304. Message From the Vice Chief of Staff of the Army (Haig) to the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger)1

Haigto 19. Thank you for Tohaig 642 which will be most helpful to me in my discussions with Thieu on Saturday morning. My reading of Bunker’s Saigon 03393 further confirms my conviction that Thieu will go along. We cannot, however, discount the possibility that he will even at this late date try for one more stalling session and run the crisis right up until Tuesday.4 I would hope to tell him that were he to continue to procrastinate that we will be forced to communicate with Hanoi and start down the road which would foresee a solution that does not include the GVN’s cooperation. This is somewhat of an idle threat but I know of no other way to hold Thieu’s feet to the fire should it be necessary. I have in fact hinted at this problem and believe that he recognizes that he has to give a yes or no response on Saturday. Nevertheless, we must all consider the possibility that he will not do so.

I have just completed a two hour session with Thanom which was extremely successful and cordial. I will send you a separate reporting telegram but I am completely confident that the Thais will be fully supportive of the settlement and will urge Thieu to join with us. They are going to be fully cooperative on additional bases for our air and rescue units and also understand the short term paucity of funds available for Thailand under the continuing resolution which we are operating. I stressed the essentiality of the agreement for the future of U.S. assistance to Southeast Asia and Thailand in particular and I believe that Thanom is especially sensitive to the fact that Thieu cannot be permitted to gore Thailand’s ox.

Because of possible press speculation, I will hold up here in Bangkok tonight and proceed early tomorrow morning to Saigon. From there, if all goes well, I will proceed directly to Seoul with the hopes of meeting Park late Saturday evening and returning immediately after to Washington. This is still tentative pending the outcome of the discussions with Thieu. On balance, you can be assured that the Lao, Cambodians and Thais are fully supportive of the agreement and will meet all [Page 1088] aspects of our overall game plan. The sole difficulty now is in Saigon. I remain optimistic, however, that Thieu will come along although it is evident that the protocols are posing additional difficulties because of their specificity in certain areas.

Warm regards.

  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 860, For the President’s Files (Winston Lord)—China Trip/Vietnam, Sensitive Camp David, Vol. XXIV. Top Secret; Flash; Sensitive; Exclusively Eyes Only. Sent via Brown.
  2. See Document 302 and footnote 2 thereto.
  3. Document 292.
  4. January 23.