266. Message From the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger) to President Nixon 1

Hakto 23. Ref: Tohak 83.2 Please pass the following message to the President. Begin text.

Thank you for your January 11 message concerning the proposed scenario which crossed my own message today. It is clear that our thinking has turned out to be along exactly the same lines.
With respect to Haig’s departure, I believe this should be Sunday evening.3 First of all, in addition to our meeting with you, it would give me more time to brief Haig on the details of the agreement and the associated understandings and protocols, including the rather intricate procedures for signing the documents. Secondly, an evening departure would get Haig into Saigon at opening of business on Tuesday; therefore leaving any earlier from Washington would only get him into Saigon in the middle of the night.
With respect to Thieu’s reaction, it is clear to me that he will not yield short of his fully realizing that he is being given absolutely no alternative. In this respect I believe the certainty of our initialling the agreement without him if necessary is the only way to accomplish this. He may in fact hold out until we actually have gone through with the initialling. In that case, as I have pointed out, you can make your announcement on the evening of January 21, which would be required in order to meet the January 23 date for initialling.
I share your views on the need for Congressional notification upon my return and I will be prepared to do this Sunday evening.

Warm regards.

  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Kissinger Office Files, Box 28, HAK Trip Files, HAK Paris Trip Hakto 1–48, January 7–14, 1973. Top Secret; Flash; Sensitive; Exclusively Eyes Only. Sent via Kennedy.
  2. Document 264.
  3. January 14.