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

DRV and U.S. delegations met again January 5 from 10:30 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. at golf club. Same persons on both sides.
Meeting opened when Sullivan presented Thach with map we had drawn to define 6 regions of South Vietnam for ICCS operations based out of Hue, Danang, Pleiku, Phan Thiet, Bien Hoa and My Tho. We told DRV that, for practical reasons we would suggest a seventh region, based out of Can Tho and including everything south of Mekong. DRV agreed to consider.
We then turned to continued discussion of ICCS protocol, with lengthy discussion on location and operation in southern half of DMZ and at and around various points of entry. Both U.S. and DRV drafts are therefore dropped and new article being drafted.
Similar lengthy discussions ensued on ICCS teams to supervise POW return, with DRV eventually agreeing to concept that teams would be present at all points of POW release, including those in [Page 917] North Vietnam (but not necessarily at all camps where they have previously been held). We agreed that teams could be present at specific points in South Vietnam where civilian detainees would be consolidated.
Next discussions turned to location of mobile teams throughout country. We agreed to concept in which teams would be located at various towns throughout country. We both therefore dropped our original articles and will develop a new draft incorporating this concept. Our lists of towns will clearly be at massive numerical variance, and we expect prolonged buffalo trading on this one.
We then achieved rapid agreement on next two articles, concerning supervision of elections and relationship of ICCS as to function. DRV then agreed to drop its article concerning termination of ICCS.
After some tentative discussion concerning numbers of personnel, we agreed to set issue aside to be worked out simultaneously with agreement on numbers of teams in various categories.
We next agreed to drop articles in both drafts concerning ICCS carrying arms, leaving matter to be worked out between ICCS and Vietnamese parties. DRV also agreed, in principle to drop its Article 7 concerning unanimity, but wished reserve final action until we submit new draft consolidating question of investigations and reports.
Finally, DRV agreed to drop its restatement of requirement that commission respect sovereignty of South Vietnam, which already stated in basic agreement. At this point, we adjourned until January 6.
January 6 meetin will be at Gif at 10:30 a.m. Agenda should conclude discussion of cease-fire and four party commission. Thach stated his desire to speak on two party commissions, but agreed, once that finished, we could return to ICCS protocol.
Comment: Progress continues to be slow but steady. We have reasonable chance of finishing article by article discussion of both protocols prior to January 8, but this will leave substantial unresolved issues which will need to be negotiated by you and Le Duc Tho.
Warm regards.
  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 865, For the President’s Files (Winston Lord)—China Trip/Vietnam, Camp David Memcons, December 1972 [1 of 3]. Secret; Immediate; Sensitive; Exclusively Eyes Only. Sent via Guay and Kennedy.