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

Hakto 40. Please pass the following report to the President for his information only.


We completed all our work with the North Vietnamese today in a session lasting over 7 hours, including a joint luncheon, at our place.2

We confirmed the final texts of the agreement and all associated understandings, and settled all the remaining issues of principle in the protocols.

The experts will finish the drafting of the protocols this coming week, and they will be signed along with the agreement.

We also agreed on a detailed scenario along the lines you and I settled on.
At lunch and at the end, Le Duc Tho made very warm and solemn remarks about their intention to implement the agreement strictly and his desire for better relations.
The problem now of course is in Saigon. I had a very useful session with Thieu’s envoys, former Prime Minister Do and former Ambassador to the U.S. Diem, last evening. They had also gotten the right messages from Capitol Hill.3 Diem is returning to Saigon and their report should be of help.4 We have also provided Bunker with argumentation [Page 1003] about the agreement, which I used here as well with the South Vietnamese, in order to start paving the way for Haig’s mission.

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; Sensitive; Exclusively Eyes Only. Sent via Kennedy.
  2. See Document 274.
  3. See Document 272.
  4. Bui Diem’s report to Thieu, reproduced in his memoirs, advised: “we should fight with all our strength until the last minute. Then and only then should we make a choice. That choice is between refusing to sign (and accepting all the consequences of our decision) and signing, with the hope that in spite of the agreement’s imperfections, with unity between all the Vietnamese nationalists, and with the promised aid from the Americans, we can survive our difficulties. Obviously, in the middle of the two choices is a third choice, that is, accepting the agreement without putting our signature on it. But I have to add immediately that if in principle this third choice looks attractive, in practice it amounts to a refusal of the agreement. In such a case the consequences for our relations with the Americans would be the same [as not signing].” Bracketed words added later by Bui Diem. (Bui Diem, In the Jaws of History, p. 316)