276. Editorial Note

On April 27, 1970, and with revisions on May 3, Senior Military Adviser Brigadier General Haig sent Vernon Walters two messages through their special channel requesting that he contact the North Vietnamese in Paris on Monday, May 4, and pass to them an oral message. The revised message reads:

“My government has reviewed fully the implications of our last meeting and considers that these discussions as well as recent events underline the need for new approaches which might favor a continuing constructive dialogue in this forum. Guided by this attitude and the desire to bring an early end to the conflict on a just basis, my government proposes another meeting between Dr. Kissinger and Minister Xuan Thuy and Special Advisor Le Duc Tho. Dr. Kissinger stands ready to be in Paris for such a meeting any weekend from May 16 onward to suit the convenience of Minister Xuan Thuy and Special Advisor Le Duc Tho.” (Telegrams from Haig to Walters, April 27 and May 3; National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 853, For the President’s File—Vietnam Negotiations, Sensitive, Camp David, Vol. V)

On May 8 Walters sent Haig a letter describing his meeting with Mai Van Bo. Walters stated that, “While delivering the letter to my friend, he was extremely cordial and though I had delivered the message he insisted that I remain for tea which he had ordered.” Walters reported that Bo was “completely non-committal as to the message saying he would deliver it to the Minister [Xuan Thuy]. (Letter from Walters to Haig, May 8, also sent via telegram WH00593, May 15; both ibid.)

[Page 929]

On May 25 Walters received a telephone call from Mai Van Bo who asked to meet him on May 26 at the usual place, the North Vietnamese villa on Rue Jules Lagaisse in Vitray, a Paris suburb. Walters met Bo who told him that he would be leaving Paris soon and introduced him to Tran Viet Dung, Counselor of the Delegation General of the DRV in France. Bo told Walter that if Dung had any message for Walters, he would contact him using Bo’s code name, André. Bo stated that he would be in Hanoi for several weeks and wished to be sure that the contact was maintained through Dung. Bo made no mention of Walters’ message on May 4. (Memorandum by Walters, May 26; ibid.) In sending a copy of this memorandum to Kissinger, Richard Smyser of the National Security Council staff noted that, “What is most striking about this message is that it does not turn off the channel despite other developments. In fact it goes to great lengths to make sure that our contact’s departure from Paris is not misinterpreted by us.” (Memorandum from Smyser to Kissinger, May 26; ibid.)