46. Backchannel Message From the Head of the Delegation to the Paris Peace Talks (Porter) to the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger)1

666. 1. You might wish to consider desirability of informing other side that if they begin any major military activity while we are considering their demands to resume the Paris talks such activity would be considered an unacceptable reply to our desire to put the talks on a business-like basis.2 You could add that another major military campaign might make it difficult to maintain the US Delegation in Paris.

2. Such notification would add to strains that may exist inside Politburo and might have effect of holding mil activity yet awhile even though they have apparently prepared their ground. It would provide further understanding, if they need it, of the firmness of our position; and it would be possibly useful reference in future as part of our efforts to reduce level of military activity in VN. Finally, I do not discern from here any important disadvantage such notification might bring to us.

3. See you soon. Best regards.

  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 419, Backchannel, Backchannel Messages 1972, Paris, Watson and Porter. Secret; Eyes Only.
  2. On March 29, the Politburo in Hanoi sent a message to all major political and military commands in the South, which, among other things, made the following point: “On the diplomatic front, the enemy is slyly preparing public opinion so that when we launch our powerful attacks he can issue public statements placing the blame on us and using this as an excuse to launch intensified attacks against North Vietnam.” (Politburo Cable No. 182/B to COSVN and the COSVN Military Party Committee, Military Region 5 Party Committee, and Tri Thien Region Party Committee, March 29; Collected Party Documents, Volume 33, 1972, p. 225)