57. Memorandum From President Nixon to Secretary of State Rogers 1


  • Paris Negotiations

I have recently been given a very disturbing report by a member of the staff of our negotiating team in Paris, which came to me on a personal basis.

The report, an extract of which is attached, indicates that our negotiating team is fundamentally split on the issue of the conduct of U.S. negotiations and that there are members of the team who are actively involved in a disloyal campaign “to save the President from himself.” Activities include the conduct of correspondence with elements in the United States who favor termination of the war under any conditions, informal and frequent discussions with the press and friendly and unfriendly embassies to which opinions and views contrary to official policy are expressed.

Allegedly this activity has been conducted for some time without the cognizance of the head of our negotiating team and in flagrant violation of my previously stated policy on the conduct of our negotiations.

As I have emphasized on several occasions, I expect and encourage the free exchange of conflicting views on any policy issue up until the time a decision is made. Following decision, however, viewpoints in conflict with stated policy should be silenced. I expect a complete adherence to this policy throughout the Department of State and our embassies abroad. Should deviations come to your attention, the individuals involved should be promptly replaced.




He told me in the strictest confidence that he wished to convey some views which, under ordinary circumstances, he would never voice but, in the light of his serious concern for conditions in Paris, he [Page 195] felt must be conveyed. With that introduction, he stated that he viewed the Paris negotiating team as in a complete state of disarray. It was split wide open on the issue of the U.S. conduct of negotiations and members of the negotiating team were actively involved in a disloyal campaign to “save the President from himself” by indulging in a “poison pen campaign” with elements in the United States who favor the termination of the war under “any” conditions. He stated that he was aware that correspondence was being carried on by members of the staff with elements in the United States which had already come out in direct opposition to President Nixon’s policies. He also stated that many in the negotiating team were devoid of loyalty or discipline and that members of the staff were indulging in frequent and direct conversations with other embassies, with the other side, and with the press, and that these contacts were being conducted without the cognizance of the head of the U.S. negotiating team.

  1. Source: Library of Congress, Manuscript Division, Richardson Papers, Under Secretary of State, William P. Rogers, Box CL 3. Secret; Personal; Eyes Only.
  2. Confidential; Eyes Only.