212. Backchannel Message From the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger) to the Ambassador to South Vietnam (Bunker)1

WHS 2089. Deliver opening of business. At next meeting scheduled for August 1, I now plan to pursue the following strategy: present essentially the January 25 8 Point U.S. proposal2 with the following modifications:

Ceasefire to come into effect simultaneously with agreement on the statement of principles, instead of after political agreement as is the case now. This is less favorable to North Vietnam.
The deadline by which the detailed political implementation talks are to be concluded will be three months. There is no deadline now.
The elections will still be conducted six months after completion of the political settlement—or nine months after the statement of [Page 754] principles—but as Haig mentioned to you, Thieu would step down two months rather than one month before the elections take place.

We have reason to believe that this is essentially the proposal which the Soviets have urged on Hanoi. Please discuss this game plan with Thieu on an urgent basis with the view toward obtaining his agreement to my proceeding as outlined.

Warm regards.

  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 869, For the President’s Files (Winston Lord)—China Trip/Vietnam, Camp David—Cables, January 1–July 31, 1972. Top Secret; Sensitive; Exclusively Eyes Only; Immediate.
  2. See Documents 5 and 8.