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

115. Refs: A) WHS 2087.2 B) Saigon 0114.3 C) WHS 2088.4 D) WHS 2089.5

Thank you for Ref C giving fuller report on July 19 meeting, especially the prevailing atmosphere, which I shall pass on to Thieu. The only point of substance not included in my preliminary report to him (Ref B) was the 3–4 month temporary cease-fire with bombing halt. I think Thieu might find some problems with this in view of previous history of temporary bombing halts, which the enemy used in effect to build up supplies, re-equip and reinforce. As I understand it, it would be in effect a cease-fire in place with enemy forces located in a considerable number of areas in all military regions. GVN’s concern would be with situation which enemy could use to proselytize and build-up infrastructure during period of cease-fire. Nevertheless, in view of the other side’s response I think it was wise to have made the proposal. [Page 756] As you have said, it will bolster our position if we ever had to go public with the record again.
I have asked for appointment with Thieu to discuss your proposal for August 1 meeting (Ref D). This seems to me a very good approach and I believe will be in fact more welcome to Thieu than a cease-fire proposal alone unless latter included eventual withdrawal of all foreign forces from Viet-Nam. I doubt that proposed modifications will give him problems, but will discuss with him at early date and report.
Warm regards.
  1. Source: Library of Congress, Manuscript Division, Kissinger Papers, Box TS 44, Geopolitical File, Cables, 24 June–29 August 1972. Top Secret; Sensitive; Immediate; Exclusively Eyes Only.
  2. See footnote 2, Document 209.
  3. Document 209.
  4. WHS 2088, July 21, transmitted Kissinger’s fuller report to Bunker on the July 19 meeting in Paris with Le Duc Tho. (National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 855, For the President’s Files (Winston Lord)—China Trip/Vietnam, Sensitive Camp David, Vol. XIV)
  5. Document 212.