239. Paper Presented by the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger) to the Special Adviser to the North Vietnamese Delegation to the Paris Peace Talks (Le Duc Tho)1
Procedures Regarding the Conduct of Negotiations
- The parties agree that there will be the following forums:
First, a forum of private meetings between representatives of the United States and the Democratic Republic of Vietnam. This forum will discuss and resolve military issues such as the withdrawal of United States forces, cease-fire, the return of prisoners of war and such other military issues as may be agreed between the parties. In addition, the two parties will discuss and resolve the principles and general content of the political questions affecting the settlement of the Vietnam problem.
The two parties will discuss and resolve questions one by one. If, in the course of negotiations, there remain disagreements on one question, the parties will agree to move to the discussion of another question, returning to outstanding points of disagreement at a subsequent time.
As these bilateral negotiations proceed, principles agreed upon between the two parties will be recorded for subsequent discussion in detail in the forums enumerated below. When one question is resolved [Page 834] in this forum, the parties may, by mutual agreement, refer it immediately for detailed discussion to one of the forums listed below.
- Second, a forum of private meetings between representatives of the Government of the Republic of Vietnam and the PRG: This forum will discuss and implement the agreements on the military questions, as well as the principles and general contents of the political questions, already reached in the forum between the United States and the Democratic Republic of Vietnam. This forum will also discuss and resolve in detail such other political and military questions which may have not been resolved in the forum between the United States and the Democratic Republic of Vietnam. This forum will also deal with any other matters mutually agreed for discussion between the Republic of Vietnam and the PRG.
- Third, a forum of tripartite private meetings between the Republic of Vietnam, the Democratic Republic of Vietnam and the PRG: This forum will discuss the settlement of specific questions concerning North and South Vietnam, such as the problem of the Vietnamese armed forces, and any other matters mutually agreed between the three parties.
- A four-party forum between the United States, the Republic of Vietnam, the Democratic Republic of Vietnam and the PRG: This forum will discuss the settlement of a number of specific questions concerning the four parties such as an Indochina-wide ceasefire.
- It shall be the right of any of the four forums enumerated above to refer a matter to another forum if, after discussion and mutual agreement, this is considered appropriate and helpful to facilitating solution of the matter in question.
- In the course of negotiation the United States and the Democratic Republic of Vietnam assume the joint responsibility to help overcome obstacles and difficulties which may arise among the parties.
- When agreement is reached at the above-mentioned forums, an overall agreement will be signed. Besides the overall agreement, the parties may also reach bilateral or tripartite agreements.
- The parties may also agree on the establishment of a wider international forum to deal with those aspects of a settlement which also pertain to all of Indochina.
- Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 864, For the President’s Files (Winston Lord)—China Trip/Vietnam, Sensitive Camp David Memcons, May–October 1972 [4 of 5]. No classification marking. Kissinger presented this paper to Le Duc Tho at their meeting in Paris on August 14. The paper was Tab C to the August 14 memorandum of conversation. See Document 237 and footnote 2 thereto.↩