150. Message From President Nixon to the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger) in Paris1

Tohak 97/WHP 216. Deliver at opening of business.

Please pass following message from President to Dr. Kissinger:

Begin text.

After reading your message2 and getting the report of your conversation with Haldeman I was pleased to note that you independently had reached the same conclusion I had.3 I have decided that we should go forward with the second option with the only condition being that the agreement we get must be some improvement over the October agreement as you have indicated it is.

I am completely aware of all the problems we will have in getting agreement from Thieu and in policing the agreement if it is reached, however I believe the risks of the other option of breaking off the talks and escalating the bombing are far greater.

You are correct in placing so much emphasis on the necessity for Thieu to be positive in his reaction. I realize that it will be monumental problem to achieve that kind of reaction from him—but of equal importance is for us to be firm and positive now that the decision has been made and we have determined to go on this course. There must be no turning back and we will tolerate no second guessing from others.

In your talks tomorrow, without being belligerent, you should point out in a low key, if you think wise, that the President is prepared to accept either course of action and will not allow political considerations [Page 543] to enter into his decision in any way as evidenced by his two-hour meeting today with the Chairman of the JCS.4

I strongly feel you should press for a settlement taking whatever time there you feel necessary then going for a recess unless there is something very substantial to be gained from a recess. If there is a recess, it should be 3–4 days at the most.

Warm regards.

End of text.

Warm regards.

  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Kissinger Office Files, Box 27, HAK Trip Files, HAK Paris Trip Tohak 1–100, December 3–13, 1972. Top Secret; Sensitive; Exclusively Eyes Only. Sent via Kennedy, Guay, and Haig. Written on December 7. This is a corrected copy of Tohak 90.
  2. Document 147.
  3. Haldeman recorded an account of the December 7 telephone conversation in his diary: “Then immediately he [Kissinger]said, basically, I wanted you to know that I’m in favor of going ahead, but I did want to warn about the implications involved. Then I said, well you’re clearly making some progress in the negotiations and it looks better, doesn’t it? And he said, yes, we’re slowly getting there, and if we all know what we’re getting into, it’s the right thing to do, but it’s not the millennium. It will be a better agreement than October would have been. We still have the option, though, of going the other way, and he wants us to know that then we can do it by putting the heat and the blame on the others, as he spelled out in his message. Basically, he thinks the course the P suggests is the one he favors. If we don’t quite make it, he’ll recess in order to consult. I asked him how he saw the timing working out, and he said it’s a question of whose nerves hold out the longer.” ( Haldeman Diaries: Multimedia Edition, December 7)
  4. See Document 149.