27. Notes by President Nixon of a Meeting1
1. Same tough talk in return.
- 6 meetings
- N.V.Nam addresses remarks to US
- Major themes:
- Political & military matters must be settled together
- 5 points [of NLF?]
- U.S. get out unconditional
- G.V.N. must go
- Support Geneva Accords
Vicious language—Make clear—Prevent talk NL Front—”other side handful of traitors.”
1. De-escalation theme.
- Restrained language
- “You denigrate the image of Vnamese”
- N.V. Nam—image = better & better than N.L.F.—completely under the thumb of N.V.N.—
Delegation (except for Ky under thumb of Saigon) GVN-maturity on bombing halt.
Some heavy going ahead:
Vance (Lao)[Page 82]
What are our objectives?
U.S. must deal with N.L.F.
Take 5 points of N.L.F. & negotiate changes
Russ[ians] tell us:
- Ed Walsh-Oberemko—as bombing
- Zorin called on Lodge—Wednesday
Also asks what is RN's position[?] He says—”We have been of help in the past—we are in constant touch with other side.”
Believe Preamble Phase is open [over?]
- We have no illusion we can get them to [negotiate?]
Must convince them & American people we have an earnest desire to end the war—
a. Must not give impression we go through a sham—Filibuster during private talks—
- Gives an added momentum—
- May take weeks to get talks with N.L.F.—
Reaching Conclusion in June & July. Delayed?
Don't need refined instruction—
1. because so many balls in the air—we can go one direction—rather than the other—
Must keep moving—(not static)
Can improve [lines?] of [communication?].
Can better insights.
- Harriman at ready to jump on us.
- The other side is skilled at such attack.
- V.C. are hurting (because B–52's hurting [them])
- N.L.F. said [raid?] cities
- Deepen concern over deAmericanization
- Builds up ARVN
- Gives continuity to them—
People waiting for RN's visit—Build a record of conviction [?]
- Difference in opinion in Hanoi on whether
- Be business like & discuss peace
- Question of Style—don't look too eager
They think we may be delaying because of military pressure—Vitriol get worse as you get closer to settlement,—
Russ useful on guarantees
If they [North Vietnam] attack cities—
1. This puts us on the spot—
- Do we start bombing North—
- Cause problem with G.V.N. if we don't—& with American public if we do
3 deadlines—Dem convention—election—Inauguration
They work against us—They know when we have one. Before election Russ trying to help Humphrey. Ky tried to delay [?] this. But on Jan. 20 helped because Russ wanted to get in before RN got in
1. Must give us some authority
- Bill [Rogers?]—”Don't need blueprint completely worked out.”
- RN keep S V Nam built up—
1. Redefine military policy for best background for our statement
- Will. March straight [strength?]
- If casualties fall—it would impress them
- They would prefer a helter skelter withdrawal—
Most effective use of military for other side is to convince the “we” can hold out—
(Lincoln appointed Grant and Sherman (in early 40's))
We need a man of this war—(Abrams and Westmoreland = WWII)
Walsh: Reduction of force—essential for U.S.
Westmoreland failed to understand—Divisional
French=1. Peace cabinet—to overthrow gov't No—add to it—maybe
If we deal alone with V.C. we lose war immediately.
- Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, White House Special Files, President's Personal File, Box 57, Security Classified (3), Speech File, February–March 1969, RN Notes–European Trip. No classification marking. These are handwritten notes by Nixon apparently on the meeting with the U.S. Delegation to the Paris Peace Conference. At 8:38 a.m. on March 2 the President met privately with Lodge for 15 minutes at the American Embassy in Paris. They were then joined by Rogers, Kissinger, Walsh, Green, and Habib. The meeting with the U.S. Delegation was followed by a 15 minute private meeting with Ky and then a longer meeting with Ky and the Chief Republic of Vietnam negotiator, Pham Dang Lam, as well as most of the U.S. officials from the earlier meeting. The four sessions lasted until 12:39 p.m. (Ibid., White House Central Files, Daily Diary) An account of the meeting with Ky is in Document 28. According to Marshall Green, the initial meeting between Nixon and the U.S. Delegation lasted for 2½ hours and was held in the Embassy's special security room. (Marshall Green, Indonesia: Crisis and Transformation, 1965–1968 (Compass Press: Washington, 1990), p. 144)↩