166. Memorandum From the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger) to the Senior Defense Attaché in France (Walters)1

Following is a message for you to convey to Xuan Thuy or Mai Van Bo on January 12.2 It should be conveyed orally—no written message should be left with them.

Begin Message. My government has studied with the greatest care the communication you delivered to me on December 12.3 As Mr. Kissinger said on August 4,4 my government believes that the matters discussed between him and the North Vietnamese Minister Xuan Thuy should go beyond the framework of the plenary meetings at the Majestic Hotel and the private meetings held with members of our delegation, both as to substance and procedure. The purpose of such meetings is to produce the framework for a rapid solution of the conflict on a basis fair to all.

It is in this spirit that my government continues to stand ready for a meeting between Mr. Kissinger and Minister Xuan Thuy. If your side wishes also to talk in this spirit of going beyond the existing framework, we suggest you propose a time and place for such a meeting. End Message.

After reading this message, you should indicate that it would be preferable to find a date over a weekend, in order to limit speculation about my absence from Washington. If they propose a date, you should say that I cannot come to Paris before February 8.

With regard to the place for a meeting, you should offer to provide a secure location. The meeting could not be held at the North Vietnamese compound, which for this purpose is an object of too much public interest. We are confident a secret, secure location acceptable to both sides can be found. If they suggest other locations at this meeting, you can indicate again our desire for a place which would provide [Page 529] secrecy and security for both sides, and state you will report their suggestions to Washington and provide them with our answer soon.

If they suggest I meet with lesser-ranking representatives, you should emphasize our expectation that Xuan Thuy himself will participate in such a meeting. We would have no objection to Xuan Thuy’s bringing along any other North Vietnamese representatives he wishes.

Henry A. Kissinger 5
  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 852, For the President’s Files—Vietnam Negotiations, Sensitive, Camp David, Vol. II. Top Secret; Sensitive; Eyes Only. Drafted by Kissinger and William Watts on December 31, 1969; Nixon approved an earlier almost identical draft of this memorandum when Kissinger sent it to him under a covering memorandum of December 30, 1969. Kissinger informed the President that the message would, “place the ball in the North Vietnamese court” and leave it to them “to propose a time and a place.” (Ibid.)
  2. Conveyed by Walters to Xuan Thuy in Paris on January 14; see Document 169.
  3. See the attachment to Document 159.
  4. See the attachment to Document 106.
  5. Printed from a copy that bears this typed signature.