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163. Memorandum From the President's Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger) to President Nixon 1

SUBJECT

  • Vietnamese Communist Position on a Cease-fire

MACV has in hand a captured enemy document which provides one of the clearest expressions of enemy view on the timing of a cease-fire in Vietnam that we have seen (Tab A).2 The document consists of notes taken by a medium-level party cadre in South Vietnam during the course of lectures on the content and strategy of COSVN Resolution 9. The notes date from around the end of September.

According to the notes, the Communists will only accept a cease-fire if the U.S. has agreed to total withdrawal, if a coalition government [Page 525]“is” formed, and if the Communists are stronger than the allies and are “sure” they can win in “political competition with the enemy.”

Comment: This document (which taken by itself cannot be considered conclusive) is about as strong a piece of evidence as we have seen to the effect that Hanoi is not now considering a cease-fire and would, in fact, reject one.3

  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 141, Vietnam Country Files, Vol. XIII–2, 11–31 December 1969. Confidential. Sent for information. A notation on the memorandum indicates the President saw it. Kissinger wrote at the top of the page: “Al [Haig]—you should discuss this in Saigon.” Holdridge originally sent a summary of this document to Kissinger in a memorandum of December 18, and Kissinger asked him to prepare it as a memorandum for the President. (Ibid.)
  2. Attached but not printed.
  3. Nixon underlined the last five words of this memorandum and wrote the following marginal note: “K—Perhaps we should examine again—(not right now) a cease fire offer—for propaganda only—(However I believe it should come from Thieu not from us & only if he feels he could do so without weakening his internal situation).”