26. Message From the United States to the Democratic Republic of Vietnam1

The President has carefully reviewed the record of the meeting between Dr. Kissinger and Minister Xuan Thuy.2 He has instructed that the following message be transmitted on his behalf to the leaders of the DRV.

The President believes that the DRV and the U.S. are very close to an agreement. In settling a war of such length and intensity, it is inevitable that schedules must be adjusted from time to time.
The President cannot agree to a visit by Dr. Kissinger to Hanoi or to a unilateral halt of certain U.S. military activities except in the context of a completed agreement.
Because of the disagreements regarding Articles 7 and 8 and the unsatisfactory nature of certain unilateral DRV statements the time is not yet ripe for such a visit.
The President believes that another meeting between Dr. Kissinger and Special Adviser Le Duc Tho or any other member of the Hanoi leadership should lead to agreement in two or three days.
For this reason the United States side proposes the following schedule:
  • October 22, 23 and if necessary 24—a meeting between Dr. Kissinger and Special Adviser Le Duc Tho in Vientiane. The meeting place would alternate between the U.S. and the DRV Embassies.
  • October 25 and 26 (or October 26 and 27 depending on the length of the Vientiane meeting)—Dr. Kissinger goes to Hanoi to discuss post-war plans with the DRV leaders.
  • October 27 or 28—Dr. Kissinger returns to Washington.
  • October 28 or 29—simultaneous announcement of final agreement.
This schedule would involve a delay of only three or four days from the original plan.
If Vientiane is unacceptable Dr. Kissinger would be prepared to return to Paris on any day convenient to Special Adviser Le Duc Tho during the week of October 23. However this would be less efficient.
The U.S. would stop bombing the day before Dr. Kissinger’s visit to Hanoi as agreed between him and Special Adviser Le Duc Tho.
As a sign of good will the U.S. will maintain current bombing restrictions while negotiations are in progress.
The President wants to reaffirm his serious intention to complete the agreement within the proposed new time schedule. With mutual effort and understanding we can succeed.
  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 857, For the President’s Files (Winston Lord)—China Trip/Vietnam, Sensitive Camp David, Vol. XX [1 of 2]. Top Secret; Sensitive; Exclusively Eyes Only. The message was transmitted from Haig to Guay in WHP 71, 0951Z.
  2. See Document 22.