24. Message From the President’s Deputy Assistant for National Security Affairs (Haig) to the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger) in Paris1

Tohak 21/WH 29630. Thank you for your Hakto 4. You may be right in paragraph one,2 but our friend was cocksure. I will proceed with showing Rogers Chapter 4 from Tab A with the changes you outlined in paragraph 9(g).3

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Reference paragraph 34—There will be absolutely no action taken on international commission until you so direct. I do not accept State’s view that ten days will be required on this item. However, you should be aware that three or four days will probably be essential. Under our option B,5 I recognize that one more round is likely.

Reference paragraph 4—Our leader is adamant about next leg not repeat not taking place unless a firm agreement with full support by Thieu is assured. He raised this in meeting with me about an hour ago and I confirmed that this was your view as well. If there is any modification on this, please advise me how best to proceed with leader. Leader also emphasized that under no circumstance could there be a termination of bombing unless it was directly linked to and in sequence of announcement of final agreement. Leader was so strong on this that he wanted to send you separate message on this effect and I told him it was [not] necessary. My own view is that sense of urgency in Hanoi is related more to high point in South than to North’s ability to absorb further bombing, especially in light of substantial reduction which we have already instituted. Given our leader’s attitude, given the fact that termination or halt to bombing will be extremely controversial if not followed up immediately by settlement, leader believes it could seriously affect election, and given finally fact that bombing serves as an incentive for the other side to make maximum effort to resolve remaining issues, I think we must continue bombing until ultimate agreement acceptable to both Thieu and Hanoi has been arrived at.6 Your add-on trip and the bombing halt in connection with it was agreed to in context of an immediate final settlement. Hanoi should be told that our leader is adamant on this issue.

Reference paragraph 57—I am sure after reading paragraph 4, Rogers will on one hand be delighted and on the other remain totally unruly about getting his machine in gear and his role delineated. This will take some strong discipline here which I hope you will reinforce by rationale in your next message. I will, of course, speak again to Johnson [Page 178] about the problem. I already had a testy discussion today on this subject.

Warm regards.

  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Kissinger Office Files, Box 25, HAK Trip Files, HAK Paris/Saigon Trip Tohak, October 16–23, 1972 (2 of 2). Top Secret; Sensitive; Exclusively Eyes Only. Sent via Lord. Written on October 17.
  2. In the first paragraph in Hakto 4 from Kissinger to Haig, October 17, 2330Z, Kissinger stated he did “not believe Sullivan has discussed Chapter IV” of the draft agreement (“The Exercise of the South Vietnamese People’s Right to Self-Determination”) with Rogers. He further commented: “At any event he [Sullivan] is delighted with it and suggested no changes. He calls it as close to surrender document by DRV as one can conceive.” (Ibid., HAK Paris/Saigon Trip Hakto, October 16–23, 1972)
  3. Chapter IV, “The Exercise of the South Vietnamese People’s Right to Self-Determination,” spelled out how the two South Vietnamese parties would decide the political future of South Vietnam. Paragraph (or Article) 9 detailed the role of the institution intended to promote the implementation of the agreement, the National Council of National Reconciliation and Concord, through national and local elections.
  4. In this paragraph of Hakto 4, Kissinger strongly advised against doing anything about the international commission.
  5. In which Kissinger recognized that he might have to make another trip to Paris before going to Saigon to brief Thieu on the negotiations and secure his approval of the draft agreement. See Document 22.
  6. Haig was responding to Kissinger’s comment in Hakto 4: “If I do not make last leg of trip we have problem regarding the bombing halt commitment.” Kissinger had told Le Duc Tho during the October 11–12 session that because they had arrived at tentative agreement: “We will reduce the bombing [over North Vietnam]. You will see. I told you today we will no longer bomb Hanoi. We have already ordered this today, and we will keep this and we will decrease the number of sorties.” See Document 6.
  7. In paragraph 5 of Hakto 4, Kissinger commented: “Tell [U. Alexis] Johnson that if he does not keep Rogers under control we will cut him out of everything from now on.”