186. Message From the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger) to the Chief of the U.S. Delegation to the Paris Peace Talks (Porter)1

Subject: Guidance for Future Meetings.

The following guidance is forwarded in order to assist you in the conduct of future meetings with Xuan Thuy.
Your negotiating priorities should be as follows: first, the ICCS Protocol; second, the four-party military commission; and third, the first six of the nine understandings you have on file with special emphasis on the Laos and Cambodia understandings. The remaining [Page 715] three understandings and all the unilateral statements should be held aside for me to negotiate at such time as I meet again with the North Vietnamese.
Within the foregoing set of priorities, I have no objection if discussion alternates from one subject to another so that you do not get stuck on any single item but preponderant emphasis should be on ICCS protocol and four-party commission.
In further reference to protocols, you should not repeat not discuss two-party commission or question of areas of control which comes under purview of that commission in carrying out its responsibilities under Article 3b of agreement. You should make clear to Xuan Thuy that this is matter for South Vietnamese parties to decide between themselves; we are not prepared to discuss it; and at a maximum we are willing to consider one or two very general sentences in four-party document which establishes two-party commission but without any substantive content whatsoever. Our approach to establishment of effective ceasefire remains the thorough identification of the location and size of military and paramilitary units at time of ceasefire.
You should reject withdrawal protocol out of hand. It is completely unnecessary and U.S. obligations are amply spelled out in basic agreement itself.
As a general guideline, you should insist on elimination of all political references from protocols under discussion. This includes elimination of all reference to NCNRC in protocols and any unnecessary or invidious references which would simply serve to undercut GVN; e.g., repeated allusions to civilian prisoner problem, unnecessary references to GVN police and so forth. On NCNRC you should point out that there is nothing in text of agreement itself to justify repeated DRV mention of council in protocols.
In reporting your discussions, I believe it best to confine bulk of your reporting to this channel. Nothing on text of agreement or understandings should be sent through State channels.2 Technical details on ICCS protocol may, however, be sent through State channels. In event you have any doubt as to which channel to use, please don’t hesitate to consult us in advance.
You should make clear in your comportment and in the conduct of your talks that we are reaching the limits of our patience.
Warm regards.
  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 859, For the President’s Files (Winston Lord)—China Trip/Vietnam, Sensitive Camp David, Vol. XXIII. Top Secret; Flash; Sensitive; Eyes Only. Sent via Guay and Haig. The note “deliver immediately” is typed on the message. Printed from the copy that was approved for transmission as WHP 263.
  2. See Document 183.