13. Memorandum From the Former Head of the Delegation to the Paris Peace Talks on Vietnam (Harriman) to Secretary of State Rogers 1


  • Viet-Nam Negotiations

It seems to me it’s time to renew private talks with Le Duc Tho et al. Subject to Cy Vance’s concurrence, I recommend that Lodge be authorized to get in touch with the North Vietnamese for a bilateral private talk of the type they agreed to. Of course, he would take Cy and Walsh with him.

The principal subject for discussion would be how to get serious talks for settlement going. I believe our side should explore ways and means to mutually deescalate the violence—military and terrorist. In our last talk with Le Duc Tho, he made it plain that if we attempted military action “to negotiate from strength,” little progress would be made.2

In my judgment, we are in a better military position than we have ever been. We should accept this situation and get on with the negotiation for a peaceful settlement. Otherwise, my guess is there will be mutual escalation of the violence and no progress.

  1. Source: National Archives, RG 59, Files of Richard Pedersen: Lot 75 D 229, Miscellaneous & Hold File–RFP. Personal and Secret. Harriman sent a copy of this memorandum to Kissinger under cover of a January 31 note. (Ibid., Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 74, Vietnam Subject Files, Vietnam (General Files), January–August 1969)
  2. As reported in telegram 976 from Paris/Delto 1194, January 19. (Ibid., RG 59, Winston Lord Files: Lot 77 D 112, Box 338, Vietnam Private Talks)