25. Message From the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger) to the President’s Deputy Assistant for National Security Affairs (Haig)1

Hakto 11. Immediate—Deliver opening of business.

Ref: Tohak 21.2

Thank you for your message. My plan now is as follows: I intend to notify Hanoi that a visit is possible only in the context of a final agreement. The deadlock in paragraph 8, the uncertainty about paragraph 7 and the ambiguity about the unilateral statements3 together with whatever comments Saigon has require another two-day session. I shall propose either Vientiane or Paris. If Vientiane I may add on the last leg after once more returning to Saigon. If Paris I shall return to Washington Saturday.4 If Vientiane I shall stay out here till the job is done.
Current bombing restrictions should be maintained. That is to say, no attacks on Hanoi and about 150 attack sorties a day.5
Re Rogers, I do not know what to say.6 Sullivan is ecstatic about the agreement and very cooperative. I cannot stress sufficiently however the absolute imperative of discipline in Washington. Hanoi is obviously extremely nervous; Xuan Thuy seemed barely able to control himself. Any sign of confusion in Washington or any leaking will kill us. Please stress this to the President and to Haldeman. For Haldeman: Either schedule probably means that the President’s speech would be October 28 or 29.7 If there is a strong preference it would help to know.
Please keep me posted.
  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Kissinger Office Files, Box 25, HAK Trip Files, HAK Paris/Saigon Trip Hakto, October 16–23, 1972. Top Secret; Sensitive; Exclusively Eyes Only.
  2. Document 24.
  3. Paragraph (Article) 8 of the draft agreement addressed the question of the release of captured military and civilian personnel on both sides while paragraph (Article) 7 dealt with the provision of new and replacement military aid and the introduction of military personnel into South Vietnam in the post-cease-fire period. The unilateral statements were documents the North Vietnamese gave Kissinger showing how they interpreted certain sections of the draft agreement. For a detailed list, see footnote 3, Document 22.
  4. October 21.
  5. See footnote 6, Document 24. Regarding the bombing restrictions, Haig’s view was that the President’s decision, to lower the number of sorties from 200 a day to 150, reiterated by Kissinger in this message, represented a compromise between Kissinger, who wanted to stop bombing North Vietnam, and Haig, who believed that “we should keep on bombing as the only hope of inducing the enemy to remove his troops from the South.” (Haig, Inner Circles, p. 299) Nixon himself later wrote of this decision: “there would be no bombing halt until the agreement was signed. I was not going to be taken in by the mere prospect of an agreement as Johnson had been in 1968.” ( RN, p. 694)
  6. It is not clear what Kissinger means. Since returning from Paris on October 12 he had repeatedly stated the need to keep Rogers out of the negotiating process. See Document 9; footnote 3, Document 18; and footnote 7, Document 24.
  7. According to Haldeman’s diary, when the President and Kissinger spoke on the evening of October 12, they decided that Nixon would announce the cease-fire in Vietnam on October 26 and that it would go into effect on October 30. ( Haldeman Diaries: Multimedia Edition, October 12) By this time, the date of the speech had slipped.