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

Haigto 21. Refs: A. Tohaig 64, B. Haigto 19, C. Tohaig 65.2

I will be sure President Thieu is apprised of the provisions of paragraphs 1 through 5 of reference A. The inclusion of recognition of GVN as the only legitimate government and specific reference to U.S. obligation to continue support, combined with cautionary words, should be most helpful for Thieu. As you know, this was an issue discussed with his NSC and prompt assurances of this kind should ease his problem in going along with us. The sequence outlined for the Vice President’s visit to Saigon and subsequent Thieu-Nixon meeting around 1 March is equally helpful. It may be that Thieu would prefer to delay on the meeting with President Nixon as he indicated in his discussions with the NSC. Despite these discussions, however, I believe that by the first of March sufficient controversies will have been faced and hopefully met that the meeting will be both timely and helpful.

Concerning paragraph 5 of reference A, has there been any change in the time of your briefing on January 24th?

Reference paragraph 2 of Tohaig 65 which contains instructions to Sullivan, I agree completely with paragraph 2 concerning points of entry. This issue came up in discussions with Cambodians, Laotians and [Page 1091] Thais and only a brief grace period as suggested by Aldrich would be understood by them.

Reference protocols worked out by Sullivan and Aldrich, I am glad you are giving these close attention. While Sullivan may be concerned about being mock tough,3 these protocols might well upset the complete game in Saigon. Rather than let that happen, it would even be preferable to leave key issues unresolved through initialing period so as to be sure we do not impose clearly unacceptable conditions on Thieu. Our Irish cohort [Sullivan] stepeth quickly indeed.

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. References A, B, and C are, respectively, Documents 302, 304, and 303.
  3. See Sullivan’s use of the phrase “mock tough” in his discussion of the protocols in paragraph 13, Document 298.