephone Conversations, Chronological File, Aug. 1969. No classification marking.
  2. With Xuan Thuy; see Document 106 for the formal report to the President.
  3. See footnote 2, Document 104.
  4. Apparently a Romanian report of the KissingerXuan Thuy conversation, not further identified.
  5. Apparent reference to a change in Nixon's statement on arrival at Saigon on July 30. The text of the statement is in Public Papers: Nixon, 1969, pp. 584–585.